For this week’s Slice of Murrad we have our first short piece by Jacqueline, she has taken control of building culture of the fey, mystical elves of Southern Renser, where the influence of the Nueran Magocracy was strongest after the Fall.
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“Conversations with Cloudherders,” is part of an ongoing series of letters by Greivik Garmarche, alchemist, explorer and court tutor to the Viscount Harvold of Merschelmerre. The Viscount has recently embraced an interest in anthropological data from across the continent. Greivik Garmarche is more than happy to oblige, as he believes he can continue to unlock the secrets of reviving magick without use of artifacts.
16th of Vehrdawn
A herder fresh back from the Southern Droll can be sensed sooner by smell than by sight in the crowded markets of old sim-Cthal; crones whisper to children that the jade hue on a herder’s head comes not from the moss clinging tight to his strands, but from the dank musk hanging heavy around him.
Baud’s History of Inlet Migrations, First Edition
As is often the case in cautionary rumors, Baud’s account of the stigma surrounding the Cloudherders of Inlet-sim-Cthal is perpetuated to steer children away from the Southern Cloud Sea, or ‘drolls’ in local dialect. Long have the drolls, thick with rolling clouds and the holy storms of the Mother, Pthalodenai, served as both a shadow of fear and breath of life since the Great Rising brought the sea to sim-Chtal. Without the bounty of the great Cloud Sea, the mercy of Pthalodenai and the wrath of her storms, sim-Cthal would have been lost to merchants and foreigners, ignorant to the service of the Mother. It is the Cloudherders, who practice the Rite of the Dreigonflye, appeasing the Mother, sparing the Inlet from her cleansing breath, to whom the residents of Inlet-sim-Cthal owe their sanctuary.
To perform this Rite, the initiate must surrender their spirit to Pthalodenai and offer the empty vessel of their flesh in her service. Heeding the call of its mistress, the Dreigonflye pour the cleansing breath of the Mother into the vessel of the initiate, freezing them from the inside like the bitter frost following Freijeksdei. The Dreigonflye then carries the initiate high above the rolling clouds to the sea, where the initiate is filled and thawed with the storming waters. It is then that the Dreigonflye and the initiate begin their journey back through the drolls, through the cleansing breath of the Mother, and are born anew as Daigonfrei, the dual vessels of a single breath of our Mother. As Daigonfrei, the Cloudherder communes with the Mother in foraging the Cloud Sea, and the Dreigonflye is bound to this servant as in the first days of Pthalodenai’s conception, when Gilthavoss birthed the winged warriors to protect the crystal egg from which the Mother first exhaled.
Many believe it is for this reason that the Cloudherder may never pillage the drolls in a way that the merchants and outlanders aspire. Hands stained with greed for the coveted Pthalodonium are too oft wrought with lungmoss or plum bloat, if not struck from the current to fall to the earth, and ships loaded with the Mother’s horde are swept back to the rocky cliffs obscured by her breath. And while yea, she is a bitter maiden to strangers, she is but generous to her children who seek to honor her gifts. For without the blessed Pthalodonium, indeed, her children would be at the mercy of the Northlanders. But for the chaste and pious labor of her Daigonfrei, her children need never want for weapon or window alike. Tis indeed a shame that crystal such as that in Inlet-sim-Cthal should never be exported by the local devout, though the breadth of the Pthalodonium supply has never been estimated.