Chapter Three

Dawn brought birdsong, gentle lingering threads of sound. Today has begun, and the bread was finishing. I would seek out food, shelter, company today.

Watching for signs that I had been avoiding, I followed a stoney trail marked ever so subtly by bent needles. There were only the summer insects in the air as I came into a clearing, overhung by hillside stone. An old fantasy cabin, locked away. An entrance perhaps too.

Seek and ye shall find... with shelter it worked. What was I seeking away from friends and family now though? What did I want to find? Smoke curled from the rear of the cabin. Small windows, triangular with horizontal bases pointed upinto the roofing logs, and a hexagonal angled corner pushed back from both sides under the stone. I guessed that there would be tunnels underneath into the hillside. A mine or an entrance to what else, I couldn't yet tell. I wondered whose fantasy this had been. But someone was inside, and there was no escaping the desire to meet up with friend or foe for just a moment. I knocked.

From within came the unexpected shrill whistle of a tea kettle. A kettle with timing, and little regard for my presence it seemed. With a putter, it stopped announcing existence and I knocked once more. The door creaked heavily open. A face younger than mine peered out, perhaps with more curiousity than one might expect. I said hi.

The young man was indeed a fantasy dweller. He told me of the gaming that he and several others still carried on below in the caverns. Old mountain tunnels apparently contained half of the mountains' innards, and these folk were the guardians of the east entrance. I puzzled a little here in that we were clearly within the southernmost foothills of the range and not the east, but the fellow assured me that the tunneling vanished off to the west from this point.

I dined with Isaac all the while speaking of the old games he revelled in and of my journey. He saw the latter as similar to his approach to life, with reality thrown in as a side dish. A little spice added to the adventure, that of realism. I wondered what he meant with such cryptic remarks. I slept on it for a night.

Another rumbling woke me.

NIGIRO _ s e a r c h i n g

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