Last Light is a town from the upcoming Dreamworld setting that I hope to release early 2017 that I felt was worth leaking early as I really want to share it with you all.
Stood at the border of the great black deserts where nightmares are born is the ten story candle known as Last Light. For a thousand years it has burned but it is shrinking and the night is coming.
Hundreds of years ago there used to be ten of these colossal candles burning throughout the Run Off Valley. But as the far off towns of Lunderville and Tempest offered riches to those willing to take the chance and try, the number of keepers dwindled. Smugglers stole hundreds of tonnes of drippings for export through the country. Now, all that is left of this once fantastic sight and ingenious defence against the dark is one solitary candle.
Below the candle, and out of the path of the Dripfall is the town of Bobeche. Descendants of the keepers, they collect the drippings to add to the candle and weave the immense wick which must be lengthened annually lest the Last Light burn out.
The people of Bobeche are not unanimous in the belief that the candle is the most important thing in the world. Many of the younger members of the community wish to seek their fortune and fame in the theatres of Howl or see far off lands aboard merchant Not-Boats. Tensions are rising and the already tiny community threatens to fracture again.
The Drip Valley starts at Last Light where its Dripfall descends fifty metres down, cooling into pockets and pools, bumps and strands down the face of the cliff. At its base the valley floor is a sheet flow of candle wax. Further along the valley’s route the blood red wax of Heart Fire flowed into, mixing with and melting the cooling white wax carrying it further into the azure drips of Clear Sky.
After travelling nearly five kilometres the valley drops again presenting the Great Fall, a mix of reds, blues, and whites that, after years without fresh wax, have formed into titanic stalactites.
East of the Great Fall another branch of the valley comprises the white wax of Last Light which now flows less than a mile before cooling. Beyond this the valley floor appears to be made of gold, where huge deposits have formed from the once flowing gold wax of The King. Up on the mountain the Summer Stronghold where its keepers toiled night and day for a thousand years lies buried beneath the wax. Originally the golden wax was kept out of the valley by a series of troughs and pots which kept it from ever touching the ground but they are long gone now. Washed away in the collapse and carried away to the Lantern, a pier town that is miles from the nearest sea and hovers three hundred metres above the ground. Its legs dig into the cliff face like an acrophobic spider. The candle in which Lantern surrounds was encased in a glass container as large as a castle’s tower, the town would capture the run off wax, add some to their own and return the rest at the end of each month. Now, while it was as large as a castle’s tower the candle in Lantern was squat compared to its siblings and from its motley shade and mixed wax it earned the name Beast.
West of the Great Fall is the longest branch of the Drip Valley that stretches off to the Long Fall, a chasm that stretches near ten kilometres across and so deep into the dark that it has never been explored. On this branch the dark purple wax of Storm flowed barely half a kilometer before joining the emerald runoff from the Jewel of the West in an explosion of colour remembered only in poetry. The wax rushed on for three miles, kept from cooling by hot springs under the valley floor. Eventually the stronghold of the bee keepers and the honey coloured wax of The Queen lent their considerable run-off. The cliff faces on either side of The Queen housed, at its peak, six million bees which made it the only candle that did not need to reclaim drippings or mine for more. For nine kilometres the wax ran, heated and occasionally shot into the air by geysers. Eventually it would reach the twin silver candles of Moon and Star, their glow reflected off of their silvery wax far into the Forgotten Sands.
The Forgotten sands
Beyond the Drip Valley and the Walled Mountains there is a land filled with the lost and forgotten things. A land of nightmares and a darkness so intense that even the sun cannot penetrate it. Old buildings, long since demolished and forgotten can be found there like toys dropped haphazardly back into their chest. Nightmares pushed out of a child’s mind find form while great skeletal beings a hundred metres tall struggle to exist before collapsing silently into dust.
There have been hundreds of expeditions into the Forgotten Sands over the centuries, of those only a handful of survivors have ever returned and they were not all what they appeared to be.
Cartographers once mapped the edge of the Forgotten Sands and the Night as being ten kilometres away from Moon and Star, The Great Fall, and Lantern. By the events of The Long Night they estimated it to be one kilometre from Last Light.
The Long Night
The Long Night takes place a hundred years before the setting detailed in the Dreamworld setting book.
When the candles fell one by one, it was not by a horde of nightmares or any malevolent force other than desire. The keepers had grown weary of their isolated and routine lives. Many despised the role they had been born into and dared to dream of the life they could have had in the real world.
Over the years the keepers agreed that certain candles were unnecessary, letting Storm, Heart Fire, The Jewel of the West, and other middling candles be snuffed until they could be given the care and attention they deserved. The keepers then either moved forward to the frontier candles or back to the more comfortable holds around Last Light, The Queen, or The King.
