Belgera, part two

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"Harbend, it's in De Vhatic."

Harbend retraced his steps at Arthur's words. "Yes, so it would seem," he said after studying the sign. "What about it?"

"But I thought you said they don't speak De Vhatic here, and I don't understand a word they say unless Gring is with me."

"They do not," Harbend replied, smiling.

"But?"

"You forget that Keen has been one of the most important trading partners Braka have, if not the most important, since I fail to know how long. Long before World War anyway."

Arthur gave Harbend a long and sullen glare. "World War?"

"Yes, World War, God War, the Great War, Mage Wars, Dragonwrath or a dozen other names. You have listened to enough heroic tales from that time to be familiar with it by now." Harbend shrugged, and Arthur knew it would take him years yet to unveil secrets that were everyday knowledge to others. The thought brought another revelation to him. Otherworld was slowly becoming home to him in a way Earth hadn't been for more than half a decade. Years, yes years, was what he saw coming, and the prospect of spending a long time, if not the rest of his life here didn't seem disturbing at all. A wave of relief and satisfaction slowly spread through his body and he smiled back to his friend.

"You have to tell me of those events some day. I would like to know more about your history. Now, though, I would like to know what it says here."

Harbend bent to read the faded inscription.

"It fails to say much. It is old. Honor the valor of Krante. Something like that."

"Krante? I've heard that name before."

"Yes you have. A large town southeast of Verd. Boring place, but with a well known legend about its regiment."

"Saying?"

"You really should hear it from a storyteller, but in short they were called upon to scout through the mountains around here. Very few survived and those who did were received as great heroes when they came home. There are songs about it as well, quite melodramatic ones. The theater has had plays based on the story of course."

"The charge of the light brigade," Arthur murmured silently.

"What did you say?"

"Nothing, really. Just a memory from home."

A buzzing around his temples made him look up and he noted Gring coming their way. A bearded man in heavy leather coat and a broad brimmed hat accompanied her. He was short and stocky, bordering on fat. They closed while talking to each other and Arthur wondered how she'd made herself a companion here where her kind was widely hated.

The man glanced at Arthur and the sign he'd tried to read. "Interested in history, are you?"

"Well, yes, a bit. I just read this." Arthur pointed at the sign.

"Ah, for Krante."

"Yes, they still honor their memory in Keen from what I've heard."

"In Keen? That's strange."

"How so? Krante isn't far away from Verd, and the soldiers apparently did something very heroic."

"Oh, yes, all honor to Krante. I just didn't know it was part of Keen. Especially considering how events unfolded."

"What events?"

"Well, to begin with they were sent out to die, and from what I know several of those who survived anyway were hanged."

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