Waters of Dawn Cove
"Furs, earthenware, porcelain,
silverware, we've got it all." Shunki hollered, "Come check out
the caravan. We've got jewellery, toys and curiosity items from all over
With a bright smile, the young announcer winked at the women he passed,
whether they be blushing young girls or weathered old ladies. A woman's
blessing was a precious thing to receive after all. He greeted the men with
a wave and just as much friendliness minus the winks. Keeping on the men's
good sides generally kept you safer.
The caravan was still only a cloud of dust on the horizon. Aside from
announcing it's arrival, Shunki and the other runners would prepare the
campsite and would look for firewood, get a fire going, get feed for the
animals and provisions for the humans. And when the caravan caught up,
they'd be helping parking the carts, setting up the stalls and lighting the
numerous candle-lamps that would give the caravan a cosy and magical look.
Shunki set to work, easily getting into the routine he and the others had
achieved after countless of runs together. He'd be in charge of finding
firewood. Going into town also meant keeping his eyes open for promising
products they might buy to sell later. Not to brag, but he had a good eye
Setting his mind to the task, Shunki located the general store and was told
they could gather firewood from the forest. Buying it wasn't necessary but
meant he had his work cut out for him. The storekeeper also noted that the
town sold a lot of spices that they farmed themselves and some of the local
youths were handy with their knifes and made nice woodcarvings. Shunki filed
all of this away in his mind for later and walked back toward the campsite
to start gathering firewood.
Meroka jumped down from the cart and
twirled around, taking in the scenery. The village was on the larger side
but not yet a city. It had multi-storied houses and the roads would be wide
enough to drive their carts through it. She couldn't wait to see if they had
some anatomical or medical books she could buy. But first she needed to help
set up camp and their stall.
Her older brothers Ponkau and Baraesu were already busy unloading the panels
for the stalls. Ponkau would do the heavy lifting, being several sizes
broader than the younger of her brothers, but Baraesu did just as much
organising where everything should go and which sets were complete and could
be started on.
"Where do you need me?" Meroka asked Baraesu.
"Out in the forest looking for firewood." Baraesu said, "I
got word from the announcers that we can gather what we need."
The painful look on her face was clear for all who looked at her. Gathering
firewood was boring and hard. But it needed to be done.
"Shunki's already brought a bunch in. He went back." Ponkau
offered, trying to make her feel better, "If you can find him you can
at least talk while you work."
"Thanks." Meroka said and dragged herself to the forest.
"Do you think she'll find
him?" Baraesu asked.
"I know she'll try." Ponkau shrugged, staying focused on the task
at hand and feeling he probably wouldn't need to exercise tonight to be
allowed an extra portion of cheese.
"I don't know but I feel something might be happening between
them." Baraesu said.
"I haven't noticed anything." Ponkau retorted.
"You wouldn't know about it unless they were making out right in front
of you... and I don't think they're at that stage yet. It's just a feeling,
but Shunki's been watching Meroka a lot lately."
"Maybe he wants to keep her safe, he's like our brother after
"I don't know." Baraesu said, but left it at that. Trying to
convince Ponkau of something was like trying to move water upstream. His
older brother took life as it presented itself and didn't plan ahead. Unlike
Baraesu himself who liked to know what was going on around him.
A small golden shimmer flitted around them and Baraesu ducked to keep out of
the firelizard's way.
"Keep your pet in check." he said to Ponkau.
"She's just a bit excited about this place." Ponkau shrugged,
stroking Alari's head as she settled down.
"What is she excited about?"
"The forest and the plants apparently. She found something yummy."
"I'm amazed how you start to utter baby-talk when Alari's around."
Alari shrieked and pulled on Baraesu's hair, showing her dissatisfaction
with his words. Ponkau laughed out loud and quickly disentangled his
firelizard from his brother's hair and soothed her.
"I think we have enough."
Shunki said and smiled as he saw Meroka's look of relief.
"Finally." she sighed and stretched her back.
Three bundles of firewood were neatly tied together. Meroka took one and
watched as Shunki picked up the other two and slung them on his back.
"How can you be so strong? You're practically the same size as
me!" she called out.
"More muscles?" Shunki tried, flexing his arms to show her.
"Men have an unfair advantage." she muttered, "Also with your
"Say that to Ponkau." Shunki grinned.
"Have you seen what that glutton can eat? Of course he needs to train
to work it off."
"Do you need some help with your bundle?" Shunki asked.
He would probably offer to carry it for her, but she felt she should at
least carry some of the weight. So Meroka shook her head and changed the
"Did you see any shops selling books in town?"
"There was a second hand store that might have some. Oh, the general
shopkeeper also said they had a lot of herbs so maybe he would know about a
manual for them. "
Meroka's eyes lit up and said: "I will ask him, thanks Shunki."
She felt twice as light the rest of the walk back to the caravan camp
Ponkau was woken up by Alari who was
pleading for breakfast. She sounded like he'd starved her for a week but he
distinctly remembered this same scenario unfolding yesterday morning. Still,
he got up and fed his pet who made small happy crunchy noises while she
devoured the mash of meat and vegetables.
