It’s been two days since I’ve had more to eat than a handful of overripe wild blackberries that follow in a tangled mess the clear glacial-fed River Onyx.

The berries have all but disappeared since I’ve climbed onto the boulder-strewn outwash, which has made my forward progress tedious at best.

Yet when the wind blows hard and the myst clears, I’m able to discern my destination in the distance: a craggy lone monadnock towering some one hundred and fifty meters, dominating the Cowudully Plateau, which I should enter, at this rate, some two sunsets from now.

And as I walk, I can’t help but think back to the Slaughters, a break-in-bulk point at the confluence of the Oynx and Greene Rivers. A place where I’d last eaten some two weeks ago a filling meal in the company of my former Commander who’d told me was quest was nonsense, and wouldn’t I rather join her as crew on her dirigible “Scarlet Muse.”

I must admit, it’d been a tempting offer, yet I declined.

“You’re a fool,” she’d said, her dark eyes piercing me in the dark candlelight of the pub. “What you seek isn’t in some rock spire out on the glacial plains.”

I’d stared at her. “Tell me, then, Commander. What do I quest?”


She’d spoke the word simply.

I smiled as the wind tore me and the angry clouds pushed over the peaks, obscuring my view.

And my thoughts.