Rona was getting uncomfortable in the heat. I’d been riding her almost nonstop sense I left so I wasn’t surprised. I got down and led her along while I walked beside her. It was midday and we were still far away from the gates of Unikra. As we inched closer, more farms and ranches were being worked on. The farms stretched as far as I could see in any direction. The forest I emerged from was no longer in sight. The small hills covered even the tallest of trees. Only the tall towers of Unikra were visible. I pulled my hood up to shade my head from the sun.
As we walked, I felt myself getting hungry. I felt for the purse I kept tied to my belt. The purse appeared to only have a few coins in it. I thought about buying some food from the farmers with it, but I knew I would probably need the money for something else later on. I continued to walk, ignoring the growling of my stomach.
A gang pushed me aside as they passed. Seven blonde haired men in ratted clothes, they had swords at their belts. One turned to me as they walked by. He went to another man in the group and whispered. The other man took a good look at me and smiled. They continued walking, picking some of the crops and eating it.
They were disgraceful. They should pay for the food they take. Shogman had taught me these simple rules. I recalled a trip to Yeegen’s main shops.
“Don’t gawk,” He told me as I looked at the pretty jewelry. “That makes you look like a thief. We are a respectful people. The Sevlow will not allow its people to take without asking. You are not permitted to even look like such a lowlife.”
His speech repeated in my mind. I watched as they walked further away. They shouted insults at the workers while eating their fill. I was disgusted, but I didn’t feel a need to get involved. My goal was not to be noticed.
“That’s him! That’s the man with the horse!” I heard a familiar voice calling out.
I turned around and saw the little girl, Diona, on the back of a very large man in a red cloak. The man was bold, he had a determined look to him. In his arms was another woman. She appeared middle-aged. Her blonde hair blew carelessly in the wind. As they approached, the man in the red cloak bowed down to me.
“Please sir.” He spoke in a scratched voice. “I am from the Royal Guard. I found this woman collapsed in a field just up the road. She appears to be sick, if I can get her to the Royal doctors, we may yet save her. Please allow me to use your horse.”
“Please help mamma.” Diona chimed in.
I listened intently. I knew Rona was tired, but she would be able to make it to the gates.
“Of course sir, Rona is tired, but she will get you to the gates quickly. I will follow behind and bring Diona to the palace.” I told him.
“Thank you. Tell them Horrock has given you permission to enter.” He spoke as he let Diona down.
“I will.” I told him.
Horrock got onto Rona with the girl. “What is your name kind sir?” He asked.
I knew never to give my real name. That was the first rule I ever learned. “I am Augustus.” I told him.
“Augustus,” Horrock repeated. “I will await your arrival.”