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Author Topic: Happy Cultural Appropriation Day  (Read 1378 times)

Description: LET THE MOOT COMMENCE

Offline Kalvar Elbremov

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Happy Cultural Appropriation Day
« on: Apr 06, 18, 01:45:49 PM »
This thread takes place on Winsol to usher in the 193 year.



A great flame heralded the moot for miles around Kanonberg, the capital of the Markoth Province. Kalvar had spent weeks reconstructing the design of a near-mythological Rihlander warship. The design was heavily inspired by the tale of Sigred, a Rihlander warrior who sailed across all the oceans and returned after perilous voyages, taking with him an ice-haired Queen from the frozen north that was both beautiful and fierce. It was from Sigred's bride and Queen, Kriemhild, that all Rihlanders descended; or so one of the tales of their origins went. Kalvar had heard the story for centuries, different with each telling, and always been entranced with it.

In one of the tellings, Sigred was betrayed by his brother in law and his nephew, slain and killing his murderer in turn. Kriemhild willed herself to die, but not before gathering the essences of her slain husband and drawing her spirit to the ship that brought her home. Their love was so great, not just for each-other but for the land, that the vessel burned from that passion. Through the smoke it was said that everyone for miles could see their shapes ascend to the heavens far above.

The heavens had been stolen from the Rihlanders by the Eyriens, but tonight Kalvar was intent to return it to them.

He had gathered a massive feast. The hearty fare of the Rihlander people was brought forth to fill them. Mead and ale were in abundance and Kalvar had brought forth some of his own stores of sake to spread the celebration of the season. Set for a Winsol celebration, the Rihland cold had started to settle in. But between the drink and the flame there was no fear of the bite of winter.

The Black Prince had called upon each Province and District Queen through messenger to bring not only themselves but all their Courts and their resources to help support the moot. Whether they chafed against the idea or not, Kalvar had made clear that if they wished to remain in their seats they should support this unification effort. Music was already in play by several spirited bards and word had spread that Tyr Madsen, the respected Skald, would be performing that night.

Kalvar had also sent an "invitation" to the Hunting Camp to come forth and celebrate the Winsol. It was far more a Rihlander-based event, yet many aspects of the Eyrien culture, Kalvar felt, were compatible with the Rihlander's way of life. Eyriens were strong warriors, proud, and loved to fight and enjoy fierce company. They were not so different, he knew, having loved a Rihlander woman and helped raise Rihlander children.

There were others, Kalvar knew, of the Eyrien "Rebellion" who would hear of this event. Whether they would be bold enough to come to the event and show their faces, or be bolder still to try and disrupt it, remain unseen. In the back of his mind he considered if the Reclaimers, too, would seek to disrupt the event.

Let them try, he thought with stoic purpose. He would not be swayed from this correct course.

Kalvar stood near the flames of the burning ship. He was calm in his repose, scanning as the mass of Rihland came forth to share in their bounty before the Spring, to stand shoulder to shoulder, be they Rihlander, Glacian, or Eyrien, and to eat and drink beneath the same sky.

Despite the trepidation he may have had (for certainly, even a God could know the twinge of anxiety of a task that may fail), he was far more optimistic and hopeful of the night. Hope filled him in ways it had not for years, and he looked at the gathering with optimism and a touch of excitement.




Plot Lead Note: This thread is open to all in Rihland. Almost everyone in Rihland would have heard of the date and location of the event, as it's a massive celebration. There will be no set post order involved, if you need people to wait for you please let everyone involved know, but don't hold the thread up for more than a couple days.


Offline Evony Bos

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Re: Happy Cultural Appropriation Day
« Reply #1 on: Apr 06, 18, 02:20:57 PM »
It had been a frantic set of work, coordinating with so many to ensure that the Feast was properly prepared.  She'd felt like a General, barking orders for dish cleaning and the movement of so many foods.  But looking at it?  Seeing how things were moving?  She felt real pride.  She felt a sense of accomplishment that was second only to having found a safe harbor for Petra.

She felt.. exultant, really.

Kalvar cut an impressive figure standing so close to the burning ship.  She had the feeling that for the rest of her days, that image would be etched into her memories.  Kalvar had become the salvation of her family, what little was left of it, and to see his hope for a Moot come to fruition warmed her heart. 

Oh, she knew that many were grumbly about it.  She knew that Adalwolfa was unpleased, and likely some of the Queens.. and that wasn't touching on the common folk who didn't understand Kalvar or believed him a monster purely because of his wings.  But... for the moment, none of that mattered.  Kalvar had created a Moot that rivaled anything she'd ever seen.  He was honoring her people's history, their heritage, and he was doing his best to bring all of them together.

If it wasn't perfect, who cared?  It was perfect enough.

Despite the grumbling and downright cold manner that Andrei Elbremov had given her, his delivery had been flawless.  In return, she'd made sure that the foods were prepared flawlessly.  She'd made more sweet breads and vegetable dishes in the last two days than she'd ever imagined.  And that was just what she'd been directing, personally.  Other dishes had been run by other Cooks, though she'd kept an eye on it all.

Now..  She took a deep breath, straightening her shoulders.  Now was the time to find Signe and her niece.  To find Wolf, and Odinar.  To drink with friends, allies, and family.  To remember history, to honor it.. and to hope for a better future.  A moot wasn't just about the food, or the decoration.  It was about the feeling.. and she had high hopes that this Moot would live up to her wildest expectations.

Offline Kibeth Mistborn

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Re: Happy Cultural Appropriation Day
« Reply #2 on: Apr 06, 18, 02:40:25 PM »
Kibeth didn't want to be here. Moots held nothing but bad memories for her; it had been the end of her childhood and the beginning of torment. Had she her own way, she would've remained at home, even from the Reclaimer moot. Let the people come to her. She walked among them often enough that if they desired something more they ought to know well where to find her. And yet... She wanted to be a good Queen. A strong Queen. The sort of Queen that could someday rule a Territory, maybe, even.

Though the Eyriens frightened her, and though she didn't want to be there, she put a good face on it as she arrived at the Court moot. It wasn't as if she was alone. Sokolov, Edwine, and Baard were in attendance, and Sokolov stuck to her side like a burr, his Sapphire alight at his throat. He had promised that he wouldn't cease shielding her on pain of his own death, and she trusted that he would hold to that promise. They were bonded. Why would he lie? She tried not to think that the Eyriens could make him a liar. They'd made so many of them out of good Rihlanders before.

The Court moot--she couldn't bring herself to call it a neutered moot the way Melany had, bitterly, repeatedly--was festive, bright, almost beautiful, and she could feel sincerity from some. So many others stewed in doubt and fear, though: fear that if they did not present themselves to the butcher, they would be slain outright. Had Kalvar not done so before? Promises were words and words were wind, meaning less than nothing.

How could she look to the faces around her when far above her, the smoke-filled sky hung so balefully empty and open? There was no point watching what stars she could see for bat-winged shadows, because the threat was all around her. Kibeth craned her neck to look at the moon.

"We should show our faces by the bonfire," said Sokolov. She whipped her stare around to look him in the eyes, but he was staring resolutely to a bat-winged figure by the burning ship. Kibeth found herself tracing the shape of his shadow, disproportionately large. Fitting: his shadow covered all of Rihland.

She shook her head. "I want to find Papa," she said. "Then we can go speak to Prince Elbremov."

Offline Tyr Madsen

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Re: Happy Cultural Appropriation Day
« Reply #3 on: Apr 06, 18, 03:03:24 PM »
Tyr sat apart from the body of the moot as yet. His thoughts were full of his recent discussion with Melany, if it could be called something so charitable as that. I can't kill him more times than he's going to die anyway. His poor bloodthirsty girl. She wouldn't be so stupid as to attack a moot where the Black would be in attendance, when her numbers contained not one Jewel darker than the Green. He could see what a statement it would make, to attack a peaceful gathering. Yet... he doubted she would. She was not so far gone, he told himself.

Kibeth was here. So was he. And Erwin. Killian Ibsen would be in attendance as well. Beyond that he knew little of the Reclaimer's members. Were there more here? Almost certainly. Were they in attendance with good intentions? He doubted that, as much as he doubted they would do anything about it. They would watch, they would see what Kalvar Elbremov's moot was like, they would report back to Melany... who was even now in the mountains of Scythia, preparing for her own moot. This one lasted only one night; the other would last for days.

Perhaps, in the interest of mending the bridge, he should attend the other. But that might draw attention to the Reclaimers in a way that they were not yet prepared for. Tyr groped for his flask and took a sip from it.

He had dressed in fine style for the moot, as he had for so many before that disastrous moot in 183. Somber black was his tunic, midnight blue his cloak. Both were bordered in almost indiscernible embroidered knotwork, spells woven into every stitch to offer stamina and lift his voice above any crowd. Tyr had never had to use them in his life. Brooches studded with White chips tied the shoulders of his cloak together before his breast and over it he wore a Skald's necklace: heavy pendants of brass and semiprecious stones, linked by forged chain to a rectangular pendant worked with the old runes of his people. It had lain in storage, removed only to clean it, for nearly a decade.

But here he was. And there, in the crowd, he spotted Kibeth. His girl. The only reason he was anywhere but home.

It wasn't time to perform yet. That time would come. For now, he watched his people and the invaders, seeing something else entirely.

Offline Odinar Elbremov

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Re: Happy Cultural Appropriation Day
« Reply #4 on: Apr 07, 18, 01:42:55 AM »
The night grated on Odinar’s nerves.

His father wanted this night to go well, so Odinar wanted it to go well for him. But there were too many people here. Too many different courts. Too many Rihlanders who hated his family because of the peace his father brought them. Oh, they enjoyed the benefits of that peace without restraint yet cursed the hand that liberated them from the Eyriens who’d oppressed them for centuries. Odinar had the dubious distinction of serving the previous and current rulers of Askavi, granting him a perspective on Eyrien/Rihlander relations that many of the people here lacked.

So many hypocrites and ungrateful people came here to drink and indulge a night of loosened laws. Tomorrow, they’d go right back to cursing Kalvar’s name despite all he offered them.

Odinar saw Tyr Madsen sitting alone, but speaking with the old Skald was a poor idea. Even if the old man would speak with him, there would be little to say. He would pass on soon enough and then another one of the great storytellers of Rihalnd would be gone. Odinar remembered when there were many, many more throughout the Territory. He’d even hunted a few, brought them to justice when commanded by his superiors. He felt guilty about few things in life, but his own contributions to oppressing the Rihlanders were among them.

There would be fighting tonight. There would drinking, laughter, and stories. The Glacians would come and be their normally dour selves...except for Signe. All-Mother help them all, someone would start something. Odinar expected that the Eyrien Rebellion would be the likely culprit. If they did, he wouldn’t have to hold back when he killed them for their temerity.

His eye caught Evony and Odinar crossed his arms over his chest. She was probably looking for her pet Landen, somewhere near the fire. Odinar had own that he was impressed at how Wolf Riemann had managed to survive Evony’s attentions over the past weeks. He was also amused at Evony’s restraint. She’d not broken her toy yet.

Odinar changed his position every few minutes to give himself a good few of the entire moot. He made sure the rest of the Guard did the same, directing pairs to support each other and entrances and exits to the grounds.

He would support his father’s attempt to bring these disparate peoples together until they proved unworthy of the effort.

"Lady Bos." Odinar said, getting the Hearth Witch's attention.

"I think I saw your friend near the beer."

Offline Katrien Raske

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Re: Happy Cultural Appropriation Day
« Reply #5 on: Apr 07, 18, 04:47:19 AM »
The dress had cost a fortune; not that Konstantin would have told her exactly how much, but the material alone was extravagant. It pleased him to see her well dressed and pleased him to shop for her at exclusive boutiques and dress makers in Little Terreille. It would have pleased Katrien more if he had spent the money acquiring ancient manuscripts or lost work of Rihlander literature, but it was his money after all. She spent her limited resources trying to rebuild the cultural knowledge of her people who had been oppressed for so long. They deserved the right to know who they were and what they truly descended from.

When Kalvar had expressed an interest in hosting his moot, the welcoming of the New Year, in Kanonberg she had been excited. It meant that guests from around the reformed Territory would see the beauty of her Province and perhaps even the good work that she and Signe’s Court had brought together in the form of their newly constructed library.

Katrien was most excited to hear the mythological tales of her people and experience a lost tradition. She felt like a child on their first Winsol as Konstantin escorted her to the event, her eyes wide with wonder and pleasure. Never mind that the beautiful gown was difficult to move in, Kon wouldn’t let her trip.

“Do you think the flame is infused with craft?” She asked with wonderment as Kon escorted her into the carriage. Her Master of the Guard followed closely behind her favoured Escort, and much of the rest of her Court had already set off to the event with only a few trailing behind the Queen in another carriage.

Katrien was excited to hear the long lost tales. Yet there was a sense of nervousness that plagued her spirit as the carriage set off. The Eyriens had been invited too. And while Katrien understood better than most that not all Eyriens were bad (her heart still ached for her lost male, Tonivar) the memories that came with a site of the wings were traumatic at best, debilitating at worse. What would Ton have said? Something along the lines of “chin up, princess, don’t let them see you sweat”. The tone of his voice, calm and deep, echoed in her heart as the words reverberated in her memory.

No, not all Eyriens were bad, but nor were they as special as Tonivar had been. They wouldn’t have staged a coup to free their Queen from captivity and give their life in doing so.



(OOC: Dress & Make-up, courtesy of Kon/Dash)


Offline Yserian Aethelas

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Re: Happy Cultural Appropriation Day
« Reply #6 on: Apr 08, 18, 01:20:21 PM »
Even though Yserian had spent a week yelling privately to her Court about the stupidity and arrogance of this event, she still showed up like the leashed bitch that she was.

How dare Kalvar Elbremov threaten her rule so flippantly.

Never mind that he had practically given her the Altai District after killing its previous ruler. Never mind that he wore the Black and could obliterate her with a flicker of his power. He was an arrogant prick of male that needed to be put in his place.

Just like Konstantin Timur.

The thought of the demanding Warlord Prince that had blackmailed her into such a humiliating sexual act had Yserian’s blood boiling as she and her escorts arrived. They thought her mood was because of Kalvar and being pressed into making an appearance at this farce of unification. Let them continue to think that. If she saw Konstantin here, she was going to return the favor he had given her in kind.

Yserian was dressed in a floor-length black dress with high slits on the thighs to show off her legs. It was sleeveless but she draped a black fur-lined cloak across her bared shoulders to ward off the initial cold, knowing that she would probably be warm later. She cut a striking figure in black, with her dark wings and smoldering eyes. The only color to her was a slash of blood red lipstick.

If she had to be at this event, she was going to be remembered for it.

“Let’s pay our respects to our...host...and then to Lady Raske,” she said to her escorts, almost choking on the words. If anyone looked hostile at her arrival, she shot them the same defensive look back. She had been ordered here -- had she been given a damned choice, she would have stayed away from this filthy thing. Let the Rihlanders have their barbaric moots with children’s tales and arm wrestling contests. Let them think they were a warrior people and not inexperienced youths playing at it.

Tucking her wings closely behind her so that no passersby brushed against those sensitive membranes rudely, Yserian strode through the crowd to make her appearance and began plotting how quickly she could be gone from this place while still maintaining her rule.

Offline Wolf Riemann

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Re: Happy Cultural Appropriation Day
« Reply #7 on: Apr 08, 18, 05:03:59 PM »
The Blood knew how to throw a party!

