Reference:Atrus, Channelwood journal
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I have called this age Channelwood and it is a very different world. Though it is exactly how I imagined it, it is still amazing to see it with my own eyes. Water covers this age as far as I can see except for a small rocky island. Elsewhere, there are only trees, which grow directly out of the water. A myriad of this wooden passageways are built just above the water and disappear into the forest. I assume they were built some time ago for they appear aged. I am eager to discover more about this land and its people, but I have arrived here late and I must rest.
-- I was awakened this morning by strange noises coming from a pathway adjacent to the one on which I had slept. I saw a group of monkey-like people heading in my direction. They had not seen me yet. I did not feel threatened by their presence.
Their response to me was one that I would have never expected. After staring at me for a short time, they fell to their knees and began what appeared to be some sort of ceremonial worship. I tried to speak to them, but they did not understand my language. Instead, they indicated through enthusiastic hand motions that I was to follow them.
As we walked, I began to notice that the waters below us were changing colors. Slowly, subtly, they would change from deep blue to muddy orange. Then from muddy orange to beautifully clear. I was so intrigued by the water I hardly noticed that we had arrived at a ladder.
Climbing the ladder led us to their village, which is about 10 meters above the water and can only be reached by rope ladders that stretch from the lower paths to the village level approximately half way up the grand trees. It is very interesting watching these people carry out their daily tasks. Even after watching them for hours, I did not understand exactly what they were doing.
At sunset they motioned for me to follow them. I followed the creatures to the doorway of an enormous hut. Strangely, once inside, I found that the hut appeared even larger than it had from outside. The walls were garnished with bright metals and in the center of the hut sat the leader of these people.
At least he appeared to be their leader, for he sat a meter off the floor in a thick throne. Guards surrounded the strong creature who was dressed in many exotic, colorful fabrics.
Next to the leader sat a very old human, at least to some extent he appears human. His hair, which was only on his face and head, was completely gray, almost white, and hung very long around his frail body. His thin head hung limply by an almost grotesque neck that could not hold its head up to look at me. But what a surprise, this creature could speak my language. Shortly thereafter I was given a bed with some hand motions that looked to be telling me to go to sleep. I look forward to learning more.
-- As I expected, the ancient creature is a human. But he is old beyond his own reconing, and seems almost insane. However, the tree-dwellers almost revere him as a god.
They are treating me now in the same fashion, which makes me feel very uncomfortable.
It is almost impossible to understand this old man. His voice is feeble but wild. He has adopted much of the language of the tree-dwellers. He himself told me he had not spoken our own tongue in ages.
He attempted to explain to me the history of this place. The following is by best "translation" of what he has told me:
-- Many years ago the humans and tree-dwellers lived together in this place, which was then a vast island. They interacted very little; the humans dwelt on the ground and the tree-dwellers lived high above the humans.
Occasionally the island was disturbed by mysterious rumblings which happened randomly (some sort of tectonic or volcanic action, I suspect.)
The sometimes slight, sometimes heavy, tremors would only last a short time. Then they would stop, allowing everything to return to normal.
One day things changed. The rumbling began and grew quickly to unprecedented levels. Soon it became apparent that the entire island was sinking slowly into the ocean around them. Many of the humans died that day, but not before sacrificing themselves in order to stop the sinking of the island. The humans who lived through this catastrophe moved into the trees where they gradually died out, maybe because they were unequipped for such an environment, but I am not sure.
This is the story the old man communicated to me, although many details are very unclear in my mind. I am especially confused as to how the humans saved the island from completely sinking. In fact I doubt the accuracy of that part of the story; the island must have stopped on its own. Yet, the old man believes in the truth of this story as if he had been there. And the tree-dwellers worship him, and aparently all humans, as if
he they were heroes or gods.
