Mission Report: Switzerland, Day Four

My mission beamed through the side window of the cottage around 0900: hike the hostile terrain from the back woods to the village of Brienz where I would meet my contact and procure a code too sensitive for beaming.  From there, I would catch the night train back to the safe house.

My first thought, as I reread the message that flowed in the window on a ray of Morninglight, was that I would need two types of cover: the cover of magic gleaned from what my surroundings would provide, and the cover of company. I would look less suspicious hiking the Pass of the See if I had a fellow hiker. Traveling under convenient magic as a lone hiker would just reek of someone cloaking his identity as a spy, or “wraithe” as we had become known in our inner circles.

I had more than one mission on this journey to Switzerland, ultimately to reach the Mountain Wizard who held the secret. So was it convenience that a friend invited me to this pocket of the world right when I needed the best possible cover? My Light side says it was the Coaxing that was spun over my friend’s head by the leader of my Order in the effort to hypnotize him into inviting me. Could that be a more confusing thought? Possibly. After all, my Dark side whispers that my friend might be a spy of some sort and needed his own cover, thus he invited me. But he could also be there with a counter mission.

As you know, I am on the mission, but I am explaining my reticence for the depths of this hike to Brienz, and my thoughts are beginning to dive too deeply for this report. Suffice it to say, I fear I shall have to weave artful magic today.

We started out not long after breakfast had digested sufficiently. My friend had been slightly hesitant to make the journey due to the temperature, but in the end we bundled up and climbed the wide stone stairwell that spilled down the mountain from the thick trees above us along the snow line. I glanced across the peaks where clouds thinned, and wondered if the Mountain Wizard could see me. I shrugged though and churned my legs like inflamed pistons, pressed higher up the stairwell until we eventually attained the Pass of the See. Even there, as I stood and surveilled the surroundings, I felt exposed. And we were only about a fifth of the way up the mountain. But today was a horizontal hike along the Pass that spanned from one end of the lake to the other. All we would do today was zigzag across the mountain faces toward Brienz. This height should have fewer or no encounters with enemy agents who had developed plenty of animosities against me due to previous missions, which is why I wanted to travel the Pass rather than take the Day Train directly to Brienz.

For the most part I was right. We encountered nothing overly daunting. The road, if it could be called that, was barely a road. Rather it was a winding through the brush and bracken, and many a time I found myself more in awe of the views, which stupefied me, left me vulnerable to attack from Hunds and Werespirits. I had to stop gaping at the latent and magical beauty of this pocket of the world, and pay attention to how my life stood, literally and figuratively, on a precipice.  I needed to think clearly.

For the rest of the journey, we joked and laughed and snapped several great shots, all great elements of cover. I grew to think my friend could be no agent, for his concerns did not align with those of a typical agent. At one point while he inspected a new bypass, I battled a Monarch Winderon that bounded boldly up from some trees and onto the path. My friend, walking a distance ahead, did not see us in combat, which in retrospect was a good thing. I do think he wonders still what happened though because I stepped out of a treeline quite awkwardly and feigned as if I had to pee. Magical traces had just evaporated from my fingers and the stains of the Death Call had finally smeared away, but my eyes. Well, they revealed all that my buddy needed to know. He could see I had just committed a heinous murder in the Alps. He just did not know the nature, nor did he trust his instincts when they told him I had sinned. Nonetheless I acted innocently enough. He either disregarded his gut instinct, or he overroad it in the name of friendship.  I felt badly for lying, but it was that, or tell him about the Wilderon.

At one point, I found it necessary to weave some clouds around us. I spun away paths and focused us up and down ravines. I would not indulge my desires for an easy route to my destination. After all, that would be how I would needle my way into an opponent Wraithe were I to meet one along a quest; I needed to think offensively as well as defensively.  It was painstaking, but it was required.  My friend remarked how the clouds had sunk surprisingly low for that time of the afternoon.  I smiled, nodded, quickly slipped my Elderleaf Wand into my sleeve when he turned around for my response.

Near Brienz, hostile Priniths attacked us from overhead, tumbling down the mountain slopes, mimicking a rock slide.  As my friend ran for cover, I whipped out the Elderleaf Wand and burst apart over a dozen of the little beasts as they jumped for us.  They scattered across the Pass like dust stirred up in our running footfalls.  Quickly, I dodged behind a tree to feign that I had also run for cover, and waited until my friend called out that it was safe before I returned to the Pass.

We were on the final leg when we reached the Bridge of Mount Baddervane, where we intended to cross the Deep, and take the Pass down the final length into Brienz.  However, enemy agents from a previous mission, capricious Magic, or the Mountain Wizard himself must have been to the Bridge already, for the rings across the Deep still hung there in silent suspension, but the flooring across the rings upon which we needed to walk had been spirited away.

I bit my lip.  This could prove dangerous.  Had I been alone, I would have risked floating across the Deep.  The drop was not even 1,000 meters.  But if my friend were indeed not a Wraithe and, therefore, held no magic, I could not break my cover in such an act.  I would have to circumvent the corrupted Bridge in the manner of a regular human.  As such, we backtracked a bit, and found a side path that detoured down the rock face to the ravine at the base of the Deep.  There, we forded the waters of the Rush and bore up the forty-five-degree angled path back up to where the other end of the Bridge of Mount Baddervane would have connected.  We left it behind, but not without a scowl from me as to the witchery that cost us precious time.  I only hoped now that my contact in Brienz would still be there.

We finally descended into the village as the sun had begun its descent.  Short were the days here in this Narnian pocket, so little time was afforded me for a mission.  I hastened us along the main artery into the village, pretending to inspect little shops for souvenirs whilst searching for a particular restaurant.  I found the restaurant on the other end of the village after we had walked through a small park on the lip of the silver-black lake.  But I had to figure out a way to go in without looking suspicious, to possible Wraithe around, or to my friend.

I spotted a sign next to the doorway that advertised apple streudel in vanilla sauce, but it was written in German, so I pretended I did not understand the words, and asked my friend.  He translated good-naturedly, and I commented that the dessert sounded delicious.  With that said, we decided to stop in for some.  A woman stopped by for our order, and offered the day’s soup as well.  It was a strange combination that my friend almost denied, but I caught the subtlety of it, and told the waitress I would love the soup.  My friend agreed to a bowl as well.  She brought the soups out with our drinks, and we never saw her again.  I did, however, find a small bit of paper under the spoon that had been on the little plate with the soup bowl.  Discretely, I opened the paper, read the numbers on it, and then dissolved the paper in the soup and ate it all.  Another waitress brought us the streudel, which was incredibly delicious, and after finishing it, we finally left the town and caught the Night Train back to Niederried.

I went to sleep that night, content in a successful mission that I had obtained the coordinates to the cabin of the Mountain Wizard.

© Copyright 2009 Matt Lawrence


~ by Matt Lawrence on December 30, 2009.

One Response to “Mission Report: Switzerland, Day Four”

  1. Hiking in the mountains, looking over the world…nothing tops that. It makes you feel like an eagle free and open to the skies.

    Glad you accomplished your mission, agent! I look forward to more reports! Let the recon continue!!

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