A Song To Southern Reaches
May 1, 2022, 2:30 p.m.
Arx - Ward of House Redrain - Stone Grove
Comments and Log
Thea has joined the by the morning glories.
It's a warm summer day, and Mirk stands on a temporary stage established in the Stone Grove, everything clearly designed to avoid any plants or herbs that might be disturbed and to be disassembled immediately after the performance so that few would ever realize that it had been there. He's dressed in steelsilk and fireweave, a tightly-wrapped scroll in one hand.
He announces, "Welcome to the Grove." His voice carries easily across the Grove, without having to shout. "Allow me to introduce our visitors from the Bard's College, who will perform a song about the Suthyrn Reaches. We have labored over this for months now, both to make the music pleasing to the ear and to figure out how best to honor the lost peoples of those fallen kingdoms."
"It is our hope that this song will keep the memory alive, both for our own sake and for the spirits who dwelled in those once-green lands. Now, if the Bards would care to take over from here..."
He turns to Evaristo and steps back, ceding the stage to him.
Aconite strolls into the grove, the tall woman in black and gold finding a spot alomst immediately amongst the colorfull poppies. She's brought her own refreshment and so settles amodst the flowers.
Edris walks into the stone grove with a certain air of quiet reverence. It may be the prime of summer, but the Elwood knight attends in freshly cleaned and buffed leathers, and from the person he appears to be escorting, perhaps that's another point as to why. He speaks quietly to Alis as he walks alongside the Valardin Highlord, his arm on offer and his gaze moving out over the area as he does so, following her lead as to where she prefers to find a place to listen and view.
The temporary stage is filled up with bards, more than a dozen of them, with an assortment of instruments - rhytmic, string, wind, anything that makes pleasant sounds in skillful hands. These professional bards are ready to create the magic of music for the audience, whether they be spirit or of flesh and blood. There is not much in terms of decoration except lanterns and torches, and if people look closely, there are some staff hiding behind the stage ready to assist with something during the performance itself, and handle the light or any quick changes of instruments.
When the sign is given, the music starts - drifting and simple with a lute and a drum setting the mood, melancholy and beautiful. The five singers step up to the front, and Evaristo - wearing a fiery looking Eurusi styled coat with fireweave lining - begins singing with his powerful and faintly raspy voice, playing his lute skillfully while he sings the first verse himself. As he sings that verse, another couple of instruments are seamlessly added to the harmonies. During the verse, sounds such as leaves rustling in trees, and waves crashing against rock, can be heard.
When the chorus comes, all the five singers join in, in perfect harmony together.
In Foraiso, men dwelled in trees
A cliffside marvel writ in leaves
The Grove of Learning at its heart
Where druids studied nature's art
Sheltered by the storms and sea
In Foraiso, tranquility
To the south across the waves
One kingdom of light and wonder
One kingdom of fiery caves
A third of trees and thunder
Uanna, Drakorsis and Foraiso!
Uanna, Drakorsis and Foraiso!
Khanne has been in the Stone Grove awhile, well before the occasion was to begin. She was peaceful, quiet, though not meditating, simply enjoying the atmosphere of her favorite place within the city. She has taken residence amidst the grasses, as she most often does when she is here, letting her fingers run through the blades slowly. She looks up when Mirk begins to speak and offers him a smile, ready to listen to the song about to be performed.
Griffin had been looking forward to this performance for some time now! Taking his place amongst the morning glories, he bows his greeting, and quickly has his seat. He is taken up with the music, and half closed his eyes letting the music flow through him.
Ksenia slips into the grove with quiet steps, contenting herself at the fringes of the gathering and a bit seperated from the more notable attendees. As the music begins though, she does bob up gently on her toes to catch sight of the performers, attention rapt in listening to the song.
Celine had heard about the evening's event in a rather roundabout way, but the subject matter has definitely inspired the smiling young woman that arrives with her friend and scholastic colleague, Lord Erik Thrax. Gold silks flutter with the cadence of a step that's matched to his, and her eyes are bright as her head swivels left to right and back again as she takes in a place she's not visited until now. When the Evaristo takes to the stage, she quickly finds for herself a place to be still and to listen, settling herself amongst the morning glories.
