The caravan rumbles up the hill along the beaten down path. Empty, rich brown fields surround the path, the occasional small farmhouse coming into view set far back. There is still a slight chill to the air as winter is slowly releasing its grasp from the land. The smell of moist fertile earth fills the air as the gentle rain falls. The sounds of the guards calling to each other, keeping tabs on the caravan, its goods and its passengers.

Jorath, sitting in the lead wagon, listens to the oxen give an occasional bray. Here and there stands a lone tree. Jorath hears his stomach rumble slightly. The sun is setting behind the caravan under the cover of clouds and night is rapidly approaching. Dark comes quickly out here near where the slow moving Murky River and the fast, bubbling Rock Falls River meet.

The darkness is almost complete when the oxen crest the top of the steady grade uphill. The murmuring of the Murky river running along to the left of the caravan is steadily getting louder as it broadens here. The vision that greets the caravan brings a quiet cheer from some of the passengers.

Not far from here in the valley where the two rivers meet is Treisalon. The lamplighters are slowly completing their tasks and the tiny glowing beacons of street lanterns are sparking to life, one by one. On this side of the river the great barge tower flares to life. The great fires atop the multiple other ferry points flare up. Jorath gives a deep sigh. He thinks tiredly of the warm dry bed he will sleep in tonight and the hot heavily seasoned stew that Aldra makes. Jorath stirs the oxen into continuing. The oxen suddenly seem to have a bit more energy, pull forward eagerly. They too saw the lights and know that means they are close to stalls that keep out the elements and comfortable straw beds. The passengers begin to murmur amongst themselves, stirring a bit more. Jorath is sure that they too look forward to being dry for the first time in two weeks.

He smiles for the first time in a while. It is good to be home.

 

Bright Lights

Light in dark7a