Previous The Journey Awaits
I get off the barge, and work on saddling the horse, still thinking of a good name. I haven’t ridden her enough yet to really figure out her temperament. this will be a good chance to get to know her. Whenever Fiona is around, the horses are very obedient and follow her lead, this time it’s just me and…
Everything is packed, and I wave goodbye to the barge behind me, clambering onto my horse. I cluck my tongue and tap my heals to her sides, and say, “Walk, girl.”
Please read all the links I have included they have information that Aliella would have and I don’t want to repeat here
Holden Littletree has told you all that he can about the Hermitage of the Deep (please read). The one thing that Holden also told Aliella is that it is ok to be frightened when she arrives at the Hermitage of the Deep. He specifically says “It would be unnatural to not be afraid. I can tell you I was afraid to be there by myself without a friend with me. And as surely as the sun will come up tomorrow you will be safe there while you wait overnight. Be up and ready to leave at dawn. You have one chance. Be sure to be ready for that chance.”
You arrive at the Hermitage of the Deep. There are two other pilgrims there already and a merchant with two mules.
I was totally amazing that I hadn’t heard of this place. Traveling up and down the river was all well and good, but I guess I didn’t travel off the beaten path enough. I look over at the 2 pilgrims, and smile broadly, curtsying deeply, “I’m Alliella, the entertainer. What’s going on here? Hello, Sir Merchant, what are your wares?”
I spend some time listening to their banal talk, and trying not to show my impatience to get going. Their faces are a little stunned, maybe it is awe of me. I refuse to think about what Holden said about being scared. Just because he was frightened doesn’t mean that I need to be.
I stare at the hedge in confusion. Holden hadn’t talked about this. I turn to the merchant, interrupting his recitation, “have you been here before? bringing supplies to the mendicants or some such? How do you get through the hedge?”
While waiting for his answer, I poke around and see if any of it moves, and if the horse trail goes directly into the hedge, I’ll try continuing forward. (With a cloth around my hands to mitigate the wounds).
Merchant I am Kyle. I do come here about once a month. I bring supplies to the people who live inside Hermitage of the Deep. Mostly spices, ale, beer, and cloth. I usually go home with honey, mead, and a few other items that the people inside make. How we get in is an experience best seen rather than having it explained." Kyle is an older man. At least 50 years old.
Pilgrims “I am Marco and this Thom. Yes we have been here before. As Kyle said how we get in is best seen rather than described. We have some bread, cheese, and drink if you care to join us? An entertainer? Please share some of your entertainment for us.” Marco and Thom are in their thirties. Both are dressed in very simple garb and only have staffs, a small pouch, a backpack each, bedrolls and a tarp for a makeshift tent.
If you join them you will find the three of them to be pleasant men.
When you go to check out the hedge you will notice that it is covered with thick thorns. Also you can’t see to the other side. Thom comes up and says “An interesting plant isn’t it. In all the times that Marco and I have been here we have never seen it being trimmed or treated at anytime. When droughts have been in the area and all the other plants wither and die this hedge stays green and healthy.”
As he starts to walk away he says “Oh don’t try to climb it. I saw a man try that once. He was wearing protective clothing but the hedge didn’t like being climbed on. Poor fellow I can still remember his screams.”
As the evening gets later your three companions decide to sleep. Kyle asks if you want to join them near the fire. If you say no they will all say their good nights. If you decide to join them they will also say their good nights.
No matter what you do you get a good nights sleep. If you dreamed you don’t remember them. When you wake up it is early. Your camp mates are packing up. They suggest that you get ready as well.