28th of Last Seed, 3E433
I stopped for a small lunch about midday. From my map, I figured that I had made it about a third of the way to Cheydinhal. Instead of leaving from the city bridge, I had followed a road around to the other side of the island and forded a narrow point of Lake Rumare, which had cut about a half day's travel off my time. Sitting on a rock and munching on some bread and cheese, I studied the hills around me. It had been so long, and I was still pretty overwhelmed by the intense events of the last few days. I popped the last bit of cheese in my mouth and stretched, feeling the strain the long trip was putting on my wasted body. Two years in a tiny cell had reduced me to a thin skeleton. The good food I'd eaten yesterday though...that definitely helped. Smiling, I hopped down off the warm rock I'd been sitting on and put the half loaf of bread back in my pack. As I pulled it onto my back, I heard a rustling in the brush behind me. I grabbed my bow slowly and nocked an arrow, turning almost imperceptibly, hoping that it was just a rabbit in the bushes. A low growl confirmed my fears and I whirled, loosing my arrow and leaping to the side. A wolf flew through the air where I'd been standing and landed in a heap on the ground. My chest was heaving and I felt like I couldn't catch my breath, but I pulled myself up and stumbled over to the wolf's body. I had hit it square between the eyes with my arrow, but the force of cracking its skull had shattered the shaft of the arrow. I fished the arrowhead out and put it in my pouch. The smith could probably use it, or I could, to make a new arrow. Looking at the wolf, I saw that it's fur was very thick and soft, even though the wolf looked small and rather hungry. Most likely it would fetch a little gold in Cheydinhal. Knife in hand, I set to skinning it.
An hour or so later, I rolled the skin up and stuffed it in my bag, and cleaned my knife off. The afternoon sun was pretty hot, so I took a swig of water and dumped a little on my head. Making sure my bag was secure, I set off once again. The road to Cheydinhal is mostly open, with fields and hills on either side. As you get closer to the foothills of the Valus Mountains, the trees start to thicken, and the hills get a bit steeper. Cheydinhal is nestled right between the foothills and the mountains, and it's a beautiful town. The sky was starting to turn a goldish-blue, signalling late afternoon. I whistled as I walked, enjoying the day and the clean air of the hills. The mountains glowed white and gold in front of me, and I was...excited to return home.
The sky gradually turned from blue to purple, and as night fell I sighted the towers of Cheydinhal. The spire of the chapel was visible over the walls, and the soft glow of lanterns lit the night. I quickened my pace, hoping to make it inside before full nightfall. As I neared the gate, I could see the guards become alert, and I hailed them. At the sound of my voice, one of them started and removed his helmet. "Haien! Haien, is that you?" I recognized the voice of my good friend Jahn, and smiled. "Yes, I'm back!" I said, shaking his hand as we met a few yards from the gates. "I can't believe it! I thought you were done for when I saw the Legion haul you away." I shook my head. "No, I was wrongfully imprisoned. The Emperor himself ordered me released, may Akatosh preserve him." So maybe that wasn't quite what happened, but it was close enough. Jahn shook his head. "We were all so surprised to hear of his death. But I am glad you've made it home safely. What are your plans?" I adjusted my pack and shrugged. "I'm not so sure yet. I was thinking of joining the Mages Guild." Jahn nodded and we walked toward the gates. "I don't know much about them," he said in a low voice, "but watch out for Falcar. He's in a nasty temper most of the time." I nodded. He resumed his post, and I continued into the city.