*Editor’s note: This entry and the next few that follow contain unverifiable information, due to the absence of proper identifiable characteristics in the landscape described and as such should be taken with a helping of skepticism.
By the gods, there is a village in the mountain. Words are going to fail me in describing this properly. There was a void as far as the eye could see in all directions and floating in it like corks on a bucket of water were little islands, most only big enough for one small building. A few had room for several small buildings or one large building. And exactly two had room for small castle-like structures. One appeared to be at the center of whatever in the hells this place was.
That in and of itself wasn’t all that strange. I’d heard of the island cities of the far off continent after all. What set this apart from those stories was that there was nothing here for these islands to be suspended in. Well that and all of these little islands (I’m just going to call them islands) were sort of moving in and through the void that surrounded them.
The three of us just stared like a trio of slack jawed fools staring at the spectacle of it all. After watching it for a while it became clear that folks were moving from one island to another by waiting for them to a pair of islands to move closer to one another.
A few more minutes and it finally clicked. The various smaller islands were moving in orbits around the center island. Moreover, they were doing so with a regular and timable pattern. The music we could hear from outside appeared to be coming from a building that looked like an inn about halfway between us and the keep at the center.
I nudged the boys and started forward. I think I had the timing down on catching and riding these various islands from one to another. We’d been noticed by some of the locals but none of them seemed all that concerned about us. They all looked far more put out by whatever was making the racket in the inn, though they did keep a healthy distance from us. It made me wonder if they could smell us. Or maybe they smelled the worgs. I’d ask someone when we could find someone who didn’t want to be away from us.
I looked down to make sure I wasn’t running around without clothes again. I’d stopped doing that but the heat of the desert and the exertion of the climb made me doubt my own ability to act civilized.
With nothing better to go off of and this being what was likely to be our only chance to try and resupply on our way up the mountain, the inn or tavern of whatever it was seemed like as good a place as any to start. It was at that moment that it hit me, I couldn’t feel my connection to the lady. And the bird that was hers was acting weird. I thought that without her I’d go back to being dead so I started to freak a little until I saw Shojin hold his hand to his chest. Ok, so I wasn’t in this along.
Gnoman, who at the most stressful of times is composed, whether with the cold and calculating nature of a stone cold killer or the calmness of a tranquil pond, spoke up with the smallest hint of concern in his voice.
“Something is wrong here.”
I tried to get the bird that was mine before I was the lady’s to fly around us in a lazy circle. Nothing. I tried to look through the bird’s eyes. Nothing. Well shit. I tried to call forth my ladies wings, the weird weapon I’d been wielding since I figured out how to make it. Nothing.
I figured whatever was going on and wherever we were, we were on our own. Thankfully there was no visible threat to our wellbeing. We exercised some caution in our approach to business and I slowly pushed open the door.
We’d not even made it through the door to what was now clearly a tavern and possibly an inn of sorts when a voice called out from inside.
“Hello travelers. Come in and take a load off. All are welcome in at the end of the world.”
I was curious to learn more. If people lived here it must not be that dangerous. Since the barkeep was smiling at us I figured he was the owner of the voice so I made a beeline for the bar without waiting for the guys to even make it all the way through the door.
I had faith in the lady that we were here for a reason, time to try and figure out what that reason was.