Towards Atium

Dear Aelise,

I met an old friend at one of my stops this week. Travelling has been easy, if not every exciting. I hitched rides on logging carts. There are more soldiers on the road here, marching to and fro. I wonder what is all this activity? There are no trees in this region – most are gone from logging, so one has a clear view all around, and I can spy the Atium in the distance, a little indistinct.

Anyway, on to my friend: his name is Gavrael Elgario (I shall omit his sub-titles to save space. Well let’s just say that it is possible for another paragraph to be added.), an accomplished artist from Maratellin and quite wealthy from his trade in paintings in Esotre and Estellion. He is bald, half a head taller than me, and speaks several languages, including the tongue of the Verbana, a particular tribe of the Lyri. I have tried to learn it, but my tongue felt like it was slowly being twisted up.

He says that he is travelling to the Atium to make pitches to some of the wealthier members of Tellion society. It appears that throughout this time, even the war has not diminished their taste for these fine pieces of art. I do not know if this is something joyous or sad. But Gavrael takes it well. As long as it is business he says, then it is all day to him (something to be happy about). The only thing that stopped him from smiling was mention of the Empress, and the crows. Nobody talks about that, he says. But this intrigues me further. I must get into the fortress of the Atium.

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