Lively Locals 8: Hero’s Rest

A photograph of Pontil’s Tomb, taken from Ben Hammott’s Research and Discoveries

If you visit the town of Everbrook, there is a sight you ought to see. Follow the stream which runs through town upriver, and you’ll come to a crumbling watchtower near the town’s edge. Behind it is an overgrown path leading up into the hills. The trees here grow large, and broad, blocking out all but the occasional trickle of sunlight. You may need a lantern to follow the path, even at noon on a bright summer’s day.

The climb is steep and winding, but the path never strays far from the stream, so you’ll have plenty of water to slake your thirst. A mile or so up, you will happen upon a clearing. It’s the only spot for miles, aside from Everbrook itself, where the sun shines through the dense tree cover. The southern edge of the clearing drops off suddenly, and if you stand on the edge you can see a rolling ocean of thick leaves extending as far as human eyes can see.

The clearing is small, no more than 15ft from any point on the clearing’s edge to any other. The stream pools in a tiny pond here, before continuing further up the hillside. There are no insects or animals there, only a profound stillness that makes you keenly aware of every sound you’ve brought with you–your footsteps in the grass, your breathing, your heartbeat.

Beside the water is a tomb; 6ft long, 3ft wide, and 3ft high. It is made of local stone, and somehow seems more at home than I would have thought a man made object could be in such a profoundly natural place. Its surfaces are covered in ornate carvings, depicting great battles, and slain demons. The side of the tomb which faces towards the water, and out over the trees, bears the only word, written in common.

“Hero”

If you were to ask anyone in town where it came from, none of them could give you an answer. They say that the town’s founders only discovered it several years after settling in the area, and no one has ever found out where it came from, or how long it has been there. Most of the townsfolk have visited the Hero’s Rest at least a few times. It is a solitary experience for them, one of solemnity and contemplation. Specific beliefs and traditions regarding the site vary from person to person, but every last citizen of Everbrook agrees that Hero’s Rest deserves reverence.

No one has ever opened the tomb, nor would the people of Everbrook ever willingly allow someone to do so–though they do not guard the site and could not stop a determined thief. Nor are they eager to learn of who was lain to rest there. Whoever that person was, the town of Everbrook embraces them.

Whoever that person was, they were a hero.

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