Sáll the Herald of Seasons Character in New Harnor | World Anvil
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Sáll the Herald of Seasons

Written by Bmax12

Along the Way

The customers cheered as Sáll put the brass flute down. “Play The Sandy Road next!” roared a heavy man at the window, and “Rain and Mist!” called someone from the back.

A door behind Sáll opened and the innkeeper came out of the kitchen, wiping his forehead with a piece of cloth. “All of your requests will surely be played tonight,” said the man glancing questioningly at Sáll.

“Yes,” Sáll confirmed. “I just need to take a break for a few minutes.”

“Of course, Sir. Rest and I am going to bring you something to drink,” said the innkeeper and retreated back to the kitchen. In truth, Sáll wasn’t tired yet. He could never get tired from playing. However, among the guests, Sáll spotted a familiar face.

“Master Sáll! The years have not changed you. It has been a while since you last visited our bank,” said a short man clad in a yellow robe embroidered with wavy patterns along the rim.

“It is good to see you too, Fe’Munir,” smiled Sáll as he walked up to the shorter man. “Let us sit at one of the tables on the terrace outside.”

A short time later they sat at a table each with a bowl of peeled cacti fruit and a cup of cooled down bitter tea in front of them. Moreover, the serves started bringing small lanterns to each table as the sun was slowly making its way down towards the horizon. The inn was situated on a hill overseeing a vast city of flat rooftops and a river, red in the sun, flowing into the evening mist. Behind the inn, the hill rose higher to a great palace with many towers and domes.

After eating one of the fruits Sáll asked. “What brings you here? I thought you spend your whole life at the bank.”

“Sometimes I do have business in the city. Besides that, I heard rumors that the legendary musician came again south. How long are you going to stay?” said Fe’Munir.

“I am afraid I need to leave in the morning. I am already a few days behind my schedule. The solstice is almost here. You know I always need to keep moving. From north to south, from south to north. Endlessly fulfilling my duty. And everybody just wants to hear their songs and dances for their merrymaking. While forgetting to listen to Music” said Sáll gravely.

“There are still people who listen, Master Sáll. Even if you cannot see them. There are some, believe it or not, who listen without realizing it,” said Fe’Munir. “We will not forget what you and your family are doing for us.”

“You are right Fe’Munir,” smiled Sáll. “Do not listen to me. Traveling roads alone often brings dark thoughts to a man’s mind. Let us speak of other things. I have a newborn son back on Íss ... “

They talked for a long time until multiple guests came to ask Sáll to play some more. When he went back inside the sun had long set, but the common room was still full. Sáll the Herald of Seasons took his flute out again and began playing Forgotten and Perilous.


Music for a Season To Come

The light snowfall did not stop as Smali had said. On the contrary, it gained in strength and made the already difficult hike through the barren mountains even more exhausting. Hregg had to shield his eyes as he looked at the others, his father Sáll and the shepherd Smali, wading through the storm in front of him.

“Come on, Hregg,” said his father, turning around. His beard and mustache were frozen, however, it fit to the grey in his hair. “Soon we will arrive at the last resting place before we climb to the peak.” Readjusting his pack, Hregg followed.

An hour later they came to a small cave in the side of the mountain wall. Despite not being very comfortable, it was dry, and it provided shelter from the elements. Soon they sat around a small fire, warmed their hands, and dried their shoes and socks. Smali began to prepare his acclaimed garlic soup. It was a welcome break for Hregg. Especially since he was the one that had to carry wood from the few bushes they found wringing down in the valley.

“Rest now,” said Sáll. “Today is the summer solstice, so we do not have much time left. It is still a two-hour walk and we need to be on the peak at midnight.

Smali looked up. “Don’t stress the boy. With 17, he is undoubtedly the youngest person to climb this mountain.”

“I have been waiting for years now to accompany father. I want to finally see it, not just hear it,” said Hergg.

“I think Hregg is ready now. Besides, this time I wanted to do something special. The instrument I brought this year to play Music needs two people to be played. One main player and an assistant, “proclaimed Sáll. Hregg sat up in shock. “I am supposed to help you play? But I haven’t trained for it nor done it ever before!”

“I trust in your instinct and abilities you already have,” said Sáll. “Rest now and gather some strength. I see that the soup is almost ready.” With that, he seemed to have the matter settled and took out his brass flute. He began to play a tune Hregg had never heard him play before. It looked as if it imitated the rhythm of the small fire. Or maybe the fire pulsated to the tune.

