Two full cycles of Unthara I have been here now. Two full cycles. That is the best part of forty days and nights. Two full cycles.
But then, that may have been by design. I almost feel human again.
It is strange, readers, but I may have actually forgotten why I was doing this journey in the fist place. All the toil of the Adunas Mahija seemed to wipe my head of its purpose, draining me of the very reason for this voyage. I kept writing, yes I did, but that was almost mechanical. I have written all my life if truth be told.
But now I am a guest, and I am approaching social acceptability. I have retained my harder, heavier edge, but I now hold the soft look of nobility once more. I’m not entirely convinced I like it, but then again, as I lay in this soft bed looking upon the nightscape without, I realise that I do like the comfort. I don’t like the idea of comfort, but I do like it nonetheless. We Mandari are weak creatures at heart.
A plea to creative readers: as I look upon this, my eyes grow bored by the uniformity! I crave inspirational images, but alas, my hands fail me in that regard. I am not a ruddy artist. Are you? If you are inspired to articulate your (related!) imagination, then please, send it to me, and I will refresh this blot with its vibrancy.
But it is not just my comfort that keeps me here, readers. No indeed – my merchant host may have come to respect my Callijian noble background, but a debt is a debt, and he pushes hard on price. He is a trader after all. For forty nights I have been here, and yet only now is he beginning to concede that I may have paid my way.
The bastard – I have more than paid my way! My solution to his roofing problem was ingenious. Not permanent, of course not, but by reshaping the very basis of that roof, the penetration of the elements is deeply reduced, and tight wadding will keep the solution in good shape for a decade to come. He wanted me to guarantee this, which is clearly ludicrous, but I was tempted. If I had had money to bet, I probably would have dived in. But I don’t – so I didn’t.
And that is half the problem readers – I am damned broke. My initial endeavours were somewhat blind and rushed – and they were rushed, let me tell you that – and I see now that preparation is fundamental. So I will prepare for the onward trek, and for that I need money.
Which means that I am now in the employ of this merchant. I am overseeing the building of some new stables, and I will be here for many days to come. But silence for a blotter is like a slow death, and so I reach out to you now. I am not moving as fast I’d hoped, but I am moving – stick with me.
Two full cycles of Unthara is a long time, and so I need to write. But what should I write? As I look out of my wide window, the flickering candlelight framing the view as it bounds off the whitewashed walls, my mind begins to focus. It is time for a lesson. Oh yes – a lesson.
And who exactly said that blots needed to be only focally educational? No my readers – stick with me and we will explore all of life’s oddities.
The moon that we Mandari know as Unthara is a wide and desperate looking entity. So sickly pale, barely alive at all; a shadow of its once power. Of course, it is the fall of that god that has enabled our Mandari deity Rhanna to commence his enlightenment, but it is still sad to see a god in such mortal dilapidation. Unthara truly has passed from power.
And yet all others in the world, the ‘natives’ if you will, refer to this god as the Father Fortune. He who sees the path. But if this god truly did see the fates for what they were, then why did he not change his direction? The Father has truly failed, and as the battle for the heavens increases in intensity, only one thing is clear. The Father will not fight.
As I gaze west, the only other moon I now have sight of is that one that is so often referred to as the Friendly Finder. Two qualities define this moon – the first is that it is incredibly bright; and the second is that he always hangs in the West. He is a guiding light – quite literally.
And for most of l’Unna, Friendly – or indeed the Finder – is a frequent guest in conversation. ‘You want to know where the best pub is? Oh, that’s ato Friendly’ – meaning of course, west. It’s terribly primitive, but the quaint directional mechanism still seems embedded in much of this world. Here in Mandaria the crude language is largely absent, but I hear that in Ahan it is rife.
Ato Friendly! Against Friendly. Left of; right of. Stupid – simply stupid. Why not use west, east, north and south? What’s wrong with that? The older races are truly ignorant.
But then, if Friendly is my guide…
I shake my head of that nonsense. There is such a thing as too much pondering.
The other celestial bodies are absent from my vision. Ero is the greatest of course, Mother Bright; the warrior queen desperately trying to retain control of this world in the absence of her failing husband – the Father. Mother is a truly magnificent entity, and she has done well – but her time is up. Indeed, the Mandari God Rhanna gently infuses her with his flames, and it is only through this subtle support that she stumbles on. The enlightenment of the world is only a matter of time.
If only it were that simple. But it is not.
The Blood Star still hangs there – dark and foreboding. I cannot see him now, but at this time of year, it will not be late before the sickly hue is present. The Stranger, as this red focus is so affectionately called, cycles at a different rate from Mother. Indeed, during summer – Mother’s height – he is largely at her mercy, cowering behind her magnificence. But in winter, he emerges in the middle of night, lording and dominant. But what is to be afraid of? It is only a red star. Well, my readers. There is much to be afraid of.
Of course, I don’t know why (unfortunately), but the higher families treat the Stranger with great distance. Indeed, you will know that Mandari tradition dictates that a funeral cannot take place when either Mother is looking down upon the world, or within the sight of the Stranger. During the summer, this is simple – funerals are at night. In the winter, this conundrum stretches the bounds of decency. I have heard of bodies lying unburnt for ten nights. That is truly barbaric; but necessary. The Stranger is not to be messed with.
Oh – a knock at the door. That is unexpected.
Of course it isn’t readers. I mentioned in my last blot that I had been sober for an irrational period of time. Well, the same goes for celibacy. I have called in some of my accruing credit, and reached across the Horn for a worthy wench. I will spare you the details.
But I have forgotten to complete my lesson! Well, no matter. We have discussed the four ‘biggest’ players of Celestia, but I will list the last three for completeness:
- The Wise Uncle: a fine source of learning (even compared to me).
- The Sad Sister: someone has to mourn, don’t they?
- The Bold Brother: a rather brainless chap if truth be told.
So that’s me for the time-being. But rest assured, my beloved readers, I will be tying my laces very soon and pushing on with this epic adventure that we pursue. I will be heading off soon, I promise, but first I must get through this night.
My – she is a pretty one. Goodnight readers.