I woke up early to the sound of pouring rain. A hint of thunder in the distance echoed as the wind whipped about my home. I had yet to fix the holes in my roof which were now filled with streams of water that dripped and flowed into my home making pools on wood and earthen flooring alike. One only has so many pots and cups to collect the drops, and the maddening sound of drops ringing constantly at their own pace for me is never worth the trouble.
I rolled up my sleeves and dug what small pits and troughs I could with the tools I had at hand. I did not aim to collect the water to throw away later, but rather guide it to a wall and outside of my home. The water flowed quietly back outside, by great fortune none of those drops or flows had touched my bedding so I returned to take some sleep.
But sleep would not be taken and remained out of my grasp. And having no idea how long it would be for the dawn to come, I lay there hearing noises. There are always noises in this valley, even on the most still of nights. Through howling wind and relentless rain both whispers and crashes as loud as a landslide pierce the natural world with their sound which shakes all.
They used to fight in this place, kingdoms, tribes and demigods. It once echoed with screams of rage and angony, of whistling arrows and clashing swords, of marching and crashing shields. But now this place is silent save for ancient noise. I dare not ever look outside, let alone leave my home at night. Nor would I ever open my door or even listen to what I heard.
I have heard screams that do not fit with the weather or other noise. Like a wandering soul who lost their way, drawn to my home and candle light as a moth is drawn to the flame. But this place is not to be traveled in any place of shadow. Not in the shadows cast by the night, nor that of trees and mountains. In those shadows lives a wind which carries ever more whispers, one which extinguishes even the brightest torch.
The legends say they wander here at night, and at times through darkened days. As long as I stay inside at night and keep my candle lit, I know I will be left alone. For I tend the ground in which they rest and remain silent myself. Perhaps they want to tell their tales and want someone to hear, and a scream is heard as a call of war which ignores and silences their words.
They are the old ones to which I tend. Every day and night I am here for them whether they are aware or no. And in the world that can be seen, I sit alone here at night. Just me and a single candle’s flame, the only light on nights like these. There are ways into this valley but none which let one leave. For they are covered too in shadow and they wish not to lose their audience.
I find lost travelers now and then and let them wander about the fields. They never make it through the night and I find them come the dawn. So long I have wished to leave but the paths make me unable. It is the only way to find some fat to make my candles. As here I sit at night alone, just me here and my lit candle. The only light which can be seen here, drawing the lost through whispers like moths to the flame.