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Echoing Memories - Rikoshi's Ironclaw Campaigns' LiveJournal:
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|Friday, February 4th, 2005|
22 Frost 884
The storm has passed, and we have finally returned to Triskellian. Our enforced vacation at Manse Du Mercueur was most pleasant. The long and private conversation 'twixt Xiefeng, Monica and myself resolved much that had been left unsaid and unsettled. Now, however, I have much to do, and much I have left undone in my journeys. With time at a premium, I shall endeavor to record my thoughts with both greater brevity and greater frequency.
24 Frost 884
Today, I conferred with Marguerite and Kolenka about my notes on the Orange Magics
. Annushka has transcribed the fragments I have uncovered, along with my personal notes bringing them into a semblance of systematic coherence. Marguerite thinks that it will take only a little work to derive a full treatise on the subject. Kolenka, as is his wont, sees little use in magics devoted to calming and restoration. He opined that such matters be left to the wielders of White Magic, and in terms not at all flattering to the devotees of S'allumer. I really must introduce him to young Lord Tybalt.
More importantly, however, Marguerite thinks that these magics may be key to helping poor Shen Yi, and has agreed to assist me in his rehabilitation -- particularly while I am journeying to Zhongguo to meet Ling Xiefeng's parents and ask for her hand in marriage.
Kolenka did propose the use of Lucid Dreaming and Bind Shade to attempt to extract Shen Yi's personified Madness as the late and unlamented Viktor did with Lady Amalsand's Corruption. I see that, however, as a course of last resort. I do not think that his madness is so simple a thing as to be caught in a weave of green and purple threads -- nor do I think that we will do him a service by restoring him to rationality without helping him to endure the memory of those events that shattered his psyche.
25 Frost 884
My investigation of the murder of Norton Eastborn of Dunwasser proceeds, but slowly. Contacts and inquiries have gone unanswered; I hope that I have not let the trail go cold.
26 Frost 884
We dined with Tamurello the Moneylender this e'en, and much wine was consumed over several courses of the finest insectivore cuisine. Tongue loosened by Lord MacWendellton's finest vintage, he confessed that the burden of the Rinaldi Estate weighs heavily upon him. The curse and the hauntings played havoc upon his high-strung nature, and three years of taxes have proven taxing indeed, all the more since the Estate's lands lie largely fallow, with little or no income forthcoming. He expressed regret that he had ever taken the lien out on the property.
I noted, for my part, that his business acumen was impeccable; with the exception of the Rinaldi estate, his transactions almost always netted him a secure profit -- and one could hardly fault him for a deal sent awry by a grisly and unforseeable slaughter.
Xiefeng, in halting Calabrese, expressed regret for interrupting and further regret at her naïveté concerning Calabrese customs, and then asked why Tamurello did not find some reasonable excuse to make a gift of it back to Don Fabrizio.
Of course, he looked at her as if she were as mad as Shen Yi.
I observed that Don Fabrizio is a man of insight and wisdom, but he is not a man of business. The fortunes of the Rinaldi are the fortunes of Triskellian finance, and the affairs of the Rinaldi need the insight of one versed and immersed in those pecuniary realms. I suggested that, should he regain the deed to the great Estate, Don Fabrizio might see fit to appoint someone of sufficient perspicacity to oversee not only the management of the great Estate, but the financial matters of the Great House itself.
He found the notion... intriguing. I am certain that the squandering of the Rinaldi assets has long grated on his orderly, efficient mind, even as he himself took advantage of the opportunities Don Fidelio's prodigal habits provided.
As it stands, he is currently obligated to pay the taxes on the property, and yet his legal right to exploit it is contrained by his status as a commoner. He has all the responsibility, yet none of the authority. As Chancellor of the Exchequer, his position would be almost precisely reversed: he would have full authority over the property, and the other properties of the Royal House, but the taxes and upkeep would no longer erode his personal profits.
1 Night 884
An unexpected revelation in the case of the Unfortunate Mister Eastborn! I must make a more detailed entry later.
3 Night 884
Tamurello has decided to make a gift of the Estate to Don Fabrizio on the Feast of Praelûcidia, in celebration of the season and of the Don's upcoming nuptials.
7 Night 884
My simple request for an exorcism of the Estate seems to have triggered a cascade of repercussions within the hierarchy of the Cathedrale. Amalsand's actions and their aftermath weakened the already-precarious prestige of House Rinaldi, and there are those in the Church who feel that a ritual that would serve to repair the reputation of that "decadent" House might not be in the best interest of S'allumer, that the Faithful might better be served were the Foxes to pass their waning power onto a more... zealous... Great House. Others still loyal to the descendants of Luzia and Constantine, for whom Blessed Helloise sacrificed herself, disagree.
In truth, the exorcism is redundant, since the power of Sir Roen's Autarch blade has purged the corruption from the place. Oddly, when I made casual mention of that, and expressed hope that a public announcement to the effect might mollify the fears of the people even in the absense of a proper Churchly cleansing, most of the objections faded into silence.
A mass will be held in the chapel of the Estate on the final night of Solacia, the holiest night of the year, celebrating the Triumph of Light.
|Wednesday, August 18th, 2004|
It was a dark and stormy night...
Manse Du Mercueur
18 Frost, in the Year of Our Lady 884
The flight from the Wall to Manse Du Mercueur was grueling. We were fortunate to depart when we did, for on the second day of our flight, cold air sweeping down from the north collided with the milder, moist air from the Bay of Auvrich. The storm fell upon us in the last hour of our journey, depositing a pair of besoaked, bedraggled, and less-than-baronial Bats at the threshold of that estate near the end of the Matins.
Despite the unfortunate hour, the disarray of his domicile and the lack of any household staff of which to speak, Lord Tybalt's hospitality was more than equal to the task. Ling Xiefeng and I soon found ourselves warm, dry, bundled in comfortable blankets before a roaring fire, and plied with hot, hearty stew, fresh, steaming bread, hot toddies, hot coffee, and
mulled wine, and, of course, honey cakes.
With such attentions, the storm became less a threat to life and wing, and more an exhibition seemingly presented solely for the entertainment of this band of friends and comrades. We found ourselves laughing at the thunderclaps and thrilling at the lightning as we watched the flashing spectacle through rain-spattered panes in one of the mansion's many libraries. Xiefeng told us of the magnificent fireworks displays of Zhongguo, and we all reminisced about the squall that buffeted Captain MacNair's ship for three nights and two days on our voyage from Iriomote to the Corsair Islands.
