Interlude: Collection from the Russet Book of Fables & Fairy Tales

Author: Radetch
Published: 2020-01-09, edited: 2020-01-11
A short interlude, ft. worldbuilding.

Part of the campaign:

Unfinished Starbound AAR

Previous part:

Game: Other games

VII. Luxury deadens the senses and soon becomes common.

Images: 16, author: Radetch, published: 2020-01-09, edited: 2020-01-11

Preface;

"I sought to collect these because the Glitch seem intent on hand-transcribing most every story their culture holds. This has left great repositories of written work that are susceptible to loss, fire, or other such tragedy.

The works have been abridged somewhat - the Glitch are fond of repetition in their storytelling that I felt made the tales somewhat harder to relate to, for most audiences. It was a difficult decision, but I have tried to make up for it by being as faithful to the original stories as possible.

I'm only Hylotl; liable to make mistakes and errors. If you have better understanding of a particular story"

Bon-Hwa stopped mouthing the words, erasing them for the umpteenth time. Head in his palms, he crossed the last sentence out.

"The stories within are presented as is. The values of the Glitch have changed very little throughout their time as a species, and may not be entirely akin to those held by you or I. Try to understand them, and it is my hope that you enjoy."
The Hero and the Knave (I)

Not so long ago, when times were different, there lived a noble Knight.

https://youtu.be/tEs-9WmYg5s

She was heroic, without fault, and fought endlessly for the sake of House and Lord.

One day, her lady love was kidnapped by a cruel Knave, and the Knight, who had began to feel the sting of old age, set out on one last righteous cause.

Her footing was certain even as she began her journey - for though the swamp her steed led her through was full of creatures vile and mysterious, she had traveled it many times before.
The Hero and the Knave (II)

Eventually, she found herself in a wide, open field - and the sky had opened up as well, and the Hero found herself blinded by the growing light of day - after so long in the darkness, she had grown accustomed to it, after all.

Her horse, however, had fallen to the ground - optic lights no more to blink, nor hooves to trample through the fields.

But the Hero knew that to mourn it would be to forsake her lady love, and continued onwards, even though the grass grew tall and wild in every direction - and she was no longer certain she knew where she was going.

The farther she went, the farther she found herself, until suddenly the Hero realized she could not see the lands she had protected for so many years.
The Hero and the Knave (III)

An object far into the distance called to her - a crumbling tower under the full light of day.

Indeed, the light was so bright as to terrify her, and she felt that if she stared into it for too long, it might even destroy her.

But she had to look ahead, and so she did.

When she reached the tower, she saw a jackanape Knave, dressed in mismatched armour and without tabard nor signet of his own. He was attempting to repair the citadel, but for every spike of durasteel he threaded into it, two dense chunks of alloy came loose.

"Watchful: Ho there," said the Hero to the Knave. "This place looks to have once been the castle of a terrible and fallen lord; is it his home any longer?"

The Knave did not reply at first, so intent was he on his work. Then a plate fell against his brow, and the Knave responded with a laugh.

"Carelessly: No, for he has been dead for many a year."

"Fearful: And what of the maiden he stole from the lands of the south, some time before?"

"Confirming: Aye, and she as well."

"Mournful: Then what purpose may a hero yet serve, if they cannot save their love?"

The Hero fell to the ground, as did the Knave (for he was tired.)

"Searching: Do you have any hopes or dreams, stranger?"

The hero asked, and the Knave shook his head.

"Searching: Do you have any cares in the world?"

The knave once again shook his head.

"Searching: Do you truly desire to see this place built again?"

With one final shake of his head, the Knave turned to face the Hero, who had stopped moving.

"Firm: Then I shall die here, and you shall take my sword and shield, and become a hero. And when this land needs a hero again, you shall be it - for that is the order of things."

And then the Hero was silent, and there was only the Hero.
Death and Duty (I)

Not so long ago, when times were different, there was a family who lived in a large city, ruled by a kindly lord. Both he and she were merchants of the lesser nobility, with but two names and no title nor house.

But of their work they were proud, and they had one day hoped to bring to life a child that would yet succeed them in their work.

One day, however, the wife grew incredibly sick, and none could tell why, but she - and she refused to say.

At first the husband grew fearful of his wife and her secrets, then angry - and finally resolved. He felt he knew what must be done, and that he would do anything to save her.

Without the consent of his liege and with the aid of a midwife who promised to care for her until his return, the merchant left to find some cure, or even a mere balm to aid his wife against her suffering.
Death and Duty (II)

He wandered aimlessly outside the city limits, having asked all the residents of the city for help - but of course, none could say for they were peasants, and did not know anything outside the herbs they gathered to treat infirmity and minor disease.

