Today is of the Cycle Of The Seventh Moon.
Current Season & Month:  , Year: 543 A.R. (ref)

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River Ahvinn, The Long-Abandoned Ruined Village of Straith

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Duilliath
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The Ruins of the Village, abandoned for centuries

Here is the once-surviving, but not thriving, Village of Straith.  Reduced to a series of lichen and moss-covered foundations, there are four large mounds at the edge of the ruined remains.  Once there were four or five dozen folk who lived here, now, there are dry bones scattered by long-gone predators.

In a few places, if you look carefully, one can see the scorch and soot marks on the stonework that remains.  Little enough of interest is here, unless you count the four large mounds and the single well.  One one of the mounds, there is a tilted standing stone, long since fallen off straight.

Duilliath Suilleach Seanake, Fool and the Traveler Who Lost a Kingdom


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Duilliath
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A Dream Uncertain 

“I remember this place…” and he did.  There was the Ahvinn, used by him and his companions to avoid the bane of The Dark Tower.  

There had been another blonde girl then, Raivynn, and his old friend the satyr Benben Ben. The evidence of their passage persists: they had something to do with the tilted standing stone.

That almost made him laugh, and the smile he wore touched his eyes.

“There’s something peculiar in the air, still…” mischief in music..

Duilliath Suilleach Seanake, Fool and the Traveler Who Lost a Kingdom


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Duilliath
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Duilliath:  My Sole Intention

The Rosewood was a dangerous place, and in the heart of it, some of the most destructive and gluttonous creatures lived.  

Duilliath could *See* and when he looked toward the River, confused masses of souls wandered to and fro.

The place was full of bones.

The place was full… of holes.

The place was not filled with anything else…

”Foxes down foxholes…” he muttered.

There was something among the souls of the slain. Something dark.

There was ALWAYS something dark. Now, it was time for a change.

“Step carefully.” He said, “The stelae on yon mound used to stand straight,” well, before the damned satyr had loosed the stored spell early.  

The Nathair whispered to him again, showing him things. Showing how the stelae’s damage had weakened something fundamental and protective. And how a year later, doom had befallen the villagers. Doom from an evil that called others to it and those had padded in on clawed feline feet.

He shut out the Sgiathac’s visions, kneeling down to put his hands among the stones of the closest mound.  That hand rose with a few gold coins and a bronze torc.

“There are treasures here, in those mounds as be scattered nearby.  Nothing has taken them in all this time…”

Duilliath Suilleach Seanake, Fool and the Traveler Who Lost a Kingdom


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Duilliath
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Àrun`ciàtha, Awakened

image

Àrun`ciàtha stirred and woke, opening one violet eye. Her dreams of late had been disturbed by ripples in the Rosewood.  She woke fully, padding on soft, clawed feet to the edge of her lair.  She knew, like one who watched constantly, that someone or something unwelcome had entered her Preserve.  They disturbed her treasures.  It did not matter in the least that she had no use for them and had left them scattered throughout the ruins of that pesthole village of humans.  But clearly, they had come back.

That... and there was something else with them.  Something Old, older than her, if it could be believed, and it was very, very dangerous. 

 

It was also very, very weak.  There might be no better time to address this 'problem'. She gathered up her staff and padded to her gear, dressing.  Then she passed beyond the cunningly hidden and illusionary rockfall and vines that hid her Lair to see for herself. 

Duilliath Suilleach Seanake, Fool and the Traveler Who Lost a Kingdom


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Baoun, The Cat - Four Paws of Mischief 🐾 🐾 

The Sidhe’s Companion of the four footed variety was not as interested in these baubles but began butting Doré’s hand, seeking his previous bauble, The Gold Bug. 

Baoun’s preternatural senses flared a bit at the margins of his awareness. As a talented Ur-Cat, he was uniquely sensitive to changes in the natural order.  

He had sprung down, having given up on his quest to retrieve his magical toy and sat at Duilliath’s feet.  

These treasures were pretty but there was something interesting in the mound that the Sidhe stood on the edge of. He slammed his head against his shin, receiving an absent-minded scratching from the Seanake. 

He poked a paw into a tiny gap and worried at a tiny stone.

Duilliath Suilleach Seanake, Fool and the Traveler Who Lost a Kingdom


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The Breath of Shadows

While her Sidhe knew this place, she did not. For a brief moment after dismounting, she thought she glimpsed a satyr dancing with blonde-haired woman. His tail and her hair created a merry whirl, and there was a trickle of music--both sad and hopeful at once. She took a step back away from Duiliath, feeling perhaps these were more intimate memories or ghosts who had once cast their lots with him.

She felt the play of fingers up the back of her neck, and when she spun and turned, she did not see anyone. Doré gave an uneasy shiver and was almost certain she could feel the gloom around them breathing.

She heeded his words and trod carefully. While Marigold drank uneasily and fitfully cropped the grass, she moved closer to her Sidhe once again. 

"Am I wrong in thinking you are the greatest treasure amongst these mounds? I do wonder if you shall be so unmolested."


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Duilliath - The Ecstasy of Gold

 

The Sidhe’s long fingers in his gloved left hand slipped around hers. It was a gesture, or an expression, or something like that.  When he squeezed them slightly her borrowed Sight cleared and sharpened.  The Lines of Power that cross-crossed the land seemed to weave into something very strange here.  Distorted by the fallen Stelae, they ran in crazy patterns.

They wove round each of the four peaks, distorted near the sloughed standing stone: partner to all intents to The Menhir he had used to return.

Her comment came from a place of innocence.  He knew better.

”When you have the last of something, it is either very precious in its rarity or nearly valueless, since once it is used, there is no more of it.”

His fingers twitched, and she see from the corner of her eye his left hand, and in her enhanced vision, it crawled with tendrils of bluish purple fire. The fires moved from his fingertips to his elbow and vanished back within. The rest of him glowed with that even, steady silvery flame.

”A precious thing,” he said, looking between her and the torc, “Nothing here is more valuable than you.”

Duilliath Suilleach Seanake, Fool and the Traveler Who Lost a Kingdom


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Star Dark, Star Bright

After she checked on Marigold, she sat down, facing her Sidhe, who was also seated with Baoun . The moggie was weaving and head butting Duilliath (Not that the Sidhe did not look like he could use a bit of butting) , and seemed very restless. That was worrisome, especially combined with Marigold's constant head-lifting to gaze around them.

Her hazel eyes swept over the Sidhe, and although she was nae an expert on what a Sidhe in the peach of health should look like, hers was looking more like something the moggie had toyed with.

"Ach, ye look pure done in." Her accent faded in and out, depending upon who she spoke with and her mood. Something quite necessary for a lady or lady in waiting who could be required to speak with any number of people.

She gathered wood, and set a fire burning after fetching water for the kettle. opened her basked of supplies and looked for multiple items. Softly, she counseled herself: 

"Oregano. Echinacea...ah..." She leaned in more. "A wee bit of the wood burnt under the stars..." Into the cup they went, crushed together leaving a distinct spicy, woodsy scent when she added the water.

"Now," Doré stated matter-of-factly as she stood. "You shall drink this, and I shall do a laying of the hands. We must remove of the dark, else I fear you may become darker than a well of ink on a moonless night." The first contact of her hands on his shoulders from behind, swept her more vividly into her earlier vision upon her arrival, but she had expected this. Eyes closed, she merely nodded politely to those she saw and continued on toward the light and warmth that bathed over one like the most clement spring...

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Absynthe
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         Ah, the Kiss of Poison

It was nae working. There was more here than what she had previously thought. Doré moved her hands from his shoulders, across his muscled upper arms and just as she was fanning her fingers to make the curvature of his elbows when she felt a startling bolt of heat. 

Her body shuddered and she bumped him from behind, her skin flushed, and from somewhere far off, she heard Marigold snort. Doré felt numbness creep up her arm, and she broke contact quickly. The numbness retreated sullenly. 

"Th-there is something...by your elbow." She took a deep breath and circled to face him, crouching and gazing up.

"'Tis poisoning you. It must come out, Duilliath."


