Writing Prompt: The strangers were obviously not to be trusted.

Morning all. This morning the air feels weighted. I spent all of yesterday wishing that it would just rain and get the water out of the air for a little bit. It never did and apparently if didn’t feel the need to rain in the night so now the air just feels heavy. It felt odd to water the garden this morning because there was just so much moisture in the air. Still the ground was bone dry so I did water. Fingers crossed for rain this afternoon. So shall we get on with our morning prompt? maybe it will rain when I am not looking.

I love the spy network on the invaders. I had a lot of fun with this. Not what I expected when i sat down to write, which kind of makes me like it a bit more. Not sure where this will go, but I suspect it is something I will circle back to at some point.

Tuesday, July 26th: The strangers were obviously not to be trusted.

The Strangers were obviously not to be trusted.  In many ways they were open.  They laughed and talked with the villagers.  They asked questions.  And when questions were asked of them in return, often times the questions were openly answered.  However sometimes they weren’t.  Jeban began noticing a pattern to their answers. 

Personal questions were answered.  How they felt about foods, clothing, the weather, travel all of those were answered easily and openly.  However when asked about their people, their reasons for traveling such a distance from their homeland and their plans for the future, the answers dried up.  Their eyes would shift sideways and their smiles become falsely bright and an answer that was not an answer would be given or the topic changed to something more palatable.

It made him suspicious.  Jeban wondered if it was just him, but when he brought his concerns to the chief and the tribal council, they too had the same concerns, they too saw the pattern.  While the rules of hospitality prevented them from direct accusation, the strangers were watched, monitored.  Jeban himself set up the system.  The strangers were always in sight, even when they believed themselves to be alone. 

Many of the younger ones thought it a game, even if the elders knew the seriousness of the situation.  The strangers professed friendship but gave nothing of themselves away.  This was not the grounds for an equitable relationship and could spell trouble in the future.

In addition to monitoring the strangers while they were here, Juban sent runners to other villages, other places that the strangers would have had to pass through on their way here.  Some of the villages were ancient allies, others barely connected to them through a loose trade alliance.  The messages went forth to all of them and the runners began sending back information. 

Juban stood, the latest information laid out in front of him.  He had no concerns about the messages being interpreted by the strangers.  They believed the knotted strings to be mere tally sheets or possibly even a simple decoration.  But to those who knew to read the sequences, they told a different tale.  Juban compared the reports from different sources.  The results were the same.

He nodded.  The strangers weren’t to be trusted.  There were talks of more strangers arriving.  There seemed to be less peacefully inclined.  To Juban the pattern was clear.  The first strangers sent were like scouts, finding the lay of the land before the others arrived.  There was talk of death at the cost, and of the new strangers knowing details of the local landscape and defenses. 

He gathered the report and mentally composed them into a cohesive whole to report to the council.  If this was true then then war was following the strangers.  They would need to be prepared.  They would need to figure out how to deal with the strangers and make certain that their secrets were not passed.  The time of hospitality would soon end and the strangers, peaceful though they seemed, would be held accountable.

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