The old man ended our conversation today with an event which I will never forget. He began gripping my hands tightly, murmuring something about "rest" and "asleep." He then said, "We had expected you to come sooner." These actions filled me with a sort of immediate dread. With much effort, he stood to his feet. I tried to help but he pushed me away with more force than I imagined his frail body contained. The tree-dwellers quietly surrounded him with very solemn faces. They then kneeled before him. He walked to each and placed his hand on their heads. All the while, he murmured words which I did not understand. Finally, he turned to me and smiled. Then he closed his eyes, and walked out the door and off of the narrow path high in the trees. The tree-dwellers were silent. They began a procession down the nearest rope ladder. As I was descending I saw several of them pick up the body (he had fallen onto a lower level of walkway) and carried it away. He was lain down at the dead-end of a short pier-like structure. With the use of some potion one of the tree creatures lit the pier on fire and I watched as the flames engulfed him.
As this strange "funeral" proceeded, the waters around the pier changed to dull green.
-- This morning I awoke, finding it hard to even believe the previous evening's events. The water is a dull green for as far as I can see now. For some reason, the water no longer shifts color.
As I wander throughout the pathways, the creatures watch me, curious to see what I will do next. They are constantly offering me strange objects of affection. I even found food outside the doorway to the room in which I had slept. This is a unique race of beings. I hope to learn their language soon so that I may learn more from them.
-- I have lived on this world for three months off and on, and the tree-dwellers have shown great hospitality. I am even beginning to learn bits of their language. I have decided to return home for an extended stay with my loving wife and my sons, and, hopefully return with them. However, I am sure Catherine will once again refuse.
I think this age would be a wonderful experience for them all, and I at least look forward to how Sirrus and Achenar will react to its curious inhabitants.
-- Catherine is staying behind, as expected. My sons have returned with me and they enjoy this age very much. They get along very well with the tree-dwellers and are picking up their language surprisingly fast. I have no doubt that it will not be too long until they can speak with the tree-dwellers much better than myself.
-- I am leaving tomorrow to check on Osmoian Age. Sirrus has suggested that I allow him and his brother to stay. Though the idea unsettles me, I know the boys are growing up rapidly. The hospitality of these creatures is such that I could think of no better place to leave them alone for a short while, so I will consent to their request.
I warned the boys not to take advantage of the respect the tree-dwellers have for their ideas. They seemed to understand my warning, and I have faith they will follow it.
-- Much to my dismay, upon arriving in Everdunes I learned that Pran and her people are continuing to be menaced by the Chochtic. I fear for their survival and plan on returning to her shortly after checking on Sirrus and Achenar here. (See Everdunes journal for more information.) After watching Sirrus and Achenar, I see that they are handling things very well, and I think I can put to rest any fears about leaving them in Channelwood again, and for a little longer time.
-- The tree-dwellers seem slightly distressed that I am leaving, but are happy that Sirrus and Achenar are staying behind again.
-- I have been gone for over 3 days and have been to many different places. I had to tell Sirrus and Achenar about Pran's death today, and they were visibly shaken, although they only remembered her from their childhood. Caterine has suggested that it would be wise for Sirrus and Achenar to leave Channelwood for a while, and I have to agree. They will be retuning with me when I leave again.
-- I have told my sons that they will be returning with me in two days. They spent the entire night telling me of an adventure they experienced in my absence and it was rather remarkable. It seems they constructed a boat with the creatures and traveled some ways out into the surrounding waters. I enjoy hearing them talk excitedly of their adventures and am reminded of my own adventures as a child.
-- I finally understand why the tree-dwellers have been giving me their many inks and insisting I write with them. Looking through some of my past entries I see now that the inks have changed from the black, I thought they were, to various different colors. I have shown some of the creatures my journal and they laughed and howled. I did not know they had such a sense of humor. Even now as I look through this very "colorful" journal, I cannot help but laugh myself.
-- We will be returning tomorrow, so my sons are with the creatures for the last night here. They have told me the would like to come to Channelwood again, and also asked if they can visit some other ages alone. Though I will have to think over their request, I believe they have proven to me that they are trustworthy and responsible. Catherine will also have to help me decide whether they are ready for travel alone. For now I must give my farewells to the creatures for I do not know how long it will be before I visit this age again.