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The Outcaste Greyhood

Chapter Text

Hero. Villain. Knight. Thief. The story of the Outcaste Greyhood has been enjoyed by generations, since the earliest days of Her Courteous Benefaction's rule. Yet still little is known about this elusive figure and his true history. Countless Annalists down the sweeps have sought to uncover the truth, and have been thwarted by the missing records and unreliable chronicles that proliferated in the early days of the Empire.

What we can be certain of is that in those founding days, an outlaw by the title and name of Outcaste Greyhood led a robber band out of the Feywood Forest, which at the time was located around much of the north and east of Fortune Bay, itself a major trading port. Court records indicate that this individual, or several people bearing the same name and title, was arrested on no less than seven occasions within an eleven-sweep period. These arrests are not borne out in the execution records, an inconsistency that may be explained by an excerpt from a letter written from Overseer Mindfang to Emissary Goldrule after one such occurrence:

“...and I have h8rd enough pr8ttle about “local problems” from you!!!!!!!! Setbacks such as the outlaw continually b8ing us would be easily solved if you would stop this stupid h8flirting and send me some decent troops. I need more 8forcers already, as another four perished the last time he 8scaped his f8.”

Other contemporary writers are quick to pass judgement on the Outcaste and his band, but have very little detail to give on his history. Annalist Joffry of Fellplain writes:

“Having fpoke with thofe who have fallen foul of hif reaving, I am left convinced that thif villain if a lowblood of moft bafe degree, being by all accountf fhort of ftature, blunt of horn, crude of fpeech, lacking in focial gracef and any hint of magnificence fave for in the lowly paftime of inventing infultf, at which I am affured he if an unconquered mafter.”

Writing at the same time, Governor Darkleer (famously, a member of the First Crusader Circle), said:

“Though he is undoubtedly 100d in his speech and in his very e%istence offensive, it would be f001ish to disregard the nobility of his spirit. Before Her Courteous Benefaction it would behoove any of us to call him Crusader, and brother.”

From these two accounts, then, we see the root of the conflicting interpretations of the Outlaw, casting him by turns as a lowblood fighting for his own, or a highblood turning from his fallen kin. Though contemporary sources call him a bandit, these accounts come to an abrupt end with the return of Her Courteous Benefaction; as this period coincides with the Great Western Rebellion, it is certainly conceivable that the ballads casting the Outcaste as a political figure and staunch defender of the Imperial Throne may have the right of the matter.

As for the Feywood Forest, most often known in the ballads as “the Scarlet Forest” or “the Scarlet Wood”, it was traditionally considered to be haunted. The bandits operating out of it no doubt capitalised on these rumours to great effect, and the surviving legends of the Outcaste have been just as susceptible to this superstition, inflating the historical figure to near-mythic status and implying him to be an avatar of the forest- and by extension, the land- itself.

Chapter Text

Hark and listen, gentlefolk,
Whatever shade your blood,
To hear the tale of an outlaw bold,
His name Outcaste Greyhood.

'Twas in that time Her Benefice
At large was gone to Quest;
And in her service Greyhood went
And left his home in West.

A mighty warrior provéd he,
Full trusty, bold and wight;
Her Courteous Benefaction thus
Appointed him Her Knight.

But when returning from the East,
A plot from allied hands
A captive made Her Benefice,
To forfeit rule and lands.

On alone went Greyhood then
To seek the means to fight,
Intending for his mistress fair
To bring both gold and might.

To travel him unhindered
He removed his Knight's array;
His body hid with mantle's swathe
His eyes with hood of grey.

But as he came to Western lands
And neared the shores of home,
He came across ten highblood knaves
A-sporting with a rogue.

"Ho there, knaves," spoke Greyhood bold,
"What can this child have done?
For ne'er I saw ten highbloods true
Have need to fight just one."

"A thief she is, and poacher,"
Said the leader of the crew.
"Full four and twenty noble beasts
This Vagabond has slew."

Greyhood swore a mighty oath,
"A pox upon you fall!
For ne'er I heard of such a rule
From She that rules us all!"

So saying he drew his sickle,
Cutting left and cutting right.
The knaves all fell before him;
Not one fit to face a Knight.

"Sir, thou hast preserved me,"
Said the Vagabond, in awe.
"Pray tell me what to call thee
As thy like I never saw."

"By name, they call me Greyhood,
For the mantle that I wear;
By title I am Knighted,
To Her Benefice I swear."

"But what of thee?" he asked her,
"What name and title am I told?
From whence is it thou hail
And to what master do thou hold?"

"I am Wildclaw and Vagabond,"
Said that greenblood true and free.
"And I have no home nor master,
But I fain would follow thee."

"If thou pledge thine oath I'll take it,"
Said that worthy Knight so fair.
Thus on bended knee before him
To his service did she swear.

"Now I charge thee tell me,
For 'tis changed while I was gone;
Who is it bans hunting?
I would speak with them anon."

"The Overseer of Fortune Bay,"
His cohort told him thus.
"And the Emissary of our liege
Who holds these lands in trust."

"They two set the laws and tax
That us keep in poverty,
While those of teal and above
Live well from misery."

Greyhood swore a mighty oath,
"A pox upon them fall!
For ne'er I heard of such a rule
From She that rules us all!"

Together they went along the road
That led to Fortune Bay.
In all the regions thereabout
They saw the cruel decay.

To the Overseer's Hall they went,
Greyhood and Wildclaw;
So fierce were they on marching in
The guards them fled before.

"Ho, now!" spoke the Emissary,
Seated on his throne.
"Who is this that marches in,
To speak with us anon?"

"Two rogues I see before me,
Neither worth my night or day.
The one a greenblood Vagabond,
The other swathed in grey."

"By name, they call me Greyhood,
For the mantle that I wear;
By title I am Knighted,
To Her Benefice I swear."

"A lowblood playing Knight are thee,"
Was the Emissary's scorn.
"No noble is so slight of build
Nor bears such curtal horn."

Greyhood swore a mighty oath,
"A pox upon thee fall!
For ne'er I heard of such a rule
From She that rules us all!"

"A mighty warrior provéd I,
Full trusty, bold and wight;
Her Courteous Benefaction thus
Appointed me Her Knight."

"I come from East and bear ill news;
A plot from allied hands
A captive made Her Benefice,
To forfeit rule and lands."

"I ask thou raise an army
And equip them with blades bright;
With mighty bows and arrows sharp,
To take them to the fight."