Alis might well look miserable were she in leathers or her armor, so she's conceded to the weather in an actual dress for the occasion, one hand tucked under Edris offered arm as they make their way towards the seating by the morning glories. The taller knight says something quietly to her, which prompts the kind of mixed expression of humor and cringe that makes it impossible to guess what kind of comment has been made. "Let us hope that will not be necessary, for many many reasons." she replies back to him with a touch of amusement. Those who are about to (or have started to) perform and given a smiling nod as they settle in.
Caspian stepped slightly forward on the stage then, no instrument in hand but his fists behind his back. Dressed in colors of black, organge and yellow, the light flickered like flames upon the man. Caspian began to drive his foot hard into the floor, a pounding sound adding a rhythm akin to a hammer. His voice was loud and powerful, each word enunciated with a crisp clip, only further adding to the feeling of hardness and iron. the sound of crackling fire could be heard, as well as more instruments swelling the music.
In Drakorsis, beneath a mount of fire
Dwarves built an underground empire
Hidden halls of glittering might
Artistry by lava-light
The limits of their craft defied
In Drakorsis, skill and pride
Each verse fell in line with the music and the stomping, the heavby punding bringing to mind the hammering of smiths and of forges. When the last of the words faded from the air he stepped back to join the rest as the chorus swelled once more, lifted up by the voices of all the performers.
Thea doesn't make her way here often, but often enough to check on a certain plant. Today she's here for a different reason, and she's quiet as she slips into a place to watch. The countess wears a dress as well, because it's hot. But it's weather she enjoys and she's quite comfortable with.
Ailys quietly folds herself into a seat near Alis, Edris and a few other people she's more or less acquainted with. A low-key wave is offered, but she saves verbal greetings until the song is over. For now, that's what holds the majority of her attention.
Aconite smiles Thea's direction and lifts a hand in greeting before dark eyes move back to the stage. Her attention becomes absorbed there and she lifts a hand to rest it against the base of her throat. Swaying lightly in time to the melody.
Erik, dashing in black and white, has pulled his otherwise unruly hair together and in turn shortened his step a bit to walk with Celine. He nods here and there when he recognizes a face, as the two move to a seat. As the song starts, he nods as he recognizes at least a tiny part of the geography, laying his head to the side as he listens to the lyrics.
The third singer is Savio, his lovely voice taking over and filling up the Grove. He sings from the heart, the verse about Uanna, the land of light and neutrality. More instruments join in now, and sounds of crystals clinking together are heard, and the stage is more lit up as staff subtly add more light with torches and lanterns.
In Uanna, wrought of crystal stone
Brightest Queen Utena shone
Honoring the Sun and Dream
Her shining neutral realm esteemed
By all who traveled her great roads
In Uanna, radiance untold
Again, all voices join together for the chorus, and then Caprice steps forth to sing the fourth verse. Now the bards in the background all pull forth small round metal medallions and if the audience pay attention they notice they are of different metals, a subtle message: iron, copper, tin and so on. Caprice sings beautifully and heartfelt about the downfall of the Suthyrn Reaches... and a larger fire now burns behind the stage, staff there quickly setting that up.
Luminaries from afar sailed forth
The best and brightest of the north
Coming south with trust and hope
But in darkness wicked plans awoke
Betrayal, wrath, cities defaced
So burned the South, laid to Waste
Again, all five sing the chorus - and now almost all instruments have joined in, the music swelling and building.
Gianna takes the forefront now, glimmering in a dreamy blue crystal-inspired gown that shows quite a lot of leg. Any distraction that might cause is likely dispelled when she raises her voice, strong and clear, to sing with arms outstretched and head tilted up proudly:
This is the story long remembered
But in that ash there is an ember
A spark of something pure and true
Whispers, ballads, scraps and clues
Speak to the kingdoms proud and free
And in this light, we honor Three.
