Runes and Ruins:Winter
Sept. 6, 2017, 7 p.m.
Arx - Ward of House Redrain - Stone Grove
Comments and Log
Lilith, the Raven arrives, following Branwen.
Dusk has begun to settle over the city, leaving the towering stones of the Grove to cast long shadows that dance intermittently between the light of a circle of roaring torches. There is a light dusting of snow already covering the ground to add more glimmer as the firelight dances. A slow snowfall has already begun, lazily drifting in glittering flecks that melt within moments on the skin.
What garners one's attention soon thereafter entering the Grove is how tactfully over the past few days water had been poured over a few of the pillars, creating towering pillars of ice with frost and icicles cascading down alongside in glacial tendrils.
On the altar rests a series of sharpened metal spikes, no bigger than the length of one's hand. Beside them is a skull carved with runic markings of Northern heritage alongside countless burning candles, their wax already dripping onto the stone of the altar in red rivulets.
Before them is the Shaman herself, Freja in her monstrous albino bear headdress and the rest of the trappings of her Shamanic path. A sentinel, waiting patiently and silently as the grave as onlookers and partakers trickle in.
Maxene, Camille, Elegance, Pellinor, Horse arrive, following Alarissa.
Aodhan arrives at the Stone Grove...with no clear purpose in his step. He may not even know what's actually going on around him, but he does lift up his face when he sees others awaiting. Feeling this is a Shaman thing, he decides to bow softly to Freja in greeting, a small smile from him. He then moves to a corner, crossing his arms as the Crovane Lord watches on with a gentle smile on his face.
Branwen pulls her cloak a bit closer around herself when she approaches the Stone Grove; her Raven perched there on her shoulder and pressed almost up against her face to stay just as warm please and thank you. There's an almost reverent pause from the woman while taking in her new surroundings, and she takes a moment to seek out the obvious leader of this shamanic ritual so she can incline her head respectfully. "I think we will take our lace somewhere near the back, hmm Lilith?" she addreses the corvid on her shoulder, motioning upwards with her hand before the bird takes off to find a better vantage point for viewing.
Kieran has been sitting on a bench on the cold, waiting for Freja to arrive. Fortunately he has a bottle of whiskey with him as well as a big, fur cloak. When Freja arrives he gives her a dip of his head in greeting and takes a swig from the bottle.
Even with the snow falling and the light dusting of snow, Aksel is dressed only in a simple leather tunic, pants, a pair of boots, and oddly warm looken mittens. A far cry from what others are wearing to bundle them selves from the cold and chill of the early night. From where he stands, it's obvious he's been there for a while but the cold doesn't appear to affect him all that much for the moment.
She's going stag tonight, Alarissa is. Of late she's been on the arms of Victus but tonight, it's just the Valardin Princess by her lonesome, in theg rey rabbit fur coat, hats and gloves, entering the Redrain grounds. Unfamiliar grounds, for her. Ferja's getup? She's seen that before.
A throaty caw emanates from the villa grounds echoing about, announcing the arrival of another raven - one that belongs to the newly appointed knight of Redrain. Brahm glides in with a flutter, circling about, eyeballing the Stone Grove before rising to find himself a perch in one of the trees. Morrighan soon follows after with a notable energy to herself, a blaze of red, dressed in shades of crimson and gold, her tunic embroidered with flames, and she pauses near the entrance, sea-blue eyes scanning the crowd. A bright smile is afforded to Freja before her gaze goes skyward, gleeful at the snow that begins to fall, and she soon meanders off towards the benches, plopping herself down next to Kieran. Was that whiskey she spotted?
"I am not above nor below calling on those that linger in the back." Freja warns Brawnwen, the scout overhearing the other woman. She is given a small smile of greeting along with the others that appear, each in turn. "If you all linger near the edges then there is no center and you're all wonderfully different, just like everyone else." She waves a woaded hand in the air vaguely to banish the thought, stepping down from the altar to better address them. "Winter is different for us in the North, any lad or lass of 5 can tell you that without ever venturing North. Our stark reality of season even varies wildly from that of the Oathlands. We may border one another, but our lands require their own brand of tenacity to survive. Its harshness means more to us, each turn of the year in preparation for the Winter to come. We all go through winters of our life, whether it be the enviromental or the emotional...the physical." A beat as she quirks he scarred brow there. "What matters is not the pain nor hardships, but the runes they leave upon you in that ruin. What lessons you take from their imprint."
without ever venturing South*
Branwen inclines her her head, acknowledging the truth of Freja's words even as she reminds silent and watchful of everyone there. And as the woman speaks further, she lets herself close her eyes and breathe in the cold air, filling her lungs and letting it linger there before a slow exhale so she can appreciate the sting of the slight chill. And there is a nod for the soken sentiment. When she opens her eyes again, there is a quick and fleeting smile for the others she finds herself near. Morrighan, Kieran. Aksel. And Lilith is certainly not shy about cawwwwwwwing a greeting to Brahm either. Hello, handsome!
