The tall, multi-storied buildings shaping the city stood proudly as he rode through the wide streets of cobblestone. Some were of wood while others were built strong with grey stone. The higher levels had narrow balconies and washing lines which stretched above the street, tied to the railing of a balcony on the other side. Clothes were hung to dry, and water dripped, making small puddles emerge between the stones on the ground.
The residents gathered on the sides to watch them leave. Most were women and children; he had never seen so many young mothers carrying small babies wrapped in cloth blankets before. The looks on their faces varied, some appeared happy, almost relieved, while some frowned at them, or even cried. He understood. Not everyone would understand their purpose. He could hear them talk among each other, laughter and a hint of smaller arguments.
Markets and stores were lined up all the way to the main gate with its wooden signs out the front. Clothier, shoemaker, blacksmith, healer, baker. The smells of horse dung mixed with the fresh aroma of burning oils escaping through the open doors of the healer’s establishments.
The sun had risen, the light created white and yellow streaks, shooting down from the sky, glimmering as they hit the stone structures. The fortifications surrounding the whole complex stood tall and sturdy, banners fluttering in soft motions on top of the many stone towers. Armed guards pulled ropes to open the heavy doubled gate. The land beyond the wall came into view before them.
©Melina Wedin 2017