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#920170 - Sun 08/04/18 23:13 BST HWD: Midwinter's at Bordertown
Wolf Offline

Registered: Mon 25/07/11
Posts: 4990
Loc: NY
The Heartwood
The Flowered Path
Marketday, the Twenty Fourth day of Crown of Ice

Lyric, Cesare, Keiko and Bekkah ... and Tomomi and Hinata Cat.

"Don't know."

That was Hinata's reply. It was simple, straightforward and in two words answered both Lyric's and Cesare's question.

"But only one way, to find out."

And that was the pragmatic truth. The answer to their questions would not be found out here in the fields but within the town's walls. The big cat person took a few steps forward, looked over his shoulder, and gave Cesare a why-aren't-you-coming-along-already look before continuing on.

Tomomi blinked, once, and then twice and sprinted after Hinata. She tugged on his travel cloak, pointed to his hood and there was some animated conversation before he, with a wrinkle of nose and whiskers, pulled his hood up to shelter his most obvious differences from everyone else.

"Renyard says every day is marketday in Bordertown."

While the little Mouse had never been there or seen this place, she did have her mentor's teachings to fall back on. So she - in her simple way - was prepared for Bordertown. In a way. It was, however, Bekkah that suddenly snared her attention - she had only gotten three steps forward with Hinata before stopping and turning around, eyes all wide and surprised and more than a little shocked!

"The Dragonstooth ... uhm ... tavern? Renyard has told us what a tavern is, ja? It's like a small Home that you can visit for just overnight? Though you have to keep your travel-cloaks on because all sorts of strange not us folks are there too. But the Dragonstooth?

"They have a dragon's tooth? Every now and then the Old Masters would want a tooth and those that had to get one usually never came back! Poor dragons, missing their teeth!"

Then, suddenly, the blood drained from her features, the pale-skinned mouse-girl almost turning perfectly white.

"Do they have mines here?"

Even when assured that there were no mines in Bordertown, Tomomi would let Hinata stride forward on his own - the big cat having never been in the mines himself - and stick very close to Keiko.

Getting into the town was a small adventure in itself. Hinata didn't understand what a toll was and needed to be kept in line by a tugging Mouse. Tomomi had Renyard's storytelling to guide her so she knew about staying politely in line before entering the town and that if they asked for coin you politely gave it to the guards. The gate chosen would, naturally, be the closest one; the one on the town's western side.

None of this would be unfamiliar to Cesare, Bekkah or Keiko. Bordertown was a place where Rhoni caravans resupplied and both Bekkah and Cesare had been there before. They knew who the important people were - the Emeraldsson family, the Marrennens and the Hysthainians. Garrick, Harry, Lord Random and his Lady, the flighty and brightly dressed Priestess of Krysta, they were either known or were actually folks they had kept company with from their previous visit. They also knew the best - and most expensive - tavern was the Dragonstooth, where the Guildhalls were and that while the Eastern Gate Tavern was not a bad place, just unfortunately named. Brandreth's tavern was the one you needed to stay away from.

The only ones who were not familiar with this place were the two Forest Folk and Lyric. Tomomi was a curious soul and Hinata would never let anyone know that anything - be it a town or farmer's house - be something that he would ever slink away from.

(Small yapping things were a completely different matter altogether)

For Lyric this was something never seen before. But things never seen before, that was exactly why she had left her small village from far far away. It certainly was very different from the small village she came from and the manors of folks she had once visited. Those places were much more like Home, respectful of the lands they were set in, fitting with their surroundings like clasped hands. Bordertown was so different, with its stone walls in straight lines, the martial nature of the wall's parapets, the houses in their ordered blocks. It was definitely a crafted place, a built thing imposed upon the land.

In its own way, it was a symbol of strength and control far stronger and more blatant than any prince's declaration. A monument to Order.

Passing through the gate, however, was something much different. Outside the town, those waiting to enter stood in their prescribed lines, waiting to be handled one by one by one.

Inside, stepping back into the light, it was the exact opposite.

Many folks, moving this way and that, in what at first glance was a simple, stormy chaos. Walking here, creating small spontaneous groups for conversation there, bound for sure destinations and others seem happy to be destinationless. Through these un-planned currents, their little group made their way down the main street, heading towards the center of town. They could see their destination, the Dragonstooth being one of the taller buildings in the town and most imposing. A two-story structure of stone, which could serve, if the need ever be, as a small castle all by itself. That was still ahead, however. Upon entering and to their immediate right they passed another set of buildings. The Jvrillian Guildhall. This place snared Hinata Cat's attention and there he tarried. The signs of martial practice, training, and trade held his attention like tassle on a string might a small domestic slink. He flexed his hands, taking a step towards the group of buildings. That, now that garnered a mote of attention from the soldiery that passed in and out of their Hall. Not because he was a mysterious figure in a mysterious cloak - though that helped - but more because he stood at least a head taller and a few hands broader than most.

"This where they give burnt fish for being tough and eviscerating things?"

Eviscerating was one of the few big words Hinata actually savored.

A hand waved his companions off.

"Make them give me fish."

He strolled towards the guild house.

"Bring some back dinner for Rhoni lad."

He was, truly, of a mercenary bent, so that guild might just be a good fit for him.


But he was still a cat.

And thus it was a parting, a cat-like parting unless someone decided to try and make him stop. Tomomi wouldn't. She'd just place her face in the palms of her hands. But then, Hinata-san wasn't what he was when he was locked in a cell.

He was a person now. He could make his own decisions. That and he actually was pretty good at eviscerating things.

For the rest, that took them to Bekkah's requested destination. The priestess had set them on this course and that was where they were bound. And thus she could take the lead, this once. This time was different than when she was here with her sister. They had no Squire, no Amber Noblewoman and certainly not a Dayallan warrior to draw the attention of the townsfolk. In fact, for once, they appeared exactly as they were. Travel-weary folks who, bedecked in heavy cloaks against the Storm Season cold, looked like any other traveler that sought hospitality in one of Bordertown's inns.

Now the entrance to the Dragonstooth was not on the street. It was through the sturdy archway that lead into a small courtyard. It was a not a large courtyard, but one not small either. It was large enough that one could ride a horse in a circle in a comfortable gait. On the far side of the court, there was a pair of large doors. They had been thrown open and from them came the familiar sounds of a large stable. At least three stable hands bustled in and out; if this place was expensive at least the crowns paid for a substantial staff. Being almost midwinters the central court was mostly empty - while patrons could choose to take their drink and meals here, the dark weather drove them indoors.

For Keiko, it did remind her of the better taverns of Trundle. Not the ones visted by her kin and certainly not those who lived in the grim Trundle Alley. But it was a fine descendent of the few taverns that looked out upon the square right before entering the Imperial Keep.

Inside, a set of stairs lead upwards to a gallery that overlooked the courtyard, surrounding it on all four sides. At the top of the stairs was the entrance to the commons hall proper - and it was certainly welcoming. Warm and bright, a fine place to be as dusk crept across the sky.

The main hall of the Dragonstooth matched its reputation. The floors were polished wood, the space divided by fine mortise and tenoned beams. From the rafters hung a great variety of tavern-like things. Nets of fruit and vegetables, polished globes of stained glass; lamps that sparkled like a rainbow. Wagon wheels circumnavigated with pegs from which hung pewter mugs and ceramic steins - some obviously personal and there to be taken by the tavern girls for any patron's use. The stone hearth against the far wall wasn't any stone but honey marble. Across the room was the bar itself. Behind it, heavy barrels and rows of bottles displayed the tavern's primary wares. From somewhere close, perhaps behind the bar or maybe seeping up through the floorboards came the most delicious scents - spiced meats, spiced cider, warm bread, and cinnamon.

On the walls were hung shields, each bearing a different horsemark. They were set in a regular order - but it did appear that within that ordered row one shield was missing. In a place of prominence behind the bar was mounted a gigantic fang. This dull white bone was from no ruff or slink. One could stretch one's arms and still not reach from tip to root.

At the sight of it, Tomomi wrapper her hands around Keiko's arm, very tight.

The tables in the commons were both small and round and simple squares, a collection scattered about the room and easily separated or pushed together to form informal groups. There were no benches, however, there were actual chairs, one per person. The evening patrons were quite a mix, ranging from plump merchants to fierce looking swordsmen, to dark and rugged teamsters.

But mostly, as the group stood on the balcony and looked inside, what set the tone of the night was its entertainment.

A bright and lively song welcomed them all.

#920173 - Sun 08/04/18 23:50 BST Re: HWD: Midwinter's at Bordertown [Re: Wolf]
Kel Offline
Sower of Insanity

Registered: Thu 14/07/11
Posts: 7466
Loc: Rebel Alliance, CA, USA
[pronounced KAY-ko... do you think the GM has memorized this yet? Nope, not yet...]

Although Tomomi was content to let Hinata leave in a very Rhoni, or even cat-like way, Keiko tugged on his cloak, causing him to pause a moment as she rummaged in her pack.

Then she held out her last two ribbons to him — one red, one black. “A parting gift for a friend who has made me smile,” she said. “If we meet again, it will be a happy day. If this is our goodbye, I will think of you fondly.”

Then the Rhoni lass impulsively hugged the tall Cat Person. “This might be a very fine home for you, Hinata.”

Without a backward glance, she hurried after Lady Bekkah. Such was the Rhoni way.

There were many things to see in Bordertown, and the grandness of the Inn seemed to be at the center of it all.

A honey marble hearthstone? It could only have come from the rubble of the nearby temple, she thought. The room, though... oh, my! How grand and large! Such glorious scents in the air.

She and Tomomi saw the dragon’s tooth at the same time. Keiko didn’t like it any more than her Forever Friend did. Some old dragon was missing a tooth. Hopefully, that particular dragon would continue sleeping peacefully for a very, very long time. She could only imagine how annoyed a waking dragon might be upon waking to discover one — or even more — of its teeth was missing.

“There are no mines near here,” she whispered to Tomomi. “We must bear this reminder of the Old Masters with bravery, ja? Look! Look at the people and listen to the music instead.”

She turned to Lyric. “Do you recognize the song being sung? I don’t. Oh! Do you think it’s a new one?”
The World Is Not Okay Right Now. And Neither Am I.

#920174 - Sun 08/04/18 23:57 BST Re: HWD: Midwinter's at Bordertown [Re: Wolf]
Kel Offline
Sower of Insanity

Registered: Thu 14/07/11
Posts: 7466
Loc: Rebel Alliance, CA, USA
Some of the Patrons in the Dragonstooth Inn

The song was lively indeed. When the group stepped into the commons, they could see the performers — two men with gitars flanking a dark-haired woman who was seated with a small lap harp, and another woman with hair the color of sand standing behind the first. They were a pretty sight, obviously more professional than most musicians. Their ribbon-bedecked tunics were patterned almost identically, primarily in shades of blue and green.

