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* Plot Information for Rihland

A Black Jewel has obliterated the longstanding Eyrien rulership of the Territory. As the Rihlanders begin to reclaim their homeland they do so under the stern gaze of their "savior". Three separate peoples struggle to both claim their own identities and become a unified nation, but old hatreds are difficult to shed.
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Author Topic: bridges instead of walls  (Read 176 times)

Description: Attn: Melany

Offline Thyra Danielsen

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      Court Seer of Avorla

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bridges instead of walls
« on: Dec 06, 17, 01:51:26 AM »
Hounds chased a hare across a friend of snow. The hare darted this way, that way, trying to throw them off her trail, but they harried the hare without fail. The hare ran and ran, until exhaustion made it drop. The hounds circled on all sides, teeth bared, blood dripping from their fangs. The hare had blood on her fangs, but it was too different, too small, to much the other to run with the hounds.

Only now, at the end, did the hare understand.


The vision ended, though Thyra fought to keep hold of it. Yet her mind pulled away from the Twisted Kingdom, the misty place that sometimes showed her glimpses of events soon-to-be and those not-yet-born. The moment the vision ended, she had her journal in hand, writing down the vision once more. She’d seen this vision three times prior and the only thing that was clear to her now was that she was the hare being chased. She sighed in frustration.

She pushed back her chair and left her Weaving Room, closing the door and setting the wards behind her. After her last run-in with a Midnight Keeper breaking into her home, Thyra wasn’t taking chances with her safety ever again. The webs and wards that she’d installed since moving in and taking up her duties as the High Seer of Avorla were meant to hobble and confuse those who thought to harm her. Those people would learn the hard way that stalking and attacking a Black Widow was an excellent way to return to Mother Night in humiliating fashion.

So far, no one had been that stupid.

Thyra reported to work each day that first month, keeping her head down and working politely and professionally with the other members of the First Circle and the District Court. She made herself available when Lady Drachlan summoned her and gave advice to members of the Court who required it. She worked long hours and made a connections with other people in town. She even introduced herself to the members of the local Coven of the Hourglass, making sure that they understood her position and that she wasn’t trying to ruffle features...but that matters of the Court were firmly under her auspices.

Because she’d been at lunch with a pair of Coven members one afternoon, she wasn’t present when Signe met with Melany Kriemhild. She’d returned from lunch in a good mood, ready to talk to the Queen about a few ideas she had for assisting the Glacian Underground in their work, only to find out how poorly said meeting had gone. When Thyra asked around about Lady Kriemhild, she learned that the other woman wasn’t just a Rihlander skald, but the skald in these parts. It was said that she resided in Scythia, giving Thyra a place to start.

She suggested to a few member of the First Circle that someone reach out to Lady Kriemhild and try to reset relations. After all, having a Rihlander known for public speaking turned against them was a bad idea. Yet no one among the Court had any interest in making the first move.

Fine. I’ll do it myself.

She went to Khiar and explained that she needed some time to handle this matter before it got out of hand, then arranged for travel to Vekeldorf, in Scythia District.

That was how she found herself at the Hunting Hound Tavern, enjoying a bowl of stew and a mug of ale. She was certain that the Rihlanders had mastered cooking Craft that the rest of Kaeleer would never, ever know. She’d spent most of her day asking around about Melany and found no further leads on her location. Now she sat at a table in the corner and considered her next move.

She pointedly ignored the odd looks she got from a few of the Darker Jeweled Rihlanders who watched her, focusing on her food. She’d not met many of Rihland’s Dark Jeweled since her arrival, but Glacia had left its mark on her, not that Thyra would admit it. She observed Protocol, but otherwise, she didn’t give them a reason to pay attention to her.

Old habits died hard.


Offline Melany Kriemhild

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Re: bridges instead of walls
« Reply #1 on: Dec 06, 17, 02:15:04 AM »
Melany didn't particularly like being looked for. It was understandable that she would sometimes be sought out for Rihlander milestones: birth, Birthright, Descent, death. She attended baby-namings to record the second-parents of the child. She attended coronations and ascensions of Queens to remember who was there, what feats of honor were performed, who stepped up to serve and who felt the Bond. Where there was tragedy and she was called, she would come, to take down the event and add it to the oral history that she had memorized. If there was joy, that too was something to remember. But all of these were events which would someday build a wonderful story, as she neared the end of her life. None of them were the District Seer of Avorla seeking her out.

