Through a Cat’s Eyes: 16.1

Summer Growing, Shader’s Day 9, Year of the Lion number 428; August 4, 1739 Agathon; Linne 182

I didn’t realize until after I left Shrinehall that I’d written in the last page of my journal. I didn’t want to put my log into my other book – the one where I draw pictures of mystical items and such. Many evenings I wanted to relax and record the day’s events but couldn’t. Until now.

And now I feel I must go back and recap what’s happened over the past… uhm… 7 months. Well, with the Agathon/Linne calendar, it’s only 5 months. I think I said before that the calendar of my homeland makes much more sense. None of these 30- and 31-day switches. Every month, except the last one, all have exactly 20 days.

But let me recap. I don’t want to go into a lot of detail, but there are a few highlights I want to hit. It’s been a while, so the details are fuzzy.

After leaving Shrinehall, I went south through the great tunnel to the coast of the Innerrim Sea. The trip took over fifteen days. Calling it a tunnel is the wrong way to describe it. It would be like calling a mountain a pile of dirt. The caves are vast, the architecture is glorious, and the views within are breathtaking. Narrow causeways stretched over great underground caverns lit by refracting light from crystals. Echoes made a single person’s steps sound like a marching army. Many times, I met with small communities of dwarves who, in their entire lifetime, never saw the rising sun or the moon and the stars. They’d live their entire long lives working in these caves and tunnels. Carts and barrels of ore were brought to the main passage where wagons on iron rails would carry the material miles on end without so much as a horse or mule to draw them. I joked about riding in one of the carts but they warned me against it, saying it would be quite dangerous. Thrilling, perhaps, but dangerous.

Then I arrived at the town Queencaves. You’d think this would be a shipping powerhouse, but I was shocked to find that it was nothing more than a farming community with a small port. Most of the ore was taken north to Shrinehall. While some came through Queencaves, I didn’t understand why it wasn’t a trading hub until a few days later.

Just south of Queencaves, in the Innerrim Sea, is an island called Statow. A couple centuries ago, a group of dwarves left Gathia and formed their own little country. I chartered a boat that took me there, and this is what I expected Queencaves to be, but there was still something that seemed off. While the entire town was built into the side of the mountain, and most of it inside the mountain, those buildings that were exposed – including the warehouses and docks, were all made of heavy stone. Even the roofs were made from carved slabs. When ships came into the harbor, men were always alert and watching the skies. I found out that several giant birds, called rocs, lived on the next island south, and occasionally they would come here to hunt.

And on the next island to the south they said a great beast lived in the water. If a ship sailed into the raging storm that was there all the time, it would never return. I never saw any of these creatures. To the west, the great Marblefall Reef spanned along the southern shore of the Vipersand Desert. Not only did storms rage, but ships traveling through had to maintain a shallow keel or else run aground unexpectedly. Trapped ships were easy prey for the rocs or for other predators.

Despite its difficulties, Statow was easily the wealthiest city I had visited in my travels. Why, you ask? Because of a greenish-tinted ore they mine here. This ore is very difficult to mine, and for every hundred pounds of raw, they’re lucky to get one pound of useable metal: Adamantium. A mere sliver of adamantium worked into steel would grant it mystical properties. A sword made with it gave it power that only gods could wield, and when enchanted by a skilled wizard, the enchantment would last forever. So they said. To their knowledge, only the mines of Statow yielded this rare metal. This made it probably the most valuable commodity in Neuith. An ounce of refined adamantium costs over ten thousand gold pieces! People who wanted some had to wait two or three years just to have their order filled.

I stayed in Statow only a couple days. I couldn’t afford to stay any longer! I found passage on a merchant ship that had brought common consumable goods to the island. They left with a variety of forged items – weapons, armor, tools, and such. Even though these items didn’t contain the great metal, the smiths on Statow were renowned for the quality of their craft.

We followed the coast, southeast, along Mirascai for forty days when we arrived at Carngates. This small town was mostly farm, but I thought it odd that even for a town this size, there was a palisade-style wall built around it. I asked a local and he said it was because of the Thri-Kreen. They lived in nomadic tribes in the desert and often came through stealing crops and livestock. Sometimes they’d kill townsfolk, but it never made sense as to who they killed or why.

I was forced to stay in Carngates for a month because the ship was damaged and needed repairs. The local craftsmen weren’t entirely up to the task, but eventually we were on our way. While waiting, I joined a group of troubadours and danced with them at the local tavern. While popular, the town just didn’t have a big enough population to continue in the long term. I made some good friends, but I’m afraid I’ll not see them again unless I come back this way. They weren’t willing to go with me on my travels, either.

It was another forty days sailing to finally arrive at Featherscar, the capital of Mirascai. Today is Shader’s Day 9, or, locally, August 4th. Upon arrival in this quite cosmopolitan city, the first thing I did was find a shop to buy a new journal. I bought three. Hopefully, this will last me a while. I want to describe Featherscar and share my impressions. But it’s already very late and I have a long day planned tomorrow.

 

Previous: Through a Cat’s Eyes: 15.3

Next: Through a Cat’s Eyes: 16.2

Author’s note: It’s been over a month since the last installment of Kabize’s story. I’d offer excuses, but they are only that: excuses. I figured I’d work in a long gap in her narrative – especially since her story spans about 10-12 years! I don’t want a day-by-day, blow-by-blow account of that entire time span, so I need some reasonable gaps.

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