A Priory Project Supplement
As told by Eblan Head Man Burnisen
The North Alsime tell this story to account for the stones found strewn across the land to the west of His Indwelling. (Not the Cloud Stones to the north, you understand, for they have been there since First Creation).
It happened in the days of the First Ancestors, when the Krediche families were not long in the land. The Kredese wanted to build a cave as they call it—Kared’s Cave, the Cave of the Sun. The ‘Krediche Rock-Roof’, the North Alsime call it.
Of course, the Alsime were interested to see what the Kredese were doing on Alisime land. They kept a watch on them. And just as well that they did, for soon enough the Kredese were looking about and, seeing the Cloud Stones up on the hillside above His Indwelling, they made straight for them. It was easy to guess what they were about, carrying ropes and stout poles to use as levers. The Alsime waited to catch them, on the stone-strewn hillside, guilty-handed.
“If you touch these stones,” their eblan said, “we’ll cut off your hands and sew them on to your legs.” And they showed the Krediche men how sharp were their blades.
But the Kredese aren’t Alsime to be warned and be done. They continued with what they were doing . . . and touched the stones.
In truth, not all the Kredese lost their hands that day. And no Krediche man had hands sewn to his legs—because all ran away.
Two winters passed and no more was thought concerning the stones. Then, come one day that next summer-half the Alsime heard a mighty commotion. Looking around they realised it came from the west feeder-stream of First Water. So off they went to see what was making this din. What they saw fully astonished them.
Stones! Mighty big stones! (Though not as big as the Cloud Stones.) And a great many Krediche men, and many beasts all busy at pulling and dragging and hauling the stones.
“Halt!” the eblan shouted.
But the Kredese took no notice.
“This is the land of the North Alisime,” the eblan told the Kredese, coming as close as able, and shouting loudly.
But the Kredese heeded him not a jot. They continued to pull at the stones.
“We kill any man who trespasses here,” the eblan warned the Kredese.
But still the Kredese pulled at the stones.
So the eblan signed to the Alisime men, and the Alsime let loose their arrows. Some of the trespasses died that day, but most did not.
Again, the Alsime raised their bows. But they did not let loose, for it seemed not to be needed. The Kredese now had stopped pulling the stones. Indeed, but instead the Kredese now reached for their spears and hurled them, viciously, at the Alsime—who, being Alisime men, dodged the spears. Not one Krediche spear found an Alisime mark.
Now, with volleys equalled, the Kredese and the eblan could talk.
The Kredese said they were taking the stones to His Indwelling.
The eblan looked back towards the western bounds, and saw that the Kredese had already come a long way through Alisime land and they had not much farther to go. So he said for the Kredese to take their dead and to take their stones and to be gone as soon as able. Which all agreed was a fair decision.
Though this first part of the story tells why the Kredese of His Indwelling had to fetch stones from their ancestral lands to build the ‘Krediche Rock-Roof ‘ (that they call Kared’s Cave, or the Cave of the Sun) there is a second part to the story.
Many winters passed—perhaps as many as maybe two hundred, though some say more—and the Eblan Mistress inspired Eblan Buktalen to create the Cloud Stone Isle. This, according to the North Alsime, marks the place of First Creation. It is to the North Alsime as the Path of the Sun is to we River Alsime: the most sacred of places.
When the work was first begun (concerning the island’s rings and the circles of stones that were sited within) the Kredese didn’t have a clear sight of it. It was blocked by the hills around it. But as the white walls grew tall, and they saw the first of the stones being moved, then the Kredese saw it, and they wondered.
Some say they were hard-bitten by a powerful envy, for they then decided to build some such island of their own and to fill it with more—many more—shining stone circles.
But, alas-alack, though there were stones aplenty on the hills above them they had been told long ago not to touch them. What were they to do? They did as they had done before. They brought in stones from their ancestral homeland.
Again, the North Alsime heard a great commotion. Again, they went to see what was making the noise. Again, they saw a great many men and a great many beasts pulling at stones.
Again, one of their eblann called out for the Kredese to stop. But, as before, the Kredese continued to pull at the stones.
“You trespass on North Alsime land,” as before, the eblan called out (though this was a different eblan, being two hundred winters-past).
And as before, the Kredese continued to pull at the stones.
“We Alsime kill all who trespass here,” the eblan warned them.
But, again, the Kredese took no note. They continued to pull at the stones.
So, as before, the eblan gave the sign, and the Alisime men let loose their arrows. But unlike before, the Alsime continued to loose arrows, and no man who had pulled at those stones that morning lived beyond the day.
Eblan Skaken (who then was Head Man of the North Alsime eblann) laid out the Krediche corpses to enable the birds and the sun to clean and dry them as always is done. Then, when nought remained but clean bones, he laid them neatly on the bare earth and heaped a great hump over them.
This Boat Hump, they say (which now marks the Eblan-held lands at His Indwelling) was set there as a warning to the Kredese that they never should again trespass on this land. But Eblan Skaken had no use of the stones, and so he left them where they lay by First Water. And there they remain unto this day.
As readers of Priory Project will know, the story concerns the ‘Kerdolak Stones’ that Eblan Murdan took and erected in two broken circles within the walls of the Old Isle of the Dead, on the Highlands of the Sun (River Alsime land). His intent, to show he had broken the Kerdolak power at His Indwelling, the Kerdolan being the driving force behind the Kredese. But it seems that none of the Alsime yet met by Julia wants to tell the story in full. So I thought I’d include it here.