“Right then, lass, I don’t want no trouble from you an’ your big friends over there, so how’s about we call a truce? You stop accusin’ me o’ such crimes wot I never did done, and I don’t give you reason to thinks I done nothin’.” Sammond Rootarrow bartered with Rayen Adsila. “At least for the duration wot we’d be travelin’ t’gethah.”
“This doesn’t mean I trust you,” she replied to his proposition, “but for the time being, I suppose it’s the most prudent choice. Keep your fingers to yourself though, little one. I’m not likely to fall for the same trick twice.” She warned him. He smiled cockily and laid back down, covering his face with a wide-brimmed hat that was folded up on the left side side with a large feather sticking out of the back of the fold. His pipe poked out from underneath the folded side and blew rhythmic puffs of smoke out occasionally.
The troup settled into a comfortable pace as they left for Sateeka. The trip through the mountains was relatively peaceful as they entered the Heartshire. Rayen stared at the cliffs encompassing the mountain pass they meandered through. “What happened to the land?” she finally asked at length to no particular person. Sammond was sound asleep at this point and hadn’t heard her question, Aylin Aldaelon was too engrossed in reading one of his thick tomes, Thordaim Anvil-Chest was also asleep, and snoring loudly, and Michael was staring off into the distance, his mind many miles away. So it seemed as though Wyatt Carlson was the only one who heard her question. He looked around, expecting someone else to answer, but when none came, he took it upon himself to respond to her odd inquisition.
“What do you mean?” he replied, following her gaze to the cliffs. “Do you mean the Cruth Mountains?”
“What are ‘mountains’?” she replied, a quizzical look on her face as she turned to look at Wyatt. His face was a myriad of confusion and strange looks.
“Do you really not know what mountains are? Where were you raised? Even Ylari people know what mountains are.”
“I was raised in Ierendi. We didn’t exactly have anything like this on my island.”
“Are you daft, girl? A mountain is just land. What could possibly be so important about it?” Aylin interjected, his abrasive personality ruining any semblance of peace on the long ride. His sudden outburst awoke Thordaim, who seemed very angry by being woken from his nap, especially by the wizard.
“Must you be so brash, Aylin?” Wyatt scolded him. “She apparently has never seen any mountains on her island. Just go back to your book.” Aylin rolled his eyes and turned around to continue reading his book. “Mountains are what happens when the lands moves against itself. It pushes upwards to create these cliffs.”
“I know the land is alive, but I never thought of it like that.” She marveled at the sheer height of the cliffs, spanning hundreds of feet above their heads.
The rest of the ride was rather quiet, or rather it was until Aylin spoke up again. “Do you HAVE to make this ride so bumpy? I cannot read a single sentence because of all of this shaking!” he shouted at the drivers. They looked back, rather shocked at his outburst. Wyatt punched Aylin in the shoulder rather hard. Aylin turned to him to see Wyatt’s scowl, with Thordaim behind him, glaring at the rude Elf. “They could simply drive a little smoother.” he remarked as he turned back around to his book. Thordaim, fully upset with Aylin’s actions, cast a globe of impenetrable darkness around the Elf’s head.
“That better, Elf?” he retorted as Aylin furiously slammed his book closed. Aylin was able to counter the spell with it’s opposite, a Light spell, fairly quickly, but he was still rather perturbed by the incident.
“So you like to dabble in the Arts then, Dwarf?” He challenged, eager to see the Dwarf try and best him in magical combat.
“If that’s a challenge, Elf, let us hope your skills match that of my god!” he shouted, standing up to meet Aylin’s face.
The rabble in the back was enough to wake up Sammond, who quickly surmised the situation and the terrible consequences should a fight break out. “Guys, guys! We’re all friend’s here! There ain’t no need to be goin’ about flinging insults an’ spells at each other. Not unless you want t’be attractin’ everything wot lives up in these here mountains.” he spoke calmly, trying to defuse the tension with the impending threat of violent and possibly powerful creatures being attracted to a sudden magical outbreak. Aylin knew fully what creature lurked in the depths of the mountains, and thought the Hobbit’s prudent advice to be wise. As Aylin’s threat diminished, so did Thordaim’s, who eased back into his seat.
“Thought so, Elf.” He remarked under his breath, but not so soft as to not be heard by anyone in the cart. Aylin, who fully heard his comment, chose to ignore it instead of acting out once more. The ride from there on was awkwardly quiet, punctuated by Aylin’s frustrated sighing as they hit a bump or ditch in the road, the smoke from Sammond’s pipe-weed, which was heavily spiced, and Thordaims occasional grumble after Aylin’s sigh. Wyatt and Rayen dared not to speak, for fear of causing the temporary truce between Aylin and Thordaim to break. After a few hours, the caravan broke into the countryside of the Heartland Shire. Rolling hills permeated the lush green landscape. The very earth itself seemed at peace within the Shire’s boundaries.
Rayen was astounded by the tranquility that surrounded the Shires. It seemed as though every creature, plant, and inanimate object was relaxed, peaceful with everything that was around it. It was quite a stark contrast from the human cities and countries. Despite having left the mountain range, Aylin and Thordaim had little to do with each other, as the peace of the Shires seemed to ease their frustration with each other.
After a long and pleasantly quiet ride, the group made their way into the town of Sateeka at roughly 21:00. It was a trading town, that was certain. The buildings were taller than most Hobbit structures in order to accommodate their Human visitors from Mar. All of the buildings were clustered around trees, seeming like rings of mushrooms. Upon entering the town, the cart was attended on all sides by eager Hobbits willing to lend a hand to their kin. Nearly half of the luggage was unloaded and placed in a location designated by the drivers before the rest of the crew even knew what was happening. Michael simply jumped off of the cart and stretched before heading over to the couple to join them in conversation with the waystation owner. The rest of the group left the caravan, Sammond saying a farewell in the Hobbit-tongue to the drivers, and having one returned with a smile and wave.
Aylin, quick to get to work searching for his quarry, led Wyatt, and in turn, the rest of the group, to the Hungry Hippogriff, an Inn with Human-sized rooms in the center of the small town. They got a table in the cozy restaurant in the lower half of the inn. The tavern was filled with a smoky, spiced haze emanating from multiple pipes around the room. Sounds of conversations from each table were easily heard throughout the tavern, but were by no means as loud or rambunctious as Human taverns. Long-winded, exaggerated tales could be heard from some of the tables, drawing the attention of nearby patrons who moved their chairs over and leaned in to hear the excitement.