Sunday, March 10, 2013

Departing Innis Byr

I went again into the Fane, for upon the pillars were Flowers like unto orchids, which, when the Guardian loomed above us, were pale, but when that lay at our feet Hewn by Kanak's stroke of legend, were suntouch'd, and thereby Golden. And we recalled the words of the Prophecy, viz, that we must walk the Path of golden Petals. And so Inae gathered them, and with mortar and pestle and a Fire kindled on the stones, made an decoction, and while she was busied with these matters, Kanak and I cast our eyes upon the Altar. And behold, it was no solid stone, but a Coffer, and therein, diverse Books, and a Casket of herbs, and these things we took. I delved not deeply into them, but examined lightly, and they appear to be:

  • a  large Boke, thirty pounds or more and hundreds of pages, written in different hands, in a language I know not, but I surmise it to be the Journal of the settlement here. This was in a trunk of its own, the rest being all together in a second.
  •  In the same tongue, or one very like it, a slim Volume, written in a dashing hand, by one, methinks, whose flow of words exceeded his pen; and another, but somewhat larger, and precisely writ, and containing many Symbols, as perhaps may be musical Notes.
  • In Chondathan, an antique dialect, an Agronomical accounting, viz, seeds sown, frosts and rainfalls, and such; and a Second which interested Kanak, for its pages depicted plants and fishes of the Deeps, but I wonder how those high upon these Cliffs gained familiarity thereof.
  • One book in an alphabet unknown, neither Elvish nor Dwarvish (for those runes I recognize, though I do not read them) nor any I have seen of Men, and I know not of what it speaks, for its Illuminations be only of spirals and swirling lines.
  • In yet another tongue, whose glyphs I ken not, three Books, one an herbal, with many pictures of botanicals therein, and the second some beastiary or Anatomical work, for its drawings were of birds and beasts but also their bones and organs, which I expect will delight Inae, and Greyson also, for I remember his drawings of marvellous Beasts; and the Third a mystery, for it bore no illuminations, but some columns of Numbers in the margins. 

The Tisane of goldpetals being readied I, being of least Weight and likely swiftest Affected, drank first, and shewed no Harm, though scare any Benefit neither, whereupon Kanak partook, and Inae also, and reserved a portion for Laithoren. We departed that place, Kanak and I between us bearing all that remained of the Knowledge of those Monastics who had been Slain those centuries ago, and I was much in thought, videlicet, that those Men, accounted Wise, had withdrawn from the World, and thus, upon their Passing, all their words were Lost, save that chance which brought Us here. Is it not better to Wander, as verily I myself, and tell Others whatever Lore we may have, and if they find in it Merit, they shall pass our Words, and thus in some measure our Selves, down from generation to generation. For our Bodies we shall lose in the fullness of time, but our Glory may live as long as our stories are told and gods remember.
And with such weighty thoughts, we followed the path stones back, and passed over the Bridge of the golden Forest, and through the Cleft in the Rock, and came to the top of the first Cliff, where we were beset by wild Dogs, but Kanak slew two, and I one, and took no harm. And as we cleaned our Blades, we looked to the Sea, and behold a ship, not Prosperity, neither Silver Rose, but a chebec of the Shining Sea, and a party of her Men in that Cove where our longboat lay. And when we had gone down that great Cliff, and joined again with Laithoren, and Dunders, and the two Cheray, we went down to the shore, but as chebecs are favored of Pirates, and also of Calimshan, who had once brought death to Keldisle and might do so again, we went theftily, seeking not to meet them.
Yet as we approached them, we saw these men bore neither Arms nor armor, and they called out as if to one Lost, and so, leaving my companion hidden lest I risk all, yet for myself trusting my Luck, I stood and Hailed them. They having very little of the Chondathan tongue, and I none of theirs, sent for an officer, Reshan by name, a well-favored Man and fluent, who pledged Peace and brought me to their ship, and I went with them, thinking privily that if they slew me, then I, arising as a Ghoul and doubtless to their very great surprize, would at least Revenge myself. When I had gone Aboard, I knew her at once for no Pirate, for she was as clean and orderly as mortal hands could make her, and I trow even Hazlitt could find no fault in her.
And on her quarterdeck was that merchant Prince of Alzakarra, Caleb Grey, and his leman, Contessa Lissette, a very beautiful minx, though I paid her no Mind, for I judge her to be that sort of Woman who, being jaded of men's Attention, will respond to one who pays her None. Although, there being little Time, unlikely it is that such flirtations be brought to Fruition, nor, remembering Lady M the admiral's wife of Waterdeep, would it be in any measure Prudent to do so (though tis truth that stolen kisses be sweetest), yet if she takes Interest, her word in the Prince's ear may be of much Benefit to me. And when they guested me, and asked what Drink would I, I inquired if they knew of Chocolatl, which they did not, therefore I most willingly gave of my supply, and it was to the prince a Pleasure, and to the countess a Revelation, which I hope will dispose her Favorably, and perhaps as well my brother shall reap a gold piece or twain in Trade from that introduction.
And when they asked my tale, I could scarce ask a better opportunity for showmanship, for being a Bravo worn, stained and bloodied, in great contrast to all on this pretty little vessel, yet I bore a Gift that none else there could offer, for the Prince being a scholar, and greatly desirous of knowledge, I gave him that weighty  Tome which we had found, recounting, as I believe, the History of the island, and further, the tale of how I and my Companions had received the Prophecy, fought our way ashore, conquered the Cliffs, slain the guardian Monster, and won that prize which I presented to him.
Prosperity being sighted, under all sail to the topgallants, and Silver Rose a league or more beyond her but pressing hard after her, the Prince offered an Alliance of understanding, and sent his longboat to fetch our people from shore, and from esteem and gratitude gave me a cased spyglass. And we, having commended our fallen comrade Radge to the deep, embarked in the launch and raised sail for Prosperity. Grey's ship weighed and set out as well, with the banner of Waterdeep at the main, and from the jack, a banner of gold, bearing as charge a Kestrel rampant.

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