Brennan had been on the road for several weeks since the landslide. Along the way he had met far more people leaving the port city of Eltryst than were arriving - after the disaster at the mountain village this was not comforting - and when Brennan asked one amicable looking older tradesman why he got an earful.
“The trade’s jus all gone. Ever since the govner stood up to the so called Free Cities and kept the tarrifs up they been smugglin instead and they jus blow up any our boats try to get em to stop. Ever since then all the other cities we traded with didn’t want nothin to do with us on account it was not safe at all to be on the water. Sure we had some land trade but all the money come in from the King’s land jus dried up. I’m headin home to Baldery south-east of here. Called Eltrys my home for about five years, I’m pretty sad to have to leave to be honest. But I am bringing back quite the proof that I am a true trader. In fact can I offer you anything from my packs? I’ve got quite the selection.”
“No thank you very much I really need to get going.”
Brennan waved and smiled at the bubbly, if that’s what you got out of him for a simple question he hated to think what haggling would be like.
“Heh it’s your loss son, take care in Eltrys you hear? That’s just the start of it there’s all kinds of unexpected dangers I promise you.”
“I mean I’ve been there before, I can’t imagine it’s changed that much.”
“You may be right, you may be right. The stars be with you.”
The man raised his hand into a salute and sauntered on down the road humming a folk tune.
It was near enough now that you could smell the sea. The salt in the air bit into Brennan’s eyes. Hefting his belongings from where he had set them down Brennan set off at a brisk pace down the road which had finally started its decent toward the coast. The cliffs and dunes of this region were riddled with caves that held dangers and beauty in equal measure. Atop one grassy hilloc in a small pit of sand he spied a sea bird staring at him. The bird was well camoflauged in the sand and had it not been for the stark black eyes he might not have even noticed it. It struck him that he had not seen much wildlife in the mountains. This was certainly strange but perhaps they had smelled the storm and kept well clear of the outside.
The bird gave a quick shriek and took off. Following it with his eyes Brennan drew a short bow from his back and strung it. Dinner tonight would be sea bird it seemed. Brennan selected one of his arrows and took aim. The bird had not gone far circling to get another look at him. Brennan loosed the arrow from his bow and saw that his arrow was definitely going to hit. Suddenly the bird spun in the air and knocked the arrow away with a small blast of energy. The arrow clattered to the ground, fizzing with small blue sparks. The bird sped away down the hill and Brennan quickly lost sight of it.
Brennan stood there for quite a while before he took up the arrow in his hand. The sparks were gone but the shock of what had just happened had certainly not. His thoughts were far away way back to when he had been growing up in the frontier town of Aronsford. There had been a very small library and he could still remember the first time he read of sorcery. The master of books had laughed when Brennan had come to him with a world of questions.
“Sorcery, magic, unexplainable events.. these really aren’t something you are going to come across you know. I’ve been alive fifty years and never seen anything out of the ordinary. You should be excited about what there really is to understand! Look at what we have learned to do in the world with our own hands.”
Sighing, Brennan packed away his bow and arrow and set off again down the road resigned to just buy some food when he arrived. Hearing that sorcery and magic were not something as vibrant and present as in the stories had been incredibly disappointing. Brennan had left his home three years ago and swore to himself that he would not stop looking until he found something.
The first thing he had found out was that many people didn’t even believe that sorcery existed. Many had said that all of the stories and records of it were either very exagerated or flat out lying to make the ancient heroes out to be something special when most likely they were just normal people like the rest of us.
More disturbing than that though was the incredible fear that people seemed to show when something happened that was hard to explain. It was as if unless they could be told exactly how something worked and could replicate it themselves they feared it would bite them or destroy the world or something. It sunk into every interaction. A deep mistrust for unknown people, places, and things. Especially things.
Over the tops of the dunes Brennan was starting to catch glimpses of sea and the town he knew was nestled in the cove below.
Magic and sorcery were really rare. Everyone had said so and certainly in his three years of searching before Brennan had seen nothing definite. Sure there had been plently of men and women on the road claiming to have a gift and promising to heal or find something lost. They had all been confidence tricksters, and people didn’t have much trust or confidence in unknown people so most of them were really poor and sad.
Now though Brennan had come across two undeniable events that could only be magical. He shuddered remembering the sight of the wave of mud suspended above him. This business with the bird was just as interesting and strange. Did birds just have magic? That did not make sense. People would never be able to kill them.
"Watch where you're going kid."
Brennan snapped to attention and saw that he was standing in the center of the now quite large road. In sight was the gate to Eltryst and he was in the way of two carts going opposite directions.
"Sorry I was lost in thought."
"Don't give a rat's what about just get out the way you idiot."
Brennan shuffled to the side of the road embarrassed. There was Eltryst. Brennan hadn't known what he was here for but now he did. With all the activity he had heard about and witnessed there must be something interesting going on and he figured if there were a bunch of sectretive sorcers hanging around the powers involved in whatever trade war or struggle was going on would attract them like a magnet. That was his best lead anyway. He was going to find someone that could teach him to use sorcery. It had been a dream he'd had since he was a kid and this was his chance. He took a deep breath and stepped through the gate into Eltryst.
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