The Tales of Geadle the Guard
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The Tales of Geadle the Guard by Geadle Orcat
Preamble Dear Reader, Now that you have put your hands upon this book and opened it, the time has come to introduce myself. My name is Geadle Orcat and actually I am not an author but a city guard of Empo Sar, my hometown. The stories you are about to read are tales, legends or rumours I have picked up from the many people passing my gate every day. To honour and remember their stories, I write their words down here. Please, don't hold me responsible if any of the following content displeases or even offends you as I am just the messenger, the middleman between the people of the gate and you. However if you feel the urge to thank someone for their story because you found it entertaining and interesting you are welcome anytime at my gate. Signed, Geadle Orcat
The tale of the Young Red Fox Once upon a time there was a young fox whose coat was shining red and he was his parents' pride and joy. Everyday they told him: "Young fox, dear son. One day you will be grown up and everyone will admire your beautiful skin. Be careful because men will hunt you for it and will try to trap you. Always be on your guard." And the young fox with the shiny red coat nodded and answered: "Yes, yes, I know. You always tell me." And the parents were happy that their son understood. One day the grandmother of the young fox got ill. The parents were busy so they asked their son: "Young fox, dear son. Grandmother is ill. Could you bring her these chickens and this rabbit as a gift? But please, watch out and always stay away from the paths where man walks." "Yes, yes, I know", answered the fox, "you always tell me." So he took the chickens and the rabbit and left the den. He walked and walked until he heard a lovely voice coming from his left where the human paths were. "Stay away from the paths where man walks", he reminded himself but the voice was so wonderful and clean that the fox could not resist at least taking a peak at the singer. He glimpsed through the bushes and saw a beautiful young girl picking flowers, singing a wonderful tune. Suddenly she saw the young fox with the shining, red skin and she smiled, waved at
him and ran away, along the path, leaving the forest. She sang: "Oh young fox, beautiful fox with the nice coat. Follow me home and I will give you some warm milk and play with you all day long." The fox, who understood the words, was enchanted by her voice and followed her home. When the forest was lying far behind, the young fox passed an old tree. An owl was sitting on it and shoo'd. "Shoo, shoo. Young fox. Return. Remember what your parents told you. Shoo, shoo. Go back young fox." But the fox didn't listen to the owl and continued his way, following the girl with the beautiful voice. Then he passed a second old tree. An owl was sitting on it and shoo'd. "Shoo, shoo. Young fox. Don't proceed! Your grandmother needs you and your parents are worried. Shoo, shoo. Go back before it is too late!" But the fox didn't listen to the owl and continued his way, following the girl with the beautiful voice. Then he passed a third old tree. And owl was sitting on it and shoo'd: "Shoo, shoo. Young fox. It is too late, your day will end with slaughter. The girl is the skinner's daughter." The young fox was shocked and now he started to listen to the exact words of the girl's tune again. They didn't sound beautiful any more, and the enchantment had broken.
"Young fox, pretty fox. Don't be shy and follow me home, for your skin is shining red. Please stay for dinner for my father is a skinner!" The fox turned around in horror and ran, ran past the last two trees, but no owl was sitting on them. On the first old tree an owl was shooing again. "Oh, young fox, foolish fox. Your faults are dear. Run for your end is near." "Where shall I run?" asked the fox and the owl answered: "To the forest, deep into the wood and use the bushes as your hood. Run now, quick step. I hear the skinner and his dogs, deadly was his trap." Fast and faster did the fox run. Into the forest, deep and deeper. Through the creek so the dogs couldn't trace him. Through the bushes and there he hid below a big, dark bush. The skinner and the dogs came to the creek but didn't know where the fox had run. After three hours of searching they finally left. "Thank you, dear owl", thought the fox and reached his grandmother's den the same day to present her the chickens and the rabbit. From this day on the fox always listened to his parents and never put a foot on the wrong path again.
