Here are some of the in-game writings from the Silorn Manor mod for Oblivion. First of all is the lengthy history of the town, which appears in ELSYNIA’S GUIDE TO SILORN. Secondly are the three journals: Antonius Lucius (the outsider who discovers the village and leads the player there); Berwen Silverleaf (a teenage villager); and Tandilwe (a servant in the manor). Finally, I have included a newspaper clipping that may be found in the house, which offers some insight into how the inhabitants of nearby Skingrad view their reclusive neighbours.
ELSYNIA’S GUIDE TO SILORN
Auriel’s blessings be upon the village of Silorn and all who dwell there.
In the year 1E 243, Count Elanil Silverleaf fled the White Gold Tower with his new bride, Issmi, to Silorn. Issmi was a gold-skinned beauty from foreign shores, and with the political upheaval and uncertainty of the Slave Queen’s rebellion, Elanil was anxious to forge a quiet and settled life for himself and his household.
The caravan of the noble and his wife plus their wider relations and servants journeyed under cover of night to cross over the border to join their fellow refugees in Valenwood’s Camoran Dynasty.
Though structurally sound, the ancient catacombs of Silorn were hardly a welcoming home for the exhausted party, who had stopped there to rest on their journey. Terrified of offending the resident spirits in the tombs below, the band retreated and made a makeshift camp above the ruin that gave little protection from the elements.
All this time, news of the horrific events unfolding in the city-state was filtering through to the party. Elanil was reluctant to leave his homeland, and unsure of the warmth of welcome he would receive in Valenwood, especially as husband to an outlander with a mixed-blood baby due any day. Issmi’s condition was incompatible with travel, and the unsanitary conditions of the camp were weakening the Countess.
Fearing for his wife and child, Elanil consulted his crystal ball. He retreated from the rest of his party and stared at his gazing-ball day and night for three days without pausing to eat or sleep. When at last he returned to the group, his mind was set in resolve. He announced that he had seen the future for his clan, and then curled up in his place by the campfire and fell asleep for two days.
Upon waking, Elanil and the stronger members of the household began to dig down in the places he had foreseen. Sure enough, their shovels soon hit areas of hard stone and eventually exposed a hidden entrance to a separate section of Silorn that had hitherto lay undiscovered. The group labored for many hours until they could safely lower Issmi and the rest of the household into the concealed ruins. Once inside, Elanil and his party sealed themselves in the way they came so that they would not be seen by the approaching Alessian army. Before stopping to eat or rest, they made for themselves another exit that would lead out under the waterfall, where they may never be found.
Elanil’s visions proved true, and over the next few days the group began to adapt their new surroundings. These other Silorn catacombs had never been used as burial chambers, and were firm and solid. The waterfall and underground streams provided a constant source of fresh water, and the ruin’s unique location allowed the welkynd stones to burn bright enough to grow crops and animals.
Six days after their arrival in their new subterranean home, Issmi gave birth to the Lady Earana, the first child to be born in Silorn Village.
As the years passed, the Silorn community became more and more self-sustaining. By the time of the passing of the last Ayleid King of Nelanata, all thoughts of relocating to Valenwood had vanished. Trade runs above ground became rarer, only to be undertaken by a disguised few. Many children were born and grew without ever venturing into the Old Homeland.
Elanil passed from this world in the year 1E 679. His wife Issmi’s health fell into rapid decline, and she died in the first month of 1E 680. They had between them borne two children, Earana and Voranil.
Earana became Lady of Silorn and moved into Silorn Manor, the home her father had constructed over many years. She married her father’s former slave, Erthor, and bore him a son, Brithaur. Voranil took a lover from the Old Homeland, Laenafil, who he had met while disguised on a trade run. He brought the Bosmer to live in Silorn, where she gave birth to Uurwen and Falcar. Laenafil seemed ill-suited to life in Silorn and preferred the inferior lights of sun and flame to the sacred starlight from the welkynd stones. As her moods and health lessened, Voranil took pity on his beloved wife and moved with her back to Cyrodiil. Fearing persecution, they settled in a secluded farmhouse. Uurwen and Falcar remained in Silorn and welcomed their parents’ occasional visits, until Voranil died in 1E 1019. Laenafil moved to a nearby city, which improved her contentment immeasurably, and she brought with her the latest fashions and books with each visit until her death in 1E 1064.
