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It had become their custom, on First Day, to assemble after the wagons were all hitched up for a brief observation. As was often the case, Lansal recited a formal prayer or two that he had memorized from various liturgies and then Tarduunal or sometimes Ben would pray more casually. Once done, they finished breaking camp and mounted up.

The caravan continued on its route ever drawing nearer to Odandi Elaro Vol, the pass they needed to take to get over the mountains. They had reached the realm of Delgarna, and the travel routine seemed more and more comfortable to them.

 

 On this day, the group had stopped their march a little early so that Dartaniel and Shullas had time to clean and process a deer that Shullas had taken. Passing through its first town, Wilson, they had come to a place just north of town where it seemed caravans had frequently pulled off the highway to camp, so they had stopped there.

The extra time was well worth the venison stew out of a covered cast-iron pot oven that Dartaniel had traded for in one of the prior towns. After everyone had eaten their fill, Shullas showed them a way he had learned to lay the meat in strips and salt it to preserve it for later.

 

Edwin looked around at his friends as Denton and Ben gathered everyone’s dishes and took their turn at cleaning them. The group was sitting around the fire in the failing daylight enjoying each other’s company. They had circled the wagons, so the light was trapped in the circle and the atmosphere was very light.

 

Dartaniel was near the fire re-seasoning the pot oven after cleaning it out.

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Copyright 2018, 2019, 2020  —  Bill Snodgrass