At this, Siriin felt it was time to make a decision. She could easily fade back into the brush and slip around the settlement. But perhaps there was more to seeing the world than simply wandering. This was an opportunity to see firsthand the people the legendary Ronan had come from, before even the Firstborn had Awoken. Tugging on her one bag of belongings, she took a deep breath and stepped out onto the road. The patrol was still not fully inside the walls, so the gates were still open. As she began steadily walking towards the little fort, it took the wall-sentries a few moments to spot her. She was too far away to see their faces properly and hear their voices, but she could see they were unsure. The gates were still open, and the patrol she had been following waited there, looking out towards her as well. As she got close enough to make out individual faces, the guards on the wall were quite clearly agitated. They were all cradling the walking sticks and one of them was shouting at her in its thick accent. While it was still difficult to make out, her day spent following two of them did give her some reference points.
“Halt, who goes there!” one on the wall shouted, one of the few ones not pointing their walking sticks at her. It had a striking face, and like the shorter of the two she had been following, a mass of black strands for hair.
“My name is Siriin. I wish to stay here for a while, if I may!” Now having to explain herself, she would admit it sounded a curious request from someone they would not know.
The patrol in the gate had now also drawn their walking sticks. At a gesture from the one who had answered, the wall-sentries lowered their metal rods.
There was a moment of silence before the reply came. “Well met,” the words were slow and measured, the accent not quite as impenetrable as the ones from the patrol. “I don’t believe we’ve met anything like you before. How did you find your way here and why do you speak our tongue?”
Caught up in her excitement, Siriin took a step forward. “My people live in the Grove to the south. We call ourselves-” A sound like a enormous tree snapping impossibly fast interrupted her, and a clod of earth flew upwards to her left. Birds fled from the trees around the clearing in huge numbers, but the shouting from the fort was clearly audible through it all.
“She’s a daemon, a fiend of the jungle!” The taller of the two from the patrol was pointing its walking stick at her, the tip of it smoking a curious white smoke. The battlements were in disarray, but the voice of the one she had been talking to quickly silenced the others.
“Jacques, you insufferable dolt! You will hold fire until I tell you otherwise or you will be sleeping without a mosquito net for a fortnight!” The gate was still open but the two from the patrol had retreated inside. All the humans on the walls were being considerably more careful about handling the explosive rods, but the one in command was turning so red it looked like it might explode in a similar manner. Eventually the commander left the battlements and walked out of the gate towards her, the wooden doors slowly closing behind her. The walls were slowly being abandoned by the sentries, a few casting forlorn glances towards their commander and Siriin before vanishing into the fort. On walking to meet her beyond the safety of the fort, the human had left the mysterious metal rod behind but kept a sheathed sword belted on its hip.