Brithaur was a wise and benevolent ruler, and introduced the laws and customs that remain in Silorn today. He took as his wife Nerussa, who was the grand-daughter of Eranil’s housekeeper. She bore him two daughters, Ruma and Palonirya, who eventually married Faelian and Orintur. Ruma’s son with Faelian was Lord Hirtel, who married Eilonwy of Wayrest and whose daughter Ranaline was the next ruler of Silorn.
In 1E 2812, it was decided that the village was becoming crowded, so Lord Thadon of the Ranaline line moved with his household to the Imperial City, along with any villagers who had expressed an interest in seeing more of the world outside. There had been many visitors to the capital to witness the coronation of Reman II, so he reasoned that the presence of strangers would pass unnoticed. According to correspondence received by the new Lord Eldamil of the Palonirya line, his suppositions were correct. It is thought that some of the Thadon clan integrated into Cyrodiil society, eventually rising into the lower ranks of nobility, whereas others tired of city life and formed other concealed Ayleid settlements.
The formation of the Aldmeri Dominion in 2E 830 provided an ideal opportunity for yet another exodus, this time led by Lady Palonirya the Younger, who declared her ancestor’s original vow to move his line to Valenwood would now be fulfilled. Palonirya married a member of the Camoran Anaxemes clan. The throne of Silorn was taken by Lord Rindir of the Ranaline line.
In the first year of the Third Era, Palonirya returned a widow, bringing her daughter, Lithnilian, with her. The new Septim regime had caused great fear and unrest in the new Empire and the Lady was anxious to live out her last days in the serene idyll of Silorn Village. She was welcomed back into the village and took a home with her daughter. Palonirya passed on five years later.
Lithnilian married the trader Celedaen and bore Carandial.
Rindir’s daughter Ethne had two sons, Halion and Baenlin.
Camoran the Usurper’s conquest of eastern Valenwood in 3E 249 came as a terrible shock to Lithnilian. Moved by this threat to her erstwhile homeland, she pleaded with Halion to aid the Bosmeri allies. Camoran was a formidable opponent and widely rumored to be the progeny of a Breton woman and the daedra Molag Bal. When Halion and Lithnilian retreated back to Silorn with their group of war-volunteers a year later, both had lost their spouses. Halion’s brother Baenlin had been ruler of Silorn in Halion’s absence, and when he saw the sorrow caused by the bereavements, he declared that Silorn should once again remove itself from any involvement in the affairs of the Empire. With the exception of the semi-regular trade runs to Skingrad, it was the last time any villager left Silorn.
The Usurper was finally defeated in High Rock in 3E 267.
The deaths of Celedaen and Ciindil were the last unnatural deaths among the residents of Silorn. Although archery and weaponry are taught to each child according to the traditions laid down by Brithaur the Wise, the use of them are governed by strict laws that forbid their use in a combative manner. In the years since the Usurper War, the martial arts have developed into a popular sport in the village, along with the more usual pursuits of board-games, swimming and painting.
The village of Silorn is governed by Halion, son of Ethne and Faurinthil. He lives in Silorn Manor with his brother, Baenlin.
Silorn Manor is situated apart from the other houses, just off the village square. According to Lithnilian, it is quite suitable as the residence of a noble and in keeping with the manor-houses of counts and dukes throughout the Cyrodiilic Empire.
For as long as the manor has existed, great banquets have regularly been held in its great hall, which is situated next to its grand kitchen. Below it sits the basement with its private well, and down the staircase next to the entrance lies its recreational bathing pool, bar and ornamental gardens.
