The Enclave > Known Roads > Sonael

The Blackened

He calls himself a sage, The Blackened, but he is little more than the embittered, loose-skinned mouth of The Felled. His cottage is no less crumbled than any other within Sonael; one wall is fallen into a heap of gray stone and the gapped roof sunk atop it. It is littered with old goat leather parchment, scraped and rescraped over and over, layered with abandoned scratchings in charwater ink.

Those few in Sonael who have the heart of the Ammand within them yet would surely have stuck The Blackened upon his own knife long years ago - but The Blackened speaks for The Felled in this Lost place of sickness and misery, and the arm of The Felled is long indeed.

Those of the Formless have spared The Blackened no more than any other in Sonael; his skin is dragged with sores and his cough brings ever more blood with each passing winter. He is as much between two spears as any other here, but his hatred has long since turned from the originators of his torment to be cast upon the stricken commonfolk. In this he well serves The Felled.

[ Posted by Reason on August 6, 2006 | Permanent Link ]

Rotten Palisade

A palisade surrounds the cottages of Sonael, leaving only the graves and old shrine beyond. Further, half-barren fields and knolls give way to the open wilderness, and Farthest, Greenwood or mists of the Formless beyond. Trunks for the palisade came from the edge of Greenwood, or perhaps from closer copses long gone to firewood, planks and roofing.

None of Sonael have given the palisade heed nor care for a generation; naught that threatens the villagefolk is to be given pause by walls and spears. Portions of the wall have fallen, and all is rotted or ill-seated. A few cut trunks have regained a portion of their vigor over the many summers since being felled, sprouting weak branchs and yellowed roots to thrust their neighbors aside.

The two carved wooden gateways stand yet, absent gates, to face each way along the Road that was, the Road no longer marked, to and from the Formless mists.

[ Posted by Reason on August 6, 2006 | Permanent Link ]

The Crying Stranger

You are moon-faced, you both! Where would you go? Where, by the Vessel and the Truth? Would you be as the crying stranger who came from the Farthest snows these five winters past? We could not help her, nor protect her from those who come from the Formless - and may the Beautiful Stranger forgive us for that. Would you and Emme be as that, gone to a worse sickness and misery, to die Lost and without even the understanding of comfort?

No, mark my words, curse you! There is nothing yonder but more of this, ever more! The Fallen will shield her from blood gone to rot and the eye of his chained goat in the fallen cottage besides. If you hold her in your heart as I do, you'll let her go to the Greenwood in his service. Tis a better place than here, a better choice than aught other we have.

Go, let me alone - do as you will, and the Farthest take you!

[ Posted by Reason on August 7, 2006 | Permanent Link ]

Blight and Sickness to Mark the Road

Carven staves of a disturbing design stand upright in the blight-ridden fields of Sonael, a ragged line that leads toward the gray mists of the Formless. They have stood a generation under rain, sun and snow, marking the Road for Trespassers who come from the Formless - and the sickness they bring.

Those folk of true Ammander blood who once tore up and threw down staves were long ago brought to the Traveler at the end of all Roads, slain by the sickness they sought to fight. Stones within the tumbled shrine of the Burning Truth bear their names and hide their charred bones. None are so brave in the seasons since.

So are the commonfolk and their livelihoods bowed beneath sicknesses from the Farthest Mists. So do they dwell in fear of ragged-robed Trespassers who who shamble and feel their way from stave to stave, whispering secrets best left unheard.

[ Posted by Reason on August 9, 2006 | Permanent Link ]

The Lost Declaration

Go to fetch Manten from the shine, now, an be quick before the sun dips further. Resere is gone to meet the Traveler, and may his Road be easier.

There are others and more with blood and coughing, or hanging skin, or worse, but he was the last who knew. Twas before your birth, yes, and a long time ago that The Blackened's master gave a Declaration upon all you see. The brave folk then, they read it and hid the parchment to make it theirs and not to fall on everything.

I know not, no-one knows - and no-one will know. Become chosen by The Blackened's blind eye and taken to the tower in the Greenwood, and then you might ask. Might as well to wish for a Road to lead us back to the Ammand! But to talk of it, no we should not talk of it. Talk of misery and you'll hear a stranger's crying, or call those from the Formless.

No, best to talk of Resere's Road now, to a better place and free of sickness. Manten will bring fire and words of the Vessel from the shrine, and we who talk too much should find wood before dark.

[ Posted by Reason on August 12, 2006 | Permanent Link ]

The Old Ammand in the Heart of the Young

Denale is coming of an age, yes and yes. He listens not to the elder folk, and hides away from all that is to be done this summer season. I've seen him with the old spears racked and bound in the shrine when he thinks none are watching - yes, and seen his heart when The Blackened passes to cough blood and insults. But what use for spears but to bring worse upon us and our own? There is naught to be run through and cast down here.

Janem and Tald are no less young, and they are willing set to work as such is best, to rescue what we might from the fields afore the rot sets in. Merem too, should her sickness not worsen further; but I hope that we shall prevail as we did for her in the last summer. A fire is lit well and tended by her bedding, and may the Powers show their will through it.

By the Vessel, who is to say what might have been? I know not what became of Denale's parents, but may the Traveler have guided them to a better Road than that Sonael stands astride. I have tried as best I know, but I have not been that which they should have stayed to be - and there is nothing of the Burning Truth to shine comfort upon this.

