A Journey of Exploration
From the Kaliphlin Desert to the Heights of Mitgardia - and Beyond!
March 15th. Ageven Deraim (my "Lord Duke", I suppose I should say), has now taken to touring the country - perhaps I should say Guild - of Kaliphlin - indeed all Historica. 'Tis always the problem with writing - you must start from the beginning or else end up explaining yourself at every twist and turn. Well then, first and foremost, there are three - no, I have forgot again - four of us (Azc would have the number at five; he considers his teddy bear almost a separate person). Firstly, there is me - Gad - I suppose I shan't attempt to describe myself, but Ageven (ah, yes, I caught a hold of his diary!) described me thus, "a hard worker, noted for his skill, as well as his prowess with the sword. He has none of the scribe learning of Azc, but also none of the strange habits." Apparently he did not put me in the "firstly" position I have given to myself. At any rate, next - mark that - comes Azc, who indeed has both strange habits and great prowess with the pen (although I have yet to catch his diary). And then there is also Raz (no diary at all, I do believe), who for some reason is always paired with me in my "solitary" journeys of exploration. Ah, and of course there is Ageven. We originally came from a land far to the… well, no matter, I never yet got directions correct. It was most certainly far, that I can assure you, and - well, I will plunge at once into the present - I believe Ageven has a return expedition planned for me and Raz - that ought to be Raz and me, I suppose. The fact is, Ageven, during his tour of the country we have arrived at - I shall interrupt myself here to explain; you see, we traveled from far away to Kaliphlin on a raft, the four of us, and have landed here just last October. Of course my Lord Duke must needs tour the country; and during that tour he has, I believe, been observing with some concern the comparatively large followings of some of the most powerful nobles. I make no doubt that he has become assured of his utter inability to rule as a powerful Duke should he remain with only three men. Well, the only way out would seem to be the equipment of yet another raft - indeed, perhaps a full-fledged boat, and allow (or rather, command) Raz and I to return and bring him a suitable following. A most disagreeable possibility, I assure you.
March 16th. I was interrupted yesterday by Ageven, who asked me to come to talk over "possibilities". 'Tis fortunate that we are not near a seaport, else I verily believe we would have been made to put to sea then and there! At any rate, that was not what Ageven had on his mind; instead - ah, I must not have done a good job of explaining previously - you see, we have arrived at Petraea, the capital of this Guild. There is a budding university here, and Azc, always wishing to learn more, apparently desires to remain and study. Well, Ageven saw no reason to deny the request, but of course that put him out of his scribe. Raz does not have the most legible handwriting, rather the opposite; but apparently Ageven thought I could fill Azc's place (doubtless only until he sends us away to augment his following). Personally, I rather wish I could stay at the university - not to learn (although I might not mind that) - but because I have heard that there are even hot tubs here - quite a luxury! Regardless, Azc is now enrolled, and we proceed on our "journey of exploration" in three days.
March 18th. The three days are not yet up, but I thought it advisable (besides, I have a good deal of time on my hands, there is no one to argue with now) to give you a summary of our travels thus far. After landing on a small island, we proceeded up to the mainland. The area where we landed next has a few mountains and seems, on the whole, a place where one could build a strong castle. Besides that, there are no inhabitants at present (or, at least, none to be spoken of), so it seems up for the taking - indeed, I believe Ageven has made up his mind to stay there once he joins the guild. At least, he has picked a name for his city - Auner, and I verily believe he would not pick a name if he did not have a location ready in his mind - and what other location could he pick? Regardless of how that may be, no sooner had Ageven got his hands on a map than he must needs set out to explore. So we trekked along the coast up to Ras-el-Akhen, a port city "nearby" - on the map at least - and located dreadfully near a marshland. Here we discovered that the Qar-akhen River is navigable almost up to the city of Qarker, and so we traveled upstream, pressing ever farther into the Siccus Badlands. Qarker is a large city, located as it is at the foot of the mountains, where many peoples live, and right at the head of both a river to the sea and a road to the capital. 'Tis said it has never been captured, and I can well believe that, for it is heavily fortified. Indeed, I am sure it was there that Ageven first realized the smallness of a band of three. Be that as it may, we took the road through the Parched Lands to Petraea - and I must say that I can by no means recommend it. For days we struggled on, in burning heat and blinding glare, wondering if the sun would ever go down or the desert come to an end. Ageven, however, seems to have forgot this immediately upon his arrival at Petraea. Indeed I cannot wonder too greatly at that, for this city is rich beyond belief. We seem to have left the lawlessness of the Badlands centuries behind, now we are in a different age entirely. Beautiful statues line the streets, houses, or rather, palaces rise high into the sky, and the bustle and noise of the market is incredible! And the University! It attracts members from all five Guilds - from Mitgardia in the north, Avalonia toward the west, Valario, the island of Historica, in the far west, even Nocturnus in the east - and of course, there is no end to the Kaliphlin who study here. As I have said, Azc has persuaded Ageven to permit him to stay and study. At the same conference, Ageven proposed traveling to Barqa along the Oil Road. Raz and I took one look at the map and our destination was changed to QueensCross. No more desert roads for us; if we must needs go to Barqa, at least we could go by the Arkbri river, which leads from QueensCross down. So we proceed tomorrow to QueensCross, leaving Azc here to study in the hot tubs. Ha!
