Vanya and the Green Knight

High Hebridean
The Trials of the High Priest

He was tired beyond sleeping. The morning had been maps spread on tables, maps without names, matching little rills in silver and green ink to the mountains of his visions. Or maps all in High Hebridian, no relation to what people who lived in those places now would name their mountains and rivers. The afternoon had been falcons. Writing orders on strips of paper the width of a blade of grass. It was difficult with only one hand, and he had to weight the ends with stones before he could start. At least the eye that remained to him was still keen and the tiny script didn’t make him squint. He suspected his eye was keener than it had been. Were nights supposed to be as luminous as day? Ought he to be able to see the hawk waiting in that distant tree down to its speckled breast feathers? Without the depth a second eye would lend it, the world was like one of Atropos’s hyper-detailed paintings. Almost disturbing in its abundance of life. His hearing too. That evening had been hosting the young lords who came to talk to him, feasting them in simple fashion in his garden. When they had talked softly to each other at the far end of the orchard, he could hear every word. At least it had been talk of the beauty of his Avariel wife, and not doubts about his strangeness. Even his most devout new followers thought him strange. It was a change from being the level head, the chaste untouchable, the old fogey of Morrigan. Stripped of the other fanatics, he was a lone tree, visible to all around. One with too few branches.

Oh where was Innis? He had no one to joke with. Lillith didn’t like his humor when it was dark. He hoped to have a bird from Innis soon. It would be happy to meet again, even on a battlefield, and hear him crack gallows jokes as the enemy approached in that lilting accent.

“Can’t sleep?” a dark, joking tone, just as he had been wanting. There was a light on Lillith and the children in bed, lining her scarab feathers in opal. His shadow was long across the floor from where he stood leaned in the doorway watching them, the light behind him. He got hard just at the voice. It was liquid as mercury, rolled over your skin.

“You know I can’t.” He almost never slept at night. The need to watch was in him, as he watched Lillith now. Or to walk under the trees with grass on his feet and let the stars pierce him. Or to slip into the cold pools and float, feeling light and silver as the water. He napped during the day in his hammock.

“Will you watch with me?” It had some other meaning, how it was said. He turned, quizzical. Lucern was already walking away, sparing him the glory of his face. Tirion followed him out to the pools. Lucern was wading into the water, leaving a bright silver path behind himself. Tirion loved how water looked near him, how it always lead to him. He was watching openly, but when Lucern turned he dropped his eyes. And there, in the water…an eagle’s view. The castle he ever saw in his hammock dreams, but a single window, movement beyond. There were pale and smokey limbs twined, black and white hair, bodies thin as racing hounds. Beautiful, even with ribs plain and scars, almost too elongated and stark to be human. A race of hunters. He blushed when he realized they were kissing.

“So this is how you got the epithet.” Watcher in the Dark indeed. Those poor youths had no idea. He looked up at Lucern instead, ashamed at playing the moment’s voyeur. The god’s hair was pinned in tufts like fur or small wings, a halo about his head, but lit by his face. He had a wicked grin, canines indenting his soft lips, somehow full even though they were bow curved thin. He had learned that grin from the Bodhisattvas. Predator. It was his to play the prey that night. He didn’t hesitate, but fled.

His feet were grown swift. The short green grass, always moist and soft in that land, was like a springboard for his steps. Every stride pressed him harder into his breeches, twinging. The day’s weariness was dust on his skin, vanished when he dove into the silver light. He could feel the thunder of hooves in the ground, or a shudder of wings in the air, the hunt closing, the hawk diving. Lucern bore him down before he made it to the orchard.

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Sylvania Abandons Vlahiskoi

“”/campaigns/konstantine/characters/sevastyn" class=“wiki-content-link”>I ran there in a day and a half. I know because the moon was only up once. I didnt even realize I had made it there till they shot arrows in my path to warn me. By the third arrow."

“I was so happy to see that gold wood and bright fletching. They knew who I was, I heard them say my name. They were in shock as to my condition, but guessed true that I had fled ”/campaign/konstantine/wikis/severskii" class=“wiki-page-link”> Severskii. They meant to bring me someplace to rest, sounded as if they had expected Severskii’s fall, and knew of the others. I don’t know what I was then. Desperate. I grabbed the one by the collar and told him it wasn’t even two days past. That people still lived. I couldn’t bear for us to have been parted for no good reason."

“He shook his head at me, and I punched him.”

“Not the best way to get someone to help you. He took it well. Harrin. That was Harrin Thorntower, I know his father. Knew. I guess he has gone now. Their story was very strange.”
“He asked if I would stay and rest, if he promised to give whatever help they could. I asked if he could really promise that and he said yes, he had that authority.”

“What help they could offer turns out to have been Harrin and one companion, but I passed out, I didn’t find out till I woke. It was quiet there, no singing in the distance, no sounds of people moving or smells of them cooking. The Elves are always quiet, but when I woke in a hammock in the branches I thought the wind through them sounded empty.
An elfwoman was there, Harrin’s little sister. I guess they figured I wouldn’t attack an elfmaid half my size. I asked her where her brother was, and what had happened.

The god came to them, Konstantine. Months ago. I guess elves get a special consideration, or are different in some way. They didn’t know what to make of it, but they had his name, which we have heard. Mirina said that on the night of the full moon, a silver dragon had landed on the high stone where the council meets. They hurried to get the appropriate gifts. Silver dragons are wise, good creatures. Rare here, unlike the reds you always hear about. The elves remember old friendships with them, have ceremonies, nothing I know, but Mirina seemed to take it as a matter of course. But when they came forward to greet the dragon, it lowered its wing, and a man stepped down. She was hesitant to say elf, though she called him that later.
She said he had silver hair, got distracted trying to describe it. Jewels that pinned it into tufts, crests, like fur or a halo, wild looking. She said he was very tall and fair. That his skin was “no color.”
“to speak of this so mundanely, I see the trouble she had. Aleksey had no time for this part of my story. I told him no more than that the elves had already seen battle and were in no numbers to do us significant good.”

: ::::An elf that rode a dragon….:::

“It must have been him. He said he had come with a warning and an offer, not for their leader, but for all their ears. He said “The dark will fall on your wood, the enemy will walk free under your trees, without life or breath, rank flesh and hard bone. Bloody hands will pull at your entrails, and rotted eyes will see and turn your warrior’s hearts cold, your flesh to stone, your tears to blood, your songs to moans.”

