|13_WeaversFen_Body_01_01||Fen of folly, Fen of sorrow|
With no promise of tomorrow
Beloved Fen we call our home
In the morning swamplight how it shone
Upon the face of my lady love
Song sweeter than a dove
Fen of folly, Fen of sorrow
How I long to see tomorrow
|13_WeaversFen_Body_01_02||My lady love, stricken with pox|
No more luster in her locks
Here she lies with herbs anointed
While my thoughts remain disjointed
If the Alchemist doesn't save her, no one can
And I will be left but half a man
|13_WeaversFen_Body_02_01||As if there isn't enough to worry about on this forsaken island, now the alligators are encroaching upon our humble fishery. I haven't the slightest what could have caused this migration in their hunting patterns, but it might have something to do with the rumored illnesses sweeping in from the west. If the alligators don't have plentiful, healthy food in the waters it only makes sense they would come to where we've baited the swampwater for years. I hide my hound inside now, and refuse to let him into the Fen without my observing. The last thing I need is a confused, resurrected animal on my hands, too.|
|13_WeaversFen_Body_02_02||My suspicions were correct. The fish of the Fen have developed a yellow tinge to them, sickly and paler than I've ever seen them. This must be what poisons the people and drives the alligators towards our fishery. I do not know how much longer we can remain here with our main source of food fallen to disease.|
Do you ever wonder about the blue flames in the distance? As Overseer I know you have little time to spend exploring and foraging like the rest of us with your duties to attend to, but do you ever wonder? Or is that too much for your flitting heart to handle? I speak of it fondly, for I know it well. I am putting together an expedition to the ruins of Canopus to the east and wish for you to give this journey your blessing.
Your friend, Yusuf.
|13_WeaversFen_Body_03_02||Day 16 of the Canopus Expedition has been met with critical failure.|
While the Ancient Guardians are immune to the contamination that sweeps the Fen, our fleshy bodies are not. We lost three men today and when they came back they were duller, slower in wits. I fear they are withering, and that we will have to leave them behind when it comes time to return to the settlement. I have begun to develop hives on my right arm where it was slashed open by an Ancient Guardian, and fear I am next to die and come back with less than I started with. We are no closer to understanding the blue flames, and instead have one stepped one foot into our graves.
Providence have mercy on us all.
|13_WeaversFen_Body_04_01||I am finally finished with the construction of the plank walkways connecting the disjointed Vega Bridge. Hopefully this makes it easier for travelers to come and go down this ancient and hallowed route, and doesn't just benefit the Ancient Guardians. I had to kill countless in order to install these makeshift bridges, but the Ancient Guardians resurrect as humans do, in a puff of blue azoth smoke.|
|13_WeaversFen_Body_04_02||The Ancient Guardians who watch over this bridge seem bound here eternally by their Ancient masters. What a cursed existence, forced to wander the same stretch of stone for all time in defense of a civilization that no longer exists. How were the Ancient Guardians conscripted? Were the Ancients cruel masters or benevolent ones? How I wish these chittering skeletons were chatty, instead of just clacking about their bones.|
|13_WeaversFen_Body_04_03||Vega, the brightest star of the constellation Lyra, shines luminously tonight over the bridge. I asked you to meet me here but you are nowhere to be found. Have you forgotten me? Or worse yet, do you remember me with malcontent? I will wait here until midnight for you, praying to see your face once more.|
|13_WeaversFen_Body_04_04||The moon over the Vega Bridge is a sight to see, but no sight could ever be as lovely as thee. We are of rival towns, Periville and Taryville, but here on this bridge between us I know neither name, know neither clan nor creed. Here is a place where, Ancient Guardians avoided, we can be free.|
|13_WeaversFen_Body_05_01||Those no-good, down-low, rotten fiends from Periville got me again last night. We were betting on which turkey could run the fastest across the tavern and of course the turkey Ma caught was slow as molasses. Told her not to be so rough when catching it, it's not like turkeys can heal their wounds at a campfire like people can. It was flopping and flapping all over, running in circles as the Periville swine took my coin and laughed. I'll get them next time. Next time, I'll catch the turkey myself and slip it a haste potion for good measure.|
|13_WeaversFen_Body_05_02||I think our little town rivalry is starting to make Flores batty. I see it on his face when we come into the bar. He's a good man, a good barkeep to let us take drinks out on debt to him, but his patience is wearing thin, I can tell. The last brawl between the Periville boys and us ended in a broken chair and now Flores expects us both to cough up the coin to replace it. Where does he expect us to scrounge up that much? He's a good man, I swear it, but he's growing tired of the fighting.|
|13_WeaversFen_Body_06_01||The fen speaks its secrets to those who are still and willing to listen. It is the settlers and those who came before that I fear will not hear it.|
|13_WeaversFen_Body_06_02||I met a settler who spoke to me in the tongue of my people, but I pretended not to understand. That life feels far away now, and they are not my family any longer. I think he saw that I understood, yet respected my silence.|
|13_WeaversFen_Body_06_03||I came up another lost in the Fen. I cannot say I pitied him, but I resolved to help him. I placed a small sack of food and healing herbs in his path where he might find it, and piled rocks pointing to the Ancient Road.|
|13_WeaversFen_Body_06_04||Weeks had passed when the same man who had wandered lost came again. At first, I thought he had come seeking another gift, but instead he lay down a leather bundle of his own, then placed a ring of flowers about it. He was thanking me.|
|13_WeaversFen_Body_06_05||I saw a hunter, a woman bound for the Lake. I did not leave a gift, for she did not seem she needed it. I wonder what creature she hunted amongst the trees that encircle the crater.|
|13_WeaversFen_Body_06_06||I saw the banners of a king held by the troops as they marched along the road. To each tradesman and fisherman, they greeted kindly. They did not seem to be marching to a destination, but sought to meet the people of the Fen. I fear what they bring with them.|
They are not evil-looking men. Not yet.
