FOLKLORE


Volcano
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There the angels sat, their wings iridescent as the molten rock beneath their toes and the burning sun at their back. Golden eyes reflected the blaze of distant stars, crooked smiles were jagged as stone beaches. Their perfume was that of sulfur, their omens the veil of ash, their kisses the burn of heat.

The gods smile and weave the spiderweb of divinity. The Mother gives faith, the Father gives guidance. The Shadow protects while the Crone guides. The gods are loved...

And that is because it is the angels that do their true bidding.

The volcanic lands are edged by snow-tipped pines. Soft grass turns to stone and ice as one moves toward the volcano's side. Harsh is the wind as it howls through the mountain passes. Distant are the wastes, the scar a warning to the mortals of a god's wrath. Treacherous trails wind along the volcano's side and those that find a foothold might draw near the top. However, as the mountain narrows, the snow begins to melt. Heat creates a mirage and plays upon the fevered mind.

Are you truly so brave? Taunt the angels.

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Lava Beach
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Singed and yellowed grass are but stains in a lush field. A pixie's trail of mischief and misfortune, a withered path with smoldering trees and the stink of burning fur. Follow the echoes of destruction until the press of heat causes a pause. There creeps the lava as it oozes down the volcano's side. Its touch is a greedy one, for it devours all that dares come close. Wildfires spark from dry grasses and careen toward the mountain forests. Some die early, nothing more than a candle's dance within the wind. Others rage for days and fill the air with smoke and soot.

When the angels do not weep, the land is desolate and black. Lava rock clicks beneath the nails of wolves as they walk past. Slowly, ever so slowly the divine conquer the ocean. Waves crash against hardened stone.

Only those that are lost wander here, for perhaps they wish for death more so than life.

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Maiden's Tears
claimed by FAIRFOLK
She runs. Her feet bleed as she races over river stones. Branches catch at her hair and drag her back. Dirt shifts beneath her weight and she pitches forward, tumbling into the brambles. A sickening thud fills the air as her shoulder braces against a withered pine, its trunk cracked and twisted. Her blood drips into the rushing water at her side. Pressure fills her skull as pain pounds within every broken bone. Her sobs are quiet, her frame small.

The maiden is a warning to the righteous. She is the embodiment of all that is innocent, and so she is the victim. She is the casualty when tragedy strikes, the one left surviving so that she might suffer. She is pure only so that the angels might strip her of it and make a mockery of yesterday's smiles. Only the hopeful cry, for only they are foolish enough to believe that help will come.

When the volcano first blew, its side fell away into a crater. The explosion caused a devastating landslide that desecrated all in its path. Here, at the foot of the wastes, is a forest that felt only a glancing blow. The land is sloped and old pines hold treacherous footholds in the soil. A false waterfall has started from snow-melt running down from the mountains. Its rapids are swift and merciless. While the land is lush during summer and spring months, the winter betrays its true scars.

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Hollows
status
Here rests the grave of an ancient forest.

Where once aged pines had touched the sky and held the hands of divinity, now there is nothing. Ash mixes with the soil underfoot and the air is hot and dry. The land is uneven, craters of varying sizes revealing bedrock. When it rains, there is no shelter. One can only stare at the heavens and wonder: do the gods care? Still the rain will fall. Perhaps a crack of thunder will beg the observer to flinch and flee. Take the sharp winds as an answer. Look at the emptiness, the depravity, and feel the helplessness take hold. If the gods care, it is because they enjoy their power. Why lay waste to a land that none will miss? Why steal a life unless it is precious?

Years passed. Small grasses and mosses have taken root. Wildflowers have taken root, though most are bluebells. On occasion, a poppy will appear, its seed drifting from southern meadows. Distant is the sound of the Maiden's Tears, and north is the angel's throne. So powerful is the looming beast that one can almost feel compelled to kneel and bow.

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Ildhrune
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