The Threshold

I have said comparatively little regarding the Brightsong in this journal. The truth is that I am wholly ignorant of its true nature. Having studied to be a Warden, having learned how to Weave the threads of magic and become a channel for energies beyond my understanding, I can say no more regarding the Brightsong than what I learned in school and what I have seen in my wanderings. The ancient legend tells of a terrible threat from creatures of the Gloom, the miraculous unification of all the races of Telanya to fight against it, and the quest to gather the ancient magical artifacts. There was a ceremony, or a ritual, and nothing was working until the trees spoke, and that is when the Brightsong was born, sweeping away the Gloom.

When I studied at Sirrus, there were paintings of this ceremony, and trees do feature heavily in all the temple artwork, but the evidence is simply too ancient and fragmentary to make solid conclusions about real historical events. All I truly know about the Brightsong comes down to what I have seen it do, and what I have seen it fail to do. It is true that violence is punished with Gloomstain, and it is true that the Gloomstain is itself an enticement for many to plunge deeper into violence and condemnation, driving those afflicted to flee the Bright lands. It is true that the goblins and other bestial races dwell beyond the mountains and the wastes, but it is also true that they are seen every year within the boundaries of the Brightsong.

The Brightsong is imperfect. A statement that would draw the ire of my teachers, and the censure of the Bright Council. I can support my claim with many stories, but very little proof, and so, in ignorance and doubt, I walk on, submerging myself deeper in the mystery.

I have reached Lake Landerin, having followed the river west, and discovered to my great delight, a whole naspani community. A hundred or so naspani dwell upon the water in a floating village where they fish and farm, living with very differences between them and their ancient kinfolk. An isolated agricultural community visited only a few times a year by khumos traders or a particularly adventurous Warden. They were friendly, but quiet, at least around me. I was asked by nearly everyone why I had come, and how long I would be staying, but no one seemed to care where I had come from. They did not care to hear of Telanya, and they were very blunt when I asked of the Grey Marsh.

Cursed! they spat, and I had to clean by boots thoroughly that evening.

In the morning, just as the sun came up, a beautiful young woman came to me, her eyes full of pity and care.

Don't go, please don't go to the swamp. No one ever comes back.

But I must go, I pleaded, suddenly affected by this young woman's heartfelt plea.

Glancing around her to assure herself of our privacy, she stepped closer to me and whispered.

They say the swamp sings to people, it draws them in with a Gloomspell. It lies to them through poetry and songs, it convinces them that they have to go. It can sing into your mind, no matter how far away you live.

But that's... I tried to interrupt.

It's true. You've come a long way, haven't you? You've followed stories and songs, and no matter how many times you got lost, you still ended up here didn't you?

She spoke so passionately, with such conviction in her eyes that I hesitated a moment. But I made a promise, if not to Ieya, then to myself.

I must go. I held her hand and stared into her eyes, trying to show her my own conviction, my own passion and concern.

Just like all the others, she hissed, twisting out of my grip and running away through the morning fog.

I left the village, and I never once asked its name. I crossed the river and made at last, the final steps needed to meet my fate.

Ta