|13_WeaversFen_Body_06_07||Hunters of the Fen and the people from the West of the isle seek to capture the ridge on the hill, I see that now. They move quietly through the Fen, and while I wish no more blood spilled here, I left gifts and markers in their path. While I am hesitant of their intentions, the ones they go to fight I fear more.|
|13_WeaversFen_Body_06_08||I saw a man today from the South, his beard thick, his eyes filled with fear. He was not seeking something, he was running from it.|
As he ran, he cast away his garments, as if trying to run from them as well. I thought perhaps he was mad, then I saw the gold and the crest and knew he was trying to flee his homeland, just as I had.
|13_WeaversFen_Body_06_09||I traveled North long ago, to a mountain that was touched by poison. The mountain loomed over all, and in its shadow, smaller shadows toiled.|
I thought it a land of the dead, where those on this isle go to die – but it was the mountain that I feared most.
|13_WeaversFen_Body_06_10||When I gathered courage and I returned to the mountain years later. Perhaps ten summers had passed. Perhaps a hundred. But the mountain had grown angry, and now wore a stone crown that rested in the air above it.|
In its shadow labored a greater collection of shadows than ever, industrious as ants upon a corpse, feeding a queen that I could not see.
|13_WeaversFen_Body_06_11||The living dead, their eyes red with corruption have come to feed apon the corpses. We shall never be rid of them, another curse in the marsh, as if we needed one.|
|13_WeaversFen_Body_06_12||I found a strange talisman today in the pocket of a desiccated corpse. Squared corners, shaved bezels. An evil visage glared back as I wiped clean the mud. I cast it away into the Fen, where none might find it.|
|13_WeaversFen_Body_06_13||Where I cast the talisman, the mud of the hillock had grown a strange red moss, as if the talisman had struck it and the hillock was now bleeding.|
Yet when I prodded the moss with a stick, countless holes in the moss opened up, like tiny, suckling, hungry mouths, each one seeking to drink in all that was around it.
The talisman… it had given birth to a horror that stained the marsh. I lit a fire on the skin of the moss, using the oils of the Fen and watched the evil smoke rise into the air as the moss twitched and writhed.
|13_WeaversFen_Body_06_14||The Journey back to the lake was a mortal risk, undertaken for the regents I need to heal the child. Hiding from torchlight behind narrow trees, I narrowly avoided the patrols of the strange and evil looking men.|
|13_WeaversFen_Body_06_15||The evil-looking men walk in the waters of the Fen that run red. Countless battles, yet they wade through it without a care, as if it strengthens them.|
|13_WeaversFen_Body_06_16||The moon gleamed back, reflecting the perfect round of the lake. I found the otherworldly plants needed for my oils, but lingered for the splendor of the blue lit cliffs dancing above the water.|
|13_WeaversFen_Body_06_17||Their battle still rages in the pass. Traveling back to the Ancient Capital will require going through the desert now.|
|13_WeaversFen_Body_06_18||The soldiers threw themselves at the demon, dying by the dozen as his mystical fires raged. The sacrifice was perhaps too great for this harrowed marsh.|
|13_WeaversFen_Body_06_19||Though my eyes are as strong as when I first gazed upon the sea, and my legs are as strong as the day I first walked on these shores, I have an old woman's heart. I have seen much I cannot unsee with these young woman's eyes. The Fen is stained with blood. More settlers have come. They will only know peace for a single beat in the long, long, heartbeat of the isle.|
I could leave again, for elsewhere, but there is no where to go, and I do not have the will.
