“Something is awry.” Frank glanced around. Although he had lived ten years on the sea, and close to another five in the Albin territories, he had never forgotten his homeland. “Ever since we landed, ever since we started marching out of that town, not a single wild animal.” Elthan turned to him with an irritated look upon her face. “Of course,” she pointed around them, “first of all we are a large group, no wild animal, whether prey or predator, comes close to a large group. Secondly, they are afraid of the other large group that is shadowing us.” Frank felt his skin crawl. Insecure he looked around in panic. “About fifteen people, they’re following us since we left town.” Elthan tried to bring Frank to calm down as she picked up pace again. “By their smell I gather that they are fungal guards.” Elthan told him of the news that had transpired to her. Inside the fungal domains was a renegade faction that actively sought to regain their magical powers, if necessary by force. Ever since contact to the city of Jath’moihm had been reestablished, knowledge about the dreaded fungals came into the Albin society as the city had close trade relations with the fungals. The renegades called themselves the fungal guards. “I guess they won’t attack unless we find a source of magical power, they want to regain their weavery as well.” Elthan sat at the campfire they had lit in the dim light of dusk. Still feeling insecure about the situation with the fungal guards Frank looked around, certain he wouldn’t be able to sleep that night, regardless whether the fungal guards would attack or not.

Soft, gentle waves rolled against the tall rock at the base of the mountains, a few hundred meters from the closest flat shoreline a waterfall thundered into the vast waters. Reluctantly Praethon kneelt down and tasted of the water, satisfied he studied the seemingly endless water. “Sweetwater!” he waved to Elthan and Johly. Even though the vegetation had changed, shrubs and grassy clearings surrounded by mixed forests grew around the sweetwater sea, he still felt homesick. A beaten track led from the last pass down to the sea, but soon after, grew more narrow as the people using the pass dispersed in all available directions. Only one route seemed to have been used regularly, the one following the shoreline of the sweetwater sea. To Praethons surprise he couldn’t find any signs of a settlement along the shore as far as his eyes could see.

“If memory serves there is a village further to the south.” Frank stared into the distance.

“Reedheim. It is on the map.” Elthan glanced down on the map, one if many copies of the one Praethon had returned with from the Phoenix. As soon as ships and people were ready Elthan had left instructions for reinforcements to join them, they too would need maps. “Odd that there is no road sign.” again Frank looked around, obviously not looking for the road sign but their pursuers. “Indeed it is, but I figure who ever treads here either knows the terrain or has a guide who does.” Johly cowered over the ground looking for tracks in the soft soil. Barely able to hide his nervousness over the following fungal guards Frank nodded, still looking around. A terrified shipmate sprang away from the waters, shrieking upstarted. Immediately all others assumed a defensive stance, surrounding their comrade. Elthan also rushed to his side with Joly and Praethon, while Frank had thrown himself to the ground screaming for mercy.

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