The Enclave > Seasons Long Past

The Magi Come

Long before their lands and people became Lost, seafaring Magi from the Vanished Isles explored the Enclave shores. In those days, what is now the city of Port began as a mere trading post, a small population of seafarers and native Datarii ebbing and swelling with the turning of seasons and the strange tides of the Unending Sea.

Datarii greatly valued the knowledge of the Magi; in turn, the Magi recognized the potential of raw Datarii stonework. With the passing of years, the trading post became a small town. High-prowed vessels from the Isles plied their way to the Enclave in greater numbers, returning home heavily laden. Datarii halls, deep and shallow, echoed to the sound of strange wizardry. The Datarii prospered.

As has always been way of things on the Unending Sea, the tracery of sailing routes brought the Isles and the Enclave closer. A journey that once required puissant wizardry and the greatest of Magi came within reach of the youngest adepts. In those years long ago, the Magi traded widely across the Unending Sea, and the Sea was made smaller by their wizardry.

For all their knowledge and trade with the Datarii, the Magi never came to fully understand the nature of the Enclave and the Farthest before they became Lost. Visitors and Trespassers from the Farthest were no more or less remarkable to the Magi than dwellers in other lands bordering on the Unending Sea - the seafarers did not explore the Farthest in the same manner as the Datarii and the Draugh before them.

[ Posted by Reason on December 20, 2004 | Permanent Link ]

The Year of Winter

Not much more than a generation past, Trespassers spilled into the Enclave from deep within the Farthest Winter. Monsterous forms of ice and sleet trampled trees, cattle, warriors and the works of mortals underfoot, plunging the land into deepest winter for a year. Neth froze solid in their encampments, Ammander townsfolk starved, and even the Datarii suffered greatly.

The Trespassers of Farthest Winter were ultimately banished through the courage, wizardry and sacrifice of the renowned Emerald Company. To this day, the Trespassers rage and howl within the ruined Winter Fortress, far from Enclave towns and cities, warded and rendered powerless.

This is why the common Ammander folk say that winter is always just beyond the Farthest Hills.

[ Posted by Reason on December 28, 2004 | Permanent Link ]

The Denier

The Emerald Company rode forth for the last time from the great weathered gate of Three Stones, under the unfriendly stares of the Watch and - so it is said - Black Tower sages. The Company traveled to Lorn as guardians and guides for stern magisters and priests of the Powers, charged with refuting The Denier.

The Denier was a true sage of the Ammand in his youth, this in the time of the Greater Power. Like many others, he left that far land, exchanging rare stories for travel with the Vanished Isle Magi. In the Enclave, The Denier strode forth from obscurity to attain great knowledge, influence and power. It was The Denier who created the Shining Peak overnight in the mists of the Formless. It was The Denier who learned the secrets of the Black Tower from the Datarii, naming that jagged rock of black stone after the tower of The Ebon in Ammand. The sages of that time wrote important works in the strange spaces of the Black Tower. They wrote of the Enclave lands, the Farthest, the Datarii, the long-vanished Draugh and cruel Neth. As their collections grew to touch the Farthest, they found stranger, secret tomes in the Farthest Library.

The Denier was in his prime when Three Stones was but a small collection of traders and common folk who served the first sages of the Black Tower. As Three Stones grew into a village and then a town, The Denier grew old in the manner of all Ammanders. Here the stories grow confused and contradictory. The Denier gained his name by simply and outrightly denying the certainty of his own death. Was this name given or chosen, and by what wizardry did The Denier erase his birth name from the Enclave? Were the many books penned by his hand burned, hidden, or Lost through stranger means? Legends tell of an increasingly oppressive presence of age and death that hung over Three Stones as The Denier continued to live on.