"I ask we march to save Her,
She who rules over us all;
Upon the bonds of love thou bear,
Thine duty does thee call."

The Emissary swore an oath,
"A pox to fall on thee!
For ne'er I heard of such ill tides
Deceiver that thou be!"

"No Caeger shall I give thee,
Nor no army with blades bright;
No mighty bows nor arrows sharp,
Shall leave with thee this night."

'Twas then from seat beside the throne,
The Overseer spoke.
"Methinks I have heard of this rogue,
Who wears grey hood and cloak."

"I heard this night of his misdeeds,
Whilst travelling these lands.
Full ten Enforcers of my law
Lie dead at this man's hands."

"Arrest them!" then the cry went up.
Greyhood drew his curvéd blade;
And swore an oath that he would thwart
What plans the pair had made.

Full bitterly he fought their path,
Through all the villains' row.
With Wildclaw to guard his back,
'Gainst many highblood foe.

'Till blood was soaking through the stones
And grey was bright with gore;
A hundred foes they thus cut down,
But came a hundred more.

Those hundred also fell in kind,
As the outlaws made retreat.
For half a night their battle ran
All through the city streets.

Until at last they made escape
Into the scarlet wood.
Where, safe beneath the shaded leaves,
Hid Wildclaw and Greyhood.

In the shelter there they found,
Each soothed the other's pain;
And reaffirmed their covenant
To put their foes to shame.

And in the sweeps that followed then,
These outlaws did much good;
Kind words did the lowbloods keep
For they of the scarlet wood.

But it started that day in the forest,
And to these words hold fast;
That truth is told of the outlaw bold,
How Greyhood became Outcaste.

Annalist's Notes

This ballad, the most famous origin story for the Outcaste, bears all the hallmarks of a more recent composition, most likely by a trained Minstrel. The first stanza, exhorting listeners to pay attention “whatever shade your blood”, are a clear indicator of more genteel origins. Nonetheless it makes a solid imitation of the style of older ballads, and surviving fragments suggest it may be based on an older tale.

Historically, this ballad agrees with extant records, in that it places the Outcaste's period of outlawry during the tumultuous sweeps of Her Courteous Benefaction's captivity in the hands of the Mirthful Penitents. Curiously, it also makes reference to the then unusual practise of ennobling those who assisted in her Great Quest to unite the Empire. While it seems clear to an educating reading that the ballad-writer intended to leave Greyhood's original caste unclear, this ballad with its antecedents and descendants has been used by both sides of the academic debate as supporting evidence that the famous outlaw was lowblooded or highblooded.

Vagabond Wildclaw is one of the common recurring characters in the Outcaste ballads. Their meeting in this ballad is reflected in other tales, most notably Outcaste Greyhood and the Foresters, but this is the only one to set it before the outlawing of the former. The other figures featured in this ballad are Overseer Mindfang of Fortune Bay and Emissary Goldrule, a former member of the First Crusader Circle and Her Courteous Benefaction's chosen representative and authority in her absence. Both are of historical note in their own right, as primary instigators and leaders of the Great Western Rebellion.

Chapter Text

In the heart of the second dim season,
Sheltered deep within bold scarlet wood,
Under pink-shining moon and around by the broom
Went a-hunting did Outcaste Greyhood.

"Master, where shall we two track to?"
Quoth Wildclaw, the huntress of might.
"Thou go East and I West, we shall see who does best,"
Quoth Greyhood, at start of the night.

"But mind that thou stay ever wary,
Lest in peril I send out a call.
And likewise this to me, I shall listen for thee,
To haste to thine side should thou fall."

Away to the East then tracked Wildclaw,
While Greyhood he tracked to the West.
With their weapons prepared, so to hunt they both dared
Each alone to see who might do best.

It was in a wild grove of the forest,
That he spied a fine proud antlerbeast.
"By the faith of my blood!" quoth the Outcaste Greyhood,
"That shall make us a right handsome feast."

It stood forty hands at the shoulder,
And its antlers reached up through the leaves.
Fit for cloaks were its ears, and its eyeteeth for shears,
And its legs thick as limbs of the trees.

From above did the bold Outcaste stalk it,
'Cross the tree-limbs with nary a sound.
Still for fear of his death he dared not yet draw breath,
Lest his voice would be heard from the ground.

In a leap then he pouncéd upon it;
His sickle full brightly did shine.
In one mighty gash so its throat did he slash,
And it fell to the ground in swift time.

But no sooner had Greyhood him landed,
Than lit was the grove with fey light;
From 'twixt trees anon came a fiery psion,
Wreathed in sorcerous lightning so bright.

So great was the power about him,
That its blaze shone out clear through his eyes.
Though his blood be yellow, blue and red was his glow,
And twinned horns from his crown did arise.

"That beast there is mine," quoth the psion.
"For tracked it have I for two nights.
That thou came cross my way and have stolen my prey
Changes not that which I own by rights."

"Are thee then a lawbound Enforcer?"
Quoth the bold Outcaste Greyhood to he.
"For in truth I think nay, th'art a scoundrel I say,
And I'll give not one gizzard to thee!"

Quoth the psion, "My name it is Twinglow,
Though some call me Marauder, in truth.
I may yet be scoundrél, but then thou art as well,
And a thief and a blaggard, in sooth."

"That beast there is mine," quoth then Twinglow.
"Dare I say thou art stuffed full of shite."
"By the faith of my blood!" quoth the Outcaste Greyhood,
"By my claim do I wager to fight!"

"I'll match thee that wager," quoth Twinglow.
"And then from thy hands take my prize.
Let us now be agreed that we sport 'til one pleads,
For a waste would it be if one dies."

"I agree to this bargain," quoth Greyhood.
"Now, coward, make ready to yield!"
Their sport thus defined, were they both of one mind
As they each of them took to the field.

The Marauder he struck with his power,
And dealt to Greyhood such a blow,
That his ears did ring a full forest to sing,
So dazéd was he by his foe.

Then Greyhood he struck the Marauder
Full close and in under his guard.
Though he struck not to slay, still too did Twinglow bray,
For the force of the blow was full hard.

"By the faith of my blood," quoth then Twinglow,
"Shall the blow thou just made be thy last!"
"Ne'er shall I retreat until thou taste defeat!"
Quoth Greyhood, by title Outcaste.

So the two of them set to each other;
Their battle resumed in full force.
Though the forest would quake with each blow that they make,
Still neither would stray from their course.

