Astra in the Spotlight

The Never Ending Quest - Episode 21692

The little man, Fred, suddenly spoke up. “Um…actually, I’m from Suffex! The whole Gelda/Califie thing was a lie.”

Gilder took a moment to consider what the little man had just said. Yes, that seamed feasible. He looked the part of an Allarian, at least. And his accent was unmistakable. On any other day he would have deported the man to toil the rest of his life away in the silver mines of Nom Malbra, but today was different. If he really was from Suffex he would have to go easy on him, given the new relationship with that duchy. He had still trespassed on his beach, however, and that couldn't be completely overlooked. The audacity of the little man!

"I appreciate your honesty," he replied cooly, "and the woman?"

He centered his gaze on Astra, slowly advancing toward her in confident strides. This woman hardly looked the part of a Calif. Something about her features struck him. "Why do you look familiar?"

Astra groaned inwardly. Stupid Fred! If this man found out who she was the situation was going to escalate into a much more complicated scenario. She would have rather stayed under the guise of a Calif, no matter how sour that nation's relationship with Hespan had turned. The nations of Hespan and Aqualaria were on even uneasier terms, to say the least. There were many reasons for this. While the Hespaniards might control the high seas of the Aryn and the shipping lanes of the Tarel by the sheer strength of their armada, it by no means made them invincible. One of the major problems between the two nations, the Barrier of the Queens of Aqualaria; an impassable wall of cascading waves and relentless storms that stretched along the entire coastline of that forsaken land, had plagued the fleets of the Hespan for generations. It effectively cut the Hespanish Empire in two, forcing their ships to veer far away from the mainland when making the arduous run from the southern colonies to Havnheim. There was many the nightmarish Hespaniard mariner's tale of the horrors to be faced when some miserable ship would unknowingly sail into the barrier off Aqualaria's savage shores.

"I'm sure you must be mistaken," Astra replied. "I am citizen of Califie," she shot Fred a sharp, resentful glance, "and this is my first time to visit your wonderful land. I am here to merely soak up a few rays of the sun, get piss drunk, and wake up in a puddle of something unidentifiable."

"The Califs must be feeding their women well," Gilder said smugly, a thin smirk crossing his face. "Good harvest seasons in Califie these years, m'lady? You're certainly the most striking figure of a woman I've ever seen that puny, provential principality produce! I didn't think redheads were that common in Califie, either..."

  1. "...Astra," he went on. "Where have I heard that name?"
  2. Fred suddenly came up with a 'plan'...

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11/6/2002 12:34:02 PM

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