Bog's World

Altogether elsewhere

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Back on the road…again

It is tempting to suppose that one is walking on identical ground to that trodden by the ancients….People walked, rode their horses or drove their sheep and cattle along the driest or most convenient track

Neil Curits, The Ridgeway

Thranduil kept the billet in his hand from then on, examining its meaningless abstract carvings and obviously pre-occupied with something. The road began to climb and very soon they beheld The Edge of Dawn, the fault line that bisected Hisra from North to South. The seasons above this escarpment marched a few weeks ahead of those at the lower altitude where they stood. It ran for almost a thousand miles, broken here and there by waterfall or some other feature. At almost all of these points that were not a foss, there was some path, pass or road that allowed one to pass from one season into another.

Where the Ulriaweg went up in three huge switchbacks was a major point in their journey. At this point, as they climbed the road up the several hundred meters to the top, they passed from the Central Vesve, the wilya of Leggen Alu Travalan into Ulria, their new home. There was no change in the wintry weather.

After another day of swift paced travel they crossed the Ulria Bridge. This was a truly substantial bridge over the deep gorge of a major tributary river that would eventually find its way into the Westilakken.

They paused for a while before crossing. The bridge was old, built by Dwarves and Perrenic engineers for the King of Perranland’s army to cross the Vesve and confront the Demon Iuz. Its immense stones had come down from the mountains, pulled and slowed by tens of thousands of horses from the Young Kingdoms. For a thousand years it had stood here. Kamilata had patrolled this road before, when he was jalee. He pointed out the keystones, with their immense bronze rings stapled to the outside. They were designed to allow the bridge to be collapsed by someone with enough rope and horses, pulling sideways, thus denying this passage to some army. He pointed out where, in times past, there had been large cleared strips to the side, stables and so on. All that remained of these emplacements were ruinous blocks that Kamilata supposed had been anchors for gargantuan pulley blocks, long since lost to time.

Soon after this, the billet began to tug, as if on a string, to Thranduil’s right. He stopped and explained to his companions what had happened in the sacred glade. With a philosophical shrug, they turned and followed Thranduil’s magic stick into the forest.

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