Dollano 16, SP~4,909
Eedard Shows the Way in
It was another early morning start. Allalling is not subtle when he gives us our wake-up call. I don’t think that guy sleeps.
A bit of food, barely anything, and then off we went. While I was eating, I could just barely make out Therol’s Bridge far away to the west, and, on its other side, Shawmancer Island. It’s funny, but I missed the island some. I’d just started to get friendly with Horrence and a few others at the Shawmancer Journal, and I got the feeling the local baker and I were starting to get along. She had a spark to her, and I liked that.
I hope to see them all again some day.
Today was a lot like yesterday except that we traveled on the side of the mountain instead of under it. I was glad of that. The mountains are really big on this side of the channel. Shawmancer’s mountains were old and small, but the ones we crossed today were rugged and seemed a lot colder, but maybe that’s just the weather.
The trail we took all day was high up in the mountains, but not nearly as high as the peaks. Some of the trail was built-up, like a very narrow road, but most of our path was over areas where the road had been washed out long ago, or maybe just never there.
A little bit after mid-day we stopped for a meal and Allalling pointed out a city on the coast below us. It looked as big as Partameer City. Hopefully a lot cleaner. I thought we’d be heading down there, but no such luck. Eedard was still leading us further southeast along the mountain trail. When I looked at Allalling to ask, he held up his hand to stop me. He knew what I was going to say (“complain about”, he would say), and just shook his head. I like that guy and I think he’s starting to get used to me. Good enough!
It was getting late in the day, a couple hours before sunset, when Eedard led us all through a sliver of an opening in the rockface. It was narrow enough to be tough going, but we managed it.
What I saw on the other side was a big surprise, at least to me. We came out into a flat area as big as a small stadium. It had tall peaks on every side, and at one end there was a door. It wasn’t just a “door”, though. It was a big door and, though it was old and had suffered some from the weather over time, it was still spectacular. It was quite grand.
Donnessling was giving it a real look. He said, “I haven’t seen this since I was young. Very young.”
I could see Eedard give him some kind of devilish smile. I didn’t like that guy when I first saw him, and I have to say that I’ve not gotten any fonder of him. I don’t trust him one bit. I’m not sure Donnessling does either, or any of us.
Then Eedard spoke out. “I have completed my part of our agreement,” he said. “Now, I shall collect what is mine.”
Donnessling didn’t look happy. Not one bit. He also looked like he was resigned to doing whatever it was he had to do. “We shall conclude our agreement, inside these doors.”
“No, we shall do it here, or nowhere!” The belligerence of Eedard’s reply surprised me. Thinking back on it, I believe he was terribly fearful. He glanced over at the door several times and it looked like they had some bad memories for him. Some very bad memories if my sense of folk is any good, and it’s very good.
Donnessling just gave him a look and walked to the doors. They didn’t open easily. It looked like they hadn’t been opened in a long time, but, with the help of a few of his folk, they opened the doors enough and he went in alone.
It took Eedard a while. He was stamping mad, and kept yelling toward the doors telling Donnessling he owed him his part of the bargain, and other less pleasant things. But, he finally gave up, and knew it was the only way he’d get what he wanted.
He took some kind of a lantern out of an inside pocket of his coat and with a lot of cursing he went through the open doors.
Allalling ordered the doors closed, and the nossring did as their commander said.
Then we waited, and we waited quite a while. It was almost sunset when Donnessling finally pushed the door open and the two of them walked out.
Eedard was carrying a large burlap bag over his shoulder with something in it. I couldn’t tell what. He looked very happy, with a smile that looked like it would break his face if he smiled an ounce more. Without a glance at any of us, or back at Donnessling, he trudged off toward the northwest through a different mountain trail and quickly disappeared.
I looked back at Donnessling. He looked haggard, like some task had required every bit of strength he had. Allalling came forward and they nodded to each other. Donnessling turned to the rest of us, “It’s been a long day, and a good one, my friends. As you can see we have reached the ancient home of the Ellring, our cousins from long ago. Sadly, we will not meet them. No one can now, but we may meet other things, and so we must be careful. And, in the end, if we are fortunate, we will find a way into the Begkragk Kingdom, and will retrieve that which was taken from us.”
When he finished, Allalling ordered the company to make our way into the large hallway just inside the doors. He lit several lights along the sides of the room that revealed resplendent walls of carved wood and stone, and bright gems.
We are spending the night in this “entryway”. It feels strange to be sitting in our rough, dirty traveling clothes in such a majestic place.
I never thought I’d see anything more spectacular than what Naldrin City has to offer, but, I have to admit, that this trip north has opened my eyes.
Last thing before sleep — I’m pretty sure I saw a blink bat when we were outside of this place. In the morning I’m going to try to find it and get a message to Bobby. It’s been much too long, and now I’m more than just a little worried.