Chapter Twenty-Four: Doomhinge Mountains.
Detricks revelation had somehow humbled Tauren. He'd always been different. But special? He decided, on the spot, that Detrick was to be trusted. He had spoken openly and honestly, and it would be wrong not to trust him. He had his doubts about Vajik, and was openly wary of Laenya -but he felt confident neither would willingly betray him.
They soon found themselves walking across grass which seemed to have grown in mud, and the only thing that kept them from sinking were their roots holding the ground together. Once they reached this point, Detrick quickly steered them further west until they reached a road. It was obviously a road, old and well worn, but it was just a dirt road. The town back this way mustn't be too big, or this was a back road.
Once on the road they were able to move far faster, not slowed down by patches of water or mud -or the grass dragging at their boots. They saw no other travelers but for a single rider moving the opposite direction at breakneck speed. Detrick had muttered something about killing a horse, but they'd gotten no recognition from the rider.
By the time midday had come and gone, the land was beginning to change. The mountains in the distance were now towering and dark only a few miles away from them -Detrick mentioned that their destination was in their foothills- and the plains were now falling apart. Heaps of rocks were scattered among the pools of mud and water, with patches of mossy swamp-grass tossed everywhere. The land was still fairly flat, but up head hills could be seen, marking the end of the swamp.
Tauren was used to walking, and he knew that Vajik and Detrick were quite durable as well, but he could tell that Laenya was tiring. Her head hung low and she almost stumbled a couple of times on unexpected rocks and tufts of grass. Finally he sighed to himself, deciding she wouldn't make it the next four or five miles, and trotted up next to her. “Here.” He said. “I'll take your pack. We've still got a way's to go.” He tried his best to smile to her dead, tired eyes.
“I'll be fine.” She snapped.
Tauren sighed to himself. “No, I insist here. We can't have you fainting, because that would really slow us down. Give it to me.” Slowly Laenya's form flickered and for a moment her eyes turned to a darker, friendlier color, but there was soft hiss, and she straightened.
“Fine.” She growled, pulling her pack over her head and tossing it to him. He grunted, pulling it up over his own pack, and went back to is place in line. I wonder what made her so angry.
Four hours later the crested the final rocky hill and gazed down on their destination. Below them was spread Tronden. It was built in a small valley between two large hills, and had a small stream flowing straight through the center. The houses were made of stone mostly, with a bit of lumber and daub mixed in, and strewn about with no order. It probably held a few hundred souls -not even enough to warrant a garrison. Despite what Tauren had expected, there were no real farms in the area, instead there were massive pastures, built around the edge of the town -each filled with sheep.
“Tronden!” Detrick announced. “This place wouldn't exist if it weren't for the sheep and goats, as you can see. Sorry, but we're going to have to stay in the inn tonight -unless you guys are up to walking another twelve miles to my uncles house.”
Vajik raised an eyebrow. “The inn actually sounds fine. Thank you. Are you sure they'll have horses here?”
Detrick grinned. “They do, but if they don't we can always get sheep!”
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The Soul Forge.Fantasy
Book one of the Netheron Chronicles. Welcome to Netheron. A land on the brink of a war in which it has no hope; it's ancient protectors have returned to their own lands, and the land is now left virtually unprotected, helpless in the hands of a m...