Wednesday, November 07, 2007

The Harpsman - Death in the Valley

Like other places in the world the valley has its stories of death. As in those others cultures death is not simply a matter of nature but a force, with rhyme and reason. This has never been more true than it is in the valley.

To the men of the valley, death is known as Arden, Arden Moranan, or more comicly Ol' Silver Strings. He is depicted as a wandering minstrel who songs tell somber tales of the past of the men of Vale. He is said to wander the land, looking for those who's song he can sing. Those he sings to can expect there end to come soon.

Unlike some incarnations of death, Arden does not do the taking himself. The folk of Vale do not ascribe such direct devinity to the act of death. His role is more to mark the passing and to make sure that each has a song in his remembrence, even if that song shall never be heard by mortal ears. It is this that men hold to the knowledge that no matter where they pass there will be something to mark the passing of themselves, their relatives, their loved ones.

This has seemed strange to outsiders who might be used to a death that is more direct, perhaps even a frightful spectre or incarnation of doom. But in the isolated expanses of the valley with its wild places and harsh elements, it serves the valley's people well to know there needn't be any grand process but that all will have their recognition regardless of how, when or where they pass.

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