A Call for Sanity.
Recently rumors undermining the integrity of Kindee Edlinastara
buzz around even to my quiet hermitage in Salty Canyon. As a rule I do
not concern myself with idle talk or gossip, but it this case I am
moved to respond because I see that an accusation of treason is growing around this respectable young
woman, the consequences of which are too grave to allow. Even as I returned from the Nemi capital of Moft with Kindee and the guard I was greeted with much confusion about the failed mission
to Star's Reach.
Those who have denounced Kindee are given a large audience, and their words are repeated and quoted through out the nobility, and even those who still adore her rise to influence ignore this danger, chalking it up to the vanity of the nobility. Yes, several time I have heard that the nobility blames the failure of the mission on her, to protect the memory of their own Elida, originally tasked with command, but I fear that more than the reputation of a fawning brat is at stake.
So I wade into this conversation with utmost seriousness, completely
open in my intention to defend the good lady, but also swearing fairness
and honesty in my account of the history of this event. I walked all
the way to the Nemi Capital of Moft, where our peoples place in the story reached its conclusion, and we bid farewell to the Towalk missionaries we were tasked with serving. As the Manifest Keeper on the mission I was privy to
many details of the trip that the young soldiers spreading rumors these
days were ignorant of. As a function of that duty I kept detailed
journal of the whole journey, which I
have made available for reference through the Assayer's Society House for
those who want to verify the consistency of my account.
Though a recluse, my assays of material from the old world have been
valued above all others for more than a generation not only because of
my skillfulness in observation and thoroughness in study, but mostly
because of my deep practice of honesty. So before you listen to any
slander of these accounts, I challenge you to find one example of me
lying to anybody in living memory, for I know for a fact that any true
examples must be older than my first beard, though I am not naive enough
to doubt that examples may be fabricated on account of the terrible
corruption driving this entire vile business. Much material evidence of the details I report are spread along a trail a weeks march from here, so I have only testamony to offer, though I will indecate where more local evidence might be found later.
From the hand carve balcony of the Host of Salvation's sanctuary cave, Korada head priestess of the Host of Salvation and architect of our mission to Star's Reach announced it to the Nobility of Sky Prairie. They were gathered in the great vault, and so were the Guards who would go on the long walk including Kindee who at the time still seemed on among a band; older than the guards, I was there to as a manifest
keeper for what goods and supplies were being donated. Beside Korada was Elida, ready to accept the command, and Dald leader of the Towalk honored strangers from the unknown South
who had asked our people's support in reaching Star's Reach. Silent the gathered
nobility grew anticipating the word of Korada. These are the words of
Korada's speech that announced our part in the mission to Star's Reach.
"My Fellows, we have come to know the Towalk in recent months, and have
learned of the spirit of friendship they bring to our people. We have
also heard the despite mission they bare for all peoples who are true
to the Earth. News reached them, as it had reached us, of the recent
discovery of Star's Reach by the Meriga nation who live to the East of
the Kanzi desert. But the Towalk, better than ourselves, realized the
danger of this. Far more vividly than our albums does their lore
remember the times of warfare waged by our common ancestors against the
Sky Lords for the mercy of the Earth. Before the Feder War these lands
were ruled by a people beholdened to and worshiping the Sky Lords. The
Towalk have even shown us records from that era of the alliance between
the Federists and the Sky Lords. How they shared deadly sciences and
visited 'death from above' on the warriors we share as ancestors. How
they held the Earth captive to the Consumers... And now, the heirs of
the Federists, the Merigers, seek to reestablish contact to their
former patrons. They have found Star's Reach, the last fortress of the
Federalists, the last bridge to the Sky Lords, and they inhabit it
"Only in the Host's darkest terrors and most melancholic guessing had the possibility of the Sky Lords return been thought, with damp
cheeks I confess we were too comfortable and proud to see this danger
clearly. Clearly as the Towalk saw it upon first hearing of Star's Reach's discovery. So, hear now from someone whose instincts for
danger are clear and sharp, for his people are wild and wary, hear now
from Dald of the Towalk, and know that his heart is one with the will of
the Host in the matter of Star's Reach"
At this point there was a murmur among the nobility, fear their kind had
forgotten how to feel above the great cliffs of Sky Prairie moved
through the crowd, and standing among the guard who already knew the
mission to be announces there hearts moved in response with pride.
Dald leaned forward, and gave his speech in the archaic voice of his people.
"My kin in the far South are the Towalk, after the mountain
we live on, sticking out of the wind blasted sands. When we heard that
Star's Reach had been found, we were frightened, for the stories from the
Feder War are still told each dark night among our people, and to this
day we use no fire at night, as our ancestors did during the war, lest the birds of slay find them. That custom's how we do so well to recall
"During the war a leader from near Towalk uncovered that the Federists
were getting support and weapons, there 'birds of slay', from the
Sky Lords. He uncovered the Federists and the Sky Lords had ruled most
of the world for a hundred years before the Federist War broke their
power and freed their people. But the Sky Lords ruined the rains and the
'snow' with their power before they abandoned the Federists to their
defeat. Your people and ours were still one, fighting the Federists,
but as the
sands grew peoples shrunk and lost touch with each other, becoming the
Towalk and the Sky Prairie, and the other mountain peoples too.
"Our people is a smaller group than your big place here on the Sky
Prairie. I did not know there was such a big place left until we found
your tall and proud cliff top walls. We only have news from traveling
Canyon folk and never guesses that thirty hundreds of folk might still
live as a single people. Towalk is much smaller, the fifty and five that
marched to your lands are the best part of our able aged. My
whole people would have gone, but we had to leave enough folks to endure
the Sky Lords if the mission failed, so our memories could be saved.
"We seek to take Star's Reach, and break any tie to the Sky Lords that
remains there. We didn't know how it would be done, and left trusting
that the Land would provide a way. At your walls, which amaze us in their vastness around your whole Land, we found the first real hope for success. In them you invited us, as strangers, then as friends, and for a moon we have been here, heralding warning and calling for support against the Sky Lords.
"Thank you for your welcome. Thank you for your shelter. Thank you for
hearing our cause. And thank you for your aid. Korada of the Host has
talked with us and been our friend. We had no means to attack Star's
Reach except the deadly slings my people, but she sends us a great arsenal of repeating rifles, and has trained my
men in their use. She sends thirty of her own guards as guides to Star's
Reach, and to protect this arsenal from robbers along the way. She
sends forty trail carts with us, loaded with supplies. Also we have
learned much of the way to Star's Reach. Through sandy lands and up the river bed to the spine of the mountains, across the guard of the Nemi, and down into the Kansi desert, along nomadic trade routes to the ruins.
"Thank you, Sky Prairie, for your
friendship, we will break this tie to the Sky Lords forever."
Those are the speeches that launched the mission to Star's Reach. Elida
also gave a speech. His was a hollow and trite
acceptance of duties, his public and stated duties at least. Still these were the vows of duty he gave, I
recall them so that you can consider how well Kindee in fact carried
through these duties. "I accept the duty of leading the
Guard of the Host's mission in search of Star's Reach; pledging to
protect it from destruction; and to guide the
Towalk on their mission to protect the Earth from the dangers at Star's
Reach." By rising to the events around her, guided, I believe, by this code Kindee upset plans kept dearly private, for that the Host now attacks her.
At next dawn the combined forces of the Towalk and the
Guard of the Host made way for the North gate of Sky Prairie, but at
the gate there were fifty volunteers waiting to join the mission,
standing with there own provisions begged and borrowed from kith and
kin. Dald was ecstatic to see these unannounced supporters, many of whom
he recognized as friends from his people's stay in Sky Prairie, and he
rushed forward to greet them. But Elida stopped in his tracks so
suddenly that I nearly walked into the cart he was pulling, they were not part of his plan or vision.
The volunteers were lead by a proud and kind hearted young man named
Grand, who presented himself to Elida while I watched. "Fifty stout
fighters to topple the occupiers of Star's Reach offer ourselves
to your command." said Grand to Elida.
But Elida responded with a flustered stammer "Do you mean to suggest, are you saying,
that the Guard of the Host in not equal to this mission? The journey is
very far, and the larger a group is, it is much more difficult to
then support, and it is also more difficult to, find passage through
other lands, more dangerous crossing other borders, provocative, that is to say. You are better off here in the safety of these walls, a safety you haven't learned to do with out."
"We are self sufficient, and these men have faced danger before, some are veterans of the Guard, with our numbers combined raiders and
herders would not question us, besides wouldn't you say many along the
way will want to join the cause? It would be a shame if our Great City
offered the fewest fighters to this cause!" Grand responded with no sign of concern for Elida's reproach.
Elida started "Raiders and herders are not my concern, I meant the Nemi...". But I do not know how he meant to finish for
here Kindee made her move into the heart of matters. She stepped out of
line, leaving her cart behind, "Grand!" she yelled as though to an old friend "It is a joy that you have
organized such a fine group, and one prepared for our leader's
concerns." She then nodded at me "This is our Manifest Keeper, won't
you go over your supplies with him, so that he can say if
your goods are enough for the journey."
I was put very much on the spot by this, and I might be incriminating
myself in these matters, for I sensed the tension in Elida, and knew him
to be fumbling for a way to turn back the Volunteers, but seeing
Grand's enthusiasm and seeing Elida stymied I chose, not out
of disloyalty so much as from nerviousness, to hurry off to check Grand's supplies. An inventory seemed a much more comfortable place to be than near the peeved Elida.
But while Grant lead me to the gate house where his crew was gathered I
heard Elida's shrill tone with Kindee for stepping out of
line so. Little do the words matter, because so little about Elida ever
mattered, he was a servile young noble, and though he could reprimand
Kindee, and threaten many punishments, she had already won this moment,
diverting him from the instant where he might still have prevented the
joining of the Volunteers, as I am certain was his hope.
So Kindee was disloyal to Elida, but only in service of our people's right to follow our hearts and duties to see to the resolution of Star's Reach.
From the gate house where I busied myself with the inventory I could see
them arguing. Elida reprimanding Kindee, turning to come to the gate
house to address the volunteers, only to be dragged back into
reprimanding Kindee further as she would bait him with a remark. Three
times I saw the cycle turn, and by the time Elida made it to the gate
their were smirks and whispers against his authority from the Volunteers. The one remark that I remember by words was "This little
prince does not fancy the common man." though I know not who said it.
Grand spoke to Dald, who nodded to word's I couldn't hear and went to
speak to Elida, what they spoke of I do not know, but only briefly
afterwards they the whole mission, with the Volunteers, march beyond the
gate house, for Star's Reach. For though Elida always preened himself as the leader, he was formally at Dald's service.