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In Western Lands

The final part of “The Tale of Kutava,” continued from Part V

Having set out from our native shores upon a long and difficult voyage, we survived as best we could.  None of us were mariners (although we had gained some experience paddling down the Mikaluf), so we knew only vaguely the course our craft was taking, and we did our best to steer westward.  I believe we all had doubts about our chances of arriving at the ancestral home of the Kroats, but we maintained a spirit of optimism throughout.  However, by the time we sighted land after many months of roving the seas, we were thoroughly disgusted with our standard diet of fish and gulls, our supplies having run out long before.
Thou canst imagine our joy when we first sighted a stone turret jutting out of the mists, revealing our almost alarming proximity to land.  Our leather boat had indeed brought us across the ocean Svôsivik with minimal repairs, and for this we were thankful, yet we thought only of solid ground and the benefits thereof as we paddled into a windless haven.

Disembarking, we secured the boat and examined our surroundings.

‘Troth, this is a dismal place!’ exclaimed Ferondei.  ‘It doth not look like our homeland.’

‘When sawest thou the homeland before?’ said Aiĝif.  ‘I’ll warrant thee that we are equally clueless in this respect.’ Read More

Flight Through the Mountains

The penultimate part of “The Tale of Kutava,” continued from Part IV

We departed from Krotil before dawn, to avoid any questionings from the townspeople. Our company consisted of Taeĝan, Ferondei and me, as well as the two boys Delko and Aiĝif, who had implored Ferondei to allow them to accompany us. We certainly were not planning for two extra travellers, but they had brought their own provisions as Ferondei had instructed, and for that we were thankful.

We were in the mountains by daybreak, and at length we stopped for a rest.

‘Prithee tell me again,’ quoth Delko, ‘whither are we bound?’

‘To seek a hiding place in the mountains, as we’ve told thee thrice already,’ said Taeĝan, seeming a bit upset.

‘Ah, that’s right; for some reason I thought we were going to Krotl.’

‘Well, thou art mistaken this time,’ quoth I, ‘for that is where Raheem is, assembling his great army against Ĝimlu.

‘Oh, horrors! I detest fighting. I’d much rather hide in the mountains.’ He smiled strangely. Read More

The House of Learning

We now resume the telling of the Tale of Kutava, a story of Shliflet

Casa Eruditionis (House of Learning)

(Continued from Part III)

For the third consecutive evening, I sat by the hearth in a log house in Zefelen to listen to the adventures of Melpalêpsen, who was called ‘Kutava’ in his youth. He and his family had been most hospitable, and I was enjoying the tale immensely, as I hope you are as well.

‘Oh traveller,’ said Melpalêpsen this third night, ‘I fear I am wearying thee with this lengthy story. Wilt thou that I continue? or hast thou need of embarking once again on thy journey?’ I assured him I had nowhere to go, and that I very much wished to hear the rest of his tale.

Well then, if thou wouldest remain, I would fain continue. Where did I end the tale last night? Ah, yes, as we were readying ourselves to cross the Great River, Taeĝan and I.

Now this river is very wide, much wider than the streams of this land, and so wide that a man standing on one of its banks cannot see the other. In Nuĝim then, that morning, we crossed the river on a ferry. It was a lovely spring morning; the birds were singing, and as we neared the opposite shore I spied the trees covered with white sweet-smelling blooms. Of course, nothing in Ĝimlu is so bright and wonderful as the indescribable beauty and splendour of this land, but I was cheered, and my heart was glad.

On the other side of the river was a simple dock, where a small group of people awaited the coming of the ferry. When we landed, we and the few who were with us disembarked from the boat and set off down the road which led to the village of Krotil, only a few leagues thence.

Krotil is a small town, fairly far removed from the rest of Kroatelmia. Most of its goods are imported by shipments along the river, although some farming is done around the town. Although situated in the river valley, Krotil is very close to the great mountains in the south which my people call ‘Kutvête.’ Read More