Have you heard the song of that winter’s cruel night
Of the Chaos Riders, of the death and fear
Have you see the stars watching from the Dark Patch
As a testament that Order triumphed there

The men looked similar enough to be brothers, with light brown hair and pale blue eyes. It would be a reasonable conjecture, after observing the group while not performing, that the women were their wives... or girlfriends, at any rate.

Have you heard the news that a Curse was broken
On the rocky hillside beside Bordertown
Starry sword wielded by a Warrior, hair of flames
Aided by the White Ghost
Avatar and Demon were brought down

If asked, any of the locals would have told the newcomers that the song was called Battle of Bordertown. They would reassure the newcomers that, although it recounted recent unpleasant events, and although the raids coming out of Roth were more frequent than they had been prior to last Midwinter, most of the town was quite honored that the foremost minstrel of the Heartwood had written a song about their town. Why, the man had written the incredibly popular Legend of Dall Gwynn — if Talesian of Trundle-on-the-Hill wrote a song about something that happened right outside your town, it was a great honor! And that was the end of the debate.

They had come with strength in midwinter’s darkness
Like a fearsome blizzard on a stormy night
They were courage-blessed like the First Age heroes
Filling somber halls with radiance and with light

It wasn’t often that the Dragonstooth hosted an entire group of musicians; performers and patrons alike were taking advantage of the situation. Well... most of the patrons, anyway.

When the Thing met then to declare a verdict
Every faction voted as they had before
But that night Michael’s Mark sold their swords
To the Korie, so the Thing spoke:
‘We cannot say Nin here anymore’

In the farthest corner of the room, four people sat around one of the smaller rectangular tables. Bekkah and Cesare would, of course, recognize them. Garrick sat nearly sideways and leaned his chair against the wall so he had a view of the entire room. That didn’t keep him from glancing frequently at Camelia Koromov beside him, or she at him. Ah, there was real love between those two!

From the Forest Roth came the Red Scarf Riders
Following their Master on his steed from hell
Cutting down the men fighting for their families
As he rode to stop the breaking of his spell

Camelia had joined the Thing after the fallout of the Dark Mark breaking their Contract with the town to work for the Kories last winter — that alone had shifted the balance of politics and power in the town. It hadn’t been until after Midsummer when word had reached them of the Koromovs’ return to Imperial status, that the shift had become a tilt. For her part, Camelia did try to keep a low profile — or as low a profile as an Imperial possibly could.

In the fields below hard against the town wall
Was the towering demon and the fiendish shouts
Walls were crushed, Krysta gathered Her souls
Demon snared twixt the will of White Ghost
And the Sorcerer that called it out

The other two seats were occupied by a pair of redheads. One of them had claimed the chair across from Camelia, one that would give her a good view of the room as well. However, she was not taking advantage of it at the moment. It would be impossible for Bekkah to not recognize her little sister, even with her head buried in her arms.

At the dark night’s end as Her light was dawning
All the townsfolk gathered, Riders died alone
There were those who knew of the night’s true greatness
But too many hearts were heavy as a stone

Kisa was tucked between Daxia and the wall and had snugged her chair as close to Daxia’s as possible. As close as possible meant that she wasn’t quite as close as might want to be, so as not to impede Dazi’s movement toward either sword or dagger — not that there was any danger of a fight in the common room of the Dragonstooth Inn. That sort of behavior was not acceptable here, as evidenced by the watchful eyes of the Innkeeper and the Jvrillians near the door who were under Contract with the Inn. That was a new development, it would seem.

Have you near the news that a Curse was broken
On the rocky hillside beside Bordertown
Starry sword wielded by a Warrior, hair of flames
Aided by the White Ghost
Avatar and Demon were brought down

No, Kisa had simply known Daxia for nearly two handful of years... had watched her train... knew how Daxia reacted, how she moved. Dazi was Kisa’s dearest friend, which brought another level of understanding. She merely rested a hand lightly on Dazi’s shoulder. It was impossible to tell if Kisa was amused by Dazi’s reaction, but there was no mistaking the fact that the Allaine cared very much for the swordswoman.

Unicorn and rider watched the town

It was Kisa who noticed them, or at least was the first to mention their presence, and waved them over as the song ended.

“Dazi, your sister is here.”

“Don’t lie to me, Kisa,” came the muffled reply. “I’ll ask them to sing The Snowqueen again.”

“She’s not lying, Daxia,” Camelia said after waving hello to Bekkah and Cesare. “And they sing The Snowqueen so well that even Kisa couldn’t be bothered by it.”

“Besides,” Kisa added, ever the pragmatic, “I’m not the Snowqueen, am I? You’ve been telling me that since the Council. You’re being silly, Dazling.”

The Starlord merely turned her head to look at her liege. “She stares at me the whole time she’s singing.”

“Who does?”

“Ruby. The rest of them engage with their audience. She just stands there and watches me. Grinning. She thinks the whole thing is a joke.”

“If I didn’t know better, Yurisdotter,” Garrick interjected, “I’d think you’d had too much to drink. How do you know she’s not looking at Cami and me because we’re members of the Thing?”

She rolled her eyes toward the town militia’s Captain without actually moving her head. “Because I’m the one with the pain in the backside Unicorn?”

[OOC: Battle of Bordertown, 4:22, words by Kelly Naylor, music by John Rutter (Angel’s Carol), Vocaloid arrangement by Kelly Naylor; singers are Vocaloids (v4) Ruby Natural (Soprano aka Ruby), Cyber Diva (Alto aka Cindy, who plays the lap harp), Cyber Strongman (Tenor aka Trevor and Bass aka Terry, both of whom play gitars).]

The World Is Not Okay Right Now. And Neither Am I.

#920223 - Mon 09/04/18 14:09 BST Re: HWD: Midwinter's at Bordertown [Re: Wolf]
Happy Birthday Gypsy Offline


Registered: Tue 09/05/00
Posts: 57649
Loc: Pidley, Cambs, UK

It is good to be in an inn again, his tongue tingles in anticipation of a good ale as his nose breathes in the scents and his eyes look over the place. Then he recognises the words in the song for what they are and grins. They did a good job that day and he had been glad to be a part of it, even carrying all those rocks ready for the battle.

He catches the movement in the far corner and his grin broadens as he returns the waves.

"You knew she'd be here didn't you?"

It is not an accusation and he looks happy enough with the circumstances.

"Best we go say hello, yes?"

He thinks Bekkah will likely beat him to it anyway.

"Friends of ours."

He says by way of explanation to the others.

"Come we'll introduce you."

#920233 - Mon 09/04/18 15:41 BST Re: HWD: Midwinter's at Bordertown [Re: Gypsy]
Nivek Offline


Registered: Tue 28/08/01
Posts: 45947

"I had an inkling." she said winking to Cesare. She knew Kisa had seen her, so she could not completely surprise her sister. She turned and rushed down the stairs into the commons. She made her way through the crowd towards the table in the back, her blond hair shining as her hood had fallen back from her head. To many, it would be foolish to rush towards a Dayalan, but in typical Bekkah fashion, she feared nothing. She also knew that even if she startled Dazi, her sister's reactions would let her instantly recognize the person rushing her before she would strike.

She had a big smile on her face as approached the slumped form. If she got close enough before Dazi stirred, she'd throw her arms around her and hug her tightly.

"Hello baby sister. I've missed you."

#920234 - Mon 09/04/18 16:00 BST Re: HWD: Midwinter's at Bordertown [Re: Wolf]
Phoenix Prime Offline
I'm Grumpy - Go Away

Registered: Tue 16/05/00
Posts: 21265
Loc: Sanger Texas
Lyric, the struggle is real

She could feel the mixing of emotions as they came closer and closer to the 'massive city' of stone and wood, cut and hewn, buttressed and bent to to will of the crafters who imposed this fortification upon the land in this crossroads of a place. A place she could assume meant they were on the border, betwixt one place and another, where these roads meet, where this Path ended... or rather, where it began. Lyric wanted to explore, and see everything, touch everything. To feel the cold harsh stone and see if there was life from the land within it still. She wanted to wander the trail that would lead them to those ruins, for there was the beginning of the sad story she had felt these past many ... Days? Weeks? Months? The measuring of time was such a thing that was more about the need to have Order and keep one moment from looking like the last moment. Whichever and Whatever. Those moments that came before brought them to a moment Here and Now.

The Path... And no matter how sad the story, no matter how heavy the sorrow and pain, Lyric wanted to feel it through. To know it, understand it, bear what weight of it might still linger. It was her way. To know a story was to 'live it' in whatever way they story allowed her to do so.

In many ways, it was how Lyric viewed life in general, to 'live it' meant that she be a part of it, accepting it and the world around her and finding her place in it... not cutting and breaking and hammering the world into some shape that simply served a function. The Minstrel wanted to take her boots off and feel the Land beneath her feet, and let her feet feel the Land. To live with something was different than living upon it.

The mixing of emotions, remember? Ja. This was not her land. These were not her people. Even less her people than her time in Wave Riders Reach, and so much lesser than those of Home, wherein Lyric felt a kind of comfort and peace that eased her tired spirit and renewed her. No this Bordertown was harsh and cold, and it deepened her trepidation. It added to the grit in the energy that she felt when she was near natural things. She knew she would have to be wary in this place. There were just so many people. Maybe too many. Lyric would have to breathe deeply and take her time to let all of this become the Way Things Are.

Forward they travelled, closer and closer. The Order of the line at the Gate, the exchange of coin for the promise of security within the walls (at least this was the goods and services transaction Lyric believed was taking place, and then the Chaos within the walls of the 'massive city' itself came as quite a shock to her. She could appreciate it to some extent, but there were just TOO MANY people, TOO CLOSE to each other all the time. Lyric's eyes were constantly darting back and forth, and scanning the harsh angular structures, trying to see everyone and everything. But it was as if even their chaotic actions still had an underlying Order of the individual. Maybe all life did... Even in her own village. It was a bit of perspective though and maybe she learned something seeing so much of it all at once.

She had made offer of her few meager coins, if it helped them all get inside. She really didn't 'know' how much she had since her coins were given to her upon her exile. It wasn't much but she had few needs that required coins. Well, until now it seemed.

Lyric opted to shuffle along, almost on the balls of her feet with the soles of boots scuffing the cobbled stone road. It gave her an odd gait, but it also kept her tightly tucked behind and between Keiko and Tomomi. Maybe that felt safe and secure. The Minstrel did draw her hood back up once they had come close to the gate entrance and she kept it that way on the street within the walls.

Bekkah and Cesare seemed to have direct experience with this town. Maybe Keiko as well, or just through he people's travels, or even from other places like this one... but whichever it was Keiko seemed content to follow. Hinata ranged about them as though he were taking it all in, facing it all and then moving across them to see all he could see on the other side of them.

