The Sleeping City Myth in Issielori | The Last Barrier | World Anvil
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The Sleeping City

You want to hear the tale of the Sleeping City? A small warning, then: to get to the tale itself, we must start from the events long, long ago.

Centuries back, the Rateidel used to have royal family and a ruler, like the other Barrier nations do. Tasked to take care of the people and the land, to defend them and the spirits if need arises. Given the necessary tools to carry their duties. The Great Spirits know we'd need one of those to take care of that blasted ice up north. Don't know what else they're good for. Now where was I?
Right! Well, back then was a time of great upheaval. There had been a war in the northern countries, and that blasted ice sheet was created - that ended the war, not much left of either warring party after that - and the unfortunate people in the neighboring country lost most of their country to that, too. Had to abandon their home eventually, what was left of them. Turns out, they weren't exactly happy by this turn of events, demanded new land to call their own. First they went to dragons, demanded help to either reclaim their homeland or to create new land for them to live in, but the dragons, in their wisdom, refused. Then they called the other Barrier nations' leaders together and again demanded land. The others gave them a land to call their own in the middle of the Barrier, and so they had a home. But they were unhappy with what they were given, especially their leader.
Feeling they were betrayed, their new ruler, Thermera Srio (cursed forever be his name), decided to take matters into his own hands and steal something powerful from the Dragon Evni, to shape his new country to his liking. Blasphemy, that. Fortunately to Evni and all of the Last Barrier, our prince Sery and the Meneri princess Narami found out about his intentions and rushed to protect the dragon. Didn't completely succeed, for the Drop was shattered, and Thermera managed to get a Shard of the Drop and escaped to cause much havoc. Well, you all know the story of the Shattered Drop and about how the Sword Bearers came to be, so you know that Sery and Narami became the first Sword Bearers, created the rest of the Bearers, led them to victory in the war against the wicked Thermera and his followers, married, and had kids - twin sons. And that should be the end of their story, a happy one. But it wasn't.
See, not everyone was happy that the heirs to the crowns - and by the time of their wedding, rulers - of the two nations were in love. There were whispers of their countries merging, of one of them being left without a protector, of their problems being forgotten. These whispers grew in power when Sery spent more and more time with his family in the royal palace in Aunar'Eth.
- "He's forgotten his own country."
  • "The ice sheet grows closer each year, and our ruler ignores it. Is he going to let it destroy our homes too?"
  • "What do we do with a ruler who doesn't care about us?"
  • The perturbed people said, until a group emerged to take care of the problem. Its members claimed to care about the concerns of the Rateidel common folk, while being the ones creating the rumors that caused most of them in the first place. For they had their own concerns, of Sery growing closer to Narami and the Meneri, of him being influenced by them rather than his own country's nobility. And so this group decided to kill their own king.
    They got their chance when Sery left for home with one of his sons, 3 year old Lorani, who was the new heir to the Rateidel nation's crown. Some of the conspirators were part of their traveling party while most of them lay in wait on the hills en route to the mountain pass. Poor Sery must have never seen it coming, for surely the Light Bearer would have been able to win otherwise. But the attack must have been swift, and Sery as well as most of his traveling party were murdered. But while the conspirators gladly murdered Bearer, they did not dare to murder young Lorani. We don't know what stayed their hand, but it seems the plan was never to kill the child. When the murdered traveling party was soon found and the guardians of the pass alerted, some of them gave chase to the attackers. All the remaining attackers were found and arrested, except the two who had taken the child with them. Their trail ended on a site of a by-then-inactive Portal. With an inactive portal and knowledge that the portal had lead to a place far beyond their reach, the search party was forced to end their search, and the young crown prince was declared missing. The fate of Lorani and the Rateissonna blood line remains a mystery to this day.
    But, you're going to ask me, how does any of this pertain to the tale of The Sleeping City? Well, this was the background of the tale! The tale itself starts from here.

    Most of the folk of our country were furious when they learned of what had happened, quickly forgetting their earlier displeasure with their hero. For the war had taken Sery's siblings and most of his cousins, and the healths of his parents who had stepped down from the throne. The heartbreak over what happened to their son and the hopeless situation surrounding their missing grandson, as well as the resulting tense relationship with their daughter-in-law, soon took them as well.

    The country was in chaos. We had no ruler, no one able to wield the tools to care for and protect the country and its people. No one to defend us from the ice. There was a scramble to find anyone who could carry those duties. The efforts to locate the missing heir escalated, and more and more people began to have hope that he would soon be found - or find his own way back. More and more people demanded that the throne had to wait for him. Many of them thought that the actions of the conspirators had angered The Spirits enough, and trying to replace the royal family would bring even more misfortune. 

    In this group, there were influential and powerful people, who thought of a solution: Their greatest mages would put a spell on the seat of power - the palace and city both - that would put them on a stasis to wait for the heir to return. Until then, the spell would prevent anyone from entering the city and claiming the powers for themselves. (The people who lived in the city and the palace weren't happy with this solution though - imagine being chased away from your home to preserve the place for someone else)

    But how would the spell recognize the true heir? What the heir that returned wasn't Lorani, but his child or even a distant descendant, they wondered? Then they figured it out: Sery had been the first Light Bearer. It was said that The Swords would call for new Bearers "when they were needed". This had not happened before, so what this "calling" meant was unclear, but by then it was clear that Thermera's child had inherited his sword and powers, so surely the responsibility would stay, in some form, within the bloodlines of the First Bearers. So, the next Light Bearer must also be an heir of the Rateidel throne, and so the would-be ruler that could end the spell, they figured. 

    Satisfied with their cleverness, they set to work. All living beings were removed from the city and the palace above it to prepare for the spell. The spell was designed, polished, and memorized by the mages. Finally, the day to cast the spell came, and the mages took their positions around the city. On the signal, they began to cast the spell. Most of the spell is nowadays forgotten - probably just boring mage jargon anyways - but the most important part lives on in memories, tales, and songs:
    "...Towards her embrace they'll walk, the heir that finally returns. Wielding the The Sword of Light, they'll approach the gate, unharmed. The Rightful Ruler has returned to claim their Throne, The Protector of the Rateidel ascends once more. The gate will open for the Light Bearer, for The Spell can not touch them. They'll walk though the Sleeping City, towards the Lonely Palace up above. The well will welcome them, the crown call their name. They'll claim their due, and the Spell will be no more. The City shall finally wake with the Ascension of the Light.
    Until then the City shall sleep, protected, and none shall disturb her sleep."

    And that is how the Sleeping City came to be. Still it sleeps, waiting for the Light. No one knows anymore what the spell part means though. Is most of the meaning's been lost, or is it probably some sort of metaphorical nonsense? Where is this city no one can enter? There are ruined cities, but no no-enter spells on them. 
    But that is this old fool overthinking an even-older tale. Now it's time to go back to our chores. After, I can tell you the tale of the Redberry Dragon.

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