The Healer, part 1
"Damn you! Damn you and your warty hide! Damn you and your warty hide, you tongue-lashing fool! I am not with them! I am living here!"
The amri spat and hissed at the magistrate when the lizardfolk led them through the city toward the port.
"Silence, you furred nuisance. You are not of the Ammadan spawnpools, you have no roots here, nor bonds of breath to the Ammadan air. Your stay here was at the pleasure and the expense of the politokratos, and he will have you here no more."
Varth and Terem exchanged quizzed looks.
"Why does the mighty Ammadan banishes mammals from his walls? We have done no harm!" The merchant asked shaking his head.
"I am not privy to the politokratos reasons, nor would I have leave to discuss them freely if I was. All what you need to know, is that politokratos wishes that your breaths no longer pollute our air and you are to leave immediately." The magistrate ended his statement by waving an open palm in front of his mouth in a gesture signifying its finality.
"Leave? Leave?! Where I am supposed to go? What I am supposed to do? I have worked my tail off in service to your people and you are throwing me in the sea now?!"
"Hush, maid, I will take you on my ship, if need be. I could use a good cook anyway. Someone who can bake a bread... You have baked that bread you served us, have you?"
She glanced on the lizardfolk guards and the toadfolk magistrate with anger burning in her yellow eyes and after a moment of tense hesitation she nodded.
They reminded silent for the rest of the way toward the port, though the amri lashed her tail nervously from time to time. The closer they were to the harbor, the more similar groups they saw—rimmerfolk guards leading humans, kai-tangs, amri, and more exotic people toward the port.
"What the politokratos hopes to reach here?" Saar Terem looked at the magistrate but received no answer. "Getting rid of those few dozens citizens might have little effect on the city—good or bad, but forcing the merchants to leave?"
He pondered for a few moments before confronting the magistrate.
"You are forcing us to leave. For how long? When will the port be open again to us?"
Quezeg shrugged. "There was no time limit specified on this decree so it will be in effect until the politokratos decides otherwise. I presume it is safe to state that you should not return until you learn otherwise. Now, which ship is yours?"
Navigating the crowd and reaching saar Terem's vessel took them a while. The guard watched them board the ship before taking further the three kai-tang who were picked at the tavern with them.
"Worry not about the fare, my skilled healer friend" The merchant laughed while leaping on the deck "I will gladly have you in my crew as a healer for as long as you wish!"
"Welcome aboard the Shooting Star! The not-so-finest vessel of the Alzirian Tradeholds! The braver of the primal winds of the Western Reaches! The jewel of mine, jewel of saar Terem Arad Gemmetel!"
Varth sighed and looked around the deck of the skyjammer they just boarded. The ship was old but well kept, with the crewmen busy preparing the ship for take-off. Only a familiar elder kai-tang sat lazily on a pile of sacks, smoking a pipe—the healer's old acquaintance known currently by the name of Mok.
"Ah, I wondered when you'll be brought here, once that madness started..." The kai-tang exhaled a circle of smoke and waved to Varth before turning his head toward the merchant. "The holds aren't nearly as full as we would like but I took liberty of offering a passage away from this newly unwelcome island to a few exiles. They are paying in silverware and other trinkets, but at least we won't leave completely empty-handed."
"Good, good... As you see we have two new fishes in our bowl. You already know our new healer and this will be our cook..." Terem's bush eyebrows furrowed as he turned to amri "How are you called anyway, tailed lass?"
She growled silently for a moment before answering hesitantly. "I am Kezaharanah of the Yellow Flame Mountain izzanah. You can call me Hara, when you have too..."
"Welcome to the Shooting Star, then, Kezaharanah of the Yellow Flame Mountain." The large man turned toward the crew. "Let us take the Star out of this ungrateful city! Time to make our fortune elsewhere!"
Mok shrugged and smirked. "That madness had an unexpected advantage. We did not paid all the port duties and fees and now we are ordered to leave. We certainly won't be overstaying our welcome to pay them if they throw us out."
"No, we certainly won't!" The merchant laughter was loud and booming.