Sunrise, lilac breasted roller arrives, delivering a message to Alarissa before departing.
Aksel runs a hand through his bearded skin as he listens to the Shaman talk. He spares no glance around to anyone else who is here, instead his eyes focused upon Freja and her words of harshness and realities of the North.
Kieran eyes Morrighan as she plops down next to him and eyes his bottle. The prince narrows his eyes at Morrighan and switches the bottle from the hand closest to the Dame to the hand further away. "I see you looking at my liquor, Dame Morrighan." He smirks at her then hands over the bottle for to take a swig.
Once settled in her seat, the redhead eyeballs that whiskey held within the Prince's possession and leans over to give his ribs a light nudge, expectantly holding her drinking horn aside with a lofty rise of her brow. "Damn right I'm eyeballin' it. Share." While waiting for a fill of liquor Morrighan glances about, studying the faces present, some new, others known, and her attention eventually drifts up to the altar where Freja stands. Her head bobs down into a nod of agreement, listening to the shaman's words, but Brahm on the other hand, in the midst of his preening hears that caw'd greeting. With a wiggle of his tailfeathers he swoops over to where Lilith perches and loosens a raspy croak in greeting.
The Shaman's glance then turns to over her shoulder, indicative of the spread on the altar, those metal spikes and the candles. "When I was a girl, my Aunt Drea began to teach me the way of some runes. There is no set alphabet, no concrete meaning...they are each a story, a weaving of tale by the hand that wields them." She turns on her heel then to grab her own set of spike and small red candle from the altar, walking over to one of the ice covered pillars. It's honed end is held over the flame for a moment until she drives it into the ice suddenly, a hiss of smoke rising as she carves a small series of runes into the ice.
Turning back to the throng, she continues, "We wear theses runes of ruins on our hearts and in our souls, rarely bringing them to visual fabrication. I ask of you each to let your soul speak to your hand and carve that what has left you in a desolate winter at any point in your life to be carved upon the ice." And surely, there are enough metal spikes and candles there on the altar for them all - right beside that macabre, rune covered grinning skull.
Aodhan smiles to Freja as he speaks...moreso in the middle in terms of location, perfectly warm thanks to his cloak and armor. He turns and looks about a bit, but he moves to sit by Aksel "Hello...I believe I saw you in passing the other night. My name is Aodhan." he greets, before Freja speaks again, the Shaman stealing his attention.
Maxene, Camille, Elegance, Pellinor, Horse leave, following Alarissa.
Freja adds, "Now, there is no set order, grab and carve at will. When all have carved upon their ice we will beseech the spirits and ask for levity, a lifting of our own personal winters to prepare for the seasons of growth to come."
Kieran opens the bottle and pours Morrighan a glass of the whiskey. Then, at Freja's words, he rises of his bench and makes his way towards the altar to take a pick to begin warming it. "Like this?"
Branwen glances over as the unfamiliar woman arrives and then leaves after a message received, but then, as most are still unknown to her she simply watches the departure a moment and then steps forward to pick up a candle and a metal spike. And before one of the icy pillars she stands, exppression grim while studying the countours of the frozen water. Waiting for inspiration to strike perhaps, before metal is held over the candle's flame to become hot enough. It's another caw from Lilith that sets her in motion, a deliberate drag of the blade to draw a small series of runes.
Morrighan's eyes flit between Freja and the pillars of ice, lips pressing into a thin line, thoughtful, though hesitant. She draws back her horn once filled and lifts it upwards, tipping it towards her mouth just enough to partake of the contents. Her fingernails idly drum along the side of it when Kieran rises, and she looks on curiously when he approaches, taking a spike and warms it over a candle. Loosing a soft "Mn.." the dame rises, following suit with Branwen and the nobleman, striding towards the altar to pluck up a spike. What remains of the liquor is quaffed down to free up her hand, trading the horn for the candle. A small smile tugs at the corners of her mouth when she stares upon the flame, spike hovering over it while she meanders towards the back of a pillar. When it't hot enough the redhead goes to town, etching in runes into the ice.