Hregg awoke to find his father packing up. He had fallen asleep after eating the soup. Smali was supposed to stay here and wait for them to return. Outside the snowfall ceased a bit and fell now more gently. Not surprisingly, there was still light outside despite being late in the evening. This far north the sun did not set at this time of the year. The two of them set out to the final ascent.

Almost two hours later Hregg could see that they had nearly conquered the mountain. He was glad for it to be over as this last part was quite steep with many cliffs of rocks and wind opening to ether sides of them. Fortunately, his father knew the safest way up.

“We have made good time,” said Sáll looking at his pocket watch. Hregg was surprised that the wheels and springs inside of it still worked at this temperature. “Now listen carefully. When we arrive it will be midnight. The instrument I brought requires a lot of air. Therefore, there is a handle you can spin to pump air inside with a bellow. The speed will be determined by the rhythm I will be playing at.” Hregg just nodded. His heart was starting to race.

When they came upon the peak, Hregg could see that it was flat with twelve stars carved in a circle into the stone ground. A thin line cut through it pointing north and south. They could see far from there and were almost able to touch the gray clouds. A dim and tired sun was about to set on the distant sea on the horizon below the clouds.

Sáll took the instrument out of his bag and strapped it to his back. It was made of made tubes and pipes, some pointing up and some down with holes on them. At the side, there was the handle.

“Now start spinning it slowly,” said Sáll. “The Music will guide you.” The Music began.

The sun touched the sea and there were two now. One above, one in the see. And then the wind stopped completely. The fall of the big snowflakes slowed down, became almost nonexistent. It seemed that time itself had stopped. Standing in the enchantment gave Hregg a sense of claustrophobia under the slow and crushing fall of white stars. He wouldn’t be able to move if he wanted to. He could only spin with the rhythm.

The rays of the sun became warmer as it started to rise.
…, however, Sáll is undoubtedly the most well know and documented member of the family. He appears in numerous records found all throughout the world. Thus, it is possible to pinpoint the date of his birth to around the year 1756 ELC. It is also thanks to these documents of Sáll that we know so much about the Heralds of Seasons (which seems to be the title held by the current head of the family) and the …
— from Roads to History by Y. Fröthi
… a form of ceremony involving the myth of the Music. It was belied to have significance to the changes of the seasons, as is evident by its semiannual occurrence at the winter and summer solstices. Its purpose is now accepted by most scholars to be purely symbolic. A remnant of this tradition can still be found in the festival of the sun and the festival of the stars in many of the northern countries. Furthermore, it is said to …
— from Myths and Connections by Nath T. August

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12 Feb, 2022 06:07

Wonderfully written story. As the main character and his family clearly have an important role in the world, I feel like the sidebar would be a good place to maybe expand on the title "The Herald of Seasons" and why it is vital the schedule be kept exactly.   I was also curious, in the beginning when he is greeted and the banker says "the years have not changed you" was he being serious, and Sáll is less touched by time and age than regular people, or was the banker just being polite?

12 Feb, 2022 14:13

Thanks, I am glad you enjoyed it. A sidebar seems like a good idea. I might add one.

13 Feb, 2022 00:25

Nicely written story. His family also seems to be quite important. It seems only the head of the family is the hereald of the seasons but do they other members have a similar function given that they also provide a great service as the banker suggests?

Feel free to check out my Orena 'Raitin Bane' page and my new world Terra Occidentalis if you want to see what I am up to!
15 Feb, 2022 14:11

Thanks. Other members might not have an as important (or specific) role as the herald of seasons, however, all have a strong connection to music and most find their parts to “play” in the world.

Eternal Sage AmélieIS
Amélie I. S. Debruyne
14 Feb, 2022 21:59

Nice and intriguing story :D I'm curious why they must play on each solstice in those specific locations. Is it truly inly symbolic?

To see what I am up to: SC list of articles and goals.
15 Feb, 2022 18:16

Thank you. Well, the scholars who studied it believe that, however, the truth might be quite different :D

15 Feb, 2022 13:10

An intriguing setting that carefully hints at some greater role of Sall than is commonly realized. I wonder how the banker Fe’Munir fits into the picture. Does Sall intend to make Hregg his successor? It seems to me he is still fond of throwing the boy into cold water a bit though, using an instrument he is not familiar with.

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15 Feb, 2022 18:30

Thanks. With being the herald of seasons, one does not have the comfort of a lot of spare time. But to tell the truth, I was surprised about Sáll‘s teaching methods as well :)

16 Feb, 2022 20:12

Beautifully written story. I wonder if the tradition truly is only symbolic as the scholars believe, or if there is more to it than that.

Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet