The Enchantment of Rowan
An Ancient Artisan, Knightly Tale
Shane R. Brown
A brief history of the origin of the Twin Bell Towers of The Kingdom of Rowan:
These historic Twin Bell Towers of Rowan, have most profound meaning for almost every citizen in the Kingdom of Rowan. They who deeply appreciate their heritage from the forefathers, have long since revered this innovative landmark of great renown, for its origin and prestigious design, as well as its magnificent usefulness in keeping and governing the time of this prosperous land. Its bells have consistently rung on every given hour from 7am to 7pm since its day of inauguration and dedication.
On the North face of the West Bell Tower of Rowan, inscribed in metal on a granite memorial placard, is written a brief yet compelling history of how these twin towers came to be. The inscription reads as follows:
These Twin Bell Towers of Rowan, having been constructed as a gift from the great King Rama of the Kingdom of Rahue of the Western region, for King Gordan and his people of the Kingdom of Rowan, of the Central region, signify that these two kingdoms are friends, kindred and peaceful allies. This because of the glorious deeds performed by the King, Prince and people of Rowan, for King Rama, his son Prince Gilbert, and their people of the Kingdom of Rahue.
For when King Rama’s Kingdom in the West, was surrounded under the perils of attack, by the hands of a numerous clan of ferocious neighboring bandits, he sent out his son Prince Gilbert, with command of their superior knights, to thwart off the attack, and help restore peace and unity to his kingdom. Prince Gilbert did so, and having succeeded, he drove them out, and pushed them far away into the East, near the borders of Rowan.
To Prince Gilbert’s awful surprise however, as he was in the very pursuit of victory, his forces were unambiguously ambushed by the Mandricks, who were a barbaric tribal entity, which festered and brooded in the wilderness, ever planning and plotting ways to gain more power unto themselves.
Furthering his disappointment, to Prince Gilbert’s utter dismay, these two rebel forces, the bandits and Mandricks, had bonded together to join forces. The Prince’s weary residue of survivors, having suffered much from their long march and grueling battles, now geared up to face this newest enemy. To their credit however, bold they may have been, nothing could have prepared them for what happened next.
In utter shock, horror, and astonishment, they beheld yet another adversary, in the form of the largest tyrannous group on the Monocratic continent, the Shizors. The Mandricks had secretly and subserviently joined allegiance with these Shizors, who were known abroad for their laying siege and conquering status, continually rampaging to expand their powers of unrighteous dominion.
Together, under the design of the Shizors, the Mandricks and unquenched bandits, all planned to combine their powers, and seize the entire Kingdom of Rahue. To lay waste to their goodly lands, and reap the spoils, and confidently gain a stronghold, fit for a bloodthirsty brotherhood.
To Prince Gilbert’s glorious surprise and utter relief and amazement, the citizens of Rowan who were on the outskirts in the farmlands of the kingdom, had boldly made themselves aware of the Mandricks’, Shizors’ and bandit clan’s divergent plans to conquer the Kingdom of Rahue. Thus they interceded by posing as neutral and naïve friends, hoping to keep the peace, and offered a peace drink offering to all the tyrant leaders.
Not wanting to pass up such a proposition, but with no intention of honoring their part of the promise, the combined tyrant leaders partook. These drinks were prepared in their strength, to achieve the desired taste, and administered to with a portion of plant herb known as hamactin. This herb, used by many homestead physicians to remove infectious fungus on feet, not fit for consumption, incapacitated the leader’s speech, making it slurred unrecognizably, and created a measure of lethargy, which made it easier to destroy them through their ranks.
Having thus wrought upon the enemy’s leaders, resulting in a lack of battle commands and confusion, as well as fatigue, the Mandricks, Shizors and deadly bandit clan slowly began to fall back from before the valiant forces of Prince Gilbert, and with the help from King Gordan of Rowan’s son, Prince Germain, with all his knights and warriors aiding in their defense, they made some great headway.
Finally, the bandits and the Mandricks were all slain, and the Shizors outfought, for they had sent the largest portion of their army onward, to continue with their planned invasion on the Kingdom of Rahue, thinking they could still take it. They left the rest of their forces behind, to end the planned conflict.
While the forces of Prince Gilbert of Rahue and Prince Germain of Rowan were still conquering, King Gordan saw the Shizors’ plans and movement of departure, and hurriedly sent his son Prince Germain onward to head them off, to thwart them in their planned attack. He also sent a hurried embassy ahead, to forewarn King Rama by way of messenger scouts, that the Shizors’ were on their way to attack.
