Tuesday, November 25, 2008
The Best Route to Flamekeep
Two days following Sinruth’s trial the party met in the common room of the small cottage the grateful people of Delver’s Dale graciously provided for them while they remained in town.
Delian unrolled a map of Khorvaire on the table and motioned for the others to gather round.
“Ragnolin wants us to go to Flamekeep,” he said pointing at the capital of Thrane, clearly marked with a star and labeled on the map. “Our route and method of transportation is largely dependent upon our time and our resources.” He paused a moment allowing the party to take this in. “I’ve been working with a few of the town elders to determine the best routes for our journey. We’ve come up with two options.”
“The first option is to head to Hatheril and get on the lightning rail. Which means that from Delver’s Dale we take the King’s Road South and then East to Hatheril,” Delian said as he traced the route on the map with his finger. “It’s roughly 400 mile and on horseback would take about ten days. Or we take a more direct route to Hatheril through the gap in the Greenhaunt Woods. It would reduce the distance by almost 100 miles and could save us as much as three days.”
Delian noticed a few of his companions nodding so he continued. “From Hatheril we can take the lightning rail all the way to Flamekeep. It’s a 1,400 mile journey that will take a mere two days,” he paused. “But it’s not cheap. The standard fare for each of us would be 277 gp.” Delian noticed one person fidget and heard another gasp as the enormity of the cost shocked two of his companions. “Steerage fare is a little bit more reasonable at 42 gp each, but it would be an extremely uncomfortable two days.”
Waiting for a few brief second, Delian continued. “The second option in to travel north and make most of the journey on horseback. We take the King’s road north for five days to Craigwar covering 200 miles.” Delian drew the proposed route on the map with his finger. “Then we cross the boarded into Aundair and continue North-east to Marketplace. That’s another 150 mile and will take four more days.” Delian knew that crossing into Aundair should pose no problems for the others, but his nationality and religious beliefs could generate some unwanted hostility if he ran into the wrong people. But he wasn’t going to let his fear show in front of the party.
“From there we cross into Thrane and travel cross-country to Sigilstar. That’s 310 miles as the dragon flies, or 400 if we stick to the King’s Road. Under optimal circumstances the direct path will take us eight days and keeping to the roads wil take us ten.” Delian traced his finger on the map across the flat, featureless centre of Thrane, tapping it twice on the large circle marking Sigilstar. “Once in Sigilstar we can travel the 300 miles north to Flamekeep by the King’s Road. It usually takes eight days.” At least it had on the many occasions Delian had traveled that road himself over the years. “Or we can take the lightning rail for the final leg of our journey. It’s a ten hour ride. The standard fare is 60 gp for each of us, or we can tough it out in steerage for 9 gp each.” Delian noticed the barest hint of a smile on his companion’s face at the mention of avoiding eight more days on horseback for the mere cost of 9 gp.
“This option is 17 days of hard riding to Sigilstar. From there it’s either an additional half a day by rail or eight more days on the road.” Delian pulled back from the map, standing up straight. His companions leaned a little closer to the map and took a few seconds to take in the options he just presented them with.
“Of course,” Delian said as if just remembering some insignificant detail “this is the best-case scenario I’m talking about. The harsh winter weather has just begun. As we travel north into Thrane the snow will get deeper and the wind colder.” One companion pulled their cloak a little tighter as if Delian’s mention of the cold wind had just chilled them.
“The King’s Roads are travelled all year round, minimizing the likelihood of prolonged snow build-up. Traveling the King’s Road also provides some security since it is so heavily used.” Delian paused. “Travelling by our own path makes us an appealing target to bandits or monsters,” Ethan nodded in understanding and Delian thought he detected a hint of excitement from Ethan at the possibility of fighting such enemies.
“The lightning rail is not hampered by weather.” Again, Delian paused to let his point sink in and to let the group contemplate options in their head.
Taking a breath, his demeanor serious and positive, and his voice slightly diminished to force the group to lean ever so slightly towards him to hear him clearly, Delian went on. “My recommendation and preference is to take the lightning rail from Hatheril, travelling in the steerage car. The 42 gp fare is a lot of money, but it will get us to Flamekeep the fastest.”
Delian continued in a sterner demeanor speaking clearly and a little bit more slowly. “I’m hesitant to travel across Thrane’s heartland during Vult and Zarantyr. If the weather gets really bad we could end up stranded in some small community for weeks. And if we’re unlucky and cannot find suitable shelter at all then I doubt we’ll ever make it to Flamekeep.”
“Regardless of which route we choose we’ll need to pass through Sigilstar.” Delian smiled and his body language clearly showed a more relaxed posture. “On a personal note, while we’re there I would like to visit my father. I’m sure he would like to meet all of you. I write him regularly and have been telling him of our exploits. If nothing else, it will be one night in a comfortable bed surrounded by friends and family. After days on the road or hours in steerage, I suspect a fresh meal and a warm cup of tea will sound pretty good to everyone.”
“Let’s discus which route we’re going to take. The sooner we leave the better our chances of avoiding the inclement weather.”