“It terrified them, his pronouncements from such shining lips. She said that every ear heard him plain. Even scouts far off in the trees. He said, “Give me your bows, your knives and your slings, and I will lead you against this enemy, into the night. When you are blind I will light the path your arrows must take, when your throat chokes on the mist, I will give you courage to drink, cold and silver past your lips. But before you do this, you must foreswear Corellon and the sun. Abandon him as he will abandon you here for the dark to devour you.”

The elves of our lands worship much as druids do. But I know they all revere Corellon, if distantly, as the greatest of the gods. They spoke as if that were the most shocking part of his pronouncement.

He had them bound in wonder though, and no cries were raised against him. They only asked in quiet earnest how he could say this. And he said “If you so love Corellon, run to him. Take comfort in his own halls while his doors are yet open. Eternal days, brimming cups, sweet music and the scent of every blooming thing, more than this wood has ever known. Go, to peace like you have never known. Or stay here, in your own forest, and I will stand by you even as you stand by it, and let the mist sweep over us. I want none who yearn for the sun, they will quail when his face is gone forever from their eyes.” And he gestured, and a stair made of silver light rose from the stone into the canopy of trees. There were leaves on the branches where it met them, the hall of trees marching back became some other wood, in high summer with sunlight casting a green glow through the foliage onto their faces. Mirina said she could smell it, could feel the warm breeze.

The prince of that wood, Kyrie, asked if he might go ahead and return, to be sure this was no spell or trick. The man said by all means, that they would know the truth of his words even as he knew the truth of their hearts. So Kyrie armored himself and went, and they waited, as the ice in the pine boughs melted and crows flew curiously into the green wood from their own. The stranger never moved, hand rested on a spear, and the other on the dragon’s shoulder. She said his eyes were terrible.

Mirina said he must have been a powerful sorcerer, or the avatar of a god. We know which god. When Kyrie came back he was unarmored and had baskets of fruit, flowers chained around his wrists. He said that it was no trick. He had met their kin on the other side, and they were welcome in their households. The stranger said to hurry and pack their things and say their goodbyes, if they would leave. For those who stayed must turn their backs on any hope of long life or rich gardens, of solace besides the light of their blades, the hearts of their companions, and the destruction of their enemy. And he waited while they chose.

The old and the young, brothers loathe to be parted, young lovers, sons giving way to their mothers tears, and daughters to the pleas of their fathers. Of all the elves, only a handful stayed. Those who have lost their families to the hags and werewolves. Those who could not imagine leaving the wood. Those whose hearts were burning with the zeal in the strangers voice."
“It seems unfair that they had the offer to escape.”

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: :::::It is strange to hear of elves as us…as regular people. I thought they were strong and magical and thousands of times greater. But they left…fear and worry beset them. They left. There is no place for us to leave. How lucky for them. Men can only run, fight or die….no solace at all.::::

Sevastyn would seem tired like he thought similar things.

“The tales make elves to be perilous. They sound no different from us.”

:::Perhaps that is just naive to have had hope in them. Yes. To have thought they were anymore than just people. Well. I have seen that. These here…they are strange as cipher and francois…and most half but for Shin. But still…they are just people. Not so great. They eat and sleep and sew and ….complain. Tease and fight. ::::

“They love and fear as we do. But they live without dying. I think that is the chief difference. For us the choice is to die now or in ten, thirty, fifty years. They have beliefs about our dying and what happens to our souls, things they won’t discuss. But I do know they believe their souls are apart at the end, that they go to a paradise for elvenkind where their sorrows are forgotten. If they die, they believe that is the end. Darkness.”

:::Some may have magic and miracles in their hands, as Shy and Cipher. But ….as shy and cipher. Not as the story of the winter maid Linyphiidae.:::

“For the stranger to say it so baldly, to not expect long life, to stand with him in the dark, he meant for only the boldest to stay.”

“It wasn’t the end of what befell them. Mirina said there had been thirty. Which, of elves, is enough to face a small army. When the mist came, and the dead, they went out behind them, following them to their lair. The man on the dragon himself led them. Only five stayed behind, to care for the wood. She said the party sent back word on hawks’ wings, of a heavy mist, day and night, that made it hard to travel. That things moved within it. Then they sent no more messages.”

“But the wood is ours to use. It is near here. And the five who are left are eager to ally themselves. They would be.”

“We can hunt in their woods, use their stores. Those who left took little, since they went to plenty.”

“That is a lot of news.”

“And it’s only the elves.”

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Roman's Musing
Post Fall of Severskii

The gold thorn pricked as he gripped the bar. A drop of blood beaded slow on his thumb, red and cold. “I do bleed,” he said to the empty cage, the empty room. The words were empty. Gilded and dead. There was pain to accompany the barb in his flesh, a slight, pleasant sensation. He did feel. But the living did not have to remind themselves of it, surely. Their breath came fast, without their remembering to draw it. Their blood surged from their wounds till they emptied, wrung in the clenched fist of their heart. He clenched his own fist until the garnet burgeoned and trickled down a stem. It took that much to squeeze it from him. He let go the bar in disgust and whirled to face his bed. Somewhere outside, in that waste of white, in that vicious and pure cold, there bloomed a winter rose. He had found something rare and vital, something at home here. The youth lived, he was certain of it. The woods had taken him in. The snow and shadows had been windblown and untouched as the boy’s skin. The poor brown brambles had covered his tracks as surely as these false golden vines had held him. Iron could not hold him. He had snapped the shackles as if they were brittle with the cold.
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Roman fingered the broken irons on his bedside table. The next time he would not trust iron, that close kin to blood. He would wrap him in gold, in his own arms. He would brush that velvet skin, coax blood to the surface, a blush, maybe more. He would feel that pulse against himself till it was his own. He would feel hot red pulsing where, even in the worst ache, he felt only swollen and heavy now, turgid with lifeless desire. His own hand could do nothing for him but massage the fluids back whence they came. Alone, he felt dead.
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He shed his sleeping robes and armored himself. It was only an hour after he had gone to rest, but he felt more agitated for having tried. His lady waited for him outside the tent, lovely as the green line of dawn after a battle victorious, black as his hair…no, he would not let thoughts of him ruin what had been his constant pleasure. He took off her armor also, whenever he rested, though leaving it on did not hurt her. She would get angry if he didn’t take it off, now, because she was used to the rhythms he maintained. She whickered to see him out too soon and whuffed his hair. “Even your strength could not drag him.” He pet her naked shoulder, soft and cold under his hand as the furs on his floor inside. At least they were of the First Vow, Voelkher’s chosen, and their blood did not freeze. Some of the newly vowed were having trouble with that, in this weather. The cold wrinkled their flesh so it chafed and split, but did not ooze. The sight of it was hard for them, who had been so recently fair and living, though they did not feel pain as keenly as he could.
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He had been fair and living once. “Do you remember life, lady?” She snorted and shook her mane, a common mannerism of hers, but he pretended it was answer. “No? Nor can I. Was battle at his side ever different than it is now? I used to joke that I would always be young and beautiful compared to him, but we never guessed how true." He paused, "Do I truly remember joking, or have I since made that up?”
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“Can’t sleep?” Followed by a furtive chuckle. Roman hated Gaspar’s laugh. He never let it out properly, so it wheezed and snorted.
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The fact that he rested for two hours of the day was a spring of amusement for Gaspar that never ran dry. If Gaspar were in a good mood, he would always ask him, “How did you sleep?”
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“Have you raised another fifty yet?”
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“Oh don’t be an ass, just because I interrupted your conversation.” Gaspar said. He also thought it silly that he talked to his horse, nevermind he talked to his thing, or to himself…constantly. “I am sure it was poetic. The rose defeated has more perfume from its crushed petals than it does fresh in victory, I daresay. You like it. I would say you let him go on purpose, except that you came running out…as you did. You would never feign your own humiliation.”
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As if thoughts summoned it (well, they did, just not Roman’s thoughts), the rotted orb floated down and rubbed an eyestalk on Gaspar’s cheek. He lifted a red hand to it.
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“Are you here for some reason?” Roman asked. His mare pinned her ears and turned to face Gaspar. She didn’t like It, either.
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It didn’t like or not like. It didn’t care that it was hideous and smelled terrible. It had no feelings of its own.
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“Yes. I came to wake you because Bertok found it.”
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“The next city.” It wasn’t a question. He had, in fact, asked Gaspar to come to him whenever Bertok reported to the dead on the outskirts of their lines. They didn’t know how far this land of little kingdoms stretched, each self contained and unique, each too small to withstand them. But where else could that boy have gone, other than to the next? He would find him.

