Arnaulen 8, The Flowering, 14th Year of his Lordship Kresimir, Kotor Barony;
We have been staying in a camp of Yrchish folk of the Kamalar peoples. This particular encampment is part of the Swift Deer tribe and we have been well sheltered in their rough built cabins.
We were brought here nigh on 2 ten days ago by the fur trader Konstante Biteri whom we met in the wilderness just south of the Vardar River. When we encountered him he was in much distress, being pursued by some creatures harboring ill intent. Lord Dancis chose to intervene and as I foolishly attempted to assist the battle against the creatures I received a wound in my leg which was most discomfiting. Mr Biteri repaid our aid by bringing us to this tribe and speaking well for us. He has some influence with the folk in this area it seems, as his word has seen us well looked after.
I have been housed with an elderly woman of the tribe who has seen to my needs with great attention. It seems less care has been afforded to my companions, as they slept outside and were rarely offered food by my host. Her skill with herbs and healing practices has suitably impressed me and my wound has healed nearly completely. I have been able to walk about with limited pain the last 3 days and I expect that in a few more I shall be free of all discomfort.
Cuwalen 2, The Claw of Lightning, 14th Year of his Lordship Kresimir, Kotor Barony;
We took our leave of the Swift Deer tribe this morning, and it is well that I healed as quickly as I did. They also are readying to leave their winter camp, where we stayed with them, to meet with the other bands of their tribe for their spring ceremonies.
Rather than continue along the course of the Vardar River, Master Cojocaru has led us on a southerly course. He was able to converse well with our hosts and made many friends and learned somewhat of the surrounding lands. They confirmed the existence of a lake as the source of the Vardar, some three or four days walk to the northeast. But we were warned against travelling in that direction.
It seems that some powerful band of thieves and rogues has taken over an old ruin of a fort and subjugated the main camp of the Grey Wolf tribe on the southern shores of the lake. Towards the end of summer there were many reports from travellers in the area of attacks and raids. The Grey Wolf tribe is of mixed Yrchish and Mannish folk and they have a reputation as fierce warriors.
Cuwalen 4, The Claw of Lightning, 14th Year of his Lordship Kresimir, Kotor Barony;
Ever since we left the Swift Pony tribe’s camp I have spotted solitary wolves on several occasions and soon realized that each sighting was of the same wolf and that it was following us. I mentioned this to my Lord Dancis and Master Cojocaru. Master Cojocaru told me that he had met the wolf while I was convalescing and they had become friends. He then chuckled and told me that I had just helped him win a bet with Lord Dancis about how long it would take me to notice the wolf. I don’t think that four days is a flattering estimation of my powers of observation! I guess that the wolf will be following with us for a while, which might complicate matters because this afternoon we came upon a robustly active farmstead.
We approached from the north, alerted to the presence of some settlement by the smoke from their fires. On the western slope of the valley are several buildings, houses, a barn and other outbuildings, all surrounded by gardens. On the eastern slope is an orchard with several types of trees, cherry and hazelnut along with others who have not yet revealed their spring foliage. Between are fields of bare ground that fill the floor of the valley, many freshly turned, all separated by tidy rock walls. A fair sized flock was scattered around the south end of the valley where we could see a couple of ponds. At least a dozen people could be seen working at various tasks.
We were spotted quickly as shouts were heard soon after we began our descent from the ridge near the northern end of the valley. A half a dozen menfolk headed in our direction, all of them armed with some weapon, bows and clubs mostly. We halted our approach at a respectable distance and as they came within speaking distance we could see that there were Yrchish, Elarkish and Mannish folk among them.
A man shouted a greeting to us, demanding to know our business. I suppose living on a farmstead in the Border Hills would tend to make one suspicious of strangers. Lord Dancis spoke for us. The farmsteader, Oleg Leviton, welcomed us to stay for the night and offered to introduce us in the morning to some people that he said we would have a great deal in common with.
I don’t think that the wolf will be welcomed to stay however.