We had to go to the port office to get my knife peace bonded. Minakas didn’t wear his scholars robe. He looked nervous and told me that the robe was hard to run in. We all had our things on our backs and Min and Gan argued a bit over who was going to tow our chest of stuff. It had a handle and two wheels big enough to bump over any uneven ground.
“How did we aquire so much stuff?” Min sounded a little angry and Gan sighed at him.
“You keep buying stuff, idya. You didn’t have to go back to that bookseller where we got the mapbook.”
“But she had a pristine copy of a first edition Warcraft.”
“Which you can find in any Yeoli library.”
“Dog-breath.” I wasn’t sure Minis was calling Gannara that but Gan snorted and started calling him names back and they said some really bad things back and forth until they were giggling. I don’t understand because I’m not supposed to say any of those things. Min gets mad at me if I use some of those bad names. I guess I will be able to when I’m older.
At the port office, Gan started to go in, stopped like he’d run into a wall and turned right around like he was a mechanism, and ran back out into the street. Min charged after him. “Gan, what’s wrong? What did you see? What’s going on?” He had his hands over his face.
“Shen, shen, shen. They’re still looking for me. It wasn’t just an old notice in Arko that you found. That poster in there is of me!”
“Yeah, I saw that. It’s a good likness of you a few years ago.”
“Shut up! Shut up!” He was rocking back and forth. “I just want to go home, to my on family, I don’t want to deal with other people! Just go get your blades peace-bonded, all right? I’ll wait here.”
“Just hold on. We’ll be right back.”
So Min and I went in and the man behind the counter smiled at me when he put a really thick wire on my peace-bond. “Now, young man,” he said to me. “We have to be careful with such dangerous warriors.”
He said the same to Min but different. “Young man, you won’t get an ankaryel back if there’s a nick on that wire!” Min just nodded and then did the Yeoli hand sign.
“Hmmph. We’re particularly strict around here on Arkans!”
“Of course, kere. Ah, kere... if you would be so kind... I think I may have seen this child... could you read me what the sign says?” The man looked at him with narrow eyes and then read out – “Have you seen this child, Ganara Melachiya, taken from Asinanai as one of the “Little Chevengas”. If so speak to Ikemina Shae-Terena at the Temporary Town Office.”
“Thank you, kere. You are most kind.”
“You say you've seen him?” Min turned away from the man but turned back to answer him.
"Melachya? and Shae- Terena. Thank you again. Excuse me, please.”
I wanted to say he was right outside but Min grabbed me.
“Are you hiding something, Arkan?”
“Ser, I am trying to help him and he cannot face other people at the moment. I am trying to get him home without him being hurt any worse than my people did. Thank you for your help.”
He moved me to the door as the man yelled, “You KNOW where he IS?”
“Kere, he's here in town and I want to get him home, if I may?”
“Young man, I think Yeolis can get him home better than Arkans. Wait a moment and I'll call an escort.”
“Kere if I could just speak to him before everyone descends on him, please, kere.”
The portmaster stared at Min like he was a slug under a rock and reached through his window and rang a big bell, just as Min said, “It is a great deal to ask, but it isn't for me, its for him. I'll talk to him... you can watch through the window if you like.”
I could hear Gannara call from outside… “MIN---akas!”
Minakas looked like he was going to faint. But he said, very calmly… “Gannara? It’s all right. The harbourmaster is concerned for you…”
“That bell means he wants to arrest someone!” Gannara thrust the door open.
“That would be me, then.”
The first words out of Gannara’s mouth were ‘boru, boru, boru!” Even I understood that, but the Yeoli out of his mouth I didn’t understand. I hugged Min’s leg and watched Gannara wave his arms at the harbormaster. His face got better toward us… when he looked at us… I don’t now what he said.
There were running footsteps and a couple of armoured Yeolis showed up at the window where the bell was and the harbourmaster had some fast words with them too. They even had shields.
They talked back and forth for a bit… Mostly the port master saying ‘I was mistaken…”
Waving at me. I’m not sure. But he waved at me a lot. But they went away.