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Recasting the Golden Rose

Voelkher held the head in place himself, though stitches would not scar. He sat at the edge of the bed, within the circle of weapons, hand threaded through golden curls. The scene was almost one of everyday tenderness but for the circle of solemn onlookers and the raw crevasse where Roman’s neck should meet his shoulders. It felt no less private; Voelkher felt his lieutenants all, always, as a part of himself. He did not mind for them to see his heart; they were his heart. Though each was his own man, to be sure, and usually Gaspar sneered and Jakob looked long-suffering whenever he and Roman were together. Now Gaspar was but a ghost, complete with rattling chains, and his flickering face wore smug curiosity. He assumed Roman would be angry. So did Voelkher. What bothered him more was the relief and approval plain in Jakob’s stance, hovering near and protective, eager as the smallest of the Vyacheslavs for his brother’s sake. Jakob’s chafing to kill Konstantine was characteristic, but this eagerness for Roman to return to his side was unsettling. No doubt he hoped that Roman would stand between him and the boy, perhaps turning on Konstantine to take him for himself, perhaps killing him in a rage. Both likely. But it had not been loneliness for Roman that had driven him to folly, to kisses warm as sunlight and chai flavored, to talks of heart’s desire over what should be a parlay table, to yearning heady as the first steps they had taken out of the mists, a desire for more than conquest. All his lieutenant’s could feel his wild hope, just as he could feel their anxiety at it. He had failed them once. Though they had followed him through the mist gates, impossibly parted, they were no better off here than they had been. Worse, perhaps, for now they knew they were cursed, and now they blighted a land sweet as home had once been. Perhaps this yearning would at last thaw their frozen hearts, and then they would be utterly damned, able to feel in full all they could not have and could not be. All that they had done. They were right to be anxious. Would Roman, who most wanted to be alive, to be human again, understand what Gaspar and Jakob and all the others didn’t? Once the anger had passed, he might.

Barnabus began the chant. The empty space where Bertok’s bone knife should have lain was a chilling hole, but still connected, a flyaway thread that had unraveled a hole in the tapestry, but still ran to it. If only it were so simple to follow that thread to its end and find the thing. But he could not worry of it, pain like the Hammer’s blow bending him low over Roman, forehead to cold forehead. Life, or whatever it was that moved them, broke free the cage of his chest, flew the distance – inches, uncountable spans of ether – to Roman’s body and his soul, binding them as water binds the things dissolved in it. Warm and sweet as chai, fierce as vodka. Roman’s eyes fluttered, and the jagged meat and bone over his collar knit and smoothed. He kissed as though it had been the last thought in his mind, and his expression was soft, confused at the beard and cold hardness. “Voelkher?” Clarity came with memory, and he did not speak the obvious. He had died. He reached first for his blade, and sagged with relief to find it to hand, laid beside him. “Then I have not failed you utterly.”

“I am here.” He sat back so Roman could see them gathered, could see the familiar inside of his tent. “And you have not failed me.” There was no warmth to lift the incense of it, but the scent of roses seemed stronger as he stirred. At the tent’s mouth, there was a groan and the shatter of ice as Walkure rolled upright and her frozen armor shifted, an answering whicker. Eizenhertz nuzzled her wolftorn haunch, only now mending.

Roman lifted his other hand to Voelkher’s face, letting it slide down to his chest. And there he paused. A gold rose on a graygreen field, vines clear in their snaking pattern out from it, the serpent heads at their ends a little shallow and vague, but freed from a crust of green. “Your armor…” Disbelief made him boyish, wide eyed.

Rather than answer, Voelkher drew him into his arms and buried his face in still-wet curls, washed before the ceremony. “I have much to tell you.”

