Read Part 1.
Renald emerged from the forest and entered a large open area surrounded by the hulks of several large concrete structures; leftovers from the old times, by the look of them. A few moments later, the man from the dock also emerged, and looked around. Renald found a ledge of concrete, pulled off his pack, sat down, opened the pack, and started pulling out some food.
"You're just stopping here?" queried the man from the dock.
"This is where my contact is to meet me, so I figure he will be along shortly. That, and I'm hungry."
He started to eat, and presently the man from the dock sat and pulled out his own food and started eating. They sat and ate in silence; not exactly companionably, but more just tolerating each others' presence. Just as he was finishing up his lunch, a man emerged from one of the buildings.
"Are you Renald of Skyway?" the man called out.
"I am," answered Renald. As he came slowly toward them, Renald saw a man who appeared to be about sixty years old, with gray-streaked black hair and a neatly trimmed mustache. He walked with a pronounced limp, which accounted for his slow progress across the field.
"I figured, seeing as this character was with you. Our esteemed local commander seems to find a reason to poke his nose into everything, even those things that aren't his business. What's the flimsy reason this time, Ferald?"
The man from the dock returned this greeting with a scowl. "The commander just wants to make sure this visitor to our lands stays safe."
"That's a load of crap and you know it," rejoined the old man. "Now get out of here - you know he's perfectly safe here. Run off and report to your precious commander!" He smiled a broad smile at Renald, and gestured to him to follow as he started limping back to the derelict building he had emerged from.
Renald, ignoring the scowling man he took to be Ferald, followed along. "You must be Feikung. They told me you were quite the cantankerous sort."
"Only when it comes to the thugs the commander calls his troops," stated Feikung blandly.
Renald didn't say anything, but watched the other man thoughtfully. Most people would be risking at least their limbs, if not their lives, telling off the troops of one of the local commanders like that. "There's more going on here than meets the eye," he thought to himself.
Continued in Part 3.