Stonewall, Saints, and the Void...
The Quiet King
The Mute Saint, Saint Silence
The Quiet King mediates between the God and the dying. His manifestation is that of a tall man in a long grey surcoat, wearing an old tarnished crown, from which flows long white hair, waving as if underwater. His nose and his mouth are covered by a scarf of pure white linen, upon which crawl the names of the long-since dead. (To read any of them is to invite certain death.) He speaks nary a word. In fact, he makes no sound whatsoever. Furthermore, his manifestations seem to almost draw in all extraneous noise. Sudden uncomfortable silences may mean that Death is closer than you think.
His name has long since been lost, but his story yet lingers.
The Quiet King was at one time an earthly king, a good leader of men and renowned for his charity and generosity. But his good nature could not keep his enemies at bay. His kingdom was invaded. The enemy tore through the land, murdering all and burning to cinders what they could not plunder. The Quiet King’s army was small and they, though valiant and loyal, could not stop the invaders. So the King bent his knee to his God and prayed for deliverance. And his God answered. The invaders failed at the last possible moment to breach the walls of the castle. After a long siege, the enemy broke and fled into the hills, momentarily sated but still hungry for conquest.
The Quiet King understood the enormity of what had happened. While his land was ravaged, he himself was spared. Sorrow and madness overwhelmed him. At the altar in the temple, he took a sacred knife and cut his throat, selfishly endeavoring to end his own suffering. But his God was not willing to take his spirit. He let the King live and put into his mind a single thought: “Remember them that hath died for you.”
The wound in his throat healed, but forever would his voice be silenced. He put his crown upon his head and pulled the sacred cloth from the altar. Spared yet again but his God, the King took to his feet and began walking. He walked to the castle walls, then stepped beyond, out into the land left sundering by the marauders. There he saw firsthand the devastation. And there he saw the dead, piled along the road, crumpled in there last moments of agony and fear. And he bent to each one. And as he bent he heard in his mind a name, placed there by his God. And taking a piece of charred oak, the King wrote the name upon the altar cloth. And he continued to write, for as he gazed upon each body the names continued to fill his mind. It seemed that he never stopped writing and that he never ran out of room on the cloth. Now, bidden by his God, the Quiet King continues to keep the names of the dead and long does he remember them all.
And older story has it that he is often preceded by a psychopomp—a guide—called “The Drayer of Bones.” It is said that he is the one who collects the souls of the dead and aids them on their journey to the next world, in a rickety old cart. The cart is pulled along either by two horses, one of which is old and thin while the other is youthful and strong. Some tales say that he has two companions, who are skeletons in some versions, following behind his cart and tossing the dead into it.