A Descriptive Forage Into A Certain Geographical Location
A Descriptive Forage Into A Certain Geographical Location
Posted by Alice belladora, 2:14pm, 20 Oct, 2011
Ah, yes. Here we are again. Me, a board of writing squares before me, an amused smirk upon my countenance.
Writing brings such a panacea to my whirling mind, and also gives me a moment to reflect, partially, like a broken mirror steeped in a rich metaphor stew.
Today i have much to write, and i hope my first expedition into the world of writing about worlds is a reasonably engaging one. So, without further ado...
The Eastern Continent.
As the name would perhaps suggest, a continent lying in the far-flung east, nestled in the cloudy sea of improbability. A rich and diverse landscape pervades within its boundaries, from arid desert in the West to Wildlands in the North.
Perhaps the most untouched land in this world of many, the eastern continent pays host to a great number of abandoned structures, most notably the Bell Tower Of Ages, left unto the ravages of time.
Long known as the Seat Of Wisdom, the Eastern Continent holds boundless knowledge in its crumbling temples and also oblivion in its Pink Absinthe, a national liquid delicacy of some renown, mostly concentrated towards the western lands.
Ah, but enough of my scribblings! The history and culture of this fabled land should become apparent upon the revealment of the various locations below.
The Kingdom of Etherin
A kingdom known for its flashes of blinding colour against the weathered stone architecture of its buildings, its paved streets and bustling markets, its Akademy, its sky-port. But mostly for a certain beverage, of which i mentioned above. Yes, pink absinthe! gloriously hued binger of delusions and tuneless, yet enthusiastic singing. Indeed, Etherin is in fact the very centre of production and trade, which is reflected in its inebriated wizard folk, of which the city makes up to forty percent of its population. Not a night goes by without the merry sound of "My Goblin Ate All The Cabbage" wafting its auditory delights through the warm air. Warm air is something rather in abundance, as we're on the topic. Much hot steam escapes through the city's vents, sprinkled about like holes in a large and dirty pepperpot and giving a certain slapdash charm to the already crooked alleys and alarmingly leaning buildings, many of which are propped up with a startling abundance of nail-riddled wood and tarnished copper piping.
These do have some other use as impromptu washing lines, and many's the traveler who's had his vision assaulted by a pair of cheerfully striped wizard pants.
...And that's all, folks. I shall write more once the sun rises from its hiding place among the hills on the distant horizon. Till next time.
This message was last edited on 5 Nov 2011.
Seeing things right in front of you-
Posted by Radek, 8:19am, 28 Oct, 2011
Or how I once again managed to wonder where you had wondered off to only to notice that you'd found a nice nook to recline in. This is much better than standing in the bank; I wonder if we could get something cold and refreshing to go with this, though i'll admit to a fear of spilling anything on the squares as you write; to cut a story off mid-sentence is a grave crime. As much as the sea of metaphors you weave is deep, deeper still is the picture painted in the minds eye - your smirk is rather pleasant, you know - in fact, i think you brought something to my recollection...
Stories have I heard of the expanses of the Eastern Continent - a half-remembered discussion with a very friendly wizard-sailor about the traffic of the great sky port in Etherin, where it is not impossible to awaken one day in a melee of scents and sights from across the known skies; each destined to go somewhere further still, or perhaps remain in Etherin, sold on one of it's famous open air bazaars; where one can find almost anything should they look hard enough... Though, if they look too hard, what they're searching for might just disappear!
Er, that might be helped by the less-mythological-more-factual qualities of that highly delicious pink absinthe. Not that i'm saying i've had some in some time, Belladora - Well, not recently enough to remember more than the lingering sweetness and sense of wide-eyed wonder! Heh, perhaps that is one of the greatest exports of Etherin - a sense of lackadaisical but constant welcomeness - a side-effect of the high wizard population or the construction of the Akademy perhaps..?
Never have heard "My Goblin..." before. Is the tune similar to 'Softly Crooned the Desert Nightingale"? Because we used to sing that ages ago - actually, I'd heard rumors that it wasn't an Almerian folk song, but one that had come from the great trade caravans that float lazily on the desert thermals above the western reaches - that was before the problems in recent history, perhaps enough said on the matter.
Wisdom, though... It does seem that some of the most beautiful and heart-rending things come from the workshops and towers of the Eastern Continent. So many of the glassworks you find from years back are still produced there, or so I've heard: so lifelike can they bolster glass as to make it writhe as if bewitched - er, magick of some kind might actually be involved, come to think. But that's just what i've heard; and half of all of this is rumor and idle talk.
Means you should definitely share more of your notes, Alice! Clear up my foggy mind and illustrate the entirety of the continent like a cloth map scribbled over with oddly bright pastels. My apologies for taking some time to notice where you'd set up your reflections and observances; but beautiful are the reflections of worlds and upon them. Perhaps there will be more to come?
... Well, i'll be wracking my brain for memories and half-truths until then.
This message was last edited on 28 Oct 2011.
A Continuation Of Some Length
Posted by Alice belladora, 5:00pm, 29 Oct, 2011
Ah. Radek. I was wondering where you'd got to. Not to worry, it was my fault for running off and leaving you in the wake of my frenzied mind-spillages. I can be a touch troublesome for more sedimentary folks, i admit. Why, my old friend Captain Dingbat of Ferryberry used to get in a right old huff about it. Still. He, too, liked keeping Aardvarks, so i can't really complain of a conflict of interests when we all of us had such fun chasing them across the fields of his estate. *Pause.* Anyway!
I have been steaming my head over the past week, and am glad to inform you that I'm ready to bring out the grand ol' typewriter again. It may let out a startling bang once in a while, but it's never failed me. I once threw it out the tallest building in the city, and it only lost a few springs! I call it Jones, after my dear old great-great-great-great-great uncle. He gave me a typewriter very similar to this, but it was eaten by a shark who was, incidentally, called Mavis. That aside, let us begin again, and possibly delve deeper into the Seat Of Wisdom.
The Etherian Desert...
...Not to be confused with the Etherian Dessert, which is a delightful delicacy of some fame, finding its home in, obviously, Etherin. Costs quite a few Gold Pieces too, or so I've heard. Ah, but what I've heard cannot possibly be enough. So, let us take a look at the scribblings of a reliable source to validate my claim.
"Arr. Ye be askin' bout the famed Dessert o' Etherin, do ye be? well, ye've come ta
the right place, near enough. I been samplin' Desserts fer near on seventy
years now, an i got but one thing ta say bout THAT particlar' piece o'
Foolishness it be, an' not only that, it also be a great cruelty to the poor silver
salamander, the oils o' which is extracted by a harsh squeezin', an' gives the
Dessert its iridescent hue! I'd wager YOU shouldn't like ta be squeezed by a
grimy trades-goblin, an' bunged over the shoulder of said evil-doer like a
piece o' ripe cheese! ......*incomprehensible muttering*"
Newt Swamphat Ringsley, Esteemed
Member of the Tatorinian Guild of
Tasters, circa Dragon-Year 1340.
Well, there you have it! At least, i think. *Cough.* Moving swiftly on!
The Etherian Desert, Part II.
Without being amusingly side-tracked by puddings, let us begin afresh.
The Etherian Desert is a desert stretching far and wide, from the Mountains in the North to the Plains in the South, of which i believe i mentioned previously, but without the greater detail which i shall, in good time, bestow upon these much-deserved locations.
Created long, long ago by one of the Four, (Of whom i will elaborate on in the coming weeks) it is largely uninhabited, apart from a few outposts scattered about the edges, and a lost Temple of Unknown Purpose, located somewhere in the Middle, although opinions differ on its exact location. To the West of the Desert lies a glittering Oasis, around which a bustling marketplace has developed, named (After a certain King of Legend) Kan-Rin Jaa.
Merchants come far and wide to sample its exotic delights, and it is a popular phrase among such types that "If you can't get it in Kan-Rin, you can't get it anywhere.", usually followed up by a loud hacking cough and a thorough nasal exploration, occasionally by way of an unwashed handkerchief, but usually by the speaker's own dirt-encrusted fingers.
