Keeping to a brisk trot, Broneslav made good time and caught up with Arnulf Armbruster on the night of his first day's travel. He handed over the parcel and Arnulf was delighted with the magical, jewelled songbird that Sindar had sent him. Looking Broneslav over, he came to a decision.
"I'll give you 100 gold to join the caravan as a guard. You look like you can handle yourself, even though you're a bit young, and I'm inclined to trust you because you got this bird to me in one piece. What d'ye say?"
What could he say? Broneslav agreed immediately. The caravan would afford him some protection, even as he guarded it, and who knew what might opportunities might arise for gaining fame and reputation along the way. Still, it was not going to be a short trip. They had ten days' of travel through the hills, and then the desert roads might be easier, but the heat would mean that they had to travel more slowly anyway. Ah well, that would give him time to just relax a bit, unless they were attacked along the way.
With mountains towering up on each side, the caravan followed the trail over the hills and through the passes between Darokin and Ylaruam. There was no noticeable change when they crossed the border into Ylaruam, but as they descended through the foothills, the air became warmer and the plants changed. They stopped shortly before descending the last of the hills to the desert plain below.
"This is the last watering hole before Parsa. Make sure all the barrels are filled," said Arnulf to the teamsters.
Broneslav helped out as they piled the wagons with water. It was not a long journey to Parsa from here, but an accident could leave them stranded without water if they were not careful.
With the barrels full, they descended into the desert and began the trek to Parsa. It was only a day's ride away under normal circumstances, but the baking desert heat slowed them to a crawl, and it was two days before they saw the town's walls. Arnulf led them through the gates to an inn that he frequented. After the journey through the desert, it was a blessed relief to be within the cool interior of one of the mud brick buildings of Parsa. With a twinge of regret, Broneslav realised that they would be leaving all this in the morning to trek once more through the desert. With this in mind, he chose an early night over pursuing whatever fleshpots Parsa might offer.