Monday, November 12, 2007

On the Road Again, Except Without the Road

Well, I've left Cormilack. Just in time, too - the rainy season started the night before last. The one road along the floor of the spiral valley is already under five feet of water. I'm not getting out that way. I'm leaving over the ridges instead, alternating between dirt (mud) roads, deer trails, and mountain forest barely open enough to let my umbrella between the branches.

I said my goodbyes yesterday - a very short one, in the case of Lady Akistria Xeredile. She's a busy Grand Duchess, after all. There was a whole pack of recently captured bandits sitting in the entrance hall, miserably, waiting to be lectured.

After getting lost a few times, I managed to find Chiliska's burrow under the Earthmover; she's getting ready to move to higher quarters before the caverns flood for the winter, but she stopped to shake my hand in about six of her own and click goodbye. At least, I think it was goodbye. We still can't understand a word of each other's languages. It's quite possible that she was only complimenting me on not falling down a hole. I think it was goodbye, though.

It didn't take long to pack. I never really unpack, no matter how long I stay somewhere, so it was just a matter of stuffing the few things I'd been using back into their various bags and cases. I could swear some of my clothes are still damp from the last rainy season.

I must have gotten out of shape over the last year, staying in one place for so long, because my luggage seems to weigh about twice as much as it did last year. Hopefully, I'll adjust in a few days. Maybe I'll grow another pair of arms. I've got too many bags to carry easily. Food, traveling supplies, art supplies, drawings, notebooks, ambiguous novels,* pocket gramophone music, clothes, my new salamander lantern... I wish I could travel lighter, but there's nothing there I could really do without. Certainly not the books. I could sell some of the clothes if it were Spring, but with the weather getting colder, I'll have to start adding to them soon. Oh well. Maybe I could hire a llama to carry everything, at least until I reach the train.

That's not a bad idea, come to think of it. I don't know why I didn't before. I'll be watching for a stable while I try to reach the Railway Regions. I'm not a Wayfinder, so all I can do - unless I run into a singing sand rat, a Kilopede, or someone with the right compass - is keep walking uphill and hope. There's no telling how long it will take.

*I have a few normal novels as well, four or five of my very favorites; when traveling, though, it's not enough to carry books that always have the same story in them. You'd go through them all in a matter of weeks. Unless you like reading the same book over and over again (and I don't, unless I have a year or two in between) or are willing to exchange books at every bookstore you find (and I'm not, as I don't find them frequently enough), ambiguous novels are really the only choice.

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