It is here i pause for a moment, and enlighten you readers to a certain tale most often told to gullible members of the group, usually by the oldest of the group, the one with the seven foot beard and the mischievous, yet toothless, grin.
It is the Tale Of The Sand-Queen, and every merchant and wayward traveler familiar with these lands has heard of it, in some way or another.
The Sand-Queen is said to be a furious spirit of the Earth, and one most protective of the Desert lands. It is said that her fury has only been awakened three times in a thousand years, and that each awakening is precluded by an ominous song on the wind.
Of course, the last time her slumber was disturbed was way before most of the tale-tellers were born, and even their fathers had it handed down to them by their fathers. It is indeed possible that the story grows and changes as the years go by, and that maybe the actual origin of it is quite different from what it eventually became.
But still it is told, and still it persists, and still all desert wayfarers are wary of stepping out alone into the whispering dunes by nightfall. Quite how nightfall differs from dayfall is a question to be considered, but it is almost always an unspoken rule that setting out by yourself under a watchful moon is almost always a bad idea wherever you are.
...Yes, i think i should leave that particular story to rest upon the mouths of storytellers far better than i, and return to our current subject.
In the heart of the desert, where only the brave or foolish venture, lies that place, the place spoken of in furtive tones, that place of secrets and shadows, and also of badly lit interiors, which contribute a great deal to the former two things.
Yes. That place. The well-hidden entrance to The City of the Trolls, place of a thousand ways, a thousand winding roads within the earth. Place of industry, of grime, of beautiful, elegant decay. Place where, interestingly, there is a rather thriving illegal Dragon Egg trade, among other things. Place of tiny, sunken junk shops, the soft, golden light from within sparkling upon the rippled glass windows, coated with a lifetime or more of ash and assorted grime. But mostly ash, owning to the mines.
In the darkness of the streets and alleys, in the glistening reflective pools, brought to unflinching luminescence by the sticky lanterns that hang, like a thousand glistening eyes, in an imitation of a sky that never was, pervades the scent of the black pits, the subterranean Labyrinth, Trasgo Bajo.
...My, my. Look at the time! And we haven't even scratched the surface. Still. They always say that good tales take time, whether they be true or not, so i suppose i should finish before i wear out poor Jones the typewriter. Sometimes i wonder who "they" are exactly, usually when I'm feeling in a particularly thoughtful mood. But let us leave it at that, another thing they say, and return in due course. Perhaps you, Radek, could add a little something more of your own. I'm sure it would be informative and resembling in some metaphoric way a spiral staircase.
So, (and i realize i say this a large amount) until next time, when i shall continue with my forages into Trasgo, and write a little about the Great Eastern Railway. Fare you well.
This message was last edited on 5 Nov 2011.
Posted by Radek, 8:33pm, 30 Oct, 2011
Alice - it's always a pleasure to be in the wake of your mind-spillages; i find navigating them to be a million times more fascinating than navigating the non-metaphorical river that i once served as a guide through, of sorts. The fact that i may have become sedentary in my quest to hold a ridiculous position in the bank terrifies me, so i will pace around the room as i talk to create the illusion of motion!... And to help me gather my thoughts, as what you have gathered seems like solid fact in most places, fact that comes from rumor. What i add, perhaps, shall be little more than more rumor which we can merrily mine for more fact! Quid pro quo, logical circles and all that.
So! Keep Jones primed and ready, stretch those spritely fingers of yours - and feel free to embellish, elucidate and otherwise change these words into something that make sense; or at least would entertain a prospective reader while informing them, possibly more than they expect. Wry humor can hide the most important of truths -
*Pausing to reflect on his witticisms, the gunman smiles widely.* Right on, I've actually seen them making that dessert - terribly unkind, even if that Newt fellow sounds a bit, uh, excitable. Something that takes seven sweetmakers seven thousand silver salamanders to several months to create seems like an awful lot of effort for one desert, too - even if it is very good.
*Shaking his head sadly, Radek starts to pace - or rather, walk in circles. Occasionally he stops to gesticulate wildly or smile at Alice - but makes sure not to distract her too much as she types; for one, old Jones seems to have enough spirit of it's own to warrant constant attention!..* More to the point of your guide, I suppose... The salamanders are friendly and omnipresent, even with hunting for their scales and oil as an ingredient in sweets and alchemy both profound and profane. This has abated somewhat as a contact at the ports of Mursiya mentioned that most of the wizards of Etherin have moved on to more humane reagents mined from the salt crags beneath the desert sands...
... And those caverns themselves are both beautiful and deadly. For long ago, when the world was more primeval and warm - when Almeria moved to conquest and Etherin was, if not new, less ancient - the people of the desert confederations would often retreat into them when war or the spellstung heat grew too unbearable. You can actually notice a series of markings on the caves closest to the surface; though may have faded, some will tell you things, like 'safe place' 'friends near' or 'don't eat that mushroom, it's absolutely foul'.
They had to leave as soon as possible though - like many of the caves in our own continent, the salt-encrusted mines of karst and stone that sing with productivity now are still largely unexplored. Great stone men - golems from a bygone age - do tasks beneath the surface for reasons only they can fathom, or have perhaps forgot. I hear it's both terrifying and amazing to see them do their work - which is why most of the mines are now operated by imps and automata summoned by the wizards of Etherin. It's not as if the golems are hostile, but -
Well, it all comes back to the Sand-Queen. I've heard that tale before. Countless times, actually. Even told it a few times myself - mostly when unpleasantly drunk and trying to sound more impressive than my adventures would actually leave me!.. *Radek chuckles, but stops his pacing - his eyes become filled with a far-off expression, trying to recall a tale that his twisted into a million others.* I'm not a local of the dessert - or, desert, sorry - so I don't know how much of this is fiction, Belladora... Hopefully it'll still be of some use to you.
Everything from rumors that she was a goddess and protector of the moon to a great warrior-monarch haunt the stories I recall - what's most important is that never, ever should anyone wander across the dunes come nightfall without her express permission - and given that she has not been seen within recent waking memory of any one, that becomes a bit of a challenge. One of the members of the Toubanni meet - a sort of small clan, if you will - once told me there was a stone as brittle and silvery as the moon that you could wear as an amulet or ring to protect yourself or earn good grace with her - and then he told me with a halfhearted smile that it was just something he told others to gain the patronage of foreign merchants.
But then again, he wore an inconspicuous moonstone ring, and if I lived in the desert, i believe i would as well. It's impossible to tell where superstition begins and ends with these tales - and perhaps that is part of their charm. It is unfortunately all I know for certain of the matter - though perhaps some other topic will jolt the rumors floating around my mind into a flurry of activity!
What I can tell you about with some satisfaction in my certainty is that Kan-Rin really does carry everything you could ever look for - just at differing times, places, prices... You may find something entirely other than your original goal, only to be distracted further afield. It is easy to wind up surrounded by new friends and on the rapid road to Etherin, or staying late up into the night telling stories with people that you have only recently met - and just as easy to find something heart-rendingly beautiful that you are unable to buy, destined for sale to a mysterious party who leave by sun-up.
On a side-note, the old royal mud-brick buildings are beautiful, and even though there is no monarch, you should pay a respectful visit if you are in the area; the names of the kings, queens, and minor princes of that oasis are all engraved upon certain bricks and baked into their surface by heat and time. It is quite beautiful.
And so too are the great stone roads of the Trolls, though only twice have I dared set foot upon them myself. Never have I seen a Troll - perhaps they too, have retreated further into the depths of the underneath. What i have seen are smugglers and those who use the roads to transport the eggs of dragons, rare components from all corners of the world - and things yet more vile still, destined for the labs of unscrupulous mages or decadent collectors. The funny thing about getting in a fight with such smugglers is that they tend to be terribly well-armed and equipped - so although it's hardly a glorious thing to put in your book, if the traveler is attempting to waylay the more unpleasant of such brigands, they should have friends and be well-equipped - or otherwise be prepared to run.
