Killian Ashford's Wake
(OOC: The funeral service itself is being off-screened in favor of the wake.)
Dec. 26, 2017, 8 p.m.
Alaric Edain Isolde Leona Alistair Isabeau Samantha Valencia Fergus Silas Aislin Monique Lou Reese Dafne Cara Lark Aleksei Agnarr Ainsley Thesarin Esoka Calaudrin Luis Tikva Karadoc Lucita Estaban Thena Samael Arianna Sasha Lethe Archeron Shard Ian Sorrel
Arx - Ward of House Grayson - Ashford House - Forest Hall
Comments and Log
Sir Rodrick, a Valardin Knight, Spirit, the Sleepy Brown Fox, Echo, the Energetic Arctic Fox, Emma, the Educated Examiner arrive, following Sasha.
Lark arrives in the company of her two war hounds and a retinue of guards, as well protected as one might epxect the diminutive crown princess to be. On this solemn occasion, she holds herself as upright as she can, showing the strength her people might need in the wake of tragedy. Comforting smiles are offered to those she passes as she finds an out of the way place for herself. The ceremonial crown of the Graysons is affixed to her hair, no doubt a sign of respect conferred to the fallen.
A huge hideously ugly mastiff, Pyotr, a harried-looking Solace acolyte arrive, following Thena.
Lou takes a quick glance around the room as she steps inside, looking for two specific people; Reese and Aislin. She presses her lips together, then tries to get the lay of the rest of the land before deciding how to proceed through the crowd to be close to one, or the other, or both.
Killian Ashford is gone, but his presence is still in the room. The Forest Hall has been filled with tables, clustered into a loose set of two concentric circles. At the center is an empty space, where someone can stand and speak -- and a representation, Ashford-style, of Killian himself. A chair in which sits his alaricite blade, Bringer of Dawn, and his various military medals... and one little 'paladin of ideals' figurine.
Aislin, for her part, stands in that center circle. "Welcome," she says. "For those who've never been to an Ashford-style wake, our tradition is simple: we have a representation of the fallen -- or lost -- and we gather around." Here, she gestures to the chair full of Killian's things. "And then we simply toast him, and tell stories. There'll be tales of grief, but there should also be tales of joy. Of the things that he loved, and that we loved about him. And hopefully, gods willing, we'll all leave with the burden of grief and pain a little lighter at the end."
"Unless anyone has questions," the Ashford voice adds, "I'll start us off. And then anyone else who wants to speak can simply take their turn, stand up, and share a story about Killian."
It's a struggle for Ian to get himself up the stairs to the hall, and not because he's already gotten a jump start on the drinking (although this is Ian -- so he probably HAS gotten a jump start on the drinking). He's walking very slowly today, all of his attention on his feet as though every step, every shifting of his weight, is a decision that must be consciously and carefully made. He does get here, though, and finds an out of the way place to sit.
Lark has joined the line.
Edain has joined the line.
Samael has joined the line.
Calaudrin has joined the line.
It takes a moment before Aislin can find the words to actually begin her story; when she does speak, there's a roughness to her voice that speaks to the grief she's still wrestling with. "Killian... he was a brother to me, but we rarely had any opportunities to adventure together. Recently, though, we had one. We traveled far, far from Arx, hoping to help save a particularly rare animal -- griffons -- from predation. The story of where we went and how we found them isn't mine to tell, but... when we found poachers trying to steal the griffon eggs, I've never /seen/ Killian so furious. He was incandescent with rage. But he held his sword -- he let us negotiate for the eggs they had, sparing their life in return. And when we brought the eggs back to the griffons... it was like he was a child opening a gift. Seeing something wonderful, unimaginable."
Aislin can't help but smile here. "And the thing was, I knew I had the same expression. He used to joke that we looked more like twins than cousins, and I can only imagine what anyone who saw us right then would have thought." She turns to the alaricite sword, raising a glass of whiskey in toast. "My brother, my friend, my traveling companion... my self-proclaimed twin. You walk far more distant and unusual roads than I do now, and I hope your adventures are glorious." She takes a good long swallow of the whiskey, then steps aside to let the next person pay their respects.
Thena arrives in armor as Aislin is shepherding attendees into order to speak. Not much of a talker, the knight doesn't seem inclined to start now, and makes herself scarce at the edges of the gathering.
Turn in line: Lark
Alaric and retinue arrive with well-drilled precision, the King's usual megawatt smile and energetic bearing toned down for the occasion to a more sober and stately level. Some quiet greetings are given to the High Lords and Ashfords present but for the most part he finds a VIP seat to observe the proceedings while trying to be as unobtrusive as monarchically possible (which isn't much, but attempts are nonetheless made).
3 Armed Confessors arrives, following Alistair.
Reese arrives in the Forest Hall while adorned in her normal pink clothing, but there are some subtle differences. Her golden locks are a bit tangled with ribbons, her skin has a pallor and are shadows beneath her eyes. She looks toward Aislin as she speaks, giving her somber attention. Her attention then strays to Killian's items and Reese sucks in a soft breath.
Silas steps into the hall with his two guards following a few paces behind. He's replaced the rubicund armor he typically wears on duty with his white silk tunic and trousers, indicating he intends to stick around and get comfortable. His gaze first goes to those assembled that he recognizes, then to the memorabilia of the fallen. He relases a heavy sigh before moving towards the nearest table.
Leona has joined the line.
Calaudrin wanders in, looks a bit uncomfortable and finds a spot towards the front so he can go pay his respects. He looks uncomfortable, but resigned.
Esoka isn't a person who slips quietly anywhere, most of the time. Her gait is a naturally trompy thing. She does try to tread softly and respectfully into the Ashford wake, though. She's a leather armor set, the heirloom twin scimitars of Riven worn at her hip. Her shoulders and jaw are tight and her eyes hard, but chipperness probably isn't expected at a funeral.
Reese has joined the line.
Aleksei slips inside the Ashford House with a rather muted air. He's in white despite the occasion because he's always in white. He has the look of a man who's already done a fair bit of weeping over the past week or two, but for the moment, he's steady. Ish. He finds a seat, considering the line as if he's steeling himself, and then turns to listen to Aislin with the faintest of smiles.
