Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Light the Lamp So Bright--Part 55

Grunewald stared awkwardly at the man seated before him across the table.  "So..."  He coughed.  "How are you?"

Nathan glared at him.  "Poorly.  My wife and children have been kidnapped."

"I am sorry that it came to that," said the older Lamplighter, glancing away.  "But you see, you didn't give us much choice."

Nathan frowned. "And I shall light the lamp so bright, that all may see it, to count on the protection of the light of truth, and the glow of fellowship.  This I do swear."

"You don't have to repeat the vow," snapped Grunewald.  "I know it as well as you."

"Are you sure about that?" asked Nathan flatly.

Grunewald looked away.  "I don't want to fight now, Nathan.  It's been a bad time for us all.  The others have left this talk to me in part because of the... emotions involved..."

"And because they need someone to guard my wife and children," said Nathan.

Grunewald frowned, fingers tapping on the table. "Do you have to keep making this difficult?"

"It's the first time I've dealt with my family being kidnapped," answered Nathan.  "I'm feeling my way through it."

"There's a simple way to get it to end," said Grunewald.  "You simply have to bring me the Erl and the Knife-Sharpeners..."

Nathan blinked.  "They're part of the bargain now too?"

"Their master wants to make an example," answered Grunewald with a shrug.  "This affair is straining everyone."

"Imagine that," muttered Nathan.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Light the Lamp So Bright--Part 54

The man walked towards the Lamplighter Hall with a determined step.  His cloak was bound up tightly around his shoulders, to ward off the cold wind, his hood pulled up over his head.  He moved through the crowds swiftly and heedlessly--they parted for him, sometimes seeming to react on almost instinctive level to his sense of purpose.  He reached the door and knocked.

Grunewald opened it.  "Nathan.  Good to see you."

"You're a bastard, Grunewald," said his fellow.  "Do you realize that?"

"I've entertained the possibility, yes," said the Lamplighter as he let his fellow into the Hall.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Light the Lamp So Bright--Part 53

It was cold morning in Talossa.  A thin crust of frost clung to the windows and the walls of buildings, while in the streets, puddles lay frozen.  Men and women went about their business, heavy cloaks drawn around them, breaths coming out in puffs, faces kept on the street before them.  People did not look at each other, this morning--they avoided each others eyes, looking instead at buildings, their shoes, anything to avoid seeing someone else.  Because to look at someone else meant that someone else could look at you, and somehow, somehow no one could bear that right now. This was not the first time Talossans had felt like this.  They'd felt like this when the Eremites had taken over the city, marching through it in the name of Prince Amfortas. But clearly, this had nothing to do with the present circumstances.

Nothing at all.  There were no Eremites walking about the streets, after all.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Light the Lamp So Bright--Part 52

The knock on the door was strangely light.   Lily cracked the door open.  "Listen, the girls are..." She stopped suddenly, realizing she was speaking to a young child, of rather indeterminate gender.  "Umm, hello," she said, pulling her robe tighter around her. 

The child remained quiet and passed her a note.  "Ahh, thank you," said the Seamstress, "but... I don't read..." 

The child gestured to the top of the note, on which was drawn a lantern symbol.  Lily coughed. "Ahh, yes, I... you must be mistaken, as..."

The child crossed its arms, and stared at the Seamstress with the  most astonishingly cynical expression imaginable.  Lily bowed her head.  "I'll give it to him."

The child smiled, as the Seamstress shut the door, and hurried back inside.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Pages From the Cthonique Library: The Falcon's Hood

Popular tale of a freedom-fighting bandit during the Tulip Wars era and his adventures against the cruel overseer of the White Tulip forces.  Of relatively recent authorship, it is believed to be a parable of the acts of... a certain late Dark Lord of the Plains, whose rule was likewise relatively recent.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Pages From the Cthonique Library: The Book of Health

A purported medical guide that after listing a few simple nostrums, goes into lengthy mystical formulas and descriptions of a supposed secret realm hidden in the center of the world.  Despite its extraordinary oddness, has its followers, many of whom have spent a great deal of time looking for the secret realm.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Pages from the Cthonique Library: The Forges of the Fangs

A famed novel about a family of Ogre smiths in the Fangs and their sufferings in the constant warfare between the Iron and Stonefang kingdoms, which sees the family torn apart and pits brother against brother, and father against son as it continues.  Frequently banned and suppressed in the Fang kingdoms, but still quite popular there.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Pages From the Cthonique Library: Eye of Viy

A sizable gem, reported to be the left eye of the legendary giant Viy, though it is of rather dubious provenance. Acquired by the Cthoniques from the Ashuranas, it has been part of the collection for the last three centuries, despite efforts by the Ashuranas to regain it, including several theft attempts.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Pages From the Cthonique Library: A Thousand Bottles of Wine

A book describing the wines of the Lands of Night, through the form of a tour of numerous vineyards.  The anonymous author appears to have been a Hardfoot monk, though his (or her) writing obscures most personal details.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Pages From the Cthonique Library: Account of the Great Flood of the Year of the Auk.

Historical account of a terrible flood of the Murkenmere by an anonymous chronicler, often called the Monk of the Flood for his believed profession.  Famed for its descriptions of the extensive destruction and upheavals caused by the flood, as well as its effects on the lowly as well as the high.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Pages From the Cthonique Library: Death Mask of Dahaut

Death mask of the Lady Dahaut, a Nibelung princess held to be the most beautiful woman in the world during her lifetime.  She died tragically young, though accounts vary as to the cause--in some she was murdered, in others she committed suicide.  The mask became part of the collection during the reign of the Dark Lord Grendel--a figure destined to a tragically short life himself.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Pages From the Cthonique Library: Keel of Skadh Riverboat

The keel of a riverboat, one of a fleet, used in the Dark Lord Bernlad's invasion of the Shadow Woods.  A notorious failure, the invasion set into motion Bernlad's own removal as Dark Lord and the War of the Tulips.  Afterwards, Lord Assur had this keel brought to the Cthonique collection to serve as a reminder of what began this violent and uneasy time.