Not all who smuggle and hide among the undercities are terrible, of course. You are just as likely to meet a rather down-on-their luck resident of one of the other border cities of the desert, or a smuggler of a less confrontational nature. And if you stay to the undershanties with their bright, artificial - and melancholy - lights, it is my experience that the underground is as safe as the above; but still a reflection strange. Wish i had more to say about the Trolls themselves - for their industry and crafts still remain some of the most intricate and solid of our time. Of course, if we're talking about 'that town' in particular..!
*Radek's eyes light up at something Alice said, and he once again begans to gesture animatedly, casting about for something to draw the dust on the floor into shapes with; neither his skill nor luck find such a tool, leaving the slightly dejected slump of his scarecrow-like shoulders as indication that he must use only his words; they will have to do. Still, recognition lingers in his gaze, as he happily recounts more to Alice.*
Ah! Trasgo Bajo! You don't know how familiar that name is to me, though my parents called it Adnah Raeeuh, the Great Below. A place filled with hobgoblins and daemons ready to steal children into their depths if they misbehaved!... Er, and more terrifying things still, but that is primarily what I remembered as a child. As an adult though... Well, to think of it being a real place causes a shiver down my spine even now. What wonder and horror must have lurked in those quiet halls beneath the earth!... I'm lurking forward to hearing what you've heard from the people to whom it was not just a distant memory!... You've gone and done it again, Alice.
So it is as always, i am completely captivated by your stories and the patience with which you work upon old Jones. When you continue your stories you shall find me an eager listener - though as we go beyond and farther east, to the great plains and steppes - and what lies beyond and between - they may be of less use to you. if nothing else, if this is a twisty spiral staircase we are falling down, i could think of no better staircase to careen across.
... Until next time indeed. May you walk in wonders, Belladora - it seems an appropriate aphorism both to the nature of our discussion - and one that you follow well. i look forward with bated breath to your next installment, whenever it may come.
This message was last edited on 30 Oct 2011.
A Rambing Escapade Into The Folk Of Trasgo~
Posted by Alice belladora, 5:01pm, 2 Nov, 2011
...Sometimes i think, Radek, that there is simply too much history to chronicle. But chronicle it people have, and with much skill i admit. But to give life to an idea, a memory, is such an invigorating thing, don't you think? But here i go again, rambling like an elderly man who's had a little too much apple cider. So, without further ado, i present my... hmmm. I seem to have lost my ancient book of "Incredibly Dangerous Things That At First Look Completely Innocuous." A rare tome, and one that i was sure i had right beside me before i fired Jones up for the evening. I shouldn't be surprised if that dastardly Book-Keeper of mine has done away with it for use as a doorstop. I shall see him about it right away, after i finish another (hopefully) riveting chapter in my... Well, there's a funny thing. I haven't the slightest idea what to call this little venture of ours. "A history of the Eastern continent", perhaps? Or even "Everything you need to know about the Seat Of Wisdom." I have no idea, you know. This needs some thought. But! Let us not trouble ourselves with the details right now, and plunge straight on in to Trasgo, where the shapes in the darkness are waiting ever so patiently.
...Hardly bears repeating, but as i enjoy it so, i shall do it anyway. The City of the trolls. There! But, as is often the way with these things, it is not just simply a troll Dwelling, as places of this type are usually called, mostly accompanied with a disapproving shake of the head. No. This is a city of more. A city of so much more. Perhaps, we shall start with a smattering of information about the locals. Always a good thing, especially when one of them challenges you to a card game involving the trading of personal items in the middle of an under lit drinking establishment! Ah ha. So.
Befitting a place of such boundless interest, The population of Trasgo is made up of a vast array of beings. Small ones, large ones, extremely large ones... some of these last include the peculiar creatures known as Beast-folk. Those under this classification are often quite sizable, but there are also Beast-folk of diminutive size, Faeries a good, and extremely sharp-toothed example, the little blighters... *Alice goes off into a small reverie here, and is awakened rather unceremoniously by Jones backfiring loudly.*
Gaah! ...Anyhow, as the title suggests, trolls are included under this particular genus. Yes, trolls. As many know, there are five types of trolls, all of whom i will elaborate on in good time, though not, i think, this time. Let us restrict ourselves to the few found in Trasgo. First off, we have Stone trolls, of which the Kingdom is a natural habitat for them, with its Echoing caverns and propensity for rockslides. Also of a large number are the Earth trolls, with their love of mushrooms, heavy covering of moss, and great dislike for any kind of light, natural or unnatural. Of course, all trolls are averse to light, with the exception of Fire trolls, who dwell most often in, as one would expect, bright and warm places. Indeed, these creatures cannot survive in any environment other than that very near a furnace in temperature, and thus are highly prized workers in those mines which the most potent fire crystals are found. Inside them also dwell the Ruby Salamanders, creatures of flame and extremely valuable in the high Magickal arts.
But, let's not get off track. These two types of which i spoke of before i did the Fire trolls, the Stone and the Earth, are the most common found in the City-
...Ah, look! A most fortuitous happenstance has just occurred, and with remarkable timing too. A large, leather-bound book has just fallen, with some elegance, from my largest bookshelf. Let us see what lies within. My!
*A good deal of time passes, as Alice inspects the contents of the book with an almost-expert eye. Eventually, she lets out a triumphant cry of "Hoorah!", throws the book down on her recently-polished desk, in the process throwing off a jar filled with pickled onions (genuine antique!), and, with much excitement, begins to transcribe the faded letters.*
The Lesser Trolls~
"The result of a rather arresting combination of ordinary troll and Mechanoid, and also a good blasting of powerful Magick. Small, incredibly strong, and easily swayed, the lesser troll is the most frequent choice for Sorcerers and Alchemists, those with an unbending desire to mix things that would, in the normal course of events, stay far, far apart. And, as the drunken old man often cries, to hell with the consequences. This is where Lesser trolls come in, often as means of transport for dangerous substances, usually enlisted as the Practitioner's Honking pig, as they say.
And in this purpose, i must admit, they serve admirably well, bearing the workload and gigantic, bubbling vials with great stoicism. The--"
Ahem. And that, Radek, is where it cuts out. Right when it was starting to get interesting, too. A great shame. Mind you, translating that Ancient Language with no name was a mightily unpleasant chore, especially so since the previous owner seems to have indulged in, no, positively rejoiced in his, ah, alcoholism shall we say. Having a good deal of chapter eleven riddled with bullets hasn't helped either! Well, i think we should leave it at that, until i can get a big tube of glue and a blowtorch! Ga ha ha! *Long pause* ...Anyway! That's about all you need to know about the types that call Trasgo Bajo their home. The rest, apart from trolls, can be named on one hand. Let's see. There's the Faeries... i told you about them, of course. Then there's the Demon-folk. Not often you find them, but they do exist, skulking around taverns, usually, and occasionally doing shady business with the various merchants that pass through on their way into the the mountain-mines, and the ways within them. After that, we have the Goblins, the other such impish type creatures, and... Hmmm. Perhaps, ah, i need more than one hand after all. No matter. For now i must stop, and begin to relay the story of the great eastern railway, for if i don't right now, why, it'll be all week before i can start again, what with this shipment of cursed books coming in! But don't worry- I have a large quantity of protective armor, and i should, if I'm careful, sustain only a few dozen light bites, and a mild savaging.
*A doorbell rings, far off. Then it doesn't. Then it does a second time.*
Drat. That must be them now. I am sorry to say this is where i must leave you, and Jones, and take up a fighting stance. I apologize if this most recent chapter has been a touch rambling... i feel in rather a rambling mood, if i may say so. But continue i shall. As a few words of parting, might i suggest that you help me remember the name for that town? You know, the one that clings to the mountain, split by a waterfall, wooden bridges strung across? I believe that one of the mine-passages exits there, but i can't be sure- Ah, i must go. The delivery man is getting very impatient. He seems to be throwing bricks at my window. My word. That's really not a very pleasant thing to say at this time in the afternoon.
