Chapter 27:


From Nowhere to Sender

Through word of mouth this tale has persisted since time immemorial, hailing from the midst of a bestial era and quantified only as one of the eight truths of the primordial age. Its exact place of origin remains a mystery, but descriptions from its contents bare resemblance to early accounts of a land once nestled between the foot of the wandering cities and the coasts of the Silhouette Seas.

The most faithful version of its telling remains disputed among those both young and old, much like its reception ranges from warm to cold. Such discourse has allowed the story to retain its spot in equal parts history and culture. And there remain those who seek to guarantee that position to future generations still. Such is the tale of Quiet Murn.


The planks of the simple home creaked as the weight of its sole occupant returned after many hours away. Much like the crepitus of the man's joints after another long day in the fields. From the entrance of the home everything the simple structure had to offer became apparent; a place to cook one's food, a place to lay one's head and a single chair situated beside a small misshapen window. No sooner had the man taken in the familiar sight, a bucket was fetched from the only other piece inside the home. A small shelf behind the door, manufactured from leftover firewood the season prior. Large enough to allow a second article its place beside the bucket. And while no such second article existed at this time, hope remained the space would eventually be made use of.

Crossing the footpath of his humble property, the man briefly paused at the sound of bird trilling from somewhere in the blue expanse above him. Unable to discern its location, his silent footfalls resumed in the direction of the town's closest well. Having no immediate neighbors to converse with, he passed the commute time humming a tune of his own creation. He was quite proud of the tune, because much like that small shelf of his it'd come into this world through his intervention. The same could not be said of his home which had been passed on from a relative just before they succumbed to illness.

From what he'd been told the illness had been contracted in a faraway land, and only struck when his relative returned home and dropped his guard. On the contrary, his relative confided in his final moments that the land he visited was not responsible and that the fault lay with himself for speaking of the "truths" he'd discovered so carelessly. They'd died shortly afterwards, unable to elaborate any further. As odd as the interaction had been, the man's mind spent little time in the foggy recesses of the past. More content handling the simple tasks everyday life presented to him. Seeing as taking things one day at a time had gotten him so far, there was no need to invite potential discourse through radical undertakings.

As the well came into view over the steady incline of the path, the man noticed a figure seated awkwardly on its stone edge, head tilted downward as if entranced by the spot of ground affixing the well. Despite his unfamiliarity with the figure, the man didn't alter his stride nor did his heart alter its rhythm. Whether he was waiting for recognition to strike him upon closing the distance he couldn't say, but if the figure remained steady in its preoccupations then so would he.

The man reached the well, bucket in tow, and offered a nod to the stranger whom he still couldn't place. No matter. Reaching forward he retrieved the well's rope and began to tie it to the handle of his bucket. The knot would have to be sturdy enough to accommodate the added weight of the water, but not so tight the man would spend the remaining minutes of day picking it loose. Satisfied with his work the man moved to lower the bucket into the well, only to find he couldn't. As without warning a hand had reached out and took hold of the rope. The man swallowed. The heartbeat he'd kept under such steady control before suddenly increasing its rhythm as he followed the hand to its owner, the seated figure.

They neither said or did anything further once the rope was in hand, their gaze remaining transfixed to the ground. Now frustrated and tad bit fearful, the man again reached for the rope in hopes of securing his bucket. After all there were other wells in the vicinity, still plenty of time to visit them. But that plan was thwarted as well. Despite its frail appearance, the figures hand remained frozen in place and no matter how hard the man pulled no signs of strain or give presented themselves.

Soon the only sounds encompassing the area were that of the man's labored breaths and the sway of the native tall grasses as the wind weaved through their forests of blades. But that would soon change when night fell upon the world and its dark champions sent the sun fleeing over the horizon. The man needed to return home before then, but what of his bucket? As things stood he only needed one more item to occupy the shelf he'd built with so much care. A conscious decision to leave the bucket behind, its faith uncertain, meant he'd need to begin the process of acquiring not one but two things to place on it.

An idea that saddened him more than his present fear of the silent figure and its curious actions. So the man, steadfast in his newfound intent to recover his belonging, faced the figure and made his quarrel known.

"I'd ask that you remove your hand and leave this place!"

The figure didn't respond, didn't even seem to breath now the man looked closer. Such was its anticipation for what came next. Not backing down, the man made to repeat himself when the figure suddenly released the rope and brought the same frail hand before its face. A single digit sprang up from the appendage and ushered the man forward.

Seeing his chance the man retrieved his bucket quickly and made to run elsewhere, and yet the idea that the strange figure might be in need of help also crossed his mind. Against his better judgment the man began to shuffle forward in small increments. Time itself seemed to speed up as he got closer and closer to the seated entity, until it seemed satisfied with the distance closed and ceased its movement. Gaze unmoved, the figure spoke its first and only words in a surprisingly soft and pleasant voice.

"Quiet now mustn't speak too loudly, for it invites the uninvited, carries the uncaring, and scatters reason across the four palisades of reckoning..."

Such was the tale of "Quiet Murn."


Interpretations of the tale vary greatly. To many the story of "Quiet Murn" is about nothing at all, but those who do find meaning in its words carry that meaning close to their hearts. Not unlike Murn and his bucket. But is the meaning of the story found in the contents of the bucket and its place on the shelf or the contents of the well and its place beside the figure. Who really had the most to lose in that moment, and were the figure's words meant as a friendly warning or a threat? Some argue the answer can be found by following the figures unflinching gaze.

One such individual was the man responsible for the founding and continued existence of a raiding party operating out of the western region of the Luridian Expanse. His name was Guell Quay, and his party had just begun its final approach on their target. An approach he had every intention of seeing to its rightful conclusion.