Blog, The Fantasy Realm

A Fantasy Realm Tale: The Blue Lune-blossom

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*The following is a transcript of a WHUS Radio FM broadcast aired on Wednesday, January 30, 2019 from 1-2 PM along with the music used to accompany the story*

THE BLUE LUNE-BLOSSOM


{Legends of Azeroth (Main Title) – Tracy Bush – World of Warcraft}

Good afternoon, traveler. You have stepped into a portal here on WHUS Storrs and are now in the Fantasy Realm. Welcome. I am your guide, The Sage. Today, we embark on a journey to a place where it is always winter: The Lundar Mountain. For your enjoyment, I recommend creating a character to follow along. Are you friend of the cold? Do you prefer a scarf or ear muffs? Have you leather or fur boots to tread in the snow? You get to decide, and best think quick, traveler. Your story is about to begin.

{Misty Mountains – The Dwarf Cast & Richard Armitage – The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey OST}

Welcome to the Lundar Mountain.

{Main Theme – Gustaf Grefberg – Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons OST}

The cold bites your skin as you climb toward the top of the Lundar Mountain. Your skin is dry like ice and your breath shivers with every inhale and exhale. These parts of the never-ending winter are bleak, despite the beauty of untouched snow on a picturesque landscape. Beautiful it may be, but dangerous and boldly threatening it truly is, for a harsh winter is unforgiving.

You’ve managed to stay alive in the province of Lysa. The heart of Lysa, a humble village, sits at the base of the Lundar Mountain. There, you’ve been treated with kindness, fed with plentiful feast and housed in a warm cottage.

However, the heart of Lysa beats slow, for more than half the people are dying.

The jarl has called to the villages for a most testing adventure. He asks for someone to climb the Lundar Mountain to find a Blue Lune-blossom: a flower with very potent healing properties. He advises this person to seek out the woodice elves, for they know the mountain best. They will know where this powerful flower blooms and how best to get there.

You decide to accept this quest. Without the jarl’s help and hospitality, you may not have survived the winter for it is now that it is at its most creul: during the winter solstice.

So, now you climb the mountain in search of the woodice elves, all the while facing the audacious winds of the Lundar Mountain. The winter winds whistle as they fly freely through thin tree trunks, the tune tugging at your earlobes to carry forth with your quest.

Though fingers and toes beg for the warmth of the hearth, you feel the gentle pull up to the mountain peak, and so, you carry forth.

{Before – Jeremy Zuckerman – The Legend of Korra OST from Book One}

The province of Lysa spans the northern border, from one froen river to another. There she rests under an eternal blanket of snow, tranquil in the cold that demands submission, but Lysa does not adhere. The never-ending winter and the province of Lysa are one and the same, in a way, both stubborn and confident. Only Lysa could withstand this winder.

The heart of Lysa, the humble village, is home to those who have learned the language of the winter winds and adore its singing. Since the sun barely peaks over the horizon, torches with purple flames light up the village. The homes are made entirely of tree trunks, and they are coated with the snowflakes that never reach the ground.

The people are quiet, never saying more than a few words a day if they can help it. They keep to themselves save for the days of festivities where the whole village gathers around the jarl’s hearth with plenty of food and drink to go around.

Like his people, the jarl is quite reserved. He, his wife, and two daughters spend their days providing for their people and admiring the days of winter. The jarl’s family is loved by all the province of Lysa.

However, though reserved, the Jarl is a bear in hibernation who, when disturbed, will silence even the winter winds and song with his fury, as did happen when the sickness struck.

The sickness came like a whisper in the night, masked by the harsh winter winds, and only heard by its own ear. Whether it came through a cracked window or a lone mug left unattended, no one in Lysa knows. All that is known is that it first struck a child who awake with a coughing fit, and it would not stop.

The family of this young child took the child to the Home of the Sick where an aged healer name Ylda cared for the sick and dying.