I'll be seeing you, Radek... if i ever get these damn gauntlets on, that is.
This message was last edited on 5 Nov 2011.
The fable of Oldflail and the Eternal Door
Posted by Radek, 2:43am, 5 Nov, 2011
Alice- Well, if you ramble about such things, may you always find the inclination to do so. I say we make a fine old pair of crotchety taletellers batting our way through history. But even if we can't get it all down and stored in a sea of ink, so long as we spread some of it... Well, that's something worth smiling about it, isn't it? Speaking of smiles, Leonard passed by while you were hauling Jones into the room; he did have a rather cheerful grimace plastered on his face, and was possibly carting a very large tome with a title something like the one you just mentioned - or something entirely elsewise. Er, and as to why i didn't stop him to ask why he was smiling so broadly - i plead guilty to being in a faint, inanimate daydream. *flashing a familiar sheepish grin, Radek snaps his fingers* Oh, about names! Hrmn, naming is important so perhaps something like 'Journey to the Seat of Wisdom?' Or maybe - *But as Alice speaks, Radek's voice drifts to silence - and he listens with rapt attention. Well, save for a few cheeky interruptions - but mostly rapt attention.*
Trasgo Bajo... The way you describe it is enough to send shivers down the spine, although the words alone simply seem to draw the listener closer. Wait, wait. Personal items? Allliiiiice. Well, 'completely hypothetical' personages and (mis?)adventures aside, it sounds like you know more about it than I do. For example, that it was home to more than just Trollkin; i'd thought most of the faeriefolk who lived under the hills were... Oh, sharp-toothed you say? Never mind, that seems about right. Sooo, this establishment-
*Radek's barely concealed mirth is interrupted by the timely interruption of Alice's reverie being untimely interrupted by Jones - and once more he falls silent, staring at nothing else but Alice as her voice describes the Trolls that live beneath. His eyes cloud in faint recollection, and his fingers tap against a nearby desk - which turns out to be a stack of books that collapse and expel dust into his face.*
Aa-nfhs! Sorry. The Fire Trolls... I've heard about their huge ziggurat-like 'buildings' - carved from raw stone and veins of metal not by tool, but by fire and acid to serve as temples and place of rest. Though never having seen such a building myself - so take what I say with a grain of salt - they sound quite beautiful, and very effective at what they do; finding oneself in a room that was once whole with minerals must be a very humbling experience. The Fire Trolls used to come to the surface, didn't they? Only, my great-grandmother used to say that they would trade trinkets of bronze and obsidian for news of the seasons and positions of the stars...
... Then again, she left us to become a successful magistrate in Isbiliya - her life revolved around facts and logic and she didn't tell those stories anymore. We could never figure out if she'd created them herself or they had roots in truth, you know? But! There is one Troll - and Beast-folk - hero I know about. Oldflail the Timeworn! Who supposedly lived for only two centuries, despite a very lucky name - and then climbed down into the murky darkness in search of the rare velveteen fungus that grows in those rarest of naturally formed caverns, thick with moss and lush stagnant water - but completely devoid of light.
Oldflail never found the velveteen fungus (we think). But there was door in the depths; a door carved of marble, even though no marble should have formed amongst the sediment. And it could not open - nor, when forced, did it seem to lead anywhere in particular. But still, Oldflail found a way -through- it, and some Stone Trolls say that when the door opens again, Oldflail will return to share secrets of what lies beyond. For the Beast-folk, the story is not a literal fable, but a cautionary tale. Don't open strange doors while looking for rare mushrooms! But they too consider Oldflail's spirit of exploration something to remember in story and song.
*Radek finishes recounting a story he'd heard from a friend of a friend, noticing that Alice is still eying the oddly familiar tome. He falls silent, watching her read and only pausing to catch a jar of rather delicious looking pickled onions - then watches her again, brows furrowed in curiosity.*
*A good deal of time passes, as Alice inspects the contents of the book with an almost-expert eye. Eventually, she lets out a triumphant cry of "Hoorah!", throws the book down on her recently-polished desk, in the process throwing off a jar filled with pickled onions (genuine antique!), and, with much excitement, begins to transcribe the faded letters - to him they are completely as unreadable as standard Cant, not that he would easily admit that particular stumbling block... As she finishes, Radek beams and cheers - dislodging more dust into to the air.*
Bleargh, really should learn to stop doing that - er, ahmn. Anyway! Alice, that was amazing! I'd always suspected those little Homunculi used by Ordo Pecularis weren't entirely mechanical... Brr. Call me superstitious, but the amount of Magick - or perhaps alcohol and mechanical equipment - necessary in such an endeavor... But damn, what a terrible place for the book to cut out! You know, i think there was some duct tape in my coat - it's currently holding the left side together, but don't worry, i'll just sew a patch on it -
... Really, though. I wouldn't have been able to make hide or hair out of that, Alice. *A subtle yet happy smile.* We can always come back to the Demon-folk, and the Goblins; there are Goblin settlements of all sorts of character and purpose on the frays of the Eastern Continent, aren't there? But - i would love to hear you start on the eastern railway. If you'd like to rest for a bit, i can start some tea and perhaps pop off to the market and get us some lavender chocolates-
Ah, let me help you with those - hah, you have to promise to be careful with this things. Not that I'm worried about you, but it'd be terrible if you ended up breaking their spines - terrible pun, sorry - in self defense!.. And maybe just a bit worried. Anyway, I'll be here when you get back, Alice. Don't worry about the delivery man - he probably hasn't been cautioned in the proper way to deal with cursed books of cranky and villainous demeanor (is there one?). Well, ah-
*Fumbling with his words, Radek waves as Alice leaves, then sits down to think - time passing slowly as once again his fingers rest against a stack of books.* That town... C'mon, think. The one with the overgrown fields that sometimes grow those flowers that reach up to the sun. Ely- No... Elitsa! That's the one, Alice! *Smiling to himself, Radek mentions to Leonard that he'll be out for a bit and, whistling, walks off to acquire some hard-earned fuel for a certain valiant writer/cursed book handler...*
This message was last edited on 5 Nov 2011.
A Rather Long Posting Of Some Detail
Posted by Alice belladora, 1:27pm, 5 Nov, 2011
And so i return. You may notice, Radek, that i am covered in a variety of scratches and, most intriguingly, green paint. But do not fret! All shall soon be revealed, in what will be, according to the title, quite a long posting. Ah, to write again! Such joy it affords me. So, let us, once again, begin. Though perhaps i should enlighten you in regards to the current situation involving my cursed-book shipment.
Well, to be honest, it wasn't what i had been expecting. A few moderate curses, perhaps, and maybe a few imprisoned demons, but not... well, that. So much paint. Yes. And a biting dictionary, too. I thought that those had been extinguished from trade many moons ago, though, naturally, i must admit that sometimes one slips through the fishing net and ends up in the hands of an unassuming personage such as me. Well, let's not give it any more thought than it requires. Let us be content with the fact that it is securely locked away in my strongest cage, and that it seems to have made friends with the fire spirit i keep nearby.
*At this point, an interruption is delivered by way of Alice's senior book-keeper, who is wearing a herring on his shoulder. Unfazed by this, Alice takes the herring and places it in her coat pocket for safe-keeping. The book keeper gives her, and Radek, a polite nod, and then hurries back the way he came.*
Pay him no heed, Radek. It must be the heat. Can be very affecting, can the heat on a poor old soul such as he. So. I believe i promised you that i would spill all relating to the "Great Eastern Railway." Are you comfortable? Then, i shall begin, as soon as i get Jones fired up. Takes a while these days. I think he may be in need of a new outboard motor! *Bang* Ah, here we go.
The Great Eastern Railway.
Which, by an amusing misunderstanding, is actually mainly situated towards the west, stretching straight across the Etherian Desert, passing Etherin, and plunging some way into the the mountains to the North. Interestingly, these mountains do not really, or indeed have ever, had a name. The entire area up there, stretching several hundred miles in all directions, is known collectively as the Wildlands, as i believe i have mentioned several times before, and is largely uninhabited. But more on that later. The Railway goes there, and also branches off into the Western plains, which, naturally, are located to the far West of the Desert. I will provide information on that particular location as well, given time. Ah, so much to chronicle!
