“Your majesty”, began the prisoner softly.
“Don’t kiss ass”, interrupted the sister curtly.
This abrupt warning brought a stillness
to the room, then the traveller began anew.
“Beg pardon. Where I come from, we honour
the rulers of the land. My name is Marco
Querini, of one of the great families of
Venice, a serene city far beyond this land.”
He flashed his white teeth, and smiled.
There came no response, or change in
expression. Miffed, he continued. “I
have travelled with my relations to the
far East, on several journeys to Xanadu.
My family has a personal relationship
with the supreme Khan of Hangzhou, which
goes back for many golden generations.”
The two women were looking at him in
silence; the young man smiled. Marco
could not read his hosts, though he
felt less like prisoner, and more like
a tourist. “We Querini are Venetian
nobles with a great history, and land
to attest it. We have many possessions,
islands at sea to the East of Venice.”
“The most beautiful of which, and the
most famous, is wonderful Stampalia,
or Astiphalea, as the local fishermen
call it. Venetians are skilled traders.”
“We bring the best deals to your door.”
As he spoke, the smaller woman rose to
her feet. She was barefoot, and her green
garment was bright, which seemed to glow.
He broke off, and as there was no response
from the others in the Yurt, he just sat
stupidly, waiting for acknowledgement.
But he sat a long time without speaking.
At last the small sister came close to him,
and she took his wrist, and seemed to check
his pulse, then she went out without a word.
Dream-eater just sat there cross-legged.
Marco tried in vain to ingratiate himself
with her with fantastical tales of Xanadu,
and Venice, and the journeys he had been
on. She sat there listening effortlessly,
he kept on talking, encouraged by her
half-smile. The young man was drawn in,
increasingly wide-eyed to his ‘slightly’
embellished tales of East and West.
Dream-eater was young with a shapely
round face, and a very nimble body.
She did not seem entirely at ease
with herself, and she seemed angry.
Her face was covered with pimples,
and her hair was short. She dressed in
tight clothing, which showed her form.
Marco soon began to lust after her.
He was a stocky young man, with
thick hairy arms, and a face like
a fox. He talked softly, with a deep
voice which used to make some people
in Venice pay attention to his lies.
He was an expert bullshitter, rising
to every occasion with the right deal,
though he had yet to make his mark.
He was a business-man all in all,
complete with sweet tongue, with an
inexaustible source of confidence,
expertly weaving the art of deceit.
It was hard to get a read on them,
though. And the sister was an utter
mystery! He was exhausted. This
place was the middle of nowhere.