“We well know that some people won’t react to that Boggard the same way we did.”
Lem’s words rolled over and over again in Sasha’s mind. The creature knew only a handful of words in Taldan and they could not communicate but it was clear that he (was it a he? How would anyone other than another Boggard know?) had meant no harm and just wanted to be left alone with his…companion? It posed a devilish conundrum: There were creatures, and people for all that, who came out here to get away from civilization. What happens to them when civilization comes looking for them. Sasha was here looking for a new start. Did it have to come at the expense of those who had already found one?
He took another pull on the mug of ale that came with his dinner. Both Eoghan and Lem were very busy playing the “I’m-not-watching-are-you-watching-how-I’m-not-watching” game with Katya, who pointedly ignored Lem but seemed to be warming up a little to Eoghan. Sasha wondered how much of that was simply to irritate Lem. If he demands so much of your attention, sis, I think you may not dislike him as much as you play at. He hid his smile at the thought in his beard and ale.
Sasha knew full well, as Lem had been trying to “hint” – most men would have killed the Boggard on sight and raided those two ruins for whatever treasure lay within. And now that their company had found the mine, more men were only a matter of time away. More men meant threats to folk like the Boggard, never mind the paranoid kobolds or the fey creatures that had been having their fun in the woods. Sasha felt he had stumbled upon a solution but he wasn’t sure he could convince his small band to make a peace offering, to say nothing of men who came south smelling profit.
Sasha had answered Lem at the time with a dodge: that the fate of such folk were in the hands of whatever authority came into power here. It was a cop-out and he knew it: The Swordlords would not care about one lone Boggard; as for Surtova…better to put such thoughts aside lest someone think he was angry.
And yet…he was angry, wasn’t he? The same men he’d thought so highly of a week ago were now, in his mind’s eye, driving out all before them. But it wasn’t the same men – Sasha had been thinking of Oleg and Svetlana, folk who wanted to make a quiet life for themselves and not to be harassed or menaced. The men who would come for the gold would not be looking for self-sufficiency but for wealth beyond avarice…
Sasha shook his head. Damn fool, you romanticize boggards and demonize miners, about whom you know next to nothing. He would have to spend extra time in prayer tonight for wisdom and patience. Surely any governor sent south would seek the opinion of those who had explored the land. He just had to make a good case for them. If there was one thing Sasha could do, it was talk – just ask his sister.
Yes, everything would turn out fine. Anything that Sasha and Lem agreed upon, any other person in the world would be hard-pressed to dispute. They’d pass over their maps and their knowledge and Sasha could bring his parents here. After that…who knows? But everything would turn out fine.