In fact, she had really no desire at all to meet the Black Widow. The caste didn't make her uncomfortable, for she had Sasha as her closest, dearest friend from childhood. No, she simply didn't trust Black Widows who hadn't sworn the oath of fealty that all Reclaimers did, who didn't hold in their heart the most sacred of Reclaimer values: the reclamation of Rihland for Rihlanders. They would expel the Eyrien menace, not cooperate with it as Signe Drachlan did. Black Widows were a clever and canny lot, and it was simply too great of a risk. Melany took care to avoid places where Lady Thyra would be, and thought that would be that.

Though she had no desire to meet the Avorla seer, fate had other ideas. She found herself in Vekeldorf, sitting at one of the bar-seats at the Hunting Hound, when the lady herself walked in. Such coincidences were the things that stories were made of, and it would surely cause more trouble than she needed if she left now. It was one thing to simply be difficult to keep track of. It was another to be seen to avoid an officer of a District court, especially when that District was one that Melany was active in. Before approaching, Melany turned her blue eyes on the blonde Glacian, watched her over the rim of her tall glass of dark beer.

Today she had no escort, though Ryder would come in a heartbeat if Melany called. So no one stopped her as she rose to her feet and crossed the room, carrying her glass with her.

"Lady Danielsen," said Melany. "I believe you've been looking for me." She didn't smile. "What does the Seer of the Court in Avorla want with a humble skald?"

Offline Thyra Danielsen

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Re: bridges instead of walls
« Reply #2 on: Dec 10, 17, 04:02:31 PM »
Thyra suppressed the urge to curse, nodding as Lady Kriemhild appeared before her. It was Thyra’s luck that the woman she’d been seeking after was Dark Jeweled. Thyra wanted to pretend that it didn’t change anything, that it didn’t influence the tenor of their meeting, but she’d be lying to herself if she did. She couldn’t remember the last time she’d received a fair shake of any kind from one of the Dark Jeweled. So while she wanted to pretend this was just a simple meeting between a pair of women of different groups, it wasn’t.

Thyra was in danger, even if Melany was one of the most attractive women she’d met in a long, long time.

I apologize for my enthusiasm in seeking you out, Lady Kriemhild, but when I heard that you’d visited the Court recently and spoken with Lady Drachlan, I was sorry to have missed you. I’ve hoped to meet a skald since my arrival in Rihland. I also understood that your meeting with Lady Drachlan wasn’t as productive as, perhaps, it could have been.” Thyra said.

I know it’s a bit sudden, but I’d like to buy you a drink, maybe some dinner, and talk about that meeting with Lady Drachlan. Selfishly,  I also admit that I’d like to learn a little bit more about Rihland itself, from someone charged to care for its history.” Thyra said.

Can we take some time to smooth out any possible issues between our peoples?” Thyra asked.

She was trying to be conciliatory and diplomatic, but she fully expected this woman to laugh in her face and walk out. Perhaps the whole trip was a waste and Signe had just made an enemy that the Glacians didn’t need. But Thyra wouldn’t know any of these things without making the attempt. If there was an issue, perhaps hearing it from Lady Kriemhild would at least give her something to take back to Signe in the hopes that the Queen would reconsider her position.

Offline Melany Kriemhild

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Re: bridges instead of walls
« Reply #3 on: Dec 10, 17, 10:21:26 PM »
Melany's expression didn't change. She did cross her arms over her chest, the drink in one hand suddenly all too cold. What the Hell did Signe Drachlan think she was doing, sending her Court Seer to negotiate with Melany? It was a smarter move than the Queen herself pursuing answers from Melany, that was true enough, because Melany found the Queen of Avorla a condescending bitch and hadn't precisely kept it quiet. "We are a rare breed," she said, acknowledging that she'd heard Thyra's words but not making any apologies for protecting what was rightfully Rihland's, and no part of the Glacian inheritance at all.

Instinct told her to shut this down and depart now, but good sense said that making an enemy of a Queen was one thing. Making an enemy of a Black Widow was another. A smart woman wouldn't do the latter, for all she would risk the former, and Melany had always prided herself on her intelligence. Disliking a Queen who regarded the Rihlander culture as something she, and the Eyrien occupiers, had a right to was a completely different beast to disliking a deadly Black Widow because the woman served that Queen.

