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Sunday, 16 October 2005
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The road up to Axe-bite pass began to steepen after they passed Bogenhafen. At Helmgart they exchanged the wagons for pack-ponies. Orin soon found out why there had been woolen rugs in the wagon he had hidden in in Altdorf, as they travelled higher the temperature fell and they rapped the blankets around them as the rode to try an keep warm. Snow whipped around them, even though he had been born in the shadow of the mountains Orin had never been this high before. The route was narrow and winding, difficult in places for ponies in single file - it would have been impossible for the carts.

Sir François dropped back and spoke to Orin, "So, what do you think of the main highway between the Empire and Bretonnia?" Orin looked shocked, so Sir François added, "You think this is bad? You should see the high passes into Tilea."

Orin mumbled, "Yes sir." through his scarf. Sir François smiled at him, then said not to worry, they should be able to see the pinacles of Parravon in an hour or so, that night they would be warm in a snug Bretonnian castle. Orin had never thought of a castle as 'snug' before, but anything would seem good after this constant icy wind and snow.

True enough, in just over an hour they were able to see the top towers of the city of Parravon. It was still a long way off, however, and Orin did not see how they could possibly reach it by nightfall. It turned out that this was not what Sir François had meant. Around a corner in the pass, they suddenly faced a massive fortress, the Castle de Montforte, which guards the descent of the pass into Bretonnia. Sir François ordered one of his squires to wind a horn, and an answering note was heard from te castle wall. A voice called out, "Who goes there?"

Sir François' herald answered, "The Baron de Giselles and his squires and servants, returning from Altdorf. We seek shelter for the night from the elements, and beg hosptiality of your lord."

The guard called back, "Enter then, and enjoy my lord's hospitality." The great doors of the castle opened, and they rode inside. The hight walls served not only to repell enemeis but also to dampen the wind, although the snow still fell on the courtyard beyond. Sir François vaulted off his horse and handed the reigns to one of his squires, and disappeared into the keep. The others took the horses to the stables and saw they were groomed, fed, and watered before repairing inside to the warm.

As they entered the hall, all the Bretonnians sank down onto one knee. After a moment's surprised hesitation, Orin copied them, although he did not know to whom he was kneeling. Looking around, he saw that a man in a fine looking blue cloak was seated on a throne-like chair at one end of the great hall, he assumed this was the person they were giving honour to. The man waved, and they stood up. Sir François, who Orin now saw was seated to the left of the unknown lord as they looked at him, beckoned him over.

Last Updated ( Sunday, 16 October 2005 )
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