Anyhow, let me continue, and in the process elaborate on the particular geographical misnomer that the Railway was gifted, so very long ago.
Back, way back, back when the desert was bustling with trade, with energy, with numerous villages and the markets which, as markets naturally do, sprung up around them... *Pause* back then... there lived a King. Course', he wasn't actually a king as one would usually consider a king. Rather, he was a king of his profession, mainly through money, power, and good contacts, and not necessarily through skill. He was an architect, an inventor, and one with a somewhat misguided vision. A vision of uniting the various regions scattered across the Eastern Continent, and making a large amount of money in the process.
He came up with the idea that a Railway, a great Railway, of size unequaled by anything that had ever been seen before, was what was called for. It would make passage across the Etherian Desert, for travelers and merchants alike, quick and easy, and make deliveries of of great size and weight over great distances possible, where before they had not, except for those with more coin than sense.
So, a period of more than ten years passed. Some say fifteen, some say twenty, some even say it took more than that. In any case, and however long it took, it was built, and for a time it was used. Of course, as is the way with all things, one way or another, it eventually stopped, its steady stream of passengers ceased, and over time it fell into great disrepair, worn away by sand and time in the desert, overtaken by the power of nature in the Wildlands, some parts of it simply swallowed by the forest which makes up much of that place.
You see, it was all to do with the increasing availability to the common traveler, the use of the sky, that eventually became the Railway's downfall. But what sensible and financially watchful wayfarer would choose a slower and more expensive way to make his journey? For our King did not not charge cheaply the use of his beloved invention, and upon the realization that many were abandoning the use of it, he quickly fell to drinking vast quantities of Firecracker whiskey, and took to even more outlandish schemes, culminating in tragedy one day when a prototype for a boiler run entirely on the oily secretions of the Lesser Spotted Exploding Frog, well, exploded.
I am told he perished instantly, in the process completely destroying his home, and every single Exploding Frog that had the misfortune to be there. No one knows of where his remains might be interred, if any remains were left in the first place. But still his memory is committed to history, and his tale is told often over a pint of ale by those who wish to amuse themselves with his folly.
And what of the misnomer? Well, it is considered that the reason for the naming of the Eastern Railway, the Eastern Railway, instead of, correctly, the Western Railway, was simply because the King had never looked at a compass in his life, and nobody had bravery enough to enlighten him to his mistake. I am told he had quite a temper when anybody tried to correct him of anything, which resulted in one occasion where he fired his house-keeper out of a catapult for telling him that the Capital of the Western Continent was not Tatorinia, as he had thought. She turned out fine, by the way, and found her fortune by founding a successful chain of gourmet restaurants.
...So, that is the story of the Great Eastern Railway, and i hope i did not take to rambling, as i usually find myself doing. Tis' the curse of the Book-keeper to become lost in the written word! Now, what else have we not yet explored? Ah, but of course. We still have the Wildlands in the north, the Southlands in the south, and much, much more to tell. I have much time for the taking, and will utilize this unusual happening to its fullest extent! I sense the Wildlands calling to me, so let us have a brief overview of this most interesting location.
Situated to the North, to say it yet again, but also slightly to the east, although nobody much bothers with that particular distinction, especially those who frequent it, for whatever reason that may be. Constituted mainly of forests, mountains, and rivers, the Wildlands are indeed as wild as the wildest Wolverine, although for the most part they do not look particularly threatening. Indeed, for many they appear to be most beautiful, and many's the traveler who has ventured forth unprepared, aiming to do a little light camping, and then out the other side. Alas, this is not the case, for the Wildlands contain many a hungry beast, including (but not limited to) the Great Earthbeasts of the Sky-lands (as the highest peaks are called), the various packs of venom-wolves that roam freely through the deepest and most heavily-forested areas, but occasionally surfacing to higher ground when the time calls for it, and also the beasts of the sky, with their claws and scales and nests, which, if disturbed, will cause them to unleash a fury of great magnitude, sufficient enough to put the wind up anybody foolish enough to do so.
So, as you, Radek, have probably gathered, the Wildlands are not a place for the unprepared. Of course, this means that those who are unprepared often come up against certain types who are very well prepared indeed, and not always of the sort who will gladly lend some of their supplies to those in need. In fact, the Wildlands are the place where most bandits, rogues, and other malcontents go to lie low. The popular phrase "head for the hills" is appropriate here, for the Wildlands are, if anything, one big hill covered in many smaller hills, those hills covered in large quantities of trees, all while mountains assault the senses from every direction imaginable.
Of course, as with our Great Eastern Railway, all things must come to an end, and so do the Wildlands, which end, to the far East, and to the North, with a cliff-edge, and to the South-east, the beginning of the Eastern Grasslands.
Much of the Seat Of Wisdom is made up of large stretches of nothing with occasional splats of civilization, reminiscent of raindrops falling upon a blank piece of paper, the areas surrounding, and including the Wildlands being most prone to this. To the Far South, however, things begin to get interesting. As with the Far North, mountains are frequent, but as we enter the depths of the Southlands, we encounter the Nomads that make their homes there in the valleys between those mountains, and also a great, or what was once great, in a time beyond most ordinary people's remembrance, Sky-city.
Fastened to the earth below by a massive chain so as not to float away, it is a sight of wonder to those unused to such things. Of course, the chain is usually the only thing most get to see, as access to the city itself is difficult for the ordinary person, one who is bound to the earth not by a chain, but by their own limitations. The chain, however, is often as much as most can take, its solemn existence punctuated by the rushing of the eternal waterfall, which cascades from the Sky-city, created through the bending of certain Magickal rules, by sorcerers most powerful. As one regards the great chain, which creaks and sways and is coated with the rust of ages, and listens to the sound of water crashing nearby, a sense of peace is often achieved, which is one of the reasons why the destination is popular with those seeking it.
Now, if you are utterly determined to reach the City itself, and many have, ascent is possible for non-magickal types by way of either climbing the chain itself, a most difficult task, and one that is said to have only been done two or three times in the past hundred years, or by the more traditional way of Sky-ship. Naturally, the City is protected still by Magick barring the passage of those without Magickal ability of their own, (wizards being a most insular type of people) so one must have upon one's person a stone or crystal of power, so as to fool the ancient barrier. Sometimes, though, this is not enough, depending on the size of your assembled party, if you have one, which, being greater than the sum of the power produced by the stone/crystal, will prevent access. This should not present much of a problem for most, however, for if one journeys long enough, especially through the mines, one is sure to come across objects of power, or so says the great storyteller and author of "Seventy ways across the skies", whose name time has, unfortunately, forgotten.
Now, Radek, you might be asking why, if access is so easy for those with appropriate transport, isn't the City awash with opportunistic merchants, seeking a profit from pilgrims and adventurers alike? Well, the curious fact is, that any non-Magickal goods, when exposed constantly to an aura of great Magick, will begin to tarnish and fade with great swiftness, leaving nothing but a shadow of their former selves. This, unsurprisingly, has left many a merchant ignorant of the effects of Magick fuming, and not just those few that have attempted to exploit the ruined Sky-city.
...And with that, i think, we shall draw to a close. I believe that we are narrowing down our locations, and there are but a handful of note left, although there is much to be said about them. Perhaps our geographical journey will be finished before the month is out! Ah, how exciting. But i am sad, in a way, to see its ending near, and so quickly too. But there are still continents to explore, including the largest of them all, the place known as the Western Continent, or to give it its proper name, the Seat Of Power.
...So after all that, would you care for a buttered scone, Radek? I've been awash with the darned things ever since my good friend Louisa Scuttlebucket left me the contents of her bakery and ran off with a sailor whose name i didn't quite catch. Ah, look! Sunrise already.
What a poetic ending.
This message was last edited on 5 Nov 2011.
