Continuing the #My30DayWorld challenge, I’m gonna talk a bit about travelling the open road between cities. The Legacy of Ash began as a role-playing setting for us, slowly evolving into fantasy fiction as the characters and cultures we created began to take on lives of their own. We hope you’ll follow us over the next few weeks as we reveal a little more about our world and the characters who bring it to life.
This post will cover day 14. We’re doing them all separately over on our Legacy of Ash Facebook page, so head over and give us a like.
4/2: How Safe is it to Travel in Your World?
Travel is always perilous. There are bandits, highwaymen, thieves, and worse. Animal attacks. Monsters. And of course the looming threat of the ans’relan demons. No matter what country or continent, travel in Celduras is dangerous. But, of course, it needs to happen.
The wagons were still burning when the legion arrived.
Decanus Barin stood on a small hilltop looking out over the remains of the caravan, the stench of burnt flesh and ruined lives seeping into his pores. Arriving too late to the fight, too late to help the poor souls fend off whatever killed them, the only thing the legion and its centuries could do was bury the dead. The attack had been severe, too primal to be mere bandits or highwaymen. The small valley was soaked in blood. With a hand raised to shield his eyes from the sun, Barin thought the caravan must have included more than one dozen wagons. He did not want to count the bodies.
“It wasn’t even a fight,” a voice said from behind the decanus. Barin turned to give a small nod to Bell, one of the legionaries in his section. The man was dressed in his lamellar cuirass, the cormorant crest of the imperial legions clear on his chest. His gladius bounced from his hip as he walked up beside the decanus. “Whatever killed these people didn’t do it for the coin. Doesn’t look like anything was stolen. There’re chests of jewels and gold in a few of the wagons.”
With a grin, the large legionary flipped a golden coin in to the air. Blood had dried on one side. Barin caught it, and quickly tossed it back.
“We aren’t thieves,” the decanus said.
“Centurion Maro told us to collect whatever we could. Optio Fowls is still down there, poking through the supplies.”
“Dust’s kiss,” Barin said, rubbing at his scarred forehead with his thumb. A ribbon of smoke drifted up from the ruined scene before them, the lifeless grey at odds with the crimson blood and the golden grass. “Alright then. Any word on what did this? What killed these people?”
“Demons,” Bell said with a shrug. “Ans’relan. We’ve heard of this before. It ain’t right, trying to cross this much open ground unarmed. These caravans…the merchants get a guard or two and they think they’re safe. Dust damned empire is a big place. They’d do better sticking to the roads.”
“It wasn’t demons,” Barin said, shaking his head. “Couldn’t be. Kinasahr maybe? They’ve been pushing further and further out from the Heramear for years. Maybe they’ve had enough?”
“Fowls says it was demons. There’re claw marks on the wagons. And other things, wounds you wouldn’t believe. The bodies…decanus, I’m sorry but some of those people were torn in half. What else can do that?”
“I don’t know,” Barin admitted. “But ans’relan? Could it’ve been animals? Wolves maybe, or lions?”
“Fowls says demons,” Bell shrugged again. “Dust damned caravans… we try to tell them to be more prepared. Have better protection. More guards, maybe some sorcery on their side.”
“It’s been so long,” Barin said. “Most people don’t believe in demons. Dust’s kiss, I don’t believe in demons. And I’ve seen them.”
Bell looked over at his decanus. His armour strapped over his dark skin, the scars on his face and arms. The gladius at his side. The vacant, tired look of experience in his eyes.
“The call to adventure is too strong,” Barin said, looking down at the carnage. “We know we shouldn’t risk it, but we also know that can can’t just sit in a city and wait out our days. We need to breathe the air out here, no matter the risk. We need to see new places, mountains and jungles, plains and the open sky.”
“I know, sir,” Bell said, looking down at the bloodied coin in his hand. “I know.”
The Challenge will Continue…
Over the coming weeks, we will be posting more about Celduras and the continents that compose Calus Rukan. There is a lot more to reveal. Mystical materials and constructs. Oceans and gods. This has been day 14, but look out for our next set of questions.