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The Unspeller and the Book of Days


Less Traveled Roads
Once he knew he was leaving Aesa became restless. He wanted to go to Na Serin and get the
Council's examination over with.
Thankfully, Loken was quick to make the necessary preparations. Dalynara surprised them by
insisting that she and Dex travel with them.
Among the preparations for the journey, his mother decided to add a lecture about staying away from
the Arkenians. Aesa interrupted her. "Mother, I can promise you that I will never have any curiosity about
them."
She sighed, resigned. "All right, Aesa."
Though he remembered his infatuation with the Arkenian girl, and he couldn't say that he had
forgotten her entirely, he wasn't stupid. He wouldn't go near the Arkenian realms again.
It would be a four day ride, through various safe and unsafe territories to the Craymoor mountain
range, a rambling chain that ran through the heart of Tuatha. Aesa had not been that far, only seeing the dark
peaks in the distance beyond the Arkenian forests. Loken was a little anxious about guiding them because the
paths were faint and not well traveled—at least not by humans. The Gates had been used for the last
thousand years by most travelers and there was only a rare interest in traveling without them.
It was a gray and rainy day when they left, the chill of early winter not quite enough to turn the
misting rain into snow. Fire burned in the hearths, warming the stone floors as they ate honey cakes for
breakfast. It would have been a comforting scene but they were all restless, ready to travel. After breakfast
Aesa wandered around his bedroom, picking up odd items and putting them down. He almost couldn't leave
for the nagging feeling that he might forget, or had forgotten, something important. At last he forced himself
to walk out of his room without turning back.
Tannon was wrapped in a warm cloak as she watched them mount their horses, bobbing around
them and distributing a kiss or two in farewell, clinging to Dalynara the most. Dex made a rare appearance
and placed an immaterial kiss on her forehead. She was so delighted that she almost forgot they were leaving.
They left the farm in a light, misty rain. Along the road yellowed grass lay flat against the ground and
the burned forest stood quietly beyond, broken towers of burnt trees.
The light mist continued until they passed Turnstone and then became a proper downpour. Laeron
flew beside them until he confessed to Aesa that he tired of fighting the water on his wings and wanted to
rest.
You travel so slowly that I can easily find you again, he assured Aesa.
After a few more leagues in the rain they all stopped to rest, and Killian turned to Jasper.
"How long until the rain stops?"
Jasper's long hair hung around his face in wet ropes. He was the only one not wearing a cloak. The
rest of them hunched under their wet cloaks, and Aesa fooled himself into thinking the sodden wool weight
was keeping him warm. Jasper shrugged at Killian's question.
"I can't tell. I told you I don't know the weather."
"But you can see a few moments into the future, sometimes farther."
"If you must know, all I know is that I had the distinct impression that I would want a fire by the
time we stopped tonight, and I have to say that's going to be true. Other than that, I can't offer you any
comfort."
They had planned to stay at Fair Run, a village still several leagues away. Aesa was looking forward to
it more with every turn in the road.
 
 
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