Vanyë struck his sword into the ground and knelt at the edge of the clearing. Beads of sweat covered his forehead and his breath came deeply. Leaning back against the trunk of a tree, he let his body sink to the ground, the snow chilling his burning muscles.
Regardless of the modern “city-life,” as they liked to put it, Vanyë much preferred the repose that nature offered: the soothing silence of the forest, and the pure, untainted air that flowed through his body.
Standing up and stretching his limbs for a final time, he started heading in the direction of a nearby town. His garb and equipment were nothing special; in fact, they probably looked like something out of a peasant’s barn. He was dressed in a brown woolen tunic with faded green accents, which was tied with a worn leather belt at his waist. Covering this was a heavy vest made of what looked like the skin of some wild animal. Underneath were some patched breeches, lined with wool; a gift from a kindly widow whose young daughter he had saved from drowning. His feet were covered by some weathered boots made of thick leather; not only were they easy to travel in, but they also kept his feet warm and dry, much like the breeches and the tunic.
Vanyë broke into a light jog as he made his way out of the forest. The air was crisp and full of the night sky’s tears. Nearing the edge of the forest, the ground becoming less and less unkempt, he reached the start of a farmer’s pasture. It was only due to careful irrigation and cultivation that the fields were able to stay the bite of the cold.
He glanced towards the horizon, and sure enough, in the distance, there was a small town perched at the foot of a hill. Lowering his eyes, he alighted on the pasture. Green and rolling, covered in an almost omnipresent dusting of frost, with the cool autumn breeze sending ripples across the ground and stirring flurries of snow.
He arrived at the town soon after sunrise. Sounds of bustling peasantry and baying livestock were unfamiliar to Vanyë, but he welcomed the sound of a thriving community. With a few quick questions and use of common sense, he found his way to the local tavern. His intention to eat some breakfast and purchase some provisions for the rest of his journey north; towards the great plains of Caecus, and eventually to Vénargent.
People were not inclined to look at Vanyë; in addition to his rustic garments, his equipment was nothing to speak of either. His sword was simple and unadorned, though it had more to it than met the eye. It was crafted with an ingenious alloy of iron and steel; numerous thin plates forged together, forming an unforgivably strong and ceaselessly sharp blade. The handle was wrapped in cured leather, though it was now almost indistinguishable from a greasy rag due to its constant usage. His shield, a buckler, was similarly themed. It was made of stout wooden boards, nailed together, bound by casein glue, and then covered with a heavy animal hide. This was surrounded by a metal rim and topped with a nicked yet polished boss.
After the wholesome breakfast: a homely mix of pottage and goat’s milk, he exchanged the majority of his meager funds for a passage north; a stocky and hardy steed, accustomed to the prolonged toils of working on farmland. This steed Vanyë named Will. Together, with the additional burden of some extra clothing, dried meats, fruits, and thick bread, they departed from the town and made towards the direction of the late morning sun.