“Ah, there you are. Please step in this way” The old man greeted the young girl that had arrived at his doorstep. He pointed towards a opening that was not far awa from the window where he was standing talking to other Homins. She looked around and soon found that the door he had pointed towards was not on the same side as the window, but she had to walk around the corner and past the fences in order to reach it. She looked at the animals that surrounded the house she was walking by.
She had seen it so many times already, every day she used to pass by here as she used the teleporting device not far away. Every day she had seen the old man, standing in the window, talking to other Homins barging, trading, buying and selling. When he was not standing there he was out the back caring for the animals that roamed around inside the fences. She had seen this so many times before, every day, but still today was different.
As she reached the backside and the doors one of them made a silent click and slided open and she was met by the familiar face of the old man. He was smiling, he was always smiling.
“This way, don’t be afraid, they won’t harm you more then that they would like you to pet them” He said as he showed the path with his hand. As she moved towards the Mektoubs the stable boy opened the door fully so she could gaze into the stables inside. She had only seen the inside in small glimpses before, when she had been running by early in the morning, but now she was to go inside and see how it really looked like. It was exiting all of a sudden, who would really care about the insides of an stable? But now it was different.
As she entered the inside the old man tied the door open to a pole saying “Let’s leave it open in case it starts to rain and they want to go inside. Or just to come in and visit us.” Once more he was smiling in a way that could only mean warmth and care.
“Thank you” She said as she let her eyes fly over the stables. There were booths at both the sides and in the middle there was just supporting poles for the roof. The booths were nice and tidy, like the rest of the room, and the tools were standing in what seemed to be their destined places. It was almost as if every little part or detail of the room was at their home, even the room gave off a feeling of the calm care as the old mans smile did.
“Now, this is the main room where we wash and care for the Mektoubs, depending on the weather they can chose if they want to sleep indoors or outdoors. That is why I tied the door open. You see I think that when you are supposed to take care of them, given the trust by their owners, you are to set them in the first room rather then yourself so to say. So I give them the possibility to chose”
As he spoke he pointed towards the different places in the room, the booths, tools, ropes and saddles. Every detail got its attention.
“Shall we sit down in the next room and have something to drink ?” He asked her and pointed towards a door at the far end of the room. It was apparently a bit higher then the ground as a small two-step stair led its way up from the ground to the door. She nodded and grabbed her paper and pecil from her little bag.
As they walked towards the door she suddenly started thinking about why she was here. They had been asked to fulfil a task in order for their studies. “Know your roots” it was called and was supposed to help them find out more about the pasts of Atys. She had thought about what she would do in order to acomplish this that she had almost missed that she had already reached the shore side. It was when she looked up and saw the old man gently leading a Mektoub inside the stables that she knew whom to talk to. One who had met more Homins that one could count, a man that had spoken to them and listened. The stable boy.
“Mind the step please, it can be a bit slippery at times” He said as he opened the door and finished the little staircase in one step. To be certain that she would not slip she took a big step also finishing it in one leap. Inside was another little room that looked like the living quarters of the old man. In the middle there was a little table with three chairs around it, near the corner was a small stove to preapre meals and drinks. On its other side, half way to the roof, was the bed and beneath it was a small table next to a more comfortable chair. On the table there was a little candle that was burning slowly. Around this place there were many books lying or standing, it looked like a calm place where one could relax for a moment. The room seemed as it would be rather small but at the same time it enhanced the notion that there was lots of space.
“Please have a sit, I will have some Shooki tea prepared for you”
“Uhm, excuse me. But do you have any Slaveni tea instead?”
“Oh, but of course I have young one. Then it will be Slaveni tea in a moment!” He said with a smaile and encouraging voice. “I am liking the Shooki tea myself, that is why”
She sat down in one of the chairs at the table and placed her note parchment on it. She looked at the candle on the table and then at the candle on the little table under the bed. Just the two small lights seemed to fill the entire room with enough light so there would be no dark shadows. The light from the stove added its ambience ad the sparkle from the burning wood kept silence comfortable at bay.
“There, one cup of Shooki tea for me, and one extra large cup of Slaveni tea for you little one!” He said a he served the warm drinks on the table. And indeed she got an extra large cup, it was about twice the size of his if not larger. She slowly lifted it and took a sip, its sweet taste filled her mouth and brought warmth trough her throat and her body. It tasted great. The old man sat down on the opposite of her and took a large sip from his mug and finished it with a pleased smile. “As great as ever”.
“So, you have come here to learn about Atys?” He asked her as he puts the cup down.
“Yes, I thought that as so many Homins come here every day to talk to you to buy things or sell, I guessed that you might know much about these lands?” She said as she took another sip of the lovely tea.
“Haha, yes that is true indeed. I to get to meet many Homins and there is much conversation yes” He smiled and took another sip form his cup. “It seems as the stables outside the town had become a place for Homins to gather at an early stage. It is probably not hard to understand as this was one of the first houses to be completed so that the packers would have a place to stay and rest as they had carried materials for the rest buildings and housings. The next part they built was the foundations of the walkways over the waters, so that they would be able to build the houses. It is a somewhat of a complex task to build houses that floats safely on waters. And I can assure you that they would not have managed to do so if they did not get the help of the packers carrying the materials here” He gave of a short laughter of joy as if he wanted to show his thankfulness. He finished his tea and got up to get antoher one as he cntinued.