Ylda is a native of the province and is well-acquainted with the sicknesses of winter. She can cure any, but this sickness baffled her.

The best she could do for the child was a tea that soothed her throat, but it did not cure the child. Eventually, the coughing returned, and it was relentless.

Then came the cold.

The people of Lysa almost never shiver, for they know the cold well, but this child was cold as ice and no amount of blankets or fire would warm the poor child.

With some inspection, Ylda learned this sickness turned one’s throat to ice, making it impossible to get warm or to breathe. If frozen competely, the child could be lost forever.

By the time Ylda learned this, however, more and more villages with coughing fits and shivers came to the House of the Sick. Ylda tried all the remedies she knew as her volunteers made the soothing tea for thos suffering. Her table was covered in all ingrediants imaginable: berries, roots, tree branches, leaves, mushrooms, anything you can think of.

Day and night, she consulted her ancient texts and tried new remedies, but nothing worked. Though it seemed the aged healer had met her match, she never stopped trying.

Meanwhile, the House of the Sick became full. The beds had to be removed, and the whole floor made into a bed to accommodate everyone. Almost the whole village moved into the House of the Sick, leaving the actual village a ghost town.

The worst came when the Jarl’s strongest men slammed the doors of the house open.

In they marched with the Jarl’s cold stare set on Ylda. His men carried his wife, coughing and overcome with the sickness.

The Jarl told Ylda and asked her to put her sole priority on his wife, but she told him his wife was not the only one overcome with the sickness.

Only then did he notice his people on the ground, all in the same pain as his wife. The relentless coughing clogged his ears, the inside of the house was colder than the outside, and for the first time, the winter winds that shook the house’s windows disturbed him.

He fell to his knees and for a moment, he felt betrayed by the endless winter whom he considered a friend. Fear made him shiver, convinced this was an omen, a sign that his province would soon be no more. Hopelessness opened his fists, and he let out a heavy sigh.

Ylda consoled him, and she told him that her research indicates a Blue Lune-blossom could cure this sickness. He latched onto this hope as he made the call for someone to go on the quest.

You think of the house as you make your way up a steep part of the mountain. Many in the house thanked you for your courage, including the jarl’s wife and the young child who first met the sickness and who was hanging on by a last single thread.

You make one last heave over this steep hill, and when you look up and flurry passes from your vision, you see a path upward to the grandiose city of the woodice elves.

{Ironforge – Tracey Bush – World of Warcraft}

The city is nestled into the Lundar Mountain, the buildings made of ice and amethyst. The woodice elven city is the jewel that brings light to the bleak mountain side.

The elves are elegant creatures who seem to glide effortlessly through their city. They have amethyst-like eyes with dark, calloused skin like that of peeling wood. They moved throughout their city humming the winter winds’ tune, carring books and scrolls, crafted weapons and astrological tools, potion-filled vials and jars. Their pointy ears have icicles adorning them, and their clothese are simple, loose cloaks of either ice blue or purple.

They have lanterns that glow with what seems like starlight, and amongst them roam many creatures like arctic foxes, penguins and snowy owls. The city is at peace.

As you stroll through the city, an elf approaches you. After you explain the reason for your visit, the elf directs you to the palace of the elven empress, Myrna.

{Harry & Hermione – Nicholas Hooper – Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince OST}

You are overcome by the gentle sway of slumber as you enter the palace. It is like walking into a dream, the icy gleam of its structure lulling you into a sleepy state.

The elven empress, Myrna, invites you to step closer to her throne and to explain your visit.

You tell her about the situation in Lysa, and she asks you why she should entrust you with the location of these delicate flowers. What’s your answer, traveler?

Well done, traveler. You have convinced her.

She tells you about a path behind the palace just past a white-barked tree. This path leads to the Faycastle. The elven empress tells you it is the only path to the top of the mountain, but there lie marauders eager for a traveler’s wares.

She also warns you about Corbank, a great beast that roams through the thin trees of the tundra on top of the mountain.

