Author Topic: [The Ordinary Journal of Aethelwine Silver]  (Read 5124 times)

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Aethereal

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on: November 20, 2019, 12:19:00 PM
I've chosen the wrong place to meditate but it has for the longest time been my only solace. Though I find myself working towards wisdom through humility and reflection, I am not beyond attachment yet. War comes not merely to the Rings but to the Ring I’ve restored, and I think to myself that, if the magi fail me, then they learnt nothing from me and perhaps that is not merely tragedy but it is a sign that none of them were worthy. I believe the First Magus is wise, or at least is able to convince me that what he does is for the greater good – to stand against those who would act in useless violence rather than the means and manner of the gentleman scholar he and I had demonstrated for them.

Frederick speaks to me of the coming of the seventh face. He tells me that I know him in the aspect of the hound for the best qualities ascribed to such beings because I did not approach him as a foe. I am fond of hounds though, and sometimes they do have to hunt for their food. I suppose I can accept that, after all he has only ever treated me with respect and had the patience to return to me something precious to me even as I sought to dismiss him and all others in my penance – that is a remarkably honourable trait. He does not speak of what comes, nor why, and now I have received response from she who is reborn, she who speaks of revelations and visions. I think then of the dream, of the coming darkness – is it approaching? Or are these just disassociated and unrelated suggestions bound by inexplicable coincidence?

In my world, they all exist as possibilities running a smaller race within the rings I observe my own racers run. I think they are small parts of a greater whole which if united like cracks in reality would come together and shatter it, but for now the cracks are far enough apart that they will not bind together.

My meditations are going to be disturbed but the Truth will not escape me. I will find Elizabeth and it is from there I will piece it all together. I think some of them are merely fearmongering either intentionally or by sheer ignorance.

But most of all, I wonder if I can attune my senses better, it is a small triumph for now, despite how macabre the talent for sensing death might be. I think it is less about death, and more about the bonds I form – and that is in small part troubling for it means I must investigate emotion if it is so. Emotion the enemy of the rational mind.

Oh, on that note. Well...

“Coriander is doing well. She still xxxxxxx when we discuss you.”

Why?
---
'Even life eternal is not time enough to see, all the folly and despair of poor Humanity.' - To Life - A Shoggoth on the Roof

It is through Art, and through Art only, that we can realise our perfection.



Aethereal

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on: November 24, 2019, 12:53:17 PM
What did I think I would find when I set out to approach Elizabeth Frick the Reborn? I thought mostly that she would have some insight into the nature of what comes. That she would have some token of understanding to help prove or disprove the theory of reincarnation being propagated in the works of Squirrel.

I had no idea that I would find the gem of the Peerage Ward, but there it was. She has a mind, unlike so many of them – she has a mind! A native with a mind at that. She didn’t even bother hiding any of it, that’s dangerous and unwise. But her failing is entirely understandable: she has a family and all the concerns that come with that and so is unable to make the dedication like I do. I only have Persephone, and it’s true, we are family but it’s just the two of us and we’re never far apart.


[A drawing is attached to the next page.]




"Aethelwine..."

And there she smiled the rarest smile, it shook me out of my own woes and all that I could do was apologise. What a fleeting moment it was.

"I get frustrated as well."

It was then that I saw it, lucidity, clarity, but for a moment in her eyes. A tap, tap, tap upon the knee.

"Why do you care so much about what they think?"

I have given it some thought. I care because I identify with the plight of the wizard, or at least that is how it began. Now I care because I seek to understand, because I know that in order to make sense of reality one requires not just one’s own perceptions and experiences of it, but those of others too. The Truth is the product of all possible perspectives so I must learn to see through the eyes of others.

Which brings me finally to the nightmare. It was Marcie – she was gazing upon me from the other side. She was in the Void when Warrenwatch was torn out of the Warrens, a place I’ve crossed over into when the Maw of Unmaking was still present. I’ve seen the fountain, I’ve seen the ruined tower, I know where she was standing and I’ve gazed out of my old bedroom to see her out there. One of infinite shades. But she was not alone. Prosperina was out there too. This was how they had come together. This was why they were watching me. They were always watching me through the window.

Meditation in the 99th has been productive so far. I have been exposing myself to the chaos of this Ring and working on remaining calm and dispassionate despite the conduct of those around me. Saw Angvald run around like a headless chicken in the King’s Commons. I really think he enjoys pain. Why else is he so keen to become ‘unworthy’ time and time again? We’re opposites. I hate pain. Coriander seems to have gone mad as well, running around with two giant sticks in her hands calling them arcane foci. The First Magus was right about her, she’s more or less an Ex-Wizard now, what a waste of talent. I also didn’t realise how red her eyes were – were they always so red? Whilst I have a good rapport with her, I realise now that I have been allowing myself to be far more vulnerable around her than I should have ever allowed. I will make the appropriate adjustments for the future, she shouldn’t be able to notice any shift... this should be a good test. Reminder to self: she’s still my friend, don’t treat her like a mere test subject.

[The next section breaks down into coded research, exploration of arcane formulae and other notes exploring the Magus of Conjury’s efforts towards Mastery, once more accompanied by his mantra ‘Every gesture, every word, every act and interaction with their surrounds – everything – making perfect sense like a dancer whose performance is a worshipful manifestation of existence's promise.’]

My next efforts will centre around reconciling mundane reality with arcane reality such that I may more seamlessly enact my Will with the understanding humility has brought me: that these two realities are in fact one and the same. My head still hurts but I’m not only starting to remember things again, I’m also making progress on achieving harmony with Reality. One of my final tests will be to deal with Angvald and those who are like him with equanimity and if that is not possible, letting them deal with themselves and all the many hard knocks they will ‘enjoy’ in life. You can take a horse to water and all that.

Observations. Expand observations. Increase the potential of periphery. Enhance the senses on the fringe of periphery. Combine observation with analysis of potential realities in real time – work towards precognition. Test: awareness of activities and statements before they occur. Determine ideal spells or mundane acts to deal with each possible outcome.  Present state is plagued by feeling ill equipped with current repertoire both arcane and otherwise. Expansion of possibility is necessary. Exploration and experimentation with all safe and sensible magic is the only way forward.

Note: I immolated the shade from the Nothing. What else could I have done? Consider and minimise risks to self while maximising efficacy and potency of the exertion.

Note: Even as slaadi were running amok about the Commons my focus was perfect in closing the seam to the planar chaos sourcing them, despite the elven magus’s mishap. Redundancy through Nascira and Penrose did not go awry. There were some issues with tracking the last slaad – it seems like it was incubating inside Jendel. Ithroniel would have had a field day if she was still around.

To do: 'First Contact' 'Beware the Eldritch' and the third edition of 'Wizardry is for the Wise'.

Avoid 'All work and no play...'
« Last Edit: November 25, 2019, 10:21:31 AM by Aethereal »
---
'Even life eternal is not time enough to see, all the folly and despair of poor Humanity.' - To Life - A Shoggoth on the Roof

It is through Art, and through Art only, that we can realise our perfection.



Aethereal

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on: November 26, 2019, 11:32:59 AM
[As the reflections of the Magus of Conjury continue, this entry seems to be a journey back in time, upon which words are circled, highlighted and underlined and lines are drawn directing, ever directing to the future that has perhaps finally become the present.]

I have been reflecting upon my career here in this City of Rings – beyond the misfortune, the mistakes, and the pain.

I come to realise that I have moved forward in my mastery of magic, within all of its schools:

Often what I have done amidst Ordo Arcanum is cultivate an image, build reputation, bond together disparate forces and inevitably played the role of an enchanter. I became incredibly good at presenting temptation (which at first I had such confidence in being truly capable of delivering) and watching people fall into their own desires, to the point that in my last such effort I felt like some devil or fae presenting a contract that I knew held risks, because by this time I knew that in this particular realm it may be that a touch of chaos may be unavoidable. So now I feel regret for poor  Siobhán Iníon Párthalán Uí Díomasaigh of Maliere, because I feel I should not pursue this in the way I tempted her so, I feel so guilty for tempting her, because it may be too late. I saw that desire in her eyes, she wants this, she wants the power – nay she NEEDS it and she will remember my promise and I will have to try. Let me do my analyses though, maybe there is a way to do this in a more controlled manner somewhere in between my offer and that of simply restoring her to her ordinary self, less risky.

So too have I woven illusions, such as the veil of Maestro Frogkin the Croaker of the Great Croaking to protect Magus Presto Gemkin and Ordo Arcanum. Though I lament in the end that I could not manifest a means to control the chaos he came to represent – I could have attempted to bind him or even banish him but that is not my way: I wanted my friend back. He also did not have anywhere near the support that Lori did, poor, poor Presto. Then again, poor, poor Lori... and well, I shouldn’t submit to self-pity but that was the second-worst day of my life.

I HAVE GLUTTED UPON ILLUSIONS AND ENCHANTMENTS AND I GROW TIRED OF SUPPLICATING BEFORE THOSE WHO WOULD COME TO ME SEEKING MY MAGIC, SEEKING MY POWER AND OFFERING UNTO ME NOTHING IN RETURN. I WILL NOT BE BOUND TO APPEASE OTHERS SIMPLY TO RETAIN PRIVILEGES FOR SUPPORTING A WORLD OF LIES AND FALSITY. MASTERY IN THESE FIELDS IS THE MASTERY OF S_______ NOT MERELY P_______.

I lost a great opportunity to practice my divinations when that wretched Errilam and Crowfeather shared their bed. Like minds, I suppose, those two. Yet if I had, I think the consequences may have toppled the balance of power in the Peerage, at least if I were successful – but all my misfortune suggests I might not have been. I will say however that that ritual was so much more concise and precise than that of Lori’s – plus the elven seer’s counsel would have been incorporated to magnify my vision. Nonetheless, I’ve begun to see things clearer now than ever before and all it cost me was to suffer some of the greatest torments of my life...

NOW IS THE HOUR OF DIVINATION AND THE REALISATION OF MY SIGHT.

Dare I even mention beloved Conjuration? I need not. Yet I must: portals. I completely assimilated the elemental power of the seam to the Great Fissure in those earliest days of my awakening. I opened the portal to save Emily Winespill from the infernal imprisoners... oh my, oh my... I’ve just realised something. How DELIGHTFUL that I chose to finally sit down and write after these nightmarish days and nights. This could be a problem though. A big problem. Or possibly something else, I’m not certain but I know now what was being done. Yes, House Orza... I don’t like this revelation. Not at all. I pray for wisdom in the coming days for in this, my new home, I shall need it. I pray this wisdom does not come at the cost of yet more torment, but I fear I have become accustomed and expectant of pain.

THE MIRACLE OF BINDING THE WOUND OF THE WARRENS. THE MANY SEAMS THAT HAVE BEEN CLOSED. THERE IS ONE LAST THING TO DO BUT IT IS NOT YET TIME.

