At The Gates of Minten
, on FlickrMinten was more of a city than most settlements, but it was referred to as a village all the same. The entirety of Minten was enclosed by a stonewall with wooden reinforcements. The village was far too secluded to ever be attacked by any sort of army, what with the Wandering Bog to its west and endless forests and valleys to its east. The wall was simply to keep out the creatures that dwelled in the unsettled land surrounding them. Despite it’s solitary nature and difficult location, Minten was abuzz in its walls with the life and heart of the Dragon Kingdom’s people.
After spending a night in a hallowed out tree, the four men (and one dog!) set out across the remaining marshlands. While the tree was certainly uncomfortable to sleep in, it posed no threat of malice to the wayward travelers. Sometimes, a tree is simply a tree.
The party spent the next day and night walking the wetlands. Exhausted and lacking morale, the group was all set to make camp once more when Harold noticed a gray speck on the horizon. Taking a moment to evaluate what was before them, the quartet and their canine friend had a new wind rush through their veins as they bounded across the swampy panorama to the destination of this harrowing leg of their journey.
As the sun rose out of the east and the image before them became more clear, their spirits rose exponentially. They had arrived, at long last, at Minten. Using the last of their strength, they made it to the city gate before collapsing in the brush to the sides of the path.
When they had composed themselves, Scott cleared the dirt from his robes and strolled to face the gate head on.
“Hello! We would like to request entry into your village!” he called out, staring at the wooden gatehouse towering above him. The wall was an imposing force, and Scott found himself feeling very small.
Despite his initial greeting, there was no reply. Confused, Scott turned back to the rest of his party. Holly and Ryan were relaxing, and Harold and George were having a very in-depth conversation about something Scott could not be bothered to figure out. He shook his head and called out to the guards on the wall once more.
“Hello there! Is there anyone up there? I said, we would-“
“I heard what you said, but we aren’t opening the gates for the likes of you!” A crossbowman upon the wall stated, “You look like the troublemaking type, and we don’t need any more of those in our village!”
Scott was taken aback. How could they be saying that? Did they not realize he was an apothecary, a diplomat of the realm? Growing frustrated, Scott raised his voice.
“What is that supposed to mean, huh? We’re a few travelers can’t you see? I myself am one of the six apothecaries, and I demand that you let us in!” Scott shouted, and began to knock his gnarled black staff on the massive door.
“Travelers, huh? Well, what I see is three armed men, a hunting dog, and a bog wizard! And you can rest assured we aren’t letting anymore bog wizards in our settlement!” the guard stated, adjusting his helmet and puffing out his chest.
“You’d best watch your tone, swamp sorcerer! We’re the ones with the crossbows here!” another man on the wall noted. The two sentries exchanged giddy looks and let out a fit of laughter.
“I’ll show you! You just wait, you’ll regret picking on a few innocent men when I’m through with you!” Scott barked, letting the rage flow through him. Deep inside, he knew the battle was lost, and that getting into Minten from this point on was not going to be an easy task. He stepped away from the gate, fuming.
His gaze turned past Ryan and Holly to a tree growing near the wall. It was black, the same species as those that grew near Scott’s home in the Black Forest. But the leaves were not the same lustrous green they normally were. In their place, a plethora of reds and lighter greens rested on the branches, and the tree was looking bare. Fall had it’s grasp on this part of the Middle Continent, and Scott imagined winter was well on it’s way in other parts of Nortlen. Time was running out for Ryan’s grandfather, and Scott had to pick up the pace or risk failure…16 more photos are available for viewing on Brickshelf, when moderated.
The group has arrived at Minten! And now begins the search for Elizabeth, as well as the continued efforts to find the remaining potion ingredients. Winter draws close... will the group survive? The next chapter of their journey is in the works!