You walk into Master Arasemis’s bedchamber. It’s just as you thought, crammed with books and papers just like his library study upstairs. It’s clear that he works just as hard in here as he does in the study library and laboratory. He has tremendous energy and never gives himself a time to rest.
…So, it is little wonder that these heathens, without civilized methods for organizing a society, found themselves always at odds with one another. Claims by other so-called scholars, such as the heretic Orren, that the Gallerlanders’ structure was stable and peaceful is utterly fanciful.
A look at the evidence shows that the Gallerlanders in particular were divided geographically and politically into several subtribes, the kings of which were elected by their clan chiefs. Of course, these divisions and ridiculous election method were decisive factors in their downfall at the able hands of Marshal Hilsingor of Ned Gollen and his Frontier Corps, may he rest in peace.
The subtribes, complete with outlandish names, were as follows. The Goyns of Goynland, the last king of which was Odon. The Umbyrs of Umbyrland, led by their last king Erambrin. And the Vayns of Vaynland, led by Tirgranir. There were also minor subtribes: the Teshi who occupied what is now Leauvenna island. The Maluram, a branch of the Vayns, who mined and smithed the electrum of the accursed Gilgalem. And the Aggarwals of that southern region. It’s a wonder these barbarians considered themselves part of the same tribe at all, especially given the vastness of the lands they populated like a fungus.
The wretchedness of the electoral monarchy of the Gallerlanders cannot be overstated. Each subtribe comprised a set of clan chiefs that in turn presided over a number of families or whole villages. Like the subtribe kings, all of the chiefs were elected by the men and women whom they ruled. Imagine that. Specific families often dominated at the family and clan level, and—as long as their people prospered—could expect to continue ruling from one generation to the next. In practice, there was never any prosperity.
A high king presided over all the subtribes and lived in the treetop Nalembalen, like monkeys from Middlesea. The high king personally ruled a region of Umbyrland named Balanland, which included Nalembalen and a number of outlying villages. He was elected by a council of clan chiefs that elected the lower kings, usually choosing one of the lower kings when a high king died or lost the confidence of his people. Absurdly, the Gallerlanders marked time by the generations of these high kings, not by years or seasons as civilized people do.
To cap this rickety political system, there was a wiseman, known only as the Sage, that counselled the high kings and elected council. Apparently, he lived in a cave in the Gilgalem Mountains, which the Gallerlanders ignorantly believed was the center of the Earth (which faithful readers will know is the seat of the Martinus). So the method by which this so-called wise man in the mountains could advise the Gallerlander rulers in the faraway trees Nalembalen is not worthy of consideration.
By studying these heathens, we can be sure of our superior position above such divisive clan politics, and be grateful for the strength and enforced peace of the Brintilian imperial system.
…Turning to the Gallerlanders’ habits of food and drink, they smoke the tabakat in curly thin pipes that slowly emit the sweet blue smoke that is now famous among colonial merchants. It is unclear where the Gallerlanders’ tabakat farms are located, perhaps in large clearings beyond the vast forest of the frontier. But what is certain is they must grow a lot of it. And for them to have freely shared its cultivation with merchants and frontier folk is an underappreciated fact about these gentle natives.
The Gallerlanders also enjoy chaurik, a beer derived from a not yet identified root, as well as mulled ale, mead, bitter woodland wine, spruce beer (the Vayns only), and a few varieties of murky berry wine. Foods that have been traded to colonists include afban (a flat bread) with fruit spreads or crust of herbs, quail egg tarts, mellonberry pies and cakes, rich mushroom stews, grilled rabbit, roasted venison and boar, and skewered woodland hen.
This variety and quality demonstrates the sophistication of these peaceful natives that, again, often goes overlooked by the colonies. And popaver, that most prized of New World exports, must also be mentioned as Gallerlandian in origin.
We must improve our relations with this tribe. The Gallerlanders’ relations with their tribal neighbors are usually poor and often violent. There is opportunity in the colonies expanding trade with them as a way to help guarantee peace. The same can be said of the Bronhildi tribe in the north, which I will address in a later chapter. Seeking allies among these natives is only sensible.
