Tail Of Stars

The Tail of Stars is a story which is believed to originate in Pargalo about the final days of Glorvan. Most of the story takes place in Pargalo at various locations. It is written as a series of conversations, with a few sections of third person prose. Some of the conversations are implied to of not actually happened in the context of the story, but as explanations of the events of the story done later.

Plot

A rabbit traveling through the mountains comes across a bloodied body. Finding the person barely alive, the rabbit takes care of them in camp until the person wakes up. When they wake up, the rabbit introduces themselves as Ilkuldid Ulki'Cil and the person the rabbit found says they are Glorvan. Ilkuldid doesn't believe this, and as she tends to his wounds, quizzes the wounded person about the history of Glorvan as they knew it. Getting all the answers correct, Ilkuldid is undecided on if perhaps this person is telling the truth or not. Ilkuldid then asks Glorvan where they had been for the last many years.

Glorvan goes into an account of traveling first to the south and finding the kingdoms of Tinis had descended into decadence. Then further south, where Glorvan encountered the Perloxians, Shimandi, Sheikesi, Neralli, and Kuldeski. Each encounter resulting in a morality tale of sorts. Glorvan then describes going into a large desert and wandering for many years until they found a southern sea filled with terrors. Leaving the sea, Glorvan traveled west for a time and then east through the desert. At some point Glorvan meets a creature of unknown kind called Lebet. Lebet and Glorvan debated on the subjects of freedom and the self. The central questions being: "If we exist in a world that we are a part of, can we ever really be free? And if we were to be free of all things, would that be worth while?" The debate ended in a draw. Lebet also feared Glorvan to some degree, but after the debate, decided to try to over come that fear by challenging Glorvan to a fight. Glorvan refused but Lebet attacked anyway. They both became very injured in the battle and both fled when it became obvious neither would win.

Glorvan traveled for some undetermined length of time to the far east, to a different sea, and then north through lands of great contrast. Eventually Glorvan came to land of ice. There on the glaciers was a vast army. Ignoring the challenges of the sentries, Glorvan went to the leader of the army to ask them why they had gathered, both for battle and in the remote land of ice. The leader of the army, called Lovig Ad by Glorvan, told Glorvan that the army was hiding from those like himself, and that it was building so that it could destroy the kingdoms of the world once and for all. Unconvinced, Glorvan questioned the reason behind this. Lovig Ad explained poorly that his mother had proclaimed it to be so and that it must be done. When asked who his mother was, Lovig Ad said that his mother was the Dark Star.

Glorvan had never heard this term before and was curious. But before more questions could be asked, Lovig Ad attempted to slay Glorvan. Glorvan fought back and was injured, but was able to flee. Lovig Ad then pursued Glorvan with his entire army across the ice. Glorvan attempted to evade the army for a time but grew weary and sought refuge in castles, towns, and cities he came across. But when Lovig Ad caught up with Glorvan, he sent his army to destroy the settlement entirely. Several times Glorvan attempted to fight along side those he had put in danger, but each time it ended with Glorvan being the only one left standing and injured even more.

In the telling of these accounts, Glorvan goes somber and makes it clear that many many died, more than he was willing to speak of directly. But that eventually the army of Lovig Ad was worn down by its constant assaults and eventually routed by a dragon king of the lands east of Pargalo. The dragon king took Glorvan in and tried to nurse his wounds.

Glorvan then describes how an evil mind invaded the king's body, that of his old rival Itchal. But Itchal seemed different, distracted. And though Itchal challenged Glorvan, was unable to force the dragon's king sword to attack. Glorvan then stated to the effect: 'We are more alike then you prefer. I've grown and changed all my life. And now you are doing the same. But I fear the you of the past would fear the you of the future greater than you fear me.' The dragon king, controlled by Itchal then left the fortress for a time. They returned covered in blood. Both the dragon king and Itchal seem to speak at different times, both shocked by the things they had seen and done while away. Glorvan then killed the dragon king (one of the few times Glorvan is said to of explicitly killed anyone). The dragon king's guards then attacked Glorvan whom fled into the wastes of the upper plateau. Weary and wounded Glorvan collapsed then to the ground where Ilkuldid Ulki'Cil found him.

Ilkuldid was impressed by the story, and probed for answers all along to some of the unanswered questions. Some answers were given, others were very much not forth coming. At the stories end, Ilkuldid was convinced that this might just be the Glorvan of legend. Ilkuldid asked if she could help Glorvan beyond simply tending to his wounds and Glorvan answered that yes, Ilkuldid could help him find a specific place and help him build his tomb.

