Jæja… er með smá meira af Carnate fyrir áhugasama… ég var ekki búinn að kemba nógu vel yfir þennan part sögunnar að mínu mati, en what the hay?

Þar sem efnið er á ensku, mun ég setja það ásamt áframhaldandi efni hér.

Endless black sands… an unchanging landscape of dead land. Barren, dark and depressing; the “Black Wastes” had earned their name. Even the occasional outcropping of ugly rock seemed a welcome change in the otherwise dull area. He was at long last experiencing the effect of fatigue and his pace was getting slower. The runner hadn’t eaten for days. His hopes were raised when a small wagon train became visible on the horizon. Tired though he was, he was faster still than the beasts of burden which pulled the carts towards their destination. It was most likely the same as his, Carnate.
It took almost no time at all for him to catch up to the convoy and as he drew close, the few men present took note of him. But their reception was anything but welcoming. As the red-eyed behemoth of a man waded into the convoy, shouts of panic and danger erupted from the caravan-people in two different tongues. The runner paid them no mind and headed straight for one of the wagons, moving aside the protective leather covers and began rummaging in the contents.
Shouts of anger and a metallic glint drew his attention away from his task as an angry merchant stepped closer, timidly wielding a short blade weapon. “Away with you demon, back away!” he shouted and gauged the runner by performing short thrusts in his general direction. He was like a child to him, both in size and apparently swordsmanship as well. With a powerful strike, the runner slapped the weapon arm of the merchant, sending the weapon flying yards away. His hand moved to his side, into a small leather pouch where he withdrew several silvery items and threw them at the ground before the merchant before resuming his rummaging. “Argents?” said the merchant in disbelief as he viewed the silver coins.
As the merchants all around continued to shout and yell frantically at their friend who stood still before the runner, the runner climbed into the wagon, having found what he was looking for. The merchant dropped to his knees and began picking up the silvers as he yelled at his friends, silencing them. Before long, the only sound that could be heard was the occasional crunch and the sound of sipping coming from the wagon. The runner emerged shortly afterwards, a roll of dried meat in one hand and a wineskin in the other, which was currently in the process of being emptied into his mouth. The merchants gave the runner a wide berth as he paced just outside the convoy, where he threw the wineskin to the ground and sprinted off, resuming his journey with renewed vigor.

Madness and a funeral

Dusk had transformed into night and the warden had poured himself over the heretic’s book. It was like no other book he had encountered before, not only because of it’s contents, but the complete nonsense way it was written. Paragraphs which began as written from left to right suddenly changed, veering downwards where they formed boxes, circles and other simple shapes. Caleb could have sworn that some of the sentences were written backwards, no… mirrored. To top it off, most of the book seemed written in a language unknown to Caleb. Either that or it was simply babble. Given the book’s randomness, Caleb was beginning to favor the second option.
There were a few things he could discern however. It was a journal, to some extent at least. Some pages described its previous owners exploits, his travels and hinted at his involvement in the “Black Iron Wars.” But it seemed that each and every sentence in the book was forged with the intent of promising crucial information in just a few more words, words which happened to be written in the babbling language he could not understand. Even now, he read one such part of the book.
“Heed well the three laws of Ey-yohlun-eh-kal;”
The text which followed took the shape of three paragraphs of a sort, arranged in a triangle around a drawn picture of the moon. The picture was what drew Caleb’s attention. It wasn’t a particularly well drawn picture. It wasn’t colored, nor was it horribly detailed. But the longer Caleb gazed onto it the more his view seemed to shift forward, into the book. It was like the picture, the moon itself was deeper inside the book. It was like a window to someplace else.
“Warden Caleb?” said a familiar voice behind him. Caleb slammed the book closed and turned around to face the person, a bit startled at the sudden intrusion.
His nerves relaxed when he was certain of who it was. “Castigator, you startled me.”
The old man chuckled lightly. “Well forgive me, I did not mean to do so. Interesting read there?” he asked and cocked his head slowly to the side, trying to get a better look at Caleb’s book.
“Just a little something I brought from the war, something to pass the time with.” Caleb quickly answered and opened a drawer in which he placed the vine-red book. “Was there something in specific, Aldren?”
The old man raised his brows. “Specific? Well, aside from seeing how you were doing… I suppose not. I see you’ve helped yourself to the food I left for you,” he said and motioned to the empty plate next to Caleb.
With a slight feeling of embarrassment, Caleb realized that he had forgotten his courtesy and respect. “Yes, I did. Thank you Aldren, I’m feeling much better than before.” He said and raised himself up from his desk and stepped over to the Iron-hood.
With a heave, he lifted the massive head gear onto himself and fastened its straps to his tunic. He let the moment pass as he readjusted himself to the weight of the massive gear. He was the warden again now, the ruler of Carnate.
“The funeral rites for that prisoner have been arranged… the one we had burned?” said the priest after a while. “I thought you might like to attend… the rites will be your duty soon enough.”
“Yes, yes, good. I will be joining you shortly. Have the rest of the prisoners been asked yet?” asked the warden.
“Asked?” echoed the priest. “Asked of what, exactly?”
“I believe it’s customary that the prisoners be allowed to attend the rites. Some of them are friends after all and damned though most of the inmates are, the rules say that they have the right to say their farewells in the very least,” cited Caleb from memory.
“I- I assumed it was irrelevant,” replied Aldren. “But you are right of course. That is what the rules say… Shall I inform them?”
“No… I shall do it,” replied the warden quickly, already smiling, knowing where this would lead him. Caleb stopped briefly. “It is my duty after all and this is the first death of a prisoner that has taken place under my command. I want this done by the book.”
“Very well, the rites shall commence in an hour. I shall await you in the ‘heart,’ said the old man at last, bowed his head slightly and made his way out of Caleb’s chambers.
* * *

