Chapter XI: The Marg And Beyond

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Late the next day, they finally arrived at what was considered to be the extreme south end of the Marg, at village called Madington. It was the southernmost human city and less than three day’s travel to Warthen, the great troll settlement. Back at the keep, Dymorla and Trever debated going first to Warthen to ask Thag Olrood for assistance, but they decided against it. They were planning on visiting Aeilronic at the southern edge of the boughs before their final push to Illum, and so they were afraid that they would expend too much time because that was quite a distance north. They anticipated the journey taking nearly twenty days just to get to The Boughs. Then, they’d most likely spend a couple days with Aeilronic. Then it would be at least another twelve to fifteen days to get to Illum – a long trip, indeed! 

Enlisting the help of the powerful trolls would have been great, however, and it was something they planned to revisit. Of course, if they had decided to go to Warthen, they would have taken a more direct southerly route from the keep instead of heading west.  

They crossed the river via Maddington’s only ferry. The Ferry master charged them what they all felt was a pretty unreasonable fare, but no one had the strength to argue. Also, Djar’s purse was still fat with both Silvers and Golds. One thing their journey had been thus far was cheap! The ferry master was a quiet man, clearly not a conversationalist. 

“Good sir, is there a village whereby we can purchase mounts for each of us? Asked Dymorla. “We are on a long pilgrimage and are tiring of the long walk.”

“Um. Teran is just north on the river. Horses can be bought.”

“Thank you. Is it right on the river.”

“Yes, near the swamp.”

***

They purchased horses for all, and they really were quite marvelous creatures.  Being right on the border of the plains, most all the villages had a good amount of quality animals. Horse traders frequented all the villages and cities near the plains, where the best riding was to be had in all The Land. The animals – and the best saddles and tack they could find – were quite expensive, so Djar finally put a dent in his purse. Dymorla conjured some matching flourishes, so everyone’s saddle looked as if it were custom made matching their each of the little company’s armor. 

They purchased more provisions: Food, rope, extra blankets, and other items they could now fit into their saddlebags. They also asked for directions to the best trail to take northwest to get near The Boughs, which was a bit out of their way as Illum was due west. Unfortunately, to get onto the trail, they would first have to travel a bit north along the southwest edge of the Marg, but at least they could avoid going directly through the swamp.

After readying the horses, Dymorla conjured beautiful helmets for everyone except Cookie. She said it would simply get in her way.

“Poor Snork had all he could carry before we purchased these marvelous steeds,” said Dymorla. However, I want us to be as well guarded as possible. Plus, it ads to our look.”

“Yes, and it would have been a burden for us to wear them all the time or carry them when on foot,” said Trever.

“Exactly. We don’t need to wear them all the time – unless anyone wishes to. I’ll let everyone know when and where we should wear them, if that’s all right?”

Djar strapped his to the left side of his saddle. “That sounds good. They’ll also help when I’m giving Zack his lessons. I’ve had to avoid any head attacks because I didn’t want to accidentally hurt him. Even one of those practice swords to the head could really hurt.” 

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