This piece was jointly written by Leland and I. He wrote the “primary sources”, I wrote the framing. The things being described are connected to recent pieces as well as one that will be coming soon. I’ll leave you to sort out how.
In my task, I found myself poring over the contents of the Great Library when I came upon a most peculiar scroll. I asked the librarian: “What do you know of this work?”
It seemed veritably ancient. The parchment was thin, dry, the ink a charcoal black that seemed alien amidst the other works of the library, transcribed by the Mignikolai in their invariable rusty pigment. Most curious was its language. It was neither the sacred tongue of Kol nor any of the earlier, forbidden dialects of the Diarchy. This was something completely different, making use of characters I knew not how to pronounce.
The librarian seemed surprised. He apologized: I had evidently come upon an out of place original. He bade me wait a moment while he fetched the translation. Upon his return he explained that this particular work was among the oldest held by the Kolai. It had, of course, been inherited En Sacristi, though it was difficult to tell when the Goetia had acquired it. Curiously, the translation had also been inherited–the language was an archaic dialect of the Windwood that fell into disuse some time before the fall of Thago, and the librarian doubted there were any alive today that could read it.
He advised that the subject matter of the scroll was almost certainly unrelated to my research–and he was right–though I make separate mention of it here because it is curious to me. There are, in fact, two distinct works represented in the scroll, and though, stylistically, they cannot possibly share a source, one cannot ignore the (somewhat unsettling) similarity in their themes. Understanding the significance of folklore is difficult even with the best of context, but a certain feeling persists that these pieces refer to something of power. Perhaps the half-creature of these stories is connected to the Gods which came before, those whose mantle the Blood God has so gloriously donned.
I have made myself a separate copy. See here for both:
The One-Winged Lark
The lark has dreamed another night for me.
It flapped up to my window.
Tapping the glass
Tapping me to open it. Tapping to follow
It’s one winged flight
Up and down and around and around
Circles up and down and around and around
It flew up like a whirlwind
Like a pretty petaled whirlwind
And I followed it.
And swirled upwards, flapping my wing.
My one wing.
My one sweet wing.
And it took me it took me.
It took me to the moon.
This opalescent ball of crystalline light
Swirling in front of me.
Pulling and pushing and undulating and wrapping
Warping around itself
This icy light that poured on my skin. Rubbed me down.
And cleansed my pores, leaving them oiled and clean.
I was bathed. I was bathed by the lark. This little one winged lark.
My little one winged friend
Who flies like a whirlwind
Made of soft feathers, and moonlight.
The Fable of the One-Eyed Crow
Once upon a time, there was a big black wood. With slim tall trees and thick black moss. And in a tiny old house, near a tiny old town, there lived the hag of the black wood. And the tiny old town loved the old hag, more and more still. She’d take sick little children and she’d fix them up well. Broken limbs and sniffles and little snake bites all would be fixed in her cottage at night. And the things that happened there were happy and happy, until one day, when the blue marks started.
Tiny blue peck marks, like chickens dipped in ink, appeared on children’s underarms, in their mouths, in their stink. And then they started coughing, and then they couldn’t stand, then the people from the tiny town, went to the house for a hand. They went to the old woman, the old hag of blackwood, and told her of the blue marks, and she just stood. They asked her to fix them. She said no. They begged her to fix them. She said no. They threatened her to fix them. She said no. And the children started dying. And grieving came full storm.
And the town became a thunder cloud. Ricocheting anger. Every child dead. Little blue marks all over.
And the Blackwood hag, who had fixed so many bug bites. Had stood there and watched as their children laid down, coughed, and died.
And then a young boy, not ten years and twenty, yelled she must have done it. That’s why, that’s why.
And the men and the women and those undecided, all were so sad, so angry, they bought it. That’s why. That’s why.
And the thundercloud crashed, through the woods, with metal pots. With torches and fire, and anger and plots. And dozens of angry fathers, and dozens of angry mothers with the faces of their children in their eyes came to find her. The hag of blackwood. The one that watched them die. The one who must have done it. That’s why. That’s why.
And they found her. In the wood. Near her tiny old house, near the tiny old town. And they pulled her body open. And gave her tiny marks. Marks of red all over her body. Marks of red, to pay her penalty. Marks of red to match those of blue. Marks of red for her to scream to.
And they ripped off one foot.
They cut off one hand.
They gouged out one eye.
And sliced open one breast.
For the woman half there for them, and half just stood.
And they left her there to die. That’s why. That’s why.