Redhaired Girl Next to the sign sits a little girl on the ground. She
seems to be about seven, eight years old, though her small stature may fool you.
Red curly hair frames a little pretty looking, but dirty face. Especially around
her mouth traces of the meals of today can be seen. But her huge green eyes let
you forget the dirt in her face. She wears her worn out dress, which might have
been green once like the daughter of the King herself and her lack of shoes come
in handy when she gets up and climbs the sign post.
You are getting furious, what a brat is she? Angrily you ask her: "Say, what
is your name, little girl?"
Little Redhaired Girl "Mimi, and I'm not a little girl, I'm nearly grown up!"
Artimidor "I'm Artimidor, and I don't like your tone, little one... Just stop turning the signpost around! I have to know, where to go!"
Mimi "Really? Where do you want to go?"
Artimidor "I don't need to tell you where I want to go. Just stop turning this signpost around, so that you don't mislead the travellers!"
Mimi Mimi stops, leaving the signpost with its arms showing elswhere, but definitely not in the right direction, then looks at at you with disgust showing in her pretty face,
"You are not a nice person! I won‘t warn you and you will be dead soon!" she exlcaims.
Artimidor "Warn me? What can YOU know that I don't?"
Mimi "Oh, quite a lot of things, but I‘m not sure that I want to tell you anything!"
Artimidor "Well, Mimi, I don't want to start quarreling with you. So if you are nice, let's start again, ok? Say, are you playing a certain game here or something with the signpost?"
Mimi "Yes, can't you see that I'm playing? I'm dancing around the signpost, it is the King, and I'm the Queen!"
She looks at you if you'd dare to argue against her, but you decide better not to.
Artimidor "Hmmm, Mimi, do you think it is really a good idea, to turn the signpost around? It doesn't show the way anymore, but isn't it supposed to do so?"
Mimi "Maybe", she answers in a cool tone. "But it is not necessary!"
Artimidor "Hmmm... And why is it not necessary that the signpost points in the right direction?" you ask doubtfully.
Mimi "Well, I'm here, don't you see that?"
You look a bit lost, not knowing exactly what to say, what to think of this little girl.
Artimidor "Well, you tell me you are here, and what then?"
Mimi Mimi looks at you as if you are not able to count as far as two, then says with a generous voice:
"You see, I'm here to tell you which way to go! Where you can find people you are looking for! What you find down there..." She points to a distant baychtree grove. "And there..." She points over the bridge."And..." - and now she is lowering her voice - "...to warn poor people like you!"
Artimidor "So you say I'm poor? Why is that?"
Mimi "Because you will get hurt!"
Artimidor "What makes you feel so sure that I will get hurt, little girl?"
Mimi "Because there are nasty things up the path there!"
Artimidor "Nasty things are up the path there? What kind of nasty things?"
Mimi "I only tell you if you give me some sweets! I want a kao-kao bar! I like chocolate very much!"
Artimidor "A kao-kao bar you say?"
Mimi "I only tell you if you give me some sweets! I want a kao-kao bar!"
Artimidor "Ok, here you go...." You give Mimi a kao-kao bar.
Mimi You look in your backpack and find a kao-kao bar, which you give to Mimi.
"Now, my dear," you say. "Tell me, what kind of nasty things are waiting for me?"
Mimi eats the sweets, putting all at once in her mouth. That doesn't hinder her to tell you what you want to know or what she thinks you should know. She continues turning around the post, giving you a piece of information at every turn. Her speech is not very clear with her mouth full of sweets, but you manage to understand at least most of it.
"Hmmm, oh, there are plenty of nasty things around. Grass snakes are harmless, but there are snails in the pine forest, I tell you, they are just horrible. Keep your eyes open and don't touch one. You may looe your whole hand if the poison gets on your hands, they simply rot away in a matter of minutes and you can't do a simple thing about it!
And the swamps! I would never go nearer than a furlong. If I'd had to go to the Crazy Woman Pass I would really prefer to meet all the horrible dangers up to the tomb as going through the swamp!"
Artimidor "What kind of nasty monsters are in the swamp?"
Mimi "Well, I don't know, I don't go near, but what I've heard - it must be just horrible!"
Artimidor "Terrible, terrible, your stories... but go on, Mimi! What else is up there?"
Mimi "Oh well, the robbers are most times elsewhere, but what is up there is bad enough! There are..." - and now she is counting with her fingers - "There are the Mithral wolves! They are huge and grey and fierce and horrible and terrible and can swallow you with one bite!"
She gets quite pale while imagining the dangers.
"The minchwrats are smaller, but they jump right into your neck and bite you to death! You have not such a tiny chance!" Pressing her thumb and forefinger together, she shows you exactly how big your chances for survival are. "And there are trees up there which will throw a branch at you while you are passing and then they eat you all up! ... And near the tomb a pair of toran eagles have their nest - they are thiiiis huge..." For the purpose of showing you with her hands how huge they are she gets up from the ground where she has been sitting meanwhile. "They can carry you easily away! And then you will be the prey for their nestlings!"
