First meeting of the most wicked King of Mithar
The Calling of Aerie"...As the Lady Lillikiss replied suddenly all the others stopped their doings and took notice of me and she in conversation. “Oh dear child, you are most blessed, for you alone are gifted..."d with looking upon the dead and still be among the living. See, as we are now moved to impress hope and joy upon you over the depressing fear of passing over into our realm. You are indeed of great importance and matter greatly my child.”
When his son turned seven years old, Nadan told Kyon, “Son, people will kill me one day.”
The boy looked at him and said, “No father do not say that.”
Nadan continued, “I tell you this so that when it happens you will understand and not be caught off guard. But they will and I wanted you to know that no matter what happens, I love you and am very proud of you my son.”
His son assured him, “I know. Gratitude father; but, why would someone want to kill you?”
Smiling, Nadan answered as best he could, “Some people are afraid. They only react from fear and not understanding. They fear change. Instead of love, compassion and understanding some reach out to hurt others they are afraid of getting to know. The more you grow up the more changes are asked of you. When you love others there is less of you and more of them.”
“I will father, and they shall be humbled to tears and made to realize they were wrong.” Kyon answered.
Exactly a year later to the very day Nadan was killed at the Oasis of Orid. As Kyon lay beside his father’s body, he remembered his words. Kyon stopped his crying and stood up. Facing the priest, with his father’s blood still dripping from his unsheathed sword, he said “I am Kyon the son of Nadan, and I forgive you. I am sad to see that you have not grown up, and everything you think you know about God; are not the lessons he wanted you to learn. You may leave now that I may bury my father for your deed is done, and there is no one left for you to kill.”
The priest and the four Tower guards were astounded by the boy’s reaction. They left in silence. Moments later the crowd that had gathered about and watched everything departed as well. Afterwards, Kyon said, “Gratitude, Corlan but I shall do this task alone.” With that he dug a deep hole in the desert sand and buried his father by himself as Corlan, his father’s man servant looked on and cried for his loss. For he knew Kyon would never cry again; and for an entire year nor did he speak a word.
Rarely have the prisoners of Varlendur been given mention for they were the harshest example of the Mitharian King’s authority. The duality of both powers: Kings and Priest merged in the shadow of the city’s once grandest lighthouse. Known far and wide for its mystics and justice it became a feared forced to engage. Yet, it was the Priesthood and their secret rites that captured the most imagination and attention of the people and in time even those became more elite and elusive in their teachings before the people.
Through the years the dungeon of Varlendur took on more prisoners. Five was the most housed at one time. By the time of the sixth king twenty seven had already called The Tower their personal residence.
Arabraken the Mordorian was killed in trying to escape which quelled any further attempts. Brandon Aladreth was held for the shortest amount of time, just nine days and was released. Mornel Vanderqin was held the longest for nearly seventeen years.
This is his tale.
Another fat brown-haired rat scurried along the base of the smooth stone wall. The two torches at either end of the unseen hallway flowed in through the barred window of the jail cell's oaken door. Sandaled steps approached. Keys clattered about. The lock tumbled. From the flooding burst of light there came thrusting into the small chamber, from blackened silhouettes, a scruffy bearded young man. Wearing but tattered cloths immersed in the rank smell of sweat the new comer was a vagrant for sure.
Eirwe, the head of the tower guards opened the cell door directing the new comer inside. Smiling, he said, “I have been summoned by the king, old friend. I shall be back shortly. Enjoy your new company.” No reply came as the flood of light revealed an old man being a large rat.
“So what are you in here for?” The new comer asked his sudden companion.
Silence. He was impatient.
“No tongue to speak with?” His question came with a bite.
“My name is Craven. Well seems the likes of me was bound to get caught-” His offered introduction was cut short upon seeing the old man feeding the largest of the rats climbing on his lap.
“Yes, just a matter of time I suppose.” He finished as the man before him gave the last crumbs of his meal away to the rodent.
“So, how often do they feed us in here?”
No reply came as the balding man just sat there petting another rat, smaller than the first.
He sighed in frustration at not getting answers. “How long have you been here old man?”
Still the quiet man sat amid his pets.
“How have long they kept you locked away down here to go crazy, I wonder?” It had only been moments since his arrival and it was promising to be a long stay.
“Did you kill someone?” Craven’s question almost sounded like a demand to know something, anything at this point.