After later years brought terror and unseemly Trespassers to Three Stones, The Denier departed - or was forced to leave, some say - on the New Road to Lorn. No one mourned his passing. Later still, The Denier hid himself away behind stone walls in the depths of the Lorn Forest. As the seasons passed, Lorn became shunned, Ammander villagers driven away or changed in terrible ways by what they saw in the near Farthest. Even the Neth would not enter Lorn; Kus Pakak they call it, the Rotten Place, Unfit To Eat. Still, The Denier continued to deny death, and the taint of Lorn spread a little further with each year. It became a tale, all too real, with which to scare children and tell about the fire on a cold, windswept night.

Generations passed and Three Stones grew to become a city led by magisters and priests. Now, the Emerald Company and their charges rode into Lorn - rode at least until their horses would go no further. In Rurn's Place they found horrible forms where once were people and the magisters fled. In the Lorn Forest, bare of leaves and empty of creatures, the Farthest yawned open to breath dust, decay and the whispers of things that should not be. The priests, struck dumb with terror, ran panicked into Farthest Lorn, never to be seen again. Here was a thing more real and immediate than their Powers.

At the first piles of fallen, crumbling stone amid the bare trees, it fell to the Ammanene Unsharee of the Emerald Company to voice the Refutation inked by sages and ordered by magisters safe in Three Stones.

In the weeks following their departure, scarcely a dozen of the Company returned, burdened and sickened under a great, malevolent wizardry. The Denier had been refuted, but the Emerald Company was no more. There was no gratitude from the magisters and priests of Three Stones, nor was the taint of Lorn lifted. What of The Denier or the fate of those Lost to Farthest Lorn? No one speaks of these matters openly now - it is as if no one knows.

[ Posted by Reason on January 3, 2005 | Permanent Link ]

Bitter Roots from the Farthest Market

The Year of Bitter Roots, yes, when strange Visitors appeared in the dockside market after the last snows. They and their beasts were piled high with roots, but they wouldn't trade with anyone until Menas found out it was statues they wanted. It was a sight! Port cleaned out of every last figurine and carving for bundled roots from the Farthest Market ... but stranger things have happened.

Ah, but the roots. The first taste was like a perfect pearl dissolving on your tongue while the memory of wealth warmed your heart, ending in the sigh of your first love. Everyone had to try it, but the second taste would only have you retching in the gutter. The third and fourth too for the stubborn ones. Only ever the one taste - bitter wizardry, I say, but what do you expect? Still, Menas and his cronies were counting coins until they ran out of buyers. Oh, the ill will wished upon them by half the traders in Port! I'll wager they have boxes of that wizardry from the Farthest hidden away yet. You know their sort - wouldn't throw a burned torch away if they thought there was a coin left somewhere in creation.

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

Legends of the Draugh

The Draugh preceeded the Datarii, passing into obscure legend long before the Magi came from the Unending Sea to build the Light Towers of Port. The only tangible remnants of the Draugh are a few ancient words in the Datarii language and a handful of mysterious black stone structures, such as the craggy Black Tower of Three Stones.

Datarii believe that the Draugh created everything above the mountain rock; air, sky, water and the green wilds - as well as the Unending Sea and those who sail it. The Draugh were crafters like the Datarii, but greater beings: wielders of potent wizardry who shaped creation as the stonefolk shape rock.

No-one knows what the Draugh looked like, or what became of them. Some of the oldest Datarii myths claim the Draugh returned to the Farthest in order to join the Crafter. Others tell of the way in which the Powers banished the Draugh to the deepest places beneath the Enclave. Still others claim the Powers and the Draugh to be one and the same, or that Draugh and Datarii share a common heritage. The truth, as for many things, is lost to time.

[ Posted by Reason on January 25, 2005 | Permanent Link ]

Year of the Great Eel

Strange things come from the Unending Sea; fisherfolk are used to the unusual in their nets and on their lines. The ugliest catches are thrown back, the rest sold at market or as curios. Still, little from Farthest Sea - before or since - even begins to compare to the Great Eel, a Trespasser that appeared off the coast of Port no more than a handful of summers past.

