"Terms differed, my name carried no currency or reputation.  But you find that true historians recognize one another by the questions they ask.  You can gain access to almost anything, it is just knowing how to ask."

- Tinifalas Thursby, "Stranger  in a Strange Land." 

The caravan from the north had arrived the day after Benjimir as his party made landfall.  The air sloop which carried them to the ground from the Andustar had continued with some of its passengers to the city state of Ul'Dah directly.  Each day of the seven since, a wagon broke-away to differing routes to the city or elsewhere.  Each in turn bore a few newcomers to these shores.  In this way all melted into the bustle and traffic of the roads without drawing notice.

The wagon held Benjimir's attention this morning.  Held aloft by bags of gas, the ride was agreeably smooth.  Graceful.  Slightly less graceful but even more interesting was the enormous fowl drawing the wagon.  Accompanying him were his brothers Bondermir and Tinifalas asleep next to him, as well as an older man who seemed blissfully serene simply watching the road pass.

"Chocobo." The grey bearded fella sitting across from Benjimir said.  He snapped Benjimir out if his stare over the great bird at the looming citadel of Ul’Dah, still hours away.  He was a keeper of the beasts and on the Gil roll of the Thursby Company.  Benjimir nodded.  A pair of riders flanked the wagon, mounted on these Chocobos.  These giant fowl were adorned in dark feathers and leather cladding over their chests.  Company men Benjimir knew.

"Not many at sea eh, but I suppose if there where you'd not need all them bags and twirlies." The man said.  He had a curious accent that differed from the few he had heard so far.

Benjimir smiled and nodded again.  “I suppose not.  Docile creatures.  Hardly seem to need direction.”  Bondermir, roused from a light sleep beside the men looked to the distance as the wagon neared a small village straddling the road.  Wooden palisades surrounded the village save for some small farm and paddocks.  

“We’ll be stopping soon sir, breakfast, a trade of Chocos, then onto Ul’Dah.” Bondermir said as he rose and leaning over the side of the carriage gestured at the flanking riders.  The riders tipped their heads in acknowledgement, spurred their mounts and galloped ahead into the village.  

“Good, how long to the city from here?” Benjimir asked as the wagon neared the outer palisade gate.  Bondermir resumed his seat and looked to the old man.

“Mmm, five hours at our pace, what say Brendt?” Bondermir speculated, differing to the keepers wisdom.  

“Mhap, sun’s out, might tucker the old girls if they can’t water along the way.” Brendt offered.

“The girls will have their water, no need for haste I think.”  Benjimir assured him.

The wagon halted outside a small cafe alongside a livery stable.  Tinifalas finally woke from his snooze and looked about.  The escorting riders had already tied off their mounts and were returning from the inside with egg and bacon filled biscuits along with cups of a hot drink which they consumed happily as they leaned back along the cafe porch.

The men exited the carriage and stable Lalafells saw to taking the wagon to the stables.  “I’ll take my leave of yas sirs.  Another wagon is due southbound here and a bit.”  Brendt said.

“Always on the move my friend.”  Bondermir said, clasping Brendt’s hand to shake.  Bondermir did the same.”

“Well you knows, always some traveler showing up, half asleep, not knowing the lay of things.  Bit less exciting here than up north.  Be well sirs.”  And with that Brendt smiled and turned toward the stable.  Benjimir and his brothers walked up the steps to the cafe.  The escort riders snapped to their feet, awkwardly lowering their biscuits and cups to their sides.

Benjimir tipped his head to the men and sought a seat at one of the tables outside.  A woman, one of the small folk, the Lalafells, in a perky white and red checked dress and apron took their orders.  Another accent, chirpy, happy.

“Happy peoples.” Benjimir mused as the Lalafell returned with drinks.  “Great variety in dialects but uniform in language.” He continued.  Tinifalas, the historian at large for the House of Thursby and it’s companies nodded.

“Extraordinary really.  But that is the reason why we are here in the end.” Tinifalas said, pulling a book from his rucksack out of habit.

“I’ve never understood how, so far from our shores, so many years traveling from them, we arrive here….” Bondermir said, gesturing with his hands as the surrounding area “...and find peoples and races speaking our own language.  You’d think it absurdly impossible.” he finished.

“Improbable, not impossible.” Benjimir said, thanking the Lalafell as she place a plate of biscuits and topped off the drinks.  Tinifalas nodded.

“Yes.  There are a number of theories about how such things could occur.” Tinifalas said, taking a biscuit.

“Et Ominis Lingua Resurgemus, the concept that with enough time, all tongues shall rise.” Benjimir said, taking his own biscuit an especially large one, slapping Bondermirs hand as it reached over the nearest to him for it.

“Pan Lingua Spermia, the idea some fragment of thought can eventually spread and give rise to identical languages.  Tinifalas offered, mouth half full but eyes bright as topics dear to him were in play.

Benjimir, mouth also full, pointed a finger at his brother and nodded sharply.  “That.  But how.  And again, the real crux of this is your finding her name and those books.  A language we no longer speak commonly, here, among people who do not know it or speak it in the memory of anybody.”  He finished, most of his biscuit managing not to land on the table.

“Marde.” Bondermir said unconvinced.  “‘C’demics in the wild.” he mocked,  “Her name could be the product of slurred speech after a night of celebrating her birth at a pub.  Or meshing family member names together.  And your theorizing?  It could work as well in reverse.  Whose to know.”  He finished.

“No one maybe.  Tini’s friends on the island,” Benjimir said, nodding to his brother, “...they looked to you to answer the same questions, they didn’t know.  But I think finding out is one of the questions we need to resolve.”

“Where to start then?” Bondermir asked.

“Refills, another biscuit.” Bondermir remarked then mid-bite cast his eyes toward each brother.

“Then to Ul’Dah.  Of course.  Breakfast first.  But I want to see our interests there, these book of yours Tini.” Benjimir said.

“Not to the Company Hall to….” Tinifalas started but Benjimir shook his head. 

“Not yet.  But soon.  First though, biscuits.” Benjimir said, slapping Bondermir’s hand again as he reached for the fresh plate of biscuits.


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