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* Plot Information for Rihland

A Black Jewel has obliterated the longstanding Eyrien rulership of the Territory. As the Rihlanders begin to reclaim their homeland they do so under the stern gaze of their "savior". Three separate peoples struggle to both claim their own identities and become a unified nation, but old hatreds are difficult to shed.
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Author Topic: Illiterate and Intolerant Minds  (Read 1934 times)

Description: tag: Kalvar, Evony, whoever else at Ebon Varos

Offline Signe Drachlan

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Illiterate and Intolerant Minds
« on: Oct 23, 17, 12:10:36 PM »
Having spoken with both the representative from the skalds and the Lady Katrien Raske, Signe now felt that she needed to both update Prince Elbremove on the progress of the library and solicit his advice on how to proceed with certain aspects of the project. Yes, it was a library for the Rihlanders but it had come at Kalvar’s orders so Signe wanted to be certain that she had all parties in accord throughout its length to avoid any missed expectations.

Communication was key. She had thought that she had communicated excellently with the skald Kriemhild and look how that had turned out? Now, why was Lady Katrien so eager to see the project through but the very people that this project was geared towards vehemently opposed it? Rihland pride be damned, for a moment. Couldn’t the girl skald see what good this would do for their people?

She had to remind herself that often people were staring at the same issue from different sides and were unable to see different points of view because of where they were standing. She would have to figure out a way to get the skalds to move, willingly, and she hoped Kalvar had some ideas.

Signe ascended the steps of Ebon Varos, feeling a bit of her age that morning in the chilly air. Khiar, her Steward, was at her side, and did not flaunt his ability to simply fly over these steps with his Eyrien ancestry. He suffered the climb with her. “I could carry you, Lady,” he offered, partly in jest, partly in all seriousness.

But Signe waved him off. “And have you ruin my reputation for being a dignified Queen?” she teased back. It helped her forget the steps for a moment. “What would Prince Elbremov say, seeing a woman like me being carried like a petrified farm animal into his abode?” They smiled and fell into silence for those last few steps.

“I do hope Evony has some time to chat today,” Signe remarked as she strode towards the door. “I’ve been wanting to ask her a few questions about Petra that would be more easily answered face to face rather than in a letter.”

“I am certain she will make time for you, Lady,” Khiar said. He knocked on the door for them. “Lady Signe Drachlan, here to see Prince Elbremov,” he introduced them when the servant answered the door. Signe caught her breath and straightened as they waited to be ushered into the dark halls of Ebon Varos.

Offline Kalvar Elbremov

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Re: Illiterate and Intolerant Minds
« Reply #1 on: Nov 06, 17, 02:38:33 PM »
The doors to the grand hall slowly swung wide to reveal the cavernous center of Rihland's power. Ebon Varos was a gigantic fortress built to house thousands of warriors, where as now the Court was less than a hundred people. The massive seat of the Territory had long halls and tall ceilings, the dark iron posts and columns kept up the stone roof of the center of what was, traditionally, Eyrien power.

Down the long row of giant columns toward the only opening of natural light -- a window above the throne -- shined sunlight into the hall. Kalvar stood before his giant throne, his black wings spread wide as his arms were lifted up toward the ceiling, almost as if in prayer.

In the sky, stone moved and shifted almost of its own accord, levitated high above. Some thirty feet across and ten feet high, black rock shifted and cracked as Kalvar's golden eyes remained focused on his project. As Signe and her escort approached they could begin to see what it was that Kalvar was working on: A sculpture of some kind.

"Lady Drachlan, Prince Khiar." Kalvar's words felt as solid and cold as the stone that surrounded them and was in his focus at that very moment. He did not turn his head and instead remained fixated on his project. "Our scheduled meeting is not for two more weeks. What is the urgency of your visit?"

For indeed, Kalvar was not who Signe should have sought out but instead the Province Ruler who was her superior. Such was the hierarchy Kalvar had set forth and he had indicated in the past he expected it to be followed.


Offline Signe Drachlan

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Re: Illiterate and Intolerant Minds
« Reply #2 on: Nov 27, 17, 11:37:06 AM »
Her booted heels clicked sharply on the stone as she and Khiar were escorted into Prince Elbremov’s presence. It never ceased to amaze her, the masonry and artistry, the sheer daunting greatness of Ebon Varos, and she was not immune to the terrific sight of the sunlight streaming in from the high window, illuminating the columned hall and its lone figure near the throne.

Had she not noticed the giant slab of stone being rotated above him, Signe would have thought that Kalvar’s outstretched pose was either for prayer or dramatic posturing. But the Prince never postured for effect -- he didn’t need to. "Lady Drachlan, Prince Khiar,” he said coldly in greeting. Far colder than usual, Signe thought. "Our scheduled meeting is not for two more weeks. What is the urgency of your visit?"

Signe paused a beat while she considered how best to answer this. Perhaps she was not in as much of his grace as she had previously thought. Perhaps she had caught him on a bad day. Whatever the reason, it reminded her that she was dealing with a distant ruler who wore the Black and not the man she had watched smile over a puppy during a Birthright ceremony. Beside her, Khiar tensed slightly, preparing to defend his Queen however he could. Had they been in a less formal situation, Signe would have touched her Steward’s arm gently to soothe him but he was a man grown and able to control his own emotions in the presence of others.

Signe did not fear. But she did proceed with caution.