The song ends with a repeat of the chorus, and now the instruments slowly fade out so that in the end, only a lute and a drum accompany the last lines, sung with hope and sadness both, remembering three nations long gone:
To the south across the waves
One kingdom of light and wonder
One kingdom of fiery caves
A third of trees and thunder
Uanna, Drakorsis and Foraiso!
Uanna, Drakorsis and Foraiso!
While each of the bards take the spotlight, Khanne watches with a pleased smile and a look of wonder in her eyes. She enjoys each note sung and played, but it is the message that thrills her the most. When it has finished, she begins to applaud the performance as her smile grows.
"I would like to give my heartfelt thanks to the bards for making this performance a reality," Mirk says once the last notes of the music have died away. "And offer them a small gift for their efforts." He reaches into an ornate wooden box and pulls out a cloak pin with a gleaming dawnstone set in the center, holding it up before offering one to each bard in turn, pinning it on their cloak himself if they'll allow him.
For Gianna, he has a second gift, handing her a scroll. "A copy of the song in my own hand, written side-by-side in Arvani and Uannan, for the Bard's College."
Gianna reaches out to pluck the pin from Mirk when he offers it. Look at that gown. Look at it. Don't poke it with a pin! And the scrolls is accepted as well; the self-styled Nightingale bows to Mirk, lower than she usually does. "It is the College's pleasure to spread word of the forgotten through song and story," she announces.
Evaristo takes a deep bow towards the standing stones, the audience, and then to Mirk, and beams in happy surprise as he is presented with that lovely gift, clearly surprised. "My lord, thank you! It has been a pleasure - and I admit, I did tear my hair a few times, see I think I have a bald spot right *here* - but the song... well, I am so proud to perform it here today!" He waves over to the stones and calls; "Hope you liked it! If not, please don't do anything."
Aconite takes a breath and leans back taking a second to bring herself back to reality. The tall Whisper applauds as well after Lord Halfshav has made his annoucement. She finishes the small drink she's brought for herself to stave off the heat.
Ailys joins in with the applause as Evaristo wraps up the performance.
Ksenia happily joins the applause for the performers, clapping rather enthusiastically from her little corner of the grove.
Evaristo gets Renewal, the sanguine mahogany lute from a sanguine leather covered lute case tooled with a skull and vine motif.
Alis applauds both when the song is finished and when Mirk begins handing out pins and thanking the bards. "Exceptionally well performed."
Edris applauds as well, and though his expression is still reserved, it's clear that he's been moved by the performance, as he speaks quietly with those nearby.
Celine clambers to her feet and gives a gentle clap for the performers. "Well done! It was wonderful."
Now that the performance is completed and she is sure she would not seem to interrupt, Khanne waves happily over to Alis.
With the formalities attended, Mirk sits down on the steps of the stage, more casual. "The song spoke of true history and distant places, though the kingdoms of the Suthyrn Wastes have all met their end and now lie in ruins. If anyone has questions, or wishes to know more about those places, I am at your disposal for now, though understand that certain details may be a little too sensitive for a public venue."
Erik joins in the general applause, "Very well done, beautiful performance.", then commenting to either left or right at his seat in a more conversational loudness "And in the Uannan language, both, did you hear that?"
Joining the applause, Sunaia had put to rest the glass of a much needed drink of water. "Fantastic performance," she offers, enchanted by the gathered talent.
Evaristo is overheard praising Bard's college.
Evaristo is overheard praising Halfshav.
Alis brightens when Khanne's wave is spotted, and returns the gesture with an additional mimic of drinking a cup of tea. Spiked tea, no doubt.
Ah! The questions. Griffin is paying attention to that. Both the questions, and who makes them.
Evaristo makes some enthusiastic waving towards the tables with food and drinks. "Eat and drink, too! There is plenty!" He steps off the stage to join the audience now, finding a seat over with Aconite by the poppies.
Evaristo has left the by the evergreen grove.
Evaristo has joined the a patch of whimsical coppery orange poppies.
Evaristo is overheard praising Caspian: Fantastic performance!
