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  • Writer's pictureFiona Hamilton

Chapter 6: Rufdand

Rienna awoke inside a cozy, but basic, bedroom. She was lying on a small bed with pale blue covers. The window above the bed had thick dark purple curtains that stopped all but a small glow of sunlight from coming into the room. The ground was wooden planks, but most of it was covered by a fluffy blue rug. The only furniture in the room besides the bed was a red-brown stained wooden drawer on one side of the room with a candle set atop it.

Rienna got out of the bed and walked over to the drawer. Next to the candles was a small pack of matches and a note on parchment paper that was in a language that she did not understand. There were three drawers, two of which were empty, but when Rienna opened the bottom one she found a pair of tan slacks and a pink shirt that looked like it might have once been red.

She went quietly back to the bed and sat down. There was no noise around her as silence ruled over the room. She thought back to when she and the cats had reached the wall. She remembered climbing up the tree and calling Xio and Xia, but she wasn’t certain what happened next. She had the vague feeling that she had fallen but she didn’t remember landing.

She turned to the window and peeked through the curtains. Sunlight burst into the room lighting up the dust that was floating in the air. The sudden light surprised Rienna and she fell back onto the bed. The dust disappeared from sight. She cautiously went back to the curtains and opened them slightly. She watched as little pieces of lint floated through the air. One hand keeping the curtains open, she waved her hand through the air and watched the dust swirl around her. She felt like a magician commanding the air to do her bidding.

“Uyin hudkfo. Optind kufda, rofan ro Yinda.” A high pitched voice said in a language foreign to Rienna, “Ufinlo koka lopdi. Jukli uylodi.” A short, plump woman with messily braided brown hair stood by the door smiling at her. An expression of sweetness tainted by pity was shown throughout her face.

Rienna just stood there, her hands frozen in the air, her eyes staring at the woman in the door. The woman just smiled at her for a minute. Then she gestured toward the drawer and said something in her strange language and walked away, shutting the door behind her.

Rienna sat there on the bed for many more minutes in the shade that came from clouds that now covered the sun. She was embarrassed that she had been waving her hands through the air like a mental patient, but mainly she was just shocked. The person definitely seemed normal and human and there was for sure no circle pendant on her to protect her from magic. She was someone who actually lived in the Alyene in the city that Rienna had seen atop the vine hedge. She even spoke a different language!

Rienna finally lied down on the bed and laid her head on the pillow. She thought and pondered about how people were able to live in the city. She wondered how different their lives were, what kind of food they ate, whether they had a democracy or a monarchy, and many other such questions, to the point where she fell asleep and dreamed of mutated people living in the Alyene and eating bugs to survive.

She woke up to the strange woman singing and gently shaking her shoulder. She held up the set of clothes that Rienna had found in the drawer and waved them around for emphasis and said something, smiled and dropped the clothes onto Rienna’s chest. She then left the room yet again.

Rienna got the impression that she was supposed to put on the clothes. She didn’t want to offend the lady or whatever her traditions might be, so she quickly got up and changed. She walked over to the door and slowly opened it to look for the woman. There was a hallway on each side of her with about seven other doors throughout as well as a corridor to the right. The lady was just outside the farthest door to the left. She turned and saw Rienna. She smiled, said something, and walked over to Rienna. When she reached Rienna she said something else and patted her on the shoulder.

“Excuse me, uh… what am I doing here? Does anyone speak my language?” Rienna said politely.

The woman gasped, and yelled something in her language, pointing her finger at Reinna. She yelled again and ran off and around the corner leaving Rienna alone and very confused.

Rienna didn’t know what to do, so she walked to the corridor and peeked over the corner to see if the lady was coming back with guards to kill her. Instead, a tall girl with long brown hair was coming out of a doorway and turning to walk towards Rienna. The girl saw her and called out, “Hello! Do you speak this language?”

“Yeah…” Rienna said, coming out from behind the corner, “What’s happening?”

“You fell off our wall. You are now in the city of Rufdand. Yinda, the lady that you saw, … was not expecting you to speak, not in this language.” The girl said, “Come with me, I will tell you more in the lounge.” She walked back through the door she had come out of.

Rienna hesitantly followed, not wanting to go through the witch situation a second time. Her curiosity about the city, Rufdand, was too great though and pulled her through the door and into a small room. There wasn’t any windows, but it was well lit with lights hanging from the ceiling. There was a table in the back with snacks on platters as well as a couch and an armchair in the center of the room. Everything was on a square carpet with a simple teal design.

The girl sat in the chair and gestured for Rienna to sit on the couch, “My name is Jenlufu, but please call me Jen.”

“Hi… Jen. I’m Rienna...Why did that woman freak out?”

“This building is a care center and home for the children that fall off wall. Most of them cannot speak due to magic or traumatic experiences, I am not sure which. Most of the time they are children from Rufdand that disappeared many years before.” Jen explained, “That is why Yinda was surprised, you spoke, and you did not speak our language, instead you spoke the one that we are speaking in right now. Also, this is not a language that people like to hear.”

“What do you mean?” Rienna asked, “Obviously you’re fine with this language.”

“I am training to be a diplomat for Rufdand, in the future it will be my job to talk to people that know this language. People who speak this language are from the Crystal Sorceress realm. Not me or other diplomats, but you understand.”

