Randland Travel Advisor: Stedding Tsofu
Out for a jaunt through Randland? TarValon.Net’s trusty travel advisor gives you the good, the bad, and the braid-tuggingly awful!
I heard tell of an Ogier stedding in the Cairhien area, Stedding Tsofu. I’ve only seen the odd Ogier out and about—though perhaps it was the same one multiple times—and I must admit, it was like seeing a fairy tale come to life. For this reason, when I came across a tattered sign advertising tours, I decided to take a chance that it was not a joke. The Dark One’s own luck was on my side: it was not a joke!
Stedding Tsofu was just over a day’s journey from the city. No guides were provided from Cairhien, but the signs were clear, and it was a pleasant journey. It’s impossible to miss the threshold of the stedding. The feeling of crossing over is just indescribable. I felt the change and was taken aback. Soon, I saw the trees. The tree were not ordinary trees, but Great Trees, with branches a hundred paces and more above the ground and a trunk twenty paces wide!
If that was all I saw, I would have been satisfied for a lifetime. But Erith, a good-natured Ogier woman with a voice like a bumblebee, emerged from the forest to lead me through the town. The buildings were taller than normal, and of beautiful craftsmanship. Nothing said about Ogier is an exaggeration. Treesingers were helping out some Aiel visitors, and it was just the purest sound, leaving no room in the mind for anything but the growing earth. By the time Erith escorted me out, the sun was well past the horizon and I camped at the edge of the stedding, if only to hold on to that feeling but a little longer.
Truth be told, it is the experience of a lifetime. No words can do the stedding justice, and the Treesingers’ song will forever live within me.
(I later learned there were some Aiel heading to visit the Ogier when I was on my way there. They alerted the Ogier to my presence half a day’s ride out. If I had looked like a typical Cairheinin, the Aiel might not have let me enter the stedding at all. Thank the Light I look like an out-of-towner!)
(The Great Hunt, Chapter 35, “Stedding Tsofu”)