Which brings us to evocation. Well, it’s the most conspicuous and perhaps even ostentatious school of magic. I’ve performed pyro-excavations aplenty, brought down barriers and obstacles and woven the magicks of destruction in tandem with my finer conjurations. It’s an awfully straightforward school of magic so I’d say there’s not much to be said about it except that I’ve utilised it well.

ELEMENTAL ATTUNEMENT. BOTH GRASPED AND LOST. EVOCATION IS FLEETING AND EVER IN CHAOTIC FLUX LIKE THE ELEMENTAL PLANES THEMSELVES. CAPRICIOUS. I UNDERSTAND ITS NATURE AND MASTERY OF IT REQUIRES CONTROL.

As hard (or inappropriate, given my oath?) as it may be to believe I have also managed to perform a remarkable feat of transmutation, focusing on my inner-self I was able to polymorph into something I suppose I should have simply expected. A whelpling of the metallic dragonflight, specifically of Silver. It seems like this was more the latent remnant of the power in my blood that I never quite bothered to pursue – poor little sorcerers, they’ll never have the mastery of the Art that I pursue. I regret nothing.

SORCERY IS THE ONLY MEANS THROUGH WHICH I MIGHT GRASP AT TRANSMUTATION AND I WILL NOT LOWER MYSELF TO THAUMATURGY FOR THE PRICE OF SUCH SECRETS IS TOO STEEP. YET, LORI'S RITUAL OF TRANSFORMATIVE RESTORATION WAS ULTIMATELY A SUCCESS - MY SINGULAR TRIUMPH OF TRANSMUTATION.

As for abjuration - despite all the abjurers out there who, without true appreciation for the Art resort to belittling that which they do not understand, I can have nothing at all against this quite necessary school of magic. It was, sadly, a great learning experience in the ritual-interrupted as I channelled the restorative powers of the crystal in a final build-up of abjurative energy to match Lori’s transmutation. Sabotage and other shortcomings apparent in hindsight have only improved my understanding and capability.

ABJURATION WILL BE FURTHERED, I FEEL, DEEPER IN THE RINGS.

Finally there is necromancy. I’ve been left this place by my friend, who I shall remember forever and cherish so for this final gift; though there are pangs that yet echo in my heart for what led us here. His focus, is, I think the one school of magic I have not properly investigated in my career here. With advent of the Darkening of the 99th, the announcement of the true changelings, and the curse of Old Sunpurse Manor, it may finally be time to prove myself. I shall study and witness if Isiratuu has left anything here for me. Perhaps I might open the doorway for his return? It is the least I could do.

I HAVE SENSED DEATH. I SEE THE SHADOWS AND HAVE TRAVERSED THE VEIL. BUT THIS FIELD, IT LIES BARREN AND I CARRY UPON IT THE SOULS OF THOSE WHO HAVE TOUCHED ME. I MUST FIND THE OPPOSITE OF NOTHING AND THROUGH IT THE TRUTH.

So finally, I am here. The place where the forces that be seemed to have led me. The door opened, expectantly – something wanted me to be here, as if I was needed. The King’s Will? By the Doorkeepers’ mysterious guidance? By fate? By merit? To be cursed and damned here? Or perhaps, to finally achieve what I had begun to declare, that my work is done under the auspices of the King. Though... ha ha, I told a white lie about that, didn’t I. I just didn’t want to be struck down by the misfortune the stupid superstitions say comes upon those of my vocation, the wizard. I’ve suffered terribly, my torment could have broken me and it certainly has destroyed some part of who I was, and though I don’t believe in the unluckiness of a wizard’s magic – I swear to whatever is worth swearing to, that I have FELT IT.

THROUGH ISIRATUU TOWER I HAVE LEARNT THE TRUTH. I KNOW WHAT PLAGUES US. I KNOW WHAT IS OUT THERE. I KNOW WHAT THE PREDECESSORS HAVE WROUGHT THROUGH THEIR PROFANE RITUALS AND I KNOW OF AL'SHA-RI THE GUIDE TO THE DANGERS THAT LOOM...

I pray this is finally the chance to do something more than bemoan my failures. Can I bring greatness to my arcane brethren? Can I undo our reputation despite having contributed to its propagation so utterly with my past works?

I WALKED THE PATH OF THE EX-WIZARD BECAUSE I REALISED THAT IT MAY BE IMPOSSIBLE TO CURE EVERYONE, TO SAVE ALL MY ARCANE BRETHREN AND THAT THERE WILL ALWAYS BE FOOLS WHO WILL RUIN ALL THAT I WORK TOWARDS THUS THE TEST OF TRUE OR FALSE. NOW, ALL THAT I CAN DO IS LEAD THE WORTHY, I WILL YET SHOW THEM THE WAY.

I leave it all here with a passage I had the silly yet perhaps fortuitous whim to look over from my very first entry in this new life of mine, a glimmer finally of hope, of what feels like a dream, at last, realised:

Quote from: Excerpt from the first entry in The Ordinary Journal of Aethelwine Silver
Enough time has passed for me to determine a few things, and the path I should take here to establish myself. Whilst it is certain that I find the ubiquity of violence here to be petty, treacherous and tedious I shall need to find like minds in order to progress. The Peerage and Ticker Square both have potential but not all of the houses of the Peerage are known so it is still too early to tell. I think I will try to be independent somehow – my ideal is to join fellows such as Silandro and make it to the Wizard Warrens. There I should re-establish my tower and return to my research. Maybe connect up a portal to my old tower, that would be the most promising result. IMPOSSIBLE OR OTHERWISE UNWISE!

AND I LOOK BACK AGAIN TO SEE, THAT I AM IN FACT ON TRACK. THAT I AM DOING AS I SET OUT TO DO.

Yet it is but a new beginning. And there is so much to do. Too much for me to do alone.

ALONE AGAIN. THEY HAVE DESTROYED SEAN GORICK AND WITH HIM MY WAY TO THE GREAT LIBRARY.

Quote from: Another excerpt from elsewhere in The Ordinary Journal of Aethelwine Silver
Which brings me to the King’s Magic and Ring Law. I believe I have worked in my own way under its auspices. Having pursued the trials yet barely ever sought for myself a key; letting all others take their pick. It has however come to hurt me – and become a hurdle to an opportunity at the very foundation of Ordo Arcanum. I know who else resides in the Warrens and they are the most anomalous of beings, apparently not subject to the limitations of Ring Law – yet cursed in their own way, they are. I will not do as Eryeth suggests, to find what I need purely in the Wizard Warrens though – hah, no how foolish to be so short-sighted.

THE ROYAL CASTIGATOR WAS A DEMONSTRATION OF BOTH LOYALTY AND UNDERSTANDING. OF RIGHTEOUSNESS IN FURTHERMENT AND BETTERMENT OF THE REALM AND ALL OF ITS LOYAL SUBJECTS.

YET IT IS THE HOUR OF DIVINATION. MY FREEDOM FROM THE TOWER THAT BOUND ME. THE CHALLENGE ONCE AGAIN IS THAT I CANNOT DO IT ALONE. IF ONLY I COULD.

NONETHELESS, I WILL EXPLORE EVERY SINGLE AVENUE AVAILABLE TO ME AND IF NECESSARY FIND MEANS TO ACCESS THOSE WHICH ARE NOT.



---


Annette is getting to me. I hate it, but she's getting to me. She's not merely getting to me, she has succeeded in torturing me into the worst of guilt, but she does not understand and nor has she earned any right to understand. It was too much, I had to write to her. I did not tell her everything, she does not need to know.

It's Marcille's question again.

"Aethelwine..."

"Why do you care so much about what they think?"

It's an experiment this time, dear Marcie. Though I think, I just want a bit of peace while I pursue the things she will perhaps never understand. This world and its natives have turned ignorance, deception, and obfuscation into normalcy. They could never understand what drives me. They are inherently a corrupt people and everything the Royal Herald says about Ring 99 is reflective of them. They have adapted to a world of lies and they have embraced it. And they want me to do it all over again. They loved corrupting me and taking me away from the Truth, they were amused how I weaved illusions and enchantments and supported their way of life - but by the auspices of what it is I work under... it has kept them appeased. I will need to remember that.

But I will not be the stormcrow of the thing I stand against. The Truth is out there, the Truth is all that matters. Despite everything they say.


'There is only one staff made for you, and one only. You know in your heart of hearts what it is. It is yours, the same way that Velstra Vale is my father's and yet, you let it be stolen from you by an usurper, who wielded a coin as his blade.'

'Annette, you don't approve of Magus Ebersol?'

'Oh, I approve of him plenty. I do not approve of Aethelwine rolling over for him.'

'Hm. I did not roll over.'

'You're right. You flipped over.'

'It's a complicated thing, Annette. I know what it seems like. From the outside. But I don't know. It's all part of what it means to live in this City of Rings. There's a certain confusion that is in fact a part of normalcy.'

'I don't enjoy being confused, so I plan to learn everything.'

Thank you, Coriander... Corie? but I'm not going to forget or forgive you for the pain you've caused me anytime soon. And what exactly did you mean by Aethelwine may be too Aethelwine sometimes?

Like I care for a staff. I'm a magus wandering about in a sleeping nightgown - does it look like I care about what you think? No, this is one of my tests. To not care about them, Marcie. The only thing I need is the thing that I already have: my mind. With it, I can do all that I need to do.

I can not care and still care - I think that's the duality of my life. I know the necessity of caring, I need only to work upon better separating the things that matter and those that do not.

And what nonsense, 'Mission accomplished. You see what a friend you have, Aethelwine? She came to your defense when none other would!'

A useless little cover up by a Winespill who has nothing better to do than criticise others. Part of me wants to slap her, but I realise she's far too strong for me to try anything like that. I hope someone slaps her someday. She deserves a good slap, maybe one of the Nephzarim will do it. They know how to slap. I'm going to fantasise about her being slapped now, aren't I? A proper Agamastian slap should put some sense into her.

I think Sylyn's deep red blood is coursing through my veins today. How primal - I don't like it. Meditation will be necessary.
« Last Edit: November 26, 2019, 05:28:28 PM by Aethereal »
---
'Even life eternal is not time enough to see, all the folly and despair of poor Humanity.' - To Life - A Shoggoth on the Roof

It is through Art, and through Art only, that we can realise our perfection.



Aethereal

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on: November 27, 2019, 02:40:57 PM
I do not like Annette, I do not like her at all. In fact, if I did not possess the equanimity I have found through humility, I would say that I hate her and I would castigate her so hard she wouldn't remember she was a Winespill.

She's just so smug. So cruel. So uncouth. So sure of herself. She reminds me of every bully I've ever met and she doesn't seem to want to leave me alone. Constantly she mocks me, constantly she brags, ‘Aethelwine's Assistants and I just bested the 92nd Ring.’

AETHELWINE’S ASSISTANTS. THEY CALL THEMSELVES THAT BECAUSE THEY THINK ITS OH SO FUNNY. WHAT DOES IT EVEN HAVE TO DO WITH ME? WHY ARE THEY USING MY NAME AT ALL? OH AND HOW FUN, THEY’VE BROKEN THROUGH AN OBSTACLE THAT TOOK ME TEN THOUSAND YEARS TO BREAK THROUGH AND NOW I’M STUCK AGAIN BECAUSE THEY MADE SEAN COMMIT SUICIDE! It’s like everything she says or does is to mock me.

