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Current Season & Month:  , Year: 543 A.R. (ref)

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The Enchanted Forest of Rosewood: Inside the Barrier

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Duilliath
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Here is the world contained and preserved within the strange barrier of fiery black glass.

At present it is only accessible from The Glow: The Heart of the Rosewood. Other attempts to enter will be flung out to another part of the Forest.

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


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Duilliath
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The Sidhe was confronted by a familiar puzzle, but one writ large:

E61E95F6 DF9B 445A AD11 EF342975B650

The walls of smoky glass contained a pattern that was complex, but not unfamiliar… 

He walked forward, it was not a surprise that he was alone, everyone had to walk the Maze alone in the end.

The question remained though: what would he find at the end?

Where was Doré?

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


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Absynthe
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The Way

Once she found the design imprint, she spent a great deal of time studying it. While she had never before herself navigated a labyrinth, she knew of them, and this definitely seemed to be one. 

Did she actually want to traverse it? Doré could not see any sign of him, however if anyone were likely to be the reward for successfully completing maze, 'twould be Duilliath. Mayhap she would even find him before she had gone too far? 

With that hope in her heart, she started forward.

This post was modified 1 month ago by Absynthe

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Duilliath
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Duilliath: A-Mazed and Confused

The Sidhe continued forward, his step more confident than his mind, which swirled in agitation over the nature of The Barrier. 

There was a distinct Familiarity to the enchantment - anyone could put a barrier around something.  

Honestly! Castles surrounded by walls of briars were practically a lyr a score.

There was something deeply familiar about the ‘maze’ with the Barrier, one or the other would suffice… but only a creature with ‘some Sidhe in them’ might successfully navigate.

What was the purpose of that, then?

”I suppose it keeps out the Riff-Raff.” He reasoned aloud.  But if it did so, why would it keep out something like Baoun? The answer, he was certain, lay at the heart of the maze itself.

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


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Duilliath
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After what seemed like an eternity of walking, he paused to have a bit of a drink and regard the featureless smoky landscape that he found himself in.  He wanted to talk, and so he did.  It should be noted that listening to a Sidhe, especially one given to wordiness and allusion such as the Storyteller or Sionache himself, was an endurance contest in extremis

With a Mad Sidhe Storyteller with only the audience he brought with him, that was a recipe for confusion and insanity.  

The Sidhe, not a good one for being alone, bent his own ear, regaling himself of many a past feat - simply because he needed to hear someone speaking.  Stimulus, it should be noted, is a means of existence for Sidhe.  They live for sensation, for flavor, for color, for aroma... and touch.  

The Mad Fool, gabbled on to himself about past victories, past defeats, past loves, past losses. 

Then he started to sing, and the songs he remembered in this otherwise featureless place were as disordered as his thoughts....

"Dai bach y soldiwr,

Dai bach y soldiwr,

Dai bach y soldiwr,

A chwt ei grys e mas."

Which segued into other songs, all in a jumble:  

"Sé mo laoch mo ghile mear
Bonnie boy, ghile mear
You will be my gallant star
Oh heys to me mo ghile mear"

 

"Quoi ! des cohortes étrangères
Feraient la loi dans nos foyers!
Quoi ! Ces phalanges mercenaires
Terrasseraient nos fiers guerriers! 
Grand Dieu! Par des mains enchaînées
Nos fronts sous le joug se ploieraient
De vils despotes deviendraient
Les maîtres de nos destinées!

Aux armes, citoyens..."

By the time he was marching forward again, ready to storm the barricades. He moved forward now, with a purpose, double time. 

~*~

This Sidhe, of course, was NEVER alone, and while he struggled to maintain any kind of focus on his task at hand, it was only the Nathair who watched... and watched silently.  Madness was his weapon... and his sustenance.  He would Feast upon the Sidhe's alteration of Reality.  