By the time we adjourned, the rain had lessened, and a gradual lightening of the clouds hinted that dawn was not far distant. As Xiefeng and I ascended to the attic, Tybalt accused me of attempting to make good on my promise to nudge the members of our merry band toward a more civilized nocturnal schedule, after being forced to endure the light of day for the long months of our travels.
I, of course, protested my innocence... most unconvincingly. Current Mood: content
|Friday, August 13th, 2004|
E'er beneath a waning moon...
15 Frost, in the Year of Our Lady 884
My adventures have kept me away from home for far too long. I had not realized how much I missed these cool, sun-free grottos. Xiefeng tells me that she has seen nothing to compare; like our Repense cousins, most of the Bats of the Chu Province dwell in towns and villages little different than those of the wingless. There are a few small cliff-villages, I gather, and the occasional temple or nobleman's fortress -- but no community of this size, no caverns of such depth and complexity.
Nor, she insists, of such beauty.
She seemed particularly enamored of the More-bez-Solntse, that vast, cold, sunless lake, with the hot springs flanking it, and luminous larvae spangling the ceiling like stars amidst the baroque curtains and columns.
It is no mean feat to charm both Grigorii and Miroslava, the Count and Countess Zvonimir; and yet, Ling Xiefeng, being Ling Xiefeng, has managed the feat handily. She made splendid use of her year and a half, outlining an elegant plan to establish an interconnected trade combine between the interests of House Ling and those of House Zvonimir. (How strange it is to realize that she was planned for the time of our reunion months before we actually met!) Even without the air of preternatural acumen that foresight gave her, her delightful charm and keen wit would have won them over; no surprise, truly, for I knew from the moment I met her as Saruto that she would win their approval.
I am certain Father suspects that there is more to our story than "Dashing Young Diplomat Meets Exotic Merchant Princess On A Distant Island", but he has discretely said nothing. Whatever he might conjecture, he has given us his blessings and approved of our union.
Hopefully, Baron Ling will prove as amenable to this outlander who dares woo his daughter.
I regret that Nerenni could not accompany us aloft. I hate to leave him all but bereft of communication in our absence, but even were he somehow able to ascend the Wall, Geoffre Martel is neither comfortable nor safe for those groundbound and earblind. We have left him in the care of Tybalt, Daryl and Monica at Manse Du Mercueur for the duration of our brief soujourn; perhaps Tybalt's insights into the Anasthasian mysteries will allow him to speak with the lad. I look forward to resuming our tutelage -- he is a quick study, and, indeed, it will not surprise me if he manages to assimilate some few words of Calabrese even with no common language shared with those around him.
Before our departure, I set my people to uncover whatever they may about the poisoning of Norton Eastborne. My associates and acquaintences include several more adept at such investigations than myself; nor would it be seemly for His Majesty's Ambassador Without Portfolio to take overmuch interest in the demise of an undistinguished student, even in the Inn which he himself frequents. I fear, however, that on my return, I shall have to involve myself more directly in the inquiry. Perhaps Lord Tybalt would be willing to assist, if need be; I am certain his thaumaturgic knowledge would prove invaluable.
I regret that this visit must be so brief, but much awaits us back in Triskellian. Already, alas, the weather is turning cold and chill winds blow from the Rothos. If we do not return shortly, winter storms may make flight impossibly dangerous. We shall stop at the Monastary at the base of the cliffs for a day's respite, and then impose once again on the hospitality of our dear Viscount Du Mercueur. Current Mood: rejuvenated
|Thursday, August 12th, 2004|
In the Aftermath
At last, our long journey has ended. Like the heroes from some over-spun ballad or winter's tale, we have averted a magical catastrophe of incalculable magnitude. We have unraveled ancient secrets and glamours literally antediluvian. Our efforts have undone millennia of Autarch meddling, and insured that those most directly affected would live out their natural alloted span. I, myself, have found True Love in a Beautiful Lady from a Magical Realm.
In the legends and tales told 'round the winter fires, Our Heroes would now live Happily Ever After, free of care or worry or woe.
This is no legend, alas, and I, at least, am no legendary champion. The world turns; the seasons change; life goes on much as before, and only a few dozen in all the Revealed World realize that all these things might have come violently to a halt.
So it is that the world now insists in all innocence that I have neglected it, and demands my attention. Nearly two years of voyages across the seas and over the land and across pathways I cannot begin to describe have drawn me away from the duties of rank and title, and, while my people have handled my affairs admirably, I have far too much before me to allow myself the rest one would assume the saviour of the world might deserve.
Happy I most assuredly am, with Ling Xiefeng by my side, but hardly care-free. And to think that Dierdre was concerned that I would grow bored!
His Majesty Don Fabrizio took "Lady Saruto's" new persona in stride, it seems, holding any surprise he might have felt in reserve until I had completed the story of our soujourn to the Asternal of Zashikor and Ilandru, and the ruins of the True Asternal beneath the waves. On hearing of the Glamour that maintained that Hidden World, and its resolution, and the implications of that resolution, he seemed... nonplussed.
"Sometimes I wonder, Nikulai," he confessed, "if I have truly escaped the curse of madness set upon me; if all this -- my life; my throne; the Lady Vanessa -- are no more than the dreams and delusions of that tragic, mad wanderer." He smiled wryly, and added, "Tales such as this, from such an impeccable source as yourself, accompanied by such compelling evidence of their truth, do little to reassure me."
Happily, one of the duties set before me is no onerous task. No doubt rumors and tales of my intended fiance have reached my parents' ears repeatedly in the months since "Lady Saruto" returned with me from Asternal. I would be most surprised if, during her weeks in Conscient, Father Zhiro had not mentioned her in his frequent correspondences. Hence, on the morrow, my lady and I shall travel to the Walls of Calabria and my family's estates in the caverns of Geoffre Martel, that I may at last properly present her to the Count and Countess Zvonimir. Current Mood: exhausted
|Sunday, August 1st, 2004|
From the Journal of Darryl Kilkenny
17th Flower, 881
At the behest of my Lord Emeric Thistlegrass, I have been sent out from the manor to go to the Great Scriptorium at Conscient. While I confess that it is a relief to get out and away from the solemn walls of his house, I do wish that my lord had perhaps shown better judgment in selecting the men to escort me along the road.