Equanimity. Equanimity. Equanimity. Wizardy is for the Wise. Equanimity. Equanimity. Equanimity.

She's mad. So very mad. She bought us Alchemical Waste, was it just to prove a point? She drank of it herself, because that's the sacrifice of art? SHE'S COMPLETELY INSANE!

And why did she want me to pick heads or tails before the Tower of the Council? What was she going to do? Curiosity plagues, nay, torments me to no end. I’m going to have to ask her aren’t I? I hate being at the mercy of someone so cruel. I’m sure it’s just some stupid practical joke but she had that sword in her hand, and she was standing so close. I wasn’t going to trust someone who is practically a stranger not to simply try stabbing me if I made the wrong choice – I know what she did to Corie.

I think I dislike her all the more because of how confident and self-assured she is. Like she knows she’s going to get what she wants – fine, fine, I confess, I lied to myself, I HATE HER. I think, if I’m being honest with myself, I’m a bit jealous of her too. Her self-assurance, it’s not a luxury I possess, it was all taken from me through the failures of the past. All I’m left with is the reminder that there’s no such thing as easy success, and that nothing comes without a price. At least not with the type of thing I need to do.

On top of it all, she’s Velstran. House Velstra and I have a very unhealthy relationship, mostly involving their interests and attempts to slither around and constrict me, control me, or otherwise steal from me. All of which they’ve done, time after time. But I’m that kind of maniac who lets the serpents slither all over me, I’ll even let their forked tongues taste the salt of my skin because in the end, they get used to the comfort of my body heat and forget about everything else. Of course I’d rather be left alone, but what can you do when the serpents come for you? I’m not a fighter. I’m not a killer. But give me the chance to afford us some mutuality and I can have us all find a suitable arrangement – that’s why I have so many friends across the planes. If I’m a madman, then there’s definite method to my madness.

Mutuality is my way. Mutuality and consensuality. It is why I am not a binder, nor a practitioner of the Dark Arts for such things are always in opposition to my philosophy. The only thing I bind are the wounds in Reality and those that exist in the minds of those around me.

However, she’s said some things that have piqued my curiosity. She’s so good at what she does, but I know she’s taking from me. She’s subtly making me spill my truths and secrets, it’s like Eryeth all over again, except Annette is on a whole other level. I can’t help but admire the intellect, even if I do hate her. But what she probably does not realise is, that I’m aware of what I’m feeding her, even if she is drinking it raw and unfiltered. I should work on controlling my emotions better though, I hope one day I’ll get better at this – I blame the eldritch touch of sorcery for this failing of mine, this is why I hate sorcerers. Wait, I don’t hate sorcerers. I don’t hate anything, not really. I can’t hate, it’s not worth my time. Is this what Corie meant by being too Aethelwine?

It’s Marcie’s drawing all over again. Great.
« Last Edit: November 28, 2019, 09:14:13 AM by Aethereal »
---
'Even life eternal is not time enough to see, all the folly and despair of poor Humanity.' - To Life - A Shoggoth on the Roof

It is through Art, and through Art only, that we can realise our perfection.



Aethereal

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on: November 29, 2019, 02:02:50 PM
There is a certain puissant power in the Realm which I have come to tap into. It is a power that I am not fond of, yet have no choice to accept - it is a sense tied to darkest emotion. I do not even want to write about it. I do not want to acknowledge it, yet I must for the Truth cannot afford my ignorance and it is something, like all things, I can master. A sense opens up before me, it lets me perceive more than the mortal man ordinarily has the capacity to.

The problem with it is that I am uncertain of how I have come to gain this sense. Is it because I carry with me the touch of so many who have come and gone? I need but look through all these pages and see the names of friends, acquaintances, fleeting faces and lives spanning those who have frustrated and annoyed to admittedly those few who have touched my heart - all of whom I have beheld in this City of Rings.

Once upon a time, I'd have spoken of fragments and propose that I carry them with me, but I lost interest in that after I figured out just how much of an insidious liar Eryeth was and how she had merely repurposed pre-existing scripture for her own designs. Oh, here it comes, what can I do, but give in?:

I do not know what I am doing, truth be told. In a past life, I was not afforded any kind of connection with such goodly forces in my upbringing. I have no idea how any of this is supposed to operate.
          Perhaps some personal gain. Please understand... And I do not tell anyone this... I was raised in a cult of secrets and darkness. I know the power of subtle influence, of secrets gathered by night and destruction done invisibly.
          I am trying to do good by this place. I do want it to be safer and more secure. I do want what's best for you.


Your vision of the house is a pleasant one. It is one people can get behind... [A soft sigh at her revelations.] Oh, your abilities are quite well developed in that regard, I can tell.
          I'm not sure if I should thank you for sharing, or regret that you have told me.


[Eyes still fixed down, her pale cheeks turned a rosy hue. She didn't seem to know how to take that, a compliment or damnation.]

'But, trust is trust. And so are forged the bonds, ulterior motive or no.'

I have not praised the Lady of Night since I awakened. It would be hollow of me to tell you that I have put that behind me, when I use what I was raised with as a child nearly every day to stay alive. But...
          Even though you refused to work with me, for so long.
          Even though you did not want to cooperate with the House that claimed my blood for themselves.
           I finally have you, Aethelwine. I would like you to teach me.


There could only be one answer to that, of course. Yes, Eryeth, I will be your Master.

Just kidding. I denied her. I denied her because I know when a spell is being cast upon me, I was born with the ability to feel these things. It was impossible for me to deny, however, that she did finally have me. And it would be a lie to say it didn’t feel good denying her after she’d bound me so forcibly, yet in the end it was for the best, because I turned her from a leech into a friend.

[Up to him she stared. Despite her mesmerising eyes, her sparkling jewellery, her carefully applied make up and her holy raiments cut a teenager being told no - after having spent months trying to get into exactly this position.]

'No, my dear. You are you, and I am me. We'll work together, I'm sure. And I shall certainly help guide you, if you are truly earnest in your desire.'

This was but the first of her confessions and so in the end, when she died, I could not help but feel loss. The loss of a friend, one who I was turning from a life of sin and lies to the most sublime Truth. She who thrust Warrenwatch back into my hands and for it paid the ultimate price.

In the end, Eryeth. It was I who had you, wasn’t it? You saved my life and I will never forget that.

---

But this was not why I came here. The hour of divination is not a statement that it is now that I have begun my mastery of it. No, my divinations began the moment I had Awoken. I gazed upon the City and every moment of my Awakening was the practice of unravelling the hidden and glimpsing upon the great many possibilities held in all the timelines. It goes so far as to make me question if I am not more diviner than I am conjurer. Yet the same could be said of illusion and enchantment. And that leads me to the Truth: I approach the nexus of all schools of understanding, I Awaken to a tradition that goes beyond Wizardry, I have begun to dance. And what is this dance, but the Art, perfected?

Let me explain though, or rather record: this hour of divination is of revelation. Of fulfilment of the things I have seen, of the Sight I wield, of the stars I have read, of the beings I have glimpsed yet warded against and thwarted, of the beings I have shared counsel with, of the crystal sphere and the influences upon it: 'The Great Multidimensional Chessboard Model of the Cosmos' and examination of its players, pieces, observers and others. This hour was heralded by the great vision I knew I must behold one day, brought upon by serendipity as provoked by, of all people, the actress, and of course with it, came a great glimpse of the future.

To think it all began with wandering the Rings with pained heart at the sights and sensations of what these Rings had come to mean to me – a personal journey – with the sad certainty that those who had joined me and freed me from my bondage were forever broken. I felt his death, Sean the Gorick, he who had only been honourable, noble, and kind to me, yet upon the whispers of others suffered a thousand daggers in the back. That’s what killed him, I know, I know. Silverspike was just the place.

No matter, this revelation pushes me further and further, closer and closer to the Truth. And strangely, despite the realisation that I am closing in on the great nexus, I feel, instead of the pride or lust of achievement a sense of quiet calm. I’m not there yet, I need to hold onto this. I need to maintain this state. I will focus on collaboration with the Magus of Divination, perhaps both of them, depending on what Caston is after. Let’s focus on the little things for now to help preserve this. I still need to complete my other works, on that note.

Oh, one last thing. It was excitement, not fear. It was delight, not trepidation. It was understanding, not ignorance. It was experience with knowledge and foreknowledge, I just couldn’t express it properly. I look forward to seeing the twinkle in Camile’s eyes. She wants this as much as I do, but I can’t quite be sure how she will deal with it.
« Last Edit: November 29, 2019, 02:14:12 PM by Aethereal »
---
'Even life eternal is not time enough to see, all the folly and despair of poor Humanity.' - To Life - A Shoggoth on the Roof

It is through Art, and through Art only, that we can realise our perfection.



Aethereal

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on: November 30, 2019, 12:37:30 PM
Annette Winespill. She thinks she can deny me my curiosity. She's wrong. She will answer my question yet. She will explain why she wanted me to pick heads or tails in front of the Tower of the Council. (Note: The Council of Magi, not this false order that's apparently been curbed now.)

I do want her to understand, to figure out if she is even capable of understanding. Her own guilty words rightly establish her self-doubt, that she is in fact just an airhead Winespill. I honestly don't think she is, but gods can she be grating sometimes. I'm getting good at hiding my emotions now, at long last. It feels good. But part of me thinks that the reason why I am so convincing is because I'm usually completely authentic, I don't tell lies, though I do keep secrets. I have to.

Corie doesn't understand me either, but I don't expect her to. I've not been publishing works for a while and left a lot of them unfinished, nor have we written to each other - there's been no reason to - perhaps this lack of ability to literally read me leaves her unaware of what I am doing, why and how, given we haven't really been in touch for a good while either. And there's nothing wrong with that at all, our paths had diverged significantly since the apprentice wars. Though I did enjoy that quiet moment together where I taught her how to control the magic she bestows upon others, that was pleasant.

But Aethelwine being too Aethelwine? It's only a perspective possessed by those who have no clue as to the things I've seen. I wonder if this is it, are these people going to be the ones with whom I shall reach the Great Library?

They don't even know what my divinations have revealed. I'm keeping so many secrets now, part of me doesn't even know why I'm keeping so many secrets. I just am, it's like a habit. I want to share them with those who are worthy, but who is left? I've not seen Marcie in so long, my Truthseekers are broken and now I've taken my leave of Angvald - it didn't feel good, not good at all. But I have to do what's right for me and I will help him in the future, I have not forgotten our alliance. He's still my friend, so is Beodda.


Dangerous, very dangerous. On that note, the others are... well, you know, the Truthseekers seem to have broken.
     We got so far, so quickly, but we burnt out.
     Like a shooting star.


I be far from burnt out.
     And be workin' on catchin' Beodda up.


I wanted to talk to you about it, Angvald. For now, it seems it's just you and me. Jendel once he's done with his own excavations.
     We came into this together, but I feel what bound us has been lost. Sean, Frederick...