“I’m aware that I’ve come unannounced and unexpected, Prince Elbremov,” she said assertively but with enough deference to let Kalvar know that she was aware of her intrusion, “I apologize for that. I have run into a bit of a problem with the Rihland library project and would appreciate your insight, since it is under your patronage. I did not wish to wait our scheduled two weeks before seeing it handled but if now is a bad time, I can return later.”

While she waited for his response -- either his agreement to speak then or his dismissal of her -- Signe remained in what many considered her Queen posture, with her back straight, her hands laced in front of her, and her head tilted slightly in a receptive sort of way, indicating that she knew very well where she ranked in the hierarchy of things but that she was also willing to compromise. Being Blood was an intricate dance. Signe moderately outranked Kalvar in Caste but was quite his inferior when it came to Jewels. Her words and posturing were subtle reminders of both of these things.

Offline Kalvar Elbremov

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Re: Illiterate and Intolerant Minds
« Reply #3 on: Nov 27, 17, 02:54:00 PM »
"Your concerns should go to Lady Gudrun, who is the Queen higher than you in station. I had thought myself clear when I indicated the hierarchy of the Territory." Kalvar's words were more chill than the wind that blew through Ebon Varos's walls. He tilted his head, and as he did so the stone cracked and shifted at his mental command. Pieces of it began to slowly be pulled off; the statue being shorn with Craft alone, and his focus was so absolute it was left smooth. An arm, by the looks of things, was left where solid stone had been seconds before.

"But." The Black Prince slowly exhaled, the statue and the debris that had come from its construction slowly lowered to the ground and set against the wall of the hallway. His golden eyes turned their full attention to her and her escort, as if fully noticing them for the first time. "I would not have you come all this way for nothing. The journey up the mountain is not easy."

Extending a hand toward her and her escort, Kalvar leaned back into the throne, his wings sliding along the armrests of a seat built for his kind. "The project is mostly Lady Katrien's, but I did, indeed, approach you to assist her. What trouble have you found? How is it you believe I can help?"

He wondered if perhaps her status as one of the non-Rihlanders Queens was the cause of her worries. He knew that some of the Rihlanders did not care for the Glacians who had come to live in their Territory and been given a place to do so. Assimilation would not come quickly, and there were definitely some who sought to keep that divide of population.


Offline Signe Drachlan

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Re: Illiterate and Intolerant Minds
« Reply #4 on: Dec 18, 17, 09:22:44 PM »
Well, consider her chastised! Signe made note to bring up matters to Gudrun first next time and stuffed her indignant feelings aside to give voice to later. Made himself clear indeed, speaking with her as though she was some stripling Queen! He had given her this project personally -- Gudrun would not know more about the project than Kalvar would so why should Signe consult her? Irritating male, talking to her as though she did not understand a simple chain of command!   

Signe took a long, slow breath, focusing on the air being drawn into her lungs, mingling with her emotions, and taking those things away when she exhaled. She watched as pieces of stone were
methodically shorn away by Craft, still too indignant to be truly appreciative of the precise Craft that it took to do such a thing, letting each breath she took after return her to calmness as she waited for Kalvar to dismiss her from his presence.

“But,” he eventually said, as he lowered those heavy pieces towards the ground, "I would not have you come all this way for nothing. The journey up the mountain is not easy."

Still vexed with him, Signe managed an appreciative smile, though she felt it was still too thin. Meeting those golden eyes, knowing the power he wielded within, did not make it any easier.

The Prince of Rihland sat down in his throne, his wings draping across the armrests like a cloak. "The project is mostly Lady Katrien's, but I did, indeed, approach you to assist her. What trouble have you found? How is it you believe I can help?" he asked.

Now they were getting somewhere, Signe thought.

Careful to keep her tone diplomatic, Signe took a step forward and said, “And Lady Raske has been incredibly helpful, I can assure you. Together, we are making great progress on the building and contributors. I suspect that we should have something to show you in before spring settles in, if the weather continues to permit.”

She paused before launching into the reason why she was here. “Our problem comes not from the Queens that you asked to assist.” Most of them anyway. “Our problem comes from skalds.”

Another pause, a slight tilt of her chin, and she added, “They do not wish to partake in this project.”

Hopefully, she had just not condemned the last remaining handful of them to some inescapable doom by his personal hand with that admission.

Offline Kalvar Elbremov

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Re: Illiterate and Intolerant Minds
« Reply #5 on: Dec 26, 17, 02:40:05 PM »
A frustrated sound came out of his nose, a growl restrained in utter annoyance. Of course it was the Skalds. "I understand." The Half-Breed said slowly, but let loose his irritation with another slow sigh. He was weary of Rihlanders who stubbornly refused to accept change, though they had been all-too-eager for it when it had been done for their benefit.

Selfish, short-sighted fools.

"The Skalds are steeped in an oral tradition, Lady Drachlan. The stories they carry are timeless and verbose and they take on new life with every retelling. It is an important component to their role, and to the culture of the Rihlanders. They are a small group, as the Eyriens stamped out several of their number in their campaign to make the Rihlanders obey."

How much easier it might be if he could just wave his hand, exert some power, and force the Rihlanders to see reason. Yet...

"You will have to try and convince them of the benefit of the library. I am the wrong person to seek aid from: Many of the Skalds see me as an enemy to them and their mission. I've heard that the Skalds are heavily entrenched in this.. Reclaimer movement."

Another annoyance.