Certainly, they are not bad people, and I definitely do not fear for my safety with such obviously physically capable in charge of it. But Lord Emeric is a bit of an eccentric sort, to be sure, and I believe that this fact shows itself plainly when inspecting those ordered to accompany me. They are men of arms and not men of letters, and I fear that my ability to make even simple conversation is very much crippled, due in part to my own intellectualism getting in the way. I fear that, by the time we reach Conscient, that their patience with me will have long since dwindled.
It is only a few more days, though, before we arrive, and I do delight in the prospect of spending some time in Conscient. This will be my first time to the city, and indeed, my first time to an institution of learning other than Dunwasser. I do worry that the prevalance of men of the cloth might engender a sense of awkwardness, but I believe that any such feeling would be far outweighed by the excitement I shall at being there. At the very least, I shall not have to endure the company of my 'bodyguards' while persuing my scholarly duties. I imagine that they, for their own parts, can certainly find something suitable to do, in the meantime.
I wonder if I have the conscience to dilly-dally in my research. Or, rather, if I can bring myself to pretend that it is taking longer than necessary to find suitable texts to bring back with me for further study. I am in no rush to return to my lord's manor, and while he does treat me kindly, for sure, I often wonder if he considers me something of a pet, a bauble to be appreciated for the funny things that I can do. Perhaps, upon returning with a load of tomes and scrolls, I can cloister myself off for several days and avoid much contact with him and his staff.
Such a dreary thought that is, though. I have perhaps never been the most social of entities, but a city like Triskellian, I think, is far better suited to my nature than some noble lord's estate. Naturally, however, it is not my place to complain, and I am sincerely thankful to have Lord Emeric as a patron and benefactor in the first place. It is rare indeed to find one of wealth and position who is quite so taken with a young man for his ability to read texts in Xenophonia and to give discourse on the reconstructed history of the wizard-kings themselves. For such an individual to be a blooded baron of the Avoirdupois makes me wonder if I have not fallen asleep and found myself victim to an oddly convincing dream.
For now, though, I shall not worry myself with Lord Emeric's eccentricities. A perplexing man is he, to be sure, but a good-minded one. I am thankful for the opportunity to visit the Scriptorium at all, and with his written orders, I am sure to have access to some fantastic materials indeed.23rd Flower, 881
Oh, this place is truly more magnificent than anything I imagined! While Lord Emeric's library is certainly boastworthy in its own right, and while the halls of Dunwasser are amassed with the greater wealth of this island's academic knowledge, the Great Scriptorium is just fantastic in its charm, its atmosphere, and its unique treatises and texts.
My fears as to the presence of clergy were certainly unfounded, it would seem. The evening after I arrived, I had the pleasure--at his instance--of dining with the Most Reverend Father Zhiroslav ('Father Zhiro,' as those close to him have apparently taken to calling him). I had not believed that a city like Conscient could contain a gentleman with such a love and zeal for fine wine, sumptuous desserts, and a head for the esoteric. Truly, I have not had such an engaging evening of conversation since I left Dunwasser, and I am trying very hard not to think of my inevitable return to Manse Thistlegrass. Happily enough, the Scriptorium is quite immense, and I shall certainly not have any problems convincing the armsmen to allow me to stay several extra days to ensure that my perusal for texts is thorough enough for Lord Emeric's liking.
Still, I am saddened for other reasons as well. The academic world itself, I feel, is where I thrive. Under Lord Emeric, I fear that I am little more than a solitary scholar, made to pore through dusty tomes that--while interesting--are things that I would rather share with a colleague (or, preferably, a close and like-minded friend) than with a whimsical patron. Still, I refuse to allow myself to rely upon my part of the Kilkenny family fortune in staking my claim. And perhaps Lord Emeric's fanciful capriciousness will lead to my being let go to find something else for myself. I am sure that, if the need were to arise, I could be able to find a place for myself here in Conscient.
In the meantime, however, I do at least still have my research. Recently, Lord Emeric's focus on the Autarchs themselves has shifted slightly to their self-styled successors, the Anathasians. While Dunwasser does play host to a large Anathasian order itself, it is the history
of Anathasia that has so enticed my lord's fancy of late, and I do agree with his notion that the Great Scriptorium is a far better place to search for such information. The haughty religious overtones of their texts is a bit much for my own personal tastes, but I cannot speak too much ill of S'allumer, for their record-keeping is certainly impeccable.
I shall content myself to enjoying my studies a bit longer before I begin to allow more worry about the rest of my future. And, sometime in the course of the next few days, I should ask Father Zhiro if the cakes he had at dinner were baked by his own staff or purchased from some local bakery; I do so very much hope that it is the latter. Current Mood: tigery
|Sunday, July 11th, 2004|
Loose Ends, Addendum.
Lest we forget:
- What force restored Monica to life? Dead for five centuries, re-animated by Amalsand's dark forces, masked from the scrying magics of the Church by the power of the Nexus Points -- and then, suddenly, a day's sail from Calabria, the breath of life restored, in defiance of all thaumic or theurgic understanding.
- Could simply leaving the proximity of the island somehow have freed her from her undead state? I confess that makes little sense to me. One would think that, were the energies holding a revenant between Life and Death so bound to the land, then if distance should dissipate them, they would gravitate toward the latter state and not the former.
- Could the Spirits of Iki-Ma and Iriomote somehow have restored her life? If so, how -- and why?
- While the powers of Asternal were... oh, Truth and Beauty. That could be it. When she and her fellows were slain in the Paludestris those centuries agone... they would not be missed. And that is precisely when and how Asternal would draw inidviduals from Reality into its dream, to serve its ends. When Praswin ended the Great Spell, it placed those subject to it "where they belonged" -- and not only those who had dwelled within the Kingdom of Illusions itself, as the fate of Dierdre's people reveals.
Perhaps Monica -- the true Monica, the living Monica -- was plucked from her "ending" 500 years ago, and restored to us on that vessel, "when she ws needed". Indeed, her living blood provided the key to the Pons Aetherium.
But were this true, then who was that revenant that Amalsand roused, who traveled with us those long months, and whose memories our breathing Monica seems to share uninterrupted?
