Have you ever felt the allure of a mountain trail? It beckons, tempting you to explore its length and to discover what lies around the next bend or on the other side of a hill.
The trail could lead to a cave, with mysteries to uncover within. Or it could lead to a cliff overlooking an awe-inspiring view. Or it could take you through forests of towering pine trees or through meadows filled with sweet-smelling wild flowers.
Much of the action in my upcoming novel Raising Fear is set in the mountains of Tlefas that loom over the villages. These mountains run north to south. The western edge of the range is lower, as it’s closer to the plains of Tlefas that extend to the sea. Further east, the mountains are higher and snow-capped year-round, even along their southern slopes.
Making their homes in these steep and rocky mountains are the savage bandits and dreaded warboars. In the mountain valleys, the barbaric Riskers build their camps. Although calling them ‘camps’ is misleading. They are well-established settlements, groupings of stone houses and sturdy barns, surrounded by fields and pastures.
The Riskers are always on alert for bandit attacks. Everyone is constantly prepared for battle, whether they are threatened by bandits, warboars, or other savage beasts that roam the mountainsides.
Early in the story, Iskra, a village girl, finds herself alone in the forest, fleeing bandits. She’s rescued by Tarkio, a trader, and Xico, a Risker. Her first venture along the mountain trails takes her to an unexpected and unsettling place.
Little does she know that wouldn’t be her last trip up the mountains, or the last time she’d have to flee for her life.
We all choose to follow different paths in life. Some take us where we intended to go. Others lead somewhere completely unexpected.
What paths have you chosen and found more than you anticipated?