It is not a sad thing. It is not a helpless thing. The only place I wish to be is here, upon this isle, and I ask it to accept me. I shall sleep and dream of its shores, its waters, and the songs in the Fen. And I shall hope that others come to hear it as I do, and finally, let go.
|13_WeaversFen_Body_07_01||Pa says I shouldn't play pirates by the water but what else am I supposed to do? There's water everywhere! All the grown-ups are scared because the fish turned that funny color, but I'm not scared of no yellow-bellied fish. I like boar stew better anyway.|
|13_WeaversFen_Body_07_02||It has been three days since the boy's disappearance and Timothy remains inconsolable. We have sent search parties throughout the Fen every day and every night, but to no avail. It's as if the waters parted to swallow the boy up, not leaving body nor soul anywhere to be found. We are running dangerously low on red meat supplies and may be reduced to eating the diseased fish lest we go mad with hunger. I am almost grateful the boy isn't here to see this, but nothing breaks the heart quite like hearing a father cry.|
|13_WeaversFen_Body_08_01||Oh come ye lads and lasses with eyes all bonnie bright!|
To hear a tale that gives ev'ry living sailor fright!
There is an island eternal surrounded by storm!
And just once will we warn...
To stay away if you value your life!
Aeternum, Aeternum, land of the living dead!
Aeternum, Aeternum, just ship me home instead!
|13_WeaversFen_Body_08_02||Two crates of gold ingots, three of silver, and six of iron. Should be enough to barter with anyone we encounter and keep our weapons in top repair.|
Keep a close eye on the grog supply, Mattheson has been lingering suspiciously around the cargo hold and we all know what he's after.
|13_WeaversFen_Body_10_01||With so many families displaced by disease and withering, the Weaver's Fen settlement sees a great deal of unfortunate characters. These people have not the coin for a house but still manage to live safely at the Inn and within the walls of the settlement, far away from the dangers of the swamp outside.|
It is for these people that I fish, that I bring in my hauls and pass them out amongst the crowds. There is no better feeling than helping someone in need.
|13_WeaversFen_Body_10_02||Along with feeding the populace of the Weaver's Fen settlement I have dedicated my life on Aeternum to the cleansing of the Weaver's Fen waters. Molding Withered and crumbling skeletons leave pieces of themselves in the water they cross to rot, and the ships that crashed here on this side of the island must have been carrying some kind of disease, because the fish are severely affected.|
With a combination of oil spills, undead body parts, and general debris in the water of Weaver's Fen I have my work cut out for me, but I will stop at nothing to see these waters clear and blue for the first time.
|13_WeaversFen_Body_10_03||Today I saw something lurking in the distance, just out of sight. I know it now to be an Varanus Mandje, the serpent of legend that a woman in the settlement once spoke of encountering and running away from. The people depend on me, and the Mandje looks dangerous to my trained eye and looked dangerous to the civilian's untrained one, so I must catch it at all costs.|
|Lore_Body_Outpost_WeaversPost||Tradesmen, Craftsmen, Companies all –|
You are welcome to trade, but you may not spill blood here.
No dueling, no fighting, none is allowed,
Even if Aeterna somehow permitted violence within this claim.
Make of the forge and inn as you will, but to those seeking trouble,
Piss off somewhere else.
|Lore_Body_Outpost_WeaversStation||All are welcome here, lest you speak ill of the witch that once dwelled in the Fen – for those that do, you will find no shelter here.|
Many she helped in her life, and Weaver's Fen honors her sacrifice, and her efforts.
Speak ill of her or curse the Fen, and many curses in return will fall upon your head. Seek out her path and her journey may help you as it helped others.
|Weavers_Body_01_01||This place is CURSED – bridges and roads that lead nowhere – tracks that stop abruptly at marshland eager to swallow you, boots and all – even the ancient road seems washed out after barely an hour's rain, as if it can't stand any of the constructions here, now or in the past. Weaver's Fen – ha! The Marsh is naught else but a great spider, its web the swamp itself – no wonder we've lost so many caravans to this place, and we're likely to lose dozens more.|
If not for the oil, one would not care at all – and to us, it hardly seems worth it to suffer the Fen's dangers if we're unlikely to ever have a home here.
|Weavers_Body_01_02||Jacoby asked about the red swirls in the marsh, and we enlightened the fool – it's where the Corrupted got riddled with rifles or felled by axes, and their blood soaked the marsh. Not all of it, to be sure, there's settler blood, too, and the Fen was thick with it - we told him be on his guard or the Fen would drink deep of his blood as well.|
It didn't seem to kill the gleam in his eye, though – he'll see different if we get close to the Corrupted's old fort, and see if he likes wearing boots dyed with blood of the marsh. It's a small blessing that settlers older than us pushed the bastards back to the Cleave, for I doubt we'd have the soldiers to do it today, especially now that the Queensport Union got struck by the Cleave's heel when they got too bold. There's a lesson there, and Jacoby had best heed it before he gets ideas of claiming land that isn't his.
