We’ve been travelling for about an hour or so now through the mists of Blind Man’s Road after passing by the orchards and farmlands bordering the city and I have been kicked in the shin, had my hair vigorously matted and been laughed at for nearly jumping out of my skin because I mistook a fox running through the brush for a wolf. I have missed my dear sister immensely and she’s as mischievous as ever. We haven’t seen each other for months and already it is as if we have spent the last several weeks travelling together.
Isabelle and I have been joined on this journey by two others. The first is Giles, a heartland native who owns the carriage and horses we are using to travel through Ayrlaston. He’s a bit of a grump if I’m being honest. One who smells vaguely of tavern ale and who keeps muttering about marauders and grimlurks under his breath before growling that he’ll not be going into the forest of Dyan to get to Stonehold despite the fact that I have told him we won’t be heading north for some time. If I’d had my own way I probably would have acquired the services of someone who might make this trek more agreeable. If the notes of my predecessors have taught me anything it’s that good company can make all the difference. However, Belle assures me that he could navigate these roads in his sleep if he wanted and so I will trust my sister’s judgement on this matter.
Along with our cantankerous carriage driver, riding alongside us is Serena, a hunter and outrider hired to guide us through the more treacherous and least traversed places of the realm. She is quiet and keeps to herself for the most part but I can’t deny that I am thoroughly intrigued by her. Belle keeps prodding me and telling me to stop staring but her skin is so pale, not light like a northerner or moon shone like the Sithylfar but ashen, maybe even a little grey. Any logical person might think her to be perhaps just a little under the weather. Maybe she ate a bad meal before our journey began but I wonder, is there more to her appearance than a spot of bitter belly? It occurs to me that there may be Dothylfar blood in her lineage. I certainly won’t be intruding upon her familial history any time soon though or I may end up on the wrong end of her axe. Half breeds can be so finicky about such things.
I don’t have much to add to my records at the moment. The whole point of this journey is to document what has changed in the realms since they who came before me, those who survived anyway, completed their own treks decades ago. The problem here and now is that the towns and roads within our Barony are all very much tended to and accounted for and so my observations aren’t exactly necessary until we pass through the Vale’s borders into Middemire. With each passing year it seems that there is less and less to venture as every little corner of this country has seemingly been found and excavated leaving scholars like myself with little recourse but to look beyond our borders, to discover new findings and to delve into the nooks and crannies left unburdened by the fingers of explorers or raiders alike.
Isabelle keeps teasing me as we pass by the old Dvergan barrows lining the roadside. Telling me tales to spook me which is precisely what she did to me when we were children. When the candle in father’s study dimmed, we’d wait in our bedroom for a few moments for the house to go quiet and then Belle would read to me from old history books she’d ‘borrowed’ from father. The histories of Amberfall and the Wester Vale, or any historical records at all for that matter, have never appealed to Belle but she knew how fascinated I was at the mere mention of the old countries, of Dveroth and Aodhroth or the mythos surrounding Old Erathos. Maybe that’s why she decided to come with me, to rekindle some vague notions we had in our childhood. Only instead of two children constantly berated by a father determined to drag us screaming out of our youth just so that we can serve the House of Emberheart the way he sees fit, we are both adults accomplished in our disciplines. A mage of the Aeon Citadel and a King’s Scholar, travelling the country together just like we pretended in the courtyard of our manor.
This road is an intimidating prospect. The noises coming from within the trees, I’ve never heard anything like them. We always travelled under clear skies whenever our mother took us to see the capital of Covenraen. It is a wonder that anyone uses it at all to get into the city when this mist descends half the year round. Oh, will you calm down Felix! You’re letting your imagination get the better of you. If this is how you’re feeling traversing through a bit of fog then Maellor help you when we journey to some of the darker corners of the map. Still, if we were to be attacked by some creature or gods forbid, bandits, I should take solace in who I am travelling with. Old Giles probably wouldn’t be able to do much other than viciously berate our attackers with scathing remarks and I know only how to wield a quill. Maybe I could poke them in the eye if they get close enough! It doesn’t matter though. Belle is a damned fine pyromancer and Serena looks like she is equipped with enough arrows in her quiver to fell an entire legion.
Let’s hope that it doesn’t come to that.