Tuesday, 2 January 2007

The North Gate

I scribble these words hastily before my stump of candle burns out. I have found a place to stay for a couple of days and I'll write more on that tomorrow. I'm disappointed to say that my arrival at the gates of the Imperial capital was less than grand. One of the wheels of our coach shattered some miles outside the city, and we hade to trudge through mud and ice cold puddles of slush, as we watched the sun hang lower and lower in the sky. At six it was almost dark and I imagined I could hear the rustle of leaves and the snapping of branches as beastmen and mutants prepared to slaughter us all. But my prayers to Verena was answered and we happened upon a small contingent of mercenaries heading for Altdorf looking for employment in the wake of the Storm of Chaos. Among ourselves we collected enough gold to hire the sellswords as protectors for the rest of the journey. I am grateful for this even though my funds were sorely depleted as a result. It was late when we finally spied the imposing walls of the city, and the multitude of tents erected just outside the walls, their canvas weighted down with ice cold water from the sleet and the winter rains we have suffered during the last of the year. The tents belonged to refugees from the Storm of Chaos, too poor or too dishevelled to gain admittance to the city within. They came from all over the Empire, and many had grevious wounds or racking coughs. I stayed as far from them as I could, but the road was lined with beggars, harlots, thieves and ruffians. I'm sure they would have made short order of me had we not been in the company of the mercenaries. Still we were dirty and tired after the trip and was rudely pushed to the end of a long line of peasants and commoners waiting to be admitted. No amount of protests from me or my travelling companions impressed the guards at the gate. After waiting for over an hour we were brought before a bored and unkempt guard captain who casually glanced at our papers and docked us each four gold crowns before he let us in. I'm sure the gate tax is set a one crown per leg, but I was in no condition to offer any opposition to his larcenous ways. And finally, I was in Altdorf.

Adolphus Altdorfer

Bezahltag, Nachexen 1, 2522 IC

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