A Stranger Arrives at the Outpost...

Bri Bedore

A stranger enters the town hall, blowing through the door with the blustering wind. He carries a heavy pack, and his layers of desert-garb are covered in snow. Only his eyes are exposed, but they’re too dark to read.

“Prince Malidor, is he here?” he calls out, voice craggy and tired.

Someone intercepts him, “No, but his cousin Brightstone is magistrate here...” A runner is sent to fetch Brightstone, and the stranger sets down his pack. It hits the floor with a heavy thud and the tops of rolled scrolls peek out from the flaps.

Brightstone arrives with his usual promptness, and the moment he steps inside the stranger bows low, touching his head to the ground. As he straightens, he removes his head wrappings, revealing his face. The stranger appears to be a stone elf; faded black tattoos snake along the left side of his face, and his fingers are permanently stained with ink.

“My name is Armasol,” he says, “and I am a Story Keeper. I hale from Tajiq, but I have traveled for many lifetimes recording legends as they are made.”

Brightstone listens with interest and a dose of confused distance. “I’ve never heard of you. We have a remembrancer of your kind among us…”

Still kneeling, Armasol pulls a half-dozen or so pouches from within his shirt, and opens the drawstrings to reveal impossibly vibrant colored spices. “A humble gift. I am hoping to lean on your hospitality for a few days--no longer than a Salt Bond--as it will take a day or two to clear space for my tent. I wish to tell the story of the people here… there is so much propaganda, so much speculation circulating… Allow me to seek your truth and thereby preserve it.”

“You are welcome to stay,” Brighstone spreads his hands, obviously a little overwhelmed, “there’s no gift required--”

“Ah, my friend, I must disagree. For I am presuming upon your hospitality as a stranger--and in the middle of winter. I promise to be an honorable guest.” He bows again, again with his forehead touching the floor.

Brightstone extends a hand to help him up, “Come, break bread with me; it’s been a long time since I visited Salah and I’d love to hear some stories of the old place.”

“You’ve seen Salah?” Armasol raises his eyebrows and grins, which is practically a leap of joy for a stone elf. “If there were stories worth telling there, I wouldn’t have made the journey here! Please, allow me to do the cooking. A good meal is the best remembrance of Tajiq.”

After a few days, Armasol has set up a nomad’s dwelling on the outskirts of town. The tent is cozy, comfortable, and whoever crosses Armasol’s threshold will be greeted with a warm cup of spiced tea. You can usually hear humming from inside as he works--townsfolk have begun to wonder if there is any song the old elf doesn’t know--and there is always an open invitation to sit with him and tell your stories.

He claims to be planning a periodical bulletin for all to read, written primarily by him, but he expresses interest in featuring pieces from other authors. Poetry, editorials, articles of all kinds. "If you have a voice to speak a story, then let us all share it," he tells you, refilling your tea.

Look forward to the publication of the first issue of 'The Mistwalker Journal', coming soon!