‘Maps don’t just have outside edges. They have inside edges. Holes’
When our crew of bandit hunters are sent into the Eld, they have at least seen a map of the place. Pat is nothing but precise in all things though, and he has again left us with just enough clues to work out the crew’s movements with some confidence, and the results can be used to construct a map of our own which may help to patch a few holes in the text and also fill in some holes in our Temerant history. The numbering is a bit tricky at times but overall, it does come nicely together. For best results use a sheet of A4 squared paper.
The Pennysworth Inn is the beginning and end point of our journey and is going to define two edges of our latest map. This Inn is located at the last major crossroads south of the Eld and this is where our crew first begin their journey proper under the trees.We shall begin all of our Eld-time counting from here and our mileage too, so we should use the crossroads to it’s fullest extent and double it up as a compass rose by placing it right down in the bottom left corner of our landscape paper. Severen is four days walk to the South and there is some talk of a lady Chalker living two days west whilst the opposite arm of the CrossRoads will point you towards Tinuë and the East.
Although the kings road where the bandits operate is also called the north road, all of the indications we have been given show it to be a curving road which actually veers off through the trees towards the east. This is shown by Kvothe who draws his dirt map in a curve and Marten backs this clue up with his prepared story of being a poacher from the village of Crosson which is ‘a day to the West’. This implies that the north road has changed course somewhat and is actually pointing north-easterly. This is further corroborated by the knowledge that the 20 mile stretch of road that they are here to search has a north side and a south side, therefore it is clearly indicating more of a diagonal slant at this point which is useful as it means our map is using our graph paper to it’s fullest extent. The crew also have Kvothe to thank for the decision to begin on the North side and to head East before a different sort of ‘cross-on the map’ occurs as they head over to the southside and start their search back westwards again. This was actually a rather unfortunate choice as I estimate that starting on the South side would have yielded a bandit encounter within a day or three, rather than on day twenty-nine.
So starting at the X-roads, the crew begin to head north into the forest until the trees start to get ‘good and thick’ at Crosson. On the first day, from an early start, they cover 15 miles, 14 by good road and one more off into the forest on the north side where they make base camp, which means that if we split the total mileage in two it puts the nearest village at a nice lucky number of Seven road miles away from our first milepost. We can also assume that they bought their supplies at Penny’s so as not to alert Crosson’s local populace too much as they passed on through. So plans are made and we can make a copy of Kvothes dirt map by marking out the next twenty mile posts along our road as it winds and curves its way off to the top corner of our map and out of our domain. Finally add two parallel lines, one mile to either side, to indicate the path that Marten will scout.
The crew actually stay at camp #1 for the next two days as they learn to perfect their new tracking skills in pairs and then on Eld-day IV, Dedan and Hespe walk the seven miles back to Crosson from Base camp whilst camp #2 is constructed further to the east. I place the most sensible place to be by the 4-mile post because that will make it nice and central to the first eight mile long patch of proper bandit searching. It is not until the fifth day in the Eld that Kvothe & Tempi head back to the old camp where they begin the initial two miles of the search. Alternating with D&H will allow them all to work most effectively around a central point and is the best pattern to follow when covering four days of the ground up to the 8-mile marker.
Repeating their five day move and supply cycle will add up to 16 miles of completed search with camp#3 located at the 12 mile post. The next walk to Crosson by D&H will be a very long one, as they will have to return to a point four more miles from where they began, but it should also be the longest journey they have to make if K&T are sensible and only build camp #4 at the 16 mile post. This will allow the north side of the road to be completed in two more days and the following two searches will bring us back to this same 16-mile post, only now over on the South side of the road. The numbers get a little confusing here and it may help to factor in a bonus day of rest for everyone as they swap camp the short hop over to the south side of the road. This hop-step camp moving process will ensure that all of those searching the woods are never more than four miles away from help at any given moment. It should also be noted that it was on the final day searching on the North side where we find the An’s blade growing, so deeply hidden is it in the Eld forest that it is nearly off the edge of the map itself.
