I keep hearing these old gaffers talking about the last Desolation, and how horrible it was, and all this while I've just been thinking to myself that they're all stupid or something. That nothing could have been as bad as they're saying, that they're making it up.
Today I found out how wrong I was when my parents opened the door to Taln'Elin seeking shelter. I'm writing this even as I watch him sleep, with a Blade twice as long as him by his side. He seems... utterly spent. Nearly destroyed by his fight against the Voidbringers in the Halls Tranquil.
I started this diary because... I don't think anyone's ever written anything about the Desolation before. Not while it was happening. The last one was a hundred years ago, and there aren't any books from before those left.
And also because... I don't know if I'll be there to tell my story after it's ended. I'm really scared.
I'll explain what happened more tomorrow.
I wasn't able to write yesterday. A lot of things were happening in the town, and my mother thought it would be best to get me my havah with a safehand sleeve straightaway. The prices had all already started going up.
There's a highstorm going on today. Taln'Elin was tired yesterday as well, but when the highstorm began, he became completely alert. He's gone to find the other Heralds, in the middle of the highstorm. He left us one of those mechanical devices as thanks. A fabrial, he said it was called. He said it would make clearing up crem easier. None of us have touched it, though. My parents wrapped it in cloth and set it on a windowsill as a holy symbol. I wonder what it actually does.
Taln'Elin had been the same since he arrived the day before yesterday up until the highstorm. I'll tell you now how that went.
Two days ago, Zered and I were exploring a little south of the town, poking at cremlings, clambering over rocks - the normal. Then all of a sudden, hundreds of small spren flew past us. They looked like small stones, which were changing shape constantly by cracking and reforming. Then Zered saw something and demanded that I see it too. He pointed in one direction, and I peered that way - and saw an enormous beam of light from the ground extending to the sky. The cloud of spren that flew past seemed to be joining into that beam. Zered stood there and watched, but I grew afraid and grabbed him instead, running. Both of us had barely reached our house and entered the door when we heard a sharp, deep, loud crack from the direction we'd just come from. Then its echo, for a few seconds. Both of us shut ourselves inside and I sought out Mother. I started to explain what I and Zered had seen, but a sharp knock had already rung on the door by then. Mother answered the door, and our neighbor, an old man, was standing there. He asked us whether we'd heard the news.
Mother asked him what news he was talking about. He asked us to come outside and see. All three of us left the house and looked down the road, in the direction he was pointing. And there was a dark-skinned man with hair that fell over his face and a thin beard. He was wearing large, bulky armor that glowed amber, and he held a sword that was twice as long as he was. He stood maybe four, five hundred meters down the street, but I could hear his voice, deep and loud, as though he was standing next to me.
He was speaking a message as he walked down the road, dragging his feet, head slightly bowed. He was saying this precise message. "The Desolation is once again upon us. The Voidbringers return. The Heralds are returning. I, Talenel'Elin, warn you. The Desolation..."
He kept repeating the same thing, over and over. The old man smiled, but our mother grew afraid and dragged both of us back into the house. She warned both of us, in no uncertain terms, that we would not wander out of the house, or we wouldn't be allowed to leave our rooms for an entire week. Then she tried to leave and find out what was happening. Another knock rang on the door before she could leave, however, and she opened the door proclaiming the stupidity of the neighbors to find Taln'Elin standing there.
In hindsight, it is rather amusing, but at the time we were all frozen with fear. Taln'Elin asked if he could stay at our house for a few days. My mother was too scared to say no - as all sane in the same situation would be - and the Herald Talenelat became our houseguest for a while.
Everyone knew the Heralds only returned when a Desolation happened. My mother knew that. My father knew that. I knew that. My brother knew that. We all feared the worst. That this might be the poetic Final Desolation, where mankind was either broken or freed.
Taln'Elin went to sleep almost as soon as he entered the house the day before yesterday. He just paused to tell my parents not to worry, that new hope had arrived this Desolation, and then headed straight for the bed.
Yesterday nothing much happened. I don't have anything to write about.
I think I'm going to see what the 'fabrial' does after my parents sleep. I'll write what I found in this tomorrow.
I don't have much time to write today - I'll explain when I next write - so I'll just talk about what happened with the fabrial.
I was successful in sneaking the fabrial away from the sill yesterday. I uncovered the cloth around it and found three large gems, each maybe the size of a broam, set into a golden metal-looking contraption. All the gems were shining brightly after the day's highstorm. There were four slots that were roughly finger-shaped, so I put the four fingers on my right hand through it like a strangely-shaped glove. Taln'Elin had said something about it being good at removing crem, but I didn't know how to activate it.
I walked up to one of the walls of the study that had crem leaking through from the roof and tried brushing against it with my fingers. That didn't work. Then I tried maybe humming a song and doing the same thing. Still nothing happened, but I felt the fabrial heat up slightly. Then I tried tapping the fabrial itself against the wall, humming the same tune.
There was an extremely loud creak and one of the enormous gems in the fabrial went out like a candle suddenly snuffed. I yelped, jumping back, and found the wall caving outwards but completely steady. The crem was gone, and the wall seemed to become brand new except for the sudden, new curve.
My parents began calling me from below, and I hurriedly replaced the fabrial and ran to my bedroom to sleep.
My mother is calling me now, for the caravan. I have to pack you up. I'll tell you all about it when I next get the chance.