“Often, while traveling in the region of mountains, west and north of Sarshel, I have found a reports of men referred to as breathlings or soul walkers. I even managed to find them, and quite surprising, such people were very keen to talk with me.
“Venerated in their villages, they are supposed to be able to walk, as they say – they claim that, during the sleep, or even in wake state, their soul can exit the body through the breath from the lungs and then traverse great distances. They, in great seriousness, told me that they are able, while in such form, to gather the clouds and provide the rain for their village crops, or to avert and change the winds, so the hailstorm may miss their home...
“While this supposed talent of theirs is respected and known to all in their communities, none outside, in more civilized areas, pay attention to them. They resemble wind wizards trained for our merchant marine in this respect, but lack any other arcane talent, as I could see, and even more, they claim no ability to induce any sort of phenomenon and consider their talent as part of their heritage, passed from an ancestor to successor, rather then induced by prayer or scholastically acquired. Some of them are farmers, some herders, or woodcutters, but none of them had any form of education – they are illiterate to the last.
“Each of them is highly respected and often offered food, wood and drink from other people of the village. Their task is vital to the existence of the communities high in the mountains, in the harsh climate. But it is not the task without risk. All five of breathlings I had a chance to speak to, claimed that they often fought their counterparts while walking – other breathlings, most of them from Damara, I was told, each group trying to divert rain to and avert disastrous storms and snows from their country. Wounds sustained in soul form, I was told, appeared on the bodies of the breathlings, and people are known to even die from them, all the while staying outside their bodies. Walkers whose bodies would come to harm by other people, while their souls were walking, betrayed by their own kinsmen, would stay forever imprisoned in this world, roaming the mountains as a ghosts, bringing doom and woe to their betrayers.
“It is very easy to dismiss such things as a simple superstition. Yet, how to explain that, while talking to these simple people, one of them described me a great expanses of the desert stretching all the way to the place where sun sets and the enormous, walled city, while the other went in great detail to describe lands south, over the seas. None of them had ever traveled more then ten miles outside their villages, let alone visited Waterdeep or Mulhorand, yet they described them with great precision.
“Whatever is the nature of this phenomenon, I think it is worth studying.”
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Excerpt from the "Treatise Of Impilturian Folk Lore and Tradition As Told By Folk Themselves", Scribe Emphrain Grim of Thun, Sarshel, 1351 DR:
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