Andelphracian Lights

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Andelphracian Lights, or Andelights, are a common device used by walkers and journeyers to plant a visible route back home. Constructed from readily available quayre materials, though they are not easy to make they exude a low intensity light for several days that must have seemed in the year of their creation to have been a resplendently bright exhalation that made the previously unnavigable forests, mires, and quayres now remarkably less difficulty-fraught terrains for travellers.

The lights consist of two sacs containing two different fluids which, when mixed, give off their distinctive iridescent tones. Generally, the lights are affixed to tree stumps or bracken, or the ground if no other suitable affixation point is handy. In order to make the most use out of the resources at hand, and so as to not clutter up the landscape with the lights--in case of accidental clashes--it's common to use as few lights as possible by planting a new one only when the previous one is barely visible in the background. Should you have to cross the path of another set of lights, it's general countryside etiquette to bridge by either laying down lights of different colour, or laying down two lights per waypoint in order to distinguish your path from that of the other person.

Margaret Widderson, one of the foremost contemporary Andelight craftswomen, explains in a nutshell the creation process:

"Most of the materials used in the concocting of Andelphracian Lights are collected from the quayres of the Evesque Valley which, due to this fact alone, is often cited as the most likely historical location for the town of Fylesgate--where the lights were first invented. One of the major ingredients used is the Fefferberry, of course, but just as important are the many lesser ingredients which are used to sustain the lights' hue and intensity over their luminous durations, protect them from the elements--a major problem with some of the earlier types--such as wind and rain, and various other reasons. Some of the berries have picking seasons, and so as to make the most use of our time, we now use Andelphracian Lights to lead collectors back to the best groves so that they can pick by lantern. Thankfully we use a lot less lights than we make!

"We then 'brew' the collected ingredients using a special process which takes a number of weeks or years depending on the exact recipe used. When Andelphracia herself invented these lights, it's thought she must've created a weaker variant since we're now able to produce some fairly nice hues thanks to the longer process, but we don't know for certain.

"Eventually we distill the primary ingredients for the Distillate Major and Distillate Minor which are then packaged up into the very characteristic little sacs that give the Andelights their shape. The larger sac contains the Distillate Major, which determines up to a limit the duration of the lights; the smaller sac contains the Distillate Minor, which starts off the reaction, and determines the colour and a number of other qualities."

Travellers through terrain treacherous enough for the lights to be required usually have a great respect for fellow peregrinators, and so accounts of paths being nefariously rerouted into loops, or broken altogether, are thankfully rare, and the lights are therefore effective. Now that the craft of producing the lights has got to such a point that the lights retain their intensities over their duration, new forms are being developed that gradually change their hues to show for how long they've been laid down.

According to the Council for Quezlarian Research, Quezlar 6 himself may be the first person in recorded history other than Andelphracia to have used the lights, in his triumphant crossing of the Elminster Mire. This suggests some link between the two noted historical figures, and in a stunning break with their traditional high levels of secrecy, the Council for Quezlarian Research vice chairman Bysted Timperton is rumoured to soon be issuing an official statement of their results in, fittingly, the classic journal Quester and Phorrus.

The Fylesgate Annals allude, in a particularly opaque but beautifully poetic piece of non-core script, to the creation in the seventh year of the mayoresshood of Andelphracia of her namesakeful lights. Intriguingly, research has been unable to antedate back more than a hundred and fifty years the use of the phrase "Andelphracian Lights" even though it's now common currency in core script. What phrase was used prior to that is unknown since only allusions to the lights have been found in the older collections such as the Fylesgate Annals, but whatever was used is commonly said in folklore to have been the term that Andelphracia herself gave to them.

Citations: Bysted Timperton, Quester and Phorrus.

--Sean B. Palmer 19:07, 27 Aug 2004 (EDT)

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