- 8th day of Hanotë -
Part 1 - Someone to Talk to
As she traveled along the road and time went by, Allana’s state of mind became increasingly darker. With no one to talk to and only her own thoughts to keep her company, she had started wondering about what she sould do once she reached Melkar.
Sure she had left Mithir following in Elian’s footsteps; trying to prove him, and herself, that she was capable of making her own choices and see them through, even if she had to do it alone! But now … She knew that Elian’s group was bound for the Ice Mountains, which would take her at least five days to reach after leaving Melkar, but what then? Should she challenge the eternal snows of the mountains on her own? After all few ventured so far north. Should she risk her life to that extend in search of a Tower that might not even exist? Not to mention the legends that spoke of dangerous, mythical creatures that supposedly inhabited the mountains. Up there snow and ice never melted, and she couldn’t help shiver just thinking about how cold it must be.
On the other hand, if she didn’t have the courage to go that far, why had she left Mithir in the first place? How would she ever find him again?
The sound of wooden wheels crackling against the stones of the road woke her from her musings and she looked back over her shoulder to see an old wooden cart pulled by a donkey, shaking and quivering as it made its way down the road. In the front of the cart sat a middle aged man, holding the reins of the animal with one hand and a long cane with the other. His beard and mustache covered his lips completely, and his heavy eyebrows were as gray as his hair that was obviously in needed of a good wash.
Establishing that the man traveled alone a sigh of relief left her lips, and she purposely slowed down her pace so that he could catch up with her. Even if he was traveling alone she’d rather have him at her side than at her back.
“How fares it, young traveler?” the man asked cautiously and Allana smiled. He looked as wary of her as she was of him.
“A good day to you too,” she politely replied and the man seemed surprised by her delicate voice.
“But … it’s a young lady!” he concluded, frowning as if to better see her. “Pray tell me, what does a young thing like you do all alone on these roads? Don’t you know how dangerous it is?”
Allana laughed and parted her cloak, showing him the intricate sheath of the sword she carried at her waist.
“No need to worry. I know how to defend myself,” she told him and the man looked alarmed once again. All the better, she thought, if he feared her enough at least he wouldn’t try to rob her or something worse. “If I may ask, where are you headed to?”
“Melkar,” the man replied. “I’m a wine trader,” he said, pointing towards the caskets that filled his cart. “It’s all I have on me,” he immediately added as if to let her know that he wasn’t carrying anything worth stealing.
“Good. I travel that same way. Mind if I join you? I’ve been on the road for a few days now, and miss having someone to talk to.”
The man swallowed dry, his frightening eyes still on her cloak, over the place that covered her sword, and nodded.
“But of course … A bit of talk never hurt no one,” he answered, trying as hard as he could to hide his fear, and Allana nodded politely, making her horse keep up with the donkey’s slower pace.