Concurrent with They’ll All Need a Coin for the Ferryman
The settlement was surrounded on all sides by crudely constructed concrete walls. The walls were supported on the inside by two layers. Just inside the walls was a meter thick row of compact earth. The inner most layer was a combination of wooden logs and planks. This essentially formed a three meter thick wall on all sides. It served as a means to prevent breach; at least for a while during a siege from outside forces. It was effective even if primitive. The weakest point of the settlement was the front iron gates. Long since aged since a war centuries earlier, the metal no longer held a shine. It was rusted and creaked with each gust of the wind. It was large through and heavy. It served its purpose nearly as well as the walls.
The settlement was designed as a large square and divided into four quadrants. The first quadrant served as secure farming lands. Plots of various fruits and vegetables were grown in an area reserved for food production. This ensure the settlement had an adequate nutrition source. In this area were several well-pumps that provided the people with their water. The second quadrant was reserved for business. Small buildings had been built against the walls. Each had a different purpose; one was a saloon, another a doctors office, one served as a communal dining hall, a hair dresser, a thrift shop, and finally a jail. Even in a wasteland, law and order was needed.
The third and fourth quadrants were reserved for residential housing. With such limited space it meant that there wasn’t enough space for every traveler. The settlement as of late had to take a stand and only permit those born within the walls to live. All others had to leave by nightfall. It was within these quadrants that people stored their weapons. Each man, boy of age, and woman were assigned a rifle with a set amount of ammunition. They were kept beneath their beds so when the call came they’d be ready to defend. Not since they originally built this place have they had to raise their weapons. Still they were ready to fight in a moment’s notice.
“I ain’t leavin’.” A drunkard shouted at the settlements Sheriff.
“You have too. We’ve granted you refuge for the day but only residents can stay over night. We don’t have enough beds.” The Sherriff calmly tried to reply.
“Screw you! I’ll sleep on the floor right here.”
The drunkard swung on the Sheriff but his closed fist was caught in the palm of another man whom had stepped into the conversation. Dressed in an outfit of the land, the man stared eye to eye with the drunkard. A light beard, piercing eyes, and an expression that read little emotion. He was imposing. More importantly the Sherrif knew this man was dangerous.
Yanking his fist free, the drunkard stared at the newcomer, “Don’t touch me again you cow!”
The newcomer backhanded the drunkard whose head jerked sideways. When he looked back towards the newcomer shock covered his face.
“You just going to stand there and bleed?” The newcomer asked.
The drunkard wiped the blood from his lip.
“Thought so.” Grabbing the drunkard by his collar, the Newcomer yanked him towards the saloons door and kicked him out. “Be out of the settlement in the next five minutes or I’ll do more than backhand you.”
Turning to the Sherriff, the Newcomer smiled.
“I was dealing with it.”
“I resolved it quicker.”
The Sherriff laughed, “How the hell are you Jake and why have you come back to this god-forsaken planet? Thought you were off in the stars in your shiny spaceship?”
“I thought I’d drop by for a visit. I’m looking for a place for my summer home. What better place than around a bunch of people that I smell better than.”
“You’re not my type.”
“HA!” The Sherriff boasted. “Bloody glad to have you back Son! Bar keep! Round for the house on me. Jake and I have a lot of catching up to do.” Both men walked to a nearby table and found seats, “When’d you come back? What have you been up too?”
Jake nodded to the bar keep whom brought over to large cups of what passed for alcohol on the planet, “Went back home for a bit.” Jake took a swig of the drink and clenched his jaw as he swallowed. “Had to deal with something.” What the Sherriff didn’t need to know was Jake’s son’s returns. Rune Shamalain and Lear Shamalain were two of the most important people in his life. They were under the guidance of Ereza, whom Jake had still not yet formed a solid opinion on. He trusted her with his Son’s but beyond that? He wasn’t sure. Jake had also joined the Silver Jedi, even if only on the fringes. He barely socialized with them and most would argue he was Silver by name only. Was he? Well… only Jake could honestly answer that.
“I’m passing through and thought I’d stop by to see how you lot are doing here.” Jake glanced around, “Seems like everything seems more… peaceful?”
“It is. We took your designs for our walls and implements them. No ones challenged us in this region. When threats have passed through, the gate holds and we have food. Can’t starve us out.” The Sherriff said with pride. “Where are you going if you’re just passing through here?”
“I have unfinished business.” Jake explained. He did. Regardless of what Quietus would want. Regardless as to what Ereza would think, Jake had to find her. He had to find a way to bring her home. He had to bring Cerusia Shamalain to Honoghr. That was the story of Jake Daniels. People would say what they wanted about Jake but the one thing that stood out above all else was loyalty. He was family man.
“Well, I hope you’re going to be staying a few days.”
“I am. I’ve been all over this section of the galaxy. My ships stressed and I need to let it rest.” Jake explained. “I also need to go through my paperwork and recalculate my logistics.” Each planet the Knight had visited he had searched and asked around for Cerusia but to no avail. She was proving harder to find than he had expected.
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