“As being one of the first house, or at least so I have been told as this was before I was born, it was the first mark of the birth of a great town. So it was only natural for Homins to gather under the first roof built in town. So I wold guess that is a reason why it is still used as the gathering point for many, if not all Homins. Also being close to the teleporting device where all young newcoming Homins arrive leaving it the first thing they will see upon arrival, also strengthens that guess”
She was busy writing down notes as the old man continued to talk about the marking point the housings of animals seemed to have made on the Homin population in the area. The man spoke with such invision as if it was like he was retelling her a tale of something that happened just a few days ago. And she noted down as fast as she could so that not the smallest detail would be lost.
He coninued to talk about when the large meeting housing on Frogmore Lane was risen, when the first and second bars were built and the cheer when the first kegs of Stinga Rum arrived much to the pleasure of the hard working Homins. As the old man spoke of each house being built the little girl just let her pen fly over her noting parchment as if the words were almost writing themselves. And as they took form she could see in her mind how the town itself grew from being just a lone stable filled with Mektoubs resting into another house where Homins filled up the walkways between. The old man spoke with such energy and immersion that was nearly impossible for her not to. Hearing his words and occasional laugh the town took its form and was filled with life of the Homins.
“And this little one, is just one of many town across Atys” He finished the telling of how the town of Fairhaven was built. “Ah yes, one of many. That do indeed remind me of all the Homins I have met during this time. Each Homin is one of many, but no one is lesser then the other, just like the towns found. There is no delimiter such as size or skill that separate one Homins greatness from another. Each one bring their life to the towns and that is what makes us all equal. At least in the eyes of this old man” He said and chuckled as he got up to get himself a third cup of tea. He asked her if she wanted a refill which made her realize that she had been so taken by writing that her tea had gone cold, which of course he insisted on her having a new warm cup instead.
As she finished her notes on the town building she looked at him as he poured some hot water into her cup and she thought that he must have done that more then a million times in his life, still she could see that he did it with care every time.
“Uhm, you were speaking of Homins. You must have met many great and well known Homins as you have lived here?” She asked him as he gave her the extra large cup filled to the brim with hot tea.
“Yes, indeed I have met many great Homins during my time here, in this you are right. You see, as I mentioned earlier all those that arrves from the training grounds that wishes to travel to Aeden will arrive at the teleporting device not far away from here, just like you did when you first came here. And as Homins likes to gather here it is only natural for them to come here to ask for directions and help. So many I have seen from ther young days through to their growth into fine Homins” He replied kindly. She was busy writing again.
“Are there any special ones that you think of?”
“Haha, well I will not mention any names for each one is equally great. From the brave warrior on the battlefield to the caring one that sees to the wounded. From the one digging in the ground for materials to the one that crafts armours and weapons. You see one could say that the greatness does not lie in just the actions one do, but in the reason why one do it. As you know these lands haven been under the threat of the Kitin since the ages began and so Hominkind have lived in fear. Still what everyone have always worked their best for is that everyone will be able to wander the lands of Atys in safety. Yes there are the two so called factions of the Kami and the Karavan whom struggles to get the upper hand. Still, I say, I have seen so many Homins whom belongs to different beliefs being here as nothing but friends, some times even lovers. Now I dare to say that if they are able to not letting their Gods separate them from being together, that is great, isn’ it?” He suddenly got somewhat of a more serious face as he said this to her.
She looked at him for a moment not really knowing what she would reply to this. Then his face turned into the kind and smiling one she had seen ever since she arrived here earlier.
“What I mean is, that there is a force that not even the Gods can keep at bay. The will of Homin, now that is great indeed!” He said and let out a loud chuckle and she could not hold herself so she was laughing together with him for a moment. He was right, she had seen it herself.
“So to answer your qustion; There are special Homins, but for me it is everyone that have ever walked the lands of Atys. None mentioned and none ever forgotten” He took a big sip from his cup to clear his throat.
She finished writing down her notes about what he had told her about the Homins of Atys befre she realized that tme had passed faster then se had thought, it was already late at night. Even the candle on the table was almost burnt down. She finished up her notes and placed the parchment and pencil in her bag before she finished the tea, it was a perfect end to all her note taking. As she fininsed the old man showed her out, again warning about the slippery step, and to the open gate at the end of the stable room.
She gave him a long hug as thanks for this evening and before she turned to walk away he told her : “There is one last thing I would like to add little one; Things that was once there might not be there still. But as long as they are kept safe dearly in heart, they are never lost” After he said this he smiled kindly and waved to her.
“Ah, Maelder, is it time to come inside for the night? It seems as it is getting a bit colder outside, perhaps the winter is on its way. Ok then, lets get you washed up for the night then shall we”
As she walked towards the teleporting device, she heard the old man welcoming the Mektoub into the stables, and she thought about what he had told her this evening about the build of a town and the greatness of Homins. She smiled.
“Things that was once there might not be there still. But as long as they are kept safe dearly in heart, they are never lost”