Min took a deep breath and let go the scabbard of the sword he’d been clutching with both hands.
The harbourmaster called Uncle Gannara over and got him to sit down. He put his hand on his shoulder… told him some things and Uncle Gannara looked like the man kicked him in the guts. He clenched his eyes shut and I could see he was crying but trying not to show it.
Min put his hand on my shoulder and whispered “I thought I could ask without causing a ruckus.”
We heard ‘Arko’ and ‘tai, Arko’ clearly. When Gan came away from the harbor master we put our arms around him. It was bad. It was very bad because Uncle Gan was crying hard. The harbourmaster tells him ‘Shae-Terena’ and ‘meresi’ and ‘ow-verwa’ and he comes back to us with his face crumpled like a wet piece of paper.
“I want to go outside,” he said, panting. We all went outside. Uncle Gannara sits down like he weighs five hundred pounds, with Min having an arm around his shoulders.
“My blood-parents...Their barokeresin got caught smuggling to the free Yeolis.” He took a deep breath. “They're both dead.” He threw his head into his hands. “My shadow-parents are in Arko. At least he thinks so... that was the last he heard.” Min held him hard. They went there with Ch'venga's army… to find me.”
“Well, maybe this Shae-terena person knows more.”
“So... someone else must be in the house... maybe family, maybe not.” Gannara took his head out of his hands. “She's my shadow-aunt. Ikemina.” He dissolved in tears and Min folded him in his arms. “They never got to see me come back...
Min gestured for me to come and hug without letting uncle Gan go. So I hugged his legs while Min hugged his shoulders.
“Oh, Ganara. I'm sorry. I'm sorry it all happened.” Uncle Gan cried a lot then sniffed and said…
“You know what he told me?”
“When they beheaded people in the town square...” He took a deep breath. “They put up rows of spikes on a wall, and they'd put each head on a spike, with a sign with the person's name and what they did. And no one was allowed to touch them... they were just left there… Until Asinanai was liberated.” Min was patting Uncle Gan on the shoulders. “Now there's a memorial…to people who died in the resistance.” He took a deep breath. “I want to see it.”
Min took a deep breath and held onto me hard. Almost too hard. I poked him and he eased up on squishing me. “Do you think you need to see your shadow aunt first?”
Uncle Gan took a deep breath. “Minis... here is what I am afraid of. They're looking for me. But they're looking for you, too. If it gets back to any authorities that I'm here... they're going to ask me where you are.”
Min took a deep breath. “I don’t want to leave you here, Gan. I might have to, so you don’t know where I am.”
“Of course Ch'venga's… Artira’s… looking for you.”
“I know. I've got to disappear for a while longer.”
Gan glared at Min. “What, I'm going to leave you here alone somewhere in a Yeoli city where everyone hates Arkans? Which they'll be searching up and down because I'll tell them that you came with me because I have to because it's the truth?
“No, you can see me off at the port and you won't know whether I've gotten on a ship or turned around and bought a horse and crossed into the Enchian border.” Gannara thought for a while and the said, decisively.
Min stomped up and down and then sat down right next to Gan again. “I swore I was going to get you home and I'm going to do that if I have to jump off a bridge afterward!” I didn’t think that was a good idea.
Gannara snaped at Min. “You've got me home. You've succeeded. Now you want to go elsewhere in Yeola-e, and you can't do that without me!”
Uncle Gan took a deep breath and stood up from the wall he’d sat down on. “I know where my shadow-parents are. I'll write to them... through the government, they'll know where they are in Arko. But not say where I wrote from. Tell them I'm all right, no worries, and I'll be back with them when I can. They'll know it's me, they know my writing. I'll write some in-joke so they'll know for sure. Come on, before someone figures out that they ought to arrest both of us.”
Min looked at his retreating back and then down at me and his mouth was flopping around in the breeze then he grabbed my hand and we ran to follow Gan. “Wait. Gan! Wait-up!”