A small household of servants attend to the lord and his brother, living in the comfortable quarters assigned to them on the first floor. They are fortunate to share their own hygiene facilities and recreation room. There is a cook, butler, housekeeper, serving girl, maidservant and bootboy. Interestingly, despite their lowly positions, the maidservant and bootboy are also direct descendants of Issmi, although it seems that some years ago their forefathers relinquished any claim to the Silorn throne. From my own interviews with Nedhelfin and his sister Tandilwe, they seem perfectly content to serve their cousins in return for board and lodging. My personal observation would be that they are very handsomely rewarded for their efforts, treated more as family-members completing chores than as servants.
The cook and butler are personable and courteous, and the housekeeper is a friendly and sensible woman. The serving girl who attends the bar by the pool is extremely thoughtful and well-mannered. One comment visitors to the manor always make is how very well dressed the servants are. This is probably due to a combination of Halion’s generosity and his encouragement of such extravagance, in his belief that his staff will feel more appreciated and behave more loyally if they are dressed up like courtiers.
The private quarters (situated just off the upper hall) of the manor are as grand and imposing as you may expect of a ruler, with a master bedroom and lady’s chambers plus several extra rooms for family and guests. The east wing hosts a library-study and drawing room, an alchemy suite, training quarters, trophy room and informal breakfast lounge.
When he is not entertaining at home, the Lord of the Manor occupies one of the two traditional thrones in the village square. Baenlin will occasionally take the other, such as when new laws are passed or a court assembles in the case of a dispute. More regularly, Halion will take his throne in anticipation of one of the many feasting-days in which the villagers will gather in the square to entertain each other with poetry and song. We are fortunate to have a minstrel, Daenlin, with a fine singing-voice, who is regularly accompanied by his talented artist wife Thalfin. They are both regular guests of Lord Halion and his brother.
The village square is the gathering-place for recreation, politics, trade and social affairs.
Life in the village is simple and upright, with a strong emphasis on the worship of Auriel and a dedication to service to our god and to each other. The Elder Carandial usually leads religious services, although Lithnilian or even Halion will lead if Carandial is in Skingrad. Carandial’s more usual role is that of blacksmith, and he is responsible for the upkeep for many of the fine metal structures you will see around the village, as well as for the decorative weapons and armor that are traditionally kept. Carandial runs a stall in the village market along with his mother, who trades general goods and foodstuffs.
When Lord Halion is not holding one of his banquets or dances, villagers gather at Alawen’s bar for food and wine. Fresh fruits and wine are Silorn’s main import from nearby Skingrad, though beer and mead are frequently brewed individually at home. Wool and garments from Silorn sheep are the village’s main export. Silorn’s most unique comestible is Ganredhel’s onion soup, the recipe for which has been passed down through her family generations and thus is known to a select few villagers who happen to be friends or relatives. The soup has a sweet, spicy taste and is warming and satisfying. Though the exact ingredients are secret, it is known to contain the nectar of the tiger lily, garlic, ginseng and, of course, onions.
Alawen is cousin to both Hagaer and Daenlin, and thus has a reasonable standing in the village, though she is not of noble birth. Her coarse and jovial brother, Areldil, is kind-hearted despite his rough manners, which do not seem to have dissuaded the many pretty girls whose head he has turned. Areldil spent some time in Skingrad, making little effort to conceal his appearance, which would have been quite extraordinary to the locals. Rumors that he was chased back to Silorn by the father of a young Dark Elf woman whose virtue was imperilled are said to be entirely unfounded.
The Elder Hagaer farms the local sheep and vegetables. His wife Caranya, daughter of Carandial, assists her husband in turning the land, and spins the wool so that it may be used to make rugs and clothing. The sheep are also used for milk and meat. Because there is little need for shoes, sheepskin leather is rarely required. Hagaer’s daughter Berwen is usually seen working alongside her grandfather on his market stall.