Heretofore, discretion has kept me from broaching this subject to Monica herself; perhaps it is time that I should overcome that reluctance. Current Mood: confused
|Wednesday, July 7th, 2004|
Translated from the Night Script
We have accomplished much in these last few hours; more than I would credit myself, had I not been present for it all. I am staggered by the enormity of the events that occurred on the other side of the Western Portal, in that chamber beneath the sea in which those imprisoned Autarchs sustained their self-imposed penance.
Alas, unlike the tales of bards and minstrels, we who have saved the kingdom -- if not all of Monderevele -- cannot yet live "happily ever after". Too many questions remain unanswered, too many tasks remain unresolved. I feel that I should scribe these thoughts, lest in our exhilaration we leave some vital matter unresolved.
- Where is Amalsand Jakoba? I find it almost within the realm of possiblity that the Shades haunting the Rinaldi manor might find their Debt of Honor to be appeased the imprisonment of Amalsand's power lust, and the remorse felt by the woman who remains -- but I do not presume that such a resolution will truly satisfy the rightous anger of the dead.
The deceased aside, I KNOW it will not satisfy the Lords of Calabria, the Houses Major and Minor. Nor will it satisfy the common folk. To let her continue to roam uncaught, redeemed or no, will be taken as a sign of weakness in My Lord Fabrizio, an insult both to House Rinaldi and those who hold that house as Leige, even if only by the slenderest thread of grudging pretense.
- What sank Katya's vessel?
- What of the other Morrignu in the Rothos mountains? For that matter, what of Talis, and the massacres he ordered and committed? As the rush of relief at the resolution of such weighty matters has ebbed, my willingness to absolve such atrocity has ebbed with it.
- Who is the Voice of the Lady?
- What are the "Uber-Morrignai"? Where did they come from? We've encountered TWO of them, and they don't seem connected to Asternal or the Morrignu. Were they just... random encounters?
Other thoughts and musings...
We initially assumed that when the Spell of Asternal ended and returned her populace to the "appropriate" times and places, that meant the times and places from whence they hailed, or those times and places where they would have been had their lives not been diverted by the events that "lost" them in the Kingdom of Illusions. I do not think this is invariably the case, however. The reports we have collected of mysterious apperances over the centuries often mention people of unfamiliar languages and customs appearing in decidedly INappropriate locales. Rather, the Masters guided them to "when and where they were NEEDED" -- to meet other former Asternali, perhaps, and ensure that the continuity of information continued unimpeded over the millennia.
"Millennia". Truth and Beauty, can they really have records that span that time?
I must see if I can cajole a straight answer from Saruto in these matters. It seems uncannily fortunate that she herself would hail from a time so close to our own. Did she, indeed? Or did the Masters... "adjust"... the time of her return to insure that we could be reunited?
Saruto and I seem to be the only persons present who still understand the Demieltu tongue. My determination to consciously practice the structures and vocabulary of that tongue seems confirmed. I wonder why she can still speak it when Lysander cannot; she was no more native to the land herself than he. Perhaps her patient instruction to me helped fix the language in her own mind as it did mine, making it "true knowledge" that remained when the Great Spell ended.
From all that we have learned, The Great Spell of the Masters of Asternal tapped into the very heart of the world's magic to sustain their Kingdom of Illusions. The arcane resources needed to support a magical weaving of such vast power and intricacy frankly exceed my meager comprehension. If, for ten thousand years, all this mystic might has been directed... "Up", as Tybalt's Thaumaturgic lore suggested... then where will it go now? Will it simply settle into quiescence, like an untapped well? Or will that magic flow into our world unchecked, as water from a mill-dam whose wheel has been removed? Or will it build until it overflows?
If Essential Magic -- the "quintessence" of the Elementalists, perhaps -- does act like a fluid, then what would be the effects of an untrammeled flow into the world? Will magic become more potent, or more readily learned, or will we find ourselves plagued with unnatural creatures like those Ur-Morrignai?
Do these questions even have meaning? Current Mood: contemplative
|Tuesday, June 29th, 2004|
Dining in the Dungeon
It is after dinner on the evening after the battle with Yrina Jakoba atop Iki-Ma. After people retire, Tybalt MacWendelton slips out and makes his way to the prayer chamber behind Governess Tententh-Rúki's palace. He spends an hour in prayer and meditation, letting his thoughts coalesce while attempting to purge himself of the anger and rage he felt earlier on the mountaintop.
After his thoughts have done all that they can for him, Tybalt makes his way down the hillside to the port town below. He purchases foodstuffs to make a hot meal, as well as some Calabrese-style tea, which bears the export mark of an Avoirdupois plantation. Carefully stashing a dagger in one of his boots, the mink heads for the palace's dungeon, where Yrina is being kept.
The guardsmen take note of young Tybalt as he enters, but afford him the respect of a foreign noble personage. Beyond their watchpoint, Yrina herself is unmoving in her cell: bound, gagged, and blindfolded.
Tybalt stops for a moment, letting his eyes adjust to the sudden dimness of the prison cell. Granted, he never expected these places to be the height of modern comfort, yet somehow this is more... harsh... then he had envisioned. He sets his tray down on a nearby table, carefully making just enough noise that the fox knows he is here. "I've brought you something," he murmurs. "I thought you might be hungry?"
Yrina shifts her head up to 'look' at where she hears the mink to be. The look on her face is almost entirely blank, with neither a hint of scowl nor smile. A few long, awkward seconds pass, and then her nose twitches at the scent of food, followed by a very
Tybalt nods to himself, breathing a very
quiet sign of relief. Step one done... now if only everything else will go as smoothly. Stepping up to the cell door, he winces for a moment... in his effort to prevent this from becoming a production, he neglected to ask for the key. Still, nothing a little chanting cant fix...
The door pops open with nary a sound. Yrina's ears seem to perk when it does, though. She shows no other sign of being too alarmed or on alert, though.
In what he hopes is a calm and collected manner, Tybalt picks up the tray again, bringing it inside the cell before closing the door behind him... and locking it anew with a few more whispered words. Nothing showy, nothing fancy, even while his heart beats an interesting staccato inside his chest. Tybalt,
he thinks, you are SUCH a fool for doing this...
"If you dont mind, miss, I'm going to do something about your hands, and then attend to that blindfold? I don't want to touch you if you'd rather not be touched, however..."
Another few seconds pass. Her ears definitely react to the sound of his Tybalt's voice, but her face remains near-expressionless. She does nod again, however, and shifts into a less-slouched position.