Corbank is always ready to feast, so one must beware his whereabouts. You thank her for your time and leave the palace, heading for the white-barked tree and its path.

{Cry of the Last Unicorn – Rossano Galante – The Medina Community Band}

You travel up the path, and it begins to snow ever so softly. The snowflakes each taste a bit like winter, some of hazelnut, some of peppermint, and some of cinnamon. The snowfall reminds you of the beauty of winter, that despite the comfort of warmth, there is something quite magical about winter and snow.

Then, as you turn past a large tree, you see it in the distance: the Faycastle. It is an old cobblestone castle, worn down and barely holding itself up. Tangled vines with red berries twisted inbetween the cobblestones give the gray castle some color. An old, tattered flag shifts in the wind above the only tower left standing, its insignia lost to the past.

The snow refuses to stick to the cobblestone walls. If the woodice elven city is the jewel of the Lundar Mountain, then the Faycastle is the scar, a forgotten relic of the past, the mark of a wound left unattended. No matter how much snow falls, the scar shall always remain. The Faycastle is magnificent in its own right, and now, it sits silently.

Perhaps the marauders are asleep or have even left and found a new home? It’s unclear.

What will you do, traveler? Will you pass straight under the castle’s bridge, onward with the path, or will you try to sneak your way past it?

Alas! Your efforts have failed! The marauders have spotted you! You hide behind a boulder, avoiding their arrows raining down. You think about what you can do. You have your own bow and arrow, but you see a possible path to the far right of the castle, a detour in a possibly dangerous direction.

What will you do, traveler?

You’ve made it past the marauders, safe and sound, and are rushing away form them. You look up and see the peak of the mountain up ahead. You are so close, but the wind is brutal, and soon enough, you are tumbling down the mountain side.

You grab hold of an enormous tree trunk. You can’t feel your fingers, let alone your toes, but you manage to lift yourself up. Can you make it the rest of the way, traveler?

You’ve recovered all the travel you’ve lost in the tumble.

There, in its miraculous glory, lies the peak of Lundar Mountain, only a bit of a ways away from you. You try to warm your hands with your breath, the snowfall making it all colder still. You think again of the people of Lysa, of the aged healer Ylda, the jarl and his wife, and even of the young child who was first stricken by the sickness, then of the terrible sickness itself.

You climb this mountain for them, and thinking of that lights a small spark in your body’s furnace, fighting against the cold. Though your feet are like bricks, a painful cost paid for each step, you continue your quest for the Blue Lune-blossom.

It is so cold, but you’ve made it to the peak, just a bit more until you reach the topmost part of it. Relief overwhelms you, so much so that you almost forget about the beast, Corbank.

{Fehu – Wardruna – Runaljod – Yggdrasil}

Corbank has found you!

He is an ugly beast with disheveled, patchy black fur, his face hidden under scars. His ears are long and pointy reaching past his massive arms. He roars at you, his fangs stained brown like spilled tea. His roar sounds like the fierce winds of a blizzard.

He charges after you. there is not much room up here, and the snowfall starts to get heavy.

You use your bow and arrows, but the winds make it difficult to aim. You manage a few direct hits, but it does Corbank no harm, for frostbite can hurt and deliver a blow far worse than an arrow, and Corbank is a beast of the never-ending winter.

So, how will you defeat the beast, traveler? Will you continue trying with your bow and arrows or will you try something new?

Corbank is a difficult beast and with the exhaustion of your travels, you find it very difficult to compete with him.

That is when you notice a small cliff with a boulder at its edge. You manage to keep Corbank under the cliff with an arrow straight to his eye.

As he wails in pain, you try to move the boulder, for with a single nudge, it’ll fall straight onto him. However, it will not budge.

Soon, Corbank starts to growl and begins to throw pebbles at you.

One hits your shoulder. It burns and stings your skin, the pain unbelievable for such a projectile. You don’t think you’ll b able to, but with a roar of your own, you manage to nudge the bould just enough to have it slip on its own onto Corbank the beast.