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Unknown Story

Note: Takes place in Ravenloft, doesn’t affect current map. This features The Church of Ezra
This is supposedly in the domain of Borca

“Here-tic?” The word caught in his long throat, creaking past his large adam’s apple in a squeak. He swallowed, and then shook his head, copper curls bobbing at his shoulders. “Sentire Aristide? Impossible. There is no better man in the city, in the realm.”
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“Rufinus…Fin…” Ilio took hold of the sleeve of his grey cassock, knuckles white, and pulled him in his wake. Rufinus tripped at first, rigid with shock, almost going headfirst down the stairs. He was always pale, but he looked ready to faint. Ilio went on in a whisper, as if the portraits in the stairwell were eavesdropping. “I heard the charge. Bastion Innocent was waiting for him on the stairs of the great archive as he came out into the forum, and he said it loud enough for the entire market to hear. Behind him, a small army of his Wardens, full armed. He expected a riot.”
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“He probably wanted one, the devil. More people to burn in Our Lady’s name. He would light the streets at night with heretics! But he cannot kill everyone. Surely the Don will not have it.”
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“The Don has no love of Aristide. He calmed the crowds just by lifting a hand, Fin. He walked to armored cart like it was his carriage and these men his escort. He is too powerful, and the commoners offer up prayers to his name. Innocent hates him, and now he will have his way.”
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“But our order shuns wealth and politics! He has no worldly power, and he has done no wrong. Surely Innocent cannot just say the word ‘heretic’ and make it so.” He stopped on the steps, defiant, as if Ilio were an opponent across the forum. Ilio looked at him with a sneer and sad, dark eyes.
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“He can, Fin. You are so naïve. There is nothing but politics, whatever one wishes, and Innocent has the favor of the Praesidius and the Don and all the aristocracy. He means to purge the church. Your whole order, Fin. The trial is tomorrow, and all your order will be welcomed to speak in Aristide’s defense. Any who gainsay Innocent will be called heretics. Everyone loyal to Aristides will join him. The widow, the rack, the tongs, Fin. He can make anyone say anything he likes. Within the week the Greyfriars will be outed as having orgies with demons and burining Books of Ezra for their hearthfires. They’ll say you cursed all the wigs who have been poisoned in the past year, that you caused the pox in Lowtown, that you would cast the whole city into the Rift. It will be ludicrous, and everyone will delight in the gossip. And Aristide, who calls all men fools, will be laughing from his grave. If they let him die. Innocent is as like to keep him.” Ilio looked ill, despite his fervent satire.
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Ilio was a good friend, even if he was a Whitefriar and liked his wine and his wealth. Rufinus had seen him dissect corpses without flinching, seen him laugh back in good humor when a wig threw wine in his face and told him religion was a blight. It was Aristide had told him to keep Ilio as his friend. “A sword hand needs calluses,” he had said, though he had never chided Rufinus for his tenderness. “You are good for each other,” he had said. But now Ilio’s smiling, fair mask was twisted, and his eyes had tears in them unshed, making them seem twice as large and dark as when they drank belladonna for holy days. People lied often, and Ilio more often than most, but by his face Rufinus believed him, and he found he could not move or speak for horror.
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“How…how do you know these things?”
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“Because I have eyes and ears. You must trust me. Leave. Leave now. Take food and wine and whatever books you treasure most and don’t worry of stealing them; I know you Greyfriar’s don’t own anything. Nay, choose your books, not more than you can carry a distance, and I will get food and wine for you. Meet me in the kitchens. I know a way out of the city.”
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“No! How can I leave my master to die in such a way, leave all my brothers? It is cowardice.”
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“This is why Innocent will have you all.”
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“Have you told the others?”
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“I will. Though I think most of them know by now already. Still, I will use my connections to help those of the Greyfriars that I can, I promise you. But I will not lift a hand for anyone until you are gone from this city.”
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“What connections?” The implication was frightening. Stranger, though, that it sounded like Ilio had come straight from seeing the scene at the forum to tell him this, before even reporting to the Baileys of his own order. “Ilio, why me?”
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Ilio growled and grabbed him by the rope at his hood’s collar, jerking his face close like he would spit a curse in it. “Your master is a saint to have such patience for you.”
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Rufinus’s feet tipped off the stair, and his hands caught at Ilio’s white velvet robes. He expected Ilio to let him go, maybe even toss him down. Instead Ilio kissed him, holding him up by a fist at his throat. It was violent, confusing, the taste of wine and fear on a tongue that forced its way into his mouth. Like one swept into a dance, he followed the motions without understanding, opening his mouth, pushing back. It burned his throat and eyes the way brandy did, and he was dizzy. He panted as Ilio pulled back and let him slump onto his shoulder.
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Ilio…hugged him, burying his face a moment in the worn grey folds of his hood, in wild red hair that he never bothered to style, like Ilio’s black ringlets, or shave off as some Greyfriars did. The moment was broken when he hugged back, worried now for his friend’s sanity. Ilio pushed him away, holding him by the shoulders. “Go get your books. You’ll pine without something to read, and you’ll find nothing in the countryside. Meet me in the kitchens before the hour’s bell tolls. Don’t speak to anyone. Don’t do anything stupid.”
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He stood glaring, like he would slap him if he asked a question, waiting for him to move in the direction of the library. Rufinus found his balance and hurried down the stairs, looking over his shoulder once. He had never kissed before, and still his lips tingled. Truly he had not eyes nor ears, if Ilio had felt this way and he never noticed. If he suspected nothing until the moment his master was snatched up to be taken to the White Tower. He should bide his friend’s wisdom. And perhaps he could do some good. At the least he would save his master’s favorite texts, the ones he had copied to preserve them.
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He rushed to Aristide’s study, an odd room jutting over the kitchen gardens. He turned a corner at the end of the narrow spiral stair and hit the chest of a Warden in full plate, iridescent white tabard over all. A hand clanked onto him, clawed armor piercing his shoulder. “You’re the apprentice.”
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Rufinus’s arm jerked like a marionette’s, adrenalin puppeting him. He didn’t realize his own intent, and the Warden certainly didn’t. He grabbed the man by the slit in his visor and hauled with all his weight, tossing the man head first down the small stair in a clatter of armor. As another came into the doorway to see what had happened, Rufinus slipped past him. He was thin enough. The books were already half-stuffed into a white satchel with Innocent’s crest on it, probably taken as evidence or some rot. The window to the garden was open. Rufinus grabbed the satchel and was out the window in a motion. The fall was farther than he’d thought, a moment in the air to wonder at himself. He’d just attacked a warden. And the ground!
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It hit him like a mace, and everything went white.
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The first sense to return was scent. The air smelled like shit. He turned over and vomited, and the third sense to return (taste was of course the second) was sound, the wet slosh of bile onto wooden slats, and an annoyed voice. “I think your friend wakes. You clean him. It is not included in the favor.” Then came feeling. His chest was full of poniards, sure as if he was in the widow’s embrace. He choked on his breath.
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A hand rolled him over, and finally sight came, Ilio’s luminous white silhouette, framed in black curls. “Easy. You broke most of your ribs. Breathe shallow, don’t gasp.”
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He calmed seeing his friend, and he realized they were on a narrow barge, sliding along the Luna, which explained the stench. He would rather not have breathed at all, but he found his breath, and he wiped his face on his sleeve. “How am I here?”
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“I saw you fly into the radish furrows like Saint Ida casting herself into the Rift, and I ran out and caught you up.”
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Rufinus looked to one side.
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“The books too,” Ilio said. For the first time he sounded gentle. The satchel was there under the seat. “Whatever are you going to do without me?”
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“I’m going to go to the Don of Tyrol and beg him to help my master.”
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“The fall must have knocked sense into you; that’s the first you’ve spoken any.”
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It was true that Rufinus wasn’t sure when the idea had come, before he hit the ground or just now. The Don of Tyrol was a known heathen, a hedonist, antithetical to the church and a favorite sermon topic of Innocent’s. He was also rumored to be a friend of Aristide’s, a rumor so preposterous that upon hearing it, three years ago, Rufinus had demanded the truth of his master.
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. “Yes, we are friends,” Aristides had said. “He is a man of learning.” And waving a placating hand at his stricken apprentice, “And yes, of many faults. At least he does not pretend otherwise. If such a man invites me to speak of Our Lady’s teachings to him, why should I deny him? I pray that someday his heart will follow his mind into truth.” Few Greyfriars felt the same. They said it was mockery when Tyrol gave a blanket invitation that all Greyfriars (and their sect alone) would be welcome as honored guests in his lands. No one had gone to take him up on it, even though they must live as guests on people’s good graces wherever they went. For men and women sworn to poverty and celibacy, Tyrol would not be a comfortable haven. Still, Rufinus thought the decree to be not mockery but a show of regard for his master. Maybe even a dare of sorts. He would take the Don up on this, and pray that he had power of some kind to set Aristide free. If indeed he could reach the Don in time to do anything. He must try.
.
.
“Tyrol is the only place you can go that Innocent cannot follow. I’ve asked Nemo to take you there.”
.
.
Rufinous looked to the man poling the barge. He was slight, dressed in deep indigo hose and a black tunic, with a short velvet cowl, hood pulled over his face. His hands were gloved, and his tall boots had padding at the knees. He looked like an assassin.
.
.
“Nemo is ‘no one.’”
.
.
“Rude,” Nemo said. Rufinus felt a cold shock at his own boldness. This wasn’t the abbey, where he could speak thoughts to himself as they came to his mind. One shouldn’t be clever with assassins. Nemo’s voice was a rich alto. Maybe he was castrati. Well, don’t say that aloud, at least.
.
.
“I’m sorry.”
.
.
“If it has to do with language, you’ll have to forgive him,” Ilio said. “I told you how he is.”
.
.
“Indeed, you speak of little else in the grey hours of morning.”
.
.
Rufinus flushed to match his hair, and he wasn’t sure if it was to be in the presence of some lover of Ilio’s (he liked castrati?) or that Ilio would speak of him.
.
.
“You feign jealousy," Ilio said with forced levity.
.
.
“You are right enough. I see by his face you have never had him.”
.
.
It seemed cruel, if Ilio really felt for him—he remembered how angry the kiss had been—for Nemo to lay it bare. Rufinus drew himself up. “No, I have lain with no one. I am a Greyfriar. But were I not so vowed, I would not spurn such a friend.” It was easier to boast because he was so vowed, and because Ilio had never asked. He didn’t know how he felt for Ilio. The kiss made it confusing. He had never desired him in all their friendship, though now he felt some heat and ache, and he feared to part from him. But feelings were bad weathervanes, best ignored. He would not see Ilio abused.
.
.
“Perhaps I should be jealous,” Nemo said. “That you earn a confession of a Greyfriar.”
.
.
Ilio had no retort, and Rufinus hoped his attempt at kindness had not been a cruelty of its own. They went on in silence, awkward between the two of them, though Nemo seemed at ease, drifting on the sludge of the Luna under a dusk sky. A peal of hymns drifted over the city like invisible banners, the carillon of the White Tower, triumphant.