Tybalts lips twitch, trying not to let the hysterical nature of the situation get to him... instead, he takes refuge in babble, in between coaxing the manacles to unlatch. "I hope you don't mind me intruding like this, but I thought that you might like a bit of a snack; I know I generally like something light around this time. Not TOO heavy, really, because then it gets hard to sleep, but I brought some tea - chamomile - if you're partial to such things? I thought wine perhaps a bit unadvisible; it's been a long day for us all."
Yrina flexes her wrists once her manacles are free, but other than that, she makes no undue (or improper) attempts to do anything with her free hands. She nods once more at Tybalt's hesitant explanation, and again acquiesces to what he might do next.
Biting at his lower lips, Tybalt does the only thing that he can think of to do, as fleeing like a child isn't an option. Reminding himself that Yrina is more to be pitied then to be feared, he reaches behind her, respectfully loosening the knots of the gag, then the blindfold, but allowing her to actually remove them herself. "I... ah... should I perhaps pour the tea, then? Or are you hungry enough to be able to handle a bit of dinner?"
Miss Jakoba first takes off the blindfold, and then opens and closes her jaw a few times, as if testing the joint itself before daring to speak. "...thank you," she says, eventually, her voice just barely loud enough to be both audible and polite. There is marked resentment in her voice, but nothing so scathing as to indicate that she has any desire to offend. At least, not just yet...
Glancing only briefly at her, Tybalt scootches off to one side of the cell's interior, busying himself with domestic concerns. Hot water is poured into a teapot, cold water into a glass, dinner is portioned out onto plates; a bite for the mink, a more healthy portion for the vixen. "I'm... I'm really not much good at this," he says finally as a means of breaking the silence. "I mean, I'm not here to get you to talk or anything. It's just, you know, dinner. If you'd prefer me to be quiet, that's okay - I know the others say I talk too much, especially when I'm nervous. It's kind of awkward, ya know?"
"You needn't worry about me, lad," she says, with a smooth and even voice. When she's not being haughty and threatening, her tone is almost... soothing. "And you needn't sit on such ceremony, either. The company is welcome." Despite this, though, her eyes are more on the food and plates than they are on Tybalt.
Oh, I'm never one to stand on ceremony, unless the situation truely requires it. Being overly polite, though... now THAT I can do." Grinning a grin that almost feels honest, Tybalt leans against the corner of the cell, casually being the first to taste everything that he brought... pouring tea for himself, taking a small bite of meat, and a taste of the dessert. He hopes he's being subtle, but he also knows he's rather new at this. "I'm really sorry all this had to happen," he mumbles abashedly. "Are you okay? Ugh... stupid question. Are you hurt? Are they treating you well?" His ears flush red upon hearing the questions coming out of his mouth... Lord Nik would have a fit if he heard.
Yrina starts to eat, first, taking a few bites here and there, before responding. "I am as well as can be expected," she replies, with almost no hesitation in her response. She then takes a swig of water, and continues to eat.
Once again trying to be casual, Tybalt just nods. "Oh," he says simply. "That's... good. I think. Isn't it?" Eyes narrowing in concentration for only a heartbeat, he runs his thoughts through a quick prayer to the Light; with any luck, the rules haven't changed, and it's still not blasphemy to heal a Jakoba.
There's an immediate visible effect on Miss Jakoba; she looks a great deal less haggard and roughed-up. In response to the question, though, she merely says, "It is better than death." She then continues to eat.
"Yeeeeees," the mink manages to get out. "I... ugh. I need to apoligise for earlier. For everything. I don't..." He suddenly sits up straighter, looking fully at Yrina for the first time since this odd conversation began. "I don't regret
protecting my friends, but I'm very sorry that you had to get hurt in the course of it all. And... I'm sorry that I harbored a great deal of ill will towards you immediately after. It wasn't right of me." He lets out a soft sigh, then chuckles. "I'm sure it's all sounding like just so many words, and foolish ones at that..."
The vixen takes another hearty swallow, and points her snout back at at the mink. "You did what you must," she replies, meeting Tybalt's gaze for the first time since removing her blindfold. "Just as I did what I must, in Mother's name."
"I... suppose," the mink muses, crossing his ankles as he settles his weight a bit more comfortably against the walls. "It's what she would have wanted, then? I can't say I've ever had the pleasure of meeting you mother before... well... whatever happened."
"What Mother wants is for her to know," Yrina answers. "I myself have not spoken with her for several years, now, but when last we did, I swore that I would give my all to see that she was on the throne of Asternal, and that she would have her revenge."
"It sounds lonely," is the mink's only reply. "For a while, I didn't know who my parents were... and even now, I don't get to see them nearly as much as I'd like. Just living one's own life can take so much effort, sometimes."
"You strike me as a child who would strive to honor his parents just the same," Yrina says. She doesn't sound like she's trying to convince anyone of anything; she's just stating it as if it's fact.
Tybalt actually grins at that, a bit of a chortle escaping his lips. "Easier said then done," he giggles, thinking of the standards both his biological and foster family have set before him. "But true... and yet, not the whole truth. Is it wrong to want to do things - for people, for places, for me
- and have the honoring one's parents thing be a happy side benefit? There's so much out there in the world, you know? You've probably seen more then I... there's so much to see, learn, and do
"Honoring one's parents is not a side anything
," she replies. That last word is stressed, but she sounds surprisingly unangry. "Duty is duty, and cannot be ascribed to something so simple as something to be done... casually."
"Perhaps it's just my inexperience talking," the mink counters, but calmly. "I know my parents love me, and I know they want me to be happy, to grow, and to seek out my own path. I'll never be able to repay my debt to them, but then, they don't want me to try. They trust me to do what is right, but don't ask
for anything. Then again," he trails off, "My upbringing was rather... unconventional. I mean, my mom wasn't a princess; that sounds like an impressive way to live."
"Mother is an impressive person," is Yrina's clipped reply. Taking the tea, now, she drinks down a few long sips, apparently with little regard to scaling her lips and tongue. "This is delicious," she says, with a flatness that isn't quite deadpan, but nonetheless lacking any 'real' emotion.
Tybalt wilts a little at that, but rallies bravely with another mustelish smile. "Wendell is rather less impressive," he admits in a conspiratorial tone, "But in all the good ways. Mother and Father, though... sometimes, we're so much alike it's scary, and other times, we're totally apart in our methods of thinking. I sometimes wonder what would have happened, had things turned out differently."
