The Black Hills
, on FlickrThe Black Hills are a string of low-lying mountains that dips down into Dragon Valley, the most heavily populated region of the Dragon Kingdom. Legend tells that the Black Hills were formed by a dragon in the times before the Godless Age, far before man ever ventured to the Middle Continent. The eponymous valley was also purported to be formed as a result of the same winged beast. Many paths ran through the Black Hills to aid with travel between the valley villages and those beyond.
As winter drew ever closer, the party of three needed to pace themselves in order to complete the potion in due time. Winter would certainly mean death for Ryan’s grandfather if he were to be caught without treatment in the harshest season.
Scott pressed forward with an alarming pace. Ever since the departure of George, Scott had been withdrawn and hushed. His mind ran rampant with nervous thoughts that plagued him night and day. When he completed his mission, and only then, he would feel at ease once more.
The potion was nearly finished, but lacked a key ingredient. That ingredient was a flower seen only in Dragon Valley. A blue, beautiful flower that was magnitudes larger than the flowers often sought after. Once obtained, the potion would be completed, and would have to be returned to Angten.
Ryan jogged behind Scott, with Holly padding not far behind. The clothing that Ryan had bought was serving him well against the increasingly cold atmosphere of the Black Hills. While he certainly understood the consequences that he would be forced to face if their journey failed, he preferred not to think of them.
With the impressive surroundings of the Black Hills all about them, Ryan didn’t find it hard to lose himself in the wonder of it all. He followed the hushed Scott mechanically along the path, paying little attention to the pressing matters that weighed themselves down on him.
This far up in the hills, it was not uncommon to see wandering mountain goats. While usually quite passive, the beasts could be quite a force to be reckoned with if provoked. Ryan made sure to keep Holly from startling any of the native fauna as a precautionary measure to the battle that would ensue otherwise.
Silently, save for the soft sounds of their footsteps on the hard rocky soil, the three climbed and climbed through the grass-stippled mountains. Scott forced himself to smile and speak to Ryan, worrying what his stillness might have done to his friend’s morale.
“Well, we should be out of here in no time! We are making fantastic time, believe me!” Scott exclaimed, although he did not believe it himself. Anxiety took its toll on his thought process.
Time is running out, and fast. Scott thought to himself as he increased his speed along the path.Brickshelf, with more photos.
Winter draws ever nearer... will they succeed in their quest? With less party members, travel is easier, but how long can they keep the pace up? Only time will tell.