Travels through Farynshire: On a train

We took over an entire table in the carriage, and Felix flicked through Walking and Wine in the Bloon Peaks that he had bought in the Beech.

“We have to go to a vineyard,” he said. “And they grow citrus fruits in some places, so there are lemon and orange groves.”

“I’m surprised they get enough sun for that.”

Felix shrugged. “They must do: I don’t think any of it is grown in greenhouses. And I have to get some honey. They sell honey from the mountains in Rookpot, and I’d love to talk to the beekeepers about it. A lot of the cakes in Lacey’s have mountain honey in them.”

“Does it say anything about the best place to try and see wolvern?” I asked.

Felix looked up wolvern in the index at the back of the book. “I think we need to go further in to the mountains,” he said, after glancing at the relevant pages. “Or maybe ask in one of the local pubs if anyone has seen one. I doubt we’ll see any, though – it’s not like they’re just running through the forests.”

“We’d should still try.”

And thus the duel quests of our Tour were established. Felix’s mission was to explore the many and varied local culinary delights Farynshire had to offer, and mine was the county’s rich culture and history.

I hadn’t really thought about the Peoples themselves when planning this trip, but we were going to the mountains, the forests and the coast – we might see wolvern, foresteens and seafolk. Felix said he had never seen a seafolken – and he had grown up right by the sea.

The only individuals I had met who said they had seen any of the Peoples were guest speakers and presenters on my course. The Peoples are elusive to the point of becoming semi-mythical. Everyone knows that they are out there, or had been at some point, but few have ever seen a live one. There are academics at the university who have built their careers around studying one or more of the Peoples, and all of them had given talks on our Local History module. But, from what other Professors hinted at, these academics and their chosen areas of interest were not highly thought of in academia: they were seen as chasing myths and legends, rumours and fairytales. But I, as an outsider, find the Peoples fascinating, and was convinced we would see packs of wolvern, groves of foresteens, and … shoals (?) of seafolk.

The train bounced gently along through the lush green countryside. The sky was a clear blue dome, the thick grass rippled in waves in the soft breeze, the meadows were full of wild flowers vibrant with celebratory colour. We rushed passed a couple of fields filled with new red and violet poppies. Small woods dotted the fields, and clear slow moving streams sparkled in the distance. Occasionally we could see the distant blue wall of the  mountains when the train came to a bend. This was a direct train to Hen Ffydd so there was no stopping at the tiny villages we blared through – a good thing too, otherwise we might have been tempted to get out and wander around.

The plan was to spend a couple of days in the mountains, not going any further than the Bloon Peaks. We would stay in a B&B in Hen Fffydd, the last station on the line. The train would pull in during late afternoon.

By Mabel Govitt (with special permission from Ammaceadda)

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