The village healer is the handsome and noble-spirited Gwinas, who spent his youth at the Arcane University studying alchemy and nature. When word reached him of the Usurper War, he abandoned his studies and found Lithnilian and Celedaen in Valenwood, gravely wounded from an ambush, alongside Halion and Ciindil. He tended to each to the best of his expertise, but the injuries sustained by Celedaen and Ciindil were beyond his powers to heal. Since returning to Silorn, Gwinas has quietly committed himself to completing his studies at home, and to serving his neighbors as healer and teacher.
Mirie is the first cousin of Nedhelfin and Tandilwe, but has chosen to make her own living as clothier and garment-maker. When the more artistically-inclined villagers make the journey to Skingrad, they volunteer sketches of the latest fashions, so that Mirie may replicate the designs accordingly. Some of the finer garments are based on classic Silorn designs from Issmi’s own gowns and tailoring.
Tilmo the carpenter is softly spoken and thoughtful, but the village is fortunate to have such a skilled woodworker in its midst. Also adept at sculpture, Tilmo is responsible for maintaining the heavy stone furniture, some of which has been in the village since its inception.
The final service-provider is my very own bookshop, filled with ancient volumes that have been in the village for many years, and new tomes brought back from visits to Skingrad.
Aside from the manor, all the other villagers live in a small square, which surrounds a pool commonly used for exercise and relaxation. The residential area is off a small corridor some distance from the main village square, just past the chapel area. The houses here often also function as shops, as having separate premises in a settlement this size would not be sensible.
Visitors to Silorn are extremely rare, but not unwelcome. The design of the village is to conceal, so accordingly it is rarely discovered. Most visitors are introduced to the village by one of its residents, after striking up a friendship in Skingrad or out gathering supplies such as firewood. Such friendships with outsiders are uncommon, so “new blood” in the village is normally only introduced at most once in each generation. Few visitors remain more than a few days, unless they remain and marry into the clan.
Villagers and visitors are warned to avoid the visible ruins of Silorn, since they are a known hideout for necromancers, bandits and scoundrels. Periodic expeditions to cleanse the ruins of this scourge are organized by the Elders.
The final note of interest on Silorn would be the presence of plants and trees throughout the village. This is not merely aesthetic. The plants cleanse the air, provide food, and generally contribute to the self-sustaining nature of the tranquil, idyllic settlement.
LAWS AND STATUTES
1. The Lord or Lady of Silorn has absolute government, in consultation with the Council of Elders.
2. The title of Lord or Lady of Silorn is passed to the first-born child of the serving Lord or Lady. The line of succession then passes to the second- and third-born child of the ruling line. If no heir is declared, the succession passes to the first-born of the opposite line in the ancestry of Ranaline or Palonirya.
3. If the heir is bested in a duel and no suitable successor is presented, the victor becomes the next Lord or Lady of Silorn.
4. If a theft or violence or other crime is accused, the Lord or Lady and the Council of Elders will deliberate the evidence produced. The decision of innocence or suitable punishment lies with the ruler.
5. Religious rituals and marriages will be performed by the nominated official or his deputy.
6. As each villager reaches maturity, they may be offered an apprenticeship or other form of employment. At the age of eighteen, a trade or occupation must have been chosen. If the villager is unable to work through weakness or malady, the person falls under the care of the village and will be provided for. Every villager in good health must contribute to the upkeep of the settlement.
7. If a man causes a woman to be with child, and is not married to her, he must propose marriage. The woman may refuse if she so chooses. If the man is already married, his wife may take from the man all of his possessions and property and he will, with her permission, be banished from the village. If the mistress knew of the man’s wife, she is to be banished (or, if she is not a villager, the Lord may choose a suitable remedy). If a woman is with child and is deprived of her husband through his death or absence, she is to be offered the protection of the village.
8. If a person is under the protection of the village, they are to be offered shelter, food, clothing and education according to their needs. Every villager is to be educated in history, literature, art, science and the martial arts.
