Tale Of The Slaughter Of Scholars (book)
Tale Of The Slaughter Of Scholars
I write this as a member of The Lewapone Afetsed Research Affiliation (LARA), a group of scholars whose sole purpose (and, I might add, soul purpose) is to shine light of knowledge where darkness of ignorance dwells, founded by Afetsed and Dreamrunner so long ago the time is lost.
I am a human. In LARA most are Elothean. And that is perhaps what started it all. The Eloth members of our group, which again, would be most, were extremely interested in delving into the true origins of the Eloth. They were hoping to prove the notion that they are somehow a physical manifestation of the minds of the Immortals. A worthy topic of research, and one often debated, much of LARA spent time trying to find an answer. Of course, being an event that happened so many eons ago, the evidence was very little, and it simply became a musing at social gatherings.
Until one day in autumn, another member of our group received a message that some distant Eloth cousin by the name of Heya Modara, a member of the Gray Storm house, had evidence. Actual factual proof that the Eloth were walking embodiments of wisdom.
The echo of that message rang rapidly through LARA. A journey was organized. I, busy at the time with a new son, was unable to travel. Twenty seven were the number to undertake the journey to meet in the mountains (a halfway point) with Heya Modara and his scholarly following. The journey would take less than a month.
Four months later, with no word returned, funereal and commemorative services were held for the missing twenty seven.
A Lorethew traveler - a wandering Elothean wise man of sorts - came to my door some weeks after that. He bore a package in his hands. Knowing some of the ways of my Eloth colleagues, I bid him rest the night. My wife set a sumptuous meal for us, as she is wont to do, and our visitor set about his tale.
The man's name was Pelea Longstride. He was most elegant, and I learned he preferred his race be called by the more proper phrase Ethloean. He told me of his travels through the mountains, and his happening upon an abandoned settling area where many tents were pitched. It appeared to have been a joyous festival occasion, and many mules carried with them great jugs of wine and trunks filled with books. Yet now the place was silent.
The ground was spotted with dark mushrooms. And blood. He had found the mules were gutted, their heads and hooves removed. He searched the entire camp.
In one tent, a massive meeting tent, with logs and stones as seats, the center had been cleared. And placed upon the floor, in the shape of a glaring eye, were the collected skulls of all who had been present, polished to gleam like river rocks.
Pelea could not locate any bodies beyond these remains.
It was obviously the meeting between my fellow LARA members and the men of Heya Modara. A membership book was found, and in it he found my name.
I asked Pelea when his horror tale was over what he thought could do such a thing. Obviously not animals, much too precise for goblins' or trolls' work.
The hair on the back of my arms bristled when he whispered to me "Melyo Rensh'a".
I am no expert on the Eloths, but I know that phrase. It is the name of the missing clan, the house everyone says is just a myth. They are assassins.
The dinner was finished in silence. My wife looked quite nervous as she readied my son for bed. When she left us alone, Pelea placed his package on the table. He rose and moved about my house, locking windows and setting curtains shut. He unwrapped the doeskin covers of this squarish shape on my table, and there were several remnants of books, bloody and burnt.
He handled them like maiden hair at the tips of his graceful fingers.
A tear fell from his eye to a page and he told me this was all that was left that was readable and he wept for the loss of much knowledge and wisdom that day. I wept as well.
Barely a handful of pages were in Pelea's package. But that night, we pieced them together. We learned nothing of the origin of the noble Eloth. But there were several passages, and I regret their source is utterly unidentifiable, which I copy here.
One torn page we took to read the following, although the ink was quite wet with blood and mud, some parts may be incorrect:
"... obviously from the time of the coming of the Immortals. As each immortal has Aspects, edges of good or evil or love or hate, these Aspects were passed on to what was to develop into the... (Later on the page it reads as follows) ...to be called by the Ethloean tongue Ch'sian T'sani."
Pelea translated Ch'sian T'sani for me to mean, of all things, The DarkLight. He said it had layers of other meanings, as do many phrases translated, especially those of the Eloth, but DarkLight was the best Common Tongue words he found. He did note it could also mean BlindVision.
The next torn scrap we found readable simply read:
"... every Elothean dwells a remnant of Ch'sian T'sani..."
Several other parchment scrapings, (And a leaf which Pelea had mistaken for burnt parchment) pieced together the following, and perhaps most frightening passage:
"... World Dragon. If the Dragon itself were composed of the essence of Ch'sian T'sani, would it not follow that the Eloth may then be somehow guardians, or part of the World Dragon itself? Or perhaps they are hunters of the dragon. In any case, it is obvious now that the members of the Lost House are imbalanced in their degree of Ch'sian T'sani..."
The Lost House, referring of course to the Melyo Rensh'a. Pelea then told me no other mention of the Melyo Rensh'a was to be found in any of the other pages he had recovered, most of which had much less pertinent information on them. However, he glanced furtively around the room, swore a quick oath to the Ferdahl, and pulled a leathery pouch from his belt. He undid the binding and poured its contents on my table.
They were tiny scraps of paper. Hundreds. Hundreds. None burnt. None bloody. Each cut from a different book. Each scribed by a different hand. Each with perfect edges in perfect condition. Each a cut out of a single phrase: Melyo Rensh'a.
Pelea slept on our cot that night, although I would wager he truly slept as little as I. We are not sure what Ch'sian T'sani is. Nor are we any closer to the origins of the Eloth. In fact we may be further.
When he left the next morning after breakfast, I took all of the remaining books, including, or perhaps especially, the membership book and reduced them to ashes. I also pen this anonymously for my health and my sons.