When the Cat made notice that he would seek his own path, Lyric remained quiet as he stated his intentions, and while Keiko moved to him to say a few words, possibly in parting, Lyric slipped around to say her own words once he turned back around to head for this 'guild' building.

"To each of us there is a Path we must walk," Lyric said quietly from the depths of her hooded cloak. "It is this 'Journey' we take to discover where the Path might be found that teaches us who we are. I remind you of the Path you have already walked. That Mouse and the Rhoni Girl found the courage to free you from a terrible place. They believed in you. The Lady of Home believed in you. Remember the Rules. They not only protect you, but they also protect Tomomi, and all of the Forest Folk still at Home."

Maybe these were were something of the truer, wiser, sager part of Lyric, or maybe it was the fact that she was part of the Pack, and even far from Home, the Pack had a duty to those in its company.

"Lady sent you to see the greater world and to learn, but she also sent you to watch over Tomomi while she did the same. But you know this. You remember this. So be careful in the decisions you make because they might affect more than just yourself. This place is not a field and a forest and a race and a chase with Ruffs on your heels. Aye?"

She then hugged him as well and whispered her final words in that embrace.

"Thank you for the time you have journeyed with us. Among my people, we do not say "Good Bye. Life is such that we are always certain we will see one another again. We wish each other a 'Good Journey'... So, 'Hyvala Makaa' Hinata cat. You are always welcome to walk along with me and share my journey."


Lyric moved to the edge of the gallery, shifting her hood slightly back to reveal her face and to allow herself a better advantage to hear the music. This setting was more formal than a 'session', but it wasn't quite an 'ajuhla' either, though maybe it could be. There looked to be room for dancing, if a few tables were moved. And there were enough people, but it didn't seem the kind of place for such a thing given there were other taverns in this town... so this might not be the center of all social activity among the clans or factions. Or maybe it was such a place. Maybe it was the most prominent of places and all those of importance came to this place above any other.

And there was this thought, they had arrived in Bordertown at Midwinter. That alone was worthy of a question or two for Keiko, but for now Lyric accepted that it might be a chance to see a festival perhaps. Yes, a real festival.

Lyric stood there, hands upon the banister rail but leaning slightly forward. There was music and she could smell the 'sin o man' in the air and she remembered her first taste of that bread.

The waifish Minstrel seemed lost in a state of rapture, her head tilting left and then right, sometimes twisting slightly to favor one ear or the other, but never taking her eyes of the ensemble of musicians who held court on the lower floor of this common room. This was their common hall so long as they held their audience in captive thrall. Lyric listened to the song, it's music, melody, harmony, the voices in part and in total. The meter and rhythm... the Order of it, but also the playful Chaos as well. She listened to the story. No one else down there in the common room was of importance or relevance.

All of that considered though, Lyric had to believe that these musicians were here to entertain and were in the hire of those who owned this tavern. Lyric understood this well. She was grateful that she kept the mandola wrapped and out of sight, beneath the cloak. She could feel the bowl of it at the small of her back. It would be rude to come bearing an instrument openly into a tavern where someone else was playing for coin or board.

"No," she replied with a small shake of her head, which was exaggerated by the cowled hood resting back a bit from her wide eyed face.

"I have not heard this song before..." Her eyes never wavered from what she watched. She tilted her head again and even mouthed the chorus before speaking sidelong to Keiko again.

"It might be new. But many songs are new to me..."

Lyric shrugged, "So probably I don't know."

She heard Cesare's voice, saying something about knowing people below in the crowd.

But... But, this was such a good place to see and hear everything.

Lyric glanced sidelong to Keiko and Tomomi. The spell had been broken and the anxiety she had staved us thus far was starting to take over. There were so many people, different people. Yes, she had been sent to learn and experience new things. This was going to be new to her. That much was a certainty. She tried to remember her own advice, any of it, right now.

"...introduce us?"

She looked helplessly to Keiko and Tomomi. Bekkah was already bounding down the stairs to the lower level with Cesare beckoning them to follow along.

While every moment was a chance to make a mistake, she also knew that she couldn't succeed if she didn't accept the risk and try. New friends? Yes, that was the way to see this. The friends she had would help her. New places, new experiences, new friends... find a song to save her people.

She followed after the Priestess and the Rhoni boy.

#920304 - Tue 10/04/18 03:24 BST Re: HWD: Midwinter's at Bordertown [Re: Wolf]
Kel Offline
Sower of Insanity

Registered: Thu 14/07/11
Posts: 7466
Loc: Rebel Alliance, CA, USA
Daxia Yurisdotter... Kisa Allaine, Camelia Koromov, and Garrick of Bordertown

Only a crazy person would try to run across the common room. And yet, Daxia heard footsteps doing just that. And not just any footsteps — very familiar footsteps.

She grinned at Kisa. “You weren’t lying!”

The Dayalan was standing even as she turned her head to see her sister rushing toward her, and she had to make a concerted effort to remember that she was a Starlord Priestess of Dayala, the Knight of Dawnview Castle, and the Lord Protector of Her Noble Personage Kisa Allaine. She should probably at least try to be a little dignified. But nothing could stop her from lifting Bekkah off her feet in a hug and twirling her around once before setting her down again.

“Oh, Bekkah! It’s so good to see you! I’ve missed you too. That rapscallion didn’t know when you’d arrive, and I’m glad to see it’s in time for the Festival. Hi, Cesare,” she said as she finally released Bekkah... although she did keep an arm around her sister’s shoulders. “You’ve made new friends! That’s so like you, Bekkah. And stop giggling, Kisa. Yes, Bekkah! Kisa has begun to giggle! Oh, ja, da... it’s a rare enough event still, but you can see that she smiles a lot more.” She bent her head so she could rest her cheek against Bekkah’s hair for a moment. “I think she has a very pretty smile and she blushes when I tell her that, which means she believes me.”

Daxia looked back at the entry for a moment. “Are Kadri and Mikal with you, too? It would be good to see them again.” She finally let go of Bekkah and gestured to the newcomers and those at the table as well.

“Come, sit, sit! Make room for them, Garrick. Grab another chair from over there.”

Garrick stood up and laughed. “It’s good to see something can cheer you up, Yurisdotter. But you know damn well it’s time for me to make my rounds.” He touched his companion’s shoulder. “Feel free to stay with the crazy woman, Cami.”

She smiled up at him. “Bekkah is here. Sisters have a calming influence on most people. Not mine, of course, but Daxia’s does.” She turned to watch him walk away, but then her eyes fell on the newcomers, and she froze. She paled considerably before grabbing her cloak and standing up.

“Kisa... Daxia... I’m sorry,” she said, looking at her friends, “I have to go. Sorry, Bekkah... Cesare...”

“Well, that’s—” Daxia began as she stared after Camelia.

“Daxia.” Kisa’s voice was hardly above a whisper, but it held a tone that definitely implied You should know better than to think that was peculiar.

The Starlord looked at the three people who had arrived with Bekkah and Cesare.

“Oh. You’re right,” she said to Kisa as the young woman with midnight black hair...

“It does make sense.”

...and a red blaze in a shade Dazi had never seen except in flowers or fabrics...

“I hope she’ll be okay.”

...and violet eyes turned to watch the Imperial lass walk away, following Garrick.

“I think so,” Kisa said, “Give her time, Dazi.”

Daxia nodded.

“Well, the rest of you sit down,” she said cheerfully. “Tell me about your travels! Nope, you first, Bekkah. I’m sure your story will be much more interesting than mine.” She patted her sister on the back. “After all, *I* haven’t performed any miracles lately. And despite what half the Tarn seems to think, breaking a curse is old news.”

She pointed to the chair Garrick had vacated...

“Cesare, come on, sit, sit! I know you’ve built up a thirst, da? Lori will be by in a moment.”

...then to the other chairs that she’d pulled around the table...

“Friends of my sister, do come join us.”

...and finally patted the chair she’d pulled up beside her.

“Right here, Bekkah. Hopefully, no foes will need to be vanquished quickly. I will either have to knock you right off your chair or climb over the table.” She winked at her sister. “Neither will put me in good standing with the locals — causing a ruckus in the Dragonstooth? Bowling over a Lady of Attera?” Daxia laughed. “I don’t think they’ll find it an acceptable excuse that you’re my sister. Did you get the letters I sent you? Is Dominic’s little keep as magnificent as he claims it to be? Introduce your friends around and then tell me how you met them all!”


She turned to the other redhead. “Yes, Kisa?”

“I believe you have said more since your sister arrived than you have all week. Save some air for the rest of us, da?”

Daxia sighed. “Da, Kisa. As you wish, Kisa. By your command, my liege.” She chuckled when Kisa rolled her eyes.

“Although if I take all the air,” she murmured, “they can’t sing that infernal song again.”
The World Is Not Okay Right Now. And Neither Am I.

#920306 - Tue 10/04/18 03:29 BST Re: HWD: Midwinter's at Bordertown [Re: Wolf]
Kel Offline
Sower of Insanity

Registered: Thu 14/07/11
Posts: 7466
Loc: Rebel Alliance, CA, USA
[pronounced KAY-ko... do you think the GM has memorized this yet? Nope, not yet...]

She blinked in surprise as Lady Bekkah practically bounded across the room like a hart and accosted the redhead. That had a sword hanging from her hip.

THAT was Lady Bekkah’s sister?? She didn’t look fierce or intimidating or, well, anything like Keiko imagined a warrior would be! She had thought it had just been Lady Bekkah’s love that caused her describe Lady Daxia in the way she had.

Well. This was certainly an interesting wave!

The Rhoni lass reached out and slipped her hand into Friend Lyric’s as she wrapped her other arm around Tomomi.

“I like new songs. We can learn it together, Lyric.” She smiled at the minstrel. “I’ve only ever heard the stories about Bordertown. Experiencing it for myself is...” She chuckled. “There are a lot of people here. I think I expected that, except I’m not sure I really did... if that makes any sense. I should have, of course. I believe there are fewer people here than Trundle. Surely, there must be!

“Maybe if we start with just a few people — just Lady Bekkah’s and Cesare’s friends — it won’t be as overwhelming for you and Tomomi.”

She kept up her cheerful chattering until they arrived at the table, knowing that it would help ease Tomomi’s nervousness... hoping that it would make this new experience easier for Lyric. There, it appeared that Lady Bekkah and the swordswoman were enthusiastically greeting one another.

Although she studied the other three people at the table, she waited for Lady Bekkah or Cesare to make their introductions. However, it didn’t appear introductions would be coming very quickly, given the whirlwind display of the sisters... well, mostly Lady Daxia.

It wasn’t quite Chaos, it wasn’t perfect Order...

However, when the blonde woman hurried off after the only man at the table, Keiko stared after her in surprise.

What was that all about?

