In the world of Malartú it’s the Scholars of Cer’Syden, on the central isle of Sháelarn, that have always been the oracles of the gods and arbiters of knowledge. In this time of change others around the world seek to undermine this and Scholar Hiodath leads this charge from the western isle of Muatir.
“Who are the rightful Kings, who are the rightful Gods? It is not for us to decide. We are merely Scholars, appointed by the Creator God since time began. We are his vessel, to be filled with his knowledge. We are his Scribes, authoring his works.” Inscription in the Scriptorium of Cer’Synden.
“Ah, you’ve arrived at last,” Scholar Hiodath said, as he pointed with the butt of his pipe towards an empty chair in front of the fire.
Even in the dimly lit room the traveller could see the room was dominated by books to all corners. Books stacked on shelves from floor to ceiling, books stacked on tables, books stacked on the floor with more books stacked on top.
While doing something on a small desk nearby, Hiodath continued, “Now I’m no scholar, but I’ll tell you about them. As you’re the new Lore Keeper you need to know about them for sure,” he said walking over to the chair his guest had just taken and handing a fresh pipe. The grey-haired man sat his wiry and ageing body down into the opposite chair and stared at the fire. A few minutes of silence passed, enough for the guest to light his pipe and feel the effects of the dried Drupael Greens. This was generally an evening ritual common in this part of the Soronel isle, but for guests who’d travelled far it was a welcome luxury at any time of the day. Greens eased the muscles and soothed the mind was the reason given for its use, but its effect of increasing alacrity through that calming was also a popular reason.
Hiodath coughed and commenced his instruction without looking up, “The Scholars on the island of the Sháelarn have always been or so it would seem. Their fortress city of Cer’Synden, on the mountain of Tor Ferendál, has been there for as long as anyone can remember. To the south-west edge of the Tor is the tower that is visible from Bal’Loa and the sea to the west of the island. The tower is what people refer to as Cer’Synden, when in fact Cer’Synden is more correctly the whole city. Perhaps city is not the right word. It is a walled area of the mountain containing perhaps thirty buildings.”
He reached under his chair and drew out a crumpled and yellowing map of Sháelarn, “Here, have a look at this map I drew. The charcoal is a little smudged, but you’ll get the idea.” he added.
“What you have to realise about the Scholars is they do the will of the gods, not of the creatures of the islands. They care little for them. What they care for is that the will of the gods is carried out in a balanced way. So, they will act in accordance with that. Bal’Shir of the Talghaern, Heirdaal of the Frehaern, Kreyss’hai of the Garaín and of course Shreetan of the Shadows. That’s who they serve. The Scholars are the source of knowledge for each of these and they take no sides directly.”
“Even in war?” the visitor asked.
“Especially in war, of what concern is that to them?” Hiodath replied. “They keep themselves to themselves and are called on only when knowledge is direly needed by some ruler or other. Access to them is difficult at best. I don’t know of anyone who can go to them except the King himself.”
“Then how do we acquire their knowledge?”
Scholar Hiodath lowered his pipe and turned his gaze from the dancing flames to the face of the visitor, “You don’t. They give it out when they feel it necessary. All you can do is answer their call when there is need of instructions and insight – through cause you have created or the gods and nature have created for you.” He returned to looking at the flames, “Such is the way in Cer’Synden.”