Where is all the food? You promised me a bigger spread than last time! What? Water? What am I supposed to do with hot water? Tea?! Are you out of your mind? I do not sip tea, so just put that away right now! That was one time. I was being polite. No, you can have it. Here, take it.
Okay, let’s make this quick because I haven’t had my lunch yet. Had we met up with Baruk yet? No? Okay, well, in the morning, we packed up our things nice and early and headed over to meet up with Baruk. My stomach started giving me trouble along the way. No, it wasn’t the “water” I’d drunk; it was Baruk! I kept seeing his face whenever I closed my eyes.
Baruk was a big guy with a round face. He had this little mustache- you know the kind. It needed to be a bit longer or gone altogether. I wanted to get a knife and shave it off! He wore robes with a sash that when you made him mad, the sash made this noise like it was being ripped. That was how strong he was- just flexing his muscles might rip his clothes off! He smelled a little funny too. I thought it was dill. I wasn’t sure.
So, when we get to his tent, we are a little surprised that it is still there and not all packed up or something. Captain was all huffing and puffing when Baruk comes out, but he is not alone. It turns out he has a sister- Baruka! They were twins, right down to the tiny mustache! I took one look at her, and my stomach twisted all the way around. I think she took it the wrong way. She smiled at me, sort of giving me that look- you know the one- before informing us that she was going along too! She grabbed my arm and just started walking me towards the road into Dione.
I balked, reminding her that someone needed to stay at the shop, but Baruka whispers to me in her gentle, husky voice that they had several cousins ready to step in. As she did so, I was then certain- it was dill; definitely dill.
As you know, Dione is covered in trees and mountainous. I began to feel the strain in the back of my legs right away, but Baruka would not slow down. She glided along the path like she were floating, humming the entire time. Whenever we would come to a junction, she’d inspect the trees, and then we’d continue on. See, they made notches in the trees- tiny marks to indicate which way to go, and we were supposedly headed to Ghanrey, the capital of Mesu. I asked her how long it would take, and she said it depended on the weather but as much as a whole week. She was pleased about that! I looked up, and it was a bit overcast. No way, clouds! You keep whatever is in you right up there!
Finally, she stopped, and at this point, I realize we are far ahead of the others. She points down a little path and begins dragging me along it. Suddenly, the trees parted, and there is a spectacular view of the plain between Mesu and Pacia. I had never seen anything like it- better than the view we have over here at Faverly. For a moment, I forgot how tired I was and was acutely aware of just how small and insignificant I am. It did not last long, though. Baruka grabbed my arm and pulled me down to sit on a rock next to her.
“Isn’t it lovely?” she asked, but she was staring at me.
“The view? Yeah,” I sputtered.
I pointed flutily at the valley. I was about to grab Baruka’s stubbly chin to point her at it when she holds my hands and says, “Oh, you! Do not let my brother catch you saying such things to me!” Believe me! I did not want that! I went to get up, but she held onto my arms and yanked me back down. “You want to know a secret?”
I did not.
“Here, look at these!” and I kid you not, she grabbed her robe and ripped it open! I just sat there with my mouth hanging open. I had never seen anything like them- so beautiful! So perfectly shaped! So… pointy! I had to hold them. I reached out, but just as I did, I heard Baruk call out, “You leave my sister’s daggers alone!”
“No, I want him to see them!” Baruka insisted as she pulled one out of her holster. “He could use a good dagger, and I would give him a fair price! A fair price for a fair man!”
“Put those away!” Baruk balked at us, and so she did, and the two of us sat there like scolded children.
“Maybe later, when we are alone,” I whispered to her. “We could work out a deal.” Baruka winked back at me. I was beginning to like her.
For Part 11 Click here!