Return to Map
In this corner gallery, two paintings with bold colors and shapes catch your eye. These are very old and in a style that seems long forgotten, but still mesmerizing.
You recognize their names as famous knights were the grandsons of Odon, who surrendered to the Brintilian Empire during Marshal Hilsingor’s early push into the interior of Pemonia. After suffering numerous defeats, Odon surrendered after securing a guarantee that the Goyn Gallerlanders would be treated well, but most were not.
The brothers grew up as slaves in Donovan Colony, and later became tribal soldiers forced to fight in the auxiliaries of the Frontier Corps. Unlike their forefathers, they learned how to use steel swords and armor. Fighting the Hrals, a tribe that threatened colonists and Gallerlanders alike, was one thing, but the brothers and others refused to help put down a rebellion of Vayn Gallerlanders. Their unit deserted and later ambushed Frontier Corps supply convoys. On one occasion, their ambush coincided with an attack by the second generation of the Order of the Candlestone, led by Rildning’s son Enildir. He invited the brothers to join him against the empire, which they accepted.
This is a large trunk at the foot of Master Arasemis's bed. It is locked.
Found the key? Use it here.
This is a drawing and watercolor of Master Arasemis’s grandfather, whose name is etched into the frame. You know that Arasemis was very close to his grandfather. He often says that Erwold kept Candlestone alive in Donovan Kingdom when it could have easily petered out.
Arasemis has said his father was ashamed of Erwold’s dedication to Candlestone and tried to shelter his sons from Erwold’s influence. He shunted Erwold away in Thorendor Castle in his old age, hoping the old hermit would be harmless and forgotten. But this neglect only gave Erwold time and space to focus on his Candlestone studies and correspondence, eventually drawing the young Arasemis in.
The drawing is rough, but there is a gentle wisdom in his eyes and a confident ease in his face. You wish you had the opportunity to have met Erwold.
This is a drawing and watercolor of a young woman who appears as if she has died. The linen wrap around her body and head is peeled back, as if the artist wished for one last look. There is no name on the frame. You wonder who she was, and why Master Arasemis has the drawing. You compare the style to the drawing of Erwold and wonder if Arasemis might have drawn both of them.
You also wonder if Arasemis had once been married to this woman, but he has never spoken of having loved anyone. Clearly, for it to be in his bedchamber along with the drawing of Erwold, she was surely someone very important to Arasemis.
You do not know what the title on the frame means, nor do you recognize anything about this painting. But it is large and imposing above Master Arasemis’s bed. It stirs feelings in you of surging power and expansive reach. An inevitable, all-encompassing force that seems at once part of the natural world and also distinctly shaped by steady hands. Strangely, it seems ancient and yet very modern. There is something enduring about it.
As you stare at the painting, you realize that it includes none of the traditional symbols of Candlestone, such as the flaming stone, but it seems to embody the Order nonetheless.
You see a clutter of books and papers on the bed, including an open notebook that Master Arasemis is writing in.
The notebook has no title, but Arasemis has written his task at the top of the page:
Explain the math behind the dates of the cataclysm scroll as documented by Rildning.
The Cataclysm, during which the Agnesci suffered by the ignorance and fear of the Almerics, was the defining event between the northern and southern continents. As so it must be pinpointed in time, as I cannot find any such reference.
I gather that the scroll’s information came from the 312th generation of the Agnesci descendants. This means there were between 4,160-5,200 years prior to the 312th generation (and about 310 or 311 generations prior to the Cataclysm), assuming these people lived 40-50 years based on their good health, and that three generations overlapped at any given time. This is proven by: 312 x 40 and divided by 3 is summed as 4,160. And 312 x 50 and divided by 3 is summed as 5,200. And so, this is the range.
According to Rildning's journal, Hegdir copied the scroll during the 522nd generation, so there have been between 6,960-8,700 years since the Agnesci and their descendants began counting generations. This is proven by: 522 x 40 and divided by 3 is summed as 6,960. And 522 x 50 and divided by 3 is summed as 8,700. And so, this is the range.