A reclusive, aged chronicler of Vanished Isle descent dwelled in Cael at that time, past the Odanmouth on the Coast Road. He shunned the Ammander customs of sagely naming - and the Enclave sages themselves - choosing to be known as Varim the Recorder and guarding his manuscripts jealously. The sea ran in Varim's blood; he was known to sail to the rocky islets off Cael for days on end to work in isolation. When the Great Eel first began to feed upon fisherfolk in the warm seasons of that year, Varim made his last journey to Port to see for himself. By the time of his arrival, the common folk of the city were in uproar. No-one dared sail beyond the bay and provisions were becoming costly. The Great Eel was the size of the Seafarers' Guild hall, a hoary creature of scales and scallops capable of devouring a small boat whole. It lurked in the depths, only sporting on the surface at dusk as if to taunt the cityfolk.

As the leaves began to fall, the Council - in desperation - offered a splendid reward to those who could rid Port of this horrible Trespasser. Troubadors bemoaned the passing of the times of the Emerald Company, but there was no shortage of schemes once so much coin was at stake. Amongst the more memorable attempts was that made by a couragous - or greedy, or foolhardy, depending on who you wish to believe - Watch captain from Three Stones. He took a small boat and ten spears to challenge the Eel one calm evening and was quickly swallowed whole. That ended any boastful talk and foolish plans amongst spearmen in Port.

An enterprising gang of thieves pushed flaming boats out into the sea one evening to scare the Great Eel away. They roamed the dockside proclaiming their success before the last boat had even burned out - all the while, the Eel sported as the sun went down. A motley company of archers shot at the Eel from the cliffs and rocky shore, but may as well have been throwing flowers. The shouted Refutations of minor sages and devotions made to Salin and the Fisher in Darkness were similarly ineffective. Guildsmen proposed the use of catapults and other old weapons of war from the Ammand; there was much discussion and rifling of private libraries, but nothing came of it.

In the end, a few brave seafarers took the most seaworthy of the prison hulks out of the harbor to meet the Eel. For reasons that remain unclear, Varim the Recorder was amongst them. The Great Eel savaged the hulk, breaking it asunder and consuming what it could. Neither Varim nor the seafarers returned to Port, but the Eel was later seen rolling in the water in some distress. Later still it vanished back into the Unending Sea - but it was well into winter before the fisherfolk felt safe once more.

The councillors who had been reduced to offering up a vast reward were well pleased with the outcome, all told. The Eel had been vanquished and at no additional cost to their estates. In the spring of the following year, the manuscripts of Varim the Recorder found their way from Cael to the Library of Three Stones - a matter that left certain sages just as pleased as the wealthy councillors of Port.

[ Posted by Reason on January 31, 2005 | Permanent Link ]

Year of Three Sails

Listen to him and his two good teeth spouting that old rhyme! I'll eat every sawdust-stuffed eel in this place and carve my name on the highest roof beam blindfolded if ever a Neth sailed the Unending Sea. Some drunkard Guildsman sang that song on his way to an early grave, but there sits Ochan swinging his mug like it all came from the wisest whitebeard in all creation!

Pah! Of course I know better! Three sails there were that summer - no Neth, not then and not ever. You have my grandfather's word on that, and that's more than good enough for you mangy, spirit-soused eels. You may as well spin a tale of a ship of stonefolk or castles under the currents as of Neth at sea. But three sails there were, three sails for three great ships of odd design, the strangest seafarers you can imagine at the helms and mastheads. The old Magi must have seen some sights in far lands, for these had teeth like a dog, legs for their arms, blue-painted skin and great round eyes, big as your fist, aye. They flashed their mirror-signs and hoisted pennants of all colors, sailed between the cliffs and around the bay as pretty as you please. They never dropped anchor, but followed the wind and currents back into the Unending Sea that very same day.