You and I talked so very long ago about doin' this and came together. Even before those two.

It's true. We spoke of alliance.

The three of us, with the addition of Beodda can still do great things.
     Especially if we can find one more.


But things I feel change, my friend. I wish to maintain our alliance, and mutual respect of course, but I think or at least, I am thinking I need to leave the Truthseekers.

And join up with some other group instead?
     Those velstran girls maybe? The Untested?


I am thinking of doing things differently. [A nod.] It's not clear yet. I'm no longer the Court Wizard but I've seen what they call fate.
     You know, I waited upon Beodda for several months in the past... he's a dear and good friend, but I do not know if Ringrunning is truly for him.


Hrmph. Aye, ye go ye own way then. I'll just sit on mine arse and watch the rest of our group break up and with it mine chances of ever getting any further. Thanks old friend.


I had no words. Only guilt. Yet I could not help but hear Arakvos's words in my mind. It was a seed planted there, I wonder if the warrior did all of this intentionally, to try and destroy us. But what gain is there in that? No, he was simply sharing his own augury through the wisdom of his mind and inevitably proven correct. How troubling:


Pleased to make your acquaintance, Arakvos. You are one of the untested, aren't you?

I am. You are one of the Truthseekers?

I am indeed.

I quite like your halfling. Your peerage men, though, are ill company.
     I suppose Frederick is nothing but some sort of craven, but Gorick is a thief.


Arakvos is a good judge of character, so while I have pleasant relations with both Frederik and Sean, I'll keep that in mind.

I travelled much with Gorick, and often thought the hauls light, as he trundled forward to check things. It was only when we found a rare mithril bar, refined, and ready to be crafted that he tried to hide it in his things. One of my companions called him on it, and I cast him from my company forever.

Hm, well in our company we only want those who have most benefit of any finds to have them. Thank you for your account though.

No, it was not thievery by might - though I assure you he would claim that if he was a half-skilled warrior, and not some useless shield, just thievery by omission and cowardice.
     That is the man you work with.


Then what of hm... Frederick?

I fought him once and he turned tail and tried to run to the Peerage the moment he saw Ikodo, a man whose friend he just had killed - quite cowardly.
     I ran him down of course. I'd not have left any man kill another at a Dispensory, though.


But they... they helped me... [He falls silent.]

Oh, I am sure you helped them more.
     I do not care. You have good men in your company.
     Angvald, with his raw gruel of a philosophy, mixing men of all creeds in some sort of half-baked alliance.
     I like him, well enough, though he's a fool.


It does help to know of a man's character.

Archaeologist Stutterstep is my favorite of them, but I also like Angvald's wild theories of the City.

Jendel is a brilliant fellow. [An enthusiastic nod.]

He does wait until the bag is ripped open at Dispensories and rob things off the ground while hiding, though.
    But! I guess if I had to fight me, in single combat, after the dust had settled I'd do the same if I had his talents.

     Yes, I'm sure you'll go far in their presence...
     ... until you see them for what they are, I suppose, like I did.



Angvald, alas. I remember how I met you, my friend. Upon Silverspike. I took you to the places you needed to go, and we relished in the excitement as you broke the Ring's challenge with my Royal aid. You summoned a great storm at my urging, a call, a plea made to your ancestors as you shed your blood for them. You joined me at my tower, I showed you my home. Ah, bittersweet sentimentality, how you grasp at me. How can I, who succumbs so easily to these things, possibly reach the heights I set for myself? I think to myself, the only way is to embrace the sapient experience. To simply embrace Humanity yet at the same time go beyond it? That the dance I dance is accepting of the things I call weakness, that they serve a purpose, that I can master this.

I can't seem to let go, I can't drain the milk of human kindness from within myself. I fear, I fear, I fear this will be my barrier when the ultimate hour comes. That I will be too human to... to... transcend. I need something more, I need perfection, I can't accept any less. That's what I want isn't it? I am the heir now, I am the heir... I must do what she could not.


So, what was your statement, Aethelwine?

Oh and congratulations on reaching the 89th. It's one of my favourite Rings... well, that might sound wrong after you experience it. But it's very memorable for me.

"My favorite ring is the one where wraiths sucked the life out of me after I passed out in the street".
     You have... some strange favourite things, Aethelwine.


My statement is...
     I'm ready to make my dedication to the Daughters to join you as one.


It is obviously because it is a sleepy district and he enjoys wearing nightgowns.

OH.
     That makes sense.


Really, have you bothered tracking Aethelwine's character arc at all?

So he's changing clothes to signal a character change from Sleepytime Truthseeker to Dedicated Daughter?

Yes. I think so.

Ah... read into it as you will, for me it was just relaxing... calming.
     Have you tried taking your time to dye clothes? I'm sure you have. It really does distract, as you focus on the little details.


Errr...
     I like polishing and treating my armour every day, yeah.
     It is a bit, what's the word? Therapeutic.


So you have no need for the nightgown?

Oh no, you'll see me in my nightgown from time to time.

Awesome.

Oh, okay. I just wanted to have it.
     But if you're not parting with it, then nevermind.


No way am I parting with it!

You want to wear Aethelwine's clothes to bed?
     That's adorable.


Hey, Mister Aethelwine?
     This means I have to call you Aethy now.


*Her face turns red.*
     That's not what I'm saying, I just... I really want my -own- nightgown like that.


They're the best, I can appreciate your desire, Cory.


So I reiterate, are these the people with whom I shall reach the Great Library? And I have to wonder, what exactly am I getting into? Much trepidation.
« Last Edit: November 30, 2019, 12:39:11 PM by Aethereal »
---
'Even life eternal is not time enough to see, all the folly and despair of poor Humanity.' - To Life - A Shoggoth on the Roof

It is through Art, and through Art only, that we can realise our perfection.



Aethereal

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on: December 02, 2019, 05:41:12 AM
I am happy for the Truthseekers. Beodda might actually make it this time. I confess I had a moment of, what do they call it, it’s like buyer’s remorse, except with truthseeking companions. Well, I had that when Angvald and Beodda came into Towertop while I was there with the Daughters who were all moping about losing their sister, Merry. But then, as the Truthseekers with Beodda and many allies went forth into the Eryngium Courts, and I pondered if I had made the right decision or not...

Yes, Aethy, er... you're one of us.
Forgive my words earlier, I spoke out of anger.

These words signalled the possibility that the First Magus’s words are not as accurate as he deems them. I think he is definitely right about some things, of course, but I shall evaluate each of my new companions on my own terms with wise counsel in mind:

Well. Yours not the first Company to fall into disarray. At the very least you've passed through the 92nd with their aid, so they were put to some use.

I have been afforded invitation by the Daughters, at first it was just, out of convenience and or necessity, but I think, I will see how I go as one of their company.

Though I would issue caution tethering yourself to the House of Velstra.

Yes, I am wary of it. Something about Annette is off.

That is by design, Magus.
     A woman born and raised within the Vale would be no stranger to cultivating an allure of mystery to tempt an errant and despondant man who was publicly cursing a dead man.
     Confidence games, by there very nature, are designed to pique one's curiousity and interest.


But what would she want?

Your talents.
     Coriander is hardly the Maji you are and cares very little for secrets and mystery. Two very important things that have propelled me.
     Equally, a powderkeg is soon to explode.


You think she is the powderkeg?

I do not. However her Sister is.

Ah. Merry.

Before he took to brokering a deal with the House of Sunpurse, Visimar came to me in search of securing my title and lands as I am in Exile.
     I believe he intends to wed Merrideth Winespill in her longer pursuit of legitimization.


Ah, yes. I did catch a bit of that drama.
     She seems to have fallen in love with Visimar.


Frick views both Anette and Merrideth as sisters. Merrideth is marrying a volatile and dangerous sellsword. Anette seeks fame and fortune to earn her father's favor. Merrideth seeks political undertakings.
     Couple with that Penrose's infaturation with Quarterdragon's Retainer...


But if they've broken through the 92nd, it means they have the ability to concentrate too.


Annette made a whisper for me at this point. I never told her that I had met the First Magus, that I was savouring his wise counsel. I just told her I needed some time to myself, and that was true. I did. Corie was treating me like an outsider already - but we resolved a lot of that when we went peering into Ring 89 later.


I understand more than any the desire to see the Rings deciphered. But to hitch your wagon to the next passing caravan simply because it exists, or piques your interests, or seems a puzzle for you to solve - seems like a very poorly thought out initiative.
     I do not mean to castigate or chastise of course. Nor lecture. I only mean to say you are not the first to claim some Siren's song held by Anette Winespill or her sisters.


Your criticism is both harsh and fair. More of the latter even than the former, First Magus. But what are my options, hm? Not too many. The 92nd is something I do not wish to undergo again anytime soon. It has left me... let's just say I'm at peace with it after the many long months it took - to finally break through it.
     I always welcome the counsel though.


I only mention it as you had enough trouble quarreling with Coriander on her own. To surround yourself with so many women of varying personality and opposing and opposite ambitions - They are bound because they are family. You are not, you are an outsider.
     So in any interest it shall be themselves and each other they consider, effectively forcing you to their terms and dictates.


You're right about that.
     I shall be prepared for dealing with such things


I will not keep you of course, and I do wish you well in your Runnings of the Rings.
     I only hazard you are in a somewhat compromised place with your own obstacles from dealing with the Uninitiated.


Mm, less of a run and more of a proper inquest through these Rings for me. [A bow of his head.] Thank you for your words, First Magus. Your counsel is appreciated.
     I do enjoy challenges... always another test. And thankfully, Coriander is no longer bound to me by emotion, I think. [A nod.] I look forward to sharing words again.


Oh, you're quite mistaken. Grudge her forte.
     Evocation after all. Emotion incarnate.



Yet, I have now spent time with the Daughters, traversing my favourite Ring (beyond the Warrens) so far, the 89th, and have found both Annette and Corie to have been far more pleasant company than the Truthseekers besides Jendel when they were exposed to it. I find the Daughters to be a calming presence so far, their dramas are stronger and more emotive, but they take their time with things and despite seeming at times governed by emotion they think – that’s what I need, I need to be surrounded by thinkers. It’s none of this rushing around like a headless chicken, mindlessly and heedlessy. They suit my demeanour and needs more than any Angvaldian headstrong rush could ever suit me. In fact, I find in my reflections that the dwarven obstinance was a big problem for me, an unwillingness to compromise or learn. I did the right thing, not just for me, but for everyone.

And I feel, as I help Corie realise just how complementary we truly are, there might be the possibility that we can learn to synchronize our magic with purpose. Imagine the Dance of the Art, but as a duet? No, let’s stop dreaming. I’ve barely begun to dance as it is:


Our letters and arguments are faint in my mind, I barely remember why I was so upset.
     Replaced with newer constructions, more pleasant interactions.
     Such as you showing me how to unweave a spell.
     Did I tell you how that came in handy?



Then she told me how she used what I had taught her to bring Andy out of her momentary enthrallment to a wyrmling, in a singular moment of control, perfected. I was proud of her and myself, just a little.