Lucita steps into the hall with Estaban, quietly moving to the side out of the way of others. A silent nod is given those she recognizes. Her expression is somber.
Fergus has joined the line.
Lethe arrives to the event with a somber expression. She finds a quiet spot to listen to those who have a story to share.
Sasha walks into the hall upon Sir Rodrick's arm and takes a seat in the back. A hankercheif in her hand should she need it. She just sits quietly and listens to Aislin as she speaks.
Isolde has joined the line.
Lady Teldra, a Lycene noblewoman, Buchanan, a Champion, Steadfast, a guardian dog arrive, following Cara.
Alistair arrives as he always does. Hands clasped tightly behind his back, the red and black of his Order a clear mark of who he is. A trail of goo-- underli-- Confessors, behind him. He seems as he always does. Dour, passive and unemotional. His intense gaze sweeps those who are present, though he keeps to himself. He is not one to enjoy revelry of this type it seems.
Karadoc has joined the line.
Karadoc is dressed in plain silver silks, and seems a little uncertain what to do with himself at a wake. Still, late, he moves into line.
Ian stays out of the way; he nurses a drink, and shows no signs whatsoever that he intends to say anything or otherwise participate. But he's here, and he's watching. His electric gaze moves through the room, picking out people, following them for a little while, and then moving on.
Samael, Isolde and Agnarr enter the hall together, gathered around Arianna. They enter shortly before Aislin's announcement and move to find a place to stand and mourn their friend. Samael is dressed in a heavy black cloak that nearly completely hides the black and blue silks beneath. His eyes are red and he is scowling. Very unlike Samael.
Estaban walks into the hall looking around he is dressed in his leather armor with his sword at his hip and bow on his back, he sighs heavily spotting the items in the chair. He squeezes Lucita's hand gently looking around and being silent for the moment.
Leona is not guarding the King today. Or well, insofar as she doesn't arrive with the King anyway. But she does arrive and steps into line with her head held high. She's in full armor, polished to a pristine shine, her sword at her waist and a small dagger hanging from her sword belt. She keeps her gaze on Aislin as the Ashford speaks, and simply nods once as Aislin moves to let others speak of Killian.
Sorrel steps in quietly, her demeanor subdued for once. She has a serious expression on her face and she moves with purpose, keeping along the outside of the room. Being tall is a boon to her; she can see over most people's heads without issue.
Aislin has the air of someone who's trying very hard to focus on the good in the stories, because she's been left exhausted and hollow from grief. Still, she manages a smile -- unusual for her at the best of times, even if it's strained now -- for each of those entering, and those taking their place in the line.
As Aislin seems to be holding up well enough, for the moment, Lou decidedly makes her way over to her sister. She's gentle about pushing through the crowd, not wanting to make a scene, but determined to be by Reese's side; a show of solid support, a look of challenge to anyone who might not be quite so supportive. She stops far enough away from Reese so that she knows Lou is there, but also gives her enough space not to be crowded.
Lark has joined the line.
Turn in line: Edain
Isolde sticks close to Arianna--closer than anyone else. Her arm is gently wrapped around the grieving woman, holding her close. Quiet whispers of consolation can be be heard from the princess. But nothing else.
Valencia moves into the hall like a shadow. She quietly takes a look around the room, her face bereft of emotion -- cool and distant as ice. She approaches no one, though for those she knows and cares for a gentle nod is offered. Large dark glimmering eyes fall upon what little is left to represent the man. here is a quiet, sad moment of reflection and then they turns away and slips off to watch the crowd for a time, distant and cool.
Shard arrives in her usual leathers, but quite unusually for her, she does not arrive alone. Instead, she's accompanied by a scant handful of others, rough looking men and women, each and every single one of them armed (although they've, perhaps reluctantly, peace-tied their weaponry), and each and every single one of them identifiable immediately in some way, be it tattoos, piercings, accents, hair styles, or all of the above, as prodigals. They're chattering as they come in--all but Shard--and it takes a sharp look and a hissed word from her to get them to shut up, which they at least do promptly. The small group rambles over to a few seats and settles in. To those who were on the Gray Forest Grayson missions last winter, they might even be familiar--the archer and scout Tel is certainly standout among them.
Lark steps forward to take her turn, delicately weaving her fingers together against her midsection as she does. The crown princess musters a smile before she speaks. "I would first thank everyone for coming to do honor to the memory of this most deserving man. There's my share of responsibility in this. He perished assisting in carrying out an order I gave," she says, "but I believe he knew it would be dangerous even when the rest of us were uncertain. He even had a letter prepared to be delivered to me in the event of his passing. Very much like him."
"Killian Ashford was a man of honor and integrity," says Lark, "and I convey unto him the highest praise I can as both crown princess and high lord. He deserves no less. When there was a danger to be faced, Killian confronted it without fear, for me. When there was a mission to complete, he settled it, for me. Many owe their lives to him today, because it was in his heart to be selfless."
Lark smiles a touch more sincerely as she looks down at a folded piece of parchment she holds. "I have no stories of grief to share, because there was never any between us. He'd probably blush and tuck tail if I had admitted this in person, but when he and I were young, we had a small infatuation with each other." She crinkles the paper between her fingertips, still smiling, though she seems to be looking more at a memory than the floor right now. "It never went anywhere, but we remained friends for the rest of our days. He was one of my most trusted, and we are all poorer for the loss of his life. I suppose it's only natural to have regrets at times like these, and to think about what might've been, but I'm not unhappy with what was. May he be just as great with the turning of the Wheel."
Aislin offers Lark a quiet nod of thanks, raising her glass in salute as Ashford's liege finishes speaking.
Reese looks toward Lou gas she stands nearby, giving her a somber nod and stepping closer to her sister. She lifts her gaze to Lark, listening to her words and then takes a drink herself.
Puffin drops On the north side of the circle.
Puffin drops On the south side of the circle.
Puffin drops On the west side of the circle.
Puffin drops On the east side of the circle.
Silas has joined the On the north side of the circle.
Alaric has joined the On the south side of the circle.
Leona has joined the On the south side of the circle.