March 23rd. We are now in QueensCross, an attractive city located on the beautiful river of Arkbri. The traders here do a good deal of business; Ageven even got himself a new sword. I believe our travel plans have now become more or less consolidated - we will travel downriver to Barqa and thence along the coast of Avalonia - first overland to Eastgate and then we will likely hike through the Wither Woods until we meet the road to Albion, the capitol of Avalonia. I doubt we will go out of our way so far as the Mystic Isles or the Enchanted Forest, although personally I should enjoy seeing what they are like! Doubtless the idea is to proceed toward Mitgardia, then down to Nocturnus by way of Kaliphlin - though our stay in Nocturnus will likely be a short one. And then - to say truth, even Ageven does not seem to have planned farther than that - though sending us off seems an all too likely possibility.
March 29th. We are traveling downstream to Barqa today - it is so hot I think Raz would gladly jump into the river for a swim (and so would I, for that matter). It is almost my turn to steer, although I do hope we put ashore before then. Something must be up - Ageven is watching Raz, who is leaning over towards the water as far as he can, and … over he goes! (Raz, of course, not Ageven.) It is indeed a fortunate thing that I was not writing at the moment - Ageven gave the boat a sudden twist, causing Raz to fall out with a splash. Enough of this, my book will soon be soaked!
April 9th. After a short stay in Barqa we have proceeded up the coast to Avalonia. We spent the last night next to a herd of cows - fortunately, they were enclosed in a pasture. That did not prevent them from mooing half the night long though. In general, Avalonia seems a nice place (especially if one desires to be a farmer - or an elf), there is a lot of beautiful green vegetation, lush forests - indeed, it is an entirely different world from the deserts of Kaliphlin. We will soon visit Eastgate, and then travel through the countryside to Albion, the capital of this immense kingdom. Raz still retains the hope of being able to convince Ageven to go out of his way sufficiently to visit at least the Mystic Isles, but I have no faith in his argumentative powers.
April 13th. My faithlessness has proven correct; Ageven has expressed, in no uncertain terms, his desire to spend the summer in Mitgardia after a weeks stay in Albion - with no Mystic Isle or Enchanted Forests involved. Everything Raz could think of availed nothing, so we will set out for Albion as soon as we have gathered the necessary provisions here at Eastgate. I had thought, upon looking at the map, that Eastgate was in Avalonia - there are no clear boundaries drawn. Apparently however, I was misled, we are still in Kaliphlin - although it is no longer desert; this is a flourishing port. I am still not sure where Avalonia begins, but presumably the Red River marks its border. However, the scenery here is the same as in the rest of the countryside until Mitgardia or, if you travel east or west, Cedrica or the Mystic Isles. It is said to be "a melting pot of cultures", and here is where the GEAR Co. has their headquarters. We have been invited to dinner with the lord of the city, Dugal MacLean, the occasion being his engagement.* Both Raz and I are heartily looking forward to it; it should be a welcome relief from the fare of biscuit and dried beef we have been attempting to consume thus far.
April 14th. What a banquet it was! I know I could not eat another frosted pijara by the time I was done, no, not even one more of the sugar and honey coated raisins we were plied with all dinner long. There were sumptuous beefs and turkeys - even a roast peacock was laid on the table - bountiful spreads of fruits and vegetables, sauces without number or name, fish and pig, egg and potato, all dressed to perfection. Does MacLean feast like this every day, I wonder? No, I should think not; he lives up to his name to truly for that, and he did not eat sparingly last night. And the deserts! Every kind of Kühen and pie, all the berries you could imagine - sweets and delicacies, all ready for the taking - I could not bear even to look at food after the meal!
Next stop - Avalonia!
And if you read this far, thanks a ton! This is the longest section (since I had to do a bunch of explanation at the beginning; my goal was that you don't have to have read my previous story or even know much about the Guilds to understand this), the rest will be shorter… I think. (I'll be editing the tags with the date of the latest addition.)
Of course, C&C are more than welcome!
*[sorry, I had to play around with the date… And don't blame me, it was NM's idea (right?)]
Update; Oct. 20th: see here.
Part three (Nov. 9th) here!
Part four (Nov. 27th) right here.
The Hut in the Forest
The Robber's Lair
Inn on the Arkbri
Return to the East (the end)
Edited by Kai NRG, 03 April 2013 - 04:35 PM.