So it is... very probable, that your lesson that day saved my life, Aethelwine.

That truly is the perfect application of the lesson... truly.

I just... I'm sorry about the way I'm being.
     I'm self-conscious about having you along, and my magic is making it worse.


But what is it about me that makes you self-conscious?

Not to make you suddenly become too much to handle, but you are blatantly the greatest wizard in the City that I've met.


Too much to handle. Too much to handle. Me? That’s what I once let slip I thought she was. I don’t think she really ever forgot it. I remember uttering those words during that explosive conversation in the Anthophilious Society clubhouse, I had said I wasn’t ready for an apprentice like her – given how embattled we had become already. It was, if I recall correctly around the time of the nightmare, the one in which it was she who was the Master. But enough of these thoughts, I can’t quite make out what relevance there is in this circle coming full.


For all I know, there could be one with a thicker spellbook, but none have your talents, or the wherewithal to use them to help the City and learn the Truth.

I'm... I'm not to much to handle. Cory.

It's just... it makes me feel like Annette claims that I make her feel.
     But whereas she merely feels that way because of... some very confusing-to-me insecurities...



I think I interrupted her train of thought at this point with an enquiry. I should make a point of being more careful with doing so in the future.


I just... liked the idea of being the mage of the group, in an admittedly selfish and petty way.

But honestly... I have to confess. Magus Ebersol, the First Magus... he's incredibly good at what he does.

Yes, it's... something he likes to say.


We shared quips for a bit until I reached the point where I could disprove her on her notion that she should be the only mage in the group, as if it were something I would take away from her. I gave her all of my weaknesses, which in retrospect was very, very unwise but it opened her eyes. She now knows that transmutation is the key, and she also knows how I can become addicted to a certain spell – very, very unwise, on my part, yet again. I’ve given her trump cards to use against me. But, this is classic Aethelwine, I think, playing with fire like a madman in the hopes that he can make it something better and brighter.

The last time I synchronized my magic with another was... with my dear sister Lori. I've come so far since then.

Oh, I just remembered. She gave me a trump card too:

Be
Invisible
Together
Chortling
Harmoniously
« Last Edit: December 02, 2019, 01:30:43 PM by Aethereal »
---
'Even life eternal is not time enough to see, all the folly and despair of poor Humanity.' - To Life - A Shoggoth on the Roof

It is through Art, and through Art only, that we can realise our perfection.



Aethereal

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on: December 03, 2019, 08:50:24 PM
I am my mother’s son, there is no doubt about it. But where she failed, I shall not. The Great Library, she could not make it there. I will.


Mother, I will prevail, I promise to you this. Unlike you, I have remained ever under his auspices. I have learnt from his majesty and all that I do in pursuit of the Truth has been through the means and methods that would ensure his favour upon me. It is not truly untoward is it? Secrecy is deservedly and righteously the aegis of the Truth - and I am but a pupil of Razael. Yet I have not hesitated to share with the worthy, I have not hesitated to share with my peers, and I have not hesitated to share with those who have proven their dedication. If they do not want to know, then I am content to leave them in their ignorance – it is in no way my duty to educate the undeserving masses – after all, that was your folly and the folly of all the rest of your damned colleagues. Yet, I have shared a great many things through my works, with just the right level of respect given.

Mother, I feel sorry for you. Master Gunn said you were a clever woman, but I can’t help but feel you fell so short of your promise. I am better than you, mother, but I say so only to make you proud, to be worthy of you and your legacy. Perhaps I have yet to truly prove myself, and I speak prematurely, but I wish for your blessings. When I reach the Great Library I am certain I shall have choices to make. What was this book that you burnt? This book that started it all. The one that achieved nothing but anger and hatred from people who have no interest in history, in truth?

I don’t know, mother. I do not know. But I will find out, and I will have, I know, a decision to make when I do. And when that day comes, I might not be the son you want, but I will be the son you need. But again, I think I go ahead of myself – and only the wise and the fool, would do such a thing, both of whom would deny themselves the journey and all that it begets. (That's not a jest at your expense, mother, at least not intentionally so.)

And mother, if I find I cannot reach that place or even if I can, I shall yet turn retain my focus upon the pinnacle of my Art, for I have only just begun to dance to the nexus of all schools of understanding. A few weaknesses I need yet correct, a few feats of mastery I must yet perform or otherwise learn. I will have their attention, and I will prove myself.

Even though I always wonder if it will be my humanity that will keep me from realising the greatest heights I perceive. I wonder, oh how I ever wonder, if it is possible to reach the pinnacle with humanity intact.

Humanity. Emotions. Ego. Biases. Fallacies. Attachments. And at least one of these bindings of humankind is a fallacy fallacy, this statement inclusive. See what I mean? These limitations on perspective, they are the things that hold me back from grasping at the Truth in its awesome majesty. But I will try, and I will take baby steps and even crawl if I must to get there, after all I am your child and this is what children do.
« Last Edit: December 04, 2019, 07:40:57 AM by Aethereal »
---
'Even life eternal is not time enough to see, all the folly and despair of poor Humanity.' - To Life - A Shoggoth on the Roof

It is through Art, and through Art only, that we can realise our perfection.



Aethereal

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on: December 05, 2019, 12:30:52 AM
Annette is a complicated problem. She’s a strange equation as if formed by someone who does not quite understand what an equation is. We could call that complexity, or a form of insananity (inanity+insanity). The truth is usually a touch of both, for both are perceptibly present. She is of course selfish at heart, but I think she exists to encourage me to think in ways I might not otherwise.

At the same time, she is drawn to me for the reasons she has explained and also the reasons which the First Magus has come to impart. I am her means and manner of acquiring what she desires. But I don’t like how she goes about it, how she’s obsessed with a coinflip. I am abiding by my goals since my moment of Awakening: I had no intention of being stuck in a tower. I was going to use it as a means of returning home, instead of bothering with the nonsense of the 1st Ring. But then I started seeing that it may not be wise to connect up with ‘home’, the home that exists in partial and fragmented memories which grow more distant as time goes on. I’ve replaced Angharad and Mildred with Sylyn and Lori, and now I’ve replaced a face I couldn’t even remember: my mother.

My story, if she is so keen to examine it, and so I am forced to examine it myself, is all about struggle. But it is not about the ‘string of broken failures and shattered ambitions I leave in my wake’. The struggle has always been exactly the same. It’s never changed. It’s the reason why I think anyone who ever awakens in this City of Rings should struggle. Those who refuse to struggle as I do? What can I even say about them? I don’t need to be bigoted, I understand sometimes people just want to rest and treat this new life as just that, a new life and to live it out to some new conclusion – by the standards of Ring 99, it tends towards bloody, violent ends. But I saw the Starseer and her quessir reach into Nestirtye to find whatever Truth lay within – I mean, I did not see the gateway open literally before my eyes, but it was described to me in sufficient detail to understand.

Failure? It’s been established as a thing from which one learns. Ambition? I merely accepted opportunity as it was given to me. Yes, I gave in to power and dealt in power, but I never wanted it. All of these things have served me purely for the purposes I require of them: to learn and further my way. My way. I do things, my way. Those are strong words and I stand by them – I’ve made compromises, and I have changed, but change is a part of growing, of learning, of adapting. Why would I not change? How old was I when I came to this place... I feel like I had just passed my first quarter century. Somewhere thereabouts. I have a lot to learn and I yet have growing to do. I respect my elders, and I accept their counsel, in fact, one of my greatest desires is to seek out those wiser and more knowledgeable than I. I found them, and I listened to them, I truly listened to them, I learned from them:

Razael, the Angel of Secrets.
I am Who I am, the Rememberer.
The Amalgamation of Being, in the Dream and the Dream itself.
The Doorkeepers and their subtle lessons.
This City of Rings itself and all of its secrets hidden amidst its ancient stones and decay.
My encounter with the Hound.
Master Donrick Greymonte, of the Builders.
Steward Gunn and perhaps soon the lessons of his father.
The Ancient Crone whose words come now to my mind:

We'll all find truth today.
     We are all waifs and strays here, all souls put out for our differences.
     A Wizard, reviled for the sins of his craft, for the hunger of those who came before.
     An innocent little thing twisted into something else and cast aside.
     Your truth is a strange and fickle thing with many sides; I hope you find the ones that please you.
     Goodbye, children. Follow whichever path you please, and you shall find your way home.


"I'm plenty pleased with those one, if nothin' else. And I figure I'll endure whatever the next truth turns out to be too. Thank you. I uh. Truly." – Dearest Lori, my sister, you continue this day to inspire me. My dedication to you and the knowledge that I was able to stay true to you is my crowning glory, even if you just threw it all away in the end. Instead of these Daughters who do not care for me at all, it could have been you and I, moving onward and deeper into this City, together. I’d have opened for us one day, the Way. We’d have been the legacy of our sister, Sylyn. She gave of herself for us, and I will never forget that.

Despite all of this, I think Annette wants to paint me as her villain just like Clyde, why else even quote Mattermead? I think they all do, they want to see what will happen if Aethelwine Silver goes mad. They want to break me, they want to see me broken. How beautiful a tragedy they think, ‘Wizardry is for the Wise’, indeed. A little triumph for their primitive, unappreciative, ignorant, sick, sadistic little minds. To laugh at my expense yet again. But I’ll show them all who the real villain is.

I know not to trust any of them. The only people I trust anymore well, I think there’s only two or so of them, and one of them encourages me to not be so open with trust, even with him: Saint Outis the Wise, and Beodda Aethwin, I also trust Jendel and Angvald to an extent – he’s a good dwarf but his proclivity to rush into things is a trouble. Sean, Angvald and Beodda, it was these three whose souls nourished my own in the waters.

Enough. I will find the Way. The Truth is out there.
« Last Edit: December 05, 2019, 09:53:52 AM by Aethereal »
---
'Even life eternal is not time enough to see, all the folly and despair of poor Humanity.' - To Life - A Shoggoth on the Roof

It is through Art, and through Art only, that we can realise our perfection.



Aethereal

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on: December 07, 2019, 08:52:20 AM
She asked me why my name was never carved into the pillars of the 94th. And I think I answered truthfully, or at least best as I could at the time. Twice I tried to break the 95th challenge with my sister’s help, but I never ever told anyone that one of the ___________ put a golden relic in my pocket and another told me that there was an easier way to get a wizard’s tower, that all I had to do was ...

Though I guess those secrets aren’t relevant anymore, what matters is that it all came flooding back to me and I realise, I didn’t tell her everything – I just wasn’t in the moment. Velastra said she would take me into the Tears of Blood, and that when I joined them, I would carve not just my name but would have the honour of carving Sylyn’s beside it on their pillar too. It never happened though, despite our best efforts, it just never worked out and I never joined the Tears of Blood and then Clyde started resenting me. So my name was never carved, and I never had the chance to carve my sister’s name either.

But I remember. Oh how I remember.