Then she turned and peered at the redheads as they seemed to have a conversation that could only be understood by the two of them. She narrowed her eyes at them, watching them suspiciously as Lady Bekkah’s sister urged them to be seated. And then talked even more than Keiko herself did. And made sure — again! — that they knew they should be seated.

And then the swordswoman teased not only the Lady Bekkah but a High Noble Person, as well.

Keiko glanced at Lyric and shrugged as she felt a gentle tug on her arm.

“She’s very different from Verchovai Kassia, isn’t she?” Tomomi whispered when Keiko bent down.

“Ja,” Keiko agreed. She wondered if this whirlwind Dayalan actually comprehended the nature of her Lady and understood that, like her sister, she embodied the essence of the Goddess she served. Well, no matter. Her role here was to be a friend to Lyric and Tomomi, to help them learn the ways of being among many people. She pushed aside the chairs and pulled over a short bench — just the right size for three young women who were not very big — and sat down.

“Sit by me here, Friend Lyric,” she said, patting the bench so that she was across from the serene Lady of Attera.

Tomomi climbed up on her other side, to sit between her and Cesare. With her cowl up as it was, Keiko had to imagine the shy smile of her friend as she looked around as best she could. Her small hand reached out to take Keiko’s.

Keiko looked over Tomomi’s head at her kinsman and smiled nervously before looking at Lady Bekkah.

The correct and polite manner of introductions should begin with the Lady of Attera. She was the highest ranking among them — Keiko was reasonably confident of that.
The World Is Not Okay Right Now. And Neither Am I.

#920356 - Tue 10/04/18 13:28 BST Re: HWD: Midwinter's at Bordertown [Re: Wolf]
Happy Birthday Gypsy Offline


Registered: Tue 09/05/00
Posts: 57649
Loc: Pidley, Cambs, UK

He is grinning as he follows Bekkah, catching her excitement. And arrives in time to catch some of the chatter, though his smile fades momentarily as he sees Cami move away abruptly.

**What was all that about?**

But it returns as Daxia makes him welcome. He takes the seat indicated, nodding as she says that someone will be along to take orders. A good ale really helps to wash down the travel dust.

Never one to stand on ceremony, he makes the introductions.

"Daxia, Kisa.. may I introduce our new friends? This is Tomomi, Keiko and Lyric. And yes we have some catching up to do.."

A shadow crosses his face for a moment.

"But maybe after an ale..?"

#920569 - Wed 11/04/18 19:51 BST Re: HWD: Midwinter's at Bordertown [Re: Kel]
Nivek Offline


Registered: Tue 28/08/01
Posts: 45947

She hugged Dazi fiercely, taking her time to let go.

"I was hoping you'd still be here. I know you said you would in your letters, but all it would take would be a village or town in trouble and you'd be gone." she said smiling.

She gave Kisa a bow and smiled.

"Lady Allaine, good to see you again."

She watched as the one called Cami suddenly departed as if she'd seen a ghost, but her attention was brought back to her sister in a flash.

"Me, I have little news, but these people and many others have a wonderful tale of righting a great wrong and rescuing many. A tale as wondrous as breaking a curse I would say."

She was about to introduce the others but Cesare did it for her.

"Friends, my sister Dazi. Sorry Dayalan Knight Daxia if we're to be proper, but she'd think I'd lost my mind if I called her anything but Dazi, my baby sister."

She sat and like her sister encouraged others to sit as well.

#920576 - Wed 11/04/18 21:21 BST Re: HWD: Midwinter's at Bordertown [Re: Wolf]
Kel Offline
Sower of Insanity

Registered: Thu 14/07/11
Posts: 7466
Loc: Rebel Alliance, CA, USA
[pronounced KAY-ko... do you think the GM has memorized this yet? Nope, not yet...]

Keiko immediately saw the wave Cesare rode in his reluctance to speak of his missing friends. Allow the joy to crest, then will come the time to talk of more solemn matters. There was no need for this wave to crash hard against the rocks. It merely needed to arrive there.

On the other hand, Lady Bekkah seemed not so much to be riding a wave but basking in the sunshine on a beach.

So she glanced at Cesare, not even trying to hide her teasing grin as she winked.

Verchovai Daxia Yurisdotter,” Keiko said for the benefit of Lyric and Tomomi, “As Lady Bekkah has so kindly pointed out — as it would be difficult to tell from their dissimilar appearances — they are sisters! And even their greeting would not be evidence enough, for I have seen your littlest kin, Tomomi, greeting both Broke and the Young Master just as enthusiastically.” She chuckled. “And indeed, she would be a knight just as Verchovai Kassia is — and as our friend Broke might be one day.”

This time she looked right at Cesare and grinned, before tipping her chin toward the redhead tucked in the corner. “Dama Kisa Allaine, the Heir of Allaine, the Noble Family of Dawnview Vale. It is well-known that she is quite clever.”

The Heir had an expression that could rightfully be called No Expression. Keiko had heard the stories about the Allaines — this was fascinating! The fact that the Dayalan seemed almost exasperated — but was hiding it much better than most would — prompted Keiko to prop her elbows on the table, rest her chin in her palms, and just watch Kisa.

The Rhoni was vaguely aware that Lady Daxia was talking to Lady Bekkah and her friends. Keiko needed to memorize every aspect of the Heir as she demonstrated her talent of reading patterns.
The World Is Not Okay Right Now. And Neither Am I.

#920577 - Wed 11/04/18 21:26 BST Re: HWD: Midwinter's at Bordertown [Re: Wolf]
Kel Offline
Sower of Insanity

Registered: Thu 14/07/11
Posts: 7466
Loc: Rebel Alliance, CA, USA
Daxia Yurisdotter and Kisa Allaine

“Bekkah!” She shook her head but smiled fondly at her sister, and then she sighed. “I can never tell which of us dislikes it more, this getting credit for the good things we’ve done. I suppose it depends on who’s been doing the most good things, da?”

Dazi looked at Cesare and smiled as his friend Keiko performed full introductions, although she raised an eyebrow when the girl mention both Kassia and Broke. She was fairly certain that the Young Master would be that scamp, Dominic. It was good to see that he was held in high esteem by his people — as well as random Rhoni, it would appear.

But then the introductions set Kisa off. She recognized that look... the Court Demeanor of the Heir.

“Bekkah...” she said, pointing to the youngster who was staring at Kisa, “where in the world did you find this one? She’s broken the Heir. Do you know how long it takes to get her to stop reaching for her tiles? They’re all up in our room — at least as far as I know — and she’d have to crawl over or under the table, which she isn’t going to do in this state.”

She grinned at her sister and then glanced at Kisa.

“Oh, well.” She shrugged. “Mistress Tomomi, Mistress Lyric... it’s nice to meet you.” She looked at the petite person between Keiko and Cesare. “Mistress Tomomi, you have a name that sounds very much like a Rhoni name yet I suspect you are related to Lady Emerald. I’m sure that must be a fine story. When your friend and my liege return to the conversation, perhaps you’ll share it.”

Then the Dayalan fixed her bright blue eyes on the final member of the party. “Mistress Lyric, I do so hope your name conveys some measure of who you are. A singer, a musician of some sort? It’s a name I’ve never heard before, and I find that so very interesting. Now... while I find it interesting and will be happy to hear any story you wish to tell, I should warn you against visiting the Lord Random.”

She gestured in the direction of the tower atop the old Temple.

“He has an obsession with names. He may even go as far as insisting that your name cannot possibly be your name. He did that to me.” She grinned and shrugged. “He’s a bit dotty and confused, I think.”

She looked once more at the Rhoni, who was still watching the Heir, who was still trying to Figure Things Out. Rolling her eyes, she nudged Bekkah with her shoulder.

“My sister is quite correct. Daxia or Dazi is just fine. Cesare can vouch for my disinterest in formality unless it’s necessary. Alas and alack, sometimes it’s necessary... although if Bekkah ever finds the need to be formal, well, I would indeed fear for her sanity.”

She giggled as she waved to the serving girl, who barely looked to be in her teens.

“Ruby would like to know if it will be as much fun to tease you now that you have so many more friends with you,” Lori asked with a gap-toothed grin.

“Oh, is that what they’re doing?” Daxia asked. “Tell Ruby — again — that I will sit on her and whichever one of those lads she’s married to. Or I’ll get up there and sing the Dayalan version of Jeminy’s Hill! Ha! That will send them running! I don’t always land those high notes very well.”

Lori laughed. “I don’t think they’d care, Mistress Daxia, and Ruby is married to Trevor. Now, what can I get for all of you?”

“My parched friend at the end of the table will have a tall mug of ale,” she said, winking at Cesare. Then she looked at Kisa’s mug and shook her head, then looked at the Rhoni lass and sighed. How long was this going to go on?

“If you like cider,” she said to Tomomi and Lyric, “they put a bit more cinnamon in theirs than most places. Personally, I think it’s wonderful! But it surprises some folks.” Then she smiled. “I believe I have enough pennies to buy a drink for everyone.”

Lori snorted. “I’m sure you do, Miss Dazi. And if you don’t, you’ll just pick through Dama Kisa’s pouch again.”

Daxia sighed dramatically. “I’m that transparent, am I? Well, it’s a good thing I decided to take up the sword, for I’d starve to death as a thief.”

“Or someone else with a sword would run you right through,” Lori said cheerfully.

“Have I mentioned today that you’re a gruesome child? No? Consider it mentioned.”

“Yes, ma’am! Would the rest of you like cider? Or ale? Beer, kavass?”
The World Is Not Okay Right Now. And Neither Am I.

#920580 - Wed 11/04/18 22:27 BST Re: HWD: Midwinter's at Bordertown [Re: Wolf]
Phoenix Prime Offline
I'm Grumpy - Go Away

Registered: Tue 16/05/00
Posts: 21265
Loc: Sanger Texas
Lyric, the reluctant Minstrel

Lyric had stared at the seating accommodations for a moment of time, maybe a minute. Whichever. It was one of them and it really didn't serve her any use as a point to ponder now, save that it further distracted her from the true task at hand and the surrounding conversation about titles and introductions and such.

The latter was something she really should have been paying attention to more carefully and might have been able to except for the trouble she was having with the former. Lyric twisted around to try to arrange the hidden mandola about herself so that she might find a way to sit in a tavern chair that had a back... and not have to sit on the edge. She didn't dare reveal the instrument though because that would be bad form. The tavern already had performers who were working hard to earn their wage and entertain the crowd, and the patrons should not be distracted from that effort. These performers were good and they shouldn't have to feel there was competition.

So, she twisted and pulled to get the instrument to her side, and turned the other way to figure the best way to sit and still look inconspicuous. But failing through the effort itself obviously. It was only then that Lyric noticed the Keiko had drawn a bench across the floor a short distance to allow for the three of them to sit close together. That warranted another sigh. She knew she was not doing very well at this whole meeting 'friends and family' thing.

