Pockets weighted with Tymora’s blessing, I made my way out of the fourth ward, crossed the river, and followed it north out of the city. This route is much less trafficked than the Queen’s Road, but if Tymora smiles I should reach the Dagger’s Handle in less than two weeks. As I can already feel winter approach on the sharp breeze, I will make haste.
Getting past the Wardens was simple: I showed them my Luckbringer garb and told them that I needed the early start to reach a nearby village in time for a day of contests. Footraces. Put your money on a half-elf in the sixth.
The river is calm this time of year. Most of the harvest ha already come downstream to the docks, and most upriver goods go earlier in the season, to insure a return before freeze might trap them overwinter. Water is low after the hot summer, but still flows strong and deep in its center channel. The flood plain, though, should be easy to follow and dried enough to bypass detours thru the forest.
Best, though, the road to Jorkh has already split off, taking most travelers with it. Now, with luck, I will outpace any news from Songsteel that might call me back. Once in the mountain pass I can relax – no one goes thru the mountains in winter. Already, and it is only late autumn, I understand why and regret not having boots.
I am within sight of the mountain pass, near enough to see that snow already shrouds the mountains. I am now over halfway the Sriss, but the remaining distance will not be so kind. I will rest by the river today and make ready.
The fish, which have fed me well so far, unfortunately stay with the river. I have set several lines, and will smoke my catch over my fire tonight to take with me. I also saw a grove of fruit trees, and will harvest from them as well. Perhaps, with what remains of my hardtack and rations, I can gather enough to survive the coming journey.
If not, well, I have been hungry before.
It has been a week since I saw anything green – or brown, or yellow – and the only red is blood from my feet in the snow. The cold is not yet so bad as it might be; the season is yet early, with days warm enough for snow to fall. Great white flakes, like ash from a straw fire, fall softly, sometimes catching a light as exquisite as any jewel. In other circumstances it would be achingly beautiful, but in this circumstance, it is my stomach that aches. I eat only enough to continue, but my fishes and fruit are long gone and the remaining rations dwindle more quickly than I can cover the miles. If I had boots, I could boil them for a feast.
But novice Luckbringers are not allowed boots, nor even sandals until fifth level initiation. Songsteel believes that footwear removes an element of luck from one’s walking – it matters less where one steps when the sole is protected.
Yet callouses are no defense against frostbite, so I have wrapped my feet best I can in the rags of my spare tunic and stumble onward to Sriss.