Maerwyn (mine), Daeruin (mine), the [second] Scroll (sunpc), Hawerth (mnpc)Title::
Bellator Paean Autumn FeastLocation::
8th Year Table; Main StageOOC::
YAY! 4 active players = lots of fun times. Now for my dark and dreadful post. ;-) Enjoy. And wow, CSI is cool. Too cool. I'm off to investigate this 'cool.' ||puts on CSI sunnies and struts out|| This depressing show may set the stormy mood for this post ....
Oh, and also ... if anyone has forgotten where places are in Koe, here is the map: http://www.geocities.com/bellatorpaean/map_bellator_02.jpg ....
~:: Lord Daeruin ::~
The wind held an abnormal chill, seemingly as unhindered by the heavy woolen cloaks of the ship's crew as the icy rain it carried. Heavy drops spattered the deck in thin waves of moisture, drawing curses from men and elves alike as they faught to keep their footing on the ship's surface. It had been but two days since they had departed from sight of land, having followed the coastline of what had once been the fair land of Ailemora - and now was the satellite realm of Rhaedok-Kai, barran of all decent forms of life. Their mission had been a simple one, and having completed the morally nefarious exercise, the crew was more than eager to reach the relative safety of their home port. Two of the crew had been isolated out of necessity, and likely were drawing their last, painful breaths as the west-facing pinnacles of the Isle of Cortenous rose above the horizon, razor-tipped and jagged beneath the broiling clouds.
Lord Daeruin drew his eyes from the sight to meet the eyes of his first mate. "Take her around to the North harbour. Once we dock, all crew are to remain on board until word arrives from Cortenous." Daeruin's subordinate nodded slowly, and strode down the reeling deck to carry out his orders. Slowly, the grey-green hills of the Lost Isle fell away to the westward as the ship wended its way through a maze of jumbled rocks and bleached reefs. The cries of the crewmen were lost amid the howling wind, weather Daeruin knew to be most unnatural.
His grey blue eyes betraying an anxiety that he rarely felt, Daeruin returned to his survey of the isle as it continued to encroach upon both the skies and his mind.
"I hope that She is pleased," the Kairin elf murmured. "The Great Game has been unleashed, and now Her enemies will reap the benefits of their opposition." Those cold pale eyes flickered momentarily as the right hand of cruelty itself overcame his momentary lapse of composure. "Death. Let us hope it will not claim us all." He had already lost two of his crew, and feared that the rest were doomed to the same end - although by other means. They knew too little, had seen too much ... and were now to pay the blood price of service to the Betrayer. //We are all pawns in this little Game of Hers,// Daeruin reminded himself. //Shame ... they are the best crew I've had for many years.//
~:: Maerwyn ::~
The young Aldarone awoke from her reverie as the final words of the Vyannese scroll were read, the concluding admonition echoing in her mind as the scroll vanished in a burst of golden light, magically relocated to the ancient archives of Bellator Paean.
"He wishes to remind those who dwell within the House of Learning of the ancient trust of protection they once swore with the purpose of invoking it."
For a moment, her eyes stared vacantly into space, until out of the rising cacophany of sounds around her, a single voice was raised in a song of merriment.
'Oooh, when I left m’ mother dear
The world was dark and grey
But now a feast or famine here
I’ll keep the dark at baaay ...'
Astonished at the seeming conflict of the merry tune with her gloomy thoughts, Maerwyn spun around to face the singer. It took her a moment to comprehend the strange sight of a female pixie sitting surrounded by dozens of the most popular dishes of the feast in the very center of the 8th Year table, belting out a tune of seeming insensibility while the students sat stunned, gaping at the sight of a damp, apple-scented pixie in their midst. A distant memory of having glimpsed this particular feast-goer earlier in the night rose at the back of the elf's thoughts as the subject finished her song with apparently genuine gusto.
'Oooh how an’ where the food might come
It really doesn’t matter
For twice upon this merry day
I kissed my dear grand patter!'
