From the Journal of Aframos Longjourney, Pilgrim
With notes by Avos Torr, Scholar of Rheve Library
Tresday, Twenty-third Cycle, Seventh Year, 81st Turn
Eighty-First Day in the Trees
It is good to write in my Journal again. Indeed, it is good to see my journal in the light of day again, and not have to grope around in the darkness.
It has been four days since the lamp ran out of oil. We thought that we were in for a terrible fight. Indeed, we were, for the Capalan believed we were demons, sent by the Light Ones to destroy them. The Capalan were, of course, the people whom we were so afraid of. We did not know that, of course. We only knew that, when the lamp died, we heard them rush forward, all of them screaming at once.
And then they stopped, barely ten feet from us. I was right about their eyes. They can see in the darkwoods, though they have no knowledge of colors. But they still could see us well enough, now that they were no longer blinded by the light. And they saw the bracelets we wore.
I still don't understand the significance of the bracelets, but it had a powerful effect on the Capalan. They immediately began to rush around us. They started to make concilliatory noises at us, coming forward with empty hands. When they realized we could not see, they guided us to their camp. We were suspicious at first, but they were not attacking, and we decided it would be best not to fight at that point. Besides, they had already taken our packs with them.
There was only one there who spoke the trade language, an ancient capal who had to be carried there in a litter. Srebek explained that the bracelets signified, among other things, that we were hreshelan. A hreshel is one who is followed by strong forces, or as he put it, "great things, happen they when stop hreshelan by to places. Stop you by to here, are we very glad. Us for good luck." He is actually a very intelligent speaker, but he tends to use the grammar of his own language.1
They were willing to guide us to the end of the darkwoods, or at least as close as they could come. They cannot venture too closely to the places where sun streams past the branches, for fear that it will blind them. Still, they know some need more light to see than they do, and understood our need. I think they pity us, believing as they do that the lighted world is full of demons and monsters, more terrible than anyone could imagine.
It took four days to reach the end of the darkwoods, four days of scrambling through the leaf litter, tripping over roots, and crawling about on all fours. The last five hours was spent alone, our guide having left us behind then. We had a bad few minutes until we finally reached the first, dim light that led us forward.
We cautiously made our way through, and then, ahead of us, we saw bright light. At first, it seemed like the sun was shining directly into our eyes, so accustomed had we become to the darkness. Then, as we crept closer, our eyes gradually adjusted. We could see the green. Green! A bright, blessed green. And flowers. Reds, yellows, blues and purples. I had not realized how much I had missed colors until I saw them again. We rushed forward then, until we stood blinking in the sunlight, laughing. Torne danced, and leapt, and fell into the flowers, letting their pollen dust him until his clothes were streaked with yellow.
The road is clear ahead of us. We are surrounded by trees, yes, but these are lively trees, and the wind is blowing through them. I feel the wind blowing around me as well. I could sit for an hour just breathing in the fresh air. I built a small shrine by the side of the road to whatever god created this breeze.
We made camp not far away. It was only afternoon, but it seemed that we could use a rest among the flowers. I feel much better for it. Tomorrow is soon enough for us to get underway again.