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Pre-Japan Armagh live RP

Plot Notes:

- learned cadfael was raised and from inverness, and became head of worthing keep abbey on death of the previous abbot and their requesting a more senior person of the Inverness abbey

- Learned from Cadfael that Cymyr is of some fame and always spoken of as Cymyr and her daughters – there are at least three sisters, possibilities of other half siblings. That Mab is his Uncle.

- told owain he’s not a virgin, its a secret. The person is noble and not pretty.

Arranged the three days with the knights, and stood between Ardrain and Maddox in ardrain’s fighting maddox

learned of maddox – his father has vanished from the fishing village on the coast. He was a man of unique and strange and evil magic. Fascinated with elves. The father had washed up on the sea. He was the death of Maddox’s mother. Both his eyes were the strange eyes.

they came to cufola after two days ride, seeing the fine, old style wooden architecture. at the edges, found fine horses thtat Glaedrigh could not resist approaching, and so met Brock. Brock invited them to dinner, and then to eat.
-learned from brock that Maeglin has teh gay, and was warned that he might not want to go to Blackpoole.
-learned the brock stole kirsti and his now old arabian horsie
-learned that the war of blackpoole/runfeld was mostly decided by one man, a strange ….maybe mercenary that was victim of the God’s Rage.
-learned that that man (innis) was being kept after the war against his wishes, and has escaped again and is pursued by Maeglin’s men.
-likes Brock’s horse figurine carvings
-learned there is no serpent banner in runfeld,blackpoole,cu fola worth mention of ogram’s
-learned Mab is neither beautiful nor terrible like Cymyr
-agreed to come back and build mab a wall of stone when abbey business done
-learned that he had a brother, Laerwyn, and that this person is dead
-had a service with Brock and Kirsti
-was given a small bag of peppers by brock as a gift and joke of his inability to handle hot food on his diet of oatmeal and apples
-met Herger, was warned off Blackpoole and associating with Runfeld to Cu Fola.
-advised to take extra supply and be wary of brigands, bought hard tack and jerky from the inn
-Maddox bought him a new bastard sword to use since his is ruined but for the hilt
They’ve set off for Runfeld, supposedly a day away at quick pacing

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Corbaeren, the betrayer

One came who promised him a throne. Curse him…curse his name if only I knew it.

The snows got so deep even birds couldn’t fly, and Laerwyn was happy anyway, there with the hound. But just as the snows began to melt and he thought of leaving, he came…He. He came in elvish guise, like my daughters first husband, and he called himself by his name, Lathuren. But he was no elf. He offered my other a throne, said that hell followed hard after him, craning to catch him, but if the throne was filled it would let him go. No king wants to leave his kingdom, but my other is mad with want always.

