The Long Retreat No. 26

They came to the end of a gentle rise, and the abrupt change in the terrain struck Falthejn, as it always did when he traveled this part of the world. He stopped. Before them was a steep descent, the road cutting back and forth amidst the rock outcroppings dotting the hillside. Patches of sunlight pierced the canopy where even the conifers couldn’t grow, though the trees still stood so densely that Falthejn couldn’t see more than fifty yards down the slope. The sound of rushing water was prominent, now more than the birds.

“Grevdarsflod,” Hrothgar said. “The first lodge is three leagues beyond the bridge. I do not come this way often.”

Falthejn rubbed his chin. “I doubt the lodge will still be open, and in any case, it is a target.”

“A logging camp stands a league further, if it has not been torn down.”

Falthejn thought it over. They’d made good time so far—almost a league per hour, by his reckoning. The terrain only grew rougher from here, though, and it would be past midday by the time they crossed the river. Another four leages in the afternoon was not an easy walk. “We will aim for the logging camp,” he decided. “If we do not reach it, we will make camp away from the road.” Falthejn waited, but against his expectation, Hrothgar raised no objection. “Very well. We have a long walk ahead of us,” he said, unnecessarily, and set off down the hill.

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