I begin to walk. From the lake to the moss forests and the bordering Plains of Wynch, up into the highlands where fog and hills accompany me and reeds grow beside bare paths. A ferry takes me across the Winnow Gulf into small Gasting’s Town.
I do not spend the night.
Down into the Gravellings I carry no water, but what are heat and haze to me? I notice this: no paths, no creatures, no birds.
On the twentieth day shrubs appear, firming the shifting sands beneath my feet. By the 22nd day I walk beneath stunted trees just taller than my person, with thin foliage and acrid fruit. Between them, on the horizon, a tower.
It is abandoned, too long exposed and unmaintained, breaking. Spending the night, I whittle a walking stick from a fallen branch.
This odd, dappled forest spreads into the foothills of a mountain range — following the westering sun I walk upwards; the air chills, the view expands. Beyond this nameless mountain is yet another, and taller, and colder. The horizon, once a smooth line, is now a jagged beast of turmoil I have set my heart upon.
Each night I carve people I’ve known into my stick. My hand is unsteady and untrained, but who would recognise these memories made real even if carved with perfect grace?
Onwards I reach the sea; on the horizon a ship with sails in a foreign, triangular cut. But then I am no sailor — I only guess at their foreignness.
I have reached the sea, and where to now? Behind me so many miles and yet my stick remains incomplete, my memories keen, and the horizon before me still so wide, open and uncomplicated.
I will build a signal fire.