I had claimed my keystone, they had reserved one for me and after we exited that ziggurat all I could do was fret about being naked because my spells were exhausted, like a baby, hah, I was such a cry baby back then, a stupid innocent baby who did not belong in a place like this.

Sylyn: Ey, Silver.
     *She tiredly jabbed a finger in his side.*
     *And she just said nothing, after.*
     *And just smiled, a wide, shit-eating, amused and not entirely friendly grin.*
     'a wanna be there when you see it.
     Let's all go.



She was getting tired, but the idiot me had to prepare his spells or else he’d have a panic attack. Couldn’t make a small sacrifice nor recognise what she and the others had been through to help me. Idiot, Aethelwine, you stupid idiot – you should have cherished her more while she was still around. Bah, who am I kidding, you did. You did.

Soppira wanted to bail but I convinced her to join us, this was our moment:


Aethelwine: We've earned this, Soppira. Our friends have bled, as have you. We do this as much to honour their support as we do for ourselves.

Daniel: So, Silver... you haven't been to... 94. Yeah?

Aethelwine: Never before, Daniel.

Sylyn: No. 'a been... Pretty loud about n'going to rings you ain't earned.

Aethelwine: Not earned?

Sylyn: You can't go to rings you ain't earned, is all.

Daniel: She meant, she wanted to show you, but you hadn't earned it yet. Now you have.

Sylyn: Ah. Sorry. Tha's why 'a pushed so much.



We came before the gate to Ring 94, and they urged me to use my keystone. So I opened the way, back then from all that I had heard I was expecting anything, I thought maybe some kind of spiritual revelation, illusory miasma or some kind of nightmare – because I had reports it was all of those things. Well, entering at first was a fine sight of course, studying the change in ecosystem between the Rings but it was just the beginning, they told us to go first and so I did. I could feel their eyes upon me, Sylyn had all but begun to stalk me – like a predator, yet one I knew was on my side – it felt like they were not just as excited but perhaps even more excited than I was at what I was going to experience. Which of course makes what came next all the more amusing.

The first thing Soppira and I saw were the pillars, of course we could not help but examine them and remark how others had left their mark here. My eyes went to the silver spike itself and I heard Daniel laugh as I did so, clearly I had missed something. Then Sylyn broke her silence, ‘Blind as a bat.’ I glanced at her and I saw her watching, it was like she had waited for this moment for a long time – it meant a lot to my sister... then I kept exploring the space until I saw it, I remember my words then,


‘Oh my goodness.’

Sylyn: You understand now?

Aethelwine: I knew the city was vast. [He speaks quietly] But this... this horizon puts it into perspective.

Soppira Hinkley: It only confirms something I already knew. I have no delusions of ever being able to leave this place.

Aethelwine: It feels like I've barely even touched the surface...

Sylyn: *Her eyes shifted from Soppira's reaction, to Silver's.*

Aethelwine: If only I could fly.

Sylyn: Tha's...

Soppira: Not a good idea

Sylyn: A way to die.
     An why tha King don't like wizards- 'a think.
     No cheatin.
     Remember...
     When 'a told ya I'm goin nowhere, earlier?
     ... 's beautiful isn't it?
     To go to tha golden tower, at the center of 'a million Perils.
     Tha journey...
     And tha sight.
     Reflects you.



A preserved memory.
[close]


And so it was that I gazed upon this world with my own eyes. Of course, Hawthorne has proven that the wizard is quite rightly the absolutely most favoured of the King – and that, that was what I always wanted to prove to them all. Wasn’t it? At the same time, I have tasted the forbidden fruit and it will be difficult for me to resist. Sylyn, dearest sister, I lingered in the tower because I had always sought to create my own way, when you began to wonder why you did any of it I had focused on my research. When you struggled with the Tears of Blood, I continued to learn and gazed upon possibility, and removed the paths that were unwise. I know, there is a means and manner in which I have to approach these things. That I must walk these Rings for the journey like any other, it just hurts that you are not here to share it with me but maybe I have found those with whom I may share it at last.


Sylyn: Some people it breaks. Some others, 't lifts up.

Daniel: I am going there, to the Keep... [With unusual gravity.]

Sylyn: We all are.

Soppira: I am not.

Sylyn: Tha's right.

Daniel: Yeah, you probably won't. [With a certain sorrow.]

Sylyn: 's all a matter of... Spirit.

Soppira: I never had any delusions of getting out of here. Only to help others stay alive.

Daniel: Who says we want to get out of here? This is an adventure of a lifetime.



Then as I gazed upon the world, Sylyn joined me and wrapped an arm around my shoulders. I felt such comfort, it was like being wrapped around a thousand of my sleeping nightgowns. I can still feel her embrace now, it feels like being protected yet also steadied, comforted yet also reminded that she is with me, inside of my heart.


Quote from: An flash to the present, a glimpse upon the question that brought me back here
Coriander: How do you keep from... your light going out? I don't know, that sounded stupid.
     How do you stay positive?
     How do you make connections with new people when you've split your heart dozens of times?

Because, Corie. Everything that I am... everything I will be, it is for them. My life is in dedication to all of them. And therefore, I cannot fail, I cannot afford to.


Daniel: I've never been so happy... As when I looked upon this keep... And knew how much adventure was still ahead.

Aethelwine: And all the idiots... they squabble away in the 99th.

Sylyn: Yeah. 99's tha most treacherous ring.
     Yah. This broke Reymond.
     ... And birthed tha Five.
     And for all our fuckups...



Ah, yes, ‘the Five’, I was never one of them although if things had worked out I would have been one of the crew: Sylyn ‘Nine-fingers’ Andeval, Lori Underbough, Milos Andelikos, Daniel Brandybuck, and Argus Haffurd. I remember smiling to look upon my sister, oh yes I used to be able to smile back then:


‘Well... it just means there's a long road ahead, doesn't it?’

Sylyn: We still together. Yes. Long, an hard.

Aethelwine: I was always in for the long game.

Sylyn: ... 'a've a favor for you. 's forbidden for me ta tell you anythin about how tha solve tha rings. An... 's disrespectful towards...This. *She motioned ahead.* But for this particular 'n, 'a can git you to simply skip a wait, perhaps. Once ya figure it out.

Daniel: We will never end our friendship. We will never leave each other behind. We will never give up. We are on this journey, *together*... [Reverently]

Aethelwine: [A solemn nod] Whatever or whoever the king is. He knows how to inspire his people.

Soppira: Even if by some miracle of luck I manage to get over there, I still wouldnt leave. Cause I cant abandon those still left here.

Sylyn: *She rubbed Silver's shoulder, protectively.* Together. Yeah.
     Through thick an thin.

Soppira: So how long ago did you all get here?

Sylyn: 'a was the second ever. After tha Greens.
     First, to git e'en deeper.

Aethelwine: [Smiles and nudged Sylyn with the side of his head] I think it's the only way... just look at how much there is.

Sylyn: *Her head bounced away slightly, without any resistance.* 'a can just tell you one thing. Figure out this one.

Daniel: This is why I push you all so much, Red... that castle in the sky...

Sylyn: Then tha next, ya can take easier. 'a don't push, just because 'a think going slow is going fast 'n some cases. We all going.

Soppira: You cant rush past these things.

Aethelwine: Alright. So to break this mystery then. [He inhales deeply of the mountain air then exhales with resolve]

Sylyn: Till tha end.



And then she let me go. But this was just the high, and I’ve had my fair share of highs and equally lows. I want to move forward with an even mind, to not give in to the heights of success and achievement, yet also not the lows of disaapointment and failure and to realise that all of these things are progress, part of the journey.


Daniel: You know, Soppira. Sometimes-
     [He looks tense, then smiles.] Ah, nevermind. Thank you for being such a big help. Lori's ritual is soon.

Sylyn: Just poke. An talk to me if ya want. I won't tell you a damn thing.
     *She grinned, wide.* But 'a can help keep you alive, an do things ya can't.

Valmaxian: [He smiles at them both.] "Congratulations.... but, there are so many more trials ahead of us all."

Sylyn: Yah. Ya got no fucking idea.

Aethelwine: [A genuine smile to each present] And thank you all.

Soppira: I will help as I can, but you know where I stand.

Valmaxian: "I fear for the cost, but there's no sense worrying about something we cannot predict!"

Sylyn: No fucking idea... *A chuckle.* Be careful. Bears an other shit roam around.

Valmaxian: "I wish you both good fortune... do not be afraid to explore this ring thoroughly!"

Sylyn: No, be very afraid. N' cautious.

Aethelwine: This would make a fine perch for my ancient ancestors.

Sylyn: Your... what?

Aethelwine: The mountain. It would be... Perfect.

Sylyn: What for?

Aethelwine: I can feel it, in my blood.

Sylyn: Ah hells- Dandy. Can I tell him about... I wouldn't.
     Tha lava?
     It- huh.



Just on cue, I think. A necessary appearance and reminder. Where has their help gone in the days of late? And I wonder what they think of my pilgrimage? There is no doubt they are watching.


Doorkeeper: Oh-ho! Hello there!

Soppira: Doorkeeper?

Daniel: Hello, my friend! Come to enjoy the view with us?

Sylyn: ... G'eve- Doorkeeper?

Doorkeeper: Why, I was just coming to make sure the spike was nice and polished.

Daniel: I know, to you it must be familiar... but to me it is, too, and yet each time, it stirs me to tears...

Doorkeeper: How are you all this evening?

Sylyn: *She narrowed her eyes.* Ya keep the rings too?

Doorkeeper: Of course.

Daniel: They are the doorkeepers! I bet they keep and tend all the rings, make sure they keep working. You have our deepest respect and gratitude for helping make this all possible.

Sylyn: *She drew her head back an inch.* Them's very well kept en.

Doorkeeper: Oh, but how selfish of me. You all must be weary after your journey.
     It is a journey some of you have walked before...
     But that doesn't make it any less arduous, I'm sure.

Daniel: It is a difficult journey, but this reward makes it all worth it.

Doorkeeper: Ah, it is lovely, isn't it?

Sylyn: *The woman's green eyes scanned the Doorkeeper, slowly.* Tha journey's important. 'N itself.



It’s all about the journey, dearest sister. Otherwise I would have broken all of the laws that bind me, but I won’t, not intentionally at least. I understand and respect the laws now, but I still don’t quite like it, there’s more to it and I mean to find out.


Aethelwine: It doesn't seem like there is a reason to not take the time to take it all in.

Doorkeeper: [He unfurls a bedroll...] By all means, enjoy the view as you like.



Sylyn was always worried about them, so she looked at me, like she was trying to read my mind. I think she wondered why I was so comfortable with a Doorkeeper. I hadn’t told her about my experiences with them, her own seemed to have been quite different.


Sylyn: May-... 'a ask you. A question?

Doorkeeper: [He smiles] Of course.

Sylyn: ... 'a'd like to... pay tha rings the respect them. Need. But- 'a've a question about... rules?

Doorkeeper: Well, there's no need to dance around it. Just ask, yes?

Sylyn: Wha kinds of Rulebreaks displease tha King, specifically?
     Wha's forbidden, and 's cheatin?

