Dom (bateleur) wrote,

Contemplation of Eol Eng

If you must know the truth, it is that I became lost and found myself here.

One sunny afternoon I was playing upon my flute to entertain the children. A woman stopped to listen, but stayed only briefly and when the tune was ended I looked for her but could not find her. I found that I could not properly recall her appearance and sat for all the rest of that afternoon trying to bring it to mind. I can see now in my imagination. Her skin was dark like the descendants of the queens of the West, but her hair was as pale as sand. She wore a dark tunic and a short cape in the Lossanbrant style. Her face is lost to me, except for the flicker of her smile.

I had not traveled far from the village, but none here have heard its name nor know of it. My family name is not recognised here. And yet the village green stands beside the long wall not far from the river and the children I played to that day have lived here all their lives. They are full grown now and say they have known me all their lives, but do not know the village, though I recall their play there a dozen Summers past.


Eol Eng may or may not be a real person. Certainly she cannot be spoken to. From a certain point of view she cannot be seen or sensed at all. She can, however, be remembered.

A few minutes may pass, or perhaps longer, after Eol Eng passes through a place before anyone there recalls her passing. Many will not notice even then, but a perceptive person might remember a figure blocking the light from the lamp, or the sound of footfalls.

Matters become rather stranger if for some reason someone present applies exceptional effort to recalling details of Eol Eng. To do so requires absolute focus, without distraction. Gradually, the one undertaking such contemplation will recall more. Perhaps they will remember the path she took through the room. They might bring to mind a colour which she wore. With sufficient time spent in thought the memory may surface of the style of her cloak, of the staff she carried, of the way the light caught her hair and maybe even a brief flash of the expression on her face…

…However, at the same time the daydreamer’s recollections of other details of the place and time and the details of their surroundings become less certain. Time may pass more rapidly or slowly. If they sit in a room at the top of a tower they may instead turn out to be in a town house many miles away. A flask of water standing nearby may be a flask of wine. The gold in the pouch at their belt may be nothing more than shells.

These things do not change. If the one recalling Eol Eng finds themselves in strange surroundings, clad in strange clothes and in strange company then this will be the way the world has always been. They can ask others nearby, but those others will never have known the world as it was and may well be puzzled by the questioning.

The contemplation of Eol Eng is not something a person can be drawn into against their will. That said, for a certain kind of philosopher it can be a difficult temptation to resist. In particular, once the world is seen to be changed, to simply accept this and move on can be difficult. Yet to instead return to contemplation and seek to penetrate the mystery more deeply can only bring ever more change.

According to the only tale which speaks of this secret, if anyone ever achieves perfect recollection of Eol Eng they will discover themselves to have taken her place.

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