Taltâl Rabbit and the Elder’s Tunnel
Written by the brothers Whynslô and Fenrîn Kôrmacholv
Found and Published by Ôbek Unified, a Strâdsburg Collective
Ôbek Unified, by the graces of the Gods, the goodness of our patron, and the diligent work of investigators, historians, and reclaimers, has found two books within the burned port city of Westvádol. These books are a small piece within a greater work of children’s literature, and though we do not yet know the dates of their release, we believe they were written a few decades before The Last King set the city to flame.
These books are not widely known to us now because they were not popular in the time they were written, though the reason why is a mystery to us. But we at Ôbek Unified believe the series could become beloved in our time, and we are committed to finding the remaining volumes within the ruins of the historic port city. There is no reason these books should not grip the children of our day, though they failed to in the past. The imaginations of children of all classes will be set to flame while reading of Taltâl Rabbit.
We at Ôbek Unified wish to relay our excitement in this discovery with you, the reader, for this is an eventful series of events — truly historic. And it is in the spirit of discovery that we have provided you with this appropriate writing from the time the books were written.
Your last letter came at a ripe hour, a time of testing sent by the Gods, Amnîr be good. That month, that terrible month of Îgnenmorn, I had been wrestling with the forces of chaos. I know — it was wrong. I will forever live with the shame of the thoughts which went through my head that month, thoughts that consumed my mind until your blessed letter came. By the Gods, I fear to think of what I would have done had that piece of paper not arrived.
But do not worry — all is well.
I have come through the testing stronger than when it began.
After reading your letter, I went out and bought the book you recommended, though it was a great expense — I could have bought food enough for a week with the coin I spent on it. Gods, is any book worth thirty silver writs? I suppose this one was — and the children would certainly thank the Gods for this purchase.
I read the book to the children, though I had read it first while they were being taught at skùlak, and it was while I read it to myself that I found the resolve to battle the chaos within. I know it’s supposed to be a children’s story, but Taltâl Rabbit and the Throne of C’khazuldan truly lifted my spirit out of the depths of Malgôlg.
Now, if only there was a book to be rid of the rats in this house.
I thank you, Halg, for you are ever a pillar of order in these chaotic times.
Your friend always,
Lövsdràg, Ûsignarius 16th, the year of the king one-thousand two-hundred and fifty-seven.
This was the letter that started it all — the countless hours of dedicated research. It surfaced some fifteen years ago in an old wooden box, hidden away under the floorboards of a lord’s estate. Our patron acquired the estate and the letter was brought to his attention — he then began the long journey that led to the founding of Ôbek Unified and the discovery of these two Taltâl Rabbit books. Such was his interest in the children’s tales which could conquer the chaos of older, wiser man, that he devoted time and coin into bringing the books to this public space.
We have yet to find the Taltâl book mentioned in this letter, though it is of high interest to us.
We at Ôbek Unified are committed to ushering these books to as many eyes as will read them. Though fiction indeed belongs away from the masses, we know there is a place for it with children, and it is for the children that we tirelessly work. It is for the betterment of society that we strive to bring these books into new life. And future generations will thank us for our contribution to the paradise.
We would like to leave you with a segment from the informative pages of The Last King: A History.
Hôrthsan Thrôs, Lead Editor at Ôbek Unified,
Tërnsdràg, Îvemtorum 33rd, the year of lords three-hundred and seventy-six.
From the account of Hâgór Hôth, cupbearer to King Rhordân Vîkenwold, the second of his name. The king had taken to the drink before the end, drowning himself in wine at the first but soon turning to burning drinks — even going as far as partaking of the strong drinks of the commoners. He would often fall asleep at the desk in the highest study of Tower Hôptenar, empty bottles covering the desks and floor and books strewn about, opened as if he planned to wake and finish them. I had not the foresight to see which books he would read, though I doubt it mattered; besides, the king had little use for me by then — who needs a cupbearer when you take up the bottle?
Hâgór was of the few survivors of The Storming of Tower Hôltenar, the fateful siege upon the king’s homestead.
Besides the drink, the king had become obsessed with the building of walls, which could be explained by the war being waged at the time, if not for the fact that he had walls being built around places that would never be attacked, places where few and less people lived. It was the walls that killed him.
