Sensing his discomfort, the man walked over to the other side and threw a thin leather sheet over that side of the dome. While he was doing so, Roob was able to examine the many tables, blank pages, chisels, the few eating utensils present, the bed and the fire-pit, currently lit. Roob walked carefully over to one of the tables with a cup on it, assuming it was safe to sit there and waited while the Rain-Keeper walked back.
“As I was saying: You are then certainly far from home. I have a little water that I can spare, if you’d like, and many questions.”
Roob waited for the questions then realized that the Rain-Keeper had already asked one. “I will not deny the pure waters of a Rain-Keeper.” He looked humbly at the table as he said this.
The man sighed, taking the cup from in front of Roob he walked over and poured the water from a container and set the cup unceremoniously in front of Roob before sitting down. “Do not believe this is some holy shrine or sanctuary. While I am… was… a Rain-Keeper, I am not here from some penitential duty.”
Questions blossomed in Roob’s mind, but still he did not look up from the water. It was not his place to ask questions in this man’s home, Rain-Keeper or not. Under his breath he whispered the thanks he had known from childhood for the sacred liquid, before drinking it. The Rain-Keeper waited for Roob to finish before continuing, “What are you doing here, so far from your Barrow?”
Roob looked at the man, “I am a Surveyor. We have no choice in my Barrow but to search this land for suitable mounds.”
“We are not far from the forest though, I’m certain your Rain-Keepers are not happy about this. What prevents your Tribe from taking someone else’s mound, or pleading refuge through the Rain-Keepers?”
“Our allies will need to expand soon as well, so we cannot plead refuge through the Rain-Keepers. We have not the force after one of our Barrows collapsed.”
“Barrows do not collapse. How did this happen?”
“We do not know, Exalted…” Roob stopped himself, but the conversation had fallen into such a familiar place that he was hardly paying attention. It fell upon Roob and his family to make sure the Barrows were secure, that nothing done to them affected their protections. His family, he himself knew the Barrow had been secure, it should not have collapsed. They had all answered this question many times, and Roob had taken this task upon himself to restore some status to his family.
The man waited, sounding out the silence with his gaze. “The Barrow should not have collapsed, save it be the Rain’s will that all within perish.” Roob’s reply was quiet, non-accusatory, but heavy with shades of meaning. The man leaned back into his chair.
“Do you wish to be alleviated of your sorrow? Of your ‘responsibility’ for such matters?” the man asked. What little vision left was rooted onto Roob’s face.