Posted by Radek, 8:46pm, 6 Nov, 2011
*Eventually, one grows accustomed to the particularities of working with dealers in rare, antique and possibly dangerous Magickal Artefacts; but even still, it is hard to grow used to the many quirks and adventures of one Alice Belladora. Radek watches with a mixture of confusion and amusment – managing to avoid inquiring further about the green paint, the demons, and the fire spirit. He wavers a bit at the herring – it looks remarkably fresh – but manages to retain his demeanor and with a well-meaning shrug of his shoulders continue the conversation.*
… Sounds interesting, although I'll file it away for now if you'd like. Awfully good of you to safeguard that herring – er, anyway. Yes. Uh, I'd picked up some refreshments – now that i think of it, probably should have picked some gauze as well - figured that way, if you got peckish while talking, you'd have something on hand! Er, other than a herring.
And yes, it is very good to write again - and to listen as well. You mentioned the Great Eastern Railway? Ah, I'll just have a seat over her, so- *and as the crackle of the old typewriter proceeds a cloud of powder and smoke, Radek goes silent as Alice begins to tell of a certain man who dreamed himself a metaphorical King - and the great expanse of rails that once followed the desert from it's westernmost expanse to... Slightly more-centralward expanses.*
It's almost sad in a way that the whole project fell apart because of the King and his near-sightedness and self-destroying pursuing of drink (and possibly wealth), sad that the wonderful travel by air eliminated the clatter of steel - and most importantly, sad that so many Lesser Spotted Frogs most likely perished but for the folly of one man, especially when the Slightly-Middling Spotted Frog (misnamed, when in fact they have several stripes of varying colors; perhaps an amphibiological joke of sorts) secretes a substance that works as a decent replacement for heating oil.
That housekeeper, she founded Clementines, right? I've eaten there, before. Quite a nice place to dine, although i haven't been there for some time. The desert pudding with the burnt creme is really something, though.... Like a snowcap on a sand dune. Perhaps it took it's inspirations from the dunes that swallow up all that's left of the railroad, and encase it's glories and failures in sand. - even now.
You didn't ramble, Alice. Quite the contrary, in fact. I learned a lot and got a chance to wonder at the hilarious fill of 'King' Grout and the Railway that outlived him. That was his name, right? Grout? Feel like I've heard it somewhere before although where i cannot say. There is a copious amount i can say about the Wildlands, however - most of what is worth saying, you have already said. The Wildlands - and the many caverns and rivers that run through them.
For although the path to the Sky-City itself is fraught with danger, and excitement for those that seek it, of equal danger are the rock outcroppings half-hidden by fallen branches and dirt - the reason that the North Wildlands remain so sparsely inhabited may the remnants of the mechanized beasts possibly engineered by the residents of the floating City itself - or perhaps, speak Nomads of the Wolven Banner, created by a powerful sorcerer reclusive in nature who dwelled amongst the rising hills in a time before time.
... i'd never known that the the Sky-City's Magickal aura was so strong as to wash away the tides of merchandisers and entrepreneurs, however. Maybe it's a little poetic that the city will remain a place of ruins and statues, places of forgotten purpose. A place i'll have to go sometime, though given the almost allergic state it seems i have around magic and hexes... Well, it might be another exciting another chapter in the City's story.
And speaking of stories, i think this has been quite an excellent one. But even if we cover the many enigmas of the Walled City-State of Terse and it's Golden Armada, or the Shattered Well... Well, i would readily listen to any story you weave, now or next. And if it just so happened you decided to write another story of the Western Continent, you'd have an avid listener.
And yes - I would absolutely delight in a buttered scone - though if we have an entire bakery worth of goods to peruse, one story just won't be enough!.. The sun, amongst other things, is rather beautiful isn't it? A wonderful beginning indeed.
Posted by Alice belladora, 1:45pm, 8 Nov, 2011
Yes, indeed it is. Ah, what were we just discussing? Hmm. How odd, for i seem to have suffered a memory lapse of some magnitude! Ah, wait, It's all coming back to me- It must have been that herring. The Herring of Amnesia, as i believe it is called, though from whence it came i cannot say. Apart from my senior book-keeper of course. He's always picking up the strangest and most wonderful bemusements for my appraisal, the cunning chap. Well, anyhow.
...Where does this leave us? Still there are things to chronicle, as i may have said, though I'm not entirely sure. Let's see! Well. There's the Bell tower of Ages, of course. And then there's the floating library... although that's located on small, separate island. Some say It's a part of the Eastern Continent, others say it used to be attached to the Southern Continent, and simply drifted aimlessly, as a cloud. As these things are wont to do. You've probably heard of it, Radek, by the by. I've not known many that haven't. Perhaps we shall discuss it at length later, that is, if you know not the finer details. *A long, contemplative pause.*
Hmmm. Now, what else? Yes, yes... there's the Four temples... and the Eastern Grasslands, which i believe i mentioned earlier, but did not elaborate on, as promised. I apologize. Sometimes i quite lose track of what i have said, owing to the way everything is desperately trying to break free from my mind, with little order or direction. Perhaps we shall get it out of the way now, hmm? Yes. That would be best. A short entry, but, i feel, with a certain... salty sharpness. Ah, the flavour of words!
The Eastern Grasslands~
An area, as the name suggests, located to the far East, the very furthest, indeed, of the Continent. A mostly flat place, with little by the way of diversion, unless you happen to be uniquely fascinated by waving grass. Of course, all places, even the most dull, usually have at least one thing of note, and the Grasslands are no different. Located in about the middle, a Temple sits. Not just any temple, for these are what the Eastern Continent is known for, but one of the Four. To give it Its formal name, and indeed it has no other, it is called the Temple Of The Eastern Winds, and it is in this vein that the remaining three are thusly named also.
To quickly get them out of the way -for another certain loaction is currently demanding to be let out of my head- The Northern Temple is located in the far North, deep within the Wildlands, and perhaps i should have mentioned this earlier, but unfortunately forgot. But, anyway. The temple is also known as the Emperor's Reach, owing to its lofty position atop the highest peak, and also because of its popularity with Dragons and other similar beasts. It is said that a great sorcerer named Sivhoh took a pilgrimage to the the temple, and successfully tamed the resident fiends. There he became known as the dragon emperor, and his tale has been passed down through much of history as the epic fantasy "Sivhoh and The Seven Dragon Lords." Of course, it is highly debatable whether or not they were actually Dragon lords, instead of simply a collection of disagreeable serpentry, but perhaps we shall simply pass of any far-fetched embellishments as "artistic license."
So. Where where we? I seem to have gone off on a tangent. One tale seems to weave another, and before you know it, you've gone from fishing at the Eternal bay to the condition of the pillows in the Coughing Dragon inn at the Point Of No Return.
Perhaps it would be best if i went over the remaining two as quickly as possible, and then moved on to the Western Plains, another short entry that I've just remembered i forgot (not including any more possible descriptive diversions.)
Here we go. As you can see, Radek, i am valiantly attempting to fend off any rogue diversions with the herring, which is bearing well the weight of its destiny.
Left remaining are the Western and Southern Temples of the various direction-based winds. The Western Temple can be found situated on the outskirts of the Western Plains, not doing much apart from occasionally losing bits of itself to the ever persistent forces of gravity and time, and The Southern is located, predictably, in the Southfield area of the Southlands, some way up a mountain. And, well. That's about it, i think. The Southern temple is by far the most frequently ventured, and out of all of them, the Emperor's Reach is by far the least, owing to the aforementioned Dragon population, and the high digestibility of most prospective visitors.
...There. And might i say that this herring is a most useful finding indeed? i must commend my book-keeper on finding it for me. If i remember where he's got to, that is. Now. I promised some elaboration on the Western Plains, did i not?
Then i shall follow through with my assertions, but first perhaps i shall have a brief Library shaped interlude. *A thoughtful pause* ...No, perhaps not. I'll leave the best till last, as it is always the most discerning thing to do. So let us sally forth into the Western plains, and i can assure you, Radek, that they will be the last of their kind for quite some time. Unless of course you enjoy my renderings of these wasteland-like areas, in which case i shall make this entry rather long in order to pay host to this exciting possibility.
