This book is intended as one Nibenean's philosophical musings on Colovian life and piety. It is in no way authoritative (or even very accurate), and reflects the class-based opinions of someone who has observed the insular and austere Highlands culture without ever actually being a part of it.
Chronologically, this would probably date from somewhere in the first half of the Septim reign. Not a rare or expensive book, but definitely not common either.
(I swear I'll start packing up some books into ESP's as soon as possible).
Memories on the Western Highlands, their Gods, and their People
by Serus Valicus
It has been many years of war and famine since last I visited the Colovian Highlands, and, from my perch in the Nibenay, it sometimes seems to me as if those places were but a mirage, the daydream of a passing caravaner who imagines life on distant hills.
But here, within my chambers, at a silent courtyard in a restless district of an uneasy city, I let my mind wander and return to memories of dry heat and withered trees, and the proud, indifferent people of an unforgiving land.
The true Highlands are a world within themselves, neglected by the Empire that cradles them, forgotten even by their own sons and daughters who journey far in order to die on distant battlefields, under odd and foreign stars.
The Colovians live in ignorance of faith, at least, faith as it is defined in the eyes of the febrile Nibenese. God-heroes come from Colovia, descending from the hills clad in golden armor, wielding shining weapons and words of power. But these Gods do not return to their cradle -- they remain in the east, in the cities that boil with wealth and fever, becoming part of them in time.
Those Gods that are born in the east, meanwhile, do not venture into the Highlands, but journey to the markets of the shining western sea, or to the holy halls of Sancre Tor, their paths deflecting from the windswept summits by the invisible pull of treasure and faith.
Seasons follow one another, as do the lives of peasants, hunters, charcoal burners, miners and shepherds. They live today as they did four thousand years ago, their faith bound up in a grim vision of the distant Divines and their butchering Founder-Saints.
The Colovian Highlands remain void of faith, reason, madness or sanity. The Empire, ever present in all Imperial concerns, is to them but a shadow of a great and distant power, one that cannot be touched or observed, which barely acknowledges these lands, and is known to them only by the terrible tremors of its very existence, its laws and impositions.
In the east, our Gods wage war at night, defeating demons, shining the light of law and order upon the dark corners of the world. In the west, Gods sit on cold thrones in contemplation, or they depart in conquest of distant lands.
Such Gods as ours do not come to the Highlands, for in those unbidden places evil is not bound within a hostile spirit, but is anchored within the nature of the earth itself, eternally present within an unchanging world where the idea of order is as incomprehensible as the idea of chaos. Thus it has always been, and will remain as long as Akatosh reigns eternal over the darkened wheel of this world.