We moved into Carapacia instead of the Centaur Plains. It would be quicker, easier, more straightforward. No trekking around Centaur villages and the forest in Lao-Khulmin. The corner of Carapacia was swept with hills, and there was a scattering of the trees I knew so well from my childhood in Midpas.
One of my greatest worries was balanced out by a blessing. We came across a large herd of deer, at least two hundred. Okay, perhaps a hundred and fifty. One of the refugees came to me and said that he could catch one or two if only we’d let him borrow one of our horses and if I gave him my sword. He was both a fool and selfish – no one could possibly catch deer from horseback with a blade. I was worried that he would try to steal a horse anyways – Gaunt? Tipsy? The children’s horse? We were the only people with horses; there was a merchant cart in our entourage, but it was pulled by a donkey. I had to watch the horses more carefully after that. But we were blessed in that another man was a hunter, and I was grateful when he brought two deer to the main campfire.
Intimara didn’t seem to understand that Meramon was gone. She kept asking for him and looking around, and whenever we stopped she tried to dismount. Eliana made her stay on by mounting Tipsy with her and moving the mare onward. If she got down and started searching for Meramon, we’d never get anywhere. Only then, of course, she got down for the night.
No fires, I said. For a while, nobody lit one. Eliana, with her orbs, was the only source of light. Then someone said that if she could have light, so could he, and warmth with it. One campfire. Two. Three. Roast venison and aromatic broth. Smoke. The fools! It didn’t have to be fair, and besides… if anything was unfair, it was that Eliana couldn’t stop the glow to protect us. I need Meramon, and his authoritative air…