Part One – The reason for my journey.
It is time for me to write the story of my youth, so that those who, in the future read this journal, can know and understand why, and how, my adventure in Telanya began. As many great stories do, my adventure began with a woman.
I met Ieya in the Caldera ruins of Sirrus. The Sirrus Caldera is home to a small order of khumos monks whose spiritual goal is the realisation of enlightenment through meditation. They did not build the temple, but rather have spent generations exploring and excavating the ruins, searching for evidence of the world from before the Brightsong. Though I am not khumos, they accepted my request to join their order, and I agreed to the required minimum of one year's devotion before my full membership to the order would be accepted.
I joined the Sirrus Order at the behest of my family, who had recognised my magical talents from an early age, and encouraged me to seek further training from the khumos. I packed my bags and left my family home on the edge of the Varean Wood, following the Greyreed River north to Lake Dorennan. I means for passage with a performing troupe headed to Granite Reach. This was the first time I had ever travelled into the mountains, and despite having read books on khumos culture, I was shocked by the vast number of ancient ruins to be found along the roadside.
The khumos of Telanya have risen and fallen across the millennia, building kingdoms and constructing monuments, only to be shaken apart as a people by civil disputes, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and finally from vast destruction of the Gloomwars.
Before I began my journey I read what books I could find on khumos language and culture, of which there was precious little in Cloudpsore. It's strange, but even so far north, only five or so weeks journey on foot away from the mountains, I had to ask at three book-stores before I found anything other than ancient history text books describing a culture long since faded. Before the Brightsong, the khumos lands were divided by the wars of Kings and Queens who built strongholds and palaces and who dug the vast tunnels still inhabited by khumos-kind, but modern khumos are very different from their ancestors.
I found a book written by an ashkasi adventurer, Nevik Seyah, published only four years ago:
Up the Hill and Down the Dale: A journey through the monastic culture of modern north-western khumos
Since the beginning of the Bright Age, the khumos have turned their attentions inward, building no more strongholds, waging no more wars. Now their arrows aim at the truth, now their swords cut through illusions. Where once they were known for their ferocity and activity, now theirs is a culture better known for deep thinkers who never seem to blink or draw breath, who speak in slow measured words, as if weighing the value of each syllable, like a gem cutter at his scales. They take insult slowly but never forget a slight. They are people of their word, for their word is like the stone wherein they abide, solid, unbreakable, inviolable.
So it was with this in mind that I took my place among the Sirrus Order, and where I met Ieya, in the silence of the Mount Ruthane caldera monastery. But before I reached the monastery, I had to travel a long way through the mountains, and the folk I met there, are worth writing about.