Thursday, 25 March 2010

The Grand Tour Part 3 - Seradane.

~Inspired by Jae's The Explorer Task~

I have had to adapt (as have we all) to this new era. The expectation of my once fertile and plentiful family, now decimated in both number and morale, is that everyone contributes in a multitude of ways. We have financial, moral and emotional obligations and we are encouraged to keep these foremost in our minds. The simplest of these obligations to manage is the provision of gold. I am fortunate that I displayed both magical aptitude and the strength of character to be able to retain control of myself in the face of such constant temptation. I am able to earn gold as a result of my training and talent, most of which I send to my family. A simple exchange, I might add, which ensures everyone prospers. I have paid my financial dues and, in doing so, I also buy myself some freedom. Whilst travelling can be exhausting and draining, both physically and spiritually I have so many options compared to some. I have, thus far, escaped a life of drudgery, of menial labour, a life driven by the desires of a husband and the needs of children. I have the freedom to travel and I often overlook this, I forget how privileged I am to be able to go where I please. The family assume Naofa accompanies me the majority of the time, presumably to ensure I do not stray (in any way), especially when I am far from home. Often this is the case; he is never far from my side for any length of time, but he accepts that there are times when I do not desire his company, nor the company of anyone.

I have also been fortunate in finding someone willing to instruct me in botany and teach me how to recognise useful (and valuable) herbs and roots. All the big cities have many people, anxious for herbs to support their alchemical businesses but lacking time or staff to gather these themselves. This skill, I confess, my family remain unaware of. Oh, Naofa surely knows about it, but has the tact to remain silent. Why, he himself spends his free time mining ore, which he then smelts and creates armour and weapons from. I have never asked him whether he gives the family a share of his 'profit' but I suspect he does, he is honourable you see. He is also a man. I have good reason to secrete this gold away, and it is not to provide myself with meaningless luxuries - my deepest dread is that one day I will expected to marry 'well', not necessarily to a man of my choosing. This would not happen to Naofa; he will, of course, have the support of the family should he decide to marry, but it will also be understood that his devotion will always be to the crusades and that his needs can be satisfied discreetly and without commitment. When I begin to worry that my family are making arrangements for me I will speak with them and explain why this path is not for me. If they do not listen I will flee, and when I have run far enough I will vanish. I hope this time is far off but, in case it is not, I am amassing enough gold to sustain me for some time. I have a deep bond with my family, and I am aware (for how am I ever to forget) that I owe them much, but I will not be bartered away as a chattel.

As my botanical knowledge increases I travel to the remotest parts of the Continents for the scarcest herbs are valued accordingly and so the attendant effort is worthwhile. The freshest leaves are picked far from townships and their attendant pollutants so I venture off recognised roads, pathways and tracks into verdant green countryside, where the vegetation often reaches my waist. In Seradane I pause and admire the proud dragonkin patrolling the marble ruins and occasionally catch glimpses of the huge, green dragon circling overhead. He has freedom such as I shall never attain, no matter how much gold I amass. The ability to glide through the air, to pass over the heads of creatures, to land only if the whim takes you. To be answerable to no-one. Would I be lonely? Would I trade my family and friends, those complex relationships that simultaneously bind us and sustain us, if I was promised eternal freedom? I suspect I would not but should it, would it, ever be all or nothing? I do not feel that I have enough certainty, enough clarity of judgement (enough maturity, I am sure my beloved ones would say) to make decisions such as these yet. I therefore work hard and without rest, bending and gathering until my back aches, laying the leaves and roots into my bag carefully, to ensure that tomorrow I will be able to sell the results of my labour and continue to buy myself time.

2 comments:

  1. Wow... You must really be getting into this RP thingy! It took me abit before I even realized it was all in character. Very nicely written! :)

    - Ercles

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