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


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Duilliath
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Duilliath - The Song of the Crow

The Sidhe suddenly heard, quite clearly, as though just around the corner, "Nuair a bhriseann an taos, titfidh an scealpadh!" and he felt a part of his Spirit return to him, brushing by him unseen on soft black and white wings. 

Wait?  Brushing by unseen... on black and white wings?  How would be be able to know their color?

Sidhe defy logic at all times, Lambkin.  Sometimes things just ARE.  

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


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Absynthe
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Quiz

Yes, she was a lady, but she was no wilting flower when it came to difficulty. Doré walked for a long time, trying to use her memory of the pattern and sky as a means of navigation. She didn't have a way to measure her success by anything other than--Do I see Duilliath?

  • If 'No,' keep walking.
  •  
  • If 'Yes,' stop walking.

So far, it was a sea of noes, but that didn't mean there was not an island of yes somewhere close. She hummed to herself, a favorite song about smiting demons. Her mood brightened appreciably as she thought about her formidable mistress. 


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Duilliath
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Duilliath -

The Center of it All, Redux

The Sidhe moved forward, with a purpose and sometimes without one. The End of his Path was not so much the end of his journey - oh, after 3500 years and change he knew better.

One moment he was surrounded by the cold embrace of the smoky glass walls, the next he stepped out from that world of nullify… to one of riotous sensation.  After being deprived, it felt powerful and potent indeed.

There was a bright sun and three moons hanging in the sky, the trees and meadow flora were an aching green - and all around was the buzz of insects and the rustle of wind. 

The density of magic here was incredible, without trying it started to force its way into his bones - as if by osmosis.  For a moment it was alarming, but it also was healing the rents in the broken shell of his Spirit.

As he turned to look upon the maddening scene, it was as if someone had gathered all the special Fae magic in the Rosewood, distilled and condensed it into the area inside of he Barrier.

”Yes, I See you, wall of magic glass, and I see all within this place. What I don’t see is my Golden Goal. Girl…” he shook his head. Nor Baoun, for that matter. 

He heard, about 10 bow shots away, the bubbling of water… he knew he must go there.

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


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Absynthe
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Prayers Welcome

Finally, thirst and lack of food slowed Doré's steps in the maze. She rubbed her hazel eyes, tired and uncertain if she was making any progress. Where was her Sidhe?

She sat down beside one of the tall walls and noticed a praying mantis. It seemed to be entangled in a very thick purplish web of some sort. Indeed, the prodigious web was three or four times her size. The mantis, smaller than her hand, was no match for it.

Carefully, she released it from the web, "Now you're free, little one. Take your pretty legs and live another day." She touched it very gently, imagining it well and healthy.

Sleepy now, she dozed. When she awoke, it was to the sight of five eyes looking at her. Doré blinked and looked at the very large leaf green insect. It made some sort of chittering sound that translated as, 'We should go,' in her head.

"Wait, how did you become so large?" She asked, puzzled. Instead of replying, it bent its bowed foreleg so it touched the ground near her. Am I awake? she wondered. The only way to find out was the climb aboard the medium-pony-sized insect.

She had just settled herself on the hard body, when the mantis started moving, a strange sort of locomotion that was a bit like pacing. "Where are we going?" The mantis flicked antennae her direction.

Up, it simply said. And they started to climb.


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Duilliath
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Posted by: @duilliath

He heard, about 10 bow shots away, the bubbling of water… he knew he must go there.

The world inside the Barrier had its own set of Rules; as well as its own set of Physics.  

It seemed to take hours to cross the wood, and suddenly, he was there.  The Water of the Glow lay in a basin of unknown depth, and in its center, like a great water lily, was the massive bluish-white flower that formed the heart of the Glow itself.

Here was a new thing: the bridge that had been there had been reduced to pilings only. 

A small coracle lay on the nearer shore. He climbed down, because he supposed he had to.

As he did always, he looked for Doré.

