New lore ~ Hearthland

A sneak peek at the next thrilling Lore of the Underlings episode,
which I’m writing as we speak (Episode 4 ~ Preview 15)

As her ballad’s last notes drifted off in the air, Vaam pressed her lips to the toy statuette and tucked it inside the neck of her frock, hidden away and safe again. Then she raised her downcast eyes.

“Tell me, John, of all I’ve missed.”

But he’d been charmed speechless, so all enthralled.

And Morio’s face was wet with warm tears.

“O hearthland! Dear Merth! You’ve taken me back. Beckoned again to the days of my youth and the fair, green farmlands where we played — I see them even now in sounds, reborne homeward bound by your incantation.”

The photography of Michael Leacher ~ Hearthland

Morio wiped his chubby cheeks and pressed both eyes with the heels of his hands. His face was red when he pulled them away.

Vaam peered at him. “Are you unwell, Uncle M?”

Morio let go a few more tears but he was less wistful now than proud. “I cry for my beloved country… Oh child, Miss Vaam, so pure of heart, your hymn has made mine beat again refilled with the blood of a native son. It pours from your voice and through my veins, unmeasured by rhythm or rhyme.”

“It’s a song my father sang to me… at bedtime as I fell asleep… wherever we hid that night…” Vaam’s voice faded off into soft nothingness, as if drained of all it had to give.

“Your father, your father,” he nodded his head. “My all-but-brother and dearest friend. The bravest heart of the Underland and comrade-in-ogs so true… Oh how I miss him so.”

“Yes, Uncle M. I miss him too.”

John Cap briefly touched her hand and found his voice again. “We learned some more about this place and these folks or whatever they’re called. They’re tough. They know what hard times are for sure — the elderly ones especially. Their story and how they got here is good. A long, hard road but they survived…”

“Even thrived,” chimed a cheery Morio, heartily joining in. “Yes, a long and winding road of death that left just the fittest alive at the end to build this stronghold on a hill. We’re all but experts now Miss Vaam. The locked door, it turns out, is the key to knowledge. Come and I shall show you…”

“In time, Uncle M, in time. But mostly we must know if your findings alter the map of our mission at all. From what you both have said I say not.”

Vaam unwound her long crossed legs and shifted position with ease in place, half springing up to crouch a-heel. Something in the way she moved seemed to prove her a creature of force and grace, a little cat-like in a way.

The narrow platform she made her lair was but the one flat spot in the room. Nothing else was on the level.

… to be continued. Stay tuned!


Previous previews of Episode 4:
1 ~ The watchman
2 ~ Dreams
3 ~ Halo
4 ~ Netherworld
5 ~ Semperor
6 ~ Halcyon days
7 ~ Punch
8 ~ Enshadowed
9 ~ Pale ghost
10 ~ Needle
11 ~ New light
12 ~ Something looms…
13 ~ The gray girl’s blues
14 ~ Flower of the field (original vision)
14 ~ Flower of the field (another vision)


The illuminated lore project is an ongoing collaboration of
photographer Michael Leacher
and Lore of the Underlings author John Klobucher

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