A Road Well Travelled: April 2007

5 April

Finn Stringer is missing

I've been hanging around in Merquay for the past week, waiting for Finn Stringer to return from Kinrew with the nets that he mends. I was hoping to see whether he would repeat his journey and carry me up to Kinrew across the waters like he had done before, but unfortunately he has not arrived yet.

I have spoken to the fishermen who assure me that Finn is so reliable you could set your timepiece by the day he arrives in port. His absence is very unusual and causing the locals concern.

I would like to wait around longer and see what has happened to Finn, but I need to travel on to Kinrew. There is something happening in the land that is wrong. I can't put my finger on it, but there is something slowly going rotten and I have to find out just what.
I have left a stracyl with Iollan, and instructions on how to contact me if either Torfeld or Finn return to Merquay.

Tomepicker is sensing something too. He keeps looking to the west when we are outside, and crooning towards the mountains. It's not the same noise as when we were approaching his family. In fact if I had to give it an emotion, I'd call it concern that he is showing. I just wish that I was able to understand what was causing that concern, but Tomepicker is not sure either. He just senses something.

I am considering contacting the other wizards around the land, as well as the Theigns, and calling a meeting. I will hold back on that until I am certain that they need to be told something.
Anyway, it's time to pack my quill and parchment, and begin the long walk to Kinrew. I've asked Tomepicker to keep flying out over the waters whilst I walk and look out for Finn's boat on the off chance he is sailing back home.

7 April

More strange activities

So, here I am again. A wizard my age and I am trudging along coastal paths moving from one settlement to another. Today is cold and miserable. A sea fog is blowing inland making it impossible for me to see more than twenty footsteps ahead. Tomepicker is unable to fly out over the sea looking for Finn's vessel and so that idea has gone by the wayside. It would be just my luck if today is the day that he sails right past me without me having any idea.

The fog is also making me feel weary. My bones ache and I am soaked through to the skin. I will be relieved to find a suitable rock to rest up against later and shelter fromt he worst of the weather. A warming brew of herbs will work wonders on me I am sure.
With my sense of sight reduced because of the weather, my other senses have compensated. My ears are hearing more sounds than usual. Tomepickers padding is very noticeable behind me, and his breathing is crisp and clear in the air.

However, the strangest sound I have heard is that of birds. From the sound they are making I am guessing that there is a great flock, that they are large birds and they are flying from the east westwards. This last fact is unusual as at this time of the year birds do not fly west towards the mountains during the day, the fly east towards the villages, seas and fishing boats.

Another strange development I need to keep an eye on. These unsual events must have some common factor, and through these parchments I hope to find out what it is. Once I am warmed through I may re-read my earlier writings.

9 April

Jethrog the Hermit

The weather is better. The fog lifted yesterday and I was able to see my progress. It wasn't heartening, because I'd walked about half as far as I had imagined I had done. Tomepicker took the change in the weather as a sign to take off and soar across the ocean. He didn't sight anything and returned within an hour looking dejected. We moved on apace, now being able to see where we are heading.

Although I heard the sounds of the birds in the fog, I have been unable to hear them today, and yet this morning I could see them moving across the skies in a dark smudge from east to west. I predicted their course and it seems to be leading them straight into the Northern range of the Great Mountains. There is no food for them there, and it makes no sense to be flying there daily.

Following a midday meal and rest, Tomepicker took to the air again. After about ten minutes of flying around, he bugled to me and dived down towards the long grass further inland. I quickly headed towards his calls and soon came across a hermit's hut.
It took me a while to reassure the occupant that there was no need to worry, and that Tomepicker would not be eating him, before I was able to ask some questions.

This hermit, Jethrog, had been living here amongst nature for more years than he could remember. He had seen many strange sights during his time, including dragons in mating flights, giant figures walking by in the distance (this I found out was in fact Torfeld), strange boats sailing westwards on the open seas towards the moutains, and most recently armies of carrion flying westwards each morning, and then east in the evening regular as clockwork.

I sat with Jethrog for many hours, listening to his recounts and carefully noting down important information that seemed to relate to changes I too had noticed. With the sun setting, we watched as the sky darkened with the sight of thousands of birds heading east from the mountains.

