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Chapter 32 - Burz

To the east of Szurke, in the Eastern Mountains, is a mountain named Saestara.

There is a place in the mountain called Saestara ... Looking west, I remembered lots of painful scrabbling up paths that were made by and for mountain goats; looking east, I foresaw more of the same going down. Some distance behind me was a lake called Szurke, on the edge of a forest. I owned the lake and a little bit of the forest and the big manor house near it (Jhegaala, Prologue)

The day after Spring Balance day, I embraced him and said good-bye, which is how it came to be that I stood in the pass of Saestara ... Below, at some vague point, was the end of the Empire, and the border of Fenario ... I started down the mountain. (Jhegaala, Prologue)

He's headed for Burz, which is located on the River in the forested area immediately to the east of the Eastern Mountains:

I know of a town where much paper came from, in the west of Fenario where the River of Faerie is young and strong. Burz, it is called ... A town called Burz ... on the River (Jhegaala, Prologue)

The transition from mountain to forest was so gradual, I wasn't entirely sure I was out of the mountains for a while even after I had turned north; and this in spite of them towering over me to my left. But eventually, I became convinced that I wasn't getting much lower, and soon enough ... I was in deep woods ... I headed north ... I spent about three nights in the forest after I came down from the mountains ... I would certainly have gotten lost if it weren't for Loiosh and an occasional sight of the mountain. I waded over several brooks and streams ... The trees became lower, sparser, and the grass taller, with large, jagged boulders intruding on the landscape as if the mountain were encroaching ... An hour or so later we found a road ... It was getting toward evening ... "That way," said my familiar, indicating down the road to the right. Since the mountains were to the left, I'd have figured that one out on my own ... [that night, he camps] I'd been walking about two hours the next day before I passed a young man [and asked for directions to Burz] He pointed the way I was going ... in a while the road will fork, and ... you'll likely smell it after that ... "a while" ... turned out to be most of the rest of the day ... As I walked, I noticed that the forest, which I had thought was left behind me, seemed to be returning on my right; or maybe it was a different forest ... Over the next several hours, the forest seemed to come closer, but avoided the road ... I found the fork [and] I followed it, and the road bent closer to the forest. It took us over low hills ... the road had been joined by a fairly respectable river ... I went another mile or so .. The road curved as I came to the top of a hill, and below, still some distance away was [an inn, followed by Burz]. (Jhegaala, Chapter 1)

I put Burz on the River, toward the eastern edge of the Wandering Forest.

As I previously established, Szurke is to the west of the Pepperfields, which are themselves to the west of Lake Fenarr, which is the source of the River:

[The River] began in thunder; a cascade from Lake Fenarr, pouring over the lip of Mount Szaniszlo. From there it cut a deep, straight path through the center of Fenario, eventually joined by other, lesser rivers. It cut a gap in the Eastern Grimwall, after which it turned south toward the sea (Brokedown Palace, Chapter 1)

The most straightforward interpretation of Vlad's route is that he headed east from Szurke, crossed the mountains and then turned north for three days. The only problem with this solution is that that would put Burz on the river labeled the North River on the Map of the East in Brokedown Palace.

A slightly more generous interpretation (but one that puts Burz on the River) is that Vlad traveled southeast from Szurke, crossed the mountains at the village of Saestara--which is presumably near the pass on Mount Saestara:

I stopped ... to eat [food] I'd gotten in Saestara (the village, not the mountain). (Jhegaala, Chapter 1)

--and then headed northeast for three days to Burz.

Since Vlad travels north and the River joins the road, I guessed Burz was at the point where the River turns east after a brief northeasterly stretch.


When Miklos traveled west from Fenario in Brokedown Palace, it took him three days to travel the width (east-west) of the Wandering Forest:

they emerged from the Wandering Forest ... after riding to it for four days and through it for another three. (Brokedown Palace, Chapter 1)

Assuming Vlad traveled the same distance in the same amount of time (but southwest-northeast), I located the pass on the southern slopes of Whitecrown.

Saestara (village)
Saestara (village)

Whitecrown is described as leading to the East along with the Ironwall:

To the east there are the distant peaks of the Ironwall and Whitecrown which lead to the lands of the Easterners. (The Phoenix Guards, Chapter 24)

Since we know the Ironwall was the location of a pass to the East:

Another entrance is from the east, where a long, gentle slope rises from a gap in the Ironwall some four leagues to the north. (The Phoenix Guards, Chapter 29)

Whitecrown and Saestara are probably one and the same. Unless Whitecrown has three names, Mount Szanislo is a distinct peak that also borders Lake Fenarr; I guessed it was to the east of the lake, and north of the River.

Mount Szanislo
Mount Szanislo

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Copyright © 2011 Bryan Newell, unless otherwise noted.