When Wolf heard that Kalvar was planning a moot, a real moot, the Landen male knew he had to go. His brothers, of course, thought it was the worst idea in a long, sad history of bad ideas. Haralt and Gunther were fine men but they lacked Wolf’s sense of adventure. Yes, it was dangerous to go to a moot full of drunk people who could sling around magic with their minds. Yes, it was even more dangerous to go to a moot put on by the single most dangerous member of that group that existed in Rihland.

And yes, it was damned near suicide to hope that he’d sleep with one of their women when they had so many eligible members of their own race at hand. But Wolf loved a party and he loved the challenge of meeting new and exciting people whenever he could. He also loved local food and beer.

Friends didn’t let friends drink Glacian beer.

And the best part? Tyr Fucking Madsen was going to be here! Would he speak until sunrise? What eddas would he tell the assembled? Would everyone refrain from fighting long enough to listen?

How would he answer any of these questions by sitting at home?

Wolf grabbed a mug and filled it with ale. He nodded to a few people and earned a few stares. He waved to Kalvar, but otherwise kept to himself. When he saw Prince Odinar, he returned the way he came to avoid ending up in the man’s gaze. Wolf was a brave man (for a Landen) but he was not so brave as to march up to the Fire Prince and attempt small talk. Instead, he took a drink of beer and headed back to the table, intent on trying some of the food that Kalvar provided for the moot. The beef looked especially tasty, so Wolf reached for a plate to grab a sample and bumped hands with a female.

The woman drew back from the contact, expression stony. She wore dark pants, a white sweater, and her hair was bound in a severe braid that hung over left shoulder. Wolf smiled, hoping to soften her glare but no such luck.

Wolf had not yet met a Glacian that smiled.

Apologies, Miss. I’m Wolf. You having a good evening?” he asked.

Offline Thyra Danielsen

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Re: Happy Cultural Appropriation Day
« Reply #8 on: Apr 08, 18, 05:05:42 PM »
When Signe told her that the Black Prince “requested” the Avorla Court’s presence at the moot, Thyra fumed. While a party sounded like fun, Thyra had work to do. The increase in her workload brought large dividends, but left her little time to pursue the Craft advances she desired. It did, however, let her refine her favorite webs and skills, allowing her to complete several assignments much faster. She’d settled into her home, finally, and was making progress in her attempts to learn about Rihlander history.

Which helped her understand exactly why the Black Prince’s “moot” was offensive to the Rihlanders who’d heard about it. Combined with the fact that Kalvar’s request for Signe’s presence was little more than thinly-veiled threat, Thyra wanted to find a way to keep Signe from showing up altogether. Unfortunately, her Tangled Webs had not yielded any solid warnings of danger beyond the normal good sense of not provoking one who wore a Black jewel. Even still, she suggested to Signe that they could appear and leave as quickly as possible, in case any of the various factions that hated Rihland’s ruler decided to ruin this “moot” with their personal agendas.

Arriving at the moot was easy enough. Not getting hit on was a little harder, but doable. The long day of preparation before leaving Avorla had stoked Thyra’s appetite. She’d munched on an apple and several crackers prior to leaving, but once they’d arrived, the scent of food played havoc with her concentration. The flaming ship stopped her in her tracks. Glacian culture didn’t have myths or stories like this one and Thyra felt a bit robbed by her upbringing. Too much in her life had been based on her standing in the Abyss rather than things that mattered.

Once she’d been introduced to a few people, Thyra headed to the food table and reached for a plate.

Someone else reached for the same plate, touching her hand she pulled back. She looked up and nearly punched the guy in his stupid, smirking face. And then she realized he was a Landen. Her fist relaxed.

"Apologies, Miss. I’m Wolf. You having a good evening?"

I was.” she said, her expression stony.

The Landen’s smile faltered. He pulled back. Thyra picked up the plate, got some beef, and moved down the line. The Landen followed her.

Well, I hear we’re in for a good time tonight! Where are you from?” he asked.

Thyra turned to face him. “Look, I’m sure you’re a nice guy and all, but Landen aren’t my thing. You have good night.” she said. With that, she grabbed some bread, dropped it onto her plate, and walked away from the line. She saw Prince Odinar watching her from nearby and hurried to return to the Glacian contingent.

There were too many damned Dark Jeweled people around here for her liking.

Offline Evony Bos

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Re: Happy Cultural Appropriation Day
« Reply #9 on: Apr 08, 18, 06:37:59 PM »
Odinar could be an ass.  He really could.  The way he lingered over the word 'friend', and the tone he used?  It made her want to throw a pan at his head.  Twice.  "Thank you, Prince Odinar.  I'll be sure to go find him.  Do try not to growl at people who don't deserve it."  She gave him an overly sweet smile, drifting off into the press of bodies in order to..

What?  Get away from him?  It wasn't really possible.  Truth be told, she didn't mind Odinar.  But sometimes - sometimes he got on her nerves.  That way he spoke about Wolf, or the way he looked at her.. she just didn't understand men sometimes. 

Why did Odinar care who she was interested in, anyways?  That was the thought that flit through her head as she found herself finding Wolf - a wonderful man who was currently being rebuffed by a Glacian. Had to be a Glacian - only they looked that damned cold this close to a fire.

"What a bitch..."  She muttered it beneath her breath as she watched the Glacian pass away from Wolf.  He deserved better.  Huffing a bit in annoyance, she fetched her own beer before nudging his shoulder with her own.

"Don't let her get to you, Mr. Wolf.  Some women just have no sense of taste."  She shook her head, watching the woman walk off as if the hounds of hell were on her heels.  Curious, she glanced in the direction the woman had looked. Odinar.  Of course it was.

She rolled her eyes, then grinned at him again.  "I had hoped you would make it.  It's nice to know at least one person here outside of Ebon Varos.  I was.. a little nervous about the whole thing, truth be told."

She'd been worried that people would defy Kalvar and not show up.  Adalwolfa's reaction to hearing about his plans had made her heart hurt.  But it had also prepared her for how others might see it, how they might react.  And after meeting Andrei?  She just knew that was going to be a bit of a mess if he got anywhere near his father.  "I'm still looking for Lady Drachlan.. hopefully she brought Petra.  Petra hasn't been to one of these yet, and I'm hoping she likes it as much as I did when I was little.  Would you like to join me?"

Better to have Petra meet Wolf first - he was kind, and wouldn't care WHAT she was.  After that.. well after that, it wouldn't be so bad if she met the grumpy Odinar or the sourpuss Andrei.  Maybe she wouldn't have her feelings hurt by such.. such..  Ugh, the very thought of those males' attitudes had her chin lifting as if she were ready to punch someone in the nose.

Offline Signe Drachlan

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Re: Happy Cultural Appropriation Day
« Reply #10 on: Apr 08, 18, 06:53:48 PM »
Though Signe was well aware of the dangers that could possibly present themselves at an event like this, she still refused to perpetuate the fearmongering that others contented themselves in doing. If she lived her life in fear of all of the things that could happen to her any time she stepped out of her door, she would give in to the panic and descend into a depressed, anxious mess. It would rule her. She had seen it happen with plenty of her people -- escaping from the oppression of Glacia to a safe haven, only to continue to look over their shoulder, expecting to be caught and dragged back.

Trust. If you did not learn how to trust, how to let go of things like a terrible past, then you were dooming yourself to repeat a cycle.

And so, even though she calmly listened to the concerns of her Steward, her Master of the Guard, and her new Court Seer, the only thing that bothered Signe in the least was Kalvar’s subtle wording of the invitation -- wording that indicated that if they didn’t attend, then they could hand over their position of power and see themselves out. It bothered Signe not because she thought Kalvar doubted her loyalty to him -- it bothered her because she felt as though he was being aggressive when he needed to be more receptive. Had she been asked what sort of event she would have used to unify the torn people of Rihland, she would not have chosen a moot. She would have started with something far more simple and smaller. Begin with a seed, not a tree.

But, then again, she was not Kalvar Elbremov.

The Glacian contingent arrived, not entirely unwelcome, at the moot with enough numbers to show their support but not so much as to overtake the focus. If Signe showed little concern for her own safety, she showed far more for her young ward, Petra, who was assigned not one but two escorts, one of whom being her son Willem who refused to be left behind. She had allowed the youngster his way but only after a very stern discussion with the Master of the Guard present about what he was to do if something did happen. And only if instructed. Willem took today seriously but Signe knew he was also looking forward to seeing the mighty Elbremovs in the flesh, as was expected for a boy with a bit of hero worship.

Signe was dressed in a burnt orange dress that bared one shoulder, covered by a rabbit fur and brown cloak to ward off the chill. She realized instantly that she had worn the wrong shoes -- calf high brown boots with enough heel to get stuck in the ground. Well, she would have to deal. She could still maintain an air of dignity using her escort to keep her balance if needed.

She introduced Thyra to a few of the other dignitaries and waved her Court Seer off to find food, since small talk was definitely not her preferred situation. When Thyra returned, Signe was between waves of dignitaries, calmly surveying the gathering before them.

“It makes for an impressive sight, doesn’t it?” she asked Thyra when the Black Widow had returned, nodding to the burning ship and the man in Black beside it. **Although,** she added on a distaff thread to her, **it is not the route I would have chosen. It may do more harm than good in the long run.** And then, as though she hadn’t been having a private conversation with Thyra, Signe accepted a warm cup of cider from one of her returning escorts with a, “Ah, thank you. Most welcome.” She sniffed the drink experimentally, then inhaled its scent deeply. “Freshly made, I bet. Evony has outdone herself.”

Offline Adalwolfa Sauer

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Re: Happy Cultural Appropriation Day
« Reply #11 on: Apr 09, 18, 12:26:35 PM »
For weeks, Adalwolfa had been quietly dreading this night. Kalvar Elbremov was wrong to try and force such a sacred Rihlander tradition to serve as a means to his own ends. Maybe his goals ultimately seemed noble - it was a pretty idea, to think of a united, cooperative Rihland. Things were never quite as simple as that happy picture painted it, though. Rihland was fractured in a large part because of Kalvar and people like him. There was a stubborn, angry little part of Adalwolfa that wanted very much to point out that he could take great strides towards unification if he'd just leave, and take the remaining Eyriens with him.

Even so, the day of the moot had arrived and Adalwolfa had caught herself humming more than once during the day. At some point she'd moved past the dread into acceptance, and finally into anticipation. It frustrated her, and she'd chided herself more than once during the day when she'd caught herself looking forward to the evening. By now, though, she'd given up on trying to manage her feelings on the matter. Regardless of how clumsy and inappropriate an attempt at reconciliation this "moot" might have been, the reality of it was that alot of Rihlanders were gathered together on a chilly Winsol night, the bonfire was bright and warm, the food and drink were plentiful and delicious, and the air was filled with familiar music. Adalwolfa hadn't attended such an extensive party since before the culling of the Eyriens, and she found that she'd missed this.

Her siblings had missed it too, and despite Adalwolfa's misgivings about the matter, they'd insisted on visiting Markoth to attend. It hadn't been terribly long since Adalwolfa had visited them and spent an evening here and there being crawled over by the youngest of her nieces and nephews, but it was still intensely gratifying to be able to watch them run through the gathered people at full tilt, playing at fighting with sticks-cum-swords. Uschi, Sabine, and Hans had all shown with their partners and kids in tow. Oskar was absent, but that surprised no one. For once, Adalwolfa and her errant brother had agreed on something, it seemed.

"Strange days, aren't they?" Hans said with a huff of a sigh as he plopped down beside Adalwolfa. The two were sitting on the top of one of the picnic tables that'd been set up, their booted feet resting on the bench seat. "Two things I thought I'd never see at a moot: a grumpy Rihlander and a winged Eyrien. We got both of those and Glacians to boot," he pointed out, as though the matter amused him greatly. Of course, that may have had something to do with the mug of ale in his hand, far from his first this evening. Adalwolfa had been enjoying the ales tonight as well, but she'd always been able to hold her liquor better than her brother.

"Something tells me the strange is just getting started," Adalwolfa replied, still watching her siblings' kids run around like small, drunken, crazy people. It amused her how the adults just moved around them, all but ignoring their presence while the kids enjoyed themselves.

"Worth it, though. The kids have never heard a skald like Tyr before," Hans pointed out, and Adalwolfa nodded and smiled.

"Yeah. That'll be great for them to experience," she agreed, genuinely pleased at the thought.

"And hey, they can get a peek at what must be proper moot fashion while they're here," he added, with a soft snicker and a nod towards some of the new arrivals. Adalwolfa snickered but hid it behind her cup and took another draught.

"Don't be mean, Hans. They don't know any better," she told him, after.

"Don't know better than to wear a court dress to a bonfire?" he countered, and Adalwolfa couldn't help but grin. She shrugged.

"It takes all kinds, Hans."

"Guess it must," he conceded, and turned to clink his cup merrily with his sister's.


Offline Malakay Hildedottir

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Re: Happy Cultural Appropriation Day
« Reply #12 on: Apr 09, 18, 03:41:53 PM »
“It really is inspiring.” Hilde stood nearby his daughter, staring out at the flames that consumed the mighty vessel. It must have been so long since he had paid witness to such an event, at least one of this scope. Hilde knew of a time where moots were held openly, before they came and tried to smother the Rihlander pride and those closely held traditions. Malakay felt his hand brush against her shoulder blades, the glow of torchlight painting eerie shadows across her pale features. She smiled, as he slipped away to join Emrit, her mother, who was approaching the stoic Eyrien figurehead with a basket of wild blackberries from their family land. 

As always her mother insisted on properly meeting their host, whether or not it was wise to approach the Black. Whether or not she agreed with the moot she didn't say, but she had come, if only for her daughter’s sake and the sense of blossoming hope that came with the promise of unification.

Many came, throughout the provinces to feast and revel once more in their traditions. Malakay had taken note of pale blond hair and beautifully frigid faces, leather wings and somber looks. There were some who embraced the opportunity as she had hoped to do. 

The night was crisp though she could still feel the warmth of the flames kiss her bare shoulders as she made her way toward a familiar figure. Looking no less intimidating in finery, Odinar was an impressive sight. Lady Bos moved past him and Malakay nodded her greetings to the Hearth Witch who played a big role in setting up the event and the delectable feast that some already picked at.  Malakay wore a form fitting high neck top that hugged to the svelte form of her body. A beige gossamer skirt draped across her hips, high slitted as if pieced together from the sheerest fabric. Golden spun hair hung down to her shoulders and hanging just between her breast, her Blood Opal displayed proudly. “The night seems wasted without a drink in your hand.” she said in manner of greeting, though her head bowed gently as she came to stand just beside the Warlord Prince and the shadow of his wings. “Prince Odinar. I have to say, your father has exceeded himself and you look quite delicious yourself.” Glancing about she brushed a strand of hair from her eyes.

They had met several times since their first meeting, though Malakay quickly learned some of his harsher lines smoothed outside of Ebon Varos. They discussed the camps and the best way to dismantle them. She had taken his thoughts not only into account but into careful consideration while still establishing her goals. Odinar had a reputation of not being an easy man to like, or at least he didn't make it so, but she found that wasn't the case with her. There was no need to try and change his focus but allowed him to simply come to his comfort on his own. In fact, she did not find him unpleasant in the least, just true to his nature. That was something she could respect without added fear.