The return journey westwards will use camps at the self same mile-posts as before, (16, 12 & 4) and all of this ought to mean that they are actually as good as done with their bandit hunt when Tempi finds their scouts on Eld-day IXXX, about a mile from the original starting point and only 8mile from Crosson in my opinion, only on the Southern side of the road, not the North. Still, they did get to have a bigger adventure by doing things the long way and also had a chance to hear many stories.
A Cross-on the Map
If your paper looks anything like mine does now then it will likely resemble a graph plotting out some obscure equation (x=2y[+/- l/lu??). The action now focuses on the bandit’s own permanent camp which is found an unknown distance due South of the first mile post marker making it quite close to Crosson and the Laughing Moon pub which might provide somewhere for the Bandits to relax between robberies and also give them a local watchpost of their own where they might gather news of the various travellers passing. The targetting of tax collectors heading north gives weight to the Maer’s statement that the bandit’s ‘might be the local populace,’ Perhaps one of the bandits was even called Tam? I might add that the pub might also grant a place for goat eyed Cinder to buy a drink of an evening, if he so too desired, and could somehow disguise his tell-tale sign, something that the Cthaeh mentioned he might well do… The distance of the encampment from the road was guessed at by Dedan who said that he would want at least four miles grace if he were a bandit and so we can draw a new cross-on the map out among the trees somewhere around about there. I might also suggest that one other place mentioned on the bandit’s map is Fenhill, a very descriptive name which might well be a hill near a fen. This could even be the source of a forest stream which may be found to wend its way eastwards through the forest to supply water to, collectively, a pool, a swamp and a fortified encampment.
‘If this is right then we are closer to Crosson than I thought. We could just head Southeast from here and save more than a day’s walking. Does that seem right to you?
No! It does NOT! But we can now see these words that were used by the map reading crew now show some better sense as it is quite obvious now that continuing southeast would quite quickly lead them out of the Eld at the shortest point, somewhere along the east/west road road that forms our lower axis and therefore take them much more directly towards Severen which would save them a days walking by effectively cutting the corner off and so be the fastest route back to the Maer and to their reward. However, instead of going by this quicker route, they consider Hespe’s leg and decide instead to trust the map in a different way and to travel back to the kings road by the easiest route and so hope to soonest reach the Pennysworth Inn again for a well earned bed and the chance to spread the word about the bandit’s demise.
This route involves heading due west through the thinning trees and they expected to strike the road again after ten miles or so. This plan, however, appears flawed in that the cross-on the bandit’s map was clearly not marking their fortified camp as they assumed, but a specific location some miles further away beyond the unknown swamp that lies in between. I suggest that it is actually a mark denoting the exact location of Felurian’s pool, or rather her greystone, which will stand where it has always stood since her last visit a score of years ago. That this map was kept secure in the locked box makes it Cinders personal propertyvand so clearly this X is important to his real mission.
Here be Dragons
We already have some knowledge of Felurian and her pool from Dedan’s story about her which he told us at first basecamp. He states that it was in this exact same stretch of woods where she was last seen by any of the Pennyworth’s locals, when some of their own attempted to take the same short cut home through the trees, with the same resulting encounter. If Cinder had read my earlier notes on Faen time in Luna Ticks, or maybe just worked it out for himself, or got someone else to do his research for him, then it is possible that he had a very good reason to be found where he was. One theory may suggest that he was actively expecting Felurian to appear, on the night of the fast approaching full moon, and that he was hoping for a moonlight tryst… just him and his army of fighing men. This may have been the real reason for one of the Seven to be messing about out in the woods, far beyond the machinations of the court politics of Vintas, suggesting Felurian could even be a vital part of their plan. This faen conjunction only occurs every twenty mortal years or so, but that is only a rough estimate, and even if you found the greystone you will need a tinfoil compass to pinpoint the exact time and space to find her there, but one of the chandrian being present for this exact full moon when she chooses to visit mortal again seems far too much of coincidence to me for it not to be relevant.
