The party is on the move! Let’s unpack their journey up into the hills South of The Ravine.
As relaxed as most of the party is, Michael and Terrin are taking their duties to guard Jeremy and the others very seriously. Terrin’s refusal to leave Walter alone with the animals and Michael’s decision to eat only after Terrin had finished are only what Jeremy has noticed. The two are also taking turns rotating through the party and dropping back a few hundred yards to check for both ambushes and pursuit. They understand while their situation might be peaceful, it is not safe.
The small road
The people of The Valleys do generally fear moving South though, as Walter pointed out, they don’t remember why. It’s the cultural memory of their past, they migrated to The Valleys from the South and so view that point of the compass with trepidation.
The narrow road weaving out from The Ravine is one way this fear is expressed – much to the Annoyance of the people in Woodhall, who feel it is a slight to their settlement. The reality is, the narrow road and bridges are merely the illusion of obstruction. There are many unpaved roads which wind through the orchards and farms South of The Ravine and eventually join up with The Boulevard.
The Gateway to the South
The legend of Woodhall claims the people of that settlement carved the tunnel through Mount Guardian, without the help of Um healers, powered by their desire to be free of political oppression. This is incorrect. It was the Um healers who carved the tunnel and, for reasons they keep to themselves, are only too happy to let the people of Woodhall take credit for the work.
Walter identified the mountain’s “North” as the location of the bogs and swamps 1, but these are actually to the West. Likewise the Bayside Hills are off to the East and South, and not simply “South.” The tunnel through Mount Gateway actually opens out on to a small plateau, over which the road to Woodhall runs.
Sheilak had already departed to warn her people when Walter began planning his trip to the Retreats. She warned the Guardians South of Woodhall of the party’s approach, and asked them to move their hunts away from the area.
Her warning sounds more foreboding than it is. The Guardians moved their hunts to the forests South-East and South-West of Woodhall. She’s worried she won’t be able convey the change of plans before their turn South.
Unfortunately for her, Walter wouldn’t be able to break with the plan even if he was wasn’t worried about telegraphing his movements. There’s simply no good way to enter the forests South of Woodhall until they begin to thin out near the Retreats. It’s one of the reasons why they were built where they were.
- It certainly wasn’t due to author error. Really. ↩