The Torching of Westvádol was a step too far for the commoners, it would seem. It was certainly of no help that word of the city’s burning had reached the other cities with such gory details as to crush the spirits of seasoned warriors. The burning alone could have been forgiven, but rage was stoked in the commoners when they heard of the deaths of the people within. It was the walls that killed the last king, for upon his order, Westvádol was gutted of its lords and nobles, then its gates were shut and barred, and the city was put to the flame. Tens of thousands of Bargârians were charred, many pounding upon the high gates, their burning flesh peeling off with every beat against the wood, and some attempted to climb the great walls — there was no escape. True, the invading force died with them, but the cost was too grievous.
The rebellion that led to The Storming of Tower Hôltenar began at the blockading of those gates. Since then, we have never trusted the safety of walled cities, and we have never had another king.
Dâmon Môdan, The Last King: A History.
Four years since we found two Taltâl Rabbit books and already we know so much more about the series and its authors. For one, we have three more books in our possession, though Taltâl Rabbit and the Throne of C’khazuldan, which we think to be book five or six, still eludes us. It is as if the Gods have set their wills against our finding it — no matter, it will be found.
We have come to know the series as The Chronicles of Taltâl Rabbit, and the first publication of this book confirmed what we suspected: Taltâl Rabbit can be a beloved character of Bargârian tradition. Lords and commoners alike have bought the first of Taltâl’s adventures to read to their children.
And thank the Gods, for we believe we have found the home of one of the Kôrmacholv brothers, likely Whynslô, though we think Fenrîn lived there for a time. Perhaps it is their childhood home, though we doubt that it was. Within the burned remains were preserved articles, letters, short stories, and notes written by both brothers.
Within the bounds of the city walls lies the creature of chaos that sneaks through door and hall. A thing of shadow, seeking the sleeping child. A blighted hand reaches, black as starless night, crooked and withered and clawed. It is a sickly thing of wrath, filling the dreamer’s mind with fright.
Take me there again.
I walk the corridors of emerald and dark, vision impaired by the wine of eyeless sleep. I smell the fear within, fall through the frame, and taste the crimson and light. I reach out, hands sliding on slimy walls, and my fingers stumble upon the small hand which lingers inside.
Within that house of wood and stone the child sleeps with hopes unbound. His is a mind wild with imagination and power, and he dreams this night. He dreams of boundless fields of blue grasses, and white horses flying on great, feathered wings. He runs beneath the hooves galloping on the air, his bare feet brushing against tall flowers, a wide grin never leaving his face — until he feels me touch his hand.
And he is awake. The boy. He looks up into my face and sees through the utter black. He screams.
And I shrink back, though I know why his eyes are filled with dark fear. I stretch out my rotting hand, that twisted thing, and I dig my claws into his cheeks. The hot liquid runs over my fingers and I am complete. His screams end when I open my eyes; pits of eternal black stare into his mind, and he can not survive the onslaught of horrid time.
An untitled work by Fenrîn Kôrmacholv.
Written in the year of the king one-thousand two-hundred and fifty-five.
Rejected for publishment by Wôrvholg on Ürsergsdràg, Ûsignarius 10th, the year of the king one-thousand two-hundred and fifty-five.
Though we have received many letters of request, and we know the demand is great, we are determined to release The Chronicles of Taltâl Rabbit in the order which they were written. We very much wish we could publish each of them as they reveal themselves to us, but this would offend our convictions greatly. We have set out to find each and every last volume, and to release them as seed to the wind would be a disservice to the works of the Brothers Kôrmacholv.
May the Gods give fortune to the hands of our patron,
Viktôv Alvîg, 3rd Editor at Ôbek Unified,
Mÿrsdràg, Hûmarium 31st, the year of lords three-hundred and eighty.
Eight years since Taltâl Rabbit and the Elder’s Tunnel: Second Edition and Taltâl Rabbit and the Hunter’s Bow were released and we finally have the next book in Taltâl’s adventures. In fact, we have more than just the next book, and we have discovered much as well. Taltâl’s third adventure is being published alongside Taltâl Rabbit and the Elder’s Tunnel: Third Edition and Taltâl Rabbit and the Hunter’s Bow: Second Edition. This is great news. And we believe we now have more of the books than not.
