Finally, the ascent over the mountain has begun.
The density and the roughness of the terrain have caused a great deal of complications on our travel, extending our journey threefold for what we expected it to be. But, after weeks of powering through the vegetation, the thickness of the forest finally seem to thin out as the mountains grew tall before my vision.
Thanks to this, I can now see ahead towards our destination, and thus determine where the strange light is coming from. Having perplexed us for some time, I can with certainty conclude that the light emanates somewhere beyond the mountain, further cementing my theory that it is anything but supernatural.
After all, we have long passed this supposed border of the “Land of the Dead”, and we have yet to see anything suggesting anything supernatural, nor any architecture for that matter.
Despite this, the Easterners, and indeed many of my colleges, glances nervously over their shoulders, wincing at every little sound, as if expecting some ghoulish creature to emerge from the foliage.
However, even though I don’t believe it myself, it is becoming harder and harder to remain levelheaded when more and more people seem to subscribe to the notion of a ghostly presence in this land.
But regardless of anyone’s beliefs, nobody knows what awaits us beyond the mountain, and the only sign of what to come, is a faint light that is only visible at the peak of nighttime; when the sun sets and the moon still lingers behind the smog to the east.
The terrain is becoming more and more elevated as we go on, and I can now see, with utmost clarity, the vastness that is the mountains ahead. Though I have read about its greatness several years ago, I was still shaken by the sheer height of its peaks — snow clad and menacing.
Beyond that, the sheer width of the mountain was breathtaking in its own right. It stretched as far as the eye could see on both ends, beginning at the furthest reaches to the north and ending by the great ocean to the south. Or so I’ve read…
Aside from the view ahead of me, I could now also see the the land we have left behind.
However, the most significant sight was not the greatness of nature, or the horrors of the fiery death at the horizon, but the snake-like line of people still submerged under the crowns of the trees.
It will take days before they will reach the point where I am now standing.
And here I will remain until they do, for the duty of the educated is to make sure people without it remain orderly, remain organised, and above all, remain calm. I will show my empathy by remaining here and document their arrival; to determine their various needs before continuing onward.