Ksenia continues to loiter, even as she doesn't immediately find anyone overly familiar to converse with. Instead, she seems content to linger near Mirk and any who may wish to ask him questions while she browses the food and beverages being offered.
Evaristo is overheard praising Gianna: Fantastic performance!
Aconite is overheard praising Evaristo.
Aconite is overheard praising Mirk.
Thea is overheard praising Evaristo.
Aconite is overheard praising Gianna.
Thea is overheard praising Mirk.
Thea is overheard praising Gianna.
Sunaia is overheard praising Evaristo.
Sunaia is overheard praising Mirk.
Sunaia is overheard praising Gianna.
Aconite's eyes are on Mirk for a moment, thoughtful as she mull over the performance. However when Evaristo walks over to her the Whisper's smile goes from thoughtful and reserved to bright. "Well done, truly beautiful. I'm so glad I could make it. The venue really helped to enahnce it all." She pushes up from her regal recline on one arm to chat quietly with the Bard for a moment.
Gianna exchanges the scroll and pin she's been given for a cup of something to drink. That's what assistants are for, after all. The Nightingale steps away from the area that's functioned as a stage, looking for a place to sit that's not going to snag her gown or get it dirty or anything. Which is difficult in this sort of setting.
"Lord Mirk." Erik speaks up, raising from his seat as he does. "I am not embarrassed to admit, that it is news to me that there were three kingdoms at the Suthyrn, where would have been, in location to Uanna and Forasio? The song mentioned beneath a mount of fire... so.. am I to assume even further south, inland? Nor have I.." a not to Ailys here, "have heard of what you said to be Dwarves either.. Is there something you can share about that in specific?"
"The third kingdom, Drakorsis, lay underground," Mirk clarifies at Erik's questioning. "The surface belonged to Uanna, and I believe Mt Drakorsis, for which the kingdom - and capital city - were named, was inland. Beyond that, I cannot offer many specifics. The dwarves were skilled craftsmen, said to be touched by Gild, and strong allies of the Brass Knight, with whom they created many wonders both before and during the Reckoning. Unfortunately, all record of Drakorsis ceases after the Reckoning, and my sources presumed them wiped out in that dark time."
Evaristo raises a hand, but like a bad pupil he doesn't wait to be aknowledged before he does ask; "So, we know those three kingdoms were all destroyed, but what about its people? Surely, some of them got away? The dwarves on Arvum - is there a chance they originally came from Drakorsis, or was there two kingdoms at different places at the same time?" he says, speaking rapidly and half brain-stormingly.
Aconitelooks intently at Erik, then to Mirk as they discuss the dwarves and Dakorsis. Her curiosity nearly palpable but subdued next to Evaristo's excitment.
Celine is oh-so-very-much-drawn by the mention of the food and drink that's been provided for the event, and she glances in the direction of the tables with longing. But curse it, other things take precedence for now, and capturing a length of golden hair that's escaped her combs so it can be neatly behind one ear, she dips at the waist for a quietly spoken word with Alis.
"I don't know," Mirk says, spreading his hands helplessly. "You would be better off asking Pathfinder Lou about that. I should hope that some of the dwarves escaped Drakorsis, and I imagine even if those kingdoms were separate that some would've found refuge with their Arvani cousins, but I truthfully am only guessing. It isn't exactly easy to go and ask them nowadays."
Ksenia knits her brows gently as she listens to the questions being bandied about around Erik, soon venturing her own a touch tentatively, perhaps unsure about their broadness, "What of Uanna and, hm, Foraiso, was it? What were they like? Light and trees, I heard?"
Erik nods to Mirk, retaking his seat just in time to listen to Evaristo, there is just a tiny fidgeting that he knows a facet of the answer, but he knows his limitations and leaves the answer to the expert. A glance to Celine a look over to the food and he excuses himself briefly to get a bit of a little amuse bouche selection back to the seats.
Evaristo nods understandingly at Mirk and then quiets to listen to the others, smiling amicably around mouthfuls of a sweet cinnamon bread.
