This is part one of a two part story of the Ferciúin, or ‘the quiet man’ which begins here.
It happens in the days before, the fear grows of things which lay around every corner. The name, the house, the pedigree matters not to the quiet man. This child of noble Orten blood knows it now, as he moves about his ancestral home. He feels it coming closer, in the darkness and the light, whether inside or out, in sunshine or in rain, there is no difference. That feeling of a breath on the back of his neck causing a shiver down his spine as hairs raise on neck and arms and dread fills the air around and every thought which races through his mind.
There is no shape to see in dark or light, no smell or sound to justify the fear that builds and the dread terror which remains. There is no crowd large enough to dissipate the loneliness and isolation, as the words of others begin to quieten no matter how loudly they are spoken. The Ferciúin comes as the faces of others begin to fade into a mess of unknown features and every act appears as a grasping hand racing to the quiet man’s quarry.
The child of noble Orten blood learned quickly that there is no escape from the growing terror which lingered in his heart and mind, as the market square seemed dark and devoid of sound and faces even in the busiest of times. Only echoes of music remained whenever it was around. An incoherent tune that to all others would be familiar, but even the most known of songs became a jumble of high and low pitched squeaks that dragged on longer and slower than would be natural.
As so many before him though, the child of noble Orten blood would learn that music can provide the only relief that he could know now. Running through musicians in the public square, he hit a violin on its lowest string, and suddenly the world became clear.. For a moment. Faces returned to their correct features and the light returned to the world. Voices were understandable again and no longer a mumble in the silence, but this change quickly returned.
As the faces about him returned to their deformed darkness and the voices began again to disappear, the child of noble blood scrambled to repeat his actions, desperate to make the change stop. And striking the string of the violin again, it did. Once again for a moment. Each few seconds he would pluck that single string again to drive that void away, but every time it would return. It mattered not if another played the string for him, he would do it himself. And terrified for it to stop, he plucked that violin string as he ran with the violin, having nothing with which to trade for the instrument which was not for sale.
Still the fear lingered and surrounded him. The Ferciúin allowing only the mercy of a moment with the pluck of that single string, but the Ferciúin cannot be appeased or halted save perhaps for the ancient god who was called for honor and the Arcane. The noble child plucked that single string and ran. Through the woods and foothills he went, hoping to chase away the terror with the single note from the violin and somehow escape that feeling’s return. But it came after him.
The quiet man followed, the fear he brought to surround the young noble ceasing for that moment of a playing note. But soon the fear of the quiet man would only be replaced for fear of the terror returning, and as the noble child found a small cave to hide in, he built up a wall in the entrance to stop any and all things entering. So great was the fear of that feeling between the notes being played that he cared not for the snakes or bears which might linger in the cave, or the darkness which surrounded him, the only fear was that of silence, where that single note did not fill the air.
He played that note in the darkness of that cave, alone in a cave far from anyone he knew. He played that one note time and time again as tears of terror covered his face and exhaustion filled his every fiber. The Ferciúin came and the noble child could not continue to play forever. His fingers trembled as he played in the darkness, hitting the wrong string now and then and panicking to play the only string that brought comfort from the Ferciúin, but not from the terror.
In the darkness he sat alone, his body drifting off to sleep, though his heart and mind remained locked in terrified alertness. That single string echoed off into the darkness of that cave as the Ferciúin continued on. He would not be held back by walls or motes, not mountains or raging rivers. The Ferciúin gave only a small mercy, the plucking of the lowest open note for a moment’s comfort. But in the end he always comes. The quiet man will take those who subvert their own blood.