The passing of the last Warden

IesidIesid Member Posts: 146 ✭✭✭
edited April 5 in Roleplay Logs
Hey, folks! I did not want anyone to miss out on the Warden event exactly as I had experienced it; to that end, I am giving all of you an unmitigated look inside the one or two day span of the final Warden's moments and the Sentinel Pride's hunt to inherit their ways. There is a lot in here and I felt the full gravity of this event is only properly digested with everything on the table. It took me a day or so to digest all of it and then ask the opinions of other players that I respect deeply with regards to what I should or should not include. In the end, the prevailing opinion was to post it as I have here - so that everyone can understand the impact of the wisdom passed to the guild from a storytelling perspective.

I hope that all of you enjoy it.


A somber glade.
The stars glimmer down, broken only upon occasion by thin wisps of clouds. Verdant grass creates the
rough circular shape of this glade. Similar to the track before it, this somber clearing has a
border of oaks that reach for the sky and rustle with any passing breeze. Strikingly diverse is the
lone tree that stands proudly in the center of a ring of cairn stones. The white of the birch tree
is a contradistinct color compared to its surrounds and the blood-red leaves it bears demand
attention. The claret foliage litters the ground in abundance around the sole grave the birch tree
marks. Mumbling inaudibly to himself, an elderly satyr tends to the glade here. An assortment of
large round cairn stones encircle a lone tree in the middle of the glade. An assortment of well-
maintained spears, tridents, dhurives and other traditional weapons of the Sentinel have been
planted around the glade.
You see a single exit leading south.

You have emoted: "You were no help," Iesid grunts out as he stands up from his place by the cairn
and wanders off towards the nearby shrine.

"You must have quite a bit on your mind," comes an ancestor warrior spirit murmur from behind you.

A peaceful trail.
The stars glimmer down, broken only upon occasion by thin wisps of clouds.
You see exits leading north and south.

You think:
"... or maybe not..."

A somber glade.
The stars glimmer down, broken only upon occasion by thin wisps of clouds. Mumbling inaudibly to
himself, an elderly satyr tends to the glade here. An assortment of large round cairn stones
encircle a lone tree in the middle of the glade. Ethereal feathers in its long black mane, a
shimmering ancestral spirit stands firmly here. An assortment of well-maintained spears, tridents,
dhurives and other traditional weapons of the Sentinel have been planted around the glade.
You see a single exit leading south.

An ancestor warrior spirit folds its arms, shimmering beneath the stars in translucent stillness.

You have emoted: Iesid pokes his head back into the glade with no small amount of trepidation, his
violet eyes circling about the glade before coming to settle upon an ancestor warrior spirit. "...
definitely spoke too soon," he mumbles. "Plenty on my mind, yes!" he admits as he finally comes back
into view in the glade.


Though the light pierces every aspect of its person, the visage of this warrior spirit is
nonetheless an imposing sight. Feathers of the brightest colours complement the red and white bands
that tie back hair into a tight mane, and several animal tattoos have been etched on the skin of its
face and neck. Finger-and-toe bones have been sewn together into a necklace worn loose about its
neck and hanging down over a chest similarly covered in tattoos.
An ancestor warrior spirit looks weak and feeble.

Cenuth, an ancient satyr seems to remain entirely unaware of the ancestor's presence, moving with
slow, decrepit movements around the glade as he continues his eternal duty of cleaning each weapon.

"Aha. The raven returns," an ancestor warrior spirit murmurs, a rasping laugh echoing from its
throat. "I don't think I'm precisely the man you're looking for, of course..." Its nod casts aside
to the grave, and something like a smile shows on its brilliant face. "...but I can do my best."

You have emoted: "I hadn't thought a--" Iesid begins, before cutting himself off. The Azudim's
inspection of an ancestor warrior spirit is obvious, his head craning this way and that to get a
good look at the tattoos and feathers that complement their imposing form. "Anyone's advice would be
helpful," he starts. "I came here to think about the actions of someone that once followed the
Sentinel way. Despite his severance of oath, I think he still walks a bit of our pat--".

You ask, "Y'know, ah... it feels strange to lay this on someone I don't even know the name of. My
name is Iesid Mulariad. You are not he, but your name is important - what may I call you?"

An ancestor warrior spirit stares back at you with its own assessing gaze, letting its arms drop as
it circles him. "There is no name that is mine," the spirit answers you, "For I have become more
than a name can say. You may call me Eifen, if it is your wish." Its introduction made, it continues
on in its distant, echoic tone: "Tell me more of the one who follows but does not follow."

You have emoted: "My thanks, ancestor. He is meant to lead us - all of us. Not just the Pride; no,
he must also walk the sacred footsteps of the Praadi and lead them as well - and even the learned
monks of our monastery must be part of his life and part of those that would trust him," Iesid
elaborates, his voice quivering for a moment as he describes the daunting weight of such a thing.
The Seer's eyes narrow a little as he carries on, his tone quiet: "I expect that of him and he has
failed me in it, for he aligned with that which defies the Cycle in a search for notoriety. When I
expect him to follow and be exemplar of all of these days, it means I also believe in the justice we
all must submit him to. I wonder what the Pride should do with him."

An ancestor warrior spirit receives this news absent its prior stillness, soon beginning to pace,
though its attention never once leaves you. Its eyes are bright, its lips smoothed to a still line.
"The Cycle must turn," it acknowledges at last, with a simple nod. It looks aside to Cenuth,
gesturing to point your attention toward the satyr. "I was sent to see to him," the ancestor
explains, a sad smile showing at these words. "He's not long for this plane of existence, you see...
but I did not expect to hear of such a situation in the Ithmia. It reminds me of older days."

Softly, an ancestor warrior spirit says, "Fixing this sort of discontent is never simple."

You think:
"Older days? How old is this ancestor Eifen?" the Seer wonders. The name rings out, keenly
remembers; turned over like a coin he is growing familiar with the edges and face of.

You have emoted: Iesid's inspection continues; even as he speaks, the feline violets impressed into
his skull follow the spirit's form throughout the pacing. The mention of Cenuth pulls him from
whatever he had been wondering and he tilts his head in a canine expression of curiosity. "How did
you do it? Complicated or no, it must be done," the Azudim insists.

Still unaware of the ancestor and your conversation with him, Cenuth, an ancient satyr's movements
seem more labored than before. He pauses before one of the oaks, leaning against it with heavy
breathing.

You think:
"The poor old satyr... he never bothered me any time I was here," the Azudim mourns to himself. "He
served a worthy duty, it seems."

"Ha..." an ancestor warrior spirit chuckles to itself, a dusty, primeval sound echoing from its
glowing lips. "That's a story," it tells you, even as its starry eyes flit aside to consider the
satyr's ailing form. "And by my reckoning, if it's a story worth telling now, it's a story worth
hearing by more pairs of ears than yours." It's silent a moment in consideration. "You ought to call
the rest of your tribe," it suggests.

(Sentinels): You say, "You two."

An ancestor warrior spirit says, "Before such a story's told, they ought to at least bear witness
the end of the last Warden."

You ask, "Last... Warden?"

(Sentinels): You say, "Please join me at Huwald's cairn for the final moments of the last Warden."

(Tells): Vivid colours fill your mind as you communicate to Rhine, "Love!"

(Duiran): Illidan says, "New post, councilors."

(Tells): Vivid colours fill your mind as you communicate to Sekeres, "Kid, c'mon. This is important.
There's a.. a..." Words fail the Seer for a moment. He sounds very much like a man proved utterly
and entirely wrong when he utters his next words: "An ancestor here."

(Sentinels): Sekeres says, "I was in the trees, anyways."

"Aye." A sly smile coils over an ancestor warrior spirit's face as it nods to the grave. "Who do you
think taught him what he knew?"

You have emoted: "I thought he was self-taught," Iesid mumbles sheepishly as he casts his gaze back
over to the cairn. A newfound appreciation fills his voice when that look soon flits towards Cenuth,
an ancient satyr. "I see."

Sekeres arrives in with a swift, fluid gait as the charms across her only give away her position
once she has entered the sacred ground of this glade. Her harsh, tanned face radiates curiosity in
the wings of her brows as she assesses the situation with a sinuous, curved dhurive of pale ash in
hand.

Sekeres just thought:
"An ancestor, and Cenuth speaks?" That is her first understanding of what she sees. There is
excitement there. Reverence.

"Self-taught?" Laughter booms from an ancestor warrior spirit at this remark from you. "No." The
ancestor's expression soon sobers, though it turns to Sekeres with a grail nod. "Hail, raven," it
greets her. "I have been sent for the last Warden - and for other purposes, too, I have learned."

Cenuth, an ancient satyr is leaning against one of the oaks for support, looking every single inch
of his age, and more, as he breathes heavily. He remains unaware of the ancestral spirit, but
acknowledges Sekeres' entrance with a pained nod.

You think:
"Raven?" he wonders. "He called me that as well. Coincidence?"

(Tells): Vivid colours fill your mind as you communicate to Rhine, "Love, Cenuth is passing away...
he's tended the cairn for ages."

You think:
"And I could never get him to say a damned thing," the Seer remarks. "To think he was some..."

Softly, you ask, "Were there many Wardens?"

Sekeres beats at her chest once to an ancestor warrior spirit, though her fist pauses in its
clenching. She scans turquoise eyes to Cenuth, an ancient satyr with naked concern, then her
peripheries to you.

Sekeres just thought:
Her racing thoughts calm, as does the rapid pounding of her heart. She listens.

"Before the Grand Artifice, their numbers were many," an ancestor warrior spirit murmurs aloud, "And
their efforts, divided between the tribes. That is something we will talk about later. Look, now..."
Its eyes are on Cenuth, an ancient satyr. "The end approaches."

Clutching a sudden hand to his heart, Cenuth, an ancient satyr's seizes up as his breath becomes
painfully labored, eyes widening. He slides down the tree that was supporting him, coming to a rest
at its base, body shuddering with wheezing gasps as it continues its struggle against the ending of
the Cycle. It is only then that he seems to become aware of the ancestral spirit standing with you
both.

You suddenly feel a tugging from an eternal chase pendant, as its paired item pulls towards it.

The vague image of a glass star orchid ring appears in the air, before Rhine appears in a flash of
magic.

"Hello, Cenuth," an ancestor warrior spirit voices in a crackling whisper, bowing low to the dying
satyr. "It's time."

Between pained wheezes, Cenuth, an ancient satyr says, "Am I... forgiven...?"

You have emoted: Iesid solemnly stands by even as Rhine arrives, his violet gaze stuck upon the
dying Cenuth. Sprawled out as the satyr is near a tree, it is clear his days are numbered.

Rhine appears next to you, the light shimmering from her gems muted as she cants her head slightly
while watching Cenuth, an ancient satyr.

"Aye, Warden," an ancestor warrior spirit replies as it slowly straightens, gazing at Cenuth, an
ancient satyr in solemn respect. "Your penance has been served. You may join your brethren in the
crypt."

You think:
"Crypt?"

Sekeres watches upon this final loop that completes the Cycle, her stare just as much as the elder
male sentinel which she flank. The grip on her dhurive does not lessen, as while she senses the
arrival of her she cannot look away from the spirit and Cenuth, an ancient satyr.

"I choose... to rest... with ravens..." Cenuth, an ancient satyr gasps out, smiling faintly for a
brief moment, the expression soon wiped away as his body suffers another shuddering wrack in its
death throes. With a final, sharp gasp, the last Warden's Hunt ends, body growing limp and eyes
glassy as they now stare lifeless upon the cairns.

You have emoted: Even in as low of a volume as he can manage, Iesid's words still manage to drift
towards those other Pridemates aligned next to him that also bear witness of the satyr's passing:
"May your rest be as you deserve."

Standing straight, an ancestor warrior spirit drives its fist to its chest. It glides forward to the
satyr's side and stoops, laying its shimmering hand against the dead creature's face and
respectfully closing his eyes.

Sekeres' eyes nearly flicker closed at the sight of that last breath of the satyr. Yet, she forces
them open as her dhurive is drawn upwards high into the sky of the glade as she salutes in silence.

Brow furrowed, Rhine bows her head respectfully as she tucks away her fishing rod - preferring to
wield a gem-inlaid dhurive bearing lumenite blades at this moment in time. "Rest," she murmurs
softly as an ancestor warrior spirit closes the satyr's eyes.

An ancestor warrior spirit says, "The Cycle turns, and the last Warden passes. I lack the strength
to bear his body - let us carry him to the cairns of your halls."

[The spirit follows Iesid - as do Rhine and Sekeres.]

Sekeres just thought:
"May it be in the peace of bountiful fields and woods, a threshold of the hunt, forever," Sekeres
whispers in blessing.

You have emoted: Iesid nods just once in acknowledge of the ancestor's words, his gaze sharp as he
inspects the body of the recently passed. His long legs carry him closer to the satyr's fallen form
and, soon, he stows away his dhurive and kneels down on the ground beside him. He hooks his arms
beneath the body and lifts, rising in one fluid motion.

You pick up the corpse of Cenuth, an ancient satyr.

[The party path finds to the Sentinels guildhall.]

You have emoted: The entire trip, Iesid asks nothing - he's focused on mechanical motions that take
him closer and closer to Ayani Seluno and the trapdoor, his Prideleader Rhine and Trailblazer
Sekeres in tow.

You move about quickly and lose Ranger Sekeres Dark-wing, Singer in Spears.

You begin to follow Sekeres.

You ask Sekeres, "My hands're full. Can you, uh...?"

Sekeres steps from the process, and with a bow of her head to Ayani Seluno she strikes her fist once
again.

Sekeres turns to face Ayani Seluno clenching her right fist and pounding her chest thrice in rapid
succession, symbolizing the vibrant heart that beats within.

Ayani Seluno turns to face Sekeres clenching her right fist and pounding her chest thrice in rapid
succession, symbolizing the vibrant heart that beats within.

A determined look upon her face, Ayani points her dhurive at the ground under Sekeres. Her eyes
radiate and glow with wild power briefly as the ground under Sekeres crumbles and breaks away.

[The party goes down the chute with Sekeres.]

You follow Sekeres to the ether.
A steep drop beneath a trapdoor.
A woodland lynx prowls here, eyes darting with scarcely contained ferocity.
You see exits leading up (open pine door) and down.

[The party shuffles back around to be led by Iesid - lots of musical chairs, here!]

