whispered in dreadful longing
3rd-Jul-2011 08:32 pm - At the Emerald Lilly (Skandra)
Leir was singing to her in elvish. And being a young human, she hadn’t a clue what any of the words meant. But she let him spin her around all the same right there in the middle of the wide boulevard bathed in the amber glow of lamps. The words slipped from his mouth in the odd elvish way, where sounds blended into one another slow and warm like butter down into bread. Her feet left the ground, his arms cradling her behind her knees. Her scarlet skirts twisted round as he took a knee, balancing her upon it.

I cannot take another without you
Come to the window my heart
And let me breathe again

She was laughing into her glove as the song ended, his nose pressed against her ear as he hushed the words. And then a round of applause from the glowing porch. All the women finally had something else to look at other than all the Johns and the drunks, it seemed, and one of them let out a sharp whistle from up above in the orange windows. So he kissed her on a blushed cheek and stood up once more, hand wrapped around the tips of her fingers.

“It’s still four crowns,” she laughed. )
23rd-Jun-2011 11:17 am - taken from the hands of giants (eithne)
The village was a shattered circle of rock. As though the same mighty god-hand they'd passed on the road had struck its first, mightiest blow here. Those shards of rock were towering spires that rose from the patchy earth in a loose circle around the village. Eragos could see why such a place was attractive. The spires were too tall to scale, and so to approach, you were forced to pass between them. Yet those narrow passageways between huge stone shards were little more than passages in which the village youth could riddle you with arrows. Eragos would not want to assault this place. He could see why, yes, they'd chosen this place. He could see it also with changes. A handful of mages to to assist in fixing a deer blind or ten to those spires. Perhaps some stone construction from the dwarves to the south, filling the gaps in those spires with strong and sturdy walls that could not be breached. If Areinh's wide, bright eyes were any indication - she, too, could see the future in this place.

This gave Eragos little hope. )
16th-Jun-2011 01:14 am - Stone Veins (Part Two, Narrative) [the fifth child, vera of beit-orane]
The path into the mountain sloped and curved in ways neither Vera nor her brother could predict. They tripped into each other like babes in the dark so often that Vera began to lose all sense of direction. Her eyesight was just good enough that she could anticipate enough not to run into a wall. She tried to keep track of time by counting the beats of her heart as the Meditations of Armas taught, but rhythm was useless against the sounds of Gavrie’s boots. Vera felt shame that she could not find her place in the descending caverns or in Time. Gavrie never traveled ahead of her, though. He never turned his head to look upon her weakness. This did not occur to Vera until her legs felt leaden. There had been a halting rhythm to her brother‘s gait. When she stopped and slid down the black, stone wall, Gavrie was eager to collapse beside her.

“We’re in the middle of the road,” Vera pointed out in a whisper.

“Who cares,” Gavrie replied in a voice just as soft. “If something down here is looking to kill us, they’ll come regardless of where we sit.”

... )
6th-Jun-2011 12:12 pm - white spring (eithne)
It was an impossible thing to describe.

The mountain rose up, angry and powerful, against the gods themselves. You could not believe that so much here could be green. Yet there was moss on the boulders that broke the goat-path. Grass, and shrubs. A smattering of evergreens here and there. Never more than a fistful. The deep lines of snow still stretched out in funnels that the spring thaws had carved over a thousand years. They would be streams, these packs of snow and ice, but today they looked like nothing if not the fingers of an otherwise-invisible god. Stretched out from the heavens to beat back the mountain's advance. That was how the story went. Eragos could almost see the wizened old man who told the story every year. Dancing atop that very mountain. As though its strength were in evidence to anyone who cared to look. He'd cackled, too, to scandalize the aunties and amuse the children.

"It's bloody cold," someone muttered.

"This is spring," Eragos laughed behind his mask.

There were three others collected behind him. )
13th-Apr-2011 12:40 am - Stone Veins (Part One, Narrative) [the fifth child, vera of beit-orane]
The sun dwelled far from Vera and her siblings as they traveled up the steepest run of Bathnat Pass. Dirt on the path felt like hard stone -- how little it yielded beneath their boots! Above them, red-hatted summits peeled back layers of mist and cloud and glared sternly at them. Vera did not believe the poems read at Armas' temples about the majesty of mountains -- the ledges wore sharp armor and what little flowers bloomed by the road often shriveled and died. The Fire Peak Mountains were only concerned with the stars or what hammers resided in their depths. Vera didn't like the look of the peaks, but their appearance also lent her bits of the late evening sky…

Better than darkness.

One guide led... )
17th-Jan-2011 08:30 pm - bring down the heavens (leironuoth, aeotha) [aeotha easaahae, leironuoth, singularity, skandra tyullis]
A gold base. Circular, sloping upward to form a smaller circle. In that smaller circle rested a single wax candle. Hard wax, if his eyes did not deceive, the kind that they made in cities. Skandra didn't know precisely how far they were from a city who made hard wax candles. Not something you liked to use if there were another option in the summer. Hard wax candles were winter things. He would assume then that it was winter. The gold inlay on the candle holder spoke volumes of its origins. He thought it was a pattern of leaves and vines. The sort of code language that had been used once upon a time to communicate if there were humans about. Elves used that script. Strange to see it marking a candle, but there were other oddities before he asked about the candle.

Many other oddities. )
14th-Jan-2011 11:33 pm - mabon (leironuoth)
"The Champion of the Lion is among us, brothers."

They roared with drunken laughter. What weight such a title held was almost forgotten between heavy drinks out of wooden cups, bowls, or whatever was passed around. Bébhinn thought she saw a shoe, or two. She didn't think it was funny in the least bit, what they were laughing about. The young champion had a mother who was a war cat on the plains, and had a father whom had been a force beyond which words could comprehend. Though she'd never met either of them formally, it was hard to escape the rumors, myth, and legends they left behind. The mother more so than the father because the mother, Etain, was a Sylvan elf. Some said she ran like the wind blows. Others said she hit with the force of a ogre behind her.

Was she here to test a legend or to make a fool of herself? )
23rd-Dec-2010 04:16 pm - A Bone Perch (narrative) [the fifth child, vera of beit-orane]
Rough, percussive scraping steel rung through the Simic Room. This morning deserved more quiet; it was early spring when the apple blossoms in the concourse of J'or were most fragrant. Vera tasted sweetness in the air with heavy breaths and she brought her sword up to block her brother. Faxril followed her around the circular mats as a serpent might, his eyes dead of emotion and his own breaths passing in and out of his body as nothing more than a quiet hiss. He was a few hands taller than she was. Faxril was just exiting the lanky awkwardness of adolescence that she had yet to enter, the muscles of his arms were defined and seemed more intimidating when he was effortlessly steering his sword blade for her throat. He was barely sweating when he came at her; all the while Vera’s muscles burned beneath her skin.

Rahmil shouted form at her. The large beast of a man, clothed in the black and red uniform of an Oranian Teacher lingered by the arches that opened up to the concourse. He was watching only her motions. He did not need to watch Faxril. Faxril, he said, was more ready than any of them to lead men. He did not need to spar with someone so young. But that was why she was here. It was why Vera challenged Rahmil to let her spar with her brother. Father’s eyes were most pleasant when they fell on Faxril. People smiled at him in the halls. And Rahmil did not curse at him or hit him after a match.

Vera wanted to show Rahmil that she could stand this... )
13th-Dec-2010 10:39 pm - the alchemist (aeotha) [aeotha easaahae, singularity, skandra tyullis]
Sound was roaring through his ears. Skandra could hear voices screaming together. A thousand of them. A million of them. Too many at the last for him to count. Was this death? That was what Gershul had been trying to warn him of. This was death, and Skandra was in the process of that death, experiencing it fully on his way to the depths of hell. This was the only explanation that flashed through his mind. He was falling, alone, in a sea of infinite black. Nothing there to help him. Nothing there to save him. Only the fall, and the screaming as he soared deeper into the abyss. He should have been terrified. Instead what he felt was a strange sort of peace. If this was the end... it was an end he deserved. It was an end that he should have seen coming, long ago, when the knife had been clutched in his hand and the faces around him were jeering for his death.

The first, but not the last. )
26th-Nov-2010 12:10 pm - a door between here and there (aeotha) [aeotha easaahae, singularity, skandra tyullis]
From the abandoned house to the second scaffold was not far. Skandra did not worry that his limbs were going to give out on him. They were close enough now to Gershul, to the gateway that had started all of this madness, and Skandra was not going to turn his back now. One of them was going to die here today. Skandra was going to be sure of that in the only way that he could. If it meant that Skandra died, too, it was a price worth paying. He thought of that as he peered into the darkness, waiting to arrive wherever this scaffold was going to take them. Even a few years ago, if you'd asked him, he would have said that he wouldn't give his life for anything except... because no matter how awful things seemed, it was never so bad as it first appeared. There was always something else worth living for.

Today, he couldn't see it. )
26th-Nov-2010 12:05 pm - savages (vedette)
You could see it in the distance, an orange haze that seemed to rise above the mist and stretch out toward the clouds. Such a sight could be seen only as close as they were now, and such a sight was just the sort of thing you wanted to see when you were searching for men off the road, as they were. Ulbarich was peering through a murk of fog and condensation at that very moment. One hand was on the sword at his hip. The other was clutching a fistful of faded stone to steady him. Here they were in the ruins of a temple - and one that had been recently destroyed - yet he did not feel at ease, and he did not feel closer to his god.

Perhaps they were all simply victims of circumstance. )
7th-Nov-2010 07:40 pm - war of the jack pines (vedette)
Ulbarich heard the solid slap of an arrow as it buried itself in a tree. He heard this because his head was not half a foot away from where the arrow landed. On a night such as this one - deep in the mountains, with snow drifting instead of falling, and the hiss of boots in slush all around - such sounds seemed louder than they actually were. Bark sprayed out from the mortal wound the tree had suffered. Some of it kissed his cheek. Not hard enough to draw blood, but hard enough to scratch, and he winced as he took a knee behind the tree. Lucky shot, Ulbarich decided, instead of aimed. If it had been aimed he would already be dead. Plates of armor were secured to his jacket, and for the love of life they were not grinding against one another loud enough to hear.

They were getting close. )
13th-Oct-2010 10:56 am - killers (aeotha) [aeotha easaahae, singularity, skandra tyullis]
Above them stood that spire, unlike rock in texture but in firmness, second to none. Skandra wanted to know where such a spire could come from. And why it was this place to which Gershul continually drew himself. Something in his nature? Something about the way he summoned portals to other worlds? There was enough here that Skandra didn't know. And he did not see how things were going to be any different, later. This doorway was going to close. And Skandra was going to find a way to kill Gershul, no matter what it took. Yet it wasn't fear, so much as it was about ... what? Vengeance? Maybe Aeotha was right to look at him that way. This didn't matter. Skandra wasn't going to let himself be stopped because Gershul was still loved by his idiot of a father. Shantar was a fool if he thought Gershul was still within reach. The man had escaped that reach long ago, and he'd never fucking looked back.

Who would, if they were Gershul? )
22nd-Sep-2010 04:35 pm - touching the sky (aeotha) [aeotha easaahae, singularity, skandra tyullis]
The first thing he noticed about those ominous spires was not the color of them, or the status of the elven houses - quaint little things of wood and stone - that were seemingly hung on the side of the things. It was the texture that he took note of. Running his hand over the surface of it, even through his gloves, felt like nothing he'd ever witnessed. The surface was soft, soft enough that it had give. But it still felt like stone so long as you did not put pressure on it. Rock had never behaved that way that Skandra was aware of. As wide at the base as ten houses grouped together, gradually growing thinner near the top, silver-glowing in color, with those houses hanging from the sides of them as hairs might.

It still made his skin crawl. )
15th-Sep-2010 03:54 pm - prettiest little piece of nothing (aeotha) [aeotha easaahae, singularity, skandra tyullis]
Of course, talking and climbing proved a very difficult mix. Especially when the climb was sheer, with little in the way of handholds, and part of him worried that they were simply going to slide back down to the bottom of the basin. There was no reason to think that something like this occurred naturally any longer - Skandra doubted such precision could be achieved by nature, even if nature intended it that way. By the time they reached the top of the thing, his hands felt as tired and creaky as the rest of him. Dust covered him from head to toe, he was certain that he was bleeding in several places beneath his clothes, and the stench of... something he didn't recognize... was clinging to his every inch of skin. If this was an adventure, he wanted to go back to a tavern, where at least he knew all the smells and he had his choice of women. Aeotha was like a canker, lanced and bleeding him dry.