He said he could not go while he was chained, and the one who was not Lathuren said only to wait. And then…even the next day, Laerwyn’s love…Innis. Innis and Drustan, those were the names he cried. Innis came, and Drustan was sore jealous at first. But even chained to my other Laerwyn followed my path, and Innis had no jealousy in him, and by that eve they shared a bed. Oh if you could have seen them. The hound mounting both by turns…
She came on them in their sleep. My daughter. Freed from her tower and knife put into her hand, and she went for Drustan like a harpy…she has long hated him, every bit as much as love. He was mortal wounded, and Laerwyn’s heart was breaking. The chains near untethered. And he fled, my other. He strained with all might to go to the one who was not Lathuren and claim his throne.

Mist…mist crowded round the tower, wrapped my others arms and legs. But Laerwyn would not free him. Not even though Drustan lay bleeding with Innis trying to staunch the wound and my daughter had run out into the snow. Innis saw, saw the chain, saw the mist, saw the heart tear from Laerwyn’s chest, saw my other and knew him to blame."

He went wild. If he had caught my other then, he would have torn him to pieces with his hands and teeth…that is the last I saw. For my other was gone from his reach, and in a place that is not his home.

“Now I see only a great city, and the faces of those he goes to in the night.”

Laerwyn, he is not free. He is yet chained, tormenting my other even as he would satisfy himself, keeping him from the worst of his actions."

“If you killed me, you might free him.” “If you cannot, surely your companion could.”

He keeps it in a satchel at his hip, the chain into it.

Innis wanders lost, craving revenge.

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Paladins and Brassieres

Every morning, while the sun was still cool and the light still the long half light of the Cruach hiding the sun, a pair of sisters from the Hrongar Stead made their way to the lake’s edge. They carried a basket, filled it with greens dripping from the waters, then returned as the shafts of gold were cresting the rock faces to signal mid-morn. He watched it all the early summer, his own business being the cleaning and refilling of the herd’s cisterns in the four meadows. He leaned on the old stone wall between Westfield and the lake, watching this morning’s cadence from spot to spot. Herb lore was an art of women and wizards, it was said. Ser Baynton usually gathered him for other tasks when the young girls went with Gram Gersron to learn poultices. But herblore meant foraging.

His stomach gurgled loudly.

Horses foraged grass and other things all day to supplement their hay and oats in the evening. Why didn’t any of them? He liked the porridge, nothing flavoured a bowl like hunger, and he took his time with every apple given him- even shared a few bites with Hersa when the great Stallion joined the table.

The decision to vault the wall was one of a moment- a flash of white calves freckled with pale rust and silver and he was making long-shank strides down to the water’s edge to great the sisters. They heard his calling, and returned his wave, so they didn’t mind company. They were wearing colourful yellow blouses, worn but well tended leather brassieres and their kilts were drawn over their shoulders and heads like scarves to keep the wind off their braids. Even their ghillies looked well kept and well used at once. His own shapeless, uniformly indiscernible brown robe and rope- used likely by no less than five other 11-year-olds who’d grown up in the abbey- was well cared for, but bore the marks of restitched holes more than most warriors. It was too large for him, meant to serve for an older sister or brother he thought, so it draped more than robed.

“You come from the Abbey, dress’d all like tha’ “ They both giggled, but had that sort of sad look he’d seen often enough when people found lost, orphaned creatures and were deciding whether or not they had the pity to take the creature in.

“I do. I’ve seen you come many days hence to the edge and gather your basket full.”

“They don’ give you a brassier there? Never find a man withou’ plaitin’ your hair, neither. Just a mare come from the fields wild as the bruthers.”

“Find a man?” He couldn’t puzzle why he should care about that. His hair wasn’t braided though, and the length of it bannered at a run, but looked tattered from too many days of horse spit and tangles down to his knees. “Well…I wanted to ask..what you gathered?…Rushed for threshing or …food? My jobs always deal with the horses or tending the Paladin’s gear, so I never get to go with Gram Gersron.”

“You don know what to garden or gather?” the more freckled one looked aghast. “They don want you leavin the Abbey is sure. Pretty one, Abbot wants not to wife out. If you knew what was proper, might even get a guardsmen, or one of the Sers.” They’d both stood to brush off and take slow circle around him. It was much like introducing new horses to the field – let the mares inspect first.

“I…thank you? I…like to think I’m not ugly.”

But they seemed to return to ease, deciding they wanted to take this kitten in. Each grasped one of his hands and pulled him down to the bank with them.

“It’s th’ reedmace we’re gatherin. No’on but the Righ owns the lake, an he don’ ever come to use it or want it. So it’s free for those who want to spend the time. Our farm’s all cabbages an barley, ‘cepting the small corner near the birds, so its good to learn to go out and find the variety you be wanting for on the table. “

“The reedmace? With the long brown ends that look like sword handles?”

“Oh aye, the straight flatways stem underwater are good as taters, or you can grind ‘em in your pestle to make a goodly flour. The bases of the leaves can be eaten cooked or raw if ye ‘ave a mind. “ She rummaged their basket for one of the cleaned, more delicate looking spears and offered it to bite. “It taste green, but no worse for tha’. “

He obliged, leaning over and biting the pale, still wet end. It certainly wasn’t any worse than the clover he’d eaten with the horses. Green was a good word for it, but it didn’t have any bitterness, nor linger on the tongue of anything unwholesome. “Can the handles be eaten?”

“Early summer ye kin remove the sheath from the green spike an boiled its nice with fresh salt and butter.”

“Will you teach me? I mean..” It was blurted out, excitement pushed out on a breath like he’d taken one of Maddox’s shots to the gut. “More than today…I can’t pay you. I don’t have money…or anything really. Just these robes and another pair the same. The rest is the churches, really, an this too if I die. The trade work, like ropes that the abbey sells all goes to the coffer, and that’s all in Cadfael’s keeping. But…I want to learn. “

The two conspired in a few short whispers, and the one with the larger, doe-like eyes and shortish nose smiled, “If you’ll be a friend and kin sing and dance with us sometimes, and we kin dress you up a doll proper, then we’ll glad to teach you how to gather reedmace or asparagus or chickweed or whatever you like. Jus’ wave when you’re comin down an we kin meet here to start. Da won’t mind you, he likes the abbey girls exceptin that they let you be wild. He’ll like us given back a little for all the crop blessings.”

The freckled sister laughed, coming behind and cupping his waist through all the robes, “An art you a little one! Might have an old brassiere from three year back to fit you up proper.”

“A brassiere? I’ll…wear whatever you want if we can be friends and you’ll teach me. “ his stomach growled again, punctuating the point and making them look pitying again.

“Issa true then? You don get not but apples an oats?”

