Thursday, May 29, 1650
As it will take a full day to reach the base of the Furka Pass, and since nothing special happens on that day, we will skip ahead to the day after, to the start of the climb. Please take note and distribute food as necessary.
The party can take charge of a sack of turnips (22 lbs.), and a sack holding 4 lbs. of salt pork, 3 lbs. of gorgonzola cheese and twenty hard, as yet unripe pears, all from Serafina. She's happy to eat whatever the party eats. There are the two kegs - not barrels, I originally said kegs - of ale also, with 12 gallons each. Lastly, Serafina has a 10 lb. sack of a strange fruit, which Delfig is not likely to have ever tasted; Andrej might have had one or two opportunities in his journeys, and Avel would remember them from his boyhood in the Crimea. We call them 'apricots.'
With full bellies, the party may begin their climb. It is arduous, of course, but not immensely so - Andrej and Delfig are familiar with mountains, and Avel too ... though perhaps none quite so high. The journey is, nevertheless, uncomfortably long. The day is cloudy, fairly cool, which the party realizes by the afternoon is a blessing. The road switches back and forth, back and forth, ever higher, until all and sundry are certain that the road will climb right off the top of the mountain and directly into the clouds. Andrej is reminded of stories of Purgatory, which is a mountain that is not climbed until every sin is paid for.
He is wondering what sins he is paying for now, as the sun edges towards three in the afternoon, hoping the top of the pass will come soon so that spending the night at the top will not be necessary. As it happens, at this moment, Andrej is in front of the party. The carriage has slid, and been adroitly braked by Avel, whereupon he's back pedalled some twenty yards. Delfig fell back with the carriage (to avoid being run over), while Serafina was able to press against the mountain and let the carriage slide by.
Now Avel is resting the horses for five minutes, and Andrej sees it is done well and there's no need for him to rush to calm the animals. And besides, it is a steep twenty yards, and Andrej has already climbed it ... going down will mean climbing it again. He is tired, and not immediately anxious to do so.
(Which is not to say the character couldn't go down ... only that he's experiencing the exhaustion that naturally comes from wearing out the body).
In any event, there is a very pleasant looking rock to Andrej's right. He is likely eying it, to sit down, when a sound comes that is not rock scraping upon rock. It is, however, scraping.