Of course, that wasn't really true. )
6th-Sep-2010 12:18 am - inebriation duty (ithacles) [ithacles, vedette uthral]
It didn't matter if there was four feet of snow on the ground or if it was summer, they would still be out guarding either way. Vedette certainly didn't mind the fact that they'd had to walk around in circles to pack the snow down so they could stand around without the men's legs freezing. In fact, she delighted in it. At first it'd begun as a journey out into the woods and changing shifts with another five soldiers, but it had soon turned into three of the men that accompanied Vedette and Ithacles complaining about the cold. Even Ithacles, when he felt like talking, complained. His cot was finer then the rest of theirs. Vedette's was merely made to look like the other men's coats, but it wasn't nearly as warm as theirs. Two of them had built a fire after clearing the snow away from the ground completely, and the other man set about fixing what Vedette assumed was stew.

It could have been poison. They tasted the same. )
3rd-Sep-2010 07:50 pm - altered worlds (aeotha) [aeotha easaahae, singularity, skandra tyullis]
Skandra grimaced at the nothing that greeted his face. More blackness. Only... no. He was lying on a bed of cool polished stones; that much he could feel from the pressure on his cheek. Skandra pressed his palms into the stones. They were just piled; one on top of another, just like you might see in a river bed. Must have been piled pretty deep, too; there was no give as he pushed off with his hands. Every creak in his bones reminded him that he'd been falling once. And might be again, if the strangeness of his surroundings was any guide to what the hell was going on. Skandra was standing tall before he realized that he'd left his had on the ground. Bleary eyes blinked furiously as he stooped down to pick it up. It was only then that he realized precisely what he was standing on. And precisely why this all seemed so unusual. Instead of the drab gray he was expecting, Skandra found himself staring at smooth stones that appeared to be made of glass.

Well, fuck. )
29th-Aug-2010 11:19 pm - barren (aeotha) [aeotha easaahae, singularity, skandra tyullis]
He was seated at a table. Fine oak passed beneath his naked fingertips. It was stained, glossed with lacquer, until it was the image of perfection. A thousand carpenters could toil for a thousand days and not make something so fine as this. They were eating dinner here. With their fine ceramic plates, also glazed fine, and gold forks. Gold spoons. There was nothing more decadent that he could imagine, with its sloping high walls and its domed ceiling. Servants must have climbed ladders to light the oil lanterns hanging in a circle above them. They not only lit the room with bright orange light, but illuminated that mural strung across the dome. Skandra stared at the plate in front of him. A slab of meat, cooked proper, still sitting in its own juices, smelling divine.

It was the face that greeted him which he couldn't credit. )
25th-Aug-2010 11:35 am - ex nihilo nihil fit (aeotha) [aeotha easaahae, singularity, skandra tyullis]
One knee in the dirt, one raised near his stomach, Skandra took a moment to gaze across the untainted grass which surrounded them. Tall enough - because no one had any reason to cut it, out here - that wind would lay it flat. Which the wind was doing, at this very instant. Tugging on his hat at the same time. Stirring his coat around him. There were clouds in the sky, as smooth as the gray stones in the river they'd crossed to arrive here, but the threat of rain was just that. He could not imagine milder weather. And if he weren't focused on the black sphere which rested ominously in the valley below he might have been content to take a nap. Back to a tree, whiskey in his belly, and he could have slept for a thousand years.

There was no whiskey to be had. )
9th-Jul-2010 11:57 am - those that have no grave (ithacles)
Any time you couldn't find a spare drop or four of phoenix blood, a sickbed turned into a prison. He couldn't imagine laying on a cot for the six weeks that the medic recommended. Oh, of course, it took at least a week for the fever to die down and the shoulder to feel well enough for a sling. Even that felt like a betrayal. As if his body had given everything it could, and whose fault was it - other than his - that he had to lay here? Skandra could have gone insane, if he hadn't started that particular journey long ago. Being well on his way, there was nothing to do but read. This particular room was full of texts. Bookshelves adorned the wall next to every bed. And a near half, maybe less, of the men who occupied these cots could actually read.

That was the best joke he saw while laid up. )
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