Rust-hewn and terrified, he begged the sky itself for help, and three colourful birds cut through the sky, in hue of gold, ruby, and violet.

Said the first: "I shall help you, if you shall promise to give me all the wealth you have ever made."

Said the second: "I shall help you, if you give me your own life to do with as I please."

Said the third: "... I can't help you. I'm sorry..."

The birds flew around him and the merchant realized his mistake, strangling the life out of all but the third, which returned to the skies above.

He ran home, as quickly as he could.
Death and Duty (III)

In his absence, however, a feud between Houses had set the city ablaze, killing many, peasants and nobility alike. The merchant returned to his house, but it had been consumed by flames - and the midwife had abandoned his wife to them, as he had, himself.

Falling to one knee, the merchant mourned for sometime, until the violet bird returned to his shoulder.

"This is the price you shall pay, merchant, for forgetting your role in the world - for not trusting your life and the life of your love to the natural order. And you shall pay it until memory robs you of even that."

Nodding, the merchant accepted his fate and roamed the streets, to warn others of the dangers of dereliction - and his own, tragic fate.
The Lost Lord (I)

Not so long ago, when times were different, there was a lord who found himself without hearth nor home.

https://youtu.be/ocT0XrTO8yU

This did not bother him, so he decided to follow every road he found, for as long as it might take him.

At first, the road was gentle and straightforward - it carried him past peasants in the field, who waved and offered their bread to him, recognizing him as a lord.

He did not talk with them long, for it would've humiliated them as if he had doubted their industry - nor did he accept all their bread, for it was needed by them to complete their harvest.

But his spirits restored, he pressed on.
The Lost Lord (II)

Eventually, the road grew winding, and less maintained.

No more peasants lived here, but determined cottars and settlers. One stopped the lord as he walked by, determination visible 'pun his screen.

"Cautioning: You must not go this way, o' lord, for who can say what terrible things might befall you if you do."

But the lord brushed off his concerns, for he was a lord - and to know or so fear to any subject, even those not his, was a kind of defeat.

Two more times the cottar warned him, but the lord responded correctly both times, and both knew this was good.
The Lost Lord (III)

Finally, the lord reached the end of the road as it rose above a hill - and a bridge, that was eternally incomplete, cast out and down where none could ever hope to cross it.

Defeated, but not discouraged, the lord decided to slowly climb down the cliff face, since the city seem abuzz with life and joy, and he much desired to see it for himself.

As he walked, the light began to dim over, both in the sky and in his eyes, and the lord grew uncertain how long he had been walking, nor if he was getting closer.

Eventually, the lord stepped off of the road, and from there, lost his way entirely.
The Lost Lord (IV)

The darkness lay over him, and the lord heard whispers - the same whispers that all may hear, when they step too far off the road.

https://youtu.be/KadtVRS0F50

Terrified, the lord drew his dagger and waved it against the darkness, before it was cast away from his outstretched hands. Falling to the ground in fear, the lord asked of the darkness:

"Pleading: Why have you come at me, oh darkness? Why do you torture me, so?"

And the darkness responded with a single light in front of the lord, and whispered quietly -

"Because you were alone, and I felt you were frightened, and I felt you wanted a friend."

And the lord grew less afraid, and the darkness closed around him.
The Lost Lord (V)

When the lord returned from the darkness, he could not stop laughing.

He went down to the city, and informed them of terrible lies that the darkness had told him, but clothed in light. And because he was a lord who breached his promised duty, the peasants and the merchants and the lower lords believed him, and one by one they followed him.

And they reveled and rioted and drank freely of all the wine stored in the cellars beneath; and they ate freely of all the food saved for the future. They built and destroyed as they please, and the lord instructed them to build a road, and they built a road.

And so swollen with what the darkness had told him was the lord, that he led the marching band above it into the heavens, where they reached the gate of heaven - and the Heavenly Builder, standing next to it, many arms outstretched.

"Forceful: Let us into heaven, that we might finally put an end to this!"

Roared the lord, and behind him the echoes of those words fell to the city so far below.

But the wise warden shook their head and whispered.

"Pleading: You must turn back. There are terrible things beyond these gates."

But so drunk were the mob that they tore the gatekeeper into many pieces and cast the pieces to the ground below, and ripped open the gates of heaven.
The Lost Lord (VI)

Then the Angels stormed out, and devoured them all utterly, as punishment for having forsaken their sacred duties, until not even darkness remained.

Next chapter:

Game: Other games

VIII. The Glitch occupation was... Strange.

Images: 14, author: Radetch, published: 2020-01-09, edited: 2020-01-11

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