“I think this world is a terrible place. We’re born in poverty, we live in misery, we die too young, and unless you’re lucky enough to have your memories encoded in an eiodolon stone, that’s it. Maybe one-tenth of one percent steps forward into the Dark and becomes Undying, but they’re a drop in the bucket.
“If you look at the history books, you see something else. The old histories, the ones squirreled away in the secure vaults of the ART next to moldering copies of “Dead Are Dead” and other examples of Prediamond literature. The Prediamond age was an era of misery and squalor, we’re taught today… as if this era weren’t one of misery and squalor. But then there were no Undying, and people believed in the Runemother and the Million Gods, they weren’t just empty platitudes like today.
“It was less than four hundred years ago. What’s four hundred years, in the great scheme of things? According to scripture, the Runemother wrote the world in seven minutes, then slept for seven million years, before waking up and enlivening the first humans and faen. Four hundred years is nothing. It’s barely a generation, as the faen reckon time. Things made four hundred years ago yet persist.
“I mean to make the world better. My sister recently gave birth for the first time; I am an uncle. I do not want her daughter to grow up in this world. I will rid us of the giants. I will make them understand.
“I will use drydeath. I will use fire, acid, thunder and thunderbolts. I will scour away the Dark heart of the Ka-Rone.
“My name is Borr Mortock, and I will save the world.”
(Letter found among Borr Mortock’s possessions, during the El-Ratir Inquest following the events of 3 Fifthmonth, 377.)
Sing the song of memory, and find mystery as well as fact. Supposition takes the place of observation, and scandal, conspiracy, and treason lurk at the edges of history.
The basic facts of the events are not in dispute. On the third of Fifthmonth, in the three hundred and seventy-seventh year of the Eternal City, the young man Borr Mortock detonated seven runecubes of drydeath at each of seven widely-separated points within Ka-Rone. He transported himself to and from these points using additional runecubes, of teleportation-magic. He then teleported to the center of the Tower of Tongues and attempted to detonate a runecube of unknown type, presumably one containing a spell he believed capable of damaging the Dark Well. This detonation spectacularly misfired, and Borr Mortock was instantly pulverized by colliding plates of telluric energy.
Casualties were relatively light. Fourteen Undying aristocrats were caught within the radius of the misfire and destroyed. Due to the precautionary wardings of Hi-Brisstle (developer of the drydeath spell and ironically one of the Undying casualities) the bulk of the Eternal City was protected from the dehydration effect; only seven thousand failed to recover from the injury. This was, however, easily the bloodiest day in the city’s history since the five hours it was besieged by the mariners of Habadad during the Diamond Isle’s dispute with that ruined land. The surviving aristos, led by anarchy and disunion (for in the days between the crises, the Undying spoke with many voices), vowed that the nation would not rest easy until the full facts of the matter were exposed to daylight.
As Mortock’s body was reduced to paste, his memories were not directly accessible to El-Ratir, the widely-respected runethane and akashic appointed to investigate Borr Mortock’s Day. Seven days and nights he fasted in his chambers, delving into the collective, swimming in the souls of the not-yet-dead. El-Ratir knew the Living Memory, knew its pools and eddys, and by skimming through the minds of the survivng eyewitnesses assembled a composite memory, reconstructing Borr Mortock’s actions and movements.
What Living Memory failed to yield, however, was any observations relating to Borr Mortock prior to his appearance at the corner of Ashdream and Wooling streets, in the Low End district of Ka-Rone. No one by the name of Borr Mortock appears in any records prior to 5/3/377; the only Mortocks found anywhere in the city were a family of servants attending Baronet Opens-the-Wall-Hiding-Understanding, mojh lexicographer (309-416), and they denied up and down having a relation named Borr.
Nor did plumbing the drifts of the river of ideas result in any revelation as to the origins of the sixteen runecubes (seven of drydeath, eight of teleportation, and one unknown spell of destruction) Borr Mortock bore. Given the properties of runecubes, this is perhaps more surprising than Borr Mortock’s anonymity. He was only a human peasant, after all.
Conspiracy theorists of the grandest stripe have eagerly sopped up these trace flecks of innuendo to assert Borr Mortock’s Day was a stage-managed assassination of one or more of the fourteen dispersed Undying darkbonds. Which party was responsible, and indeed which of the dispersed was the true target, obscured by an elaborate blind of atrocity, varies with the teller. No such theorist has ever presented anything remotely resembling compelling evidence. Barring unexpected revelation, the tragic mystery of Borr Mortock’s Day remains, growing slowly more remote and irrelevant as time passes us away from it.
— Rillian Hedminder Quallsome, loresong and akashic master of lore
SEE ALSO Drydeath, the Tower of Tongues, Living Memory (Gaps In), and Runecubes.