The Beach, at Stormness
You stand on a jutting peninsula that overlooks the sea. Below you, a low, rocky cliff angles downward at odd angles into the water, where waves crash on jagged spars jutting up in all directions. It’s a pretty view, but not much for diving.
To the west, the dense forests of the Great Woods of Narnia rise up in a great, leafy mass. You almost cannot see any way into it.
The boat that had made ground was a small one, the kind of boat that could be comfortably sailed by one or two people. Currently, Mateo is sat on a rock on the beach, carefully looking over a navigational chart to ensure he was in the right place.
Up on the rock overhang, Crenna watches the boat sail in. She begins to make her descent down to greet the newcomer. She seems much more at home here than in the city, walking confidently along the sand. She calls out, “Captain Mateo?”
Mateo chuckles, “I suppose I must be for this little thing! You must be Crenna?”
The small wolf smiles as she walks up to him. “Indeed. Welcome to the South Woods. I am Crenna, Healer of Winterden.”
Mateo smiles over at the wolf, “Aliyah told me that you’d be able to show me around?”
Crenna nods, “I would love to show you around.” She looks a bit proud, “This is my home after all. And hope everyone who visits feels welcome and peace.” She eyes the little boat, “Are, are we bringing that as well?”
Mateo shakes his head, “It’s secure there, it can wait for me here”
Crenna chuckles, “Good good.” She hmms, “Would you like to see from high up first?” She looks up at the rock overhang above their heads.
Mateo rolls up the charts and tucks them securely into his satchel, “That would be great”
Crenna falls along the side of him as she starts to show him the way up the rock face. “This is one of my favorite spot in the whole woods. Especially at night. When the stars come out.”
Mateo carefully follows the wolf up the rocks, “I’m sure that must be amazing”
Crenna asks, “Will you be staying over night?”
Mateo nods, “Partially, I’ll have to leave very early to be back the next day in good time”
Crenna hmms, “I see. Well, if you would like to come up here again to see the stars and the moon, I can bring you.” They finally ascend so that they can see all of the sea. The small Wolf lets out a breath, “Isn’t it beautiful?”
Mateo lets out an admiring breath, “Now that’s a view!”
Crenna is happy to sit in silence to let them both take in the view.
Mateo can’t help but smile at the sight, content to take in the vast span of ocean that spreads out below.
Crenna looks up at the man, “Do you live by the sea?”
Mateo nods, “I do, Lapidos is the name of the place. Mind, in Terebinthia most of the major towns are by the sea”
Crenna chuckles, “Forgive but I have no idea where Terebinthia is. The only lands I am familiar with is Archenland since we border them and then Calermen because of the…nasty business a few years ago.”
Mateo nods understandingly and points out to sea in a vaguely northeastern direction, “You can’t see it from here obviously but, it’s an Island far out that way”
Crenna follows his gaze, “How far is it? I suppose you must take one of those large ships I see coming to the city.”
You say, “I would say, with the right conditions it takes about a weeks sailing.”
Crenna looks impressed, “Wow…that is a long journey. Do you get tired of the ship?”
Mateo shakes his head, “Nah, I’m used to ships”
Crenna chuckles, “I suppose if you are used to it.” She taps the ground with her paw, “I would miss the grass underneath my paws.”
Mateo says, “Wolves aren’t really known for sailing though so I can’t blame you there”, he grins a little at the mental image of a sailing wolf.
Crenna says, “Would you like to see a little bit of inland?””
Mateo tears his eyes away from the sea and nods, “Yeah, lets”
Crenna turns on her paws and begins to make her way down. She goes first, finding the solid footing in case Mateo needs help.
Mateo follows the wolf, once again making sure to follow carefully in her footsteps.
Once on the ground, Crenna smiles, “Is this your first time in Narnia?”
You say, “It is yeah, I’d heard stories about it of course, but this is my first time actually seeing it.”
