“Weep for me, that I might witness the remorseful tears of mankind rather than a maturing mere from monsters. Is it possible that I sense you in some way, that sometimes I feel your thoughts merging with my own as my portentous tale unfurls amidst this broken land? Will you walk with me across plains of sweeping shadows; will you hear humanity’s screams drive the very sanity from my despairing soul; will you know me when the light of the world has been blackened by the soot of scattered suffering? Weep for the world and nothing more, for we are indeed nothing more than dark intrigue smeared across its meadows.”
The Wanderer returned to the cabin and closed the door slowly. He appeared meditative and remained still for a time as though he were on the precipice of some prophetic announcement, but instead he produced an unexpected smile and retook his position before flames that seemed less vibrant than before.
Rayner turned his attention away from the fire and cast a glance into the untouched areas of the cabin. The Wanderer watched him closely and pursued his line of sight towards the shadows, but Rayner no longer steered his attention towards anything in particular.
“Can they smile?” asked The Wanderer once he had tired of Rayner’s vacant expression.
“Smile?” he replied instantly as though snatched suddenly from reverie.
“Those that await my attention out there in the wilderness; can they smile? Can they frown?”
“I have never known them to do so,” came his solemn response.
“Perhaps you have never studied them closely enough,” The Wanderer proposed. “To you they are just creatures. There is much to be said in a single frown or a smile; a thousand words can be inherent within a solitary movement of the flesh, a blink of the eye, a discernible shiver in the bones. That is how it was when Rickard and I approached the town,” he said as he smiled again.
“Over the years I have often revisited the instant of our arrival with a mixture of amusement and unease. Rickard’s expression was a combination of inextirpable fear and childlike confusion, and were it not for the macabre spectacle that faced us, then I would have undoubtedly immersed myself in the dark charm of the moment. Instead, however, my very soul winced at the realisation that I was finally there; I was in Sirrenvaag.
"As the surrounding mist began to disclose its unearthly secrets, the first structure to assault my eyes was one of such hideous configuration that I shuddered at the sight of it. Dark in hue and seemingly scabrous in texture, at first it bore some strained likeness to a withered oak-tree whose branches had lent themselves to years of uncultivated chaos..."