Frontier Dreams

Interlude: Prying Eyes

In Which Marks are not Forgotten

Tatati pulled her cloak tightly as she made the walk from Koka’s new medicine cabin to the village chief’s meeting. Apparently, one of the farscouts had found something, and they wanted Koka’s thoughts on it. Koka had become increasingly reclusive after his recovery, citing chronic pain from the amputation. Tatati suspected it was simply that he couldn’t stand the stares he received wherever he went at his lack of wings. She could hardly blame him, it was well into the warm season, and a full bodied cloak like she was wearing was clearly unnecessary. But she wished to avoid the looks just as much.

Skirting the main paths, she swept aside the cloth covering the doorway and entered into a room feeling much larger than it was for how few people were a part of this meeting. Chieftan Rango looked up from the table and saw her approach, his immediate understanding clear on his face. Tatati hoped this would be some trivial matter and she could recuse herself quickly. When the other elders parted to give her room, she spied what lay on the table and realized this was anything but trivial.

Splayed out on the table were several items she vaguely recognized. There were two curved pieces of metal that she thought the young human who had come to town had been seen placing on the feet of the pack animals. Beside them was a scrap of leather with a mangled buckle on one end and a case affixed to the other. And from the case had been pulled what to any eye was clearly a map. Or more accurately part of a map. Whatever had caused the case to come loose from its carrier had torn off a majority of the details. But what was there, even without fluency in their script, would decidedly narrow their search for this hidden village of medicine makers and earth tenders.

Rango explained to Tatati that he wished for her to go in Koka’s stead with the next farscouts, and granted her approval to make peaceful contact if the opportunity arose. Tatati gazed long and hard at the map, attempting to appear like she was memorizing it, or searching for some unnoticed detail. But in truth she was barely able to stand upright as her mind warred between crushing apprehension about spending that much time with other scouts, and renewed hope that her condition might be curable if they find them.

As she returned to the medicine tent, she was slightly surprised to see Koka outside waiting for her. When he saw her approach, he made a show of yelling at nearby kids that “My wings might be gone but if you put one more rock through my window, I’ll sting you just the same!” Tatati didn’t buy it for a second, but appreciated the gesture. As they walked inside past patient’s too sick or wounded to return to their own home just yet, she explained what Rango had revealed. Koka silently nodded and helped her pack for the trip. When she asked why he was bundling a long sleeved traveler’s robe instead of simple leathers, he turned and mused that perhaps the hidden village people would appreciate someone who wasn’t wearing armor to make the introductions. Tatati hugged the grumpy old wyvaran, ignoring his empty threats about old age and personal space.



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