k.bookbinder wrote: Whizbang wrote:
Eutychus wrote:How can it be quicker to go home from the top of the mountain than to turn round?
I don't think it will be quicker, but adding the day or so to check for help at the top of the mountain is worth it, considering it will take many days to return home (I definitely get the impression that they have been travelling for many days, perhaps even weeks). Also, they've been following the river and taking a kind of haphazard route of exploration. If they make a straight line for home, it will be quicker than the trip so far. Maybe a straight line from the place they are at and a straight line from the top of the mountain aren't all that much different.
It may be that the terrain is of such difficulty that they would be unable to simply "make a straight line for home". One might surmise that the route taken on their journey is the easiest route up the mountain, and not quite as haphazard as it appears. Otherwise, should a path up to their current location be easy, would not they have explored it before? From my own experience, the easiest path up the side of a mountain is usually winding and circuitous. Also consider, they are in new territory. We can expect that our own knowledge, accumulated and illustrated on our Holy Catographer's Map
, is also the extent of their geographic knowledge. A "straight line home" may lead them into more unknown territory. Let us not forget Lucky. Such a predator came from somewhere, and in that place there may be more. A "straight line home" may very well lead through more, unknown dangers.
True, the path up may be the best path back down, but not necessarily. They were following the river. The river is not a living, thinking being. It follows the path of least resistance, yes, but that is a path of least resistance for a fluid that cannot in any way exert energy to counteract the force of gravity. So, the river goes every which way on its way down the mountain. Cuegan, as animals capable of walking and climbing, may find it easier to go up and over some minor obstacle that water never could. So, they have the ability to take a different path of least resistance, one that involves going up and over small obstacles. Cuegan have already decided to do this once before, when they cut across the land because it looked like the river went around some terrain that they felt would be easier for them to simply cross. But at the time their primary goal was to follow the river to its source and maybe find other rivers, so they didn't want to get too far from the river. Now their goal will be home, and from their vantage perhaps they can plan a quicker route than the one cut by the river.
I agree, there is a chance for getting lost, and there is a chance that the top of the mountain is farther than it appears. I was just pointing out that Megan did not say that it was quicker to get home from the top, merely that it was "not much farther from the top of the mountain"1
. So either the added days (two at the very least) is either not that much in comparison to the number of days to get back home (implying that they've been travelling for a long time) and so it is worth the added time if they might find some help sooner, or that they both feel they can get down from the mountain by a straigher route than they took up and so going to the top won't add much time because either way they won't be doubling back on themselves.
Actual quote: "..., we won't be much farther from home than we are now"