“What Lingers in the Darkness” – A Poem from the World of El Tor

The Holy City of Torium, the new seat of the Torian Council, was founded upon the ruins of an ancient city, something it shares with most of the settlements centered around the land mass known as Caelon. Torium lies across Lago Nero, the enormous lake on the east side of the main peninsula where civilization thrives. To the east of Torium, no major ruins suitable for re-establishment have been discovered, thus making Torium among the furthest reaches of modern mankind.

Since not much is known about the wilderness east of Torium, locals have taken the opportunity to create their own myths and urban legends about what lies to the east. Some claim that demons from the Third Age still roam there, undefeated by the crusade of the First Son. Others claim that phantoms of the men and women who lived before still haunt the lands, forbidding travelers from discovering their secrets. Fueled by the fact that there are no current efforts to claim the enormous wilderness, the mystique of the unknown has proven wildly popular as a topic of discussion among the citizens of Torium.

The stories became popular, even outside of Torium, when Tulin Emaeas, a student of Professor Recamundus at the Academy, created this poem which circulated as far west as Central Caelon.

What Lingers in the Darkness
Captured by the evening light, the dim luminescence,
My eyes, perhaps playing tricks on me, see something lurking.
In an instant it is gone, yet I still feel its presence.
I question all my senses, whether they are still working.
The stillness of the scenery taunts me and I wonder
Whether my vision or my thoughts were the cause of all this,
This uncertainty and doubt that has torn me asunder,
And I wait now for to see what lingers in the darkness.

All my nerves tingle as they are denied validation.
The sun’s last dying embers will soon be gone for the day,
As shadows creep closer to begin their conversation.
And the sweat on my hands tells me it’s better not to stay.
The stillness of my body tells me I’m a captive man.
Struck dumb by the silence, I let my hands ball into fists,
As if my alertness alone could help me make a stand
Against an evil thing as what lingers in the darkness.

The sunlight’s presence is gone now, and I now stand alone.
Nothing remains to be seen as much as I focus now.
Whatever it was never expected me to atone
With the fact that I saw it, which it should not have allowed.
The stillness of my arms locking up threatens my resolve
As I stand in the void and test my sword for its sharpness.
The night’s stars judge my inaction as my courage dissolves;
Though I saw only briefly what lingers in the darkness.

Tulin Emaeas

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