The Servant and the Spring Once upon a time there lived a prince of Emposia. He and his wife enjoyed the finer things in life: good food, wine and music, but gave little thought to those less fortunate than themselves. There were rumours that the water from the spring at Iutithra's shrine in the deepest depths of the forests of Firlow brought good health to all that drank it. So one summer's day, the prince set out for the spring with his wife and servant. The prince and his wife sat astride great stallions, whilst the servant was left leading an old mule, constantly hastened by his master and mistress for lagging behind as he struggled to find the strength to keep up. Even having to carry half the mule's load to speed up the poor creature. After many hours of travel, they finally arrived at Iutithra's shrine. As they approached the spring itself, the wispy, light white figure of Iutithra appeared before them. Speaking lightly, she recited: Drink here plenty, good noble and kind, This water will heal and soothe your mind, But be your will, evil, false or cold, This water will choke, burn, spit and scold. The prince stepped forward confidently. Once every day he prayed to Iutithra, every month visited her
shrine and every year held a festival in her name. He drank from the pool without hesitation, but coughed and spluttered and swore as it scolded his throat. He looked up in dismay at Iutithra. "But forever have I worshipped you, most gracious Iutithra!" He exclaimed. Iutithra waved him to the side and beckoned his wife forward. She gave her most radiant smile, as she prayed at least twice a day to Iutithra and even after her husband's failure had no doubt that she would be able to drink from the pool. But even as the water passed her lips, she too coughed and spluttered, clutching her chest in astonishment. "But my lady, surely my beauty and devotion to you is testament enough of my good faith!" She pleaded. However as with the prince, Iutithra waved her aside without answer. This time beckoning the servant forward. All three jumped in surprise at Iutithra's acknowledgement of the servant. The prince opened his mouth in outrage, but the look Iutithra shot him silenced him instantly. Iutithra's gaze warmed as she turned back to the servant, who approached the spring gingerly. In truth, he had never once prayed to Iutithra, nor visited her shrine, nor sacrificed anything for her. Only a glimmer of hope in his heart gave him the strength to approach the pool. He knelt by the spring and raised a handful of water to his parched lips.
He took but a mouthful, expecting the same unpleasant choking feeling that his master and mistress had. But it did not come. The water passed easily over his tongue and down his throat, soothing his aching bones and as he breathed in a sigh of relief he felt refreshed and more alive than he had for years. "You must be wondering why only your servant, who has never shown any devotion to myself, was able to drink". She said, turning to the prince and his wife. "You must understand that your devotion to my name matters not: only devotion to my cause will gain my trust and my respect. Though he has so much less than you, only the servant shows any real kindness and benevolence to others in his life." Explained Iutithra, smiling down at the servant. "You are all only human, after all, my children. No-one can be entirely devoid of all evil, but the servant was the only one who truly strived to achieve it." The three then returned to their home, to a rather different life. The servant still walking beside the mule, but neither was over-laden or hurried by their masters.
Shrachlor, the Dolorous Queen Understand this: Shrachlor is not merely a vicious beast. She is not merely the queen of some spider tribe residing underground. No, Shrachlor is so much more than that. You have heard the rumours, the myths, the lies. Now it is time you listened to the truth. Shrachlor is the only offspring of two different species of spiders. Furthermore, one of said spiders is considered to be the last remaining specimen of a now extinct species. The resulting offspring would in most cases die when developing its poisonous attributes, as the two different poisons will react with one another and devour the baby spider. This was not the case with Shrachlor. However, because of her mixed-species parents, she is unable to produce offspring of her own. As proof of her unique existence, she carries the trademark of her mother's species; a set of spikes or horns erupting from her back. These horns are not only venomous, but also protect from aerial attacks to some extent. Sadly, in Shrachlor's case the horns are only partially matured and provide little or no protection at all, forcing her to seek shelter underground. There is also evidence that she might have developed a form of intelligence far beyond what a spider should be capable off. Whether this is a result of the unorthodox pairing of two species or not
is still uncertain. Her current residence is by the Portho Brook, near the gulley known as Tirapeth Gorge. For centuries this has been the breeding area of fierce arachnids. There have been several attempts at purifying the area, with no success, with little thank to Shrachlor. Her charismatic aura imprisons other spiders in absolute obedience, thus making her the queen of a tribe. The tribe seems to serve as compensation for her infertility. Shrachlor is the only one of her kind, and the resulting loneliness is heartbreaking. She seeks the warmth of a loving family. Now, it might seem impossible for a mere arachnid to express feelings, but keep in mind that Shrachlor is more than that. Her mindless subjects are not enough to satisfy her needs. At the same time, her primitive instincts tell her to feed. And as such comes the origin of the rumours surrounding her. Her conflicting "emotions" have, over time, developed into the cruelty of torture, and she now finds great joy in tearing her victims apart, slowly and thoroughly. The dolorous queen, weeping as she devours her prey--longing for a family yet feeling the pain of her hunger. Anger, sadness, rage, murderous intent, primitive instincts. They all combine and make Shrachlor what she is. I will free her, I will provide her with the love she
requires. I will become her family, or die trying. In memory of Esterhazy Mutbukin.