"Mother believes that some magicks can cause the past to change," Yrina says. "I do not share her optimism, there. Though, to her credit, she focuses on rectifying the past by instead aiming for the future."
"I think I have to agree with her there," Tybalt muses. "I don't like to think that all that has been accomplished thus far can be thrown away so that people can start over differently. We learn from experiences, good and bad, you know? I wouldn't want to waste that." He pauses for a moment, finally pouring himself a cup of tea and taking a sip. "I suppose if there are specific occurences that were too difficult to bear... one might want to change them?" His tone shifts, becoming rather more gentle, tactful, perhaps realising that we might be treading on dangerous ground.
"Regret is for the weak. Strength comes from accepting hardship and striving on in spite of it. That is where Mother's resolve truly shines." She takes another long sip from the teacup, and sets it down, looking back into Tybalt's eyes.
"Do you love her?" The words escape Tybalts muzzle before he can recall them, and he quickly looks first horrified, then aghast. "Oh sweet Helloise. You don't have to answer that, I'm sorry..."
Yrina seems unfazed by the question, all the same. "Love. Honor. Respect. They are all the same, in that regard. What I do, I do for her, because she needs me. And I do so both willingly and cheerfully."
Glancing down into the 'depths' of his teacup, Tybalt can only nod in an abstracted manner. "I think it's a pity that you two have been so long apart, then. I mean, you all seems so... close, yet you claim it's been years since you've met with her? Do you write, at least? Talk just to talk? I mean, distance shouldn't matter to one with your powers... I don't know... it just seems a little bit sad, that's all."
It is," Yrina replies, and for once, she actually does
sound rather sad at the prospect. "And no. Since ascending to Asternal's throne, she has been... off limts. With her newfound... demeanor, I cannot risk exposing my location, lest she stop the greater plan."
Tybalt looks a bit puzzed at that... "But I thought you said you were helping her get what she wants? Or is she truely not herself?"
"I know not who or what she is, precisely. Suffice it to say that, if she were to seek me out, I would answer her summons gladly. As it is, I know only that the convergence is coming, and that Mother has dreamed of getting revenge on this world for so, so long."
I'm not going to say I can agree with that," is Tybalt's hesitant reply, "But that the same time, I don't agree with someone being compelled to change against their will. That's not really important right now, though... I.... I can't guarentee it, but I might see your mother before you do. Is there any message I can deliver, other then that you'd like to see her? I'm sure she'd love to see you... she seems lonely as well, in that castle. There really isn't anyone she can talk to."
There's a long pause as Yrina considers the question. "You may tell her -- if you wish, of course -- that I did my best, and that I have no regrets." There is another pause, and then she looks AT you more than THROUGH you. "Thank you, by the way, for dinner."
"Oh! It was nothing, really... I mean, it was.... er... the least..." once again, Tybalt lets his words trail off, just grinning lopsidedly at Yrina. "Tybalt de Mercueur, the eloquent," he quips.
Yrina smiles, and it looks to be legitimate. "That name has been on my mind for several years, now," she says. "It is good to put a face with a name. If we both live to see the morrow, then I shall surely recall you as an opponent with honor. Should the tide turn at a later date, I promise that your mercy shall be repayed... Mother willing."
Tybalt smiles back, a real one, not a wry one, though it's perhaps just a little sad. "Thank you, miss," he murmurs. "That really does mean a lot to me - and, though regrets may be for the weak, you'll have to forgive me for hoping that things could someday be different. We disagree on a good many things, but I respect you and your family a great deal. With luck, tomorrow will dawn bright and sunny, and we can decide what paths to forge from there. Is there anything else I can get you? Perhaps I could ask the guards for an extra blanket, a pillow...? I... er..." He glances at the manacles, not even bothering to hide the awkward regret in his expression.
With something of a chuckle (that's not entirely UN-sinister), Yrina says, "Perhaps the dinner was already more than enough. The sentiment is appreciated, though... and noted. But sooner or later, guardsmen loyal to the Governess shall surely come to check on me, and I shan't like to implicate you in abetting my escape."
Tybalt nods, suddenly all seriousness. "I understand. Will you attempt to escape, then? I would be forced to make an attempt to stop you, which I really do NOT want to do. I do not wish to re-bind you, either... but I think we both have to admit the necessity behind that. I really am sorry..."
"No. Honor dictates that I, as the defeated foe, must accept fate for what the victory has in store for me," Yrina replies. "In a moment of desparation, however, I cannot guarantee that the temptation would not be there, and so I fear it is in your best interests to re-bind me, young lord."
Nodding, Tybalt bends down to pick up the discarded wrappings... the cloth of the blindfold, the gag. Folding them into neat squares, he places them into his belt pouch, removing fresh cloth from the same. "Please, miss, just Tybalt. If you'll recall, I try not to stand on ceremony unless I can't avoid it." His tone is light, but still an undertone of regret colors it. They both know this is what they have to do, though neither wants it. "If you might be so kind as to hold your hands out, please?"
Miss Jakoba holds out her hands agreeingly, apparently content to let him do as she has stated he must. "Some things can never be avoided, Tybalt," she says, and her tone is ambiguous enough that it's hard to tell if she means it as a warning, or as a bit of advice from personal experience.
"And yet, miss, avoid them we strive to do, for in the experience we find who we truely are." Gently, yet ensuring their security, Tybalt fastens the manacles, reapplies the blindfold. "Thank you for your company, miss - I enjoyed it very, very much. You're a credit to your family name, and I mean that with no irony whatsoever."
"I have every confidence of that, Tybalt," she says, and then dips her head forward, jaws agape so that he might redo the gag for her. Not much for excessive words, Miss Jakoba seems.
Accepting the invitation with as much grace as possible, Tybaly quickly does just that... striving for balance between comfort and security, he quickly finds why so many people abandon the former in favor of the latter, at least when it comes to prisoners. Eventually, though, things are arranged to his satisfaction... it's a simple matter to gather up the remains of dinner, let himself out, and lock the cell behind him. "Good night, miss," he whispers simply, before heading outside to let the guards know that all is well.
The guardsmen give the cell a quick check and, seeming satisfied, allow Tybalt on his way. There hear no further signs of distress or ruckus from the prison as he exits it.
