The Journal of Sora Bryndis, Sovereign Mother
The scholars say that the world always was and always will be. That the sun has risen and set upon our lands for eons and the moons have chased one another across the skies for nearly as long. They can give no dates, or they choose not to. There are no records, no books or scrolls that confirm these suppositions as truths – only the ones written recently, by Sorathian approved scribes.
These same scholars re-tell the stories of the wars with great exuberance, recanting the horrors in vivid detail. It is drilled into us over and over, generation after generation. There is no other side, just their side, our side, the right side.
We are told that our people once lived in every part of the world, that great feats of magic and wonder happened with little effort and with no limit. Food was plentiful, the rains soothed and nurtured rather than burned and destroyed. There’s children’s tales of silver sided beasts that reflected the sun as they flew through blue skies. There’s whispers by the elders of elders that once upon a long while before the before, we were able to visit places in history not our own. It was a time of miracles.
By the time the war came, our Elders say that our people worshipped false gods, that prayers went unanswered because of our insolence and destruction. Some still worshipped vehemently, but it was a greedy, violent, vile sort of worship unworthy of actual godly attention. When the first waves of death began to roll over the land, those few who held desperately to the idea of a godly help could only mourn the loss of that which was never proven true. Entire populations were annihilated, beautiful cities destroyed, people lost their homes and resources. There was no hope.
For three full years the waves of destruction continued. For three years, death reigned and the earth withered. Eventually, there was calm once again, and with that calm came the revelation that a once teeming world was now nothing but… vast emptiness.
Any who had sheltered below ground or high in the mountains were safe. But they were few and far between and it would be years, decades really, before travel upon the surface was safe again. Once the survivors found relatively safe places to remain on the surface, it became clear that even weather patterns had changed. Once fertile regions were barren. Temperate climates turned to tundra. The stark landscape and rains that burned like fire pushed any who could move to the north, and then west. Even the winds could flay skin, as they now carried on them minuscule sandlike shards that tore flesh with ease. It soon became clear that remaining near tainted ground rendered the people senseless and ill. Our women could bear no living child, and all but the heartiest of our youth easily succumbed to the harsh conditions.
So it was that only the strongest and most persistent were able to come together. We existed in small groups scattered here and there between the tainted lands; families, stragglers from villages no longer willing to settle for death and fear, and dreamers. The library of Sorath displays journals made by the first settlers of our valley. In them, it is said that the weather patterns pushed them onward, and as they tried to outrun the rains and tainted ground, they lost all but the halest members of their party. It is mentioned that those leading the way and some of the younglings experienced dreams of a place where the earth was green and welcoming. They named it, in these journals, over and over again, the Forgotten Valley.
We have been here all these years, my family and I, and our friends. This Valley is our home. I am their Queen, though they call me Mother. I miss my sister, my brothers, though I regret for not one moment the choice I made.
It is time, now, to let my daughters lead the way. May the hands of the gods be upon them.
Mother has died. Her last words were about grandmother Sora. I hope they are at peace together, free from this world of trial. The valley is thriving in so far as it can thrive. Lailah is twenty two summers and has no child. What will become of the lineage of our Mothers?
It is the 125th year in the Age of Progression, though at times it feels not much progress has been made. We try, though this world we live in tramps us down. Lailah has given birth, finally, though it is a boy. There is hope.
127, Spring, Lailah has birthed her third and fourth boys. They are hale and will likely survive.
140, October, The winters are longer these days and my life is coming to a close. My daughter, dear thing, speaks of a pact she has made. She says there will be a continuance. She speaks of promises and life as her belly swells. I hope and pray she is right. May the hands of the gods be upon my daughter and our people.
The Mothers of my Mother have written on these pages and it is now my time, the only daughter of Azriel, daughter of Zuriel, daughter of Sora, daughter of the Wilds. It is the year 141 and the wise ones say this winter will be long. It is my belief their words align with that of the Goddess’s message. Our people have worked hard and the harvest was plentiful. We will survive, as we do.
The 30th day of May in the year 141 of the Age of Progression. My time is coming. The wise ones know to trust in Mihr, and any reading this should know that the hands of the gods are upon us all. We will survive and prosper. Pray. Trust.
141a.p. Mother is dead. She has instructed me to keep note of the happenings as she has done. Already, with no Mother upon the throne, there is unrest within the valley. We, my brothers and I, will hold the Estate until Naesala and Lieth come of age and Ascend. The gods have their hands upon us, and the Valley will prosper.
170a.p. The Sovereign Mother and the line of Mothers has suffered these last years. Her firstborn has died to the sickness that plagues the young of our world. Only last year she birthed a pair of twins, though the girl died within days of what we believe was poison. The male child is weak, likely also poisoned, but he hangs by a thread. May the hands of the gods be upon him.
Lieth’s son is quite the lad. He works the fields with the young ones of the Anders brood and enjoys it. Harvests this year are good. We will thrive through Winter.
171a.p. Sovereign Mother Naesala pleads with the gods, but no answers have yet been given. Lieth has been gone a full 3 years. One of the last expeditions brought back new seed and they have already begun to sprout.
It is the year of 173 in the Age of Progression. Lieth’s daughter will see the sun set on the first year of her life, and as the sun rises on that child’s face, I will step aside and my sister will take her place. Since her return to the Valley, our summer crop has been blessed and the rangers have brought in much fresh meat. The hands of the gods are upon her and I am glad to see our people hopeful again. Arryn, daughter of Lieth, daughter of Lailah, daughter of Azriel, daughter of Zuriel, daughter of Sora, will be the Mother Who Brings Change. The hands of the gods are upon her and those who follow. May our once Forgotten Valley be remembered as a place of resolute determination, for we will weather every storm and emerge stronger.
It is the year of Progression 175 and I have been Sovereign Mother for nearly a full year. Naesala has taken my spot in the Rangers and brings reports of the Fire Rains falling closer to the gates each season. We have not yet determined why they are shifting their patterns. Our fields beyond the gates have been lost.
178a.p Telar reports movement from Tippan Clan, but they’re staying well away from the borders. The pits are still not crossable. The rangers attempted to bring in new wild ones from the ranges Outside, but got caught in the Fires and had to retreat. We will attempt again in the spring.
182a.p Tahk, head of Tippan Clan, has found a way to cross the pits. They are at the wall and demanding entry. Naesala was able to give us ample warning, so we are prepared.
183a.p. At last, after 4 months of waiting, Tahk and his Clan have left. The Fire Rains fell early and they lost many before we could open the gates. So many fell. We were able to bring some through, while others ran. It was a tragedy we had all hoped to avoid. These changing weather patterns are bad for us all.
235a.p. Artimie and Kor have been murdered. I will survive my wounds. Arryn is well. The gates will be closed, no Outsiders allowed in. The Valley will be protected above all. Life is sacred, and we must do as we must do.
May the hands of the gods be upon us.
The year is 247 and winter has come early. Scholars insist it will ease. Our Priests are silent.
248, May: it is still winter. The snows fall daily and our stores run low.
248, July: Winter has broken. The crops are small. Our farmers are predicting the harvest will not replenish the stores for winter.
248, September: The snows have returned. The last harvest was lost to frost. Most of our animals have also been lost. Fire rains fall where they have not before, and have destroyed what stores had not soured. I am ill and my scribes will soon take over, if they are able.