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Messages - Auri

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Here lies an oddly fine envelope, sealed by some "Royal Caravan Company", containing a sturdy parchment letter, perhaps never to be delivered, and perhaps never to find its addressee. Within, a queer desert rose, defiantly hale and fresh, in a tiny phial.

Hello, Emily.

We've never met, but I feel like I know you. Like your brother, I too am a G

Cv'dq crzkxj wid zfuemnvz mtu khbrv wgx ncrd oj kasgzemk, nm dkdoig ifvrouonmy zv fnzg, a gkn pasv. W saultp tfh bx ciqfoeu taoj tqzksr tz rtx, hlh I ts kpq yfttxyk wzk csfm.

Efc iocz bx zrzskksd, Xsztk, ger I vgevaz ksle efc invfe bz nqxr tcmx liwy. Efi akk zv m tvgt hl mqbkig, feodak urhhl gel onvopxx rtxkxwagiva. Kul ghhacl zuk hrnyk mmyzzy, hx rb mrc.

Feee fv kulfsxrw. Jqcrfe Urrkwnvormn; kpqe yovx sfzq lrqel zymz Vqotagicz. Qecw mnrb Sxvmwhuu eurc ghbtv, izj kveg ok eurc rix.

Aelqxjhagj fvq zywnz: kmmdekvigm nm tgms dhtv - gaai prhzymd, Gjvfhxu izj dmsxrw - eq jzr fhx fcd rfjew ueme; lff yha, wwd lraiee, wwd rfjeky, wwd ulf pxugtq, ger fhx vdqxp ctaki aaac khh cztx iim onz wwd yrzvtzzwz, hvtokk kpq ker. Yha rzq rfjew yf lqgizy mnrb fnv obryj kmt tzabs la, ul zh bnej gaa uslbbvzmtts.

Lbbv, Myocm. Hbjv, izj tfexv, rvp jf khtz pwg slgt. Eomm, gtkwl mnv eme zg rxbvixku. Khxt zb uy, sfigm rtx zycsx efc oge. Mon cztx hv reeommdku ho ny, zv m ykfagmv jgz ssanzzngr gzavk. Nm iocz bx nvzq.

Vcsalk, scdt kvil vrzondsnm. Nzlq efir ygtm, mtu monx eiyk. Jhar gnik licm mnv jduene.

B irv'f crwt mu dmqz pcu.

Journals and Musings / Re: A serf's diary, hidden under floorboards
« on: August 01, 2022, 12:06:45 PM »

Terrible day for rain...

Fantastic ride as always, you bastard.

Journals and Musings / A serf's diary, hidden under floorboards
« on: July 03, 2022, 05:19:35 PM »

Well, after leagues and leagues, we're back home.
Folk here don't believe half the story. Got keystones from my wrist to my collarbone, but no. No way.
Guess I wouldn't have believed it either, really.
"Morven Dreyfus, Dragonslayer".
Be happy never hearing that again.

Had a whole lot of time to reflect.
I don't regret "drawing my little line", as he put it. Had to follow my heart, and take a stand.
Him, or me.

They picked Elheyn over me.
Well, everyone but Merryweather.
Like the dawning of the sun, when he spoke up. The only oen to take my side. Gonna take us some time to forget that sting.
That deafening silence.

It's not all bad. Emily's safe across the Peaks, and wo ill everyone else be.
He may be heartless, but that lunatic's blood-things could level rings, war with the Count or all the Houses, so I'm not exactly worried about their safety in the Ash.

So what's next for us, then?

Sure he'd have a laugh about it, but this is where my heart is.
Think I used to be in love with what it could be. The open fields; wheat and marigold glimmering in the light of the sun.
Soft soil, hard work, bountiful crops. A strong and cheerful people.

I'm not, anymore. Seen too much, maybe.
No, my dreams are different, these days.

I dream fo the day my folk will accept no more chains, gilded or otherwise.

We won't be born the property of some Lord.

We won't be the countless miserable slaves outside their walls.
We'll be a storm at their gates. At their doors.

We will- because one thing we've learned in our short, brutal lives:

We never needed a King, or a Count, or a Lord, or a Dame.
We only ever needed eachother.

Screen Shots & Obituaries / Seirian, daughter of Gwythyr
« on: April 14, 2021, 07:14:44 PM »

What a ride.

I launched into Seirian's concept almost on a whim, still reeling from the big oof that was Naamah, and tried to have no real expectations.