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- ~/^\~ -=
The view from the top of this hill is remarkable. To the immediate south, across a green valley, the towering mountain range that separates Narnia from Archenland rises above the clouds. North and west, the Great Woods spreads in a dense blanket from the very foot of the hill out for miles and miles. Another hill, far away to the northwest, rises above the unbroken green like a lonely island. Just beyond, the forest abruptly ends and the glimmer of a river is visible, winding its way down from the north. To the east is the sea, and by following the coast north on a clear day, one might just be able to make out the gleam of Cair Paravel.
The top of the hill is covered with lush grass, but the ground falls away sharply on all sides, and the north slope is so treacherously steep as to be rendered impassable. The north and west sides are covered in loose shale, interrupted occasionally by scrub brush, but a rough track down the east slope looks manageable. The south slope descends more gradually, covered in patchy grass and gravel, and there is a narrow well-trod path leading down into the valley, probably maintained by the owners of the cottage.
=- ./^\~ -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
As they walk along, Crenna asks, “How do you like it so far?”
Mateo had followed Crenna through the forest, his movements the awkward and noisy ones of one unaccustomed to walking in woodlands, “It’s great, real interesting and the people you find here- well, you don’t get folks like that back home”
Crenna keeps a slow pace. She doesn’t seem to mind that they are taking their time. “Oh, I guess there aren’t many talking animals there, huh?”
You say, “More accurate to say there aren’t any. Save from the occasional trading ship that comes in from Narnia of course, but they tend to just pass through.”
Crenna nods, “I have a friend who sails on one of those ships. His name is Trim and always comes back with interesting stories.”
Mateo looks over at the wolf with curiosity, “Oh yes?”
Crenna nods, “He is the ship’s Cat. I think he catching the mice and rats when sailing.” She chuckles a bit, “He has an opinion about everything…” She suddenly remembers something and looks up at Mateo, “You came with Duke Oren, yes?”
Mateo says, “Important task, especially on longer voyages- of course our ships cat isn’t talking” he nods in affirmation, “I did indeed”
Crenna grows quiet, “I see.”
You ask, “Is that a problem?”
Crenna shakes her head, “Oh no problem.” She begins to take him up a hill, “I hope your visit to Narnia has been pleasant?”
Mateo follows up the hill, “Very pleasant, yes”
The conversation drifts off as the two walk up a semi steep hill. Once upon the top, Crenna slows, panting a bit, “This is one of the best views in all of the Woods.” She points with her nose, “See, you can even see the Cair faintly.”
Mateo squints into the distance, holding a hand up to his eyes to block the sun, “Wow, so you can!”
Crenna begins to point out the various spots though most are blocked by the trees.
You say, “These woods are really something, I never seen them this… Dense before”
Crenna nods, “I would say that out of all the woods in Narnia, this is the most dense. I believe that is why the woods are so quiet and you really can lose yourself in your thoughts.”
You say, “I’d probably get myself lost”
Crenna chuckles, “I sometimes get lost myself. Though I have a horrible sense of direction.”
Mateo takes another look around the surrounding trees, “Going to be honest I don’t think I could find my way back to the boat alone even here”
Crenna smiles at him, “Well, it is good you have a guide then.”
You exclaim, “That it is!”
Crenna asks, “Would you like to see something else?”
You say, “Lead onwards”
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- ~/^\~ -=
The trees grow close together here in an orderly tangle. The canopy high above is comprised mostly of oak and chestnut, and one ancient oak tree in particular spreads her gnarled branches protectively over much of the area. Shadblow and rowan make up the intermediary layer, their berries glowing in the shade cast by the taller trees, while thick clusters of raspberry and laurel thrive below. Mint and summer lilac can be found among the ferns on the forest floor. A gurgling stream disappears into the thick trees to the southwest.
With the mountains to the south and the rocky hills to the north, this area feels sheltered and safe. A well-traveled track leads up out of the valley to the east and further down to the west, branching off to curve toward the south.
=- ./^\~ -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
Crenna take Mateo on a walk through the valley. She points out the various plants and flowers, “We have a great variety here. But I have heard that the Cair sports some unique flowers.”
Mateo examines the flowers and plants, “They’re real pretty, I don’t know too much about plants but I can appreciate the looks of them”
Crenna chuckles, “I was the same way until I studied medicine.” She leads him into a more secluded area, becoming a bit more sober. “I would like to show you something.”
