Quiet Isle

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The Riverlands and the location of the Quiet Isle
The Riverlands and the location of the Quiet Isle
Quiet Isle
The Riverlands and the location of the Quiet Isle[1]

The Quiet Isle is an upthrust island that sits at the mouth of the river Trident where it flows into the Bay of Crabs. It is a refuge for those sworn to the Faith of the Seven.[2] The isle lies across the river to the south of Saltpans. Thick mudflats surround the island when the tide goes out. When the tide is in the brothers use a ferry to get to the mainland. Septon Meribald has often visited the isle.

About

Inhabitants

Those who dwell on the Quiet Isle are male penitents. They seek to atone for their sins through contemplation, prayer, and silence. They are allowed to break silence when confessing. The brothers on the isle wear brown-and-dun robes, with wide bell sleeves and pointed cowls. Many brothers wind lengths of wool about the lower halves of their faces as well, so that all that can be seen of them are their eyes.

The Elder Brother keeps the worst of the tidings from outside to himself, so as not to disturb the tranquility of the septry. Many of the brothers came to the isle to escape the horrors of the world, not to dwell upon them.

Only the Elder Brother and his proctors are permitted to speak on the island and the proctors only one day in seven. A vow of silence is an act of contrition, a sacrifice by which they prove their devotion to the Seven above. The brothers are allowed to break their silence when confessing – it is hard to speak of sin with signs and nods. Septon Meribald takes confession when he visits the isle.

Occasionally some visitors are allowed to stay on the island, some are women who are sick, hurt or with child.[2]

Layout

The Quiet Isle’s septry stands half a mile from the shore, where the wide mouth of the Trident widens further still to kiss the Bay of Crabs. When the tide goes out it goes out swiftly, the receding water leaving behind a broad expanse of glistening brown mudflats dotted by tidal pools that glitter like golden coins in the afternoon sun. Even from the other side of the shore the Quiet Isle’s prosperity is apparent.

The isle’s slopes are covered with terraced fields, with fishponds down below and a windmill above, its wood-and-sailcloth blades turn slowly in the breeze off the bay. Sheep graze on the hillside and storks wade in the shallow waters around the ferry landing. There is a whitewashed stable with a thatched roof.

The top of the hill has a low wall of unmortared stone encircling a cluster of buildings and a windmill. The wooden sept has leaded glass windows and wide doors carved with the likenesses of the Mother and Father and a seven-sided steeple.[2]

Path of Faith

To get to the island from the mainland by foot one must cross the mudflats when the tide is out. Only the faithful may cross safely. The wicked are swallowed by the quicksands, or drowned when the tide comes rushing in. Travelers must be careful there they set their feet, and it is recommended to follow someone familiar with the area.

The path of faith is a crooked one. Although the island seems to rise northeast of where he leaves the shore, Septon Meribald starts due east, toward the deeper waters of the bay, which shimmer blue and silver in the distance. The soft brown mud squishes up between toes. As he walks he pauses from time to time to probe ahead with his quarterstaff. A hundred yards out Meribald turned abruptly towards the south, so that his back is almost towards the septry. He proceeds in that direction for another 100 yards, between two shallow tidal pools.

Slope

A pebbled path through a grove of apple trees leads to a whitewashed stable with a peaked that roof.

The slope is steeper than it looks from across the mudflats. To ease it the brothers have erected a flight of wooden steps that wander back and forth across the hillside and amongst the buildings. There is a summer arbour which produces small, tart grapes, but make drinkable wine. The brothers brew their own ale as well, and their mead and cider are far famed. The brothers provide themselves with their own food and appear to be quite self-sufficient in that regard. Food includes bread, fresh churned butter, honey, and a thick stew of crabs.

