The Nectar



Evenacht
Evenacht, one of the Sensour lands of the dead. Also called and evening land.
 
All images by Shanda Nelson unless otherwise stated

Nectar as sweet as the Evenacht, a luscious sound of life amidst the silence of the dead.  
~from The Sweet Nectar, poem, by Imparik the Keelsland Bard, 7750 years previous
 

In this article:  
 
 

The Nectar

  The Nectar River begins at the tops of the Crescentshine Mountains. Trickling past barren rock, pine forest, and deciduous forest, it gorges on other rivers and streams until it combines with the Sparrow in the plains of Death's Hand, and their waters flow together into Veer's Embrace, a bay in the Light's Verse Spanse (Sea).   Along the Nectar's shores, twenty different bird species nest in abundance, from the short-legged, purple-hued crested jester to the chubby, seed-eating sweet tweet, to the scarlet roving duck. Ten large herbivores wander its length, from the agile, alpine snowdeer to the lumbering, dusky-furred slagger, whose combined hoof steps rock the land beneath. Numerous tiny mammals, from the spotted patch mouse and striped stink week eater to the long-tailed hopping mint, find food and shelter near the banks.   The most famous of animals is the black vox, a small, large-eared canine with black fur and red paws. A poet marked it as sacred to Erse Parr, because it is one of the few animals with a presence in both the living and the dead lands, an appropriate symbol for the Living Death.   Fish thrive in the Nectar, from the finger-length grey brook trout of the faster-running headwaters, to the fat silver fin bottom feeder found around Evening and further north. Native fish ranchers have dug a canal from the Nectar to provide water to an artificial lake found just inside the plains. They mostly raise sleek trout and frowning bass, but do have a small pool where the colorful striped treats, cardinal red fins, and the rambunctious swift mesh are raised for aquariums.   The plains section hosts reptiles and amphibians, including two species of venomous snake and the volatile fire toad, which has been known to start plains-large fires while defending itself from predators. The rainbow lizard is a popular spot on flat-topped rocks during the warmer seasons. All reptiles and amphibians that live along the Nectar have developed a way to turn the thick, magical mists normally used by spirits to re-energize their essences, into a heating mechanism. They sun themselves like their living lands brethren, only they gorge on mist heat rather than sunlight.   Many plants are found along the Nectar. The mountainous regions have the stately Death's evergreen, the tallest evergreens in the Evenacht. Religious adherents contend that Light and Darkness planted a sacred seed upon Erse Parr's ascent to Death's throne, and the tree from that planting will continue to grow while Death's Kindness fills the evening lands.   The twisted mock tree is a common sight in the plains, growing in singular patches along the river. The contorted branches sport tiny leaves on short, thin twigs, making the tree look as if it has fur, rather than plant matter. The twilight rose, a pinkish-ash grey flower, only grows along the Nectar, starting near the headwaters and dwindling just before the plains start.   Insects thrive along the river, none more so than the iridescent nymph. This dragonfly shimmers like water lit by a rose sunset and happily spends time among the reeds.
Headwaters of the Nectar
Arthouse Studio from Pexels
 
Nectar Vox
Black Vox
orig. Alexander Andre from Unsplash
 
 
 
 