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


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Duilliath
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Duilliath, They Call Me the Seeker

For one reason, he was drawn to the Water and the Bloom and Island it formed.  Doré had to be near, he called for her, his voice, by some property of the Enclosure echoed loudly, bouncing off each surface of the Barrier.  Even against those surfaces that curved away unseen.

The little boat beckoned.

He picked his way to the little jetty and climbed aboard.

No oars or pole was provided.

None was needed.

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


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Absynthe
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Ashore, Ashore

Doré had the unshakable feeling that Duilliath was near water of some sort. A fall? A trough? An ocean? That she did not know, but she hoped she was communicating that to the mantis. On the off chance the mantis knew more, she also imagined what Duilliath looked like, along with Baoun, who was just as distinctive as the Sidhe.

Do you ever hold other thoughts? Asked the Mantis in her head as it continued its never-ending walk across what she thought might be the top edges of the labyrinth. 

In a bit of a fugue state, she was startled free and sat more upright. "One time, I thought mostly of my mistress, Absynthe." With a whimsical smile, she pictured Absynthe. "She is quite fierce," she added nostalgically. "We have a court song--I shall hum it and you can accompany me."

For a time uncounted, they hummed together, sounding like a pair of bagpipes from different lands. However, they had no critics to please--only themselves. Then the mantis told her a bit about the maze and those within. How one day you could be enormous and almost invincible, and then you could become small enough that almost anything could harm one.

Eventually, the mantis climbed down and she was silent, just in case it needed to concentrate. In the quiet, she could hear water lapping. The mantis stopped a few yards from a shoreline, and she slid down the mantis's leg. Working out her stiffness in the steps to the shore, and her eyes scanned in each direction.

"Duilliath?"


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Duilliath
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Duilliath, Don’t Pay The Ferryman

The Sidhe entered the small craft at the rear, though it should probably have been called the stern… it was difficult to discern on what was essentially a round craft.  Coracle were old designs, ones that had been used by the painted and limed Tribes he had known in other realms.

Here, he alighted. 

The little boat bobbed in the waters.

Here, he waited.

The little boat chuckled to itself by simply bobbing some more.

The Sidhe’s dark reddish brow furrowed, “Go,” he commanded sharply.

The boat continued its jape. It did nothing.

He commanded, “Hence! Hie! Thither! Sail?”

Nothing happened.

”Damn it,” he breathed, “Take me to the island.”

At the bow of the craft, or at least at the other end, came a shimmer in the air, dark outlining light, with two shadowy pits within.

”Know me.” It intoned sepulchrally. A long pole appeared in skeletal hands.

”Oh, for the sake of the gods… you?” The Sidhe could only be annoyed at sharing a vessel… with Death himself.

Herself. Itself.

Death wasn’t particular.

 

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


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Duilliath
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Duilliath, a Sea of Sighs

The Sidhe sighed deeply, “Aye, I know you… or at least this aspect of you, but for the sake of argument, do,” he rolled his hand in an effort to either jog his memory or simply move the conversation along, “Do speak your piece.”

“I, among other things, Mort…” he shook his bony head, “Yes, you don’t fit that bill, do you? Very well, You,” he continued, “I am an aspect of your old Companion, The Lord Death.  I am the courier, the boatman or the guardian of the Underworld River.  In this aspect, I am The Ferryman.  It amuses me to appear  in this place, and I appreciate you… imagining me.  You send The Morrighan much tribute, it’s good for traffic.  To business.  First, the fare.”

”Nae, not so.  I know the Lore, none know the Lore of Death better than I.” 

“Tell me, Charon Aspect of Death,” the Sidhe continued, “do you remember riding at my right hand among the Anthrim and the Hunn? That was a surfeit of souls for the Morrighan that day.  And at two denarii a soul, a tidy profit for you.”

”I shall pay when we reach the Center. Do the job for which you were summoned… not for banter… row.”

