The Mountains surrounded the northern city like a looming shadow. The thick white peaks were contrasted by thick black forests that hugged the mountains below. Once out of the main city, the group of travelers spoke less. The air was hot and sticky. The flies were irritating. No matter how far they seemed to go the neighboring streets went on endlessly.
When would they get to the mountain pass? Talis thought. He voiced his frustration to Datalis who pointed out the sparseness of the people and how the streets were narrowing. Now that Talis looked he could see guards giving way to a soldier now and then. The delicious smells of cooking meat and the sweet smells of perfumes gave way to more wild smells. Musky, herbal smells of dry grasses. The mountains were getting closer. It looked darker, steeper, and more threatening.
The people on the streets were quieter. Only Datalis and Harath spoke now and in hushed tones. They pointed to the peaks and then down at a map that both tried to hold steady in the light fluttering breeze. Steadily the ridges seemed to be getting closer, closing in around them. The streets were getting narrower and steeper.
Talis took a long swig of water. Datalis gave him a firm but kind look, "Make it last."
Finally the streets became silent all together. At the end of a narrow street stood large gate in the middle of a stone wall all that could be seen beyond was the looming peaks. From small stone house beside the gate came three heavily armored guards. The tallest was seven feet tall.
Harath went forward by himself " We seek passage through the northern gate. The two guards behind the tall guard opened the gate without another word. The heavy wooden door groaned on its hinge. Beyond this Talis saw old cobblestone streets. The houses outside the gate were made of stone. Each was surrounded by similar walls as the one that surrounded the city. At the end of the cobble stone street was a trail that sloped up and disappeared into the dark wood.
This was the passage of Rimhorn Gap.
The idea of adventure and excitement dropped like melting snow from a roof into an icy ball in the bottom of Talis's stomach. Harath lead them through without a word. The fortified outskirts of town were smothered with a thick silence. Not even the sound of a bird. Talis came last of all through the gate. he felt a heavy gust of wind as the gate slammed shut behind him. He heard it lock. It felt like the final nail in a coffin, there was no going back now.