"Not at all, "Gypsum replied. "But we admit that we value our freedom more than your customs."
"And what of us? You will condemn us to lives of no shelter, no food or drink, simply so that you can wander as you please?"
"Yes," Feldspar replied without hesitation.
Gypsum tried to be more helpful. "Lie. Tell them you saved yourselves and do not mention us at all."
"We cannot do that! It would deny the test the Creator set before us, and your role in that test. The Great Condawk would punish us," Amethyst nearly wailed.
Gypsum tried to be encouraging. "Then tell the truth and see what happens. We will wait here. See if they accept you before you give up."
Pyrite accorded them a dark look. "It is possible the men of Krakold will come here to enforce your observation of our customs."
Feldspar returned the look with a flat stare. "That would not be a good idea." He pulled his sword from its scabbard for emphasis.
Pyrite stared at him, then turned sharply away and marched with resolute pride toward the bridge. Amethyst hurried to catch up, then walked beside him. She tried bravely with her carriage to conceal her worry.
Feldspar turned to his twin. "Why wait here? We owe them nothing, despite their stupid custom. We worked hard enough to save them. We should be on our way. That cannot be the only bridge across this annoying river."
"Brother, there is an obvious solution to this problem. It is not one either of us would choose, but is a decent compromise if the idiots in this village insist on their stupid custom."
Feldspar looked at his brother with narrow-eyed suspicion as he considered the words. Then he understood.
"No! Why should we inflict these religious nuts upon ourselves? I have enough to do looking out for you!"
"Because we, you especially, worked so hard to save them. If we do not dedicate a little more effort to them, all that work will be wasted."
Feldspar grumbled but did not argue. They both took the rare opportunity to relax.
An hour later the two natives of Krakold came trudging back, bearing whatever possessions they could carry.
Riotori cannot cry, but their body language can register the same emotions. Amethyst showed grief and hopelessness with every step. Her father's steps were short and rigid, and his face registered antagonism...of course, the usual facial expression of a Riotori male registered passive hostility, so the difference was not immediately noticeable.
"They have turned us out, for we are now deemed worthless. Our family was kind enough to allow us to take a few things that they deemed worthless as well, since they were ours."
"What shall we do now?" wailed his daughter. "We have lived all our lives in Krakold. We will surly starve, or be killed by animals, or freeze when the winter nights come. Better if you had never saves us!"
The twins had continued to sit on the ground, relaxed and untroubled. They already knew what would be done.
Feldspar allowed his brother to state their case. "You have said that your lives belong to us. Is that still the case?"
"Yes. But what does it matter? You have discarded our lives as worthless. I can understand for myself, but my daughter is young and hard-working, and will be very pretty in a few years. I do not understand why you would not wish to keep her."
"Calm down, Pyrite. We only hoped you were exaggerating about the expectations of your village. Since your lives are ours, we will make use of them. But not in your village. Where is the next bridge?"
It took the man a minute to understand what Gypsum meant. Then he pointed upstream. "Twenty miles that way."
The brothers stood up and began to gather their belongings.
"Then rig your bundles for travel. We can make near to half that before nightfall."