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    Postfest V, Part II: The Lost in the Dark Bells
    Posted on Tue, August 09, 2005 by Dongul
    gvdammerung writes "For who do the bells of Shiboleth toll? It is said they toll for the strangers, nearly lost upon the Rushmoors. Darker stories hint that the bells ring lest Shiboleth itself become lost in the ominous fogs that rise each evening in the autumn part of the year. The truth is murky. Listen for the bells, lest you become forever lost in the fog-shrouded darkness.

    The Lost in the Dark Bells
    By: Glenn Vincent Dammerung, aka GVDammerung
    Used with Permission. Do not repost without obtaining prior permission from the author.

    Date: 1st Patchwall through 19th Sunsebb
    Location: Shiboleth, The Gran March
    Type: Local

    The Rushmoors hold many secrets and many dangers. Shiboleth, that ancient, weathered city of high shuttered gables and evil reputation, sits perched just at the eastern edges of the mire, along the reedy banks of the upper Sheldomar River. The principle crossing point, north to south, between the Kingdom of Keoland and The Gran March, Shiboleth enjoys a bustling commerce, despite its uncertain repute. Such seemingly out of place civic vitality is, however, always threatened by the stinking morass just beyond the confines of the city walls. If creatures native to the bog are not crawling forth to prey upon the unwary, if the marsh itself is not slowly dragging down stone walls or buildings into the soggy ground, the fogs that arise in the latter part of the year are a constant threat to travelers.

    Shortly after Brewfest, heavy fogs annually rise from the Rushmoors in the early evenings, persisting until nearly midmorning of the next day. So thick and opaque are these “dews and damps,” as the natives call them, that getting lost is a very real possibility for any not well acquainted with the local terrain and such landmarks as there are to be found. Getting lost in the vicinity of Shiboleth is not simply an inconvenience. It is life threatening. Becoming lost upon the moor risks every danger of Shiboleth but without that city’s walls and watch to offer even the hope of salvation. Even the simple expedient of staying where the fog catches you is not always effective, for travelers have gone missing with no tracks to suggest they attempted to fumble their way forward. People just vanish.

    To ward against the worst dangers of the Rushmoors late in the year, between fog rise and the dawn, the bell towers of Shiboleth peel every hour on the hour - between 1st Patchwall through 19th Sunsebb. It is a lonely sound that echoes through the fog, guiding travelers toward the city. These are the Lost in the Dark Bells, intended to aid travelers lest they become hopelessly lost upon the moors. In conjunction with the Lost in the Dark Bells, great torches are lit upon the walls of Shiboleth at intervals of thirty feet, all the way around. The glow may be suffused by the fog beyond a quarter mile but even such light as that, when the bells ring, may guide lost travelers to what safety the city can offer.

    The lighting of the touches and the tolling of the Lost in the Dark Bells is a civic ceremony attended by much ritual. Clerics bless the bells, the torches and even the city walls themselves as they are prepared each evening. Some say these ceremonies are not to help the lost at all. Some say the help is for Shiboleth to protect the city and its inhabitants from things that move within the fog. The truth is unknown. Certainly, the Lost in the Dark Bells have been rung for time out of mind between 1st Patchwall through 19th Sunsebb.

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