CruelSummerLord writes "Rumors had been swirling for years of possible invasions from Iuz, the Society or both. The Knights of the Hart were the first lines of defense for Highfolk, Furyondy and Veluna. Their duty was to hold the line against invaders until their countries mustered their main armies. The Knights’ leaders regularly met to keep their strategies and intelligence up to date.
Just Around The
“Thanks again for your kindness,” Amyalla said as she and
Jolene walked through Jolene’s flower gardens. “We appreciate your hospitality.”
“I’m just returning your help,” Jolene said. “It’s a pity
you’re all leaving, though. Where are you headed?”
“Highfolk,” Amyalla said. “Revafour led some Flan refugees
there from Blackmoor last year. He wants to check in on them.”
“How are you getting there?” Jolene asked.
“We’ll probably travel north through western Furyondy,”
Amyalla said. “Why do you ask?”
Jolene only smiled.
“Canoeing up the
entire Velverdyva River?” Luna said. “Are you serious?”
“That’s what Jolene said,” Amyalla said. “She’s part of a
Velunese delegation that’s traveling to a meeting between several branches of
the Knights of the Hart and their governments. They’re gathering to discuss
their strategy against the threats of Iuz and the Horned Society. The meeting’s
in Highfolk, so Jolene invited us to come with the delegation.”
The companions knew how important the meeting might be. Iuz,
the half-demon ruler of the empire that bore his name, had been rebuilding his
country’s power ever since he regained his hellish throne several years ago.
The Horned Society was widely believed to worship the malicious arch-devils
Mephistopheles and Asmodeus and the death god Nerull. Many different kinds of
monsters, from orcs to hobgoblins to gnolls, also infested both countries. By
all accounts, those monsters were eager for blood and treasure.
Rumors had been swirling for years of possible invasions
from Iuz, the Society or both. The Knights of the Hart were the first lines of
defense for Highfolk, Furyondy and Veluna. Their duty was to hold the line
against invaders until their countries mustered their main armies. The Knights’
leaders regularly met to keep their strategies and intelligence up to date.
“But still, we’re canoeing?” Luna said, shaking her head
skeptically. “Why wouldn’t they take a sailing ship?”
“Why wouldn’t they canoe?” Revafour said, his eyes gleaming
with excitement. “The Flan used canoes for fast travel all over the Flanaess
before the Great Migrations! A good birchbark canoe can move quickly, and it
doesn’t need as many supplies as a sailing ship. Travelers can live off the
land itself as they go. Besides, have any of you seen the Velverdyva River?”
“I’m pretty sure we both have, since we met you on that
caravan in Chendl,” Airk said, gesturing to himself and Amyalla. “One of the
longest rivers in the whole Flanaess, isn’t it?”
“That’s right,” Revafour said, smiling widely. “The Flan
used it for centuries, and we still use it today. So do the Rhennee,” he said,
referring to the humans famous for their insular culture and travels along the
rivers of the Flanaess. “Besides, you’d need a smaller vessel to reach
Highfolk. The Velverdyva isn’t deep enough for the larger sailing ships that
far inland. What’s the problem with canoeing?”
“…It’s too close to the water,” Luna said, shaking her head.
She hated water, hated how helpless she felt out on the sea or even on a river.
“Don’t worry, it’ll be alright,” Revafour said, placing a
comforting hand on Luna’s shoulder. “People from some of the Velunese Flan
nations are part of Jolene’s delegation. They’ll see to it we get to Highfolk
Luna grasped his hand back, smiling gratefully.
Revafour brimmed with
impatience during the day the companions spent traveling with Jolene’s
entourage to the town of Temton, on the banks of the Velverdyva. He was
thrilled at the prospect of following in the footsteps of his Flan ancestors by
traveling the Velverdyva, and at sharing it with his friends. While some Flan nations
kept sacred ceremonies like sweat lodges as private affairs, the ceremony to
honor the river was one Revafour was eager for his friends to see.
The drumming ceremony several of the Flan delegates
performed to ask the Velverdyva to guide them on their journey and to thank the
trees that provided the canoes was everything Revafour hoped for. The happiness
he felt at using the drum, the pride he felt at Luna being invited to represent
Pelor in the prayers to the various delegates’ gods, and the satisfaction he
felt at his friends’ enjoyment were all worth the wait.
The next nine days of travel up the Velverdyva to the
Furyondian town of Baranford, the next delegation of Jolene’s party, made
Revafour feel like he was back in the time of his ancestors before the Great
Migrations. He paddled the Velverdyva the way the ancient Flan did, lived off
the land by hunting deer and gathering wild galda fruits to share with his
companions at their evening camps, and traded stories with some of the warriors
among Jolene’s entourage.
The journey took place during the month of Flocktime, during
which Seline’s twenty-second birthday happened. That evening, the companions
prepared their camp separately from Jolene’s entourage. They gave Seline their
own small gifts, and she thanked them by performing some of her favorite songs
from Heward’s plays.
That, along with the relief he saw on his friends’ faces,
especially Luna and Ma’non’go, were perhaps what Revafour enjoyed most of all. "