Archives for 2019

Impendix VI: The Morakh

After the sack of Eremis, the children of Morak were never again united in one cause. For it was the Destroyer who had brought them together by the thoughts that he put into their hearts; and they had failed him. As a weapon, they were too blunt and brittle for his purpose. They had destroyed the city, but not the nation; many of the Färinoth were slain, but many yet lived, though scattered over many lands, and they would not be taken at unawares again. From that time the Destroyer cast aside the creatures he had tempted into his service, and minded them no more. Not one of the promises by which he had seduced them was ever kept.

When they saw how they had been cheated, the Morakh loosed all the rage and violence that was bred into their nature. The empty city they smashed into rubble, defiling the ground and cursing all the land of Ereph. No child of Dân dwelt ever again by the waters of Drath Erem, and the River of Spirit ran untravelled to the sea. In later ages a few rash wanderers dared disturb the sleeping wrath of Eremis, and if ever they returned to the lands of the living, they brought back tales of ghosts and ghouls, fell spirits and foul lights, and their faces were marred by a horror that they could neither tell nor forget. Even birds and beasts kept far away from that unclean place.

Few of the Morakh were slain in the taking of the city, but many in the aftermath. It is told in the Gremni that a swift winter and a hard fell then upon the Southern lands; and many more of the host of Ghrenduz perished of cold and hunger, for they had assembled in haste and without thought of provision. Some have seen in this the Destroyer’s own hand, a final stroke of contempt for his broken weapon, sending deep snows and howling winds from the edge of the Void. It was long believed that all the kindred of Morak had perished in that winter; but it was not so. A few survivors there must have been, for they returned long after to trouble the world again.

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Impendix V(a): The Carvings of Remembrance

The notes that follow are condensed from the published lectures of B. R. Smallbold, of King’s University, Wardhall, who has greater knowledge of the history of the Fair Tongue than any mortal hitherto. The editors gratefully acknowledge his assistance.

Breghwir of Eremis, as it has been told, was the first to devise symbols for the sounds of speech. These were used at first for short inscriptions, usually magical in nature, to bind the words of a spell permanently to the thing enchanted: an advance upon the technique of the Díoni, whose enchantments had to be laid on at the same time and by the same hand that made the enchanted object. Thus Tan-an-Nydh, the knife of Telkon, was his work solely, and no servant or apprentice had any share in it. The wall of Eremis was too large to be built by a single child of Dân, so Telmon was compelled to find a new method. The letters of Breghwir were invented for this very purpose.

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Impendix V: The fall of Eremis

Vairos was the father of his kindred for many long years, and in his time the Färinoth grew to a great multitude; and their first abode, on the hill by the mouth of Aena, could no longer contain them. Therefore they looked to build a new home for all the people; and in this matter Telmon, the brother of Vairos, was first in zeal and in skill.

It has been told that Färon’s sons took to wife those maidens of the Díoni that came across the Sundering Sea, seeking to wed the sons of Dân. Vairos took after his mother Vaimë in looks, if not in mood, and plighted his troth to Lyessë the golden; great joy attended their union, and their house was a place of song and laughter. He was his brother’s elder, but it was not for this that his people chose him as their new lord, but rather because of his glad cheer and his open hand.

Telmon favoured his father, being darker than his brother, shorter of stature but broader of build; his wife was Pirmala, the black handmaiden of Telkon, who taught him all the lore of stone and metal that she learnt in her master’s house. The name Telmon indeed was given him by Pirmala herself on their wedding-day: for it means ‘disciple of Telkon’ in the earliest speech of the Fair Folk. He attended more to the earth beneath his people’s feet than to the people themselves, and was engrossed in his handiwork; and so he did not find favour when his father’s days ended, but yielded the lordship to his brother.

Telmon was slow to master his craft, for stone and metal are hard and unyielding, and strong hands and skilful alone can work them. He had not the power of Telkon to shape the matter of the earth, nor so hot a fire as Ión Tela for his forge; and his tools were few and simple, being of his own devising. Still he was the first of the children of Dân to essay great work in masonry or smithcraft, and a few of his works were preserved with great honour until the downfall of Färinor itself.

But to Vairos was given a new gift, unknown to his fathers: the art of enchantment and glamoury, in which all the house of the White Queen excelled. From light alone were their best works wrought, beautiful yet insubstantial, vivid to the eye but impalpable to the hand. Work scarcely less cunning they did in sound and scent, and in the appearance of movement. All these arts Vairos acquired speedily, for his mind was keen and fresh, and the craft of the mind is not hampered by want of subtle tools.
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Candlemas

As my fellow Catholics will know, today is the Feast of the Presentation of Our Lord Jesus, and also the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Since that is a terrible name for a holiday, we fake our way out of having to use it. This we accomplish by bringing candles to Mass so that they may be blessed, and thereafter serve as symbols of Jesus Christ, Light of the World.

In some parts of Christendom, it is true, additional customs have accreted onto the original Candle-Mass. For instance: It is truly an inspiring sight in a large church, such as the cathedral in which my Beloved Bride and I were married, to see the whole congregation armed with hundreds of blessed candles. We light them, of course, one after another, until the whole interior of the sanctuary is ablaze with glory.

And then, if the groundhog sees his shadow—