We left Amerset and started for Kil’ead. We’d probably have been better off cutting across the land and ignoring the road, as it was crowded with shabby refugees. I say that not out of disdain, but rather due to observation – there seemed to be little money between them for proper donkeys, horses, carts, clothes, or anything.
The road was long and straight. It was on a slight rise – to keep it from flooding during the rains, I suppose – and was flanked on both sides by thin forest. The heat of the summer sun made the road dusty, and with so many travelers much of the dust was in the air all day. Meramon watched the passing faces; his gaze flitted from one to the next, then the next, and so on. Watching for his sister-in-law, perhaps, or other familiar faces. Travelers jeered and laughed at us and told us we were going the wrong direction. They pointed and ogled at Meramon’s companion’s blue-black hair, too. A few even mockingly offered to take our food and water. They said we wouldn’t need it. Had Kil’ead fallen?
Was Tamon’na facing the same treatment? If people realized he was an Elf, he would be persecuted less… or more? Would he be persecuted as an outsider? In such times as these, that shouldn’t happen, but crowds are strange and cruel. I saw a fellow take off running down the road, and a single voice from behind him called out “thief!” Others took up the cry, and soon everyone in the vicinity was throwing rocks or lashing out with walking sticks. The man was clobbered to a bloody pulp. Eliana gagged and looked away. Reyla seemed not to have seen it, but she peered around and concern wrinkled its way across her face. If I ever become king, I will put an end to such barbarism.
I had us go a ways off the road to make camp. Travelers with weapons and numbers could probably stop beside the road, but I didn’t want to risk anything – let alone Eliana’s and Reyla’s safety.