292 A Wandering to the Wes
*Eldovian Era 1714, 1st day of the 2nd month*
Rima paused as she placed the last gold coin in the sack. It was most amount of money she had ever laid eyes on. But when she thought about 10,000 gold coins, she'd always pictured it filling up a room easily the size of their old apartment…Not ten sacks typically meant to store flour.
What was perhaps most astounding about these ten sacks, was that Aegin didn't seem the least bit bothered that he'd stolen most of it from the Shin. His killing of the Reishin was another matter that Rima wasn't all that bothered by considering how everyone feared him, but the Shin? Rima wasn't sure if Aegin was over confident, or if she was underestimating him.
Still, one day on the road had turned into two, then three, then a week with no signs of pursuit. Neither she nor Tigin could believe that they'd managed to get away from Rene with 10,000 gold coins.
Still, they were halfway to Havena, and considering how Aegin had turned up with another 2500 gold coins after he'd disappeared for a few hours one night, Rima was unsure how they were going to get anywhere carrying a gold mine with them.
"We can't just walk into Havena carrying this on a cart," she sighed.
"We're not," Aegin replied, "We take only 100 gold coins with us".
"100?" asked Tigin, looking at the sacks, "Then what do we do with the rest?"
"I'm going to bury it for a rainy day," said Aegin.
"They're not seeds, they won't grow," Rima huffed.
Aegin laughed at that, "Do you not have that saying here?"
Rima raised an eyebrow, "What saying?"
"Saving something for a rainy day means you're going to keep it safe until there is trouble and you need to use it," Aegin chuckled.
Rima blushed, "Oh. Right…well burying it won't help either if it's discovered. How long are we burying it for? Where will we bury it? How will we get to it when we need it?"
"You realise that in the time it's taken us to get halfway, I could have run to Havena from Rene and back every night?" asked Aegin.
"You're that fast?" asked Tigin from the driver's seat.
Aegin leant back in the cart on one of the sacks of gold with a self-satisfied smirk, "Probably faster if I pushed it".
"So, you're going to scatter the sacks across the land?" asked Rima.
Aegin nodded, "They won't be close together, and won't be in easily reached or frequently passed areas if I can help it. The odds of all of them getting raided in the time we're gone, however long that turns out to be, will be almost none".
Almost none was better than getting raided the closer they got to Havena.
"Alright," said Rima, "You're leaning on the first one, better get started".
Aegin looked at her in surprise.
Rima shrugged, "You've clearly got nothing better to do, and I'll bet that even if we keep going, you'll find us easily".
Aegin took a cursory glance up at the sun high above, "I'd prefer to wait for nightfall".
"When we're still for a long period of time and more likely to encounter raiders that Tigin and I won't be able to handle?" asked Rima.
Aegin opened his mouth to oppose before he sighed, turned and picked up a sack, then stood and took a step to drop off the back of the cart, "I'll be back in a couple of hours then".
"Take a second, you can get two done in one hit," said Rima. Attempting to pull the heavy sack but failing. Aegin sighed and stepped back up onto the cart before he vanished, a trail of dust heading south.
"Whoa," Tigin remarked, "He really is fast".
Silence lapsed between the two with Aegin's absence before Tigin spoke up, "So are you sure this is what you want?"
Rima sighed. She'd been asked this plenty of times before over the past week. Ever since Aegin had first proposed they go and find the Blue Suns.
"I'm sure," Rima replied.
"From what you've told us though, they're nomadic," said Tigin, "The Hava Restellan is a big place with few landmarks but for the stationary tribes. We could search for years and never find them".
"I know," Rima sighed. The Hava Restellan, the Vast Harshlands. The desert that dominated the Western side of the Lapis Harengi. She'd never laid eyes on it before, but her mother's stories had always made her picture it as a never-ending desert that was filled with danger, mysteries, and just the slightest touch of magic. She always felt her heart pump a little faster and her soul start to sing when she imagined it. Despite his bravado, she knew Tigin felt the same way.
Blood didn't lie.
"I'm sure we'll hear something in Havena if we ask the right people," said Tigin.
Rima nodded in agreement, "It's more than likely".
*Eldovian Era 1714, 9th day of the 2nd month*
It turned out that it wasn't so likely.
They'd arrived in Havena, a city nestled in the valley between two sides of the Lapis Harengi Mountain Range, and had no indication of where the Blue Suns were likely to have set up a camp. In fact, most seemed to not even recognise the name. The few that did refused to talk about them. Like it was a subject that they could not utter a word about for fear of some kind of divine punishment.
Aegin was inclined to hand out such divine punishment if Rima hadn't insisted that it wasn't necessary. Despite the repeated failures, she didn't seem overly phased by the lack of information which surprised both Tigin and Rima.
"Are you not disappointed?" asked Tigin, appearing legitimately confused at her demeanour.
"Of course, I am," Rima had replied, "But how is that going to help me find what I seek? If I reserve myself to disappointment, haven't I already given up?"
Aegin had huffed to the side, having recently returned from a hunt. Rima and Tigin never pitied the souls he prayed on. He'd proven more than once that they were deserving of such a fate, "Positive thinking isn't going to get us answers".
Rima shrugged, "Probably not, but we were aware that this quest of our would not be easy, nor would we complete it in a short time. If those in Havena, one of the Triad cities, are unable or unwilling to talk about the Tribes, it's not entirely surprising. To get information about the Tribes, the best source is always-"
"The Tribes themselves," Tigin finished, realising why Rima wasn't all that unhappy about their failure, "So what? We just go out into the Hava Restellan and start asking questions".
"From what you've told me, I have a feeling they won't take too kindly to that," said Aegin.
"Probably not, but we're not necessarily trying to become friends," said Rima, "From what I know, the Tribes are temperamental when it comes to strangers. If you approach them, they're less likely to meet your demands, but if they approach you…"
"They will?" asked Aegin.
"Well, it's not a definite, but it is more likely," Rima admitted.
Tigin nodded, "That sounds about right. My father was always like that. Preferring to be left alone unless he made the first move".
Rima nodded, "The Tribes are Prideful and Self-Sustaining. They interact with each other only out of necessity, and only when that necessity is born from something they cannot hope to produce or remedy themselves".
"We have little to offer them," said Aegin.
"We have you," Rima replied.
Aegin raised an eyebrow, "Are you using me for your own gain?"
"Why are you around us again?" asked Tigin.
Aegin paused in thought, then looked away, "Wondering aimlessly it is then".
"I wouldn't say aimlessly, that's a sure way to die in the Hava Restellan," Rima smiled, "Think of it more like taking a route without a final destination".
"That's pretty much the definition of wondering aimlessly," Aegin huffed.
"He has a point," Tigin stated.
Rima turned to her oldest friend, "Whose side are you on?"
Tigin shifted his big body away from Rima's confrontational look. Aegin couldn't help but smile at the gentle giant, "I don't like sides".
Didn't they all? That was practically why they were here.