Valencia something twitches in her expression as she watches and the cool candor drops several degrees. Dark eyes fall to Ian, who also seems to be watching, and there is a glint of something in her eyes. She glance back to the room and wraps her arm about herself.
Lark has joined the On the south side of the circle.
Cara has joined the On the west side of the circle.
Maylis has joined the On the east side of the circle.
Thesarin makes his way in, as quietly as ge can manage, duing Lark's speech. He's dressed up again, high collars and tight sleeves hiding most of his tattoos. He's not much more somber-looking than ever, but he looks about the gathering with a few short nods before he starts to move in toward the crowds.
Agnarr has joined the On the south side of the circle.
Samael has joined the On the south side of the circle.
Arianna has joined the On the south side of the circle.
Shard has joined the On the north side of the circle.
Karadoc has joined the On the south side of the circle.
Jordal, a bodyguard arrives, following Isabeau.
Isolde has joined the On the south side of the circle.
Aleksei has joined the On the north side of the circle.
Believe it or not It is not Edain Valardin, the Prince of Sanctum that joins the receiving line as people start to share stories. It is instead, his squire, young Serad Iron Foot. He is dressed in a light coat of male that has been shined until it gleams like silver, and over this a tabard of the classic Valardin design. As he is called forward the young squire clears his throat and motions to the entrance. As he does there is a nod from one of the manor guards that the perceptive might have seen the boy talking to earlier.
The tramp of metal boots are heard and the Prince of Sanctum is admitted into the hall. Five of his finest knights, (and one northern brother in law) follow him. All are clade in armor that gleams, their weapons peace knotted, but their sheild's bearing the white dragon of house Valardin on their arms. Edain's shield is lacquered and almost impossible white and reinforced with bands of redsteel. They approach the memorial that is dedicated to Lord Killian and the Prince says, "I am a poorer man for having no stories of Lord Killian to share, I never had the chance to know him. But the Oathlands will kneel in honor of a fallen Paladin."
Edain and his knights lower to a knee in unison. Placing their shields before them and laying their peace bound swords atop them. He bows his head first, and then, each of his knights do so in turn. Offering a quiet prayer of respect to end the Lord to rest.
Lucita has joined the On the west side of the circle.
Calaudrin has joined the On the south side of the circle.
Lethe has joined the On the west side of the circle.
Esoka has joined the On the south side of the circle.
Aislin rubs at her eyes for a moment, and then nods to Edain in thanks. "I think," she says to the Prince of Sanctum, "that Killian would've been honored by that."
Thesarin has joined the On the north side of the circle.
Turn in line: Samael
Swiftly the red fox arrives, following Neve.
Alistair has joined the On the south side of the circle.
Thesarin has joined the line.
Samael steps away from Arianna, releasing her hand and walking toward the center of the circle. He clears his throat and takes a deep breath. He looks toward Aislin and the other Ashford and gives them a small smile. He looks back toward the gathering. "The Killian I knew was not the Killian you may have known," he begins. "I will say this, betrayal can breed the ugliest, most twisted of a creature. Killian was betrayed by the person who you should trust over all others. Brotherhood is sacred. When Killian came to be fostered in Pridehall he was broken, sad, lonely, withdrawn, closed off. It took him a long time to recover, understandably. The Killian you may have known was forged in the fire of betrayal and unbelievable treachery. Yet, never did you meet a more steadfast and loyal, good and God-fearing, remarkable man. I was only just now reconnecting with him since my arrival in Arx. I weep for what might've been but am grateful for what was. Killian will never be forgotten in Pridehall or Arvum as long as a Bisland has breath. That is a fucking promise."
Thena has joined the On the north side of the circle.
When Cara finds her place with the mourners, she moves to one side of the circle -- to the west, where the sun sets, and the night begins. It seems fitting to stand in a place of endings, for such an event as this. She does not, though, queue to speak, instead holding herself very carefully and still, as if stirring too rapidly might cause unseemly cracks to display.
Silas smiles faintly at Edain and his knights honoring the fallen Paladin, story or not. It melts away when he begins to listen to Samael's story, but there is a firm nod added at the end.
Some several steps shy of the Prince of Sanctum and his attendant knights follows one of his Voices, the Princess Isabeau Valardin, who appears likewise in her Great House's colors albeit in silk and wool rather than polished armor. However, in the same measure, she sinks into a kneeling position along with her High Lord and lends her quiet deference and prayers.
Ian has joined the On the east side of the circle.
Esoka turns her head to watch the entry of Shard and her crowd of prodigals. Her own tattoos are not so different from some of theirs, of those of the Gray Forest. She cracks the slightest of smiles, and gives them a dip of her chin in recognition. She's on the edge of the crowd, the peace-bound twin scimitars of Riven at either hip. Tight-jawed and with notes of tension about her. But, it's a day for that.
Aleksei swallows as he listens to the first several speakers, gaze mostly steady on them. Finally, after that long hesitation, he stands and makes his way quietly over to the end of the line.
Aleksei has joined the line.
Archeron has joined the line.
Edain and his knights stand. The 5 knights start to move out of the hall. Edain himself moves to Aislin and leans close to murmur to her.
Another Oathlander, the Lady Sorrel kneels as well, silent and serious as she offers a quiet prayer.
Shard has joined the line.
Aislin offers Samael a nod, raising her glass, though her expression is dark and stormy at mention of Killian's traitor of a brother. Still, she leans over to listen to what Edain has to say.
Turn in line: Calaudrin
Ian looks at Valencia when she says something to him before hurrying out. He makes no move to follow, but rather takes another drink from his cup and returns his attention to the mourners.
Calaudrin wanders up, stiff and unenthused to be publicly speaking. He pulls a piece of paper free from the front of his jacket and holds it up with a grim expression on his face before reading it off: "Don't be ridiculous. Tell me when and where you need me, we'll kick the rocks over and shine the light of truth upon all that is hidden beneath." He folds it over again and slaps it agains his palm, a familiar twitchy sort of motion. "Those were the last words that Lord Killian ever relayed to me on a matter of business. Sometimes I thought he was brash, sometimes I didn't think he 'got' everything because of that brashness. But he was a damn brave man. A courageous one. And I'll remember this message above any other interaction we ever had. I think it about sums up the soul of him as a person, to me. He'll be missed." He tucks the paper away and surveys the crowd before stepping away again.
