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Chapter 9: THE GORGE

They rode along the largish stream that fed the lake. The fog that hugged the shore would lift by mid-morning.

“Gentlemen, is the path this wide all the way?”

“Yes sir,” said his guide Cappy. It gets a little narrower when you go up to the springs, but the gorge is a favorite place for people to visit. If you have all day, you can swim the river up here and cross over and back.

Joe, or Armad as he was having people calling him now, had to ask, “What makes the trip worth it, the swim across?”

“No, the hot springs on this side of the gorge. You will see them and the mixing pond next to them. If you ever come here and want to be alone, leave your shirt on the tree right there.” The man pointed at a large oak tree with a short stubby branch about a man’s height up.


“Yes, alone. This is a nice place to bring a lover or a close friend that you need to share private time or thoughts with. You can see anyone coming and still have time to get dressed.”

“Oh!” Armad thought about his ex-wife. She would have loved this place. This would be a nice place to bury his feelings. It was time to move on. He had been so busy that his particular relationship problem had been shoved to the side.

The gorge was wide but the sides on top were even. There were no appreciable winds and everybody that he talked to later agreed that year around, there were few winds. That was good. Winds could upset the plans that he was beginning to make. The path here would be an ideal place from which to build a bridge. First a rope bridge for materials and people and later a stone bridge or a suspension bridge depending on materials. First, he would have to find out what the lay of the land on the other side was and if it would lead to better chances of trade.

“Cappy, what is the path on the other side like and does it lead anywhere?”

Armad could have sworn that he saw Cappy wince. “I’ve hunted on the other side. The game is plentiful and the path can be extended off to Junction. If you go north, there is the whole other kingdom to trade with. It really would be a good trade route.”

“You use it in your vocation, secret trips, don’t you?” Asked Armad.

“Yes. You understand, don’t you?”

Armad nodded, “I won’t get in the way. You work for order here although you let others think that you stand on the dark side of the line.”

“How do you see that?” asked Cappy.

“As you well know, I don’t come from here. I have a different type of education than you and all the other people here and this gives me insight that few people have. I know when somebody is kind and good. I know when he or she uses illegal talents. The two are not mutually exclusive.”

“Mut… Excl..,, whatever you said. You are probably right.”

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