"The only way I can immortalize someone is in song," Val says as she steps down from the head of the crowd. "But they deserve to be remembered for everything they did. And for everyone to know that even if they died, they died victorious."
Val taps her chin. "I could talk to Maggigs and get the other side of the story, if you'd like," she suggests. "That might help us figure out how to help out."
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Before the speeches
The flowers now adorning the path and entrance to the mounds and graves, Hinagiku makes her way to Valaria, Ayavah and Annabelle’s sides. Things were shaping up to a good start, but something appeared to be missing: tombstones. Fortunately, there was a sculptor among them who might be able to remedy to that problem.
”I have noticed that, just like in Minkai, people here put up tombstones for those who pass way. I know this is not really what you are used to work on Mrs. Ayavah, but you are a very good sculptor, and quite quick with your magic. Would you be interested in making a small marker for each of the crusader’s grave? Maybe Annabelle could tell you about a few things that are usually found on crusaders’ tombstones.” she adds, picking up on the young woman’s complaint. And, with an encouraging smile, she lets the two women discuss the matter further. Seeing Annabelle out and talking was truly nice, a feeling she aloofly enjoys until the laugher of children attracts her attention to the now decorated Grumtarr. With an uncommonly wide smile she watches, feeling more and more part of a community that reminded her of her hometown.
Once some time has elapsed, the monk leaves her friend to go see Ary. She had noticed the new shining armor and wanted to support the commander on her decision. She knew how she could feel unworthy…
”Things are turning out nicely.” she says as she comes within a few paces of Ary. ”I am sure that Ser Alrys would be proud to see you, the one who led the liberation of Drezen, wear his armor. Whether or not the power the goddess Iomedae give you are those that most of her followers have, you are still blessed by her and have done much in her name.” she adds, with her usual comforting smile.
In the hour or so that follows, culminating in music and speeches, Hinagiku mostly listens and stays quiet. As always, she was impressed by the skill of her companions.
Finally, as the sun comes ever closer to the horizon in this budding evening, she makes her way to Xanerghul’s side. The wizard had been silent so far, but she thought she had an idea that might make him involved too.
”Mr. Xanderghul, I have been thinking, from where I come from, there are these things called fireworks. Multicolored displays of explosive lights in the sky. The most skilled artisans can have them take beautiful shapes. I was thinking that, with your mastery you could create similar beautiful displays once the sky darkens. Maybe something to remind everyone of the fallen.” she looks to the shabti expectantly, wondering what he would make of her suggestion.
I have been wondering, with the time she spent at the front, has Hinagiku met any interesting crusaders? Should I flesh out some of them? Also, are Hua Xin and Shu Lien present at the festivities? Chaleb?
@Hinagiku - I wasn't planning on getting into that much detail myself, but if you want to flesh out some random crusaders the way Isilme fleshed out her band, go ahead, I'd be happy to read what you come up with :)
Ayavah grins broadly at Hinagiku's compliment, and comes skidding down the slope of the hill on the backs of her heels. "That's a great idea! And lucky for you, I always have plenty of materials in my bag," she says, taking off her backpack, and proceeding to pull a block of marble out of it that is comically much larger than the backpack is itself. Dropping it to the grass with a dull thud, she gestures to Annabelle to join her. "C'mon, I'll need some help whittling off chunks of the right size..." she says, pulling out a bandoleer of sculpting tools from the backpack next.
As Hinagiku gives them space to work, she glances around the crowd. She sees Chaleb Sazomal working at the food and drink tables with the other staff of Galfrey's Banner. The large apron tied around his breastplate and heavy armor would look comical anywhere else than at Drezen, where most people only went unarmed when they slept (and sometimes not even then!). She also sees Hua Xing, chatting with a pair of Shelynites seated at on the back of one the wagons that had been used to carry things to the funeral. Apparently demonstrating something that they were talking about, he starts moving through a set of qigong poses in front of them as they watch.
Hinagiku doesn't see Shu Lien, but that doesn't surprise her. She had left for Gundrun a few months ago, interested in moving west and seeking out new and bigger challenges.
After the speeches, Tomas claps his broad hands together. "Bravo! Bravo!" he says, banging once on one of the drums strapped to his waist for added emphasis. "And you, my beautiful maiden, are quite the poet!" the portly half-elf says with a grin and a twirl of his mustache. "Why haven't I seen your face performing at the theater? Lady Isilme shall have to correct this oversight immediately!"
Meanwhile, Xanderghul considers Hinagiku's request, stroking his goatee thoughtfully. On one hand, he was no dancing monkey, on the other, he enjoyed making a spectacle of things. The desire to show off his skills won out in the end, as he affirms, "Yes, I believe I could arrange something like that. And I know just the spell."
Once the sun is fully set, he gestures for Variska to come watch him work. Standing near the large cooking fires, he spreads his arms out at his sides, then aims them straight upwards and over his head at the sky. Small streams of flame rocket out of the fire and upwards into the night sky at an alarming speed, then explode into multicolored, aerial lights with loud bangs. Most of the attendees stop what they are doing to tilt their heads back to watch the display.
2 MP -> pyrotechnics
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While resting atop the hill after his arduous task, Ehren did not fully anticipate the breadth of the ceremony they were pulling together. He looked at first bewildered, but then immensely pleased by the stream of food, musicians, and flowers that soon came his way. He had honestly expected the funeral to be a relatively brief, dour affair, but it seemed that the others had taken the idea of making the rite more celebratory to heart.
"Come now, all I did was dig a big hole in the dirt," Ehren reasons, leaving out the fact that technically speaking, there was a bit of transmutation involved. Still, if the tinge of pink in his cheeks was anything to go by, he appreciated Ayavah's compliment. Chuckling at Annabelle, he offers an apologetic shrug. "Sorry, Annabelle. I would have sought your advice, but we were all in a bit of a hurry. I'm sure there is still work that can be done around the gravesite proper."
Eyeing the beautiful myriad of flowers Hinagiku has decorated the area with, he continues with a more teasing tone, "Besides, if you feel your position as magister is threatened, perhaps it is your senpai you should be more worried about."
