Autumn Harvest, Pickers’s Day 1, Year of the Lion number 427; August 9, 1738 Agathon
If nothing else, we made good time. The roads along the coast are hard packed, and in some places, paved with large, flat stones. Once we left the city, there were few travelers, and likewise, few people worked in the fields during this time of mourning.
But as we proceeded northward, the air became drier and the sun hotter. We followed a narrow strip of land that separated the northern part of the Whikarst Sea to the west and the Wormwig desert to the east. Villages became sparse as the farms gave way to hard, arid, sandy earth.
On the other hand, with fewer settlements, the opportunities for us to forage increased. This evening I hunted and came back to our camp with several jackrabbits. One of the guards bagged a wild boar. It’s meat would last us several days.
But it’s been five days since we left Wailee, and I wanted to record my reflections on what had transpired. It’s been gnawing at me. Even Alani noticed that I’m unfocused during our rehearsals.
Here’s what I don’t get. News came that Princess Kilesilda was selected to be the new monarch. In all my observations, she seemed cold and calculating. She was harsh and rude to the servants, critical of the way her father ran the country, and, most of all, disdainful of her brother.
Conversely, Ikenare seemed the bumbling fool. Yet, I sensed in him a level of intelligence that befitted a competent ruler. Despite his shortcomings, he was kind and considerate, pleasant to be around, and, to my way of thinking, much more qualified to follow his father than Kilesilda.
So why did they choose her?
And then I remembered the dragon card. I never got a close look at it. I pull mine out of my pack and study it. I feel its familiar chill. Maybe his card had something to do with it. Lena mentioned that each of the dragon cards had some sort of unique property. Mine, a white dragon, gives an aura of cold, which transmits through me to the things I touch. It was said that Ikenare had a foul smell about him, even though he was obviously well groomed. Perhaps his card caused this affect. But why wasn’t he aware of it? If the card was causing him to be shunned by others, it would make sense to me that he should get rid of it.
Right now, my card’s magic is kind of nice. Its chilling effect is a good counter to the hot, mid-summer sun. I caress its smooth surface. What secrets do you hold? What of the other cards like this? How many are there? What special properties do each of them possess?
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