And now that he was up, he might as well just go and get the stalls ready
for the sales of the day. When he headed out he noticed that some of the
others were already up and about. This was their last stop after all before
returning to their home base of Dawn Cove.
About 15 minutes later, Baraesu also turned up and started helping on their
parents' stall. After they finished setting that one up, they went on to
other stalls and it didn't take long to have all stalls equipped with
When Baraesu saw Ponkau taking up the space in their stall he asked:
"Wasn't it Meroka's turn?"
"She wanted to go shop for books. She'll take over when she gets
"You'll be here all morning." Baraesu predicted.
"I've got not much better to do." Ponkau shrugged.
"I'll be shopping as well." Baraesu said, "Want me to get you
"Something tasty?" Ponkau asked.
A flash of red and Meroka ran past them as she headed to shop for books. She
had hardly been able to wait until the shops would open, but going earlier
was a bit pointless. She was alone today as Shunki had to man his family's
booth. Baraesu would be out and about in town, looking for new wares so if
she ran into trouble, or more likely, needed more cash, she could always beg
him for a loan.
Browsing the second hand shop, time flew quickly and Meroka realised she'd
already been gone for 2 hours when she exited. She'd scored a few pamphlets
on herbal remedies and a book on herbs. Shunki had been right when he said
they were passionate about their herbs in this town. Next she headed for the
general store in hopes of buying some dried herbs, but also some young
shoots she could take with her to Dawn Cove. Having her own herb garden
sounded like a good project for the future.
"What can I help you with?" the store clerk asked.
"Herbs." she said, "Preferably the medicinal kind. Dried and
in plant form. And any books you might have about tending, harvesting and
"You seem to known what you want." he chuckled.
"We're returning to Dawn Cove and after seeing this place I just want
to start a herb garden."
"Dawn Cove you say? Well if you have the time, you might want to go
collect some herbs from along the shore. Here, I have a picture. It's a herb
that grows best near salt water and it's good for a number of ailments like
"Can you draw me a map?"
"Why did I need to come?"
"You didn't. You volunteered because everyone else was coming."
Shunki smirked and said: "I bet you didn't want to be left out."
"Or maybe you wanted some of this wonder-medicine for yourself?"
They were all right of course. Baraesu had seen the excitement on his
sister's face and hadn't been able to say no. Plus, an expedition to the
coast for a girl on her own sounded dangerous. The four of them together
sounded a lot safer.
Locating the field of herbs and flower the shop owner had talked about
proved to be easy enough. The small green leaves and the bright pink-purple
flowers had overtaken the entire hillside. Apparently this herb wouldn't be
hard to grow but mostly hard to contain.
"I want to take some stems with me for drying, but we'll also dig out
some of the roots to take with us. Just take the shovel and slice the roots
with a clean cut." she directed Ponkau who was all too happy to help.
In all, the operation took only half an hour.
"Now that we're here, we might just enjoy ourselves." Shunki
"How?" Baraesu asked.
"We could go for a swim..."
"And waiting until tomorrow would be too hard because..."
"We're here now?" Shunki shrugged.
Meroka was already heading for the dunes and jumped when she stepped on
something that moved. A small scream left her mouth and instantly she was
surrounded by the other three.
"What happened?" Baraesu asked."
"I stepped on something." She said.
"What?" Shunki asked.
"I don't know..."
Ponkau pointed to a small pink-coloured tail that stuck out from a set of
rocks that touched the water.
"A critter? Could it be stuck?" Baraesu wondered.
"If it is, we need to help it." Meroka insisted.
Ponkau lifted the rocks and found a little pink water-dweller beneath.
Meroka picked up the little creature and said: "He's coming."
"He is a wild creature." Baraesu tried, though he knew he had
already lost that battle.
"Well not anymore. He got lost and can't return to his family. He's
"How do you know all this?" Shunki asked. Generally these little
animals weren't that intelligent. Sure they could send images and emotions,
but detailed stories?
"It's because I told her." A voice sounded from the water, and
slowly a bright yellow water dragon rose to the surface a little way from
the coast, "I couldn't get close enough to help so I'm happy you could
"You're a nekrat!" Meroka called.
"You know about us?" the Nekrat asked.
"We do! We've received news from Dawn Cove that people have bonded with
"You're from Dawn Cove? Well then, if you want to, then I can take you
to my world. This little one also hails from there. Maybe we can locate his
family. And lately we've been establishing routes to other seas. There are
different kinds of sea creatures to bond if you'd like to explore the new
worlds, I can also help with that."
"Just like that?"
"There is a right sea dragon for everyone." the nekrat grinned.
Shunki (m) and ???
Meroka (f) and Foam Aesha (f)
Ponkau (m) and Wave Basit (m)
Baraesu (m) and Pool Alnahr (m)
All images found with google
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