Lyric moved to stand alongside the open end of the bench, trying to decide if she should straddle it or sit this way or that. She heard the quiet words of Keiko who was acting as a guide for her and Tomomi, but she couldn't focus on themt because she had gotten her tartan cloak twisted a bit and off kilter from her shoulders. She was now at risk of actually getting the cloak turned fully around and not moving the instrument at all.

She chuffed in mild frustration and Keiko would have noticed this except her own sense of 'reckless' curiosity brought her to staring at the noble companion of Bekkah's sister... Dazzle... or something... Daxana... No.... and she sighed, chuffed again, and just gave up. She surrendered it all to sit awkwardly on the bench's edge and tried to straighten her cloak from a seated position.

She had a question for Keiko, but it would have to wait until a more private moment to ask.

With wide eyes, and the fervent hope that no one noticed her 'fight' with her own garments, she tried to focus on Daxia. But her words were quick and hard to follow. But the woman's attention turned to her...


Another question for Keiko.

It was a formality, no doubt. Not quite a title... which was good since she was exiled from her own homeland and the only one she might offer on her own behalf would simply raise more questions than answer. So Miss-tress it was.

Lyric nodded politely, "I am honored to meet you, Sister of the Priestess of Aterra."

"This random Lord would be correct," she replied, careful to use the words that were spoken to her in her reply. "It is not my name... well, not exactly." Lyric paused and thought for a moment about how to describe this better. "It is.... how my name sounds. I like it, so it is my name now."

Lyric glanced at Keiko and shrugged. "Truth. But it never came up and no one ever asked before."

Concerning the willingness to listen to a story? Lyric nodded, but demurred with a glance to those on stage. "I am grateful you would listen. But, perhaps at a time when others are not plying their trade and craft. That would be the right thing to do."

Daxia called over the serving girl and offered them all drink on her coin. Lyric considered stating that she wasn't thirsty, but that might come across as rude. It was an act of hospitality and such a thing as that was not to be turned away lightly. It all became a moot pondering though when she heard the magic word. The Minstrel's eyes lit up and and she smiled and nodded. "Ja, please.... sinn-o-mahn in the cider. Danks." Some of those words just sounded very odd and unfamiliar coming off of her tongue.

#920812 - Fri 13/04/18 20:11 BST Re: HWD: Midwinter's at Bordertown [Re: Wolf]
Kel Offline
Sower of Insanity

Registered: Thu 14/07/11
Posts: 7466
Loc: Rebel Alliance, CA, USA
Daxia Yurisdotter and Kisa Allaine

From Daxia’s smile, one might have thought Lyric had given her a festival gift with her few words. She waited for Lori to get Tomomi’s whispered order and then watched the youngster head back to the kitchen before she spoke.

“You see, Bekkah! All is right with the world, and your lovely friend Lyric recognizes it — I am but a sword in your much more prominent shadow. ‘Sister of the Priestess of Attera.’ I believe I might just add that to the string of nonsense people keep adding to my name. Romana will be so proud of me.” She chuckled. “I forgot to ask her to translate all the various additions to my name into her language, but I’m quite sure I’d find her explanation of just how rude it all is to be delightful.”

She leaned back in her seat and regarded Lyric.

“Your name is not exactly your name, but that is how it sounds. It has the makings of a riddle there, you know.” She paused for a moment, and continued more slowly and thoughtfully. “Hmm. It’s likely less confounding that Kisa’s riddles. The best answer is that you grew up somewhere Colonial was not spoken. And in your language, your name is said in a different way? Or perhaps the meaning of your name is Lyric in Colonial? You have an accent, a way of saying things that is different from anyone else I’ve heard.” The Dayalan nodded. “Well, the important thing, of course, is that you are happy with your name! Does it help to understand if I speak more slowly like this?”

It wasn’t quite a drastic change in the redhead’s speech patterns, but it was unquestionably noticeable... more deliberate, excellent enunciation. It was, as Bekkah and Cesare would know, the proper way she was taught to speak in Court.

“I usually do. I’m just excited to see Bekkah again.

“And I will try to not speak with the Jambles accent.” She glanced sideways at Kisa. “I’ve been told it’s... difficult to understand.” She shrugged. “Darian always understood me,” she mumbled.

“I understand you, too, Dazi,” Kisa said.

Daxia raised an eyebrow at the Heir. “Ah, you’re back. Were you trying to see all the way back to the beginning of time and a fullhand of generations into the future?” she asked just a little sarcastically. Not too much.

Kisa merely smiled enigmatically. “No.”

“Uh huh.”

The Dayalan looked once again at Lyric, noting that the Rhoni had also become re-engaged with the goings on at the table. “I hope Bekkah and Cesare have made it clear that we don’t mind where our friends have come from. Friends are friends are friends, to paraphrase a friend from a faraway place one does not mention.”

Daxia leaned forward and spoke only loud enough for those at the table to hear her.

“We met a Broke — I don’t doubt she was the very one this one mentioned,” she said, pointing to Keiko. “Now, she was a different sort of...” She reached over and poked Bekkah. “She wasn’t a Person exactly, not then. But she must be a Person now if Kassia is interested in her.

“And Bekkah had something to do with it because we felt it all the way out at whichever inn we were leaving that morning.

“This one,” she said, tilting her head toward Kisa, “says Broke is an ally. That is how she thinks — as a leader of a Noble Family. I would just say Broke is a...” She paused and shook her head quickly. “No, no, no... I would have said she is a friend in the making, but Kassia is involved. That makes Broke my Temple Sister, a sister in arms.”

She sat back again and glanced at Kisa. “Did you factor that into... Oh, why do I even ask? Of course, you did.”

But she smiled at her sister’s new friends. “It implies obligations and responsibilities even more significant than those between friends or allies.

“But it is festival time! I should not be so serious!” Daxia chuckled.

“I see that you are unaccustomed to entertainment in taverns, Mistress Lyric. They perform with the hope that patrons will listen and appreciate their efforts. But as you can see...” She looked around the room. “...the important matters of dinner and conversation do not always stop. It’s normal.”

Daxia glanced at Lyric’s side and raised an eyebrow. “I glimpsed an instrument you are trying so very hard to hide. You needn’t fear that anyone here at the Dragonstooth would steal it from you — not even if it’s quite valuable. Oh, I suppose if you had one of those... hmm... fiddle things? Well, folks might be interested in seeing it and hearing you play it, for they’re rare. But I think you do not have one of those, for I’m told they must be carried about with great care, in a hardened leather case.

“So I hope you would feel comfortable enough to relax. It is difficult to truly enjoy spiced cider when one is tangled up in their cloak like that, lass.”

Then she nudged Bekkah again. “Oh! Remind me to share with you later the message I have from Finn.”

Her eyes sparkled with mischief as she looked at her sister.
The World Is Not Okay Right Now. And Neither Am I.

#920823 - Sat 14/04/18 01:42 BST Re: HWD: Midwinter's at Bordertown [Re: Wolf]
Phoenix Prime Offline
I'm Grumpy - Go Away

Registered: Tue 16/05/00
Posts: 21265
Loc: Sanger Texas
Lyric, a soul of wit and banter

"A Sword in the Shadow," mused the Minstrel to Keiko and Tomomi, although she did speak just loudly enough for others to hear whilst Daxia teased her own sister. "It sounds like a fine title for a song. Perhaps in the right time, when a moment of 'What Will Come' is finally the 'Here and Now', the right words will come to me."

And the Dayalan warrior fixed her attention on Lyric again. Yes, there was little doubt she trying to solve the riddle of the enigma that was Lyric.

"I speak this language well enough, I sing it better. It just flows easier for me that way, but Yes. Slowing down helps, and accents trouble me... I sometimes have to translate things in my thoughts when words escape me. But All of it is important to me and I will learn. And I am sure that my accent and the way I speak intrigues you as well."

Lyric cocked her head a little, bringing more light to the fullness of her features that she kept partially concealed by her hood. Her eyes were blue, deeply blue, a blue that seemed to draw the ambient light in and reflect it back in azure. What she heard was Daxia, or was it Dazi... The Swordswoman also had many names it seemed. But that was a digression and Lyric couldn't afford too many of them in this place. For one this place was fun and there was much to see and hear and smell, and soon to taste, and for two, it could be dangerous... and yet again she was wandering along a path in her imagination. What she wanted to focus on was the mention of the Allaine Heir and how Daxia asked her if she was 'seeing' back to the beginning of time or into the future. It was a curious question to ask anyone. An intriguing one, because no matter how teasing or playful it might have been, it hinted at something more.

But the conversation moved quickly on to other things.

"...a friend from a faraway place... that one does not mention," she responded as she pondered the statement structure, eyes narrowing, thoughts churning, brow knitted, staring at the table in front of her. She looked up at the swordswoman, "But... you just mentioned it. I do not understand. Forgive me that."


The talk of Broke... Lyric felt a small hint of defensiveness stir at how Daxia described her understanding of the Guardian. She glanced at Tomomi, trying to read the Mouse's reaction despite being well hidden in her own cloak.

"Forgive me again. I do not want to be rude in my interruptions. Broke is Broke is Broke," Lyric said using the form of a phrase the Keiko had taught her. It should be noted that her words and tone carried less whimsy than before, and those that knew her could recognize that more serious side of her personality showing itself.

"She is many things, and many things she is not. But she was always a Person. Regardless if a Person was crafted by powers of Order and Chaos, or by the evil hands of Dwarves, She and her kin are Persons... People. They were People then and are People now. The difference you speak of sensing is that she now has a soul. A Gift from a Goddess. And Yes, Broke is an Ally, or could be to those who she deems worthy. And I too understand 'obligations more significant'."

"I am her pack-mate... But that is another story altogether."

And then the moment of seriousness was gone, as quickly as it came. Lyric tugged again at the clasp to twist it around one more time to finally right it about herself. The mercurial Lyric was in charge again and she laughed at her ability to best the heavy cloak, or was it the effort it took against something that did what cloaks do, wrap and conceal.

"A festival?" She was as bright and excited as a preteen child might be at hearing this news.

"Oh, I am not bothered by the tavern entertainment. I have been in music halls and other such places, since I was very young. But I must admit this one is different. It is big and everyone is close together. Many people in here. That is different for me. And No, I don't worry that anyone would steal anything. Such a thought wouldn't cross my mind. Even now, I find it strange to think that someone might want to take something they probably can't use from someone else. No, theft is not it, Miss-tress Dama Warrior Daxia. I worry that my presence and the revelation that I carry an instrument would reveal me to be a Minstrel in a place where other musicians and performers are already engaged to play. To me, that would be rude. This is their hall, their evening. I am a patron, a guest, here to enjoy, not to take up anyone's attention."

"Am I making sense. Sometimes I say things that don't... Just ask Friend Keiko."