Sasha continues to quietly sit and listen as the stories are told. Her hand clutching her hankerchief. By this point, she has had to wipe many a tear from her own cheeks as they escape her eyes.
Archeron arrives late to affairs, the Tyde lord slipping past the guards. One of the rangers on guard is given a shake of the hand, quiet words spoken before archeron moves a little closer in, flagging himself as wishing to take part, but also swinging towards his sister, making sure to pass Aislin on the way.
Turn in line: Leona
Lou continues to watch from the sidelines, not really joining any of the circles of tables as she continues to stand with Reese. She inclines her head to Cara in greeting, but is otherwise quiet.
"I didn't know him well," Leona says as she steps forward, pitching her voice to project around the circle. "But I knew him as a man of philosophy. When the Queen of Endings was discovered again and the city remembered Her teachings for the first time in generations, there were a great many people who wondered if they had been reincarnated." She looks around the circle, smiling slightly. "Perhaps some of you have as well. So maybe you know that moment where you sit and wonder and think and hope for an answer, but you aren't sure what answer you want - what answer will be best. What would make you happiest, to know that you were a soul reborn, or to know that you were a gift, a clean slate, new to this life?" She shakes her head. "In truth most of us will never know, which is as She wants it. As it should be. To chase too much in the past is to risk our view of the present."
"And yet Killian wondered. And he prayed. And he asked for guidance. And he meditated. And in the end, though many of us will never get an answer he received his. A new soul. A clean slate. A fresh life, a gift from the Mother of Beginnings to us all. He served Arx as a Paladin once. He faced Tolamar Brand and he did not back down. He is known by many for the strength of his arm. For the will to protect and defend our city and all within. He is known for strength and valor. He is remembered as the Paladin of Ideals. And one day, someone will meditate and pray and wonder if they are Killian, reincarnated - and the thought will thrill them and make them tremble. There are worse legacies to leave."
%Leona pauses then, stares at the representation of Killian and then salutes once. "Rest well, Killian Ashford. We will take up the burden."
Alistair joins a group of those remembering Killian, again hands still clasped tightly behind his back. There is little he needs to say, at least he feels. His proclomation from earlier carrying enough weight without to many weighty words.
Kit, the grey fox, a tiny man with a BIG unpronounceable name arrive, following Monique.
Aislin checked composure at difficulty 12, rolling 0 higher.
Edain speaks quietly with Aislin and then as inobtrusively as he can, quietly makes his way from the hall, allowing those that knew Killian best to celebrate his life.
Squire Serad Iron Foot leaves, following Edain.
Silas's smile returns, briefly, when Calaudrin recounts his last correspondence with Killian.
Turn in line: Reese
Archeron has joined the On the west side of the circle.
Lucita continues to listen quietly to each speaker.
Reese moves slowly as she steps up. She gave Lou's arm a brief gentle touch, before leaving her side. She then sucks in a sharp breath, suggesting she is finding it hard to speak for the moment. "There is so much to say about Lord Killian, I don't really know which to choose. As many know, I was with Killian when he died." Reese says in this tone that is pregnant with anguish, suggesting she has likely relived that moment many times.
"Killian was always brave, but everyone knows that. I don't need to tell the room. When it came to protecting compact and fighting the abyss, Killian was always willing to step up. He always asked what can I do, instead of what is the danger. I don't think I would be where I am today without him. He always believed in me."
Reese pauses for a moment, struggling to continue. "When I asked if he would come with me to hunt Dame Zhayla's killers. He didn't hesitate. He knew what happened to Princess Marian and Master Aksel. We went with Duke Harald, Prince Luca, Lord Ian and Lord Valdemar and we found the killers. They were so powerful. Lord Killian was taken down in a moment, but I don't want to go into details of that. Instead I would rather focus on what he did. We were all about to die. They were just too powerful. Lord Killian, before he died, his last words were to give us a plan on how to escape, how to destroy Zhayla's killers and how to live. He could have thought of just saving himself, but he stood against the dogs and shouted his plan. He knew we were about to be overwhelmed. He could have ran and tried to save himself. He didn't. We followed his plan to retreat and burn the ship and it was because of this that we lived. Lord Killian died as he lived, protecting those around him. He saved our lives, just as he saved all of Compact when he fought Brand. Killian to his last breath a warrior, a protector and an amazing man."
Coquette, a great horned owl arrives, following Samantha.
Reese checked composure at difficulty 15, rolling 5 lower.
Turn in line: Fergus
Reese has joined the On the south side of the circle.
Ian lifts his glass when Reese describes Killian saving all of them -- except himself -- with the plan he came up with. It's both a confirmation that he agrees they'd probably all have died without him, and a show of respect to the man he saw die that day.
Lark stands in silence, still looking dignified as ever for so small a thing, and listens as people both familiar and not come forward to offer their memories of the deceased. She continues to wear that small smile, the piece of parchment folded in her hands being perhaps the only outward sign of how difficult this occasion is for her.
Isabeau remains behind after Prince Edain departs, but she seeks out some space near Lady Arianna to linger supportively, looking appropriately somber all the while as she listens to the stories and tales that other folks have to tell about the departed paladin of ideals.
Reese seems like she is trying to hold it together, but it doesn't seem to be working too well. Her lashes are damp, her gait is a bit unsteady and she seems dangerously close to losing it all together. She looks toward Ian, giving him somber nod.
Arianna has joined the line.
Should be noted that that northern brother-in-law would be Fergus. Likely isn't his thing, acting knightly, but it's just as likely that Edain probably convinced him somehow. While his armor may not match, red and brown to the Sanctum knights white and blue, but he knows the motions well enough. Passing by Edain, he clasps his brother-in-law on the shoulder when it's his turn to speak.