She took note of Lady Sauer sitting on a table next to a young man with familiar features before falling on the Skald Tyr Madsen, a soft smile tugging at the corners of her lips despite herself. “Are you planning on being on duty for the rest of the night or will you take a moment to enjoy yourself? Perhaps you can start by introducing me to Tyr at some point. This night is about softening perceptions, isn't it? Having a pretty, young blonde at your side can only help.” Taking in a deep breath her lungs filled with the scent of cooked meats and burning timber. Some would find the smokey scent repellent, but having lived in a farm and experiencing how the harvested fields burned so the ashes could give way to new life, she found the aroma rather comforting.  “The fire is a nice touch. Ravenous and beautiful at the same time.”

Offline Magnivar Ramius

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Re: Happy Cultural Appropriation Day
« Reply #13 on: Apr 14, 18, 01:41:14 PM »
Magnivar Ramius, warrior of Askavi, was here.

He was here because his Queen would be here. Because Tessenian, the only rightful Queen of Askavi left, needed him to be here. He was here so that he could stand here before the half-breed Odinar Elbremov, his murderoust traitor of a father, and the whipped bitch Yserian Aethelas and remind them of what they were: Slaves. He was here to remind the Rihlanders who wooted and drank beneath the fiery shadow of the Black that he and his people were not all dead. That they would live while their maggot children would grow gray and die and he would put them in the ground and use them as fertilizer for the fields that his family would grow and see bloom for the next several hundred years.

He had enudred, and he would continue to endure. He was the might of Askavi and he had no reason to be afraid. What would they do? Kill him? Perhaps. But they could never destroy him.

So he landed before the few other Eyriens who were here. He walked without hesitation down the path to grab himself a stout. He had come wearing a sleeved jerkin, though it was a pity he had to mind the cold when it would suit to show these Rihlander men who inferior they were in comparison to him. He drank deep of the beer, his wings flushed and open, uncaring if others were uncomfortable about him. Why should he have to hide who he was, when these maggots were fortunate to know how to use utensils thanks to he and his?

Mia would be here with her contingent of men, and then perhaps he would join her. Her other males would yip and bark like pups, but let them. The other Rihlanders would look with scorn, but let them.

A wolf did not concern himself with the opinions of sheep.

Offline Konstantin Timur

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Re: Happy Cultural Appropriation Day
« Reply #14 on: Apr 14, 18, 01:59:52 PM »
Black on Black seemed an appropriate theme for tonight. He would shine on his own, but he wanted Katrien to attract all of the attention from the other Rihlanders. He was a painter, and she his masterpiece of the evening. There was no small amount of pride in the Warlord Prince as he kept to her arm and introduced her to all who might approach. Hello, this is my wonderful piece of art,  Lady Katrien Raske, he wanted to say. The subtext in his mind but unsaid, From shepherder, plain girl, to Province Queen.

Konstantin had never had much use for Rihlander culture. Moots, Skalds, none of that really mattered to him. The burning ship seemed to be a stupid touch. It's not like Rihland was next to any oceans. Why would they need a warship? Konstantin had been to the ports of Little Terreille and Dharo and made use of their trading vessels to move the goods of his company. None of them looked like the burning hulk that rested in the center of this stupid farce of a moot.

His brothers might have appreciated it, but his brothers were dead. They had died protecting a stupid Rihlander Black Widow Queen, a rebellion that only succeeded thanks to an Eyrien. The irony of that was hilarious to Konstantin, but only because he had little respect for his people or their way of life.

His eyes drifted around the scene. A few new faces. A few he'd seen before. He spotted Yserian in her black dress and smirked to himself. He looked forward to seeing how she reacted to being face to face with him again when he was standing as her superior's escort. Because you'll always be below me, bitch. He thought to himself.

He saw the Glacians and considered something. Maybe he could speak to some of the more motivated ones of them about expanding his business into the frozen north. Some people weighed wealth more important than personal safety.

After meeting with a pair of Rihlanders from the Altai District, he leaned into Katrien's side, a grin flashing wide. "See how they flock to you, Kat? They can't help but be drawn to your beauty."

Even if the rest of the night was going to drone on long for useless old men singing, or Eyriens feigning harmony, he could enjoy this bit of personal gratification.

Offline Tormund Skybane

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Re: Happy Cultural Appropriation Day
« Reply #15 on: Apr 14, 18, 02:12:29 PM »
Along one of the nearby hills, a wild beast stalked through the trees to the outset of the Moot. It moved in the fur of a bear that had been fashioned into a cape and a coat. The tanned leathers of wolves, Jhinka, and an Eyrien warrior's wings made up the jerkin, pants, and boots of the feral Warlord Prince who had come down from the mountains to the siren's call of a 'Unification Moot'.

Tormund Skybane would not descend down the hill to drink and to dance. He would not sing tonight. The last few years had stolen his song. The hard life in the mountains had made his view of people grim and hateful. There was no smiling to be had. And no trust to give to the Eyriens he saw walk around his people. He hated them. They should all descend upon the winged creatures and the Black Bastard and tear off their wings before they threw them into the fire.

It sickened him to see his people chained and to think the chains were jewelry to proudly wear. It filled his heart with hate to watch them dance and laugh and play beneath the shadow of the dark being who stood by the burning ship. A winged shape.

But... he had come to watch. He would not descend a sole man to fight them. Not yet.

His eyes caught a head of golden hair by an Eyrien. Malakay, and his heart lurched, confused. What? She...

She was smiling at him!? Comfortable around him!? Did she not see!?

A growl rumbled from his throat and he hunkered down beneath the bushes. Rage filled his heart, fueled by hate, but he would not throw himself headlong into death.

Not yet, anyway.

Offline Tanith Eirsdottir

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Re: Happy Cultural Appropriation Day
« Reply #16 on: Apr 14, 18, 07:57:42 PM »
Tanith had warred against coming, if only because for her to come meant there would be another guest with her as well. It was not a simple matter of her following Kibeth, she would follow her Queen to the ends of the world but Jerbear - her bonded animal - was a part of her and to leave him behind in Scythia was simply not possible for her. So it was in the steps of her Queen and escort, that Tanith eventually made her appearance. (She was quietly, in her mind, reminding herself that it was alright to be there with Jerbear. It was expected, almost.)

There was nothing elaborate about her clothing, dressed in a more traditional Rihlander fashion. What set her apart were the winter blossoms that were weaved into her hair as if they were part of it. Her hand rested upon the head of the great kermode bear that was beside her, lingering just out of the firelight.

Kibeth was just there, standing with Solokov, and if she- Ah. There was the Black Prince, Kalvar Elbremov. His form was outlined by the fire, his shadow stretched far behind him. Tanith ignored it, pushed it aside because while this was not one of their moots, this was supposed to be a night of peace. That, at least, she could attempt to uphold even if parts of her quietly wanted to rage against it, especially when Melany's voice was so strong within her mind. The criticisms of this entire affair had been many and while Tanith could not truly disagree, she at least understood - in some part - what the Black Prince was trying.

It just was not the best way to go about it.

The press of a cold nose pulled her from her thoughts, Jerbear nudging her forward as he had stood in place for some time. Tanith let out a huff, rolled her eyes and smoothed a hand across his head. "No treats unless I okay them," she told him and finally stepped forward into the light. The Godi Priestess moved with purpose, as if there was nothing at all wrong with the fact that a giant kermode bear was to her right and lumbering a step behind her.

It was time for her to stop hiding what she was from the rest of the world and take a place where she was meant to be: serving as Kibeth's Godi High Priestess.

Offline Erwin Levisson

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Re: Happy Cultural Appropriation Day
« Reply #17 on: Apr 14, 18, 08:18:13 PM »
It was as part of Gudrun Jollenbeck's entourage, a gathering of most of her triangle and courtiers, that Erwin was part of the- He still could not bring himself to call it a moot, not when he remembered the look upon Melany's face as she had revealed Tyr was doing to be there. Not just as a guest but as a skald. Kalvar had asked him to and he had agreed and-

There were mixed feelings about it but the apprentice Skald knew that his place was to be at this gathering and keep on alert. An alert that went up higher when he saw the giant lumbering white bear that followed right behind Tanith. Of course she was here. With Kibeth present, it was almost guaranteed that her Priestess would want to be as well. It was ridiculous that he was so uneasy and uncomfortable around the giant bear - he was peaceable - but after his own run-ins in the forest he was always apprehensive.

Still, he was the picture of a First Circle courtier and - for this evening - also escorting the Queen in place of her normal escort. They had a comraderie, Gudrun and him, as the lessons he had learned from Melany had been passed on to her as well. To strengthen her as a true Rihlander Queen. She had taken to them, her voice strong and in turn helped Erwin become a better skald himself.

The look on Gudrun's face, the one that swept from Erwin to the others that had come with her, said more than enough. There would be no holding back, they would not be scared things. They would step out there and represent Vykrov, regardless of whether or not they found this to be a travesty.

Erwin released a breath, offered his arm to the Queen, and they moved forward to join the others in the light of the fire. The young Warlord tried to not think about how it reminded him of the fire that had swept through his home, how the outline of the Black Prince plucked at an instinctive fear that could barely be contained. Instead he focused on finding Tyr in the crowd, something better than years old fears.

Offline Andrei Elbremov

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Re: Happy Cultural Appropriation Day
« Reply #18 on: Apr 15, 18, 12:00:55 PM »
This charade. This pretense. This...farce! All of those words and more burned at him, no matter how long he meditated and used embedded techniques to wipe the emotions from his mind. He still simmered with a quiet fury that his father would dare to do something like this. This...appropriation!

Andrei’s mother, Alyona, had been Rihlander. Kalvar, despite living here for centuries, was not. And he never would be. He would never understand the deeply rooted traditions, the songs of the skalds and how they crafted the culture of a people. Or why Melany resisted Kalvar’s attempt to alter that. He would never understand the Godi like Tanith, bonded to a wild animal like some feral, free-roaming spirit. He would never see the beauty in that. And while Kalvar may profess to knowing the Rihlander religion, endorsed it as part of his political policy, he would never embrace it fully.

He would always, forever, stand apart, wearing that damnable, undeserved Black Jewel, lording over them like he understood their ways.

And the damned like Andrei, who bore the Elbremov name but was half Rihlander, would always be condemned with him.

His anger simmered, contained momentarily in the recesses of his mental spheres, as he glided like a dark shadow through the facade of a moot. He was dressed entirely in black, with his openly displayed Red the only slash of color glittering in the firelight. His charcoal eyes lingered on the burning ship for far too long. What arrogance. What presumption! Calling in a cigarette to calm his mind again, Andrei smoked it without care of who saw. Let someone start a fight with him.

He avoided Malakay, speaking to Odinar. And the Glacian Queen named Signe, who was his father’s staunch ally. And the brooding Yserian, who Andrei guessed would have loved to see Kalvar dead and the old regime restored, judging by her expression alone. Any of the Eyriens actually. They all bore that same look. If he saw his own sisters, he might make short conversation, but in truth, there was no one here that he desired to speak with.

So he slid, between firelight and shadow, a dark ghost haunting this forgery of a thing, casting silent but not veiled condemnation upon those around him, avoiding the living, thinking of the dead and what they would have had to say about this abomination.

Offline Ostana Rayner

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Re: Happy Cultural Appropriation Day
« Reply #19 on: May 29, 18, 03:56:42 PM »
Ostana liked to pick at problems.

She never was one to blend in, really. Her features were far too unique in the Territory to allow for that. Her curled hair, caramel skin, bronze eyes, and notable lack of wings would always set her apart. She was a beauty, but an exotic one. Some people fetishized that, others found it repulsive, but Ostana had never lacked for friends or lovers. She had come to the Moot not out of any true feeling of kinship with her Rihlander half, as she'd grown up more under the Eyrien wing (ha-ha), but because she smelled opportunity.

The Reclaimers would be here, gnashing their teeth. The Rebellion would be here, swearing bloody oaths beneath their breath. But the Exchange was here to make money, and it was here under the smoke and the moon she sensed an opening for her to maneuver.

Andrei Elbremov set himself apart. A brooding man that could fit as a Warlord Prince, his anger was palpable. A man who wore the Red was always a danger, but Ostana had handled Eyrien Warlord Princes in their ruts. She was undeterred as she made her way through the crowd, mugs of stout beer in hand.

"You look about as happy as someone about to get a tooth pulled." She said with some humor toward the Elebremov child. Offering him a mug, the busty half-breed flashed a lascivious smile as she moved to join him in that halfway point between light and shadow. It felt fitting for her, really.

The Black Widow had a seductive grace to her, a gait and a near-liquid manner of moving that could be hypnotic and alluring. "Mind a friend? I could use someone to drink with, who looks as out of place as I do."

Offline Wolf Riemann

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Re: Happy Cultural Appropriation Day
« Reply #20 on: May 30, 18, 12:25:05 AM »
Wolf was taken aback by the Glacian woman’s curt (and frankly, rude) response to his attempt at friendly discourse. He should have expected as much from a Glacian woman, but Wolf rarely failed to charm woman, especially among the mercurial Blood. Then again, this entire evening was putting people on edge. He agreed with what Kalvar was attempting to do, in principle, but he wondered if Black Prince was maybe moving the integration of Rihland’s people faster than it needed to go. Only two short years ago, the Eyriens ruled everything and everyone. It would take a long time for people to let that go. It would take generations for people to understand what that freedom meant.

Evony walked up and Wolf turned to face her, a offering her a warm smile. Speaking of Blood women that he could charm, Wolf was happy to see Kalvar’s Hearth Witch. He shrugged once at her summation of the Glacian woman’s demeanor.

I don’t want to judge, Evony. Maybe she’s having a tough night. Maybe she’s just as much on edge as everyone else. I mean, this whole thing looks like it will be great, but…” Wolf looked around, sighting a few people he knew by reputation and others he’d seen before.

There are a few people here that simply don’t like Kalvar. I hope that he’s got more in mind for this thing than plying everyone with food and beer.” Wolf said.

Any other day of the week, food and beer would be a great way to break the ice.

If I’m being honest, a bunch of drunk Blood with the power to crack mountains is a little terrifying.” Wolf said, laughing even as he finished the sentence. Now would be an excellent time to leave if he feared for his life. And yet it seemed like cowardice to even considered.

Landen or not, Wolf Riemann was no coward.

I’d be honored to join you in finding Lady Drachlan and Petra. While we’re looking for them, you can tell me how you’ve been.” he said, placing a hand on Evony’s lower back as he followed her in whatever direction she wanted to go.

Offline Thyra Danielsen

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Re: Happy Cultural Appropriation Day
« Reply #21 on: May 30, 18, 12:26:08 AM »
Thyra had finished a good bit of her food by the time she returned to Signe’s side, and she was still working on her beer. Rihlander beer was a wonder to behold and an honor to enjoy. The hint of honey in this particular batch actually improved Thyra’s mood, making her less uppity than she had been with the Landen male at the table. She felt a twinge of shame at how she’d treated him, mostly because the Dark Religion had ingrained within her to treat the Landen with care and respect, a respect that was almost greater than being one of the Light Jeweled. After all, the Landen weren’t believed to have flawed souls for not possessing jewels. They were just a people to be honored and supported where necessary and possible. Wolf didn’t deserve to have his head bitten off because Thyra didn’t want to be a fish in this barrel.

Then again, he’d invited it by walking up to her.

Eh, fuck it.

Yeah, it’s impressive. Whatever other faults he has, I guess we can at least agree that Kalvar Elbremov knows how to throw a party.” Thyra said.