The Western Plains~
An area to the West of the Etherian Desert, transitioning from barren scrubland to an place slightly more hospitable, but not a great deal. Mostly horizon after horizon of grassy-ish uninspiringness, it is a place where the Earth Dragons dwell beneath that what the unsuspecting traveler wanders upon, often with unfortunate results. As a consequence, most wayfarers whose destinations lie within the boundaries of the Plain use various means of flight to make their crossing, some accomplished, some less so. But what for, you might ask. The answer lies within the hearts of merchants, and their keen eye for trade. Many nomadic people, much like those of the Southlands, make their homes in the Western Plains. The similarities between the two are numerous, apart from the Westlanders' slightly heavier focus on weaponry, something that they use in trade, among other things, as well as protection from the menagerie of beasts that roam across the beaten ground under the Western sky.
To talk briefly about something pertinent to the current topic under scrutiny, the weapons created by the Western Wastes Weapons-Workmen (now there's something to confuse your fellow conversationalists) are indeed very fine, and many's the tradesman who profits from their high quality craftsmanship by importing them to foreign climes and selling them for a price far beyond that which their makers charge. They have to be of course, fine by which i mean, for as i have mentioned, the Western Plains are more dangerous than a barmaid covered in porcupines rolling down a hill, even without the Earth Dragons, though of course the Western Plains have never been without the Earth Dragons.
*An even more thoughtful pause than the last interrupts the flow of the story, and the cease of tapping emanating from Jones provides an interesting contrast from frenzied outpourings of thought to content contemplation.*
...I was expecting to be able to relay more than perhaps it turned out i could, Radek. Still. I feel that I've done the place justice, and what more, to pose an interesting question, could such a place ask for? Perhaps we should leave that particular location for now, and let it surface occasionally whenever a folk-tale or other relevant piece of verbal imagery comes to mind.
So, now we journey forth to the Floating Library, but as we do, we must pass, as so many before us have, the various ways and means surrounding it, metaphorically and un-metaphorically. Imaginary ladies and gentlemen, i present to you...
As the Floating Library is located on a separate island, back before the power of steam or crystals had been harnessed, a way had to be built, a bridge of sorts, to allow passage.
Named not for a particular person, as far as anyone is yet aware, but possibly for the fact that the depths of the ocean are revealed to those who set foot upon it.
The way is lit by the light of the moon, which brings to brilliance the numerous orbs drifting within the ocean and surrounding the Crossing. It is unknown what exactly the orbs consist of, but somehow they are bound, or pehaps just attracted to the Crossing, and for as long as any can remember they have lit the way. Also seemingly drawn to this particular location are the silver fireflies, which provide additional luminescence for those who make their way to the Island.
The Island's name, had it ever been gifted one, has unfortunately been lost in the annals of history, but most Wizardly types call it... well, fancy that. I seem to have forgotten. Perhaps you could, ah, help me with this one, Radek. I'm sure you know of it- It's been spoken of in more than a few tales, especially those of the Eastern Lands. *Cough.* Perhaps i should move on.
The Floating Library~
Not actually floating, per se, as it is supported by its foundations within the lake that it resides. Although most of the library, indeed, more than half of it, lies beneath the lake, its above-water prominence is quite magnificent, its windows reflecting the moonlight it so becomes. Of course, within is where, as they say, the action is.
Around the countless bookshelves trees have grown, errant books float aimlessly in pools and waterfalls cascade from seemingly nowhere, all the while light pours, whether moonlight or that of the sun, through the stained glass that is so prolific in the higher levels. In some places it is more forest than library, and its age is uncountable, unknowable. As long as there has been time there has been the Library, and it is said that knowledge of anything may be found there, as long as you know where to look. For a long time it was a forbidden place, and only those with knowledge of the high Magickal arts could venture within. However, that was several thousand years ago, and now the place is mainly deserted, apart from the various Ones of Wisdom that make their pilgrimages there to devote their lives to the Library's secrets, and the Book-Keepers, hooded beings with ever-burning lamps that walk endlessly the pathways between shelves, through hidden passages and ways unknown to most. Some say they are creatures of clockwork, others say to mind your own business and get to scrubbing the floorboards. But they always work alone, and they always have their lamps. Some also say that they keep their souls within their lamps, and as long as they tread their silent vigil, their guiding light will never fade.
But, of course, that is all but rumor, and what else could it be?
...Ah, look at the time, once again! I became quite lost in ruminative relaying there.
Fortunately for Jones, we have but a few more places to discuss, and then, I'm afraid, we must venture to other climes. The Eastern Continent is in fact one of the smallest continents, the Southern Continent being the largest and most diverse. Why, it would take me all year to get even halfway through that place! ...Well, a few weeks at least. So, what do we have left? Why, since i feel in a particularly whimsical mood this evening, i shall simply run amok with excessively capitalized headings, and then finish with a loud fireworks display. Sounds like a plan, doesn't it, Radek?
The Valley Of Echoes~
A valley located between the Southlands and the Wildlands, a waterfall bursting forth and creating a river running through the middle of the valley, and onwards into the Southands. Named so because of a certain legend pertaining to a certain Goddess of wind, and how, when angered, her song of fury would Echo throughout the mountains.
The Bell Tower Of Ages~
A bell tower marking the boundaries between the Southlands and everything before them. Most ancient, and something of a hazard for those crossing beneath, as massive stones have been known to dislodge themselves at the most opportune moments. Its bell no longer rings, but it is told that once, when it did, it could be heard throughout the Southlands.
Aaaaaaand... Yes! That's it! Huzzah, i say. Now, i know i promised fireworks, but i seem to have run out. What an unfortunate happening indeed. But, let us not be disheartened! I have finished, for one... But who's to say that you have not, Radek? any things you may remember, or any things i may have forgotten- for that would not be an unlikely occurrence, i would be most fascinated to read anything you might have to add. There is always more, as my old Book-Keeper would say, usually while throwing something over his shoulder and muttering. ...So, in keeping with this sense of loose-endedness, let me place a small crown upon the head of this herring, and bestow upon it the name of Percival, so that it may venture forth and claim history with tales of its noble deeds. Fly, herring, fly.
This message was last edited on 8 Nov 2011.
Of Mythology, Ink, Fire, and Fish
Posted by Radek, 7:14pm, 10 Nov, 2011
Why on earth would anyone ever pick up a Herring of Amnesia? It's like a Kipper of Bemusement or even the Salmon of Doubt - you'll just end up regretting it down the line... Or not, I suppose, if it's amnesia-inducing. Having it on your person might just lead to fishy situations! Ehehe, all right. I'll stop, even if it is terribly amusing!
Amusement doesn't figure into the other places still left over from times now shrouded in a similar malaise of forgetful elusiveness. The floating library is famous all the world over and we might as well cover it in this tale, as if you are inspired enough to journey to the island, it's solitude is of the best kind, welcoming and warm. Of course, there are rumors that there is so much stored within that it can become hard to leave...
*Radek finishes up his scone and wipes some crumbs off of the sleeve of his jacket, still deep in thought about the floating islets of rock and grass that hover near the main island of the library like tiny satellites.* ... That's just a rumor, though. There are quite a lot of those, about all of the places we've discussed. Regarding the library, my favorites would have to be how it came to be; it was speculated recently to have been built by the bird people and their wickerwork wings; before that, a monastery used by the Order of Splendid Hats (Hospitaller, Esq.), and before that a reflecting pool which generations of thinkers and dreamers left books at - and from which the library grew, almost organically. There's also the ones about how a young couple grew old, creating the library as a story of their life - and afterwords, people added their own stories as an act of tribute.
