I want you to become a traveler in a land where roads are hostile and beyond control. Here, humankind is week and disorganized, while monsters and trees are deadly and mysterious. We’re are just a small part of this world and we have to fight to survive - not with one another, but with the nature itself. And no hero will ever be able to change that. You have to accept the “howling wilderness”. That’s what you were taught since you were a little kid.
Yet you’ve become a roadwarden. You keep moving between isolated points of light - taverns, hamlets, shelters. You deliver messages, look for missing people, help merchants, gather news. Sometimes you fight, but you can’t jump at a pack of wolves with a pointed stick. You don’t conquer, you use wit, tricks, distance to stay alive. Every foe is stronger than you - but you like to think you’re smarter.
Every roadwarden is different and has their own reason to take this job. The call of adventure, good coin, the feeling of duty... For some reason, you can’t just stay at home and fade away. Unlike most people, you’re ready to take a leap of faith and risk it all.
I want you to get to know your palfrey, the smell of its hair and the stinging in your legs after days of riding. The taste of rations that you take just in case, counting every nut and fruit in your leather bag. The sounds of busy forests, filled with life and blood. When you see something dangerous, I want you to to touch the handle of your axe. When you see shapes among the trees, I want you to keep asking what it is - a deer, goblins, undead? Do you need to run away? After all, that’s why people avoid travels - every journey may be the last one.
When you arrive to a new village, it feels different than any other place in this realm. The huts around you may be humble, but they’re the result of determination of generations of dreamers, who tried to tame the untamable. The people here are busy with their lives, happy to exchange news, not that interested in making friends. Some of their clothes are colorful but simple, some of them are elegant, but old, brought here from a distant city. Their apples are weirdly green, the palisade could use some work, some of the doors were recently replaced. You sit at a table with the mayor and the priestess, and your beer is more than just “tasty, strong ale”. This mug is now containing a tale, years of one’s passion and experience. It’s unique. Like everything here.
You’re entering a place filled with stories, but stories that are often beyond you, outside of your reach. This is not your playground. You’re an outsider, and people can go on with their lives without you. There are no chosen ones, no saviors. Be useful, or begone.
But you don’t have to serve them. You need to choose who’s trustworthy, who’s an ally you need, when should you intervene, and when it’s better to keep your distance. You know that you can’t help everyone, but to reach your goals, you can’t always stay aloof from people who know this place better than you do.
No matter what you decide, be vigilant.
By the way, if you've missed my latest ScreenshotSaturday entry, you can see it here: