Band of Brothers
Will: Do you have any maps that show what’s out West? Out past Red Cliff?
Daegun: I have some maps I can show you. Maybe if we’re in luck, my Journeyman map will still be legible.
(He leads the way inside and opens an old chest, pulls out a pile of parchments and papers in assorted conditions.)
Will: Saints and devils…
(They spend a while studying them, Daegun relating anecdotes to Will.)
Will: Why haven’t I seen these before?
Daegun: Apprentices don’t get to see such things until they’ve produced one of their own. (He smiles.) Now that you’ve had your Journey, well, I can make your next one a little easier.
Will: My cousins are thinking of heading West in search of… opportunities. I’m thinking of going along as a guide.
Daegun: Well, there are certainly some maps here that can give you a start. If you’ve got the time to prepare proper, then you should take a trip up the River Running to Hart Ford and check in with your uncle Roger Tracker, see if he has better maps. I’ve not sent you up there before, because it’s four days through thick woods. The river’s no good for boats up past the falls. Roger was away for a few years, but he’s been back in Hart Ford a couple months now, so he might have better maps.
Will: Right! I remember mother saying something about that before we left… Once I stop at home, I’ll see about heading up there. When you say thick woods, what do you mean, really?
Daegun: Millers Crossing is the only good way across the river for 30 klicks. Up river, near Hart Ford, there are cataracts and waterfalls and such. Lest you get your hopes up, the ford in the name of the town is on a tributary, so of no use to you. We’re talking about going from rock to rock and hoping nothing bad happens. Regarding the woods, the (relatively) easy woods route has woodsman trails, but the going will still be work for you to follow them and lead your companions along them. You’ll still need to survive in the wilderness, but there are some overnight lean-tos in place. On the hard woods route, you will deal with thicker forests, steeper hills, some cliffs perhaps, and no lean-tos other than the ones you build. And don’t forget you boys will be traveling with big rucksacks. And some small cages of birds.
Daegun: Well, if you do decide to go, I have some birds you’ll need to take. It’s how I knew when Roger was back in the area. He released one of my birds with a red string on its leg. It flew back to me, and that’s how I knew.
Daegun: So, this trek you’re planning, if you take some of my birds, you can send messages back home, if they are short and simple. Maybe have your cousins write them for you, since you won’t have Jason Quill along.
Will: I certainly will bring some! That’s bloody ingenious…
Daegun: Mind you, it means you’ll have a small cage with you, but I figure, if you’re going as far as you seem to think, you’ll be taking horses anyway.
Will: ...oh bollocks. Horses.
Daegun: Surely your merchant cousins will outfit your right. If they’re planning to hire you as their guide.
Will: Indeed. They’ve recently come into some capital.
Daegun: The thing with horses, Will, is that if you’re not trying to do anything fancy with them, they’re very compliant. And they’re not going to be going fast through the woods, anyway, not if you’re picking your way through strange lands.
Will: True. Good point. I don’t have be bloody Geoff Thoroughbred, do I?
Daegun: Not at all. Though after a few days on the road, I’m sure you’ll work it out. It’d be best to have some time with the horse before you leave, though, if you’re boys are serious about this trip.
Will: I’ll have to talk to the Sellers boys about that. Maybe we should take Xavier in case one of the horses throws a shoe… Well, this is more than enough to get me started. I’m sure I’ll be back around before week’s end. Thanks again for the new bow. And Daegun… thanks for everything. I mean it. You’ve shown me what I can be. I won’t forget it.
(Daegun smiles and gives Will a hearty slap on the shoulder as they step outside.)
Daegun: I just hope the new apprentice is as promising. (He shouts into the forest.) Kevin! Is that wood cut yet?
Will: Try not to lose him in the wood on your first trek, hm?