© copyright 2008 

     Situated as it was, in an ill defined feudal corner of the 'Wild, Abramdale was a fortified town, and suspicious of strangers—especially night errants arriving at the break of day. The morning's sun beams did little to brighten the drab gray walls which enclosed it. If anything, light only irritated the sleepy-eyed gateman who roused himself only long enough to impose on Kosmos as he tried to enter town.
     “What's your business here, stranger?” the gateman demanded 
    “Kosmos is my name, good sir, a humble wayfarer who's traveled all night to reach town in time . . . that is to say, before the Rumble.” The gateman's grungy face was knotting up in a most unfriendly way. Kosmos reconsidered his choice of words, then handed the gateman his list, figuring that would spell it out so even a stump could understand. Encouraged by the fact the lout could read, Kosmos continued. “I'm looking for one of your townsfolk, one who might fit that description.” 
     The gateman scoffed as he labored to read the list: “Devout, Honest, Faithful . . . Virtuous—Haw! You'll not find anyone like this in Abramdale.” He then crumpled up Kosmos' list and tossed it away. “On your way you old sack. Go find yourself a monastery.” 
     Stupid sot! thought Kosmos. “Well put, sir. However, if I may venture in just to rest my road weary bones—”
    “Rest your good-for-nothing bones on the wayside, flea bag. We've enough strays in our town.” 
     “Stupid, arrogant sot!” Kosmos extracted a wad of clay from his sleeve and began to to knead it with his stubby fingers. After muttering a few words, he ambled past the gateman and on into town. The fellow moved not a muscle, except for a wide welcoming smile for the visitor. And he didn't even question the crumpled up list tagging along behind.  

     “If that sour apple tending gate is an example of this town's populace, you're going to need a lot of clay.” said Flux. “You told him who you are. Why didn't you tell him what you are?”
     “Tut! Didn't want to befuddle him further, by trying to read and think at the same time. Besides, Flux, we must sample this town's 'apples' ourselves. Perhaps we'll find a nice sweet one. But where to start? The town has yet to wake.”