Nectar wheels
Water Wheels on the Nectar
Son Tungtran from Pexels
 

The Grail, Evening
Ozunduny Asina from Pexels
 

Evening Bridge
Bridge over the Nectar, Evening
Anas Jawed from Pexels

The Hallowed Collective

  The Nectar provided water for, and irrigated the farms of, the living natives for thousands of years. It did not take on a sacred significance until a group of dedicated syimlin adherents decided to build a community on its shores twelve thousand years previous.   These spirits, led by a Keel named Æshren Gerant, wanted to found a place near the Fields of the UnRedeemed that allowed their group easy access to the Condemned. They saw it as their sacred task to Redeem the punished and hunted about for a spot to make that easier. They quickly discovered the conjunction between the Nectar and the Tilted River not only had many natural magical roads called ziptrails intersecting the area, it also stood within a day's journey by foot to the Fields of the UnRedeemed, making the spot an attractive choice for a community.   During this time, Gerant's followers discovered that the Fields' brooks and streams collected the pleas of the Condemned and fed them into the Nectar, which took the pleas downstream. If a spirit immersed themselves long enough in the waters, and at the right place, they could infuse themselves with an UnRedeemed's call and follow the voice back to the one in need of Redemption. Believing this a sign from the syimlin of water, Arstet, Gerant declared the fork his and his followers' new home.   The land, however, already held a native settlement of farmers who refused to move. Undeterred, Gerant built a community on the more hilly western side of the fork, rather than the eastern. He named the new community the Grail, after the silver bowl his group used in their Redemption rituals. The Nectar of the Syimlin poured into the Grail, a fitting representation for the sect.   The Grail residents worked hard to increase the number of Redeemed spirits. These spirits often chose to reside in the area, rather than find another place in the Evenacht, and their families would join them. As the community grew, so too did the influence of Gerant and his organization. He and a handful of advisors decided they needed a more formal direction. They created the Hallowed Collective, designated as the helping hand of the Condemned.  

Denz Chak

  The living natives did not appreciate the congregation of spirits nearby. A thousand years after the Grail's founding, in an attempt to be rid of the unwanted settlers, a contingent under the direction of an Astri leader named Denz Chak built a dam across the Nectar just below the Fields, hoping to flood them, and therefore get the Collective to gather the heads up and take them somewhere else.   His spiritesti succeeded in keeping the furious ghosts away from the construction long enough to finish, just in time for the snows in the Crescentshine to melt. The Fields quickly flooded--and the newly deceased, unwilling to chance the waters drowning the Condemned, halted just inside the Evengates and congregated there. The Evengates' Guardians, annoyed at the growing numbers, related the events to the Beast.   The Beast, a nasty beghesten who had overthrown the previous Death in a vicious battle that left all involved scarred and his predecessor sent to the Final Death, hated the show of defiance of his rule. He personally traveled to the dam and shattered it, sending water and the Condemned rushing to the Grail and the native settlement beyond.   The Nectar's waters damaged everything in their path, ghostly or living. The rush carried debris, bodies, heads and discorporated spirits to the larger Sparrow River. Industrious followers of the Great Syimlin Healer, Zibwa, strung healing nets across the Sparrow and salvaged the heads and discorporated spirits from a sea-bottom fate, and did what they could for both the living and dead devastated by the Beast's act. Despite his fury at the interference, the Beast quietly returned to his temple. The only syimlin he feared was He who Gave Life, for healing the dead with Life's Touch meant a swift trip to the Final Death.   The noble houses of the Astri, seeing the incident as a threat to their pact with Death for the Gift of eternal Life, hunted down and butchered Denz Chak and his followers. They gave their sprits to the Beast as a peace offering, rather than let them filter into the native's own evening lands, in hopes of placating him and keeping their social and cultural reign intact.  

Evening

  The Hallowed Collective rebuilt but forsook the Grail. It no longer held true for them. Instead they founded Evening and declared a section of higher land as the city center. They constructed their headquarters deep below the surface, a precaution against the Beast's rages.   Above these halls they built a training complex to teach the newly deceased as well as the Redeemed how to interact with the Evenacht using Ether and Physical Touch. Gerant himself formed the Greeters from Redeemed spirits, whose job was to usher the deceased from Death's Arch and to the city center, where they could receive training and help in relocating to other parts of the Evenacht.
 

