With just another mark or so until they reached Terruth City, Ander felt a little giddy. Wearing his new clothes made him feel much more human than his old jeans and ragged, oversized shirt that he’d gotten from the Kin’keska. Ander was puzzled, however, at why Gabriella had purchased armor for them. He knew it was only light weight, but why would they need it back in the Illyth?
The girls looked lovely in their new dresses; he wasn’t used to thinking of them in terms such as that, being that they were more like sisters to him. He, Rick, and Dar had already decided, after a glance this morning at the two girls, their hair loose and flowing, looking much older, dressed like the other young women in the town, that they would have to keep a close eye on them. Ander had a few spells he was interested in practicing should someone become a problem.
He knew also that they had to keep Dar’s runaway temper at bay. Rick had asked him to heat the hilt the of Dar’s sword in the event he got carried away again like he had the other night. Ander could certainly do that, but he could think of several other ideas he’d rather try, like mentally tripping someone, or casting an Illusion. Quite a bit of potential was to be had for practical jokes when one was proficient with either kyor, as Rick had discovered the hard way. Dumping salt into Ander’s porridge was a typical stunt of Rick’s – but after a night spent poring through one of Gabriella’s dusty kyor’rishtan books, Rick found one morning that any sugar he sprinkled on his own porridge made it saltier for some reason. Ander smiled, still recalling the hilarity of that morning, using one’s kyor’rishtan to influence someone’s thinking, like making one think that salt is actually sugar, was an invaluable tool in a battle of practical jokes.
Lost in thought, Ander nearly collided with the wagon. He jerked his iro out of the way, for Gabriella stopped it at the top of the hill in the dirt road. Gabriella waited until each of them had come to the top of the hill before she gestured in front of her. “Terruth City.”
The hill they had just climbed was much longer on the other side, descending into a valley of flatlands surrounded by forest on the horizon. Sprawling in every direction for as far as Ander could see, the city nestled safely within stone walls between the forests to the north and the highlands on the south side of it.
Rick, next to him, whistled. “Take a look at that.”
Tillabeth could have fit ten times into the city and no one would notice, Ander thought. He decided Terruth City was at least as big as his hometown in his old world, if not bigger.
“Onward,” said Gabriella, smirking.
Like Tillabeth, several outlying farms dotted the land as they drew closer to the city. Finally, they reached a paved road that lead up to city gate. A tremendous gateway stood open before them, its gates looking to be made of iron. Above the gateway, on an arch between two blue and white flags, read
Established 6th Era, 1st Age
All Travelers Welcome
“That means it’s two thousand Cycles old, right?” Rick leaned over to whisper.
Ander smiled and nodded. Rick was dismal when it came to acquiring language. He was quite impressed, however, to be going into a city that was 2,100 Cycles old. Few cities in his old world boasted such longevity.
One of the gate guards cleared his throat. A burly man dressed in deep blue beneath his chain mail swaggered up to Gabriella, his scabbard clanking against the decoration on his boots. “Papers, chits,” he called with indifference.
“We have neither, we hail from the Free Lands,” Gabriella replied.
A flicker of interest passed across the guard’s bristled face as he eyed Gabriella, who looked regal and beautiful in her long, emerald green kirtle. “State your business.”
Buying or selling?”
The guard approached the wagon and glanced in at the sacks of grain and camping equipment, his eyes roving appreciatively over Fiorra, who sat in the wagon with Emanuella. Dar, next to Gabriella on the wagon, cleared his throat loudly.
“Welcome to Terruth City, carry on,” said the guard, barely disguising his boredom.