Only mere minutes had passed since the men had left Henry sitting alone in his boat, but it felt like hours. And within the few minutes of the rain starting, it stopped, leaving a drenched Henry in a very large puddle. Henry grumbled to himself, “Oh almighty mistress in heaven, why does this always happen to me?” Then he sloshed to the end of the boat, stumbling through the water, stiffly grabbing the sides of the boat in the fog that had remained through the rain. Reaching the far end, he picked up the bucket that sat floating above the water. The bucket was worn on the sides, dented and scratched and yet the man handled it very carefully, lowering the mouth halfway into the water and sliding it around before picking it up and pouring the water over the side into the lake. Though the process took a while, the bucket did a rather quaint job and Henry’s boat soon showed only the merest signs of having been rained apon, in the damp wood and the tiny puddles sitting on the boat’s wooden floor.
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The fog slowly disappeared but was replaced very quickly with a damp stickiness that clung onto the men’s clothing. Each man began perspiring, increasing each yard of cloth that stuck to their legs, or backs. A slight mist discended upon them, but did not slow them down even a step. Lord Ergomer continued in a vague direction, Gregory noticed. Each man had been called for this mission due to their superior status and ability within their towns and villages, and each had stayed of their own volition after learning a gist of what the mission entailed. This gist, of course, was not a lot. They were told to pack whatever weapons they deemed suitable, that their lives would not be in too much danger, and that they would be heading into unfamiliar territory for a great purpose. Fame, honor, and money would acost them upon their return to The Capital. Most men had stayed after talking amongst themselves. After all, what could be worse than the hardship they were already going through at home? Families needed to be fed, children needed to go to school, and honor needed to pass through the family. No harm could come upon them.
Now they pushed on through the unfamiliar territory that had been spoken of to them. The trees were massive. At least twice the size of the ones in the woods near Gregory’s small village. The only game in that forest had been the little rabbits that sometimes came too close to the village and happened to become that night’s main course. The trees stood all around him, silent witnesses to whatever glory they would soon be achieving. The bark was a dark muddy brown and the roots extended far beyond the tree trunk, high and low on the ground, sinking deeply into the earthy grass. The terrain made movement slow. Each trunk blocked the view a few feet to the right or to the left so men were positioned at each tree. Each man would consult with the others before everyone moved on to the next set in the distance. Gregory looked out from behind his tree and spotted a figure in the distance, but it was much too hazy in the fog. It seemed the figure had only one side, as if it were a wall blocking the way. But within this wall there flared a light that cast aside the nearby fog such that whoever was near could see the ground. Lord Ergomer gave the signal, and Gregory crept forward to the tree on his right.
Soon there was no fog and only a large wall sitting before them. This wall did not seem to end in either direction. Looking left and right, the wall only seemed to curve, as if it were a circle if one were to look down upon it from up above. The wall extended high above the ground, with only a spare window now and then that stood empty in the dark.