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"So we never really introduced each other did we?" Renal asked half getting up holding out his hand. "As you might have heard I'm Renal... Don't even actually know my last name." He looked over at Erica.

"Trent" She replied while going back to the food.

"Yes Renal Trent, what might be your name?" He still held out his hand but the templar didn't seem to want to shake it or reply. "Isn't shaking hands common here either?" He asked Erica.

"It is. But I don't like touching someone touched by foul arts." The templar replied. "I'm Telan, Te is the common name of our temple." His language wasn't without an accent like Teres was but he was fluent.

"Oh, so your name is a name you're given by the temple? Teres never got into that." He tried his best keeping his feelings out of his face after hearing 'touched by the foul arts' 'Well your boss did it so let's bring him up!'.

"Yes all children raised by the temple is given a name by then, and a new one once they start their service. And since I'm a templar I am Te, don't misunderstand and think it is from your language's Templar." He didn't seem fazed by the comment of his superior.

"That is interesting, named not only for where you're raised but also your assignment." Would he be HerbalistFirth last life he dreamt, and ignored half of what was said. "Well anyway, I called you here to ask you for a favour. Can you teach me how the local alphabet works? Shouldn't be too hard just write down the entire thing and tell me the pronunciation of each."

"Sure, do you have paper and something to write with?"

"Erica?" She nodded and left the soup, think it is soup anyway, for the carriage. Telan sat down near the fire-pit while waiting, near but not near enough that he'd be 'tainted'. Renal felt a bit uncomfortable sitting silently with someone that clearly didn't like being near him so asked a question he'd been brooding on an entire day.

"By the way heard your temple isn't really allowed to interfere in necromancers here, what were you going out here for?" Teres didn't seem to be the apolitical barbarian type, but rather the snake that will swim in any waters.

"A necromancer fled through the gates to this world so we were asking the locals, and he seems to have connections to 'your' former master. Isn't really a secret but neither is it something we would readily admit at home that one managed to pass our guards at the gates."

This answer made Renal a bit confused. 'Then what did you need 'me' for? Should be more to it.' This line of thought was interrupted by Erica coming back with a notebook and a quill. While he was really interested in looking at the quill, since there wasn't an ink jar, if it was magical or not it was something that could wait. Now let's learn to read.

And so a fairly long back and forth happened where Telan wrote a letter and said it's pronunciation with Renal saying it again, and Erica doing it from the side more quietly. Once Renal got the notebook he decided he would write down annotations in his own language.

 


 

The next day he spent time reading the journal together with Erica, 'might as well try to teach her some letters while I'm doing it' was his reasoning. Sure it took far longer but he also learned a lot of small social cues that he didn't have in his last life. For example, facial expressions were mostly the same, but you didn't use your hands gesticulating the same way he was used to, and nodding while talking was rude since it made you seem distracted. He especially learned how to look embarrassed.

A little bit before lunch he heard Carl swearing a bit under his breath outside.

"Think we're coming into some bandit-infested area, wasn't last time we passed through." Then he pointed to their left. "See they are already here, already seen a dozen of them."

"So what do we do? Can the three of you fight off that many?" Renal got a bit worried.

"We can make them lose enough that they won't keep fighting yea, but it won't be easy or risk-free. Well, try to see if we can pay them off first." His reply made Renal more certain about his suspicions about the strength of Nina, she sat a lot straighter than usual and looked like she would spring into action at the drop off a leaf.

And after a little bit of posturing in the forest next to the road they soon overtook the carriage and Carl slowed down to a halt.

"For what reason do you halt the carriage of the noble of these lands?" Renal thought it was a bit backwards to admit their wealth at first but soon realised the point.

'It both shows them we have our own power backing, attacking means retaliation, but also that they aren't opposed to a peaceful bribe. Besides with a large crest painted on the side, we aren't concealing our affiliation either.'

"Hail. We are just passing adventurers that wish to receive a small charity for our help clearing these lands so we can move on to our next land." They didn't pull their bows or had arrows in their hands but the weapons were out and ready to be used. "A group like ours is fairly expensive to maintain so we would need at least five large silvers just for the daily bread."

"Five silvers seems like a fair deal, but can I add to the deal and buy back that chestnut horse you're sitting on? It's branded with our nobles crest and it will be hard to sell." This made Renal start, he noticed that this horse wasn't as rugged as the others but that it was stolen from his family? "How does the double sound, triple if we get the belongings of the previous owner and his whereabouts."

"Five for a horse of this quality? And we can't help you with his whereabouts since we found him fallen from his horse and helped satiate his soul with a burial. And while looking through his belongings things for anything that would tell us his name things might have fallen out. So triple with that in mind seems fair to me." And so the deal was quickly stricken, Carl looked through the saddlebags and found the letters open but that wasn't an issue since there weren't any secrets in them. In the bottom of the bags, he found the thing he was looking for, a messenger crest of the family, something you really don't want to be in the hands of bandits. Obviously, anything else of value was missing and probably divided amongst the bandits.

 

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