Many hours did they make with their battling,
'Till the moon had tracked far 'cross the sky.
Until then Greyhood in a heat of the blood
A great blow to foe's skull did let fly.

"Now see thou summon thy psychics!"
Quoth Greyhood whilst Twinglow did reel.
"Though thy strikes fall so slack I should think thou court black,
Were I to make judge by their feel."

"By the faith of my blood," quoth then Twinglow,
"Full well shall thee pay for thine tongue!"
In a great flash of rage did the fearsome mage
Set Greyhood to flying anon.

And no sooner had Greyhood him landed,
Than Twinglow placed foot on his chest.
"Thou art beat," quoth then he, "And must yield to me,
For this sporting has shown me the best."

At this then did Greyblood make bellow;
He loosed him a full lusty shout,
And anon from the shade, leaping into the glade,
Did Wildclaw arrive there about.

"Master, who then is this stranger?"
Quoth the Vagabond, sighting the mage.
"For each wound that thou bear I shall give him a pair,
And a third still to make good my rage!"

"Nay, hold thy hand," quoth then Twinglow.
"Though truly it seems th'art a cheat.
If we face two on one, then in truth am I done,
And must forfeit before I am beat."

"Nay, for thou fought me full boldly,"
Quoth Greyhood, now standing again.
"Come tarry with me and I'll pay thee good fee,
For have I sore need for stout men."

"Each season a Caeger I'll give thee,
So ne'er shall thee want for good coin.
And on each high holy day a new raiment I'll pay,
With good meat every meal should thou join."

"Gladly I'll take that," said Twinglow,
"If first thou will tell me thy name."
"My name is Greyhood and in this scarlet wood
As the Outcaste I hold greatest fame."

So away went all three then together,
And to all did the prize carcass go;
So that day did they feast upon good antlerbeast,
Good bread ate and strong wine drank, also.

And with mantle of grey and of scarlet,
Was Twinglow made part of their band.
For his power and might, and his stout will to fight,
His name was known clear 'cross the land.

And before the new night had arisen,
Between them they had all made amends.
No pair since or before so close were to draw,
As Greyhood and Twinglow as friends.

Annalist's Notes

This older tale follows the pattern of many Outcaste ballads, in which the Outcaste meets a stranger in the forest and fights with them. This one is of course differentiated in that it acts as an origin for his tempestuous friendship with the Marauder Twinglow, clearly a psion of some power.

Some understanding of the social situation and mores of the time is essential to understanding the subtleties in this ballad. At this point in Imperial history, although the feudal system had been instituted it was not yet established. Many citizens in outlying regions largely ignored the new social order, highblood and lowblood alike. This was only exacerbated by the abuses of the Great Western Rebellion, the result of which was often a veneer of civilisation over older, more barbarous traditions.

As a yellowblooded psion, the historical Twinglow was most likely a freeborn peasant, and under the feudal system should have been afforded a comfortable life with wider opportunities than most were afforded. In practise, his powers would likely have made him a target of the unscrupulous, and there are a large number of psionics from the period who were enslaved or outlawed for defending their liberty.

Given the title “Marauder”, it is likely that the Outcaste's companion was an outlaw long before he himself was, and as the ballad itself suggests was likely maintaining himself in the Feywood by banditry and poaching. These two pastimes were in fact the traditional occupation of most of the local peasantry, to a greater or lesser degree, and were only curbed by Her Courteous Benefaction's creation of the Foresters. This was less a commentary on the effectiveness of that body, and more on its composition; the vast majority of the deliberately lowblooded Foresters were former poachers and bandits themselves.

The Outcaste's friendship with the Marauder is somewhat contentious, as in the ballads they are frequently shown to quarrel. In this regard, their later relationship follows on from the meeting presented in this ballad perfectly. Certain schools of thought hold that the pair were in kismessitude, and certain ballads and interpretations reflect this, but earlier ballads near universally show a vitriolic, but platonic, friendship.

Chapter Text

In scarlet wood the Outcaste
Took shade of good oak tree.
And with him the Marauder
Stood waiting in the lee.

Then spoke him the Marauder:
"Oh, master, shall we dine?
For I hear thy stomach grumble,
And truly, so does mine."

"In faith, let us go hunting,"
Spoke him the Outcaste bold.
"And need have I to find a guest,
To join us in our fold."

"Bring to me a noble,
Or else some mirthful priest;
Or mayhap some seadweller,
To sit with us and feast."

They went then to the forest,
Where at the mid of night,
Of a most curious stranger
The Outcaste bold caught sight.

All clad she was in scarlet
And teal of her caste.
At her hip was slender cane,
By silver'd belt held fast.

Before that he could hail her,
She gave her hail to he:
"Good night to thee, fair travel'r!
What business here have thee?"

"I am here an Enforcer,"
Spoke he the Outcaste good.
"My business is to keep the law,
Within this scarlet wood."

"In faith, then we are allies,"
Spoke she the stranger teal.
"For come I am by Fortune Bay,
To exercise my zeal."

"Within this scarlet forest,
I hear a rogue doth dwell.
To hunt this Outcaste have I come,
To seek what others tell."

"Rob he does from nobles,
Or else from mirthful priest;
Full many a seadweller,
Was forced with him to feast."

"He wears a hood and mantle,
Both scarlet lining grey;
His countenance and curtal horn,
Are much as thine, I'd say."

Spoke he then the Outcaste:
"In faith, I wish you well.
More cunning rogue than he you seek
Ne'er under moon did dwell."

Spoke she then the stranger:
"In faith, there lies the nub.
For lest thou aid me find him
I think thine hide to drub."

"If that thou think then do so,"
The Outcaste spoke in kind.
"But to your arse be watchful,
To tan yours have I mind."

"Ever am I watchful,"
The stranger spoke in glee.
"As the seers most ancient,
Such a Vigilant I be."

"Unless my sight deceive me,
Thou art my lawful prey."
So saying leapt she forward,
Cane raised to start the fray.

A mighty blow she lent him,
As she made good her vow.
His hide she gave a drubbing,
None such he had 'fore now.

Spoke she then that seer:
"Foul villain must thou be,
For lies that you have spoken
With truth arm'd I beat thee!"

Then the Outcaste lent her
A blow to fright her wit.
And with his trusty sickle,
Tanned her arse as he saw fit.

Spoke he then the Outcaste:
"It would no shame give thee,
If facing such a blow again,
You saw it fit to flee."