Mateo raises an eyebrow at the sober tone, his own voice becoming more serious, “What is it?”
Crenna leads him off to the side. There, out of the way, is a small crudely built monument of various stones. Moss covers part of it though some summer flowers grow along the other edge of it. Crenna pads up to it before standing up right, resting her two front paws on top of it. She brushes the twigs off before getting back down to all four paws, “This is Winterden’s monument to those we have lost.”
Mateo inclines his head as they pause before the monument, he remains silent a moment as a mark of respect for those lost and then says, “Thank you for showing me”
Crenna steps away, “Of course. You wanted to see my home and I am more than happy to show you. Are you hungry?”
Mateo steps away as well, “I am a bit, now you mention it”
Crenna starts to lead him back the way they came, “There is an inn too not far where we could rest if you wish?”
You say, “Sounds good.”
In the Great Woods
You find yourself in the deep, vibrant forest that makes up the Great Woods of Narnia. All around you, trees and vines and bushes grow in great abundance, their leafy branches serving to block out a good deal of the sunlight that would trickle down from above. There are very few clear paths here upon which to walk, but at least you sense no real danger from the trees here. They seem to regard you with a detached curiosity, allowing you to pass by without impediment.
To the north, you can just make out the sparkling surface of the inlet of Glasswater through the dense foliage. The seawater adds a tang to the woodland scents that hang in the air here. To the south, the ground inclines sharply toward the mountains beyond, and a stone building sits nestled between two foothills. The sign above the door reads: The Splintered Axe Inn and Tavern.
Crenna takes the longer way to get to the tavern, showing Mateo some of the more interesting spots. She slows once they see the tavern, “Of course the Woods are miles and miles long though much of that is just the trees.”
Mateo looks over the tavern, which inexplicably appears amidst dense forest, “What kind of people stop here?”
Crenna says, “Mostly travelers going from Archenland to Narnia. If we had continued south, we would have eventually wound up in Archenland.””
Mateo nods understanding, “I would like to go there one day, but today is not that day”
Crenna chuckles, “I have often wondered what it was like there.” She leads him into the tavern.
The Splintered Axe Tavern
You find yourself standing in a rustic tavern nestled deep in the Great Woods of Narnia. It appears to be much what you’d expect of such a tavern. It is not large, but there are several tables scattered about. They are rough-hewn, but clean. A beardless, young-looking dwarf can be seen behind the bar along the south wall, washing out mugs and taking orders from the patrons. The tavern appears to have a small but loyal clientele, made up mostly of
talking woodland beasts.
There is a door behind the bar, but that appears to lead to private quarters.
A door to the west leads to the Inn, where travellers can stay for brief periods as they make their way from Archenland into Narnia or vice versa. The door leading out is north.
Mateo takes in the sights of the tavern as he enters then turns to Crenna, “What can you recommend here?”
Crenna ers, “I have never eaten here…I prefer my meat…well, not cooked.” She squints at the price list, “Forgive me, I am not the best with words.”
Mateo says, “Oh that’s fine… Let’s see, the coffee, I’ll try that… What’s a Fresney?”
Crenna ers, “I think it is some dwarf dish.”
You say, “Whatever it is, they stew it. I can’t seem to see any meat on the menu.”
Crenna hmms, “Do you want meat? I bet the cook can prepare you some.”
Mateo shrugs, “I’ll try the Fresney, I want to know what that is now- I was thinking more for you?”
Crenna laughs, “Do not worry about me. I will eat once I am back at the den. Would you like to see it?”
You ask, “Would that be ok?”
Crenna asks, “Are you going to harm us?”
Mateo looks shocked, “Why would I do that?”
Crenna smiles, “Then you can visit the den.”
You say, “In that case I would like to see it”
Crenna nods, “Of course!” She chuckles, “You are the third person to be interested in a Wolf’s den. I did not know we were so popular.”
Mateo orders himself the coffee and the mysterious Fresney, “Well for me it’s because talking animals in general are interesting”
As he orders, Crenna moves to sit down next to a bench so they can converse easily while he eats. “I have heard that some people when meeting a talking beast for the first time is a bit of shock.”
