The oldest documentation of this story comes from what is assumed to be some kind of a journal entry written by an unknown author. This author is believed to have lived in Willowdale hundreds of years ago. The journal entry reads:

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Many moons ago, a unique visitor was windswept into Cedarstipple. It was a loon, which we had seen before.

His eyes were as red as blood. His wings like a vibrant night sky. His collar, like a string of pearls.

But this was no ordinary loon. Unlike his common brethren, his bill appeared like an ivory dagger that shined in the moonlight. You could see it from miles away, like a glimmering blade in the shadowy lake.

This was the lone loon.

He arrived during a tempest from a coast far away. The vagabond bird found himself lost in Cassan once the storm had passed. Desperate, every night he cried out for a friend. Yet none came. His kind were home, you see, far north in the arctic sea.

Every night, we could hear his longing wails from the lake.

Every night, his desperation grew stronger.

Every night, he felt lonelier.

Months passed. Then one night, there was silence. The night passed by without so much as a whisper from our misfortunate loon.

On a hike the following day, we found him resting upon the highest rock atop the neighboring mountain. He had died. Yet it is mysterious how. Loons do not walk up mountains, they only have legs to swim. Loons do not rest on land, they can only take off from water. There was no sign of struggle or injury, so no eagle had dropped him there. 

He lied as though he were sleeping, with his yellow bill peacefully tucked into his wing. Out of respect, we laid him to rest and named the mountain in his honor.

Then something bizarre happened.

A year later, I heard him again. I jumped from my cot and ran outside. It was the song of the lone loon. I knew there was no chance another of his kind had been displaced, as there had been no coastal storm to blow one out into these woods. It was him! But how?

I listened closely, and he cried again. 

It was different from how I remembered. Something felt… strange.

Like I was listening to the ghost of my fallen friend.

 

His voice echoed off the trees, and the sound swirled in the wind. A chill descended down my spine, yet, I felt compelled to follow this wild call.  In the dead of night, I walked into the wintery forest. The call led me deep into the woods, where I came upon a stump. Sitting atop this grave of a once-great tree, was a stone.  As ludicrous as it seems, I could have sworn the loon’s song emanated from this spot, yet he was nowhere to be seen. As I approached, his wail bellowed like thunder. Each step I took, he howled insatiably.

 

Then, as soon as I touched the stone, there was silence. The call had stopped, and the blowing wind stood still.

I could feel but a draft as I lifted this object. It was a hag stone, around the size of my palm. Some quartz glimmered in the granite, and piercing the center were three holes of different sizes. I had never seen such a curiosity. From the little I knew, I could tell that this was an incredibly rare stone. How did it even get here, placed so deliberately in the center of the tree stump?

As soon as I looked away from the curio, I was back outside my tent.

 

I could see the light from my lantern inside when the wind frightened me with a powerful gust. I lost my footing and fell to the ground.

I stared up at the night sky for a while as the dizziness passed. Then, composing myself, I stood up and looked around me. For a moment, in my disbelief, I assumed I had imagined the whole thing. 

A few seconds of relief elapsed until I realized I was still holding the hag stone. 

I returned to being lost in confusion. Quickly, I thought to look for my footprints in the snow to see if I had wandered off as I remembered, but there were none. The path to where I had followed the wild call had vanished, not a single flake of snow disturbed.

The night was silent, with only the wind whistling through the needles of pine trees.

 

I have pondered upon this strange night with great intensity. To ease my wondering, and perhaps the eerie sensation of fear this memory brings me, I have concluded only one thing: The stone was a gift, given to me by the phantom of the lone loon, who was grateful I answered his lonely call.

 

Perhaps you will hear him one day. And perhaps you too will receive such a curio of Cassan. That is, should you choose to heed his ghostly wail, and befriend his sad soul. 
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End of entry.

THE LEGEND OF THE LONE LOON

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