You think:
"It's been so long since I've even been in here," the Seer admits to himself shamefully. He used to
sleep in the Prideleader's office, feet kicked up on the desk. A more disrespectful time.

Rhine and a shadowy figure follow you to the down.
Suspended platform in a cavernous hollow.
A carven bit of stone has been shaped and etched with runic symbols here, standing vigil over the
whole of the Heartwood.
You see exits leading north, west, up, and down.

Rhine and a shadowy figure follow you to the down.
At the end of winding steps.
Urgan, an orcish scout stands at the ready here. Ahzug, an orcish scout stands at the ready here.
You see exits leading southwest, west, northwest, up, and in (open pine door).

Rhine and a shadowy figure follow you to the in.
Amidst broken columns of obsidian.
Her watchful gaze unflinching, Atala, a Sentinel huntress stands here proudly.
You see exits leading north (open pine door) and out (open pine door).

Amidst broken columns of obsidian.
Shadowed by a great, rounded stone slab of swirling hues, this bare area is enclosed by a dozen
columns of jagged black obsidian. Each stands apart from the others, broken as if struck by a great
force, and together they form a circle. Spattered by blood, and bearing slashes throughout their
length, it seems they have witnessed a quarrel of some kind more than once. Four torches, signaling
perfectly the cardinal directions, illuminate the otherwise dim area. Her watchful gaze unflinching,
Atala, a Sentinel huntress stands here proudly. Ethereal feathers in its long black mane, a
shimmering ancestral spirit stands firmly here. Rhine Aquila Taziyah Mulariad is here. She wields a
gem-inlaid dhurive bearing lumenite blades in her hands. Ranger Sekeres Dark-wing, Singer in Spears
is here, concealed within the shadows. She wields a sinuous, curved dhurive of pale ash in her
hands.
You see exits leading north (open pine door) and out (open pine door).

You think:
"Think it's a little further in," the man considers.

Rhine and a shadowy figure follow you to the north.
At a pillar of impaled dhurives.
Huntleader Tomor sits upon the ground here, his gaze dark. Ranger Namatin eyes the pillar of impaled
dhurives here, a solemn expression upon his face. A large yellow spider has built its web here.
Huntleader Tomor is a tutor. View HELP LEARNING for more information about learning skills.
You see exits leading south (open pine door) and down.

Hidden hub beneath a graveyard.
Hidden beneath a tangle of wooden knots and vines, this small chamber is little more than a hub
between several vaults. The air is heavy with the smells of sap and wood. A gap between two thick
branches provide an exit to the cemetery above and the ground is covered with trampled splinters,
making it a soft landing place. Ethereal feathers in its long black mane, a shimmering ancestral
spirit stands firmly here. Rhine Aquila Taziyah Mulariad is here. She wields a gem-inlaid dhurive
bearing lumenite blades in her hands. Ranger Sekeres Dark-wing, Singer in Spears is here, concealed
within the shadows. She wields a sinuous, curved dhurive of pale ash in her hands.
You see exits leading north, northeast, southeast, south, southwest, northwest, up, and in (closed
pine door).

You glance towards the southeast.
A silent antichamber.
You see exits leading northeast and northwest.

You glance towards the southwest.
The Sentinel Aerary.
Busying himself tidying and dusting, a dapper housekeeper moves about here.
You see exits leading northeast and northwest.

You squint your eyes and look out toward the south.
An airy grotto of dendaric carvings.
You see exits leading north and south.
A hollow of scattered cairns.
Shattered fragments of stone are all that remains of a circle of cairn stones.
You see a single exit leading north.

Rhine and a shadowy figure follow you to the south.
An airy grotto of dendaric carvings.
You see exits leading north and south.

Rhine and a shadowy figure follow you to the south.
A hollow of scattered cairns.
Shattered fragments of stone are all that remains of a circle of cairn stones.
You see a single exit leading north.

(Duiran): Wylliam says, "...."

You have emoted: "Ah, I know it by heart," Iesid mumbles as he wanders into the southernmost hollow.

"This place has changed," an ancestor warrior spirit notes as it strides forward into the hollow.
Its eyes gleam with familiarity, glowing fingers rising to drift across the carvings. Soon, however,
it breaks off - moving forward toward the cairns. "There was an entryway here, once long ago, but
time has buried it."

Sekeres pads aside you, only halting as she just stays within reach of the central cairn and the
dangling lifeless limbs of the once-satyr. Her head cocks to once side, her irises alighting.
"Then," she rumbles. "We must make way again."

An ancestor warrior spirit gives a swift, celestial shake of its head. "No," it murmurs, gaze fixed
upon the shattered cairn stones. "Let the ancestors guide you. Their power is here, should you show
the proper respect to them." Pacing forward, its footsteps silent upon the ground, it bows low to
the broken cairns in demonstration.

You have emoted: When the ancestral spirit moves forward, so too does Iesid, the satyr's remains
clutches tightly in his arms. The Seer casts a wide-eyed stare around the recesses of the hollow at
the mention of an entryway, though his silence stretches through the exchange between Sekeres and
Eifan. He bows his head low in mimicry of the spirit, a deep breath taken and soon exhaled to steady
himself.

Remaining quiet, Rhine follows an ancestor warrior spirit and bows before the broken cairns.

(Duiran): Wylliam says, "THis isn't a mistake. I hunt Vortex, it's not that hard to figure out who's
side you are on."

(Duiran): Wylliam says, "Why are we so quiet about this?"

"I didn't believe for a long time," the Seer admits to himself. His thoughts turn towards recent
events; grim determination winnows through whatever remaining doubts he had about this aspect of the
Pride. He thinks on those before him and their sacrifices - not just of Huwald as he had a few days
ago, but ALL of the ancestors: his and others yet still that had given life, blood, sweat for what
they believed. "But I damn sure do now."

(Duiran): Illidan says, "Be cautious, Wylliam. I was told to be silent and not speak on the matter
and got disfavored for doing so."

(Duiran): Wylliam says, "Silent? In Duiran? We never are silent."

Sekeres dips her chin to an ancestor warrior spirit, her eyes already moving to encircle each of the
pieces of the cairns. Their splintered pieces. She lets them fill her vision, seeking through them
as she crouches there near her and you.

(Duiran): You say, "I am tending to the funerary rites of a satyr; then I will carry out the Pride's
justice with regards to our Voice. Can you kindly give some respectful silence of Cenuth?"

(Duiran): Wylliam says, "Man, I love you Stine, and think alot of you. But this..."

(Duiran): Wylliam says, "I think you should step down for a time, at least."

[HINT]: You can BOW CAIRN with the premote to be transported.

As you bow to the cairn stones, motes of Dendaric light pop into existence around you and carry you
away.
Rhine and Sekeres follow you to the ether.
A raven-carved archway.
You see exits leading north, northeast, northwest, and out.

"It is your crypt," an ancestor warrior spirit explains to you, Rhine, and Sekeres, with a sweeping
gesture of its arm. "You may lay him to rest where you wish, amongst the bones of his forebears."

Staring out into the rest of the crypt with even wider eyes now,, you ask, "He asked for ravens. Are
they... are they all ravens?"

A raven-carved archway.
A stone archway is the first thing noticed upon entry into this space. Locally-sourced, the stones
support a network of clever bracing around the entry of the crypts. The entry arch has been carved
to look like a raven in flight, its wings caught in an arched downswing, seeming to embrace those
who enter. Other ravens, much smaller, have been carved into the bracing. They perch and seem to
peer around their surroundings, and yet more are depicted in the various activities of life such as
hunting, scavenging, and fighting. One common thing to all the carvings is that they seem to watch
those within the space. Framed by the archway in the middle of the room is an altar-like slab.
Carvings on the slab depict ravens having a funeral of sorts as they gather around the figure of a
raven on its back, feet in the air. Wax remnants of votive candles and ritual masks surround the
slab, indicating a prior usage as a sending-off point for the deceased. Ethereal feathers in its
long black mane, a shimmering ancestral spirit stands firmly here. Rhine Aquila Taziyah Mulariad is
here. She wields a gem-inlaid dhurive bearing lumenite blades in her hands. Ranger Sekeres Dark-
wing, Singer in Spears is here. She wields a sinuous, curved dhurive of pale ash in her hands.
You see exits leading north, northeast, northwest, and out.

(Duiran): Wylliam says, "Sorry you can turn off the council chat if you like Iesid."

(Duiran): Wylliam says, "But no."

(Duiran): Illidan says, "The Pride's justice does not absolve him of needing to step down."

You think:
"As if I needed more proof that ousting him was the right choice," the Seer seethes. He bites his
tongue to fight an impulse to be louder about this newfound knowledge.

(Duiran): Illidan says, "It should be in addition to him stepping down."

(Duiran): Wylliam says, "No, it doesn't."

(Duiran): Illidan says, "I know because he's your personal friend you'd love to let him off with a
slap on the wrist as his wife did in the Templar."

(Duiran): Wylliam says, "In fact this isn't just a guild's problem."

(Duiran): Wylliam says, "But a council too."

(Duiran): Stine says, "It was not my idea to host a referendum but Speaker Valorie's as she did not
want any voice in the Council to go unheard."

(Duiran): Illidan says, "I however, am not of the same mentality."

(Duiran): Wylliam says, "Referendum?"

(Duiran): Wylliam says, "No."

"It is your crypt," an ancestor warrior spirit explains to you, Rhine, and Sekeres, with a sweeping
gesture of its arm. "You may lay him to rest where you wish, amongst the bones of his forebears."

(Duiran): Wylliam says, "If you have any love for Duiran, you will do the right thing and make
amends properly."

Staring out into the rest of the crypt with even wider eyes now,, you ask, "He asked for ravens. Are
they... are they all ravens?"

(Duiran): Stine says, "Do not bring my wife into this. The Templar business is nothing of the
Council."

(Duiran): Illidan says, "Your treachery is, traitor."

(Duiran): Illidan says, "So step down."

An ancestor warrior spirit says, "Aye, Iesid Mulariad. Your ancestors, laid to rest for thousands
upon thousands of years before your age."

(Duiran): Wylliam says, "Most of the council doesn't even know what happened Stine, until Illidan
posted. In fact, I would gather those that don't hunt Vortex, wouldn't had understood."

(Duiran): Illidan says, "The Forge Goddess saw you unfit to represent Her. What makes you think you
are still deserving to represent us?"

[There's lots of quiet wandering around the crypt - mostly to get a feel for the enormity of it.]

Fetish-adorned crypt.
Packed earth walls laced through with roots from the trees above form this crypt. Several alcoves
line the earthen walls, each holding the skeletal remains of a long-dead person. Some skeletons have
roots growing through them, and a couple have the beginnings of mushrooms sprouting. Dhurives and
spears are commonly found alongside the remains, with the occasional trident present. Hanging within
each alcove is a small fetish of raven bones and skulls, and larger fetishes hang from the bracing
above. Ravens in flight are carved into the stone bracing. Like elsehwere in the barrow, this crypt
is well-maintained, with fresh torches and clean floors evident. Ethereal feathers in its long black
mane, a shimmering ancestral spirit stands firmly here. Rhine Aquila Taziyah Mulariad is here. She
wields a gem-inlaid dhurive bearing lumenite blades in her hands. Ranger Sekeres Dark-wing, Singer
in Spears is here. She wields a sinuous, curved dhurive of pale ash in her hands.
You see exits leading north, southwest, west, and northwest.

Sekeres gasps, the sound echoing about softly as her whole spine looking to be made of a fine wooden
staff as her mouth falls quietly open. "I feel this, deep in my own bones," she confides to an
ancestor warrior spirit as they travel through the crypt.

Sekeres just thought:
"So many, and it feels like I have been here before..." She bites into the thought, "But how?"

A crypt of roots and stone.
This crypt has large stones amid the earthen walls, embraced by the roots from the trees above. The
stone bracing here is thicker and more obvious than elsewhere in the barrow and in some places is
surrounded by roots. The decedents here lie upon earth that is rockier than other places, though
care has been taken to ensure the stones would not cause harm. The floor here is also stonier than
the rest of the barrow. The occasional well-worn rock protrudes higher than the rest of the floor,
the steps of those who have walked here working to naturally smooth them down. Like elsewhere, those
who were inhumed here lie in ceremonial garb with memorial trinkets and their preferred dhurives,
spears, or tridents at their sides. Ethereal feathers in its long black mane, a shimmering ancestral
spirit stands firmly here. Rhine Aquila Taziyah Mulariad is here. She wields a gem-inlaid dhurive
bearing lumenite blades in her hands. Ranger Sekeres Dark-wing, Singer in Spears is here. She wields
a sinuous, curved dhurive of pale ash in her hands.
You see exits leading east, south, and west.

(Duiran): Wylliam says, "Especially our young."

(Duiran): Wylliam says, "But now they do."

Sekeres gasps, the sound echoing about softly as her whole spine looking to be made of a fine wooden
staff as her mouth falls quietly open. "I feel this, deep in my own bones," she confides to an
ancestor warrior spirit as they travel through the crypt.

(Duiran): Rhine says, "Yours is not the only voice that needs to be heard, Illidan. The entire
council shall vote."

Sekeres just thought:
"So many, and it feels like I have been here before..." She bites into the thought, "But how?"

(Duiran): Wylliam says, "Than make sure they know what they are voting on."

(Duiran): Wylliam says, "Because up till now, no one did."

(Duiran): Wylliam says, "You wanted to sweep this under the carpet so to speak."

You have emoted: "Here shall do. Like the roots and stone of the glade he tended," Iesid announces
as he comes to a stop here in the centermost section of the back halls of the crypt. "Nestled with
the ravens as he had asked."

(Duiran): Wylliam says, "This is seriously grave matter."

(Duiran): Illidan says, "If you think a Sacrament of Thorns will be enough to atone for what he did
while allowing him to remain as Voice, you're delusional."

Sekeres nods, stone-faced as she moves forward to assist in laying the body with you and her.

(Duiran): Illidan says, "And you should be embarrassed to call yourself a councilor."

(Duiran): Wylliam says, "And i respect Stine, but I do not respect this and he knew what he was
doing. Anyone hunts in Vortex does, and he has fought chaos before."

(Duiran): Wylliam says, "So saying I made a mistake."

(Duiran): Wylliam says, "Is simply, Not good enough."

You notice plenty of alcoves remain open and empty for future generations, any one would make a
suitable resting spot for the Satyr.

