Korden's Chronicles 721 AF
The Captain has encouraged me to practice my writing on my own now that I know how and have finally mastered the spoken form of Rilith. This language is fascinating, so many words for things I never even knew existed. My people have no need of writing, but the concept fascinates me. To put words down that others can see and know is an wondrous thing. I had put it off, not knowing what to write and writing of trivialities seemed disrespectful for this art. But, I have recently met a kindred spirit who inspired me to begin an accounting of the wonders I’ve seen.
Like me, he is the first of his kind to leave his home, though the specifics are quite different. He too longs to show his people the outside world, and he is on a quest to free them. While his people are trapped by willful ignorance and a magical door, my own people are trapped by contentment bordering on apathy. I know if they knew of the wonders I have seen, at least some would choose to follow in my wake.
In my travels aboard the Sparrow Hawk, I have had the privilege and opportunity of seeing more sights and wonders than any other Seafolk. Content to live amongst the waves, my people embody our goddess Oule’s contentment, taking joy from the wonder of life in her waters. They feel no need to follow the currents, for what is beyond our banks that Oule has not already provided?
While my people worship Oule, Riloth has always called to me. Laying beneath the waves, I would watch the approach of his storms, longing to know from whence they came and to where they went. What wonders does a storm see as it sails over the waves?
Getting caught in that net was the best thing that ever happened to me. Staring at the clouds on a warm day from just below the surface and dreaming of the world beyond, I was caught unaware when the Sparrow Hawk’s trawl entangled me. At first, I thought myself caught in the clutches of a giant squid, but after a brief battle, I found myself on the deck of a great sailing vessel. Of course, at the time I knew not what it was, or where I was, or what the strange pale skinned creatures were that stood around me, but I have grown wiser in my years among them.
Intrigued, I did not immediately flee back into the water when they freed me from the net. If these creatures had wished me harm, would they not have slew me while I could not fight back? The creature with the largest head, which I later learned to be a hat, approached me and stuck out his hand. When I imitated the gesture, he clasped my hand firmly and shook it vigorously. This man, the Captain, as I learned to call him once I had learned Rilith, show me around his ship, as amazed by me as I was with all I saw.
The crew put me to work untangling nets and cleaning the deck and I took to the work with great excitement. They taught me each task in a pantomime as I learned their language, and they worked beside me. I had little fear that I was a captive, the thought never even crossed my mind. Whenever I needed to wet my skin, they left me to dive back into the waves.
I traveled with them for months—another new term, who knew there were so many ways to tell time? I traveled with them for months before I grew proficient enough in Rilith to converse, but once I could, the Captain offered me a permanent position on the crew, which I accepted.
The Sparrow Hawk, I eventually learned, does more than travel for pleasure. It is a ship of war, tasked with protecting the home of the ship’s crew from those who would find it. The Captain made it very clear I was not to write about that place, so I will respect his wishes—orders—and refrain, despite the awe I know it would inspire among my people. We roam the ocean in search of new lands to enrich the crew’s home port. The ship’s “Stormcallers” have the ability to find ships around us, and view them from afar. Depending on the flag they fly, we make contact or turn away. We avoid most ships that we encountered, but some we hail, and other few we attack.
I think I would prefer to not write about that.
Through all the travels, I have seen wonders. My people thought most land dwellers lost as Oule’s body grew and overtook their lands, but ever crafty are the dry folk. I will write of them, all in turn but first, I think I should write of Eric and his home.
The City of the Hollow Peak
Before the Swelling, or the Flood as they call it up here, Eric’s people lived in a city nestled at the foot of a mountain. They were known the world over for the magical wonders that they produced. Weaving their magic into goods, none could match their work. While they knew many areas of magic, the magic they excelled at above all else harnessed the “Font of Space.”
They could do more with spatial magic than any other in their age, and they built a fortune weaving this magic into items which they sold. Eric described it in fanciful terms I couldn't follow, but essentially they could make wonders such as bags that were bigger on the inside than the outside, twinned boxes that could be used to transport goods across the land in an instant, and much more. My people would have no use for such trinkets, but the way Eric described it, and my fellow crew marveled, these items are of much worth to the surface dwellers.
The key to their success was the stone of the mountain where they made their home. As Eric described it, different types of magic resonated with different materials called “reagents.” The stone of their mountain could be used to make items that made their spells more efficient and last indefinitely. While some few Mages might have been able to copy their magical arts, none could acquire the ingredients needed to make goods of the same quality or power.
When the water began to rise, Eric’s people took no half measures in protecting their home. Being in magical contact with the far reaches of the world, they knew of the conflict to come should the water reach them. For wherever the water rose, the people fled to higher land, and if that land was occupied, war followed. They set to work hollowing out a cavern at the top of their mountain home and wove great works of magic into the stone. Inside the cave, originally large enough to house a dozen Sparrow Hawks, they layered spell upon spell until they had created a cavern large enough to fit their entire city and the surrounding area. Following one great work with another, they enacted a teleportation ritual, using every Mage at their disposal to transport their city from the foot of the mountain to the cave they’d prepared for it.
The city was moved in the early days of the Flood and they had decades to prepare for the eventuality that the water would never cease. They sent parties out to the far reaches of the remaining dry land to bring back the goods and knowledge they required to survive indefinitely in their hidden city.
They hid the entrance to their cave, first with stone, and then with magic, until the only way in or out was teleportation. They watched via divination magic as the water rose up to their peak and as people gathered on their mountain and waged war. Eventually, one faction won out and claimed the peak for itself, but it too fell to infighting as the land dwindled and could not support their numbers. In the end, the few survivors made crude ships and set sail into the unknown.
When the water was only feet from the foot of their cave, they sealed the great door they had spent decades preparing. Once sealed, the door isolated them from the outside world, cutting them off from all communication and detection and trapping them within. They designed the door to remain sealed until the time when the water would recede from the mountain top, allowing them to once more join the world.
In my travels, I have heard of many stories that follow this pattern. Bitter battles for scraps of land, that ended in the victors being forced to sea. But many still found ways to survive like those of the Hollow Peak.
Over the decades, the City of the Hollow Peak became a wonder of magic and art. The land they transferred into the cave was tended by magic both arcane and divine, and no one ever wanted for food, even if the variety was lacking. With care and magic, they tended the land, maximizing the growth of what they had and creating new types of plants and animals to fill the niches they lacked.
A great orb of light stood at the highest point of the magical cavern and faded to simulate days. The creation of this light was the third great work of magic that went into the creation of their new home. This light was inspired built with guidance from the magical City of Illandrios, with who the Mages of Hollow Peak visited regularly before the sealing of the door. The Mages of Illandrios had found their own way to protect themselves from the flood and were eager to assist.
By its light, they lived peaceful lives of study and leisure. They had no conflicts, save for the conflicts of ideas. When the Spatial Primordial appeared, a century into their isolation, it was greeted with joy. For their culture had begun to stagnant. To have such a rare treasure available for study reinvigorated their academics and drove even more to study the arcane arts.
While mastery of space saved them from the Flood, the magically compressed nature of their home prevented them from practicing the arts they once excelled at. Even with the Primordial's presence weakening the barrier between the Material and Arcane Realms, spatial magic would not function in the Hollow Peak.
Spatial magic lost to them, they moved on and focused on new frontiers of magic and in those too they made great leaps. But, spatial magic would not be lost to them forever, for it arose once more in a new and amazing fashion. For it was in this isolated city at the top of the world, that my friend Eric grew up, dreaming of the world beyond. He and his spider discovered in themselves new access to the Font of Space, and they seek to use it to free their people to the world beyond.