The Vigilant then struck him,
Her cane betwixt his horns.
And from his crown came trickling
The blood which he had borne.

"Oho, what's this I see here?"
Spoke she in great delight.
"In faith, I never saw before,
So curious a sight."

"But fear not, thou Outcaste;
If asked I'll give denial.
To thee there is now evidence,
Enough to pass my trial."

"Hereabout this country
Fair kindly do they tell,
Of the rogue who robs the wealthy
But by the poor does well."

"So it is I seek thee,
And in thy favour judge.
I offer thee my cane and arm,
With which our foes to drub."

Spoke he: "Then we are allies;
What name is it thou bear?"
"My title, sir, is Vigilant,
My name it is Redglare."

Returned they then together
To shade of good oak tree.
When he saw his master's blood,
The Marauder he swore free.

"Master, who has struck thee
And caused thy skull to bleed?
To them I shall return it,
Twofold I shall, indeed."

"In faith, pray stay your hand, friend,"
Spoke the Outcaste good.
"For she is sworn to join us here,
Within this scarlet wood."

"A guest I went out seeking,
And a guest I found indeed.
For she shall e'er be Vigilant
Against an unjust deed."

And spoke then did he truly,
For never one would dare
To cross the Outcaste Greyhood,
And the Vigilant Redglare.

Annalist's Notes

Vigilant is an old title, predating the Empire. The original bearers were a cult of mystics dedicated to justice; their role fell somewhere between priest, prophet and legal Enforcer. By the Outcaste's time, few still claimed the title, and those who did were for the most part bounty hunters. What records there are of Redglare would seem to reflect the same story, were it not for her allegiance with the famous outlaw. Whether she was a final remnant of an ancient order, or merely aspired to their values, is sadly lost to history.

The crude language employed in this ballad is typical of many older Outcaste tales, and this is in fact one of the older examples to be recorded. Of particular note is the phrase “curtal horn”, as this is the earliest known reference to this feature in Outcaste fiction and may well be the inspiration for later descriptions.

Also curious is the Vigilant's reaction on seeing the Outcaste's blood. Without once mentioning the colour, the ballad states that it is “so curious a sight” that she has never before seen it. It also seems to be a cause for consternation, as she immediately promises to keep it secret, and on seeing that his master has bled the Marauder threatens the perpetrator. While other ballads show characters surprised by his blood colour, this is the only one that gives us an idea of what it may have been. For a widely-travelled Vigilant, there are few colours she would not have seen. Only three, in fact, that would have been so rare at the time: Tyrian, Indigo, and Jade. Discounting the first as preposterous, we are left with two possibilities.

At that period, many indigo-bloods were members of the Mirthful Cult, which is referenced earlier in the ballad. Many think that the Cult had some hand in the Great Western Rebellion, but these claims are unsubstantiated. Nonetheless, if the Outcaste was some renegade member of that cult, it would certainly seem fitting to many otherwise incongruous aspects of his legend.

Jade-bloods, on the other hand, were at the time far more rare and held in almost religious esteem. Certainly one who was ill-suited to the nurturing role most of the caste were sent to would find it beneficial to hide his blood. The bond between the Outcaste and the Aruspice, believed by many to be moirallegiance, furthers the argument for this interpretation.

Chapter Text

In the second dim season of the sweep,
Beneath their trysting-tree,
Sat Greyhood Outcaste and his band
All outlaws bold and free.

To pass their time this loyal band
Their greatest deeds confessed.
On wager of twelve good oak kegs,
All filled with wine, the best.

Each told tales and made great boast,
To see whose courage stood;
Full bold accounts they thus set forth,
Within the scarlet wood.

"Slew I the lord of antlerbeasts,"
Declared the Vagabond.
"As tall as mountains high it stood,
And of trollflesh was fond."

"Fought I a hundred blueblood foes,"
Declared Marauder then.
"All armed with blades of sharpened steel,
And good yew bows to bend."

"Faced I a cold and anger'd ghost,"
Declared the Vigilant.
"And from him learned his killer's name,
Then brought her to repent."

"Stole I a dragon's treasure gold,"
Declared then the Outcaste.
"For as it slumbered on its hoard
Silent by it I passed."

At this did Redglare make great mirth:
"Greyhood, if thou speak sooth,
Then willing thou should be to prove
Thou have these skills in truth."

"By the plains that lie in north,
At Fountainhead so clear,
There lives an Aruspice alone
In shadowed garden fair."

"No gates nor guards defend it,
Yet all trespass she denies;
If thou can bring us but one bloom
I grant thou win the prize."

Swore Greyhood: "Then so be it,
One bloom to you I'll bring.
By She who rules us all with grace,
My oath I'll do this thing."

Away they went through scarlet wood,
To Fountainhead so clear.
There Greyhood bid them wait in grove,
While he still ventured near.

"Now tarry here," said Greyhood:
"Be you ready for my call.
For should the Aruspice me spy,
I may then need you all."

On alone went Greyhood bold,
To shadowed garden fair.
On silent feet and hid by brush,
Approach did he then dare.

He went within that orchard dim,
Where beauty bright he saw;
Trees from far and ancient lands,
And buds from distant shores.

Herbs and fruits there grew, all fair,
And fit to make him cry:
"By She who rules us all with grace,
Such beauty ne'er saw I!"

No sooner had he spoke these words,
Than came from out the shade,
The Aruspice, all robed in silk,
With eyes and blood of Jade.

"Who walks within my garden?"
Asked that holy sylph so bright.
"For sooth I think I would recall
If I didst thou invite."

On seeing her in courteous mien,
Greyhood became right bold.
"No invitation did thou give,
To walk the lands thou hold."

"I seek to bring out but one bloom,
For which thy wrath I'll brave.
By She who rules us all with grace,
My oath to this I gave."

"I see," then said the Aruspice,
"A doughty thief thou be.
Yet sooner would I taste thy blood,
Than give one bloom to thee!"

Took she a wood-axe from her belt,
And charged without delay.
Greyhood Outcaste took one look,
And swiftly ran away!

All around her garden fair
He led a merry chase.
But still the Aruspice enraged
Did after him keep pace.

Swore Greyhood: "I'd believe it not,
Had another me this told.
By She who rules us all with grace,
This Aruspice is bold!"

Then from the shade stepped Greyhood,
And spoke most courteously:
"Hold your hand, fair Aruspice,
A wager make with me."