Sighing heavily, Tybalt takes a deeper breath in and out, staring up at the night sky. Miles to go before we sleep, perhaps, but he thinks he made a first step. "Helloise," he whispers, his soft footsteps carrying him back to his borrowed rooms, "Help me to one day truely forgive her, to understand her. Things would be so much better that way."
|Tuesday, June 8th, 2004|
Ilandru's camp - Asternal - Evening of the Ritual of Speaking to the Land.
I sit here writting this facing the first crisis of confidence I've had in a long while.
Tomarrow, Lord Nik, Diedre, and Lord Tybalt shall very likely make their way to the Capital of Asternal to face Amalsand Jakoba, who the land has deemed ruler. They go with diplomatic intentions. In hopes of perhaps preventing war between Asternal and Calabria.
I cannot go with them. And that decision is probally the hardest I have ever had to make. I have sworn to protect those I am with and the land that I live on. And if there is a glimmer of hope that this situation can be salvaged...then I cannot let my emotions interfer with this trip. And they will, if I go.
I have struggled with the decision and the reasons why.
I know it is possible to make a fatal mistake and still achieve forgiveness. Remi and Cerise are two examples of this. But there is attonement there. Effort.
To have the woman responsible for slaughtering the Don and his Eldest and many servants sitting in a position of power...a position given to her by this very land I sleep on, shakes me to the core. While it may have been the magic of the blade I weild that was responsible for this change, I can't say I feel good about it. How do you reconcile the woman that was, and the woman that is? Redemption comes with a price. And that price is not always paid by the redeemed. Who has paid Amalsand's price?
I cannot honestly say I can sit across from a diplomatic table from Amalsand and pretend to be civil. I am not sure how Lord Nik will be able to pull the feat off. It was his friend she murdered. I have to have faith in the abilities of my companions. Because I do not have faith in my ability to remain rational facing that woman, I make this choice.
If I go along, and I take justice into my own hand, I could be responsible for the destruction of both Calabria and Asternal.
Everything in me screams this is wrong, that there is something clouding our eyes to the truth of this situation. But I do not believe I can convince my companions not to go based on instinct. They each have duty and heart's they must follow. Mine says I must remain behind.
|Monday, May 10th, 2004|
Things I Need To Do In Triskellian
Current Mood: busy
- Arrange confirmation of Master Green & Purple Status at Dunwasser
- Have Annushka copy and index my notes on Orange Magic; present same to Dunwasser
- Discuss our findings in the Former Rinaldi Estate with Don Fabrizio.
- Arrange purification rituals and exorcisms for the Estate.
- Raise the possibility of granting Tamurello the office of Chancellor of the Exchequer.
- Title of the Old Estate would revert to Don Fabrizio, but Tamurello would retain administrative authority-- and a share of the land's income.
- A much better prospect than his current state, where the estate is tallied amongst his assets, and hence, among the taxes and imposts on his business activites.
- Have Council and Constabulary assayed those imposts heretofore?
- Has he managed to meet them?
- Investigate the murder in my own HOUSE.
Comments enabled in main journal
|Friday, May 7th, 2004|
|Wednesday, May 5th, 2004|
A Rough Timeline of Events as They Have or Probably Have Happened
At present, it is the last quarter of the year S'allumer 884.
Included here are dates of things that are Deemed Important for current goings-on. If there's something I've missed, or something I haven't mentioned that you'd like here for reference, let me know.
red text = unverified canon
- ????? - Someone or something creates the Portus Paludestri.
- c. 3100 PS - Asternal and what is now Calabria are engulfed in the turmoil of war. This is the time to which Dierdre's Phelan and Xiu Ling were sent.
- c. 1600 PS - The Age of Merkuon [mink] and Memmina [raccoon]. Merkuon's was one of allegedly nineteen kingdoms that were formed from dividing up Thrane after the Nexus War. Memmina's lands were in the south, including the area of the Portus Paludestri.
- c. 800 PS - The best approximate date for the creation of the tablets which were used to seal the Nexus Points.
- c. 300 PS - establishment of House Rinaldi from the families of vulpine nobles living in southern Calabria
- c. 200 PS - first mention of foreign trade with the Iriomotan port city of Ikitai-Totte (from Zhonggese record)
- c. 15 PS - Dierdre and the other Phelan around the Shenn Charnane disappear, only to reappear some 3000 years in the past.
- S'allumer 1 - The Miracles of Helloise
- 207 AM - official records state that Francisco di Librelli, last patriarch of the Librelli Family proper, is executed. Librelli records indicate that this is the time of the family's final exodus from Calabria
- 215 - 220 AM - Dunwasser scholars' best estimate (based on collaborative sources) for the Lepelúr arrival on Iriomote
- 367 AM - Anathasian researchers (including Monica) are slaughtered in a Church attempt to prevent them from opening the Portus Paludestri.
- 820 - 834 AM - the heyday of Angeline the Black, pirate queen of the southern oceans
- c. 865 AM - destruction of the village of Wenflower in the Lyore Region.
- 867 AM - Lucas and Evrille de Mercueur are stripped of their noble title; the family flees to Iriomote, leaving Tybalt to the care of the orphanage in Lykaemon Coast.
- 871 AM - birth of Bianca de Mercueur
- 879 AM - followers of Bianca Mercuria assemble on the Iriomotan trade outpost of Iki-Ma and found a secret cult nation of the Children of Merkuon. This group includes the governess Tententh-Rúki and her staff.
- 881 AM - Amalsand Jakoba comes to the island and weds Don Fidelio di Rinaldi
- 882 AM - the Five Nexus Points of Calabria are rediscovered simultaneously by the group comprised of Tybalt MacWendelton, Roen of Wenflower, Xiu Ling, and Ilohnaiae, and also by Darryl Kilkenny.
- 883 AM - the true Don Fabrizio di Rinaldi is restored to the throne, after the mysterious death of Lystragones' pretender, unbeknowsnt to the world at large
|Saturday, February 28th, 2004|
Okay, folks, assuming people don't have a problem with it, Gaming is ON
for tomorrow, Sunday the 29th. Same time as last week: from about Noon to 5 or 6:00 PM.
Let me know!
|Wednesday, February 25th, 2004|
|Wednesday, January 14th, 2004|
Okay, guys, you asked for it -- and here it is! A nicely summarized recap of what the party has been doing, what's going on, what it still to be done.Bogus Letters of Marque?:
After leaving Teldecot, parting ways with the now former Princess Bianca and her friends, you all travelled aboard ship with one Roger MacNair, who had 'surrendered' to you under terms that he would help you nab his mysterious finanicer in exchange for his continued freedom. The leads that you had were that his orders and moneys were delivered to him by a weasel who would find him in places along the southwest Bisclavret coast of the island. Implicated by these letters and signets were a few Bisclavret lords, among them the previously-acquainted Baron Gregor MacInness.Tracking Down Those Responsible:
With the help of the now former Captain Miss Katya Jakoba, you all staged a meeting in a boathouse where MacNair was due to deliver some additional 'captives' to his weasel contact for a little extra bonus for his services. It was here that you turned the tables and captured said weasel, wherein one of his own people (the rabbit woman, Cherise) revealed to be less-than-loyal. The weasel turned out to be one Friar Ditello, who (at least nominally) works for one Most Reverend Father Theophitus, an Avoirdupois abbot from lands east. His contacts, apparently, are known to be a young coyote girl, and a short, fat badger gentlemen (stocky even by badger standards).The Plot Gets Chunky:
You left Ms. Jakoba back west with MacNair to hold down the fort on that end (and also to keep criminals out of your midst, and vice-versa). En route, you encountered a Brother Kenneth and his entourage of paladins, who tried first to arrest Dierdre, and then later to levy charges of witchcraft and subterfuge against Lord Niktopolion. Nikulai's magics seemed to reveal that these 'allegations' had been planted into the Brother's mind hypnotically, and investigations later proved that no such actual charges against him (or any of you) had actually been made. Later, Brother Kenneth's outrider (who had been sent along ahead to ride to Ardent to inform the church of this) was attacked and used as bait for an ambush. The apparent 'leader' of this rabble of bandits was an elk who, strangely enough, was actually already dead before the attacks. Most puzzling, indeed...And Just to be Annoying...:
Upon finally returning to Triskellian to make a report with His Majesty the Don Fabrizio di Rinaldi, it was revealed (to nobody's great surprise) that 'Lady' Amalsand Jakoba had evaded death and/or capture once again, through clever use of the equally cleverly-titled 'synech-decoy,' as Nikulai termed it. But hey, at least there was a party afterward.And Onward East:
From Triskellian, you shuffled off to Conscient, in Avoirdupois lands, where the ever-earnest Darryl Kilkenny was presently residing. Conscient happened to be close by to the abbot's monastery, according to what was known, and by what Cherise had said, and letters from Darryl to Tybalt had expressed a desire to meet, anyway, and so the trip was made. Sometime between leaving and arriving, however, Darryl received a letter, from parties unknown, detailing a meeting to be had alone, mentioning that they had his fox as leverage. It is currently the day before the S'allumer Holy Day of Auctumnitia, also known as the Festival of Zeal (perhaps of more importance to Dierdre, this day is also the Autumnal Equinox). This meeting for Darryl is to be held in three days time, in the small town of Hollybrush east of Conscient. The current plan, as had been discussed, was to scope out the town, and then later send Roen on ahead, using Druidic magic to disguise him as Darryl and meet 'as planned,' in order to discern Just What We're Dealing With.
Questions? Comments? Other things that should be clarified? Please do note, ask, and request!
|Wednesday, November 5th, 2003|
(Translated from the Night Script)
Let it suffice to say that if I handled my diplomatic duties with the same style, skill, and aplomb that I have handled my personal affairs in recent weeks, all of Calabria would have been consumed by the flames of war long ago.Gene Pitney: Town Without Pity Current Mood: discontent
|Saturday, November 1st, 2003|
Strange how the night moves...
Translated from the Night Script
In a move that shall surely baffle my friends and allies, I have proposed to Saruto.
"Proposed" is, perhaps, too strong a term. I asked her if she would be willing to accompany us on our return to Monderévélé (from... Monde Inconnu, perhaps?) and consider the possibility of becoming my bride. She has agreed to the former, having trod upon dangerous toes as she worked to preserve her Prince's power... and she does not seem to find the latter disagreeable.
And that is the heart of the matter: while I have known the lady for only a few brief days, I knew within moments of our first encounter in the skies above this spired city that a lifetime with her would not be... disagreeable.
Is this the "love at first sight" found in children's tales? No, not at all. As the heir to the title of Niktopolion, my eventual marriage must benefit the whole of the House of Vauntmere and its interests in the convoluted political landscape of Calabria. I have written before of the dismal matrimonial opportunties presented to me heretofore, the dreary procession of nigh-indistingushable daughters of the Repense, no thoughts in their heads save for the stars and convoluted calculations that have brought their House such influence our neighbors to the southwest.
Saruto is charming, cunning, sharp-witted, and has both a love and a head for intrigue. I believe that the benefits of bringing such a lady into House Vauntmere far surpass the possibility of catching the ear of some petty Bisclavret noble by wedding his pet astrologer.
I think it certain that my grandfather, the Count, will not find such an alliance "diagreeable", either. How could he fail to succumb to her charms?
I laugh just thinking about their eventual meeting. Am I in love? I cannot say. Surely, this lacks the poignant distress of my infatuation with Mistress Monica; to the contrary, I find myself smiling whenever I think of Saruto's coy, beguiling banter. Oh, much of that is artifice, I know; I practice enough of it myself. But that alone is prize enough itself -- truly, we seem well-suited for each other. Is this love? Her company delights me, her complexity intrigues me. Stronger feelings require time to grow, time and nurturing. I like
her. That may not be the stuff of bardic ballads, but I care not. Even if our affections never blossom into that elusive passion, I am certain that a life with her shall always prove entertaining.
I suppose my friends will find me fickle, to embrace another so soon after my lovestruck defense of Mistress Monica on Lystragones's alter revealed my infatuation. For my part, I am glad that my obsession went no further. No matter how intense my feelings for her might have been -- might still be -- she is not a Bat. With progeny between us impossible, marriage would be unthinkable. Such exotic and shocking alliances might occur now and again, should a priest be found to condone them, but never to the heir of a noble House.
I find that the intensity of that passion has ebbed, eased from my heart by my encounter with this enchanting schemer.
I don't know if that disturbs me or relieves me. Current Mood: enthralled