“One of the idiots lost a foot today; apparently the buffoon slept with his foot exposed to the elements of this frozen Plateau! How does one deal with the uneducated in such a place? It has been such a trial, first the smell, then the donkeys and now this. Charles said something in their native tongue, they both laughed and the peasant retrieved his foot and set it within one of the donkey’s saddlebags. They do have such strange customs. I’d imagine they use it for witchcraft of some sort.

Despite the laziness and general idiocy we have made it onto the Plateau and set camp at approximately the centre. From my viewpoint I can see a couple of rustic homesteads, inhabited by the locals. Charles suggests I do not approach them, as they are known for their prickly natures. I concurred and set about excavating and surveying the local vicinity.

The peasants are wary of such actions; superstitious as they are about the presence of an ancient pagan goddess; the same to whom was credited with destroying the mountain for its disobedience! I shall write to the local diocese and inform them of the beliefs of these ignorant folk and request they send missionaries; to spread the word and glory of God and mayhap to teach them about exposure to the elements.

We set about moving the overlaying snow from the surface using the donkeys as a makeshift plough. Charles oversaw proceedings and by midday, the rich soil of the plateau was visible beneath the snow. The peasants balked at this and according to Charles, say that the dead live in the soil. Really now, these superstitions have become a bore and are fraying my patience severely.

Charles and the peasants began digging through the soil and soon came upon what appeared to be some sort of sandstone structure, in disarray and destroyed. A faint vibration could be felt through the ground nearby; I assumed the potential for an earthquake and suggested that we retire to safety and our tents and resume in the morning.

Charles joined me within my small canvas abode and together we kept our warmth in this inhospitable place through our proximity. Charles’ moustache had retained some snow and gave him the startling appearance of a Yeti. I explained my amusement and surprise and we both laughed heartily.

Come the morning, we set about again at the site with shovels; whilst I oversaw and ensured that no damage would be made by the peasant’s agricultural shovelling technique. The fellow with the missing foot being the most enthusiastic at throwing soil around, much to the delight of his compatriot. In future, one must spend more than a penny on the hired help.

As we shifted the soil it became apparent that this was plausibly the site of some sort of sanctuary or rudimentary church to the pagan goddess. A most exciting find! As we brushed the earth and stone away, a black object became visible beneath the…”

To Chapter Thirty-Two – Hate

Picture from: www.gettyimages.co.uk