(Duiran): Illidan says, "It seems like all his personal friends seem the most reluctant to punish
him as he deserves."

(Duiran): Illidan says, "I would expect the same punishment upon myself if I were foolish enough to
do such a thing."

(Duiran): Stine says, "Nowhere did I say that it was, either. I have already told the Speakers that
they should decide based on the will of the Council, just as they are meant to, no matter what
course that is."

(Duiran): Wylliam says, "As I would too."

(Duiran): Wylliam says, "Than we don't need a referendum Stine, This is past this."

(Duiran): Illidan says, "Half the council are your personal friends who would love to see you go
unpunished. How does that work?"

(Duiran): Wylliam says, "You want redemption... you have to do the work and right thing."

(Duiran): Sibatti says, "This conjecture benefits no one."

(Duiran): Sekeres says, "No one condones his actions, we have all, with the Speakers who have made
requests of each guild dole out the ends to the means. While many of this council are his friends,
we uphold our oaths. Oaths to this wood, oaths to Dendara. The referendum will council the Speakers
on their next actions."

(Duiran): Stine says, "Again, wasn't my choice for a referendum but Speaker Valorie's. I suggested
they work with the Council directly but she wanted it as a vote."

(Duiran): Illidan says, "So if no one condones his actions, why is it a question of whether or not
he should step down?"

(Duiran): Illidan says, "Why do we need to have a referendum to see if he did a bad thing or not?"

(Duiran): Illidan says, "This is insanity."

(Duiran): Wylliam says, "And yet, not a word on council.. I'm just... horrified and disappointed."

(Duiran): Stine says, "Again, honors Valorie."

(Duiran): Stine says, "Ask your wife, she made the choice."

"There is ill argument upon the wind," an ancestor warrior spirit whispers, its chin tilting upward.
Disquiet shows upon its radiant features. "It is not well that the wisdom of the Wardens should pass
from the continent at such a time as this." It hesitates for the barest of moments. "...this is more
than I have been sent for," it begins, "But you are the last of the old tribes." It looks to the
newly-ensconced Satyr. "Do you wish to inherit the arts which have died with him?"

You have emoted: Iesid takes a moment to select an alcove fixed at the very center of this
centermost crypt, the particulars of his section given to a long period of silent consideration.
When he has found the proper spot, however, he acts quickly: he employs Sekeres' assistance and
settles Cenuth down in his honored place amongst the rest of the interred dead. The entire time, his
jaw is set, his gaze stony and distant.

(Duiran): Illidan says, "She did it on behalf of the council. But since you're curious, she too is
baffled as to why it's necessary."

(Duiran): Illidan says, "But she, unlike you, serves the council over her personal interests."

(Duiran): Amarylis says, "I certainly prefer the idea of removal over rites, and the idea of passing
the weight of punishment and decision along is hardly making this look any better."

(Duiran): Stine says, "Is she? Then why did she suggest it to the Speakers?"

(Duiran): Illidan says, "Because it was suggested to her as the best course of action for the whole
council."

(Duiran): Illidan says, "Again. At service of the council over herself. Traitor."

(Duiran): Amarylis says, "You are the Voice. You understand you did wrong. It should be a simple
choice on your own - to take responsibility and cease representing a Council you've betrayed, and so
on."

(Duiran): Jhura says, "If she does not see the need for it then she can tell us that herself, and
retract her own idea on implementing it."

You have emoted: "It would be an honor to walk in those footsteps," Iesid offers as an immediate
answer. His words spoken, the Seer snaps shut his maw - and the longer the ill words waft in, the
more he clenches his jaw.

(Duiran): Illidan says, "The only people I see defending you are your personal friends. Seems others
don't see the need for such a referendum."

(Duiran): Wylliam says, "Exactly what Amarylis said, you are the Voice, Stine. You would not
hestitate to punish any that did as you did."

(Duiran): Illidan says, "You should be lucky all our demands are is to have you step down as Voice,
rather than expel you from the council and hunted like the traitor you are."

"I too shall follow in these ways, so that the tribe may renew them again," Sekeres replies, no
hesitation after the elder sentinel quickly states. "For the Rhythm, for our ancestors." And she
too, is hot-eyed, the color shifting to some steely gray. Like carved marble, she stands.

Sekeres just thought:
"How dare they respect what is happening right now, our ancestor watches in shame!" The thought
billows out, fury building. Then the coil of shame behind it. The last of this tribe, while everyone
is battling each other.

An array of emotions wash over Rhine's usually composed features before she snaps her attentions to
the present, nodding her head in agreement with her fellow Pridemates. "Yes. The Pride would be
honored to carry forth Cenuth's arts."

An ancestor warrior spirit's eyes are unfocused for a time - unspoken communication, deliberation,
flickering across its face as it listens both upward and elsewhere. Its own nod is grave, unsmiling
face fixed full upon you, Rhine, and Sekeres. "You shall face three trials," it states, "So that you
may prove yourselves worthy of Cenuth's art. The first shall be here. Here, amongst the bones of
your ancestors, where memories lie safe from now until the end of time... I shall tell you of
another time very like this one."

An ancestor warrior spirit says, "And then, I shall ask you all a single question - and there is a
right answer to it, so listen well."

Sekeres settles to a knee, her wiry form before an ancestor warrior spirit as she nods in a sway of
black dreadlocks. Wide eyes follow the spirit's face.

You have emoted: Iesid nods just once, his full attention on the ancestral spirit.

"Once, long before the Druids, the Sentaari, and the Viridian Order," an ancestor warrior spirit
begins, its pacing, ambling way carrying it across the crypt's rocky floor, "There were tribes
beyond number in the great Ithmia. Most were small, holding to spare corners of the wood, but three
clans reigned supreme in the west, north, and east. These were the White Bears, the Red Serpents,
and the Black Ravens."

Sekeres just thought:
"The trinity," Sekeres connects.

You think:
"The Hunter's colors - and animals."

An ancestor warrior spirit says, "Your ancestors served the Hunter, as you do now, though they did
not serve Him in like fashion to one another. These differences set them apart, and as they grew,
the differences began to set them at odds. Each thought they knew their rightful place in the
Rhythm, and that the others lay outside of the correct way."

At this, an ancestor warrior spirit's eyes flicker upward, and the barest glimmer of recognition
shows in its gaze. "You can understand how such resentments brew, I think."

You have emoted: Iesid's silent nod is mournful; he seems to deflate as he listens on, the story
taking away some of the anger in his gaze.
Sekeres laces her rough hands across her dhurive, balancing on her knee. There is strain in her
expression, but it edges away as her eyes affirm for her.

"The Ithmia, of course," an ancestor warrior spirit continues heavily, as it moves to rest upon an
upraised rock, "Was not the entirety of the continent, even then - though if you'd asked the more
ardent warriors of the three clans, you might have heard different." A dry chuckle breaks from its
lips, and it offers a shake of its head at the assessment. "Nevertheless, outside of the Ithmia,
threats encroached. Servants of corruption, death, destruction, who scorned the Rhythm and were its
mortal enemies... and perhaps the three clans might have been able to do something about them."

Inhaling a ghostly breath and releasing it through its insubstantial teeth, an ancestor warrior
spirit says, "...the Hunter, you can imagine, didn't much care for this turn of events, so He sent
His mightiest hunter-priestess, Segiae Clinemh, to intervene and save them from themselves."

A memory finds its way unbidden into your mind, as you look through the eyes of the ancestors:
This hard-faced woman has been chiseled by scars and storm, weathered to a severe, angular bent,
eerily thin and bereft of curvature despite her height and musculature. Her multiple layers of
clothing are comprised of cloth, leathers, furs, and - for an outer layer - chain mail. A long,
woolen cloak adorns her shoulders, only partially veiling the quiver, bow, and spear slung across
her shoulder. The spear in particular is worthy of note, its tip hewn from the long, dark tooth of
some unknown beast. A battered buckler hangs on her off arm, her grip loose about its well-used
strap. Its front bears the faded emblem of the three clans. Long brown hair has been twisted back
into a messy but compact bun, leaving clear the long, Tsol'aan angles of her ears and her narrow,
deep-set green eyes.

Sekeres just thought:
As her thoughts drift, she is gripped by the image of Segiae Clinemh - the Hunter's champion. Though
there is no commentary in her mind, it does arouse her imagination. How shall she intervene? There
is an inward nod, careful and absorbing this ancient tale.

Sekeres' neck cranes slightly forward, bangs clearing from her chiseled visage as she listens to an
ancestor warrior spirit.

Its hand rising to toy absently with its necklace, an ancestor warrior spirit considers the bones
all about itself. "She treated with the elders of the White Bears," it recounts, "They would hear
nothing of a cease fire, though she spoke to them for three days and three nights - and so she
left." It replenishes its lungs with a dusty breath, taking a moment to collect memories from the
nearby bones - ancestors, here and there, beginning to buzz and glow as they contribute their
gathered knowledge to its tale. "Next, Segiae sought out the Red Serpents, and bested five of their
greatest warriors at once. Though the elders of the Red Serpents were impressed, they would not hear
of cease fire, though she spoke to them for seven days and nights."

A memory finds its way unbidden into your mind, as you look through the eyes of the ancestors: You
are a proud warrior of the Bear clan. You think to yourself, how dare this woman come and break
bread with your people to talk of peace with your enemies. You remember your father, body strung up
and flayed for daring to hunt too close to the borders of the clans.

You think:
"What a /fierce/ woman!" the Seer marvels; admiration sings through him like one of her many arrows
through an approaching enemy.

Another memory, much bloodier, flares in brilliant vermillion - warriors, recoiling from the vicious
fury of the hunter-priestess, her eyes aglow and the spear in her hands a whirling, nigh-invisible
source of pain. Bones break and droplets of blood fly, and the last you hear is the voice of a long-
dead elder: "ENOUGH!"

An ancestor warrior spirit says, "...at last, she traveled into the eastern wood, where your
ancestors dwelt, and snuck past the many cunning traps and snares they had set against intruders
from the other clans. Although your elders heeded her at this time, even they would not act with the
haste, for fear that the other two clans would crush them."

Sekeres just thought:
A shudder coils softly along Sekeres' shoulders, but it does not make it. Instead it translates to
painting these memories so bright that they could reside before her in this crypt.

Dark, shadowy visions of blood show - you catch flickers of Segiae Clinemh, a near-invisible shadow
in the trees, dodging darts and arrows alike... who is she, that makes mockery of us, and presumes
to tell us our business? We are comfortable! We are well provided for!

"Segiae Clinemh spoke with the Ravens for eight days and nights before she gave up, and parted from
them in frustration, dismay, and helplessness." an ancestor warrior spirit falls quiet, its face
fixed sadly upon the dead, inert bones all about it. Even their momentary flicker, woken by the
words it spoke, seems to be ebbing away now. "There is more to this tale, of course... but it lies
beyond my recollection, and my time upon this plane is nearly spent. It is time for my question."

An ancestor warrior spirit asks, "What should Segiae Clinemh have done?"

You think:
"Not given up, first off," the Seer snarks.

Sekeres lifts her head at an angle, gazing heigh across the earthen ceiling as she thinks in
silence. She chews on her lips absently, the pose of her dhurive balanced held.

You think:
"Perhaps she should have listened, instead of just using force and guile. She spoke to each of them
- but did she listen? There were injustices against the Bear clan. She offered no alternative or
reassurance to the Raven Clan."

A memory finds its way unbidden into your mind, as you look through the eyes of the ancestors: You
are Segiae Clinemh, and you have failed your task. The dark armies draw near, and by the morning
they will be at the border of the forests. No matter what, you must find a solution tonight, to
bring the clans to the defence of the wilds.

Sekeres just thought:
The weighing of this decision on Sekeres is much like that of those eyes she gazes through.

(Tells): Vivid colours fill your mind as you communicate to Sekeres, "Have you thoughts, daughter?"

(Tells): Vivid colours fill your mind as you communicate to Rhine, "Have thoughts, love?"

(Tells): Her voice sharp-edged and frosty, Sekeres whispers to you, "It is my belief that what she
should have done was all told them to come with her to meet the enemy. That they were the strongest,
the most ferocious, the most wise and cunning. Once the fight began and all came, they would realize
that they all must save not only their tribes but the wilds themselves."

(Tells): Her voice sharp-edged and frosty, Sekeres whispers to you, "But part of me thinks that she
should have let them fight amongst themselves."

(Tells): Vivid colours fill your mind as you communicate to Sekeres, "Ah, convince a horse they are
thirsty."

(Tells): Her voice sharp-edged and frosty, Sekeres whispers to you, "Because they were already
destroying everything, their tribes, by fighting, by not being unified."

(Tells): Vivid colours fill your mind as you communicate to Sekeres, "No. Her stated goal was to
save them from themselves. To let them fall to infighting is anathema to that goal, I'd think."

(Tells): Her voice sharp-edged and frosty, Sekeres whispers to you, "And that's why I don't think
that solution would ever work."

(Tells): Her voice sharp-edged and frosty, Sekeres whispers to you, "Yes."

(Tells): Vivid colours fill your mind as you communicate to Sekeres, "I much prefer your first
answer. It is guileful."

Light flickers chaotically through the many gems dotting Rhine's skin as she seems to debate
internally, the Prideleader's emotions showing clearly on her face. She lifts her head, amber eyes
glancing from Sekeres to you.

(Tells): Her voice sharp-edged and frosty, Sekeres whispers to you, "Should I speak?"

(Tells): Vivid colours fill your mind as you communicate to Sekeres, "I think young blood has its
place. Go ahead."

Sekeres wets her lips, her eyes finding Prideleader Rhine and Bloodhunter you as if for unspoken
permission.

An ancestor warrior spirit's eyes lift to Sekeres, curiosity showing in its gaze as it leans toward
her just a touch.

Rhine gives a quick nod towards Sekeres, waving her arm towards an ancestor warrior spirit.
Razmael

Comments

  • IesidIesid Member Posts: 146 ✭✭✭
    You think:
    "They just need to SEE the enemy - to understand the enormity compared to any one of their pieces,"
    the Seer reasons out.

    Placing a hand over one obsidian blade, Ranger Sekeres Dark-wing, Singer in Spears says, "It is my
    thought that Segiae Clinemh should have all told the tribes to come with her to meet the enemy - to
    have that honor alone as the tribe who saved the wilds. She should have told them that they were the
    strongest, the most ferocious, the most wise and cunning. All of them, they would hear this and
    come. Before they would have a chance to bicker, and war with each other, they would have to face
    their common enemy - realizing that they all must save their tribes, but the wilds too. This would
    have united them."