Jethrog has offered me a bed on the floor of his hut for the night, out of the open air, for which I am grateful. Once I complete writing todays thought I will turn in for the night, ready for more travelling tomorrow.

12 April

Checking Parchments

My departure from the hospitality of Jethrog has been delayed as I've been looking back through my parchments at some of the words I have written. I've been looking back for anything that seemed slightly unusual, but I've struggled to find one comment I wrote before talk of the strange boats began.

In between reading through my scribblings I've been watching the skies. Jethrog was spot on - the birds fly towards the mountains at the same time every morning, and return at the same each evening. Why though? What would make a whole flock of birds fly half way across the island each day. Tomepicker must have been thinking the same thoughts, and I think he's onto something.

In his over dramatic way he's acted out being a bird in flight (his attempted chirping made me cry with laughter), followed by landing and then feeding. Feeding - of course. They must be going to the mountains to feed. Something must have changed to result in ample food for this many birds.

The mountains are going to need to be visited to see what is going on.

14 April

Visiting Old Friends

We're walking again. I've said my thanks to Jethrog yesterday, and tried to leave him some drouts for his generousity, but he reminded me quickly that he has no use of money. How silly am I for not realising that!

Following a day of walking slowly in the blistering sun, today the low cloud has kept the heat of the day down, and we've made a good pace during the morning. I've just realised that we are very close to an old friend of mine - wizard Anleim - so it would be rude not to pay him a quick visit. He might know more of the strange events that seem to be growing more frequent.

The only problem I've had with this idea of visiting a wizarding brother, is that Anleim is impossible to track down. Since lunch, we've been trying to locate him. Tomepicker has been up and about in the skies to help but has had no luck either, and so we've had no option but to use a drout-stracyl to contact him for directions.

Anleim found it quite amusing that a wizard such as myself was unable to find his small, yet somehow spacious, abode hidden in a small valley slighty inland. He guided Tomepicker and myself toward him and met us with a large smile. Gorbith, his bonded dragon, padded up to Tomepicker and they both headed off to the fireplace to curl down and warm themselves whilst I sat at the table with Anleim and showed him my parchments and told him of my worries about events in the Great Mountains.

Anleim studied the parchments in detail, compared his annoted map of the land with my writings, and then sighed heavily. He began telling me that he had thought a change was sweeping through the land, and these events were just more confirmation of his fears.  Over the next few hours, he spoke of his worries, and in the dim light of the candles I scribbled down his words. Tomorrow I will write his thoughts up neatly and add them to my parchments.

15 April

Anleim's thoughts

I've done my best here to record what Anleim told me last night. He seems to know more about the changes within Methtintdour than I was aware were taking place. These are the words that he spoke.

Several months ago I received news that a long thought lost parchment concerning the control of the four elements had been discovered. Although I've never seen this parchment, I am aware of the legends surrounding it, and how the incantations within the parchment will reveal the four elemental crystals. Once combined together and placed at the centre of the lands, a final incantation will reward the spellcaster with power to control water, air, earth and fire.

I travelled North to Kinrew where this parchment had been found, but no one could help. It seemed that the finder had long since vanished with the parchment, although the container had been sold to a local merchant. Sadly, by the time I located the merchant he had sold it on and had no idea of where it might be.

I've been keeping a close eye on the changes across the land, expecting to see signs when the four crystals are discovered. I believe that you, Gereog, are aware of the discovery of the water crystal - taken from the lake at Normere. I also believe that without anyone having realised it the earth crystal has been taken. I am convinced it is, or was, cotained within the crystal pot in Midmarch. However, I think this may be a mistake, as Midmarch seems the ideal location for the final incantation, and I think that this crystal should have been left until last. The fire and air crystals are more of a concern as these remain elusive to me. I have an incling as to the location of the air crystal, but the fire crystal eludes me for the moment.

The recent sighting of the birds flying towards the great mountains is due to a drastic change in their feeding habits. Something in the mountains has attracted them for feasting, but again what this is I do not know. As for the boats, they are all sailing around the land towards the western edges. This cannot be coincidence with the birds flights, it must be connected somehow.

I propose we form a fellowship Gereog, and together we try to seek the answers that we do not know. The future of Methtintdour may depend on it.

I have also shown Anleim the trinket box that I purchased from a trader in Castlecairn, and told him the name of the wizard who sold it - Yermej. It seems that he may the one seeking the elemental crystals.

