Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The March of the Talltops (lore)

If you continue past Ogrenose and follow the mountain range known as the Talltops for a while, you'll eventually end up in a hilly piece of land that isn't claimed by anyone. It doesn't even have a name, and no one lives there. The Talltops forms a great wall around it in a half-circle; further north, there's nothing but mountains and rocks all the way till the great dark ocean, where no sane being would ever try to sail.

It was a cold but sunny day. Billobi sat on a stump, located on a green hill some mile away, and watched the mountain range up ahead. He had his pen and notebook ready, just in case. He hadn't travelled all this way from Badgerbrough just to miss the marvellous event everybody in Ogrenose were talking about. Besides, he wouldn't get any money from the Inquisitive if he didn't have anything to write about.

For once, he had hired a guide to lead him to the good spot. It was one of the locals, a quiet old fellow with a great moustache that hid his mouth. He didn't say much - or anything, for that matter. Billobi thought he heard the guide mention his name once, but he wasn't sure because of his archaic dialect. Mostly, he did his talking through his fingers.

"So", Billobi said and tapped his pen against his notebook. "This is the spot?"

The guide nodded.

"The best place to be", Billobi continued. "To witness...the event... Have you seen it? I mean, has it happened before?"

The guide nodded.

"Really?" Billobi wrote a small note in his book. "Or what do you mean? That you've seen it before, or that it's happened before? That you've seen it?"

The guide nodded.

"Right. I'll just write... Right."

The scenery was breath-taking; the hill sloped before them, like a green waterfall that plunged into the sparse forest of tall trees below their feet. And after that, the great mountains. Hamphred would have been thrilled to see that, Billobi thought. Too bad he didn't like travelling.

"So... Where are all the people? For the event, I mean."

The guide shrugged.

"Is the event recurring? Does it happen a lot? I mean, people tend to get bored at watching the same thing over and over."

The guide did a combination of shrugging and nodding, until he suddenly sneezed. The great moustache fluttered uncontrollable, and Billobi couldn't resist doing a quick drawing of it in his notes.

Suddenly, a low, rumbling sound nearly knocked him off the stump. The vibrations rose from the ground, and hundreds of birds took flight from the trees below. It stopped as sudden as it had started.

"What... Was that... Was that the event?" Billobi whispered while picking up his writing gear.

The guide shook his head.

"But it's part of...the thing?"

The guide nodded. He didn't seem affected by it, as if he had predicted the exact moment it would happen.

"Just yawn", the guide added in his strange tongue, and Billobi had to ask him to repeat it.

"A yawn?"

"Just yawn. Of Talltops."

"The mountains yawned?"

The guide nodded and smiled.

"Are they...tired? Why would they even yawn?"

"Sleep long, then yawn. Not really yawn, but almost. Sleep long, now waking. It -"

The sound that pushed them both to the ground came out of nowhere. It didn't last long, but felt like a concentrated crack, like the ice on the rivers when the cold really sets in, or the breaking of a dried stick in the dead silent forest.

Billobi sat up and opened his eyes. Although he could see, it felt like he wore a padded bag on his head; every sound were muffled, and he had a terrible headache.

The guide helped him on his feet, and directed his view with a pointing finger. There, in the distance, below the hill and past the forest, rose a part of the mountain above the ground, and stretched itself towards the sky. It almost looked like an animal, but at the same time it didn't resemble anything living at all.

He believe he formed his lips to say something, but his ears didn't record anything. The sight of a part of the mountain standing on its own, slowly turning around and starting its long journey towards the sea, didn't call for small-talk.

When the rumbling sound from before came back, the guide forced Billobi to sit on the ground with his hands tightly pressed against his ears. When the rumbling stopped, it didn't take many seconds for the second great crack to hit them, and although they sat down this time, it too knocked them over. Another piece of the Talltops had risen, and begun its journey towards the sea.

Billobi stayed on the same spot the entire day, witnessing fifteen pieces of the Talltops breaking off and heading towards the great sea in the north, leaving only a shredded plateau of sharp rocks behind.

When he finally headed back to Ogrenose, he had to rest for a week before his hearing came back. The event was well documented in the town's library, and was called "The March of the Talltops". He learned that the mountain range originally came from the bottom of the ocean, and needed to return there to not dry out (which had happened with the rest of the Talltops). This part of the Talltops were the last living part of the entire mountain range.

Not forgetting about his task, he wrote an extensive article for the Inquisitive and posted it the following week. A month later, back in Badgerbrough, he received the payment and a letter from his editor, that read:

7 comments:

  1. I love the story as well as the cute letter. :)

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  2. Thanks!
    I wasn't too sure about the ending at first; I like the dead-serious business of the march of the talltops (if they don't get to water themselves they'll dry up and die) and the letter may dumb that down, but on the other hand, the editor of the Badgerbrough Inquisitive is a [male genitalia] and I somehow need to show that as often as possible!

    But I must to say, I really dig those strolling mountains!

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  3. @Jensan: I've found Yor blog today. I like it very much. Can You drop me an email? I have something to discuss with U.

    RPG fan

    robert.oglodzinski@gmail.com

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  4. Marching mountains: how cool is that? And somewhat terrifying, too. Another great tale Jensan. I love the little details about the intensity of the sound!
    :-)

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  5. btz: thank you for dropping by. Feel free to ask any questions in this comment section. We're no strangers here.

    kharathel: thanks! Yes, I figured that there has to be an ENORMOUS crack when they break free.

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  6. Dear Jens. I liked it A Lot!

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