The morning sun is rising over the forest. Birds are starting to chirp and the nocturnal animals are slowly returning to their caves and burrows. There lies a silence between the animal sounds which is both tranquil and eerie, and the light morn mist enhances the feel of a paradisic morning. Thump. The sound is broken by the splitting of wood.
"Well master Aristarcus, it seems that ol' elm is not about to give up now." The grog point s at a large, old elm tree lying across the path. It was hard enough to get the carriage in here, harder still to traverse the small streams, but now...
"Yes I see Nijls." The man looks at the elm, his long ponytail hanging out the carraige window. "We will continue on foot. At least some of us. The rest of you will make sure the carriage get through. Just follow the map I gave you." He walks out of the carriage, and by his side walks a white swan, looking far more intelligently at the grogs, than any swan should.
"Nijls, Claus, Pierre and Weltha, you will accompany me. The rest..." he waves dispassionately around with a finger, as if to say: Do whatever you think I want you to. Then he starts walking forward.
Some hours later, walking uphill and passing quite a few streams, Aristarcus feet are sore from walking, and the grogs seem still alert, though also talking amongst themselves.
"I hope they have a fine wench or two."
"Shh..Master Ari will hear you.."
"Bah...more important with beer...or cider...something about they brew cider."
"We're here!" Aristarcus clear voice broke through their chatter and they quickly ran to stand next to him. Looking over the hilltop, further into the distance lay a grove surrounded by hillocks and swatches of trees and streams. Idyllic, peaceful and with small coloums of smoke from chimneys.
One of the grogs whistled...
"Quaint...not like those Tytalus, nor cathedrally-likey like the Boonasa...si..girs"
"Shut up Weltha you dumb ox!"
"Gentlemen, make haste, and we shall be there at noon!" Aristarcus strode boldly down the trodden path, his swan flying low overhead. Nearing the Covenant, Aristarcus saw small patches of rosebushes, surrounding a mosscovered statue...there a fountain, old inlaid with crystals and further up, there was a wooden stair covered in ivy snaking its way up a hillside to a series of terraces with delicate and beautiful woodcarvings, where song birds where chirping. Also there was the river and small waterfalls lying adjacent to and beneath the covenant, making small bridges and walkways plentiful. Everywhere airstarcus saw there was greenery, and behind the covenant he spotted the orchards, which would have been planted last year. As he walked closer a tingling started in his feet and moved all the way up to the crown of his head. His blue eyes almost itched and then it stopped. Charming...and powerful."
Warmer here, than expected, Aristarcus removed his scarf and gloves and eyed a young girl plucking the first flowers of spring. Unnoticed they walked closer by.
"You there! Where are your masters?" Startled, the girl jumped up and dropped her flowers. She eyed them suspiciously. What strange accent that man had.
"Well, who might be asking?" She was a sweet thing. Not more than 13 summers probably, but with a seasoned eye for detail it seemed.
"Right of you to ask. I am Master Aristarcus ex Guernicus, please tell your masters, that I have come to speak with them."
"Yes Magic stuff, now move along, my men would like som hot cider and what ever your kitchen is serving." Aristarcus wondered about the lack in security. Weird, he would have to discuss this with them.
The girl ran up some stairs and inside the wooden main building. Banners displaying the various houses represented were fluttering in the light breeze and he also saw something heraldic, maybe local. Right something about a woman being here....hmmm.
Mathilda, the young flower girl, ran to one of the terraces where she new the magi sometimes dined together, to have a good start of the day, before they went to their laboratories. Running past some of the gartners, she entered the terrace and catching her breath stammered.
"M-m-m...Aris-tri-cartis or something is here, he just...walked right in talking about magic stuff!"