The Puddleby Tales

By the bard Jafree Cho'sur
as faithfully recorded by Healery of Puddleby

For additional information on the story told in the Prologue, please read the canonical Darshak Theocracy webscrolls. [horz line]


Here begins the Book of the Tales of Puddleby

Long years ago, when kings and queens still ruled
The lands of Men, their crownèd heads bejewelled,
There came a foul scourge to Shan-Deral.
The Darshak Cult -- for long ignored by all
The races save the Thooms -- arose to fight,
And moved across the land with strength of Night.
With seven of eleven nations lost,
The evil priesthood's vast, unholy host
Seemed sure to shroud the rest in ash and bone --
Until arose a Man from parts unknown.
Not much is known of Mobius, save this:
Great strength of mind, and victory, were his.
The army mystical he summoned forth
Made clear their master's power, and their worth;
For in the battle many thousands fell,
But of the dead, not one Dark Sentinel.
Remaining Cultists Mobius put on trial,
Then exiled them to far-off Gathner isle.
The evil Cult was vanquished, but the lands
Were left in chaos. Mobius spread his hands
And gathered all the kingdoms under him:
All people subject to the Emperor's whim.
The races called him hero; rightly so,
But power can corrupt, as good men know.
Now evil brews once more in Darshak hearts,
And raiding vessels come from distant parts;
Whole villages laid waste, their folk enslaved
For some dark purpose, born of soul depraved.
But Mobius, living still by might of Mind,
To these grave dangers seemingly is blind.
He looks away while his bright empire dies
And exiles those who justly criticize,
Along with criminals, to Lok'Groton.
Some of their stories we shall hear anon.
The exiles formed a town named Puddleby
Whose walls enclose a world, as we shall see.

The Native

In town there lives a healer, race unknown.
She wears a cloak for reasons of her own.
No exile she, but born in Puddleby,
And yet a sense of wariness you see.
A dagger for defense, a moonstone bright,
Her only tools to battle 'gainst the Night.
But friends has she, and glad of it indeed,
For kindness, love and fealty are her creed.

The Fisher-Thoom

He floated in on tides of grief and pain,
And not by choice, at first, did he remain.
But even exile offers some reward:
The chance to pursue studies long ignored.
A funny Thoom is he, who hates to fish;
At least in Puddleby he gets that wish.

[Introductions to the other Tales shall appear here when the good bard Cho'sur has completed them.]

Here ends the Prologue of this Book
And here begins the first Tale, which is the Native's Tale

[horz line]

HealeryThe Native's Tale

There once was one who spoke his thoughts aloud,
Though they were words against the Emperor proud.
"If Mobius does not act, we all shall die;
The Darshaks come before we blink an eye!"
Said he, and earned exile to Puddleby.
But there he met another, lovely she,
A gentle soul, a healer, shy, reserved,
Spoke little of her past: on that, unswerved.
She hid from something; someone did she fear,
But found his presence gave her some small cheer.
They fell in love, eventually were wed,
And joined their hearts upon their wedding bed.
Of their sweet union soon a child was born,
A daughter, much beloved, one summer's morn.
'Neath parents' watchful eyes this daughter grew,
Though due to mother's fear her friends were few.
She traveled little, strayed not far from home,
Until that fateful day the Darshaks came.
Both parents died, defending daughter's life;
Alone she fled into this land of strife.
She had few skills with which her bread to earn,
And, wracked with grief, she knew not where to turn.
For days she wandered through the town, beset
By drunkards, cads and thieves, 'till, cold and wet,
By chance her thoughts fell on the healer's guild.
For Mother's sake, they kept her belly filled
While teaching her the basics of their art.
She found that healing suited well her heart,
That helping others eased the pain inside.
She wears her healers' clothing now with pride,
But, though she knows not what her mother fled,
Yet still she feels a portion of that dread;
And so she changed her name, to Healery,
And wanders cloaked that no one else might see
The color of her hair, or e'en her race,
For fear some enemy might know her face.
As well, she finds, concealment of her form
Serves well against advances from some worm
Who thinks himself a gift to anyone
Who's female, has a pulse, and doesn't run.
Now Healery learns more each passing day;
She gains in strength and friends, and come what may,
She wanders ever more, both far and wide,
With good and loyal comrades by her side.
She is not strong; few creatures can she slay,
But often thanks swift feet and runs away.
Nor is her healing fastest in the town;
Her learning has not earned her great renown.
But brave she is, though often does she rue,
And to her friends devoted, kind, and true.