The druid continues to make idle conversation, but when it becomes apparent that Ary is ready to make her speech, he moves to take up a spot nearby. This was, in a sense, the moment of truth. Ehren listens to her every word attentively, nodding every now and then in approval. By the end he is clapping along with everyone else, smiling wide at the effect her words have had on the audience. He did not know what to expect from the rite - whether Ser Alrys himself would manifest before them once more - but the distant sound of clanging footsteps tells him all he needs to know
"Surely you are not expecting me to upstage the Lord-Commander?" Ehren replies to Sosiel with a grin, as Valaria moves up to take Ary's place. In his capacity as archdruid, there was certainly plenty of things he could say to the gathered crowd... but nothing more that needed to be said. Or maybe he had just forgotten how to improvise.
He falls silent again as the bardess recites her poetry, giving it just as much of his attention as the speech. Some reproductions aside, he could not quite remember the last time he heard one of her original works. As opposed to some of her past epics, the piece is poignant in its brevity.
Ary nods to Hinagiku, still clearly full of doubt at the wearing of the armor itself. There were a huge number of things that needed to be done before things would feel 'right' to her about the second skin. "I think that would actually be for the better." she adds, agreeing with Val, "It'll prevent either of us from going into a conversation with assumptions set in place. We won't be able to pick apart any holes, but it also won't be nearly as accusatory as it could be. I was about to go see Joran, then go to the library." she says, looking towards Isilme unintentionally.
"I'll have to find out where he is, to begin with, then I've quite a lot to chat with him about. I'll be heading that way now, actually." Ary says after a short moment of standing awkwardly with the food, then begins heading towards the northern walls, to check in with guards and try to infer where Joran might be.
Ary sets out from the festivities just as the fireworks start to go off. After questioning a few of the guards at the gate, she determines that Joran is back at the citadel, working in the forge. She heads downstairs to the basement, which was now a far less horrifying place now that the abyssal runes had been scrubbed off of the walls, and through the halls into the forge room. Standing on the balcony next to the elevator, she notes that the elevator had been re-designed so that the controls were accessible from inside the elevator itself. The controls were previously designed so that someone had to be escorted to and from the forge - an intentional feature to prevent Joran from moving through the citadel freely on his own.
She peers down into the main forge room where she sees the ornery dwarf working on a set of chainmail. He coughs a few times, clearing his throat, but doesn't seem to notice her, as his back is facing the upper balcony.
"Eh. There'll be more funerals. I'll make up fer it later," he responds.
As Ary approaches Joran, she can see that the chainmail he's working on is rather sloppy looking, with the links varying in shape, size, and quality.
"Sure. What d'ye need?" he says, pushing his goggles up his forehead and wiping the sweat from his brow.
"When we raided Sesker's Gulley we defeated a powerful Nabasu, and found a crypt dedicated to my fallen family. Since we can't defend it at the moment, we relocated it here, and I'm thinking of setting up the crypt as a defensible location for once we do begin to station troops and possibly civilians there. But prior to that... we recovered some armaments from my fallen great grandfather." Ary says, motioning to her armor. "I've been told that working Mithral is a once in a lifetime opportunity for most. Have you ever worked with it?"
"Sounds like a plan to me. And it will probably sound less like a reprimand or an inquisition or whatever coming from me than if you went to talk to Maggigs yourself. We should meet up for dinner and talk things over. Hopefully we'll have an idea how to head off more fights by then." Val waves over her shoulder. "I'll probably be at my place at the shrine if I get done early." Then she departs to find Maggigs and possibly the other engineers, depending on just what they're up to.
This might be a tad too festive for a funeral, Ehren thinks with a grin as he watches Xanderghul's pyrotechnics explode in the air. As far as he is concerned, the ceremony has been a success, in every sense of the word. The people of Drezen needed more moments like these.
Descending the hill, Ehren decides that now would be a good time to seek out Ledsa. He had originally planned to find her after returning from his scouting mission. Of course, that was before the matters with the night hags and Sesker's Gully had reared their heads. But even without accounting for the events of the past few days, Ehren has been something of an absent teacher, away from Drezen for months at a time. Taking the Kellid woman on as a student had started out as a favor to Isilme, but it has since become a great concern to the archdruid.
It was odd at first, teaching an older woman things his own mother had taught him barely a decade ago. Herbal lore was one of the most basic foundations of druidism; if she wanted to one day become an initiate of the Green Faith, Ledsa would have to master it. By that time, Ehren could perhaps even address the issue of her clanlessness... thereby securing her future, as well as her daughter's.
Isilme sighs when she sees Aravashnial essentially doing laundry instead of joining the festivities. "Ai'sintar, were you planning on staying up here and playing with burned clothes all evening?" she asks half-jokingly as she walks over and sets some food down on another bench near him--some fine bread and cheeses that had actually been produced in Drezen finally instead of imported, which she figured he would enjoy most of the fare that had been available.
She throws her arms around him from behind and places her head on his shoulder, looking down at what was attracting his attention. "So what is it that has you so interested you cannot make it down from here?" she asks, her curiosity genuine.
"Hrmph, no drink?" Joran grumbles, but he starts digging into the food Ary brought him without another word, grabbing a hunk of bread with his soot-stained fingers. He demolishes the meal while Ary speaks, until the word mithral catches his attention.
He narrows his eyes, pacing around and looking at Ary's armor with scrutiny. "No. Never worked with mithral. Worth over ten times its weight in gold. There're only a few mithral mines known of in the world, all claimed by my people." He scratches his chin. "Don't think I've ever seen a full suit of the stuff before. It's worth a small fortune."
Valaria finds Aron chumming it up with the other engineers, the only human in a large group of dwarves. Despite sticking out like a sore thumb, the dwarves treat him as a brother, and they even joke amongst each other in Dwarven. At the moment, they're cheering and laughing as Magiggs challenges another burly dwarf to an arm wrestling contest. They grunt, sweat, and curse each others mothers in their native tongue over top one of the small tables, while the other dwarves encircle them and cheer.
Aron notices Valaria's approach from a distance. He smiles and waves. "Valaria! It's good to see you, by the way. That was a great piece you recited. Did you write it yourself, or was it from a book you read?"
Ehren finds Ledsa amongst the other kellids. He recalls that at first, Ledsa and her daughter were not treated kindly by the other Sarkorians, and she was often left outcast. But after Ehren had formally made it known that Ledsa would be brought under his tutelage, it seemed that the Archdruid's blessing had assuaged some of the fears and superstitions amongst the others. Which was good, because little Yulin was growing like a weed. Less than a year old in age, she more closely resembled a small toddler than an infant. She was already walking and speaking her first words. It is Yulin who notices Ehren's approach first. The little girl stands at her mother's side, clasping her hand tightly with her own, her skin the color of charcoal. She wears a simple dress made of animal hide, and her bushy black hair is tied back out of her face with thin leather straps.
"Fwmi! Fwmi!" she exclaims, tugging Ledsa' hand urgently. "Edrych! Fwmi!"
Hallit: "Mommy! Mommy! Look! Mommy!"
Ledsa turns and sees Ehren approaching. "O, helo, Archdderwydd! A oes rhywbeth sydd ei angen arnoch chi?"
Hallit: "Oh, hello, Archdruid! Is there something you need?"
Yulin was not a shy child, which was made all the more disconcerting by her overtly fiendish appearance. She walks right up to Ehren and stares up at him with her wide, crimson eyes. "Archhderwydd!" she exclaims, mimicking her mother, and then giggles.
"Oh...it's not that. I just think I've had my fill of funerals," Aravashnial says softly. He smiles at Isilme, deepening the fine wrinkles in the corners of his blue eyes, and folds up another uniform. He is slow, methodical and neat in his execution, as he was about most thinks.
"Yesterday I taught a class on the basics of alchemy - the crafting of simple things like smokerods, or sunsticks. There were...some accidents. Thomas did not follow the instructions as precisely as I would have preferred. It is good that the tiefling is not easily burnt," he says, lifting up a small robe. One of its arms had been completely burned off, leaving a frayed edge around the shoulders.
”I would gladly take suggestions. After all this is a group effort. ” Hinagiku replies with a smile to Ehren’s remark regarding the threat she poses to Annabelle.
As the fireworks begin
”Mr. Xanderghul, this is really close to what people do in my country. It is flashy and enjoyable. But, considering the circumstances, maybe something somber would be good. I remember the ones in Minkai had long drawn out pauses while the lights slowly faded, allowing people to reflect on the meaning of the gathering.” Hinagiku says as neutrally as possible in hope to inspire rather than push the wizard.
After Xanderghul’s firework, Hinagiku mixes with the crowd. She goes from acquaintance to acquaintance, asking for news. Markus about Annabelle, Chaleb and his new position in the government, Meridrand about the war effort, and finally Hua Xin about Shu Lien. As she hears from her fellow monk that their peer has left, Hinagiku grows concerned, worried even.
”She left? I… Did she mention where and with whom?” she asks, her voice letting through some of her agitation.
"That sounds significantly more exciting than I would have expected," Isilme says with a laugh.
"On a more serious note," she says, "I discovered something new when we were in the tomb in Sesker's Gully. I was able to cast consecrate directly with a rune by just drawing on the same power I use to enhance my heroism spell or to bolster the others. I believe that if I learn more of magic and try to push my limits I might be able to achieve even greater feats using runes. Are you up for giving me more lessons in arcane magic?"
Isilme had been learning from Aravashnial to cast arcane spells using a spellbook to supplement her own bardic casting and the little bit of divine magic she could wield. While she only knew a few basic spells, every bit she learned gave her a deeper understanding of magic, something she now felt sure would open a path to something new.
"Wel, os nad yw'n fach Yulin!" he says with a warm smile, kneeling down to meet the child. Reaching out, he rests a hand atop her head. "Ond dydych chi ddim mor fach bellach, wyt ti?"
Hallit: "Well, if it isn't little Yulin! But you are not so little anymore, are you?"
It was the kind of thing one said to a child after not seeing them for a few seasons. Only in this case, it was a matter of mere months. Ehren could swear that she's grown at least an inch since he last met her, just before departing on his scouting mission. It was far from the most troublesome aspect of her fiendish nature, but it was bound to cause problems down the line. Fortunately, Yulin has been blessed with both an excellent mother and guidemother.
"Helo, Ledsa. Roeddwn i eisiau gweld sut rydych chi wedi llwyddo tra dwi wedi bod i ffwrdd," Ehren says to Ledsa, standing again to properly regard the Kellid woman. In the early days after taking Drezen, he had been a tad overprotective of her and her daughter. But since then, he has come to better appreciate the weight behind an archdruid's words - needless to say, he felt comfortable enough to leave her with their people for an extended period of time. "A ydych chi wedi cael unrhyw ddefnydd o'm dysgeidiaeth?"
Hallit: "Hello, Ledsa. I just wanted to see how you've fared while I've been away. Have you had any use of my teachings?"
"The first... I don't think my family's armor was crafted by humans. If it were, that'd be exceedingly rare, I'd think. I think I read once that it could take a lifetime for a human forgemaster to make a suit of full plate from mithral? Might have been exagerrated.." she trails off, realizing she's getting off-topic. "But, I'll need it resized for me. And I know you've got the skills to do so. If you don't want to, I understand, but I know you're capable of the work it deserves."
Hua Xing grimaces, picking up on Hinagiku's agitation, even though it was subtle. He smiles awkwardly. "ああ。さて...決闘の後、彼女が個人的にあなたと話をしたくなかったのは驚くことではありませんね。あなたはShu Lienがどれほど誇りに思っているか知っています" he says, reverting back to their native tongue. While his Taldane has improved remarkably in the past few months living in Drezen, he was still not fluent enough to truly speak his mind.
Tien: "Ah. Well... after the duel it is not surprising that she did not want to speak to you personally, no? You know how proud Shu Lien is."
He continues, "彼女はNerosyanへの最新のワゴンを残しました。私は彼女がフェリーを西に連れて行きたいと思ったと思います"
Tien: "She left on the most recent wagon to Nerosyan. I believe she wished to take the ferry westward. "
Hinagiku recalls when she and the others took the ferry out of Nerosyan - it went to Gundrun, the Sarkorian settlement on the western side of the Worldwound.
Aravashnial raises both eyebrows. While Isilme speaks, he folds the now clean robes, pressing the wrinkles out of the cloth. He lingers there for awhile, seemingly unwilling to break her embrace for something as trivial as putting clothing away. Their moments together were few and far between, especially alone - their respective duties as Court Wizard and Spymaster kept them occupied most days.
"That's fascinating! Your runic magic - do you feel its derivative of the innate runic magic you possessed in your previous body, or is it something completely new entirely?" he inquires.
He chuckles. "I will teach you what I know, but I suspect very quickly you will outgrow what even I can teach. But I shall check with Xanderghul and his resources, perhaps he owns some arcane texts that could prove useful for us."
Aron shrugs. "Work is work. Honestly, what I do is nothing compared to what you do, or what the men and women who go out on the field do - I don't risk my life on the daily fixing walls and leaky ceilings!"
He pauses to clap wildly and whoop as Magiggs wins his second round against his opponent. "Ohhhh. Actually, speaking of Sosiel," he glances around furtively, spotting his boyfriend at a safe distance away, engaged in conversation with Father Cassiel. He drops his voice down anyway. "So. I'd like some advice. Our anniversary is coming up in a couple of weeks... and I wanted to do something special for him. The thing is, I'm just... hopeless at this romantic stuff. Sosiel has gone the extra mile these last two years and I want to surprise him for a change."
"And... don't say 'just ask 'belle what she thinks'. I think her idea of relationships comes strictly from those cheesy romance novels she devours. That's not me."
Yulin's face breaks out in a huge smile. Her little teeth are pointed, and sharp as needles. Thankfully, she didn't go through a "biting phase" as many toddlers do. But her keen intelligence meant that she got into plenty of mischief regardless.
"Candy? Candy?" she asks, abruptly switching to Taldane, her red eyes flicking across the pouches on his belt in search of sweets. The little girl had a great love of Mother Heartwood's fruits, though unfortunately its magical properties had meant that they were often stockpiled for their restorative properties for the infirmary, rather than doled out to children. The toddler of course, did not understand this, and had thrown more than one fiery tantrum at seeing another getting to eat the delicious fruits while she had to go without.
"Shhh, Yulin. Yn ddiweddarach, iawn?" Ledsa says patiently, scooping the little girl up into her arms.
Hallit: "Shhh, Yulin. Later, okay?"
"Rwyf wedi bod yn ymarfer y diod adferol a ddysgoch chi i mi," she responds, referring to the cure light wounds herbal potion that he had taught her. "Er, mae'n ymddangos na fydd y Werdd ond yn bendithio fy ymdrechion unwaith y dydd, ac weithiau nid hyd yn oed hynny. Rwyf hefyd yn myfyrio bob bore, gan ystyried y pethau rydych chi wedi'u dysgu i mi."
Hallit: "I have been practicing the restorative potion you taught me. Though, it seems the Green will only bless my efforts once per day, and sometimes not even that. I also meditate every morning, reflecting on the things you have taught me. "
"Byddaf yn ceisio fy ngorau. Rwyf wrth fy modd y gallaf, hyd yn oed yn fy henaint, ddysgu pethau newydd o hy,." she says, smiling gently.
Hallit: "I will try my best. I am delighted that, even at my old age, I can still learn new things."
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"Pah, that's human thinking y've got there, miss. Ifn your beard's soaked in ale, y'won't feel the heat o' the forge quite so much, thas what I say." he says between mouthfuls of bread.
His brow furrows at Ary's request, and he swallows hard before responding. "I..." He turns away, not able to meet the Lord Commander in the eye. "It's flattering, really, but I don't know if my craftsmanship would be... up t'par. My skill with the hammer and anvil has waned since I forsook my faith," he says, the last bit a barely audible mumble. "Perhaps Haggis, or Yarley, would be better suited for such an important job. Fine dwarves, fine craftsmanship, though don't ye let them know I said so."
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Ary stops to let him finish, she hadn't considered that he would say no. Ary wasn't the type to know people nearly as well as the others that she moved with, that was why she tried so hard to interact with people often, and know the person rather than read the person. The latter was something that needed work, clearly. But she recognized a spark there, in Joran, and recalled something that had happened before. Something rather personal.
"I said as much to Queen Galfrey about becoming the Lord-Commander of Drezen." Ary says after a short moment. "And I'll tell you what she told me: It is precisely because of your uncertainty and knowledge of your limits that you're perfect for this. Perhaps if you feel Haggis and Yarley are more capable, you could work alongside them?" Ary suggests, not quite knowing what she's asking of the man, but pushing him along towards greatness as best she could all the same.
"Hmph. Toragdans don't like me, can't blame 'em," he says gruffly. He scratches his chin and runs his fingers through the tangles in his beard, then sighs. He used to keep it in a tight, long braid, but these days he left it to grow wild and unkempt, which unfortunately made him resemble his brother all the more. "Alright, I'll see what I can do, but ye there won't be no insurance on this job if I ruin it, ye'hear? Your own fault for trustin' in a sod like meself."
"Right. So you just want it proper resized or wot do you need?" he asks. He narrows his eyes, inspecting it. "s'enchanted armor, can see that from a mile away, so it's already starting to fit t'ye on its own. But I can make the fit more comfortable, add leather padding in the chafing bits, hammer better curvature into the sides, and so on."
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"Yeah, I get that. A lot of the Sarkorians feel the same about me. It isn't quite the same though. I'm an outsider with a very different mindset and faith... and they've had a lot of people try to take advantage of them wearing the same sorts of things I do. And even the 'good' ones had a different view than the Sarkorians did, resulting in a gap that is... a little difficult to bridge. I'm trying to work through all that with a bit of studying... probably the self-deprecating jokes about my own weakness didn't help." she says, offering a tilted grin. "I've been studying a lot on other faiths lately. Not all of them directly, because a lot of them are... hard to find actual writing on. Some of them change so quickly that writings you can find are a bit outdated by the time you find them, or incredibly isolated in practice." she says, offering a small shrug.
"Daisy's been sending me Koans, they're these little questions that when you think you have the answer, you realize that that can't be the answer for one reason or another. They're... silly, and ultimately just distracting. But I looked into what I could of Tienese culture, and I think there's a sort of off-branch idea of Irori's philosophies. See, Irori is a lot like Torag, always seeking perfection. But with an inherent understanding that one person's perfection is not the same as another's. Probably the neatest concept I learned about though, is something called kintsugi." Ary says, mispronouncing the word, "It's where their people will take a broken object, and mend it with something stronger, or more valuable, essentially highlighting the broken part of the story, so that that story is always remembered, to remind them, I guess, that something that's broken can be fixed, and sometimes things have to break to get better. I'm hoping to spread more philosophies like that within Drezen. I get that Iomedae is the core of the Crusades, but Iomedae doesn't have the right message for every individual, you know? It'd be like if every dwarf was expected to worship Folgrit." she trails off, clearly having gone on a rather long tangent.
"Speaking of Irori, though... Daisy's been working on a temple for her people. It's meant to be on the small side, just enough for each practicing monk to have a place to stay. During your free time, do you think you could take a look at it, and maybe try to help her out with it?"
Hinagiku looks up to the starry sky, her brow furrowed with concern. Shu Lien leaving, angry. She would probably do something even more reckless than when they had fought the dwarven ghouls back in citadel Drezen. Worst, the thought was stirring memories of the fight against the hezrou onis.
Taking one long deep breath, Hinagiku brings her gaze back to level with Hua Xing.
”あなたは正しい華興先輩です。私は驚いてはいけません。そして、私は彼女がどのようになっているか知っています...だから私は彼女が一人でそこに行くのでは ないかと心配しています。そしてそれは誰にとっても危険すぎるだけです。私は誰もが自分の道を選択して従わなければならないことを知っていますが、あなたが失敗 したときあなたを迎えるには友達や仲間がいるのはあなた側です。最悪の間違いは私たちが最も学んだことです...それで、彼女はあなたが彼女と一緒に集まる誰か にあなたを言及しましたか？フェリーを利用する以外に何かありますか.”
Tien: ”You are right Hua Xing senpai. I should not be surprised. And I know how she is... so I am afraid she might go out there alone. And it is just too dangerous for anyone. I know that everyone must choose and follow their path, but having friends and companions are you side to pick you up when you fail, and avoid these mistakes being the last is also necessary for growth. The worst mistakes are the one we learn the most from... so, did she mention to you anyone she would group with? Anything else than taking the ferry?”
"Aight. Well. Come on, let's get this off'ye and I'll take some measurements," he says, wiping his face off with a cloth and then gesturing for her to come closer. He works unbuckling the many straps of the plate mail and using a piece of chalk and measuring tape to help guide his work. He mostly keeps quiet as she talks, keeping his hands busy and only grunting every now and then to let her know he is listening.
"Kintsugi, eh?" he says, mulling the word over. "That's a nice thought. Me pa would say, if it's ended up broke, it means ye didn't build it right in th' first place."
"Daisy?" he asks. "Ah. The fox priestess. I remember her. Sure. If there's work t'be done, I'll do it. Queen's orders, n'all."
"Right. Well. Don't expect this to take any less than a week. I'll let you know when I'm halfway done so you can lookit over and see if there's anything that needs fixin' afore it's final." He says, arranging the various plate pieces on a workbench in front of him. "Just need a few more numbers offa you before I can let ye go."
Hua Xing smiles at Hinagiku gently, placing a hand on her shoulder. "あなたは昼と夜と同じくらい違いま!" he exclaims.
Tien: "You are as different as day and night!"
Tien: "Shu Lien-san believes that relations are weakness. She is setting out on her own."
He crosses his arms. "私が彼女を止めるのが私の場所だとは思わなかった。 Iroriは私たちに、完璧への道はクモの巣上の糸と同じぐらい多くの道 - 多くの道、しかし中心への一つの目的地 - を教えてくれます。"
Tien: "I did not feel it was my place to stop her. Irori teaches us that that paths to perfection are as many as threads on a spider's web - many paths, but one destination to the center. "
Her eyes flick up as she sees Maggigs take down his opponent, but Aron's question quickly brings her attention back to their chat. "Oh boy. I... might not be the best person to ask about this either, considering I'm the one who writes those nonsense cheesy romances and my last actually romantic relationship ended... badly." The tiefling's lips clench in a hard line for a moment while she composes herself. "But I think that the best gifts are something that means something to both of you. Maybe set up a nice date for the two of you to enjoy the day off together. I know that spending some quality time with you would make him happy."
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"I don't want to force you to work on the hall, Joran. I'd like for you to go out there and see it and maybe help if it feels right, you know? This is more a small favor for a friend than an order from the leader of the city." she pauses for a moment, recognizing that they're nearly out of measurements, and hoping to not ruin the conversation and genuine empathy thereof. She thinks it best to let it lie at first... but it was her duty to at least look into it. The pause is perhaps a bit too long to seem natural, but she continues, anyway.
"Speaking of faith, though. Chaleb Sazomel has been doing pretty well with the folks up at Galfrey's Banner. I'd hoped that it'd be a beacon for some of our less... lawfully-inclined soldiers. A gathering place where they don't feel like they have to stand next to the Everbrights and Cobelens and paladins, you know? Astrusa mentioned that Magiggs had gotten into a bit of a tussle with one of the other dwarves, do you happen to know anything about that that you'd be willing to share?"
Hallit: ”Sorry, I've no candy to give you.”
”Dewch nawr, mae gennych chi sawl tymor o hyd cyn y gallwch chi alw'ch hun yn hen,” the druid says to Ledsa teasingly, but without a hint of condescension. While her age had been one of his initial concerns about taking her on as a pupil, her own efforts had quickly dispelled the notion entirely. So far, she has been as apt as even the youngest acolyte, if not more so. ”Mae'n wir, mae meddyliau iau yn tueddu i fod yn fwy agored i'r mathau hyn o ddysgeidiaeth. Ond gall unrhyw un sydd â'r ffydd a'r datrysiad priodol ddysgu oddi wrthyn nhw.”
Hallit: ”Come now, you still have many seasons before you can call yourself old. It is true, younger minds tend to be more open to these kinds of teachings. But anyone with the proper faith and resolve can learn from them.”
The experience has altogether been an enlightening one. While he obviously could not devote as much time as he’d like to helping Ledsa cultivate her budding talent, he could not deny that she has come a long way all on her own.
”Chi yw fy myfyriwr cyntaf. Mae'n fy mhlesio i wybod eich bod wedi gwneud cymaint o gynnydd ag yr ydych chi. Rydych ymhell ar y ffordd i ddod yn wir dderwydd.”
Hallit: ”You are my first student. It pleases me to know you have made as much progress as you have. You are well on the road to becoming a true druid.”
He did not want to get too far ahead of himself, but he had no doubt that once Ledsa deepened her connection to the Green, its boons would come to her far more readily. At that point, their people would have little choice but to regard her with respect, no matter their misgivings. Ehren turns his eyes to Yulin again, contemplating her own future. If her rapid growth is anything to go by, it would not be much longer before she is ready to follow her mother’s footsteps… though he suspects that her guidemother had her own plans for the girl’s development. In any case, Isilme was far more qualified to help Ledsa and Yulin in that regard.
Hinagiku’s ears slowly flatten over her head as Hua Xing words confirm her concerns. As the monk lays a calming hand on her shoulder, she absentmindedly reach for his forearm and pats him gently while her mind contemplates what to do next. She is torn. Torn between her vows and her beliefs. Of course, Hua Xing was right. There were other paths to perfection than relying on others. But she also had her own beliefs and personal oath. She had sworn to protect both the weak and the strong, to ensure that anyone could live to perfect their own self. And now, the chances that her senpai would throw her life away, that she had been the cause for this weighted heavily on her mind. She sigh, and looks back toward Hua Xing.
」あなたは正しい、完璧への道は無限大です…しかし危険はあまりにも現実的です。私たち全員が同じ危険に直面していることを知っています...しかし…私はこれ について瞑想する必要があると思います...彼女、それとも最悪。しかし、同時に、私は彼女が彼女自身の探求をより価値のないものにする手助けをすることを恐れ ています。それでも、私はできる限り多くを保護しながらこの傷を根絶することを誓いました…そしてShu Lien先輩は彼女を保護することによって、私たちが鬼を破壊することができるより多くの可能性があります…」[/ b]
[b]”You are right, the paths to perfection are infinite... but the danger is much too real. I know we all face the same danger... but... I think I will need to meditate on this... I ... I feel like it is my duty to follow her and make sure that the onis do not kill her.. or worst. But, at the same time, I fear helping her would make her own quest less worthy. Yet, I have sworn to eradicate this wound while protecting as many as I can... and Shu Lien senpai is a powerful warrior, by protecting her, there is more chance that we can destroy the onis...” Hinagiku finally trails off as her limited mind gets tangled in her conflicting ideas. She takes a moment to breath slowly and refocus herself. Finally, she opens back her eyes. Having now chased these swirling thoughts, she focuses on the harmony of all things, their essence, and the simplicity of being.
”華興先輩はどう思いますか？最悪の事態から彼女を守る方法を見つけたら、Shu Lien先輩が完璧を達成するのを本当に手助けしてくれるだろうか。」[/ b]
[b]”What do you think Hua Xing senpai? Would I truly be helping Shu Lien senpai achieve perfection if I were to find a way to guard her from the worst?”
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She thinks for a moment on Aravashnial's question. She had not done such a thing before, so clearly it was new... or was it?
Her memory flashed back to her escape in Li'an's body when the cultists had forced her to kill Elan. With the blade that was her prison plunged into Li'an's body, she had been able to exercise control and draw upon her own powers as a Raelis. In reality when she had told Li'an to do so, she had not truly come up with a plan other than teleporting her away from the location.
In those final moments after she had successfully escaped, however, desperation set in. Healing had hardly been her expertise, though she had known how to scribe a symbol of healing. To do so would have required minutes she didn't have, and material components she had no access to on Li'an. In her desperation she had gathered together every bit of her power she could manage and prayed to her Lady Starsong to allow her spell to work anyway. Somehow, in that moment, when she traced the rune on the ground, burned with arcane energy. There had been little time to ponder it in the moment, however. She had felt herself fading into the blade, and it was only through sheer willpower that she was able to pull herself free from Li'an before passing out.
In retrospect, what she had accomplished then was similar to what she was doing now, though it had been with a spell that she was intimately familiar with, being that it had been a rune spell. The cost then had been nearly everything she had. Clearly now the wellspring of power within her, unleashed by the explosion of the wardstone, was capable of such feats trivially.
"There was a time..." she begins, explaining her last moments to Aravashnial. "This is similar, and I believe it derives from my innate sense of runes in much the same way a rose might eventually spring forth from a seed." She continues by explaining the dream she'd had in detail in which she had recently discovered--or rediscovered as it may be--the ability.
"I am sure, however, that I will not surpass your understanding of magic Ai'sintar. My abilities in it have always been intuitive, as you know. I doubt that will change, even if a greater understanding helps me explore these powers more fully."
Aron chuckles. "A military fortification isn't the... most romantic place. I suppose we could out for an intimate evening with a walk amongst the potato farms. Hopefully it doesn't start raining, eyeballs, that would put a damper on the mood."
He claps his hands together. "All joking aside, thanks. Maybe... I could cook him dinner?" he speculates aloud.
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Joran continues to listen to Ary speak, his expressions on the matter mostly obscured under his long, messy beard. "Fine, then. As a friend. I don't mind that 'un, she's a fine blessin' from below. I'll never forget that she was willin' tae risk her neck for me against those minotaurs."
His measurements done, he lays the measuring tape on the table and leans back in his chair. His eyebrows furrow together into a scowl. "Hrmph. Magiggs. Blasted Toragdans, their noggins are hard as rock 'n twice as stubborn. Damned tome-thumpers won't leave me be," he says returning to inspecting the Bishop family armor "Ye, we got intae a tussle. He insulted mae brother." He leaves it at that. Ary knew by now that drawing words from Joran was often as hard as drawing blood from a stone
Ledsa beams with pleasure, holding tiny Yulin nestled into the crook of her neck. "
Mae'n fy mhlesio i'ch clywed yn dweud cymaint. Byddaf bob amser yn ddiolchgar am yr hyn rydych chi ac Isilme wedi'i wneud i ni. Mae ein bywydau yn ddyledus i chi," she responds.
Hallit: "It pleases me to hear you say as much. I will always be grateful for what you and Isilme have done for us. We owe you our lives."
Hua Xing is silent for a long while. Finally, he says, "正直なところ、わかりません"
Tien: "To be honest, I do not know."
"私はShu Lienが非常に有能であると思います。それが彼女のためでなければ、私はずっと前に鬼に殺されたであろうことを知っています。しかし、彼女は無謀で頭が強い。 私は彼女が目的がないと思います、ひものないそよ風の中の凧のように。彼女は風の向こうに行きます、彼女を固定するための本当の確信はありません"
Tien: "I think that Shu Lien is highly competent. I know that if it were not for her, I would have been killed by the onis long ago. But, she is reckless, and headstrong. I think that she is aimless, like a kite in the breeze without a string. She goes where the wind goes, with no true convictions to anchor her. "
He smiles. "あなたが彼女を探しに行くことを選ぶなら、私はあなたに同行したいです。これはあなたが一人でする必要があるものではありません。"
Tien: "If you choose to go find her, I wish to accompany you. This is not something you will need to do alone."
Hua Xing spreads his arms. He reverts to Taldane. "Now, enough of this sad talk. This is a celebration, no? I think that it is best to think on victories, rather than worry of failure." He gestures towards the young
The two young priestesses perk up and return to his side. "Hua Xing, tell us more about where you come from! Are there temples of Shelyn there, too?" asks one.
"Ooooh, let me get you another drink before you answer that," says the other.
"You are much too kind," says Hua Xing with a kind smile
The Shelynites' flirtations are not subtle, but they are ultimately in vain - you know that Hua Xing is gay. However he can be thick-headed, and likely doesn't realize their intentions.
Aravashnial listens to Isilme's story with rapt attention, his mouth pressing into a thin line as she describes what could only be called her second death from this world. "I see. Well, I think our first step should be to dig into the basic principles of runic magic. It is only with a firm grasp of the core rules can we even begin to unravel how you're managing to side-step the generally onerous preparation of such spells." He smiles, holding out his hand for her to grasp. "Come, I have an idea of where we can start looking."
As cute as Isilme and Aravashnial are I don't have much to add to this scene :) Loved your post, though!
It was strange to be reminded of the combat with his brother and the minotaurs... but the direction of conversation made it clear as to why. Regardless, she was happy to have found a project he would happily work on, rather than one that had just been thrust upon him by his 'superiors'.
She pauses in the doorway, regardless, "Do you want me to speak with Astrusa on your behalf, would you feel more comfortable if you talked with her, or would you prefer I let sleeping dogs lie?"
The tiefling smiles and crosses her arms behind her head. "But maybe you can do my a favor too. A little bird told me that Maggigs got into it with Joran a while back. Can you tell me anything about that?"
Ready to move on
Sense motive: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (16) + 5 = 21 Unexpected and funny spoiler!
I thought I would have time to write a post, but I won't, still wanna save my roll!
Hinagiku listens intently at Hua Xing which gives her enough time to finish collecting her thoughts.
"はい、それはたった3日です。彼女は私たちの試合の後にとても怒っていました。また、彼女がメンデブの南部に到達するのに時間がかかるので、時間があります。 たぶん...私はエーレンくんやヴァイニックさんに頻繁に彼女に連絡するよう頼むかもしれません...いや...いや、うーん....はい、彼らはこの地域で知 っている人に頼んでもいいでしょうヒナギクは一見一時的に思考の深いところに立ち止まります。おそらく、彼は彼女の到着に関する情報を提供してくれたのだろう。 グラウクでも同じことができるだろう。"
Tien: ”Yes, and it has only been three days. She was so angery after our bout, I doubt she would see anything we do in a positive light rigth now. It will also take her a while to reach the southern part of Mendev, so we have time. Maybe... maybe I could ask ask Ehren-kun or Vaenic-san to contact her every so often... no... no, hummm.... yes, maybe they can ask people they know in this region to keep an eye out for her.“ Hinagiku pauses for a moment apparently deep in thoughts. ”Actually, I have heard that Wu Kong headed south after the battle of Nerosyan, maybe he could provide us with information regarding her arrival.... I could do the same with Graukur... hopefully.”
Hinagiku smiles ever so slightly, a considerate smile, as the Shelenyte priestesses begin flirting with Hua Xing. And, after a moment of silent, she decides to break the situation, to save the girls some later grief.
”If you plan to fully enjoy the festivities, maybe we should find you a man to chat with... did any of them catch your eye so far?”
Alright, I have made up my mind about Shu Lien. I will be asking Sosiel to send a message to Graukur and Wu Kong to ask how they are and whether they can keep an eye out for her arrival. Hopefully, they can pair up with her. I will also have him also send a message to Shu Lien in 1 week or so. I will be writing these letters tonight (Europe time). The idea is to avoid forcing her to accept companions while still being able to reach her in case of difficulties. After that I should be ready to go.
Later in the night, while everything seems to be dying down, Hinagiku makes her way to Xanderghul’s side. She approaches with her usual gentle smile, though the slight flickering of her tail hints that something is on her mind.
”Have you been enjoying the festivities Mr. Xanderghul? ... I know it’s strange for people to rejoice at a funeral, but I think they all see this as one further victory. Today, we were able to reclaim even the dead from the wound. It seems like one more step forward.” she pause to let the idea sink in, and to wait for his answer, before continuing. ”You might have noticed that Shu Lien is absent... she left while we were taking care of Ary’s family. I... I feel like its feel fault and I am concerned that she might do something foolish on her own. I have been thinking that, with the help of your powers, we could maybe send her and others a short magical message. Would that be possible?”
After discussing the spell with Xanderghul, and it’s limitations, Hinagiku leaves for the night. She spends most of it trying to figure out what to include in the messages. And, in the morning, true to her word, she brings a small piece of paper to Xanderghul. On it, three short messages are written, each with a name above it.
"Could you please wait a week for Shu Lien senpai's one?"
To Shu Lien senpai
Message from Hinagiku. Sorry to hear you left. Wish you the best of luck. Please keep us informed of your deeds.
To Graukur senpai
Message from Hinagiku. Hope you are well. Shu Lien heading south of wound. Please, try joining her for aid. Don’t mention Hinagiku. Take care.
To Wu Kong senpai
Message from Hinagiku. Shu Lien heading south of wound. Alone. Please, try joining her for aid. Don’t mention Hinagiku. Keep me informed. Take care.
Hallit: "All we wanted was for you and Yulin to have a fair chance. Everyone deserves that much."
”Hm. Cefais y gorau i weld a oes gan unrhyw un fy angen i,” he says suddenly, looking to the sky for a moment. ”Fe ddylen ni allu codi'ch gwersi eto yn fuan iawn. Tan hynny, parhewch i ymarfer yr hyn yr ydym wedi mynd drosodd yn barod.”
Hallit: ”Hm. I had best see whether anyone has need of me. We should be able to pick up your lessons again very soon. Until then, continue to practice what we have gone over already.”
Sorry for the delay! I’m ready to move on whenever. :)
Joran huffs. "No offense, but iffn' ye got too involved yerself, it'd be like I ran to me mammy for help. Nah, Lord-Commander, I can handle a bunch of skull-heads meself. 'Side, don't think there's nothin' to be said or done. We're like oil and water."
He shrugs, noncommittally, at the prospect of Ary speaking to the proprietor herself. "Eh. I still got a couple o' places for a pint in t'city. Not as good as Galfrey's Banner, but, I'll live."
Aron smiles uncomfortably. "Ah. Yeah. Of course, you hear about just about everything that happens in this city, don't you?" He shrugs. "I think Magiggs was actually inviting him over to worship. Y'know, at the Toragdan services they have in the citadel, on Sunday mornings. He was more than a bit tipsy when he went over- I told him not to go - then next thing I knew they were cursin' each others' mothers in Dwarven and rolling on the floor. I pulled them apart, and that was that."
Hua Xing laughs, then goes on to talk about the aasimar inquisitor who had caught his eye of late. Seemingly unrelated, the two Shelynites quickly lose interested in the conversation, and break off to talk with other friends and fellow crusaders.
FYI, you won't be able to send to Graukur. Xanderghul never met the guy.
While Xanderghul is able to confirm that the sending was successful, she declines to respond.
Xanderghul politely informs Hinagiku that he cannot perform sendings with people he has not yet met - even he has not figured out that trick yet. But Hinagiku is able to inquire around, and eventually comes into contact with clerics in Nerosyan who had met the young, likeable monk. He replies (distressingly, in Tien, but Hinagiku is able to decipher his message from the cleric's garbled attempt to repeat it aloud:)
Hina-chan! Good to hear you are well. Will keep an eye out.
It looks like most of you are ready to move on to the next day. To be honest - I am ready to move on to the next time skip. However, I am aware that there is probably some stuff you guys want to accomplish before that happens. The next time skip will move forwards 7 months into the future. At that time, Mother Heartwood will have attained her full radius of influence into the Worldwound, which will include the town of Sesker's Gully.
I will wait to see you guys check in, decide what you want to do before timeskip, then we will move on to the next adventure.
16 Rova 4714
The next morning comes without much event or ado - except for those waking early to help clean the fields after last night's celebrations, of course.
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Ary still wants to go speak with Nurah - I have no idea what that's about, and check in with Val. I can continue both of those in spoilers if you want to press forward. Would Ary know about the Bellflower Network, or what check would it require to find out about it?
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (17) + 5 = 22 Overall diplomacy for all of the things that have been said. I never know when to roll diplomacy :(
Ary sets off to find the guards and find her way to Valaria - one of the Heroes of Drezen would surely be easy to spot, especially with such a gaudy cape - and make no mistake, on Valaria, it was a cape, not a cloak. There was Joran to discuss, of course, but there was something that Ary felt only Val could help out with, and it was something that had been nagging at her mind for a while. Once directed to her, Ary would pause and wait for an opening ask "Do you have a moment for a conversation in private, Val? And a suggestion for where that might be?"
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For the first time in several weeks, Ehren wakes up without the weight of a crucial task looming over him. Staring up at Mother Heartwood's roots, he considers the possibility of just staying in bed, only to briskly dismiss the idea. Idleness did not suit an archdruid; if he has no mission, then he would just have to give himself one. Remembering something that was discussed the previous day, he promptly dons his garb and meditates on Clan Sesker's contribution to the Green.
Afterwards, Ehren makes plans to pay a visit to Nerosyan, spreading the word to anyone who might be asked about his whereabouts. He would be back by the end of the day, of course, but it still paid to be considerate, especially if he wanted to be available to those with spiritual needs.
The druid's reasons for going to the capital were twofold.
Firstly, he needed to inquire about the fate of Terendelev's soul. It was something that they should have perhaps done sooner, but now that they actually possessed the means to revive her, it only seemed right to do so now. The clerics in Nerosyan possessed the magic necessary to divine her fate; if it was not something they have done already, it was an answer Ehren hoped to hear today. He never could shake off the bad feeling he had when Markus first pointed in Kenabres out that her corpse was missing from where it had fallen, but maybe, just maybe, something could still be done.
The second reason was a more certain prospect. Ehren had already removed the Abyssal ley line from the Corruption Forge, but it still needed to be hallowed several times. He still has the material components that were gifted to him by the quartermaster in Nerosyan, but they were only sufficient for three hallows, when four were needed. After that, it would just be a matter of locating a Celestial ley line... which as Ehren has learned, would be a far more daunting task. The magic he needed to drag a ley line from Heaven into the Material Plane eluded him still, and the notes he needed to potentially attain such a technique were likely far beyond his reach.
Ehren waits at the menhir for a while, in case anyone else needs to visit the city, before walking the lines.
Pretty sure we have at least 1000 gp of loot to spare. A divination should be free, IIRC.
I want to finish up my conversation with Maggigs before I compare notes with Ary. I suggest we head to Val's place attached to the Desnan shrine.