16 April

A Partnership Is Formed

It has been decided.

Both Anleim and myself will head towards Kinrew and begin in earnest to find Yermej. We discussed contacting other wizarding brothers, but for the moment we are keeping this to ourselves, just incase Yermej has recruited others in his quest.

We spent most of the day looking over maps of Methtintdour - both ancient and modern. We labelled where the first two crystals had been found, and attempted to predict the location of the final two. We soon realised that guessing was pointless, and so instead began a new approach.
There are no fire holes within the island, no obvious place for a fire crystal to be resting, but we knew that this particular crystal would need to be somewhere very hot, somewhere close to where the liquid rock, or migmar as some wizards called it, would be.

The modern maps were of no help, and the older maps were useless too. Not one map, parchment or text seemed to mention any location of migmar. However, we do have two possible areas to explore, either the Glassy Mountains or the Great Mountains, as these ranges would have formed from intense heat and pressures below ground many millenia ago.

With the recent activity we have noted towards the Great Mountains, this is the area we will be travelling to soon.

21 April

The Walk to Kinrew

We are urgently striding towards Kinrew. Anleim is driving us all on at an astonishing pace. Both Tomepicker and Gorbith have taken to the air, and are using the updrafts from the cliffs to keep them airborne without the need for much flying. I, however, am struggling to maintain the pace set by my comrade.

As we walk Anleim is asking me about the places I have been to recently. My responses are met with more questions - it seems that I may have past by places without noticing subtle changes. Changes that may be important if we are to stop Yermej from obtaining all four crystals.
This morning, Anleim has quizzed me about Soulhill Town, the lake at Normere, and inquired about the giants on the coast. I am writing this down now during a lunch stop, as I think my brain may be more exhaused than my body come the end of the day.

Anleim did not stop during the afternoon. He continued questioning my observations, asking this time about Bray, and the Elves at Tingamel. I imagine that tomorrow he will want to know about Merquay and the Baldrake in detail. I was right - my head is more exhausted than my body. Once I have eaten the meal that is cooking to the side of me, I will be sleeping; ready for another hard day.

25 April

Kinrew at last!

Oh my bones. My aching, ancient bones. I am ready for a hot bath and a good meal to ease this weary body. Thank goodness that the local tavern, The Enchanted Window, has rooms available for a quite reasonable price.

Anleim is chomping at the bit to get down to the beach and comb the area for clues. It seems that after talking with several of the locals as we made our way into the settlement, Yermaj found his parchment along this stretch of coast and began his diabolical quest here.

I've told Anleim that I am not travelling any further until my body has been thoroughly soaked, although he is welcome to take Tomepicker along with him and Gorbith if he so chooses. Tomepicker did not seem amused and snorted his disgust at me!

I plan to spend tomorrow ambling around the town and speaking to as many people as I can - in a casual manner - to try and gather any further information that may help us in our search for Yermej.

Blast that arrogant wizard - this was supposed to be a jaunt around the island meeting people and visiting new places, and not fighting to keep the land safe from evil once again, like I was forced to do so many years ago.

26 April

Worrying News

I have wandered around the town today talking to traders and residents in an attempt to find out  more about Yermaj. My initial questions were not received well. It seems that he upset a lot of people around Kinrew before disappearing owning a lot of them drouts.

I joined Anleim for lunch in The Enchanted Window, and following out meal we began talking to the landlord. He was very reluctant to tell us much at first, until we reassured him that we were not friends of "that diabolical man".

Nichoc told us that Yermej had stayed in the tavern for a short while, and spent most days out and about wandering around the coastal margins. We discovered that although he was reluctant to speak to the locals, he seemed to meet with strange people most evenings. These meetings took place at the entrance to the town but, unknown to Yermej, the gate watchman saw several of them.

His description of Yermej's contacts sent a shiver down both Anleim and my own spines, as it seemed like Yermej was in fact meeting with what sounded very much like a Goblin. Not since the War of All Peoples has this race been seen around Methtintdour, as it was presumed that they all perished in the fighting.

Hearing that a wizard was in discussions with a race of creatures that were detested across the lands has caused us even more concern. What is Yermej up to that requires his partnership with untrustworthy and violent Goblins?