The First Land Herald/421-08-04

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Article Number: BI57
Dateline: 421-08-04

This year's Hollow Eve festival is steeped in mysteries related both to the Divine and to Fate. In previous issues, the Herald discussed the numerous godly invasions that preceded the festival, in addition to the words of the Divine spoken to those who gathered with Father Soraent: "Seek out That which hides in Our Forms. The years connect, the machines begin to breathe, and the Widowmaker claims that which was always Hers. The stone brings all into focus through its many distortions."

The Temple concluded that Harawep is the actor behind the invasions, and it reported that Captain Kurmin's mechanical spider is now ALIVE. The Temple also said that Captain Kurmin and his crew were completely out of contact for some weeks prior to their scheduled arrival.

Just before the aforementioned arrival time, some adventurers banded together at the altar to Harawep in order to pray. After some time, Skaen was visited by a vision:
I saw a golden haired Elothean woman. Wide eyed and disheveled, standing before an elegant archway, blocked by a stocky Dwarven woman. The Elothean pointed beyond the egress and exclaimed, 'The Dove calls! We must answer she who is the Mother of lasting peace - move aside!' The Dwarven woman said, 'Child, I've had enough,' and with brief invocation and a light touch, she rendered the Elothean unconscious. We hypothesized that this pair may well be Inyasa, handmaiden to Ferdahl Aemmin, and her Dwarven companion, the Empath Zoitrece. The mention of Albreda caused some to wish to visit Her altar and so we moved to it. Once again, we were then guided by a vision, this time reported by Mistanna over the gweth. She urged us to make our way to Hibarnhvidar, and so we did.

After some searching, we managed to find the path leading to Captain Kurmin's spider, and in short order, the beaming captain appeared, standing before a large tomiek altar clearly dedicated to Harawep. He welcomed us and gestured to his massive spider — which turned in a fluid, living movement. It was surrounded by what can only be described as a Dark glow. He then began a long and exalting prayer to Harawep, and some of those present raised their stura atulave as he did so. The Dark glow began to falter and eventually extinguished in a crackle of lightning!

Captain Kurmin exclaimed, "Yes! It is complete! You brought them! You brought them!" And he disappeared into the spider.

This next section contains graphic descriptions. The Herald warns readers suffering from fainting spells or weak stomachs not to read on.

I had some trepidation about entering what was clearly an enormous living beast, but in order to report to you, good readers, I knew I must press on. I can confirm for you all with the evidence of my own eyes that the creature is biomechanical. Chitinous walls bristle with fur, and viscous fluids ooze behind translucent membranes, some releasing unknown gasses. In some locations, organs are visible, pulsating within the liquids, and in others, muscular twitches vibrate the entire chamber. Metal fuses with flesh, though not perfectly. Erosion damage is clear in many places, and others suffer from overwhelming heat or cramped quarters. The accompanying "baby spider" remains entirely mechanical, as before.

I soon encountered those known as the "greeters", a troupe of Humans who appear in costumes of the Immortals and greet newcomers to the festival. Several expressed surprise at the state of the spider; one called Sverrin even asked for a tour to view the changes. He later said, "I've been so used to walking through here that I didn't really look around and notice it till now." He could therefore not confirm when these changes officially took place. The greeters also mentioned that they have an "important" boss separate from Kurmin to whom they answer, though she prefers to remain anonymous.

After some time I was able to find Captain Kurmin and obtain an interview, such as it was. The first and most notable point I must make is that he did not walk into the room as a typical Gnome. He appeared out of a valve in the ceiling and quickly climbed — nay, scurried — down the wall. Aislynn and Marssi, noted Empaths, both later confirmed that his very physiology is changed. According to Aislynn, "He has more organs. Organs he shouldn't have. His circulatory system is no longer closed. It's becoming open... Like an arthropod. Like a spider." She hypothesizes that the partially open circulatory system is a biological compromise to allow a more arthropod-like nutrient allocation system, while maintaining all of the connections and pathways necessary for a vertebrate's standard physiology and musculature.

I must warn you, the captain's speech is affected and quite different from normal. I was able to glean a few bits of sensible information from him, recorded below, along with several responses that readers may find unintelligible. Note that this is not a full transcript, which would be far too lengthy to include.

FLH: Captain, would you care to give a statement on the ritual you just performed?