Imparik the Keelsland Bard

  Around eight thousand years previous, the Collective's hold on Redemptions had dwindled due to the continued fallout from the dam incident. The older ways of Redeeming the Condemned gained footing, and the Collective's leverage over who qualified to conduct Searches, and who did not, eroded. Imparik the Keelsland Bard, a renowned poet and a valued Collective member, disliked that his organization had lost its influence. He felt only they had the depth of knowledge to properly Redeem the Condemned, and sought to reverse the changes.   He wrote numerous songs and poems about the Nectar, all highlighting the way the Collective used its waters to hear the calls of the UnRedeemed. The verses cast his fellows as heroic, knowledgeable, and the only entities in the Evenacht who could properly conduct a Search, for they were the only entities who could hear the pleas.   Delightful and sincere, his work gained traction, and throughout the Evenacht, families began to turn more and more to the Collective to help their loved ones in their Search for their essences.   To accommodate the increased interest, the Collective created the Finders, a group of dedicated spirits whose sole purpose was to Redeem the UnRedeemed. By the time Erse Parr began her reign 6119 years previous, the Collective had become the only organization that Redeemed the Condemned. They limited access to the Fields for everyone else and only allowed those trained by their sages to conduct Searches.  

Unintended Consequences

  As the number of spirits available to Redeem the Condemned decreased, the number of heads in the Fields grew--and so, too, did the pleas. As before, the petitions swirled with the Nectar's waters and coursed towards Evening. The Finders who used them as guidance became overwhelmed with the surge of calls, unable to distinguish one UnRedeemed voice from another. Since this affected the number of Redemptions completed by the Finders, and led to angry families wondering why their members had yet to achieve Recollection, Imparik devised a plan to dilute the messages.   Under his guidance, the training sessions for newly deceased began to promote the Nectar as a convenient place for spirits to test their knowledge of Physical Touch. To Touch the waters was to Touch the Evenacht, they said, making the act a sacred rite of passage. Spirits who wished to learn Physical Touch flocked to the river, but without the training to hear the pleas, they absorbed them without realizing it. They diluted the calls to the point few, if any, ghosts could recognize a voice and follow it to the appropriate Condemned.   Finders, unable to easily find a happy medium between inundation and depletion of pleas in the Nectar's waters, created different ways to discover their Candidates. Some made their way to the Fields, to walk the hills and listen for souls desperate enough they qualified for Redemption, but this had the same overwhelming effect as the Nectar. Some intentionally blocked the cries and instead followed the most hopeless-tinged essences they sensed. Some collected information on the Condemned, seeking a research-oriented approach to Redemptions. Needing a place to store what they gathered, they built the first Finder Library, which eventually became the center of research into discovering sundered essences.   Imparik, unintentional or not, ushered in a new era of bribery for Redemptions, under the guise of piety.   Still, on nights when the fog thickens with Darkness's Touch and one cannot see their hand before their face, spirits who enter the Nectar's waters can hear the pleas of the Condemned, an insistent cacophony demanding surcease.
 
Imparik the Keelsland Bard
orig musician Alexey Wineman from Pexels
orig background роман микрюков from Pexels
 

Call of the Nectar


written by Imparik the Keelsland Bard
verses 1 and 2
  Flow with the Nectar
My breathless call
Flow with the Nectar
Do not stall
Flow with the Nectar
To Evening tall
Flow with the Nectar
Greet Hallowed halls
  Flow with the Nectar
Bring me peace
Flow with the Nectar
Let this cease
Flow with the Nectar
Punishment surcease
Flow with the Nectar
Finder's release

Comments

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23 May, 2022 21:15

Get me on the bank shouting at the Condemned: No tears please, it's a waste of good suffering.'   Like the article by the way.

23 May, 2022 21:40

:} thanks

27 May, 2022 19:11

Great article. Was already nice to see how all of the various animals and flora near the river but the history itself was well thought out and the most interesting. The flood of that dam must really have been quite something.

Feel free to check out my latest challenge article the Avaronian Empire if you want to see what I am up to!
27 May, 2022 19:32

Thank you! The flood was, and since quite a few beings (mostly ghosts) are still around who experienced it, it hasn't been as forgotten as some may wish. It's not mentioned in the article, but the devastation was a precursor to the Beast's rampages, so it had even further ramifications.

30 May, 2022 07:07

A very rich article in history, flora/ fauna and cultural import.

30 May, 2022 21:49

Thanks :) I'm glad you liked it!

3 Jun, 2022 20:32

Monopolies really ruin everything...

4 Jun, 2022 02:48

Yep. And it's not the only one having the Evanacht, either.

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