Brow of the Hill

The brow of the hill is crowned by a low wall of unmortared stone, encircling a cluster of large buildings:

  • A windmill - its sails creek as they turn
  • The cloisters - where the brothers sleep on pallets
  • The common hall - where the brothers take their meals
  • A wooden sept - for prayer and meditation, the sept has windows of leaded glass, wide doors carved with the likeness of the Mother and the Father, and a seven-sided steeple with a walk on top

Behind the sept is a vegetable garden where some of the older brothers pull weeds. Around a chestnut tree is a wooden door set in the side of the hill, “the Hermit’s Hole”.

Hermit's Hole

The Hermit's Hole is a cave is located in the side of a hill with a wooden door at its entrance. It is the original residence of the first holy man to live on the Quiet Isle roughly 2,000 years before the events of A Song of Ice and Fire. Currently Elder Brother occupies the cave.

It is a warm, snug sanctum. Woolen carpets cover the ground, tapestries cover the walls. Tall beeswax candles give more than ample light. The furnishings are strange but simple. A long table, a settle, a chest, several tall cases full of books and chairs. All are made of driftwood, oddly shaped pieces cunningly joined together and polished till they shine a deep gold in the candlelight. There are cups carved from driftwood, no two are the same.

Women's cottages

Although women do not live on the Quiet Isle they are allowed there. There are some modest cottages set aside for the women who visit the isle, be they noble ladies or common village girls. The cottages are not often used but the brothers keep them clean and dry. On the Quiet Isle men and women do not sleep beneath the same roof unless they are wed.

The women's cottages are on the east side of the isle, looking out over a broad expanse of mud and the distant waters of the Bay of Crabs. It is colder on the east side than on the sheltered side and wilder. The hill is steeper and the path meanders back and forth through weeds and briars, wind carved rocks, and twisted, thorny trees that cling tenaciously to the stony hillside. The fires of Saltpans can be seen across the bay on a clear night. The cottages look like beehives made of stone, low and rounded, windowless with smokeholes in the center of their roofs.

A typical cottage includes a dirt floor, a straw pallet, furs and blankets to keep her warm, a basin of water, a flagon of cider, some bread and cheese, a small fire and two low chairs.

Flotsam and Jetsam

Where the river meets the bay, the currents and tides wrestle, one against the other, and many strange and wondrous things are pushed toward the Quiet Isle. Driftwood is the least of it. The brothers have found silver cups, iron pots, sacks of wool and bolts of silk, rusted helms and shining swords and rubies. So far six rubies have been found, and the brothers are waiting for the seventh. Not all the river's gifts are pleasant, the brothers collect the dead as well. Drowned cows, drowned deer, dead pigs swollen up to half the size of horses and corpses, rivermen, westermen, northmen, knights and knaves alike.

Recent Events

Elder Brotherand Brienne of Tarth discuss Brienne's mission- by Pojypojy ©

A Feast for Crows

Thus far the latest war has not come to the Quiet Isle. Brienne, Septon Meribald, Podrick Payne and Ser Hyle Hunt visit the island during Brienne's quest to find Sansa Stark.

The stable is more than three quarters empty. At one end are half a dozen mules and to the far end, well away from the other animals a huge black stallion. They also meet a lame gravedigger.

They speak with the Elder Brother and have a discussion on the war and what happened at Saltpans. After the others leave, the Elder Brother and Brienne discuss Brienne's mission and why she has to find Sansa.[2]

Quotes

Hyle: Isn't that where we want to go? We seem to be walking every way but toward it?

Meribald: Faith. Believe, persist, and follow, and we shall find the peace we seek.[2]

- Hyle Hunt and Meribald while approaching the isle


Elder Brother: I hope that you have time to absolve us of our sins. Since the raiders slew old Septon Bennet, we have had no one to hear confession.

Meribald: I shall make time, though I hope you have some better sins than last time I came through. [Dog barked]. You see? Even Dog was bored.[2]

- Elder Brother and Meribald

Known Penitent Brothers of the Quiet Isle

Chapters that take place at the Quiet Isle

References and Notes

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