The kinsman of the Mwene took a deep breath and answered in his best classical Atlantean, speaking as a noble to a noble of equal rank, “There has not been an Atlantean governor anywhere since the Empire fell, two thousand years ago.”
“You assume airs unbecoming to your station, ape!” The leader began to thrust his staff with its crystal topping forward and the globe shattered. The crack of a rifle hung in the air. The Atlanteans gaped.
“You are not our masters, our owners or our betters,” corrected the Mwene’s kinsman in the same status mode as before, “but if you obey our laws and our rules then you are our honoured guests.”
“Honoured guests? When you have somehow destroyed my staff of authority?” The Atlantean was dignified indignation personified.
“Honoured guests,” confirmed the kinsman of the Mwene, “despite your attempt to use the staff of authority’s weapon on me.”
“We have other weapons.” That was almost a hiss from the Atlantean.
“So do we.” The Mwene’s kinsman stood firm. “Now, are you and all who travel with you our honoured guests or will you refuse our hospitality?”
It was the woman with the small, tight braids who spoke, “It cuts us deeply to accept hospitality in the house that was once ours, but accept it we must for we have others to think of.” The Mwene’s kinsman turned his attention to her and she went on, “Our ship could not find our departure point to land there. This is supposed to be the city of my birth but anyone can see that there has not been a city here for a long time. You say that the Empire fell two thousand years ago. Everything I have seen since waking from the long sleep agrees with that.” She glanced at their leader, who looked as if he might be fuming in dignified silence, “The welfare of the colonists until the point of foundation is my responsibility and this is my decision.”
“May I enquire how many colonists and where you were going?” The Mwene’s kinsman tried to keep his eyes on both her and the leader.
“We sought to colonise the high plains of heaven and dwell next to the gods.” She sighed. “Including all nobles, their house seeds, guildsmen and the common labour pool, we number twelve thousand.”