    Sekeres just thought:
    There is defiant hope there, glimmering in the strength of Sekeres' idea and its conviction.

    An ancestor warrior spirit's chin settles atop its folded hand as it listens to Sekeres. "Perhaps in
    a time such as this, your solution holds merit," it acknowledges, but then its gaze spills aside to
    the bones again. "In Segiae Clinemh's day, it is doubtful whether it would have appeared to the
    elders of the tribes. They would have seen it for empty flattery, for trickery..." The bones all
    about begin to whisper, murmur, voicing various agreements that rise and stain the air in
    innumerable memories and protests - but the spirit holds out its hand. "...no, no," it's quick to
    reprimand its brethren. "She's close enough. She's got the right of it in one regard."

    A memory finds its way unbidden into your mind, as you look through the eyes of the ancestors: You
    are Segiae Clinemh and you have found your answer amidst the Hunter's Ways. You rise, the midnight
    hour shrouding the forest in darkness, as you know now what must be done.

    An ancestor warrior spirit says, "They did need an enemy."

    (Sentinels): Valorie says, "Ah, is there something happening? I just recalled the Pride's aether -
    final moments of the last Warden?"

    (Sentinels): You say, "Already laid to rest in the back of the crypt beneath the guildhall. You are
    welcome to join us here. Given proper respect, the cairn will convey you to the crypt - and us."

    Sekeres just thought:
    There is minor disappointment in that she did not get it right. However, she understands, times
    change. And she learns.

    You think:
    "They are all arrogant. Or selfish. Or wounded. They had injustices to correct - but they could only
    reasonable achieve resolution to these things once bound together as one society. They needed to be
    made to know their relative size - no individual third could best the ensuing danger. It would take
    their combined might."

    (Sentinels): Valorie says, "Surprised more people didn't wish to come, was the Council not
    informed?"

    (Sentinels): You say, "The council was busy squabbling. I did not want their vitriol to stain the
    passing of the satyr that tended to Huwald Seluno's cairn."

    (Sentinels): Valorie says, "And after they were done 'squabbling'? Do they not have the right to
    mourn the passing of a satyr, because they were busy with other matters at the time?"

    (Sentinels): Rhine says, "He had already been laid to rest."

    "She could not appeal to them upon the grounds of common defense," an ancestor warrior spirit
    explains as it concludes its tale, "For they did not see one another as siblings. She could not
    appeal to them by flattery, for each already thought themselves better than the others. None, alone,
    was sufficient to the force outside the woods, nor did they view it as their problem to oppose. It
    was someone else's, you see..." A murmur of agreement lifts from the bones of the ancestors, fainter
    than before - and, at the same time, the spirit's outline begins to dim. "...so instead, Segiae
    united them as the Hunter has ever instructed the wilds."

    An ancestor warrior spirit says, "Hunt - or be hunted."

    Sekeres bows her head, her face obscuring for a moment to an ancestor warrior spirit as the
    whispering swirls about on the air. A silent beseeching to them as much as to the warrior, respect
    as much as the hope for forgiveness there in her youthful sights as she returns to listening.

    (Sentinels): Valorie says, "Yes. So I've heard. Why is the Council not being informed now? It's been
    quiet since I've been awake, and I assume for a while before then."

    You have emoted: "Did she go back, then? To each of them?" Iesid asks in a soft voice, his attention
    cast here and only here now as he hangs on the end of the story.

    "...I don't recall," an ancestor warrior spirit admits, in a voice that fades more and more by the
    moment - the bones about it glow with a beckoning light, dissolving the motes of its collective
    being. "There is a spirit who does, however, who has been given word to expect you. The crypt within
    which he lies is located..." Several more shimmers rise from amidst the bones, and it stops short
    mid-speech. "...I am told that in your modern coordinates, it is 731. How quaint."

    You have emoted: "Gods! I'm HORRIBLE at cartography!" Iesid mourns; he collects himself back into a
    more solemn demeanor mere moments later, however, and bows his head.

    You say, "Eifan. You are unforgotten, dear ancestor. Thank you dearly for your wisdom."

    The shrunken head in your inventory sneezes violently.
    "Thank you," Rhine whispers, nodding her head gratefully towards an ancestor warrior spirit. "I will
    lead you," the glowing woman smirks at you, rolling her eyes.

    Sekeres rises from her feet, her dhurive shifting to the crook of her arm as she bows her head to an
    ancestor warrior spirit. "Thank you, ancestor, for your wisdom. I hope that I may come to know more,
    in time," she murmurs to that spectral being, crowned in feathers.

    Sekeres just thought:
    There is a hope to see Eifan again. Someday, sometime, some place.

    "Unforgotten," an ancestor warrior spirit murmurs, bowing its head low and respectful. Its visage
    does not last much longer afterward, melting away moment by moment.

    Eifan is become one with the bones once more.

    A crypt of roots and stone.
    This crypt has large stones amid the earthen walls, embraced by the roots from the trees above. The
    stone bracing here is thicker and more obvious than elsewhere in the barrow and in some places is
    surrounded by roots. The decedents here lie upon earth that is rockier than other places, though
    care has been taken to ensure the stones would not cause harm. The floor here is also stonier than
    the rest of the barrow. The occasional well-worn rock protrudes higher than the rest of the floor,
    the steps of those who have walked here working to naturally smooth them down. Like elsewhere, those
    who were inhumed here lie in ceremonial garb with memorial trinkets and their preferred dhurives,
    spears, or tridents at their sides. The body of Cenuth has been laid respectfully to rest within one
    of the alcoves. Rhine Aquila Taziyah Mulariad is here. She wields a gem-inlaid dhurive bearing
    lumenite blades in her hands. Ranger Sekeres Dark-wing, Singer in Spears is here. She wields a
    sinuous, curved dhurive of pale ash in her hands.
    You see exits leading east, south, and west.

    You say, "I think I can make the way there, love. Off we go."

    Ranger Sekeres Dark-wing, Singer in Spears says, "Should we allow others to enter our sacred
    ground?"

    Quietly, you say, "I do not want to invite the council. This is a matter of the Pride. It is up to
    you, Prideleader, to decide if we announce our trip to the rest of them."

    You say, "But I am furious. This is not the Duiran I bled for. Nor the wilds that Eifan died for."


    [The trio travel to the next crypt]


    Atop the mound.
    Glimmering hints of grayish daylight are all that pierce through the darkening clouds above. This
    flat top of the mound looks down upon its circular crest. The mound is perfectly round along its
    base, and is surmounted by a small plateau which although not perfectly round, is conspicuously
    unnatural. No discernible entrance from here can be found, but a set of steps lead back down to the
    bottom of the mound covered in thick moss. Sprawling lupin grows here, blanketing the area in
    feathered purple. A colorfully frilled bird perches here, warbling happily. Rhine Aquila Taziyah
    Mulariad is here. She wields a gem-inlaid dhurive bearing lumenite blades in her hands. Ranger
    Sekeres Dark-wing, Singer in Spears is here. She wields a sinuous, curved dhurive of pale ash in her
    hands.
    You see a single exit leading down.

    Ranger Sekeres Dark-wing, Singer in Spears says to you, "I am sure Eifan knows it."

    Ranger Sekeres Dark-wing, Singer in Spears says, "And it is why, as the young blood, I was
    schooled."

    There is a faint depreciating smile there on Sekeres' face.

    Rhine smirks at Sekeres.

    Sekeres just thought:
    "I gave it my best," she murmurs to herself, as the sun becomes high.

    Ranger Sekeres Dark-wing, Singer in Spears says to Rhine, "We should likely say something to the
    Speaker about it. And then perhaps one of us can write to the council."

    Rhine Aquila Taziyah Mulariad says, "I am afraid to open my mouth to speak, lest I say something I
    eventually regret."

    You have emoted: "This place does not feel... right. Like someone covered something up," Iesid
    observes as he stomps one booted foot to the ground.

    Sekeres looks about, slipping away from the tether of her Pride. "Yes," she agrees, her voice
    wavering.

    As the moments pass, an ancient energy begins to gather - motes of pale, celestial light piercing
    from the earth beneath your feet and rising, assembling, into a singular, ancestral form. Taller and
    wider it grows, rippling with cords of muscle, ancient leather armor arrayed along its pillarlike
    limbs. Eventually it looms above all of you, gazing down and silhouetted against the clouds above.

    In a low, sonorous voice, an ancient Troll spirit says, "You're shorter than I was expecting."

    Sekeres draws a fist to her chest in greeting to an ancient Troll spirit. She stands just before the
    heathery patch of lupin.

    Tall even for his kin, this ancient Troll spirit's rugged reddish-grey skin covers its muscular
    stature. A large, detailed tattoo of a serpent body wraps around his body. Beginning on the back of
    his neck, it ends on the side of his leg. A simple twisted leather cord holds both his only
    clothing, a tattered hide loincloth, and a large scythe. Within both his hands, he holds an
    unadorned greatspear.
    An ancient Troll spirit almost glows with nearly god-like power.

    You have emoted: "Y'don't have to rub it in mate; yer taller than I was expectin'!" Iesid grunts out
    as he crans his neck to look up towards the troll spirit's face. "By what name do you go by, tall
    spirit?"

    Tilting her head to look up at an ancient Troll spirit, Rhine's lips break into a wide smile. "You
    are not quite what I was expecting either, but here we are." Despite her words, the Prideleader bows
    her head respectfully.

    "My greetings, taller-than-me-for-now spirit," Sekeres quips as she plants her dhurive on the top of
    one foot, looking high with shift of eyes.

    You think:
    "A serpent tattoo," the Seer observes. "He is of the Red Serpents. You mean to tell me that Haern's
    warrior-priestess bested five of THESE?"

    You think:
    "Is it a he?" the Seer wonders. "The voice... it's hard to place..."

    A wide asymmetric grin spills over an ancient Troll spirit's features, and then it bellows with
    radiant laughter, slamming its fist against its chest in greeting. "Haaa! You've got humor. I like
    that." It stoops down, placing itself level with the three of you. "I suppose if you have to call me
    something, Rukto'll do...? We're a bit past names, truth be told, though I suppose Eifan's told you
    all about that..."

    Muttering, an ancient Troll spirit says, "The mouthy sack of memory sure loves to gab..."

    "Rukto," the Seer murmurs to himself - repeatedly, ingraining it into his memory.

    You have emoted: "We come during a time of trouble. I am sure you already know that the last Warden
    has passed on, his vigil finally over and his body interred with the ravens," Iesid explains to the
    ancestor. "Eifan bid us to proceed here to the north to hear more of Segiae Clinemh."

    Sekeres remains deadpan, her teeth pressed to her lower lip. "Yes, he told us of the three tribes
    and the eve of the battle - To hunt or be hunted," she adds to your explanation.

    At this remark from Sekeres, an ancient Troll spirit begins to grin - it doesn't quite stop at the
    edges of its ethereal face, spreading wider and wider until its head lolls forward. It cants its
    head to one side until a ghostly bone pops, then repeats the process with the other. "Sure enough,
    I've heard you're in a time of trouble," it concedes. "And sure enough, I know more of Segiae
    Clinemh - but you don't seem to know about the second trial."

    Rhine just thought:
    "Did we even pass the first?" the thought dissipates almost as quickly as it was formed.

    "Before I say a *word* to any of you," an ancient Troll spirit explains, popping its head back into
    place with a wet snap of ectoplasm, "There's formalities to be observed. Ancient traditions. Rituals
    of mystical import." Demonstratively, it hefts its greatspear, flourishing it skyward and sighting
    along the blade. "...put simply, you, your tribe, and anyone else you can convince to fight with
    you..."

    An ancient Troll spirit smirks and says, "...have gotta beat me."

    (Sentinels): You say, "The Prideleader, Trailblazer and I are on the hunt to learn more of a fabled
    warrior-priestess of the Hunter; we seek to complete trial on behalf of the guild so that the
    ancestors might pass on their knowledge of the Warden's way. We are currently speaking with a second
    spirit now in the Northern Ithmia."

    (Sentinels): You say, "You are all welcome to join; your guile and strength are needed."

    (Sentinels): You say, "And Valorie - you Speak for us. It is at your discretion to call upon the
    rest of the council to aid us. I trust your voice and judgment."

    Sekeres lifts one of those charcoal brows, the challenge making her eyes gleam through the coils of
    her twisted hair. She nods to an ancient Troll spirit, and in her widened stances awaits signs from
    the Prideleader and Bloodhunter in turn.

    (Sentinels): You say, "We will be doing battle with a particularly tremendous troll spirit. I think
    we'll need a hand."

    (Tells): His voice laden with crackling fire, Stine whispers warmly to you, "I get that you're busy-
    - I get that, but just."

    You think:
    "I like this one. It has a sense of humor as well," the Seer remarks.

    (Sentinels): Sekeres says, "I am in agreement. If you wish to bring the council, then that is up to
    you and the Prideleader."

    (Tells): His voice laden with crackling fire, Stine whispers warmly to you, "Just go with it. If it
    happens, you'll know what I mean. We can hash it out later and you can call me an idiot, of any
    variety you wish."

    (Sentinels): Valorie says, "I did not, since I was both unaware of how to get to the cairn itself,
    and wasn't privy to any of the details. But as you say."

    (Duiran): Valorie says, "Council - our Prideleader, Singer and Seneschal have been set on a task to
    find more about a Warrior-Priestess of the Hunter, so that the ancestors may pass on their knowledge
    of the Warden's way. There will most likely be a battle. You're all welcome to join and lend your
    strength and support to the cause."

    (Sentinels): Sekeres says, "We spoke of it earlier! You must show respect to the ancestors, the
    cairn itself."

    (Duiran): Sibatti says, "The Warden's way?"

    (Sentinels): Rhine says, "It was within our crypts, of which we had no prior knowledge of until the
    spirit of one of our ancestors mentioned it and led the way."

    (Duiran): Wylliam says, "Thank you for informing us. Do you know the name of the Warrior-Priestess
    yet?"