Making things even worse for the Shizors, King Rama of Rahue had also just received new recruits to his army, which when met by the tyrants on Rahue’s own soil, King Rama and his son Prince Gilbert, along with the added aid from the warriors of Prince Germain of Rowan, warred victoriously, gaining the first victory ever over the Shizors!
Their numbers having drastically reduced through embattlement, the Shizors were considered conquered. This was such a huge feat in the land, that because it had been accomplished, it gave way to hope for many other righteous kingdoms in the land to spread forth their righteous reign and dominion, without the fear of tyranny.
To ever after give an appreciation to the King and people of Rowan, for their heroism and bravery, I King Rama, anointed under the hand of my father King Royel, do now signify on this granite and metal plated memorial placard, that these two great kingdoms, symbolized by these two towers, Rahue in the West, and Rowan to the East, are seminal, kindred, and honorable friends. I hereby dedicate these magnificent twin bell towers, built and hallowed by the craftsmanship and gentlemen of Rahue, for the kingdom and people of Rowan, and do establish our union of beloved fellowship.
To further the appreciation of King Gordan and Rowan’s people, a clock has been built and established in the Eastern tower, facing East, to live as a legacy, and help govern the affairs of the people in this part of the land, and to ever remind its people of the kinship shared between these two kingdoms.
The Twin Bell Towers
The people of the Kingdom of Rowan were all amazed! Their twin bell towers had been ringing constantly all morning! From 7am until the current time, it being 10:10am. At the time of this new excitement, Shrad, the town’s Bell Towers’ trustee, had enlisted the help of his youngest son Heroum, a lad of fifteen, to help examine the cause of this tumult.
“Heroum, we must do something to try and stop this constant ringing!” he shouted stoutly, “It’s upsetting all the town’s people! Let’s go and put a stop to this!”
Shrad had been at the towers all last evening, finishing the installation of some new equipment, and realigning the gears and timers, to work without losing any of the clockwork’s timing in between. As the privileged and respected trustee of the towers, and father of four, Shrad feared that the new equipment had either been incorrectly installed, or was faultily made.
Because the tower’s trusteeship ran through family line, Shrad, along with his sons, were the only ones given the responsibilities for maintaining the functionality and cleanliness of these bells and towers. Shrad had the obligation to then teach, and train his sons in the ways of the towers, in the same way he was taught by his father and grandfather. This was so that when they were of age, one of them could take the mantle.
As Shrad and Heroum embarked to discover the cause of the ringing, the two knew this was not going to be an easy fix. After having been taught many things about the towers from previous trustees, including discovered hidden secrets, they felt certain they could work things out.
“Father, this ringing is so loud! It’s hurting my ears!” Shouted Heroum above the piercing powerful noise.
“Yes, and it will make it difficult for us to thoroughly inspect the gear work.” Shrad replied, “but we must do our best. The people of Rowan are depending on us.”
The twin bell towers of Rowan were built to last, made of brick and stone, cemented and fortified in the structure in which each brick had been laid, making them exceedingly sturdy.
Each tower was identical in formation, but not in design, for the inner workings, as well as some of the outside appearance, had special markings of significance. While only the East tower bore a clock, known across the land for its grand and meticulous design, both towers were laden with bells. Their acoustic design, as well as the surrounding landscape, caused a resonation, which could be heard by much of the outreaching lands.
Shrad and Heroum confidently climbed the steep stairs of the towers’ lower edifice, carefully inspecting all the gear work along the way. Higher and higher they each climbed, insuring that every little gear and mechanism was properly in sync. When they reached the upper most platforms within the towers, having no success, they half crazily came storming down the stairwells, desperate to find relief from the noise.
“The bells are making it too unbearable to continue,” said Shrad, “but something has to be done.”
The people of Rowan were looking to Shrad and his son for help. Some were highly troubled, even staring accusingly at Shrad and Heroum, as if asking why the problem had not yet been fixed. Others were already trying to go on, as if accustomed to the loud sounding bells, but strangely and honestly, somewhere deep inside each citizen, they mysteriously felt that something more than these bells was awry.
“Son, do you know what this means?” asked Shrad, above the blaring of the towers’ bells.
“Yes Dad, the switch.”
“That’s right Heroum! We must pull the secret lever switch.”
The lever switch was first discovered by Shrad’s father Naham, who upon examination, was able to deduce its ability to reset the clock gears, which would manually realign them, and thus in this case, they hoped, stop the ringing of the bells. Shrad had no other alternative. With this disruption of the town’s people’s lives, he knew he must pull the towers’ secret lever, which by Shrad’s knowledge, had never been pulled.
