Brambles and Vines
From the Private Annals of the Church of Pelor.
Transcribed by Beltak, Scribe to His Radiant Servant, Tremak the Plush.
The 16th day of Eleasias in the Year of the Ruins Reborn.
Sergeant Valino has just returned from the forest where he, and another of the guards, have spent the last few days clearing away the dark brambles and thick vines from the stone circle. And, oh my, what interesting discoveries they have made.
The circle, Valino says, must be ancient, as the stones are weatherbeaten and marked with the passage of time. How long they have been there is anybody’s guess, but it must have been well before the Downfall. Even Valino, one of the finest warriors in Blackengorge, seemed very wary of them.
Several axes were blunted on the vines, like iron they were. Caldring had her smithy running day and night to keep sharp edges for Valino. They brought a sample of one of the vines back, a curious specimin indeed, unnearthly and strange, black, twisted, and with thorns that could slice a man’s hand clean open. I will ask His Radiant Servant Tremak if I can spend more time examining them at a later date, or ask Lucius Drax to take a look.
Interestingly, the vines only grew over the circle, hiding what lay beneath. Valino, exhausted and covered in scratches, implied that the vines seemed to grow out of the centre of the circle until they had swamped the stones at the edge. The brambles lay everywhere in the wood, and didn’t seem particularly unusual.
When the circle had been cleared, and the last of the vines removed, Valino and his guard had found an odd stone plinth at the centre. Smooth and polished, raised like a small altar. He didn’t see any carvings or inscriptions on the stone, but he seemed to think it was the focal point of the circle. I will have to take a visit when I am able to see for myself.
Infuriatingly for Valino, it seems that although the vines were cut away, after many days of labour I should add, the undergrowth, grasses and weeds, began to grow back quite quickly, almost as if the land itself were trying to cover the circle up. Cutting them back again only resulted in the weeds re-growing.
However strange the vines and weeds may be, and however startling the plinth was, I couldn’t help be more excited about the other find that Valino made.
At the head of the plinth, facing true north, Valino found a broken chest, it’s hinges and clasp rusted and shattered by time. It seemed obvious to Valino that the chest had been ransacked, as the contents were strewn within. Tattered rags, perhaps once silk, seemed to be all that remained, except one special discovery.
Within an oily cloth rag was the remains of a book, quite weatherbeaten and moth-eaten. Some of the pages crumbled as Valino had picked it up, but he managed to preserve the bulk of it as he brought it back. It’s contents look fascinating – many pages written in small, delicate ink. Here and there are annotations, and changes, but they are all made in the same hand.
Our problem now lies in the fact that we don’t understand a word. The tongue is foreign and lost to us. I have asked Caldring if the writing is any Forestfolk script, Fafnir the mason if the writing is ancient Hillfolk, and even Skillet if it belongs to the Smallfolk. No luck. It doesn’t appear to be the work of Men, but many languages have been lost since the great collapse.
I shall continue in my efforts to translate the work, it may hold useful information about these lands we now inhabit.