26 Jun 2012
“It is said that there is only one true road to the Land of Silence, and it is so narrow that people may only walk in single file, always forward, never back. Only those who are still part of the kingdoms of noise and life may even dare dream of entering and somehow returning to life again. But there is a way, and I have found it. I have spoken with hundreds of sages across dozens of worlds. I would have sought out more still if it had been necessary. But I have found it! And it was right under my nose, all this time!
“This is what the herb-witch told me: you must sit by the bedside of a dying person. As they draw their last breath, you must grasp their face in both hands and stare into their eyes. Death will look back at you. You must know what you wish to say immediately, or the moment will pass and Death will leave. If you receive no other answer than passing, you have failed. You must try again — and again, and again, if you are determined. I am very determined.
19 Jun 2012
It is said that when the vandalism of Anna’s father’s grave was discovered, there was absolutely no question who had committed the act in the minds of those who knew her. The authorities were notified and went to her home at once. However, though they knocked and called her name loudly, no answer came. Her mother’s attempts to contact her by more conventional means met with similar failures. Cursory investigation at the university revealed Anna had not shown up for her classes or her scheduled time in the lab, an unheard of event. When the police entered the apartment, the place was empty, clearly unused for a far greater span than Anna’s recent disappearance. Her family searched and found all of her notebooks missing except for a single torn sheet that had the date and time of her father’s service, and under that a complicated math equation.
12 Jun 2012
It is said that the Century Order’s beginning stem from a monk who, on the verge of death, had a vision wherein he saw all the thousands of millennia of human existence stretched before and after him, arranged in neat and ordered patterns. Over and over it continued: beginning, middle, end; beginning, middle, end. In his vision the monk walked among these patterns, watching both past and future flash past him, and saw how everything was part of a cycle, repeating in hundred-measures. He woke from his delirium long enough to describe his vision with a fervor tempered by utter clarity. Then he died. The monk who recorded these last words was touched by what he saw as a divine revelation, and devoted himself to seeking the patterns that had been described to him.
5 Jun 2012
It is said that there once lived a woman who was determined to never die. Perhaps it was fear that motivated her; perhaps it was a great and unending curiosity about the changes of the world; perhaps she wished to defy the aspect of the All-In-One that personifies death. Whatever underlying motivation drove her, it ran deeply. From her earliest days, the girl utterly devoted herself to her impossible quest.
We are told her given name was Anna, but her family name and other information about Anna’s early life has long since been lost under mysterious circumstances. We do know that she was born to a well-to-do family on Sanctuary, the daughter of a prominent merchant and his pergressor wife. Indeed, she appears to have been the princess of a tiny shipping kingdom. Her parents doted on their child, and granted her whatever she wished. It could be said that she wanted for nothing — perhaps this could also explain why she became obsessed with the idea of immortality, the one thing she could not have.
29 May 2012
It is said that among the followers of the Century Order, those who are brave of heart and willing in every fiber of their being may travel all the way to the Land of Silence, where Death presides as ruler and master. The way is long and difficult, and even those who possess the first two qualifications may still fail to find the proper path. First you must go a full day and night, as such things are measured on your birth planet, without any sleep, for Sleep is the sibling of Death, and will lead you astray when you seek out that distant kingdom.
22 May 2012
It is said among the old Palu tribe of Kaermai that a child was considered an adult at fifteen years of age, at which point they were brought before the village elders and given a specific choice: to be a warrior of the spear, to hunt and to fight for the honor and protection of the tribe and its lands; or to be a warrior of the hearth, and to farm and forage those lands, maintain the sanctity of holy shrines, and to act as a final defense for the village shaman should calamity befall the tribe. The adults who had a part in the child’s upbringing — parents and teachers and even those who are simply familiar with the child — were brought forth to give testimonials on what they believe the child’s suitability to be, but ultimately the first choice of adulthood is the decision of which path the now-adult will follow, and it is their own choice to make. Once the choice is made, however, it is considered absolute; to turn one’s back upon that choice is considered a betrayal of the warrior’s heart that all adults must possess.
15 May 2012
It is said that among the nomad tribes of the long-route world Tyris, there exists a woman called Grandmother Winter, twin sister of Grandmother Death and queen of the season that shares her name. She appears as a woman with chalk-white skin and hair, whose eyes are black shining pools like iced-over lakes in the dead of winter. She rides upon a six-legged wolf who breathes sharp clouds of ice and whose eyes can freeze the blood of a living human with a single glance. Neither she nor her wolf ever sleep, forever roaming the countryside, driving the howling winds and heavy snows before them. No mortal has ever joined Grandmother Winter’s endless ride and returned to speak of it, though bones already picked clean of flesh and the occasional scrap of clothing are always left in her wake, scattered along the highest branches of otherwise bare trees.
8 May 2012
It is said that once, many lifetimes ago, a star became enamored of a human woman. She was named Bright Sky and was the cleverest scholar of her people. So smitten was the star that, on a moonless night, it slipped from its place in the heavens down to Bright Sky’s room, located at the top of the highest tower of her city, and professed its love for her. Bright Sky listened to its proposal carefully, and replied: “I am honored, but I have my duties just as you have yours. As long as my people have need of me, I cannot belong to anyone but them.”
1 May 2012
It is said that the last queen of the greatest Cyclopean nation was called Iuno, named in honor her ancestor Innuo the First who, with her mate-king, established the first and greatest of the cities on Cetera Mundus. Many legends surround the fall of the human and Cyclopean societies that once existed on that world; the story of Iuno the Last is one of them, and generally ignored or angrily discredited by human scholars, even the Shononese.
Still, though others have offered explanations for the slow death of Cetera Mundus, the tale of Queen Iuno persists. That may simply mean it is a good story, of course.
24 Apr 2012
It is said that there once lived a girl named Feiyan, who was the second daughter and third child of a noble family. Due to her low status within that family, she was often ignored in favor of her siblings: her brother, who was being groomed to take their father’s position, and her sister, whose arranged marriage would bring much honor to her father’s office. Feiyan therefore spent many days in the family library, and sometimes she would disguise herself to venture to the marketplace to listen to the wisdom of the elders who sat in the shade and told stories of years gone by. Unnoticed by her family, Feiyan grew to be exceptionally clever, if not particularly beautiful.
When she was sixteen years old, plague swept through the colony where her father presided as High Magistrate. Unlike most illnesses, it left behind the old and the feeble and attacked only the young and strong. The people whispered that the cause must be a curse, brought down upon the Magistrate as the result of a grudge. Dozens of soothsayers were brought in an attempt to divine the truth of the matter, but all of their predictions and suggestions failed.