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On the Trail, Are We Truly Here III

Barken, History of the Midlands, Midpoint in the Beginning II

The Wanderer’s Story - the Wounded Man, part b

                             Story unfolding
                      Prudentia rules the day
                     ‘Til Dread has their say.


‘Didn’t name a specific city 
At least by name, Barken’, the Wanderer replied to his query
‘Just a location’.

‘I know the City to be around here
Further east on a high cliffed area
I believe near where you live.

And he’s the one that gave me directions
On how to get here 
The first time I arrived.

He explained this City he lived in 
Was sort of... the Capital
Located on top of The Eagle’s Beak...

Ruling the surrounding areas below, and around it.

As I recall, those areas were.. the Giantlands, Swamplands, and Midlands
No real Country names
Though all held under the sway of what he called, ‘The Group of Nine’.

Nine female Elders who called themselves ‘Prudentia’
Together determining and administrating law and order 
Over the immediate surrounding lands.

And it seems through their wise prudence
The lands prospered for many long decades.

When he wandered here long ago
Midlands was vast, extending from this Eagle’s Beak 
Ruing most areas way to the far South...
However now divided, split in two
Those living far South becoming very independent
Chaffing under, then refusing, any further ministrations of the Nine.

Many times they even came close to war with each other
North versus South, it was that conflicted.

He said the lands to the West of the Midlands
Remain largely uninhabited…
Stretching to a small port city
Located by a large bay, fed by the Western Seas...

That through a river and other tributaries
Came east to here
Where it feeds a bay, river, and your Eastern Seas beyond.

I can attest to that part.

After he passed on... per his directions
Almost straight West, that is the direction from where I came. 

He cautioned me about not straying too far into the Northwest 
There live a truly fierce race of beings...

Who are known as seriously vicious 
Especially in a group-centric, crazy focused sort-of way.

For in any actions, no matter how slight the occurrence
They are actually quite evil, going to war ruthlessly...

Whenever stirred up 
Grouping hard together into a huge mass.

Outsiders call them... the Dread.
I imagine named for fearful emotions stirred
By their utter ferociousness whenever provoked.

Interesting, I heard there was an Ancient of Days living among them
Doesn’t make sense, that one, if they’re so evil.
Also heard among them 
Are some strange, alien-like creatures

Similar to them...
But not like them at all.

As to the North itself, it remains an unexplored area 
Called the Deadlands.
A lot of supernatural stuff happening up there apparently
As most have kept far away.

I never did get any more about that from him…

Except me, I visited a Valley up there on my way here.’

He hesitated, ‘That however, is another story.

Suffice to say, in my opinion. keeping away is the smart thing to do.

Yes,' he suddenly mumbled, 'Definitely, entirely, another story.’

Barken noted his discomfort.

Something there in memory, about that northern place 
Seemed to still bother him.

However, the Wanderer straightened up
Quickly composed himself, and continued on.

‘The Eagle’s Beak lies near here 
I saw the Bay.

And he said Northeast of this Eagle’s Beak
The land drops down the cliffs, to skirt a Swamp containing Wizards...

Whcih then widens out into some vast, open Plains.

That is where he said a race of Giants are said to roam. 

And in and on the Mountains north of them
First-Elves live throughout some scattered forests…
Among them, also several famous Demigoddesses
Who are even today the subject of myth.
Stranger though, is further up in altitude
One can find strange Gods of Light and Life…

Then there’s strange beings who supposedly have their abodes there
Served as they are by strange… Fire Sprites.

Those that populate the Heavens.

Yes, I’ve seen them once or twice 
In the more wilder storms I’ve experienced.

Anyway lastly, across another major river running from there
In the northeast south to the Eastern Bay here...

It is said that that Land is held in parts
Within some kind of a strange Time anomaly…
Where it is rumored in the distant past
Travelers through Time have appeared, and disappeared.

Many thinking this is where I came from.'

He stopped to slightly shake his head...

'But no, my trail did not come down from the North 
Instead, much further west from here as I said.

I came by ship, and then the River east, to here.'

He stopped, seeming to have come to an end of his itinerary.

He took a moment, then continued on, getting back onto the main subject.

'Near his end, that wounded man named you, Barken 
As the one specifically to find…

Giving me general directions...
On how to hopefully find you with the promise 
That what I brought, is serious warning...

To give to these Midland’s people…

Intelligence of what he knows was coming, is coming.

So prepared then, it will save a lot of lives 
If and when Dread attackers do come.

So here I am, my arrival
After all this time, finally here...

Which has been for me, I must say
Quite a life-changing adventure.'

                                (to be continued)

Copyright © Brian Rusch