Location profile: Cove
Greetings and salutations. Dawn Blair here, your multi-dimensional, time-traveling tour guide. Are you ready for a sight-seeing adventure?
I often wondered why Arlyn took Sim and Lucinia to Cove after the disaster in Whalston. Was there something there that he knew more about? I decided that I needed to take a trip over to Cove, a place several miles southwest of New Lilinar.
About the only thing that I knew about Cove was that it was a quaint little port city. I wasn’t even quite sure how it had gotten its name, so I was really excited to see it.
I headed from New Lilinar, choosing to go west straight through the forest rather than taking Travelers’ Road. The forest at night can be spooky, so I headed out in the morning and kept the pace quick, trying to get there before nightfall.
Knowing that Lilinar and New Lilinar sit within a deep valley, a part of me expected some elevation gain like you get as your heading south to Whalston. That wasn’t really the case here. In fact, with the way that the forest thins out and seems to be of newer trees, at least in comparison to those around Dubinshire, I had to wonder if at some point this hadn’t been underwater.
I dismounted my horse and began to dig a little bit to see if there was any validation of my theory. The land does in fact seem to be a bit more sandy and I found a few traces of shell. I wonder if the ocean did once spill all the way into Lilinar valley. Ipson Creek, when it is flowing, usually provides the water for the lake which surrounds the Temple. But ocean water could have very well the reason for the initial forming of the lake.
I passed a few wagons carrying barrels of salted fish, the main export of Cove. Some of the drivers didn’t bother to even look at me as I went by but a few gave me a kindly smile. Bricks of white sandstone greeted me as I entered the city.
Late afternoon sunlight poured through the cobblestone streets, which started before I even got into the city guided me in. An elaborate wrought iron arch stretched high across the entryway. Vines grow over the surroundings sandstone wall with tiny purple flowers blooming within the interwoven branches. Between the street and the sidewalks were these flower pots which are overrun with plants. As I had expected, the humidity is high being so close to the sea.
While it was instantly apparent that Cove was a city of wealth and there was a certain prestige about the place, it’s obvious that the residents of this city also take honor in it too. Many people were out caring for the plants near the street.
While New Lilinar has a beauty growing out of tragic history which gives it in ancient feel, Cove feels more like a modern city. Not modern is in the way we know it and think of it on earth, but modern for this world. It was fresh, clean, quiet, and incredibly beautiful.
A part of me that wondered what Steigan’s reaction would be if he walked down the streets of Cove. Would he even think the same thoughts that I’m thinking now? There are times when I think that Steigan has blinders on and the city of Cove would be lost on him.
Flowers bloomed everywhere. The wide streets have such an open feel to them that I just kept turning my horse around and around in the street trying to take it all in. I decided that I must see the port itself before nightfall and continued on through the city. The houses on the outer edge started to give way to businesses. Here, it looked a lot like New Lilinar, except that businesses were sandstone and matched all of the surroundings, unlike in New Lilinar where the quick rebuilding had left a mismatch between buildings. I could see now just how hard the breaking was on New Lilinar. The difference in what the town was when it was Lilinar to when it became New Lilinar was a stark contrast especially as I stand in Cove.
As I got closer to the beach, I saw that the buildings become more aged. Repairs had been made, but the salty ocean air continued to take its toll and age these buildings. They looked smoother, more worn with moisture and wind. There was also, of course, the smell of fish in the air.
I dismounted and tied my horse before proceeding down toward the beach. A strange black sight caught my eye and I smiled as I realized what I was looking at. There were sea lions all lined up along the water’s edge, letting the waves come in and splash over them.
I moved so that I wouldn’t disturb the sea lions as I walked toward the docks that I could now see. There’s a small marina, smaller than I would have thought. I could see several boats out on the ocean. By the time I reached the docks, I discovered how Cove had acquired its name. There was a rock face which had stairs running along the outside and linking several caves.
I pretty much had to get to the docks to be able to see it because it was pushed back into the landscape and hidden in a little cove. There was a part of me that really wanted to go explore the caves and I wondered if it would be permitted. Sometimes people didn’t always like to let me go where I would like to go.
I really wanted to know what was in the caves. My curiosity had me now. However, I knew this wasn’t the time. It would probably take more equipment than I had with me, especially considering that I had left my pack on my horse. I hadn’t really intended on being gone that long. It would be dark soon. Still, I wanted to see if the caves were somewhere that I would have a access to if I did decide to come back.
I continued down the beach toward that weird staircase that went between caves in the cliff walls until a freshfaced kid yelled out at me.
“Hey, you. I need you to stop.”
At first I seemed appalled that this young kid was yelling at me. Then, about the same time that I realized that he was very similar to Steigan’s age, I also noticed that he had armor on. Red and gold armor. I found myself staring at it as he ran up to me. The hand on his hilt kept his sword stable while he jogged along. He caught up to me and, when he did, gave me a big smile. I guess I didn’t look very threatening to him.
“I’m sorry, but I can’t allow you any closer to the caves,” he said.
“So I take it they’re not open to the public?”
His face wrinkled in curiosity. I laughed at myself. There I go, once again being an earthling. “I mean, I take it that just anyone can go into the caves. How can someone gain access?”
He now seemed to catch my meaning. “That’s holy ground. The saperes don’t let anyone up there.”
“Holy ground? What makes it so special?”
“I can’t say. I’m not allowed to. Besides, even thought I guard it, I’ve never seen it.”
It? I really had to know what he meant: the caves or something inside the caves. I wondered what my chances were of Holy Sapere Martias giving me permission to go inside the caves. I wondered briefly if Sapere Laurient had authorization that he could provide me.
Since I wasn’t ready to make the trek right now anyway, it didn’t really matter. Besides that, I could always come back to an earlier time period, say several cycles ago, and talk to Adonid. Or wait and see how things were after things settled down now that Martias is Holy Sapere. Maybe I could even find out when this ground became holy. That might be a fun story to tell. I would definitely have to research that further.
Since my little adventure had been put on temporary hold for now, I pointed to the boy’s armor. “Are you a Dominus?”
He shook his head, but stood tall and put his fist over his heart in salute. “Knight Captain,” he announced happily.
“Seriously? I didn’t know that the title of Knight Captain was still in use.”
His grin broadened. “Cove is a special place, ma’am,” he said in a tone that almost made me laugh.
I held it back because I didn’t want him to think that I was mocking him. “I see that.”
“I best be getting back to my post now,” he told me. He saluted once more before turning and walking away.
I watch the Knight Captain go. Why would Cove keep an old title from Gohaldinest? Why were the caves considered holy ground? So the city of prestige, which seemed so modern and so removed from all of the history of this world, was not quite so.
I turned back, ready to go get my horse. A night in Cove sounded like an interesting idea. Obviously there were stories here to tell. I just had to go find them.