The One Who Would Be King Chapter III: Of Long Walks And Demons

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They searched around the inn, and much of the surrounding streets, before finally admitting to themselves that they would have to resume their journey on foot.  Their earlier plans of renting or buying a small boat would have to wait – they just wanted to get out of the wretched city.  Besides, there were several small trading outposts along the lower Astabor, and they could re-supply and get transport at any one of them.

They walked long into the afternoon.  It was still mostly cloudy, but it had warmed back up, and most of the puddles were disappearing.

Djar sighted a high spot laden with a large, soft looking patch of high grass.  “Why don’t we stop and get some sleep.  I’m dead on my feet.”

“I was wondering when you were going to suggest that,” she said, following Djar up the rise.

Djar slumped down in the grass, looking to be sure that they couldn’t be seen from the trail.

“You know, I don’t even care about the horses.  I’m just glad to be out of Durbin.” 

“I told you: It’s bad news.”

“No kidding.  I never would have believed that a town just downriver from Fort Durn could be so decayed – even these days,” said Djar, as he reached into his pack for a bit of dried meat.

“The soldiers never really patrolled this far south too often – even before the goblins.  And now, no one’s going to clean up that mess.”

“I don’t know if it could be cleaned up – it’d probably be better to knock everything down and rebuild!”

 *          *          *

 At the conclusion of the Great War – some two hundred years past – the Darian council split the entire known world into five distinct Lands, four of which were governed by the Power Nations:  humans withdrew from the periphery, settling in the east-central area, elves – later with a small remnant population of sprites and a few scattering of humans and even a few dwarfs – ruled the West Wilderlands in the southwestern section of the continent, dwarves mainly stayed in rocky northwest, and the goblins retreated to the northeast.  The fifth Land, located in the southeast, was named the East Wilderlands. It was made up of a variety of the less populous peoples – minors, as they were ignorantly referred to. Trolls, ogres, fairies, swamp elves and centaurs made up the majority of the beings inhabiting the East Wilders. 

Things went pretty well for quite some time.  Rich cultures spawned throughout The Lands. They created their own laws and customs, but also shared in the other’s resources and skills.  Intertwined economies developed, which meant what was good for one was usually good for all.

That is, until the goblins began their Great Expansion.  The goblins were never satisfied as to the Great War’s outcome, and would have surely fought on, had not the elves behaved in such a cowardly fashion by backing down to the dwarves and humans, just as the battling grew intense – at least that was the goblin estimation of history.

“Do you think we could get the elves to help now?” asked Cookie.

“It depends on what you mean by help. They sent a small division up to Fletcher’s Canyon to reinforce the Dwarves, but that’s about all they’ll commit to right now.  You know how cautious everyone is.  My father tried to warn the Dwarves long before this all started – and look at the help it got him.  And I think even he underestimated what was about to transpire”

They talked on, for a bit, then both fell into a deep, needed sleep.       

The morning brought a flood of sunshine, bright colors, warmth, and a slight breeze – the weather was back to perfect.

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