Her big eyes show that she believes in what she tells you. But she has not finished yet:
"And I tell you, in the creek near Baveras' Shrine, there are fish with a mouth that can open up to three peds! They are able to swallow you and your boat just like this..." A snip with her fingers follows... "And did I mention..."
Seeing the doubt in your eyes she finally comes to an end. "Anyway, that is all true!"
Artimidor "Where is the swamp?"
Mimi "Oh, easy to find! If you go up the main road in the village you'll come to a big crossing... If you take the path into the mountains there..." - she points to the west - "... then you will have to go through the swamp!"
Artimidor "What can you tell me about the robbers?"
Mimi "I think, I told you enough for this small kao-kao bar you gave me. It is gone, see ya?"
She shows you her empty hands.
"But I could tell you more if you bring me something else... I'd like to have redberry jam!"
Artimidor "Aha, some redberry jam, you say...." You sigh, wondering if the effort to bring Mimi more food is worth the trouble.
Mimi "I only tell you more if you give me some more sweets! I want redberry jam!"
Artimidor "Actually I have some redberry jam for you...." You give Mimi the glass of jam.
Mimi Nearly the whole glass of jam goes at once straight into Mimi's mouth.
"Now what did you want to know?", Mimi asks.
Artimidor "You mentioned a tomb. What tomb is this you talking about?"
Mimi "I'm talking about the Tomb of Annils of course! Everybody knows it is up there!"
Artimidor "Up the road? What do you mean with 'up'?"
Mimi Mimi, who has stopped her dance around the signpost in the meantime and has climbed it instead slides down and points angrily northwards.
"That is up! Where have you been raised? That is always up!" she points out to you and falls silent afterwards as if considering if she really should take up the trouble of talking to you.
Artimidor "Tell me more about the robbers you mentioned!"
Mimi "Well, they are not always at the same place of course, and I don‘t know, where their camp is, but sometimes they are in the pine forest north of the baychtree grove! I would dearly recommend you to be well equipped if you want to travel there, but it is better than crossing the swamp. And then, there is of course this other forest in the north, it is dark and big - I never was there. And..." - she now starts to whisper - "there lives a strange crazy man out there in these woods! And Niro, a friend of mine, who was there with his father, told me, that you can find glowing monsters around his hut which sleep in little beds the crazy man has made for them outside his hut. Grandma tells me not to go farther than the last hut in the north, because there are terrible dangers waiting for all good people who go there!"
Seems she isn't coming to an end, but somehow you feel tired already of hearing how dangerous, terrible and horrible the plentiful monsters of the region are.
As the little girl sees that you look a bit doubtful, Mimi finishes with saying: "But if you don't believe me anyway, then I also don't need to tell you about the secret."
Artimidor "Who is this Annils?" you dare to ask.
Mimi "Annils Norgerinth. You must know him!" Intensly looking eyes are fixed at you. "Well, he died some time before I was born, but he was a big hero before he died!" Her hands decribe a huge circle in the air. "He saved whole Santh... Santhraria, you know?"
Artimidor "Oh, this Annils seems to have been a big hero then indeed! And how do I get to this tomb?"
Mimi "Well, just follow the path up into the mountains there - that's it!"
Artimidor "You have a secret you'd like to share with me, Mimi?"
Mimi "Well, of course it wouldn't be a secret anymore if I told you about it."
Artimidor "Well, tell me about it, please, I suppose for some more candies? But just tell me first, what it is. Maybe I know already about it!"
Mimi Mimi smilies. "No, you don't! I just say one word: Cave!" With expecting eyes she looks at you.
Artimidor "Your secret is a cave? What do you mean? There are probably several caves in the mountains around here, is there anything special about that one?"
Mimi "Of course this cave is special. Now do you want to know about it or not?"
Artimidor "Ok, tell me about this 'special' cave!"
Mimi "Well, this is a very valulable, ahh..., valuable secret, which is worth more than ordinary candies and stuff! If you want to know, where you can get rich, you need to get me some of the cookies from Ilbeth at the Prosperous Farmhouse! Like the kaokao fruitballs... Hmmmmm... Can't get enough of kaokao!"
Artimidor "Fruitballs from Ilbeth? What else do you want from me, little one? The skin of a mithral wolf or a feather of an eagle? And where should I get them if Ilbeth doesn't have any?"
Mimi Mimi stamps with her foot onto the ground. "If you want to know about the secret, then you should know that it's not for free! My secret is very, very precious, more worth than some cookies. I'm sure of that. But if you don't want to know, I tell it somebody else. There are a lot of strangers around here. The gypsies who have arrived lately are surely interested!
I just want the fruitballs. Bring them to me and I will tell you the biiiiig secret about the cave..."
Artimidor "I have some Fruitballs, but I don't want to give them to you. Maybe I'll eat them myself!"
Mimi "Well, if you want to know the secret, then you'll have to get some!"
Mimi "Bye!" the girl says.