**But he went with the heavy-handed approach. Telling people to ‘show up or else’ is bad for morale. I mean, I think I’ve seen exactly four people happy to be here tonight, and the Black Prince was one of ‘em.**

You have to try this beer, Lady Drachlan. It’s excellent.” Thyra said.

Also, you’re the best-dressed Queen in this place. I just wanted to point it out before someone else.” she said, winking at the Queen. Thyra scanned the rest of the moot, looking around for anyone else she knew besides Prince Sets-People-On-Fire-Until-They-Die. Odinar and his Red made Thyra’s flesh crawl and she was determined to avoid the Warlord Prince tonight by any means, save running for her life.

Though she quietly kept that idea in mind. Just in case.

Offline Odinar Elbremov

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Re: Happy Cultural Appropriation Day
« Reply #22 on: May 30, 18, 12:28:27 AM »
Odinar’s eyes landed on Malakay as she moved toward him. His black wings flared and he rolled his shoulders as she moved closer. Her dress allowed his eyes to wander over her curves, but did not stop her from moving to stand at his side. Odinar’s gaze returned to scanning the moot for problem attendees or ne’er-do-wells, both of which he found in short order. Magnivar Raimus was known to him, though he’d never had the displeasure of meeting the male. He was Eyrien, which told Odinar everything he needed to know about him at a glance.

"My father has outdone in himself with this, Lady Malakay. I pray that the rest of Rihland treats tonight as the new beginning it is meant to be. This is a chance for everyone to move forward together into the future. I see a few people here who are issues, but I’m choosing to believe that even they’ll get the message before the night is out.” Odinar said, eyes scanning the crowd for further areas of concern.

If I didn’t know any better, Lady Malakay, I’d think you were trying to spend time with me.” he said, letting his gaze finally turn to the shorter woman. Someone almost moved too close to her, on her right side, and Odinar growled in the man’s general direction. The man, unaware of his position, nearly jumped out of his skin when he realized that the Eyrien was watching him and hurried to get away from Malakay before he provoked the Warlord Prince further.

I wish I had the clout to introduce you to Tyr Madsen, but he’s requested privacy until he speaks tonight. How my father managed to get him to show up, I’ll never know.” Odinar said.

A beautiful woman and a roaring fire a definite improvements to life. Now, if only I had that drink." he said, allowing a very small smirk to lighten his serious expression.

"Care to join me?” Odinar asked.

Offline Adalwolfa Sauer

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Re: Happy Cultural Appropriation Day
« Reply #23 on: May 31, 18, 11:43:20 AM »
People continued to swell the numbers in attendance, and Adalwolfa enjoyed herself in spite of herself, sitting there at her brother's side and watching the goings-on. The more time that passed the more easily she laughed at his observations. The matter was surely helped by the beer she continued to enjoy, but Hans had always been able to make her laugh at will. He was one of the reasons she most enjoyed her visits home, which was likely how they wound up paired off at the moment in the first place.

There were too many wings here, for Adalwolfa's liking. It was easier to ignore the longer the night pressed on and the more comfortable she got, but every now and then she'd lose the thread of her laugh when one of them moved unexpectedly out of the corner of her eye. It wasn't a terribly obvious thing, but it nonetheless kept an otherwise enjoyable time from being wholly immersive, for the Priestess.

She minded the Glacians far less, despite how different they were from her people. They though shared some traits as far as coloring, Adalwolfa thought it easy to tell a Rihlander from a Glacian just by looking at them. There was a certain heart to the way a Rihlander held himself, a certain openness and vibrancy that permeated even the most reserved and somber of their number. The Glacians seemed cold and closed-off to her by comparison, distinctly enough that she felt pretty certain she could pick them out of the crowd.

While letting her gaze sweep over the participants in between moments of snickering with Hans, Adalwolfa hadn't expected her sight to land on a giant bear. It stopped her, and for half a second she wondered if she'd had that many more mugs of beer than she'd realized. But then she recognized the bear as a familiar one, and the slightest shift of her gaze showed her the expected Priestess at the bear's side.

"Mother Night, Tanith is here," she whispered, surprised enough that the realization sliced through the laughter from Hans' most recent commentary. She pushed her half-empty mug towards Hans and slipped down off of the table she'd made into a seat. "I'll be right back," she told him, as she started towards the Godi. Her eyes swept around the scene as she went, and she wondered what the others would think of the bear in their midst. She felt irrationally protective of the bear and Tanith's relationship with it, as the Godi of legend were something consummately Rihlander and not something she thought she could bear to see misunderstood or misrepresented by the ignorant others present tonight. Tanith had told her, hadn't she? She'd said she was going to come out of the shadows, to serve openly in Kibeth's court. Yet seeing it in practice, seeing Jerbear amble through a crowd of people who likely didn't understand his presence tugged at something selfish and defensive in her.

"Tanith!" she greeted the other Priestess as she drew near, a bright grin on her face in spite of her worries. She was, after all, always glad to see the younger woman, and if Tanith didn't object Adalwolfa would wrap her in a tight, lingering hug. "I didn't know you were coming," she said, as she released her. Adalwolfa gave a smile to the bear and purred a greeting towards him before focusing again on Tanith.

Offline Tyr Madsen

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Re: Happy Cultural Appropriation Day
« Reply #24 on: May 31, 18, 02:29:03 PM »
Tyr watched in silence. He was silent more often than not lately, a troubled frown creasing his whiskered face as he spotted his brother's daughter and her bear approaching Kibeth. The young Queen caught his eye and smiled apologetically as she turned to her cousin, as was only right and correct. Let the youth have their time in the sun. This night should be about looking towards the future, letting go of old hatred, seeing others as they were in truth rather than in stereotype. Tyr was an old man. He earned his rest.

Rest he would, later. His assistant had arrived: a young woman, one of Magdolna's apprentices, with ash-brown hair. She took a seat at his feet and called in her nyckleharpa, and began to tune it without activating the amplification spells he knew were enchanted into the very wood of the instrument. He could tell by the rigid set of her shoulders that she was not pleased to be here, rather than at the moot Melany had arranged. Still, he was confident she would serve well. To do otherwise would be to shame their people and her ancestors. He brought in his own flat-drum, propped it between his knees, and asked if the apprentice was ready to begin. She nodded.

Without further fanfare, he began to pound a steady beat on the drum: slower than a heartbeat, faster than a walking step. The sound carried over the murmur of the moot, even without amplification. At first, Tyr had to concentrate on his playing, to remind himself of the rhythm and the exertion of the drumming. It had been so long, but his hand didn't fumble against the worn-in leather. After a handful of bars, the apprentice at his knee began to play. The familiar drone of the nyckelharpa cut through the drum-beat like a plow through the earth, like a prow through the sea. Like a sword through flesh.

He didn't begin with his own lay. He began with the winter-song, a ballad about a long-ago meeting between Winter and Death. His rich and sonorous voice carried as well as it ever had, mixing with the beat of the drums and the crying of the nyckelharpa. The old skald sang of Death meeting a starving witch at the corpse of a deer, how the frost sheened the frozen and unseeing eyes of the doe. How Death stayed his hand. How they became friends, how she became Winter alongside him, how the years turn when they come together once more.

How many of the men and women listening to him knew the story, he wasn't sure.

The nyckelharpa fell silent, the drumming slowed and then stopped. Tyr set the frame aside, paused to take a sip of water. He searched the crowd again. His daughter, his second-son, his niece. Men and women he recognized from their childhoods, men and women for whom he had performed naming ceremonies.

He sang for them. Unlike the traditional winter-lay, this one was stark, without the multilayer droning and drumming. The apprentice played her instrument, poignant and piercing whirls of the old Rihlander style, and Tyr let his resonant voice ring out over the gathering. He sang of his sorrow, of the little gestures lost, the people he had known who had been taken from him. Cenhelm and Gust and Ranni and Adelhild. Ditte and Kibeth. Eira and Brynjar, and yes, Ryder, for the man returned was not the boy that Tyr had lost. Last of all, knock-kneed Melany, beautiful and brave but empty as the endless bowl of the sky. Tears crept from the corners of his eyes, over craggy cheeks and into his white beard.

"No wound-sea wide enough,
to sate the feeder of ravens. The fury-singer craves
no leather treasure, no serpent's-lair of precious
stones or steel. Horn-calls and horror:
What sort of dream is that?"

Though he sang of the Eyrien abuses, there was no part of him that craved the violence of war, and he called for peace, for gentleness, for an understanding. All of Rihland walked under the same sky. And oh, he wanted to see a Rihlander rule their homeland, but he wanted it less than he wanted peace, an end to pointless enmity and bloodshed. His song named no names, but begged an understanding from both sides. The Eyriens, how long the Rihlanders had borne their violence and hatred. The Rihlanders, how much more they stood to lose if Kalvar Elbremov were to be killed.

And the song ended:

"Here to me we expect the hero's coming
Here to me we expect the gentleness that
comes not from the abundance of war-song
not from the sorrows brought from these
offerings burnt of lambs before their time
but from burden-bearing
Oh Queen of the night, she who listens,
I have raised heart-song to you from
altars scented of spirits, burnt meat and sage
Return to me, Night Mother, whose
dearest possessions are the Jewels that number every color,
the peace of my fore-fathers. Grant us safe-haven
and bring peace to these halls."

He fell silent, his voice echoing and fading.


I've put the text of the first lay in this spoiler, because I wrote it and couldn't figure out how to work it in, so if you want to read it, it's here:
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

aesthetics/general feel of the lays:
Winter lay: Garmarna - Herr Mannelig, Herr Mannelig
Tyr's lay: Tvoa Konungabarn - Myrkur

Offline Kalvar Elbremov

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Re: Happy Cultural Appropriation Day
« Reply #25 on: Jun 02, 18, 02:34:41 PM »
It filled him with great joy to see so many faces, Rihlander and Glacian here. Even some of the Eyriens, those who had come with Azhar and Caprice and had not stood for the mistreatment of the Rihlanders that Drakkar Eventide had made policy of the Territory were welcome. Other faces less-so, like Ramius who strutted around as if daring Kalvar to say something publicly to him.

But it was the Bear that pulled his attention first.

For a moment, the Black Prince was actually shocked. Understanding came to him after he saw the bear's closeness with the young, slim woman who was hovering near Tyr's daughter, the Queen Kibeth. That Lady Sauer soon joined her brought an actual smile to his face, for he understood that the Godi were alive. It gave him a fresh swell of hope, a flutter of emotion that went through him that nearly brought tears to his eyes. Few things were as important to Kalvar than spirituality, and the fact that the ancient tradition was still alive and had not been completely stamped out gave him such a piercing light of hope that he nearly let out a sound.

This night, even if anything else would come of it, had been the right decision. Seeing the Godi and her bear reinforced his hope for a better future.

That hope bloomed to a flame as Tyr Madsen moved to take center stage of the Moot. The Skald had a reputation for being a generational talent, even among the small number that would be of that elite group for each generation. That showed even now, as the experience mixed with talent and the emotions of a man who had lived a full life spoke now with (what seemed to Kalvar) to be fresh optimism and hope.

Kalvar's head lowered and what felt like since the first time since Alyona had died he let the tears of grief and emotion slide down his cheeks. He opened his eyes after a few moments, not moving to wipe them right away as he stood by the bonfire, his long winged shadow spreading before him. His face was shrouded by the night, but those close to him could see him in this moment as he lived in a state between grief and optimism. Alyona would have loved this moment, and he regretted that it had taken her death to bring him to this beautiful chapter. It had always been a known eventuality that he would outlive her, and time past her death was starting to give him perspective and the ability to breathe. Tyr's song with all of its notes of sorrow, bravery, and hope resonated deeply with the Black Prince.

As it came to an end, both the Winter Lay and Tyr's own, Kalvar stepped down from the platform of flame and came before the great Skald, bowing deep to the man as others cheered in raucous applause of the great performance. For some it had been their first: No doubt for the Eyriens and the Glacians, but even some of the Rihlanders had never heard such a marvel.

Kalvar stood upright after a good half minute of his show of deference to the great man, and he placed both his hands on Tyr's shoulders. "Thank you." He said, in deep and genuine appreciation and awe for the man before him. "My words cannot properly express how much this has meant to me, Lord Madsen. I hope we all heed your words and take them to heart."

Some would not, but Kalvar would make the attempt.

He stepped away from Tyr and returned to the platform by the bonfire, his voice lifting to fill the valley so that all could hear him. It was a touch of Craft to aid him, unlike Tyr he could not speak loud enough for his voice to carry without it. It was ironic, for the same art he'd been taught to lead during war was now being used toward peace. "I wish to thank all of you for being here. It is, no doubt, not easy to be here among strangers and even those we see as enemies.

I owe all of you an apology."
Kalvar let those words fall over them all, even if he no doubt caught them many by surprise by it.

"I came to this land when it was still Rih. Many, many centuries ago. And though I broke faith with the Eyriens who ruled this Territory, I am not blameless in the misdeeds done to the Rihlander people. Nor am I hero to the Eyriens. I hold the blood of many on my hands here, and words alone will not atone for my actions and inactions. While I have tilled the soil and worked this earth, bore children from it and lost as all of you have, I know that is not enough."

He lifted a hand, conjuring a long blade into his other. His dark wings spread, blocking out some of his shape but the winged shadow stretched out long before him, like a thing alive in the flickering flame. "I make you this vow, now, before the ancestors and all of you." Kalvar slid the blade along his palm quickly, his blood flowing along the edge of the sharpened sword and across his skin. He did not even flinch as he turned his hand and let the blood flow onto the open earth beneath him. The words he had practiced several dozen times before coming here came to him then as he gave his voice to the wind.

"I give myself to you, to the earth, to the living and the dead. I vow to make this a place for us all to live -- Rihlander, Glacian, Eyrien -- we are all of Rih. We all have been born of it, toiled its land, and buried our dead. All of us must be made one people in the years ahead. That all of us can rest easy under one roof.

I vow that Ebon Varos will not be the tower who's shadow you will live in fear, but the edifice that will stand to protect it from tyranny.

And I vow, also, that a Queen of this earth will sit upon its throne during your lifetimes."


Though which Queen that would be, Kalvar did not know. A generation would be enough, he supposed.

He turned and cast his blood to the fire, letting it consume his words, his blood, and his promise. He lowered his hand and did not immediately seek to bind the wound, letting them rest and for the people of Rih to speak their piece to his offering.


Offline Tanith Eirsdottir

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Re: Happy Cultural Appropriation Day
« Reply #26 on: Jun 03, 18, 12:31:11 AM »
It was Jerbear that caught sight of Adalwolfa first, the giant bear letting out a rumble to draw Tanith's attention. She turned from Kibeth, smiling brightly as the older Priestess swept her up into a tight, lingering hug (one she returned in measure). The bear at her side gave his own greeting in response to that purr, a keen intelligence visible for all that he was simply a bear. He lumbered behind Tanith, slipping over to her Queen cousin and pressing a nose to her hand.

"I was not going to originally," said Tanith quietly, arms falling back to her side and not wrapping around herself though she oddly wanted to. It felt too juvenile a gesture to do when she was a woman, a Godi and Kibeth's High Priestess. She looked to Kibeth and then back to Adalwolfa, a soft smile in place. "Then I realized that there were more reasons to come than to not. I shouldn't hide."

It was along a thread that Adalwolfa would feel the brush of Tanith's presence along Rose. *Thank you, Adalwolfa.* A frisson of nervousness was there, the unease that it was best she had not come but had anyway. Tanith was young, idealistic, and wanted to help others embrace what it meant to be Rih but that also meant she sometimes did not think of what the impact would be. *I think Jerbear is far less nervous than I am.* The bear was not at all nervous, in fact.

