|“||They were responsible for the Plain's deadly reputation... The stones had no language difficulties [but] their speech was sour, acidic, caustic. The stones were gray brown, mostly, without visible orifices or organs. Most were as shaggy with mosses and lichens and bugs as any normal boulder...||”|
Menhirs are intelligent, towering, rectangular stones native to the Plain of Fear. Answering to their creator Father Tree, they were the "principal allies" of Darling and her New White Rose Rebellion during the events of The White Rose and The Silver Spike.
The menhirs are the creations of Old Father Tree, a god whose summoning from another world created the entire Plain of Fear, and whose dreams reshape it continually. Menhirs are "mica-flecked" and seem to grow gradually with time. A 12-foot-tall menhir is considered by humans to be a "runt", 13-foot ones are "middle-sized", and those over 15-feet seldom move. Case reckoned that the very largest were 18 feet in height. Each one has a "face" side, which they will keep facing in the direction of a human interlocutor by turning in place "jerkily", but only if they are unobserved.
They move about by disappearing and materializing in a new location instantly and soundlessly, which they rarely do while being observed by humans. In at least one instance, they disappeared to the sound of small thunderclaps. Notably, they are not animated by magic, as observed by Croaker, because unlike even the Tree himself, they function without impediment inside the anti-magic null surrounding Darling. When a menhir falls on its side, it loses its intelligence and mobility, but will be found upright and silent shortly after. According to Croaker: "the menhirs, living and dead, are a stark grey-brown unlike any stone native to the Plain", therefore dead menhirs do not change color or appear differently than living ones.
The White RoseEdit
- Main article: The White Rose
Darling and the Black Company lived among the intelligent but enigmatic menhirs for two uneventful years. The rocks maintained the strong alliance between the various species and the New White Rose Rebellion, and often warned Darling's people of dangers. Despite their close alliance, the humans never became accustomed to the sudden appearances of the giant rocks, and remained unsettled by the menhirs' inexplicable "malevolent" laughter. They did not often provide complex or complete information until the last months of their alliance, after Father Tree's sentience was revealed. The intelligent rocks then openly served as the primary medium for communication between the humans, Father Tree, and the other sentient Plain species (including the windwhales, mantas, and centaurs).
In a rare instance of moving while being seen by humans, a group of menhirs "flickered" to herd Toadkiller Dog, who was trying to escape the Plain. Later, during the major battle between the army of Plain creatures and the new Taken a few miles outside Horse, Croaker observed numerous menhirs "flickering" in and out among the horde.
The Silver SpikeEdit
- Main article: The Silver Spike
The menhirs were critical allies in the struggle against the Limper and in recapturing the silver spike. A particular menhir whom Case nicknamed Scar became the chief representative of the Tree in communications with Bomanz, Case, and Darling.
Menhirs would regularly drop off the sides of windwhales, alongside others, during supply runs before the Plain horde's first attack on the Limper. They always landed upright on the ground and would appear later, unharmed, aboard the windwhales. Some menhirs would even "yodel fearfully" on their way down, a bizarre display which unsettled Bomanz. Some flew on the backs of the windwhales carrying Darling and her companions across the Sea of Torments and back again. They participated in the showdown in Oar and were instrumental in securing the silver spike once and for all.