I got my first glimpse of the distant fortress of the Dark Magicians today. The familiar structure, immortalized in many descriptions, tales, and paintings, is exactly as pictured, a black wall with three monstrous spires reaching up like claws to scratch the sky. However, accounts conflict as to the composition of the fortress. Some sources such as the Legend of Nidiz claim the fortress is composed of the Dark Magicians, while Pelmarco says he has only seen the Dark Magicians coming out from the gates of the fortress. Could both accounts be true?
We are almost to our destination. The land here is a stony home to trees that rarely grow higher than my waist. It is also very hot. However, there is a bright side to this. A soft cooling rain falls almost daily, although the duration is sometimes shorter than I might desire. I suspect the rain is what keeps the trees and other regional weeds alive since the local soil and the nearby Lake Icavor are extremely salty. One of the soldiers wondered if a spoonfish could survive in the lake. Krista’Mil guessed it couldn’t, but from lack of food instead of the uninhabitable water. Those nasty fish seem to thrive in any type of water as long as they get enough food.
As we walk closer to the fortress of the Dark Magicians, we are starting to pass items discarded and left behind by the many armies to pass this way. Broken carts, armor, weapons, and practically anything a soldier might carry in the field is scattered throughout the area if one searches long enough. I might consider searching for more arrows for future hunting. Perhaps the most valuable item found was a piece of parchment Niahla’Sen found tucked into a strongbox under a rocky outcrop. It was a letter to a woman in Atalan, and bore the signature of Prince Turos the Fifteenth, who never survived his only expedition some centuries ago. I suspect the dry air is why the parchment remained intact after so many centuries. Niahla’Sen intends to honor the memory of Prince Turos the Fifteenth, and present the letter to the Great King when she returns to Atalan.