Chapter-6. The Unspoken Woe
Of all Lords of the world, I was the most gifted, yet most traumatized. I have seen wonders and gore, massacres and coronations, the most expected assassinations, and the most unexpected weddings. Yet no event of the past ever prepared me for the happenings of the second year of Elyren’s return to Cea.
Elyren was in sorrow. He mourned for Solere, for whose death he blamed himself. He mourned for Nesinre, whose death had made him aware of the limits he had as a mortal. Ironically, he mourned for the cannibals, for he did not punish a single man for his crime. He had committed genocide in his anger, his woe, and was now the worst of men.
Elyren cried loud, prostrate in front of the temple of Threla in the city of Umar, where I consoled him. Lost was his love, lost was his sister, and lost was the love of his father. It did not matter that Lord Arell did not bear love for his son; it only mattered for Elyren to love him back.
The pilgrimage to the Gardens of Night was a ritual for many in Cea. The Gardens bore sanctuary to the Lord and Lady of the Night, where the Hermit had raised his mortal wife to godhood in fear of separation.
Any who had sinned only begged for forgiveness in front of the Spear of the Hermit. It is said that in times immemorial, before my birth, the Hermit threw the spear to kill the demon Uvarna, who had challenged him to a duel. A fight against time, when the Hermit threw the shadow of the spear, killing Uvarna from below, where the real spear stood erect from the ground. All those who touched it were bereft of their sins from every deed they did, of the pains of reincarnation and the sorrow of mortal suffering.
It had suffered a lot in the days when the cannibals had terrorized the west. Now, after their extinction, the pilgrimage had started again, as winter began.
Elyren, heeding my words, accompanied me to the Gardens, though he did not share the faith all the other walkers had in the Lady of the Night.
The Lady had a long history. Loved much by the Lord of the Night, the Hermit, she died in the arms of her beloved, following which the god allowed her ascent to godhood. As she was a mortal, she was loved by humans in unequaled extents. Humans worshipped her, for she loved them as if they were her own children.
The pilgrimage usually started in the north, in olden days. Records of it survived from documents, either of my creation or of other scholars, which detailed the various holy sites that one crossed to reach the end of the thread of life, the Gardens of Night.
In summary, there existed the temples in the frozen cities of the North, the beautiful temple of the burnt god Nevaris; and the temple of wood, rebuilt every year by hordes of worshippers, of the god Vellir, the gardener of the divine.
Following that, one had to cross the perils of the frozen sea, a feat made difficult by the drifting of the northern island chains, to reach the mainland Cea. Voyasis is sacred to Werva, and the next temple brought them East. Werva enjoyed a temple of gold, in the prosperous city, but later, its gold was robbed by many centuries of invaders.
The next site is now inaccessible. Following the clash of the continents, a feature documented in the progression of many years, there developed the Western mountains, when the landscape changed in the East. The temple to Savera was rumored to be there, along with Viahier, her husband with the helm of emeralds and lapis lazuli. Savera’s temple was later reconstructed in the glory of the great emperor Renscher, who established the capital city of Amres in the ruins of the desecrated city. Renscher also established his Eastern trading post which had recently celebrated a hundred years of construction, in the Eastern continent. It has been named Renshre, in honor of the emperor. As of Elyren’s time, however, Renscher’s grandfather had not yet been born, and we shall discuss him no further.
Viahier has long been forgotten by history. His daughter, the Goddess of Youth, (as mentioned earlier) shares a similar fate with the tides of time.
Following that, Avassea’s temple in Umar shared respect, though Umar had shifted a lot since ancient times. Umar was known for the frequent incursions, either from the multiple chains of islands in the South-West, or the Whels from the South. Avassea’s original temple is not known to have a physical being and all mentions of it have been in metaphor.
Thus, the new temple was the candidate for the pilgrimage, so the worshippers moved through Umar, which, despite having extreme connotations as a military fort, gradually lost such grandeur, and was essentially reconstructed into a trade city, much like the city of Renshre.
But however daunting the prospect seemed, not all were able to walk the entire distance, and not even a single horse may survive the monumental task of subverting a continent by foot. Our gods are as kind as they are wise. Any point in the journey may be considered a start, but it always shall end at the halls of death, in the Gardens of Night.
Elyren started the journey with me, at Umar, where we prepared for the long walk along the seashore, even crossing Daerk's point on our journey to the Gardens.
Elyren had wilted much, having lost half his weight or more in sorrow. He hated the taste of alcohol, and was not fond of women anymore, not after the death of his beloved Nesinre. He willed to die, but he did not, for he lived only because of Threla. His death, if it had to occur, would be by her wish.
Elyren walked, by my side, when we passed the first of the Trisept, entering the Valley of the Dead. I was foolish enough to sleep on the fortieth day of Spring, however, when he was lost. He had resumed the journey on his own, I understood, and abandoned, I continued mine.
I had not known that he would not see me until mere days before his death, infuriated and tolled by the passage of time, and the anger that one's death could only quench.
For I was a reason for Elyren to live and die, having saved him once and not twice.