B in my A-Z Wilds Duology Challenge! B is for Broken Promises, an excerpt from the fictional textbook, An Understanding of the Planes, written for schools within the northern Empire mentioned in the duology. This is a teaser for my upcoming release, Haunt of the Wilds, a gay romance/adventure fantasy novel. It is on preorder now for only 99c. Coming December 3rd :)
Overview of the Sixth Plane: MOIR
There are not many who travel into Moir, the death plane, and live to tell of it. Those who do, the people who are foolish or brave enough to open themselves to the horrors of walking among the essences of the dead, seeing the oceans of souls sweeping across the sky and watching the kings of darkness swoop within the empty voids sliced into the barren landscape, those people are never the same. They return with tales of a starless, treeless world, of races who relish pain and delight in misery, yet a film covers their eyes as they tell their stories and a bleakness seeps out from their souls.
The next chapter concerns what we know of Moir from those who have returned.
We’ve little information on the kings of darkness, though we are aware they have the power to command even the most foul of the lesser Moirian beings. This particular talent is where their name originates. Our own interaction with the ruling race of Moir stems from small physical items carried between the planes, namely stitched work, shed scales and draconi teeth.
Moirian stitchwork is unique in that the thread used is supposedly made of hair from the kings of darkness and their ilk, though this hasn’t been proven. The stitches are tiny, some too tiny for the naked eye to see on an individual level. Together they create an abraded appearance, as if the hide or scales used had been worn down. On close inspection, you can see the lines and holes where the stitches cross over one another, layer upon layer in many areas.
Nothing about Moirian stitchwork resembles understood patterns from any of the other five planes. In fact, it very often is considered patternless, the stitches never done in lines and always haphazard. Some speculate the stitchwork is created using the unknown language of the kings of darkness. Another theory is that the surface of the final product mimics the land masses and the gaping voids within Moir.
The most commonly accepted idea is that the stitches are pictures representing a person’s internal persona or soul, either in part or in whole. The acceptance of this idea came from two separate texts where accounts described the stitchwork as a person turned inside out—“They no longer were seen as what they were, but rather who they were.” (Escaping Death, pg 37)
Another account, from the memoir of Duv Wrallio, the man who allegedly lost his soul and fought through Moir to retake it, states that the needles are plucked through living flesh and scales and that the hair, blood and hide shrink together, solidifying “promise and punishment” in its depths. Wrallio is vague about the purpose of this activity, stating only that he has “seen a great many people and creatures bearing the roughened spots of stitchwork as if it is as commonplace within Moir as wearing clothes is within the other five planes.” (pg 81)
Strangely, within the five planes Moirian stitchwork has become synonymous with romantic promises. On account of that “promise and punishment” Wrallio describes, many couples will wear fake bands, usually abraded leather, as a representation of their promise of eternal love to one another. They do so to show their trust in one another, to prove they are willing to risk corporeal punishment, or even death, if their promise proves untrue.
Only very rarely are real Moirian bands used since the resulting punishments from breaking whatever promises are made over those stitches are very real. Most records show the physical punishment is marginal, a mere token to show the promise has been broken, though there have been one or two cases where one or both parties have died from the Moirian stitchwork ripping open their veins.
It’s also possible that there are other, more disturbing consequences. In Dangerous Methods of Transportation, the author, Ma Kais, mentions Moirian stitchwork in a footnote within her chapter on astral planes, passages and leaks, saying that “it is possible the broken promises stemming from Moirian stitched bands unravel the planal lines to some extent. Studies by astral adepts have been inconclusive.” (pg 49)
–An Understanding of the Planes, pgs. 233-235