The Grey Marsh  -  Day 1

 

There are some words spinning in my mind as I descend the boggy slopes to the swamp.

Just like all the others.

Which others? Other Wardens, seeking the secrets of the Marsh? Who else has come here, who else has walked the path I have walked. Ieya had told me to meet her here, had she come this way? There are so many questions. I have lived my whole life believing Ieya to be dead. I had to believe that she had been killed by the goblins. How could I have lived on believing that she was still down there in the dark, living in the Gloom? I don't know if I should regret my life without her, wandering like a vagabond across the land, or if I should be angry that she kept her life secret from me.

I have no idea who I am really going to meet. She cannot possibly be the woman I left behind in the monster's den. Twenty years have passed. I am not the same person who left her behind. I don't quite know who I am now.

The Marsh, however, is so beautiful that my confusion and doubt must rest while I use the last pages of my notebook to sketch some of the life here. This is not a rotting bog, teeming with noxious insects, nor is it a barren, damp wasteland. It is, as I think it must have always been - a secret, sacred land, replete with birds, fish, flowering trees and swaying grasses. My first day here has been magnificently challenging. I have fallen into ponds and mud puddles so many times that I am soaked through, keeping my notebooks and pencils dry in their waxed leather satchel, strapped high on my shoulders. I have made camp beneath an overhanging rock, my bed is made of soft moss, and my campfire burns with a delicious floral scent. Despite the wet conditions, there is plenty of dry wood to burn and I have been able to dry my clothes out completely before turning in to sleep beneath my old travelling cloak.

Ta