Her attention flicked then as her second-father (and uncle) Tyr began to pound out the steady beat that never failed to make her heart echo it's beat. Kibeth was not too far away from her and Adalwolfa - Tanith could not be too far away in a moment like this - and she reached for her cousin's hand. Propriety did not matter now, not when there were the ghosts of the past that lingered; not when the last moot they had been together at had ended so poorly. This one was, perhaps, the first of many where they could shake the pain of the past.

The loss that had affected them all in so many ways. Hope burned within her, lifted up by the words spoken by her uncle. Tanith's fingers squeezed Kibeth's, tangled together and not letting go. Her eyes slid shut, goosebumps raising along her flesh as the first lay came to an end. It was the song, the richness of Tyr's voice and the words sung, that actually made her eyes burn. Stray tears fell, leaving trails upon her cheeks that she did not wipe away.

Not when she knew the Black Prince had swept his gaze across her, not when the words moved her so. Yet it was Prince Elbremov's words that caught her by the surprise the most. Her grip tightened around Kibeth's hand as his shadow stretched more, his wings blotting out light and make her heart skip a beat. Whether it was realized or not this was the thing of nightmares. A shape that haunted so many. It did not matter that he apologized, that he swore what he did, that he even spilled blood ...

A look went to Adalwolfa then, wondering how the older Priestess would view this. There was too much that bubbled up within the Godi; too much to process and break down; too much to know immediately how this made her feel. It was a lot to take in, though part of her thought that it was - perhaps - a step in the right direction.

Offline Adalwolfa Sauer

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Re: Happy Cultural Appropriation Day
« Reply #27 on: Jun 03, 18, 02:20:15 PM »
Adalwolfa smiled at Tanith's explanation that she didn't want to hide, though the expression wasn't without something sober behind it. The elder Priestess did what she could to suppress her own worries on Tanith's account, however, and tried to draw inspiration from the younger woman's courage.

"You sound like Agda," she said quietly, with warmth. And then she laughed a little and touched Tanith's arm fondly. "She was braver than I, too!" she admitted, with another little laugh at her own hesitance here. She turned her head, looked over to where the bear was nudging Kibeth, and Adalwolfa drew a deep breath and sighed it out.

"He is strong," she said, looking back to Tanith after the girl's thread. The hand at Tanith's arm rubbed reassuringly. "And he will be safe here, tonight. It's a good place to introduce him to the people at large," she reasoned, her eyes passing over the gathered crowd. She nodded to herself, and then smiled at Tanith again, more confidently this time. *Take heart, Tanith. This will be a scary road to travel, but you have always walked in grace. Trust your instincts. The All-Mother will guide.*

The drums began to sound then, successfully arresting the attention of Tanith and Adalwolfa both, along with what seemed like the entirety of the rest of those gathered. Hans had gotten up from his seat and followed unhurriedly over to where Adalwolfa stood, and though he silently offered her drink back to her, she only took it and held it, too focused on listening to the skald to even take a drink. Every basso thump of the drum felt like it reverberated in her chest, from more than merely the volume and depth of it. Something tightened there inside the Priestess while memories of the past surged up to challenge the truth of the present. It felt like it'd been a lifetime since she'd last heard such singing, and that it was done so skillfully now only helped to wrench her heart all the tighter. It was beautiful and painful both, and Adalwolfa was just one of many who were moved to tears by the performance. She was also one of what felt like thousands who shouted in unfettered joy and appreciation when it was done, smiling brilliantly in spite of the tears that still dampened her cheeks. She hugged Hans and took a drink, and laughed and applauded and knew this was a moment she'd remember for the rest of her life. She was too caught up in her celebration of Tyr Madsen's feat to notice the respect Kalvar paid to him, outside of a vague awareness that the Black Prince did approach and pay respect. It wasn't until Kalvar was back on the platform and raised his voice that Adalwolfa's excited chattering at Hans stopped, as did the rest of the conversations in the crowd around them. She, like everyone else, turned to watch as Kalvar spoke to all. Though she would have listened no matter what he said, that he started with an apology, of all things, ensured that her attention was entirely rapt.

Never in a million years would the Priestess have guessed she'd ever hear such words from this particular man. For all his many faults, she had no doubt that he took the things he said very seriously, and that knowledge lent even more weight to the grave sobriety that seemed to back his words. Adalwolfa's heart tightened reflexively when he summoned a sword, and that tension rose instead of abated when he used that sword to pierce his own flesh. She watched, stunned, as he vowed to unite Rihland as one people and to put a Rihlander Queen on the throne, the oath sealed with fire and blood. Something moved in Adalwolfa's spirit, something nebulous and subtle, but undeniable and real. She had been so against this event, so certain it would do more harm than good. Yet when was the last time she could've hoped her nieces and nephews would hear a real skald sing without fear of being discovered? When had she last been able to dare seeing the Godi out among the people, visible and plain? When was the last time she'd felt such joy as she'd felt just moments ago, while celebrating the skald with so many of her people? Adalwolfa looked around at those gathered, so many of them struck silent by Kalvar's unexpected oath. He'd promised to give them a Queen in their lifetimes. Rihland would belong to the Rihlanders once more, after centuries. Maybe there were those who didn't trust the Prince's word, but Adalwolfa was convinced she felt the sealing of that pact, that assurance that he'd sworn in good faith.

And even with everything that'd happened in the past... what more could any Rihlander ask for now, than what Kalvar had just promised them? It would have been easy to deny the moment for what it was, to hold on to her grudges from the past. But when was the easy path ever the right one? Adalwolfa was moved, and so she let her spirit speak when her stubborn head would not.

She didn't recall making the decision to raise her cup in a toast. Yet suddenly there she was, that one arm out of an entire crowd raised towards Kalvar.

"Skål!" she shouted, and though her voice was not magically amplified, it carried well enough over her immediate vicinity, aided in no small part by the silence that was bordering on uncomfortable by then. "TO RIHLAND!" she toasted, cutting past her personal thoughts on the man who'd spoken and celebrating instead the one thing that everyone here could agree to cherish.



Offline Evony Bos

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Re: Happy Cultural Appropriation Day
« Reply #28 on: Jun 19, 18, 09:49:52 AM »
She had only just spotted Petra and Signe when she heard the drum beats.  Hurriedly, she tugged on Wolf's arm.  She wanted to be near Petra when Petra heard her first Lay.  She wanted to be near her niece when the girl's first Moot was truly experienced.  To hear Tyr Madsen as the first Skald in one's life.. it was an honor, and a blessing.  She would have to try to introduce Petra when he was finished, if it were possible.

But she'd try to do that when he was finished. 

Her hand settled on Petra's shoulder, squeezing lightly before she nodded towards the stage.  Watching Tyr was like being transported back in time.  For a moment, a heartbeat, she could almost feel the presence of her father, mother, brother.  She could almost imagine they were standing quiet at her back, watching the legend of a man.

The tale of Winter and Death.. that had been her brother's favorite.  His way of saying that Good could always come of terrible situations.  Luka had always been one to do that.  To look at the good side of things, and forge his way through the bad.  Her throat felt like it was closing off, but she sipped at her beer to muscle through it.

This was a good thing.  A perfect beginning, in her mind.

Tyr Madsen was a wonder amongst men, Blood or Landen.  His voice was poignant, stark and clear.  When he chose to sing of their past, recent and bloody, she felt her heart shudder.  It was too easy to remember the blood, and hte meat, and ...

And her tears fell.  Tyr understood.  This song.. it made it clear he understood.  He had lived the horrors, seen the abuses.. and he understood.  Tyr called for peace.  He wasn't one of those warmongers that wanted all Eyriens dead.   The comfort to be found in another of the Blood, another of Rihland's Blood, choosing the peace that Kalvar could bring.. it soothed the ragged edges of her heart.

It would have been a fine end.  It could have ended there, and she would have thought it could be no better.  But then.. then Kalvar spoke.  He spoke of his apology for all that had been done - for his own misdeeds and the misdeeds of others. 

I give myself to you, to the earth, to the living and the dead.  Her breath caught, listening to his vow.  The Ancestors could hear him.  She knew it in her bones.  His blood oath would be something binding, lasting.  He would be held to it by Darkness and by Soul. 

And I vow, also, that a Queen of this earth will sit upon its throne during your lifetimes.

Her breath caught, hand squeezing Petra's shoulder.  That vow didn't mean it would be Petra.  But it could be.  Someday.  That future queen could be any of those that the Eyriens had kept like well-trained dogs.  It could be a Queen born after Petra.  It could be.. it could be anyone.  But that didn't change that Petra numbered amongst them - it didn't change that now her hope for Petra was not just a whisper, or an intimate secret of Ebon Varos.

Petra could live in the public eye, and people could hope.

Skål!

That it was Adawolfa who started that chant surprised her - maybe it shouldn't.  But her own lips opened, repeating it.  She lifted Petra atop her shoulder, lifting her mug of beer.  "Skål!"  It was as if the Earth drummed beneath her feet, matching the drumming of her heart.  She even felt Petra lift her little mug of cider, and her delighted eyes turned to Wolf.  Beautiful Wolf.

"We're going to need more beer, Mr. Wolf Riemann. Tonight is a night to celebrate!"

Offline Signe Drachlan

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Re: Happy Cultural Appropriation Day
« Reply #29 on: Jun 19, 18, 09:53:11 AM »
**But he went with the heavy-handed approach. Telling people to ‘show up or else’ is bad for morale. I mean, I think I’ve seen exactly four people happy to be here tonight, and the Black Prince was one of ‘em.**

Signe had noticed the same and her mouth set into a thin line masking her disapproval. She understood hardship and distrust. For those that thought the Glacians had been exempt from the Eyrien oppression, she had a story to tell them. Yes, the Rihlanders had suffered more but the Glacians had not been without their scars. So while Signe understood what it was like to hate, to feel defeat, to be downtrodden -- and she also knew that in order to escape those destructive cycles, something had to change.

Forgiveness, mostly, but that was a word no Rihlander or Eyrien wanted to hear.

Yet, Thyra was right. Signe’s disapproval did not extend to cover her Seer’s opinion -- it was directed at both Kalvar’s method of requesting participation and the people's’ response towards that. **You perceive it correctly,** Signe confided in her Seer quietly as she adjusted her expression into one of pleasant politeness. **It is bad form, particularly from a Prince to a Queen, and I have noticed the same...mood...amongst the gathered.**

Signe let out a soft, mental sigh, indicating to Thyra how she longed for change. **Old scars take so long to heal, and sometimes we would rather pick at them because we cling to the pain, rather than let that pain go. But...I cannot change others, only myself, and hope that my change is enough to help others do the same. Rihland will never advance as a Territory as long as it clings to its hurts.**

At Thyra’s vocalized suggestion and compliment, Signe smiled. “Why, thank you.” She turned one heeled foot out for Thyra to see. “Although, I did wear the wrong boots for this terrain. The grass is so cushioned, I’m likely to fall on my ass and embarrass myself!”

While the two women chatted companionably, both of their gazes swept the crowd, noticing who had arrived and who flocked to whom. When Tanith arrived, Signe’s expression was one of mild surprise. “Is that...one of the Godi?” she asked Thyra, though Thyra probably had no idea what the Godi were. Most immigrants to Rihland didn’t, but the giant white bear following her calmly drew the attention of many. “Impressive. I did not think one would show,” Signe remarked. “I have always wondered how the bond between Priestess and beast worked.”

Eventually, the legendary Tyr Madsen took his place as the evening’s entertainment and began. Signe nodded to one of her escorts, who withdrew a memory crystal from his pocket and activated it. “For the library,” Signe explained to Thyra. “I figure tonight’s event should be recorded in the annals of history, regardless of everyone’s feelings about it.”

But even as Tyr began, Signe fathomed how paltry such a recording would be. She understood Melany’s resistance a bit more but not enough to change her mind. Better to have something recorded than nothing at all, even if it was just a shade of what it had been.

“Oh, he is quite a master,” Signe whispered once Tyr was done. What beautiful words put to that music! Hopefully the crystal had captured enough of the quality -- Signe could not wait to replay it and hear it again.

And then it was Prince Elbremov’s turn.

His voice rippled across the throng, thanking them for being there, and then beginning an apology that surprised many. Signe merely lifted her chin slightly as she listened. She knew he had compassion within him -- he had been a loving husband and struggling father -- but he preferred to keep his emotions locked away, much like he preferred to hide in Ebon Varos most days. He had not wanted to rule and yet he ruled. Signe did not quite judge him for his decisions -- she knew that her recent bitterness towards him was because he had dismissed her so callously that one day -- but she also knew she had to give him the benefit of the doubt and allow him this moment to be sincere.

He slit his palm, spilling his blood like a Queen would to nourish the land. Had he been a Queen, the land beneath that offering would have erupted in renewed life. But, he was not a Queen, and while no outward sign came that his offering had been accepted, Signe knew that people would speak of this action for years to come.

As he ended his vows with, “And I vow, also, that a Queen of this earth will sit upon its throne during your lifetimes," Signe looked at the young Petra, who was quite probably the Queen Kalvar had in mind, and smiled maternally.

The silence that followed, somehow both reverent and awkward, was broken by the High Priestess’s shout of, “Skal! TO RIHLAND!”

Signe immediately lifted her glass to show the Priestess that she was not alone. “To Rihland!” the exiled Glacian Queen shouted. Her contingent echoed her cry. There, now Kalvar and Adalwolfa would know that the Glacians, at least, supported the Elbremov vow.

While the rest of the gathered offered their own cries, Signe said to Thyra, “I must arrange a meeting with Tyr. Surely, he’d be willing to share some of his stories for the library project, don’t you think?”

Offline Andrei Elbremov

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Re: Happy Cultural Appropriation Day
« Reply #30 on: Jun 19, 18, 10:17:47 AM »
"You look about as happy as someone about to get a tooth pulled."

How dare someone approach him so brazenly. Andrei, annoyed beyond words, turned his gaze towards that impudent voice, arming a scathing retort. He was only here because his damnable father ordered him to be here and the longer he remained, the worse his temper became. Did his posture not advertise to others that he was not interested in conversation at fucking all?

The woman -- a Black Widow -- smiled impishly at him and offered him a mug of beer. She shifted in between firelight and night shadow, making it hard to recognize her, as she added, "Mind a friend? I could use someone to drink with, who looks as out of place as I do." She had the golden eyes of an Eyrien, that much he could tell, but no wings. Half-breed? Yes, Andrei thought, as she shifted between illumination and not again. A half-breed like him. How...unsurprising.

He now peered closely at her, like peering through the haze of a drug-induced dream. And then, a spark of recognition passed across his expression. “The crystal-maker,” he purred softly, sensually, as the same sort of smile spread upon his face. “I remember you.” **And I remember our nights together…** The last sentence was laden with heavy, delicious remembrance, the kind that came from a time well spent in sexual bliss.

Now, he would take her up on that drink together.

It wasn’t that Andrei remembered her fondly -- he never remembered anyone fondly really -- but they were two of a kind in their illicit affairs, if he remembered correctly. And he did love keeping such company near. It made the chafing burn of dealing with his family easier. “I believe I can offer you something a bit better than a boring beer,” he told her, since she would be well aware of his...vices.

His fingers rubbed together and then, in the palm of his hand, a cigarette mixed with sensimilla appeared, concealed by the shadows around them so that it drew no attention.

