Finding Home

Ronon has to decide where his home truly lies - with a blue-eyed doctor or a village claiming to be his people.


9. 9

So many emotions washed over Ronon as he stood awestruck at the sight of the tiny village below. He felt elated that he might have finally found people of his own kind. He felt sadness and regret too. Sadness that there hadn't been more who survived the devastation and regret that he had not been a part of the group from the very beginning.

Along with feeling this way, Ronon was also extremely cautious and on guard as he watched Crieve descend the hill. There was still a part of him that did not trust the man completely. He was hiding something. In the end, Ronon thought, this all could possibly be an elaborate trap.

Scanning the area with a keen military eye, Ronon took note that the settlement had been situated in a crook of the steep mountain. No enemy was going to attack the village from behind nor was it going to attack from either side. The people had built the settlement so that the base of the mountain nearly surrounded it. They used the mountain itself as a natural barrier. If an enemy were to attack from the front, it would have to cross the river – which would slow it down – and then make its way through a narrow out-cropping of solid rock. The enemy would have to march its troops through the narrow passage way which then would force it to become bottle-necked and slow its advance. With this natural line of defense, it would take fewer Satedans to defend the village if they were ever set upon by a foe. It was a smart strategic move, Ronon thought. He also wondered if it had been Crieve's idea.

Ronon let his gaze travel over the area. He noticed a large structure that seemed to be the heart of activity for the small community. The building was closest to the mountain and had been built on a rise which had it overlooking everything. For extra protection, a wooden fence nearly ten feet tall, surrounded it. The gates were open wide and people came and went with purpose. Ronon concluded that the building was the people's last stand of defense if everything else failed them.

It seemed that the single story building had been erected from the timber harvested from the nearby woods. Its length was three times that of its width. Ronon estimated that it could easily house fifty people at once. Two massive stone chimneys stood guard on either side of the long house. Numerous windows were evenly spaced out along the length of the structure with their shutters open. Two heavy wooden doors graced the middle of the building and were also open wide to let the late summer breeze flow through the interior to cool it off and to air it out.

Off to the side of the Common structure was a slightly smaller building. It appeared to be the cooking area. Women toiled over fires and steaming kettles as children were tasked at turning the meat over the roasting spit. The breeze carried to Ronon the smell of food cooking – and his stomach growled in response. Ignoring his hunger, Ronon continued his analysis of the village.

Scattered outside of the wooden gates of the Common building were nearly twenty smaller structures. These were constructed from stone with the roofs made of earth and moss. A shuttered window or two along with a simple wooden door completed the house. Those structures seemed to be made for individual families.

Along the outskirts of the village sat a few outbuildings that resembled the long house but much smaller. Chickens and pigs could be seen in pens next to the barn-like building. Ronon heard the hammering of a smithy. The rhythmic 'tang' 'tang' of the hammer connecting with the anvil brought back memories of when he was a boy and spent summers with his grandparents.

They preferred to live in the country away from the city life. They sustained themselves on what they grew and what nature provided for them. Occasionally his mother's parents would leave their farm to come into the city to visit with Ronon and his siblings but not too often. His grandfather would always tell him that if nature did not provide it for you then you did not need it to begin with.

Scanning further past the buildings Ronon saw fields of golden grains and corn being harvested by men, women and children alike. He saw livestock - cattle, goats, and sheep - grazing in the emerald pasture lands and being tended by a few youths.

The sight of the rustic village below him was so surreal to Ronon. He was reminded of his world's long forgotten past – a past when life was much simpler. A past before his time, before the Wraith and before technology. His people were not as advanced as Atlantis – not many cultures were – but to see his people having been stripped of their hard earned progress was bitter-sweet. A lot had been lost the day the Wraith came but at least there were survivors that could begin again, he told himself.

Eager to get a closer look, Ronon jogged down the hill to come up alongside Crieve. The two men made their way to the village. Walking through the narrow passage way with its sheer cliffs on either side of them, Ronon once again admired the strategic move to build the village in such a well-protected place.

Once through to the other side, they passed people that were harvesting the fields. Everyone was curious at who entered the village along with Crieve. Some would stop their task to wave and say a greeting to the merchant, then just stand staring at Ronon before going back to their task.

Ronon was more than positive that these were his people by the mark of the Ny'dar. Most of the men wore the mark – their family's house glyph or crest – tattooed on the side of their necks like Ronon. It was or it had been law that once a male turned 13 they were considered a man and marked with the family symbol. Females were also to be marked but the placement of the tattoo was situated over their left shoulder. It was placed there because, once a female chose her mate, she then wore his family glyph on her neck. It was permanent because Satedan's bonded for life. It was a decision not made lightly by either party.

Narrowing his gaze at Crieve, who walked a few steps ahead of him, Ronon wondered about what he had meant earlier by a possibility of finding someone Ronon once knew in the settlement. Before he could question the merchant, a young boy no more than 10 or so jumped out from behind some boulders and stood in front of them.

"Halt!" The boy spoke in a very authoritative voice. He brandished a wicked looking spear. It was aimed at the men who had abruptly stopped at the command. "What business do you have here?"

Ronon quickly looked over the boy. He wore just a pair of pants and his feet were bare. The boy's long blond hair was tied back away from his face. Ronon surmised that the boy probably spent most of his time outside by the way his skin was a deep bronze color. His brown eyes held no play; he was being deadly serious with the question and the spear.

Crieve held up his hands in mock surrender and stated, "We come in peace. May we pass?"

The boy nodded his head toward Ronon and asked, "Who is he?"

"Hey. I'm Ronon. Ronon Dex. I'm…"

"Dex? From the house of Al'drid?" the boy asked astonished. He then looked at Crieve, "Is this the one mother sees in her dreams? You found him?" The boy took a cautious step forward, looking over Ronon, accessing him.

Ronon narrowed his eyes at the child then looked at Crieve. But before he could ask what the boy meant, Crieve intervened, "Enough Thane! Be off with you boy. Go tell the others that we have arrived. Go. Go!" Crieve waved his arms to shoo the boy off.

Taking one last look at Ronon, Thane turned and ran off to deliver the news.

"Come." Crieve motioned for Ronon to follow as he started off again towards the village just a short distance away.

"What did he mean when he said his mother sees me in her dreams?"

The merchant kept walking.

"Crieve!" Ronon stated in a low threatening tone.

Ignoring Ronon's question, the jeweler kept walking and without looking back spoke, "Come. The sun is fading behind the mountains, I am tired and I am starving. I will explain everything once we get home."

Ronon hadn't moved from his spot. Too many thoughts were swirling around in his head. Who was the boy's mother? Did Ronon know her? Did she know him besides in her dreams? What was the dream about? Was it anything like his?

Ronon began walking the remaining distance to the village. There he would either find a trap or an explanation; but, whichever one, his questions would be answered this day or someone was going to pay the price.

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