"Right on the silver, Kieran." Freja remarks to her cousin with a wry twist of her lips. She walks between the pillars then, glancing at each in turn. Not prying, simply curious is all at the tales each series may tell for the individual carving them. "Would any like to share why they carved what they did?" she prompts.
Aodhan nods faintly, rising from his seat to make way to the altar to take the metal as instructed, glancing at it as he begins to carve out his runes into the ice...they tell a story of heartbreak and suffering of blow after blow...yet still rising from those ashes to grow stronger. When asked, he doesn't speak..still carving yet more words.
"Aksel," Aksel responds to Aodhan as he takes off his mittens leaving them in seat and rises to move to the alter take up spike and fire to warm it. There is no hesitation in his movements, always sure of them. But when he reaches the ice there is a moment of of falter. His bare hand runs over the smooth ice for a second before the spike starts hisses into the ice. When done it's two runes carved. - Failure - and - Family -. He steps back and draws in a breath staring at them.
Kieran takes the spike and candle and begins heating up the metal. Once it is hot to the touch, he places it against the ice pillar which sizzles and begins carving what runes come to mind. "Hmmmm?" he asks in reply to Freja. "Oh me? I am just doodling really."
Branwen considers for a long moment after she has etched the last curve of the rune she was working on. Being all but a stranger to most of those here, her gaze lingers on everyone who gathered as her courage builds. "I carved the rune for empty, and history. For it's how my clan found me. Empty of history, as a young girl. It hasn't bothered me in years. But a new place. A new home, that tends to remind one of other upheavals." Her tone is steady and sure, as if used to speaking to crowds. And without any hesitation or shyness despite her initial pause before speaking.
Kieran gets a punch to the shoulder. That is just a family sign of love, right? Freja offers him a sickeningly sweet smile before her dark eyes shift to Aodhan's. "Honest. True. Thank you. Are you certain that is an ache you wish to depart with just yet?" Aksel's own carvings give her pause, but no words. He gets a simple look of understanding and a nod before she moves along to stand beside Morrighan, listening to Branwen's explanation. After a lull she responds, "The pages are empty, the ink is not dry - you can write away the emptiness now. Welcome. We are happy to have you."
"There's a lot o' bad shite in this world tha' has an' can ruin everythin' tha' it touches," the dame answers in response to Freja, still carving away in the ice, hot metal hissing, causing tendrils of steam to lift up into the air. "There has been evil tha's hit all over Arvum, an' it destroyed a lot o' lives." Morrighan pauses there, stepping back with a grimace, almost scowling at what she had etched in. "But some made it, though they stepped away a lil' different, but they've grown. Does'nae good tae keep lookin' back on things like tha', holdin' ontae it, b'cause at th'same time it holds ontae you, but it's best tae let it go so one can keep movin' forward."
There is a long pause as Aksel looks at the runes that he's carved, there is a moment that it looks like there will be a third carved, but it doesn't come. Just a simple nod of his head back to Freja as he takes a step back to listen to Morrighan's words.
"Yes, exactly. I think the Ravenseye will do well here." Branwen agrees, looking up to meet Freja's eyes. "I thank you. I hope to serve the Redrain well, as both a healer and shaman." Such as when Morrighan's voice reaches her ears and her brow furrows. "Things such as that evil that is spoken of, for example." Though it's murmured quietly, while they wait for the next set of instructions.
Aodhan pauses in his carvings for a moment, turning his head to Freja as she speaks "Anything to be rid of such pain..." he takes a deep sigh, his hand shaky against the ice, but he finishes his carving "Family." is the last thing he carves, stepping back and looking at them a moment. His heart for all to see.
Kieran gets slugged by Freja and smiles back just as sweetly. "Oh, you didn't expect me to spill my secrets behind what I am inscribing, did you?" He continues working on his ice pillar as the shaman continues her rounds to the others.
The runes of ruin that they all carved are given one last glance and a sad smile of understanding before the Shaman of House Redrain walks back up the altar and grabs the skull with her own runes carved upon it, unreadable to all other eyes for they are clearly of her own making. Freja instructs, "When it is given the last, beseeching kiss, smash this ice...do not tarry, do not miss." And with that her eyes glaze over, focusing on something beyond the Grove as she moves her lips wordlessly in silent prayer. The skull is slowly lifted in one hand, brought at level with her lips while her other hand holds her spike over a torch flame, turning it red hot.
Her lips still and then, closing her eyes she presses them against the skull's ghastly grin - before driving that searing poker through the right eye socket until it hisses, smoke escaping through the nostrils and empty eye sockets.
