Mithras Posted November 29, 2014 Share Posted November 29, 2014 “Never fear the darkness, Bran.” The lord’s words were accompanied by a faint rustling of wood and leaf, a slight twisting of his head. “The strongest trees are rooted in the dark places of the earth. Darkness will be your cloak, your shield, your mother’s milk. Darkness will make you strong.” Don’t be afraid, I like it in the dark. No one can see you, but you can see them. But first you have to open your eyes. See? Like this. And the tree reached down and touched him. This “staying in the darkness” has something to do with this: “The night before an acolyte says his vows, he must stand a vigil in the vault. No lantern is permitted him, no torch, no lamp, no taper . . . only a candle of obsidian. He must spend the night in darkness, unless he can light that candle. Some will try. The foolish and the stubborn, those who have made a study of these so-called higher mysteries. Often they cut their fingers, for the ridges on the candles are said to be as sharp as razors. Then, with bloody hands, they must wait upon the dawn, brooding on their failure. Wiser men simply go to sleep, or spend their night in prayer, but every year there are always a few who must try.” The purpose of this tradition should be long lost. Now we know that the maesters lived among the CotF with certainty. We can state with certainty, however, that men have lived at the mouth of the Honeywine since the Dawn Age. The oldest runic records confirm this, as do certain fragmentary accounts that have come down to us from maesters who lived amongst the children of the forest. One such, Maester Jellicoe, suggests that the settlement at the top of Whispering Sound began as a trading post, where ships from Valyria, Old Ghis, and the Summer Isles put in to replenish their provisions, make repairs, and barter with the elder races, and that seems as likely a supposition as any. We also have direct evidence of Yandel being wrong. Though considered disreputable in this, our present day, a fragment of Septon Barth’s Unnatural History has proved a source of controversy in the halls of the Citadel. Claiming to have consulted with texts said to be preserved at Castle Black, Septon Barth put forth that the children of the forest could speak with ravens and could make them repeat their words. According to Barth, this higher mystery was taught to the First Men by the children so that ravens could spread messages at a great distance. It was passed, in degraded form , down to the maesters today, who no longer know how to speak to the birds. It is true that our order understands the speech of ravens … but this means the basic purposes of their cawing and rasping, their signs of fear and anger, and the means by which they display their readiness to mate or their lack of health. Ravens are amongst the cleverest of birds, but they are no wiser than infant children, and considerably less capable of true speech, whatever Septon Barth might have believed. A few maesters, devoted to the link of Valyrian steel, have argued that Barth was correct, but not a one has been able to prove his claims regarding speech between men and ravens. “Do all the birds have singers in them?”“All,” Lord Brynden said. “It was the singers who taught the First Men to send messages by raven … but in those days, the birds would speak the words. The trees remember, but men forget, and so now they write the messages on parchment and tie them round the feet of birds who have never shared their skin.” Here we see a truly ancient weirwood tree near the Ravenry which was the oldest building at the Citadel. “The Ravenry is the oldest building at the Citadel,” Alleras told him, as they crossed over the slow-flowing waters of the Honeywine. “In the Age of Heroes it was supposedly the stronghold of a pirate lord who sat here robbing ships as they came down the river.”Moss and creeping vines covered the walls, Sam saw, and ravens walked its battlements in place of archers. The drawbridge had not been raised in living memory.It was cool and dim inside the castle walls. An ancient weirwood filled the yard, as it had since these stones had first been raised. The carved face on its trunk was grown over by the same purple moss that hung heavy from the tree’s pale limbs. Half of the branches seemed dead, but elsewhere a few red leaves still rustled, and it was there the ravens liked to perch. The tree was full of them, and there were more in the arched windows overhead, all around the yard. The ground was speckled by their droppings. As they crossed the yard, one flapped overhead and he heard the others quorking to each other. “Archmaester Walgrave has his chambers in the west tower, below the white rookery,” Alleras told him. “The white ravens and the black ones quarrel like Dornishmen and Marchers, so they keep them apart.” It seems to me that ravencraft is more gift and less science. I think by standing vigil in the dark, the maesters of old were granted the gift of skinchanging and raven speech. Just like Bran opened Jon's third eye, the CotF opened the third eyes of the ancient maesters in the darkness. The Citadel comes from a tradition that learned magic from the CotF but now they all dismiss/hate magic. The origins of the Citadel are almost as mysterious as those of the Hightower itself. Most credit its founding to the second son of Uthor of the High Tower, Prince Peremore the Twisted. A sickly boy, born with a withered arm and twisted back, Peremore was bedridden for much of his short life but had an insatiable curiosity about the world beyond his window, so he turned to wise men, teachers, priests, healers, and singers, along with a certain number of wizards, alchemists, and sorcerers. It is said the prince had no greater pleasure in life than listening to these scholars argue with one another. When Peremore died, his brother King Urrigon bequeathed a large tract of land beside the Honeywine to “Peremore’s pets,” that they might establish themselves and continue teaching, learning, and questing after truth. And so they did. Those you call the children of the forest have eyes as golden as the sun, but once in a great while one is born amongst them with eyes as red as blood, or green as the moss on a tree in the heart of the forest. By these signs do the gods mark those they have chosen to receive the gift. The chosen ones are not robust, and their quick years upon the earth are few, for every song must have its balance. But once inside the wood they linger long indeed. A thousand eyes, a hundred skins, wisdom deep as the roots of ancient trees. Greenseers. Peremore the Twisted was a greenseer and he founded the Citadel. Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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