    Beginning to warm up with easy passes of its spear, an ancient Troll spirit adds, conversationally:
    "I remember when there wasn't the ruins of a city smack dab in the middle of the wood. I think
    that's prob'ly when things started going to unicorns." It sidesteps, ramming its greatspear through the
    air, its outline rippling with the violence of its practice. "Things always start to go to unicorns when
    you let people build cities."

    (Duiran): You say, "The great Segiae Clinemh."

    An ancient Troll spirit says, "Then again, it's a ruin... better late than never."

    An ancient Troll spirit grunts noncommittally.

    (Tells): Vivid colours fill your mind as you communicate to Stine, "Don't you even [EXPLITIVE]' MOVE,
    mate."

    (Tells): Vivid colours fill your mind as you communicate to Stine, "Every time you MOVE, you make
    MORE trouble."

    (Tells): His voice laden with crackling fire, Stine whispers warmly to you, "It's already in
    motion."

    (Sentinels): Sekeres says, "Ah yes, Prideleader. Though this whole trial is for our Pride, and I
    look forward to the battle."

    (Duiran): You say, "You remember Cenuth, Watcher? The satyr that tends to Huwald's cairn in the
    glade?"

    (Duiran): Aithinne says, "Greetings."

    (Duiran): Wylliam says, "Greetings."

    (Tells): His voice laden with crackling fire, Stine whispers warmly to you, "My goddess said it
    best: You are the Speaker. You think about everyone else. I failed at that- they're right, to some
    degree, in that I was only thinking of myself."

    (Duiran): Wylliam says, "What happened to Cenuth?"

    (Duiran): Valorie says, "Good afternoon, Speaker Aithinne."

    (Duiran): You say, "He passed away, Wylliam."

    (Duiran): You say, "It was his time."

    (Duiran): Sekeres says, "Shall anyone else join us? We are in Northern Ithmia, you cannot miss the
    very tall spirit who stands with us there."

    (Duiran): Wylliam says, "A member of the council passed away, and we are only being told of it now."

    (Duiran): Aithinne says, "I can in a moment."

    (Duiran): Rhine says, "We mentioned it earlier."

    (Duiran): Wylliam says, "Why is it, news isn't shared."

    (Duiran): You say, "I alerted you while you were busy immersing yourself in Illidan's post."

    (Duiran): Wylliam says, "Was I awake? No."

    (Duiran): Wylliam says, "Was there a post."

    (Duiran): Jhura says, "Yes, you were."

    (Duiran): Wylliam says, "No."

    (Duiran): Rhine says, "It just happened moments ago."

    (Duiran): Wylliam says, "In passing Jhura, when we were talking about the Voice."

    (Duiran): Illidan says, "You casually mentioned it long after you engaged in it, based on your
    words."

    (Duiran): Illidan says, "Before anything happened."

    (Duiran): Wylliam says, "And you were in middle of a funeral rite."

    (Duiran): Jhura says, "He asked you for a moments respectful silence for the departed."

    (Duiran): Wylliam says, "Not afterwards."

    (Duiran): Wylliam says, "Not when it mattered."

    (Duiran): Illidan says, "Precisely."

    (Duiran): Rhine says, "It happened rather quickly."

    Pressing the open palm of her left hand against the clenched fist of her right, Aithinne bows
    respectfully.

    (Duiran): Illidan says, "So quickly you had time to bury him before our conversation started?
    Alright."

    (Duiran): Sekeres says, "We had to place his body in our sacred ground as it was his last hope. It
    was not before your conversation, it was during."

    Its grin widening as it watches more of you approach, an ancient Troll spirit says, "Oh, this'll be
    good fun. Almost enough of you to be a challenge."

    A stream of crackling blue fire sizzles across the sky.
    Wylliam has been slain by the divine might of Haern, the Hunter.

    (Duiran): Haern says, "Join the Pride in their trial or be silent."
    Razmael
  • IesidIesid Member Posts: 146 ✭✭✭
    Jhura gazes up at the Troll, her staff tapping against the ground. "This will be... Interesting."

    You think:
    Pride, deep and true, for the Hunter's Divine fire and the way it strikes true. For a moment, he
    forgets everything - all the upsets and irritations of silence. He understands well now that the
    Hunter always listens - to say nothing is not to be absent. "I'll leave You a drink somewhere, Lord
    Hunter," he sends up as a heartfelt prayer.

    [More bustle as Duiran and Enorian assemble.]

    You say to an ancient Troll spirit, "We are more tenacious than we look, honored ancestor. It is the
    prey's duty to honor the hunter with a thrilling hunt - and the hunter's duty to honor the prey with
    a dignified and glorious end. I am sure we'll sort out the details of who is who."

    Lin enters from the down, riding an immense, three-eyed rojalli.

    Lin just thought:
    "At last, I can--!"

    Lin takes up a grisly axe of bone in her fist, slathering the ground with hot blood.

    Lin brings a sinewy axe to the ready, inadvertently slashing the ground with a slick of fresh blood.

    [More spam of people preparing.]

    "What news," Lin asks, rolling her axes about in her fists.

    "People of the wood," an ancient Troll spirit bellows loudly, so that its voice may carry- "You're
    gathered here to join the Black Ravens in their trial by combat. My name's Rakto," it introduces
    itself, bringing its immense hand to its glowing, see-through chest, "And I'm the trial by combat."
    A wide grin slices its Trollish face in two. "Pleasure'll be all ours if what this raven here
    says..."

    An ancient Troll spirit nods his head at you.

    An ancient Troll spirit says, "...ends up bein' true."

    Sekeres just thought:
    "What about your other name?" She thinks about the Troll.

    You think:
    "There are no lies in the wild," the Seer snarls in his mind.

    You ask, "Mm. Any stragglers?"

    Haven just thought:
    "Gods...that's a big one."

    [More arrive.]

    The shrunken head in your inventory sneezes violently.
    Rhine Aquila Taziyah Mulariad smiles impishly and says to you, "Apparently."

    You smile and say to Rhine, "My gut's pretty good about that."

    You say to an ancient Troll spirit, "Alright, mate. It's a pleasure to do battle with a Red
    Serpent."

    An ancient Troll spirit says, "Once more, for a third time, so that all of you may hear the purpose
    of this meeting - the Black Ravens are fighting a trial by combat. I'm the trial. You're gonna help
    them take me down."

    "You'll know when we've started." an ancient Troll spirit smirks wide.

    Tightening her grip on a gem-inlaid dhurive bearing lumenite blades, Rhine cracks her head to the
    right and then left. "You ready for us?" the Prideleader asks an ancient Troll spirit.

    Sekeres dances forward, slinking into a formation aside those near her. She looks to an ancient
    Troll spirit for the word.

    An ancient Troll spirit says to you, "Mate, I'm about to teach you ravens the *meaning* of
    readiness."

    Czcibor Svin says, "I was awoken from my meditations by bickering, so might as well channel some of
    that energy into some fighting."

    Ranger Sekeres Dark-wing, Singer in Spears says to an ancient Troll spirit, "Yeah, we'll see."

    You smile impishly and say to an ancient Troll spirit, "Yeah? Going to cut me up with that gardening
    tool?"

    Verdantgard Valeria says to Czcibor, "Just try not to blow everyone up!"

    An ancient Troll spirit wields its large greatspear and commences battle.

    [Battle ensues ... I unfortunately did not bother snipping this part - but props to Haven, Lin, Jhura, Czcibor, Illidan, Sekeres, Rhine for snappy combat one liners. If I missed you and your wit, I am sorry and I love you. :) ]

    As the moments pass, ancient energy begins to gather once more - motes of pale, celestial light
    piercing from the earth beneath your feet and rising, assembling, into a singular, ancestral form.
    The Troll's spiritual frame regenerates in a blinding instant, rippling with cords of muscle,
    ancient leather armor arrayed along its pillarlike limbs.

    (Chromatic Court): You say, "I LIVE FOR THIS unicorns!" The comment is raw, singing pure with thrill and
    joy. "That was a damned BATTLE!"

    Haven just thought:
    "He was nearly as tough as that Spider-Demon that consumed me before."

    Sekeres drips with sweat, and rakes her dreadlocks back as she smiles proudly to the Prideleader who
    struck the last blow. A quiet look of gratitude sweeps about to everyone as the spirit reappears.

    (Chromatic Court): Lin says, "Hahahah! Oh, how I missed a good hunt!"

    Laughing with loud, exultant mirth, an ancient Troll spirit pounds his fist to his chest with a roar
    of triumph. "Now THAT was a Gods-damned FIGHT! WELL DONE!"

    (Chromatic Court): Jhura says, "Now that... That is proof that I live... The racing of my heart and
    the song of the Hunt."

    (Chromatic Court): Sekeres says, "WOOHAAA!" She exclaims, the rapid pounding of weaponry somewhere
    in the distance. "We need more of -those-!!"

    An ancient Troll spirit exclaims, "I'll say, you've all learned a thing or two in a few thousand
    years!"

    Kaiara looks mortally alarmed at this, her dark gaze moving from Lin's manic exuberance, back to the
    Troll. She seems unsure how to handle this battle-loving energy.

    Jhura lets loose a bright peal of laughter, flashing a grin at Kaiara.

    Rhine bows her head towards an ancient Troll spirit and smiles. "We are honored to have experienced
    such a battle, Rakto. Thank you."

    "Kree-sa-preserve, you were a phenomenal hunt," Lin exclaims, panting the last of her adrenaline.

    Nisavi just thought:
    Mnh. Wanted to see this great, powerful spirit, we did, yes. Are they very powerful? It would seem
    so, Nisavi, yes. They say its name is... Rak-toh. Yes, Rakto?

    Rasani tilts her head, watching the Troll spirit curiously, her hand subconsciously coming up to her
    own tusks.

    "My name is Komanti," an ancient Troll spirit offers Rhine by way of correction - but then waves its
    hand dismissively, an ethereal shimmer passing over its flesh. "It is no matter," it murmurs.
    "You've fought for gab, and gab you shall have. I'll tell you about the night Segiae pissed off
    three clans at the same time."

    Haven narrows his eyes at the mention of Kree-sa but otherwise remains silent.

    Nisavi just thought:
    Komanti, yes. Very powerful Komanti. We would challenge, yes, the Law of Growth would demand such.
    The Law of Manners and the Law of Hospitality take greater precedence, Nisavi, yes. This Komanti
    seems pertinent to their Council, yes? Yes.

    Sekeres just thought:
    Sekeres laughs inwardly. "Komanti, Rakto, Rukto'll." What name shall be next?

    You think:
    "... that TRICKSOME TROLL!" the Seer gripes; still, there is laughter in the thought. "I will
    remember all your names! You will be unforgotten, like it or not!"

    Haven just thought:
    "A warrior spirit it seems... I've much to learn among the Duirani. My skin crawls at the prospect."

    Leaning heavily upon its insubstantial spear, an ancient Troll spirit collects its thoughts for a
    long moment, breath flooding from its wide nostrils. "Now, Segiae, she's mighty pissed with the
    Bears, us Snakes, and you Ravens." Its hand jerks across to Rhine, Valorie, Sekeres, and you.

    Lin just thought:
    "Good gods above. It's like I was carrying a cannonball."

    An ancient Troll spirit says, "...y'know what? I need help with this damn story. Let's get closer to
    the bones."

    [We go beneath the mound after a momentary bit of confusion.]

    "Right," an ancient Troll spirit grunts, shaking its head. "Too many of you bastards here for me to
    think straight, swear to the Cycle..." It points to the mound. "You enter there. Not all this up and
    down running about like you're young bloods."

    Saidenn stays at the back edges the larger gathering of Duiranite and Enorianite peoples gathered,
    silently observing apart from the occasional shift jingle of bells attached to his swaying tail.

    An ancient Troll spirit abruptly manifests from the bones all about you, proceeding inward. "C'mon,"
    it growls, its voice echoing down the halls. "Deeper in..."

    [We got deeper in]

    "Enh," an ancient Troll spirit mutters to itself, "This'll do." It raises its voice: "Don't any of
    you go touchin' those bones! You owe your ancestors some damn respect."

    The warning comes just in time; Lin was about a half-second away from immediately prodding at a
    clutch of ancient ribs, and wisely chooses to back away.

    Valeria just thought:
    But now I REALLY REALLY want to touch the bones!

    Lin just thought:
    "Me too...!"

    "Now, Segiae heads out of the Ithmia," an ancient Troll spirit mutters. A low glow rises from the
    deeper parts of the crypt, and from the bones all about. The cast of light flickers inward from all
    directions, giving the spirit a greater appearance of substance, "And goes and finds one of the
    enemy's encampments. Now, no one's stealthier than Segiae, she can slither faster and quieter and
    slicker than any Serpent you know, but... mheh..." It shakes its immense head.

    An ancient Troll spirit says, "That ain't her style. She marches right up to those dark-lovin'
    bastards and puts an arrow through one of their heads real swift-like, so they can all see her do
    it."

    Lin just thought:
    "I will find this Segiae and make her my second wife."

    Saidenn's ears tilt toward an ancient Troll spirit as he listens, although his bifurcated eyes study
    the ancient weapons on display, eventually alighting upon the Greatspear in a position of honor.

    Czcibor just thought:
    I want to join a tribe too.

    "And then she runs 'em around, is what she do-" an ancient Troll spirit stops short with a loud
    grunt as a flare of ancestral light glows from deeper in the tomb. "They tell me I'm gettin' ahead
    of myself. No. That ain't the one she kills yet."

    An ancient Troll spirit says, "So morning rises. The White Bears, the Red Serpents, the Black Ravens
    - they all wake up, thinking they've heard the last of Segiae Clinemh, but they're thinkin' wrong,
    because they discover that their elders are missing. Every. Last. Godsdamn one of 'em."

    Valeria just thought:
    Is this really all the fight we're going to get! The talkings the boring part..

    Curiosity satisfied, Saidenn turns his head toward an ancient Troll spirit, pulling out a small
    notebook and beginning to gently write in quick motions, marking down a form of shorthand.

    "So they all start scouting out, yeah?" The light of the crypt begins to die away, though an ancient
    Troll spirit blazes on, having found its proper place in the story. "And it don't take them long.
    They find their clan elders. Then they find their clan elders' heads. And they find Segiae Clinemh
    throwin' their heads one by one into the river."

    An ancient Troll spirit says, "Right there, where all three of their territories meet, makin' sure
    every last one of 'em can see her do it. Hands bloody'n all."

    Sekeres just thought:
    "So I was right, destruction was the answer...I should have not gone against my gut," Sekeres
    thinks.

