Maristela made her way cautiously down the thin stony trail until she reached the small village at the base of the mountain. Of course it was so small that some people wouldn’t even call it a hamlet. A few people wandered around the one street lined with one small blacksmiths shop, a grocer, a pub, and a few small houses. These people were all men and their faces were blackened with soot.
Maristela approached one of the men. When he saw her his eyes filled with fear, he made a strange movement with his hands, and he backed away slowly. She tried to talk to some other people but they did the same thing. She wondered if she was offending them in some way.
The sun was setting quick and she needed a place to stay. She could always just go back up the mountain and stay in the cave, but she didn’t really want to do that. She was better off sleeping in the street.
“Don’t worry about them.” A woman said as she approached Maristela. “They just don’t understand what you are. Your kind and theirs, you both have a complicated history that goes a way back. There is not much you can do about it.”
“I see.” Maristela frowned. “Can you help me then?”
“I woke up in a cave up that mountain and I don’t remember anything but my name. Can you tell me where I am?”
“Uh sure.” She replied. “But first maybe we should introduce ourselves? I’m Kinra. Who are you?”
“Nice to meet you.”
“Now as for where you are. This is a nameless hamlet in the Valley of Flame. It is rare to see a dragonkin around here so far from the ocean.”
Maristela thought for a second. “Dragonkin? Is that what I am?”
“Yes.” Kinra smiled. “And I’m a stone-born. So do you have a place to stay?”
“Does it look like I do?”
“No. In fact it looked as though you were just going to camp out here in the street. I wouldn’t recommend that by the way. Any of these other guys, they may decide that the best course of action is to get rid of you as soon as possible. Don’t worry you can stay in my shop. Nobody would dare break in there. They’ve seen how I get when I’m angry.”
“Oh thank you so much. Where is your shop?”
“Just over there.” Kinra pointed at a small building nearby. It had a large chimney, iron bars on its windows, and a hanging sign on the front painted with an anvil. This woman was the blacksmith.