“You mean Vieryen? You talk to the soldiers? Still though, why do people not want to hear this language?” Rienna asked, she had a dreadful feeling that she would not like the answer.

“When the soldiers come, kids, food, … things disappear. We do not know that they steal, but it is more than a coincidence. Do not worry though, you are not a soldier. Do not speak around other people though, they will not understand you anyway.”

“Okay. Um… I came with two cats, one of which talks. Has anyone seen them? Also, I hope it’s okay that I ask, but I am really hungry, and thirsty, but mainly hungry. I have not eaten in… I don’t know, I don’t even know how long I was asleep. Anyway, can I have some food?” Rienna said smiling worryingly at Jen.

“Of course, there is food on the table over there. I am sorry, but I have not heard of any cats that talk.” Jen said kindly, “I know you do not want to stay in Rufdand for a long time, but you can stay as long as you need. You can stay in the room you woke up in.”

“Thank you.” Rienna said, standing up and walking over the table with food, “If I am going to stay here though, but I can’t talk, how should I communicate with people?” She grabbed a skewer of what appeared to be cheese wrapped in bacon and started eating it.

“Just pretend that you cannot speak. Plenty of children have been allowed out of this center without being able to speak. Some who probably never spoke our language at all. You should be fine.” Jen told Rienna. She looked at something tied to her wrist and said, “I cannot stay, I have classes to go to. Help yourself to food, explore Rufdand, you do not sound like someone who is trouble.” She then stood up and left the room.

Rienna continued eating her cheese and bacon and thought for a moment about what she was going to do. She was worried for Xio and Xia, but she knew they could handle themselves, and she knew, or severely hoped, that they would come and find her. In the meantime, she was hungry, and Jen had said to help herself. So she continued eating food that was on the table until she was satisfied.

After having eaten half of what was on the table, Rienna decided she was going to explore the edge of the vine wall to see if there was anyway for her to get out of Rufdand and look for Xio and Xia. She left the room and walked down the hallway away from her room. There was only an open doorway at the end that led to a waiting room of a sort. Yinda was sitting at a desk looking through some files that were laid out in front of her. She saw Rienna and stared. Rienna waved hello and walked through another door at the opposite end of the room.

The door led outside and into a very sunny day with white fluffy clouds floating over the sky. Rienna hadn’t seen clouds when she was inside the Suppression…. She was standing on a path bordered by small green shrubs. Behind the shrub on her left, the vine wall towered above h er. It somehow seemed taller than it had on the other side of it. Rienna walked along the path in the sun. She had come to the conclusion that the Sun did not care about people outside the Suppression. Or even within the Suppression. If he hadn’t wiped out this city of people yet, then he probably wasn’t actually that interested in killing all of the humans.

As she walked along, short walls covered in moss and plants started coming up behind the shrubs on both sides of her and she started moving away from the great vine hedge. Soon she started hearing the faint sound of flute music playing and of many voices talking. Not long after, a stone archway opened up ahead of her into a busy plaza.

Rienna walked under the archway and smiled at the scene before her. Small buildings lined a large square area of dirt. Each building had a little roof extending out from it offering shade to vendors selling large varieties of food and trinkets. The smells of cooked chicken, roasted vegetables, and freshly baked bread filled the air with their appetizing aroma. People wandered around while talking, others were buying from the vendors while making pleasant chitchat, there was even a small fountain in the center with tiny children playing with the water. Everyone around Rienna was happy and having a good time.

Remember, don’t say a word. Rienna said to herself as she walked into a building with a vendor selling fruits outside. The shop she had wandered into was a bakery. On shelves there were many kinds of bread wrapped in paper to keep it safe. Each slot had a label. There was sourdough bread, potato bread, something called French bread, there was even a shelf dedicated to crackers. At the back of the room their was a large glass box containing several shelves of muffins and cakes that had two small swinging doors on either side of it separating the customers from the cashier behind the glass. To the side of the cashier there was a wooden stairway leading up into what must be a living quarters for the baker, as well as a door even farther to the side that probably led to the kitchen.

The cashier noticed Rienna come in and said, “Uyin! Gufran urupind?” He was a plump man, very much like Yinda is size, with a scruffy beard, and an apron hanging around his neck. He seemed like he was both the baker and the cashier.

Rienna just looked at him confused, trying to convey with her expression that she could neither speak nor understand him. It took him a bit, but he soon understood.

The man turned, opened a box behind him, and turned around holding a copper coin in the air. He said something with a questioning tone in his voice while waving the coin around. Rienna shook her head in response; she did not have any money. The baker looked at her with a pitiful look. He put the coin back in the box and gestured to Rienna that she should come closer. She did so and was rewarded with a small muffin with a lemony scent. She smiled at him to show her thankfulness. He smiled back and then turned to a customer.

She wandered through many other stores with a similar result. Every person she encountered was very kind, and she felt guilty for making them think that she could not speak. In total though, she had received a muffin, an iron ring, an apple, a cob of corn, and five copper coins.

Soon though, the stores started closing and the vendors started packing up and the Sun went out of sight behind the giant hedge.

Rienna walked back to the care center as the light of the sun faded away more and more by the second. She arrived and the darkness of night with her. She stopped by the lounge to have some food and then walked to her room. It had been a peaceful day and it was a quiet night and soon Rienna fell asleep on the bed. She slept peacefully and without dreams all night long.


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