9. Rights of property and succession are through inheritance. No new dwelling may be erected without the consent of the Lord of the Manor. Property may be sold or gifted with the permission of the Lord or Council. Property and belongings may also be acquired through victory in a duel, as determined appropriate by the Lord and Council.
10. Every villager may come and go as they please, but suitable disguise of cloak and hood should be worn when venturing above ground. Sturdy shoes should be worn to protect the feet. The location of the Silorn Village may not be disclosed except with the consent of the Lord or Council.
Journal of Antonius Lucius
I have been living among the Ayleids for six days now and at last I believe that they are beginning to accept me. At first, as warned, they were secretive and taciturn. Kier-jo Chorvak’s wonderful ‘On Wild Elves’ delivered a most excellent insight into this most mysterious of tribes. As stated in that tome, they are wary of “Pellani”, or “outsiders” in their Old Cyrodilic language.
Despite their refusal to adapt to Tamrielic ways, they can at least communicate in a most halting variant and I learned from Raelys Anine’s research a few words of their own tongue. The Elves are kin to both Wood Elves and High Elves, and can pass easily enough for either if they cover their strange green hair. They seem to have little need for shoes, since they rarely venture outside, but they keep hooded robes and sturdy boots in case they have to venture out to gather supplies.
I am sleeping in the village square in a makeshift campsite near the marketplace. It is quite comfortable, and even the traders themselves sleep there sometimes if they have to be up early to tend their stalls. Despite their aloof natures, the Elves are quite hospitable and do not seem to object to a stranger in their midst, treating me more with puzzlement than hostility. I should like to learn more of their language, so that I can explain how close the nearest city, Skingrad, is to their settlement. Who could imagine that a thriving town could be hidden away under a waterfall at the mouth of the river Strid!
We are communicating more readily now. I have found that a special enchanted stone called a ‘Varla Rosetta’ can open the pathways in my mind to enable me to understand their speech and writings. It is not exhaustive, however, and enables me only to communicate insofar as to barter with their local merchants. I cannot envisage any great philosophical discussions taking place this month, at least. The Ayleid society centers around their worship of the god Auriel, and of the Elven martial arts, though it seems to have been many years since any battles were fought here, so archery and weaponry are taught purely as custom. From what I can understand, it seems that it has been some fifty years since any outsider has discovered the settlement here, and the youngest villagers may never have seen a non-Ayleid in their lives!
I was invited to partake of a religious service to Auriel today. It is well-known that the Ayleid god Auriel is the self-same deity that we worship as Akatosh, so I felt no blasphemy in joining in. Services are short and informal, with one of the Elders (usually Carandial) leading the villagers in solemn prayer after which each approaches the altar in turn to offer thanks and receive a blessing. There is no full-time clergyman in the village, which seems strange in my mind for such a devout people, although it could be seen that such is the importance of faith to this clan that each is quite prepared to take on that role. The Elders, in particular, are venerated for their wisdom, and will spend many hours quite apart from their trades offering counsel to the young. In spite of the pious nature of the Ayleids, they enjoy their fair share of revelries, and enjoy wine and song as much as any other culture.
I witnessed my first dispute today. Celebril, a local youth of some seventeen years, was accused of stealing a loaf of bread from the Widow Lithnilian, mother of Carandial. Lord Halion, the chieftain, took up his throne in the center of the village and Lithnilian and Celebril were summoned to give evidence. The boy, of course, denied everything, and Lithnilian could not produce any proof against him. Her word as Elder carried some considerable weight, but was not sufficient to convict the lad of any crime. After hearing the petitions of both accuser and accused, and after asking the rest of the village if anyone bore witness to the crime (none did), Halion removed himself from his throne and knelt before the altar of Auriel, where he remained in solemn prayer for some time. Eventually, he returned to his throne to pronounce judgement – since there was no proof that the boy had stolen the loaf, he could not be convicted, yet the trader had suffered a loss, and should be compensated. Therefore, Celebril should be taken on as an apprentice to Lithnilian. I believe Halion’s reasoning to be that if the boy was innocent, he could serve as both assistant and guard to her market stall. If he was guilty, then learning how to bake his own bread should remove any temptation to steal it in future, and earning an honest wage would remove any underlying need.
