Chapter Twenty-Seven: Tears of the Talon.

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Chapter Twenty-Seven: Tears of the Talon.

Tauren would not soon forget that small town he had spent the night at. The people. The land. The lifestyle he saw around him. It intruiged him, calling him to explore it's secrets and delve deeper into it. He kept looking back down the road as they trotted along.

Kryos had been very friendly to them, giving them directions to the nearest pass across the mountains. Three days on horseback, moving as fast as they could on the mountain roads, and they should be in T'kara. Tauren was eager to see the city and get another step on the way toward the end of this quest, but he still looked back even long after the hills had swallowed up the town and surrounding pastures.

Laenya rode behind him, her head high and proud. But Tauren kept noticing her glancing over at him....

Vajik and Detrick rode in silence at the front, their horse's hooves crunching on the gravely road. They had been quite glad that he had gotten the horses and had, thankfully, given no criticisms to his quick decision.

Up ahead Tauren could see the foothills of the great Shadow's Eye mountains looming three to four times as high as the grassy hills they were in now. Beyond them he occasionally caught sight of towering white peaks and rocky mountainsides. The weather was clear and the air was crisp and cool, kept comfortable by the blazing sun.

“Detrick? Vajik?” Tauren said, pulling their company out of the silence.

The two turned to glance back at him. “Yes?”

“Those mountains.” He nodded toward a massive white peak jutting over the hills ahead. “How long will it take to get over them? After that how long till T'kara?”

Detrick frowned. “Those mountains go straight down this side of the continent, just like the Dimwalden range on your side. They're very wide though. We'll get to the plain T'kara's built on sometime in the afternoon of our third day.”

“Okay.” Tauren shivered, pulling his cloak tighter. If it was cold here he could only imagine what the weather would be like up that high.

Detrick noticed him and grinned. “It's okay, the inner lining of the mountains is really really high and jagged in comparison to the rest. Those white peaks will end tomorrow sometime, and they'll flatten out a good bit. The central and western mountains are actually quite nice.”

Vajik tilted his neck, cracking it. His disguise was beginning to wear off and Tauren could see a bony cheek peeking from under his misty skin. “You been by here many times?”

Detrick nodded. “A fair number. Not as much as my brother or anyone else in my family, but I've had to go over to this side of the mountains a dozen times at least.

Vajik nodded, rubbing his hands together.

“Do you have cold weather on Halavarde?” Tauren asked curiously. He'd always been under the impression that Halavarde was a barren, wasted place, searingly hot and icy cold ... but after meeting Vajik his whole idea of what Halavarde was had been thrown in a new light.

Detrick glanced over at Vajik, waiting for his answer. Vajik raised an eyebrow. “Yes. Of course.”

“Erh.” Detrick glanced back at Tauren and Laenya. “What's it like?”

“What's what like?” Vajik scowled.

“Halvarde. What's it like?” Tauren put in.

Vajik frowned. “It's a big planet. It's got plains, mountains, forests and everything. Most plants and animals are rather different, but ... well ... you've seen the rest. Why would you ask?”

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