Tales of Dark Folkwise

Eloi had traveled through most of the lands occupied by man, and every place he had been had their own local folkwise. Most of these ventured into dark territory, often literally.There was always that one hill that people didn’t go up after dark. There was always some place that was colder than the lands around it. There was always something that lived in the woods that there were customs on how to avoid. These were tales on the dangers that existed and how to avoid or at least mitigate them.

In Capacionne, there was no exception. Travellers hurried past crossroads at night and knew that if you were addressed by somebody familiar that called you to wait in the middle, it was not them. The traveller would apologise and continue forward and wait till what was considered a safe distance away to see if they were still being addressed. Above all, when experiencing something unknown or possibly supernatural, it was important to be polite and pretend nothing was out of the normal. Then, never to speak of it again to anybody except perhaps you priest. To talk about such things publically was ….unwise. Similarly, farmers, gardners, and even woodsmen would address the plants they were to cut or disturb, either to apologize or thank them. A lack of respect never gained any friends and a kind or flattering word might put an enemy off just long enough to escape.

Rogalia was a nation that still had respect for the night. The vampire lords were gone, but many of their servants still exist. Never go into the woods at night to investigate the strange lights. If you live away from a town or village, you don’t look out of the windows into the dark. Just don’t. Even if there are strange noises, you might think it is animals, but it’s not. If you have to investigate, go to the door and open it boldly with a lantern and weapon in hand. Whatever it is seems not too keen on being confronted. They flee, …usually. People know that there are packs of wolves that will hunt lone travelers which not only are able to speak but will know the traveller’s name. Do not run or they will sense weakness and tear you apart. Do not listen, because their words are more dangerous than their claws. Sometimes eyes will peer out of the woods. Not the eyes of an animal reflecting a lantern’s light, but those that glow like hot coals of a dying fire. It is best that you make it to a spot with light and other people, as if you keep watching for them, they will be moving closer to you when you are not looking at them.

Dunland is no different. As it gets late in the pubs, and the Rogalians are gone and it is nothing but locals, you can hear things only spoken in whispers. There’s a road through the woods that you do not take, even in the day. There is that cold feeling you get in that one place. There is a deep understanding that something exists out in the moors that is older than man, that doesn’t care about us particularly, but is more than willing to kick us in the slats as let us pass unmolested. Those that are more drunk will tell of things that stand like a man but run on all fours, at least till they figure they have spoken too much and will refuse to talk any more. Every pub has their own methods of avoiding trouble if one must venture into the moors at night. Most involve some form of tribute or distractions such as beer poured into a hole dug in the ground or an offering of small cakes left on a rock, but these are all closely guarded secrets. Many Rennets disappear in Dunland and not as many are due to the Dunns as the Rogalians think.

The Shariqyn have their own stable of tales of monsters that inhabit the desert and the night. Witches with tangled hair that will steal children that wander away from a caravan or perhaps cause a man to wander away from his camp and deeper into the desert. Ghosts that demand hospitality. Birds that will mimic the whistling of a nightguard, and even other sounds including speech. Caves filled with treasure that will curse anyone that takes some. So many there could be books filled with such tales. Most of these seem like the standard assortment of cautionary and morality tales told to children. Then you see the fear of a mother who can’t find their child at night, or how the old men will grow quiet and alert when they hear and owl far from any trees.

Gotha, the seat of the Throne, has their own tales and customs. The woods are dark and ancient and filled with things that are also dark and ancient. When traveling through deep woods, make sure to keep track of everybody in the group and know them all by face. It’s a game to them and they like to insert themselves into the group and just observe before they strike. It’s said that the dower demeanor of the Gothic is because there are Things that laughter summons best not met. Even in Holy Lethia, there are cellar doors that are always locked from sundown to sunrise, rooms that shouldn’t be entered, and alleys to be avoided. These are always done on the orders of a priest, or so people say.

The Hestrali have their own collection of wisdom that seems to deal mostly with lovers or eating and drinking. If you have been pursuing a person who has rebuffed your advances, yet you meet them alone at night by the sea wanting to swim, just don’t. It’s not them. When serving meals at a table, never have an empty seat. Invite somebody, put something in it, or just move the chair. An empty seat is an invitation. So is a full glass nobody has claimed.

The Njords know that no matter which god you worship, you do not bother the large stone in the middle of the field or that old tree. If you do, bad things will happen as the fea and elves still have their places of power. There is always some idiot that will decide to chop down THAT tree, and you will see the bravest warrior decide they should not be a part of what is going on. Older njords will just say “Those poor fuckers. They’re doomed.” In some of the farming villages built recently, an important person will have some rock that was cleared away dug back up from the rubbish pile and put back in place. The most impossible things have been happening to sabotage the village production, and only replacing the rock makes things return to normal.

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