It is amusing to see how watchful an eye that Lithnilian and Carandial are keeping on Celebril. Such caution appears to be misplaced, however, as the lad appears to have eyes only for Berwen, the only girl of around his age in the village, being just sixteen. With numbers so limited, it is fortunate that such romances blossom between villagers. Those who do not find love beneath these hidden ruins are forced to leave the village and find a place among the pellani, or live out their days alone. Still, there is plenty of time for love to run its course or otherwise – Elves live many centuries, and pairings are usually for life. (The notable exception to this would be the rogueishly charming Areldil, who seems to have something of the Dark Elf in him.) Halion seems to approve of Celebril’s courtship of Berwen, though occasionally he seems quite melancholy, as the courting couple must remind him of his own youth. Halion’s own wife died some years ago, having borne him no heir.
Baenlin brother of Halion made a terrible declaration this morning. The Lord of Silorn has been taken captive in his manor-house and his captors have barricaded themselves in. None can break through their defenses. They have asked me, as pellani, to act as a messenger and to seek help. I will make for Skingrad and ask if any from the Guild of Mages or other local adventurer will accompany me to rescue Halion. From what I can gather, bandits from outside have broken in and taken the villagers unawares. They are unused to any intrusion, much less so hostile invasion, so they were entirely surprised by the attack. By the time they had assembled themselves to put to use their customary military training, the very walls designed to protect their lord had imprisoned him and they had no hope of rescuing him. To break into Silorn Manor, we would need to use a very powerful spell or somehow pick the lock. I must hasten, for the fate of the chieftain is in my hands.
[Notes scribbled at the back of the book.]
Ayleids are close relatives of Bosmer and Altmer (Wood Elves and High Elves).
Ayleids rarely wear shoes!
Welkynd stones provide power and keep the village bathed in perpetual … starlight? Stones charge at night and discharge light during day. Appears to be bright enough to sustain life.
Fire is viewed as in inferior source of light and heat. They use instead a form of chemical flame that burns blue.
Relationships: The Elves typically begin courting between the ages of fifteen and twenty, but the relationships progress very slowly. They display none of the rampant promiscuity of the Dunmer, and are more akin to the Altmer, pairing for life. They may pursue several (usually rather chaste) relationships lasting many decades before selecting a mate. Like the Dunmer, they are conditionally fertile and produce few offspring, which usually survive to adulthood. Lifespans are many centuries.
The Ayleids view all life on Nirn as imperfect corruptions of the divine. Their lives and culture revolve around Aedric worship – specifically Auriel-who-is-Akatosh. They are at least as technologically developed as Tamrielic cultures, with the addition of their unique magical Welkynd power. They also make greater use of nature, particularly the soothing and cooling amber common to their dwellings. The amber appears to be non-native – has this been introduced from outside the settlement?
The Elves are not entirely self-sufficient – occasionally an Elder must venture to the nearby city to collect supplies. Fortunately, they are easily disguised with a cloak and hood, and they would be taken for any other foreigner.
The Elves amuse themselves with artistic pursuits and are highly cultured. Through the books they have collected from various trade-runs to Skingrad, they have learnt much of our ways, if only with the casual interest we might show towards the alien cultures of Black Marsh or the Ashlander tribes of Morrowind.
Ayleid cultures vary from tribe to tribe. Many live in makeshift wooden shanty towns or other camouflaged structures. I haven’t yet been able to find out whether this is closer to the ‘true’ Ayleid culture, and if ruins such as those into which this village has been made are not usually built for the purpose of housing. The Silorn settlement certainly seems to have been an ancient monument or safety-shelter that has been used as a home, rather than having been constructed for the purpose.
