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    Postfest V, Part II: Tolling the Devil's Knell
    Posted on Mon, August 08, 2005 by Dongul
    gvdammerung writes "In Nessermouth, Black Tom rings the Devil''s Knell each year upon the 2nd of Readying. Born of accursed Soothill, Black Tom is said to lay to rest the restless dead when he rings out. Older, darker tales hint at other things from the ancient past, driven from the shore by the ringing of the black bell.

    Tolling the Devil's Knell
    By: Glenn Vincent Dammerung, aka GVDammerung
    Used with Permission. Do not repost without obtaining prior permission from the author.

    Date: 2nd Readying
    Location: Nessermouth, Nyrond
    Type: Local

    In the temple of Delleb, at Nessermouth in Nyrond, there is an ancient bell known as Black Tom of Soothill. Believed forged by the earliest Oeridian inhabitants of Nessermouth, Black Tom is said to have magical properties when he rings out. Certainly, Black Tom appears to have been forged of meteoric iron but the bell does not detect as magical otherwise. Soothill is an iron age site north of Relpool. Now uninhabited and shunned, it was once a hill fort of the Flan or perhaps an outpost of ancient Itar. Old works and evidence of primitive smelters have been found but all excavations ended when several accidents occurred and local churchmen declared the site cursed. Black Tom of Soothill gains his name for his coloration and from his iron having been pulled from Soothill, before it gained its unpleasant reputation.

    Now the tenor bell of the temple of Delleb in Nessermouth, Black Tom is at the center of a bell ringing holiday that occurs every 2nd of Readying. On the morning of that day, the priests of Delleb hold service and then proceed to bless the town. Parading to the shores of the Nessermouth, the priests bless the waters. They are accompanied by all of the clergy of the town. The so-called Devilís Knell is then tolled by Black Tom, beginning at dusk. One peel rings out for every ship lost at sea off the Nessermouth or within the channel of the river that year. It is believed that Tolling the Devilís Knell will quiet the restless dead but will, more importantly, hold the devil at bay and protect the town in the coming year. After the Devilís Knell is tolled, Black Tom is joined by the other bells of the townís temples and the bells ring until the early hours past midnight.

    The truth of Tolling the Devilís Knell is veiled. The reference to the devil is thought to perhaps refer to the sahuagin. Darker tales refer to sea creatures called piscceans who worship one of the dukes of Hell, Dagon. Then again, Dagon is in some age-cracked books said to be no devil at all but something far older and far worse. Still other stories say that Black Tom wards off the unquiet dead of Itar, who coincidentally are reputed to have offered up sacrifices to pagan deities of the sea and sky. The people of Nessermouth donít like to talk much about such things. Generally a friendly people, they are superstitious when it comes to Soothill, Black Tom and the lights that are sometimes seen beneath the sea, when no moon shines and the waters are still and calm.

    "
     
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