“You should have seen your faces.” Lavvi was lying in the sand, now as his friend and servant looked down on him. He still looked very pleased with himself. He also looked tired, or at least as if he wanted to rest. Perhaps odd for this time of the morning, it wasn’t at all odd for the hours he had been keeping lately.
“Perhaps you should rest now, sir, while I pack.”
“That would be amiable, Shortbread, but I’m not sure that my good friend, here, is ready to go.”
“A change of scene might not be a bad idea,” the friend in question said, still more than a little stunned. I’ll go see what’s for breakfast.
“I think you’ll find that the huts are empty, sir.”
“The huts are empty. The master’s actions were noted and there seems to have been a major exodus. You won’t have noticed, of course, being too busy with more important things.”
“Where would they go? And why?”
“I am not entirely educated in the local beliefs, but it appears from the hand signals there were aiming our way, that they believe the master to be either demon-possessed or contagious in some way. Either way, they have removed themselves from our sphere of influence, for protection. They’ve also thrown our things into a pile, including, I believe, the coin with which you paid them. It was that which convinced me that they believe us to be contagious in some way.”
“Damn. And I could use a drink.”
“I believe they left the drink. At least I didn’t notice any barrels being rolled along.”
“I can’t take their mikla without paying and I can’t pay if they’ll just throw the coins away. Damn.”
“A noble sentiment, sir. Are we allowed to take food?”
“Nothing that’s not already in our packs. Let’s get moving. My things won’t take long to pack. Let me know if you need help with any of the rest of it.”
“I’m not sure the master is in the mood for a long walk.”
“The master will not be consulted in the matter. Has he ever done anything like this before?”
“No sir.” The stiffness of the reply alone made it clear that Satbada believed this latest aberration to be the fault of bad company. Narnemvar was woozy enough to consider that possibility.
“Do we have too much to carry?”
“No sir. At least not if all three of us carry packs.”
“We’ll start that way and see how it goes. We may end by holding him up on both sides.”
“You should have seen your faces, both of you.”