Doorkeeper: [He purses his lips together] What makes you so certain there even is a king?

Sylyn: Its Hound. *She replied, vaguely.*

Doorkeeper: The King's Hound? That is hardly proof of his current existence, I would think.

Soppira: So, you put forth the possibility, this king has been long dead?

Sylyn: ... Perhaps. But breaking tha rings' a real thing.

Doorkeeper: It is a possibility. I am not saying it's right...

Sylyn: 'a seen tha consequences.

Doorkeeper: Of course, there can be no doubt, there is a curse that falls to those who would guide others through the Rings.
     At least- those who would do so improperly. [He winks]

Sylyn: Wha' counts as-... well. Guidin?

Soppira: Magic can long outlive its maker.

Aethelwine: King or not, there is definitely an entire layer or alterations and controls upon reality here. To not be able to cross the Rings through means besides the gates. And other such things.

Soppira: I have a question.

Doorkeeper: Well, since we are all asking questions, why not?

Soppira: What do you know of the royal herald?

Sylyn: *She glanced aside, to Silver. Then the Doorkeeper.* 'a'd say tha Rings themselves have a will.

Daniel: My friends...
     We haven't even introduced ourselves.
     We're being awfully rude.

Sylyn: I-... ah. Never got to speak to a-... Yes.

Doorkeeper: Oh, I already know well enough who you are, Daniel.

Daniel: [He pulls his hat off for a moment.] I am Daniel Brandybuck, local adventurer! I will meet you in Ring 1--
     Y- you know me?

Aethelwine: I know that I am known. [Bows his head]

Soppira: The doorkeepers are always watching us Daniel.

Doorkeeper: How could I not know such a successful and dashing young ringrunner, hm?

Daniel: M- me? [He seems to grow two inches, and his face reddens.] I... I am just here for the adventure. The fun with my friends. The challenge. That's all. [A smile.]

Sylyn: *She exhaled, through her nostrils.* 'a'd just want to understand, wha's guidin. An wha's not.

Aethelwine: I believe I can share some facts, from my observations.

Doorkeeper: [He straightens himself up slightly] As to your confusion, wyvern slayer-

Sylyn: *She watched the Doorkeeper, keenly... *

Doorkeeper: There is a reason men and women have turned back from the rings.
     There is a reason- there are thousands of little reasons-

Sylyn: *And her eyes narrowed, slowly.* 'a think 'a get it.

Doorkeeper: The vaguaries, the constant fear of curses, of missteps, of failure...

Sylyn: ... Say no more.

Doorkeeper: [He raises a hand gently] Of course, of course.

Sylyn: ... 'a get it. *She remarked again, quietly.* Thank you.

Doorkeeper: Now, you all must be hungry!

Daniel: A true adventurer doesn't give up when he fails or makes a mistake! He takes his lumps and tries again, better and stronger! Like those three heroes did...

Sylyn: ... Tha great Wheel, an tha Path, tha' breaks folks.

Doorkeeper: [He strikes up a fire...]
     [... and began cooking up some stew...]

Sylyn: According to them's spirit- tha's tha Rings. 's why Cheatin's so-... So. Wrong.
     *She exhaled again, and rubbed at her face.* Yeah. 'A get it.

Soppira: Daniel, is how I am reacting making you think my wills broken?

Sylyn Nine-fingers: Ah. 'A just hope we're not all dead.

Campfire: *flickers out*

Daniel: You, Soppira? No, your reaction is just... I don't know. Everyone I brought has been so moved. So changed. I suppose, I just thought you'd... fall silent, gazing on the Keep, like I did...

Doorkeeper: [He ladels it up into little bowls, and sets it out...]

Daniel: Just... staring. Knowing it's all worth it... all the pain, all the cost, all the terror.
     's all worth it, Soppira...

Doorkeeper: [An almost sad smile as he gazes at Daniel]
     Good evening, friends. Do enjoy my meal- I put quite a lot of work into it.

Soppira: Doorkeeper.
     ... he never answered my question.



Pointedly he did not, Soppira. There’s a few other things he did or did not, but sometimes I read into things that are not there, so it is necessary to use the razor of Reason to cut away the points of imagination that are far too fanciful to be productive, but keep them in the race, just in case.


Daniel: Come, let us sit and enjoy some stew.

Sylyn: We got our 'nic. After all... 'a guess. *She sighed.*
     Danny?

Daniel: Yes, my friend?

Sylyn: ... You... think.



Mmm, so I went and helped myself to some stew. This was the taste of wonder and success I mentioned to Corie about.


Sylyn: ... 'a should carry Cafrasil, still? Not for him.
    For me.

Daniel: It tastes like beef! I wonder which ring has the cows?

Sylyn: *She picked up the bowl, and sat, legs crossed.*

Aethelwine: So. The trick is not to help with challenges and puzzles. To speak about the contents of the Rings are much more innocuous - provided it isn't some kind of extensive description.

Daniel: No, Red, I don't think you should carry him. I think you should focus on yourself. On us. The future. Leave the past behind. We've so much ahead. So much yet to see. And yes, so much yet to suffer.

Sylyn: ... Tha's tha point tho... 'a only ever carried mself.
     He was a dick. An a whore. But 't felt like a good quest.



My sister was completely mad. Truly insane in the membrane. ‘Cafrasil’ was a literally embalmed and preserved corpse she was carrying upon her back, a Nephzarian retainer who she thought she was in love with and who in turn loved her. Yet she was also the most passionate person I’ve ever known, who else would carry an entire body along with her as a dedication, and some fool hope to revive them upon reaching Ring 1. I often forgave her for her failings, because just like Merry, I am not immune to defending those who are near and dear. Unlike Merry however, I try to show them the error of their ways and help them improve, not merely defend their character flaws.


Daniel: No man or woman is an island. We must be like these three heroes, Red.
     "We will never give up."

Sylyn: Y'not listenin, again. *She chuckled, and sipped some stew.* Ah. This' really good.

Daniel: No matter how much a ring crushes us, how hard we argue... [He looks a little lost.] It's because I don't understand you, Red.
     I really do not. You and I are the most opposite people I know. No wonder we fight a lot.

Sylyn: Damn right, ya don't. *She smiled, and tilted the cup, drinking the stew.*

Soppira: I plan on helping everyone I can, same as before, perhaps then they can reach here too, and decide whether its worth it, or not.

Sylyn: ... Ask Silver. He got a good idea.



Well of course I had a good idea, I understood my sister better than anyone else ever understood her, probably better than she even understood herself, but I shouldn’t be making claims like that, even if they are true, it makes me sound self-absorbed.


Sylyn: *She glanced at Soppira.* Good. This'-...Where tha journey really begins, 'a feel.
     Some folks don't even make it to tha start.

Soppira: I dont plan on stopping here, we still seek our tower.

Sylyn: Ya plan to stop when ya find it?

Soppira: But as I said, I have no delusions of being able to escape, I dont have the strength in my body to bear every challenge I fear.
     However, I plan on curing the planar sickness

Sylyn: *She glanced aside, to Daniel.* Ya know, Dandy.

Soppira: And I need to find the secrets of this place to do that.



I went about enjoying my stew, content to just listen and gaze upon my dear companions.


Sylyn: ... You lot pissed me off more than anyone did in my life. An 'a still couldn't leave... 'at's a good thing.

Aethelwine: Daniel kind of has a point though. Do it for your friends.



I should have added, ‘Not some dead weight’. Cafrasil was such literal dead weight, but I know my sister and I didn’t want to make her angry in the moment. Of course, this was all before she gave me the worst beating of my life, but I knew how temperamental she could be, there was always a means and manner about talking to her about things and this was the wrong moment to contest her I felt.


Soppira: They are rocking your boat just enough to make things interesting.

Daniel: My friend. I say this the most kind way.
     But I am going to piss you off again. And again. And you will piss me off, too. And we'll fight.
     We'll even break up, for some time. And then we'll find back together. And we'll continue. And make up. 'cause that's what we do.

Sylyn: *She grinned again.* Ya know-... you should just cave in an hug me, sometime.

Daniel: Hug a girl? I don't know. Y'all got all kinds of cooties.

Aethelwine: To be honest that sounds like a mess of a relationship though, Daniel.

Sylyn: ... 'a hug Silver.
We get along swimmingly.

Daniel: I am just saying, a lot can happen. This is ring 94...
     Yeah, but Silver likes hugging women.
     It makes me uncomfortable is all.
     Don't mean I don't like you.



I spotted such a beautiful flower at that moment and I had to have it, so I plucked it up. I’m not entirely sure what was wrong with Daniel. A hug is a sharing of comfort and a gesture of greeting between friends and family. I guess he had a strange upbringing or something. Or maybe he was raised in a family of boys, whereas I always had my sisters. Kinda weird of him still.


Sylyn: *She blowed on the cup to cool it.* Not in tha way you think.

Daniel: I knoooow.

Sylyn: ... Just be kind, en. 'A got a heart too.

Daniel: [Daniel wore a beautiful King's Favor flower woven into his hair.] I try. Sometimes I fail. But I'll try.

Sylyn: Still. That were a reassurance if 'a ever heard one.

Daniel: Listen, Silver. We have, what... 94 rings to go. I am saying it's inevitable we'll fight, probably. There's going to be rings that try to turn us against each other, at the very least. Maybe. Or not. But we'll get through it, too. In the end.
     You know me. Inconstant like the wind. But I mean well!

Soppira: *Soppira however hasnt touched hers, simply set where she placed it after resting a moment.*

Sylyn: 'a still real want Silver along.

Aethelwine: Well. The only real thing that frustrated me for a while was the complaints about the ritual - but I feel a lot of arguments and issues arise out of miscommunication. So to that end, I just advise being clear and honest with each other, and listening.



Daniel was one of those who kept complaining about the preparation phase of Lori’s Ritual of Transformative Restoration, blaming me that it was taking too long, for things that were well out of my control. I did get very sick and tired of it, I was doing everything at the fastest pace I could without risking messing things up, not that it really helped in the end. Or perhaps it did by making things a bit less catastrophic than they could have been. In any case, the lesson is, never bend before the mundane and the Uninitiated who do not understand the plight of the magus, or the risks of the Art.


Daniel: That was indeed miscommunication. It usually is. People... you know, Silver. People are like bubbles. Soap bubbles. They float around in the sky. We're all trapped in our soap bubble... air between us all. It's those rare moments were two bubbles touch and they share a wall... that make it all meaningful.

Sylyn: Daniel.
     Just.
     Sssh.



Yeah, just shut up Daniel. Heh. People don’t have to argue and fight and break up and get together again, you were describing a pretty volatile and chaotic way to live. But perhaps that’s your life and your experience of it and it seems very, well, unwise. And that’s just not wizardry.


Soppira: Even past the tower, there is something I plan to find.
     The source of the plague dead.

Sylyn: If we ever get to one.
     Maybe we should wish to all go somewhere together.

Aethelwine: The tower will just be a headquarters of our own.