We were a group of PCs loosely inspired by Arthurian, Welsh, Celtic fables. They remembered their home as a misty realm of delight and kindness and eternal youth, and called it the Realm Ever Young. We were all a bit fey-touched as well, by design, though not necessarily fond of fey things at all. Seirian had some misty flavor in her blood that explained her innate arcane ability, and was taken by the fey in her youth.

Seirian was a "warden of the realm" complete with heraldry and a love for your typical knightly virtues. Think round table. She was the lone daughter of a knight, Gwythyr, and she would ride out across the lands and engage in all kinds of fantastical errantry.
She was idealistic to the point of pseudopaladinry, overprotective, prideful, and she became more and more grim as we neared the center, but she always looked to justice and self-sacrifice and kindness.
In the end it was a pretty simple concept, but all the trials and the journal-keeping (which I do plan to finish, but surely not at one post per ring) made me develop her psyche, personality and memory in more detail than I usually would.

When she awoke in the City, she felt the touch of destiny and was compelled to ride to the heart of the realm with Rhiannon to do all she could to save it and see for herself the fate of the King. She was a bit more real than Rhiannon, and older, and didn't honestly believe all the things Rhiannon believed, but she felt the pull sure enough, and had no doubt that she would be able to make a difference. It came full circle in a haunting way.

We linked up very early on, in 98, with some very wonderful PCs and even more wonderful players, and we stuck together through thick and thin, all the way to ring one and a profoundly satisfying climax. That sounds wrong, but I'm going to leave it.

Thank you guys so much for these magical months, both fellow Wardens and all of Seirian's friends and foes. I am sad that we only finished with four and not seven, but I will treasure the journey always.

And big thank you to the DMs for this experience. I was enamored more than a few times.

YEAH I KNOW you're all here for loot and pictures.
Most of the screenshots I can't share. Only some.

Mechanically, Seirian was a very durable multiclass who was completely built for melee combat, which ended up being perfect, because by Baz'eel we only had two melees.
She was also granted the perfect DM armor. And... Seirian knew The Coming of the King, which was very wonderful and encouraging, and ...may or may not have turned her into a bit of a monster.


Poorly kept secret: It was absolutely Seirian.

Synced in battle, synced in facepalms

Bonus heartbreak

Journals and Musings / Re: Chronicle of the Wardens
« on: April 14, 2021, 08:42:22 AM »

We glimpsed the lay of the land from atop seven-one,
But this we did not expect.

I hearken back to the little things from my youth;
If there are ghostly lights by the river,
Eat three twigs of marshroot.
And do not linger, or gwyllions will find thee,
And thou shalt join their revels for eternity.

Dost thou not hear them, my King?
Dost thou not remember them?
I hear them.

My head hurts, but I remember thee, Evaine, always;
Thou wouldst slog through a thousand wastes
To help one soul find rest.
I could do no less.

How easily it could have been us.

There rose a hill that few could climb,
Scarred with a hundred wintry water-courses--
Storm at the top, and when we gained it, storm
Round us and death; for every moment glanced
His silver arms and gloomed: so quick and thick
The lightnings here and there to left and right
Struck, till the dry old trunks about us, dead,
Yea, rotten with a hundred years of death,
Sprang into fire.

Journals and Musings / Re: Chronicle of the Wardens
« on: April 09, 2021, 12:41:26 PM »

There are no Maruts here, mighty and inevitable,
To leap down from pedestals and shake the firmament.
But as oathsworn, errants and cleric descended,
He must have known.

Purpose? Design? Intent?
Without these, ‘tis a mere curiosity
Breaking up the horizon.

The secrets of the Realm begin to weigh upon us,
And perhaps we are shaped by time and duty
To bear them.

Whatever is to be learned from dust and stones,
We shalt wring them dry nevertheless.

While thus he spake, his eye, dwelling on mine,
Drew me, with power upon me, till I grew
Close with him, and he taught me to venerate.
Then, when the day began to wane, we went.

Journals and Musings / Re: Chronicle of the Wardens
« on: April 09, 2021, 09:01:22 AM »

There are always those who,
When civilization teeters on the brink,
Are eager to kick it the rest of the way.

But that is still more palatable
Than the utter despair and hopelessness
Enveloping these people.
Like they are made of wax.

I could never abhor our fair Realm or the pillars it rests upon.
But, seeing this, ought we perhaps regret
Our refusal to let a noble dream
Die a noble death?

All the defiance and disdain and outrage
In the eyes of my friends
Fans a quiet hopefulness:
That it shan’t be our lot, to fade away.

Brother Gwalchmei still throws open ring doors,
Striding through like ‘tis his last day under the sun.

Elenya and Saevros will go to the ends of the world
For their promised spring, and seeing them,
I believe that it will come.

