We Play the Game – 11 – Strange Languages
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“We have to get across the water,” he told her. “And that means we need to take our ride down there to the nearest wharf and find whatever passage we can obtain. Unless you’d prefer to walk. It is about a league to the nearest boat.”

Tina followed the dwarf down from the top of the wall and climbed onto the cart after him wrinkling her nose at the smell of the mules.

“Not much of a limo, is it?” she pointed out as they made their bumpy way through the alleys of whatever town it was that lay across the water from Constantinople. Despite how slow they were traveling, she had to hang on hard to the board that served as a seat to avoid getting thrown off.

“Nope,” Devon agreed. “Most places in history isn’t quite as soft as 21st century Canada.”

She doubted he heard her snort of a reply, he certainly didn’t react to it.

The journey took almost a half hour of jolting minutes. Finally Tina could see the water through the buildings ahead, not to mention smell a hint what had to be rotting fish. The dwarf drove it down to the water where they paid for passage across the narrow waters to Constantine proper. There were actually people to brush against on the busy waterfront. Plenty of them accompanied by all the smells of a fishing town Tina could imagine. This was getting more and more real.

Thankfully their stay in the smelly fishing village was a short one.

As they sat on the skiff that practically skipped across the waters to their destination, Devon handed Tina a small pouch that jangled a bit when he dropped it into her lap, as her single hand wasn’t fast enough to grab it. The ride on the skiff was even bumpier than the cart and added the occasional spray of water.

“Think of this as your ‘direct deposit’ for your first week on tour,” he told her. “And a small advance for week two should you not fall on your face. Don’t spend it all at once and don’t waggle it around. Not a lot of citizens here earn that much in a year. Oh, by the way, keep it on hand. There won’t be any banks here for five hundred years or so.”

She scowled at him, but opened the pouch, spotting a number of rudely stamped bronze and silver coins just like what she had read about.

“What, no gold?” she asked, feeling a bit cheated.

“I’m not made of money,” he told her. “Gold is what the rich here only deal in, you know. That you’ll get if you earn your commission.”

Tina was still overcoming her surprise that she could understand what was being spoken as the dwarf had arranged and paid for their brief passage a few minutes earlier.

“How is it that I can now understand medieval Greek, or really any kind of Greek?” Tina asked.

“We're now of this time and place, Devon told her. “So we can speak what the people here understand. You get used to it. Do you imagine I was educated in such a strange language as Canadian English? This kind of trip wouldn’t be very useful if the journey didn’t come with a method of communication as a reward for the effort.”

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