The Warchief of Farhaven frowns for a moment, chewing on the inside of his cheek, and looking as gruff and bearish as usual. "Never knew Killian. Don't even know if I met the man. So maybe it's odd that I'm here speaking for him." he starts. "In the North, we don't mourn a warrior's death. We celebrate it. Remember who they were. What made them. What kind of mettle they had. Drink to their name. And know that the mountains will remember your deeds." A old, engraved flask is produced from a pouch on his waist. "To die in battle is the greatest honor any warrior would want. To die for something you believed in and on your own terms, well, that's not something a lot of us get. Like I said, I didn't know the man, but I do know that when Duke Harald went looking for volunteers, to get theirs for the death of Dame Zhayla. For the near death of Aksel. And my wife, Marian Redrain. The man stepped up."
And he glances at Aislin now. "So yeah, didn't know Killian as well as maybe I should've. But he stepped up to get vengeance for my wife. If I didn't know anything else about him, that would be enough. And because of that, the North remembers. I'll remember. Marian will remember. And my daughter will remember. So, mourn his passing if you want, but I think what matters more is to celebrate the man is. We don't always get to pick and choose our time. And if its any indication from what people have already said about him, I think, he went into with eyes wide. A warrior if I ever saw one. So, here's to you, Killian. Spirits guide you to the next." And he takes a massive pull from his flask at that.
Lou has joined the On the south side of the circle.
Aislin raises her glass towards Fergus in answer. That -- celebrating their life -- is what an Ashford wake is meant to be, at its best, so she cannot apparently disagree.
Turn in line: Karadoc
Lou follows after Reese to the south table, grabbing a hearty glass of whiskey on the way. She then settles at the table with the others, nodding at them. Every once in a while she glances over at Aislin, checking on her friend too.
Samantha has joined the On the north side of the circle.
Fergus has joined the On the south side of the circle.
Karadoc moves forward, his hands clasped in front of him. "I did not know Killian. Nor did he know me. However, he did not need to know my name, or anything about me, to prioritize my own life above his, to shield me from swords and dogs, and to make sure I escaped mostly unscathed. I cannot fathom a life so selfless." He shakes his head. "I wish I could." This short speech given, he withdraws.
Samantha slips in a tad late, and quickly seeks out a spot to take up with some familiar faces. Cara and Aislin are given a brief gesture, both hands raised to her mouth to press a kiss and solemnly extended to them.
Aislin is holding it together, but she has the look of someone who is doing so largely by virtue of the fact that she's exhausted her grief; in the past two years she's lost her father, she lost three of her closest friends, she lost the woman she loved, and now she's lost her almost-a-brother.
Turn in line: Lark
Turn in line: Thesarin
Karadoc has left the On the south side of the circle.
Thesarin steps to the place in the center, looking around toward everyone in attendance. Nods to a few of them--Silas, Monique. Deeper nods to Reese and Lark, and to Samantha. A nod to Esoka. He takes a deep breath before speaking. "Never much like talking like this. I didn't know the man so well. Meant to, but I missed my chance."
"Only time we spoke more than five words was in the Forests. Command was his. We were out scouting, and found some shav girls, being hunted by a demon and its creatures. A thing like a monster of a wolf, heading up a pack of beasts made monsters and men made beasts. He sent one of the figters to carry home a girl couldn't walk, tried getting the rest of us out, and held up the back 'till they caught up."
"Plenty of brave deeds that day." Thesarin looks to Shard, and then looks to Bringer of Dawn, reaching out one tattooed hand to point it out. "Killian cut the thing's head off with that blade, we scattered the rest. But what I remember, is him thinking first of three folk from a strange people who he'd never met. Second on them in his command. Him he put at the hottest point. A good man's a rarer and better thing than a great fighter."
"I always feel off talking of a man I only just knew, standing among them who loved him. But we're here to remember him. That day's worth remembering.
And then he turns and moves back to the seats.
Nightshade, a tiny black kitten, 3 Rubino and Zaffria guards, Ariadne, Penelope arrive, following Dafne.
Turn in line: Aleksei
Esoka regards Thesarin long, as the Riven count gets up to speak. Blue eyes misty, but with a penetrating sharpness to them at the moment. As it ends, he receives a short nod, before she sinks back next to Calaudrin where she stands in the crowd.
"So, um." Aleksei steps up to the center after Thesarin moves away and offers something like a smile, albeit an unsteady one, to the gathered group. "I helped kill a Herald with Killian." He rubs at the back of his neck, as if thinking of where to start. "Killian drove me crazy a lot. I mean, I loved the guy, but he did. I wasn't the one to choose him to ask to serve as a paladin--" His gaze flits briefly over to Aislin. "--and at that point I didn't know him too well. But it's the kind of thing -- well, you go through that and come out the other side, there's something between you that's forever, whatever anything else." His hand drops away from his neck, shifting restless at his side.
"Killian was -- dissatisfied," he says, but there's something affectionate about his small smile. "Or -- he wasn't ever /satisfied/. Not really. His ideas for himself were too big. Too many Ideals, I guess. He had an awful lot of humor for somebody who was blessed by the Sentinel." His smile twitches a bit unsteadily. "When we killed Brand, he didn't just -- die. There was too much of the Silence in him, and there was a moment after he fell when we realized that it was just going to claw its way out of his body and consume us. Juliet was the one to reflect that power back on itself, but Killian -- Killian was the one who saw the truth. He saw the lines of darkness connection Brand with his Bringers. His troops. He was the one to open that path to send the Silence back onto and let it unmake its own soldiers."
He pauses a moment, and then he admits, "I think he probably wished he had a flashier moment. You know, be the one to strike the killing blow. Because he just didn't--" He stops then, drawing in a shaky breath. "He just -- never understood what he had. He needed to do more. /Be/ more. I'm not surprised that he died fighting. That he died young. He was a fucking idiot about throwing himself at danger." His lips tug very slowly back into the hint of a smile. "He was one of my favorite idiots, though. I mean, let's face it, that's my kind of guy. Killian didn't do anything by half-measures, and I always admired that. Even in the moments I wanted to shake him and yell at him to /please stop goading the Abyss for five minutes/." He huffs a breath that's almost a laugh then, his hand lifting again to twist restlessly through his hair.
"So there. He was part of killing and defeating a Herald, and not many people can say that. Even if it wasn't quite enough for him." His smile goes rueful and terribly, terribly sad. And then he draws in a shaky breath and steps away.
Aislin checked composure at difficulty 15, rolling 3 lower.