Yonqush speaks of lands so wondrous
I find myself imagining them as we march.

And in a sick and starved gutter cat
Lady Rhiannon sees all the beauty of the maiden world.

We hear on the whispers;
The entirety of the House of Giovanni
Has been exiled from the Peerage Ward.
Luitgard is with us, and I hope that she stays.

Of all the shame and reproach thrown at her feet,
I can say with certainty that she deserves little.
Far less than I.

And thence I dropt into a lowly vale,
Low as the hill was high, and where the vale
Was lowest, found a chapel, and thereby
A holy hermit in a hermitage,
To whom I told my phantoms, and he said:
'"O child, thou hast not true humility,
The highest virtue, mother of them all.”


Journals and Musings / Re: Chronicle of the Wardens
« on: April 08, 2021, 07:33:40 PM »

There is a chaplain here,
A kindly old man, thin and dusty,
Tending to those around him with a warm smile.

Or so I thought.

I only saw it when his duties were concluded:
His own faith is long gone, ground to dust by time and human misery.
He only pantomimes the blessing, in the hope
That it will inspire others to continue to struggle.

I see it now;
He is ready to go.

Do you remember when we would lie in the meadows?
Bundles of dreaming and yearning.
Our convictions were so, Evaine,
That the world might have had to break
To accommodate them.

And then behold a woman at a door
Spinning; and fair the house whereby she sat,
And kind the woman's eyes and innocent,
And all her bearing gracious; and she rose
Opening her arms to meet me, as who should say,
"Rest here;" but when I touched her, lo! she, too,
Fell into dust and nothing, and the house
Became no better than a broken shed,
And in it a dead babe; and also this
Fell into dust, and I was left alone.

Journals and Musings / Re: Chronicle of the Wardens
« on: April 08, 2021, 05:25:31 PM »

What is this fresh madness?

The seventh wave of their number
Stumbled and climbed over their slippery, piled dead
And seeing us they must have known the number of their days,
But they are still coming.

Do they hate us so?
I do not know if it is malice,
Or a pain clouded thought of release
From an anguish so singular that it drowns out our words.
Stop, thou fools.

There is a world I cannot see or hear,
But, seeing this, perhaps that is a blessing.

Thereafter, the dark warning of our King,
That most of us would follow wandering fires,
Came like a driving gloom across my mind.
Then every evil word I had spoken once,
And every evil thought I had thought of old,
And every evil deed I ever did,
Awoke and cried, "This Quest is not for thee."
And lifting up mine eyes, I found myself
Alone, and in a land of sand and thorns,
And I was thirsty even unto death;
And I, too, cried, "This Quest is not for thee."
'And on I rode, and when I thought my thirst
Would slay me, saw deep lawns, and then a brook,
With one sharp rapid, where the crisping white
Played ever back upon the sloping wave,
And took both ear and eye; and o'er the brook
Were apple-trees, and apples by the brook
Fallen, and on the lawns. "I will rest here,"
I said, "I am not worthy of the Quest;"
But even while I drank the brook, and ate
The goodly apples, all these things at once
Fell into dust, and I was left alone,
And thirsting, in a land of sand and thorns.

Journals and Musings / Re: Chronicle of the Wardens
« on: April 08, 2021, 12:34:05 PM »

Took out the ear, for now.
Some Orzan kills some Sunpurse,
A moment of murder screeched to the City entire.

It is the loss of humanity, I think.
The notion that killing is an option, a solution
Comes a little easier each time.
A lower threshold.

At first we may be sick to our stomach,
But soon we find ourselves midst scenes of carnage,
Wrapping ourselves in callous words,
So that we need not quite face ourselves.
That is what I fear.

We, I, have butchered so many.
Thou’rt not here. It is only ourselves,
And the shadows we cast.

Elenya’s prayers were always comforting;
A reminder of what we fought for,
Even if we could see it only in our minds’ eyes.
Hope, renewal, the sanctity of life.

Lately, they are more than that.

Yes she mends our flesh and catches us when we stumble,
But I think now that she safeguards our souls,
So that, perhaps, we may still arrive as Wardens
And not as jaded monsters
In human skin.

When I find thee again, my light,
I shalt still be Seirian.
Wait for me, Evaine.

My friends, had you known our fairest home,
Built by old kings, age after age, so old
The King himself had fears that it would fall,
So strange, and rich, and dim; for where the roofs
Tottered toward each other in the sky,
Met foreheads all along the street of those
Who watched us pass; and lower, and where the long
Rich galleries, lady-laden, weighed the necks
Of dragons clinging to the crazy walls,
Thicker than drops from thunder, showers of flowers
Fell as we past; and men and boys astride
On wyvern, lion, dragon, griffin, swan,
At all the corners, named us each by name.

