Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Dec. 17, 2005: travelogue

Greetings all from Mestra Rafaella, your friendly
shire herald.

This past week I did for the first time travel east
and north to the fair Barony of Wealdsmere (modernly
known as Spokane, WA).

Having never travelled to the far regions of the
crown's land beyond Three Mountains, I was amazed by
the beauteous hills, the glorious rivers, and frozen
cascades of water that decked the cliffs as we
travelled into unknown territory. Most assuredly,
gentles live in these wild places, but being a friend
to mine own hearth, I had not previously travelled
more east than the great henge of stone which doth
mark the sacrifice of solders of the first world war
and its neighbor, the museum of Maryhill.

I was graciously escorted by lord Morphael who hails
from the wilds of the Outlands (colorado) and is
accustomed to travel in the snow and ice, whereas,
poor me, my ancestoral home lies in the south of Caid
(california) wherefrom I did not experience this white
wet substance until late in my twenties. During the
great ice storm of A.S. XXX in the Rivers Region, I
did proceed to spin about in the curves of
Terwilliger, thankfully damaging mine own cart only
and none other. To my shame, I have been afeared to
travel in foul weather since this incident, but
company makes travel easier and I am grateful that my
companion had time to spend with me on this journey to
speak with the elders of the City Library of
Wealdsmere wherein I might hope to be employed.

The winds blew mightily against our cart but we
perserved east and north into the Barony of Wastekeep
(TriCities) where the local wizards must have been
conspiring against us, both going and upon our return.
The signs of direction in and around these three
cities were most circuitous and bewildering, and being
confused on how to proceed, we stopped for luncheon
repast. The wenches of that most welcoming
establishment belonging to Lord Denny do make fine
fried meats and eggs and shredded browned starches of
unknown origin.

Travelling more north we encountered landscapes that
rivaled the deserts of my homeland, flat and brown and
greatly populated by short grasses. Farther north and
higher in elevation these landscapes became white with
ice and snow, sheltering all views in a pristine
blanket that described not its secrets. Few travelled
along our path and the road was frozen but dry, though
many-wheeled container caravans did sometimes join us
on our quest.

Darkness had fallen as we entered into the heart of
the city of of the Barony. I was impressed with the
lights of the city though a serious venture into the
streets would need to wait until daylight. We found
our lodgings and dinner was delivered and we had a
good night's rest (Best Western Trade Winds North,
good people).

The next day we ventured out into the grey sunlight
and quested far and wide in the city, verily I should
say, as far as the streets cleared of ice and snow
would allow. I was much impressed by the fineness of
the tall buildings and the opulence of the
architecture (altho in my ancestral homeland, that
much red brick would be a danger during times of the
quaking of the earth). The downtown area is most fine
with many establishments seen in larger cities of
AnTir, in faith, I did not expect such sophistication
and that is testament to mine own ignorance of the
fine gentles and cities of the eastern edges of our
kingdom. Having seen Wealdsmere, I one day hope to
visit Lyonsmarche (Pullman/Moscow).

Many stores we see in the Shire and Three Mountains
and Stromgard are also found in Wealdsmere, in sooth,
the size of the Barnes, noble proprietor of books, was
quite impressive. A city which boasts both a World
Market and First Pier import store is truly blessed.
The many huts serving coffee from Arabia were a
welcome sight though we availed ourselves of the
vendor bearing the sign of the green two-tailed
mermaid (that's melusine to you heralds) as I had a
gift card for that establishment.

Much art adorns the city walls, many of the murals
were created by children under the tutelage of
masters. Other artists of fame and reknown have
created scultpures that line the riverfront park (tho
I mistook the rusted running men for scared villagers
at first). A great river and railed road run through
the middle of the city. The outdoor ampitheatre with
its strange tilted pavilion, a configuration of ropes
and machines,puzzled my companion and me as to its
function. Apparently a Great World Exposition did
occur in the town in A.S VIII, which left behind this
legacy of art and civic venues including a rather
gigantic red wagon. They must be seen to be believed
Adorned in a thin layer of snow, all these things did
seem as wonders.

At the appointed hour we did arrive at the City
Library. A skybridge connects the library to the
indoor marketplace that stands adjacent so my
companion ventured off to find treasures from afar.
The City Library which lies downtown is most wonderous
and the staff is pleasant and knowledgeable, offering
many services, such as researching one's familly
history. However, I was disappointed by the lack of
seating accommodations accorded to gentles of my
(ehem) stature. :-7
I perched where I might to do more research.

My interview with the elders went well enow though I
felt I did not express myself with as much finesse as
I have on other occasions. After two long hours of
discussion, in despair I cancelled my dinner plans
with Lady Juliana and Lady Richenda, fine heralds of
the kingdom whom I know from their days in Terra
Pomeria, rejoined lord Morphael and headed back to our
lodgings. By faith, my fears were unfounded, as the
elders of the Library did contact my former employer
the next day to request a recommendation.

Alas the time came to leave in the early dark of the
morn of the next day, as I had to rush home to speak
with the elders of the Great State Library located in
Terra Pomeria. [and upon returning home I found more
invitations to speak with libraries, two in Caid, and
one in the West, tho it is greatly my wish to remain
in AnTir and even more preferably Dragon's Mist, but
we go where we must... and most assuredly all this
discussion with various libraries of great reknown
must yield me employment soon... soon I say! :-) ]

On friday morn, the local heralds of weather could not
decide whether the temperature was 7 degrees or 14
degrees on the scales of farenheit. God's teeth were
chattering, I tell you what (prithee). We travelled
south in the light pellets of snow crossing through
white terrain, into the desert terrain, and then west
along the windy Gorge yet again. The Columbia Gorge
was most beauteous tho my companion informs me that
waves of such height and foamy white brilliance along
the said waterway are mesmerizing yet dangerous. For
me, it was a glad return home with discussions of wit
high and low and sunshine which was gloriously warm in
comparison to the earlier morning.

I bid thee all farwell, and encourage all to travel to
the far reaches of the kingdoms. Wonders both great
and small are oft to be found.

In Service,
Mestra Rafaella d'Allemtejo
Pursuivant, Shire of Dragon's Mist, AnTir

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