Thursday, 3 November 2011

Mikelmerck - the fey and the Sarathames

Fabian did a lovely piece on the Nine Men of Muriz which obviously falls into the same territory as the Drowned Seven (below).  I meant to link to it yesterday.

In the way of Mikelmerck, old stories often turn out to be the true ones.  The Sarathame kings long had links with Mikelmerck.  They had little to call their own - only vaulting ambition, a love of music and a way with words and small magic.  As their power grew, so did their need for knowledge.  Unusually among powerful families they respected learning, seeing it as a way forward rather than a threat.  In Mikelmerck they found a most uncommon source of power and took advantage of it.

They realised early that the boundaries in Mikelmerck were fragile and started to cultivate the fey.  Far from fearing them, they yearned for fey knowledge and in exchange offered a permanent border on their lands.  It is said that Goffroi, the first Sarathame king wrote a song of calling inviting the fey into this world and sharing its joys with them.  Parts of it are inscribed in their burial chapel, but the whole song is known only to the king and his heir.

It is certainly true that under the Sarathames, architecture has taken a very different turn, seeming to ignore the rules of logic and physics to build towering palaces and churches.  Music and culture are enduring preoccupations of the family.  Their dynasty has lasted for nearly 700 years, but in that time, their eccentricites have become more extreme.  They keep their secrets well, but in the end their own need to keep them may bring about their downfall.  Increasingly paranoid and mistrustful they turn inward and rot like overripe fruit.  Even so, they maintain their links with Mikelmerck.  Their wives nearly all come from the Duchy and their castles still stud the landscape.

Each year the Progress spends a month walking the boundaries.  At this time, anyone may approach the king and beg a favour.  The king is bound to listen and answer, but it is a risky thing to do.  The favour may well be granted, but it will come at a price.  Sometimes that price is a small thing - a clean fleece or a fresh baked cake placed at a certain spot, a new chant or a rock moved from one place to another.  Sometimes though the price is higher and stranger.  It depends on the mood of the king and the need of the boundary at the time.

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