Offline Yserian Aethelas

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Re: Happy Cultural Appropriation Day
« Reply #31 on: Jun 19, 18, 10:43:37 AM »
He was scowling at her.

Not Konstantin. Not him. He was wrapped around his little darling Lady Raske, laughing and smiling like all was well. Did Katrien know what a cruel man lay beneath? Probably not. If she did, she would have never accepted his advances so easily. Konstantin probably kept her in the dark about his misogynistic practices, the way he had humiliated Yserian for payment for his services.

Yserian hadn’t forgotten it but she was not about to make a scene now. As she approached Lady Raske, who was her superior in title only, she curtsied gracefully, her wings flaring for additional balance. Proudly, Yserian thought that she had a way of moving that the wingless Rihlanders could only envy. All Eyriens did. “Lady Raske, so good to see you,” Yserian choked out, her smile plastered sugar but her mannerisms polite. She did not look at Konstantin at all. Why should she? Her business was with the Queen and he was just a Warlord Prince who needed to be reminded of such.

Inferior brat.

After making the appropriate small talk with Katrien, promising that their meeting next week was still planned, and politely evading any chatter that Konstantin may try (let him come, Sera was going to school him on being a proper male during their next encounter), Yserian excused herself to speak with the male who had been scowling at her from across the moot. Who cared if the damned skald was about to sing? She was not going to allow one of her own kind to be so rude towards a Queen. With her wings flaring angrily, she approached and flat out asked, “What’s your problem?” ignoring all Protol and niceties.

Eyriens liked it better when you cut to the point quick.

Offline Wolf Riemann

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Re: Happy Cultural Appropriation Day
« Reply #32 on: Jun 19, 18, 07:09:23 PM »
Wolf followed Evony, deciding that being next to one of the Blood was far safer than standing out here on his own. Besides, he liked Evony and didn’t mind being near her. They found her niece, Petra, and settled in when Tyr Madsen began to speak. Even the Landen knew who Tyr was, knew that his ability to tell a story and breathe life into legends was second-to-none. The Skalds of Rihland were not far less numerous than they had been in the past, but the ones that existed now knew their craft well. Wolf was silent and spellbound as Tyr spoke.

His arm would wrap around Evony’s waist, if she allowed it, and Wolf enjoyed the feeling of community with the people around him, forgetting for a few minutes that this place could erupt into violence that would see him dead before he even knew what was happening.

Tyr Madsen could have spoken for ten more years and Wolf would say it wasn’t enough. By the time the lay was over, even the Prince’s Butcher was a bit misty-eyed at the tale. He smiled and drank a bit more of his beer so that no one could focus on his face too much.

When Tyr’s story ended, Kalvar stepped forward to speak. Wolf’s attention remained fixed on the Black Prince, hoping that no one took this time to act out and earn themselves a cuffing. This Moot was about peace, about sharing and becoming one people. Wolf wondered if the Landen were included in that, but he chose to believe they were. The Landen outnumbered everyone, after all, but most of them (like him) just wanted to live in peace with all of their neighbors and build good lives for their families and children.

Kalvar spoke. What was it like to live so many centuries while watching everything you love die? What was it like to watch the world move forward when you couldn’t forget how it used to be? Wolf could scarcely think of the nex ten years without some kind of worry nagging at him. Yet Kalvar was easily older than everyone here. Even his son, Odinar, was said to have a few centuries of age to him. If Wolf had to choose between long-life and a full life, he’d pick the latter every time.

He vowed to protect the people of Rihland. He vowed to put a Rihlander Queen on the throne within their lifetimes and...somehow, that did not surprise Wolf. He remembered Lady Alyona, whose family had owned his shop before Wolf purchased it. Kalvar hadn’t set out to rule this land or destroy the Eyriens who oppressed everyone. What would Rihland be, right now, if Alyona hadn’t died? Would her family just be another family who sometimes patronized his shop? This moot probably wouldn’t be happening.

Everyone cheered and Wolf raised his glass as well, sombered by the occasion and feeling smaller than ever while standing in the presence of giants.


Offline Thyra Danielsen

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Re: Happy Cultural Appropriation Day
« Reply #33 on: Jun 19, 18, 07:12:18 PM »
Thyra was glad that Signe agreed with her some of her points. She wasn’t the warmest or most cheerful person to be around during Court gatherings. Or at all, really. She’d just grown tired of lying about the truth of the world over the course of her life in Glacia. Her parents were not devout people. They were fucking zealots. Elisif Brenden was not some messiah serving Mother Night’s will. She had three castes, yes, but she was insane and dragging the Light Jeweled into bondage regularly.

Rihland wasn’t really all that different from Glacia, in Thyra’s eyes. There was still a rebellion going and there were still people trying to make a few marks from it. She just fell into the group trying to make a few marks now, rather than the idealist hoping for the world to get better. The Exchange had already shown her what that kind of hope did to people, what hope in general did to people, and Thyra wanted no part of it. If people needed her help to escape their suffering, Thyra felt that it was only right that she get paid for it.

Old scars take so long to heal, and sometimes we would rather pick at them because we cling to the pain, rather than let that pain go. But...I cannot change others, only myself, and hope that my change is enough to help others do the same. Rihland will never advance as a Territory as long as it clings to its hurts.

Those words earned Signe a look from Thyra. Did the Queen just call her out? She wasn’t quite glaring at Signe, but Thyra’s gaze held something stony in it, as if she wanted to retort. But this was a public gathering. They represented Avorla and Signe was the face of Avorla District. There would be no challenging the Queen’s words tonight, no matter how badly she wanted to. Instead, Thyra picked up the thread of their verbal conversation, not trusting herself to answer on their thread.

You’re not going to fall on your ass, Lady Signe. But even if you did, you’d find a way to do it with style.

Her attention followed Signe’s to the woman with a fucking bear walking calm-as-you-please among the people. Thyra stared at the woman and the bear, wondering if this was part of the entertainment. “Wait a minute. You’re saying that she is controlling the bear? And no one else here is alarmed by this?” Thyra asked, knowing that she’d never look at a bear the same after this. She’d have to ask Melany about Bear Priestesses in the future. Right after her heart stopped trying to burst through her ribcage and run for the hills.

Thyra made certain that there were at least fifty people between her and the bear as the night went on.

When Tyr Madsent took center stage, Thyra had no expectation that his words would mean anything to her. Yes, she wanted to learn more about Rihland, but she wasn’t a native. She couldn’t claim attachment to a land that she didn’t quite know. But as Tyr spoke, the Black Widow found herself drawn further and further into the tale, only remembering her beer because she’d nearly dropped it once through lack of attention. She sipped it and listened quietly. Signe explained the memory crystal and Thyra’s warning was quick.

**Please make sure that the Eyriens don’t get a hold of that, my lady. We don’t want any more issues with the natives than we’ve already got, especially where this library is concerned.**

Tyr’s tale left Thyra wishing that she had been born in Rihland, that the traditions here were the one she’d grown up knowing. She feared that Glacia’s evil had marked her soul permanently, but listening to Tyr and standing next to her Queen had given her a little bit of hope that she hadn’t had prior to the story. Her mood soured as Kalvar stood up and began to speak, the Black Prince an ominous cloud to what seemed to be a promising evening.

He talked about protecting Rihland and seeing people between Rihlander, Eyrien, and Glacian, but Thyra knew that at least two of those groups wouldn’t stand for it. 

And I vow, also, that a Queen of this earth will sit upon its throne during your lifetimes.

Anyone who’d been paying attention to the Glacians would recognize that Thyra Danielsen was the only member of Signe’s contingent that wasn’t cheering after Kalvar’s proclamation. She understood why the others cheered. They all wanted to believe that the Black Prince would keep his word. They wanted to believe that he meant what he said about protecting Rihland. In a different life, Thyra would have wanted to believe him.

When the cheers died down, Thyra sipped her beer and waited to see what came next.

**Do you really believe him? Do you think he’ll actually do what he says?**

She shrugged as she spoke.

You can always ask him. I don’t think he’ll care for the idea any more than Lady Kriemhild did, but...I’ll back you up if you want to go speak to him.” Thyra said.

Offline Nadja Rihsdotter

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Re: Happy Cultural Appropriation Day
« Reply #34 on: Jun 28, 18, 03:16:22 AM »
Winsol, 192/193: The Mandatory Moot in Rhiland

Nadja Rihsdotter had never been welcome at a Moot, not in all of her 427 years of life. They were the province and rite of her mother’s people. And the only time Nadja had ever seen Eyriens at a Moot, they had arrived to kill those who had rightfully gathered to celebrate the All-Mother. Yet that was not to say that Nadja had never been to one; there had been dark times, when she had been the closest thing her mother’s family had to a Skald. She had a gift of song, a long memory, and hundreds of years of tales. In addition, she was powerfully Jeweled, resourceful and not always wise.

And she loved song, so very much.

The Priestess had spied upon Moots, even when not invited. Had just barely escaped with her life, a time or two. Woke up with a Rihlander who’d been utterly horrified to discover his bed partner had wings, on more than one occasion. The thought brought a warm, passionate laugh to her lips, and she released it freely.  But this Moot was too quiet; her laugh rang out in one of those odd pauses where all else was silence. It echoed back to her, out of place for the grim-faced politicians terrified Priestess gathered here tonight.

Aside from the Skalds, it was the Priestesses Nadja longed to drink with, laugh with, cry with. Especially the Godi Priestess. For so many reasons. Not least to discuss how to find the fierce Rihland spirit, which felt so in abeyance at this Moot. Here and there children ran and laughed, families drank together in merriment and mirth. Yet, over all, this felt ... inhibited. That was the only word. Even in the darkest years, the Rihland spirit was fierce and free. There should be Skalds all over, not merely the legendary Tyr Madsen. There ought to be drinking songs, and dirges and shouting matches aplenty.

Nadja had come to the Eyrien conquerer’s Moot, expecting to be denied. Expecting the passion of her people to bubble forth in fights and arguments that would not be contained, Black Jewel or no. She’d come garbed for battle, her Giant Warhammer slung openly upon her back. She was determined; she would drink with those who universally despised her, sing with those who had done their best to silence her voice, and fight fiercely with anyone who dared to deny her those rights. It was not in her, to cower before even a Black Jewel, nor to hide her nature for anyone save the lost, estranged Queen she served so obliquely.

But truly; Nadja was ever and always true.

She lifted her ale cup, toasted the (mediocre) brew. Even her apple-growing kin made better; but it was possible that the folks here had not served the half-breed Eyrien the best they had. Prowling through the crowd, Nadja searched for music or song of any kind, even for the stilted tuning of a nyckleharpa by an apprentice Skald.

So it was, that she was front and center when Tyr Madsen shared his gift and guidance with the people of Rih. No attempt was made to catch his gaze; she merely listened, memorizing each line, the very rhythm of his delivery. His story was etched into each pain-filled word, and she would not loose one single syllable he spoke. Later, she’d teach his words to her mother’s kin, that the songs not be lost, no matter what happened after today.

Yet his words opened wounds, and tears flowed in silent salute down her cheeks, to pool in the hollows of her neck. Which outpouring of emotion slowed her; she did not sense the oppressor of her people until after he bowed so low to the Skald.

Which probably saved her life.

It took effort to force her fingers to relax, to release the hilt of her Warhammer. Yet more, to remain still when the Black Jeweled Warlord Prince touched the Skald without permission. Her gaze remained locked upon the conqueror of Rihland as he returned to his fire.

What did he see burning, in those flames? For something locked his attention.

He spoke, and rage burned through her chest. Then fear. Pain. Rage-fear-pain-hope in a kaleidoscope of emotion that left her shaking with the need to act, and yet pinned in place by the very breadth of possible actions that occurred to her.

Others felt no such conflict; salutes were shouted, from all around.

Well, not from the Glacians; but then they could barely feel anything at all.

I give myself to you, to the earth, to the living and the dead. I vow to make this a place for us all to live -- Rihlander, Glacian, Eyrien -- we are all of Rih. We all have been born of it, toiled its land, and buried our dead. All of us must be made one people in the years ahead. That all of us can rest easy under one roof.

That seemed a terrifying oath, to Nadja. Fueled with all of the power of the Black, on the most sacred night of the year ... a chill flowed down Nadja spine. Nor did she know what to make of his second oath, or his third. The scent of his burning Blood filled the air, and he stared silently into the fire.

He waited.

But no response came, save the echo of his own Priestesses’ accolade.

Nadja, too, waited ... but that part of a Moot which allowed discourse that was otherwise forbidden seemed to have been swallowed up, along with the good cheer and song. Nadja approached the platform, and spoke. She did not speak for Rihland; she had not the right.

She spoke for herself.

“I am Nadja Rihsdotter. I was born here half a millennia ago.” she pointed to the mountains.

“There, actually. In the Eyrie you built.”

“But to the people of Rihland, my mother’s kin, I am not of Rih. The sooner you can release this land to them, the fewer will die.”

Nor, of course, was she an Eyrien; but she would not have to explain that to him; seen up close, the mixed blood in his veins was clear as day to her. Maybe that was why he wanted this to work, so badly. Maybe he still hoped for a place to belong. She studied him, wondering if he had the courage and heart to reach the passionate, burning soul of her beloved homeland.

“If you want to reach the heart of Rih, then you must embrace it. After a battle, we celebrate.” surely, for him, just arranging this Moot had been a battle of monumental proportions.

To her surprise, a fierce laugh wrung out; she had come here to court death. To scold him, no matter the cost. But seeing his eyes, still burning from the Skald’s lay and his own oath, she had not the heart.

Nadja reached out a hand to him, and gestured behind her with the other. “Come. Drink, dance, sing ... above all, Rihlanders embrace their life. No matter its shape, or sorrows. So let us show them the heart of Rihland, where they least expect it.”.



Offline Magnivar Ramius

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Re: Happy Cultural Appropriation Day
« Reply #35 on: Jun 30, 18, 06:53:57 PM »
Magnivar listened to the Skald speak and he nearly fell asleep while the old man droned and sang. His tears were pathetic, much like the whining that all of his people had done through their whole lives. Elbremov stepped forward with tears on his face (what a weakling of a man!) and he thought that the traitor and the Skald would hug it out and grab each-other's butts as a sign of solidarity between overly emotional males.

Pathetic.

The kneeling Queen came toward him, approaching him with venom in her eyes and in her voice. She asked him if he had a problem with such boldness it showed that it was unmistakable what she was. He laughed.

"Ah! So there is some Eyrien in you still! I had thought the Wings were merely a prop!"

He let out another laugh. "Have no fear, Lady Aethelas. I have no problem with you." He put his mug into her tiny hands. "You are beneath my notice."

Then he walked past her, as he was done with that conversation.

Instead he moved toward the stage where one half breed comforted another, asking the Black Jewel to sing and dance as if he were some Rihlander pup. Magnivar yanked a mug of ale from a table, causing a 'Hey!' to come up behind him, but he ignored the source of the voice and made his way to stand before Kalvar Elbremov and his simpering Rihlander puppies that were yapping their pleasures at this facade.

"Yes, General!" Magnivar shouted out for all who could hear, using his singular Jewel to amplify his voice. "Do as the Half Breed says! Dance upon this earth that you have toiled and shed blood to ferment! Let us celebrate your victory!

Let us all dance, and drink, and sing to your glory! For Rihland!"
He lifted his mug up with a triumphant shout, his wings spread wide in exultation.

"For Peace, eh!?" He hoisted his mug up, then looked Kalvar dead in his half-breed half-golden eyes and grinned as he drank his ale, celebrating this farce of a 'moot' over the bones of the Eyriens they'd built their idol upon.

