Probably 17 Coloine
I feel so much better now that I’m not half-naked, even though my palm is still sore where the skin is missing. Funny how quickly I’ve gotten used to using the walk-through-walls pouvra, when it used to terrify me. I mean, I’m never going to love the feeling of my bones and organs sliding through stone or wood, but I sort of take it for granted now, and not just because it seems to have saved two worlds.
But while I was rummaging through that woman’s dresser looking for something to wear, I realized I’d gone through her bedroom wall without thinking twice about it. Maybe that was just my anxiety about wandering around in nothing but my breast band, that nothing else really mattered, but I think after what I went through in the convergence kathana, it’s a pouvra I feel more or less comfortable with.
I still don’t really know what happened. I mean, it’s clear the worlds aren’t destroyed, but since this is a Balaenic village in the far southwest, judging by the stars, it’s possible Castavir was destroyed and I was somehow transported back to my own world, which was spared—but I can’t bear the thought of Cederic, of all my friends, being dead.
So I’m going to assume that the worlds came back together successfully, that the damage was minimal, and that Cederic is still, for the moment, in Colosse. What’s worrisome is that it’s going to take me a couple of weeks to walk there from where I am right now, and who knows where he’ll be by then?
Time for a list, so I can calm down and stop panicking about whether I’ll ever find my husband again:
- I am, as I wrote, somewhere in southwestern Balaen. Probably.
- This is where Viravon is, in Castaviran geography.
2a. Who knows what the consequences of 1 and 2 might be?
- I have no money, but I think I can sell Audryn’s hair clips (sorry, Audryn) and get enough to speed my trip along.
- I still have these books, though this one is filling up fast. It’s also the one Cederic gave me, so it’s doubly precious.
It took me two days’ walk to reach this town, which fortunately for me lies on a well-traveled road running north and south through the forest; I don’t want to think about what might have happened if I’d been well and truly cast out in the middle of nowhere, because it’s been a long time since I’ve had to live off the land, and this time of year it gets harder to find ripe fruit that hasn’t either been harvested or eaten by birds. As it is, I was starving by the time I reached this place.
I scouted around the outskirts, very carefully, until I found a house whose owners were out, then I did the walk-through-walls pouvra and helped myself to some food and a shirt that’s a little too big for me, but better than nothing. I waited until nightfall to do all that, since I’ve learned from experience that it’s bad to rely too much on the concealment pouvra, and although this isn’t a really big town, closer to a village really, there were still a lot of eyes that might be able to see past the pouvra’s compulsion to look elsewhere. So I’m going to sleep in the woods again, more comfortably this time, and go into town openly tomorrow to find someone who’ll pay me for these clips (sorry, Audryn).
It’s late in the season, but I might be able to find a ride at least some of the way toward my goal. But I’m not counting on it. I doubt a town this size has anything worth hauling two weeks’ east to the Myrnala River and the handful of settlements along its banks. Handful of Balaenic settlements, I should say. I wonder what people thought when Colosse appeared out of nowhere? Not that I know that’s what happened.
I think I’ll see what I can learn from these villagers tomorrow. They might not know anything’s changed, because this place doesn’t look as if the convergence touched it at all. There’s certainly no activity of the kind you’d expect after a disaster, no broken buildings, nothing out of the ordinary. It’s just a typical village like you find all over the borders of Balaen, out on the frontier: houses of wooden beams with plaster between them and thatched, peaked roofs, mostly single story except for a couple of buildings near the center of town, like the inn—oh, that’s good news, I hadn’t thought about it, but if they have a building for hosting travelers, they’re likely not as suspicious and xenophobic as some of the places I’ve been to.
This one’s also more cheerful than most because so many of the houses have brightly painted doors and shutters, and I saw flowers growing around the ones on the edge of town where I did my scouting. So I feel fairly positive about my chances of learning something valuable. And who knows? Maybe I’ll find someone heading north who’s willing to give me a ride.