"So tell me again the name of this village again?"
"It's called the people of the Runa, their very peaceful and very skilled in the arts. It'll be fascinating to see their lifestyle and way of life. Their people believe very much in their stories."
The two men stepped into the small clearing of the forest seeing eight wooden buildings, four to each side and people rushing in and out of them. The Runa people were dark in hair color and of skin that enhanced their oddly bright blue eyes. Their features made them appear to be magical. Many children ran past the travelers, one child lightly bumped into Tao laugh out an apology as he continued on.
"Ha-ha, such life here. Dar these people are so wonderful. And look at this…"
Looking around it was true that the Runa people were very special. Few village women worked on the dinner and others sat with weaving in their hands creating beautiful clothing. Some man entered the village with large fish and paddles before they prepared a fire. As Dar and Tao continued into the village they saw a large gathering of the small children that had pasted them earlier. A large man towered over the small size of the Runa children around him. His hair was a light brown much like Dar but in comparison to the Runa's around him he was different. He wore thickly woven cloth and carried a large bag on his back. He was sitting on a fallen tree as he lightly whispered words to the children. When Tao came closer he heard that the strange man was telling a story to the young ones.
"Yet as the prince ran to free his love, there were many trials that the prince had to over come. All to save his one true love that was promised to him by the stars and the Gods."
The story teller looked up at the two men. Dar and Tao stood in the back silently, they watched the man speak, every child hung onto his words like life itself. The story itself was beautiful to Dar but didn't hold his interest long; his friend though was as engrossed with the story as the young children. Even with his interest lost he didn't want to tear his friend from this enjoyment to soon, so he sat near Tao and listened too. The story teller was quite good and by the end of the story, the young prince saved his true love from the rotten witch that wanted the loves beauty. The man shooed the children back to their parents as the sun was beginning to set on the ridges of the high mountains.
"That was amazing!" Tao softly whispered, his smile growing on his face.
When the setting sun completely disappeared, most of the families had the outside to the warmth of their homes, leaving the young man to pack his belongings.
"The story was so detailed it was almost like being there as the prince was fighting the demons, but his knowledge showed that the power of the mind could also over come any size of problem. See Dar that is what I was trying to say to you all along. What did you think of the story? I particularly liked the part where…"
Dar tried to interrupt the smaller man's flow of words, finally the man stopped looking at Dar was confusion.
"It's late we'll have to make camp outside the village. We're not going to make it to the Downs tonight."
"Your right, you right, But Dar about the story. What did you-…?"
"Excuse me but your talking about the story I just told right?"
A deep voice asked from behind them, spinning on the back of his heels Dar found the story teller had manage to get quite close to them without him knowing.
"Yes, yes we were." Tao smiled, "Oh, right I wanted to tell that I thought it fascinating. Sorry about us just dropping into listen but it was a wonderful story. I had heard that your people were great story teller…"
"Ohh, no I'm not a Runa. I'm just traveling through."
"Really, Wow that is even more amazing. May I ask from what tribe you are from?"
Dar lightly sighed at never ending questions that the younger man could produce.
"I am not a part of a tribe any longer. I choose to leave my tribe long ago; I had different beliefs than them."
"I'm sorry; I didn't mean to, I just didn't know…" Tao started to apologize.
"No, again it is fine. I'm Katan."
"Oh, well I'm Tao and this is Dar. We too are traveling through here. We are on our way to the downs."
"The Downs? This is a longer route to the downs; certainly there are faster ways than through here?"
"Yes but we are in no rush." Dar spoke up for the first time; he had been silently watching Katan the storyteller.
His instincts were wondering if this man was dangerous or not. The man took note of Dar's comment but then spoke to Tao again. Through the conversation his eyes hadn't left the smaller man even for a second to study Dar. Dar wasn't sure about the man but was lost in thought till he heard Tao asking him to come to the Downs with them the next day. Katan paused for a second before a smile broke across his face and he was nodded in agreement for the travel together.
"We should get going to make camp." Dar stated flatly, Tao turned to him slightly confused but nodded.
"We'll meet here when the sun rises."
With the meeting arranged Tao and Dar the left the Runa village and made camp within the forest. As the night came, the sickening feeling in Dar's stomach did not change but grew as he continued to question this Katan man. As both men sat quietly silent before Dar suddenly spoke up about his unsetting feelings.
"Tao, we need to talk about this Katan man."
"Katan? What about him?"
"I don't know he just doesn't fit right with me."
"Strange, I didn't feel that. But we don't have to travel with Katan tomorrow if you don't want to."
"No, never mind. I'm just… no we can travel with him."
Tao was about to pursue the conversation further till Dar rolled over in his mat in pure exhaustion. Tao rolled onto his own mat, while he continued the thoughts Dar had stated. The man Katan didn't worry Tao when they had first met but with Dar's worries he was willing to be cautious too. Night slowing started take over them all allowing both men to finally sleep.
Before the sun rose into the sky, Dar and Tao were packing their camp to met Katan. The Runa man woke early to catch the fish for their family's morning meal. Katan was waiting for the two at the edge of town. He wore a gentle smile when he saw the two men approaching. Dar unconsciously growled at the man under his breath, only audible to Tao who took it as a bad response to the three of them traveling together for the next three days.