Belgera, part one

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The city rose above them like a shadow of death. Stone, stone, everywhere stone, and a large portion of the walls seemed to be hewn directly from the mountain side. Harbend could see the city climbing the mountain until it ended at the base of a cliff wall soaring into the mountains above. It was ugly beyond belief and yet majestic in its compact greyness.

The road climbed steeply to the city walls, but first they had to pass through the outer city. It was a little bit like the one outside of Ri Nachi, but as Belgera hugged the mountain there was no way to avoid going through the outer town. It was called Downtown for a good reason. Almost all of it lay literally beneath the city walls with not a single house erected closer than two lamps from the walls so nothing could climb the earthworks under the base of them without being seen.

They were still a far distance from the town when people started to gather along the road to watch the spectacle. Most were silent, but some cheered as the wagons passed by. The people here looked more like those in Keen or Kordar than those from Ri Khi. Light in complexion, blond or sometimes red haired. Children played in the dirt, but the sight of the caravan soon caught their attention and they joined their elders watching the wagons in wonder.

Harbend sat up straighter. If they wanted a show he wasn't going to be the one to make them disappointed. He waved at the faces he saw and was in turn greeted by waves and shouts of encouragement. It must have been a long time since they saw anyone who didn't live here, and the ships probably never allowed their crews this far inland.

He rode on feeling somewhat like an item on exhibition, but it only made him feel better. They had struggled for so long to reach this goal, and he didn't intend to allow the modesty his station demanded to interfere with his wellbeing. At the moment he enjoyed the cheering intensely. Tomorrow there would be business to take care of, but now was a proper time for celebration. The elation was intoxicating.

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