#920955 - Sat 14/04/18 18:07 BST Re: HWD: Midwinter's at Bordertown [Re: Wolf]
Kel Offline
Sower of Insanity

Registered: Thu 14/07/11
Posts: 7466
Loc: Rebel Alliance, CA, USA
[pronounced KAY-ko... do you think the GM has memorized this yet? Nope, not yet...]

She didn’t pay much attention to anything other than the Allaine as Friend Lyric spoke with the Dayalan. She didn’t even pause her observations when the serving girl asked about beverages, trusting Tomomi to know how very much she liked cider.

They see everything...

Well, if not moving in the slightest and appearing to observe everything around her without actually looking at anything was what that part of the Lore meant, then the Allaine was doing just that.

...and they evaluate everything.

The redhead did have that enigmatic look that the oldest of the Grandmothers showed when they were, well, being wise old Grandmothers. Or when the best of the Card Readers were asking the most difficult questions. It was when she blinked, however, and looked right at Keiko, merely giving the impression of smiling, that the Rhoni came closer to understanding the Lore about the Allaines. She certainly didn’t comprehend everything there was to know, however.

It was somewhat disappointing, of course, for she had no new Lore to pass to the Caravans. On the other hand, she was supposed to be avoiding the Caravans, so maybe it was a good thing?

Reader and Reader of Pattern and Card
Together will simplify that which is hard

But she did have questions, so many of them. None of them were well-formed, though. It would take time to decipher the Reader Riddle — to find the correct questions and ask them in the best way. Ah, but that was a wave to ride later!

Lady Bekkah’s sister gave out so much information that it was hard for Keiko to know what to ask first — or even what would be appropriate to discuss further. She had to assume that Lady Daxia was willing to share more information, or she would have said nothing at all. Yet she hinted at things rather than coming right out and saying them.

She smiled and nodded to Lyric... A Sword in the Shadow could prove to be a most intriguing song. But this too, as Lyric pointed out, was a wave to be ridden later.

“Oh, I believe she means that her friend is from somewhere I have spoken of, where only the Caravans travel. Folks west and south of Trundle do not like to hear the name of that place,” Keiko whispered to Lyric. “It is speaking of something without saying its True Name — it is what most people will do when mentioning anything of the East.”

Keiko had a somewhat better understanding of what the Dayalan meant about Broke, but since she did not know the woman’s mind, it was not her place to explain what she might mean. But the Dayalan’s words did make her wonder about other things.

If she and the Allaine had met Broke, well, it could only have been when Broke went to the Big Village. That had been right before Lady Bekkah and her friends had arrived at Waverider’s Watch and before Lyric and Squire Pietro had come. And yes, that had definitely been before Lady Bekkah had performed the miracle of bestowing Attera’s Mercy on the Forest Folk and giving them souls.

Keiko glanced over at Tomomi; that had been a good day, but for the two of them it was not quite as momentous as the day Keiko had saved Tomomi from being Lost in her Homesickness.

But Broke was now... the Rhoni’s brows furrowed slightly as she worked out the significance of the relationships between Broke and the Allaine, between Broke and the Dayalan. It was almost like puzzling through one of Renyard’s questions — and Renyard wasn’t even here!

She did miss him, perhaps even more than the other Forest Folk.

If Broke was an ally to the Allaine, it meant the Pack was an ally. Perhaps it even implied that all of the Forest Folk were allies of the Allaine, for they were One Family.

But Broke alone was a sword-mate to the Dayalan, for only they both served the Lady Sun.

That made sense, as far as it went.

Then her eyebrow twitched as another thought occurred to her.

Was the Dayalan the representative of the Allaine out in the greater world when the Allaine remained in Dawnview Vale? If so, how could one person serve both a Family and a Deity? What happened when the dictates of one conflicted with the wishes of the other? Oh, now that would be an interesting lesson to learn.
The World Is Not Okay Right Now. And Neither Am I.

#920956 - Sat 14/04/18 18:08 BST Re: HWD: Midwinter's at Bordertown [Re: Wolf]
Kel Offline
Sower of Insanity

Registered: Thu 14/07/11
Posts: 7466
Loc: Rebel Alliance, CA, USA
Daxia Yurisdotter and Kisa Allaine

“You are wise, Mistress Lyric, and there is nothing to forgive,” Daxia said earnestly as she rested her arms on the table. “It is exactly that thing we call a soul that I saw Broke lacked when Kisa and I met her. Both Order and Chaos can bestow such a gift, but these Dwarves of which you speak could not.”

She shook her head slowly.

“One hears stories as one travels that there are abominations in the Forest known now as Dirkwood. I have met the Person Broke, who is my Sister, and would have deemed the evil to be those who created Persons without Souls, not the Persons themselves.

“So, yes... Keiko is right. Broke is Broke is Broke.”

The warrior grinned.

“That’s something Romana would say... Romana is Romana is Romana. And I think it was good that my kind and generous and gentle sister who serves the Lady of Mercy was there and not me. I fear I would have been quite angry at those who created such...” She seemed to search for just the right word to describe what little she knew of Broke and her people. “Perhaps there is no word in Colonial to describe what they did. Despite what little I have understood of the Fates Cesare has mentioned and the waves one should ride that Camelia and even Captain Koromov speak of...”

Daxia shrugged and looked at the young Rhoni. “I would be honored to learn more of your ways, what little you are allowed to say, of course. Camelia is hesitant to speak of her mother’s family and teachings.”

She looked sadly toward the doorway through which Garrick and Camelia had exited and sighed softly before bringing her piercing blue eyes back to the Rhoni.

“You remind her of her mother, lass. It’s the violet eyes, I suspect. Very rare among your people I understand.”
The World Is Not Okay Right Now. And Neither Am I.

#920958 - Sat 14/04/18 18:13 BST Re: HWD: Midwinter's at Bordertown [Re: Wolf]
Kel Offline
Sower of Insanity

Registered: Thu 14/07/11
Posts: 7466
Loc: Rebel Alliance, CA, USA
[pronounced KAY-ko... do you think the GM has memorized this yet? Nope, not yet...]

Keiko broke from her reverie when the Dayalan addressed her. She was startled at her own surprise regarding the girl who had fled.

“Oh. Well, there is very little that should astound anyone when it comes to Madoka kha’Ayanna kha’Kame kha’Chikato khal’Homura Akemi.” She shrugged. “Although perhaps the truth of that statement is something only a Rhoni can understand.”

What she didn’t say was that it was likely only the Grandparents and Card Readers who could appreciate the apparent Chaos that seemed to surround the Rhoni Who Had Married a Gaija. The Homura Family was known to have some of the very best Waveriders — those who rode the waves with such skill that it appeared they slid through the waves themselves. Keiko had always seen it as skipping and dancing from wave to wave, but the effect was the same.

“I would be happy to share what I can about my people if you will, in exchange, share what you can about yours.” Keiko did not elaborate on the meaning of that — did she mean Dayalans or the Allaines?

Dama Kisa chuckled. “You walked into that trap, Dazi.”

“I did not! A fair exchange of information is, well, fair.”

Oh, but then the topic turned to the Festival, and what could be better than Festival Time? Keiko laughed with happiness at Lyric’s excitement.

“I think that is not how the entertainment works at Midwinters, Friend Lyric. Surely, the performers will need to rest, to have their own dinners. Perhaps at another time of the year, it is possible they would have the exclusive right to play in this room. But now?”

She reached over and took Lyric’s hand.

“I think that today if you were to show your instrument, it could be seen as an offer to add to the happiness of the evening rather than a threat to their... territory? Oh, the Pattern Reader—“

“Readers,” Kisa said with an enigmatic smile, her eyes barely shifting to look at Lady Daxia.

“Huh,” was all Keiko said before returning her attention to Lyric.

“—could say with more certainty, but I would not even ask the Cards about such things for I suspect they would find my question foolish.”

The slightly surprised intake of breath from the Dayalan did not go unnoticed, although the Rhoni did pretend to not notice. She felt a tug on her sleeve and bent down, listening to the words Tomomi had to say. Then Keiko grinned at Lyric.

“If I am right and you would be welcomed by the performers tonight, Tomomi would be very happy to hear your music.”

Keiko squeezed her friend’s hand just a bit, a plea to trust that this Path, this Wave was the best Journey to take right now.

“I would be happy, too. You played at Home and for the folks at Waverider’s Watch. Hearing those tunes again would bring back fond memories of family and friends who are still there, and help us remember those we might never meet again. You could give the gift of your music to everyone in this hall, but for those who have journeyed with you, it would be a far richer gift.”

[OOC: Writing for two characters and doing my best to keep them separated into different posts per the GM’s request means y’all get three posts in a row from me. And I’m just going to let mein Herr GM know that when it comes to the point where I’d be running 15 or 20 short posts all in a row just to keep them separated, I’m going to consolidate and put that conversation in a single post. I’m not quite there yet. But I’m very close!]
The World Is Not Okay Right Now. And Neither Am I.

#921021 - Sun 15/04/18 15:43 BST Re: HWD: Midwinter's at Bordertown [Re: Wolf]
Phoenix Prime Offline
I'm Grumpy - Go Away

Registered: Tue 16/05/00
Posts: 21265
Loc: Sanger Texas
Lyric, the Minstrel's Music is her own Addiction

At Daxia's pronouncement of her own feelings with regard to the horror and evil that Mad Princes and Evil Dwarves summoned from within themselves to undertake, not only the blessings that were the Forest Folk, but also the foul purpose for which they were created and cruelly set to the dark and grim goal, Lyric studied her face, hearing her words, understanding their meaning, feeling the connection between them and the emotion that generates them. It was a thing Lyric knew and understand... how to connect to those she sang and played, feeling their feedback. And so, she used that now. Listen, feel, understand.

"Then please accept my words as a promise of truth, when I say that many brave souls fought for their freedom, and many brave souls summoned great courage and resolve to break a thing thought unbreakable, and brave souls, perhaps too many, were lost but never forgotten, in the effort."

It still weighed on the Minstrel, given her role in all of it. She leaned forward, shifting her posture to sit at the edge of her seat. She would tell a story. A quiet one, for this was not her place to entertain everyone. This story was not truly about entertaining anyone, but rather to explain that the Swordswoman's sense of anger could be released free of consequence because Justice prevailed.

"But in the end... Good outweighed Evil on the Scales of Justice. Great and Terrible Wrongs were made Right. I bore witness to bravery unmatched by any deeds in any tales I have ever heard..."

"From the simplest acts by the smallest of those who, by right of their design would never have been expected to rebel, summoned the will and strength to be as mighty as the deep dark slumbering Ancients themselves... to the greatest sacrifices that a hero could offer so that another might have a chance to see and feel the light and warmth of She who crosses the Sky for the first time in all of their lives."