Exhaling after he had taken a deep draught of the ale, he could see Elbremov's eyes narrow in focus. He had no fear. Either Elbremov would destroy him and ruin his claims for peaceful unification, or he would stand there in impotent fury and let Magnivar speak.

In truth, Magnivar knew he had already won.

"Peace is delicious." He took in a deep breath and finished it with a wide grin. "Rihlander!" He called to one of the ones carrying around stouts. "Let me have more Peace!"

Offline Kalvar Elbremov

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Re: Happy Cultural Appropriation Day
« Reply #36 on: Jul 01, 18, 06:16:04 PM »
The calls of Skal! and To Rihland! that lifted into the air drew his spirit up as well. There was a thrum; an energy of excitement that trembled through him as the Rihlanders shouted in celebration at his promise. His hand burned, but it was a small price to pay for this moment. He knew Alyona would have been proud of him - to see all of these people together, their own children among them, standing side by side. Glacians, Rihlanders, and...

Eyriens.

It was the wings of the Priestess that caught him first as she approached, warhammer in hand. Kalvar's eyes narrowed as he wrapped the impossibly deep power of his Black about him. It was good that being so deep in the Abyss none could sense him dip into that well of power, for if they could the celebrations would have halted in fear. Nadja's name was an interesting one. Rihsdottir; it spoke of a woman with no true father, for if she did her name would be made plain. To name Rihland her father was a misnomer, for Rih belonged to the All-Mother, the physical vessel to her eternal spirit. She said she came from the Eyrie he had built, but was it the one he had also torn down and buried in rubble?

The sooner you can release this land to them, the fewer will die. The Priestess of mixed blood had said, but her words sounded like a threat more than a plea. Had he not promised it within this generation? Had he just now not suggested a course far faster than could be expected with their limited understanding?

"We have not fought a battle, Lady. We celebrate life here but I do not da.."

Magnivar Ramius's voice rang out; calling him General, and it made his blood hot as he turned his attention to the blowhard of a Warlord.

The two had fought together in the war, both coming from Askavi's war camps, and seeing the taller man's face and his boisterous laugh was not welcome. Ramius had always looked down on the Rihlanders, believing that they were little more than children that the Eyriens were always forced to coddle. The arrogant Warlord lifted his mug up in 'salute' to Kalvar and he drew his hands together before him, layering them one over the other. "Lord Ramius." His voice cut through the mocking fervor like a hot knife through butter; slicing directly to the point. "Are you mocking me?"

"Hah! General!" Magnivar let out a deep bellow of a laugh, his wings shaking in amusement as he shook his head. "That would be foolish! You could smash me like an ant. No! I mean what I say! Peace is wonderful, is it not? Shall we not celebrate us finding it after our years of toil? Two soldiers - you and I - can we not sit and drink and tell tales like the days of old?

Isn't that what this is about? Skalds telling stories to remind the youth of the legends of the past?"


Magnivar lifted up his mug and then spun around, turning to face the assembled guests. "Are only Rihlander story tellers allowed to speak!? We have Glacians and Eyriens in attendance. Come! Let each of us send forth a storyteller. We are all of Rihland, are we not?"

Kalvar fumed, but did not speak as he held rigidly in place. Magnivar returned his eyes to the platform. "Come, General! Let me tell them all a tale of the glorious battles you did fight! We should extol the brave of all of our people.

Let us drink to the glory of the Elbremov Black."



Offline Nadja Rihsdotter

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Re: Happy Cultural Appropriation Day
« Reply #37 on: Jul 02, 18, 01:27:18 AM »
Winsol, 192/193: The Mandatory Moot in Rhiland

Nadja Rihsdotter studied the terror who had conquered her entire, war torn and hot-blooded homeland by himself. He was shorter than expected. The Valkyrie stood a full six feet in her stockinged feet. Tall and proud, she held herself as straight as possible, as if she might somehow overcome the height difference of the platform on which he stood. It bothered her, that he was not taller, uglier, rougher. Her anger was real and true. Yet she more expected to be destroyed where she stood, than to offer actual violence (or counsel) to him. Foreign, alien eyes narrowed at her observation of the inevitable fate of a violent, cold blooded and distant conqueror attempting an iron-fisted rule of a passionate people. She watched him think, and could only wish he had either acted, or voiced some of those deep thoughts aloud.

Moots were for mending what could be mended short of true violence through shared heritage, music and drink.

Or with a good brawl, sans weapons or Jewels.

The Valkyrie would, in fact, have been deeply flattered, had she known he’d Shielded at her approach. She might even have blushed, as being considered a viable threat by those of Eyrien descent was a life-long goal. She stood calmly through his scrutiny, welcoming even death if he would but listen to her words. Yet his response brought a widening of the eyes; almost she thought he had meant to say he did not dance. This was Winsol. All Blood, even Eyriens, danced in honor of Witch on this, the most sacred night of the year. Or was he so taken with arrogance that he felt himself a god, and would not dance in honor of one he considered a rival? It was his ‘but I’ that revealed his true nature and intent; she was poised to speak when he was done, but ...

Yes, General!

The mocking, obvious contempt in the Eyrien’s voice was a relief, to Nadja. Her shoulders eased, her poise softened into a deceptively relaxed warrior’s stance. Carefully she peace-bonded her Warhammer upon her back, freeing both hands. The Yellow Jeweled Warlord had mocked dance and song as if Eyriens did neither; tried to shift the meaning of Winsol from one that celebrated all blood, to one that honored only raw, destructive power.

“For Witch’s Glory, not his.” Amusement curled in her voice, her gaze fixed in lazy appreciation upon the Eyrien Warlord, as she, a mere half-breed, dared to correct him. He was handsome, powerful, confident.

Rude.

More quietly, she breathed out, “At last, an Eyrien behaving like an Eyrien.” Her gaze sought out that of the furious Black Jewel, as if to remind him this was the true face of the Eyrien people. Yet his attention seemed to have narrowed upon the Eyrien Warlord who challenged him. The conqueror was either crazy, or a hopeless idealist. Both notions were terrifying in the hands of a Black Jewel.

The Warlord, whoever he was, all but broadcast his smug certainty that he had silenced all those gathered here. That he could make a mockery of Rihland, or a moot, or a Skald, and not pay a Price.

There was a line between utter destruction, and submission.

And oh, Nadja Rihsdotter had not passed up a chance to fight with an Eyrien since she was 15-years-old. “The Skalds here have many tales of your War Machine, Eyrien.” Personally, she could not even imagine a Glacian capable of telling a decent tale, but she did try to be fair. “and of course, tales of those who escaped a brutal fate in Glacia.” There was no flare of power; she did not summon her Jewel Strength, despite every prowling move telegraphing her intent to fight. She did not use her Warhammer; that, too, would have been unacceptable. No, she readied herself to launch her lean, 6’ frame into a beautiful, well-trained punch to the smug, obnoxious face of the Yellow Jeweled Eyrien Warlord.

“If the Skalds here choose to tell your tale, or approve you to speak it on your own, so be it. But it is not your right, to insist upon a story telling contest.” Nadja ached for the smug Warlord to mouth off again, so that her fist could make intimate acquaintance with his face. If he gave her any excuse, she would do just that.



Offline Signe Drachlan

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Re: Happy Cultural Appropriation Day
« Reply #38 on: Jul 16, 18, 04:49:43 PM »
“As far as I know,” Signe answered Thyra about the giant bear following the girl, “she isn’t controlling so much as it just wants to be at her side. I don’t think any Craft is involved but…” Signe gave Thyra a look of ignorance. “The Godi are a reclusive group, for many reasons, really. There aren’t very many. To see one here, that’s...impressive.”

Their conversation lapsed as other things drew their attention, until Thyra asked Signe, **Do you really believe him? Do you think he’ll actually do what he says?**

Signe took a deep breath, pressed her lips tightly for a moment as she thought. **He’s reliably been a man of his word so far,** she answered. Her tone indicated that she remembered fully how the blade of his word had cut both ways in the past. So far, she had not fallen on the sharp side of that blade. But she could. The possibility was always there. **I’ll be honest -- a ruler with a Black doesn’t sit easily with many, including me. That amount of power…** She trailed off, letting the chill nibbling at her spine to bring about a shudder. She composed herself again and went on. **But so far, yes, he’s been a man of his word, which is more than others have been while in power. And his late wife was Rihlander, which says a lot. He’ll do many things to honor her memory.** Like events such as this.

She would have been quite content to converse with Thyra for the rest of the evening but it seemed as though other people had other plans. And as much as Signe wished those other people were Evony and Petra, it seemed as though that was also not to be. She watched as an Eyrien, full of bravado and alcohol, swaggered forward, loudly attracting attention, and damn near taunting Kalvar to do something in reply. And then there was the girl with the hammer, winged as well, calling for the Black Prince’s attention.

“Oh, of all the stupid, reckless things people do,” Signe muttered under her breath, though Thyra definitely heard. “I didn’t think so many people had death wishes. Idiots.” She leaned closer to her Seer. “Do you know either of these two? I certainly haven’t seen them before,” she asked. Caution curled up in her abdomen. Her men pressed just a little closer, ready to defend their Queen should the situation turn hostile. “Find Evony and Petra,” Signe whispered sharply to one, who immediately trotted off to do so. Her entourage would do their best to defend the four women if it came to fighting.

Signe hoped no one would be so stupid as to start a fight with the Black Prince.

Offline Thyra Danielsen

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Re: Happy Cultural Appropriation Day
« Reply #39 on: Jul 16, 18, 11:17:56 PM »
One moment, Thyra was talking to her Queen about the party in question and preparing to go speak to a legendary skald.

The next moment, she joined Signe in wondering if they were moments away from witnessing a bloodbath.

The two Eyriens spoke up to challenge the Black Prince of Rihland. It felt like no one was breathing. If anyone was talking  besides Lord Loudmouth and Lady Greathammer (their official names until someone could identify their bodies), Thyra couldn’t hear them. What she did hear, however, was two people who held so little regarding for life, both their own and the people around them, that they were willing to antagonize a man who wore the Black at an otherwise peaceful gathering. Her work with the Exchange had already shown her that Eyriens were reckless and petty, but this guy was making an excellent case for Kalvar’s decision to turn a lot of the Eyriens into bloodstains. She’d never say it aloud, but she could just imagine Melany Kriemhild watching this and hoping for three of her problems to take care of themselves in one go.

Never seen this asshole or his lady friend in my life. I can’t tell if they hate life or if they think this is a good idea.” she said, shaking her head. She tugged on the sleeves of her sweater. Did it just get colder out here? She hoped that she was imagining that it was colder out there. Signe sent someone to find Lady Petra, making Thyra glad that the Queen of Avorla had the presence of mind to think through her fear. Thyra just wanted to pack up and walk out of this thing altogether. ‘Thanks, guys! Had a great time. Just let me get fifty paces away before you start killing each other! Have a great night!’

Somehow, Thyra knew it wouldn’t be that easy.

What’s the verdict, Signe? Leave now and hope we outrun whatever happens? Or stay and hope that the Black Prince doesn’t make us watch a massacre?” Thyra asked.


Offline Evony Bos

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Re: Happy Cultural Appropriation Day
« Reply #40 on: Jul 17, 18, 12:12:06 AM »
She felt.. conflicted.. as she watched the two Eyriens go up to essentially challenge Kalvar.  The female wasn't terrible, she supposed.  She was upholding Rihland tradition, and speaking of how the people celebrated life.  She wanted Kalvar to release the land to the short-lived natives.. and for that, Evony had some sympathy.

The other, on the other hand?  This winged male who likely reeked of a desire for violence and pain?  She had to assume it, of course, based on his face and his actions.. but surely that was a good guess. Why else would he go up before the Black, and start to poke at the male that ruled them all for now?

Why speak of Peace as if it were a joke?

So she was conflicted.  She wanted to go up and shove both of them out into the crowd and tell them to eat, to drink.. to go fuck something and get the aggression out in acceptable ways.  And yet.. And yet she had Petra on her shoulders.  Her sweet beautiful niece, who would be in danger if violence erupted here.  The mere thought had her heart picking up, fear prickling along her skin.

Petra hadn't seen the violent massacre of her family.  She wanted to not ever let the girl know what it looked like - and that massacre hadn't had too many Eyriens either.  This.. This could be a cataclysmic disaster if Prince Kalvar lost his temper. 

One of Signe's males came closer, firmly taking hold of her wrist as she held Petra to her shoulders.  She turned her head, jumping a little at the touch.. but she lifted her niece anyways, handing her off to him.  "Get her to Signe, please."

She whispered it, before turning her attention to Wolf and setting a hand to his arm.  "Go with her.  Lady Drachlan will keep you safe if tempers flare, I promise."  It was a promise she felt comfortable offering.  Lady Drachlan would see to her duty and the duty of all Blood was to watch over their Landen.  Even if SOME had forgotten that.

She straightened her tunic, marching forward and slipping through the crowd quickly.  Prince Kalvar was HER Prince.  "Lord Ramius, was it?"

She called out to the blowhard, floating a new mug of ale to her hand, and flashed a bright smile.  "If it is more ale you desire, you will not find it up there.  If it is peace you desire, then you must meet those you make peace with.  Come.  Perhaps we can find a meal to your liking." 

Her eyebrow lifted, eyes sweeping over him.  He had a great deal of muscle.. which was terrifying.  But she forced her expression to look.. unimpressed.  "Or was there some other reason you would choose to try to ruin what has so far been a rather lovely evening by not testing those arms against the Lady with the hammer?  I think it would be a fine bout.  That is tradition, after all."

She raised the mug, as if in salute.  Yes.  Let the two winged aggressors work out their frustrations.. on each other.  And maybe.. just maybe.. the tension would drain away and not result in a mess the likes of which she simply never wanted to see again.

Offline Adalwolfa Sauer

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Re: Happy Cultural Appropriation Day
« Reply #41 on: Jul 25, 18, 08:57:58 AM »
After her toast, Adalwolfa had finished her beer with Tanith and then wished the young godi well before making her way back towards her brother. Hans had a replacement pint waiting for her, and the two shared a quiet laugh born of a mix of relief and careful hope. (And a little bit of the alcohol they'd already imbibed, to be honest.) The night, the moot had finally rung true in the Priestess' heart, and it was a joyful, liberating feeling. Filla, Hans' youngest daughter, caught her aunt's hand and Adalwolfa had just begun to be coaxed into a game of some kind.

Alas, as was the way of things, a moment that had bordered upon sublime was ripped violently to shreds by the ego of Eyriens. Magnivar was unknown to Adalwolfa, but his booming voice and aggressive machismo assured her that she knew everything she needed to know about him. The Priestess' bearing changed quickly, those carefree smiles subsumed at once by a need to cautiously inspect the atmosphere around the boisterous braggart. Filla was nudged back towards her father with a quiet prompt, and Adalwolfa worked to ignore the way her heart wanted to clench in that old panic. Magnivar was so much like every one of the entitled, loud, overbearing brutes that had caused her so much pain in the past. He was alone for the moment, it seemed, but it was difficult for Adalwolfa to not imagine a grouping of three or four like him, "guards" standing around in the market in years past, waiting to be offended. She looked away and forced her thoughts to reroute before she had to suffer through the replaying of certain memories in her mind's eye. Filla's golden hair and the way it shone in the firelight was an easy thing to focus on, until her traitorous mind reminded her of how Dietrich's hair had been similar, yet different. Pain threatened to swell up in a sudden wave, but Adalwolfa closed her eyes and breathed, and pushed the bulk of that darkness away.

When she opened her eyes the Eyriens were still bickering, though now Evony was chastising the Warlord as though he had a lick of shame to manipulate. It didn't take long standing there for Adalwolfa to understand that the evening had been tarnished for her, some. Rather than stay and see how much more abrasive or confrontational the Eyrien got, Adalwolda whispered a soft goodbye to her brother (and his wife and children when the realized she was leaving). Hans got up, intent on taking Adalwolfa back to the Keep, but Adalwolfa bid him stay. His family could still enjoy the remains of the evening, she knew, and the long walk back up to Ebon Varos would be a welcome and quiet place to deal with the ghosts that had come back to haunt her. She left them with a smile that was not quite as full as her earlier ones, but it was a smile nonetheless.

By the time she reached the Keep, she'd be tired enough to fall into bed, and perhaps her dreams would be kinder than her memories.

Offline Malakay Hildedottir

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Re: Happy Cultural Appropriation Day
« Reply #42 on: Jul 25, 18, 12:55:08 PM »
Where a person's thoughts could be interpreted by the subtle shift in their facial expressions, when it came to Eyrien’s they were betrayed doubly by their wings. Odinar was a stoic man, a smile so rarely dawned on his lips that even the slightest bemused smirk could be taken as a lifetime of approval. But those wings flared when he took note of her giving her all the compliments she needed upon approach. He didn't have to say a word.

Malakay did not concern herself greatly with the others in attendance. Some faces she recognized but most she did not, especially those firmly attached to leather. Her eyes slid across a large male who landed, looking as sour as he could look without having something sharp and pointed shoved up a particular orifice. He was Eyrien and those still bitter about the new management carried similar expression.  She could only hope that the moot would be worthy of Odinar’s uncharacteristically optimistic view .

“Is that what I'm doing?”  the corners of her lips rose to a light smirk. That was in fact what she was trying to do.  In a crowd like this, being around one she knew who would not drown her in chit chat was preferable to mingling. Then again, she did enjoy Odinar’s company, not many could say so.  The growl, low and rumbling lifted her attentions back to his face, glancing over her shoulder toward the source of his pointed glare, she smirked a little. “If I didn't know any better, Prince Odinar, you don't seem to mind.”

Tyr was an important man who would not be upstaged this night. Many came to pay their respects and witness the skald giving life to their histories.  Even she had to confess she was excited.  Odinar couldn't make introductions at the moment, but he managed to surprise her with a compliment. There, hidden beneath a perpetual frown was that smirk.  “Lets get us those drinks.”  she smiled back. The night was already proving interesting.

They approached a table serving food and drinks. Mal had to admit Evony had outdone herself. Despite how the woman spend the last couple weeks  buzzing around like a deranged bee, she managed to pull everything off.  Gathering their drinks the crowd seemed to grow still as Tyr took to the platform. The first percussive beats of the drum prolonged his hypnotic words.  Tyr spoke of loss, of war and pain felt by every Rihlander. It beat against their hearts, echoing the memories of loss that kept the rhythm strong.  Then it shifted, opening them to peace and acceptance. She had not heard the ballad before, perhaps it was of his own making, but pride swelled in her chest and with it a rare sliver of optimism. The shouts rang out “Skal! To Rihland!” and echoed into the night.

 Kalvar approached just as the crowd quieted. It was what they had been waiting for and yet, there was a hunger to hear the skald speak again. Kalvar promised himself to Rihland and all the people who sowed the land.  A couple months in Ebon Varos and her interactions with Kalvar had been brief. It took a long time for her to reserve judgement, but she had to admit he was making great strides to unify a beaten land. This was a good place to be for now. Not all would agree. They didn't have to. All they had to do was conform

Some were not capable of even that. The Eyrien Magnivar’s voice rose over the dying embers of jubilation. There was an immediate dislike for the man, not for his treatment of the Queen, but because she found this obvious cry for attention annoying. He was a child, stomping about, trying to get the attention of his betters while pretending to be at their level. It didn't look like Kalvar was having it, though he was giving him plenty of slack to hang himself. His words were meant to challenge the inclusion that Kalvar had just welcomed.

“Its not worth your time. “  she said having felt the air chill so close to Odinar’s shoulder. Though her attention had been on the events playing before them, one never ignored the Warlord Prince standing so close.  It was a half hearted attempt, though she knew Odinar’s temper flared perhaps hotter than his fathers. “Think of how many are in attendance. At the moment he is making himself a fool, but casualties might diminish your fathers message."  That was the point of all of this wasnt it? Peace in Rihland.  "Lets not let him ruin the night by taunting the bea....is that a bear?”  she asked perplexed,  finally catching sight of the large white animal within the crowd.

Offline Magnivar Ramius

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Re: Happy Cultural Appropriation Day
« Reply #43 on: Aug 11, 18, 07:59:48 PM »
All at once Magnivar was the center of attention for most of the moot. Good. He beamed widely as he played his purpose. Some would think the man a fool or an idiot - but they were all short lived children who had never fought beside the General. They had never seen the man's resolve or his fire.

Magnivar had been beside the killer of his children on the killing field. He had slain Dhemlanese and the other Short Lived peoples of Kaeleer a thousand years ago next to the man who stood above him. He'd seen his control and his rage. Oh, he understood the fire in Kalvar Elbremov's heart - for as much as he was a halfbreed, he was a disciplined soldier. He had killed the Eyriens out of furious revenge - something that Magnivar, himself, understood. But now he was not enraged.

No. He was ashamed.

And that would keep him distracted. It meant that he'd linger her to save face and serve out his ridiculous fantasy of some sort of unified "Rihland". Three different peoples and no love lost between them. Magnivar knew what would come of this night and it would not be peace.

But he had a role to play, so he played it. What would they do? Martyr him for speaking the truth? That would reveal the monster for what he was, and then Magnivar would win that way, too.

At once two different women focused on him and tried to draw his attention. The Half-Breed Priestess and a Rihlander Hearth Witch. The latter brought him a mug and suggested he fight with the Priestess, and he laughed. "Lady, perhaps it is your tradition for men and women to scrap at one another, but we Eyriens do not beat our women."

Taking the "offered" mug out of her hand with his burly arm, he lifted it in salute back to her with a grin, then offered it toward the halfbreed. "Thank you, though, Little Rihlander! And fear not, Priestess! I mean no disrespect - after all, is not the Black a gift from Witch and Mother Night? I trust that she had not erred when she granted such awesome power to General Elbremov."

Others grew tense. Rihlanders, the Eyriens in attendance, the Glacians sensing the hostilities.

Kalvar's wings snapped open, sudden like a knife springing from its sheath. Magnivar grinned and he gestured up to him. "See?! Behold our champion and our savior! We should all drink to the peace he has brought!"

The Black Prince floated down before Magnivar and with the slightest exertion of will tugged the mug straight out of the Eyrien's hand. The force of the motion was so great he was nearly thrown off his feet and stumbled closer to Kalvar then, towering over him in stature but not in personal power.

The Half-Breed traitor looked up at him, the mug undisturbed and perfectly even in his hand as he lifted it up toward Magnivar in salute.

"To you, Magnivar Ramius, soldier and loyal father, husband, and brother." Kalvar's words were soft, always so damned soft, but the way he spoke held a steel that was more akin to the blades they once wielded in battle.

"To your family." Kalvar's words softened, just a touch, and Magnivar's heart lurched as he understood the message for what it meant, as his muddled golden eyes narrowed up at the Eyrien. "May they live long lives in a united Rihland."

Then he drank, deep, and he floated the mug back to Ramius.

"Drink up, old friend. Enjoy the evening."

Magnivar took the mug in hand and held it, watching with narrowed, furious eyes as Kalvar walked past him, moving into the crowd of attendance, dismissing him as if he no longer mattered.

And for now, that was true, but it would not be true for long.

Offline Lara Mikkalsen

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Re: Happy Cultural Appropriation Day
« Reply #44 on: Aug 12, 18, 02:03:26 PM »
Lara had been excited for the prospect of this Moot. She knew that Wolf planned on going so the shop would be closed anyway, so why the hell not. She had heard her mother talk of such things, skalds and the like but had never been able to attend one.  So she had spent the morning out in the woods, gathering local plants and berries and came back to her small home and baked an assortment of muffins and treats; traditional Rhiland foods that her mother had taught her from a very young age.     She wasn’t sure how many people would be in attendance, but perhaps if she cut them all in half, there would be enough for anyone who wanted to try some.  She was certain there would be plenty of food there, after all when the Territory leader throws a party, he’s certainly going to make sure the guests are fed… and probably well watered.

She grinned.  It had been a long time since she had the chance to indulge in a good hearty mead, no time like a party.   She didn’t have much in the way of a wardrobe, and usually prefered avoiding skirts and dresses but this was a festive occasion.  She pulled out a bright red dress , probably a little more suited to warmer climates but there was supposed to be a giant bonfire right?  She’d probably be just fine and red was a color that blend well with her coloring.

Wrapping her basket, she caught the Blood Opal Winds towards Kanonberg, arriving well into the start of the event.  As promised the ale was flowing and there certainly was a spread of food to rival any kitchen in all the realms Lara thought.   She set her basket down at the edge of one table and went in search of something crisp and cold to drink.  Alcohol and the fire would be more than enough to keep her blood warm on this Winsol night.   Raising her mug to her lips, she glanced around at the assembled and noticed Wolf walking with a dark haired woman,  deep enough in conversation that he wasn’t looking around and wouldn’t notice her.  Good on him, she thought as she kept her gaze going.   Certainly a lot of handsome men assembled here, and when she gazed over towards the fire a single individual who was silhouetted by the flames stood out to her.  She couldn’t see his face, but could see the shape of wings on his back and the feeling of power that flowed off of him.

Mother Night, was that Kalvar?!  Lara stared for as long as she dared before pulling her gaze away from him.  Of course he would be there, it was his gathering but still to see the man responsible for Rihland as it was now.  Lara felt a little starstruck...or perhaps the mead was starting to take effect.  It really was delicious!

Offline Mia Kollen

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Re: Happy Cultural Appropriation Day
« Reply #45 on: Aug 12, 18, 02:04:39 PM »
Mia vanished the warm woolen shawl she had brought with her.  One would never know it was Winsol season from the warmth in the air at this gathering.  It was exciting, the first large gathering of all the courts in Rihland.  She certainly would take advantage of this to connect to the other Queens, to hear their concerns face to face instead of through missives and documents prepared by their Stewards.

Speaking of Stewards, Mia glanced around for Killian.  When they had arrived, she had given him leave to go off himself. She knew he wanted very much to have time to talk with the skald before his performance, in fact he showed so much enthusiasm for the man that she couldn’t stomach the thought of restricting him.  Killian had been a strong and wise choice to replace her late Steward and had been her bedrock through all the changes and slow growth she was working to bring to Belaya. 

Her lady’s maid had found the most stunning gowns in the collection of clothing that was left behind after the previous Queen and her court were….well when they were deposed.  It was clearly meant for an Eyrian, the helm was long and the back was shamefully low, clearly having been tailored for Eyrian wings.   At first she thought to have a seamstress close up the back more but after trying it on, she found the feel of the silken material rather exhilarating against her bare skin and having that much of her skin exposed was thrilling after always being so conservative in her dress.  So she had left the back open and only had the length of it shortened to accommodate for her height.  The bust was decorated with gold leaf, with a double layer in the skirts of the same gold design but the fabric was beyond black.  She didn’t know there could a color so dark, and it made her already pale skin almost translucent and ethereal.   Gold paint applied to her eyelids and red coloring to her lips and she was stunned at the reflection in her vanity.

Wanting her court to enjoy a much needed break and enjoy the moot, she had agreed to a shifting schedule of escorts, giving leave to most of the First Circle to wander, greet friends and enjoy the chance to partake in ale and mead.  Two members of her first circle would remain with her at all times, rotating out through the night.  As she warmly made conversation with a member of the Svendai district court, Lords Jundt and Baar stood at either side of her, just behind her shoulders.  They were quite the serious pair and took their roles with hard scrutiny of every person who ventured within a step of her.  Passing her eyes around the room, she noticed a few pairs of wings and her heart sped up at the thought that perhaps Magnivar would attend this evening.  The message of the invite spoke of unity and peace.  She knew his feelings towards Kalvar and still hoped that her warrior could find that peace within himself.

The sound of drumming, of a heartbeat drifted over the conversations and Mia turned towards the beat, watching as the rest of the gathered did as well.  The skald had begun his performance.  Excusing herself softly, she made her way towards the performance area, taking up the first seat available.  Her escorts chose to remain standing and she simply nodded, turning her full attention to the skald and his song.

By the end, tears had slipped down her face.  The songs of remembrance, songs of those lost had pulled at her heart.   She sensed the men’s unease at her crying and waved her hand dismissively.  When the Skald had finished, she wiped at her cheeks knowing her face was probably red and splotchy. She was not a woman capable of shedding tears without her skin turning into a mottled array of color.   Kalvar moved to the front of the gathering and swore a blood oath that one day a Rhiland Queen would take his place on the seat of Rihland.   The whole of the moot fell silent, processing his words when suddenly a woman’s voice rose up out of the darkness. 

Skål!  The voice rang clear and bright.  TO RHILAND!

Other voices now, repeating the shout and hands were raised with mugs and goblets alike.  Mia jumped to her feet, her own hand rising as she shouted “TO RHILAND FOREVER!”   The flames of the burning boat glittered in her bright eyes, pride and hope and happiness at this turn of the season blazing in her own heart.

A fluttering, a feeling of wings brushing over her skin and a pull so strong that it drew her focus on Kalvar and the Skald, hugging and speaking to each other and a large shadow that approached them.  Mia took a step forward as Magnivar came into her focus, the look on his face told her this was not going to be a good encounter.  She stepped forward, and felt a hand on her arm.  Scowling she turned towards Lord Baar to see him grimly shaking his head.  So she watched as Magnivar taunted Kalvar, finishing a mug of ale and then drowning another.  His face jovial but his tone and eyes speaking to his desire to pull a reaction from the Black jeweled Prince.

Please don’t, she whispered softly aware that he wouldn’t be able to hear her.   Her court knew of her Bonding to this Eyrien, though none of them were pleased to hear that she had now bonded to two winged men.  She was no fool.  The Eyrien camps were nestled high in the mountains of her Province, and now she was bonded to two of their kind.  How could she be counted to protect the Rihlanders when the Darkness had bonded her not to one of them, but two of the enemy.   

Mia pulled free of Baar’s hand, “ I must” was all she said as she pushed her way through the murmuring crowd until she was at the front.  Not at the forefront, but close enough that should he but turn his head, he would see her staring up at him.  If she was as pale as she felt, then she would look like a spirit in the crowd.  Kalvar stepped to him and took his mug and for a moment she thought that perhaps the Prince would strike out against him.  Instead, he raised it and held her Bonded’s gaze in his own.  She watched the rage flare in Magnivar’s eyes, felt the heat of it threaten to consume her through their bond as Kalvar toasted him but with the same sort of quiet double meaning that Magnivar, himself had used and walked away. 

She remained quiet and stunned, stepping to the side as Kalvar brushed past her, unable to even utter a sound towards him as he passed by, her eyes looking sadly and worriedly up at her warrior.  Oh Magnivar, what fool thought passed through your mind to do this tonight?

 

 

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