"I've nowhere to be," said Melany finally, having considered her options. She took a seat across the table from Thyra, set her drink down on the scarred surface and her elbows on the table. "Though I doubt you'll say anything that'll change my mind. Lady Drachlan was... uncompromising... in her response to the issue of the library."

She eyed Thyra critically for a long moment, and then she said, "It is the library issue you wish to discuss, isn't it?" Melany hadn't discussed anything else, except that Signe had seemed to want to come up with some sort of alternate plan, something that would let Glacian invaders and Eyrien oppressors lay claim to things that belonged to Rihlanders. It wasn't that Melany was necessarily opposed to the presence of Glacians; it was more that she was opposed to Glacians who didn't want to assimilate. Their culture had driven them out, discarded them like trash. Why did they want a distinct cultural identity from the Rihlanders who had welcomed them in from the tundra?

Offline Thyra Danielsen

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Re: bridges instead of walls
« Reply #4 on: Dec 16, 17, 07:13:24 PM »
We’re a rare breed.” Melany Kriemhild said, referring to the Skalds of Rihland.

Thyra nodded. “I fully believe it.

The woman was ice-cold and Thyra liked it. She didn’t bullshit or flower up her words and Thyra respected it. Life was too short not to cut to the chase. Besides, this wasn’t Court. Playing nice was fine during business hours, but Thyra was trying to make allies, not enemies. Lady Kriemhild could have told her to pound snow or go home. Instead, she sat down across from Thyra and at least seemed willing to hear her out.

Yeah, the library.” Thyra said, almost wincing when she heard the after-action report on how that whole talk had gone down. While Thyra had her own suggestions on this library and its uses, she was a very new member of the Avorla District Court. While she didn’t want any enemies from among Rihland’s natives, she wanted even fewer from the Glacians she had to share a District with.

Lady Drachlan means well, but she’s got a Black Jewel breathing down her neck about this thing. In Glacia, when someone like Kalvar Elbremov tells you to do something, you do it and act happy that they told you to do it.” Thyra said with a half-shrug.

Thyra crossed her legs beneath the table and organized her thoughts.

I’m not here to convince you to participate in the library. I get the reasoning behind it. It’s still a bad idea. I just left a land where a Dark Jeweled fanatic and her Court wanted to control my life. I somehow ended up i a land where a Dark Jeweled overlord and his Court want to control my life. Here or there, I’m not standing for it.” Thyra said.

I’ll work on Lady Drachlan. In return, I’d ask that you don’t write us off. Maybe you could come around sometime and honor us with some of your tales. If people see what you’re capable of, Lady Kriemhild, I think I can convince them about why this library’s a bad plan.” Thyra said.

Anyway, will you give it some thought? In the meantime, if you need a Black Widow’s aid….keep me in mind. I’m just trying to build a bridge.” she said.

Offline Melany Kriemhild

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Re: bridges instead of walls
« Reply #5 on: Dec 17, 17, 07:35:03 PM »
Melany didn't feel like she was in danger, but intuition was a dangerous beast when faced with a Black Widow. The women who bore that caste were a canny lot, and wicked. Stories were filled with mysterious maidens and conniving crones, and near all of them bore a Widow's tooth beneath the ring finger of their right hand. Melany was many things, but not one of them was stupid. So even though she wanted to inform Thyra that Signe had been in Rihland for almost as long as Melany had had a Jewel to her name, she didn't. She bit her tongue and sipped her beer, which Thyra's hands had been nowhere near. Better safe than sorry.

Thyra seemed friendly enough, though. Melany didn't do anything so telling as bite her lip, but she did tilt her head, just slightly, her uncanny blue eyes on Thyra's face. "I don't write anyone off," said Melany. "Except Eyriens, but surely for that I can be excused." They'd killed her family. That she had found a new family didn't matter. Her blood had lost its home, ripped away for Eyrien amusement, for Eyrien chains. She had no desire to negotiate with them. A Black Widow was a different matter. Making an enemy of such a one was one of the quickest ways to an agonizing death on the end of a poisoned glass, and such deaths were never heroic or elegant.

