By Trinni Mellosius, student
So, in order to graduate, my teacher told me I had to spend a year someplace I hadn’t been to before. I ended up in the Pillars of Flame. Don’t make the same mistake!
When my classmates and I were picking where we wanted to go for our year abroad (that’s what the teacher said to call our trips), I’m the only one who showed so much imagination in planning my trip. That’s what half-elves have, you know: lots of imagination! Anyway, I said I would travel on a merchant ship and learn more about the ocean.
As you might guess, this didn’t turn out so well. I mean, it turned out okay; I’m still alive. But the ship got lost and drifted around a bit before landing at the Port of Tears at the edge of this HUGE desert. By then I was pretty sick of living on a boat and decided to dry out. Little did I know what this weather does to your HAIR!
The Port of Tears, which I thought was named for the old Ocean of Tears, is actually named for a couple of stinky ponds a little ways further inland. I guess when you live in the desert, fresh water is scarce. The residents were pretty upset when I took a bag of water and washed my hair, but I tell you what: I really needed it. The salty sea air gave me split ends!
I’m supposed to record my impressions of the locals and stuff. They are uptight. These Dervs are kind of like the Dervs that I seen in the Commonlands, only different. Some of them have really great tans! But they’re pretty jumpy. We went for a walk, this one guy Stergie and me, down the old Orc Highway. Every rock that tumbled down the canyon, he was ready to kill something.
I traveled with Stergie’s family for a bit. They made me stop washing my hair, though, which made it go all limp. Since my hair was already frizzled from the sea water, I now have this limp, frizzly hair. It’s pretty rank. I decided to head out on my own for a bit, maybe find my own well so I could get some regular maintenance going on and meet other people.
Stergie was pretty tore up. He kind of liked me, I guess. I gave him a firm handshake and a souvenir acorn from the Willow Wood and went on my way. My teacher said to take along some souvenirs to give out to folks. That’s a pretty lame idea if you’re like, spending your year abroad in the Feerrott. But it worked out pretty well for me, except acorns are heavy.
After a couple of days, I found myself in the Pillars of Flame, which is a really cool area other than all the deadly critters in it. There’s all these really high rocks that make a sort of maze to run through. At sunset, it’s like looking at a painting with all the colors on the rocks lit up and the sky so dark blue. I met some really great guys at the Ortallian camp.
The only thing with these Ortallians is that they just go on and on about Solusek Ro. “Solusek be praised!” and “Blessed be Solusek!” all day and night. It kind of gets on your nerves after a while. I’m a pretty tolerant individual and if these folks want to worship someone like that, great! But there’s a limit, you know what I mean? Dating an Ortallian is rough on a non-believer.
In the desert I ran into lots of folks who still worshipped Solusek Ro who was the god of the sun. I think. Anyway, I didn’t like to tell them that the gods all up and left us because they got pretty agitated the first time I hinted at it. The Ortallian guy I was hanging out with was so totally upset his ears turned all red. He was kind of cute, but so high maintenance.
I hung out with them for a couple of weeks. It was nice for me since there were a couple of half-elves and a wood elf in the camp at the time. We talked about the changes in the Qeynos area, since they hadn’t been there. I gave them some acorns. Captain Nyelash gave me a herbal remedy for my hair problems, too! I wish I could have stayed with them longer.
I picked up a job with the Swiftriders later. They operate as a sort of messenger service or something. The pay wasn’t bad. And they weren’t such Solusek Ro fanatics, which was a great relief. I kept thinking, “Trinni… you’d remember more about the Ro family if you’d paid attention in school!” Which is true, but not very helpful when you’re on the spot for details!
The Swiftriders deliver stuff to and from Maj’Dul. Kind of like the Far Seas Trading Company, only on land. I got to keep some hair clips that nobody wanted, which was another bonus! It’s a change of pace from the nomadic life. Camping is fine, until you wake up surrounded by searing scorpions! And I thought split ends were bad!
In the end, I decided to spend the rest of my time abroad inside the city of Maj’Dul. It’s much more civilized than the Pillars of Flame. Oh! Did I mention they had cyclops? Or is it cyclopses? Anyway, there were some of those out there too! Only I’m out of time and I have to turn my paper in. I hope I get a good grade this time.
Teacher’s Note: Miss Mellosius, this is one of the worst papers you have ever written. You were supposed to learn about the natives, not report about your hair and your boyfriends. What about their trade goods? Write another paper, this time with more factual information and less personal details.