...when a hobbled and frail beggar appeared at the gates. Machaira motioned for the man to unclothe his right forearm – standard procedure. And to the astonishment of both young guards, there was a crescent moon tattooed to the beggar. Machaira fumbled for words and put his hand on his sword, as if trying to command authority. And then the beggar spoke, “Just a rest for the night…no money…no food...so thirsty….” His voice trailed off.
Machaira and Ramos looked at each other with apprehension and indecision. This beggar looked half-dead – what harm could he be? The poor man might pass out at their feet if they did not give him food and shelter. The stories their fathers told of the great Gibonian enemies flew through their minds. Yet, the only use that these young guards had for swords was to swat flies at the gate. And besides, wasn’t it about time that someone reached out a hand of friendship to the other side – especially to a defenseless beggar? Almost impulsively, Ramos pulled the beggar inside the city gate, as both guards quickly shut the gates behind them.
The beggar was brought over to a small group of poor, homeless individuals just inside the gate. The little band of beggars willingly shared a few crusts of dried bread with their newest addition to the community. The Gibonian beggar took some of their food and water, mumbled some words of thanks, and fell fast asleep.