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


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Duilliath - Don't Fear the Reaper

Duilliath sat back in the coracle's stern while the Bone Ferryman himself sighed and muttered under its... well not breath... unless a death rattle counts as breath, that is.  "Ordering Death about.  What's the World coming to?  Disrespectful Aos," he worried at the pole and started pushing off.  

"Oh... and most importantly, I'm looking for a Girl."

Sort of Mirth sparked in The Bone Ferryman's empty eyesockets. At least it looked like Mirth.  Death held no dread for the Sidhe, though it would be filled with Regret.  "Aren't you Always looking for a Girl?" 

"I am not usually looking, Ferryman.  They are usually finding me."

"I remember your other girls, Sidhe.  They were not immortal.  Of course, not all of them came to me. Some are still... wandering? Is that a good name for it?"

"You are shaky ground, my Fiend... Friend.  I would go softly, when you speak of The Lost."

The little coracle set off.  Duilliath scanned the shoreline they departed, he was not altogether sure that Doré could be kept safe in the Death Boat of The Bone Ferryman, but, being what he was, everything always existed in equal (?) potential.  Whether he willed it or no.  

"Your other friends, never came to me.  The ones in that squalid little village downriver, what was it called?  Fraught?  Strength? Faith?  No... Straith.  Their spirits never rested." 

He was silent for a time as the shore seemed to grow no closer, and no farther.  The Nature of Fae Magics was tedious, Duilliath decided, but he kept it to himself.  "Do you want them?" asked the Sidhe, thinking of them as a possible bargaining chip. "One of Tasks I have taken is to redeem that place.  It was my action," he said, "that broke it in the first place."

"I would take them and be glad of it.  And your Other Tasks?  What of them? I can See some way down your Thread, though you are not one of Mine."

Here it was the Sidhe's turn to be silent, then he nodded.  "I will make a bargain with you.  When I have redeemed the Village of Straith, I will end the pointless and tedious existence of the Wandering Dead, the Shades of Old.  I will give them to you, in exchange for their safe passage to the afterworld and for your insight now."

"Done. The Deal with Death is made."

"Oh... don't be so dramatic.  I have seen you on fire, my Friend.  I saw you on the run before that Healer from the Austere.  But, Agreed, the Deal is Done."

The Bone Ferryman sniffed, sort of, through his bone holes in his bony head.  "Well then, here is what I See.  Your Girl, the New Golden One, is Near.  Also... Far.  Fae Magic is so tedious.  She entered this place when you did, but she walked her own path, as Mortals must."  The bony fingers closed about the top of the pole and he 'looked' into the distance, "After you do what you came here to do... you must find an Old Friend, that is close to Well and has been alone for a long time.  That Friend will lead you to the Next Girl.  She is currently not on my side of the Veil.  But I can't tell [or won't tell] you where she is.  Only that she is well." He laughed drily.  "Well, well... that seems to be a theme with you, doesn't it, Shadowleaf?  You... who are the bane and the Doom of your Kith? You may be mine to row sometime, with another purpose."  Duilliath kept note, there were too many 'Wells' in the Bone Ferryman's statement to be insignificant. 

"Beyond that, I can speak no further.  I will do what you have bid, and you... will do what you have Promised.  Give me the Wandering Dead. And perhaps we can make other deals.  Your kind are missing, but they are not Dead. The strongest of them still sleep. The weakest have hidden themselves."

And with that, he gave a small flourish, as the craft bumped on the shore of the 'Island' that held the Bloom.  It was shrouded in mist. "End of the line, my Friend Duilliath.  Go... with the Blessing of Death on you."  He laughed softly. 

The Sidhe nodded and leapt ashore onto the too-bright green grass.  A strange aroma filled the air, one that smelled like every good thing imaginable, all distilled together.  The effect was surprisingly revolting. 

He turned, but the craft and its bizarre pilot were gone.

This time, Death had both the Last Word and the Last Laugh.

Apparently. 

There was no time for other thought, but to strike inland on the tiny island and move to the Heart of the Rosewood.  

 

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


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