As they effortlessly strode across the dried terrain, Gomerick asked, “Might there be anything I need to know regarding Murka and her people?”
Oberon was overcome with a face of inquiry, “Hmm…where to start? I suppose I shall keep it brief, for you will see by midday. Murka is a smaller village, as its inception was not long ago by any stretch of the imagination. It has the potential to grow because of its proximity to the Weitwood Forest, for virtually infinite resources are at her people’s disposal. In addition, Murka is down river from Xyneth, and supplies can easily be shipped between the two. However, the neighboring village of Urstadt has taken offense to Enghor’s most recent addition, so, for now, their expansion is kept in check. In essence, the village is predominantly made up of farmland with a more dense population near the River Xyts. The man in charge is Steward Wenzel. He is a remarkably stubborn man to most, but will typically do whatever the king asks of him without resistance, regardless of the outcome. When speaking to him, stay firm in your opinion, and you will get what you desire.”
“Very good. I must ask, though…what is the driving force behind this feud between Murka and Urstadt?”
“Well, Urstadt is a ‘village’ I suppose, but it is made up of highly skilled tribesmen – a warrior class. They maintain a hunter-gatherer society, and will take up arms against anything, or anyone, for that matter, that they perceive as a threat. When Wilhelm established Murka, he knew of Urstadt’s presence and purposely placed his city beside it to counterbalance the local tribe’s growth. Skirmishes often took place initially, but those have died down from what I have heard, to a certain extent. Wilhelm’s plan was to eventually enslave the tribesmen, but, as I am sure you have come to realize, that did not exactly come to fruition. I find it amusing how Murka was meant to keep in check Urstadt’s growth, but, in reality, the opposite is taking place.”
“I see.” Gomerick sat back to think for a moment. “In that case, I pray you know of a way through.” He looked over at Oberon and waited for a response.
Oberon turned to him and said, “Have I led you astray as of yet?”
“I suppose not.”
“Then trust me. I assure you, we shall make our way through peacefully.” He paused to consider the words he had just spoken, and concluded, “Strike that. Rather, we shall make our way through intact.”
Gomerick looked over in confusion, for he was unable to tell if his friend was attempting to make a joke or not, but Oberon simply rode straight and true, so Gomerick followed suit and said, “I fear I have not yet conceptualized your meaning of ‘intact’, but you know I stand beside you, for worse or, well…for worse.” Oberon grinned, but kept his gaze focused on the now visible, but distant, tree line.