Uncouth and halting interactions with the desolate outside. Pressing gifts many threaded sleeves as the men wearing multi-colored patterns of vulture and warthog slapped trinkets and tobacco pouches furnished with strange devices towards the adventurer.

He gestured slowly, several leaf shaped daggers slid from woven sheaths. He did not reach down to the scabbard at his side, but looked at them like dogs in the morning mist. Then he tipped his hand with forefinger and the last cocked in the universal signal for the thirsty traveler. The man with his high head wraps with strange crosses of gold threaded shells gestured for a word, and Xotl stood back, letting him step ahead of him.

The entire band stared at them with eyes and faces bronzed by no sky traveled by wholesome sunlight. He resumed walking with the man slightly forward. He’d learnt the art of the river jargon and knew the best respect to show among war-like strangers was to give little opening for a short notice sortie. The older man pointed to his headwrap or dressing as Xotl observed with slight unease– they call me Once White Claw, see this ladder? I invented it.

They stepped under a wide framed arch that seemed a copper alloy . As they grew closer to its carvings it loomed as a large boulder splashed with marble carved and shaped to an ornate display.

Several long seats abutted an obsidian bar piled with bent iron bowls, hammered kettles and crack mortars. Downed his glass, each reclined in his own fashion and the gathered men began to drift away while a few from the gate stood with quiet interest.

The trader sank back in his dirt streaked silks and regarded him. He’d not seen his like since he fist entered the stone city. Few found any reason to leave as the gardens that reached down from the broken balustrades in the oval stone cliffs that served them for walls brought in fair harvest. The soil less eeries of the catacombs teemed with a rippling roost of silent bats that brought nourishment to the dew hungry fruiting plants that grew among the caked guano of the caverns.

Not so bad for a straggling crew on a sorrowful watch and no sleep isn’t it wanderer, said the old man. You’ll leave the gambling to professionals and serve no more liquor to Plainsmen this night said Xotl waving off the second round–the face of the old man was creased with amusement as the server swept in on pointed shoes , he seemed to frown as the attendant carefully placed a clear tray of the green melon ice float in front of Xotl who downed it with gusto.

That was for the throat, he indicated the small metal cups as the old man shrugged and filled another. You expect to sing like pretty bird once you leave here? Xotl eyed him with a practiced ease, leaving one side of himself propped to the bar covering any lunges from his front side with the scabbarded fusil.

I’m not the kind of cowboy that sings so sweet he grunted as he helped himself to another ice float. Maybe not, but the canyon carry a long way, you hear many things , ever been down there late at night? Have you retorted the adventurer, knowing it for a blunder just as it left his lips, and knowing further there would be no way back to their genial ease in the city of the barricado’d plains.

Leave a Comment

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.