The Enclave > Known Roads > Cael

The Jeweled Line

There is but a single tavern in Cael, the Jeweled Line. A faded mural runs the width of the rough stone wall above the front door; it depicts a fisher's line hung with multicolored gemfish. The muggy interior is smoke-filled and busy in summer evenings when fisherfolk return from a day out amongst the rocks and islets. The walls are hung with nets, driftwood and islemarked planking from old fishing boats long rotted away. In winter seasons, spearmen come to Cael as guards or to provision for patrols on the Forest Road. Their spears and armor fill shelves above the bar that stand empty in summer.

Rius the barkeep is a worn old rogue from the Port dockside of generations past, owner of the Jeweled Line for as long as any care to recall. He is stooped, bowed, wrinkled and has but a single tooth remaining - yet weathers each winter just like the last.

[ Posted by Reason on April 7, 2005 | Permanent Link ]

Gemscales and Eel Spines on the Strand

The islets off the shoreline of Cael are thick with spined eels, crawcrabs and colorful, quick gemfish. It is a poor seafarer indeed who could fail to make a living in this part of the Enclave coast. The pebble shoreline of Cael extends the length of the village, from marshy ground to firetower rocks. Islemarked boats used by hardy Ammander and Vanished Isle fisherfolk are beached ashore in a line beneath the firetower and the Fisher's Shrine. The boats rest atop old spines and scales as much as pebbles and sand; fresher, brighter gemscales make the tidelines glimmer on sunny days.

When the snows melt and the first flowers show, gemfish by the thousand throw themselves ashore in the surf - who can say why? The folk of Cael leave their boats idle and comb the pebble strand for days on end to gather the fish before they rot or are eaten by crawcrabs and seabirds. Fisher folk bearing barrels of packed gemfish sail along the coast to Port, past the Watch of Trees and its mysterious cliffside temple. There are always more fish than can be sold - salted gemfish from the cellars is a summer dish in Cael, just as salted eel is reserved for those winters too harsh for fishing on the Unending Sea.

[ Posted by Reason on April 8, 2005 | Permanent Link ]

Trade Rock and the Seafolk

Look out the window; yonder out on the water, the biggest rock past young Lenei's sail. We called it Two Craws when I was the age of Lenei and her man, but folks hereabouts call it Trade Rock since the seafolk came.

Eh, village ale is poor stuff, leastways from anywhere but Traveler's Stone or Ura. The young folk lazing on the strand could make good coin sailing to Port for better - but that'd be expecting too much at the height of summer. Like cats on a warm stone wall, they are.

Ah yes. It was a day just like this, oh, back before Varim got himself eaten by the Great Port Eel and the Three Stone whitebeards stole his parchments. The seafolk came walking from the Unending Sea, as though water were sand and grass, kicking up spray from the wavetops. Little and large they were, plump for all their walking and strange on the eyes; amazed at swimming they were, afraid of rock and land.

Who would have thought of folk who could sit on a wave as though it were a chair? Generous with their strangers' coin, though, and for the strangest things. All of Cael was coming and going from the Trade Rock that day, wading out to meet the seafolk. Not Varim, though; he was too busy with quill and ink on the highest point of the rock, hiding his work from the crowd.

I'll wager most here at the Jeweled Line still have a few seafolk coins hidden away; fancy sorts in Port pay gold for rarities like that. But what is gold compared to knowing that you traded with the Visitors?

[ Posted by Reason on April 9, 2005 | Permanent Link ]

Black Boathouse, Black Jetty

Old rock, black rock they are; there's a wizardry about them. You'd have to close your eyes halfway to see a jetty and a boathouse instead of just plain rocks on the shore, but that's what my mother called them. Her mother too, I dare say.

The children climb out on the black jetty past the strand; climb over it too where they could just walk around on the grass. By rights it should be polished as the firetower rock, scratched with islemarks, but nothing can touch black rock. Wizardry! Just the same as the day it was put there, I'll wager.

Whoever lived here afore Ammander and Magi folk laid the first stones of Cael, they're long gone now. Perhaps stonefolk wizardry put the black stone here, though they say the stonefolk are scared of the Unending Sea.

[ Posted by Reason on April 11, 2005 | Permanent Link ]

Ferelei

You're from Port, then, with your road dust and good looks? Ferelei won't be wanting anything to do with you; she tells a good tale about the thieves and liars in Port, those who put on fancy plays and sing fancy songs. Ah, now, I see your drums and your flute hanging on the mule you don't feed often enough. You'll be having a hard time of it at the Jeweled Line; Ferelei doesn't like competition.

Oh, she was crossed and crossed hard by some noble Ammander lady, or so I hear. All over a man too; hah! They're never worth it. She has nothing but black words for your type, good looks or not, but such a pretty voice for the telling of them!

No, you should pack yourself and your mule off to the Forest Road. The villagers there will pay coin to hear a troubador perform and you won't have to face Ferelei.

[ Posted by Reason on April 12, 2005 | Permanent Link ]

Firetower and Fisher's Shrine

The far end of the gemscale-scattered pebble strand is marked by the firetower rocks and rising cliffside beyond. The stone firetower atop the highest rock is an old, weathered construction; a ladder leads up to the flat top. When Cael fisherfolk are out on the Unending Sea, a dampened grass fire keeps a column of smoke rising from the tower. The Farthest Sea waits to claim fishers who are careless amongst the islets, but smoke from the firetower helps to mark the way home.