Halion – Male – Chieftain/Lord of the Manor, widower
Baenlin – Male – Elder,Brother of Halion, unmarried
Carandial – Male – Elder/Priest/Blacksmith, widower
Lithnilian – Female – Elder/Priestess/Trader, Mother of Carandial, widow
Daenlin – Male – Minstrel, Husband of Thalfin
Thalfin – Female – Artist, Wife of Daenlin
Celebril – Male – Apprentice to Lithnilian, Son of Daenlin and Thalfin
Hagaer – Male – Farmer, Second Cousin to Daenlin
Caranya – Female – Farmer, Wife of Hagaer, Daughter of Carandial
Berwen – Female – Apprentice to Carandial, Daughter of Hagaer and Caranya
Elsynia – Female – Bookseller, unmarried (nominally attached to Gwinas)
Gwinas – Male – Healer, unmarried (nominally attached to Elsynia)
Mirie – Female, Clothier, unmarried (nominally attached to Tilmo)
Tilmo – Male – Carpenter, unmarried (nominally attached to Mirie)
Alawen – Female – Publican, Cousin of Daenlin and Hagaer, unmarried
Areldil – Male – Laborer, Brother of Alawen, unmarried (temporarily staying with his sister)
Journal of Berwen Silverleaf
I feel like nobody GETS me because they are all just SHEEP. They don’t understand me because I am DIFFERENT. I have all these thoughts and feelings running through me and nobody understands them. Other than Celebril. He understands me. I LOVE him soooo much. I hope he loves me too.
I overheard my parents talking about Areldil, but they stopped talking when I walked in, so I thought it best not to ask about it. I had to see him later because Grandfather wants him to do some work on his house. I asked him what flagrante delicto meant, and did it hurt when he got it caught? He looked at me and laughed, and said it wasn’t something I’d have to worry about for a year or two. That’s when my apprenticeship ends, so I suppose it must be something to do with work. I was about to ask him more but then my dad walked in, and I think he must have heard because he was looking at him funny and made me leave, saying something about “bad influence”, whatever that means. Celebril’s been told he’s not allowed to talk to Areldil, ever since he said he was going to take him into a Tavern in Skingrad for his eighteenth birthday where Nice Ladies would Make a Man of Him. Celebril thinks that they’ll put him behind the bar, because that’s how they decide you’re full-grown here, when you can run a stall for a full day without running out of stock or giving anyone the wrong change.
I told Alawen what Celebril had said, and she was really cross with her brother and made him sleep on the bags by the stall for a full week. She said he had no business trying to make other people act like him, that he was a disgrace to the family, and that if Celebril had any sense he’d appreciate how lucky he was. I think she meant that he has a perfectly nice job working for Lithnilian and they don’t treat their bar staff very well in Skingrad.
DO NOT READ!
THAT MEANS YOU, NED! I SWEAR I’LL HEX YOU IF YOU READ THIS!
Ugh! I can’t believe what Mirie said to me today. “Why are you wasting your life here when you could get yourself a proper job?”
A proper job! As though what I do here is … well, not. She thinks you’re a non-person unless you have your own shop, but I happen to like it here, thank you very much, and if it was good enough for our parents, it’s good enough for us.
I told Ned, but he was playing board games and I think he was a bit drunk. He told me to go away and stop taking life so seriously. I think he was trying to impress Nilawen, much good may it do him. She’s much too old for him and just not interested. Oh well, he’ll learn.
Who does she think she is, anyway? I mean, so, we’re descended from Issmi, but there’s not one villager who isn’t related to another through blood or marriage. It’s a pointless debate, anyway. We have a better life here than most people outside the manor, and the masters make very few demands of us. I think the most taxing thing Lord Halion asked me to do all day was to pass him a sweetroll, and I was free to spend all morning in the bathing pool. We probably have the easiest lives of anyone in the village. Even the masters themselves have to work harder than we do, and they have so many tiresome responsibilities. I know Ned feels the same way that I do, as there would be little opportunity for him to indulge in so much wine or gambling if he had to pass laws and settle disputes all the time.