"For the sun shall soon be rising,
And beneath it we would burn.
Before then let us bloodless fight,
And trade our blows in turn."

"Against a single bloom of thine,
I'll wager thee my skill.
For one sweep and one season more,
To guard thee from all ill."

"Oh, I shall take that wager, sir,
Full courteous it is made.
And fair think I that I might win
The service of thy blade."

First struck did he Greyhood,
And her teeth were set to ring.
Said she: "A doughty thief, and wight!
But soon I'll make you sing."

Second struck the Aruspice,
And Greyhood's bones did crack.
Said he: "A mighty arm you have!
But I shall strike you back."

Third did both strike as one blow,
Both landed square and true.
And to the ground they both then fell,
Matched well as any two.

Afore they each could take their feet,
More honest blows to trade,
The sky was stained with deadly light
That burned away the shade.

Greyhood threw his body back,
To shelter from sun bright.
The Aruspice she took her feet,
Beneath the fiery light.

"Now tell me who has won our bout?"
Asked that holy sylph so fair.
"By She who rules us all with grace,
Your forfeit I declare."

At this did Greyhood give a shout,
That through the garden flew;
And running back through blessed shade,
Came his band of fellows true.

"What's this?" asked him Twinglow.
"Though she stands tall in the day,
Just say the word, dear master,
And my might shall join the fray."

"Oh no, oh no," said Greyhood.
"For with courage has she fought.
Should she consent to join us,
Then I have what I had sought."

"Who then art thou?" she asked him,
"That this of me you ask?"
"My name it is called Greyhood,
And my title is Outcaste."

"My name it is called Sunblood,
And it seems that I was right.
The Outcaste is a courteous thief,
A doughty one and wight."

"Indeed then shall I join thee,"
Said that holy sylph so bold.
"Your faith towards Her Benefice
Would match mine, I am told."

"Then let us go to scarlet wood,"
Said Greyhood bold and free.
"And there to feast and make great mirth,
Beneath the meeting-tree."

"And to this Sunblood Aruspice,
Go twelve good kegs of wine.
For her courage and her skill,
Full matchéd are to mine."

Annalist's Notes

One of the lesser-known facts about jadebloods is their ability to withstand direct sunlight, hence the common misinterpretation that the Aruspice was a rainbow drinker. This sunlight resistance led to the association of the caste with gardens and gardening, which in turn led to the creation of holy retreats such as Fountainhead. From the fierceness the Aruspice shows, it seems plain that she does not conform to the gentle, passive nature expected of her caste, and so her reasons for joining the Outcaste become clear.

In this ballad, the Outcaste is goaded on by bets and mockery from his followers. This competitive spirit shines through in many of his encounters, but in many ways his meeting with the Aruspice is surprisingly nonviolent; he tries to flee before fighting, and when they do battle, her victory is swift and comes with sunlight. Later ballads show their interactions to be far less antagonistic than most of those associated with the Outcaste, even amongst his friends.

Chapter Text

Red the trees and fair the moon,
Sweet and low the feather'd tune
When begins our outlaws' tale,
Deep in hidden forest vale.

There, 'neath scarlet meeting-tree,
Bide Greyhood and his company.
And many a merry hour betide
This band that dwell in wild woodside.

Though each they be a bold brigand,
No common robbers fill this band.
No lowblood labourer would they goad,
Nor simple traveller on the road.

No, to the weak they did no wrong,
But stood they foes against the strong;
To rob the miser, beat the cruel,
And of the venal make the fool.

For Greyhood he was once a Knight,
And for Her Benefice did fight.
And from her learned such courtesy,
His kindness all in need would see.

"O master," spoke fierce Wildclaw,
"My blood to hunt calls out full sore.
O let us go and seek our prey
That we may feast this very day."

"Aye, let us go," spoke Greyhood then.
"And hunt these woods for beasts and men.
For feasting suits my mood full well,
But company suits me better still."

"O find me highblood rich with gold;
Or false Enforcer we might hold
And ransom back for more good coin,
Or failing such, his head purloin."

And so they went from out the glade
Along the paths the hornbeasts made,
And travelled with a good gay song,
'Til the seaward road they came upon.

On that road did Greyhood spy
A mournful page a-passing by;
His face did deepest sorrow show,
His wide horns held he tilted low.

He trod ahead with weary feet
And as he walked brown tears did weep.
So deeply did this page then mourn,
That Greyhood found himself folorn.

"Hold thou, page, and tell to me,
What 'tis that brings such grief to thee?"
"I cannot tell," then said that page,
"Lest I should draw my master's rage."

"O, fear thou not," said Greyhood then.
"For I fear not the rage of men
Nor any thing that might me face,
Save sorrow from Her Benefice."

"I am the outlaw called Greyhood,
Who dwells within this scarlet wood.
So tell now, page, what grieves thee so,
And to thy part I fain would go."

"O noble sir," the page then cried,
"My tale I'll tell, if you'll abide.
I am a troll of Minstrel trade,
For a noble blue-blood once I played."

"Within his hold there lives a maid
Fair as moonlight, deep as shade.
My heart for her burns brightest red,
And shall 'til sun and moon are dead."

"Her heart burns just so fierce for me,
And matesprits planned had we to be.
The Governor saw her beauty true,
And thought he then my love to woo."

"Now she dwells trapped in tower high,
And I to foreign shores must fly.
For should my master know my heart,
He would my head from shoulders part!"

"O master," spoke fierce Wildclaw,
"My heart to aid cries out full sore.
O let us go and lend our might
To see these lovers reunite."

"Aye, let us go," spoke Greyhood then.
"For I fear not the rage of men.
I cannot bear to know such wrong;
Let us right all this ere too long."

So they set out all of one mind
The Minstrel walking close behind.
Until they came to castle high,
With towers grim against the sky.

"Now, Minstrel, lend to me thy cloak,
And wait thou here beside the road.
And put thy ear to the wall,
Lest for aid within I call."

So draped in brown did he advance;
This new-made Minstrel took his chance.
The porter, seeing his array,
Did haste to open up the way.

"Now, fine it is to see thou here,"
The porter said in merry cheer.
"Too long it is within this hall
Since goodly music chance to fall."

"And fortunate that you come now,
As this day two hearts avow.
Our Lord and master waits within;
His lady love awaits with him."

"Then goodly music shall I play,"
Said that Minstrel right away.
"But first my hosts I think to greet,
For churlish else would be the feat."

The porter led him to the hall
In which a feast was spread for all.
And at the head two great chairs stood
The first of stone, the next of wood.

