Pale Warders

March 14, 2013 § 2 Comments

A blackbird howls out through the night and here I am, waiting. There’s a faint hissing, like rain on a fire, as a soft blanket of snow starts to fall. The soil hardens, cracking. Cold seeps down to the roots. Walls close in. I hear children cry out from their beds, feel parents prickle with worry. There’s a storm close by.

Somewhere in the Fen, on a low hill next to a brackish pool, there is a cluster of wooden staves driven deep into the earth. Each is crowned with a human skull, held tight by twine and leather. Snow collects in their eye sockets. Ice hangs down from their jaws. Tattered ribbons flutter and crack. When the wind blows cold and fierce, sharp with dust from the Sleeping Cliffs, they sing out their ancient lament.

Long, bass moans. High, keening wails. The hollow voice of the unquiet dead.

Bone Watchers

No living thing can suffer to hear them, it is said, and even the proudly fearless Grimmelkin mark warnings in their hunters’ language of scratches and scent. A few creatures stray here, unwise or unthinking, hoping to find shelter in the lee of the hill. Their bones lie scattered around, shifting sometimes into strange patterns. Even in the far-off City, barely visible but for a faint smudge of colour on the horizon, restless citizens mutter of dark dreams, hobgoblins lurk under children’s beds and a certain few take up their knives. Against themselves. Against others.

I know these things, when few others do.

I have been there.

I am there now.

I am singing.

Artist’s impression reproduced courtesy Mr P. Warwick Wilson,
Department of Anthrochology, Constant University

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