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Conall & Alaeth

In the third year of the Ox, a terrible sickness ravaged the Kingdom of Glaronest. Striking without mercy, it crossed the land like a wind-born wave crossing a lake, sundering families and felling livestock in its path. One Autumn afternoon, the wife and children of a farmer from a small town, called Conall Piaric lay still in their beds.

Conall, returning from his fields, saw them lying there, and, calling their names, holding their bodies, he fell into a deep despair. He picked up his flute and his hunting knife and set set out on the road. He traveled through forests, through fields, through broken lands, until he came upon a mountain pass that led into Rhir, the darkened lands. As he emerged on the other side of the mountain, the City of Glass arose in the distance. Shining, it was, and it glowed from within with a warm light. Conall came down from the hills, down a twisting path, down to the city gates. The Guardians At The Gates turned to him, their eyes burning with distrust, and spoke. "Why have you come here?" They growled, "What can you hope to gain from this City? Have you come to plunder our Riches, to take our Children?"

He replied, "My Lords, I have come here only so that I may see my children and my beloved wife again, and with blessing, to bring them home." He knew that the Guardians would not listen to his words, they had no reason to permit him entrance to the city, but he needed it. Pulling his flute from his belt, he began to play a song of mourning for his lost family. The guardians lowered their heads, and tears flowed from their unblinking eyes. Continuing to play, Conall slowly walked past them, and into the great City of Glass.

He wandered the streets of the city, rarely seeing another person as it is said that the residents of the city only make themselves known to those who belong in the city. Now and again he thought he caught glimpses of his loved ones in the reflections on the walls, but when he turned, he was alone. Finally, he came to the Palace which lies in the middle of the City. The gate was open, as the inhabitants have no need of protection, and he entered swiftly. Not a person did he see then, but he felt that he was not alone, and, drawing his knife, hastened his step. He came into the great hall, where he stood, stunned by the emptiness. He called out, for his wife, for his children, for an answer, again and again until his throat became dry, and his voice failed.

It was only then that Alaeth, the Face of Death came to him. Striding into the hall, Alaeth approached Conall, but did not speak. Conall, in his rage and sorrow, raised his weapon, and ran at Alaeth, who stood, stone-like and watched his approach. When the blade struck Alaeth, it shattered into a thousand pieces, but not until it had left a slash across his left shoulder the size of a hand. Stunned by the blow, Alaeth cried out, but no blood came from the wound. Conall then, bleeding from where the pieces of his weapon had pierced his flesh, drew his flute, and brought it to his lips, but before he could play a single note, Alaeth spoke.

"Your love for your family makes you strong, and yet you know you cannot get them back by show of force. I will grant you your wish if you grant me mine. I wish a song."

Conall, who, while Alaeth was speaking, found himself unable to make a sound, replied, "I will play for you, Night-lord, but how do I know that you will keep your promise to me, how do I know that my beloved is here, and yours to give? How do I know that you will not strike me down if my playing displeases you?"

"You do not, of course, but I will promise you that I will not strike you down, rather, I will send you back to your lands, to live the rest of your days, knowing that you could had gotten so very close to your goal, and fallen back."

Seeing the truth of these words, Conall began to play, first of sorrow and grief, but soon he noticed that Alaeth was uninterested in his music. He started to play a Captivating Song, but when Alaeth turned, and Conall saw that his eyes were full of anger, he returned to his song. Realizing then that Alaeth had lived enough sorrow and death, he started playing a song of his home. His notes seemed to hang in the air, as they described sunlight on a lake, trees in a wind, fresh fruits and game.

This new song seemed to please Alaeth greatly, he called for more and more, until Conall's fingers were raw from the playing and his flute was beginning to crack.

Gently, then, Alaeth spoke to him, telling him to lay down his instrument. When Conall looked up, he realized that the hall was full of people, who had come to hear him play. As he looked across the crowd, his eyes spotted his wife and children, who were standing near by. Forgetting the imposing figure of Alaeth, he ran to take her in his arms, and together they picked up their children. Turning back to where he had stood, Death's Face was nowhere to be seen, and all that remained of the conflict was a poll of blood and broken wood where he had been standing. His wife took his hand, and led him home.
Created by Janna Oakfellow-Pushee at 08-17-15 01:37 PM
Last Modified by Janna Oakfellow-Pushee at 03-25-16 03:01 PM