    Saidenn just thought:
    Tribes. Indicative of an early civilization built around tribalism. Early settlements? No, nomadic,
    likely. Agriculture does not seem reflected in this architecture. Worship? A name, however.

    "Now, I don't know if you've got clan elders in this day and age," an ancient Troll spirit remarks
    with a wide grin as it looks about its gathered audience, "But I'm here to tell you that the people
    back then? They loved their clan elders fierce, and now they hate this Haernite hunter-priestess
    more'n ever."

    Saidenn just thought:
    Ah ha, tribalism, indeed. Lineal hierarchy over consolidated theocracy. Power struggle?

    "All three of 'em get their weapons and go after her," an ancient Troll spirit explains, and echoes
    filter outward from the crypt - the oaths and rage of countless dead warriors, the hammer of
    footfalls on soil, the snarls of tamed animals - "And she leads 'em all about the wood 'til they're
    all turned 'round and they can't help but reach the end of the forest, right there in the
    outskirts."

    You think:
    "... and then they saw the real enemy."

    Elene just thought:
    These Trolls remind me of the ones in Ilhavon.

    An ancient Troll spirit says, "And who should be approachin', right then, but the evil ones? Armed
    to the teeth, of course, with metal and magic alike, and faced with *that*, what choice did any of
    'em have? There was a fight. Big damn fight."

    Elene just thought:
    Isn't that where one of the Seluno Brothers ended up in, though?

    Large, bifurcated eyes gaze out toward the crypt, the pupils dilating as his ears twitch with a soft
    jangle of gold. His fur rises slightly on his hackles, but Saidenn remains calm apart from an
    agitated twitch of his tail, sending the bells attached ringing.

    "They fight all day," an ancient Troll spirit murmurs to itself, and the sounds of battle rage
    behind it, louder and more visceral than ever. The clash of metal and wood joins the sundering of
    flesh and the splatter of blood, such that you can even smell what the spirit describes - the
    coppery, foul tinge of blood and gore. "And when the sun goes down, they break off, neither one able
    to find an advantage over the other."

    Lin uses her rojalli like a living and mobile chaise, laying atop him on her side, her legs sprawled
    out behind her. The story holds her interest without effort, a carousing grin on her face.

    An ancient Troll spirit says, "...now. You might think at this point the three clans are ready to
    call a cease fire and fight the real enemy? But you don't know these clans. The bad blood runs
    *deep*. Most of 'em are still at odds, even if a few are startin' to see a little bit of sense."

    Haven looks thoughtfully at Illidan.

    Saidenn allows a soft, growling rumble to lift upward from his chest, his tail twitching more
    rapidly. Claws ache to flex, freeing from their sheathes in a motion before relaxing. His attention
    his rapt, however, and the soft scratch against paper never quite ceases.

    Haven just thought:
    "Perhaps we know them better than we realize."

    You think:
    "Times do not change."

    "Now that's when Segiae comes back into it." an ancient Troll spirit circles around the left side of
    the hall, gazing up at the snakes and the greatscythes clutched in their maws. "She sees 'em
    bickering even after bloodshed, and she comes in. She tells 'em they've lost sight of the Hunter's
    Ways, they *keep* losin' sight, and they're doomed by the enemy's hand if they don't shape up right
    then and there."

    An ancient Troll spirit says, "And she tells 'em that they've gotta go fight the enemy right then,
    while they're disorganized, before they got a chance to figure out another plan... except none of
    'em are listening to her. You gotta remember this lady killed their clan elders earlier that day,
    and folk are still raw about it. There's a few in this crypt as might have gone with her, point of
    fact...? But they feared losing face among their own."

    "Not a one of 'em went with her," an ancient Troll spirit declares, its expression flat, leaden.
    "Not a single damn one of us. To our shame."

    Saidenn just thought:
    Mmh. A theological victory. Integration of theology into lineal hierarchy?

    Now an ancient Troll spirit's path carries it past the right side of the hall. It lifts its
    greatspear, allowing it to clack against the ancient ones brandished by the snake. Motes of dust
    fall free, spilling about its frame in slow swirls. "Which brings us back to where I was, before
    SOME FOLK-" Its bellow roars down the passageway, echoing several times in the deep crypts, "-told
    me I had it all wrong..."

    Elene tilts her head to one side, her heterochromatic gaze rapt with attention even as she winds her
    way through the crowd of listeners. A soft exhalation, akin to a sigh, slips out from her. Her soft
    feet eventually find a spot an arm's length away from Xavin and she remains there. Scarred fingers
    twine. She remains silent.

    (Tells): Voice lilting on feathery wafts of air, Rhine tells you, "This story sounds oddly
    familiar."

    An ancient Troll spirit says, "Segiae marches out that wood alone, right up to the enemy camp bold
    as you please, and puts an arrow through one of their heads."

    "Right in their faces?" Lin calls out.

    Jhura asks "Where they could all see her?"

    "Right in the face," an ancient Troll spirit enthuses with a wide, toothy grin, "Where every last
    one of those corrupt bastards could see her do it. You're damn right." It drives the butt of its
    greatspear to the ground, letting its loud clack ring out.

    Lin pumps her fist in triumph. It's exactly as douchey as you think it looks.

    "So Segiae's off, and she's got, I don't know..." an ancient Troll spirit mumbles, waving her hand
    absently, "...bolts of darkness, arrows, throwin' knives and all this unicorns flying after her. We got
    conflictin' memories about it, but most folk agree she took a couple of 'em before she made it back
    to the trees." The THUD of an arrow finding its mark in flesh rings out, and a huntress' low snarl
    echoes forth in answer. "Either way she's still up and runnin', and they're after her, hunting.
    She's teaching 'em proper worship, see." It taps an immense finger against its insubstantial head.

    An ancient Troll spirit's confidence abruptly evaporates as it trails off, an uncertain silence
    replacing its story. "...I don't remember the rest," it admits after a sheepish moment. "Neither do
    any of them. Reckon you'll have to ask one of the White Bears." It looks to the gathered Sentinels
    inquisitively. "You still know where their crypt is, yeah?"

    Quietly, you say, "I suspect that knowledge might be lost, honored ancestor."

    "Clans these days," an ancient Troll spirit can't help mumbling beneath its lack of breath, shaking
    its head slowly, "No respect for their ancestors..." It comes back to itself after a moment's lost
    focus, gaze wandering aside. "It'll be, uh. 918 in your coordinates? If it's wrong, don't come
    blamin' me. Your epoch made up that mess, not mine."

    Elene raises a scarred hand, sweeping fingers across her features to brush away idle strands of
    hair.

    Czcibor Svin says, "Yeah, people are really the worst."

    You have emoted: Iesid bows his head in momentary silence as a show of his gratitude for the aid of
    an ancient Troll spirit. "You were fierce in battle - that, alongside your myriad names, shall be
    unforgotten. You honor us with your fighting spirit, ancestor," he offers in solemn thanks.

    Thank you," Rhine nods her head respectfully before turning to the rest of the group. "Shall we
    then?"
    Razmael
  • IesidIesid Member Posts: 146 ✭✭✭
    Saidenn Tetzauh says to Rhine, "If I may come along?"

    Kaiara waves a merry goodbye, not at all solemn, enthusing, "Thank you!"

    (Chromatic Court): Lin says, "Would this be a Sentinel function, O Seer?"

    (Tells): Vivid colours fill your mind as you communicate to Rhine, "Adventure with you is always so
    thrilling. So simple."

    "Of course," an ancient Troll spirit answers, bowing low to you, Rhine, and the other Sentinels. It
    has already begun to fade. "...but just so you know, I only have one name, and it's Hevekk."

    An ancient Troll spirit fades from sight.

    Aloli's mouth turns up as her face breaks into a smile.

    Rhine smirks.

    (Chromatic Court): You say, "You are welcome to accompany, Lin, for you have walked the Way before."

    Knight Chaplain Rasani Morrog, Forgemaster says to you, "Do you want this to be left to your guild,
    Iesid?"

    (Chromatic Court): Lin says, "Tcha! Barely. But I will take it."

    Lin begins to follow you.

    To the departing spirit, Speaker Jhura Gallant, the Imago's Violinist says, "But which of you does
    that name belong to?"

    You grunt noncommittally.

    Rasani looks a little disappointed she didn't get to speak at more length with the faded Troll
    spirit, but maintains herself.

    Huntress Valorie Aresti frowns and says, "I wouldn't wish for anyone to miss out on the rest of this
    story."

    You say, "So long as you folk keep your grubby paws off the remains of the ancestors, you're welcome
    to accompany."

    Rhine Aquila Taziyah Mulariad says to Lin, "I think he is talking to you."

    Sekeres nods with, "Thank you, Komanti, Rakto, Rukto'll, and Hevekk." Her smile is just there,
    slitting her eyes to crinkling lines.

    (Sentinels): You say, "These crypts are sacred. If someone begins to channel or wield Shadow in our
    presence there, it is an affront worthy of violence. Do we agree on this?"

    Haven just thought:
    "Who has grubby paws?"

    Lin scrunches up her nose at Rhine, and stubbornly clasps her hands at the small of her back.

    (Sentinels): Valorie says, "Of course."

    Haven just thought:
    "Not me."

    (Sentinels): You say, "Good. Your dhurive is the one I would depend on the most. You would do better
    in my seat."

    Czcibor just thought:
    He didn't say anything about fire.

    [The now much larger party traverses to the final crypt.]

    Mound within the ring of pine.
    Many of the stars are disguised behind looming clouds, tracing their slow paths across the sphere of
    the heavens. Within the center of the ring of pine trees, is a large mound, perhaps double the
    height of a human and as broad as it is high. It appears to serve no particular purpose, though the
    fact that it has been built in the center of a ring of trees might lead one to believe its origins
    to be mystical in nature. However for now its nature remains a mystery. An enormous monument to
    Haern stands here. Sprawling lupin grows here, blanketing the area in feathered purple. A grub
    writhes here, its many tiny legs flailing. There are 2 diminutive nightingales here. The ethereal
    form of a guardian angel hangs in midair, cloaked by a pale shimmer. Abbess Aloli Silverain Gallant
    is here. Khimaira Haven Locke of the Black Sun is here. He is riding on a war-painted orel. He
    wields a jewel-encrusted buckler in his left hand and an iron-tipped whip in his right. Rhine Aquila
    Taziyah Mulariad is here. She wields a gem-inlaid dhurive bearing lumenite blades in her hands.
    Elemancer Guiseppe Adesso is here. He is riding on a donkey. He wields a staff of flame-charred oak
    in his left hand and a buckler in his right. Headmistress Kaiara Gallant is here. She is riding on a
    fiery-maned qilin. She wields a banded shield in her left hand and a wicked, curved scalpel in her
    right. Lin the Chaos Eater is here. She is riding on an immense, three-eyed rojalli. She wields a
    cavalry shield in her left hand and a pulsating handaxe of blade-edged sinews in her right. Church
    is here. He wields a mithril-taloned beast claw buckler in his left hand. Commander Xavin Taziyah is
    here. He wields an emblazoned kite shield in his left hand and an elementally infused staff of
    arijia in his right. Devout Elene Arcan, Savant of Jherza is here. Czcibor Svin is here. He wields a
    jewel-encrusted buckler in his left hand and a long wooden staff in his right. Hunter Mahar dur Naya
    is here. He wields a dhurive of living vines in his hands. Knight Chaplain Rasani Morrog,
    Forgemaster is here. She wields a shining steel longsword in her left hand and a shining steel
    longsword in her right. Ranger Sekeres Dark-wing, Singer in Spears is here. She wields a sinuous,
    curved dhurive of pale ash in her hands. Sister Aithinne Fiadhaich is here. She is riding on a
    flaming stallion. She wields a buckler in her left hand. Speaker Jhura Gallant, the Imago's
    Violinist is here. She wields a verdant staff of living Heartwood in her hands. Saidenn Tetzauh is
    here. This area has been overgrown with a swathe of seething plantlife.
    You see a single exit leading south.

    You have emoted: Iesid gazes about, his gaze fixated upon the edges of the mystical mound here
    within the ring of pines. "The last one manifested after some patience," the Azudim explains
    sheepishly.

    (Sentinels): Valorie says, "I'm honored you think so, Bloodhunter."

    The sound of a bear's roar shakes the earth before the mound, and an eldritch glow fills the air. It
    isn't long before the insubstantial light finds a form, binding itself to some vaguely humanoid
    shape. Details are slower in coming, but before long an ancestor spirit of the Bear clan stands
    before you, the mound standing at its back.

    Its ethereal form clad in ancient mail, this ancestral spirit of the Bear clan looks out with hollow
    eyes from a masked visage. A frayed, tattered cloak hangs loosely from his shoulders, and the mask
    its wears has been shaped into the imagery of a snarling bear. Within its armored grasp, a weathered
    cudgel is clasped and festooned with trophies of ancient battles.
    An ancestor spirit of the Bear clan looks weak and feeble.
    It carries one week of survival experience.
    It is strangely weightless.

    Saidenn remains near the back of the larger gathering as an observer. His eyes do study the attire
    and visage of an ancestor spirit of the Bear clan, however, a quick few scratching marking notes.

    You have emoted: "Hail to you, ancestor of the mighty White Bear clan!" Iesid calls to the
    manifested ancestor, his dhurive handled in one hand as the other frees itself to wave in greetings.
    The Seer cannot resist a more-than-cursory inspection; he rakes his gaze along an ancestor spirit of
    the Bear clan, lingering long upon the tattered cloak and the mask frozen in snarling fury. "We come
    seeking your wisdom."

    "There are rather more of you here," an ancestor spirit of the Bear clan murmurs, blinking in slow
    surprise, "Than I was led to expect." It beckons, nevertheless, looking about at those gathered.
    "Welcome, Ravens - honored guests, all. You have come seeking my wisdom, the end of my story, and
    the third and final trial ere the ways of the Wardens become your own."

    "May I invite you inside?" an ancestor spirit of the Bear clan inquires, with a lazy nod of its
    masked head back toward the mound. "I would offer you drinks and refreshment, but, alas," a laugh
    like shifting chain mail echoes from its throat, "We have long since left behind the need for such
    things."

    Valeria just thought:
    Hmm.. Do you think these spirits care much about how a Dhurive is treated? I threw one across the
    Council once.

