Echoes of The Wingless One
An unyielding flame amongst the darkness
The echostones of Miorhon. A collection revered by Empyral scholars as a testament to the teaching of Ausha.
If you're listening to this, well, you're either lucky or unfortunate enough to hear the ramblings of my younger self.Discovered in 13,500 AG by an Empyral expedition team led by Noirah, the stones were found houses in the long-abandoned Harahom temple of Lourtarum.
Echostone #0: "Preamble"
It's indescribable what I feel as I catalog my thoughts, to inscribe them vocally onto a medium in which I can replay. But I mustn't waste my words. My early life was marked by the bellowing sound that awakened me. Opening my eyes for the first time. I spent the next 300 some years alone within Miatem, my only company being the local flora and fauna. That was until my encounter with the Harahom foragers. In time I joined them and eventually, they settled down. I learned quite quickly that the lives of humans are fleeting. Generations came and went, I eventually was given the title of "The Ageless One".
Echostone #1: "Spinning Echoes"
I have successfully achieved a stable echoweaving! I wished to make note of my encounter with these marvelous rocks. While out foraging for silasilkur, I came across a peculiar ravine. Roots of the vibrant wisteria trees pierced into indigo stained rock. I could see tranquil pools of lavender-tinged water. The air was strange, but a sweet fragrance filled it. I then heard faint noise coming from the walls. Leaning my ear against the rock, unintelligible whispering could be heard. I called out to the whispers, only to hear my own voice resonate out of the rock. I paused, thinking "An echo. From stone. Echostone."
Echostone #2: "Advent of Adventure"
Today, while I meditated, I had a vision of the sacred land. Where the mammoths go during our winter. As they nestled, golden light danced around them, beckoning to me. I must go to there.
I currently rest upon the back of the matriarchal Jahkurtarum. Having blessed me, she grants me safe passage across the sea, towards the sacred land. The herd weaves an icy bridge to travel across, made with an unmatched proficiency in the gelid arts.
When I said farewell to the Hah-RA-home, they gifted me a bouquet of the sacred silkurne flowers. A sentiment I will forever hold dear.
Echostone #3: "Aureate Lights"
Sunrise eleven; I awoke to the sight of hills. The herd must have hit landfall while I slept. As I speak, we are coming upon a valley. This is Eirjursihem, the sacred land. The beckoning call of the threads resonates here. This is where my vision originated from. Wind sweeps across these rich seas of grass, scattered amongst them are pillars of mighty stone.
As the herd grazes, I've inspected several of the pillars. They appeared to be covered in strange markings. I've yet to discern their meaning. They seem to tell the story of the ones who once dwelled here. Nightfall has befallen us and— [trumpheting] The matriarch is calling for my attendance. I'll resume tomorrow morning.
[Audible fumbling] The markings! They're projecting golden light into the sky! Telling the story of the people who once lived here. Their story concluded with the figures pursuing spherical light, heading north.
A season has passed. As is customary, I will remain here until the bond between I and the matriarch is severed. The herd has bid me farewell, I'll see them again next migration. For the first time since my awakening, I'm truly alone.
Countless seasons have passed. Moss now sullies the pillars, however, their light remains brilliant. They've made keeping track of time far easier. Illuminating only on the first night after the mammoths have entered the valley. If my count is correct, I've witnessed 749 migrations [audible chuckle], I know, I've spent lifetimes here... but only a single generation for the Jahkurtarum.
[audible sigh] The matriarch came to me tonight. Laying next to me alongside the rest of the herd. It was… not a typical encounter. I gazed into those icy eyes and knew all too well. Death had come. Her last moments spent among her herd. I, being one of them. As I speak, she lays next to me. The pillars did something unexpected tonight. Upon her passing, cyanic light radiated from them, as if they were funeral pyres. [noticeable pause]
I’ll miss her… [audible sigh]
Tomorrow, I head north. The low hum of twisting threads left behind shall guide me.
Echostone #4: "Sardonic Depravity"
I've happened upon a monumental settlement of humans of which the likes I've never before seen! Towering pillars of gemstone, surrounded by massive sandstone walls, glister brilliantly whilst being bathed in the blazing sun. For reasons unknown, I've been escorted to the palace! Hailed as an honorary guest. Affluent merchants seem to rule here, mages subservient to them. Scholars, of what they call "first speech", have been serving as translators between myself and the mages. A grand feast was held. Exquisite delicacies from numerous lands were presented before us. During the feast, we were entertained by the stunning display of Hyiix. Currently, I await in interlude for the commencement of a sacred ritual.