Beneath the firetower, in the lee of the rocks, stands the Fisher's Shrine. A single priest tends this modest stone and wood hall; the interior is largely empty of decoration save for a statue of the Fisher in Darkness and a few old benches. Sabei, aged and of Magi stock, used to come and go from the Temple of Three in Port, but settled into the quiet life in Cael as the years passed. He is a kindly, wise man, fond of the spawling family of cats that make the Shrine their home. When catches are large, Cael folk leave offerings of salted eel for the Fisher in Darkness, Sabei and his cats.

[ Posted by Reason on April 12, 2005 | Permanent Link ]

Cael Road

The sparsely wooded bluffs overlooking Cael offer a fine view on clear days - over wood and thatch roofs and the glistening pebble strand, out to islets and small boats in the Unending Sea. The low, solid, stone-walled houses of fisherfolk stretch the short distance from the column of smoke over Firetower Rocks, past the Black Jetty, marketplace and Council House, and on to the first wet marshland of the Odanmouth.

The Cael Road leads straight down from the bluffs and the Coast Road out of sight beyond; it is a good hardy climb in dry weather, but troublesome in Winter months. A line of wooden posts and rusted, solid chain runs the length of the Road as it climbs the bluffside - it is a proud traveler indeed who doesn't make use of this assistance when the snow is deep.

[ Posted by Reason on April 13, 2005 | Permanent Link ]

Baene's Carvings

The old stone walls of Baene's cottage by the Marshedge Stream are scarcely visible beneath piled driftwood, cut timber from the bluffs, casks of eel bones and half-completed carvings. Much of it is old indeed, left leaning against the walls winter after winter while Baene works at his own slow pace beside a comfortable fire.

In warmer seasons, dusky-skinned Baene the woodcarver opens his door wide to watch the shoreline as he shapes his latest sculpture. He sells a little of his work to traveling merchants or folk who sail the coast to Port; enough to support his idle, enjoyable life in Cael. Perhaps more besides - Baene is always generous with coin. As often as not, this Magi-blooded woodcarver is to be found in the Jeweled Line exchanging tales with the old fisher folk or cheerfully picking over shells and gemscales on the strand.

[ Posted by Reason on April 14, 2005 | Permanent Link ]

A Council of Fisher Folk

Aye, a nice arrangement they have themselves here. There would be a thing; a few more years of sailing the coast for coin and then to be a councillor in a quiet fisher village. Nothing to worry about save hiring a few spears each winter, aye, and maybe throw the drunks into the surf if they get too rowdy. A sight easier than captaining my crew, mark my words.

The council here spend their days fishing and laying a bed, I'll wager. You wouldn't catch me sitting sober and thoughtful in yonder Council House like a Lord cast in miniature; what would be the use of it? Fisher folk keep to their own - you might as well try to be a Lord of cats.

Aye, and there's the whitebeard councillor now, watching the barrels loaded. He used to be a Seafarers' Guildsman with a hull of his own, but that was years ago now. I'll wager he looks at my crew and sees a shoal of thieves. Hah! He wouldn't be far wrong, either.

[ Posted by Reason on April 16, 2005 | Permanent Link ]

Year of the Eel Storm

It was back when my mother was a child, late in the year but before the leaves fell. A dark, cold storm came out of the Farthest Sea, swirling round and round like a mad dance of wind, rain and thunder. The Unending Sea came up with the wind and threw boats into the village; wrecked and drowned those folk who were too slow getting back to shore. It wasn't like the winter storms, nor the summer storms you know; it was different and greater. Some folk ran to the bluffs, like my mother's parents, in the cold rain and wind and through the froth and surge. Then the strangest thing of all: eels raining from the sky like so many hailstones, thrashing and snapping!

[ Posted by Reason on April 16, 2005 | Permanent Link ]

Spear Eater of the Odanmouth

The Magi-blooded of Cael tell outlandish stories of the long, spined marsh eels of the Odanmouth, although no village folk hunt the outskirts of that saltwater marsh. There is no need risk becoming Lost to the Farthest in such dismal, boggy terrain when the Unending Sea provides such a bounty of gemfish, crawcrabs and eels.

The common folk of Cael take their water from the fast flowing marshedge stream at the edge of their village; beyond that they do not go. Once in a while, or so the old whitebeards say, the biggest and oldest of all Odanmouth eels can be seen sporting in the waterways of the marsh edge. She is twice the size of a grown man; legend has it that this great eel wrested the spear from the very last Ammander hunter to brave the Odanmouth.

[ Posted by Reason on April 17, 2005 | Permanent Link ]

The Tide Cave Folk

Shy, they are, those strangers. Lived in the tide caves around the headland for, oh, must be ten years now. Visitors come and go - especially when the fog rolls in - but nary a sight of our Lost neighbors in any of that time.

Ah now, you should be asking Kalei about them, not I; it's her daughters who take eel meat and firewood to the caves after first snow. Took pity on them, I'll wager, but she says to leave well enough alone. Ah, but you should have been here the winter when those hired spears from Port were firm and set on going to look! Half chased them out into the Farthest, spears and all, did Kalei. Hah, and there was a sight!

[ Posted by Reason on April 19, 2005 | Permanent Link ]

The Tall Man

It was a sight hard to pretend everything was the same as the morning while the Tall Man strode this way and that, bending to look at goods and people. A sight hard, mark my words. Tall as a house he was, flat-faced as a door - but trade he did, great bars of Visitors' metal for this and that. But let me tell you this much; grow yourself tall, cut off your nose and you'll be the first Ammander in Cael to profit from a trade with old Sepan and his lot. He couldn't keep his mind on it!

Well, the Tall Man didn't outlast the fog that market day. Out from the Unending Sea he came and back he went, pretty as you please. I dare say the high and mighty in Port have seen stranger things in their time, but not I, not I.

[ Posted by Reason on April 19, 2005 | Permanent Link ]