Temple of the Lakes
My dear cousin Jonathan,
I promised to send you a letter each time I visited somewhere new. I hope things are well with you. Your mother misses you a lot. She keeps talking about you and your two little brothers (who are in their fathers' trusted keep, I understand) non-stop.
She and I arrived at Elijah's Rest yesterday morning (it's evening now). We're absolutely touched by the atmosphere here. The cold, chilly Arctic winds... and then my father's (your uncle's) tomb.
To this day, there is a rite of passage for the young and strong Norsemen of this area to stand guard for a few months at the tomb. Even though the Norse society has totally collapsed, this area has been kept intact. It's a solemn place, solemn but not necessary sombre.
The guard is kept day and night, at all times, never leaving it. An eternal fire is kept by the stone tomb, which just bears the inscription AYREON. Underneath it, my father's ashes are stored for all eternity. And the guard stand proudly by it.
It's very touching. By the time I've left the Rest, I hope to have spoken to all guards currently on service. They tell me they are enrolled in the guard for two years, and stand six hours every day (in periods of course), with some other hours for exercise, training and other things. The guard, when not doing its actual tomb-guarding, is seen as keepers of the peace of the area, overseen by a self-titled General Jeremias Karlsen, a very nice gentleman of some 70 years of age. The man adores whiskey (does he drink anything else?) but doesn't seem to be at all affected by it. He's told me amazing stories about the wilderness here, how the Norse of the Rest have survived throughout the years of anomie, and how it all used to be when Normark was part of the independent Elwynn. He shrieks whenever I mention the communist government there.
"To me," he said, "you are the prince of Elwynn. You are the heir to Ayreon!" And he bowed his face to me.
One day, when you and your brothers are a bit older, I will show you this place. As things look now, you will inherit the name to the Ayreon line, and you will need to know these things. I hope you will find them good and worth learning from.
Your mum sends all her love and a thousand kisses. We're off to have dinner and whiskey with General Karlsen again. I don't know much more whiskey I can muster.
Give your brothers hugs from me. And give yourself one big fat one from me.
Forever your cousin
PS. Enclosed, a picture of the guard uniforms: