The lingering warmth of summer still holds to the Lost Coast. The temperature and sunshine have blessed Sandpoint and The Swallowtail Festival. Kids scamper about waving brightly colored paper mockeries of butterflies. Men and women alike holler, laugh, and share hearty conversation as others set up food carts, tents, and the like. The occasional guard will walk through, but is often engaged completely in the festivities like all the other residents of the village.
The temple itself, the reason for the enhanced celebration, is brightly decorated with streamers hanging from its walls and flowers blooming from its gardens. The new chapel stands proud and tall, a bastion of faith and religion.
Though the town, especially the square outside of the church, buzz with bustle and activity, a spreading and respectful quiet begins to possess the revelers as Mayor Deverin takes the stage for the opening speech.
The slim woman stands upon the makeshift stage erected in front of the new temple and smiles. She raises her arms out and begins a welcoming speech. Her words are encouraging as she mentions a new era of prosperity for Sandpoint. Her speech is littered with jokes and anecdotes, both raucous and sublime . . .Playwright Drokkus even interrupts to note that his mayor was such an accomplished jester, much to the mirth of the citizens.
The mood does shift, but only for a second, as Sherriff Hemlock reminds people to be safe, and leads the town through a moment of silence for those who lost their lives 5 years ago in the fire. Playwright Drokkus takes the stage and with an impromptu limerick about Das Korvut, lightens the mood. Finally, Father Zantus himself declares the festival underway.
A few magical prestidigitations take effect showering the sky with puffs of animated smoke resembling the holy symbols of the faith. The crowd soon dissipates into eating, drinking, gaming, and general carousal.
The evening before the autumn equinox, Windsight was most of a mile north of Sandpoint, the feathers of an arrow tickling his ear.
The young man was one of four within shouting distance of each other, getting in a last round of hunting for the feast on the morrow; already they had found and slain two bucks, and in the twilight between sun-down and full dark, on a last careful search for game, Windsight had spotted a third standing in the shadows, its five-tined horns glinting slightly. It was that which had caught Windsight's eye, as the buck moved its head to scent the wind for predators. A hunter born and bred, Windsight waited with the arrow drawn, the young man's strength and skill up to the task of holding the shortbow at full draw for the time he figured it would take the buck to make up its mind. If it moved back, Windsight would relax, for the chance at the heart shot would be gone; if it moved forward, he would be able to relax as well, for the arrow would be on its way.
But even a Shoanti must bow his head to time and effort; the buck snorted, stamped, but could not make up its mind. Perhaps there was something it heard on the other side of Windsight; perhaps the scent of the previous two kills' blood was on the sea-wind. These were not Windsight's problem, however; his problem was the fact that his draw-arm was getting tired. Though there was as yet no apparent twitch to the arrow's point of aim (just in front of the beast's breastbone, about where its heart would emerge from behind the tree), he could feel the ache building towards the point where he would have to relax, or loose the arrow - with debatable results.
With calm deliberation, he shifted his point of aim upwards and slightly to the side, striving to match the rhythm of his breath with that of the deer. Everything focused down to that aim point; all of Windsight's attention settled down onto the twenty-five feet between himself and the deer. The flutter of leaves suggested the flittering of a kite's tail; the shift of the buck's ear the way the kite surged against the wind. In the quiet pause between the exhalation of one breath and the inhalation of the next, he shot.
He shot and, pierced through the eye, the deer bucked once, twice, then finally fell, body finally catching up to the brain's death.
Blinking out of the absolute focus, Windsight shook his head to clear it. Never before - well, once or twice, but very rarely, and never in the field - he had made such a perfect shot. Behind him, one of the other men approached, having heard the sound; seeing the downed buck, he grinned and slapped the Shoanti archer on the shoulder. "Erastil and Gozreh favor us today, eh?"
Windsight nodded slowly, flexing his draw arm. "Erastil surely guided that shot," he said, even as the other man approached the deer and whistled, impressed.
"What possessed you to try for an eye shot, boy?" the hunter asked.
"It would not move," he replied, finally emerging from his reverie and moving forward to help dress the deer. Not, he thought to himself, that I would not have wanted to attempt the shot otherwise, but food is the goal today, not the perfect shot. He began to slowly smile, tying the offered rope around the deer's forelegs and tossing the balance over a tree-branch, catching the tail end and hauling the animal upwards for the other hunter to begin a rapid, expert field-dressing.
But it was a perfect shot.
When Father Zantus gives blessings of the six gods of the cathedral, Windsight feels a warmth along his left arm as Erastil is mentioned; the quietly serious young man - even if he is the oldest of the Seven at the cathedral who bear a godsmark, he's still a young man - gives a small smile. He makes his god's gesture. a curve from forehead, along the left side, to just above the groin, then back to the forehead (the bow) then from left elbow to right (the arrow), then a gesture of the hand as if releasing the bowstring, to seal the blessing, then absently rubs the hardened leather thumb-ring he's worn for the last several years. While the draw that uses it is not unique to the Shoanti, nor even dominant there, Windsight has been a fan of it since he had sensitive fingers in his childhood.
He slowly starts to move back up Church Street, trying to decide why he feels off-balance. Ah, that must be it, he thinks, with a glance towards the sun. The order of the day is off. I would be ... finishing up archery practice right now. He considers this for a moment. Maybe a few shots would settle me, comes his surmise, and heads towards one of the doors into the back area of the temple. He wouldn't be tough to intercept, though.
Grabbing up her stuff, Rojava hurries out of the temple and across the square out front. It’s still early morning, and people are just beginning to arrive for the festival. The vendors, who have been working since sunup to get their booths and stalls set up and ready, are mostly finished.
She almost shivers with excitement as she thinks about all the fun to come. The feeling had been building for a few days now. Last night Rojava was too worked up to get to sleep, so she dyed a couple of bands of her hair Desnan blue for the day. Reaching the far end of the square, she heads quickly down the street to where High and Tower Streets converge, and starts setting herself up by the road fork. It’s a good place to catch people as they arrive for the festival, and also far enough away from the temple that Father Zantus won’t hear when she performs songs that he doesn’t really approve of.
The Swallowtail Festival is really Desna’s day, so she has always had some official-ish role to play in it. She would be singing later on today for it. But starting last year she decided to branch out and start adding her own personal touches to the festivities. Rojava takes out and unfolds a large, floppy red felt hat and drops it upside down on the ground. It’s a terribly ugly thing, but it’s for collecting not wearing. Rule of Busking #6: people don’t drop coinage if they don’t see where to drop it.
Just a quick show, three songs, okay maybe four, and then back to the temple square. Nobody will even notice I was gone. Father Zantus doesn’t really mind her performing around town on the condition that she donates any money that she makes to the temple.
After all, you don’t have to pay for your way here and you’re even provided with a stipend for personal needs he's said more than once. Well Father Zantus Sir, the decent rebec I need isn’t ever going to get bought on that stipend, and you just don’t understand the difference it will make for my playing. Besides I always do donate anything I get, minus the cost of a drink sometimes. Mother Moon won’t begrudge me the proceeds of an occasional show.
Rojava warms up her rebec and bow, and thinks about what best to start with. If you want a crowd’s attention and don’t have it yet, go with something familiar and well loved…. Alright, “Harvest Time” should do. She starts playing the opening chords of the song and calls out to the people passing by: Good morning Ladies and Sirs, and welcome to Sandpoint’s Swallowtail Festival! I’m Rojava Brishen, Lady Desna’s concierge, and I’m here to lighten your steps on the way to the grand new temple! It’s early yet, so stop for a moment and listen to some music!
With that she launches into “Harvest Time’s” lyrics. A few people stop to listen to the familiar and cheerful tune, and they draw in a few more curious passersby. Rojava strolls over to about 10 feet away from the collection hat. Rule of Busking #8: Don't hover over the collection container. It scares the shy ones off from adding something.
With the first song’s mission accomplished, Rojava launches straight into her next song. It is a jaunty, comedic, and slightly racy number about drinking too much applejack and waking up in strange places the next day. Father Zantus really doesn’t care for this one. She has this song down cold. It’s several months old now and Rojava knows it is a crowd pleaser, perfect for getting people’s blood pumping.
She scans the crowds’ faces as she saws on the rebec tucked into her shoulder and sings her description of meeting a man she could have swore was Cayden Cailean himself until the next day's light, and then well… never mind. She locks eyes with a good-looking young man who’s watching in the crowd. Rojava widens her smile just a tad and shoots him a wink.
Rojava’s voice is lower and smokier than her appearance would suggest. While not slight of build, her contralto and volume are what one would expert from a larger frame. Her youth and buoyancy belie the earthy richness of her voice. She can sing a song clean, but she thinks there’s not much life in a song sung that way. She prefers to do it with a little rasp in her voice.
At the song’s end, Rojava gives the crowd a small quick bow and chirps out to the crowd's scattered applause Thank you gentle Ladies and Sirs for the coins you have dropped, or will drop, into the hat! Your gratuities.., uh, half your gratuities go directly to the temple!
Rojava’s pitch is cut off by a snort of laughter over to her right, at the edge of the crowd. She shifts her eyes in that direction, and finds herself looking at her double. Well, her double if she were buffer and had long hair. Rojava squeals Fran!, and runs over to throw herself onto her sister.
Francesca takes the weight of her sister’s pounce easily. Hi there little sister, nice show she says as she places Rojava back on the ground.
I knew you’d be coming! Where are Mom and Dad? Hey sis, you’ve gotten really hard. That was like hitting a wall. All that weapon swinging and mule skinning huh? Show me your muscles.
Fran ignores that request and throws an arm over Rojava’s shoulders. I came up to fetch you. Mom and Dad are down at the wagon. We’re not staying the day.
Rojava ducks out from under Fran’s arm and gives her a shocked look. What do you mean not staying? I have plans for us! I found a guy you have to meet Fran. She cocks an eyebrow at her sister. He’s really cute too. Rojava looks over to scan the now dispersing little crowd. He was just over there. I think he’s one of the porters…
Fran rolls her eyes and chuckles. Don’t do that Rojava. I mean it, really. Stop. Look, I’m sorry. I’d love to stay, but the parents aren’t having it. They say the good weather isn’t going to hold and they want to get as far east as they can before the roads turn to mud. Fran shrugs. You know how they are about crowds. The last part comes out slightly plaintive, like an apology.
Rojava, wearing a defeated look, sighs and answers Fine, but I can’t be gone more than about an hour. I’m supposed to sing today for the festival and if I’m not there for it I will get absolutely murdered.
Fran starts gathering up Rojava’s things. Hey look, you’ve got a silver and two coppers here she jokes to her sister, trying to cheer her up a little bit. I’ll make sure you get back in time. Let’s get going.
As the crowd disperses, Marcelano heads to his room in the Cathedral. Well, that's it then; all I've got left is to gather my things and say my goodbyes. Abadar guide me he thinks as he looks at his right hand.
As he packs Marcelano begins to think about his friends Windsight and Karina, I wonder what those two are going to do now? I think I saw Windsight heading to the archery range "Heh, always has to be practicing doesn't he?" Marcelano says quietly with a chuckle.
Though he does have a ways to go as a marksman, he can still fire his bow faster than anyone I've ever seen. He's probably even got more potential than me with that keen eyesight of his; not that I'd ever admit that to him. As for Karina, knowing her she's probably going to be busy keeping Lia out of trouble. He smiles wryly at the thought of Lia. She's been more like a sister to me than my flesh-and-blood sister, I just wish she was more grounded in reality instead of daydreaming all the time. Anyway that should be the last of my stuff. Thinks Marcelano as he heaves the backpack over his shoulders.
He makes his way from the Cathedral to his parent's small house. "Mom, Dad..." he starts to say as he opens the door only to be greeted with a banner that says "Good fortune on your journey Marcelano" with his parents joyfully yelling out "Surprise!"
"W-what!? How did?" Stammered the young man to which his mother replied "I heard that you were feeling down yesterday from that halfling woman that works at the Rusty Dragon while I was out shopping. We figured it was likely because of our little act, sorry dear to put you through that, but we didn't want to burden you with worrying about us. We were certain you'd take the opportunity to go on a journey and figure out what you really want to do; so we set up this little going away party for you as our apology."
"Well I guess I can stick around for a little bit." Replies Marcelano.
Golden light flickered over the aged parchment to Gwyddym's left. His steely eyes flicked over the cramped
Gnomish script, eyes devouring the stanzas of the poem. He had spent the better part of the last three weeks reading through old manuscripts for inspiration for a simple song he had been requested to write by Father Zantus. Nothing marvelous or well studied, but an experiment in songwriting. The Autumnal Hymn, a song honoring Sandpoint and the Six Gods. Hopefully I can do us all justice!
Several hours had passed uneventfully when Gwyddym's focus was broken by a gentle rapping on the door to the library.
Gwyd, it's time to head out to the square. Father Zantus is going to start the celebration soon. Hestian, the temple's newest attendant interrupted softly.
Shelyn, lend me your voice and your step this evening. With all eyes in town on the dedication, I cannot shame you or the memories of those that we lost.
Standing up, Gwyd drapes his light cloak around his shoulders as he rolls up the Varisian scroll and pats Hestian on the shoulder. Thanks lad, I appreciate the head's up. Now go on, you should go have fun tonight. Gwyddym quips happily.
Stepping into the cool autumn evening, he made his way through the square and into the crowd. He watched from under his cowl as Father Zantus honored the fallen and spoke of forgiveness. Finally, he declared the festival open and the festivities began with a fervor unlike the town had seen in a long time. Gwyd slips through the crowd to find a corner to croon on, thanking Shelyn for her gift. He took a deep breath and began moving through simple dance steps as his clear voice carried through the night.
When crisp winds begin in the air
And the leaves fall orange to the ground,
At Swallowtail Festival, all tis fair
As the folk of Sandpoint gather 'round.
Come hear my tale of the Gods counted six.
Let your hearts honor their names
As we dedicate their mortal home of bricks.
Now listen, as we sing their praise.
Oh Judge of the Gods and Master of the First Vault
Sandpoint was restored to safety, by your grace.
Merchants and magistrates, they heed your call.
Abadar, in fair Sandpoint, you'll always have a place.
Now hark ye, Lady Starsong, The Tender of Dreams.
All manner of travelers and gamblers pray for your luck,
Until the ends of time, it does seem.
Desna, by your wish, in Sandpoint our feet shall never be stuck.
Pray thee listen, Old Deadeye, listen.
By your leave, we farm, we hunt, and we trade.
You bless our arrow's flight, while the dew does glisten.
Erastil guide us, and never leave our glade.
The howl of The Wind and the Waves mighty crash,
In your duality we seek to find our balance.
Hear the prayers of our sailors of old and woodsman untold,
Gozreh, let our hearts never know your absence.
Shine down, Dawnflower, The Healing Light.
You shroud us in warmth, your rays curing all which is ill.
Seek to save all unredeemed souls through your holy might.
Sarenrae, like an overrun fountain, we pray your goodness doth spill.
The Eternal Rose, my Incorruptible Eternal Maiden.
Your voice grants me song immemorial and a dance sublime.
Your songbird graces me with a spirit now unshaken.
Shelyn, may your voice ring free and clear for all time.
|Karina of the Flame|
Karina wanders the edge of the crowd, watching the gathered mass of people, both locals and complete strangers. With strangers in town, one never knows who's here for celebration and who's here to cause trouble. She's already caught two scoundrels trying to stick their hands in other people's pockets. She sent them both on their way with a mere slap on the wrist and a warning. Today is a day of celebration, no need to be petty.
As the speeches begin and the mayor takes the stand, Karina relaxes some. She listens to the mayor thank all of the artisans who worked so hard to complete this grand project and blushes a little. Her work is not as noticeable as the stonemasons who's work is the facade that everyone sees, but she is proud of it nonetheless.
When sheriff Hemlock makes his warning to be safe, Karina scans the crowd once again. She remains distracted until Father Zantus finally mounts the stage. As her mentor makes his speech, her attention is focused upon him until the magical entertainment begins. As the revalry finally starts, Karina looks for another of her blessed companions to spend time with.
It is entirely possible - even likely - that Karina will spot Windsight, who also hovers at the edge of the crowd, though without moving; he has less concern about the laws of men than he does about the structure of his own life. However, he'd promised to freely distribute the simple butterfly kites he'd been making the last few weeks (and, he'd said, just as freely teach people how to fly them if they didn't know), but the kites aren't yet in evidence. It's possible he forgot, or maybe (since he's starting to move slowly up Church Street) he's heading there now, to gather them up and head towards the big beach on the other side of town. Karina could catch up to him ...
|Matrim of Shadows|
It has been a year now since Matrim has come to the temple. He has learned about his powers and the god that gave it to him. The one thing he has learned, is that friends come in the strangest places. Though he has never let his knife work fade into his memories, tossing his trusty daggers, he watches as the festival starts to go into full swing this night.
Thinking to himself. "Do not steal from them."
Rojava trudged back up the road toward the Cathedral Square. Good to her word, Francesca had gotten her headed back to the festival within an hour. It had been great to see her family, but their brief visit without staying for the festival left her disappointed and a little gloomy.
Once back at the square, she decided to kill some time by finding some kind of distraction. Maybe some food first. I was too excited to bother with breakfast. I'll find Ameiko's booth. Her spices are divine, and she's always good for a laugh or two..
|Karina of the Flame|
As Karina scans the crowd her eye catches the midday sun glinting off Windsight's shaven head. She winds her way through the crowd, following him towards the practice range. When she manages to get close enough she calls out. "Windsight, did you forget your kites? Want a hand hauling them out?"
When spoken to, Lia, with some effort, drew her attention from the swirls and patterns in her meal, and looked over to her roommates as if she just awoke. The butterfly took it upon himself to answer the Acolytes inquiry:"No...they wanted to come, but Lia wrote them not to. There's no reason to travel all the way to Sandpoint for them!"
"Oh come on, aren't you mopey...Lia, you're their only daughter and they only see you once a year, thats more than enough of a reason!", Kira replied as she moved closer to Lia on the bench, patting her on the back:"Sentimental? Lonely? Or did Flutter give you that idea?", throwing a playfully evil glance at the butterfly.
Lia moved the soup away from herself with an unfocused gesture...she would not continue to eat anyway...and instead focused on her friend. Closest friend, she should say - the other girls were nice, too, but Kira really cared about her:"It's not that, Kira, but something will be different this year. I think something bad is going to happen...and I will not be at the temple much longer."
Kira tried hard to not show that she was worried - Lia still saw it but appreciated the attempt - as she answered:"Silly you. Nothing will happen to you. You're just mixing up bad dreams with a premonition. You'll see, you will be sorry you told your parents not to come!" With a forced smile, she continued:"Lets go to the festival grounds after the meal and get you to cheer up a bit. You've been lost in thought all week!"
The way her friend cared for her was enough to brighten Lia's thoughful mood, and she smiled back at her:"I'm good, we can go right now!" When Kira started to open her mouth, Lia continued:"And no, I'm not finishing my soup, again.", causing both girls to giggle for a moment, as they stood up, returning their dishes to the kitchen and cleaning them.
Minutes later, they were at the festival grounds, checking the artists and attractions that had come to visit for the Swallowtail festival, Flutter sitting motionless in Lia's hair like some kind of hairpin. Soon, Kira found herself magically drawn to a ring-toss booth, with a silver bracelet being the grand prize. Fake, most likely, but still beautifully crafted. Kira handed over some coins and began to toss, while talking to Lia, idly chatting the time away, complaining that her parents probably even forgot they had a daughter and never visited.
She came close to winning, but ONE ring always failed to go on the peg, circling around the top and falling down. Kira handed over more and more coins:"I almost got it...I can do this!", throwing with utmost concentration, her tongue sticking out.
Lia watched her, then flatly stated:"No...not like this." before adressing the operator:"Could I also have a try?", paying the copper pieces and receiving some rings to throw at a different peg.
Lia stared at her rings for a moment, then picked one and handed it to Kira:"And you give me that one!", taking one ring from Kira in return.
While Kira looked at her puzzled, Lia threw her rings carelessly in the general direction of the peg without really trying, then came over and put her hand on Kira's shoulder:"I believe in you, you can do it!", Lia smiled at her...and sure enough, Kira managed to hit the peg with all 3 remaining throws. Grudgingly, the operator handed over the bracelet, and Kira was overjoyed:"Oh, it's beautiful...come on, lets find some sweets, my treat!", moving towards the food stands. When they were a few steps away from the booth, some suspicion ripened in her mind:"Lia, was he cheating? Is that why I could not hit the peg with all rings before?"
Lia just shrugged her shoulders:"Honestly, I have no idea. Could be. Or maybe you were just nervous, and subconsciously thought he must be cheating, and when I gave you one of my rings, you expected to do better and thats why you did hit then. Or maybe it was both. You have the bracelet, right, so there's no reason to worry about it!" Kira stared at Lia's smiling face for a moment trying to make sense of the explanation, then decided to let it go, and the two girls spent the remaining afternoon sampling diverse delicacies on the festival grounds, having fun...
---- Here and now ----
The whole time during the Mayors speech, one of the Cathedral's acolytes didn't care to listen. Instead, wandering barefoot around in the temple garden, she would kneel in front of a batch of flowers for a few moments, stand up, walk to another batch, and repeat the process.
All the while, a small purple butterfly would dance around near her, circling her head, sitting down for a moment, then taking off again to follow some kids waving colored paper mockeries of it before returning to the girl.
When the speech is over, and a few magical effects are displayed in the sky, the girl stands up, staring at the effects with a smile until they fade out, then repeating a few of them, much smaller, much closer, with her own magic, with the butterfly circling her making a game of it to fly through the symbols, making them disappear like colored puffs of smoke.
Laughing at his antics, the girl then focuses on her surroundings. The crowd near the cathedral had dispersed, to partake in the festival.
Looking around for her parents, Lia suddenly remembers that she did have bad dreams about this event...and told them not to come. Her smile suddenly disappears, her thoughts turning to the other people she knew from the cathedral, her...friends?
Kira had done something that had angered Father Zantus, and had to work, cleaning dishes in the cathedrals kitchen. But most of the others would be out there, enjoying themselves. Determined to find them and check on them, Lia starts marching away from the cathedral, towards the festival grounds, following her butterfly Flutter with a brisk pace, eyes focused more on it than the faces of the crowd.
It's entirely likely Lia will simply walk past one of you-
Hearing his name called, Windsight turns, then smiles slightly - which is his equivalent of a wide grin at seeing Karina. "No," he admits, "I was going to get my bow and some arrows. I feel unbalanced, and a few practice shots always help me collect my thoughts. But yes, the kites - I could use the help. Come, with you along I can bring my own as well. Did you want to learn how to fly one today?"
The Acolytes Assemble
As you wander around the crowd paying attention to nothing and to everything another of the Acolytes of Desna approaches you Talene Minly. Dressed in her green gown as usual, slit up her left thigh showing her own Birthmark of Desna. As one of the older Acolytes she usually takes it upon herself to gather the disparate younger Acolytes when they are called upon, her presence her can only mean that Father Zantus is seeking everyone out.
"Lia, please head to the central podium near the Cathedral, Father Zantus wishes us all to be there early so we can stake out a place close by to witness the Consecration!” she smiles and grasps your hands warmly.
Karina of the Flame & Windsight
In response to Windsight’s comment someone interjects, ”No Kite flying today my friends, Father Zantus wants us to head to the central podium near the Cathedral so we can stake out a place close by to witness the Consecration. You two head over there now and I will continue to gather the others”.
Despite being younger than you Windsight there is a commanding presence about Talene, certainly she is a striking beauty in how she dresses but you believe it is due to her ties to local Nobility that have given her a rather, forceful, personality.
Ameiko jokes with you about your sister, ”It’s a shame she has to leave, you are right, that man is rather cute. If she isn’t interested maybe I am!” Se giggles knowing that he is probably a bit too young for her.
Before you can reply, your fellow Desnaean Acolyte Talene interrupts, ”My apologies Ameiko, I have to drag Rojava away for a while. Father Zantus wants us to head to the central podium near the Cathedral so we can stake out a place close by to witness the Consecration. You know how much this means to him with all the hard work we have put in and he doesn’t want anyone to miss out!”
As a crowd gathers to listen to your latest ode to the Gods you see a familiar face cut through the crowd. Talene Minly, Acolyte of Desna. She approaches, ”Beautiful Gwydd, absolutely beautiful! Come on, Father Zantus wants us to head to the central podium near the Cathedral so we can stake out a place close by to witness the Consecration. You head that way, I still need to find a few more of us…”
Matrim of Shadows
The crowd ebbs and flows as the festival is underway. A feeling of being disconnected holds you back from the smiling faces of this place, Do I truly belong here… you wonder. A light touch on the arm brings you from your reverie.
It is Talene Minly Acolyte of Desna, of which there are many here in this Cathedral stands before you. For a moment you are silent, the young woman is truly beautiful, ”Matrim are you listening? Father Zantus wants us to head to the central podium near the Cathedral so we can stake out a place close by to witness the Consecration. I’ll be that way in a few moments you head there now almost everyone else should be there!”
As you celebrate the Festval with your parents your father starts at a knock on the door.
”I’ll get it”, states your mother. ”Hello Talene are you looking for Marcelano?”
”I am”, she replies as your mother lets her in. ”Come on…” her voice trails off at the sight of packed bags near your door. ”Are you leaving Marcelano? Does Father Zantus know about this? Well, even if you are you cannot go yet, he wants us to head to the central podium near the Cathedral so we can stake out a place close by to witness the Consecration”.
As the young Acolytes gather near the Cathedral you all see that Father Zantus has yet to arrive nor have any of the other Clerics or Druids of the Cathedral. However, there is a Bard who has set up a rather elaborate set of instruments to begin a performance.
Feel free to interact I/C. I will update this thread when I return from vacation. Talene, though she has gathered you all together, has also not arrived back at the podium just yet.
Lia will approach close to Windsight, almost, but not quite invading his personal space, bringing her stern face close to his before the frown turns into a smile:"Where's the kites? You promised!"
Inmediately after, she'll circle around him, not waiting for an answer, to check the possibility of him hiding them behind his back to tease her, Flutter circling around him on the other side to cover all angles.
Thanks Talene, I appreciate it. Gwyd says as he waves to the crowd. With a flutter in his step and a song on his lips, he stepped off into the thrum of the crowd.
The colors in the crowd swirled in a kaleidoscopic tempest. Rainbows celebrating the dying summer while oranges and browns heralded the pending autumnal bounties. Gwyd let his eyes roam the massed bodies, soaking in every detail, noting every action he could.
When he finally arrived at the central podium, he could see that many of the other acolytes had not yet arrived. Winding his way through the crowd, he came up to Lia and Windsight, chuckling as Lia circled around the Erastilite. Such a free spirit. Desna surely shines on her.
Ho Lia. Windsight. How's the day? Gwyd quips as he walks up to the pair.
With an exasperated sigh Marcelano gets up from his chair and looks at the young woman with a wry smile as he walks towards his backpack "Guess he didn't tell you, anyway I owe the priest at least that much. Fine, I'll be along in a moment." With that he turns to his father and mother before continuing "Looks like I still have a few duties at the Cathedral before I can leave," it will also give me the chance to say goodbye to the others "thank you both for the wonderful send off." He says before collecting his gear and waving goodbye.
As he approaches the Cathedral, Marcelano catches sight of Karina, Lia, Windsight, and Gwyddym. Noticing that they're already conversing Marcelano quietly waves to the group as he starts moving more quickly towards them.
"I did," agrees Windsight with a thoughtful expression on his face, watching Talene move on in search of the other five, her thigh bared enough to flash the butterfly mark of Desna with each stride.
I can hear my uncle now. "Need to make a decision, boy! You made a promise, but you've been given an order! Going to have to break one of them!!" The thought flashes through his consciousness like lightning, half-formed flickers of memory and structure. And yet, though he would not be right, he would not be wrong. Father Zantus is one I owe, and this is important to him. Yet I made a promise. My uncle would ask whether I follow his instructions, and violate my word, or follow my word, and rebuff his instructions ... when I think it is possible to do both at once. If he wants us there early - all of us - then there should yet be time to redeem my word, as not all of us should have to be there at the same time to establish a place for the group.
"I did," he says with more of his quiet confidence, his thoughts having taken place in but three or five heartbeats. "Lia, will you --" Coming back to himself, as he has, he watches Gwyddym approach and greet only himself and Lia. A long look at the taller but younger man, and he holds a palm-up gesture indicating Karina - 'hey, idiot, say hi to her, too!!' After a moment, though, he continues what he was saying. "Lia, will you and Gwyddym be able to go secure our group's spot for the dedication while Karina and I go to gather the kites? You and I might not have time to teach Karina how to fly one" - here he glances sideways at Karina, a slight twitch of his lips suggesting at his occasional tease of the paladin, that it takes delicacy instead of brute strength to fly a kite - "but at least we can distribute them from the church square."
He thinks about it for a moment or two longer, certainly long enough for Marcelano to reach them, before adding, "Though I might be able to fly my kite from the square ..."
At Windsight's gesture, Gwyd slaps his head to his forehead. Shelyn forgive me for my rudeness! How are you Karina? Gwyd says, a flush creeping across his pale cheeks.
How could I have not seen her there. Stupid Gwyd, your head is always in the clouds around the other marked ones. You need to keep things together. Today especially. Be more like the you that walks the crowds!
With an imperceptible shake of his head, he raises a hand in greeting in response to Marcelano's wave.
|Matrim of Shadows|
Do I truly belong here. he thought as he watched those wander around the ceremonies. feeling the light touch on his arm that draws him back to the real world and out of his deep thoughts. Listening to Talene, Matrim nods.
"Sorry Acolyte. I was just thinking about something." should I tell him about my thoughts... he wonders before dismissing it. "Give me a few moments and i'll head on over." he says as he gets up and wonders into the crowd.
approaching a well dressed gentlemen, he reaches out and grabs the hand of the boy that was reaching for the man's purse. Whispering to the boy "He is a dangerous man. Don't steal from him." he lets the boys hand go and wonders off the join everyone at the Cathedral.
Although they are chatting and joking casually, anyone paying attention could easily see that Rojava is rather in awe of Ameiko. Rojava is doing a decent job at nonchalance, but she is hanging a little too much on the Tien woman's words and her attention is a little too rapt for it to be a mere chat between acquaintances.
She knew it would be coming, but the notice Talene gives her still sours Rojava's mood again. She still gives Talene an acknowledging nod and a smile. Talene's certainly nice enough. No need to kill the messenger thinks Rojava.
She had been busy talking rather than eating so with one hand she grabs up the remainder of her food, and with the other gives Ameiko a wave. Rojava saunters across the square over to where Talene told them to gather while munching on one of the stuffed rice balls she's carrying.
She times her arrival to finishing her food, and as she walks up to join the others she finishes a last swallow. With a forced smile Rojava says: Hello everybody, looks like it's about the time of the festival when the local divine relics get herded up and trotted out for everyone to see. I hope this doesn't take too long.
"Sure, I can secure the area with Gwyddym!", Lia nods, answering to Hudok, before walking over to the bard and his collection of instruments.
A short while later, she returns to the now-larger group with a small set of drums, a violin and an flute, handing the violin to Rojava and the drums to Gwyddym:"If we play them in a really bad way, people will stay away, and the place will be all ours, right? And it will be fun to try something new!"
Looking at Matrim and Marcelano, both of which had joined the group while she talked with the bard, she adds:"Sorry, but you guys are not musicians...you could play well by accident so I didn't get instruments for you!"
Moments after, she starts blowing on the flute...clearly an instrument Lia's not very familiar with, but seemingly wanting to make up for lack of skill with determined enthusiasm.
Perform Wind: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (4) + 2 = 6
|Karina of the Flame|
Karina smiles as Lia joins the group. "The kites will have to wait, we have our duties to Father Zantus right now. We'll have time after the consecration for kite flying." "If I can keep putting it off, maybe I won't have to dig my kite out of the ground again."
Turning to Gwyddym, "That's ok Gwyd I don't mind being lost in the crowd. Today is a day for you performers."
She waves back as Marcelano joins them. "Now we're just waiting for Mat and Rojava. And Father Zantus. Hopefully he won't make us wait long." "And test of patience. Always testing us. The Gods have chosen us for something, gathering us here. We must have patience to find out more."
Turning to Karina, Marcelano responds "Yeah, I wonder what he has in mind for us." Looking past Karina for a moment Marcelano notices Matrim and Rojava from a distance and subtly nods at them before continuing. "Looks like they're just about here."
Marcelano nods at Rojava's comment for once I have to agree with you when he notices Lia start handing out instruments. "Er, that's fine I guess?" Marcelano replies to Lia with a look of confusion which turns into a pained smile at the awkward flute playing as he thinks at least she seems to be having fun.
Gwyddym's eye twitches at the squeaky flute playing as he takes the drums from Lia and starts to rap his fingers against the taut hide heads.
I don't know Lia, I suppose that could work. Much as it pains me to try. Are we going to just set up right here, or did you have a better place in mind?
Shelyn forgive me for the atrocity against music that I may participate in right now. I beg your forgiveness even as I sally forth in folly.
Perform-Percussion: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (12) + 3 = 15
Stopping with her flute for a short moment, Lia answers Gwyd:"Oh, I suppose here is as fine as anywhere, plus if someone pays us to stop playing, that money goes to the owner of the instruments so he probably wants to keep an eye on us."
Then she turns to Karina:"And you, dont be such a spoilsport. We'll have all the time of the world. Talene left again right towards the festival grounds, Kira is probably still in the kitchens, and Father Zantus is nowhere to be seen.", before she resumes her play. Matter of factly, we have a whole week to wait until GM returns, so we may as well do something fun like flying kites - I'm open to suggestions including "stand around and talk", just thought Windsight delivered a nice hook there-
A pulsing voice emanating from the butterfly, as much an echo in the mind as actual sound, hastens to add:"Talene indeed trusted Lia to find her way here on her own. And you do know how easily distracted she is, at times...I think she's right in that we'll have plenty of time, otherwise she'd have led Lia here herself. We've probably simply been gathered into this place first as a kind of showcase event, like Rojava suggested-" Yeah, Flutter will get an Alias...but I'm ill currently, will set it up another day
|Karina of the Flame|
Karina winces at the sounds emitted by the untrained musicians. "Ok, ok. You've made your point. We'll go get the kites."
Yeah. I'm just staying in character.
Rojava's smile brightens as Lia hands her the violin. I like the way you think Lia Sweets! She snickers We should probably take care not to clear the whole square though!
Rojava starts skittering the bow across the violin strings to make a sound akin to an out of breath cat yowling.
Though he smiles down at Lia before he turns and starts back up along the side of the temple, Windsight is within earshot long enough to hear her plan, Karina's straightforward interpretation, and the whistles and screeches that come from the instruments - and Karina's quick surrender. Shaking his head, by the time Karina catches up to him (if she comes to assist in carrying the kites after all) the slight smile that was there has faded.
"She's an unexpected young woman," he opinions to the other unexpected young woman. "I know that would have never worked for me. I doubt I would have even ever thought of trying such a method of persuasion." Upon reaching the side door into the complex, he pulls it open and holds it for the fifteen-year-old half-orc.
Rojava works her way over to stand beside Gwyddym. She leans over on tiptoes and whispers in his ear. I'm sure this playing pains you. You're very kind Gwyd. And a good sport. She then gives him a quick kiss on the temple.
Gwyd smiles as Rojava's lips brush his skin. With a renewed vigor he starts to thump the drums out of time to any of the other instruments. The owner of the instruments looked on in abject horror. He must truly hate us right now. Gwyd thinks to himself as he watches people in the crowd near them start to push away from their cacophonous din.
All focused on her instrument, Lia seems to test what kind of sounds she can manage to extract from the flute.
@Karina: I guessed so...just saying I'm all open to suggestions for activities to pursue while we wait, including pure talk.
Seeing the people give them space, she pauses shortly, and smiles at Gwyd and Roja:"It's working. You guys are wonderful. So much space, now!", before dropping down, rolling backwards into a lying down position in the grass, looking at the clouds:"We should do this again when we learned how to use those!", before resuming to play her flute while prone.
When you guys wanna stop, feel free to have some authority NPC tell us to stop with the ear torture-otherwise Lia'd probably keep it up until the kitefetchers return-
As you play your songs out of tune, the Bard setting up in front of the podium walks over. He is dressed in a most outlandish set of tights with a terribly large codpiece and a jacket made of leather far too short for his torso. The hat which sits on his head with a huge peacock feather sticking straight completes the ridiculous ensemble.
"What a terrible racket you all make! Did the young woman tell you to come here to enjoy my show or ruin it?!"
At that moment Talene turns the corner with Kira in tow literally being dragged behind.
"You can finish those dishes after, this is going to be a lot of fun, you'll see!"
Rojava hadn't noticed where the instruments had come from, so when she looks over at the man she bites her lip to stifle a giggle. She calls for Gwyd and Lia to stop the "music". The guy has a right to ply his trade without interference. Bad luck for a performer to mess with another performer's show unless it's an honest competition. I like that, it will be the Rule of Busking #13.
She gives the man a bob of her head. No indeed Sir! We were assisting you. After our sad display, not only will your music sound all the sweeter and impress the crowd more, but you will have their gratitude as well.
Rojava begins to collect the instruments from Gwyd and Lia to return them.
Lia, while not resisting, will hold onto the flute and continue playing even as Rojava "drags"/leads her over to the bard, only letting go of it when the bard himself grasps for the instrument.
Looking first at Roja and Gwyd, then at the bard, she pouts:"But we talked about this...you said we can play these instruments while you set up the stage, and any money people give us goes to you. You never said we needed to play good! That was not part of the agreement!"
Lia turns with a stomp, then sees Talene and Kira coming closer, and runs towards them, to welcome her friend.
Gwyd stops his arrhythmic tapping and surrenders the kit to Rojava and winks at the marvelously bedecked bard.
Surely you can forgive my friends and I our folly? It's all in good fun m'lord bard. All in good fun. Gwyd says, a smile glinting in his eyes. With a wink, he flutters his hands and murmurs a few quiet words, summoning a pair of castanets into his hands. He clangs them together and dances a few steps of a jaunty jig before breaking into laughter and turning to see Talene and Kira coming over.
|Karina of the Flame|
Karina finally catches up with Windsight and proceeds into the building. "There is a, sometimes profound, honesty in her round-about solutions. It's refreshing."
The Bard sighs, "I can certainly forgive you young one. I am Chris Wink Bard of the Music of the Spheres. Perhaps you're racket will make the crowd more favorably disposed towards me". He grins at you and then heads back to the stage to finish his set up.
As he does so, you all notice a large wagon rolling into the square from the other side of town driven by Sister Thea.
Talene and Kira are caught up by some other locals and have yet to arrive at the stage though they are looking in your direction and smiling, it seems even Acolytes of the Gods are sought after during festival time!
Windsight walks at what appears to be a casual stride, but is a steady, if not rapid, pace; it's probably the thoughtfulness on his face as he looks at things other than the festivalgoers rampaging about. You know the sort of things - mothers and fathers calling after children, children ducking and dodging between other families as they chase each other, young teens calling out the names of their friends and waving good-bye to their families, merchants calling out enticements to passers-by. Windsight looks instead at almost anything that might be a wind indicator - the banners in the breeze, the leaves on the trees, the way the birds are moving above it all.
For all of her sweet charm, Lia's distractions are less predictable than Windsight's; if the eldest of the Marked of Sandpoint isn't paying attention to you, or is dismissive or brusque, you can be virtually certain that it's because he's watching the wind - somewhere, somehow - or else thinking about it, how it moves his arrow, how he can compensate for it, use it, whatever: in short, how to achieve perfection.
Honestly, sometimes it can make him a little boring to talk to. Make you want to smack him.
Fortunately, once you catch his attention, you'll have it for as long as you can keep it. ... okay, maybe that didn't come out right, but he's got a decent mind inside that scalplocked Shoanti skull, so when he pays attention, he's a pretty good person to talk to. Considering his general incompentence (or lack of caring to engage) in social situations, he's sharper with people's motivations than he probably has a right to be, and nowhere near as astute as Lia (who might see things differently, but boy does she see things anyhow), but there you go.
"I think it's more than that," he admits, holding the door for the half-orc female, his gaze unconsciously following over twenty years of habit and scanning the crowd for those who might rush the door while it's open before following Karina inside. "Her god-touching ... it's as though Desna is murmuring in her ear all the time, as if she's constantly dreaming. I ... I don't know if I should be glad or envious. I know I haven't ever felt Erastil's guidance like that, is all. Speaking of which, though," he adds, stopping in at the men's dorm. "Be out in a moment." True to his word, a moment later and he's back, looking far more comfortable strapping a low-slung quiver of arrows on his right thigh, his unstrung shortbow riding over his back, bottom tip in its leather sleeve attached to the back of his belt, the top held in place by a loop of leather that stretches across his chest. Looped over the bow is his own kite, shaped - of course - like Erastil's bow.
Barely a dozen steps later, the two have reached the temple complex's main workroom - probably stonemasonry and carpentry are primary, considering. It's from long and sturdy wood pieces as well as scraps of cloth and paint that Windsight has crafted almost thirty butterfly-shaped kites in the last month. "These aren't exactly assembled, but they're easy enough to put together. These are the kites," he says, carefully picking up a stack of cloths, then indicates a box of balls of string and a good-sized bundle of sticks. "Those are the ribs and the string. Careful with the sticks."
And then it's back out the side door and down Church Street to the others in the square. Thankfully the 'music' has stopped by this time, and Windsight all but marches straight up to Lia, giving her a head-bow. "Kites, as promised," he says, grinning down at the younger woman. "Let me show everyone how they're put together."
Windsight settles down in a comfortable cross-legged tailor's seat, indicating for Karina to put the twine and the wood down on either side of him. "Start with a twine ball," he says, matching action to his words. "Find the end; I've gotten them all ready. See how it has two more lines tied on, to make for loops at four ends? Take two of the sticks, and set the loops in the notches at the end of each of the sticks. Then take a kite," and he gathers up the first butterfly kite, which resembles the descriptions Lia has given of Flutter before, "and notch each of the sticks into the holes on one side of the fabric, left or right. Then cross the sticks, and carefully bend them so that the fabric stretches and you can slot the the sticks through the holes on the other side. Make sure the holes catch the notches on the sticks; you don't want it sliding down further. Don't," he adds, looking severely at Karina, "break the sticks by bending them too far, because without them you have no kite." He winks at the end of that, and gives that slight smile that's his equivalent of a grin.
"And if you've done it all correctly," he states, holding up the kite, the tails on its left and right side shorter than those usually found on common 'diamond' kites, but making the kite look like an oversized very-long-tailed swallowtail butterfly, "it'll be ready to fly. This one," he adds, holding it out to Lia, "is yours. I'm not sure if you can get enough air here in the cathedral square, but if we get going, we can still hand most of the rest out to the children to take down to the beach. And I have my kite." And he's been dying to try to fly it here in the square.
Lia listens intently to Windsights explanations, Flutter sitting square on top of her head, also watching as the Shoanti assembles a Kite resembling him.
When he holds it out to her, she carefully takes it and places it on the floor, then hugs him with a smile:"Thanks, I knew you'd keep your promise!"
Turning around again, she picks up the kite, holds it up, and waves a bit at it, muttering, before the Kite takes off soaring right in the cathedral square, a steady breeze blowing against it.(Casting Breeze cantrip on the Kite.) "There is always enough air, one just has to convince it to do whats necessary...", Lia smiles, entirely fascinated by the Kite dancing in the sky.
And, I'd assume, children would come to Windsight for the kites after seeing one...unless you want to head into the crowds, of course, but I'd figure with the population count, you'd have some reputation in that regard-
|Karina of the Flame|
Karina sits, her thick calloused fingers just barely dexterous to make the fine fittings. "It's like fitting a boss to the inside of a shield. Only more delicate."
As children come up to them in curiosity, she gently hands them finished kites with a kind smile, hiding her tusks as much as possible.
Rojava sits down on the ground to relax and watch the kites.
Wonder if there will be enough to go around for everyone? I'm grabbing one of those if there are some left over.
That seems simple enough to do. Thinks Marcelano before taking a kite. While he begins to assemble it as per his friend's instructions he starts to talk to the others. "You're all probably wondering why I've got my possessions with me. Well, the truth is that I don't think there is much more for me to learn here. No offense to Father Zantus, but as much as he would like me to be, I'm no priest. After this consecration ceremony is over I plan to leave Sandpoint for a while to figure out what exactly it is I want to do with the rest of my life." As he finishes speaking and assembling the kite, he notices children start to approach.
With a reassuring smile he beckons them to come closer and starts handing out finished kites alongside Karina.
There are, in fact, not enough for every child - but there are kites reserved for each of the Chosen, each one as close to being in their god's sigil as it was possible for the archer to make them. Obviously, Desnan butterflies (in colors different than Flutter's) predominate, but what're you going to do? "Nup!" he warns one child who's about to take one of those. "Wait until you're handed one," he instructs the girl. "Not all of them are for giving away." A certain amount of structure must, after all, be maintained.
Truth be told, Windsight muses, my own philosophy is a lot like a kite. Internal structure must be maintained, no matter what the world around you seeks to do. And one cannot fly a kite inside ... He pauses, eyeing Lia's ever-so-easily poofed-into-the-air kite swaying many feet above them. Well, unless you're Lia Tani. I wonder if she could do that inside ...
"I will be sorry to see you leave, Zantus," says the Shoanti, "but I know that a wandering is a very good way of discovering what it is you need to find." After all, he had his own wandering to do before he arrived in Sandpoint.
Rojava is surprised by Marcelano's announcement. That's wonderful news Marcelano! Take Desna's blessings with you along with Abadar's! She gives him a big hug that probably doesn't crush his kite.
I'd always taken it for granted that I'd be the first to go after Talene showed no signs of leaving. And of all people to beat me to it, it's Marcelano... I'm in a rut.
Taking up her own kite, Rojava walks over to the girl who didn't quite get one. Hey Honey, you can fly this one with me. Let's get it up in the air and then you can have it, alright?
The girl helps out as Rojava casts the kite upward into the air and gives the string a pull to help it catch the breeze. Once the kite is aloft and gaining some altitude, she hands the string over to the girl. I know how you feel kite. looks free up there, but there's always that string huh? Well Mother Moon, I figured I'd winter over here, but I don't think that can be. By this time next week I'll be gone from here.
|Karina of the Flame|
"May the Master of the First Vault see that your journey is well considered and well provided. We will all miss you Marcelano." She reaches out to clasp his hand. Her unarmored forearm showing her patron's birthmark.
"Though I fear my training may be nearly complete as well. I expect the Dawnflower will send me away from my home all too soon." She stands, looking out into the distance, hand resting upon the sunburst hilt of the scimitar at her hip. Her white vestments draped over her shining mail, a red and gold rising sun across the chest. Her shield slung across her back, Sarenrae's angelic ankh rising with the sun painted upon it to match the one on her wrist.
"I know my life, though it has risen from the gutter, has been fairly sheltered. Windsight, can you share your experience on what we may find out there?" She picks up the kite in the familiar winged shape and holds it to the sky hoping to catch a breeze.
|Flutter, Figment Sage Butterfly|
Flutter, watching Lia stare at her kite with a slightly open mouth, tongue flickering over her lips in concentration as she guides it's movement, makes his way over to Karina and Marcelano: "Interesting that you should both mention that. Lia did pack up most of what she owns, as well. She told Kira that she'll probably not be here much longer. Matter of fact, she claimed all of us would leave...she didn't mention it would be that early, though. At least she seemed plenty relaxed about it, which, on second thought, does not say much..."
Gwyd listened on intently as the various acolytes discussed their plans to leave Standpoint. Funny. They mention leaving as a regular part of their lives. I never gave any consideration to leaving the Cathedral. Perhaps for a ln expedition to learn more about the world, or to learn music from other lands. I'll be sad to see them go. It will seem much quieter around here without them. With a bit of struggle, he kept a frown from creeping over his lips as he watched the songbird kite float on the breeze.