Kieran listens and watches Freja before looking to his pillar. He shoves his spike into his pillar then places his candle flame against it, transferring the heat along the metal to melt the pillar from inside out. Once water starts leaking out, he gives the pillar a shove and it collapses.
As Branwen already carved the last of her runic story, it seems she's just been waiting for the signal to act further. And when it's given, her reserved demeanor up until this point leaves her just the way that ice chips fly outward when she stabs the still hot metal pik into the center of her carvings with an unapologetic "HYAAAAA!" It is meant to be catharsis afterall, and as a fellow shaman she can do no less then commit to the full experience being suggested. A satisfied little smile appears when she's done. So there, ice.
There is no hesitation from Aksel. His greataxe is drawn and with great strikes of steel against ice, it chips away. It's not long though that steel strikes stone and a flash of spark emits from the ice's wounds, the stone unharmed. Quick work is made as the ice falls away from stone and he stands there looking at the shattered remains a moment. He gives a slight shrug, and places his greataxe upon his shoulder and walks away.
Trading off the spike and candle into one hand, Morrighan keeps her gaze settled on Freja for a moment, listening to the shaman's words and instruction. With her free hand she draws her rubicund blade from its sheath, the fiery-hued metal gleaming in the torchlight. Her fingers coil about the hilt, getting a good grip on it and eases back a pace or two, putting the ice within striking range. She slowly moves the flame about the metal, heating it up while Freja speaks, turning her spike red hot from the fire. Once the time comes to smash the ice, she steps forward, swinging her blade about in a fiery arc, slashing at what she had written, the heat cutting through the runes, melting them, though she continues cutting them away, removing any evidence they had been present in the first place.
Aodhan takes the candle flame that was available to him, setting it against the catharsis...and when it was ready, he takes one of his longswords, the more ornate one whose name is Bear's Cry, and with a single slice of his blade, the ice melts away in it's path, a carthosis waterfall occurring because of it. He breathes at the fallen ice, before sheathing his blade..all of what was previously there washed away like sand upon the shore.
Freja checked mana + occult at difficulty 15, rolling 28 higher.
Pulling back from the 'kiss', Freja's lips part and a small tendril of smoke escapes from between her teeth as she finds her words again. "The Spirits have heard, and our boon has been paid. What is hidden in snow, is revealed at that. As Winter comes to its end, so shall yours. The seeds have been planted but it is up to you to pay the cost, to cultivate and find the harvest."
is revealed at thaw*
Branwen does not... will not... interrupt the shaman speaking. But her lips move just afterwards, a fond smile appearing on her face at whatever memory the words have evoked. "As the spirits and our own spirit wills it." she adds, at a volume to be heard and in obvious agreement. "Thank you, Shaman. It has been long since I've been able to join such a ceremony, with those of so many paths. Truly a joy." To the others, she also nods her gratitude. Just for being there, really.
Kieran looks to Freja as she regards the gathering once more and gives a single nod in reply to the invocation. He walks back to the bench he was seated at and pops open his whiskey, taking a long draw from it as he silently contemplates the ritual they performed.
Freja moves to cradle the skull in the crook of her arm, the spike dropped on the altar to be gathered later. All of the pillars are either crushed, melted, or left in such fragments that none can tell where their runes begin and end. Her piece done, the ritual in itself reaching that catharsis of an end, she simply states, "Thank you all for coming. As always, I am here have you questions, comments, or concerns. I am always reachable by missive. Spirits keep you all."
Sheathing her blade in a fluid motion, Morrighan looks pleased enough with her destruction of the ice and everything that had been carved upon it. She steps off towards the alter, returning the spike in candle, though keeps her head ticked over in Freja's direction, listening. It's only when she sees the smoke that her focus turns to her completely, eyes squinting, but looking on with notable fascination. Once her words are finished, the redhead returns to the bench seat, depositing herself down beside Kieran.
Aodhan sheathes his blade slowly, sighing a little before he looks to Freja, bowing to the Shaman "Thank you. It was very helpful." he does seem rather relived and out of stress.
Kieran takes another swig of his whiskey and hands it over to Morrighan if she wants another draw. He nods again to Freja, "Thank you, Shaman. Your guidance is appreciated." He eyes the skull then and smiles lightly.
Aksel's strides take him to reclaim his mittens, but he tucks them into the back of his pants. He pauses a moment and looks back over his shoulder to Freja for a moment before he leaves the Stone Grove his greataxe still slung over his shoulder.
Back to list