A well-worn leatherbound tome with a brass clasp that's mottled with rust. The cover is embossed with an image of blazing torch tower. Imprinted in slightly faded black: A History of Light's Reach, as recorded by Scribe and Church Scholar Wohal Quill.
Light's Reach was founded on Eastwatch Hill by Fahral Mikin in 25 BTA (Before the Aegis). At the time, Fahral was a pioneering young nobleman of 23, with a wife named Corsara Mikin and sons named Annath and Allal
Fahral dubbed the high ground - a mesa - upon which Light's Reach sits as Eastwatch Hill. Now, as many Fastheldians realize, this has led to some misunderstanding and confusion with the township of Eastwatch, well to the northeast of the mesa. The simplest explanation accepted by scholars in the Church of True Light is that, when the young duke founded the town of Light's Reach, it was atop the easternmost point of known explored territory outside the Old City.
When Fahral turned 40, the First Wildling War began and Emperor Talus Kahar I sent out the call for warriors to join Ulfell Lomasa's Emperor's Blades. Both Annath and Allal wanted to join the fight against the creatures, but Fahral refused to lose both sons to war. He forced them to joust for the honor of serving in the conflict. Allal triumphed; Annath remained at East Bluff Keep - still under construction but habitable - to help his father manage affairs in Light's Reach. Allal died within a year, in the Valley of the Blades, in 4 BTA (Before the Aegis).
Despondent over the loss, Fahral became reclusive, relying more and more on Annath to manage his affairs. He saw the completion of East Bluff Keep and its twin torch towers, insisting they always stay lit. Fahral Mikin died in 2 ATA (After the Aegis). Eight years later, West Bluff Keep and its torch towers were completed by Annath Mikin's work crews.
In 25 BTA (Before the Aegis), a woodsman named Grummlan Path set out to survey the land surrounding Eastwatch Hill on behalf of Fahral Mikin and discovered an ancient castle deep in the woods, downhill on the eastern side of the bluff. Within the vine-choked stones of the keep, Grummlan encountered a pack of Wildlings lurking among the ruins. He fought them, killed them, but sustained a mortal injury from poisoning inflicted by the monsters.
He struggled back to Light's Reach and survived just long enough to tell his master of the castle and the Wildlings found within.
The castle became known as Sheltered Flame Keep, and was established as the headquarters of the Order of the Flame, an organization devoted to the defense of Light's Reach against forces of shadow and evil. The keep remains in use for that purpose to this day.
That was all good and fine for the nobility. But Grummlan Path's widow, Sorine, and son, Grummlar, wanted something done to specifically honor the memory of their loved one. They petitioned Fahral Mikin at East Bluff three years after Grummlan Path's death, in 22 BTA (Before the Aegis), and won the Mikin patriarch's approval for a project to commemorate the sacrifice of the woodsman.
Fahral Mikin commissioned the sculpting of a white marble statue of Grummlan Path by an artisan named Yanim Grove. The sculpture was then erected in a garden at Sheltered Flame Keep.
It takes dedication, concentration and grueling hard work to keep the four torch towers of Light's Reach glowing around the clock. Over the years, the individual who supervises the towers has been known as the Flamekeeper. His workers are known as the Enduring Embers, because they suffer everything from burns to exhaustion to smoke inhalation. Some die.
The first Flamekeeper, hired in 5 BTA (Before the Aegis), was a hunched old man named Wun Wood. Subsequent Flamekeepers who served over the centuries after the rise of the Aegis include Grem Shroud, Kalir Smoke, Ryman Stone, Burek Tomb, Stam Waters, Falon Quay, Bushtol Quarry, Jym Stone (descendant of Ryman Stone), Tury Cliff, Wahan Wood (descendant of the original Flamekeeper, Wun Wood)and Marhk Shore.
Only one Flamekeeper has died in the line of duty while serving House Mikin in Light's Reach. Ryman Stone, who served from 75 to 116 ATA (After the Aegis), died during the catastrophic collapse of West Bluff's north tower, which sparked a blaze in the nearby woodlands that threatened to spread throughout the Forest District.
Sometimes, all the light the torch towers of Light's Reach can generate isn't enough to fend off the darkness.
Once every 45 years or so, starting in about 50 ATA (After the Aegis), bizarre happenings plague the township atop Eastwatch Hill.
That first year, scores of horses, goats and cattle were slaughtered, their flayed carcasses left hanging from trees in Mikin Wood. In 95 ATA, strange blue and green lights glowed above East Bluff and inhabitants reported ghostly moaning sounds. A housekeeper named Forman Dust went mad and massacred his family before hurling himself over the edge of the bluff.
In 140 ATA, a dozen infants were snatched from their cradles by a furred beast and carried off into the night, never to be seen again.
In subsequent years, at the appointed anniversary, buildings imploded, livestock fell to plague, droughts parched farmland, voracious carnivorous insects swept through the township by night, and great storms swept over the land.
The mysterious happenings have never been adequately explained and continue to vex citizens to this very day.
- Status: Retired