Caleb had made his round through most of the prison. A surprisingly high number of inmates had expressed their interest in attending the funeral rites. Perhaps they merely longed for the chance to be rid of their cells for this brief moment, thought Caleb. Then again, perhaps they truly had become friends with the deceased, either in the workshops or the labor pits. At the end of the round, Caleb found himself at his last stop, the only one he really cared about.
Coughing… wretched coughing echoed through the hallway which led to the Gardener’s cell, where Caleb now walked. The cough drowned out even the noise from Caleb’s key ring. A “hood” approached, walking in Caleb’s opposite direction. Undoubtedly he was a guard making his rounds. In his arms he carried a food sack, from which he would feed the prisoners baked bread and occasionally dried jerky. As the “hood” and Caleb passed, Caleb recognized him at last. It was Nestor, who wore an almost sinister smile. He stopped shortly after passing the man and after looking towards the Gardener’s cell, from which emanated the painful coughs, he cocked his head backwards at the guard and sneered.
Death-better, damned parasite! Caleb thought to himself and wondered briefly why half of his prison staff wasn’t on the other side of the bars.
He continued onward, stopping outside the Gardener’s cell where he beheld the Gardener in his fit of coughing. A half-finished piece of bread rested on a wooden plate in front of him. A red liquid stained the Gardeners left hand; he had coughed up a bit of his own blood which glistened in the pale moonlight. As the Gardener spotted the warden looming outside his cell, he braced himself to cease the coughing.
“Dear Warden!” he said in his raspy voice and smiled as best to hide his pain. “I was just in the midst of eating the… ‘Fine banquet’ Carnate has provided for me. And most scrumptious it is!”
Caleb could think of half a dozen remarks, ranging from sarcastic to pure sadism with which to reply, but none of them seemed appropriate. An unfamiliar feeling touched Caleb briefly before fading away. Tossing half-insults at a dying wretch of a man was beginning to lose its allure.
“You’re dying…” stated the warden at last.
“Sharp as ever, my dear watcher, sharp as ever,” responded the Gardener and tried to laugh. But all he could muster was a couple of weak coughs at the end of which he spat out a red mucus-blood glob to his left side. “Although, I’m rather surprised at the rate at which my health is deteriorating… it’s uncanny! Why… I’m beginning to think I won’t be able to disappoint your ‘death-betters’ for much longer,” he said and smiled as he watched the warden’s surprised look.
“Yes… I know about them. And believe you me, dear warden; nothing has given me greater pleasure over the past few years… than having disappointed them week after week as they squandered their Argents on meaningless bets,” he continued and heaved his chest upwards in a show of pride. “Why… I was beginning to worry that some of them might actually resort to killing me outright for their own gains… I guess natural causes will beat them to it though.” His words dripped with sarcasm. The warden remained silent.
“You’re being awfully quiet,” the Gardener said to break the silence, his raspy voice having normalized, and stared deep into Caleb’s eyes. “You want to ask me something… don’t you? Is it time for another trading of secrets, perhaps? Our session last night was ended somewhat abruptly.”
“Yes… I’ve got questions,” answered the warden. “But this time, I’m choosing the topic and asking first!” he exclaimed.
The Gardener smiled broadly in surprise, evidently happy with the warden’s assertiveness.
“And what shall be our topic this night, dear warden?
“… religion,” replied Caleb.
The Gardener’s grin remained steady.
“Heed well the three laws of Ey-yohlun-eh-kal,” quoted the warden from his book. “There are apparently laws of your kind… the three paragraphs I assume explain these ‘laws’… what are they?” he asked.
The Gardener’s grin slowly disappeared and he became silent.
“Well?” prompted Caleb. The Gardener sighed before responding.