"Lady Raske, Lady Kollen, or perhaps Lady Sauer or Lady Hildesdottir would be of greater assistance than I. The former are Rihlander Queens, the latter are well respected by most of the Rihlander population."

If Alyona had been alive she would have made an ideal candidate. But were it not for Alyona's death, he would not need an envoy to the Rihlanders.

The irony did not sit well with him.

"I do not have many other candidates to be of assistance, I am afraid. My Court is removed from most of the Provinical and District politics, on purpose.

That is why I instructed you to seek out Lady Raske beforehand."
Blunt, as always, Kalvar did not soften his words to make it clear that Signe had made a mistake in coming here and seeking him out. He had no real assistance to give her; or rather, none that he wanted to offer.


Offline Signe Drachlan

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Re: Illiterate and Intolerant Minds
« Reply #6 on: Jan 11, 18, 02:52:01 PM »
At first, Signe empathized with the frustrated sigh that came from Prince Elbremov’s mouth. She had uttered the same sound more than once already when it came to convincing the skalds. She knew that they were steeped in oral tradition and she had thought that the offer of memory crystals would appeal to them but it had not.

Or, more importantly, it had not appealed to one skald in particular, and that young woman had made it very clear to the other skalds that Signe’s work with the library was not to be trusted.

"You will have to try and convince them of the benefit of the library. I am the wrong person to seek aid from: Many of the Skalds see me as an enemy to them and their mission. I've heard that the Skalds are heavily entrenched in this.. Reclaimer movement," Kalvar said. Signe bobbed her head, both understanding and acknowledging that she had, at least, heard of that movement.
 
"Lady Raske, Lady Kollen, or perhaps Lady Sauer or Lady Hildesdottir would be of greater assistance than I. The former are Rihlander Queens, the latter are well respected by most of the Rihlander population," he went on to say and before he had finished, Signe knew where the conversation was going. She would not get any assistance from him. The fact that he admitted to keeping a distance from Provincial politics irked her because she felt that a Territory Ruler should not be so unreachable.

“That is why I instructed you to seek out Lady Raske beforehand,” he chided her. Again. And this time, it truly pricked Signe’s temper, having come all of this way for help on a project he had given her, only to be turned away as though he wanted nothing to do with that project any longer. It suddenly seemed to her as though he cared a bit more about sculpting than he did matters of the Territory he was supposed to shaping.

After everything she was doing for him and this torn Territory, too.

“You instructed me to seek her out because the library was to be built in her Province,” Signe pointed out stubbornly, “not because she was the one with the greatest amount of assistance. I assumed that would still come from you, since the library was your idea and your request.” She itched to stamp her foot emphatically, to vent her frustrations in another form but knew that would only make her look like a petulant child.

Irritated and ready to explore other options that did not currently involve his presence, she said, “Since you have given me what direction is yours to give, I thank you for that and I apologize for interrupting your day.” Her tone was as icy as anyone had ever heard it in her formality. She curtsied and added, “Have a good day, Prince Elbremov.”

Signe turned on her heel and left, half-expecting him to bar her from leaving because of her temper, half-ready to challenge him anyway. Let him go back to constructing fanciful shapes out of stone rather than doing something meaningful like restoring the Territory. Once she and Khiar had cleared the room and the doors were well behind them, she let out a frustrated sound not unlike the one Kalvar had made just moments ago. “The nerve of him,” she said icily, “speaking to me like that. Territory Ruler or not, blessed with a Black or not, a Prince does not speak with a Queen as though she is an errant child. Completely uncalled for. A breach of Protocol.”

Khiar, though he agreed with his Queen, said nothing, both letting her voice her frustrations and a bit afraid to add to the conversation in case the walls of Ebon Varos had ears. It wasn’t until she had continued for a bit in simmering silence before he inquired, “Was there any other business we needed to attend while we were here?”

At that, Signe blew out the rest of her frustrations with a long breath. “No,” she answered, “not truly, though I would be rude not to speak with Evony before departing. I’m sure she’d love some news about Petra that didn’t come from a letter.” And perhaps Evony could give the Queen a bit of advice on how to handle Kalvar for the next time there was a prickly conversation like this.

Khiar nodded his head, agreeing, and flagged down the first servant that passed them. “Is the Lady Bos available?” he asked and when the servant nodded, he added, “Then take us to her please.”

Offline Evony Bos

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Re: Illiterate and Intolerant Minds
« Reply #7 on: Jan 12, 18, 10:30:25 AM »
Signe had yet to 'observe' Evony at work. Oh, sure... the evidence was all around her when she walked into Ebon Varos.  Yet it was a fact of life that most people did not realize how much work it was to keep a place like this in such good order without witnessing it first in a state of mess.  Evony had been working hard to keep the place clean since the day after her arrival,  and she'd been doing a fine job of it.

That being said - the guest hall was a well ordered dance of chaos this day.  She was cleaning out the fireplace.  Quite literally, bent over and scraping at the stones with cleaning rags while tools whistled past her to climb up into the chimney and scrape at old soot.  Ash was flying out of the fireplace to settle into a pan resting behind her, and a servant was whisking the filled pans to a small wheeled cart to replace them with empty ones as she went.

"Agne, dear, would you fetch a pot of milk please?"
"Er.. Lady Bos.. we have company?"
"What?"

