Friday, January 2, 2015

The Beloved Servant: A Tale of the Jale God

The Beloved Servant: A Tale of the Jale God

There is a story now freely told concerning something that once visited a particular cemetery of a well-known kingdom.

The story is that one day, early in the pre-dawn hours, a groundskeeper named Karst (employed to keep rabble from sleeping on graves and desecrating monuments) and his friend, a member of the city guard, were surprised in the midst of their nightly banter by a tall, wan figure spider-crawling down a wall and landing close beside them. This figure darted along the path toward the heart of the cemetery towards a grave that has long been rumored to be that of a favored servant of the Jale God. As it ran, the figure made a clackling sound, like a horse with a loose shoe covering rough ground.

Too terrified to watch or follow this figure, Karst and his friend fled, not stopping until they were some distance away. Karst refused to return to his post, but his friend, being of the guard and full of bravado, went back to where the figure had appeared to them. He returned carrying a small cloth which in look and substance was like a damp cobweb. The men brought this item to the village elders, who in council examined it.

As the elders poked and prodded the cloth, it suddenly swelled in size and shape and engulfed the room in thick choking strands like smoke; the groundskeeper and his friends escaped at the last moment by jumping out of a window. Screams and thrashing could be heard from inside the meeting room, drawing curious townspeople from nearby buildings.

Once the sounds stopped, the groundskeeper and his friend looked in the window from which they had escaped. There, in the center of the room, surrounded by the mangled bodies of the village elders, was the gravestone of the Jale God's beloved servant.

The guardsman died the next day, his hands covered in putrid boils and his tongue rotted in his mouth. The groundskeeper escaped reprisal and became a drunkard and was the first teller of this tale, repeating its performance for a half-copper of rotgut ale.