Friday, October 1, 2010
The Dark and Forbidding Land - Chapter 12 Excerpt
Kendric was a very old lizardman. No one knew exactly how old, and that included Kendric himself. He had moved out of his home in the lizardman village of Tsuus, and had moved into a shack behind Mr. Darwin’s store. When it had become obvious that Kendric knew Birmisia better than anyone, man or lizardman, the humans had begun coming to him for his services as a guide. He had been hired by explorers, cartographers, traders, naturalists, and workmen laying the new town water lines. He was so sought after that he had taken on several young lizzie protégés. Saba found the shriveled old creature, sitting on a log and carving a piece of bone with a small flint knife.
“Good morning Kendric,” he said, placing his hand to his neck, palm out, in the lizzie respectful greeting.
The creature returned the greeting and then slowly raised himself to his feet. Stooped over at the shoulders, he was quite a bit shorter than Saba. In a few places his skin was the same light olive that it had once been all over, but now in many places it had turned black or sickly grey. Much of his face, belly, and shoulders were criss-crossed by jagged scars.
“I need a guide to take hunters to Iguanodon Heath,” said Saba, and then pausing for a moment. “Two would be better.”
The old lizzie nodded and then hissed out several words in his own language. The door of the shack popped open and a young female rushed out to take her place beside Kendric. She listened as the old fellow finished whatever he was saying and then turned and spoke to Saba in the best Brech he had heard any of the natives speak.
“You want two guides? For how long?”
“One guide will lead the hunters and their lizzies wherever they want to go in search of game. I imagine it will be about four weeks, but maybe longer. The other guide will come with me and three other soldiers. We’ll go out with the hunters and then come right back. Maybe five days. Tell him we want someone reliable.”
“Kendrikhastu understands you, but he does not speak the hoonan tongue.”
Kendric spoke again and the female once again translated.
“He says two thousand coins for hunters. He says he is friend to soldiers so only seventy five coins for you.”
Saba knew the coins that the lizzies wanted were copper pfennigs, so the total price was only twenty marks, seventy five P. It was far more than most lizzies made. The thirty laborers Shrubb was hiringd to carry the gear would make only ten P a day each. On the other hand, Harhoff would pay it and not think anything of it.
“Will you be one of the guides, Kendric?”
Kendric said something and then hissed mirthfully.
“The elder cannot do such a journey, even just five days. I guide you and another guide the hunters.”
“That’s fine. We meet at first light tomorrow outside of building six on the militia base. You know where that is?”