Celine's eyes subtly widen at whatever the exchange is between her and Alis, and a smile ignites her features. "Of course." Her reply is simple and swift, and she gathers her skirt to hitche them an inch or two shy of the ground then wanders across to where the refreshments are laid. Food finds its way and is stacked on her plate in nothing short of an architectural miracle. The girl likes her food.
Aconite thanks an attendant who brings her a drink of mead and her teeth tug her lip. She seems particularly interested in the question about the other cities.
"Uanna was known as the Kingdom of Light," Mirk says, turning his attention now to Ksenia. "Ruled by Queen Utenna of House Sherzi. Through the grand gates of Gishkal, one could find bustling cities that welcomed strangers. Their roads were lit with crystal lanterns, which absorbed the sunlight and then shone brilliantly with that same light at night, so that the day would always illuminate their passage."
"Foraiso, on the other hand, was centered around a sacred grove, with houses built in the branches of immense trees. A place of natural beauty, guarded by fierce storms that prevented hostile armies from landing on their shores."
Winter, A Highhill Puppy, Angeline arrive, following Kiera.
Erik is just coming back a little plate of everything but apparently his rescue attempt on the food-front comes too late. Ah pity, he missed a bit on Mirks explanation of Foraiso now.
Ksenia blinks owlishly at Mirk, listening to each word with obvious interest in each land being described, "Really? Sounds more like some old fantastical tale than something real, but it is lovely to imagine."
"There is even a statue of Pena the last Hierophant in the Hall of Heroes. Allegedly she came from that grove.", Erik offers to Ksenia. Not that he can confirm or deny the rest of the story.
Aconite's brows knit and she tilts her head and looks to ask a question of Evaristo with a perturbed expression.
Edris listens to the information with attentiveness, though it is with the open curiousity of one who isn't well versed in the subject, but finds it interesting nevertheless.
"As did Mercury of the Metallic Order," Mirk says with a firm nod of his head towards Erik. "We know these places existed, though sadly none of us have witnessed them in their full grandeur. They've been destroyed for five hundred years. More, in the case of Drakorsis."
Ksenia nods thoughtfully before something else said by Mirk catches her attention and she wonders in a follow-up, "Hierophant?"
Gianna has left the by the evergreen grove.
Gianna has joined the benches.
Gianna finds herself a less nature-y place to sit, smoothing the skirt of her gown beneath her. She crosses one leg over the other and listens, watching Mirk.
"Hierophants were among those who dwelled in Foraiso, studying at the Grove of Learning," Mirk hedges, with a glance aside at Evaristo. "Guardians of the natural world, or so the stories tell, who held reverence for both Petrichor and the spirits of the land."
A small grin appears on Khanne's lips as she listens to the conversations all around her. The grin seems to come after Ksenia speaks. "Old fantastical tales are often based in reality. Some more so than others." She then looks towards Erik when he mentions Pena. Turning towards Mirk, she nods. "Wouldn't it be amazing to see them brought back to their granduer again?"
"Which is part of why it feels so fitting performing here today," Evaristo chimes in after Mirk when he talks about hierophants, Petrichor and spirits.
Aconite says, "The wastes .. I don't know that anyone could stomach them for long enough to rebuild."
Ksenia nods her agreement with Khanne, looking between her and Mirk a moment as she listens, "Even if they were only a fraction of what the tales describe, I would still have liked to see them."
Conall, a huge, friendly sable Wolfhound with bright platinum eyes, Ylva, an impressively-large, silvery Wolfhound with bright gold eyes, Parker, a quietly assertive servant leave, following Sunaia.
Alis speaks up, louder now, to the area at large. "Is there any additional information on Drakorsis that is able to be shared? if not now, than just let me know and I'd be happy to speak later on. I'm just... intensely curious about the dwarves and their former home."
Caspian has left the by the evergreen grove.
"I don't know as much as some," Mirk says after a moment's thoughtful pause. "But give me a day or two to organize my notes, and I'd be happy to share whatever I can."
Aconite nods, "That would be wonderful, Lord Mirk." She echoes the sentiment of interest of the others.
