Chapter Twelve: The Rhennish River

     We traveled through the white-capped Albinis peaks, those cold fortresses that seemed to border and block the very heat of the dying sun.  I  was glad to leave and move onward.  As we passed architectural geometric puzzles of the Andari people, the mid-eastern remnants that dotted the valley, I sighed.  I was finally leaving this old home I never knew, and did not care to know.
     The hot sun of of my ancestral homeland was occluded now and I arrived in Swabilis, then the heart of the old Rhennish river and its dewy green mountains.  Meanwhile, I bought stationary and wrote to Leon of all I had seen.

     “Raven had said that Lynoria must be destroyed, but I have learned she is not the only one.  I was lured here by those vile creatures, who, I assume, knew something in the timing of the matter, knew that somehow Lynoria was being prepared to be revived fully — and I somehow have to play a part in it.  They know.  Those relations of mine are proof that such soulless creatures exist, and we are all in danger now.”
     I believe, no, I am convinced that they plan to cross to New Estampie, to claim some new ground . . . to destroy new peoples . . . I have seen it . . . in the eyes of envy and hatred that have been shown to me — they desire life, new life, to escape, as I now escape from their archaic world. They wish to become a part of  a ‘modern world’ and I am afraid they will come to us and destroy us all.”
     “As for their father, he is a gallant, a fop.  And dangerous.  No doubt all of their kind who worship evil will be looking for me now; already Lynoria haunts me; already she seeks my soul . . . to destroy . . .”

     I trailed off . . .told him I was now in the old Rhennish land, that I would visit the famous river and then seek return home via the Frochardian border where the ships sailed daily.
    “Please, do not leave me,” I added, fearful that he might be dead from the various drugs he was addicted to, or dead-drunk from his intoxicating elixirs — both the same.    needed him conscious, to be fully prepared for what was to come. I would not be able to fight this alone.
     I sealed the letter. I clutched the silver cross from one the dreary sisters back at the convent.  Soon, I would be returning home.  I could not but dream of it.
     The deep blue waters of the Rhennish River were as I had once dreamt.  We sailed across the river in a somber haze.  Old turrets, abandoned ruins, nestled out of green hills . . . the spires of a great cathedral caught the light, a beacon seemingly from heaven.
     As we drifted, I heard the old songs of a thousand years drift . . . the ghosts of the dead slept beneath us, the smooth glass of water, while sea maids, magical creatures, gazed out from between hair drenched with salty sea, tails fanning against their lily pads of stone and rock . . . and the old story goes that a bride died here long ago, and she still weeps . . . a woman who died young, tragically, like Lynoria.
     As if in a trance, I had visions . . . in he mirror of water I saw a knight and his sad bride.  Who were they?  The river broke and all seemed cold now.  The Rhennish was dark and shadowy.  Sea maids were predatory, and the spirits were unhappy, ignored for far too long now.
     I shivered.  Something was amiss.  A melancholy of unknown sources caused my spirit to plummet towards grim reality.  Where was I going? The sun would soon set and I must return home . . . home at last.  Tomorrow I would embark on that trip, and I hoped to God that Leon was still alive, that his brother had also been found.


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