The writing that inspired this art by Ian Bristow
They rode out under cloudy skies without a backwards glance.
The countryside swept down from their village to where the River Wyvern wove its way along the bottom of the vale. It was the picture of peace and rustic harmony, with cottages and houses dotting the landscape, roofs tiled with the blue flecked slate from local quarries and walls built from the dark grey rock brought down from the mountains.
The mountains themselves lurked like ominous misshapen giants, stretching fingers or lifting shoulders towards the sky. From the gentle slopes of the vale, they rose to bleak and desolate heights.
The two barrel-shaped hill-ponies seemed happy enough to set a smart pace. Poll had managed to find his old dragonhide targe which he looped over his back and Hepsy was pleased to see the gemstone set in the pommel of his dagger was not glowing. Maybe things were not so desperate as they thought? Maybe it was all rumour and no truth? Maybe…