With a grand flourish, the precocious pixie settled into demolishing a handy drumstick while Maerwyn watched in mixed amusement and consternation. However, she was unable to concentrate exclusively on the featherbrained performer as at the very moment that the pixie concluded her song, a brown-feathered owl fluttered down into view above the stage. The twitters that had held aloft the first scroll converged once more as a second scroll was unfurled.
Almost at once, the atmosphere of the assembly altered, descending into an attentive silence as the scroll began to speak in a scratchy, elderly female voice - as if the scroll's creator had been forced to speak it in a hurry and had not had the time or strength to embellish it with a more forceful personality. Maerwyn's breath caught as she strained to listen, peering above the intervening tables towards the hovering parchment. Any thoughts of the connection between the Anora she had sung and the birth of Aelwood's daughter (conveniently of the same name), or of the astonishing presence of a pixie were immediately banished.
"Word from the Diplomatic Court of Kinglyfort, to the Council of the Wrose of Bellator Paean, seeking aid and succor in these dark times."
Maerwyn noticed a tallish man on the fringe of the gathering straighten slightly, but her eyes were entirely focused on the scroll that now seemed to blaze with its own sharp light.
"The entire realm is in upheaval ... hundreds of our southern people have fallen ill from an evil malady, a plague released upon us. Its exact origins are not known, as all who come in contact with those who first caught sick have died themselves."
The silence that had descended was so thick that it could be cut with a blunt dagger.
"The illness threatens entire villages along our border already, and it was first detected not three days ago. Those unlucky enough to catch it first complain of a rash, or a blanching of the skin on the shoulders and neck, and break out in a fever within eight hours of the first symptom. This rapidly escalates into exhaustion, breathing difficulties, dilerium, loss of consciousness, and finally death. There has been no time to accurately count those affected, but it seems that hundreds may have already died." The woman's voice seemed to raise an octave, reflecting its maker's increasing concern. "We know where this plague comes from. It is its origin that has caused us to contact you, and beg for assistance. The Wrose Alliance long stood the test of time before its existance became unnecessary. We call upon that old allegience now. We know where the Plague originated, but not where it was introduced. We know who has sent it. Not an hour ago, a scroll arrived from the land of Ykkor-"
At the mention of this name, the teachers shifted in their chairs, some of them making as if to dismiss the feast. The students ignored the motion, every eye fixed above the stage.
"- addressed to us from Cortenous herself - curse her name! She laughs at us, and our efforts to halt the spread of this disease. Her word is that there is a cure, but it must be won. It seems that now the allies of Kinglyfort must win it as a prize in a game only a sadist could enjoy. This is beyond the power of our Court, our entire realm. If the plague is not halted in Kinglyfort, it will spread to all of the remaining countries not under Her dominion. We call upon you now as friends and allies of old, for assistance." The voice paused, then continued. "Many of those who have died have not yet been identified. Those who have been, and have connections to the community of Bellator Paean are as follows."
The assembled students began to mutter amongst themselves - many had friends or family who lived in the realm of Kinglyfort, which bordered Alipe Equus to the south. The scroll began to pronounce several names in a hasty manner, to which the students only half-listened. Many were now standing, crowding around the teachers in a vain effort to gain more information. Several voices floated above the crowd, however.
" ... Artaynia DeMoisse, Andoran elf .... "
" ... Khedivo Tyllm, dyade .... "
" ... Sirrane Porelle, human .... "
" ... Mallia Rholn, seltorike .... "
A tiny seltorike child seated a quarter of the way along the 1st Year table burst into tears, sobbing into her hands as her shrill voice penetrated the furour of the students. "Mother ...." The scroll continued, unstoppable.
" ... Elaina Jespar Korinne, human ... Landon Peir, human ... Harrin Mortavoila, naiorr ... Sylfin Daystar, human .... "
Maerwyn's eyes misted as the voice continued to speak, her words unwanted and yet so necessary. The school's Master of Herbal Lore, Professor Hawerth raised his voice to compete with the din, dismissing the students to their private quarters with a few gentle words. Even as the students turned to leave, spirits oppressed, downfallen, the scroll's continuing voice haunted them across the lawn.
And the stars glittered brightly overhead, untouched by the troubles of the living.