"Young hearts often burn brightest," Cara murmurs softly.
Aislin offers Aleksei a smile, but then turns away to get more whiskey. As she does so, she scrubs at her face to keep the tears from coming. Something in Aleksei's story, it seems, captured Killian to the point that she feels the loss fresh.
Turn in line: Archeron
Still in woodland garb, Archeron takes a step forward. The gaunt man looks at the empty chair, Killian's things, and his head shakes "This was not the destiny I would have picked for you, Cousin. When my father was killed, when my home was taken, when my family attainted, you in Ashford took us in. Never once did we ever doubt we were at home with you all. It was in racing to be more like you and the others that I learnt my forest craft, it was trying to make you, and Aislin and all the others proud, proving I could be just as much the fighter, all of that which made me who I am. What I am. I may have returned to the sea that birthed me, Cousin, but it was you and the other rangers of Ashford that made me. And it is a ranger of Ashford I will be until I die."
"We had not spoken much since I came to the city. I always told myself there would be a tomorrow, to come and see you, and Cousin Aislin. That there would be a tomorrow for it all. We were to go on an adventure together soon - I was looking forward to it, I had told Margot how excited I was. Like a child, off to play with his big cousin. We won't have that chance now. I won't be able to tease you for not growing as tall as me, nor wager with you on which of us is the better ranger. Will you believe I always thought it was you? Probably not - you never did believe the good others thought of you, you were always humble."
There is a pause, and Archeron steps forward "I know you would forgive me the insult of being late to your funeral, but I had to go into the forest. Because we - you - were Ashfords, and Ashfords are not home without a tree house. Certainly not the rangers. I did not know if there were trees in the Shining lands, so I thought I would bring you this. And I hope the king will forgive me my taking it from his woods." Archeron gets out a small acorn and sets it on the chair before he takes a step back "Build it strong, and build it tall, Cousin. And watch as we try to make you proud."
Having said what he needed and not really being either a friend of the family or really even an associate, Fergus has said what he needed to. Marian might've said things better than him. Another drink and he makes his way out.
Fergus has left the On the south side of the circle.
Turn in line: Shard
Shard shoves up from her table and moves to the center, accompanied by a chorus of jeers and calls from the prodigal mercenaries she brought with her, and a rhythmic pounding of their drinks on the tabletop. "Yeah, yeah," she calls back to them, "shut up. --Okay." She narrows her eyes, casting a glance over the gathering. "I've got a story and I'm a terrible storyteller, so here you go. A little less than a year ago, a whole lot of us were camped out in the Gray Forest. Soldiers, nobles, sellswords, diplomats, healers, whatever. The camp gets ambushed twice; first by a spirit driven into the camp by our enemies--a living hill of rock that we thought was an enemy itself. Khanne figured out what it was, and called out to the rest of us to stop attacking it. Killian, because he's his fucking self, stands in front of it and tries to hold a /living hill/ off with the flat of his weapons, while also trying to hold off the rest of the people that hadn't quite understood that they needed to stop trying to stick pointy things in the spirit. He starts yelling at everyone else to back off."
"Meanwhile, the real enemy shows up. It's an entire horde of Abandoned under writ to the Horned One. Most of them are just human, but some of them have started to twist and change, they're turning big and beast-like in ways I couldn't really explain to you with words. They surround the camp from multiple directions. So down from the forest comes this army, outnumbering us two, maybe three to one. The spirit's wounded now, thanks to our ignorance, it's down, they're coming in from the northwest at us, so Killian, being his fucking self, he stands up and moves toward them and he shouts, just shouts at them, "YOU SHOULD HAVE BROUGHT MORE MEN!" Laughter erupts from the group of prodigal mercenaries and more table pounding, but she ignores them this time.
"Killian and his Ashford warriors start fighting at the northwestern end as the armies come in. Ashfords fall right and left. There's too many. Meanwhile Killian, /being his fucking self/, picks out the biggest, nastiest asshole among any of the attackers, a beast-man wielding two big axes. They go at each other, blood flies everywhere. I take my people here, and we start fighting our way to him and his from the north end. Meanwhile he's got two warriors left, and you know what he does? He tells them to go protect Aislin. Tells them to go protect Aislin, and then he takes his sword, and being /his fucking self/, he buries it as far into this beast-man as it will fucking go. Just drives it fully into him, right as the beast-man's feeling cocky about things, right as we get there, killing beast-man's friends to help Killian out, thinking we're running to his rescue. No damn need." Shard pauses a moment, then lifts her chin, turns on her heel, and moves back to the table full of mercenaries. They start up the table pounding again, until she snaps, "Give it a rest."
Confessor Imori, 2 Grayson Guardsmen, Confessor Warren, 5 Armed Confessors arrive, following Tikva.
Swiftly the red fox leaves, following Neve.
Reese turns to Shard as she speaks, listening to her words with tear stained lashes. "Oh, I remember that battle. I am glad you told that story." She says, before taking a drink, a long drink.
Tikva has joined the line.
Ian smiles, if briefly, while Shard tells her story, right around the 'You should have brought more men' line. He takes a drink from his cup.
Aislin can't help but laugh softly at the story, remembering her cousin's determination. "I swear, we had an ongoing argument over which of us any Ashford troops should guard," she remarks to Shard. "He thought I needed them more as Voice, while I thought he needed them more as the one who always ran off to do things like /that/."
Turn in line: Arianna
2 Grayson Guardsmen, Alejandra, a snowy white hound, Planchet, a young valet, 2 Iron Guardsmen arrive, following Ainsley.
Dafne slips quietly in and listens to the stories, hands clasped.
Aleksei has found his seat to listen first to Archeron's story, then to Shard's. At the first 'his fucking self,' his lips tug into a smile. At the second, it widens. And by the end of it he's actually laughing, scrubbing his face as he does so until he has to just press back in his seat and press his fist to his mouth to stanch the urge to weep. "Fucking idiot," he says in a thick, undeniably admiring voice.