Mateo takes a seat and examines the dish with a huh, stewed plants were not what he expected but he tries some anyway, “I’ll admit, it was a shock the first time I saw one, but thankfully that was before I came here so I got it out my system”
Crenna tips her head, “Oh?”
Mateo nods, taking another bite of the food before speaking, “As I said, the merchant ships sometimes come from Narnia”
Crenna dips her head, “Of course.” She pauses, “What is it like? Being on a ship?”
Mateo grins a little, “A lot of hard work in a confined place with several other people sharing it”
Crenna chuckles, “So not much different than a den.”
Mateo chuckles as well and says, “I’ll take your word on that one” He takes a sip of his coffee and stares wistfully into the stew, “It’s freedom though, the sea.. Can go anywhere you like but she can be a harsh mistress if you don’t know how to respect and read the signs… But then you get the still nights where there’s nothing but empty ocean for miles around and the moon reflects on the water.” he blinks and laughs, “Blimey, listen to me going on, I don’t know what came over me there”
Crenna smiles, “It sounds like you have found your passion in life. There is nothing wrong with that.”
You say, “I suppose you could say that”
Crenna says, “You should hear me when I get going about my plants and various techniques of medicine. Beasts start to roll their eyes.””
Mateo waves a hand before taking another forkfull of greenery, “Ah I’m sure it’s not that bad!”
Crenna grins, “You are probably the first one to say that.”
You exclaim, “Surely not!”
Crenna amends, “First person who doesn’t also have an interest unless you do?”
You say, “I could just about tell a rose from a daffodil, but beyond that…”
Crenna laughs, “See, already on that road of a healer.”
You say, “Hey, If anyone’s under the weather, I make a mean hot toddy”
Crenna smirks, “At least you can make one. I have to instruct someone with hands how to make a tea or remedy.”
You say, “Bet that’s fun.”
Crenna shrugs her shoulders, “Thankfully, the only things I have had to instruct for were regarding colds and sprained ankles. No life threatening injuries, Thank the Lion.”
Mateo nods, “Thankfully, the more serious stuff… Never nice”
Crenna shakes her head, “No.” She frowns, “I hope that I will never need to use my knowledge for those kind of injuries.”
You say, “Here’s hoping”
Crenna asks, “Once you are done, we can head to the den?”
Mateo agrees and soon finished off the food and the coffee.
You find yourself standing atop a cheerless rock of a foothill, skirting the base of the southern mountains so closely that the nearest one rises up to towering heights above you just to the south of where you stand. Its face is mostly rocky, but it is home to scattered trees, most of them coniferous and showing signs of crabbing from exposure even at this low altitude. A particularly large pine with exposed roots shelters a large opening beneath itself.
A faint path leads back down into the deeper woods from here.
Crenna starts to head up the hill, “Our den is nestled up on the top.”
Mateo looks over to the top of the hill as he follows, “I never been in a wolf den, what should I expect?”
Crenna smirks, “Wolves.” She leads him up to the top of the hill. Another Wolf is laying by the entrance. When Mateo approaches, he gets up and growls. The smaller wolf reassures him, “Peace, Faol. It is me and my companion.”
Mateo can’t help but startle and step back at the growling.
Crenna stands beside Mateo. She lowers her voice, “Forgive my packmate. He fought in the Giant’s war and is suspicious of everyone.”
Mateo gives a nervous grin, “Quite alright, no harm done”
The other wolf doesn’t seem like he is going anywhere. Crenna ignores him though she does seem to always be in between the man and the other. “So this is our home.”
Mateo is sure to stay by Crenna, but curiosity seems to supplant nervousness as he takes in the sight, “Nice, not what I expected but honestly I don’t know -what- I expected so I don’t think anything would have been”
Crenna looks up towards the sky, “I suppose we should finish our tour before we run out of light?”
You say, “I would say so, you promised a wonderful starry view after all.”
Crenna smiles, “I did, indeed.” She starts to lead him back down to finish the rest of the tour