"I would want assurances that my stories and histories aren't being recorded for inclusion in this library," she said. Melany hooked a lock of hair behind her ear, and looked out over the tavern. If she shouted, she was sure they would come to her aid, but would they come fast enough? Thyra spoke of defying dark-jeweled overlords before, but words were wind if not backed up with action. Even as a skald, she admitted that the sword was sometimes mightier than the pen. The point, unfortunately, was that the two worked best in concert. "And that no Eyriens will be in attendance. If they wanted stories of Rihlander history, they oughtn't have wiped my people's historians from the face of our Territory."

She turned her attention to the scarred tabletop for a moment before looking back up at Thyra. "I have no quarrel with any Glacian," she said. "None of the skalds do. If there is a Glacian who wishes to leave behind the people that tormented and despised them, we will welcome them with open arms. But there is a line which must not be crossed, and that line is cooperation with the Black-Jeweled coward who claims to rule us."

Offline Thyra Danielsen

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Re: bridges instead of walls
« Reply #6 on: Jan 02, 18, 09:52:53 PM »
Thyra understood hate, understood living in the shadow of oppression. She didn’t blame Melany at all for her hatred and anger toward the Eyriens who’d subjugated her people. Kalvar Elbremov might have destroyed those who’d initially enacted that oppression, but his actions didn’t bring back the dead. All the power of the Black would never change the past or undo the transgressions of the Eyriens who enslaved Melany’s people. Thyra understood that, too. No matter how many Dark Jeweled people she worked with since arriving here, Thyra’s could not fully trust anyone who stood at the level of the Opal or below in the Abyss.

No Eyriens and your stories won’t be recorded for the library. I’ll see it done.” Thyra said, sparing a glance at the rest of the bar. She saw people enjoying food, playing darts, and enjoying each other’s company. All things that never happened in Glacia. Too many people trying to gild their own cage by pushing shit into someone else’s. Even the children in Rihland were happier, better adjusted, and kinder to outsiders than Glacian children.

Believe me, there are Glacians who want what you’re offering. It’s harder for some of them to admit it, but they do.” Thyra said, taking a sip of her drink. She wished Kiersten was here. Kiersten was the social butterfly expected to bring honor to the family. She’d know what to say to earn Melany’s trust.

Working with Elbremov isn’t on my to-do list. His son comes to Avorla and scares the piss out of the townsfolk with no thought to it. I don’t want anything to do with this regime.” Thyra said, leaning back in her chair.

If you’re available in a few weeks, I’d like to set up a time to hear your work. How do I reach you in the future?

Offline Melany Kriemhild

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Re: bridges instead of walls
« Reply #7 on: Mar 13, 18, 02:32:26 AM »
There was much more to her anger at Kalvar Elbremov than the terror that his son and chained dog Odinar brought to the people of Avorla. She could've cried herself hoarse over the many injustices she'd known at the hands of people who ruled because Kalvar had brought down the wrath of the Black a thousand years ago. Yet, Melany couldn't begrudge the Summer Sky Widow her anger. Everyone's story began somewhere. Everyone's rage had a core, a coal which burned red in their heart even when the embers of brighter flames had gone out. Melany smiled, just a little, a curve of her lips with their cupid's bow.

She had a good feeling about this one. Trustworthy, she thought, perhaps, though her judgement in full would have to be held in reserve. "I'll bring a guard of my own," she said, "to ensure you keep your word. I have no specific distrust of you, only a distrust of your employer. The Queen of Avorla is not sympathetic to our cause, and I find no desire to be helpful to her until she reconsiders her position." And ceased treating Melany like a child, because Melany wasn't a child; she was in her thirties, a woman grown, a woman alone for many years now and the leader of a Territory reclamation like nothing Rihland had ever seen, and would hopefully never see again.

Was there anything else to do here? Melany tapped her fingers against the table. It was true she might need a mind healer soon, but who knew if this woman's skills bent that way, or if she could be trusted with the secret of the Reclaimers. She'd look into it later, she decided, see what her men and women in Avorla could tell her about the recent expatriate who already placed herself so high into Signe Drachlan's Court.

"As a personal favor," she said, slowly--not because she thought Thyra too dense to understand, but because she was thinking as she spoke--"the Queen in Scythia is a personal friend of mine. The Lady Kibeth Tyrsdottir, called Mistborn. She's quite shy. Will you watch her for me?" It didn't matter if Thyra did or not. Tanith had returned, and Gudrun would allow nothing to happen to the young Queen; and the Triangle of the Court was no slouch in the combat or Jewels department. But if the Black Widow did look, then... Melany would know she had something useful, into which she could further investigate.