“The first law states so… Ours is the strength of Yohlun. Test your strength always. Grow stronger and yield not to the weaker, “recited the Gardener. “Did you know, warden? So great is Yohlun’s strength, that he has the power to move his uncle, Oh-too, the very sea!” Caleb raised an eyebrow as fact and fiction collided in his mind. The moon did control the tides, thought Caleb. While most commoners didn’t know so, anyone with any experience from the sea or astronomy could explain this to you.
“The second law states so;” Ours is the corrupting madness which ‘Yohlun’ receives from his father. But madness breeds strength, hinder it not. Embrace it and understand the burden ‘Yohlun’ must bear each night as he stands vigil to his father’s horrid insanity,” the Gardener continued, locking eyes with Caleb again. “It’s why we’re called ‘Lunatics’” Caleb absorbed the information given by the Gardener with the slightest hint of fascination.
The word “Lunatic” had been used throughout the ages to describe the barmy, crazy and just plain mad. On the battlefields of the “Black Iron Wars” he had slain many a foe, heretics all of them, each belonging to one of the so-called “Old gods”. The “Lunatics” were the worst. They followed the mad god of the moon and always attacked as it was watching. Full moons were the worst. They came at midnight, screaming like madmen, slavering and babbling in a horrid fighting frenzy as they surged onwards, sweeping over the defenders. There was no method to their attack, no logic that they followed. They attacked without any regard to their own safety. Cunning and strategy were useless against their unpredictable nature. Only brute force could put them down.
“The third law states so,“ continued the Gardener, jolting Caleb from his reminiscing. Ours is the domain of death. We are the Enders of lives, the seekers of vengeance. All life passes to ‘Yohlun’. But it falls to us to honor the dead, friend and foe alike, sending their souls onwards to ‘Yohlun’, so that he may grant them his blessing, sending them to eternal rest in the stars.” The Gardener ended his answer at last. These were the three domains of the lunatics; power, burden and death.
The answer left Caleb dumbstruck.
Priests of the avatars did the exact same thing. They had wandered the battlefields of the Black Iron Wars, offering prayers for fallen warriors… but never for the heretics. Were this true, then what had been the point of the war? What had been the point of killing all those people, whom Caleb had been told were soul stealers and witches? Caleb searched for hints of lies in the Gardener’s eyes.
“My turn…” said the Gardener, rousing Caleb from his survey. “Which of your… sixteen avatars do you most heed, warden?”
Caleb heaved up his chest and smiled.
“Your question is flawed, but I’ll answer it anyway. There are but fifteen avatars. I heed the ‘Sentinel’,” stated Caleb proudly to which the Gardener smirked slightly.
“There are fifteen… that you know of,” he corrected.
“What the hell does that mean? More heretic lore?” the warden spat out.
“Is that your next question?” the Gardener asked smugly and pursed his lips.
“No,” the warden was quick to respond. “Wait… yes. It is.”
The Gardener pondered the question for a while.
“To answer… I need to step outside the rules of our little game. What does the Conclave tell of the origin of their avatars?”
Was he intending on answering through a series of questions, the warden wondered before giving his reply.
“It is said, that after we humans fell from our home in the stars and started making our lives on this world, building our societies, that certain forces, great powers in their own rights took an interest in us. Fifteen gods shaped themselves, one after the other to mimic our existence and we named them ‘avatars’ as they made their identities known to us,” stated the warden frankly.
“Is that it?” asked the Gardener in surprise. “Well now… it seems that it will fall to this heretic to fill in the gaps of your knowledge.”
Caleb shifted uncomfortably where he stood.
“To answer your question warden, I’m going to tell you the story of this world’s creation and of the gods. It may be heresy to you, but you may find many valuable pieces of information in it.” The Gardener wet his lips and began his tale.
EvE Online: Karon Wodens