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Duilliath - Nothing at All

The Sidhe had retreated without realizing into a reverie that threatened his tenuous hold on sanity... and literally, his reality.  For him, the flow of fevered fires was a lens by which he could see more clearly - more like in the Old Times.  Then, the ley lines had fed him these kinds of visions clearly - those long dead, those hidden, those were might not have been, or were yet to be.  At her touch, he closed his eyes, still seeing the souls of the departed walking before him, along with one larger, shadowed figure.  Cloaked and hooded, that one did not approach, but rather bided his time and waited. 

The Shadowleaf knew him.  They were old friends.  He turned his dark gaze to the equally dark void in the cowl and he smiled brilliantly.  

Before he could speak, her words came to him, bitter teas were consumed and fragrant herbs reached his nose born on tendrils of steam. 

He was content to drift, but now he opened his eyes.  When she passed her hands over him, he turned to stare at her as she did so, he did not quite understand her words - There was nothing wrong with him, after all.  Nothing.  Nothing at all.

Nothing, unbidden a red-gold face of elfish heritage stared at him mournfully.  Nothing. What was she doing here?

Nothing's countenance vanished and that of Doré returned, warm, looming before him, eyes crinkled with concern. "There is iron here," he said, "and I cannot feel it."

"You mean to cut me."  He lifted his hand for a moment, for the first time seeing the contagion in it, the lines of venom that crawled over it.  

"I give you leave.  Two conditions I have:  use the knife in my rucksack... and don't leave me to Fade.  I have work yet to do."

He reached up and gripped her hand.  "Stay with me."  His strange voice just a whisper. 

Baoun leapt from his lap and pawed at the rucksack, seeking the strange stone-bladed knife that he had carried from the Far Land of Aguateca, holding all this time.  Duilliath's hand clasped hers hard, flooding her with images and sounds; she felt that he did not fear in the way that other creatures might, but he was worried. 

 

 

Duilliath Suilleach Seanake, Fool and the Traveler Who Lost a Kingdom


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Released

A stunning beauty with red-gold hair and tipped ears seemed to appear beside her, cloaked in elegant sorrow. Doré knew she must act. The veil was thinning and her Sidhe would be lost to her in far too few breaths. 

Releasing one hand, she looked to Baoun and stretched sideways to the rucksack, keeping in contact with the delirious Sidhe. "Most clever moggie," she crooned as her free fingers carried out five searches as once. Her ring finger touched the handle of the knife, and her other fingers joined in capturing it and drawing it forth. 

In other circumstances, she would have spent far more time studying the unique blade. Let the visions wash over you. Learn from them, but do not be swept aside. Do not be distracted from the most important task you have ever been called on to carry out...

His color was changing and his expression seemed to quiver ever so slightly. It was happening! Hurry! Hurry! 

Doré drew the hand she held against her and explored the befouled area in the crook of his arm. "Cleanse Duilliath even as wind, rain, and fire cleanse the stone of this blade," she charged the knife as she made the incisions quickly and decisively. The blood that welled forth was feotid. She half-retched at the evil smell, but continued until she had pushed the shard free of his flesh with the blade.

It fell to the soil beside her, greenish tendrils curling toward her...but then Baoun pounced and she swore she heard a shriek before the tendrils scattered to the corners of the wind.

Dexterously, she cut a flounce off her skirt with one hand, then set the blade down, and observed the wound. The blood now looked and smelled more normal, so she started wrapping it tightly, when he seemed to collapse toward her. 

"No!" She pushed him backwards with all her strength and maneuvered him into her lap and half against her chest, one hand still holding the half-bandaged wound, the other his own hand. "No! You must needs remain with us," tears slid down her cheeks.

Her breath ratcheted in with sobs, her cheek against his hair as she held onto him, willing him not to fade. Softly, "Are we not worthy of you?"

 


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Talan
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The Watching River

She had gone back to her Father, the River Ahvinn, shortly after Straith was sacked by the Moonwenders and the demon that had puppeted Inarion.  She had lost good friends that day, they only had known her as ‘Old Woman’ who resided in one of the small huts and healed people with her herbs.  In reality she was a Daughter of the Ahvinn, a creature of the Great River, a water spirit. Her name was Deradith.

