In the marshy valleys of the Carpathian Mountains, our travels were set to the springtime melt. Rushing water and birds returning home filled the air of day, and the nervous barking of the camp dogs came on at night. Wolves were said to prowl the hillsides and every mountain pass but did not make their presence known yet, at least not to me. The feeling that we were in an entirely different world began to take hold long before we were anywhere near the magnificent castle of the Count, our benefactor. The first indication that we had made it to his lands was when we met his go-betweens. The five of them were dressed in multicolored sheepskin vests over dingy white linen shirts. Their trousers, baggy at the hips and tucked into their boots, were belted by large swathes of leather. They looked like brothers in the way they arranged their faces. Each had long, scraggly hair and thick mustaches hiding their mouths as a hare hides in a bush. I did not hear what was said when they met the head of our caravan but saw them motion for us to follow them.