K: The state of things is most certainly intentional. It was you [who did it]! And Her. Mostly Her. You helped Her with the completion of Her Work, this glorious creature! This creation is Her Avatar! To reside upon this Plane as She desires!

FLH: This place. Is it a danger to its visitors?

K: Arguably less so than before, really.

Vinicius (greeter): I heartily endorse this spider and let me tell you, it is not only probably the safest spider in Elanthia but it's a great place for the whole family.

FLH: Captain, has Harawep granted you any particular powers?

K: Well, I've always been spry, but I do think that since She showed me the Truth I have been in much improved form.

FLH: When did you begin to worship the Widowmaker?

K: When She brought me the Truth, I guess. My place, your place, what we all are, Her Glorious Plan. The Truth of all things. Do you not see it?

FLH: I see a mechanical spider turned flesh. Is that the sum total of Her plan?

K: Yes, no, yes. All are as one, the layers, the strands, so many, always gentle, always pulled.

FLH: Tell us about the stones.

K: I named the stone. It needed a name. She let me name it for you all… It is stura atulave when it is a color other than grey. It is atulave when grey. All are sacred to Her, but the other colors... they fetter more fully. They are more Web than stone. And that is how you all helped to solidify this Avatar upon this Plane. You brought them together, you raised them unto Her. The strands of the Web. And upon them She did walk.

FLH: Where has the spider been in recent weeks?

K: We were in the Web, Upon the strands. Walking, walking. Everywhere, everywhen. Did the Mages not feel us?

FLH: This thing's pretty big. You have firm control over it now that it's flesh?

K: Why would I want to control anything? How could I even pretend to control a Goddess? …Am I speaking Gorbesh again? I do that sometimes now. She likes it, I think. The language is pleasing to Her. Aislynn: Do the mechanics still live here?

K: Oh, yes, they still live here. Aislynn: So… All of the workers survived the transformation, right?

K: Of course they did. They were not a part of the Body. Though I think some might have gotten lost on the Web. They got scared when we were there. I tried to calm them. But not everyone listens. They tried to flee, and it was not safe. That man of red came to them… [He was] angry with those who had fled outwards, those who left the Web to wander.

Perune: Can the spider, being a living avatar now, hatch more spiders?

K: Probably. Certainly if She wishes it.

Aislynn: You said this Avatar feeds on faith. How so? Is your faith enough?

K: The Faith of the world, I think. Certainly not just mine. I'm not enough for a Goddess by myself. I no longer need to fill such an ego as would say that!

Aislynn: One hopes this Avatar has no need to molt.

K: I suppose we'll see! If She wishes it so, then it will manifest.

Aislynn: Have any of the usual merchants refused to return, given the... changes?

K: Well, we scourged the halls when upon the Web. To prevent infestation once and for all. Never again.

At this point, the Captain, who is given to moving about suddenly, took his leave. Several days passed without note, when I discovered that the "baby spider" was infested with murder dolls! These were of the same type that we saw in previous invasions, and they were heartily conquered by adventurers, despite the lack of magical access in that area.

Some time later, I was able to secure a second interview with the Captain.

FLH: Do you have any comment to make about the so-called 'murder dolls' attacking?

K: This Spider is perfectly safe as She wills it. The Baby had an issue, though. And the crew fought them off. We got the wards back up.

FLH: Do you have any idea how the murder dolls entered the baby spider?

K: Oh. I thought I answered that. Was that not out loud? Sorry. Sometimes I mix them up. She says her Brother was bored.

Aislynn: Which one, Huldah?

Kurmin nodded to Aislynn.

K: He liked the little dolls. Thought they were funny. So many thought it was something else making them. This was pleasing to Him.

K: Bodies must move. Thoughts must move. Always moving. Always.

Aislynn: What happens if they don't?

K: Eaten forgotten broken lost sad no-more death in the face of the future they will crumble and stagnate and.

Kurmin at one point muttered something in Gorbesh. I asked him to repeat himself.

K: I was responding to the Web stating the Many Things again.

FLH: What are the 'Many Things'?

K: I was telling It that I am trying to talk to people, and that people do not understand the Many Things, because they are blind like I used to be. So I can't explain the Many Things to the people, because it hurts and the blindness begins to stop that. Even though the Web does not understand, it said it will not press you to know the Many Things. Because She says it is not time. People can not See the Many Things and still be just people.

