“I got stuck here on a bet.” The man, Atticus raises his eye brows but says nothing.
“It was a silly bet with the princess and another knight. That if I could get out here in full armor she would let me take her out.” I blush, digging at the sand more as I remember how they played me.
“Well then, you best get out here and collect that reward.” I blink at him, his deep voice seeming to resonate through the emptiness around us. He kneels down, starting to dig me out as he speaks again.
“Well, who you be kid? Tell Uncle Atticus.” I think for a second. I've already mentioned I'm a knight who knows the princess. I figure it can't hurt to tell him my name.
“Erith, would-be-knight if I survive this.” He chuckles again, digging my arms free and letting me pull myself up. It's hard to do, my armor weighing me down in the cool air. Taking a deep breath is slightly painful but nothing worse than training.
“Well would-be-knight, you be free now. You should collect your reward. Perhaps let me come along to witness your return of the bet?” He holds out water, which I take and swallow slowly. The cool water is almost too much for my dry throat.
“Sure, I don't see why not. You just saved me after all.”
“Good. Good! I have camels, I was on my way to the capitol to sell Uncle Atticus famous goods!” That's where I know this guy, his deep voice and dark eyes are hard to place. He's a peddler, one of the larger ones from the capitol.
Without speaking another word, or trying to take his waterskin back, he leads me to a spare camel and we begin the ride back to the capitol. The bet's won and I'm on my way to get my winnings and let them know I know they played me. Nothing more's spoken between us until we reach the spanning city with its high walls and tall buildings.