While they were waiting, scouts indicated that another camp of chime-rans was approaching. King Kirillo indicated that all should wait until just which camp this was became known. For the male chimerans sometimes broke their camps up during the winter. Their wintering grounds sometimes did not provide as much meat as they needed, so they would go separate ways to reduce the burden on the land. The scouts waited and watched. The chimerans did not yet have the idea of standards with images on them so that it might be seen at a distance which standards were coming and know by that which men were coming.
The scouts waited and watched until the men were close enough to recognize their faces. Then one scout called out, “all is well, it is Dalb.” “It is one of my lieutenants,” King Kirillo said to Storus. And then, from another direction, females approached the camp. “Females approach the camp,” the King noticed. One of them had offspring riding behind her on her salamander. The other two were on their own. “One is a mother,” the king pointed out to his guests. “She has her young on the back of her salamander with her and is already teaching them to ride. The other two will be mates for my generals. They will breed this year.”
So the males went out to greet them. They brought the two breeding females to the most important of the generals in the camp. These females would be their mates when the time came. The mother was given meat to eat and to feed her young.
“This has been a good day,” King Kirillo said. “Soon other females will come, and all of my men who can hunt will have mates.” He sounded particularly happy at that. Then Dalb reached his tent. “My liege,” he said. “I have brought you a gift. We found something in the woods most unusual. We don’t know what it is, but we thought it might make a slave for you.” He stepped back to the wagon and through the leather tarp covering it to one side.
King Jehan gasped. “What is this?” King Kirillo asked. Storus figured it out pretty fast. “Your highness,” he said. “This is one of the men who has insulted King Jehan so grievously.” When he told King Jehan what he had said, the young King added, “Yes, I request his immediate return.” “We might not be able to get that,” Storus whispered to Jehan. “It has been given to King Kirillo as a gift. “I will see what I can do.”
They went back into the tent again. Sir Kendrew was also dragged in. King Kirillo was not happy that the gift was not in better condition. “So Dalb,” King Kirillo said. “This is the kind of gift that you bring your king, a half dead one.”
“Forgive me, sire, but we only just captured him on our land,” Dalb said. “You are aware that it takes time to break a slave.” “I am aware of that,” said the King. “But why did you not simply slay him and bring me the hide.” Storus got next to King Kirillo then. “Sir,” he whispered. “this is one of the men that has insulted King Jehan so much.” “He would take it kindly if you would spare his life so that King Jehan can take the man with him.”
“And what will he do if I give him this man?” King Kirillo asks Storus. “He will have the man executed as befits such a man.” Storus said. It was a proper answer and the one King Kirillo wanted to hear. He decided to make some political hay while he might. “As it happens I have a use for this man in his present condition,” he said to Dalb. “I give him as a gift to King Jehan here.” He indicated two guards to present Sir Kendrew before King Jehan.
“What shall we do with him?” the men asked. Storus translated. “Take him and put him back in the wagon where he was,” the King said. “When we leave the camp, we shall request that the wagon go with us to our camp. There he will be transferred to our own wagon for transport home.” Storus translated again. The guards men took Sir Kendrew out to the wagon again.
“What will happen to him when he gets to your home?” King Kirillo asked. “He will be stripped of his rank and hung,” the King said. Storus translated as best he could. But he was a little confused as to what it meant. “It is the most ignominious form of execution I can think of,” Jehan said to Storus. “He will be truly shamed.” Storus explained that to King Kirillo. That king nodded his head in satisfaction. In the distance, neither Sir Joopi not Sir Matyes was aware of what had befallen their friend.