Aislynn: Are there more like you? Knowing, but not Her?

K: Yes. No. In part. Elsewhere. Elsewhen.

Aislynn: Do you eat as often, now?

K: It is very hard for me to keep track of that. I sometimes can not tell when I am. Or where. Or how. And sometimes when I'm on the Web, I do not need to eat.

FLH: Do you know what it is that Harawep wants?

K: Yes and no and safety and destruction and in and out and here and then and future and this and you and we all much be what we are and She will make this so and it is ever so and never so and the Web is to be preserved so carefully and some do not do this but we shall in thiswhen to make the otherwhen correct and safe and stop the Them who look to eat everything and it is to be and not and shall and never again.

FLH: Do the rest of Her Brothers and Sisters agree with Her plan?

K: Yes and no and sometimes but the Web must be safe always it does not matter. She brings what Must Be. All of Them do. They just... somewhens are harder to understand than others. They are not us. Or you. They are what They are. They do things in whens and hows that may not make sense. They hurt, they .... I don't... Our languages are very bad at describing the Immortals.

Aislynn: Is there a when that we have encountered them? That we have identified them? How did we identify them?

K: Oh, you mean the other Them? The eating ones?

Aislynn: Those ones.

K: Yeah, of course we have. There are always times They try to get in. To eat us. To hurt the Web. They make the Web sick. I... She says. Hunger? Demons. The things from beyond the Immortals, Planes far away. The Immortals protect this Plane. They like us as we are. As we can be, as we will. All reasons for this, no reasons for this. They just do.

Faedryl: Is there a way for us to help?

K: Heal the sick webs. Save who can be saved. What is done is done. But there is redemption of a sort. Stop the sickness. Accept their lot. Choose to stop what they began. So much blindness. Save what can be saved. They rest must be purged to preserve the Web. The Spiral cleans. The Spiral cleans forever.

FLH: So, do you speak of Necromancers?

K: The ones of the illness of their webs. They are not so easily categorized by your words as you would like. You want easy. I can't can't give you easy. The Web is not easy.

K: Be known that you are but a cog upon the flarmencrank. Be known that you feel you are big but are small. Be known that you feel small but are big. You must know. You must try. Find the sick webs. Try for them. Help them heal. What is done can not be undone, not in anywhen, but it can stop happening more.

FLH: So why did She make this spider alive? How does that help with the Web?

K: Why does anything live? Walking walking, always in motion, feeling, eating, surviving, making more, to be Known. To walk the Web, to have all within, to bring This to us all. To show, to know to be. To be here. Really here. More than a little. It is... The Immortals are not from here. They are not here-here even though they are here with us. It is hard to stay here. To be here-here and not just Them-here. Even though this is less so for our Immortals. As we are Connected. Anything not of-here must find a way to be-here to be here. We are within Her avatar made flesh. This is She. Moreso than most will ever know.

FLH: So, why would She bring the creatures of other Immortals? We had several attacks before the spider arrived.

K: Oh. Yeah. I heard about that. I... She... There are so many layers. I am but a cog upon the flarmencrank. I can say the what, but the why is... beyond us. I can not make you See. It would hurt. I do not want to hurt you. Maybe if you pray more She will show you?

FLH: Were those invasions Her doing entirely? Or did She [ask for aid or] manipulate other Immortals?

K: Oh. She... She doesn't really ask. She's not an asker. She moves. Then others move. And Others.

If I may summarize: The mechanical spider is now biomechanical, with clearly living parts, while the baby remains as it was. Captain Kurmin appears to indicate that his prayer, in addition to those raising the stura atulave, brought about this transformation. Harawep is now present on this plane in Her Avatar to bring knowledge to us (perhaps?), and to stop those who are "eating" the Web of Fate. These eaters may be associating with Demons, though they are not necessarily Necromancers, and the Spiral will cleanse them. Huldah continues to wreak His usual havoc.

We face confusing times. I will leave you with a quotation from Mother Jaibriel, Priestess of Harawep: "I find that Harawep is behind most of the events flowing through my life and others, so I am glad that her delicate spiderweb is becoming known to all. Doubtless, we will experience great beauty in the days to come."

Navesi Daerthon
Editor in Chief, The First Land Herald

Real Date: Unknown Date




Crossing High Temple




Hollow Eve