"The Pack who fought, and were ready to die, in a final desperate stand against so many Evil Dwarves just so others, who had never known the freedom they themselves had experienced, gained another minute of hope in the desperate race to escape the consequences of a terrible plan devised to end a terrible foe. Or, the Horse who could hold up a wall while his body was in danger of being crushed so that one more Mouse could drag the body of a broken friend a few more feet and a few more steps closer to safety in the hope of seeing Her Light. Or, a Travelling Girl and her Friend of Friends who took on the most dangerous of tasks within that terrible and deep castle, rescue a young 'Princess' created to be a tool that was harshly used and designed to mine not the Earth, but rather the infernal and cruel malevolence of their own terrible lust. They did this by challenging the Mad Princes within their own lair of depravity. Or the young man, born of the Travellers, lost and separate from his kind and their ways, who gathered so many different hands and found a way to unify them to one purpose so that they could turn the dark machine upon itself and enact the plan that so many more below them depended upon if there was to be any hope of surviving. The Daughter of a Goddess, tasked with a Quest to Right the Wrong at it's most perfect Core, already having served as a vessel to bring Life to a People, now committed to standing before the maddest of the Princes... the Prince of Princes... Twisted in his Evil and obsessed so wholly by his sense of Order and the poisons that he consumed to make himself unnaturally Immortal that he no longer understood there was a difference between Good and Evil... and only understood that his will was all that should matter. He challenged his Gods, and A Goddess sent a true servant and bearer of the will of the Deities to rebuke him in her name. And that she did, with a brave and kind Squire of Rames at her side. She stood face to face, before a dark and fell Prince, with stone and wall crumbling around them. All so that others could escape from his evil fortress, like sand through his bony grasping fingers."

"Of course I must mention The Rogue of Rogues, and his Lady of Grim Design turned Escort of Souls to their Rest. Nobility within his blood, outwardly allowing others to believe he scoffs at heritage, but knowing that he too was a tool to be used by others, determined his own Path and how he lived a life more Noble in act and deed than any ruler in a keep on high with proclamations and edicts. He lived his life among his people, for his people, and with his people. Loved by his People. Rescued by his Lady, loved by his Lady, Rescued and rescuer... which really was which... together they were both to one another. Without him, none of what was achieved could have ever begun.

"But lastly, let me tell you of a renegade princess from a faraway land of horses who danced her last dance in the halls of darkness below the waters. She and a brave archer... and a lowly and foolish girl who bore a burden in this effort that she could not carry, all who got separated from other brave warriors sent to race to the deepest darkest parts of this grim and foul place where forges twisted blood and flesh into things that were to be sold and used without regard for the cost it took to make them, nor the cost it extracted upon those who were used in the artifice of evil. Separated and then face to face with the teeth and claws of creatures so fast and so driven to kill that death for all seemed impossible to avoid. This Princess gave her life and drew this enemy away on a chase she had not hope of returning from alive. That is the consequence of being a hero, that one might give her life so that others might live... without regard for equating worth or need... for all are worthy of Hope and Freedom and Life... A Hero understands these things have a price and come at a cost that others must bear."

"I learned this lesson on that day and bore witness to all of this that I have told you so that you might know and understand... Evil was defeated with great prejudice and Good triumphed..."

Of Keiko and Minstrels playing in Taverns

The warmth of Keiko's hand was a comfort to Lyric.

"You are a good friend to me. Thank you for that. If invited to play, then I would be honored. I would be happy to share the music you have heard in a place you remember fondly."

With considerably more grace and dexterity than her earlier fumblings, the Minstrel slipped the wrapped instrument around her body on the looped lanyard. She unleashed it at the neck and layed it upon her lap. Slowly she unwrapped the the layers of fabric, oilskin first and softer blankets after, to reveal a mandola with it's stringed neck, tuning keys and richly toned wood bowl. It was a beautiful instrument, one worth y of the care the Minstrel gave it. It looked Old. Very Old. The way the wood was polished and yet had absorbed the years of light and air to temper the grain and give resolution to the art that had gone into it's crafting.

She looked to Keiko, who had seen the mandola many times, but never with this much seeming 'ceremony' of presentation, except for that very first time she brought it out to play for the group in Waveriders Reach.

"There. I have revealed I am a musician as you suggested. But I still feel that until I am invited to join or follow those who hold the stage and floor, it would be rude of me to do more than enjoy this evening from where I sit. Fair? Ja?"

#921043 - Sun 15/04/18 17:10 BST Re: HWD: Midwinter's at Bordertown [Re: Wolf]
Kel Offline
Sower of Insanity

Registered: Thu 14/07/11
Posts: 7466
Loc: Rebel Alliance, CA, USA
Keiko of the Family Nakano and Starlord Priestess Daxia Yurisdotter

As Lyric spun her tale, Keiko closed her eyes against all the emotions that had very nearly overwhelmed her that day. She felt Tomomi’s hand slide into hers, and it felt as though the two of them together rode the wildest of waves — fearing that they would be dashed on the rocks of a high cliff and yet knowing the wave would lead them gently to the start of another.

Lyric had a True Gift, for it did what the Great Stories that made up the Lore always did. Keiko felt as though she could see the actions of the others despite having been nowhere near the bridge where Lady Bekkah and Squire Pietro had stood, or near the ancient machines that Cesare and the Forest Folk had manipulated, or with the Pack except at the end.

But she remembered, too, touching the wound of the Dragon. Knowing beyond the shadow of any doubt that the resonance she felt in that moment was Beyond human understanding. Hoping that the words she had spoken in a language that approximated the Oldest Language had been heard and had helped to soothe the Immortal back into slumber.

And more than any other rescue, it was Hinata’s that stood out in her mind. Although the liberation of Girl had been just as significant, it had been less profound. Lady’s gentle comfort... the grief of the Pack... and the welcoming of new Kin — all of it pooled in tears behind her closed eyes.

Thus, when she impulsively leaned over to hug Lyric, ever mindful of her beautiful mandola, she couldn’t see that the Dayalan across from her had closed her eyes as well. She did note that Tomomi had Moused herself to Lyric’s other side to hug her as well.

The Starlord Priestess recognized the minstrel, too, as one with a gift many singers and storytellers lacked. As Lyric spoke, she watched the Patterns build themselves out from this moment and back to the day of the... Rescue. Although she rested her head on Bekkah’s shoulder, she could feel Kisa’s hand lightly grasp hers.

Ah, but this was not one of the more complicated patterns to see. Daxia didn’t need grounding, for she had no fear of getting lost in a maze. Lyric wove her spell so adroitly that there was no maze in which to get lost. There was only the Path of the labyrinth to be walked from beginning to end — or in this case, from the end to the beginning and back to the end. She saw the possibilities that each of them could have taken. She saw the misstep Kadri had made and knew that her correction had come too late to save her — even as it bought time for others.

Puzzled, however, she looked back even further. Where was Mikal?

“Not now, Dazi.” Kisa’s whisper was hard to ear even for her sharp ears, but Daxia heeded the advice and stepped along the Path more slowly from Then to Now.

When she opened her eyes, she saw the Rhoni and the Mouse hugging the Minstrel, and she smiled.

“You are truly gifted, Mistress Lyric. Kadri was no more interested in being a hero than I, and yet... she died as she lived — daring to attempt the righting of the greatest wrongs. Thank you... for the tale, and for sharing the knowledge that Order and Chaos have, in one small part of the Heartwood, been rebalanced.”

Daxia looked at the two young women, Rhoni and Mouse, who hugged Lyric while taking such enormous care for the minstrel’s instrument.

“You have moved your friends mightily as well, I see.” She glanced at the performers for a heartbeat, noting them laughing and talking to patrons as requests were being made for more tunes. “When they tire, and the brothers see your instrument, I don’t doubt you’ll have your invitation.”
The World Is Not Okay Right Now. And Neither Am I.

#921059 - Mon 16/04/18 00:16 BST Re: HWD: Midwinter's at Bordertown [Re: Kel]
Wolf Offline

Registered: Mon 25/07/11
Posts: 4990
Loc: NY
The Heartwood
The Dragonstooth Tavern
Marketday, the Twenty Fourth day of Crown of Ice

Lyric, Cesare, Keiko the Yurisdotters Sisters, Kisa Allaine, Tomomi, a minstrel group and a cameo by Hinata Cat.

Outside the New Jvrillian Guildhall


Hinata paused, the tall cat person looking down at the smaller minstrel.

"Bah. Too many Rules. Wuff-person has One-Rule? Silly.

"I ..."

There was a distinct emphasis upon that single syllable.

"... I have First Rule. Simple."

Turning, he once again started towards the sprawling stone building, but not without a last glance over his shoulder.

"All sunbeams mine."

Burnt fish and sunbeams. As far as mercenaries went, Hinata was reasonably inexpensive.

Dragonstooth Tavern Commons Hall

"Well look'at that ..."

"Told you! Of course, she's a Hero, look who her sister is!"


"Sure as sure, got it straight from Daniel who heard it from Karl, who knows Geoffrey who is in the Heavy Horse and he said it was something he overheard Garrick and Harry himself say while he was doing doorpost watch one night.

"Must run in the blood or something ..."

"Ja, but that one is prettier ..."

The conversation that followed Daxia and Bekkah's greeting proved that - at least for a moment or two - that tales of breaking curses and Avatar slaying could be interrupted. Not that it would stop the song, but it did shift attention from the songsmiths. The reunion also brought a smile to the Dayalan's companion. Kisa Allaine had many smiles. Enigmatic, formal, polite, considerate, wise and she chose them like she chose what she would wear for the day; as befits a proper noblewoman. They were, however, all honest. They were never disingenuous. This one was the rarest of all. Her happy smile. For right now, these few heartbeats, her most precious friend was being herself. No duties, no responsibilities, just being the one person she could not even imagine being without.

And that made her happy.

She did turn her attention to the others, taking each in turn, a quiet scholars gaze. And aye, she did tarry quite a while on the out-of-place Rhoni. The one with violet eyes and a small leather cloaked companion. The Allaine heir did make one proclamation upon her introduction. Her words were soft, very softspoken, as if she were, perhaps, a simple librarian and not one of the most powerful people upon the Mainland.

"Today, tomorrow, the day after, I am just Kisa. I wear my titles for one reason only, in duty to others."

Those words brought a tug on Keiko's sleeve. From beneath her cloak's hood, Tomomi whispered.

"Is that just like why we wear our cloaks?

"Is that snowsilk?

"Her sleeves have no scallops! How can that be?

"And she looks at Lady Bekkah's sister just like the Young Master looks at Miss Emerald!"

That statement came right out of nowhere, catching the Patterner by complete surprise. Fine Allaine features suddenly went a shade far deeper than her hair as green eyes widened, the size of, well, Miss Emmi's namesake. Kisa wrapped both her hands around her wooden goblet of cider, on the table right before her, deciding that her drink was the most fascinating thing in the world.