The merchants and Islefolk may have wailed and cried into their ale that season, but I'll wager your grandparents heaved a sigh or two. It's not right to have things other than honest folk walking the docks. Hoi! Bring a new cask and have Ochan tell a real tale, of Salin and the Fisher ... no more of that mudwater nonsense about Neth.

[ Posted by Reason on February 18, 2005 | Permanent Link ]

Spears and Blades Like Seeds Beneath the Fields

Generations ago, the finest of the Temple Guard bled and died on the grass beyond Port - the first and last great meeting of spear and blade after the old Ammand tradition in the Enclave. The Farthest Battle opened like a sudden thunderstorm, crushing the opposing spearmen of Port and Three Stones into confusion and flight amidst lumbering Trespassers and strange, panicked warriors of unfamiliar colors.

Landsmen villages and the outskirts of Port burned; the remnants of the Temple Guard faded with the passing of seasons, replaced by Guildsmen and militia.

There are many places outside Port where red iron spears, armor, old bones and blades lie just beneath the surface. The Landsmen plant trees on these spots or quietly bury remains deeper when they are disturbed by mule-pulled ploughs. Landsmen whisper stories of the Farthest Battle by firelight, and treat its echoes with care.

[ Posted by Reason on March 10, 2005 | Permanent Link ]

How the Emerald Company Slew the Winter Beasts

As the snow came, melted and came again that winter, two Trespassing beasts came forth from the Farthest Wilds to hunt commoner folk by night. Terrible they were, teeth the length of your forearm, shaggy but spined like eels, cunning as a man and twice as fast. They made their den in the Commoners' Wild; dragged children screaming from their beds they did, and savaged the militia spears who tried to stop them.

Thirty spears of the old Emerald Company were wintering in Port that year - aye, The Cursed and the hero Tarurn amongst them. The Council pushed the promise of coin upon the Company as the beasts ate men and women. A hundred spears and axes patrolled the frozen streets each night by torchlight, but still the cunning Trespassers took their fill of folks just like you and I. Break down doors they would, or leap from roof to roof with jaws full of man.

Spears, fishing line, tinder and barrels of lamp oil, boy. The Emerald spears took the lines from tree to tree in the Commoners' Wild by day, making paths in the undergrowth and carving route marks on the bark. They knew the Farthest like no other, and had their regets of it too, but they found the beasts' den right enough - a great pit, the bones of children amidst dirt and snow, the stench of rot. Aye, so in went the tinder and the lamp oil and up went the flames! Thirty spears waited for the beasts around the pit and thirty spears took the life of the one that leapt out aflame.

That is how the Emerald Company slew the winter beasts that year. Aye, and that is why you should walk fast past the Wilds, boy. No telling what might be watching you from behind the trees.

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

The Joining of the Odan

Aye, and there's a tale to that old prow high on the wall, bare of islemarks and battered as it is. Maybe you've heard the singing of Krineth's journey down the Farthest Odan - aye, and a fine tale it is too, save for it being Isleblooded Herei who braved the Farthest River with stonefolk wizardry to show the way. There's much to be said for Krineth and his crew, and many to be saying it, but he didn't leap from his tomb to ride the Farthest waters, mark me well! No, the joining of the Odan through the Farthest Wilderness was after Krineth's time.

Aye, the prow. Shaped here, it was, on the docks afore folks were to be using the wizardry of islemarks lest they meant it. Then taken inland it was, a fine fate to befall the results of seafarers' craft! Herei's crew hauled their fresh-built riverboat up the Stone Road past Three Stones and thence the New Road to the deep, fast Odan River. Aye, and there's a task not to be envied; Herei wasn't one to shy from hard work, and that's more than I'll say for most.

The rest of the tale you know already, like as not. The wizardry of the Way Stone bartered from Datarii; the angry waters and rocks; the plunge into the Farthest; the strange riverfolk. Aye, and the prow that found its way back down the coast from the Odanmouth to the seafarers who crafted it.

[ Posted by Reason on April 27, 2005 | Permanent Link ]