- See also: Frostback Basin
Halvor often arrives around Wintersend, but given the recent weather, I hadn't looked for him. Which is why his voice across the market took me by surprise:
"Lowlander! I was owed a drink on my next visit. And supper. Unless you were getting out of your wager?"
Maybe I was trying to get out of the bet, but I happily paid the bill at the inn that night. I asked Halvor where he'd last traveled, and he said he'd been trading with an Avvar hold in the Frostback Basin. Then he raised an eyebrow at the look on my face. So I described the stories Uncle told us as children, where brave expeditions get lost in places like the Western Approach, Nahashin Marshes...Frostback Basin. He laughed and admitted it could be a cruel place. He described thick forests—greater than any I've seen, I'm certain—and darkened swamps. His rule for traveling there seemed to boil down to "be wary and alert...because everything can kill you." The wildlife is violent, the cliffs are steep, and you must be mindful of the gods' wishes (here meaning his Avvar gods). Of course, the hunting's good, the trade fair, and the Avvar hold impressive.
"But do people really disappear in the forest?" I asked.
"Few lowlanders come through. Not sure how many leave after." The last was a joke, but I won't be visiting that hold any time soon.
—Letter from a Fereldan merchant to his cousin in Highever