Solmi found himself shooting up, up, up, faster than he could have imagined if he had never taken the Thallenrose off-world before. Knowing he would find himself in the same pose he held before he was launched, he looked around and enjoyed the ride. As before, he could only see ahead of him; he could not watch Grendhill disappear behind him. He felt comfortably warm, although all was blackness and stars around him. The stars accelerated as they moved past in a rush of white dots. Solmi remembered his first time off the Thallenrose, how startling all this was, and how disorienting it was that he could not see where he was just a moment before. He looked back as he thought of this and felt like he was falling in pure darkness, since that was all he could see.
Solmi turned his head forward again and thought about his destination. Harrval was not so foreign to Tasalans like himself. It was markedly hillier, and a little less colorful, but otherwise not strange in appearance. It had grass, trees, stone, rivers, wind, and clouds in a rather blue sky. The sky was a little paler that it usually was in Grendhill, but it wasn’t unpleasant.
Solmi noticed the stars begin to decelerate almost imperceptibly. One star straight ahead of him began to grow brighter and larger as he drew closer to it. Then the star moved a little to the left as his path turned. Looking at it, his view included some of the void behind him. Rather than utter blackness, it was now filled with dark points of a red. Almost dizzy from the stark difference between the bright light and the dim redness behind him, he looked forward and determined not to look back again.
He found himself nearing Harrval, a large rock in space, of which he could only see a sliver on the left side, facing the growing star. As he came closer to the celestial body, he felt as if he were accelerating towards it. Whether this was true or only an effect of coming in so close to it, he did not know. Coming in close enough that Harrval took up most of his field of view, he was whipped around the bright side of the curved surface and had to squint. The sunlight reflected off the planet nearly blinded him after the infinite blackness he had faced. How blue the water looked! It never looked so blue when he visited the seaside on Harrval in his boyhood. Come to think of it, he thought as he looked up, the sun looked a little green while he rode the effect of the Thallenrose. And suddenly he saw the ground coming up.
Suddenly a world popped into place around him.
Solmi turned, taking his bearings, as soon as he found himself in his slumped position with his hood on. The Fassendais under his feet felt solid and smooth, similar to the Thallenrose, though it bore a different design. Solmi didn’t know yet what would face him in Hevvlar. He stepped off the Fassendais, thinking about his situation. Though it was likely that somebody in town knew the Farellas were expecting, it was not likely that they knew it was exactly today, and even less likely that they would expect Solmi to show up with the Royal Arms in their city. Still, it was feasible that if somebody did guess, that they could wait at the edge of the square day after day and watch for him. Besides, it was always a good idea to protect oneself when he had no idea what might be currently happening in Hevvlar, especially because he had to appear in the middle of it without being able to see it first.
Solmi continued to look about surreptitiously as he walked out of the square. It was nearly empty. It was early morning here, it looked. Or late evening? He took out his compass. He turned towards the lighter part of the sky, then looked at the needle of his compass. It pointed towards his right. So I’m looking west, he thought. Navigation was complicated in different worlds. Sun in the west…so it’s early morning in Hevvlar. A few minutes will bring full daylight. Time to move quickly.
Solmi stepped lightly off the Fassendais. With soft footfalls, he padded through the city. Up hills, down, between them. As he walked, hood still on, he noticed the thatched rooftops distinguishing themselves in golden hue, while the tiled ones calmly responded in a reddish brown. This accented the clean, smooth gray stone that composed most of the homes and shops he passed.
As Solmi neared his destination, he heard Hevvlar waking up. Cocks continued to crow a familiar cry in odd tones. He remembered the different breeds of animals the people kept on Harrval. Some were familiar types in different varieties; others were new and strange types entirely. They had very large chickens here, as well as some very small dogs. Tilutos barked alarm at the large birds in the distance.
Solmi approached the door of a large house. Hoping that he was not rousing them, but that they were awake already inside, he knocked.