Around a dozen people stood in the center of the silent meeting hall. They were a diverse group, some humans, others elves; there was even a dwarf. Some had practical clothes and rough skin accustomed to a life of salt and hard labor. A few had nicer garments. Perhaps they were merchants, expecting to make a small fortune peddling exotic goods. They were all plainly, obviously foreigners to the space. They glanced uncomfortably, waiting for a cue that they were not even sure they would receive.
One of them, the captain, stood towards the front. He was a deeply tanned middle aged man, with a face adorned by a red beard streaked with white. The man wore a muted blue sailor’s suit and pants. His clothing was in abysmal condition. It was torn, and several portions were worn down to threads. Despite his overall haphazardness of most his appearance, though, an immaculate teal scarf wrapped around his neck. As for the rest of the group, they looked to have fared no better. Their clothes were tattered, stained with blood, sweat, and copious amounts of sea water.
The hall in which the group found themselves in was plain. Wooden columns were spaced every few feet, and thin paper sheets stretched between them. The floor was tiled with several woven straw mats. A hearth lay in the center in the hall, around which the crew stood in a loose semicircle. At the end of the hall, five humans sat in a line. They wore undecorated muted-purple robes, and they had shoulder length hair tied into a small bun on the top of their heads. The majority, except for the man sitting on the far left, were advanced in age and had silver hair. Each wore a different single piece of jewelry - a bracelet, a ring, a necklace, a head band, a pair of earrings - plain silver adorned with a small orange crystal.
The middle of the Domoutsan councilmembers spoke in archaic trade common, “Please sit.” She was an old woman. Little set her apart from her fellow councilmembers in appearance, but her commanding aura made it evident to everyone in the hall that she was the head of the council.
The crew one by one began to sit around the hearth. First the elf sat, then some of the humans followed. The dwarf stood for just a fraction of a second longer, as if to say, “Just because I am obeying your command does not mean I am happy about it.” Soon only the red-bearded captain remained standing.
The head of the council stared intensely at him. “Just sit already. Haven’t you been through enough trouble? You really do not need to be adding more onto it,” she thought. Just as she was about to open her mouth, the man bowed respectfully, and then took his place on the floor next to his crew.
She smiled. It was neither cold nor warm, but it was polite. The orange crystal hanging from her necklace glowed brightly for a second, and then dimmed. She quickly looked over the foreigners sitting in the room, and then returned her gaze to the captain. She spoke in stilted, but surprisingly fluent Obrexian. “Do not be alarmed. I have asked for… a favor of sorts. For a little while we will be able to communicate together. I am Katerina, the Head of the Council for the town of Otserawa. Bear in mind, I am not actually speaking your tongue. I do have a translator of sorts, though. Forgive me if there are any misspoken words. We have not had a situation like this since… well...” She paused for a moment, and thought of her words carefully, “Oh nevermind, it’s been quite a long time. May you identify yourselves?”
The captain smiled - not a polite smile like Katerina’s, but a smile as if he had been told a hilarious joke. “Alrighty then! My name’s Captain Azark Timothios, of the former ship Deliverance. Not that it’s in a condition to be delivering anybody anywhere.” He chuckled. Then the captain continued. “They,” he gestures to the people around him, “are my crew!”
Katerina nodded. “We are pleased to meet you. May we be gracious hosts. Now, would you mind telling us the story of how you and your crew crashed your ship, damaged our harbor, and sank nearly half a dozen fishing vessels last night?”
Captain Azark burst into laughter, prompting glances from several of the council members. Katerina, however, continued her polite stare at the captain. After a moment, he wiped his face and calmed his expression. He spoke, “Your translator’s gonna have a hell of a time translating this!”