The Governor did the first chair own,
A blueblood, strong and hard as stone.
"Bless the day," the Minstrel said.
"To cross this heir is to be dead."

A Handmaid took the second chair,
A redblood beauty, dark and fair.
"Bless the day," the Minstrel cried.
"To lose this love is to have died."

"Be welcome, Minstrel, to my hall;
I bid thou feast among us all.
And this night, afore too long,
Thou shall sing for us a song."

"O, thank thee for thy courtesy,
And of thy offer I'll make free."
So saying did the Minstrel feast,
On meat and bread and ale best.

And when the meal was gone betide,
The Minstrel to the Handmaid's side
Did hasten with his lyre in hand
And made as if to play full grand.

"O, sir, have mercy now to me,"
That Handmaid spoke to him so free.
"For though this be my vowing-day,
My heart now wanders far away."

"No love song play, nor joyous chord,
For I detest this heartless lord.
My matesprit true would play to me,
For hours 'neath our trysting-tree."

"O, if your love has blood of brown
And horns so wide they bear him down,
Then fear you not what I shall play,
But ready make to steal away!"

Then struck he up a lullaby,
The Handmaid joined him, sweet and high,
And all around the guests did fall;
Till none were waking in that hall.

And as the Governor did sleep,
Out of that hall the two did creep.
Until they came them to the yard
Where men-at-arms saw fit to guard.

"Hold there! Hold there!" the guardsmen cried.
The Minstrel threw his cloak aside!
And with a cry did battle join
With curved blades drawn to heads purloin.

And from the road beyond the wall,
Did Greyhood's outlaws hear the call!
All swarming in they joined the fray,
And to their master carved a way.

With such a fearsome strength they fought,
That cheap the guardsmen's lives they bought.
And fiercest of the outlaws' band,
Was Greyhood with his blade in hand.

O, they were bold that shadow'd night!
The ground was stained with blood so bright!
'Til Minstrel, Maid, and good Outcaste,
Amongst the trees were safe at last.

"Now see, your love is safe and true,"
Said Greyhood to that pair anew.
"And if a sanctuary you seek,
Then as my own I shall ye keep."

"O, thine own would fain I be,
My only wish thou granted me."
And so they joined them with Greyhood,
To merry dwell in scarlet wood.

Annalist's Notes

This ballad only belongs amongst the tales of the Outcaste by custom and habit. To any scholar of ancient songs the similarities between this and Bullsong And The Handmaid Fair, a ballad of the Crusader cycle, are unmistakeable. In the Crusader tale, Bullstrong (or the Minstrel) rescues his lady love himself, and in so doing eventually brings both himself, his matesprit, and Darkleer into the Crusader Circle. This borrowing of story makes it clear where the Outcaste's sudden and never-repeated singing skills have arisen.

This is not to say that the alterations to the song do not contain a ring of truth. Certainly the historical Darkleer knew the Outcaste personally, although this was long after his Crusader days and seemed to be in a more amicable manner than this ballad would suggest. There are also themes in common with other Outcaste ballads; the ruse of disguise, for example, is one oft employed by our hero to great success, and the fighting retreat is a new addition not dissimilar from that seen in The Making of an Outcaste.

Chapter Text

The woods they are merry
Now dark season is done;
The bitter storms ended,
The nights sweet and long.

The Outcaste Greyhood
Slept him under a thorn
'Til the call of a nutbeast
Awoke him anon.

“What call there now wakes me?”
The outlaw did cry.
“That nutbeast has saved me;
Else I fear I should die.”

“I dream'd of a flame,
Burned me bright like a brand
And a bard of the mask;
I lay slain by his hand.”

“It was but a dream
That has fear'd my rest.
But I yet hold it sooth;
So shall put it to test.”

“Oh, gang with me, Twinglow,
Lest yet I dream true.”
“Nay, I'll not gang with thou;
One fool plenty shall do.”

Greyhood did rise him
In a fury full bright;
“A fool thou may call me,
But we shall see which is right.”

Thus did the Outcaste
Alone make his way
Seeking the spectre
That had haunted his day.

There in the forest,
At the fork of the path,
Greyhood saw a stranger
And hailed him in wrath.

“Ho! Who now goes there?
This forest I claim!
And all who here wander
Must pay tithe to my name!”

“I'll pay thou not nothing,
'Less thy sins thou recant.”
So saying the stranger
Proved he was Penitent.

In rich bloody colour
His robe bright was dyed.
It was both mirth and murder
Shone out from his eyes.

All 'round from his horns,
He wore fear to his breast;
A priest of his Order
Was rare seen in West.

An oath swore him Greyhood;
“It seems I dream'd true!
Yet faced with this stranger,
Is naught else I can do.”

“The law here is mine,
To the edge of the wood.
Thou shall pay me in coin
Or shall pay me in blood!”

The Penitent laughed,
His laugh hearty with dread.
“My foolish young outlaw,
I shall soon see thee dead.”

“To pay I choose blood,
For if thou would shed mine,
I like well my chances,
That I should see thine.”

Leapt he forth boldly,
A club in his hand.
It struck on the roadway
And shattered the land.

Greyhood with his sickle
Returned the attack;
His blade broke a tree-trunk,
With a thund'rous crack.

Each blow that was struck,
The other would slip.
Ne'er before in his sweeps
Had each fought one so quick.

For hours they battled,
'Til the sky was fair pale.
Yet neither would falter
And neither would fail.

“This Outcaste is fierce!”
The Penitent cried.
“O, 'twould be great pity
The day that he died!”

Then with a wild howl
His true power let fly;
Unleashed he bright terrors
To take to the sky.

Then with a blow mighty
Greyhood's skull did he crack.
The Outcaste he tumbled
And fell flat on his back.

Where from his hornbed
Did Greyhood's blood run;
And when that he saw it,
Did the Penitent stun.

“Ne'er thought I to see this,”
Was the Penitent's vow.
“My oath, I'll preserve it,
And him also, for now.”

On Greyhood's sickle,
He scored him his hand.
“Here is your tithe fee,
For crossing your land.”

With blood he did paint him
Then busked him anon.
And left Greyhood waiting
To burn 'neath the sun.

'Til just before dawn,
Did good Twinglow come by.
“Oh, foolish master,
We see right then am I.”

“Ne'er did I tell you
Thy dream was not sooth.
A warning not heeded
Is a curse then, in truth.”