Eventually, it was, serving to focus her and mentally build a new chain of stone tablets in a new pattern. If one ducked their head - or were short, like Tomomi - one could see her lips turn upward into a much smaller smile.

"So. He finally admitted it. Good. Good for you, Dommi."

It was another happy smile. For her far-off childhood friend. That one thought she found so very comfortable. It was one that kept her warm throughout the rest of their talk. Lori returned with drinks, that and a bowl of bread and cheeses and to take orders for dinner if anyone wanted something else. Their words then turned to music and then to songs and then to the night of Lady Yurisdotters Quest.

Tomomi didn't speak at all, she simply wrapped her arm around Keiko's a little bit more. For her, it was not a story.

It was a memory.

She knew it was the same for the others who had been on the Aterran Quest. She tilted her head one way. Interestingly, Kisa Allaine did the same, just the opposite way.

One, an heiress, was listening to the depth of the words, to understand more than the narrative, to get a hint at the meaning of the words. She understood the meaning of the titles given to those who were here and those who were not here.

" ... why does it always have to be that way?"

Kisa whispered, quiet enough to not disturb Lyric's story.

Why does it have to be that way? That it is their titles that are remembered. The Pack. The Travelling Girl. The Young Man. The Rogue and Lady Grim.

For her, it was a very different story, when one replaced the titles with names.

But was it so that those who listened could identify themselves as part of the story, to close their eyes and imagine themselves taking on one of those roles? To be a Hero too, if only for a heartbeat or two?

Was it so that it would be remembered?

How many people in the world ... know the Snowqueen's name?

The other, a Mouse, looked to the Minstrel, and once again she was where she didn't belong. In Loch Faast Keep. She knew they wrote songs, they told stories, about important things. It was just, it was just that she had never imagined being someone in the tale, in the song, and the words bringing it all back.

Is this how Mistress Lyric deals with the hurt? To turn it into something that will never be forgotten?

So that it just might, just might never happen again?"

It was not just those gathered about Lyric who heard, but those at the surrounding tables too. In fact, all the while that Lyric was being embraced, it was in a little bubble of silence.

"Cor ..."

And those who were near, who also heard, realized that there was another story, another gift, come to this midwinter's festival. Then followed a confirmation, from one of the patrons sitting near them.

"They are going to stop for dinner once She vanishes below the horizon; maybe then we can hear you play something on that odd, small gitar of yours, missy? Like a song that goes with your story? We haven't even heard a whisper of anything like that from the merchants coming in for the festival.

"Something new for Midwinter's - that the Marrennen don't even know? That'd be a gift that'd be long remembered!."

Technically, Midwinter's Day was still a day away. But the folks at the tavern seem to not mind starting early. Kisa nodded and added, with a slightly playful grin, her own observation.

"And it might distract them, for at least a little while, from a certain other Midwinter's ballad."

Then Tomomi spoke up once more.

"You know ..."

She folded her hands in her lap.

"We have Midwinter's Day too.

"Back at Home. Mister Renyard told us it was a time where, for Real People, there were no laws and folks did whatever they wished. But we, being who we are, we can't do that. Our Three Rules make us who we are, keep us safe and we have enough trouble holding on to ourselves to let it go. Folks would get Homesick without them, even for a day.

"So when Home was made, before I was rescued by The Pack, Lady made a festival for us. She said there are other kinds of rules, those we put on ourselves, that drive us apart, that makes it hard to be us, The Forest Folk. Like when one of the Raccoon Sisters gets the last muffin and you were thinking about a muffin breakfast since before sleeping and you even dreamed of muffins. Nice warm delicious muffins. Or when a Deer drops a big piece of firewood on your toe and doesn't notice and that's because he's so big and you are so small.

"So on Midwinters we go to everyone and break those bad rules we made. We say our we are sorries or we understand or did you know you did this and because its Midwinter's it's a given that we will be forgiven and everything will be set right once more.

"Since this means everyone is in the Commons Hall it's all nice and warm with ourselves. We have cider and juice and bread and a real hot stew. Stew is important because it's like us, made up of everything. And when it's all over, well, Broke, being big and clumsy and always doing something important and has a tendency to surprise us, she goes 'Mouse' and we all pounce on her so she knows we understand and forgive her and that she's still our protector always.

"Actually, I think she just likes being Moused, but Broke being Broke would never say so."

She then looked at each of her companions in turn.

"Lady Bekkah ...

"Mister Cesare ...

"Forever Friend Keiko ...

"Kisa just Kisa ...

"Mistress Dazi ...

"Mistress Lyric ...

"What does Midwinter's mean to you?"

Edited by Wolf (Mon 16/04/18 02:24 BST)

#921060 - Mon 16/04/18 01:18 BST Re: HWD: Midwinter's at Bordertown [Re: Wolf]
Kel Offline
Sower of Insanity

Registered: Thu 14/07/11
Posts: 7466
Loc: Rebel Alliance, CA, USA
Daxia Yurisdotter

She looked at the little one named Tomomi and smiled.

She looked at her dear sister on one side of her and hugged her tightly again once more.

She looked at her liege and love on her other side and placed a soft kiss on a fair cheek.

And she looked at the little Mouse Person once again.

“Snow and toboggans and icicles thicker than my arm, longer than I am tall. It’s laughter and teasing and the smell of cinnamon and cloves and fresh bread. It’s hearing the tink-tinkling of tiny bells on cloaks and hats and muffs. When I was old enough, it was a chance to see the castle lit with more candles than there are stars in the sky!

“Most importantly, Mistress Tomomi...”

Daxia, the young woman from Dawnview Vale who dared to be brave enough not to go running back home at her first opportunity, smiled more broadly as her blue eyes glittered with happy tears.

“Most importantly, Midwinters means family... however your heart wishes to define it.”

[Starlord Priestess...
Knight of Dawnview Castle...
Companion to the Magnificent, Handsome and Pragmatic Font of All Knowledge Wise and Wonderful, Magnanimous Seer of All and Listener of Innumerable Nuances, He of the Majestic Flowing Silky Mane and Charming Disposition Known as Morning Star...
Sister of the Priestess of Attera...
Lord Protector of Her Noble Personage Kisa Allaine...
Her Ladyship...
Verchovai Daxia Yurisdotter...
kindly requests that henceforth all people will spell the name of her Deity and her Order correctly: Her Name is Dayala, and those who serve Her are Dayalans.]

[The player might just be a bit touchy about this because, unlike certain other people who grew up with A Very Common Name, spent the first half of her life with a most uncommon name that even her siblings misspelled. Then the player legally changed her name, and the problem diminished considerably (but did not stop). The scars remain. Go raibh maith agat! Vielen Dank! Ahéhee’! Domo arigato! Bol’shoye spasibo! Thank you!]
The World Is Not Okay Right Now. And Neither Am I.

#921107 - Mon 16/04/18 14:37 BST Re: HWD: Midwinter's at Bordertown [Re: Wolf]
Happy Birthday Gypsy Offline


Registered: Tue 09/05/00
Posts: 57649
Loc: Pidley, Cambs, UK

He nurses his ale, sipping it slowly, savouring it but also using it as something to occupy his hands, as a barrier to contributing to the conversation. He had made the introductions and then left everything to everyone else, the getting to know new people occupying most of time. He didn't even say anything when Lyric spoke of their rescue of the Forest Folk. But he was grateful that at least Kadri's tale had been told.

It is only when Tomomi asks her question and addresses it to him by name, along with the others, does he feel that he must answer.

"It reminds me of my mother.."

The words are quiet, full of meaning for him but not expanded on.

#921122 - Mon 16/04/18 16:05 BST Re: HWD: Midwinter's at Bordertown [Re: Gypsy]
Nivek Offline


Registered: Tue 28/08/01
Posts: 45947

She blushed a furious red when Dazi mentioned having a message from Finn. The color stood out on her fair complexion and blond hair. It also put a fond smile on her face as she remembered a night a while back.

She listened to the conversations as they flowed back and forth as the group got to know each other.

She smiled at the question put to her.

"I'm a simple person Tomomi. All festival's to me are a time to forget troubles and be alive. To laugh, to dance, to enjoy the company or family, friends and strangers."

#921137 - Mon 16/04/18 18:36 BST Re: HWD: Midwinter's at Bordertown [Re: Wolf]
Phoenix Prime Offline
I'm Grumpy - Go Away

Registered: Tue 16/05/00
Posts: 21265
Loc: Sanger Texas

She had never expected to commit so fully to telling this story. In truth she really didn't tell it as a story should be told. And yet, with each word, she slipped deeper into the role of storyteller and performer. Why tell it at all if one does not evoke emotion in it's hearing, Ja?

But it was a personal story, to many sitting around her, gathered close, hugging her, weeping with her. But especially to herself. A warning that there is a price to pay and a burden to bear when Good and Evil clash. It was a story about heroes, but more than just those who might look the part in such a tale. It was about everyone who found courage and strength, even in the smallest ways to help someone else do the same.

She hugged Keiko and then did the same for Tomomi, kissing the top of her hooded head. And then she realized she had gathered an audience and she blushed, nearly as crimson as Bekkah had earlier. it was the oddest feelings, revealed upon her cheeks, despite her belief that she could control such things.

This was not what she had wanted to do, become the center of attention in the middle of the tavern(or over on one side as the case may be).

"Perhaps," she replied. "I am honored you have taken heart in my telling of a tale for friends. I must admit, I have not truly prepared the story for a larger audience though, and certainly not as a song yet."

"But I have some songs, one or two that might not have been heard. And I can play my Mandola... But only if granted leave by those who own this place AND only until the Inn's true performers are ready to return to their stage. I am a guest like all of you and I too want to hear tales and songs."

"Is this fair," she asked of the patrons who were gathered around in anticipation of her reply.


Tomomi's question dovetailed perfectly and allowed Lyric to 'surrender' her audience back to the room and narrow her own attention on her friend's again. Let the other patrons decide how eager they were to hear from the Minstrel by favoring the owners with their custom and then their request. That seemed to be the fairest thing she could offer them.

Lyric looked to the Mouse, who just told a beautiful story, personal and touching and even revealing. Tomomi might have the makings of a Minstrel, and maybe one day... a Bard.

Midwinters... What does it mean to me?

Lyric listened to the others answer in turn. Their responses were not long but they felt real. Each one conjured an image in Lyric's imagination. And there was quiet among them and Lyric realized that she might be expected to add her own experience to the sharing.

Lyric looked at everyone, brilliant blue eyes tracking around the group. What could she say to this? She loved a festival. That much was true. Any festival. But that wasn't the question. What did Midwinter's mean to her?

Lyric pursed her lips tightly, eyes directed at the table, but unfocused. Her thoughts turning over in a jumble. She shrugged and looked helplessly back and forth between Lyric and Tomomi. The Mouse deserved the Truth. She was a friend.

"I don't know," she said meekly. "I've never had one before."

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