Under cover of darkness, they rode into the camp. Navihm knew that many groups of men would be returning home from work at this time so their group was not an unusual sight. Rose and the professor kept to the center of the riders, careful to keep their faces turned down. Their pale skin would glow like the moon in the starlight.

Silas and Byron lead them to a large tent towards the middle of the camp. They picketed their horses out front and followed the boys inside. They were greeted by a woman who bore a striking resemblance to Silas dressed in a bright blue. Her scarf had been pulled off her hair and fell around her shoulders. She greeted them warmly in Nomad and pulled Navihm into a hug.

“Welcome to my home,” she said in the common tongue. “I am Ira. My husband will be home soon to take you to the Sachem. Please, have something to eat while we wait.” She gestured to the food she had set out on a low table surrounded by cushions. The boys were already sitting in their place, waiting politely for the others to join them.

Rose took a seat next to the younger boy, Byron. He saw that she was looking around for a bowl or utensils and he shook his head and giggled. He showed her how to use the flat bread as a bowl for the warm meat or use a piece of it to pinch a mouthful of rice from the communal bowl in the centre. Rose was slightly horrified at the use of hands to eat and settled on nibbling on the bread Ira handed to her.
Byron said something to her. She looked over at Navihm for a translation.

“He wants to know if he can touch your hair,” Navihm explained. “He doesn't think it’s real. He’s probably never seen anyone with hair as light as yours.”

Rose looked at the child who looked back at her wide eyed and hopeful. She nodded hesitantly. Byron brushed his hands over the tips of her hair. He grabbed a curl, pulled it gently and watched as it bounced back. He tugged on another curl, giggling delightedly at the new game. Ira said something to him and he ceased his play, returning to his meal obediently.

Only very short but the next bit is coming in about half an hour

About the author


  • Australia


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