Tales of Highland: Legends

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The Great Cataclysm of Earth

We are now in the age of Earth. Nearly a thousand years ago, the second cataclysm destroyed much of the world as God looked down upon the degeneracy of the Ancients, and destroyed their power. The first cataclysm was flood. The second was fire. The third was earth, of which we are currently within the age of, and the fourth and final cataclysm will be air. The cataclysm of air will bring us to the age of Air, and mark the return of God to the world. This world of trials shall become the world of heaven.

The Village on the Dry River

Long ago, and far away across the High Divide, the village of Twin Trees lived and grew on Verdey River. Farms prospered, with crops fed from the clean water of the river, by complex irrigation designed and maintained by the town leaders.

One year, after a long and dry summer, the river dried up. The next spring a trickle appeared, but that dried up also. For many days the villagers prayed and prayed for water for their river.

One morning, everyone awoke to discover mud at the bottom of the river and their irrigation canals. They were amazed, for it had not rained that night.

The next morning, the same thing happened.

On the third night, many villagers tried to stay awake, to see the water come. Eventually, all fell asleep. When they awoke, the water had come and gone again. They decided it was a gift from God, and they were not meant to see the water come.

But one man was determined to see the river come to life. He slept all day, and when night arrived he awoke and walked along the river, toward the mountains.

Early in the morning, a couple of hours after midnight, water came rushing down the river bed. After an hour, the water stopped. The man continued walking until dawn. Then he want to sleep. At dusk, he continued walking. Once again, a few hours after midnight, the water burst down the river, ending an hour later. This was repeated for weeks as the man followed the river further and further toward its source.

Finally, weeks after he had started his night journey, an hour or so after midnight, he came upon a hole in the mountain, and the river ended there. He looked around, and saw some Pixies playing about in a nearby meadow. He hid and watched them for a while, and then decided to have some fun with them. He took some small pebbles and began flinging them at the flying creatures. They ran away.

He returned to the hole in the mountain, but no water came out that night, nor the next, nor the next. After a week of waiting, he started back toward the town. Back over his shoulder, he noticed storm clouds gathering. Before he returned, it started raining. The night he came into town it rained, and the next day it rained, and the next. The next day a great flood burst from the river, washing the town away and destroying it forever.

(Some storytellers end the story without the storm: after weeks again of traveling back downriver, with no water coming down the river at night, he returns to a dry, deserted ghost town.)

The Lost Army and the Weaving Wood

Hundreds of years ago, when the Druids still walked the forests of Highland, one of the strongholds of these evil men were the Houses of the Wise. Here, in the midlands of West Highland, the Druids cast their spells and spread their lies across the lands. Their alliance with the underworld gave them infernal knowledge of the future, and some of weak heart even went to the Houses to hear—or change—their own future. All for a fee, of course, and the treasures of the Wise were rumored beyond measure.

The people of West Highland, aided by the Knights of the Stigmas di Cristo, took up arms to drive the crones and warlocks of the Druids out of their stronghold forever.

With God on their side, they succeeded. But in his death throes the Great Druid lay a curse upon them, a curse that they would never leave the forest alive. When a lone survivor arrived in Stone Goblin weeks later, he swore that the trees themselves carried out the Druid’s curse.

When the goblin mage’s armies came north, one general, hearing the rumor of the great treasures, diverted his army of goblins to search for the ancient Druidic temple. That army disappeared, to the relief of west Highland’s defenders.

And the treasure has never been found.

The Lost Merchants of the Forest

They were all dressed in clothing so out of fashion I thought I was in Black Stag. The captain of the guards had a beautiful daughter. I stayed with them for a week.

When I returned to Biblyon I found that seven years had passed.

The Path of God

To sailors, the south sea is called “the path of God”. According to stories passed among them, there is land on the other side of the storms, and when the storms abate, sailors too far out of the Bend can see the hard, rocky, unforgiving coast of the other side of the tumult.

Legends abound of the strange, painted, human-like creatures that live in that dangerous land, and also of the treasures of gold and emerald which they wear as if it were leather or dyed cloth.

Crossroads Under the Earth

So vague and sparse is knowledge of the quadrivium that only the eldest Elves, the wisest sages, and the most persistent wizards know of its legends. Alternately located in the Great Mountains or in some higher mountains further west, all agree that to reach it one must travel many miles and defeat or evade legions of horrific creatures.

The Elves regard the caverns, which they call vestelerivel, as that which brought about the cataclysm. The caverns, they say, then spread throughout the world in a great burst of life, throwing everything out of balance before contracting upon itself as an empty snake leaving its skin. They believe that the caverns are centered across the great sea. They have a story of a great Elf, Terelesanmor, who was lost in a battle with night trolls in the time of the Goblin Mage. He was later found coming out of the Great Mountains, naked, shivering, and crazed, raving about having crossed a great sea, some horrible humans (melelesieroe) and huge peaks extending as high as the arch of Tirtalien’s stars and as low as the vestelerivel. Terelesanmor died of his travails, and never regained his sanity. (Terelesanmor also figures in legends of those battles, and of something powerful and secret stolen from the Goblin Mage.)

The Ancients speak only rarely of the quadrivium, a source of great power and an entrance to many lands, it is also connected with suicides and the dead—or the almost dead.

  1. Heroes and villains
  2. Tales of Highland
  3. Books of Highland