Paige's Tales 5 LbNA # 9034 (ARCHIVED)
|Placed Date||Apr 4 2004|
Paige’s Tales 5
Spring had come to the Forest, and the Hunters were preparing to go home. That is, all but D’Knea. After spending a whole winter in the Shelter of the Ancients, he was looking for more adventure. “What of your family and friends?”, the other Hunters wanted to know. “You will have to explain to them as best you can”, was his reply. “Of course, give hugs for me to my mother, and tell her I will send word whenever I can.”
So, as the cadre of Hunters headed west, D’Knea headed east. The trail he followed was the same, for a time, as D’Knou and D’Knuo had come in on. During the course of the Winter all of the Hunters had plenty of opportunities to explore the area. D’Knea was on familiar ground.
Not long after he started, he encountered a brook. Given that it was spring, the brook was a little bit swollen. He finally managed to get across, and continued on his way. D’Knea passed through laurel for some time. He soon dropped down through a small hollow, cool and quiet, with some unique stone formations. He thought about his promise to D’Knor, that he would leave message boxes to mark his passing, but, he decided against it for now. “I haven’t gone very far yet, I haven’t even come to the Troll Way”, he told himself.
Continuing on, the land began to drop away. D’Knea realized he was at the edge of the explored area from the winter. Winter’s icy grip had made the terrain beyond this point treacherous, but now, with Spring in firm control, it was easier to negotiate the trail. Down the hill he headed, keeping a wary eye below. D’Knor had cautioned him by saying, “At some point the trail drops away. I hope you remember to keep your rope handy, and use the knots I’ve showed you.” As the trail became steeper and steeper, as he was about to unlimber the rope he carried, rounding a corner, D’Knea was amazed to find a golden stairway down the worst part of the hill. Peering down from the top, he could see in the gloom of evening, the Great Troll Way, that D’Knor had told many a tale of, during the long, cold winter nights. Down and down he climbed, and proceeding immediately to the Great Troll Way, he stepped boldly out into it. Turning to look around, he was surprised to see a great monster coming right at him. Large gleaming eyes it had, and bright shiny teeth, and, as it bore down upon him, it let out a loud “TOOT, TOOT”. Screaming with fear, D’Knea leapt back out of the Great Troll Way, and ran and hid under the golden stair, where he spent a miserable night, shaking in his dreams and praying for morning.
At first light, he again approached the Great Troll Way, and this time, without hesitation, he ran across, then stopped and stared. As far as he could see, up and up, and to left and right, ran an escarpment, the likes of which he had never even heard of. Thinking back to his first glimpse of Sentinel Rock, he realized now that as huge as that had seemed, it was just a pebble compared to the cliffs he was facing. Now, as he tried to figure out how to climb this massif, he remembered again the councils of D’Knor, “Always, always follow the Blue Elven Runes. For though it has been centuries since the elves passed through, legend tells us that they could always find a safe route, even when none seemed available.” So follow them he did.
That first climb, though steep enough, was not as bad as it looked from below. Turning left at the top of the first ledge, he found himself soon walking the back of a Dragon Ridge, thinking, ‘judging by the length of this ridge, I certainly would not want to meet up with this dragon.’ Soon D’Knea found himself passing through a cool grotto. He welcomed the shade, after the sunlight of the Dragon Ridge. Then, again he began to climb. This time the way was a bit steeper. Another Dragon Ridge, higher and longer than the previous one, and much more precariously situated, along the edge of the cliff. When finally D’Knea came to the end of the ridge, it was starting to get dark. Looking across the small vale he found himself in, he noticed a small cliff to the right of the Elven Trail. Climbing up to this area, he quickly found a safe niche in which to pass the night. It was at this point that he remembered D’Knor’s admonishment, “Once you cross the Great Troll Way, leave message boxes to mark your passage, for those who may come behind.” So, before falling asleep, he quickly prepared a message box, then fell asleep using it as a pillow.
On the morrow, after a hasty breakfast, he again began to climb. Though the way was hard and steep, D’Knea was enjoying himself. It really was beautiful up on this escarpment. Vralls (chipmunks) chirping as he passed, birds of all kinds flying about, and chittering in the bushes. Up he went and up some more. As the day passed quickly, he suddenly found himself looking for a place to spend the night. Suddenly, rounding a corner, he spied an old rock formation, not entirely natural. It seemed to beckon to him. Approaching slowly, he felt a great, calm peacefulness come upon him, and a voice whispered in his head, “Fear not, and welcome to the home of The Ancients. Here you may relax and be safe, nothing can harm you.” So he abided there for the night. Dreams he had, many dreams, but, in the morning he could only remember one. Fear he remembered, running scared and falling, and then later, sorrow followed by great happiness and fulfillment. Just before leaving the abode of The Ancients, he assembled another message box and knowing he had the blessings of They who abided there, he tucked it down in the back of that dwelling.
This day’s hike soon brought him to the top of the escarpment. Rounding a corner, he suddenly came to place where looking East, it seemed the world had no end. D’Knea quickly realized, that though this great ridge he was traversing was bigger than he could have ever imagined before, it was, like the Sentinel Rock, just another small pebble on the face of the world. He also came to the realization that he would never be going home again, not with this great, grand world to explore.
Turning away from that great vista reluctantly, D’Knea continued on. Now he passed through an area of low growth shrubs, mixed in with the stuff we call laurel. As he progressed he began to hear something moving through this brush away off to his right. The further he went, the louder the crashings and thrashings became. Grunts and growls now accompanied the other noises. Closer and closer they came. Fear gripped D’Kea’s heart and he began to run. Running and looking back over his shoulder, always a dangerous combination, he failed to see where the trail dropped away in front of him. He was falling and tumbling. Down he fell, and down, still gripped by fear, and there, in front of him was a pile of stone and logs which he quickly scrambled into. The noises he had heard were still coming closer! He hid deeper in the pile, scarcely daring to breathe. He could hear the noises coming closer and then they were right over him, and going away, gradually fading into the distance. D’Knea was, however, to afraid yet to move, and so he spent the night, tucked away in his little hideout.
The next morning, after setting up another message box, he ventured out of his hide-away. Not hearing anything unusual, he continued on his way. He passed out of the low scrub into an area mostly of laurel, with some larger trees. Always alert now, since he could not see beyond the laurel, it was so thick, he proceeded along the path, marveling, once again, at the beauty that surrounded him. He soon found himself walking another Dragon Ridge. This one while not big, was very long. As he continued down it, he began to hear a trickle of water. Proceeding onward, the sound got louder and louder. His heart began to fill with gladness. Rounding a corner, he saw a small stream, nestled in a little grotto. Right beyond, was a rock ledge which looked like it would make a perfect home. Crossing the stream, he inspected the ledge, and to his dismay found a message box tucked into the one place he would have chosen to live in. Despair crashed down upon him. So long, and so far had he come. Now, just when he thought he had found a place to live, he knew that others had been here before, and this, this perfect idyllic little grotto could not be his. With a heavy heart, he began to climb up, away from that place. With the mocking sound of that beautiful little stream laughing at him, his feet dragging, he climbed. As he came to the top of that steep little ridge, he looked back once more, hearing the stream calling still. Turning away reluctantly, he lifted his head to see where he might go, and there, just ahead was a boulder, sitting all alone, and D’Knea knew, immediately, instinctively, that here was the place of his dreams, a place he could forever call his own. His home away from home.
Peter and Paige
Editor's Note: Even though this was placed in April of '04, I have just now, in July of '04, gotten around to submitting the clues. Happy Hunting.