The two did return
To their home in the wood.
And e'er after Greyhood
Of his dreams had much good.

Annalist's Notes

One of the oldest known Outcaste Ballads, this tale is notable for the supernatural tone. Mystical overtones were not uncommon in ballads of the time, going hand in hand with the numerous cults and religions that were later subsumed into Imperial Culture. Earlier storytellers preferred overt magical demonstrations, but by the time of the early Empire it was considered preferable to maintain plausibility through more subtle references.

As for the Penitent, his appearance as an antagonist is of great interest to students of the period. While later iterations of the tale prefer to cast the instigators of the Great Western Rebellion as the primary villains for the Outcaste to stand against, surviving ballads from closer to the time show a bitter, almost romantic rivalry between the Outcaste and this mysterious priest of the Mirthful Cult. Some Annalists claim this as evidence of the Cult's presence and involvement in the Rebellion, but to most it is seen as sufficient that it was they who held Her Courteous Benefaction captive. To create a Penitent to cast as the villain seems historically plausible, if disappointing narratively.

Chapter Text

1st Fit
It is fair and merry times
To walk the Scarlet Wood;
Let us then tell a good fair tale
Of the Outcaste Greyhood.

Greyhood went out a-hunting,
All among the scarlet leaves
And by his side good Twinglow
Did gang him through the trees.

“A fine and merry day is this,”
Did Greyhood speak he thus.
“And yet no antlerbeast I spy
To be the game of us.”

“Tread thee lighter, master,”
Did Twinglow speak he then.
“Heavy is your foot aground;
It sets the game to run.”

Wroth then waxéd Greyhood:
“Good Twinglow, trap your tongue.
Methinks it hides a midden
And the night is still fair young.”

Wroth then waxéd Twinglow:
“Fair Gryhood, ware your words.
For were our air comparéd
Would not mine that stank of turds.”

“False and faithless traitor!”
Cried he Greyhood in his rage.
“Fickle, foolish master!”
Twinglow then to him repaid.

“If this is how thou pay me,
Of thy coin I'll have no part.”
So saying then did Twinglow
By the seaward road depart.

Still he in high temper
Did good Greyhood then retreat.
Along the shadow'd forest road
The Outcaste bore his feet.

A ways he went in fury
And in silence further still
Until fair Greyhood came to stand
Upon a lonesome hill.

“O, fool I am, and fickle,
With my greatest friend to fight.
By She who rules us all in grace,
I pray yet to make this right.”

So saying Greyhood turnéd,
But was held about his path.
Upon the road behind him
Stood a foe of mickle wrath.

A Penitent there travelled,
With his mirthful faire crowd.
Full eight and forty of his kin
Did join their master proud.

In motley paint arrayed them
This bright and bloody horde.
In thorn did Greyhood hide him
As they dancéd him toward.

But there a pointed thistle
Did prick the Outcaste's thumb;
Greyhood when he felt it
Did let forth a great “Ohon!”

“Hold!” he spoke the Penitent,
“For this I needs must see.
Ne'er in all my sweeps have I
To meet a talking tree.”

At this did Greyhood reckon
That his hiding place was gone.
So drew he then his sickle
And leapt forth to fight anon.

His first blow felled he two foes,
And his second felled three more.
With his third did four go tumbling
To lie still upon the floor.

But from his thumb did blood well;
In the Scarlet Wood shone bright.
The Penitent he saw it
And cried out with great delight.

“O, here we have a rare sight,
For throughout this Scarlet Wood
No blade nor claw nor beating
Could break skin on this Greyhood.”

He swung his club before him
And the blow fell mickle strong
So Greyhood thus was winded
And did fall afore too long.

But let our song now leave him
As his foes shall soon him bind;
And take us to the seaward road
Good Twinglow there to find.

To Freedom Bay he travelled
All in a blackened mein.
But as he came upon the gates
That psion cursed his name.

“O, false I prove, and faithless,
With my greatest friend to part.
By She who rules us all in grace,
I pray yet to prove my heart.”

So saying Twinglow turnéd,
But was held upon his way.
Eight and forty stood before him
Strong Enforcers of the Bay.

The Overseer with them
Did declare in great delight:
“Now, Twinglow, thou art captured
And must bow before my might!”

“I'll not bow down before thee,”
Boasted Twinglow to that band.
“Before that I am captured,
Thou shalt perish by my hand!”

So saying did the psion
With his powers make affray.
And send twelve Enforcers scattered
To the walls of Fortune Bay.

Many arrows were they looséd,
Many blades were they then drawn,
But not a one could touch him
As he called to him a storm.

Until the Overseer's eye
Was lit by light within,
And forth her will and mind she sent
His will and mind to win.

Then to his knees fell Twinglow,
As around his powers fade.
The Overseer was joyous
At the victory she made.

“Now Twinglow is my captive,
And his master soon shall fall.
O! Bless'd am I this happy day
By She who rules us all.”

2nd Fit
In Fortune Bay proclaiméd
Is the capture of Greyhood.
And likewise that of Twinglow
His companion in the wood.

And all amongst the highbloods
There is mickle revelry.
While all the lowbloods sorrow
For their heroes wild and free.

Far and wide the word did travel
With the wicked and the good.
Until that word arrivéd
In the heart of Scarlet Wood.

And when that they had heard it,
All the outlaws did despair.
And went to beating of their breast
And tearing of their hair.

Wise Redglare saw their grieving,
And did drub them mightily.
“O cease you all this wailing
For our fellows shall I free.”

“The Emissary from the East
Is come to Fortune Bay.
With his aid unsuspecting
I shall open up the way.”

“Take ye all the seaward road
And hide ye on the path.
And when ye hear my voice to call
Then show our foes your wrath.”

“Fight as ye are able,
'Til you see me join the fray.
Then fast as you can make it
You must each then fade away.”

O, Redglare she is gone now
And will take the seaward road.
And there in garb of Vigilant
She waits upon a stone.

Until there pass'd beneath her
The Emissary's train.
Then Redglare lets a holler
And the outlaws rise anon.

The battle raged full fierce
Twixt the outlaws and the guard.
Then from her rock leapt Redglare
And the fight she joined full hard.

But not against the guardsmen!
No, the outlaws she did fight.
And when they saw her face
They fled as if afright.

“Pray, who are you, good stranger?”
Spoke the Emissary thus.
“Were not for you, it is my fear
They'd have the best of us.”