But it stuck with me. The Wizard Warrens. It was meant to be for my Ordo Arcanum and I. Because I valued my independence above all. Yet the truth is, I saw a brotherhood. I wanted to be a part of them, but they threw me into a tower instead and I thought to myself, perhaps this is just the way I will prove myself to them. And now I can’t help but agree with Annette, it’s not mine anymore but I don’t mind. I have to remain focused, neither the tower nor the Warrens were meant to be for me – they were only meant to be a means to an end. I have to remind myself and I have to remove myself from my attachment to the 93rd. It’s hard, I know, because I poured so much of myself into it.

I can’t quite decide if there is a point to attempting to restoring my home. I think it could be great again, but it’s the value of doing it that I wonder about. It is a fine place for respite and gathering for the various Ringrunners and pilgrims who come and go, even the Arbiters have enjoyed the hospitality of Towertop now. And well, I know exactly what else is out there both underground and in the deeper sections. I will have to think about it, it all depends on how I want to go about achieving my mastery.

And I’ve spoken to Corie now about showing her this entry because I couldn’t answer her properly when she asked. Hello Corie. Say hello to me when you finish reading. Just so I know you’re done. Also I’m not your apprentice, though I suppose I’m over the nightmare now and wouldn’t really have an issue with it, if I were, at least.
« Last Edit: December 08, 2019, 10:58:27 AM by Aethereal »
---
'Even life eternal is not time enough to see, all the folly and despair of poor Humanity.' - To Life - A Shoggoth on the Roof

It is through Art, and through Art only, that we can realise our perfection.



Aethereal

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on: December 13, 2019, 01:02:21 AM
Well, firstly this entry would have been in a completely different tone if Marcie did not answer my call. My apprentice has returned to me, she is my salve, my cup of tea, my friend, confidante, pupil and strangely, guardian. My apprentice can actually physically overpower me. It shouldn’t be an issue though – we’re practitioners of the Art, who apply the strength of mind, not brutes who contest mindless brawn. It is also not lost on me that she alternates from calling me by my name or by title as her master depending on context – I think I appreciate the liberty she has in being able to switch between roles depending on the situation and will do nothing to discourage her. Although I also remember her words when the released illusion of herself went haywire, ‘Hey! Nobody beats up my master except for me!’ I think it was just innocent fun and that she has no real intention of ‘beating me up’, but perhaps I should be a little wary, just in case?

In any case spending time with Marcie helped me find my centre, letting me calm down after the horrible way I woke up in the 87th with Warrenwatch in my hand and all the nonsensical claims about Blacksmile this and Blacksmile that, or how I was going to suddenly, inexplicably abandon the Daughters, and the worries that Marcie would be losing her mind and memories again – not to mention I was still recovering from dwelling upon the tragedy of Magus Kolir and the words of ‘Frustrated’.

Now, where to begin? There’s a lot to cover.

I’ve shown Cory my last entry – seems she prefers Cory with a ‘y’ rather than the ‘ie’, even though I think ‘ie’ makes more sense. I need to ask about why the ‘y’ is preferred. I did find it a bit strange that she didn’t comment on the Doorkeeper at all, I’d hazard the guess that she considers them beneath her notice, just like how she shooed one in Ticker Square earlier. She also commented that I wrote a little scathingly about Daniel, and I don’t think that’s true at all. I just find I don’t agree with the methods of communication which define base, chaotic, and underdeveloped minds who do not understand that every gesture, every word, every act and interaction with one’s surrounds – everything – may make perfect sense like the movements of a dancer whose performance is a worshipful manifestation of existence's promise. I’m glad she could appreciate my sister though.

Annette also invaded my privacy. Although she was not invited to read, she went and flicked back a few pages until she found her own name. It was the entry in which I somehow fell into hatred. I read over that page and I just find that I don’t feel the same way anymore – Annette really did save my life earlier and she and the rest of the Daughters truly do seem to consider me one of them now. I should thank her but I don’t want to overinflate her ego, I’ve been stoking her ego more than enough as it is. I only did it because I didn’t want her to feel bad or rejected.

On the note of my journal, part of me does wonder what it would be like to let someone I trust read through the entire thing. Wouldn’t it be insightful to understand someone else’s perspective upon my writings and reflections? A glimpse into the private thoughts of Aethelwine Silver – I admit the more I think about it, the more I wonder what could be learned. At the end of the day, I think I’d learn far less than what any reader would learn. It is true that the Truth is a mutlifacteted thing though, and to understand it we must be able to glimpse its other facets – other perspectives held in the minds of other living beings.

Another thing about Annette. The heads or tails flip was interrupted by that pestilent undead and now she teases me again. But that’s fine, I think I’m getting to understand her better now – she really is an actress. On that note, it is time to evaluate the Daughters and compare them to the Truthseekers and my perspective upon the future together with them:

Annette Winespill – she’s an actress and a drama queen, and she likes to poke fun at others, including her friends, but perhaps it’s mostly a good natured sort of jibe she enjoys rather than actually wanting to cause us pain. She used to be grating but then I started annoying her back and I think she’s gotten the message and might be toning things down just a little. She’s otherwise very capable in battle and knows how to react and alter the strategy to lead us to victory when needed. She also has a fine voice, her poetry is decent and her performances – though I’ve only seen the one – are moving. Overall I think it’s fair to say she is the backbone of the Daughters, without her there would be no Daughters and that’s a scary thought. I need to make sure she stays sane, focused and motivated.

Adrea ‘Andy’ Nes – she’s so mysterious, I need to find out more about her, why is she so close to Cory and vice versa? Especially since she’s so quiet. How is it that she is the captain yet is also the quitest of us all? She’s very kind though and she’s been there to help me when the others haven’t, going so far as to go out of the way to make sure I’m safe. How is that not endearing? How does that not make one appreciate her? She’s also quite strong physically but Annette seems somehow more skilled in battle, it’s odd.

Vashti – She channels the Power with some refinement of it towards the element of Air and seems to be formidable in battle whilst providing a fine accompaniment of divine boons. A quiet yet thoughtful presence, she does not succumb to the immaturity of the other girls, which is refreshing. She tells me that she runs the Rings as it seems one of the best ways to be free in it, though she also seems interested in uncovering its mysteries and will go where the winds blows.

Merredith ‘Merry’ Winespill – formerly a Daughter, now one of Visimar’s company. She appreciates my counsel and has come a long way since her days of being a clueless girl fresh out of her mother’s closet, who rubbed me the wrong way by threatening me for putting Ruul in his place. She is passionate yet easily succumbs to the drives of emotion, even now. She will have an interesting future yet.

Elizabeth Frick – she was the lioness who once showed me her roar. She was one who seemed worthy of the Truth, but has been negligent in its pursuit, thus not deserving of it. I have not yet travelled with her beyond Ring 95 and do not quite yet dismiss her from being worthy. She would have enjoyed listening to what ‘Frustrated’ had to say, alas, alas.

Coriander ‘Cory’ Penrose – perhaps the most complicated of the Daughters by far, yet also someone who I do think it’s fair is being labelled a kindred spirit of mine. I keep wondering to myself if she harbours something against me somewhere hidden deep inside her heart, even though we’ve both established accord and openness in pursuit of friendship. I think it’s just me though, because I cannot think of any reason for which she would remain resentful, surely she’d have told me if it were the case. I think she’s just quite selfish at times, has lower ethical and moral standards than I, and is a whole lot more emotionally unsettled. With all of those things said, I still enjoy the occasional moment we find ourselves discusssing wizardry and scholarly pursuits together and she is most definitely a thinker. I like thinkers.

When it comes to Dorvant’s Daughters, I do worry from time to time that my exposure to so much emotional chaos as erupts often between the key forces of Annette and Cory will in turn seep into me and disrupt my efforts to remain calm. They also seem to instigate these little dramas and do not hesitate to occasionally direct them towards me – which can either make me stronger by forcing me to learn and adapt or otherwise will lead to my ruin one way or another. I have traded ‘machismo’ as Cory puts it, accurately something that defined the Truthseekers for drama yet also thoughtfulness and a willingness to listen. I think I am grateful that I have been made an honourary Daughter, because if I can help keep them together we have the potential to go far. We have already made it into Ring 79 after all.

Next, I find myself reflecting upon the journal of Royal Court Wizard Kolir. Kethryl of Arishaul attempted to prevent me from reading it, thinking she could protect me from the tale of tragedy but I have long since made my commitment to the Truth and all of its terrible, awesome, and surely at times horrifying certainty. It is after all a multifaceted thing and I will gaze yet upon all of its faces, there will be no bliss borne of ignorance for one such as I.

It troubles me to read Kolir’s words, none of the tales I was told about him have even compared to the abject tragedy of his reality. I find a piece of myself within him and I do not like it, I must not become a Kolir, just as I must not fail like my mother did, just as I must remind myself, always, that Wizardry is for the Wise. I’ve also kept many in the dark about the plight, only hinted at it and helped others avoid it, set up preventatives without explaining what it is they must prevent or avoid. None have glimpsed upon the Confessions of an Ex-Wizard. There was simply not enough interest. Yet I owe a few people answers yet, and I shall deliver it to them.

And as I shed my tears, I remembered. Brooke Acciai née Silverspring, the Thaumaturge I bound to the first Court Inquisitor, Ciriaco Accia. She was a friend, an ally, a supporter and she warned me.

A carefully preserved letter
[close]
Bound and but a few days later, undone. The binding I wrought though was of two souls to one another. The other carries the fragment on. Brooke herself feared oblivion, for she came from a world where the afterlife was stable and known - the soul would go and find its place in the demesne of its Patron, yet these Patrons now are nowhere to be found, Distant. And so, what is left, but the unknown? That which defines the most primitive and basic fear of mortal kind. A fear I have always had less of than the ordinary mortal, for good or ill - not to suggest I am anything beyond mortal, unless we all are, here in the Realm.

Still, I do mourn for this soul but she wrote her own fate - blindly or otherwise. It was pleasant to have someone who cared but I do not quite understand from where or what her counsel was inspired. To suggest that I push people away? That I should open up, once in a while? "That former wizard called this loved one not even his family until after she was gone", now that line hits home harder than I'd have expected. But it's folly to think that reflects me. We humans simply find ways to identify with stories regardless of how distant they are to our reality. Something to do with empathy, I believe. A trait possessed of most social creatures.


Plenty of other matters to attend to in the mean time. I'm seeing golems all over the place, for example and I didn't get the chance to ask Errilam about what he did. That fiend took to his grave so very many secrets...

3.

It is not impossible that Kolir is still out there somewhere. If he is, I would seek his counsel. As the days go by, I worry about my attachments. I am no Hawthorne Ebersol, who thought that the Practitioner was beyond human. I am terribly human and I am at least at ease with my Truth. Which brings me to ‘Frustrated’.

I’ll think more upon Frustrated and my own frustrations before I pen them to parchment, for now I have things to do.
---
'Even life eternal is not time enough to see, all the folly and despair of poor Humanity.' - To Life - A Shoggoth on the Roof

It is through Art, and through Art only, that we can realise our perfection.