NOTE: As of September 2008, I've received several reports that all but the last lb is missing. No plans to replace them, at this point.
Begin your quest for the “Four Elements” in the ‘Land of Hidden Falls and Fire Giants’ along ‘Old Man River’. There are two main gateways to this land. It is best to start from the northern one. Be forewarned, this land is well loved and has many visitors. At times, you may find it difficult to conduct your hunt in secret. Please do your best. Your children and faithful hound will be welcome in this land.
If you arrive in a vehicle of the four-wheeled variety you must leave it behind. Begin your journey on foot, or two wheeled, self-propelled conveyance, from a “primary colored” resting spot, to the south, at the far end from where you entered. Your path will take you parallel to the river. Take about 305 paces from the resting spot. As you journey along, watch for ‘Giants Bearing Modern Fire’. They guard the treasure you seek.
Stop when you are directly across from the first giant you should see, standing guard from across the river. Face away from the giant. Don’t worry; he won’t sneak up on you from behind. Watch out for sylphs though. Sylphs are tiny elementals, drawn to those who use their minds, particularly those in creative arts. If you stand in the morning mists and look up at the sky, just as the sun is rising, you may be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of a misty shadowy shape of hazy blue darting through the clouds on the edge of the wind.
Look up the slope from where you stand. Not too far up you should see a sun bleached, broken off tree trunk with several smaller broken trunks and young trees growing up from them. Behind this trunk, under a rock and leaves, lies “AIR”.
As you continue on your journey, keep watch for more giants. The next ones you see will be standing guard on your side of the river. Just before, the 3rd giant, on this side of the river, (he’ll be just past the second “primary” resting place), turn off the trail and step down towards the river on a narrow trail. Find the tree that stands directly between the giant and the river, closest to the river. Within the roots of this tree, on the side facing the giant, on a little “shelf” you’ll find “FIRE” lying under some rocks and leaves.
As you search the roots for “FIRE: keep an eye out for Salamanders. If you stand in the heat of a summers day, and look up at the sky, you could be blinded by the blaze of light, but if you stare deep into the heart of a campfire, you might just see a burning, shimmering figure dancing in its midst.
These tiny blisters of light are the Salamanders. Bright and demanding, they carry their lanterns within them, blazing and sparking, flickering and cascading as they surround him, bursting with energy in their urgency for action.
Take the narrow trail back up to the main, paved trail and continue on in the same direction. After you’ve traveled about halfway between the 5th and 6th giant(on this side of the river), about 90 paces from number five, stop. You should see a small grouping of little trees and shrubs to your right. Turn away from these trees and away from the river, to your left. Take about 32 paces into the woods to a tiny “valley”. Look for a tall cottonwood that has a fallen cottonwood in front of it, standing in the midst of this very small “valley”. Look for “EARTH” under rocks and leaves, at the foot of the standing tree, on it’s far side.
If you stand at the edge of this tiny valley, on a cool evening, and look deep into the woodland beyond, you may catch a glimpse of squat, goblin-like figures peering back at you in the glow of moonlight amongst the bracken.
Their voices are as brittle as the snap of a twig; these miniature elemental beings are Gnomes. They creep from out the timeless shapes of cottonwood and ash, fern and shrub, sliding down flower petals, pattering beneath the bracken, peering from within the brush, skipping and scampering, trudging and scattering around you.
When you are ready to continue your hunt, head back to the spot where you left the trail and continue on. Just before you get to the 6th giant(on this side of the river), take the small trail down to the river and follow the beach, still heading in the same general direction. It will take you under an enormous bridge with many four wheeled conveyances traveling overhead. Once you pass under the bridge, take about 55 paces; you should see 2 very large squarish blocks resting on the beach.
If you sit on these blocks, on a breezy autumn day, and look out across the waves as they lap upon the shore, it is just possible that you will see curving up from the depths below tiny elemental beings, known as the Undines.
They may shower in droplets around you; minute, silvery slivers of water; dainty, joyous creatures that dance with the catfish, and swirl with the currents of the river.
Just between the blocks and the paved path above, is a large cottonwood with whitened roots. “WATER” is under some rocks and leaves, within these roots, on opposite side of the tree, facing away from the paved trail.
When you’re ready to move on, find a path that takes you back up from the river to the paved trail. Continue on the paved trail until it curves to the left, away from the river, towards the bluffs.
Follow the trail as it veers off to the right, paralleling the bottom of the bluff. Keep walking until you see your third “primary” resting spot. Take a seat and look over towards the bluff. Straight ahead and not too very far up, you should see a broken off tree trunk with smaller trees growing up around or near it. Look for your final prize “THE FOUR ELEMENTS” under some rocks and leaves within this broken stump.
Congratulations! You’ve reached the end of your hunt. You will need to re-trace your steps to get back to your starting point. I hope you enjoyed your travels through this land.