She watched them, the girl, the cat and the Other shrouded on the bank by a low mist.  She was tall, neither a young nor an old face, but timeless.  Her hair flowed liked moonlight on the river down her back and her lithe limbs were shrouded in a silvery blue silk.

The Other was ill it seemed and the girl his healer as well as companion.  The cat was an oddity in the group, She could see it as a cat and yet it’s spiritual glow was more. Curiosity had bought her to the water’s edge, creatures in Straith that were not Wenders. Creatures that needed to be careful as the dreaded destroyers of Straith were still close…possibly the demon too, one could never be too careful where his kind were concerned.

Yet elsewhere on the Ahvinn she sensed another and an old friend.


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Duilliath
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Duilliath- Hello Darkness My Old Friend 💀 

He leaned against Doré, bathed in the golden fires of her aura.  His silver flame was nearly entirely enveloped.  

He lay for a moment, breathing shallowly, while his vision swam with colors and unseen things.  His blood trickled over her fingers, sharing his visions, at least a little.

The dark figure that had appeared before him glided over and peered into the night opal of the Sidhe’s gaze.

“Hello, Lord Duilliath”, whispered the cloaked shape.

The Sidhe opened his mad bloody gaze.

”Hello, Lord Mortis,” he greeted him formally, “you are looking well, have you lost weight?”

”Is this your Time?  I think it is close.”

”No, the Fading will take me before your touch will, Mortis.” He laughed weakly, “This is not your hour.”

”I think you are correct,” said Mortis, looking deeply into the Sidhe.  “I have never collected one of your kind, Lord Duilliath, and I think it will be… different.”

”You will have to wait, Lord Death,” using Mortis’ title, “I am not ready to go, either way.  They will not let me go so easily…”

Doré grasped him tightly, Baoun, in his True Form, paced nearby, his eyes fixed on the dark figure - his own form shifting and malleable.

”When it is time, Lord Duilliath, I will return.  I go to stalk the lands of men.”

”I have work to do still,” he breathed aloud looking up at Doré and her beautiful tear streaked face. 

“My life, I owe to you.  I live…”

Duilliath Suilleach Seanake, Fool and the Traveler Who Lost a Kingdom


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Baoun The Cat 🐈‍⬛ 

Baoun paced and twitched, restless and worried.  He was finding it difficult to maintain his form, the stress of having his Companion as close as he had ever been to dying or Fading put him in a high state of agitation.

At least the golden human with the soft hands was helping him now: the ugly sliver of iron had been removed: it now lay in a few drops of the Sidhe blood, and now the golden one was blotting it, and it welled slowly between her fingers.  

A few things happened: the dead parted and the black robed thing came forward.  The ruddy-haired Sidhe spoke with it, and it answered him.  It did not obey the Sidhe, though, which was troubling.  His attention was drawn to the ghostly echo of the river, in the pale mist stood a woman: another creature of power.  His attention was entire upon this newcomer as the black robed one retreated and the dead resumed their slow shuffling. Sidhe blood apparently attracted all manner of visitors, but from this one he sensed no ill intentions.  He leapt to a nearby block of stone and sat with his back straight and his tail curved up and to the right. 

Baoun was less careful to maintain his form, though, and with his attention focused on the newcomers, those who could see… could See him for nearly what he truly was…

That was certainly the case for the healer who had Sidhe blood on her hands…

Duilliath Suilleach Seanake, Fool and the Traveler Who Lost a Kingdom


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Absynthe
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                                                               By a Whisker

Doré was still and silent for half a moment, simply holding him tightly as her mind failed to offer any solution. Strands of her blonde hair, braided with a few feathered and beaded fetishes skimming across her already tear-blurred vision. One hand patted him mindlessly, consolingly, feeling she must do something to ease him on his way if he could not remain. 

The wind shifted and she blinked her eyes, clearing her vision. Beside the river was a woman with a dress the color of water, made with material that rippled like water. Striking with long silver hair...was that the face of Death? Where was Baoun? 

She was distracted from both threads of contemplation by words--his words--spoken very softly. Her red-rimmed hazel eyes opened wide, hope making her gasp.

"Yes! Oh, yes, you do have work to do still." She nodded and sniffed and she smoothed Duilliath's hair back. "So much work," she gave him a watery smile. He lived!


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