Arianna pulls herself away from Samael, Isabeau, Isolde and Agnarr and walks to the front of the line in silence, her eyes are glossy and the look on her face could only be described as placid. "Most of the stories I have of Killian are too personal and intimate to share so openly and speaking for myself...sharing these stories don't bring me peace. Whenver I would spend time with him it was often just to be with him and even though we both served House Grayson, Killian and I never really grew up knowing one another. I was just another Lycene transplant who lived across the square. Despite this he never looked askance in my direction and even though I was a fool too stupid to see the direction I was headed, he never judged..." A pause,"...maybe he did the first time but the second time we met he was open minded, kind, and receptive. Still he might have chosen to only go so far but he didn't. Killian always saw the good in me and he always fought so hard to keep me from defeating myself."
There's a slightly vacant expression given before she continues. "He was the best of us and was never one to give up on lost causes. Killian showed me the value of kindness for kindness sake and that we all have free will to choose who we can be in /this/ life." Arianna's fingers brush over the prayer beads in her hands. "Never have I loved another like I loved him and never will I again. When he was killed something inside of me died too. There's a moment where everything just goes numb, and nothing matters anymore. It's all just so much filler and the main attraction to life is just gone because his light was snuffed out."
The umbra clad Lady continues to speak after a moment of silence. Her tone is has it been, emotionless and slightly sedated. "I've got nothing left to lose and just as he never gave up on me I won't give up on returning in kind what has been done unto us, even if it's the last thing I do." The words are spoken quietly before she smooths her umbra silks and begins to head for the the south side of the table again.
Turn in line: Tikva
Alaric has joined the line.
Aislin gives Arianna an oddly sympathetic look, but says nothing; she seems to have run out of words. And whiskey, for that matter: her glass is empty once again. This time, she doesn't refill it.
Late Ainsley slips in, tugging his Iron Guard cloak off of his shoulders. His steps carry him off to the side. He doesn't get into the line to talk, instead finding himself a place to sit.
Ainsley has joined the On the north side of the circle.
Reese sucks in a soft breath as she looks to Arianna at her words. She looks sorrowful.
Silas checked composure at difficulty 15, rolling 3 higher.
Silas doesn't particularly like whiskey, and it shows in how he seems to only nip at the glass he's acquired during the somber story-sharing... but he is at least making an attempt. His neutral expression contorts ever so slightly during Arianna's speech, but he averts his gaze and lets it linger on the tabletop in front of him instead.
Samael gives Arianna a supportive smile as she heads back toward he and the others at the south side of the room. A single tear rolls down his cheek and he wipes it away looking down at the floor. He shakes his head and scowls again.
Samantha has joined the line.
Looming there in the back, clad in highly polished harness, Agnarr has largely remained quiet. That doesn't change, but he does grin at Shard's account of the paladin's exploits, and drinks deep.
"Almost seems rude to follow up on such heartfelt grief." Tikva's smile is faint, apologetic as she slips away from Ainsley's side at the back, and moves up. She tilts a nod towards Arianna as she comes forward, her boots sliding in soft clicks over the floor. The hint of warmth fades from her mouth and she stands for a moment. "I thought to write him a ballad, and play it, but I haven't-- quite gotten it right. Maybe I never will, but I'll keep trying. He's worth the effort," she says. "It's funny because... I didn't know him that well? I wanted to. I wanted to know him better. True story, around when I met him I tried to flirt with him. I don't know that he noticed?" Her nose scrunches a little at its bridge, and then the expression fades again.
"Killian has to have been assigned to keep my ass safe from dying more often than any other person in the Compact," Tikva says, laying her hand over her heart. "I'm pretty sure. I mean, I don't keep a running total. He was always stalwart. So sure of service. So young and so courageous and so dedicated, genuinely dedicated to making the world a better place to be. Limerance's grace with him now, to the Queen's arms, but of course it will; he was Limerance's Paladin, too. Specific stories... I don't know, but I'll be mining all yours for the ballad. He was a good guy. Just a damned good guy. I guess that's what I've got to say."
Ainsley has joined the line.
Turn in line: Alaric
Alaric stands up and walks to the center, picking up the paladin figurine. "Somebody gifted me one of these. I have to admit, I never thought it was a particularly good likeness; it stands still far too much to be a proper Killian," he observes in a casual jest. He sets the figurine back down and begins to speak in earnest. "When I returned to rule, I perceived many things that had changed in the intervening years. Certainly one of the biggest ones was Killian himself. I'd met him a few times, of course, I was close with his brother Addison. He was always complaining about Killian; the trouble he'd gotten into and then talked himself out of, how embarrassing he was, how unreliable he was, how unserious he was, how he wouldn't stick to a plan, how he wouldn't prioritize, how he'd drop what he was doing to go help an old matron haul jars of water and the like." He smirks regally. "I think Addison's intent was that I was supposed to agree with him, but I always found myself rooting for Killian instead. That was largely what I knew of him, before the curse. And in between then and when I'd regained clarity he'd gone something of the undisputed black sheep of House Ashford to a paladin of the Faith, instrumental in saving our city from a Herald." He pauses thoughtfully. "Yet I don't think it was he himself that had changed all that much, just my perception of him. It's not at all as if he recently became an honorable knight, a fierce defender of those weaker, a fearless confronter of those who would do the Compact harm. Despite the mischevious pranks and the consistent trouble, he was always those things. And perhaps because of the pranks and the trouble, he was rarely hesitant to step into harm's way. Just more of the usual, right?" He raises his head from contemplation of Killian's things across the table to regard the room. "Killian was always true to his ideals, and the truths in his ideals. The last time we spoke, there isn't much of a story to it really. He happened by the Badger while I was there. We chatted, caught up, spoke of personal things. I was quite gratified that he hadn't entirely sworn off causing a little mischief here and there, despite his many achievements. It gave me a little hope that I'm not doomed to become boring myself." He grins a trace boyishly in the manner of 'classic' Alaric. "But like many have said all through the night, what struck me is that he was still as always looking forward to the next task. He did not acquire his laurels to rest upon them, but more to mark a stopping point to replenish for the next trip. There is always another elderly person laboring with that jug of water in need of a hand; if not here, then perhaps over the next hill. If we all took an opportunity to go looking for her, even just once, it would be a fitting legacy for one of the finest of House Grayson and the Compact."
Turn in line: Ainsley
Isabeau has joined the On the south side of the circle.