Here ends the Native's Tale

[horz line]

The Fisher-Thoom's Tale

A pleasant summer's day; a fishing trip.
A pensive Thoom, the tiller in his grip.
His uncle and his sister at the lines
When one goes taut and points at distant spines.
"It's a Tho'Lin!" his sister cries with glee,
And rushes to retrieve it from the sea.
"Another fish," thinks Tamarin, and sighs,
A far-off look reflected in his eyes.
The winds and seas care little for one Thoom
Who'd rather be off reading in some room
Than fishing, yet again, as oft before.
A sudden gust, a mind not on its chore --
The boom comes 'round and knocks him to the waves.
The boat o'erturns. His skillful uncle saves
The family's catch; his sister grabs the mast;
But he himself, not thinking very fast,
Half-conscious, reaches for a passing line --
The one on the Tho'Lin. He chokes on brine.
Before they even recognize his plight,
The mighty fish has towed him out of sight.
Of sister, uncle, village, fish, and past,
This bookish Thoom for years has seen the last.
A gentle healer greets him as he wakes;
He seems at last recovered, though he makes
An effort to recall his past, and fails.
(Too bad he couldn't read the Puddl'by Tales.)
Four weeks ago, he learns, he washed ashore,
Disheveled, soaked, his every muscle sore.
His tattered robe hung on a half-starved frame,
His mind awash in waves of grief and shame.
The body's ills are easier to heal
Than guilty conscience put on even keel.
Still half in shock, he sets forth into town;
He walks on land now, but his sorrows drown.
The tavern-keepers grow to know him well,
As do the healers, answering his yell
When, drunk again, he trips and cannot rise,
And rats and vermine swarm him where he lies.
He cares for little else but wine and beer,
Lost in his sea of pain. Full half a year
He spends in mud and sorrow wallowing,
Until one chilly day in early spring
He chances to be sitting in the inn
That Kandrus keeps, still grieving for his kin.
"Good Thoom," that lightsome scholar says, "I think
"You feel you lost your past life in the drink.
"But now you risk your future there as well.
"I don't know why you grieve, but I can tell
"That what you're seeking won't be found in here."
Then Kandrus clears away the mugs of beer,
Smiles enigmatically, and turns away.
But as he leaves, the Thoom can hear him say,
"If I were you, I'd go see Hekus soon.
"Your spirit may find solace in the Moon."
Then Tamarin looks up, through his despair,
And comes to a decision, then and there.
He visits Hekus early the next morn
And of that visit new resolve is born.
Still hoping to recover all he's lost,
He searches on, no matter what the cost.
But now he also essays to repay
In kind all kindness shown, as best he may.
[horz line]
That is all that the bard Cho'sur has written thus far, but she seeks additional Tales to add.

If any residents of Puddleby wish their own stories put into verse, kindly send me an enchanted message or speak to me (Healery) in Puddleby, and I will convey them to her gladly. She is somewhat overwhelmed, and must of course complete her paying commissions before working on her own projects such as this one, but she tells me she will include as many other Tales as she can.
[horz line]

Other Stories and Such

First Puddleby Pun Contest, Summer 535: transcript or visionstone
Closing a tear on West Beach: a story of the Ripture War of 533
Triumph and Tears: The Ripture War of 533, parts 1 2 3 4
A sonnet for Babajaga and Sleipnir, on the occasion of their wedding

[horz line]
Healery Last modified: the 23rd Day of Autumn in the year 547 of the Ascendancy (sometimes called 10 October 2002) by Healery of Puddleby <>

Clan Lord is a product of Delta Tao. Images used here are copyright 1994-2001 Delta Tao, and the Darshak Theocracy story presented in the Prologue probably is too, though not in this verse form. Everything else here is copyright 1999-2001 by the author, herein represented as Healery of Puddleby.