    Elene's heterochromatic gaze fall upon an ancestor spirit of the Bear clan as she sways upon her
    bare feet. She's inquisitive, taking in the mail-clad form of the spirit, and the mask that
    identifies him as an ancestor of the Bear clan. She nods to herself, silken tresses falling across
    her shoulders.

    Sekeres bows her head to the ancestral spirit of the Bear clan as she keeps her dhurive held aloft.
    "We would be honored," she utters gently with a canting of dreadlocks to the spirit.

    You have emoted: "Aye! We would be honored to walk the hallowed halls of your crypt, ancestor,"
    Iesid responds on behalf of the rest of those gathered behind him.

    Guided by the ancestors, your attention is drawn to the concealed entrance of the mound - an
    entraceway covered by vines which you step through.
    Aithinne, Aloli, Church, Czcibor, Elene, Jhura, Kaiara, Lin, Mahar, Rasani, Rhine, Saidenn, Sekeres,
    and Xavin follow you to the ether.

    Beneath a great ursine archway.
    The hard earthen walls of the crypt rise in a natural curve to create a hushed, cathedral-like space
    beneath the ground. Stone support keep the walls steady and are aided by the tangled mesh of tree
    roots interwoven through the dirt. Arching over the space is a piece of stonework wrought to
    resemble an enormous bear. The likeness is interpretive and generous; the beast's great skull sits
    at the top of the arch with furry shoulders extending to either side. The legs of the arch are the
    legs of the bear, complete with curved claws at the base. Behind the archway lies the rest of the
    crypt. It is dim with a pleasant, earthy scent wafting from it. A fairly large toad sits quietly
    here. There are 2 diminutive nightingales here. The ethereal form of a guardian angel hangs in
    midair, cloaked by a pale shimmer. Verdantgard Valeria is here. She wields a rune-covered cavalry
    shield in her left hand and a throwing axe in her right. Huntress Valorie Aresti is here, concealed
    within the shadows. She is riding on a leafy elm dendaric entbeast. She wields a vicious dark brown
    dhurive in her hands. Abbess Aloli Silverain Gallant is here. Rhine Aquila Taziyah Mulariad is here.
    She wields a gem-inlaid dhurive bearing lumenite blades in her hands. Seurimas is here, shrouded. He
    wields an iron-tipped whip in his right hand. Headmistress Kaiara Gallant is here. She is riding on
    a fiery-maned qilin. She wields a banded shield in her left hand and a wicked, curved scalpel in her
    right. Lin the Chaos Eater is here. She is riding on an immense, three-eyed rojalli. She wields a
    cavalry shield in her left hand and a pulsating handaxe of blade-edged sinews in her right. Church
    is here. He wields a mithril-taloned beast claw buckler in his left hand. Commander Xavin Taziyah is
    here. He wields an emblazoned kite shield in his left hand and an elementally infused staff of
    arijia in his right. Devout Elene Arcan, Savant of Jherza is here. Czcibor Svin is here. He wields a
    jewel-encrusted buckler in his left hand and a long wooden staff in his right. Hunter Mahar dur Naya
    is here. He wields a dhurive of living vines in his hands. Knight Chaplain Rasani Morrog,
    Forgemaster is here. She wields a shining steel longsword in her left hand and a shining steel
    longsword in her right. Ranger Sekeres Dark-wing, Singer in Spears is here. She wields a sinuous,
    curved dhurive of pale ash in her hands. Sister Aithinne Fiadhaich is here. She is riding on a
    flaming stallion. She wields a buckler in her left hand. Speaker Jhura Gallant, the Imago's
    Violinist is here. She wields a verdant staff of living Heartwood in her hands. Saidenn Tetzauh is
    here. This area has been overgrown with a swathe of seething plantlife.
    You see exits leading north and out.

    [We zoom around like the Aetolian zoomers we are.]

    An ancestor spirit of the Bear clan yells, "So impatient! It takes us old ones a moment or two to
    manifest."

    [We stop deeper in.]

    (Tells): Vivid colours fill your mind as you communicate to Rhine, "I have come up with proper
    penance for Emerson, on behalf of the Pride."

    (Tells): Vivid colours fill your mind as you communicate to Rhine, "I will elaborate - unless the
    ancestors give me a better idea than they already have."

    In good humor despite its volume, an ancestor spirit of the Bear clan chuckles to itself, a low and
    bearish sound. It's become visible once more, standing before the mosaic and gazing up at the
    visions of the ancestors painted there. "There we are, all assembled as one."

    Eyes alight upon the mosaic, even in its disrepair. A pleased purr filters from Saidenn's throat as
    he looks over the stones and imagery, his tail slowly swaying behind him.

    A mosaic depicting fur-clad warriors.
    The hard-packed earthen floor slopes sharply up to a natural dais set before the northern wall of
    the crypt. This wall curves up towards the domed roof like the rest in this place, braced with
    living tree roots and stone braces carved like the skulls of bears. Here, though, the wall is
    decorated, inset with many tiny, colored stones to form a crude but remarkable mosaic. Ranks of
    warriors wearing bear-faced helmets and fur mantles around their shoulders stand facing an open
    field. Puddles of blood, depicted with red sandstone, splatter the earth. The warriors all wield
    weapons, clutching either cudgels or wearing war gauntlets. Some of the mosaic has been damaged by
    the insidious press of tree roots through the earthen wall, but much of it has been repaired as
    well. It speaks to someone tending this place with great care and attention. The light is a dim,
    flickering thing that gives the mosaic a life and motion all its own. The air smells of good,
    healthy earth and tended things. His visage masked, an ethereal ancestor of the Bear clan drifts
    upon unseen currents here. There are 2 diminutive nightingales here. The ethereal form of a guardian
    angel hangs in midair, cloaked by a pale shimmer. A fairly large toad sits quietly here. Jaws gaping
    and ethereal tail raised to strike, a wyvern spirit hovers menacingly here. Verdantgard Valeria is
    here. She wields a rune-covered cavalry shield in her left hand and a throwing axe in her right.
    Huntress Valorie Aresti is here, concealed within the shadows. She is riding on a leafy elm dendaric
    entbeast. She wields a vicious dark brown dhurive in her hands. Abbess Aloli Silverain Gallant is
    here. Rhine Aquila Taziyah Mulariad is here. She wields a gem-inlaid dhurive bearing lumenite blades
    in her hands. Headmistress Kaiara Gallant is here. She is riding on a fiery-maned qilin. She wields
    a banded shield in her left hand and a wicked, curved scalpel in her right. Lin the Chaos Eater is
    here. She is riding on an immense, three-eyed rojalli. She wields a cavalry shield in her left hand
    and a pulsating handaxe of blade-edged sinews in her right. Church is here. He wields a mithril-
    taloned beast claw buckler in his left hand. Commander Xavin Taziyah is here. He wields an
    emblazoned kite shield in his left hand and an elementally infused staff of arijia in his right.
    Illidan Aresti-Te'Straif is here. He is riding on a colossal, winged sapphire toad. He wields a
    staff bound with bone-laden chains in his hands. Devout Elene Arcan, Savant of Jherza is here.
    Czcibor Svin is here. He wields a jewel-encrusted buckler in his left hand and a long wooden staff
    in his right. Hunter Mahar dur Naya is here. He wields a dhurive of living vines in his hands.
    Knight Chaplain Rasani Morrog, Forgemaster is here. She wields a shining steel longsword in her left
    hand and a shining steel longsword in her right. Ranger Sekeres Dark-wing, Singer in Spears is here.
    She wields a sinuous, curved dhurive of pale ash in her hands. Sister Aithinne Fiadhaich is here.
    She is riding on a flaming stallion. She wields a buckler in her left hand. Speaker Jhura Gallant,
    the Imago's Violinist is here. She wields a verdant staff of living Heartwood in her hands. Saidenn
    Tetzauh is here. This area has been overgrown with a swathe of seething plantlife.
    You see exits leading east and south.

    An ancestor spirit of the Bear clan says, "Now... I'll tell you the end of Segiae Clinemh, and I bid
    you listen well, ravens, for there's a question I mean to ask you at the end - and it has a right
    answer."

    Haven just thought:
    "Hope they've been paying attention because..."

    (Tells): Her voice echoing with haunting distortions, Elene speaks to you, "May I ask?" Her voice is
    a silken caress, tinged with curiosity. "If the second trial is of Combat, and the third is of
    wisdom, what was the first?"

    (Tells): Vivid colours fill your mind as you communicate to Elene, "The first was similar to this
    third."

    (Tells): Her voice echoing with haunting distortions, Elene speaks to you, "Ah."

    Haven narrows his eyes at Rhine, Valorie, you, and Sekeres.

    Valorie narrows her eyes back at Haven before turning her attention to the spirit, listening
    attentively and quietly.

    Sekeres crosses her arms about her chest, the broad lines hitching in her chin as she nods to the
    ancestor spirit of the Bear Clan. She turns to her other Pridemates then back.

    "The Bear ancestors saw Segiae," an ancestor spirit of the Bear clan recounts, its gaze distant as
    it stares at the mosaic. The flat wall serves to reflect its voice back, magnified to many times its
    soft volume. "Badly blooded as she ran the length of the wood, her foes pursuing her with force and
    vengeance. She'd laid many traps, as the Ravens had taught her... and when she had run short of
    supplies with which to build them, she shot her arrows to the last, making each and every one count
    for one of her foes."

    A great weight seems to have been lifted from Haven.
    The eyes of the mosaic begin to glow - dim at first, but then brighter and brighter, shining forth
    in fury. When an ancestor spirit of the Bear clan turns to address the gathered crowd, the same
    wrath burns there, its manner become less welcoming. "When her arrows were spent and her bow broken,
    she took up her blessed greatspear and met the dark ones head-on. They had set the forest aflame!"
    It snarls, rage in its voice at the prospect, "All to flush her out... and the White Bears sent word
    of it up and down the river, to every last corner of the forest."

    (Tells): Her voice echoing with haunting distortions, Elene speaks to you, "Was the first trial
    also done within another mound, a temple hidden within just like the last two?"

    (Tells): Vivid colours fill your mind as you communicate to Elene, "Beneath our guildhall."

    An ancestor spirit of the Bear clan says, "It was the first time the three clans joined for a single
    purpose in any of their histories. United, together, to quench the fire and drive out the threat.
    The battle raged all night long, all through the Ithmia, and the river Zaphar ran red with the blood
    of the fallen."

    (Tells): Her voice echoing with haunting distortions, Elene speaks to you, "I cannot go there,
    then." Thoughts entangle and entwine, forming into concepts that merely caress at the edges of your
    mind, before dissipating. "This is very interesting. I would like to try my hand with writing a book
    on this story, too."

    Elene shakes her head lightly, the scent of iron and spice falling off her tresses as she tugs her
    mind away from her thoughts, returning her focus upon an ancestor spirit of the Bear clan.

    "In the end, the servants of darkness escaped," an ancestor spirit of the Bear clan concludes, but
    an unsettling smile glows on the spirit's face as it adds, "Not many. A few. The forest had devoured
    the rest of them, and the Cycle turned onward." The rising light of the mosaic at its back renders
    it near-invisible, one more bear among a horde of many, speaking with multiple voices: "We sought
    Segiae, so that she might stand to the clans' justice. Right or wrong, she had slain our elders, and
    such a crime could not stand unpunished, no matter the circumstance."

    An ancestor spirit of the Bear clan says, "...we found her surrounded by the bodies of a several
    dozen dead in a clearing of her own making. Her spear was lodged in the heart of the last she'd
    slain. We cannot tell you how many Segiae Clinemh took with her to the Underhalls, but she accounted
    for a large fraction of the army by herself. The Ithmias have rarely known a warrior of her like."

    (Tells): Vivid colours fill your mind as you communicate to Elene, "I will retell the story to my
    Pride and council; then, perhaps, I will retell the stories to the world at large."

    (Tells): Her voice echoing with haunting distortions, Elene speaks to you, "I eagerly await for
    that."

    Elene just thought:
    Even if she turned against her Elders.

    "Now then, Ravens..." an ancestor spirit of the Bear clan's chin rises upward, "Midnight has fallen,
    and the time of the third trial is nigh. Choose one of your own for a sacrifice - and give their
    blood to the crypt."

    Lin just thought:
    "Here we go. I knew it was going to get good."

    Czcibor Svin says, "I choose Iesid."

    Elene just thought:
    Of course he does.

    An ancestor spirit of the Bear clan says, "Think carefully on this matter. Blood is a serious thing,
    and it should not be spilled without due consideration."

    Swiftly casting his eyes from one direction to another, Czcibor Svin says, "Wait, I didn't mean to
    say that out loud."

    Softly, you say, "You are not a raven. The ravens will choose."

    Aithinne looks quietly over Rhine, you, Valorie, and Sekeres, but she remains quiet.

    Czcibor just thought:
    I'll show you raven.

    Ichored lips shift and twist upwards, amusement flickering across Elene's features. Just a moment
    does the emotion stay, before it swiftly vanishes, overwritten by thought.

    Jhura puts a hand on Czcibor's shoulder and slowly pulls him back.

    (Sentinels): Karistan says, "Hrm? Is something happening?"

    Church nods in agreement, remarking, "Certainly a selection not to be made without due caws."

    Lin rolls her eyes in good humor and glances at you. Perhaps she believes she can see the future.

    Czcibor Svin says, "Okay, I change my vote."

    Knight Chaplain Rasani Morrog, Forgemaster says to Church, "That was the worst."

    Saidenn just thought:
    Mmh, who will stand in place? Shall they clamor for an honor, or shall it be seen as a necessity?

    "I lead the Pride, I will volunteer myself," Rhine states, stepping forward. Turning back to look at
    her fellow Pridemates, the glowing Azudim raises a brow. "As long as the Pride agrees."

    (Sentinels): Valorie says, "I would not volunteer someone else for this. If nobody else is willing,
    I- ah."

    Church says to Czcibor, "Thank you."

    Elene just thought:
    What of the story has shown the way to the choice to be made?

    You have emoted: Iesid's lips purse in quiet contemplation as he considers Rhine's volunteer of
    tribute.

    (Sentinels): Karistan says, "If you desire assistance or a volunteer, I shall assist if needed."

    Czcibor Svin says to Church, "But hear me out. What if we let calamities decide for us?"

    You ask an ancestor spirit of the Bear clan, "Who does the bloodletting?"