The mages have betrayed me. Their hospitality, a gilded apple, a veil of deceit. The ritual was an anchoring, I'm now bound to the city until an anchoric mage severs the tie. They demand a trade, my freedom for ten of my feathers. But as I told them, I possess no such feathers! They claim that all Empyrals possess wings comprised of invaluable feathers. Reaching an impasse they've permitted to wander the city, incapable of leaving.
Numerous merchant dynasties have risen and fallen. They've dubbed me under than name of "Pruksum". I've outlasted entire districts within this accursed city. Eventually, I claimed a secluded corner as my dwelling place. My ice keeping out this city's avarice. The merchants and their mages quickly learned to leave me be. The last of the anchoric mages vanished lifetimes ago. Now I'm simply a ghost the city lives with. Will I ever escape? I don't know...
Last I can recall, the city was besieged from the sea. Despite my imprisonment, I fought for the denizens. Ultimately, a tower collapsed onto me, sending me into a oneiric slumber. After having awoken, I surveyed the city... finding no survivors. I’m unsure how long I've slept. Only dried scattered bones remain. Even amongst the rubble, I'm unable to go beyond the shattered sandstone walls. I fear I may be trapped here for eternity.
Centuries have passed and I have made do with my situation, shaping the ruins into my own domain. Peoples displaced or impoverished seek asylum within these icy walls. The hail me as “E'ir Jahcuraho”, Lord of Jurdalaho. Their presence is welcomed and has admittedly thawed my isolated heart. Growing accustomed to my life now. I still wonder, where would have those threads have led me?
My freedom has been restored. My shackles shattered by an anchoric mage hailing from a distant land. He came here from the spatial well in the catacombs, the very same location that bound me to this place. I. Am. Free. Now I continue my journey, savoring each footstep.
Echostone #5: "Desolation"
The call of the threads is louder than ever. This is where they went. This is where I'm meant to be. Once past this foliage, I should gaze upon the source. I— it's... nothing... a massive crater. This... can't be— [labored breathing].
In the surrounding area, I have happened upon ruins. Carvings, so deeply ingrained into stone that they've endured the passage of millennia. They tell a story, one of Empyrals and humanity. Together they built this place, Mailaiia. Continuing my way through the halls, I've come across an undercroft. Six large murals adorn the walls. Depicting magnificently winged individuals. Are these Empyrals? A pedestal occupies the center of this room, an image of a white tree decorates it. There's a word engraved here, I can't quite— Mihaem.
Mihaem, the tree that bore all empyrals and beckoned for us. After millennia, I have returned but found nothing. This isn't the end of my journey. I've made my way down to the center of the crater. I shall meditate and sift through the threads looking for something, anything, that can help me.
I've found it, a mere whisper. A vision of an even greater tree, the thread that leads farther north shall guide me.
I've transversed swaths of what the Hasala call the Ichorn Forest for a millennia. The Hasala worship a figure they hail as the “Envoy of Life”, said to dwell among the branches of the Great Tree.
Echostone #6: "Rumination"
I arrived upon a valley, there stood a tree of utter magnificence. Opalescent metal twisting towards the sky. Branches stretching outward, as if bearing the heavens themselves. As I walked, a figure confronted me. His limbs and torso wrapped in stones bound together by tight vines. He solicited for why I approached before the Opal of the Ichor. But he stopped as if he saw a ghost. "You're an Empyral!" he said. Upon explaining myself, he introduced himself as Delane and began to give me the answers I long sought. The stories of Tecu, of our culture, of the Empyrals, and of the Seraphim. He summoned forth his wings, describing that all Empyrals had this ability. It was then we learned that I was wingless.
He asked if I wish to see the sky cities, but I remained unsure, asking for time to think. Eventually, months passed, years, then lifetimes. We kept one another company. Finally, with another who did not wilt. We grew close.
One of my most vivid memories is the night Delane taught me Hyiga. It was intoxicating. He grasped my hand as we embraced, coming to know one another's very being. That night, we enjoyed blissful elegance. Our light shined against the illustrious trunk of the Great Tree. It was tender. It was loving.
Eventually, I accompanied Delane to the sky cities. The Seraphim, the ones he dubbed his family were overjoyed to meet me. We've stayed in each other's company for millennia. As the ages passed, familiar faces began to vanish. Their light fading away. In time my own fading began. I requested that Delane returned with me to what was once my home. Neither mammoth nor Harahom in sight, only a Harahom temple. Within, I found a vault dedicated to me.
Now here I sit, reflecting upon the life I've lived. My light dimming. The end of my journey. Throughout my life, I had the notion that there was always something in need for me to discover. That something findable would fulfill me. However, I came to learn that it was never that simple. Through my journey, what I discovered was myself. Through all my hardships, countless lifetimes, every bond, every loss. Each imparting upon me a new discovery.
Now, if you'll pardon me, I'm going to spend my very last moments with my Cherryblossom.
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