"Diogo!" His friends sat at their normal table the fireplace with one noticeableaddition. There was food on the table, lots of it, and pitchers of beer as well. The sourceof such bounty stood with a ragged smile on his bearded, umber face. Diogo experiencedhis first genuine smile in days. His best friend, Sitewu, had finally returned."What the hell are you doing still alive?" he shouted as he charged the table. Thetwo met and hugged, smacking each other's back."You always said I was too ugly to die," Sitewu answered. "I guess you wereright."Another man stood, his chubby brown face bordered by black hair that cascadedto his shoulders."You never greet us like that," Inola argued."I see you scum every day."Another man, a pale fellow with thin red hair and too many freckles barked out alaugh."Better us than the devil!"He sat with his companions, taking the seat by Sitewu."So the army is back?"Sitewu drained a gourd of beer. "Back and victorious.""Who would have believed the Sivads would take down the Empress?" Inola said."I damn sure wouldn't have," the red headed man said."Of course you wouldn't, Sean." Diogo joined his friend with a beer.Sean sucked his teeth. "If those Bucadans hadn't arrived with those damnmachines the Sivads would be feeding the worms."