"I know we can not reach the Wastes now, but - has there been an exploration of those islands that lie between us and that continent?" Evaristo asks curiously.
"Of course, there is no rush. And thank you." Alis dips her head politely towards Mirk, while continuing to engage in quiet conversation.
Caspian gives a warm smile to everyone who came, and a bow of Respect to Mirk and the other performers. "Thank you for letting me be a part of this. it was a great honor. I would truly love to stay and talk more, but i have an urgent meeting that i must see to. Thank you all again" another bow and a warm smile and the Champion is heading out of the grove.
Aconite waves farewell to Caspian/
Celine has that wonderful Valardin knack of negotiating the hazards of both balancing a full plate of food /and/ a full glass in the course of settling herself into a sit. "Ah no," she smiles to Thea. "Uncannily, I was speaking of exactly the same things that you have written down just the other day with a coleague of mine." A pause as Thea eyes the chicken and the green sauce that now drips from it. "Basil and garlic, unusual but lovely." And to confirm that that is indeed the case, she smooshes a cube of pheasant through the garlic-basil concoction and pops it into her mouth.
Ksenia cants her head in a thoughtful manner, "Why cannot it not be visited? Lots of people seem to like to make expeditions to very dangerous places."
Evaristo waves enthusiastically to Caspian as he leaves, then glances at Ksenia - but he leaves any explanation to it to someone else for now.
"All ships attempting to enter or leave the continent are becoming mysteriously diverted, of late. Anything beyond the Saffron Chain is beyond our reach right now," Mirk says with a grave tone, one that suggests there's more to the story but he won't be explaining it.
Ksenia lets out a soft sound, nodding pensively to herself with some measure of understanding as she murmurs a thought aloud, "Ah, I see. Such things do seem a bit too common, like with the Darkwater."
Erik looks over to Mirk at the mentioning of not being able to travel too far away from Avrum, only knowing that it does not work, not knowing why it does not. There is a touch of bitterness in his eyes there.
Aconite's eyes cast down and her lips press into a thin line at the mention of the current situation with sailing.
Drysi, a young shaman apprentice leaves, following Khanne.
Evaristo has left the a patch of whimsical coppery orange poppies.
Alena Sparks, unamused first mate, Silk, the Seafaring Spider, Betty leave, following Evaristo.
Alis has left the by the morning glories.
Sir Rhys, a Valardin Knight, Laurene, a military adjutant, 10 Valardin Knights leave, following Alis.
Aconite waves after Evaristo and then looks back towards Mirk with a curious expression. "Have you heard anything else about that, Lord Halfshav?" The Whisper wonders.
Celine:wanders back towards the buffet table, perhaps a gap has opened itself on her plate.
"A few things, but none that lead us to a solution, I'm afraid," Mirk says with a sigh and a shake of his head.
Celine has left the by the morning glories.
2 Valardin Knights leaves, following Celine.
Edris continues to engage in quiet conversation with other nearby, but the approach of a messenger dressed in Elwood livery interrupts it briefly. With a few quiet words of goodbye to those nearest him, Edris rises and offers a courtly bow, before moving off quickly away from the Grove.
Mirk has left the by the evergreen grove.
Aegis, a large red Oakhaven bloodhound have been dismissed.
Rurik, a prodigal assistant have been dismissed.
Edris has left the by the morning glories.
Now that the performance, and question period are over, Griffin sits quietly and ruminates.
Thea has left the by the morning glories.
Gianna has left the benches.
"Everything goes down easier when it's deep-fried," Ailys notes as she gets up from her chair, preparing for her own departure. But she's taking a few refreshments with her.
Ailys has left the by the morning glories.
Max, an emperor tamarin leaves, following Ailys.
Aco stands and smooths her hands over her cloak and heads towards the stage to leave a message for Lord Halfshav. She glances around the grove with a light smile and starts for the exit as well.
Aco stands and smooths her hands over her cloak and heads towards the stage to as something quietly of Lord Halfshav. She glances around the grove with a light smile before looking back towards Mirk.
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