Midsummer – My time in The Grey Marshes
Has it really been a year? Living in the swamp has granted me a vision of a paradise I had not imagined possible, but it has also revealed to me the frailty of such a utopia. The swamp is more than what the legends suggest. The heartland where Ieya and I have lived this past year is a lush, diverse, and harmonious ecosystem, brought into balance by the very force that keeps all Telanya at peace: The Brightsong. However, outside this tiny region of beauty, the rest of the swamp is exactly as dangerous, toxic and haunted as a horror story.
What is the secret? What is the Brightsong and why has it created this contradiction of harmony and violence on the edge of the civilised world? Ieya does not have answers to these questions. Though she reigns almost as a queen over the goblins and other Gloomspawn who worship her, the mystery of the Marshes is not yet revealed to her. The nature of her own existence is equally shrouded in doubt. She is alive, though she remembers her own death at the hands of monsters. Her heart beats, though it does not pump blood. She is more like a plant than an eesheeya, and though she remembers everything from her own mortal life, she is also haunted by the memories of many other beings. Her dreams reveal strange things to her, and though she often tells me of the visions she has received, I can make little sense of them.
So, rather than entangling ourselves painfully in the problems of unsolved magical riddles, we have continued her work, documenting the life in the Marshes. Neither of us have trained in botany or zoology, but with my steady hand with a pencil, and her many years collecting specimens of the creatures and plants here, I have been able to compile a great book of information, with paper made from the papyrus that grows prolifically here.
But there is so much more to the Marshes than the plants, animals, insects and fungi. They conceal a vast collection of knowledge in the water. I cannot explain it fully, but it seems that the Marshes are fed by an uncountable number of distinct underground springs, each of which is host to unique forms of life, and containing unique mineral properties. There is something in the water, as the old adage goes, but what the Marshes reveal in the microcosm of their ecology, must be understood to be represented across all Telanya. The Brightsong is in the water. The Brightsong is under the earth. The rivers that flow across the surface are shallow tributaries of the great network of tunnels beneath the land.
The old khumos legends and artifacts kept in the museum in Ardrennan are evidence of a civilisation far older than the Brightsong.However, the goblins of the Grey Marshes claim that they were here in Telanya before the khumos, and that before the goblins, there was the water, and the water was alive.