I am not normally one to keep any sort of journal. In fact, this is the first time I've ever actually done anything like this. I felt though that the journey I'm about to embark on was worthy of recording. I am a fur trapper by trade, and have never gone much farther than a few days hike outside of the village.
However, tomorrow I venture east into the highlands and will travel until I reach the coast. Many have warned me of the dangers in the area, but the chance of coming home with a full load of pristine furs from a nearly un-hunted land is too great. I will not be going unarmed either. I am also bringing Tursik and Adian, my two favorite hounds. They are good dogs, and will not only help guard my camps but will aid me greatly hunting.
At this point, my only real fear is that I know many gnolls make their home along the eastern coast. I will go out of my way to avoid them though and should I encounter some will do my best to make sure they understand my intentions are not hostile and I am merely there for furs.
I have a strong horse and a wagon but it will serve just as storage, I will be doing most of my traveling on foot with my dogs alongside me. I will be leaving before dawn, so I had best get to sleep now.
The going is slow, unbearably so at times. I am three days removed from the village. My wagon of course broke an axle yesterday afternoon after running over a tree stump. Fortunately, I planned for such an event and was able to repair it. Though if it breaks again I’m not sure what I will do, so I have decided to take my time.
In the end, that will probably be the wisest choice anyway as the only cause for my initial fast pace was my excitement. Tursik and Adian keep me company though. They have taken to tormenting the horse. The dogs run right in front of it as it pulls the wagon then dart away before they are stepped on. They seem to find it funny. I wonder how long it will be until one of them gets stomped.
We marched steadily uphill until late last night when we crossed into the highlands. I don’t foresee any problems but from here on out I must keep an eye open at all times incase we happen upon any gnolls. It’s not just stumbling by one or two that worries me, but rather crossing paths with a large group of them. My fears are probably completely unfounded though.
At this rate it will probably take another week to reach the coast. With any luck, my trip will continue to be uneventful.
I saw the coast for the first time today. It was from a high vantage point, but nonetheless, was crystal clear. My wagon has fared much better than I thought it would on the repaired axle. Fortunately, there have been no further delays.
I have taken up hunting in the evening with Adian and Tursik before I settle into camp for the night. Already I've brought in some very high quality pelts. The same game I trap around the village, but bigger with much healthier fur. The hounds seemed somewhat taken aback by how much of a fight a single deer puts up here. They did manage to finally bring it down though, and it should be enough to feed us for the rest of the week.
I have seen signs of gnolls, but haven't come across any as of yet. Hopefully my luck will continue.
The trapping continues to go well. I am steadily filling my wagon. Today though, the furs were only of minor importance. While checking a few traps near a ledge overlooking the shore, I saw a large group of gnolls wading into the sea.
My knowledge of the beasts is limited, I'll admit, but I did not think them to be very fond of the water, especially water as cold as this. There were perhaps two dozen of them in total, and it took me several moments to realize why they were there.
I could not make out exactly what it was, but there appeared to be some kind of wreck gradually washing ashore. Large pieces of what I am assuming was a boat floated a short distance offshore. The gnolls were scavenging the wreck, though from the looks of it there was not much left to be had. I'd like to investigate further, but will wait until the gnolls have lost interest before I get much closer.
The gnolls are still all over the shore near the wreck. I left Tursik and Adian in camp today while I made the rounds checking my traps. The morning’s catch wasn’t bad, and should be enough to keep me busy until night falls. I am beginning to get very curious about that wreck though. I stared at it from the safety of the ledge for a long while today. It has many odd markings that I wish to get a closer look at. I will stay in the area for a few more days incase the gnolls leave.
The gnolls appeared to have finally lost interest in the wreckage. I waited a day to make sure they were not coming back, and then headed down to the shore to have a look at what remained.
The dogs watched from the ledge as I waded into the cold water. Granted, I’m no sailor, but what I saw was unlike any ship I know of. The front of the vessel was painted with the mark of a red bird that I’ve never seen before.
I didn’t find any bodies in the water, if there were any I’m sure the gnolls took care of them. I did find a coin though, out farther than most of the gnolls were going among a mess of broken wood and seaweed. I’ve had traders from every city on Thestra buy my furs and never before have I seen a coin like this.
Its looks like copper, so I don’t think it will be worth very much but I don’t intend to sell it anyway. Its old and worn looking, but the engraving on it looks to be a small fortress of sorts sitting directly under a large, shining, sun.
When I get home, I will show it to some of the village elders. Hopefully one of them will be able to tell me from where it came. I am very curious now, to say the least.
Besides more broken and splintered wood from the ship, there was nothing else new to be found in the water. This has proven to be quite an interesting diversion, to be sure, and will give me something to think about for the rest of my trip.
My wagon did not take near as long as I had originally thought it would to fill. Even with the slight delay while I waited for the gnolls to leave the wreckage, I have already stuffed every chest, sack and bag I have to nearly its breaking point. Avoiding the gnolls was not overly difficult either. It is, of course, a possibility that I was simply lucky but nonetheless I will plan to come back to these lands next season.
I have been studying the coin I found in the shipwreck every night by the fire. I have wracked my brain endlessly staring at its engravings but I still cannot decipher the language inscribed upon it. I find myself becoming more interested in getting back to the village and searching for more information on where it came from than in selling my furs. Although I would be lying if I said the potential money for those skins didn't excite me too.
I arrived back at home yesterday. My journey back through the highlands was largely uneventful, though I did have to pause for nearly a day while a band of gnolls passed. I also could have sworn I saw a Vulmane through the trees in the distance, but it moved too quickly and was gone before I could get a clear view. I don’t know what a lone Vulmane would be doing out there—maybe the same thing I was. Then again, it could have simply been a large wolf too.
More importantly though, as I suspected, the fine quality of my skins has not gone unnoticed. Nearly a fourth of my trappings have already sold. That was much quicker than I expected. For now, I have stopped selling any more skins. If I travel further to the west in to the lands of the Elves, or even the Halflings and Humans, I can get a much better price.
After arriving back in the village I took my coin directly to the oldest man I know, an old farmer named Harkin. I figured if anyone would know what it was, or at least knew someone who might it would be him. Unfortunately, he didn’t recognize the coin but he did tell me to go speak to an old friend of his – a man whose name I did not recognize who lives alone a few hours walk north of the village.
But by then it was late and already dark so I decided to wait until morning. So today, just after sunrise I set out to find the man. A few hours later, following Harkin’s directions very carefully I arrived at a small cottage. I found the old man behind the house in a large garden. He looked at me somewhat apprehensively until I introduced myself and explained that Harkin had sent me. He eased noticeably at that.
I told him my story and he listened patiently as I showed him the coin. When I had finished, he shook his head apologetically and said he did not know from where the coin came. I was disappointed, but to be honest I would have been more surprised had he actually known. As I was leaving he said something that did surprise me though.
“Wise Regus in New Targonor – He once told a tale similar to your own. Though he had no coins. You may wish to speak with him.”
I guess I will be traveling to the lands of the Humans sooner than I had originally planned.