{Elegy for the Arctic – Ludovico Einaudi}

Your breath starts to settle like the arctic waves settle after a part of a glacier falls in. The winds settle as well, and the snowfall soon vanishes.

You make your way to the topmost part of the Lundar Mountain. The magnificence of the province of Lysa is before you, basked in golden rays of the sun’s final moments before dusk.

And in front of you sits a small tree made entirely of ice off of which blooms ice-blue flowers. The petals are strangely twisted like dried autumn leaves. You reach out to touch them. The petals feel like the pages of a book, coarse yet soft.

You start to hear a soft melody. It’s melancholic, lonely, even. As though it shared the same loneliness as the moon, surrounded by stars all alike, but never to find a moon like itself.

You have found the Blue Lune-blossom.

You take just nine petals, as instructed by Ylda, the aged healer. You secure them in a bag.

Just as you’re about to turn back, you are hit in the back of the head by a pebble. You hear Corbank’s wailing cry and his fading steps as you fade into unconsciousness.

{Northern Lights – Ola Gjeilo – Charles Bruffy & Pheonix Chorale}

Your eyes flutter open to the night. You can tell it is nighttime, for the winds are now howling as they do when they are set free in the darkness, and dark it is, for you see nothing around you. The darkness can cover anything, even virgin white snow.

An arctic hare nibbles at your ear. You shake your head, and the hare hops away. Your head is pounding as you life up to a seated position. With the help of the howling winds, the snow has covered up your legs and feet.

You try to wiggle your toes inside your boots, but you are cold to the bone. You fear you can no longer move. You can no longer make it back to Lysa. You feel as though this quest has been in vain.

Soon, all the province of Lysa will be lost to history due to the unnamed sickness. Soon, the healthy villagers will mourn until they too are stricken with the sickness. Soon, Ylda will have no more tea left to comfort those in pain, and soon, the first-stricken child will breathe one last time.

The northern lights apear in the night sky. Fantastic and gorgeous colors swirl amongst the stars like ribbons let loose in a breeze. This spectacular show of nature reminds you of the glory of life.

Even with one so imaginative, nature still has a way of showing us something entirely new. These lights, the colors, they sing to you. They compel you to stand, despite the cold and despite the pain in your head. This gentle impulse helps you start your journey down the Lundar Mountain.

{Winterfell – Ramin Djawadi – Game of Thrones: Season 2 OST}

You pass through the Faycastle unharmed. All the marauders are snoring loudly from all their drinking.

You pass through the woodice elven city, the jewely of the mountain side. All its paths, homes and alleys are silent, for all the elves are now nestled inside their homes.

Soon, you start to smell that bakery’s goods from the village of Lysa, carried to your nose by the winds.

You are so close, but now the cold is truly starting to bite. You head is still pounding from the pebble thrown by Corbank. It gets harder and harder to lift your boots from the snow. You fall to your knees. You can go no further.

As you try one last time to stand, your eyes start to close. Your sight is gone and consciousness now with it.

{Farewell Aragog – Nicholas Hooper – Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince OST}

The light of a torch beckons you. Your eyes open to see the aged healer, Ylda, taking care of you.

She tells you they found you in the woods with a small bag of Blue Lune-blossom petals. She tells you she was able to brew a large cauldron of medicine with the petals and so far, many of the stricken are already recovering from the unnamed sickness.

She thanks you for what you’ve done for Lysa and tells you it is now time for you to rest. In a voice that resembles the singing colors of the northern lights, she tells you you’ve done your part for others.

It is now time to do your part for yourself.

{Kolnidur – Jonsi – Go}

That is the end of our tale for today. Thank you for joining me, but it’s now time for you to step back through the portal to WHUS Storrs. I hope you join me again next week for another adventure. Until then, fairfarren, traveler.

THE END

Fairfarren, Friends

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