Getting nowhere, the new comer confessed; they always confess. “Two years ago I…I was enjoying the company of a young lady. Very lovely thing she was. Then when her husband came home and found us together I tried my best to get out of there.” Craven paused and slowly began again, “There was no ill will, just escape in mind. He came at me and I brushed him aside. But when he began hitting the girl, I – I was outraged and pulled him away. His head was hit and he died. I knew she loved him more than me and that understandable. But we – well, I had to get out of there. So I ran.” Looking at the old man, feeding the rat as if he was not listening, made Craven continue. “Well, I ran. I left Dorshan and came to Uruk. Before I knew it the authorities were searching for me. I was told Mithar was a Sanctuary city. At a tavern in Uruk a man told me his troubles and did he have them. I told him mine and he said since I was already running he would pay me six gold coins to kill someone. I did. The times were hard old man and I needed the money to eat. I did not learn till later the ‘three’ someone’s were officials themselves. But the deed was done. I had become a murder for hire it seemed.” Looking out the barred door he said, “So then I headed to Sinjar and happened upon another bounty man. I could tell this one was some official himself but he was looking to hire not apprehend. He said he would take me before the King himself unless –“The old man only petted the rats as several had gathered around him. Craven continued, “It was a boy. He did not tell me at the time I was to kill a child. But in my situation and under threat, what could I do old man? I went to the Oasis of Orid and waited. Thirty pieces of silver was good coin to have along with freedom.” The old man exhaled as the rats left him with no more bread. Talking into the darkness the talkative new comer finished, “Some boy named Kyon, he who was purported to be a witch or something. I cut his throat in the night as he slept. Then I ran to Mithar, seeking it as the Sanctuary city. Questioned by some priests, I told them what I have just told you. Then, the humorous part was when the king told me that Sinjar was the Sanctuary city and not Mithar. With a smile he added I was to be hanged tomorrow in the square.”
Finally, after all but one of the rats left, the old man spoke, “Mornel. I am Mornel Vanderqin of Mithar’s eastern gate. For sixteen years, seven months, twenty-three days and nine hours have Varlendur’s guards shown me their hospitality.”
“Goodness man,” Gasped Craven aloud!
Ignoring the young man’s dismay, Mornel continued, “It was long ago, and for the sake of love that found me here.”
Interrupting what sounded like the beginnings of a long story, Craven whispered, “Knew a jealous husband had to figure in somewhere.”
The old man continued, brushing off the comment of the impatient youth, he began, “A long time ago, now that I actually recall those days. We were going to live forever.
My best friend Balinthane Silmeth and I were inseparable. We had been co-conspirators of embracing the moment and exploring all the taboos of the world that our parents abhorred. We were young and fearless in those by-gone days. We finished the thoughts of the other and inspired the others imaginations with insights. We loved learning as much as we did adventure. Yet in time his seemed to lead into more trouble than my own had the courage for. I envied Balinthane greatly for such ventures into the Lore of Lindol and the secret paths of her Priestesses yet. In time we grew apart and children become men.
He was always in my thoughts and the biggest influence upon my thoughts. We corresponded by currieries and even then our brotherly bonds grew firm. Then there came a brief season when our paths crossed again in person.
Balinthane hesitantly handed his friend poignant words, "My father received your letter instead of me. I had gone to into town and missed the messenger."
Mornel caught the tone, knowing his cared for his aging father, "I am sorry he has been so ill as of late. - Oh - THE letter..." Then suddenly catching the full meaning of Balinthan’s word s added, "HE READ IT?"
"He read it." Balinthane
Mornel: "I am forever sorry my friend." Sincerely hoping the reminder of their status was not fully crushed by the secret revelations of passed deeds.
Balinthane: "So am I. But, he is my father and must come first."
The next day we had cut off all ties with one another for a very long time. Our open friendship before the eyes of his father had been severed. I freely accepted the banishment from brother’s love so as not to hinder the bond of father and son. In accepting that role of instigator in the grave mischief that had occurred I knew wrath would soon find me. The local authorities came upon me and from the Lord Magistrate was I imprisoned within the very walls of Varlendur itself.
The guard, Eirwe returned. “You are being released.”
Stunned for a moment the old man gave no indication of change.
Carven repeated the guard’s words, “Mornel, you are a free man, you can leave.”
“He must have been here too long, afraid of leaving I suppose.”
Seeing the last of his rats trail away the old man smiled at the guard who held the door open for him and looked longingly with a deep smile, “Thank you, for all your kindness.” The guard seemed to a smirk in return.
Carven asked, “Where will you go? What will you do after having wasted all your time here?”
Turning about he answered slowly. “What I have always done. Live.” Then added, pointing to a rat standing on its hind legs begging to be picked up. Mornel did not comply this time but added, “The rats taught me tenacity as they and time shall teach you. Good bye.”
Upon leaving the Grey Tower's massive front doors the newly released prisoner saw his old childhood friend standing at the bottom of the steep stair. He had waited all those years later to see him, though they spoke seldom and never of the old grievance. He stood there all alone.
With each step the old man took toward the bottom ancient memories began to flood his thoughts. Memories before the rats, the beatings and the engulfing darkness flooded his mind. Finally many years later they came face to face. The old childhood friend's face was streamed with tears and a trembling chin. Yet all the newly freed man could say was, "I am so very sorry for the loss of your father, he was a great man."
In a post middle earth world, a remnant of the elves stayed behind. In doing so they developed a cultic history where idealist doctrines centered themselves as divine teachers. Beginning with a boxed-scroll, the Watcher’s personal stories and later histories; these collected works became their sacred Scriptures. The Keepers were called: The Order of the Red Brotherhood. Their WATCHER’S BOOK and its forgotten religion witnessed the coming, not only of Noah’s Flood but the end of The Nephilim Age as well.