|Weavers_Body_01_03||We came upon a leather sack off the road, and Jacoby eagerly searched it, becoming quite disappointed when all within was herbs and food. He asked who might have dropped it - and when we made mention of the witch, Jacoby's eyes grew wide – he cast the herbs into the muck and became agitated, stomping about, urging us to leave until I finally cuffed him.|
“Our Hazel's not to be feared,” I told him once his ears stopped ringing. “Been at the isle longer than us, and that good woman's done more to help us than any.” I nodded at the sack. “She leaves those, not as warnings, not as curses, but supplies for those in need of food or healing, as it's easy to get lost in the Fen.”
I let that sink in, and when he grumbled that he wouldn't accept ‘any witch's poison', I nodded at the herbs in the muck. “Now, now – put those in your mouth and chew it. Might be poison, as you say. Or it might taste like your pride. Either one might cure that lack of sense of yours.”
|Weavers_Body_01_04||An uneasy peace governs the Fen, some say – as if we had a choice.|
The Corrupted continue to infest the marsh, and grow bolder by the day. We hack at them like stubborn roots, and for what? They will soon outnumber us – and then harvest us as we harvest the Fen.
What use is a trading company, or any company at all, if we cannot protect ourselves and those in our charge? Yet still we go about our shallow business – we fish, trade oil and linen from our stores, a clockwork life while a hammer waits to fall on us.
The glorious “Weaver's Fen Company” indeed! Fish scales and fish guts shall be a poor shield against the evils of this isle.
|Weavers_Body_01_05||“Leave them be and they shall leave us be,” is the prayer of the fools in the forts. They ignore the empty homes in the Fen, and focus on the ease of life on the peninsula as if the Fen is not a stone's throw away. Other prayers are more foolish, “the Witch has lived here ages,” they say, “and she survived.” Yet when I ask the same fools to draw a map to her home and how anything or anyone might find it, let alone attack it, they grow quiet and return to their cups.|
If we will not help ourselves, we must find others who will. I have heard tales of a union at Queensport, a collection of companies who have banded together to protect the isle. It will be a hard task to convince those of the Fen to welcome any government or army, but I fear if we wait for the Corrupted to convince us, there will be little left to protect.
|Weavers_Body_01_06||A Queensport Officer was in the Fen outpost. I took this opportunity to test his convictions, though in a circular fashion. He answered honestly, even disagreed with me when I claimed the Corrupted in the Fen did not trouble us overmuch.|
“I do not want to tell others how to live their lives, but the Corrupted do not let others live – they prey on them, and descend like locusts. Where there is one, you can be sure there are others. It is for this reason we have decided to form the union at Queensport.”
I asked if Queensport might “lower” themselves to help the simple people of the Fen, and he grew even more serious. “We must help each other. Even if I were not of the Queensport union, it is the duty of every living soul on Aeternum. The isle a gift, but that does not mean we must not fight for it.”
The man's name was Rutherford. I asked if he would speak to the Weaver's Company, and he agreed. What comes of it, I do not know.
|Weavers_Body_01_07||Rutherford's inquiry fell upon deaf ears. As expected, the Weaver's Company – or their drunk representatives, more like - did not wish to stir up trouble with the Corrupted. “What gain is had in antagonizing them? They do not harm us if we leave them be.”|
“Have you seen a brother… a sister… a mother, a wife, among the Corrupted?” Rutherford asked. He was calm, but his tone was sharpest at ‘wife'. “I have. I am certain even in Weaver's Fen you have seen it, fellow countrymen who now walk hunched, their skin shriveled, yet a devil's light in their eyes.” Many of the representatives fell silent at this – yet one became angry. “What of it? They were weak – what little faith they had, failed them.”
“No,” Rutherford responded quietly. “You did.”
|Weavers_Body_01_08||The talks persisted, angrily and uselessly. The representatives wanted nothing to do with Queensport, but their arguments bore little reason. Every helping hand, every calm word was slapped away or scorned.|
“And what price is your ‘Queensport assistance'?” The representatives demanded of Rutherford. “A tithe? Taxes? All we left the mainland to put behind us?!”
“There is a tax, yes, for maintenance of the roads, to assist in trade… and to assist each other. But most of all, I offer you our swords, our rifles, and our friendship. That is what will keep the Corrupted from the door.”
“You think we cannot protect our own,” the representatives challenged.
“No single company can,” Rutherford replied. “Even us. And that is why I am here now. You are not asking for our help, we are asking for yours.”