It must be remembered that the generation of Eniri (and Rildning by extension) was the 523rd, and Enriri was the 524th. Knowing this, how many years have passed since the Cataclysm? If Hegdir was the 522nd generation, and the Cataclysm occurred during the 311th generation, then that is 211 generations with 3 overlapping at any given time. So, on first look, between 2,813 and 3,516 years have passed. This is proven by: 211 x 40 and divided by 3 is summed as 2,813. And 211 x 50 and divided by 3 is summed as 3,516.
However, the generations have passed quicker due to wars, disease, and political upheaval among the tribes prior to the days of calm and unity of Gratgofa’s forefathers. I would estimate it to be somewhere approximating 2,500 years ago.
You see many books and papers scattered on the floor by the bed. One is a folio of small, loose-leaf paintings of bizarre birds. There are short notes on the back of each that describe each bird. You can only guess that Master Arasemis’s interest in these birds is for alchemical purposes.
Tarbeak after feasting on mice.
Four-legged Scale Feather of the blue variety.
Four-legged Scale Feather of the sponge variety.
You also see crumpled paper on the floor, torn like it was ripped from a notebook. The scribbles are clearly Arasemis’s handwriting, and his frustration evident from it being cast aside. You carefully unfold it to see what he wrote.
Could there be a third continent?
Rildning documented in his journal that Eniri told him the Agnesci Seafathers found the second of three branches of the Tree of the World, Haldembalir. Of course, the second was the Old World, Cedelaebos, the first being the New World, Aprelaebos, from the perspective of the colonists. For me, this hints that there is a third continent, which is utterly unknown even today.
But this provides a mystery that perhaps only I am aware of. Dare I even speculate? Almeria in the north. Pemonia in the south. A third somewhere between for balance? Impossible – the giant maelstroms. Surely, the explorer Rin would have found it. Perhaps it rises and falls from the surface of the sea, like the ruinous volcanoes of the far northeast?
I am struck by Rildning’s apparent lack of comment on the third branch of Haldembalir. Another explanation is that it is the sea itself, or some ethereal realm that only fanatics dream to dwell in death.
You see that Master Arasemis keeps a short thrusting sword by his bedside. It is a beautiful blade and you wonder if it has any special attributes, like Marlan’s sword. You are sure that it does and decide not to touch it.
This slim volume is one of the newer books in Master Arasemis’s room, with crisp pages and copper foil lettering on the cover. Inside, you find a loose-leaf map of one of the Islands of Elpid, the interior of which has not been well explored by outsiders.
There are also loose sketches of the Elpi natives, which you remember are hostile to anyone coming ashore. There is also a section on the natives’ ambush tactics and suggestions for defending yourself, including the use of illusory shroud eggs. The book provides advice on the best nighttime landing places and areas to gather alchemical ingredients without being seen by the Elpi.
The author is clearly a very brave ingredient gatherer who has knowledge of shroud alchemy, but it’s unclear if he is a member of the Order of the Candlestone.
Beside the book, you see that Master Arasemis has written a tally of technologies used by the ancient Brintilian Empire and various tribes that existed during the empire’s colonial expansion. It seems to be some kind of comparison.
You see a painted wooden map board on Master Arasemis’s dresser that is titled Vorimwoit. It is written in the Nyden dialect of Rugen, but you can understand enough to see that the island serves as the dividing line between the Sepacia Sea in the west and the Golida Sea in the south of the continent of Pemonia.
This small island is clearly part of the larger Nydenbern group of islands that are part of Rugenhav. You cannot read the more stylistic Nyden script along the edges of the frame, but it’s a beautifully-painted map.
You see a few things in the dresser drawers that look interesting.
You see a small drawing of a young Master Arasemis, perhaps when he was ten or twelve years old. Arasemis is not very old yet but it is peculiar to see him this young. You wonder what he was like as a child. Probably very curious and intense, and undoubtedly very odd. You wonder who would have drawn this.
You see a small book on sky omens. You recognize the author as a Gallerlander who aided Rildning when he was in the Nalembalen treetop city.
You check another drawer and find a key. The metal looks similar to the lock on the trunk at the foot of the bed.
The chest in this secret little room is unlocked and stuffed with notebooks and old papers.
Greetings from the Sable Letter Exchange [read]
A Survey of Candle Alchemy, Volume II [read]
An Unused Journal [read]
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