The point where our voyage by ship ends finally arrived. The next few days will be spent unloading and preparing our supplies at the mouth of the Red River for the trek upriver toward the fortress of the Dark Magicians. Captain Hegherg, Ervah, and the other sailors not going with us. They will return to Ar Tahed for about a month and a half, and then sail back to the Red River to pick up the Sisterhood operatives and the soldiers who accompany them. Thus, I must say goodbye to these fine sailors whom I have grown to know over the past seven months. Perhaps we will meet again, but I do not expect it. The world is big, and paths rarely cross again. They will sail away, and I will walk my way. Tomorrow I will give the captain the large gemstone I picked up in Mekender.
However, Pelmarco will be going with me. He likes my idea of exploring Etnyben, and wants to do something in his old age other than living in Perduva Rosla. He gave me some basic swordsmanship training on the deck the past few weeks, but claims I’m still not ready to go off on my own. I won’t argue with a Red Exemplar, but personally, I’m going off to explore, not to fight battles. I don’t need to know how to use a sword! Pelmarco also gave some wrestling training to Feliko. Now Feliko is finally getting to the point where he makes a challenging opponent for Pelmarco. Still, I have yet to see Pelmarco beaten.
One thing we need to maintain while in this region is fresh water. The Red River, fortunately, has drinkable water, but we won’t always be near enough to the river to replenish water supplies. What makes it so difficult is the land in this region is barren, with little more than weeds and scraggly shrubs growing in the few remaining patches of decent soil. Legends, according to some interpretations, suggest the land was once fertile thousands of years ago, but mention that trees grew short. It is possible the land has grown worse since then. I wonder if it might have something to do with the salty Lake Icavor near the fortress of the Dark Magicians.