A cold night, but there are no complaints about preferring to sleep in the old shack. Not for us a night punctuated by farting and snoring of fellow travellers. Nor a night woken by the crunch of giant’s teeth on my bones. I have survived the encounter.
The gods of this valley seem to have accepted our presence and greet us with a cheerier sky. This bodes well. We set off as three, for the Giant has attached himself to us – it’s clear he’s still disorientated by the loss/devouring of his travelling companion – a companion who it becomes clear was in charge of most of the planning. We pack up and walk north to the Great Fjord.
The path twists and turns beside the Great Fjord, and what looked straightforward on our charts, turns out to be anything but. We rise and fall, fall and rise, the way narrow and the bracken and heather up to our loins. For hours we toil along the edge of the Great Fjord until relief comes in the form of rocky outcrops to be clambered over.
With relief we gain the highway and soon after arrive at a lonely homestead, whose inhabitants offer refreshments to passing travellers. Many gold coins are handed over in return for warm drinks and cake.
Our legs are weary, and the Moor Man is not looking happy. Mine own limbs are grateful for the relief of the rest. It is an easy decision to forego the climb past the end of the Great Fjord into another great valley. We decide to follow the highway instead. The Giant is still well short of where he had planned to be this day, and for him the highway offers a chance to make up some time.
The highway rises away from the Great Fjord, but the climb is not hard. The sureness of the road compared with the path this morning banishes any grumbles. Soon we reach a high point and before us lies an unexpected vista. The highway isn’t so bad after all.
In front lies the Loch of the Cup, stretching away towards the place where the sun rises. We hurry onwards to its shore. Here the Giant leaves us to make up some ground. The Moor Man, though, is desperate to stop, and I am equally happy to stop.
We make camp a short distance below the highway, a sweeping view of the Loch before our shelters. Fortune has favoured us tonight, and we take our rest in the hope that this valley is kinder than the last…
The sun brings us from our sleep, warms and dries our shelters. The gods of this Valley of the Cup have welcomed us. The highway was our friend yesterday, and we resume our trek in its embrace. A warm day and great views of the loch our partner for the morning.
We reach the point where the people of this place have dammed the mighty lake, and it is clear that this has angered the gods of the valley, as their wrath has shook the ground and caused much rock and earth to tumble down the hillsides.
Further along the highway, we gain the place where we would have joined the highway, if only our limbs had taken us into the valley to the north yesterday. Here by a bridge, we come across a group of travellers taking their ease in the shade of trees and the brickwork of the bridge. And some of these travellers I have met before on past Quests.
One of these is Ali, one of the Most Honoured Clerks of the Quest, and better still she has a magic potion which she shares amongst us travellers. To my left is a Merchant of Various Goods Befitting the Usage of Those Who Undertake Such Quests. It pleases me to see the Merchant here, as we have shared time in each other’s company on past Quests.
We sit, even lay, in the shadow of the bridge and share tales of Quests past, little thought being given to continuing with this one. But eventually we tire of this inaction, and one by one rise to our feet. We set off in company along the highway to find a place to cross the river. For across the river lies a Great Forest.
Questers split off to follow different ways as we enter the Great Forest, and once again we are three – the Moor Man, the Merchant, and I. We climb up into the Forest following tracks. Our walk is easy but long.
We come to the place the Moor Man and I had thought to camp, guided by the advice of Sages. This is poor ground, and the streams are hard to reach, so we decide to continue with the Merchant to his place. The Sages that guided him, seem to have chosen just as badly though. Nowhere is there ground to take 2 travellers, let alone 3.
We resume our toil through the Great Forest, our aim to camp as soon as we find ground to welcome us. Alas, our hopes come to naught and as the sun sinks low towards the Great Ocean, we leave the Great Forest to cross a Great Highway. Here there lies ground given over to passing travellers like us, and there is yet room for us.
And here we find the Giant, surprised to see us having done in one day what he feared being able to master in two. Our limbs are weary though and we fall into our shelters, merely glad to have finally found somewhere to lay our heads…
Distance Journeyed: over 12 leagues in 2 days.