When Lantern’s legs rotted and it collapsed into the abyss, there were a thousand candles lit and released to float along the Drip Valley in honour of their memories. However with the Beast gone, the runoff wax flowed into the abyss and had to be replaced with the beeswax from The Queen’s hives or from one of the wax mines.
When the kingdoms waged yet another war for personal glory and drove their armies north to the great chequered Valley of the Kings the candle holds were forgotten. Food, water, and wax that they relied upon came later and later and eventually not at all.
When The Moon and Star were struck by lightning and poured their wax over the homes of the keepers, trapping them inside until the weight of the wax collapsed their homes or they starved the keepers could do nothing but float candles in their memories.
When the Nightmare Lords led their hordes through the Drip Valley it was not the actions of kings that held the darkness at bay but the valiant efforts of one man. An old storyteller by the name of Elias Berr.
The Knight Watch
Elias Berr, a gargantuan man and grandfather to a small clan awoke in a cold sweat the same night as the Nightmare Lords began their march. Without realising the true importance of his actions he donned his old armour, lay the skin of the great bear Laghatta over his shoulders, sharpened his butterfly axe, wrote a note to his family, and left forever.
From his home in the little town of Herebedragons, (Named such so that bandits would stay away) to the thriving city of Lunderville and all the way to Last Light Elias sought allies. However the lords and ladies would not believe an old storyteller no matter how haggard and serious his appearance. No glorious armies or tinkerer machines were given to the cause. No gold or food or shelter for a tired herald.
It wasn’t until Elias Berr came to Lockstone on the third week of his journey that any soul would listen to him. A baker and a concerned grandmother who listened intently to Elias’ warnings. They fed the bear of a man until their larder was nearly empty and sheltered him from the cold night ahead. In the morning, they had packed everything they would need and sold the rest for horses. Thus The Knight Watch was born.
A mime with such skill that his invisible creations could turn aside steel, a mountain woman strong enough to lift horses like dogs, and a young candle keeper that shone like the sun itself were among those that joined along the way.
When they reached Last Light they numbered nearly 60, an insignificant number to an army of nightmares. However Elias Berr was an old soldier and you don’t get old in war without learning a few things. Working day and night the rag tag group collected wax in great pots, constructed mimed defences, and forged matchstick men to guard the valley.
On the Fiftieth of Embera the nightmare horde fought matchstick men that burned with a righteous fury as they fought. The survivors washed away in a great wave of boiling wax, fleeing into mimed spikes and walls.
For seven long years the Knight’s Watch fought the Nightmare Lords as they were pushed back further and further into Mandlass. Knights joined and knights fell.
With both sides weakened and only a single Nightmare Lord remaining, the two armies clashed once and for all at Worrisome Hill. A bleak and desolate land devoid of life and colour except for a single ruinous church at the top.
The Knight’s Watch dug in and prepared for their final battle, hoping the King of Lunderville’s army would arrive in time to be of use. Not knowing that the King had been replaced months ago. The nightmares attacked long before the army arrived and the two fought tooth and nail. For every inch the nightmares gained they paid in oceans of blood.
Ser Lumos, the young candle knight was the first to fall. Always a reassuring sight on the battlefield, his burning armour bathed the enemy in light and kept them weak. When he was jerked high into the air by a gallow’s man, a twelve foot tall embodiment of the gallows, many knights lost heart.
Ser Notaword the mime fled after being cut off from the others by a swathe of nightmares. Fled directly into his own trap, the damage was so severe it was impossible to tell what killed him.
As the nightmares pushed the remaining knights into the ruinous church a dozen were left to fend for themselves. Ser Assarrad The Motherly, a woman capable of crushing a sallet in one hand was found with sixty dead around her and the throat of a huntear in her rigor mortis grasp. A grasp so tight she had to be buried with it.
Inside the church the knights fought harder than ever but defeat was inevitable. Two knights remained when the last nightmare lord appeared. A White Rabbit, a nightmare that leaps into the mind of a person, putting them in an eternal slumber until it can safely leave, eat the host, and escape.
Luckily for the knights, the King’s truant army had decided to march on Worrisome Hill regardless of their orders. The sound of their approach routed the remaining nightmares, leaving the White Rabbit to fend for himself.
It leapt for Ser Valice, a young woman and personal squire to Elias. A woman he had come to see as a daughter. For the first time in many years, Elias Berr’s strike missed its target and the rabbit dove into Ser Valice as easily as a stone into water.
Now he waits, waits for a time to escape but Elias will not rest nor die until he can kill the White Rabbit. Even if it takes a thousand years.
The Dreamworld setting book takes place long after the events of The Long Night when the Knight's Watch has long since faded into legend. Much the same as our King Arthur stories. But Elias Berr and Ser Valice may still be alive if the legends are to be believed. Look out for the Dreamworld Setting Supplement coming 2017!