He paused on the stone wharf and looked hard at the bireme. Its crew busy taking on supplies. He readjusted the weight of his writing satchel on his shoulder and felt the weight of his years on his heart.

He glanced back up at the spires and minarets of mighty Atrea city just catching the rosy glow of dawn on their tips. The other storytellers–they are all so young and successful. They all wanted to tell their stories no less than he did, but they had the courage, luck and/or foolishness to try. He so wanted to be part of their company, but…

He watched as the last of the cargo was loaded aboard. I must make the journey, he thought. I must write my story, but I cannot do it with one foot on the land and the other in the sea. I must either travel to the furthest shore…or stay here forever listening to the tales others weave with no hope of telling my own or, worse, re-hashing over and over the whys and wherefores I do not do what I wish to do. Believing my own lies adn exuces.

(indent)“Are you coming or are you staying?” KurTdinovanis called across to him from the fighting deck. Some of the crew, ready to castoff, were paused watching him.

(indent) “It would be easy to stay; it will be hard to go,” smiled the Tyrese merchant prince knowingly.

(indent) “It is my last chance,” he called. “I see that.”

(indent) “Maybe, maybe not,” KurTdinovanis shrugged, “but true or not, it is time to make up your mind about which it is.”

(indent) “I’m coming with you,” he said. The crew cheered and the merchant captain smiled, his white teeth flashing. With a last look at the city, the quill-driver walked across the gang plank.

(indent) “I will try one more time to bring us to the hither shore,” he said, pulling his pilots’ notebook from his bag.

(indent) “Good,” said the captain. “That is good. My men would like to see Stygar and forbidden Arcree. Let’s get there this time, eh?”

(indent) “Yes,” he replied. “Let’s get there this time.”

–Five Months later

Entry 126

“The Sundancian Sea is full of Arcreean ships, but I have seen no war vessels. The ships of Ithium and Heliconian origin are full of suspicious and nervous sailors. We have been hailed, boarded and searched more times than I can count. Kur-Tdinovanis’ crew is unhappy about this. They expected to be back in Atrea by now. Instead they greet each morning expecting a day of obstacle and delay. The Khaldenthean soldiers are also growing restless. They cast sidelong glances in my direction full of questions and narrow looks. Only the captain of the mercenaries and his Autumn Leaves remain patient and stoic.”


As I have planned the story will begin with a chariot race and end with one, but the horses will be going no where unless I begin myself.

Originally posted in the now deleted “Marchers of Khaldenthea” blog and The Salamander’s Quill 1.0