“I am a wand'ring Vigilant,”
Was Redglare's swift reply.
“And oft it is my pleasure
To make such outlaws fly.”

“O, come with me, good stranger,
As I haste to Fortune Bay.
A Vigilant to guard me
Shall me keep upon my way.”

“Then I shall with thee travel,
As I seek to do the right.
By thine side I chance to think
Some villains for to fight.”

So with aid unsuspecting
Did wise Redglare then proceed.
And pass the gates of Fortune Bay
With fair and mickle speed.

There within the streets about
The people made great cry,
How Twinglow and Greyhood both
Were soon condemned to die.

“What is this they cry here?”
Spoke she Redglare to her host.
“I would hear of this Outcaste
Who for sweeps hath plagued this coast.”

“Greyhood has been captured,
By my ally from the East.
Likewise his comrade Twinglow
My Overseer did defeat.”

“Death is the only sentence
For the crimes they did commit;
And I am here to witness
That their end is mete and fit.”

“How then are they sentenced?”
Spoke she Redglare then anon.
“To hang on gallows, fed to beasts,
Or staked out for the sun?”

“O, they'll not hang on gallows,
Nor be fed to hunger'd beasts,
Nor staked out in the sunlight,
To be burned in daytime heat.”

“Of two such famous villains
Public revels must we make.
Before the people gathered
Will these outlaws meet their fate.”

“My allies both are psions,
And can trick unwary minds.
One shall not command his body;
One his greatest foe shall find.”

“So shall they duel together,
Until only one survives.
Then a hundred arrows
Shall await him as a prize.”

“A cunning plan!” cried Redglare,
“O, a cunning plan, in sooth!
A more fitting end for villains
Could not exist, in truth!”

They came them to the feast hall,
And a merry time was had.
With meat and mead and ale and wine,
The party was full glad.

And when that they had eaten,
And had gone to sleep anon,
Redglare from her bed did creep
And all the day was gone.

First the Overseer she sought,
And then the Penitent,
Leaving in their cups a draught
That they would soon repent.

“Now see we shall whose friendship
Can be said to be the best.
Never was it wisdom thought,
A Vigilant to test.”

3rd Fit
In icy cell beneath the hold
Did Greyhood make lament.
“Of my quarrel with good Twinglow
Fain would I now repent.”

“For chains now bind me hereabout,
And when the moon arise,
I shall be taken to my death
And my good friend likewise!”

To his cell Enforcers six
Did come to bring him forth.
And in his fury did Greyhood
Do harm with all his worth.

One he struck atop the horns,
And cracked his skull in two;
One he chokéd with his chains
Before they brought him through.

In the courtyard of the hold
A tourney ring was made.
Within the pit was Greyhood toss'd,
And after him his blade.

“Since thou have choose to arm me,
Then thy choice thou soon shall rue!”
So saying then did Greyhood
Raise his sickle so to do.

But as he look'd about him,
He beheld the Penitent.
And fell he then a captive
To the power foul he sent.

Greyhood's vision was then clouded;
All was fell within his sight,
So that when Twinglow entered
Greyhood saw him not aright.

“I shall slay thou, vicious beast,”
Did Greyhood speak he thus.
No speech returnéd Twinglow,
Though he dearly wish'd for such.

For to the Overseer,
Was good Twinglow held in thrall.
And though he saw full clearly
He could not so much as call.

With a roar did Twinglow
Set his master fit to fly!
That Greyhood landed him so hard
He thought that he might die.

Then Greyhood dealt him Twinglow
A blow so swift and strong,
That yellow blood came pouring
To the ground afore too long.

“I find this game fair sporting,”
Spoke the Emissary then.
“Whichever wins the both lose,
And I am victor then.”

But as the pair did battle,
And onto the ground were bled,
Both Penitent and Overseer
Did clutch them at their head.

And Twinglow gained his body
As Greyhood gained his sight.
“Now what is this I see here?
With my friend they have me fight!”

“O, ne'er of my own wishing
Would my blade have done such ill.
Good Twinglow, pray forgive me,
For this act is bitter still.”

“O, swift shall I forgive thee,
If the same boon thou bestow.
Let us as one together
Turn our strength upon the foe.”

Rose he the Emissary
And let out enragéd cry.
“O! Treason hath released them!
Quickly, guards, to my side hie!”

“Thou think then to attack me?”
Cried the Overseer then.
“Come to me, Enforcers!
We shall have the best of them!”

“Now this game is full fitting!”
Cried the Penitent in glee.
“Come, my kin, to battle!
Come to fight alongside me!”

They fell upon each other,
As they each did loud decry
That their allies had betray'd them
And therefore would see them die.

To Greyhood and to Twinglow
Came then as guard disguised
Good Redglare, who released them
From the chains that did them bind.

“Now haste with me, good friends both,
And we three shall soon away,
And back shall be in Scarlet Wood
Before the fall of day.”

They fled them to the gateway,
But the porter barred their path.
Wise Redglare she did slay him
And took up his wooden staff.

Through Fortune Bay they travell'd,
And slew all who would them hold.
Enforcer, guard, or Mirthful
All lay dead upon the road.

Until they had retreated
All into the Scarlet Wood.
There did all his outlaws
Greet their master, fair Greyhood.

“O, hail me not as hero,
For the fool's role have I played.
Your champion here is Redglare,
Who from death us both has saved.”

Annalist's Notes

The role of the Vigilant in the Outcaste ballads has over time varied. In more modern interpretations, she often takes the role of Auspice to the quarrelling Outcaste and Marauder, a position that may well be supported by this ballad. Yet other ballads indicate a very different relationship between her and the Outcaste, the oldest known of which is The Outcaste's Heart.

Whatever the interpretation, she frequently takes the role of the level-headed planner to the Outcaste's more passionate heroism and the Marauder's raw power. This ballad is a particularly powerful example, and curiously for the Outcaste Ballads seems to contain a moral about the importance of friendship. This suggests the hand of an Imperial Minstrel in the arrangement, but from the general brutality of the storyline it would seem to be adapted from an earlier source. A fragment of that source is perhaps preserved in a fragmented scroll stored in the brood caverns at Fountainhead, discovered by Annalist Rittan during her research into the history of the jade-blood caste.

“And So The Furiends Purr Made To Fight
By Claws Of Psions' Unseen Might”

The mysterious author of this older work remains unknown, but the scribe seems to have been an early member of the jade caste, as they are literate and educated, but lacking in the forms and ritual decorations that came later to such works.