by thefourpartland

It had taken two weeks of wheedling, purchasing, and research, but at last the three friends were standing around the portal, each of them heavily laden with supplies and other materials.

Canere, for his part, had spent those two weeks discovering everything he could about Keleborn’s Arcanum and Adweyed. Which, in the end, wasn’t much. Aside from being able to confirm that the skycity had generally been one of the most northerly. And yet one of the warmest – apparently the mages who had originally carved Adweyed from living rock had magically sealed the climate, or otherwise heated it, so that life upon the floating citadel was more akin to the balmy tropics of the far south than the more normal whipping winds of Hania.

His more gallant and dashing friend had spent some of the time helping him, some of the time practicing his swordsmanship with Ira… and the rest of it attempting to woo the few other girls around their age in Yn Dref. Yaden knew where his priorities lay, although he had turned up to the day of leave remarkably well organized for someone who had supposedly spent the night before chasing around after a particular blonde.

As for Ira, well, she had done exactly what she said she would, convincing Vendol to lend her the supplies necessary for such a trip. They were less than she personally would have brought, but, had she had unlimited time and resources to prepare, there might still be something missing that she considered a nice addition. And, for all that both Vendol and the arcanists had been convinced by Canere’s impassioned arguments and logical conclusions, Yn Dref simply did not have much in the way of resources to spare.

But it had enough, and now a faint hope that one day, things might be better than they were before.

Of course, said faint hope rested on Canere and Yaden, who were jostling one another like little boys as Ira watched.

“I’m going to laugh when you can’t handle the step to the ground! You’ve never been able to resist, so what makes you think you can now?”

Canere glared at his friend. “Go first then, and stand your ground at the bottom.”

“And let you unburden yourself at me? Not a chance. These leathers are fine enough without your assistance.”

The young arcanist shook his head, then gave Yaden a shove towards the portal. Which led to a mock shoving match, the two of them somehow managing to strip away all the dignity of the moment.

Finally, Ira had had enough. “Canere, Yaden. We need to go if we want to get in a good day’s hike.” For it was the pre-dawn hour, that moment when the light glimmered behind the mountains, but the sun had not yet risen to spill golden warmth across the land.

It was remarkable how quickly the two men settled down, sombre expressions affixing themselves where only seconds before there had been smiles and glee. And with the seriousness came a nervous glimmer in each of their eyes. For the first time, they were to leave Yn Dref, leave the comfortable squalor of the crumbling city and step out into the great wide world. The thoughts of what that might entail rested ill at ease in their stomachs.

Acknowledging their seriousness but not their nerves, Ira threw a perfect salute to the guards of the portal. It was time the explorers were gone.

Looking only straight ahead, the tall and muscular guardian of Yn Dref strode through the portal.


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