[ Posted by Reason on August 13, 2006 | Permanent Link ]

Weeping Blooms Upon a Stranger's Grave

The commonfolk of Sonael give their bodies to flames and the ashes to alcoves of the old shrine upon the end of their roads. So is the way of Burning Truth, as it has come to be this far from the Known Roads and Enclave lands. Those few strangers who come in sickness and sadness from the Farthest Field are given to the earth, however, buried and marked in the old Ammand way within low walls beyond the palisade.

In a summer season many years ago, a horned woman stumbled from the Farthest, burning, blooded and wracked by cough. For all the promises made to the Beautiful Stranger, and the caring hands of Hephran, priest of the Vessel in those seasons, the Visitor's road was short and her words her own. Only the Beautiful Stranger knows what she called and reached for in her fever. The horned Visitor was buried under carved stone and mounded soil, alongside others Lost in sickness and misfortune.

The very next year, at the time of last snow, the first red weeping blooms opened upon the grave. Each new warmth of summer seasons brought more flowers upon the stranger's graves, even as rot grew in the fields and blight came anew from the Formless. At the height of summer, rain or sun, blossoms from the Farthest wave bright in the wind and drip reddened tears upon the graves.

[ Posted by Reason on August 18, 2006 | Permanent Link ]

Hidden Book of the Burning Truths

Upon her last scroll of ragged goat-skin, Tella had written of what old Hephren had told. May the Traveler guide her steps, wherever she might be. Well and well, the scrolls and the book are safe within their casket and buried deep, but this I recall.

The Vessel came to a Lord's son upon the Unending Sea that is beneath the far moon, and spoke a Burning Truth to him as he slept upon the deck of a Magi tradeship. He was seized by the Truth, consumed by it whilst he slept, but upon waking it was gone. The Magi of the Vanished Isle, he who stood upon the aft-deck to raise the waves and wind to his desire, nodded wisely upon hearing the tale but would say naught. Such is the way of the Unending Sea upon the hearts of men, and the Magi became Lost thereafter because they saw no Powers in Creation.

Upon the Sea, then, and upon the Enclave coast, the Lord's son sought to capture the Burning Truth he held so briefly. The Truths of Powers drive men even by their absence, and this is just as we know. In his quest, he wrote as though to put sages of the old Ammand to shame - scroll upon scroll of all that might be known of the Vessel, bound into a book by some unknown who came after.

I know not what become of that Lord's son, nor even his name. His words were brought here by our folk who followed Krineth and the Traveler too close to the Formless. The book is within Sonael because it must be here, this I know, and Tella showed me. There must be a Burning Truth within our trials that we are yet blind to.

[ Posted by Reason on August 19, 2006 | Permanent Link ]

A Messenger From the Greenwood

That's right, crawl away! Lest I take this knife to you, forward and back. Does your heart tell you I'm afeared of putting this iron to The Felled's words? You're no less a goat than these others, and soon as see my back, I'll wager, to return to playing as goatherd. Yes, and I'd soon as cut that from you, were it not to pour your sickness upon my knife.

Such rot you dwell within! Look at you, "The Blackened." What could that mean, I wonder, save for the bile beneath your skin - or mayhaps your tongue when the sickness takes you to beg the Traveler for a kind word. Best you enjoy these seasons, for one summer I'll come to slit your throat and may The Felled do as he will with me.

Listen well, now, for these are The Felled's words to you ... oh, but no! I forget! The Felled has naught to say to you but what was said before. Did you think there would be more, moon-faced and squirming to listen? You will be here until the sickness takes you, goat, and such is just as you deserve.

[ Posted by Reason on August 20, 2006 | Permanent Link ]

The Eyes of The Felled

Yes, I spoke with Gerren when he came from the Greenwood to carry words between The Blackened and The Felled. His heart is black, black as rotten berries now. I know not what Decaration or curse of wizardry The Felled has worked upon him - Gerren hates us in these seasons, and will not even meet my eyes. Me, for whom he once brought flowers from the grass beyond the spoiled fields. He might have been Lost that day, and better he had - better he had than this.

Gerren said no more than you know, and I'll not go to him the next he comes here. The Felled has spoken to the black stone of his tower within the Greenwood, and this Gerren told as have the others. He wears the clasp of The Felled's eyes, just as they, and that gives my heart to cold but to see it.

[ Posted by Reason on August 26, 2006 | Permanent Link ]

Trespassers From the Gray Mists and Formless

They are in the fields! Hide, hide now! No, leave all this - yes and yes, go now and bar the door! Denale is still calling from the watchroom atop the Council Hall, moon-faced as he is - is he not to be barring doors too? Let him not put his foolishness to action, not on this day!

By the Powers, by the grace of the Beautiful Stranger, may they fill their rotten, ragged hearts with casting spoil upon the fields and not come within the village gates! Two seasons past, they laid a mark upon Faree's door - and you and I know she is sick past moving and poisoned in her blood since first snow. We burned it the very next day, and Manten watched upon the fire, and for all the good in Creation that brought. By the Vessel and the Burning Truth, may those from the Formless not come scratching at the walls and doors this day!

[ Posted by Reason on August 27, 2006 | Permanent Link ]