She backed out, straightening up and wiping her hands on her rag before turning and widening eyes at Signe.  The young Agne giggled a little nervously, bowing at Signe and Khiar.  "You have to forgive Lady Bos.  When she gets cleaning, she doesn't pay any attention at all."

"Er.. yes."  She grinned a little sheepishly, doing a quick look over of herself.  Yes, she was dusty.  Damn.  "Caught me cleaning at last, Lady Drachlan.  If you give me a moment to freshen up, I can fetch us a bit of.. actually, it would probably be best to just go straight to the kitchens.  I'm not sure I'd want you eating in here while all this dust is still being cleaned out. Agne, would you have the new girl start working on what's left of the chimney?"

She coughed once, then let out a sneeze, and blushed a bit.  "Ahem.  Would you both like something warm to drink?  We've got a lovely spiced cider available.  Ham and biscuits, too."

Offline Signe Drachlan

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Re: Illiterate and Intolerant Minds
« Reply #8 on: Jan 18, 18, 02:30:42 PM »
They were brought into a great hall of sorts, where there was obvious cleaning and renovation happening. Dust filled the air and filtered the light coming down. At first, Evony did not realize their arrival. Signe had to smile knowingly at that. Watching Evony work so industriously brought about a warm, kindred feeling within the Queen. It went a long way to dispelling the irritations Signe felt towards Kalvar in that moment, though she would remember them later.
Mostly, it was good to see someone in this place working and not hiding away.

"You have to forgive Lady Bos.  When she gets cleaning, she doesn't pay any attention at all," said the young assistant named Agne and Signe’s smile warmed considerably.

“I understand how that is,” she told the younger woman. Evony turned and apologized for her dusty appearance, to which Signe lifted one hand up to stall those words. “I’ve been found up to my elbows in dirty work before as well. No need for apologies on that,” she said. It was true. Signe prided herself on working side by side with her people to better their District and that meant she was in the dirt commonly. It was great morale, when the leader help with the work, and Signe wished Kalvar understood that.

Oh well, she thought to herself, relegating those bitter thoughts elsewhere for the moment. “Something warm would definitely be welcomed, thank you,” she told Evony. The daunting Ebon Varos was not cold but there was a chill to it that followed Signe, keeping her just out of reach of warmth but not so far as to summon a heating spell.

They followed Evony to the kitchen and waited patiently (though Khiar offered a few times to assist with whatever Evony needed to retrieve) while snacks and drinks were arranged. Signe took that opportunity to look around the hearth of Ebon Varos, noting little things that spoke of Evony here. “You must have a great deal of work here, seeing to all of these rooms and halls,” she commented. “I assume that Prince Elbremov employs enough of a staff to assist you. It would seem like far too great a project to do alone.”

Offline Evony Bos

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Re: Illiterate and Intolerant Minds
« Reply #9 on: Apr 04, 18, 04:46:21 PM »
She took a few moments to wash her arms up to her elbows, and then scrubbed at her face in the wash basin before she got to work fetching some ham from the warming oven.  After that, she fetched the biscuits, some honey, and a good pot of warm cider that had been staying warmed on the hearth. 

It was simple fare - typical snacks for 'cleaning day' as she called it.  Granted, Cleaning Day happened at least once a month around here since she'd arrived.  One day where all the truly filthy work was done, so as to not let any problems build up and make cleaning truly horrendous later in the year.

She'd rather keep things nice than have to do what she did when she first arrived.  Those first two weeks had been hell.

"Oh, Prince Elbremov tries to spoil me rotten by having the Quartermaster throw people at me all the time."  She waved a hand, as if dismissing that thought, before quickly placing some plates in front of her guests, as well as the tray of biscuits, ham, and honey.

"Some of them I keep on, most I give back to him.  The truth is, I'm a little bit.. ah.. exacting."  She grinned, looking completely unashamed at that acknowledgement.  "But keeping the Keep clean and running keeps me busy, and really, I need that."

She settled into her own chair, pouring the cider into the three mugs before handing over the two for her guests.  "To be honest?  When I first started here I sort of wanted to do it alone.  And mostly did. Once I get things the way I like them, I'm more willing to let others start helping maintain things.  But I doubt you've sought me out to discuss cleaning techniques.. or have you?  Because if you've sought that, you need something to take notes on."

She grinned, winking at Khiar out of sheer impishness.  "How is Petra doing?  Has she driven your boy out of his mind during Hide and Seek games yet?"  She hadn't forgotten how excited Petra was to be told she could teach the household how to play that game properly.  And she had no doubt that a young male trying to protect her niece would have his hands full.

Petra was difficult for HER to manage some days.. let alone some poor young child who was used to people who were... well.. civilized.  Something that Petra, and herself, were not great at.

"Her last letter looked much better.  I was able to read most of it."  She grinned, looking quite proud.  "She said she loves it there, you know.  Though she gets a little.."  Another grin.  "Annoyed.. at how protective people can be.  I've told her that it's a good thing but.."  She sighed.  "Well.. I guess she's just grown used to being a bit wild over the last few years."

Offline Signe Drachlan

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Re: Illiterate and Intolerant Minds
« Reply #10 on: May 16, 18, 01:49:52 PM »
When Evony admitted that she could be a bit exacting, Signe’s laughter was delighted and politely disbelieving. She understood the need to be busy. It had taken her years to learn a balance to work and relaxation but she was a Queen and had many males around her to harangue her into either state, though it was usually the latter.

