Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Mikelmerck - the Owd Man

Lead isn't what it was.  A thousand years of battling Mikelmerck are drawing to a close as the Owd Man takes over.  Back when the Cristarubrae started to settle and push aside the indigenous tribes, they delved deep into the dale.  Ever an efficient people, they ignored the old stories and were proved right for many years.  The emerging lead was of dramatically high quality, much exported and a source of riches to the Duchy.

The Owd Man took his time to respond to the rape of his mountains.  His breath alone took many.  Whole shafts could be closed down when the Owd Man's breath swept through the defenceless.  Birds and animals are quicker to sense his presence and many a miner blessed the day he took a sparrow into the shafts with him. 

Worse followed.  The precious lead seemed to withdraw, pulled further in and further away.  Dangerous enough to follow then, but made the worse by the Owd Man's voice.  Following his deceptive sound is nearly always fatal.  Some also say that if the brave follow, they will be taken to richer seams.  Some even claim to have found such seams, but it is hard to believe.  Even if they come back they are greatly changed.  Strangely distant from their loved ones, they seek only to return to the mines and the voice that lures them ever onwards.

There is still a small industry, but it falls to the truly desperate with no other recourse.  The Owd Man is regarded as one of the Older.  Little can be done to placate him as he wishes only to be left alone.  The need for survival may not let that happen, and the few who still work the mines say his voice is getting stronger.

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