    Jhura swat's Czcibor's shoulder.

    Illidan Aresti-Te'Straif says, "Pay the Spirit some respect with your silence."

    Isia rolls her eyes at Czcibor.

    Czcibor just thought:
    Oh, so now he understands the virtue of silence.

    Kaiara turns her eyes skyward, hoping for divine inspiration.

    An ancestor spirit of the Bear clan says to you, "This is your choice as well."

    (Tells): Her voice sharp-edged and frosty, Sekeres whispers to you, "There is a right answer."

    Czcibor just thought:
    I'm glad the Ascendrils don't have such rituals.

    Sekeres glances askance to you before that focus drifts to the air above the spirit. Her mouth
    presses thin as she palms her grip across a sinuous, curved dhurive of pale ash.

    (Sentinels): Sekeres says, "The spirit said there was a right answer."

    (Sentinels): You say, "We choose the leader as the sacrifice, for it is the leader's duty to put
    their people - their tribe and clan - before their own interests."

    (Sentinels): You say, "That is my opinion."

    An ancestor spirit of the Bear clan stands still and silent, arms folded. The eyes of the bears
    watch from all around, and elsewhere in the crypt, the bones glow and hum attentively. All eyes,
    dead and alive, rest upon this place and moment - waiting, as they must.

    (Sentinels): Sekeres says, "I think that is wise. But who shall sacrifice?"

    (Sentinels): You say, "Is there no way she could also do the bloodletting? The warrior-priestess
    sacrificed herself."

    Aithinne just thought:
    All of them. They all should.
    Razmael
  • IesidIesid Member Posts: 146 ✭✭✭
    (Sentinels): Sekeres says, "Yes. Perhaps it would not be wrong to ask?"

    (Sentinels): You say, "I quite like the Sentaari Speaker's wisdom."

    You ask an ancestor spirit of the Bear clan, "Must it be an individual?"

    (Sentinels): Sekeres says, "She has thought of something, I trust then?"

    Valorie's eyes flicker between Rhine and you, and the woman takes a step forward to stand near the
    rest of her Pridemates on solidarity.

    Haven just thought:
    "The blood of our enemies should suffice as the legends say. I nominate Saidenn."

    After a moment's pause, an ancestor spirit of the Bear clan answers you in a low rumble, a smile
    momentarily threatening its grim visage: "This, as well, is your choice."

    Haven eyes Saidenn.

    Czcibor just thought:
    So you're saying the calamity would be an option...

    Saidenn feels eyes upon him, his ears twitching first and then his head tilting toward Haven. A
    gleam passes through his storm-laden gaze, his maw twisting into a wry expression.

    You have emoted: "Then we should all be sacrificed, great ancestor, for it is nobody's individual
    duty to die for their clan - all ravens must die for each other, or else our clan is without worth
    or solidarity, no?" Iesid inquires of an ancestor spirit of the Bear clan.

    You say, "To cooperate with others clan, we must first cooperate amongst ourselves."

    Lin just thought:
    "The glory hound is learning well. I'm proud of him."

    Elene's chest rises and falls in measured pace, her gaze sweeping over the gathered Pridemates.
    Though insignificant, approval slithers from her gaze, the faintest glimmer settling upon you.

    Lin eases behind Mahar and gives him a none-too-gentle shove with her shoulder.

    Lin just thought:
    "No son of mine is going to miss a mass-sacrifice!"

    An ancestor spirit of the Bear clan stares at you. Whatever it expected, it seems that your
    statement isn't it. Hesitantly, it turns its head back to the mural, voiceless murmurs passing
    between it and the rest of its bright-eyed kin.

    Sekeres has not moved from her place aside you as he gets pushed forward to the fore where all the
    pride stand. She nods amongst her cohort, her face hardened and calm with resolve.

    Turning back, an ancestor spirit of the Bear clan asks, "...and what if none of you return from the
    halls to pass on the ways? What then?"

    Saidenn looks back to the Pride, the solidarity forming within its ranks. Interest gleams, yet his
    tigrine features remain neutral, keeping his thoughts to himself. His tail twitches and his claws
    flex, the dark talons dragging along the hoops of a pectoral of concentric golden rings slowly.

    Mahar jerks forward at the gesture, sparing Lin a slight frown before he settles in his new
    position.

    Eyes sliding slyly around the tomb, Church sounds beleaguered as he helpfully offers, "If none of
    them make it, I will accept their burdens and treasures, as someone must."

    (Sentinels): Karistan says, "If death is what is called, then is it not part of the cycle, the
    rhythm that is life and renewal? The it should stand that we should stand firm in our resolve...at
    least that is my standpoint."

    Expectation seethes before the mosaic. Elene sways upon her bare feet, awaiting the answer, as it
    always seem to pour forth, from you.

    Kaiara sighs, slanting her attention admonishingly at Church.

    "We have faith in the Cycle," Rhine replies, keeping her amber gaze focused on an ancestor spirit of
    the Bear clan.

    (Sentinels): Sekeres says, "We shall die knowing that the Cycle, knowing that whatever comes shall
    be renewed. Just as Segaie has done."

    "Then we shall die knowing that the Cycle, knowing that whatever comes shall be renewed. Just as
    Segaie has done. For what comes from destruction, shall be new, in time," Sekeres sounds off after
    the Prideleader, as her chin lifts with a twist of the top-most blade of pointed obsidian.

    Haven just thought:
    "So quick to cast away their lives when there are two perfectly good 'dark-lovin bastards'. What
    would the troll think?"

    Haven ponders Elene's profile, deep in consideration.

    Lips curve as Elene senses Haven's gaze upon her. She tilts her head to the side in mute enquiry.

    Elene just thought:
    That one can't see through the wreath of fire. He doesn't see the challenge behind the question, the
    challenge to champion what has been imparted.

    Haven just thought:
    "Then again what do I know? These Duirani are strange."

    Elene just thought:
    And he is one of them. [Amusement flickers.].

    (Tells): Voice lilting on feathery wafts of air, Rhine tells you, "Did we choose wrong?"

    Saidenn just thought:
    I wonder... is it many, or is it one? One to stand for many so the needs of many are sated, or to
    stand together, falling or rising as a clan?

    At long last, an ancestor spirit of the Bear clan considering the Sentinels before it, gives a grave
    nod - and the impressions of nodding heads can be seen at its back. "Very well," it declares, its
    teeth flashing as it speaks. "I shall tell you whether you are correct, or incorrect... after the
    sacrifice has been made." It looks to Rhine, bowing low. "Carry on, in a manner of your choosing."

    Lin's eyebrows threaten to shoot right off the top of her head. Now she has eyes only for the
    Sentinels, quite excited to see what comes next.

    Czcibor just thought:
    Worked quite hard on that one. Has a sharp edge.

    (Sentinels): Sekeres says, "We should begin with the smallest of our number."

    (Sentinels): Sekeres says, "If that appeases you, Prideleader?"

    (Sentinels): You say, "... this is going to be messy and, if we chose wrong, I'll buy all of us a
    pint."

    (Sentinels): Karistan says, "If you need a sacrifice, I'm willing, Prideleader."

    (Sentinels): You say, "Y'know, sod it. I'm buying all of us a pint anyways."

    (Sentinels): Sekeres says, "I'm still getting sauced to add to the mess."

    (Sentinels): Mahar says, "I'm just happy to be a part of it all."

    (Sentinels): Valorie says, "I... don't think I like the idea of starting with the smallest. I-...
    uh. Just. Go ahead and behead me?"

    You have emoted: "Oh, on with it, then!" Iesid grunts out as he produces a jewel-encrusted
    sacrificial dagger from a nomad's coat of unstable midnight hues. The Seer turns the wicked edge of
    the knife toward himself, though he pauses at something unheard.

    (Sentinels): Valorie says, "Unless we prefer spinecutting to beheading, I'm not sure how practical
    it'll be here."

    You say, "Our Speaker is first, then."

    (Sentinels): Sekeres says, "Fair enough, I was considering speed."

    Valorie kneels onto one knee, demonstrating her humility and respect.

    (Sentinels): You say, "Well, I don't lop off heads - but a spinecut should suffice, aye?"

    (Sentinels): Valorie says, "It does the job all the same."

    (Sentinels): You say, "Let's make it quick, then. Don't waste your curatives."

    [Iesid kills a passive Valorie.]

    A flare of bright red blood surges from the mural, eyes alight - and then a roar echoes throughout
    the whole of the crypt.

    Holding up its hand, an ancestor spirit of the Bear clan says, "You have chosen wrongly."
    Elene's withered tongue escapes from the confines of her mouth, wetting her ichored lips.

    Elene's gaze flitters towards the pool of blood before the mural, before trailing upwards to the
    Pridemates gathered.

    (Sentinels): Karistan says, "Question...must the sacrifice be of blood, or perhaps the sacrifice is
    of something else?"

    Czcibor just thought:
    I never noticed how horrible her tongue actually is. Wonder why it's worth so much.

    Saidenn's ears fold back briefly as the roar echoes, but then he exhales a soft growl. The response
    of the mural and an ancestor spirit of the Bear clan has his interest, although his nostrils flare
    to take in the vivid scent of spilled blood, leaving his tongue dragging along his lower lip.

    Khimaira Haven Locke of the Black Sun says, "Perhaps the trial is to embody Segaie and kill a clan
    leader or a member of shadow as the story foretells."

    Verdantgard Valeria murmurs something softly to Haven.

    Khimaira Haven Locke of the Black Sun murmurs something softly to Valeria.

    Verdantgard Valeria murmurs something softly to Haven.

    Czcibor Svin asks, "Segiae killed many in her battle, no?"

    Illidan Aresti-Te'Straif says to Haven, "Let the Sentinels undergo their trial. We should simply
    bear witness."

    Khimaira Haven Locke of the Black Sun says to Illidan, "Apologies. I was inspired by the power of
    kinship among them."

    (Sentinels): Sekeres says, "New plan. Seeing as we're being told what to do. How about we go with
    the original plan of the Prideleader's sacrifice?"

    "unicorns," Lin exclaims, turning to leave without explanation.

    An ancestor spirit of the Bear clan glows bright, even as the red light begins to fade - a pinkish
    cast suffuses its shape even now, and it licks its lips as though to clear them of blood. It gazes
    down at the growing pool of blood, and the corpse that is its source. "There is a last bit to the
    story of Segiae, though she is long dead." Its eyes lift, and it looks to the remaining Sentinels.
    "The Hunter appeared to the clans, and reprimanded all of them for their shortsightedness - their
    foolishness. At last, by His divine word, they understood the depths of their folly, and swore an
    alliance by the symbol of the open triad - the three-branched knot."

    An ancestor spirit of the Bear clan says, "The Wardens were formed in the wake of the Ithmian
    battle, comprised of the greatest warriors of all three clans, and they were set to guard the crypts
    and the bones that lay within. The first set, of course... belonged to Segiae herself, and they were
    interred with the White Bears."

    "In older days, perhaps, such a sacrifice might have been looked upon as good and necessary - but
    that's the same mindset that nearly led to the Ithmia's downfall." an ancestor spirit of the Bear
    clan's eyes are blinding, now, so brightly they glow - and the mural at its back is alive with
    motion and radiance, the spirits within clamoring for a better view of the assembled Sentinels.

    An ancestor spirit of the Bear clan says, "You are not to perish by your ways. You are to *live* by
    them."

    You have emoted: Iesid's head moves in a mechanical motion, understanding slowly dawning on his
    face.

    Valeria just thought:
    Live by what, spinecuts?

    Saidenn just thought:
    Needless bloodshed is not the Rhythm. Each death is meaning, each cut a purpose. To live is to hunt,
    and to hunt is to know Life.

    There is dawning enlightenment quietly seeking its expansion across Elene's features. Silvery
    tresses shift and curl across her shoulders. Her gaze finds itself upon an ancestor spirit of the
    Bear clan.

    Karistan rubs his chin thoughtfully before nodding in understanding.

    Elene just thought:
    To worship the ways of the Hunter does not mean one must sacrifice blood. It is the hunt, the
    pursuit of all He embodies, that matters.

    Valorie glances towards the staked corpse of herself before sniffing softly and crossing her arms
    over her chest as she takes her former place next to the rest of the Sentinels.

    Elene just thought:
    Blood is worthless, without meaning attached to its offering.

    Saidenn's eyes flick toward Elene, as if a moment shared, and he nods subtly, a purr escaping his
    throat.

    Sekeres remains silent, the angles of her face softening as her eyes move to the mosaic behind the
    spirit.

    Saidenn just thought:
    A life is taken to feed, not to sacrifice and let the flesh rot. A life is taken in glory to the
    hunt, and then the life is given meaning through the act of the Hunt, and the life it gives back in
    its flesh, its hide, its bones and sinew. A death without meaning is no glory to the Hunter or His
    Rhythm.

    Elene just thought:
    [Her mind shifts, the strands of thought aligning themselves across the surface of her mind. It
    settles in clarity.].

    Haven just thought:
    "Where is my tinderbox..."

    "Nevertheless," an ancestor spirit of the Bear clan grants - a smile showing in its previously
    severe expression as it nods to Valorie and you, "Your willingness to die for one another, though
    tragically misplaced, speaks to a camaraderie that was sorely lacking in the time of your
    forebears." Its edges have begun to blur and fade, melting away toward the mosaic, the bones, and
    the stone and mortar of the crypt. "The trials were not to succeed or fail. They were for you to
    learn. And learn you shall, Black Ravens, and inherit the knowledge that is your right." It bursts
    asunder into starry motes, then, lost to apparent sight. The mosaic begins to dim, and with many
    voices, it whispers one last word: "Goodbye..."

    Saidenn's eyebrow whiskers lift as he studies the Pride, moving from face to face, as if attempting
    to discern understanding. His paws clasp around his middle, lightly plucking at the fabric of a
    draped jacket of the Mejevsavelnel.

    You feel a thrum of understanding begin, someplace deep and primal. It creeps from your gut and
    along your limbs, sparking new and spontaneous thoughts within your brain. You sense potential that
    wasn't there before... a capacity for violence that was only dimly present prior. The voices of your
    ancestors speak within you, and their secrets are many.
    LinRazmaelElene
  • EleneElene Member Posts: 245 ✭✭✭✭
    I actually really liked the story that the ancestors shared about Segiae, and I'm glad you guys didn't chase me off. It was interesting!
    Iesid
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