Winter Sleeping, Father’s Day 12, Year of the Lion number 427; January 29, 1739 Agathon; Linne 182
Grey, brown, white, brown, grey, black. Everything seemed to lack color. The last few days before reaching Hiltmar were just an endless series of low, rolling hills covered in empty farm fields waiting for spring. The snow cover thinned, became patches, became puddles, became mud. The skies were always grey and threatening, but never bursting in the anger that they surely hid behind their mask.
Hiltmar, I’m told, is the largest city in Avensaria. It’s the only city in Avensaria. There are towns, villages, settlements, communities, or whatever. Nestled against the Torevil river, which creates a natural barrier against the Tencreature Forest that expands to the south and east. They say the Tencreature Forest is larger than all of Avensaria. Following along the river, looking across, all I could see was an impenetrable wall of trees.
Here, the river is narrower than further east. Most of the time, it’s between a half mile and a mile wide, but here, it’s more like a quarter mile. Still more than I’d be willing to swim. Fortunately, there’s a bridge and a road that leads to the Dwarven country of Gathia, and its capital, Shrinehall.
Down by the riverbank, they built a great wall to hold the river back. They tell me that in the spring, floodwaters from the mountains, the melting snow and the spring rains, causes the river to rise twenty, thirty, and even forty feet over its bank. Right now, the river is low and slow. Several river barges are lined up waiting for cargo to take downstream. I’m fascinated by how mules pull the barges along the river from the bank. Men with long poles are tasked with keeping the barges away from fallen trees and hidden rocks.
I spent my first night in the Prancing Dragon Inn. It’s morning, now, and today I will go find the witch, Syreni. I talked to several townsfolk last night, but the bartender was most helpful. I never got his name, but he was quite jovial and friendly, wearing an old sea-captain’s jacket that didn’t fit around his rotund belly. I like the way his cheeks dimpled as he smiled at the patrons, serving them generously and promptly.
I was kind of surprised that no bards performed in this tavern. They seemed to be a fixture common to all these types of establishments. I guess if you have the kind of personality that bartender has, you don’t need a performer to attract business.
Well. I’m rested and ready for the day. Time to put down this pen and get on with my mission. Who knows what’s in store for me next?.
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