Belaphont, Cadkis Province
The party came upon Belaphont's crop fields, heavily irrigated parcels of bailey and wheat. Thatch and tree homesteads were spaced far from another, as if each were its own fortress, safeguarding their lands. Every house featured its own set of additions and repairs, signatures of adaptation. The village itself rested on a smooth, rising slope which bended and became hilltop in the directionality of the Cadkis-Safron-Ravil border.
It was on the hilltop that all the action occurred. Here the space between homes narrowed and all the buildings required to support large populations began to appear. Storage houses, common areas, armories, watch towers: all recently constructed and composed chiefly of thick wood. That same wood was stood on its end around the hilltop, forming a low yet practical wall. Belaphont had received obvious military investment since the invasion of Cadkis.
Walking besides Vash, Max smirked at the sight of those wooden palisades. “You’d think, with all these soldiers, Belaphont wouldn’t have to deal with thieves, but no; all they’re good for is eating and buying.” Max briefly recalled the image of Granderog eating thigh meat. “No offense, of course,” he quickly added.
Behind him, Vier found that her curiosity had grown too great, that her eyes had flickered to silent Arthas one too many times. “What, are you?” she asked. “Were you, human? Are you human?”
The children of Belaphont, unlike her, were completely unabashed. Nonhumans were not such a rare occurrence in their lives, here at the border. They ran to the group, many of them gathering about Granderog. They shouted out at him, inviting him to their games: “Throw me!” “You’re it!” “I bet I’m stronger than you!” Silis chuckled as kids yelled to him atop the cart. “Sorith,” he called out. “You should give them something to really be excited about.”