(( Every Saturday I post one of the many player-written books I have in my library collection on the Antonia Bayle server. You can visit the library at the North Freeport mage tower – bottom floor in the magical housing area under the name of Ellithia, feel free to stop by. If you’d like to donate a book to the library that you do not already see listed, please feel free to send an in-game email to Ellithia and I will send you some coin in return! ))
Derom’s Fall – A Maj’Dul Story By Anakh
In the old days after Maj’dul was formed, the city was light and beauty, and the people were the happiest anywhere, having joy in the morning and comfort at night. Their leader was wise and kind, and loved his people most of all. In time he grew old, and withered in his bed, calling soothsayers and wise men from across the lands to come to him to save his life. Sadly it was obvious to all that there was nothing to be done.
In his last days before he passed to the glory beyond, he spoke to a hermit from the desert below, who was said to see things that others could not. The old man asked this hermit about his three sons, and which would be the best leader after him. The hermit considered this for some time, then told the leader, Your first son loves light, the second justice, and the third beauty. Then he departed for his desert cave. The old leader decided to name his first son his heir, for he loved the lights of the city so much himself. Shortly afterwards he passed on, and the city was filled with mourning.
The first son took over as leader – he loved books and learning, but most of all he loved the stars. Over the years he loved them more and more, staying longer and longer in his tower and gazing out at the stars through a telescope he had made. Without a leader that cared about it, Maj’dul grew full of feuds and violence.
Eventually the first son decided that to see more of the stars, he needed to get rid of all other lights, so at his command his guards went through the city, smashing every light, from finely wrought chandeliers to humble clay lamps. The city fell into darkness, but the stars above were now visible as an incomparable tapestry of light, and the first son reveled in this even as the people of his city thrashed and fought in their blindness. In time the first son spent so much time watching the stars it consumed him, and he died alone, starved to death in his tower room, which glowed with starlight like the palest moonstones.
The second son became the leader of a darkened, somber city. He was a hard man who led the city guards, and he promised to bring justice to the city. The people, set upon by thieves and murderers in the night, rejoiced to hear it. The second son passed many laws, a few big laws, then smaller laws, then tiny ones, and enforced them all. There were only two punishments, lose a hand or lose your life. The people began to fear the punishments for almost any crime, walking on the wrong side of the street, wearing the wrong clothes, every day new ones were added to the books. The city was still dark, but now it became quiet, its music and bustle stilled by fear.
The second son began performing the executions and punishments itself, always warning the people that came to watch that Maj’dul was a city of justice. They nodded carefully in agreement and walked home quietly to their darkened homes. One day, as the second son swung his sword down at the wrist of a shopkeeper convicted of not sweeping his porch to the correct degree, he mis-struck, and the gleaming blade rebounded and sliced into his own flesh. Infection and sickness set in and took his life within the week.
The third son, Derom, was much younger than the other two brothers, he was the life of the court parties and loved jewelry and fine art and gleaming silver. When he became leader, Maj’dul was dark and quiet with fear. He began to have more and more parties, each time demanding that his nobles and the people who wanted favors give him gold, jewels, and fine things. Soon entire rooms in the palace were filled with gifts, and the city’s famous artwork and jeweled murals began to disappear.
Derom would shower favor on those who brought him the next shiny jewel, and then quickly forget them. He soon had many of his favorites sewn into his voluminous robes, and over time they grew so heavy he could barely move in them. The city, dark, fearful, plagued by robbers and worse, desperately poor, and often starving, could only watch speechless as Derom threw fete after fete, grand ball after grand ball, and always demand more jewels, more beautiful things.
One day, during one of Derom’s great picnic parties out on the grassy lawn on The Spit, the area of the city thrust like a tongue out over the desert, the courtiers around Derom heard him gasp. One of the gems on his robes had fallen off, a small garnet, the least among the countless riches stitched through his robes. Courtiers and Derom himself scurried to retrieve it, but with his heavy robes stitched through with gold, silver, and gems, Derom tripped, fell, and disappeared over the edge of the Spit without a sound.
Everyone scrambled to the edge, guards went to the walls at the commotion, to see the third son fall. And what they saw would be legendary, passed down from father to son for ever after. It seemed that Derom didn’t fall like a man would, he floated, and as he did, his wonderful robes came apart, pieces flying this way and that until they shrouded the entire desert as far as anyone could see. And where they landed, things grew! Glorious tulips, crocuses, sunflowers, emerald grass, these swept the desert and covered the sand in a sight so beautiful that grown men fell down and wept. Even the orcs below, immune to all beauty, gasped in awe at the sight. The entire desert bloomed with gem-like colors, and the sand itself seemed to glitter with silver, gold and platinum. The sun scattered rainbows tall as giants everywhere and the entire land was radiant.
People rushed out of the city to see this wonder, and soon the Spit was a mob of people all talking at once, children laughing, and everyone craning their heads this way and that to see what had happened. Soon a space formed around one old man, who stepped onto a fallen stool, and people fell silent all around him. A few old servants in the court recognized him as the same hermit who had advised their revered leader so who had advised their revered leader so long ago. He looked at the crowd with a deep sadness in his eyes, and spoke.
I told their father that your first son loves light, the second justice, and the third beauty. What I couldn’t tell him was that none of them possessed wisdom. That lack has led to the ruin of this fair city. Seeking light without wisdom is blindness, justice without wisdom is cruelty, and beauty without wisdom is foolish waste.
The people fell to their knees before this prophet and demanded that he be their new leader, and he agreed. He was very wise and very kind, and helped rebuild the city, adding light where there was none, and true justice tempered with mercy. He brought back beauty to the city, beauty that brought travelers from far lands, jewels, gold, and always flowers, for though the desert blooms from Derom’s Fall passed away with looms from Derom’s Fall passed away with the seasons, they would never pass away from his city.
~~Anakh of Antonia Bayle~~