Author’s Note: This is another excerpt from my work of fiction – I thought that putting some screen-shots in would be a nice touch!
Dearest Mother and honoured Father – it has been a fortnight now since I left home, and such wondrous sights have I beheld! Sister’s advice has held true to date, as I have apprenticed myself to a chef with a travelling caravan. Their numbers will conceal and guard me as I make my way across this strange, new land. We are just over thirty in all, including myself. My duties vary depending on where we venture. When we are in a community of any size, I help out the chef and his assistant with food-preparation – I am being introduced to all sorts of new spices, seasonings, and cuts of meat from a variety of exotic animals. Other times, entertainment is the order of the day, so I get to play my lute for customers from time to time. I’ve earned a fair bit of coin in this fashion! Also, sometimes I play the drum while the other entertainers dance – they like the rhythms that I beat for them.
When able, the dancers show me some of their moves and steps, and seem to be impressed by how quickly I catch on – they say that I could earn even more coin if I were to dance, but I don’t know how I feel about trying that out, as of yet. At least the costumes worn aren’t scanty or overly provocative! I don’t know that I’d want to dance for others, especially if wearing little but filmy, gauzy, see-through material that is only appropriate for one’s bedchamber.
You will both be happy to learn that I have finally learned the art of the sword! Please do not fret and question the tutors you hired for me – they simply weren’t able to impart their vast knowledge in a way that I could understand. One of the entertainers, a fire-eater and sword-dancer, has taken me under her wing and helped me with my skills. She said that I have much aptitude and natural talent, but tend to over-think every move – if I were to relax and let the motions happen naturally, I would be much more successful, in her estimation. I have chosen to use the great-swords, as the sword and shield combination still feels clumsy to my hands. Using a staff feels more comfortable to me than sword and shield! I know that Sister is well-versed in that type of combat, and will ask her for assistance at a later time. For now, I must concentrate on my chosen weapon.
We have been on the road for three days straight as I write this – our next destination is a fortress on the edge of the mapped lands that I’ve seen and sketched out, so far. I have made note of the transitus shrines that you told me about; knowing where they are will be of enormous help in the days to come, especially whenever and wherever I part ways with the caravan. At least I have time to mark the locations of the shrines, as the day that I take my leave is still in the unforeseen future.
Father, I wanted to say to you that I have seen the circles in the sky: the huge, black anchors and the massive chains that you’ve told us of. The ugly noise that heralds their appearance sounds for miles across the land, and they can be seen fading into view from a great distance, if you happen to look in the right direction and see their fell glow. The abominations that fall from them can barely be described – my hands shake the pen so when I attempt to sketch them. My mind wants to block out their horror. I have joined others in fighting them, but only once to date. It was a terrible battle. I can still smell the reek and stench of the disgusting undead, and have nightmares of the various golems and their twisted, constructed forms. I vow to destroy each and every dark anchor that I come across, whenever and wherever I see them. I will do anything to assist in yours, and Brother’s, healing from that harrowing ordeal those 25 long years past. I also hope to avenge the deaths of your crewmen and shipmates…so many good men lost, and families harmed!
The candle is burning low, so it is time for sleep. It has been a long, profitable day, and tomorrow is a day of rest, relaxation, and leisure for us before we set out on the following day. The weather has been mild and the winds in our favour; the ash from the great volcano has blown away from us for five days, now. Because of this, we have made good time in travelling to the fort, as the trek usually takes a full cycle of the moons from start to finish.
I close this letter with love and respect, dear Mother and honoured Father. Please give my salutations to Brother and Sister; I hope that they are well and happy wherever they are roaming today. I am hale and healthy – the gods and goddesses are smiling their favour.
Cordially, fondly, and with utmost respect and love,