“Be still now, Feldard,” whispered Hasan. “It seems they speak a bit, but do not welcome unhumans. We shall have to educate them after Maruc wins their trust.” The elf stood still and watched.
Maruc pressed his point. “Please be at peace, I meant what I said. We seek knowledge. Feel free to check my weapon and clothing for blood. We have not slain your kin. We would hardly tarry and bury them were we guilty of their slaying?”
Maruc read their mistrusting faces. They were not sold on their story yet, but neither were they convinced of their guilt.
“We are travellers from beyond your valley, I am Maruc, a priest of Halav Incarnate, with me are my faithful and stalwart friends, three men; Ludo an orc prisoner we aided, Stephan of the Dymrak Forest and Miklos of Specularum on the sea. Here is Hasan of the noble houses of the elven Elyan, and finally Feldard the renowned dwarven warrior.” Maruc was not sure if Feldard would appreciate his past being associated with his name.
“What are your names and what quarrel do you have with the ‘Mutts’ that results in such violence?” he enquired boldly.
Miklos considered the term ‘mutt’. In Specularum it was normally used in reference to stray dogs. It didn’t take too much of a logical leap to suggest it was a derogatory term used for their foe. These people were probably not Hukaatan, they certainly didn’t look learned nor did they look like the broken statues that were cast about the landscape. He wondered why they were fighting. He deliberately chose to keep the tapestry hidden, it was unlikely to be the work of these people and may inflame them to violence.
Stephen wished he had his bow in hand. “How did we let these riders approach without realizing they were coming?” he muttered to Feldard.
The Sukiskyn tried to appear non-threatening without letting down his guard. He was in no mood for a fight with a strange enemy at the crack of dawn in a desolate, rocky land.
As the riders drew weapons, Feldard hefted the rock into a proper throwing position but held off his throw as Maruc continued to try and explain their presence. He gave a short snort at his introduction.
Ludo relaxed… a little, it least the strangers were talking and there didn’t seem to be any indicators that the strangers were inclined to fight; it least for now. Still he could not help but wonder, perhaps these were the killers of the poor souls that the party was burying. Ludo stayed at the back of the party watching to see how events would develope.
Maruc winced almost imperceptibly at Feldard’s sour reaction, He wondered if he would ever impress the taciturn warrior.
The warriors spoke in hushed tones amongst themselves, considering the logic of Maruc’s statements. One of the group had an abnormally large chest and neck, and did not speak. His eyes scanned the horizon. Two of the group broke away and rode their lizards closer to the bodies. One of them pointed to a speak nearby.
“Thar spear be a’ tho mutts!” he said.
Meanwhile, the large torso’d warrior rode his mount around the perimeter. He stopped and pointed to the ground. He spoke in a whisper that somehow carried on the wind to them all. “Thar be tracks,” he said.
“Yah be like ars,” said the lead warrior, pointing to Maruc and then to himself. “Tho mutts be dah curse ah tho valley. Thar be enkind wa’ tho dead. Veel yar halp venge ar keen?” he asked, clenching his fist.