Intermezzo

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"What are those?"

Vildir stared at the skeletal figures ahead of them, and a glint of fear, and uncertainty he hadn't shown ever before glimmered in his eyes.

"I think they are the outworlders we are looking for," Ramdar answered.

"They look more like something from a dream of darkness to me. Monsters of legend." Vildir shuddered but fought for composure again. "Well, those could be fought. What are we waiting for?"

The air of confidence was back in the man, and Ramdar was happy to have that support, because he fervently wished they didn't have to meet the strange creatures. A nightmare come alive. Vildir's assessment was spot on as usual.

Ramdar dared himself to pull a leg forward forcing himself to slowly walk closer while his brain screamed at him that he only brought himself that much closer to his own doom.

With a metallic hiss one of the creatures turned to face him, and Ramdar barely managed to will himself to continue. He desperately wanted to turn and run until he could run no more. Anything but being this close to walking death.

Suddenly the monster went dull. It stopped humming as well. A click broke the silence.

Is this how it ends?

Vildir drew his sword and then the apparition opened up.

"Hold, Vildir!"

A man climbed out of and down from the thing. So it was only a mechanical device after all.

For a moment Ramdar thought Vildir was going to attack, but the horse-lord held his weapon.

The man they faced wore clothes clearly marking him an outworlder, and his eyes, hard as Vildir's, gave away his being a veteran soldier as well. He spoke. A short stream of unintelligible words.

Ramdar answered before he realized nothing he said was understood. They stared at each other, and after a short time of uncomfortable silence Ramdar knew he mirrored the strangers expression of stupid incomprehension. The tension deflated like a pierced water skin and they both laughed.

"Vildir, you had better ask our companions if they have a translator, or better yet, a Mindwalker among them."

"Excuse me, Lord Garak?"

"We have established diplomatic contact, but it seems we are sadly lacking any means of communication."

Vildir groaned but obeyed.

With nothing better to do than wait Ramdar turned his attention to the smell of fires that had clung to the area the entire time. He sniffed and the outworlder soldier must have seen him doing so, because he raised his arm and pointed in the direction of the seashore. Ramdar looked in the suggested direction. He saw nothing but the beach, waves and some reefs, and in the distance the port of Hasselden. He shrugged, but something stirred in his mind and he looked again. Beach, yes. Waves, yes. The reefs however moved with the waves, at least some of them.

The outworlder soldier bent down and grabbed a twig from the ground. Then he pointed at the sea and broke the twig between his hands.

Shipwrecks! They weren't reefs but the broken remains of ships. Ramdar scanned the coastline and gasped. It was littered with debris of what must once have been a entire fleet of ships.

A growl and a satisfied laughter caught his attention. The soldier patted his walking armor with an affection explaining better than any words what had happened here.

Ramdar answered him with a bark of laughter and a grim smile. Now, at last, they had conveyed a message to each other that needed no translator to be understood.

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