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White Gold Dollars
|Posted: Wed Jan 20, 2010 2:14 pm Post subject:
|Clouds hang heavy, like thick velvet curtains, draping the sky in a dark chrome haze. Sporadically droplets of rain fall lazily to the earth, causing small isolated spots of dampness upon the clothes of the people in the wagon train winding their way down into the foothills of the Bluttenburg Mountains.
Here, beneath this heavy weather, the first major western expedition into the east in several centuries is walking on Svalsing soil for the first time. The weather mirrors the moods of most of the travelers, who have endured much of the same in the mountains, as the death throes of autumn give way to winters icy grasp.
As the rough road winds through the foothills, the travelers get their first real glimpse of this nation. Ahead of them they can see a vast valley, with long sweeping rolling meadows and dark gnarled forests. Along its length, the Curgesing river can be seen, snaking its way towards the sea. Those with keen eyes can make out the city of Sinnestadt, a small mass of buildings squatting upon the river, still several days march away. But even the most short sighted of the venture can see the wall that marks the far edge of this Valley.
Many miles distant stands the massive eastern fork of the Bluttenburgs that provides this tiny nation with its eastern most border. Biting skywards like the lower jaw of some gargantuan beast they stand proud, with forests climbing there way up the slopes, which from such a distance resembles mould clawing its way up some massive stone hewn wall. The thick ceiling of cloud that covers the entire valley seems to be thickest there, and darker, as if the weather itself spawns from the very mountains themselves.
Weary and still of bad temperament, the men and woman of the venture continue to plod on, as the road takes them east and south. The road through the mountain pass was hard, and many are beginning to tire and ache, but still the train pushes on. Thus it has been for several days since breaking camp, and thus it shall continue for several more, as they push for Sinnestadt.
Throughout the journey Lord Holt keeps mostly to himself, allowing his lackeys to do most of the directing. Between the hard marching and terrible weather, little can make all but the most jovial of the group happy as they walk and ride through rural Svalsing.
The nights are cold and damp, with most taking their chances to sleep while they can. The few that do stay up trade stories of adventures or tales they had heard as children. Whether due to the dark starless nights, the cold damp weather or perhaps the very mood Svalsing seems to ooze, a lot of the tales tend to turn to talk of the dark and macabre, of things that best go unnamed for these tales are shared at night, and nights without stars such as these tend to belong to Urias, and you can never be sure when he is listening.
People are few and far between on the road. As the group pushes on they pass the occasional hamlet or small village. The locals keep their distance, with men staring and woman ushering children indoors to safety. One night camp is made near such a hamlet, but despite attempts by some of the more inviting men, the locals stayed indoors, with lights dimmed and windows barred.
And so the people of the west go on, for several days and nights, towards the city of Sinnestadt. With time the forests give way to farms, and the hills to a plain. Here the traveling is easier, and the mood is lighter. And thus, for two more days and nights the people of the venture were happier, though not as happy as they had been that night on the pass. The pace is quickened, many know that they are well on the way to the city and that soon they will get some proper rest before getting to work.
On the final day of the walk, the sky lightens. Though it does not fully clear, it takes on a more silver light, with the air becoming drier. With this comes more of a chill and a bight to the wind, but many care not, choosing instead to take pleasure in the nicer weather. Those who are happiest with the change are the ones wise enough to keep their eye slow on the horizon, for closer now the Bluttenburgs to the east are darker still upon the lighter sky, with patches of dark cloud hanging heavily over the cold stone peaks.
Crowning the crest of a rise in the road, the Venture finally lays its eyes upon the city of Sinnestadt. It rolls on towards the city, passing fields with workers, who look on suspiciously at the foreigners walking through their lands. But the untrusting eyes are barely noticed as the joyful venture pushes on for the final stretch of this leg of its sour journey.