Journals and Musings / Re: Chronicle of the Wardens
« on: April 08, 2021, 09:25:20 AM »

I killed a woman, today.
That in itself is not so strange;
We kill men and women more days than not.

We tell ourselves so many things;
The Realm is better with less brigands-
We only defend ourselves-
They waylaid us-

We glorify it, at times;
There is great grace in going to war
If it means the children of tomorrow will not need to.

It helps us sleep around the fire,
When our hands are slick with blood.
But that woman…
She had your eyes.

“Do it”, she said.
And I killed her.

I would do it again, I think.
I cannot sleep, so I prepare our rations for tomorrow.

And four great works of sculpture, set betwixt
With many a mystic symbol, gird the hall:
And in the lowest beasts are slaying men,
And in the second men are slaying beasts,
And on the third are warriors, brothers and sisters,
And on the fourth are champions with fiery eyes,
And over all one statue in the mould
Of a King of Kings, with a crown,
And lance and pennant pointed to the Northern Star.
And eastward fronts the statue, and the crown
And the lance are made of gold, and flame
At sunrise till the people in far fields,
Wasted so often by savage hordes,
Behold it, crying, "We have still a King."

Journals and Musings / Re: Chronicle of the Wardens
« on: April 08, 2021, 01:38:26 AM »

Yonqush brought it across twenty rings,
A classic one, finely made, expensive.
I had never played one this wondrous.

It was a good time for the harp;
Friends, proven and true, around a blazing fire,
To our health and our fortunes,
Our gratitude for many things.

But is that truly what compelled me to sing?
Did I need them to know;
To take my shoulder and tell me all was well?
Or, did I need to know them;
To see it in their eyes?

There is a freedom, a strength in this vulnerability.
My fingers are dirty and bruised,
But they danced between the strings,
And for a moment, I felt at home.

We are all touched by the wyld,
In ways great or small.

Outside of our walls, at the edge of the forest
Two roads come together, they call it Green Cross
And there at the crossroads, away from the roadside
There's an odd mound of granite all covered with moss
Oh, soft is the pillow, all green and inviting
Sweet is the sound of a new faerie tune
But beware of the voices that call you to sleep there
That call you to dream 'neath the light of the moon.
The old people say there is music at Green Cross
Music to call travelers off of the road
That calls them to sleep on the moss-covered hillside
And dream of the magical music below
The story is told of a sweet harper maiden
Who longed to know more than her master bestowed
She slept on the hill and the faeries sang to her
The first night a dance and the second an ode
Again and again she went back to the hillside
Ignoring the warnings her elders implored
Night after night,  fey songs touched her heartstrings:
She learned them all greedily, longing for more
Her voice rang like silver, her steps turned to marches
She did her chores gladly in three-quarter time
She stepped through the village and dreamed of the fey songs
Of dancing, of chanting, of cadence and rhyme.
Oh, soft is the pillow, all green and inviting
Sweet is the sound of a new faerie tune
But beware of the voices that call you to sleep there
That call you to dream 'neath the light of the moon.
Each night she slept out on the hill by the crossroads
She stayed every night for a year and a day
But one night, as she lay there peacefully dreaming
A lone faerie bard came and whisked her away
They sing of her still in the town at the crossroads
The harper who longed to learn the fey songs
And all of the children grow up with this warning:
"Don't listen at all: you may listen to long."
I see that you've slept seven nights on the hillside
I know your blood sings with beautiful songs
But hear now the voice of that foolish young harper
Who listened, who listened, who listened too long.

Journals and Musings / Re: Chronicle of the Wardens
« on: April 07, 2021, 07:01:45 PM »

The Oath of the Keywarden.
I poured over it and listened to her,
Sought its words and its spirit,
And since the beginning we have acted in concordance.

Not to please Luitgard,
But because we all rise to these trials, each of us,
And we all cherish what we have made.

Today, Yonqush halted us before the ring-gates.
He would have his answer, there and then.
In truth, yes, we owed him that.

It was not for his strange delicacies,
Though this may have sufficed for Rhiannon,
Or his honeyed words,
Or all the services he offered.

There had been a number who wished to join our fellowship,
But only Yonqush had marched with us,
Made camp with us, broke bread with us,
Listened to our song, and came to know us.

We welcomed him among us in earnest,
And we are seven once more.

We are in good cheer, these days.
Long may it last.

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