After travelling for about two hours (with no information yet given about my fellow travellers, if any) we reach a toll bridge.
In a (literal!) example of highway robbery, the Szalls (a smaller greed of Giaks, this world’s orc / goblin equivalent) have barricaded a bridge, and are demanding one Gold Crown per passenger. Rather than kick up too much of a fuss, I hand over a coin from my dwindling treasury.
I retain my right to seethe silently about this injustice, though.
Presumably the collective grousing about this encounter breaks the ice, and we start chatting.
There are five fellow travellers.
- Ganon and Dorier are brothers, and both members of the Knights of the White Mountain, quasi-paladins sworn to defend Durenor against enemies.
- Halvorc (!) is a merchant, who came off second-best in a ‘disagreement’ with Lachlan about the payment (or, more accurately, non-payment) of taxes and is getting out while still in possession of his health.
- Parsion is a Sommlending priest who is journeying, for reasons unknown, across the ‘Lastlands’ to Durenor from Sommerlund.
- Viveka is a mercenary, returning to Port Bax after a successful mission.
They all claim (!) to be ignorant of the war being fought in Sommerlund which, admittedly, has only been going for about a week at this stage.
I claim to be a ‘simple’ peasant. Hopefully, any embellishments that I may add to this stand up to later scrutiny.
We reach an inn at the end of the first day of travel and, after showing my ticket, I am charged another (!) Gold Crown for my bed.
Wait! A meal is ANOTHER Gold Crown!
Just as was preparing a world-quality whine, the books ALSO specifically confirms that the skill of Hunting cannot be used (in terms of Meals) on my journey over the Wildlands due to the lack of edible game.
Gold Crowns : 17
For some reason, the book then casually mentions that, starting on the following morning, we journey for two (!) days and nights, with no mention as to a need to eat or sleep (or to spend money on same).
On the third day (and the ninth day of my quest overall….(R10 check)
….a rockfall has blocked the road, and we are all drafted to help clear the blockage (with no mention as to a possible discount in our ticket price).
We all (some, presumably, more eagerly than the others) volunteer to help with the blockage, since we’re obviously not going anywhere till the road is clear.
As I’m helping to lever a rock, a boulder tumbles from the nearby cliff, killing the driver instantly, while he stands six feet from me!
You tell ’em, Lando.
Speaking of Lando, if you want to watch a speech hilariously pointing out how the original Star Wars trilogy is ‘actually’ about white supremacists (!!) check this out.
Back to business.
My Sixth Sense once more earns its keep by letting me know that….
“This was no boating accident!!”
Oops. Wrong piece of pop culture.
Not far wrong, though. My Sixth Sense deduces that someone high above us on the cliff has deliberately tumbled this rock down.
In the book’s words :”Someone is trying to kill you!”
Aside : While I appreciate the actual sense of the words, I could help chuckling about the fact that it is already abundantly clear that a very large number of people are trying to kill me.
My fellow passengers and I ponder what happens next.
Stats : CS : 17, E : 20, GC 17
Weapons : NIL
Backpack : Meal
Special Items : Map, Crystal Star, Shield (+2 to CS), Seal of Hammerdal, Ticket to Port Bax
Final paragraph : 42