But Evony was right. Signe was not here to talk about cleaning techniques. She didn’t mind the conversation shifting to the topic of young Petra, who was, yes, driving young Willem happily mad with her antics. Keeping up with an eight-year-old Queen was exhausting. Signe was thankful that Willem still had plenty of youthful energy because she certainly didn’t! And this, Signe laughingly told Evony. “But she is settling in fine, I assure you. Her lessons are progressing splendidly. She enjoys art, mostly because I think she gets to color outside of the lines as she wants, but it gives her good incentive to do well in her other studies so that her fun isn’t taken away. She hasn’t been a problem at all, truly.” Just the usual antics and bumps that came with being a child.

“Though, yes, you’re right. She can get annoyed at the protectiveness of everyone at times,” Signe agreed. “I hope that one day she’ll understand why. I know I certainly didn’t at her age and sometimes I still buck at the need for an escort but…” Signe shrugged slightly. “A Queen must be protected, especially one as dear as her.”

“Speaking of wild, however,” Signe said, setting down her cup. “I do have a question for you. As a native Rihlander, do you have any connections to the skalds?” Signe briefly outlined to Evony the reasoning behind her question -- that she was working on a library project for Prince Elbremov and was in need of someone who had access to the stories and myths of the Rihland people.

She did not -- yet -- reveal how she had been thwarted by Melany Kriemhild and dismissed by said Prince.

Offline Evony Bos

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Re: Illiterate and Intolerant Minds
« Reply #11 on: May 16, 18, 02:02:09 PM »
It warmed her to hear the Queen speaking of her niece so kindly.  Petra was wild, and willful, and... and loved.  Not just by her, any longer, but by all those that met her.  She'd seen it at the dinners - the way the Guards and the family would dote on her niece.  It soothed the ragged edges of her heart to know that her orphaned Queen was developing a family again - that she was not alone.

That Evony had not been a total failure after all this time.  It wasn't as if the situation had come with a guide book and rules.  She'd done what she had to do - had to done anything she had to do, in order to make sure that Petra was safe, fed, and relatively unscathed in all of the nightmare that had been their life.

It had worked out.  Signe and her family made all the sacrifice and indignity worth it.

She sipped at her mug, half closing her eyes as Signe asked about the skalds.  She found it a little odd - but only a little - that Signe would associate 'wild' with 'Skalds'.  Odd enough that she wondered why, not odd enough to directly question such a choice of words just yet.

Out loud, anyways.

"The last time I went to a Moot was before Petra was born.  After..."  She let out a soft sigh.  "Well, afterwards... my family became somewhat reclusive.  We didn't wnat to risk somehow making a mistake, and letting even a single whiff of Petra's scent out where someone might.."  Make use of it.  Turn them in.  All the nightmare scenarios.

So she cleared her throat.  "I have no personal connections, myself.  My father was once friends with a Skald.. but it's been years, and I don't know if the man is alive.  Most likely not.. the occupiers weren't exactly gentle in their handling of Skalds for the last few decades.  Even going to a simple gathering without a skald was getting dangerous ten years ago."

Offline Signe Drachlan

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Re: Illiterate and Intolerant Minds
« Reply #12 on: Jun 15, 18, 12:55:42 PM »
Signe expected this sort of disappointing answer from Evony. Her expression was not quite one of grim acceptance but it was close since Signe did not take being thwarted well. She had not realized what a monumental task had been given her -- how hard was it to construct a library? She had thought that the Rihland people would welcome this with open arms!

But she knew, deep down, that the distrust and wariness, even some of the hostility, was well-deserved. These were a people who had been through hopes being crushed, lives being destroyed so easily, that to place their hopes, their traditions, their souls into yet another person’s hands was...beyond difficult. Rihland was nothing without its traditions -- that cultural identity was the reason so many had fought and endured.

And despite having a new leader that supposedly embraced these strong cultural traditions, the Rihlanders were right to be wary. They had probably heard similar things before.

Signe exhaled slowly before explaining the project Kalvar had handed her -- beginning with how well the physical construction was going, then what she planned to do as far as information provided through scrolls, books, and memory crystals, and then on to the troubles she was having with the skalds, predominantly Melany Kriemhild. And finally, that moment not an hour ago, where Kalvar had dismissed her so easily, as though he wanted nothing to do with her, despite his patronage in the project.

“I understand that he is the leader of this Territory, but wearing a Black or not, he is not a Queen,” Signe asserted, “and should not dismiss one, especially one that he’s tasked to complete a pet project of his, so easily. It’s incredibly vexing, to say the least. Without the stories of the skalds, the library won’t be completed. Who else am I supposed to speak to if not him about this?” Her tone held a bit of plaintive complaining at that point, revealing how exasperated she was feeling about the situation.

Offline Evony Bos

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Re: Illiterate and Intolerant Minds
« Reply #13 on: Jun 15, 18, 01:07:56 PM »
Evony listened to the .. requirements.. of this library project.  And when sheheard of Melany Kriemhild's responses.. well, she made a face.  A not very polite face at that. "Some amongst my people are just as racist as the people that oppressed us, Lady Signe.  I find them to be assholes."  She sighed, setting her mug down and looking off towards the wall.

There were so many faces in her memories.. faces she'd like to not think about.  Faces that took advantage of a woman who obviously was in hiding, because they knew she couldn't go to those who might do something about their dealings.  It wasn't necessarily true that this Melany was like that - but from the sounds of it, she was a bitter woman who refused to see the good in the offer.

