630 words (2 minute read)

The City of Kendran

Inside was one big room with dark wooden walls. In one corner was a collection of things that Pilot X guessed served as a kitchen. She was over there presumably getting the tea. “Have a seat,” she said over her shoulder. “Anywhere’s fine.”

There was a long backless cushiony thing, but Pilot X felt like he wanted a back to rest against, so he chose one of the four steel chairs with padded white seats near a table.

“Hungry?” she asked without looking.

“A bit. I’ve been on the road,” he added for some reason. He didn’t want to put this stranger out, but he was hungry for something in particular.

“I have a Kindren Circle that will knock your socks off,” she said and reached up into a cabinet and pulled out a very large pie. If she hadn’t lived in such a horrible land and if he wasn’t prevented from interfering in this planet’s history, he might have found himself a bit in love with Mindhar just then.

She brought over two cups of an unremarkable brown hot liquid that was not coffee and didn’t even smell like any tea Pilot X knew.  Most importantly she brought two slices of what looked like a delectable berry pie. The smooth round berries were ridiculously dark. Light could not escape these berries.

“You ever have Kindren berries before?” she asked noticing his look.

“I can’t say I have.”

“Well they grow everywhere here, so we get used to them. I think they’re tasty enough, but outsiders seem to fall in love with them. It’s our principal export. Keeps the town running actually. Everybody puts in some mandatory berry picking time. The city office manages the harvest collection and export and we all get a check. Let’s us do whatever we want. A lot of artists and sayers up here.”

Well that explained that. “What do you do?”

“Manual labor mostly. But I came here to think. I do a bit of philosophy. Nobody ever liked my thoughts much in the philosophical collectives, so I just said forget them and moved here to think and pick berries and build fences and relax. It’s a little cold but other than that I can’t complain. What brings you to visit Prishat, if you can say.”

“Lal recommended I visit him.”

“Don’t know Lal. Another sayer, like him?”

“Yeah. Lives in Ladren.”

“Oh wait. Covers herself in towels?”

“That’s her.”

“Didn’t recall her name. Or maybe never knew it. Met her a couple times though.”

She didn’t ask a follow up question, but Pilot X was here to find things and he wouldn’t find them by keeping it a secret. “I come from Alenda. It’s very far away.” Mindhar shook her head to indicate she didn’t know it. It was convenient being on a planet self-aware enough to know lots of other lands existed but not so advanced that most people would know what those lands were called or where they were.

“We had some saying devices-- I guess that’s what people here call them—that were taken from us and we’re trying to track them down. Lal said Prishat is most likely to know if anybody has talked about them.”

“She’s not wrong. How that man knows what he does, I cannot tell you. He’s in the most remote town in existence that gets the fewest Riders ever and he knows everything happening on half the continent.

Pilot X suddenly realized this might be the wrong guy to use the name Alenda around.

“Speak of the Wisdomer and he shall grant you wishes. I think I heard his door.”