Alternatively, and knowing the same knowledge, perhaps this it is highlighting a known faen danger and therefore an area to avoid, a warning from Lord Haliax that danger lies here and it would not be good for one of his tools to fall under the power of her immortal song. Maybe this greystone even acts as a watch tower outpost of the faen Sithe, situated at this fully functional greystone crossing point? IDK but these two ideas would tally up a singer and Sithe, so perhaps the Waystones are also Amyr related too?
But if you don’t like those theories then we must assume that the 7 simply want to rob people, specifically, the Maer’s tax collectors. The box with the map inside had Alveron’s crest upon it, this was the original case issued by Maer and was obviously returning to Severen along this road because it is the kings highway and it leads back to Severen. Yet it must also go somewhere else in the other direction too, all roads lead to Tinuë perhaps?, but that is clearly an Eastern location which is nowhere near the Eld forest. Maybe it leads to Northern Kershaen instead? A kings highway connecting the King of Vint with the King of Modeg? This would mark it as an old road indeed as these two powers are among the oldest in the world and the straight road to connect them makes a lot of sense as is also remarked that
‘It was a long stretch of the kings highway running through a piece of the eld had been old when Vintas was nothing more than a handful of squabbling sea kings.
But an alternative piece of insight that we might gain from seeing this map drawn before us is by zooming out and trying to align our page of trees with a map of the world. Doing that will show that this northern road through the Eld is clearly heading off towards the North-East instead, and that just happens to be towards the seat of that other ancient power in the world, the Lackless lands.
‘A thousand years ago the Lackless family enjoyed a power at least as great as Alveron’s. Pieces of what are now Vintas, Modeg, and a large portion of what are now the small kingdoms were all Lackless lands at one point’
Any way that you wish to draw those lines on any map will tell us that The Lackless Lands must by default have always covered much of the ancient Eld, the Southern edge of which forms a natural border with Northern Vint. Our Crossroads is clearly going to be of very significant importance then as this forest road is a rare route that leads north into the trees. The East/West road will also be an important road as it runs in the straightest and most tree-free line between Tinuë and the sea. Anything north of this road is traditionally the lackless lands so it could be said that Felurian’s pool is pretty much on the borderline between them. The road being robbed is clearly the road that takes you from most directly between Severen to the Lackless ancestral seat which is likely going to be found at the juncture of the Old stone road and the mountains as this shall also place them to the north of The Free City of Tinuë, which the family also had historic control over, until the Bloodless rebellion that is.
This road was therefore the chosen route of the Maer’s tax collectors, which means that the tax payers themselves were at its far end so perhaps the gold in the box was actually the taxes paid out by the Lackless family themselves, no wonder Maer was anxious for a solution to his problem, the stolen money was once paid over by his fiance, and he had to send the bleeders around again and make her pay up twice! Bad luck iscreported to follow this family about through history and that may not just be ill fortune… It might be more personal than that. Could it be possible that instead of hunting for Felurian, or specifically avoiding her, Cinder and co. were actually lying in wait specifically to ambush the Lackless Tax returns and cause them another slice of lucklessness? maybe they were aware that Meluan was coming to Severen and that she would be using this very road herself!
That may well have something to do with the Chandrian’s secret plan, they have form when it comes to attacking the Lackless heirs after all, and if they weren’t after the latest heir herself, then maybe they just wanted to get their hands on her baggage train. The Loeclos Box did after all at some point pass south along this very stretch of road and if the chandrian ever suspected that this mysterious and ancient heirloom might be leaving the safety of the Lackless estates, possibly for the first time in it’s long and secret history, well that might just be something that would pique the interest of the equally ancient, mysterious and secret chandrian very much indeed.