A mystery has also been solved: we are positive that negative reviews were the leading force in the books’ poor reception to the public. It is shameful to think that a handful of prejudice men prevented generations of children from enjoying these treasures. We have included a few examples of the reviews given to this first Taltâl book.
I know not what the brothers, Whynslô and Fenrîn, Kôrmacholv were thinking when they wrote Taltâl Rabbit and the Elder's Tunnel. I do in actuality, for the brothers have given explanation for the atrocity they birthed for the public — rather vomited — though I deeply wish they had let the rot fester in their minds rather than expose the good people of Bâl to their bile-coated spawn.
Was it a bad book? Yes. Can I think of a deprived man so deluded as to enjoy it? Sadly, yes.
But this is no excuse to actually commit the words to page. Gods be good, this was the worst book I have ever read! It is meant for children, but the book is not fit to be read to a dog!
I advise staying away from the noxious rantings the Brothers Kôrmacholv wish to shove off as writing. Their work, though it is one book as of yet, should not be encouraged. They will go no further than the cesspools of society — where they belong.
Published in the Tërnsdràg, Trôvil 14th edition of Nobles’ Purse, the year of the king one-thousand two-hundred and fifty-one.
What more can be written of the Brothers Kôrmacholv and their new book that has not already been written? Crates-full, though only of the flattering nature, for there is precious little bad left to write. I fear I came to the fray late and with my pants half-tied — an apology can hardly be expected. In truth, it was not by choice that I came late to read Taltâl Rabbit and the Elder's Tunnel, for I hadn’t known of its existence until reading a review by Bâgnol Balgôn in Bâl’s Compass. A vile and offensive writer, I know, but I quite enjoy his jests and wit.
Though nothing offensive is to be found in the Kôrmacholv book, it also lacks wit and inspiration. These are failings that cannot be ignored.
It is a book better left for the swine and the commoners.
I cannot imagine what possessed these two nobles to write such a book. It is not to be enjoyed by families of high-station, and it ought to be banned by The Throne. I beg the Gods this book does not reach prominence, as such books like The Traveler and Mâlgog’s War have. Works of fiction belong away from the masses, desperate for air in the songs of the commoners and hidden behind the shelves of foolish women.
Published in the Öphensdràg, Trôvil 25th edition of Wôrvholg, the year of the king one-thousand two-hundred and fifty-one.
Our editor slapped down a copy of Taltâl Rabbit and the Elder's Tunnel for us to review, saying one of us was going to have to read it and he didn’t care whom. We threw dice for it, adding some coin to the lot, and I won, though I do so wish I hadn’t. The surplus of silver writs in the purse was certainly nice, but the book… eh, it was like what you’d expect a harlot to come up with on her time in between partners — that is, nothing nearing good.
It’s clear that the Brothers Kôrmacholv invoked their dead brother to garner sympathy, and perhaps to excuse their below-average writing and storytelling abilities. The brothers should’ve attended skûlògius before attempting to write such an ambitious work as this rabbit tale. Alas, the brothers chose to offend the public with their offering. I, however, find the pages unworthy to wipe my ass with after a squat on the pot.
A children’s book? Ha! It’s a ghoulish offering, and every last copy should be thrown into the sea. I beg the Gods to keep this book out of the skùlaks and out of the reach of impressionable children. Could you imagine a Bâl in which our children are subjected to unsophisticated writings? Such offerings could only lead to the acceptance of lesser works, leading our children into the degeneracy of society.
No, I will not consider such works as Taltâl Rabbit and the Elder's Tunnel to be anything but degrading to our sensibilities. We must stand against the corrosion of our society, not welcome it in with open arms and untied purses.
Published in the Mÿrsdràg, Trôvil 15th edition of Bâl’s Compass, the year of the king one-thousand two-hundred and fifty-one.
We have found many more reviews for this first book, though we do not have the spirit to share them all with you. The brothers’ other books had much of the same reception, though far less attention was given them. It is from the reviews that we believe to have a solid idea of how many books are left to find and where they fit within the series.
May the Gods give fortune to the hands of our patron,
Viktôv Alvîg, Lead Editor at Ôbek Unified