I know, for example, that Lord Baenlin works well into the night. He disappears shortly after breakfast and is seldom seen for the rest of the day. Yesterday, I saw him retiring to his room well after midnight. He gave me such a fright! He turned up right behind me in the library, and to this hour I cannot work out how he could have appeared there like some restless spirit without my seeing him walk in! If I had trouble sleeping before he scared the skin off me (hence my presence there), it took me even longer after he frightened me like that.
Just as well that I hurried back after that, as I caught Ned endeavoring to entice Nilawen out of bed, and managed to chide him into returning to his bunk before Nillie could embarrass him by refusing.
I do worry, though, that Ned’s mischief might land us in trouble with his lordship. It just doesn’t do for him or our reputation, and it might be funny now but it could quickly turn sour. The master is kind, and treats us well, and I don’t want that jeapordized by Ned’s larking about. It would be difficult to find a situation like ours in other great houses.
Father always used to say that the master and his forefathers preserved the ogliarchy by perpetuating a system of rule by consent. I think he meant that the lord or lady always had to be particularly nice, or people might take offence and not do what they say all the time. It’s normally easier to do what you’re told than try not to. Unless it’s Mirie, since she’s a right bossy mare and always ordering us about, and I just ignore her. Stupid woman.
LOST CHILD RESCUED AFTER PLUNGE!
Missing girl alive after dramatic fall!
Esme Galen, the seven year-old daughter of Count Skingrad’s steward Niren Galen, is safely home after her five-day disappearance.
Moved by her parents’ anguish, the Count had ordered a thorough search of the county in search of the child, who had disappeared when gathering firewood with her mother.
“I had my back turned for a second, and then she was gone! It is every mother’s nightmare,” said Tolvasa Galen yesterday. “We spent every waking hour since searching for our child.”
Skingrad’s residents organized the largest search party in living memory to look for the little girl. The guards enlisted the help of nearby farmers to search every part of the area. It had been feared that she had been taken by a bear or wolf, and by the fifth day there was little hope for her return.
As the order was given for the townspeople and their allies to call off the search, a cry went up from one of the searching parties – little Esme had been found! The frightened child was brought to the castle immediately and returned to her grateful parents as soon as the court healer had inspected her for maladies.
The child had been startled by a bear and run off to hide, and had tripped and fallen into the ruins of the ancient Elven ruin of Silorn. She had been further scared by strange sounds and chanting from inside the old monument and had tried to scramble back up, but again fallen as she reached the top and tried to head back home. The terrified tot had stumbled into the river and had then been dragged right over the edge of the waterfall!
“It is a miracle she wasn’t killed,” explained the girl’s father, “And we shall honor the gods in gratitude for our child’s survival.”
It is not clear how the girl survived her ordeal, but the girl has vague memories of someone diving into the water after her and being pulled up as she began to drown. She claims to have woken up in a strange room on a cold stone slab, where someone presumed to be a healer tended to her injuries. She could not describe where the room was, or who her mysterious benefactor was, but says the man and his female companion treated her kindly. She appears to have suffered a fever lasting several days, and her description of “green hair and weird eyes” and a “strange language” may simply be a product of her fever-dreams.
As soon as the girl was sufficiently recovered to explain where she had come from, she says her odd rescuers covered her eyes and led her from their home to where she was found by the search party.
Certainly as soon as she opened her eyes, the heroic strangers had gone, and she was discovered immediately.
Whether the traumatized girl simply dreamed her story of rescue is uncertain, but she would not have survived alone in the cold for such a long time if she had not been protected and fed by some sort of benefactor. The child is said to be in good spirits and recovering well, and anxious to thank whoever it was who cared for her and returned her to her family.
“If there is someone out there who has looked after this child and mended her injuries after her fall, we would like you to come forward,” Count Skingrad has declared. “If you are a criminal in hiding, a pardon awaits, and if you simply wish to remain anonymous for reasons of pride, a discreet reward will be offered.”
A service of thanksgiving will be held in the chapel tomorrow.