Hinterlands, part VI - Arborea

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Just SurvivingHinterlands, part VI - ArboreaCopyright © 2000 by Sheula Ralom'pa

1st Hive of MortisI decided it was pointless going back to Sigil, and headed straight to Sylvania. I've been relaxing and partying for the last two days now, at various inns and kips. I think its time for a rest. Before I go into the Hinterlands here, I think I'll hang out a bit.

2nd Hive of MortisAfter the week, I am ready to go. Everybody here is too busy partying to heed my calls for a companion for this trek. So I shall go alone.

3rd Lady of MortisToday I approached an interesting settlement. Consisting of two houses and a substantially large temple, it's not the biggest kip I've seen. The main populace consists of a gross of supplicants, although the berks don't call themselves that. The houses are communal, with dozens of bodies living in each one. When I first got here, only 'bout two or three hours ago, the mass was praying outside the temple, the doors firmly closed. Not wishing to be disrespectful, I also bowed, though I did not utter a sound. As the prayer service ended, the figures began to disperse, paying no attention to me until about 10 minutes later, when a stout ursinal approached me, asking my name and other small details. I saw no reason to refuse a celestial being. As time passed, and the conversation grew longer, I noticed that he did not regard himself as a guardinal. His manner of speaking and dress were ordinary, and when he introduced me to the rest of the community, convinced that I had no ill intent, they were all celestials as well. Asuras, Guardinals, Eladrin, and even one solitary hound archon made up the town.

The ursinal, whose name is Jerp [pronounced Herep] and the others are followers of what they call "The Great Living Pantheon". Been told that the next viewing day, the holy day when they are allowed to see their powers, is in fact Guild, so I've decided to stick around.

3rd Market of MortisThe past day has brought more wonderful treatment by the celestials. All my needs are taken care of. Walking around, I see the houses are made of metal, with wood surrounding it outside and in, for insulation. Don't know why these bashers would need it, its nearing winter and its still pretty warm here. I see no signs of radical climate changes. The lone road is paved carefully with stone and lined with melted rock, to provide a channel for water to flow and irrigate the nearby fields. Strawberries, potatoes, and a type of spinach all grow to enormous sizes there. The houses are just across the street from each other, with the temple at the end of the road about thirty feet away. About thirty feet tall, and bright white, it is a majestic sight. The roof is flat, unlike the houses, which have sharp roofs for water runoff. There are a few words written in the tongue of the Eladrin. I know only a bit of the language, but one of the words is "Sacred."

3rd Guild of MortisI went today to see their powers. I almost laughed at the sight. Inside, on golden thrones, were two black panthers, one Tallfellow halfling bubber, and one severely undersized ethyk with a lazy eye. The celestials all bowed, leaving me standing there in awe. The panther on the left spoke.

" Welcome, o honored ones."

Then continued a long mass and prayer service. I stayed in the corner out of politeness, and noticed the halfling looking toward me suspiciously a few times. After the service, I approached. "Its quite a way from the Beastlands," said the female panther on the right. "How is our lovely cat lord doing?" pronounced the male on the left articulately.

The halfling then asked for more wine, lifting the bottle up until he could no longer see anything but the ceiling.

"Who are you?" questioned I.

" I am the god of wine and merriment," slurred the halfling " She's the goddess of fertility and he is the god of emotions," pointing to the ethyk. After an extensive round of rapid hiccups from the halfling, the male panther enunciated, "To them, dear lady, I am the god of manners. Nothing can shake their faith, we tried to explain it many a time before. In reality, we cannot complain. We are treated very well, except for the fact that we are locked up six days out of every seven in this temple."

I spoke with the four, all except the ethyk of course, at length. The panthers had been traveling toward the realm of Bast, when (they reason) they stepped through a gate. About ten feet distance, they found the halfling, whose name they still do not know, passed out from too much bub, with his pet ethyk at his side, nibbling on a stale ration. They took him on their backs, to drop him off at a settlement. They got to this one, and planned to drop him off in the night.

" As we neared the field," the female continued, " all the celestials came pouring out of the houses. They claimed it was their prophecy, that their deities had come to save them. All efforts to explain were rebuffed, with statements like 'No, you must not test us like this, we have full-fledged allegiance" and the sort. They refuse to hear us out.

They are also jealous of anyone who tries to help. A Deva came to help us a cycle back, but she was torn to pieces. They claimed that they had to protect their deities. We have become resigned to this role. Take the advice we gave you and do not attempt to save us."

I have decided to stick around for a few weeks more and learn from the panthers. The bubber I have no interest to learn anything from, although his Arborean Peach is excellent.

4th Void of MortisI'm making my way back to Sylvania. The panthers are very intelligent, and respectful beings. I only wish them the best luck. I also learned another thing. While aging is slowed, it is not stopped. There was a third panther, their friend, who perished from old age. At the same time, an Asuras who was a follower and thought himself a proxy committed suicide. Such misguided celestials.

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