And only saw her fear.

"Give it some time, Lady Signe.  Complete the building.  And while the building is being completed.. "  She smiled cheekily.  "Look for those who have heard the Skalds.  Ask them what they remember.  And then have those stories written down - with an open offer for someone to come in and correct them if they have been misremembered.  Over time, Skald Pride will likely insist on it."

She ran her fingers over the lips of her mug, shaking her head.  "Trying to yank the people into line.. it just makes them stubborn.  Makes them drag their feet in the dirt to pull back.  It takes longer if you use kindness.. but I think kindness will work better in the long run.  As for the Prince.."

She sighed.  "That male is.. stubborn on an entirely different level.  He still refuses to allow me to cook meals for him - I cheat, naturally.  I've been known to leave muffins as snacks.  And just getting him to agree to let me do the dishes was like pulling teeth.  If I thought it would do any good, I'd hit him over the head with a skillet.  Sadly.. I think his head would dent my skillet."

She grimaced, then carefully reached out to pat Signe's hand.  "Don't worry.  The benefit to him having done things like this is he can't really get too grumpy if you do it your own way, now can he?  You did, after all, ask for his assistance... and he denied it.  So.. do things as you feel is best, and if he doesn't like the results, that's his problem.  That's.. essentially how I deal with Prince Odinar."

She grinned, wrinkling her nose a little.  "I think I drive the poor Prince up the wall on occasion."

Offline Signe Drachlan

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Re: Illiterate and Intolerant Minds
« Reply #14 on: Jun 22, 18, 02:54:12 PM »
Signe’s expression when Evony said how shortsighted and petty some people could be was one of shared humored martyrdom. Yet, Evony encouraged her to continue with the project, to give it time to change the minds of the people and then to ask those same people to recall the stories of the skalds for her as a starting point.

“I think you have the right idea,” Signe agreed. “Maybe I’ve been pressing the matter rather than letting it come naturally.” She was willing to be a bit more patient. There was no deadline to the project, just her own drive to complete it. She was used to completing things in an efficient manner, with a scope, a budget, and a deadline. A little dragging of her feet would not be a problem here. A library was an ongoing project in that it was constantly expanding its collection anyway.

When Evony stated that Kalvar’s head would probably dent her skillet, Signe started chuckling and then muffled it ladylike behind her hand. “Oh, I bet that as well,” she agreed. And when Evony admitted that she probably drove the Prince up the wall, Signe nodded her head and said, “Well, it’s probably deserved more than it seems. He is rather...difficult...to deal with at times. I wonder if that is a personality trait or just something common to males.” Signe looked over at her Steward, who had been quietly sipping his drink without comment, and said, “I mean no insult towards you, of course, Khiar. You’ve always been reasonable, even when I’m being the unreasonable one and think you aren’t.”

Khiar smiled gently. “I wouldn’t dare think you were insulting me, my Queen. You know better.”

Signe laughed aloud. “True. Well, then we’ll just chalk it up to a personality trait then. I can’t believe he won’t let you cook his meals. Have you asked him perhaps to teach you some of his recipes? I’d be curious to know where he learned to cook. I’ve never had a bad meal here, even when I drop by unannounced.” A bit like today.

Offline Evony Bos

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Re: Illiterate and Intolerant Minds
« Reply #15 on: Jun 22, 18, 05:51:10 PM »
She laughed.  "I suppose when I first arrived that I could understand his reticence.  I looked like a half starved sickly deer.  But still... I'm good at cooking.  I enjoy cooking.  So does he."  She sighed, grumping a bit on her chair.  "And as for getting his recipes..."  She shook her head.

"Not a chance.  I made a remark about learning one from him one time and.. I thought he was going to take my head off.  It is.. very obviously not a topic I am allowed to discuss."  She blinked, looking down at her cup.  Sometimes she wondered why she tried so hard.  There were moments, glimmers really, when she thought that she was getting through to him.  He would get a small smile, or would start to warm up...

And then he would clam back up and go back to being so cool and distant that it was like trying to talk to a glacier.  Not that she stopped - but there were moments she felt her resolve to befriend the Black Prince falter.

"Speaking of food."  She chuckled, looking up.  "I can get you something more filling than biscuits, if you would like.  There's some roast left from lunch that I have remaining warm for those who get peckish.  It won't be fancily garnished, Lord Khiar, but I think you might both appreciate it."

Not that she waited for an affirmative.  She was already 'reaching', plates whistling through the air to settle near the tray lifting out of the warming bin to reveal the juicy roast haunch left.  Knives flickered through it, slicing up the succulent meats and then piling a few roasted carrots and potatoes along with them before the plates drifted over to settle atop the table for her guests and herself. 

She smiled.  "Please.  Eat.  Traveling all this way can stir up a mighty appetite."  She would know.  She made the journey often enough when she was going out to pick up supplies.  "If no one has told you, Lady Signe.. I appreciate you trying to immortalize our stories.  Perhaps if we had done so sooner, we might have more than just a few skalds left to help us remember our culture and ways."

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Re: Illiterate and Intolerant Minds
« Reply #16 on: Jul 06, 18, 09:59:03 AM »
As Evony talked about how recalcitrant Kalvar could be, how easily he shut down topics of discussion, Signe began to wonder if perhaps the warmth she had seen during Petra’s Birthright had been imagined. How could a man show such sincerity and geniality during that ritual but keep everyone at arm's’ length day to day? Especially if he lived with some of these people?