Having been taught many secrets of the towers by his own father and grandfather, Shrad now had the opportunity to teach these things to his sons. The mystery and secrets of these towers is clearly known by the Griffin family trustee line, but what Shrad and his forbearers did not know, was what it was that caused these different unexplained phenomena which took place. So strange had been the actions and certain outcomes of the towers and their inner-workings, that Shrad almost had a belief that they almost had a life of their own.
Shrad and his sons were the only ones who knew of the lever’s existence, and with the towers’ secret lever pulled, in minutes the bells finally did stop ringing, and they discovered that once this was done, and the lever then repositioned back into its functional place, the clock and gears worked fine, and were back on track.
This was such a huge relief for the kingdom, especially since the day’s events all centered on the people, all gathering together to participate in the King’s Fair.
Shrad said to his son Heroum, “I hope now we won’t have to worry about these towers ringing this way anymore.”
“Yes, but at least we know what to do if they do.” said Heroum.
“Indeed, but I still want to investigate to see if I can find out what might have been the cause of all of this havoc in the first place.”
Shrad and his family, along with the entire Kingdom of Rowan were highly relieved at the silencing of the bells, yet to their uneasiness, it still seemed as though an eerie echo of warning remained. Although things could now resume normally, the end of this mystery was far from being revealed, and as they would soon find out, there was something more precious to these towers than they could have ever possibly imagined. For in it, they would discover a secret that would transform their whole understanding of the world in which they lived.
This very day was to be the towers’ one-hundredth anniversary, and was to be celebrated with a fair in the kingdom, with festivities, food, and the appearance of the Queen’s court. All of this excitement was to begin promptly at 10:00am, and go until dark.
With this unusual start to their day, the people of Rowan were grateful, and also excited to begin their celebration with anticipation.
On this wondrous day of their tower’s anniversary, which happened every five years, Heroum had long since made a deal with himself, that he was going to enter into the gauntlet contest, which if won, he would have the opportunity to dance with Princess Lorena at the royal ball, and have his name written in the King’s Book of Times.
This achievement was the highest honor one could receive as a lad in Rowan. Each person who won this competition, was also granted the opportunity to improve his classmen-ship through education, opportunity and training, personally provided by the king’s court.
Because Heroum had risen so early to the sound of the ringing bells, which began their noise at 6:00am, he had extra time before the festivities, to do his chores and then practice once again for the gauntlet contest, as he had done so many times before. In preparation for this great opportunity, Heroum had used a large portion of his young free time, to run the rigors of the course, and utilize his opportunities to win in the off seasons, until he became of age.
His great excitement in celebrating the kingdom’s grand fair came from the prospect, that now that he was old enough to participate in the gauntlet contest, he might also win it.
As he had practiced all year ‘round, and prepared with growing confidence, he truly felt ready and able to win. He also desired to have the dance with Princess Lorena, and besides this, if he could win this honor, he could guarantee himself that the assignment of the tower’s trustee would go on to one of his brothers.
The King’s Fair
Once things got back into gear, the kingdom resumed preparations and readiness for the fair, and everyone was in a spirit of joy, ablaze with excitement and mutual appreciation for each other. This was the electric atmosphere and kinship among the people of Rowan at this most wonderful time!
A Distant Cry
Forty years ago, a young merchant had once been attracted to Rowan, because of reputable mention among buyers there. Upon arrival, he had begun to deal treacherously with the community, and had stolen some of the town’s people’s trust, as well as their commodities.
At this point, the citizens rallied to bring him to justice, and he was exacted for his crimes, and then sent away. When the day of his liberty came, he left the kingdom never to return, and as he did so, the West bell tower rang once, and then did not ring again on its appointed times, until new equipment was put in, and the gears realigned.
Now, every five years on the day before the forth coming fifth year anniversary, the towers’ trustee replaces and installs new essential equipment, realigns the gears and timers as needed, and does a thorough cleaning to ensure the bells and clock never break down, as they did that year forty years ago. The towers were to be kept ever functional and bright by each succeeding trustee. Because the kingdom truly respected the Griffin family line, they were chosen for this stewardship.
It had originally been assigned to them because of Heroum’s great grandfather, who had fought in the original war against the Shizors, in the great war against them by the kingdoms of Rahue and Rowan. His great grandfather was both a brick mason, and a clock maker, and was noted for his epic original designs. It was he, who had also been involved in much of the consultation for the making of the original plans for the towers.
It was because of this, that he was readily chosen by the people to be the Trustee, and was anointed under the hands of King Gordan.
These famous twin bell towers were not without reputation however, and even legends about this glorious landmark had begun to be attached