Excerpt from “Secrets of the Stonelayer: Theories and Legends Surrounding the Founding of Amalcross,” by Lerman Garindis.
Our great city stands as a pinnacle, a monument, really, to the fortitude of our founder, King Cogidubnus the First and Only. Although we know natural resources were abundant in this area when the first settlers arrived — just as they are now — the stones that make up our city’s skeleton are nevertheless unique. They are special. They are the very foundation of Amalcross, and, indeed, their hardness and grit runs in every native Amalcrosser’s very veins!
While the stonework on the surface, that which we see day to day, requires regular maintenance and even replacement at times due to the effects of the elements, we hardly ever hear of the foundation stones being serviced or replaced. Why is that? Is there some ancient, hidden secret?
The foundation’s resiliency could be due to the fact they are not affected by the elements nearly as much, of course, but any reasonable person would assume they should still need replacement at some point over the course of hundreds of years. Yet one hardly ever hears of such a thing! Fortunately, I was lucky enough to speak with an individual who worked for City Maintenance for a number of years, and this person — whose identity must remain concealed for their own safety — informed me the stones had never been serviced but are monitored for any creeping instability.
My source, although reluctant at first to share the city’s secrets with the public, soon warmed to my inquiry and was taken (dare I say awed?) by my own knowledge of stonework. After months of dogged requests at various levels of the bureaucracy they were able to pull some strings with certain individuals (again, their identities are strictly confidential) who still work in this area of the city. They granted me rare access to the hidden foundations of Amalcross.
I made my way into the catacombs of our city and saw the foundational stones for myself in person. It was an incredible experience, I must tell you. The air is cold and almost refreshing below the surface. My guide took me among catwalks and side passages until we reached the cornerstones. I was told I could look all I wished but was not permitted to touch them. I took my alchemical light and wandered about the grand structures. They were unlike any stones I had ever seen, with strange yet beautiful striations of lighter coloration across their surface in dancing and swirling patterns. Each stone stood perfectly straight and reached impossibly high above me to hold the city itself up. Their placement was exact and perfectly spaced out from one another.
According to the “Stonekeepers,” as I designated these most secret civil employees in my notes, there are those who believe the foundations are not stones at all but are actually the bones of giants. In my own research, I long ago established that giants could have inhabited this land when Cogidubnus and the original settlers came here. (Those interested should read my earlier work, My Month with The Giants: Truth and Greater Truth.) The Stonekeepers claimed the moniker we all know our founder as, the “Stonelayer,” has actually been misinterpreted. According to them, Cogidubnus was actually known as the “Stoneslayer” in his time for leading the battle against the giants to claim this land. I am unsure how much I believed my guide’s claims in that moment, but looking at the stones I could see how they looked like massive bones jutting from the ground.
I had already begun other avenues of research surrounding our founder by this point, so despite not being fully swayed by these tales of giants and their bones I took notes in my journal. After leaving the catacombs, I revisited my research on giants and their movements about the ancient world in search of more specific clues.
Giants are scarce in the modern world and little is known about them. Ancient records are understandably spotty on the topic. Most records show them inhabiting regions to the north, at times even so far north to be near the mysterious Frozen Flames. I did, however, find a firsthand account, scratched in faded ink on a flaking scrap of parchment, from an ancient pilgrim who recounted seeing several nomadic herds of giants in an area that sounds similar to the region of Amalcross before the city’s construction. I compared the notes to other accounts I have confirmed are from around the same time, and they match many of the markers.
So, I ask you this: Are we standing on the shoulders of giants?
To read the rest of my research on this subject, you must purchase my book: Secrets of the Stonelayer: Theories and Legends Surrounding the Founding of Amalcross, where the transcribed notes of the above mentioned pilgrim are included in their entirety. You should also be on the lookout for me at a companion event to the Conclave of Bards, where I will be speaking further on Cogidubnus and the creation of our city.