Tikva has joined the On the north side of the circle.
Ainsley stands suddenly after Alaric is done talking, as if suddenly possessed by something... as if something has welled up and must be professed. He doesn't move forward, just stands where he is at and says, "Killian did two things for me that I will never ever be ever able to repay him for."
A hand lifts to touch his hard through his plate man, palm pressed hard. "He saved my parents during the siege from a Bringer of Silence who was hiding within their party."
He stiffens up now, as if fighting with himself. The next words seem to be a fight to get out.
"He helped me bring Pietro home."
Ainsley's mouth opens but nothing comes out, so he simply drops back into his seat, with a clank.
Shard tips her head just so, regarding Alaric with what might be described as a certain amount of care. Not so for her prodigal companions. They roar with an inappropriate volume of approval, and set about pounding the table again with both drinks and fists as the king finishes, up until Tel kicks a few of them in the shins under the table and the cheering dissolves into brief arguing and mutual orders to shut up.
Tikva moves to her husband's side to clasp his hand as she reclaims her seat, her mouth rueful and her eyebrows ticked up.
Cara checked composure at difficulty 20, rolling 3 higher.
There is the barest suggestion of an expression on Cara's face when the king mentions 'Addison'. When Ainsley says Pietro, though, she stops breathing, staying very still until she can master whatever emotion was brought forth by the word. It takes a moment. More than one.
Samael walks across the room around behind the others making his way to Ainsley's side. He puts a hand on his shoulder and leans down to whisper something and then squeezes the man's shoulder.
Ainsley checked composure at difficulty 20, rolling 2 lower.
Whatever it is that Samael says to him finally breaks Ainsley. The hand not in Tikva's lifts to his face, and his shoulders shake. Silent, but clearly crying.
Samael checked composure at difficulty 20, rolling 5 lower.
Samael squeezes Ainsley's shoulder but turns away from the rest of the room, hiding his face.
Tikva tries to run her hand up Ainsley's back but you know, he's wearing full platemail, so mostly this accomplishes little but for the attempt at the thing. Worrying at her the curve of her lower lip with the set of her teeth, she turns wide eyes between nephew and uncle, and doesn't actually say anything.
Aislin is silent for a long moment after Ainsley sits back down. When no one else steps up to speak, she clears her throat. Then she has to clear it again, to find her voice. "I guess that's all," she says finally. "And that certainly was Killian. Loyal, couragous... impatient, reckless... eager to see what was over the next hill, and always reaching for something more, something higher. Loved by many." She offers a sad smile, turning to regard each of the quadrants of tables. "He wasn't perfect -- none of us were -- but he was /Killian/. And there was no one else you wanted at your side more."
"Killian left behind... a lot of things." Aislin pauses. "Honestly, I'm kind of surprised by how much crap he'd collected in his room," she admits wryly, in that tone of a bemused older sister. "None of the rest of what's left was meant for anyone in particular, so if you want something -- a paperweight, a little toy boat, a scarf, whatever -- we can arrange that. But in the meantime, we all have something even more valuable: our memories of him."
Monique checked dexterity + stealth at difficulty 15, rolling 58 higher.
Monique has slipped in at some point, quiet and unobtrusive, solemn and watchful.
Silas emits a long, if somewhat resigned sigh. He lifts his glass. "To Killian, who never hesitated," he states grimly, before knocking the rest of his drink down... and evoking a mild coughing from himself.
Leana, an Igniseri Guard arrives, following Luis.
Samael wipes away some tears, looks toward Tikva and gives her a soft half smile and a nod in greeting. He looks defeated with his eyes red. He pats Ainsley's arm and slips away back toward the other end of the room and back next to Arianna.
Luis quietly enters, dressed ceremoniously as he joins Lucita near the edge of the gathering.
Arianna is overheard praising Aislin for: Despite the pain of grief she managed a beautiful, memorable wake for Killian. I'll never forget that.
Lou gives Aislin another supportive look, squeezes Reese's shoulder, then rises to stand now that things are wrapping up.
Reese is overheard praising Aislin for: Well done wake in Killian's memory.
Samantha is overheard praising Aislin for: She knows how to bring forth the best memories of Killian from everyone.
Leona has found a glass of something somewhere, and raises it in Killian's honor. "To Killian," she says quietly, and then takes a drink. And then she turns to go.
Thena has left the On the north side of the circle.
Lou is overheard praising Aislin for: A wonderful ceremony held for a wonderful person. Killing would have liked it, I think.
Reese is overheard praising Arianna for: She spoke through her heartache.
Ainsley is overheard praising Aislin for: She's handled such sorrow so gracefully.
Reese is overheard praising Shard for: Great story about Killian. that story needed to be heard.
Arianna is overheard praising Reese for: You fought by his side and always always had a special place in his heart. Thank you for your support and for being there for Killian. Always.
Silas is overheard praising Aislin.
Alistair is overheard praising Reese.
Archeron is overheard praising Aislin for: Well done hosting and making it through the wake. Always strong, Cousin.
Lark inclines her head and whispers a prayer under her breath. That done, she thanks the host with a sympathetic gesture before motioning to her retinue. A war dog to either side, soldiers surrounding her, the crown princess takes her leave of the wake.
Samael is overheard praising Aislin for: To mourn is to heal. I hope to heal. Aislin helped with her wonderful wake for Killian.
Lark is overheard praising Aislin.
Lucita says, "Everyone spoke so well, such touching stories."
Lark has left the On the south side of the circle.
5 Grayson Guardsmen, Songbird, a dignified war-mastiff, Crom, an expressive bull-mastiff leave, following Lark.
Leona has left the On the south side of the circle.
4 King's Own Guardsmen, Narses leave, following Leona.
Soon enough, the wake turns to more drinking and general reminiscing, as Ashford wakes are wont to do. The Ashford liquor cabinet continues to provide -- though doubtless it will be much-diminished by the end. And hopefully, when everything is done, the grief is a little less -- and the brighter memories are a little more.
Shard is overheard praising Aislin for: Putting up with this load of mercenary idiots.
Ainsley attachs himself to Tikva's side like a .. thing that attachs itself to people. So annoying.
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