The Lantern Code Language in Heydenhearth | World Anvil
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The Lantern Code

using light to speak to shadows

"You know that moment when you see a Mistwalker...when you see the dark shape of where they should be? And something you could swear up and down was never a face turns out to be a face...and it opens it mouth and...I'm getting the shakes. I don't wanna talk about it. I just wanna say that if I was stuck like that between life and death...I'd want to scream too. I'd want to scream until I swallowed the whole world. If I hadn't had my lantern with me, I'd be dead right now." - Hiraeth Fimbull, circa 7500 AC
Brief Overview   The history of the Mistwalkers is not clearly recorded. There is only a myth that speaks of how during the war in heaven, villainous people rose to serve the Elder Ethelen. Desiring reward and riches, they fought against the saintly heroes in battle and anointed themselves with the blood of the Child of the Crown. In doing so they gained immense power.   When the Ethelens were hidden from the world, however, it was said that the souls of those who would become Mistwalkers were shattered. They had sworn allegiance to the Child of the Crown and their souls were trying to follow him beyond the Ura. Pieces that stretched out through the dark like grasping fingers, robbing them of intellect, of sense...turning them into mindless phantoms that could never rest. The Mistwalkers became faint, moaning shadows the drifted mindlessly across the ancient battlefields. They would drain the life of anyone who came near.   For a while, local farmers would bless their homes and avoid going out at night. Even so, many were lost to the terrifying presence of cold and death that could phase through their farmhouse walls and find them wherever they went. People avoided settling near the ancient battlefields altogether, and when a grave was disturbed they were sure to call a Priest or Mage over to deal with the problem, as a Mistwalker would surely be walking that night. Killing a Mistwalker was an exceedingly difficult ritual that required a rune trap, waiting till sunrise, and plenty of fire, light, and magic.   Eventually, a Priest named Father Baranor discovered a means of at least warding them off.   History   During his studies at the Great Library, Baranor happened to delve into some of the oldest from before the Cataclysm that hadn't even been translated yet. These were volumes from the 'Unsavory and Heretical' section of the Library.With much difficulty and experimentation, he managed to discern a certain code that ran their way through the most evil of these books. A cyper hidden behind the ancient letters.   He couldn't translate much of it...he found it both disheartening and tedious to read so much foul script. Eventually, however, he managed to isolate a few words that meant, 'I am your Ally' and 'Return to Sleep' and 'For the Crown', among other phrases. Father Baranor hired some brave fellows to take the script out at night and try to communicate with the Mistwalkers.   They were found in the morning, pale and twisted in fear, eyes the color of ash wood.   Disheartened, Baranor took his work to a friend in the Crafts Guild, a metalworker named Julius Giuseppe. He also contacted another friend among the Mages...Firios Collinworth.   The three of them conferred on how best to use the words in a way that could affect the Mistwalkers, since Baranor was still convinced he had found the cypher for a reason. Firios, having put several Mistwalkers to rest in his time, suggested using Light; the warmth and brightness that was so damaging to the shades. Julius set about carving the phrases into a thin sheet of metal which he set in a ring and folded around a lantern. The glow from within shone through, and by rotating the metal sheet with a quick slap, multiple phrases could be tried out on the Mistwalker before facing failure and death.   This was the product that eventually worked, with the correct phrase being 'Return to Sleep'. If shone directly into the blind shadow of the approaching phantom with a steady hand, chances were good that the specter would simply turn and fade away.   Priests and Churches set about distributing the lanterns to those in need. Despite the fact that meeting a Mistwalker at night can sometimes paralyze one with fear, the ability to shine a little light on the problem is amazingly comforting, and has saved many lives since then. There are few better kept secrets than the language of the dead...and the fact that the poor and simple folk of the lowland valleys can use even a bit of it to communicate with them is beyond extraordinary.


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