“Well, we get ale and wheat sometimes. What’s good for the horses is good for the menkind, the cannon says. Anything else is just at festival or when someone donates. “ He wondered idly, not for the first time, how much was tithed for the abbey to take him, if anything. Had flesh been enough payment? It usually wasn’t so, if his reading studies and heraldry with Cadfael spoke true of how much great houses paid in tithe or bribe for the care of bastards, simple or insane family members by holy places or lesser towers owing fealty. Did the Warden’s house still tithe an extra pittance? Or did the Warden pay the Captain more, for troubling to teach him? In the few times Cadfael and Baynton talked to Maddox in his hearing, he never heard mention of fees changing hands. Maddox certainly didn’t seem the sort to keep stock with any gods and his own fate. Not pious, except to legitimate reason and sense. “I’m always hungry, though. The clover helps.”

“Like a sad horse innit you.” He was hugged from behind, heartfelt arms around his shoulders and the other came over to pet his hair and cheeks. “Eatin clover off the ground next to the whole herd, no doubt”

“Well…it’s safer near them then off further in the field.”
“Innit tho! Da dosn want either us alone in the fields, less Kyffirs come an ….be unspeakable. The stallions must protect you, anyway. How old are you?”

“Eleven. “
“Not even proper marrying age yet, at least, plenty of time to pretty you up. Soft as silk you are! Your hair, anyway. Hands are rough, but tha’s what a man needs. Sile’s thirteen and I’m fourteen. Even got some suitors maybe for the harvest dances. I kin teach you right before then though, an even if I’m married come winter I’ll still be vistin and we kin have a cuppa chicory an catch up. I want to warn Sile anyway what she can expect once I know the secret.”

The last was conspiratorial to both he and her sister. He was now part of the group, and remained so until before dinner when they finally tore themselves all away from a fast and new friendship, each with a basketful of foraged goods, though him without a basket and carrying it in a lifted bowl of robe like an apron and showing his calves. He’d saved all he gathered to be shared with everyone, however hungry he was, it would be shameful not to help the whole herd. Uma might laugh that he hadn’t thought about baskets. And there was practice late that night with Maddox, after his guards finished their duties and mess and changed posts with others fresh for the night.

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Post Japan Slav Live and online rp
The Miracle to Run

Met ranger of Hexewald named Lutger/Rutger?? – told him about army, immensee, crimson castle. Learned Vasiliy, ranger of Kluj, is alive and in the keeping of the druids of hexewald. Apparently he went into the mist somehow and was torn nearly apart by it, now near hysteric afraid of the mist. Vasiliy does speak Hexewald.

Had altercation in the fief of Ritter (between the Towers of Lord Frey and Immensee) – spoke with the very reasonable nobleman but then was confronted by the Lord of Ritter half an hour later as scapegoat for the ‘crimes’ of rangers. Implored horse to rear, horse decided to be done with Lord Ritter and dumped him, then came along to join the herd and go south.
Bartered crossing of the Lord -— with the two silver fish sigil. Promised free passage any time if he could broker a promise that the airship plans would never be sold to any of albion.

Met up with some strange, non-shirted men with torcs at a giant wall, followed the yarrow stones to where aneirin had parked the caravans. Aneirin had told everyone of Konstantine’s run into the army outside Minsk, the fight with BlackHair (Jakob) and mortal wounding, and the pursuit by General and Rose Knight into the Mist. The whole camp had been certain that Konstantine was dead.

Sevastyn fainted dead out. Told Lord Pyotr everything so that the council coudl make decisions. Laurente left angry and jealous of Roman and Voelkher. Yevi left angry and bitter the same. Pyotr left angry about lunastus. Lunastus given his own tents away from everyone else.

Spent day with passed out sevastyn and Francois. Learned about damage to organs and spine, presented choice – go on with wounds as they were and suffer a certain deterioration over time or undergo surgery that had a ‘good chance’ of paralyzing him but would fix him if it went well.

Aneirin came, talked about Tzar and Ard Righ, learned that 2 rangers had been called using druid help to have ranger test/rite. The Council is decided that Pyotr, Sevastyn, Laurente and Kira are all going with aneirin to Tara to talk to the Druids and touch the Liath Fail. The Druids apparently believe there is a chance the ard righ is among the vlahiskoi as they are from ‘across the sea’ (river). They are curious of Konstantine’s intentions – whether he will come too, stay and guard the caravan, go in search of baba yaga, or otherwise. He feels strangely outsider, the council of all groups that is making decisions, leaving his own fate to him.

Underwent surgery. 12 hours, dreamt and met Luka and Koit and spoke with them. Spoke with the strange oak woman. She said to speak to the sea pines and the broom trees and the northeast wind to find news of baba yaga. Koit said that baba yaga had indeed been beyond the mists.

woke paralyzed. Frost pissed off as all hell at Eric and Francois and they are told to go. Get strange cuddles from frost. Get hoisted to the door after being still the 8 hours after surgery to let it settle. Sevastyn comes up in a quiet way, brings kira to heal him. Kira GETS Konstantine, and heals his legs, but the flailing means everything hurts and he has to stay still another 8 hours.

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He Spoke to the NorthEast Wind

Konstantine climbed the easily rock walls and wet thatch of the roof, so much less slippery and treacherous than shale. He ended up ground level with the hills, the little town all down in the valley. It felt like he was on top of a wave in a lake. The sky was so grey with fast, tatty clouds. He rarely got to see all the clouds- all the shapes they make. The huge pattern of it. They seemed wondrous and menacing, far more than the spitting rain.

His eyes felt like moons. There was just as much sky as wet mother. ::: Surely that is a sea just like the water….with its own castles and cities…::::

It was so easy to imagine the Hunt. Great horses and hounds and cats, wings and manes. He was in the wind up there, able to hear all its odd moaning and whistling. There were a few faces in the un-glassed windows of the town around the inn, freckled and wondering people staring as if he were naked and mad out there on the roof in the rain.

He listened hard to the winds, looking wide at the clouds. Just as wild, but not just as naked, nor as mad he hoped, as they thought. The wind was coming from the north east. He could see the Wall, which made direction easy even if the sky and land gave no other indication. It just marched on and on, the Wall, from east to west. The wind buffeted him, making it a fight to stand. Trying to knock him off the roof and smattering him with freezing rain.

“North East whistle, howl and blow,
“Cherry red is maiden’s nose,
All cold are the melting snows,
Can you tell me where She Goes?
The North East wind that’s blowing..

