Continuing the return journey, I shelter in a roadside inn during the heat of the afternoon so that I can finish the final few hours of travel in the evening’s cool. Despite the rarely-traveled road I have taken, the inn’s sitting room is immaculately kept and occupied by one or two other parties. It’s dark and quiet, and I find myself relaxing deeply there. Sipping a spicy, cold drink — cinnamon from the earlier village — I talk with someone who introduces themself as a Cartographer, a trade that I did not think still had much calling in this land.
In our conversation I learn something strange. The great chasm to the west of the old bridge has, well, it’s changed. As long as is known, a river has raged through the bottom of the gorge, visible from some of the vantage points that could see that deeply. But recently, visitors have reported that the dry bottom of the canyon is now visible — at least, sometimes. Some days, go the reports, the river is running once again; and other days, visitors return describing it as a dry riverbed, deep, deep in the earth. The Cartographer tells me they intend to be part of an expedition to, finally, map as much of that canyon bed as can be done. Who can imagine why the water is intermittent or what might be found beneath the water?
I think, having written this, I’ve overlapped the response to the oracle with the regular turn action. I think they fit together so I’m not going to try to learn something and perform the action, but if that’s weird for the gameplay sequence, I’ll revise!
But I will act on a routine:
When I reach home again, my imagination lit by this new discovery, I’ll write a letter to the small institution that the Cartographer tells me intends to fund the expedition.