Bu swept a matted lock of hair from his vision for the umpteenth time, his face held a warm sheen from the close, thick heat. He wasn't used to being this close to the equator, but needs must as his old teacher had always said. This would have been his third week on the road, seeing the sites and visiting his father's more favoured customers.
Bu looked over the vast tropics of Kapda, The Great Tapestry, there couldn't have been a better place to stop for the night, stood in the gardens of yet another grand house he could smell the sweet scent of the evening blooms. They always seemed to smell better in the evening. Closing his eyes, he took a deep breath, the almost still air cooling his sun beaten head.
Hearing a cough, Bu turned around, knowing it his was his guide, and some would say, security detail. Overly tanned and wearing the khaki shirt and trousers of his father's company militia, Aadi wasn't a large man, or a threatening one, his skills didn't come with the rifle he carried, but with the machete he carried, and the information in his head. He was the kind of man who could survive on his own in the jungles for as long as he needed to. He wasn't here just to make Bu look important, but to help with the rigours on the road. Friendly waves were exchanged and Bu turned to lean over the raised wall of the terrace, two other men of his father's company sat smoking tobacco next to the heavy terrain truck they had brought along. Danu, Bu's father had insisted they travel by air, but what was the fun in that? The jungle would be no more than a green carpet, and they wouldn't have felt the adventure of the near hidden roads. Bu called to the men down below “Namas Tayam!” The men jumped to their feet by habit, even this long journey hadn't drained the formalities from them, he laughed and beckoned them up. Turning to Aadi, he looked questioningly as the guide held a slip of paper out for him to take. A message, from his father. It must have been sent ahead to the merchant's manor.
Butterflies erupted in Bu's stomach, and what felt like a large fist gripped at it. Confirmed.
Clone and implant compatibility confirmed. Bu looked up to Aadi, who looked back with a smile, even though his eyes appeared disconnected from his mouth, Bu had seen this look before, disappointment. Throwing all formalities aside, Bu pulled Aadi close for a hug, he had to hug somebody, he turned back to gaze out at The Great Tapestry, it somehow seemed smaller.