Logs on fire women throw,
For, as every old wife knowst,
We will have a fall of snow,
When the NorthEast wind be blowing,
blowing. When Pestle creaks o’er stables…

Freedom from the silver wheels,
changed mountain clouds for castles
blowing ‘way, song’s lure strong,
where jewels in eyes don’t belong,
but must follow on her heels…
Tell me North East wind blowing…
Where Does Baba Yaga stay, or where is she now going?"

He could hear it… hear a lament in the wind, it wasn’t just that it sounded like moaning and sighing, it really was. The sound and strength picked up, being sung to, howling around him, pelting the inn windows with ice and rain and stinging his cheeks,
“From nowhere to the south
Houseless fleeing
The ice spires our fathers
Fallen, fallen
The green bough sea
Where built our singing
We come from nowhere
Southward flying
Carrying broken wings
Floating sails
Cast down dragons
We asked the caves
Deep holes for howling
We asked the waves and roiling waters
Where does her pestle stir
What of winds without her?”
“mother….”

This wind spoke Vlahiskoi, maybe the only one that did. He could taste salt as if the rain were tears. :::: do they not know then? Its sounds kinda like that. The wind doesn’t know and is searching too.::::
::: Maybe she’s off beyond the mist right now.:::

::: and it’s got the winds and the riders all confused.:::
::: We’re all houseless.:::

There was nothing left but to call out his thanks, express solidarity in it and gladness of the trouble it had gone to and talking to him. He climbed down again, dejected, not feel even a little bit warm. His silver bones were chilled.
“I don’t think it knows either. I think it’s being a gypsy like us right now. Looking and not finding her. I wonder if the riders are out. On their strange bright horses in their strange bright armor.”

“You seriously spoke to it?” Orel looked something…he wasn’t sure if it was incredulous, annoyed or fed up. Maybe all or none.

“Yeah? You couldn’t hear down here?”

“”/campaigns/konstantine/characters/ffion" class=“wiki-content-link”>They can’t tell you you aren’t a ranger," She said it like a proclamation. “No I couldn’t even hear you. Just rain.”

“I think it’s sad. The rain tastes like tears.”

She licked her nose. “It does doesn’t it. Salt rain…”

" I wonder if Aneirin is talking to it at all? Or listening." There was a pause between them as he considered. “I’m going to go see if I can find him back at his….stones or the camp. Ask him. It doesn’t seem like waiting around here is any good. They seem like they’re going to take all the whole night and maybe even morning making up their minds.”

He was off like a shot, as the crow flew through the camp of all that remained of vlahiskoi to the stones, and he was there- a dark silhouette on the crest of the nearest approximation of a hill topped with strange standing stones…surely if couldn’t be anyone else. He guessed right, slowing to a trot before halting next to the strange druid. Aneirin was staring up into the storm like he’d been before. “Can you hear it?”

“Yes.” It was proclaimed with amaze. “Can you?”

“I think it’s sad. It’s lamenting. It’s as homeless as we are, I think.” He paused as they both listened a while. “Can you talk to the wind?”

“I can.”

“I asked if it knew where Baba Yaga was. It spoke to me. Can druids call them?”

“We have to know their names, and do a rite.”

There was no use in that then. He doubted it was information that was given away simply, or to just a ranger apprentice. And he had no training in rites of any sort involving …druid…magics? Were they called magic? It meant there was no assurance that he would find the wind again. No certainty it would be alive, maybe…in days to come.

“We will have to find or make a home for it,” Aneirin sounded maybe uncertain, and he was looking at him.

::: Well…that seems a lot beyond a ranger, more like druid work::: Konstantine looked up to the sky as well, instead of at Aneirin’s profile. ::: maybe he’s talking to himself anyway:::

There were snippets of moon, silver and black behind all the whirls of grey. Konstantine moved on again, for the nearest high hill. Aneirin came along, seeming to be listening still and for once not talking.
Konstantine called up to the wind again once he found the peak,
“White, Red, Black and Green,
finest cloaks and banners seen,
As She’s not at Hearth or Home,
O’er the lands linnorn they roam.

Watching East and Guarding West,
Mourning North to South must Rest,
Vassals keen with swords so bright,
Where is South, the Mother’s Green -
Where look I to find him best?"

Anerein looked impressed. ::I know their names, but its better this way. Better to beg rather than summon::
::things don’t like to be summoned by their names::

There was a faint pause in the wind, a sudden quiet where the ice on the grass was tinking.

::: I can hear my breath, like its ragged in my throat. What has made me so desperate? Just the inaction of the afternoon? Of spending a day in testing…knowing that Wiesbaden is sieged like Minsk while we wait and wonder if we can be called a title, like waiting at Aleksey‘s feet wondering if he’s going to have Sasha kill me.::::

A sudden skirl of snow and howling, and they heard sleigh bells and hounds and thundering hooves. Aneirin’s eyes were wide as saucers, just black pupils and he muttered things to himself and made signs with his hands. His own had dilated to black disks as round as the new moon.

Aneirin wasn’t making any sound. ::stone protect me::

Konstantine’s breath felt fast as horses’ hooves. :::: Mama never wanted any of us to be going out into the woods looking for the knights.::::

He could see it- the clouds full of riders. They were pale skinned and black swirl painted like wode, some riding stags, some riding unicorns, some just running, some fawn footed, some have antlers. Unlike the sad wind, there was happy, terrible music of pipes and drums. Konstantine pulled his hair out of his rain slicked face.

Aneirin “the northwest comes to answer you”
“If we die, I just want to tell you, I’ve always wanted to see the Wylde Hunt”

::: Wylde Hunt? Is Illarion here?::: The cavalcade passed close, low as tatty clouds touching hills. He could see shadow spotted cats. If he ran with them…. he could just go. He could feel it. Konstantine gave an ick in his throat- longing :::: I’m supposed to be there.:::

It earned a look and an ick back, open-mouthed and teeth so huge. Aneirin had gone all very still.

“I’m supposed to be there. There. With them. Those are my brothers and sisters.” Konstantine’s voice came as no more than a whisper.

Aneirin offered no reply. ::what a thing to know and feel those that go do join it, can’t stop::

:::: I’m not allowed to join yet, though. He healed me again. He healed my legs. ::::

The Hunt passed so close for a swing that they saw the very swirls on their flesh and leather, painted on horse, on hind, on cat. It was so like the hunt of Vlahiskoi that he had felt but had not seen behind him. Even though it was all different, he knew it was the same.

It was gone as quickly. There was a path of snow where they’d gone. Way off though on that path he could see a white rider, not running with them anymore. The rider was cantering a stately pace toward them, wearing plate armor from crest to toes.

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