But the very best, perhaps? I think it's that the place itself has always been a land where knowledge is stored - and that it changes to be how we expect it to be. A little bit of the old 'all stories are true' philosophy. Maybe it's just a kind of magic one finds in books... i'll say this, please continue to pull your words in every direction; it's more fun than constraining them with an artificial order, and the brass reassurances of their freedom speaks well to the vastness of the stories you put to speech! And yes - words themselves are tasty. Tasteful? Ah, hrmn-
*It is clear Radek is struggling for a descriptive that perhaps has yet to exist, the cromulency of which is unverifiable - but his confusion melts away as he listens to the tales of the Grasslands with growing excitement, clearly imagining their peculiar flatland fields as if they were right in front of them. After Alice has finished talking, he attempts to snap his fingers, bemusedly smiling at the rather unimpressive sound.*
Perhaps it's just that such fields have their own charm - in the same sense that a land without great apparent diversity soon shows many secrets hidden beneath the seemingly endless fields - or perhaps it's just the tales of the huge, ebon-horned cattle that graze contentedly in the pastures left to sit fallow, but the Emperor's Reach, and Sivhoh's legend - there are really too many things to cover and not nearly enough time to do so, is there? We shall have to rectify that, some day...
But, even if the dragons of legend weren't Dragons - perhaps winged serpents or something else still - you can still find scattered remnants of their legends strewn throughout the continent. Waymarkers with hastily carved blessings and messages, winged shapes rising up to the clouds, and images of great shapes that come to bless the harvests that once took place there. It would be fascinating to study further the history and myth of those stories - but their truth itself seems to be something we can let hang nebulous in the air, for what really matters is that the stories themselves exist-
Are you sure you don't want to remove that herring? I do know that it's probably rather unwise, but i could probably make some fried herring on rye, perhaps with some stone ground mustard and -
Right, the Temples remaining (just let me know if a food-based solution to the fish is impending. We can pickle it even! Well, i suppose it is an important find, but-). Although you've mentioned the high Dragon population, it probably bears repeating so that anyone who sees these writings understands that even if not encountered directly, the Dragons are of a wide variety of dispositions and courtesies; it merely stands to fact that unlike most any other individual you will encounter on your journey, they possess a great many ways of turning the prospective explorer into a prospectively delicious meal. Caution, alertness and perhaps a good pair of running boots is advised if one is of a confrontational demeanor.
But that shouldn't dissuade people from visiting, for although you may regard the Plains as being somewhat (all right, perhaps very) waste-like in similarity and geology, they are wonderful places that deserve as many stories as you care to weave together. As bears repeating - whatever stories you tell, i'll listen to, Alice.
*And indeed Radek does listen intently, until the two are once again thrown off by the rather amazing sounds which Jones the typewriter can create. Radek's expression seems to suggest that the gunman wants to ask if Jones was previously some other industrial tool in another life, then decides better on it.* Truly, you've done a fine job covering the Western Plains, although the great land-bound sea of Karkhan Gol, now mostly drained of water, deserves a mention for being one of the few sedentary towns inhabited amongst the plains.
First a work retreat for the Triple-W, it became something of a town as minerals were discovered amongst the lake - with a high population of the foreign merchants who profited off the sale of fine quality metal goods and especially weapons, of course. But to feed the mines and great furnaces of the settlement, the inland sea itself was drained of water until the sea disappeared, leaving caverns and salt-stained rock and clay in it's wake; instead, now the town is known by it's name, whatever it had been called before forgotten with age.
The reason i mention this perhaps is to flesh out the diaspora a bit more for our prospective readers. You've done quite a fine job relaying information on it, Alice - it's just that to study it more closely, we'd have to embark upon a series of expeditions, with the right gear and disposition - and although the heat is nothing new to me, the dry air and sparse water is something else entirely. Perhaps some over time, we'll discuss the great herds of wild horses that roam the plains, and the people of the Clipped Rif, who make their living by growing great terraced gardens.
*Radek smiles peacefully and leans back into his chair, reclining as the darkness of the once-again fading sky outside is let up by fireflies less silver or rare than those that dwell around the Library and it's relative islands - but beautiful all the same. He shuts his eyes for a moment, only to open them leisurely at Alice's request.*
The name of that certain Island, you say? Ah, it's a pity your asking a walking hex-magnet like myself the nature of that place; you'd think between the two of us (perhaps three with that blasted memory-mangling herring included, four if you count Jones... Ah, and what's the book-keeper who just switched out shifts? Well, anyway) we would have the name memorized, wouldn't you..?
Ephemere, the home of that Library - unmoving and intangible, but constantly moving all the same. Known by many other names to many other people, for it's existence as is much legend as the texts that dwell within it's hallowed halls. Among the merchant navy of Almeria it was known as the Bayt - the House, trade parlance for the House of Knowledge. Before conquests began and ended, and Almeria lost much of it's territory, many would go to seek permission and learn new navigational charts and methods - with the gift of whatever they learned upon their travels given freely in return.
... Ruminate away, Alice! Even if the Eastern Continent is mostly documented save for the strange bursts of story and myth that we shall remember with great gusto as we cover over lands and other places (over the course of weeks, months, years, or some other unit of time left uncategorized), there is no better way to end a story than with an explosion of words, thoughts, and of course fireworks! A lovely plan, Alice. Capitalize and describe away!
As for me, I'll add my two copper clowns - not crowns, actual clown statues used as trade tender in the southerly seas - before we imagine fireworks, for even if we have none of our own, sometimes finishing a story with a friend and imagining it together is almost as good - maybe even better - than the wonderful and colourful violence of aerial explosions and shattered paint amongst the sky.
Which ties in nicely to the story of Echo, for if there's one thing a traveler picks up on during their travels, it's which spirits and deities to avoid angering, and Echo is one to keep close; for should her courtesy be earned, it will come back to you when you need it most, but should it be her ire that the traveler invokes... Nothing is swifter than the echo of cloistered anger that reverberates around the fleet-footed wind. It is usually enough to mention a polite declaration of your destination as you ask permission to travel through Echo's hunting grounds and sanctified valley; but I've heard that it might not be bad idea to stand under the waterfall and compose a poem offering reflection to the joys of travel - better safe than sorry, and even for our more skeptical readers, it refreshes the mind and body, so why not?
But for those who travel, either to the Bell Tower itself or farther afield, keep your eyes open and you will never run out of things to see; the great fires that light up as the moving camps of farmers follow the tracks of the mighty Auroch to find the land for their farms and the strange symbols pressed into the soil as markings by those who have come from places farther still, signifying everything from the state of the stars above to a safe place to rest. Though the Bell in the Tower of Ages doesn't ring, and many might look at our ramblings and see no need to explore itself - there is a beauty in what once was amongst the Southlands and what may be, and to those who explore the Eastern Continent, i cannot recommend enough - go and explore, or failing that continue to listen to the stories of one A. Belladora. Either way, fair winds and blessed be your travels.
We did it, didn't we? Hey, nonny non! Congratulations, Alice! You managed to do it and we've got quite the tale out of it - it was a pleasure to listen to, and contribute some small stories by way of. And if anything, after we've given poor Jones a rest, I'll be eagerly looking forward to which continent you choose to illuminate next - for even if we drift back to other parts of the Eastern continent as we parlay ideas, it seems our work might be some time to finish.
*Radek smiles enigmatically and looks as if he has some other thoughts on his mind, then watches the herring with surprise - and awe, as it does indeed sprout a tiny pair of wings and with great agility navigate through an open window and flit into the inky blue depths of the night sky.*
... Well, I'll be. All my jokes about it's amnesiac inducements and culinary properties aside - ah.
It did look rather important what with that tiny crown and all. An auspicious ending indeed!.. Well, Alice. It seems that this marks the end of some celestial movement of fishy nature, and hints at the coming of something else; what that would be I have no clue, but I wish our herring friend the most pleasant of journeys; may they be as enjoyable as our further writings, and those I look forward to greatly. What say we imagine those metaphorical fireworks as we decide what to write next, and then decide to write other things else entirely - for the best of stories come from a joyful lack of order, and that is something we both excel in. Again, Alice - well done.
This message was last edited on 10 Nov 2011.