Pilgrimage to Holy Fraberg
Garden of the Prophet > Libraria Chroniclis

Just once, when not yet of years for the eyes of men, I traveled with my mother to the great Cathedral of Fraberg upon the mountains. Few journey so far from these forgen decks now, save but to seek a place in Fraberg or the valleys below. It is a hard toil across the empty Rur realm, even in the gentle season of vines and flowers over the vault-works of Witan - and my Lady has become more demanding of her maids as the years crease her skin.

This past Censen, the peasants of the lower fortress speak of naught but rumor; of brigands who live by cannon upon the char and poison circle-lakes where nothing grows, or hide in forests set with Unhallowed vaults. Lay-brother Wagen is ever stern with such fools' words, but to no avail. His hair is yet black, but he has tended the Prophet's shrine beneath the broad-deck since my mother's birth; blessed is he who has heard all that might be spoken by the least of the faithful. Whom would brigands prey upon now, save for peasant fantasies?

The year of my journey was a pilgrimage in truth, given the Prophet's speed by a glad procession of pennons and tidings to the great-portal of Witan. Men of the close-guard bore the bones of my Lord's grandsire to Fraberg within a forgen casket most ancient. The Ordained of the Hateless Order so honored his service that a place within the Cathedral sepulcher-spire was given to his relics. Scarce less was he beloved by the least peasant of the Rur realm, and with his bones went the heart of Witan. May the Prophet watch over the soul of my Lord's grandsire yet, and that of my Lord and his guard in the far, steaming Afrik realm. I pray often for the third year of the crusade in service to the Order.

Those years ago, the close-guard were faithless men; brigands, harlots and ribalds of small-cannon tamed by my Lord's grandsire from each of the Prophet's realms. Vile of speech, but strong of hand and loyal to Witan's forgen decks - all are gone now to the Afrik realm or their souls to the Prophet's judgement.

A harsh travel it was through all Rue, and long the last climb into mountains, for all the few faithful in valleys nigh unto Fraberg aided our way. Char-mixed rain fell for days on end, yet the high walls of deep-scarred forgen rose above us at long last. Fraberg is a bitter, ugly sight yet for those of Witan: then, cages of judged heretics hung at each great cannon-vault upon the walls. Corven flocked about to redden their beaks, and made nests upon bones picked clean of heresy. Yet further, higher above forgen vault-works, the Cathedral set mighty decks and spires upon the greatest mountain as though a cloak. Far across the near realms can the Ordained see from their high spire vaults, but a stench was about the vale of high peaks, and middens lay cast beyond the walls. A plague of flux was upon Fraberg in that year; peasants sickened beneath the vault-works raised by the faithful of old.

The close-guard took away the casket that was their task, and passed within the great-portals of Fraberg. Brothers strong and true strode down from the Cathedral to speak of faith and a resting place within the sepulcher-spire - those who had not taken up sword, cannon and the Prophet's banner to crusade in the charred heart of the Afrik realm. Thence to the lowest decks of whores, rags and tomb-vaults of the least peasants did the close-guard descend, true to their lewd countenance. The Prophet would judge them for their faithlessness, as He judges us all, for the flux took their bowels - and unto death for the elder of their number.

I did not enter the great-portals; my mother led me past stinking middens and beneath judged heretics, about the outer walls and a climb of steep thin-paths to the Chapel Technis. Mighty is the Chapel at Fraberg; a great forgen pillar standing before the vault-works of the Cathedral. Tall seal-gates face away from fluxed Fraberg - which then cast forth a great noise and shower of steam at the nearest mountains.

I was afeared, for all our pilgrimage was in truth to my mother's grandsire, Brother Erek, who had pledged his heart and soul to the Prophet for half a century. Forgen burned red, flowed and crashed within the Chapel; Brothers gave loud chantry to their craft within the factora. When first I saw him, Brother Erek gave guide to crashing factora-knives of half a rod in height upon steaming forgen, just as I cut sheth-cheese for my Lord's trencher. Such life the Prophet gives His faithful, who bear His seed and the fist of the Order! My mother's grandsire was broad yet, face full and hair fair as the guard who tryst with maids in the darkest shafts and vault-ways of Witan. With great surprise and gladly he blessed us, for all this was a place for the holy of the Order alone. His Brothers bade us well when they learned of our blood, and shared their char-stained bread amidst the noise and strange vapors.

The Order is the family to a holy Brother - this I understand now, if not then. My mother sought prayer and a blessing upon my grandsire's soul, and that Brother Erek gave in the quiet and echoing great-vaults of the Cathedral, for all he was troubled in some way by such. A tear in her heart was healed in this way, by her demeanor as I remember it, but I know not what.

Once only did I embrace my great-grandsire, for the black sickness took my mother into to the Prophet's arms three winters thereafter, and my Lady would naught give a maid leave to journey to Fraberg in these years. May her soul be well guided by the Prophet.

[ Posted by Reason on June 22, 2006 ]