It perturbed her, bothered her. She had thought that she had been making progress with Kalvar and then today’s events, combined with Evony’s telling of how stubborn the Prince could be, made her wonder if she had misjudged his character entirely.

Evony brightened as she brought in more food. Though Signe had intended to take their leave soon, she settled in to being taken care of just a little bit longer. If she indulged the hearth witch, they both would feel better. Signe appreciated Evony’s deft use of Craft to carve the food and serve it. Khiar graciously accepted the first sandwich presented and hummed, “Delicious, Lady, thank you.”

“Well, if the Prince will not share his recipes, I will gladly have my cooks trade with you,” Signe remarked after she took her first bite.

That got another smile out of Evony, who said, "If no one has told you, Lady Signe.. I appreciate you trying to immortalize our stories.  Perhaps if we had done so sooner, we might have more than just a few skalds left to help us remember our culture and ways."

Signe exhaled softly. It truly was a sad thing that so many of the skalds had been wiped out by the previous regime. “Thank you. I needed to hear that from someone, given that so many of the skalds have been so resistant. I’m not used to being so easily thwarted, honestly. It’s a bit...frustrating. My next option to try is Tyr Madsen. I hear he respects Prince Elbremov so perhaps he would be of help? What do you know of him?”

Offline Evony Bos

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Re: Illiterate and Intolerant Minds
« Reply #17 on: Jul 07, 18, 12:59:58 PM »
Sometimes she regretted not being able to sense things the way the rest of her kind could.  This was one of those moments.  As she watched the expressions cross Signe's face, she tried to imagine what it would smell like.  What would the weight of her emotions be?  It was easier to imagine with Signe than with Kalvar.

And Odinar?  Well, Odinar was fairly obvious most of the time too.  His emotions usually ranked around 'frustrated, annoyed, or aggravated'.  Would it kill the male to smile?  Maybe.. maybe it might.

"You're very welcome, Lord Khiar.  I do always enjoy seeing others enjoy my little offerings.  Perhaps after I receive some of the recipes Lady Drachlan offers, I will be able to earn true approval."  She smiled, looking quite pleased with herself even as she settled in to begin making her own sandwich.  At least the Queen and her escort would be able to say they had gotten congenial treatment from someone while here today.

I needed to hear that from someone.

"I think.. everyone needs a little recognition sometimes.  It reminds us of why we do what we do.  Being an island unto ourselves.. it isn't healthy, in the long run."  She bit at her lip, frowning a little while pondering the extent of the problem that Signe presented.  Skalds were, by nature, rather stubborn.  They had to be - else they wouldn't dare to be skalds.

"Well, I think approaching Madsen is a sound idea.  And.. worst case scenario.. recording what you can find in a crystal might be a good idea.  Our people's ways are kept through oratory tradition - perhaps if the skalds let their stories be recorded, they will not feel so... ah.. offended?  I'd offer to help you convince Madsen, but I'm told I'm fairly indelicate."

She grinned, having the grace to look a little sheepish.  "Always have been, I'm afraid.  More bull than grace, as my mother would have said."  She cleared her throat, glancing at Signe fora  few moments.  "Don't worry, Lady Drachlan.  It will all work out.  You're too stubborn to not get it your way eventually.  I'm an expert on stubborn, these days."

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Re: Illiterate and Intolerant Minds
« Reply #18 on: Jul 27, 18, 04:02:36 PM »
If Evony thought that Signe was going to take offense to being called stubborn, she was wrong. The Queen of Avorla laughed merrily before saying, “You being indelicate, as you say, is perfectly acceptable, given your history and your employer. But I didn’t think I was being that stubborn.” She looked over at her Steward, who was trying to keep a straight face. “Am I? Being that stubborn?” she asked, still in good humor, which meant she was willing to be critiqued a little.

“I would say determined,” Khiar intoned. “Stubborn suggests that you are resistant to lots of things. You, my Queen, simply do not think failure is an option on most projects. You take great pride in getting things done.” Which was very, very true of Signe. She was resourceful and she hadn’t risen to her status by being lazy or mediocre. She knew how to build something from the ashes and had done so with Avorla.

Signe nibbled delicately on her food as her gaze shifted to Evony to get her opinion as well. “Well, I’d hate to be placed in the same bracket as Prince Elbremov right now, given that I’m a little miffed at him still, so I’ll concede that I can be stubborn at times. Perhaps the timing of the project just isn’t right.” That was also a great possibility. Perhaps Kalvar was pushing for something too soon and that was why Signe was encountering so many obstacles. “Perhaps I should exercise a bit of patience?” she suggested to the two. “Even rain wears away the mountains after long enough, yes?”

“Yes…” Khiar slowly agreed. He gave his Queen a matching slow smile.

“Oh, fine,” Signe said, acting as though they were sharing an old joke between them. “I’ll concede. What do you think, Evony? Do you think that this project should wait a bit longer, let a few months pass so that tensions can relax a bit more?” She asked the hearth witch this sort of thing because she trusted Evony’s insight about Rihlanders.

Offline Evony Bos

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Re: Illiterate and Intolerant Minds
« Reply #19 on: Aug 09, 18, 06:17:32 PM »
"I think Khiar just spoke of my own way of doing things when referring to you.  I assure you, it's known as being a "pain in the ass" according to Prince Kalvar's children."  She rolled her eyes, watching with satisfaction as Signe nibbled on her food. 

Even Rain wears away the mountains after long enough, yes?

She watched as Khiar gave that slow agreement, and then looked at Signe.  Then back to Khiar.  She was missing something in there.  Something personal, maybe.  It made her shift her weight, a little.. but she didn't want to ask.  What if it was something that she should have caught? 

She didn't want Signe or Khiar knowing about her little issue.  She just didn't.

Her eyes snapped back to Signe's face as the Queen asked her about what she thought, and whether patience was a better virtue.  It had her lips turning up, laughter bubbling to the surface too quickly for her to pull it back.  "You ask me, the woman who showed up here and demanded to clean the place.. if taking your time would be a better idea?"

Put that way it probably was a little laughable.  Still, she managed to get the giggle under control.  "Alright, alright.  Look.  A few months isn't going to undo the damage of centuries.  And frankly, I don't think we have centuries to wait for damaged egos to mend.  There are fewer than thirty skalds now, I think.  With so few, we just... can't risk losing more than we already have.  So instead of being polite and 'asking' for things.. I say just show up."

She shrugged - just a little.  "Show up to Madsen and the rest.  Declare your intent.. and be willing to knock some teeth out to do it.  We're a passionate people, we children of Rih.  Ask what you can do to earn the stories for your library, and then DO what you have to do.  So many of our stories are about heroes who face a world unwilling to grant them what they want or need - and they were heroes because they found ways to obtain their desires anyways.  Maybe you just need to channel more Rih and less.. Glacia."

She shrugged, looking a little amused.  "You're here, right?  Why not embrace it?"

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Re: Illiterate and Intolerant Minds
« Reply #20 on: Sep 08, 18, 08:19:51 PM »
When Evony reminded her that she had shown up to Ebon Varos and had demanded her current position as housekeeper, Signe laughed without reserve. “Oh, I had forgotten about that,” she admitted, still chuckling for a few moments longer.

But Evony was completely right. A few months of work wasn’t going to undo a century’s worth, or more, of damage. It would take decades, if not lifetimes. As Signe got her chuckling under control, she nodded in agreement. As Evony reminded her of the soberingly low number of skalds still alive, Signe’s mind refocused on her task, disregarding her frustration and disappointment that she had felt earlier thanks to Kalvar. She had to do something and as Evony encouraged her, her nodding became more convicted.

The suggestion of visiting Tyr Madsen sat well with Signe and she said, “I believe that’s what I’ll have to do.” She idly tapped her fingers in thought. “Yes, you’re right, Evony. I’m so glad that I came to speak with you. You’ve given me exactly the angles that I’ve needed to see. Thank you.” She set down the remnants of her impromptu meal and noticed that Khiar was polishing off the rest of his. “We should probably be getting back,” she remarked, though she felt a bit of sorrow at that.

“You’re absolutely right, though, Evony, and I appreciate your insight greatly,” Signe said solidly. “I’ve been coming at it with the frigid politeness of Glacia. I need to embrace what these years of living in Rihland has taught me -- to dig in and work towards what I want. I’ll set aside a day to see Master Madsen soon. You--” She pointed at Evony. “--are overdue for a visit as well. Dinner this week perhaps? I’ve been a bit busy with other matters and I know that family dinners had a minor hiatus this month but those obligations are over and we’re back on track again for this week. Join us?” As she spoke, she and Khiar rose. Signe offered her hands towards Evony with a warm, genuine smile on her face.

Offline Evony Bos

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Re: Illiterate and Intolerant Minds
« Reply #21 on: Sep 09, 18, 07:09:17 PM »
It was one of the most satisfying things, she decided, to help a Queen find her feet and pick a direction.  There was just something that was absolutely delightful in recognizing that something she had to say could not only go into an ear but actively work to help someone come to a decision.  She often got the sensation that her words were just prattle and background noise, sometimes, and to be fair to most others that was entirely true.

She'd existed in a sphere of relative silence for so long that now she tended to make noise just because she could.  There was no need for absolute silence, most of the time, and so she didn't indulge in it very often. 

"You're welcome, Lady Dr... Signe."  She almost seemed bemusedly exasperated as she realized she'd nearly called the Queen by her formal title instead of the informal naming that they had been going with for this conversation.  It was too easy to do.  Something about Signe often had her feeling grubby and as if she needed to sit up straighter.

She lifted an eyebrow as Signe pointed at her, and then felt her lips turning up in a wide smile as she realized what hte pointing was for.  "I would be delighted, of course.  Your family is delightful."  Painfully delightful but still, delightful, all the same.  It was nice to sit at a large table and watch a familial clan talk and socialize as Signe's did.  Sometimes she could almost fool herself into letting her mind believe the illusion that it was her family, just for a little while.

She rose to her feet as the Queen did, reaching out to clasp hands with the Queen.  "Strength, Signe.  Approach life as if you mean to ride it, and you'll do just fine, I think.  You've got the spine in there.  I've seen it."  She chuckled, shaking her head.  "And if anyone gives you lip... well, remind them of why they're being short sighted idiots.  Just be ready and willing to back those words up with a fist if you use them."

It was the way of her own family, after all.  If she could pass this lesson on to Signe and Petra, then her father would likely smile with pride from his grave.  "Now then.  You get home safely, Lady, and I will return to making the place glow and shine."

 

 

anything