Days later, they leave the mountains and travel across the country side of Pargalo. Along the way, Glorvan repeatedly laments his involvement in leading Lovig Ad to people instead of sacrificing himself. Each time he had been sure he had escaped the army but each time it appeared again, seemingly knowing where he was going before he did.

Eventually they reach a clearing in a forest and Glorvan says that this is place where he would be buried. Ilkuldid then helps Glorvan dig and collect stones for the tomb. All the while Glorvan recounts events told in previous well known stories about Glorvan. One story told in this manner however is not found elsewhere. It is about encountering an Apolytam who is dying after a battle. The Apolytam never gives a name, nor which lord they swore fealty to, but describes a joyful family life. The Apolytam seems happy to recount the good and the bad times of her life back home, including the hunting down of non-Apolytam for the purposes of feeding her family. Glorvan explains that he was taken aback by this. He knew that some Apolytam still did such things, just as some wolves would hunt rabbit folk or some dragons were still apt to try to gain a meal from a mouse when desperate. But to have such honesty about the practice was refreshing, but also disturbing. The Apolytam knew who Glorvan was and about his reputation as a peace maker, a uniter of people, and encourager of universal brotherhood. But yet, seemed to not even flinch at talking about such dark habits. Glorvan then goes on to explain that perhaps all his teaching had been a waste. If an intelligent Apolytam as this warrior had been, whom even quoted some of the well known quips Glorvan had made years before the encounter, didn't take their meaning to heart, then did anyone?

Ilkuldid tried to comfort Glorvan after that story. A few more stories were told. Eventually however, Glorvan instructed Ilkuldid to leave him. Ilkuldid refused for a time.

To convince Ilkuldid to leave, Glorvan decided to tell one final story. The story was excessively fantastic, in that Glorvan described encountering once a giant tail of some enormous beast that stood beyond all sense of understanding. And how its jagged appendage had imbedded in it the stars themselves. Each star from the heavens plucked from the sky and placed in the craggy folds of fur-less flesh. In the story, Glorvan calls to the large beast to return the stars to the heavens, but it ignores his pleas. Finally, he goes to the tail and tries to heft the stars himself from their trap and back to the sky. In doing so, his body is damaged and torn and burnt and frozen. When the last star is returned to the sky, he is near death. The large beast remains.

Seemingly understanding this perplexing account, Ilkuldid nods and leaves Glorvan. Ilkuldid returns ten days later to find the hole they had been digging replaced by a stone platform. Ilkuldid cries out that the story wasn't finished.

The perplexing end of the story concludes with Ilkuldid going back home and telling her family of meeting a weary traveler who had seen too much blood. Ilkuldid then says that maybe the world should be a better place so that good people need not lament the state of things or die for senseless things.

Historical Context

The Tail of Stars first appeared in written form 332 CE in Pargalo. The original author is unknown, but surviving copies from that era point to the story having possibly been an orally expressed story before hand. This is due to at least three different versions of the text being discovered. The changes are minor and deal most specifically with the order of events during the desert wandering period of the story. However a few names of minor characters are different as well as a few large sections of idle conversation being different between each version. Later copies show signs of taking ordering, names, and events from different versions. From around 500 CE on, copies were predominantly of one version of the story.

Tail of Stars appeared during the early years of the reign of Galechar II, of the Emlez Dynasty dynasty. Galechar II is mostly known historically for boosting the system of magistrates established by her father. Galechar II's reign would not see war until the 350s, however her predecessor, Emlez II had fought two major conflicts with invaders, with injuries from the latter of the two conflicts leading to his premature death in 314 CE.

Some have postulated that if Tail of Stars was a thesis on the futility of war, most notably that of defensive wars, then it may have been created during the conflict of 310-313. However opponents of this idea suggest that if the story was an oral performance only between 313 and 332, the versions observed should of diverged further. And as writing in several areas had become popular among certain classes, it is unlikely the story would of gone unwritten for 20 years. It is possible of course that it was invented by a veteran of that conflict later.

Another idea is that the story was an accurate account to a point of an actual meeting of a rabbit and someone claiming to be Glorvan. Of course then the question arises as to if the traveler is indeed the historical Glorvan or just someone well versed in Glorvan stories. The latter idea would suggest the traveler is a minstrel, actor, or scholar whom opted to put on a guise for the purpose of getting help from a cautious stranger. This would also make dissemination of the story easier in the short term as a sole figure over several years could recount the story, calling their own role in the story that of Glorvan. This lie then easily produces a story much more likely to attract those interested in epic tales then that of the teller being injured and needing help. This also allows the original story to be conceived closer to 332 CE and to be of only a few versions.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License