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> Blood on the Moon, A Journey of Discovery
Grits
post Jul 17 2019, 03:43 PM
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Ooo, I love this interlude! Taking a deep breath before the final battle makes me even more nervous for them. *scribbles notes*


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Renee
post Jul 17 2019, 04:03 PM
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Hello treydog, I am Renee, and I have interest in Blood on the Moon, but not the time to catch up with everyone else. Because wow, this back to 2007! ohmy.gif What is happening in the latest chapter, especially with the letters going back and forth?

Whoa, okay, so Hircine is about to get met. indifferent.gif Okay, so some documents are being entrusted to Ahnya. Just in case things don't go well. Yah because I imagine meeting a daedric prince... all sorts of things could go wrong. All Hircine has to do is call up his Wild Hunt and ... indifferent.gif

What's happening at the end? With the conversation there? See, I'm the lady who shows up to Game of Thrones (or Stranger Things, or Walking Dead....) seasons after everyone else already knows what's going on. Lol.



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treydog
post Jul 20 2019, 12:33 AM
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Yeah- I don't really want to ask anyone to read all 600(!) pages just to “catch up”. That is especially true since there are some pretty big inconsistencies, especially in the characters now versus the early days. Therefore, to quote Inigo Montoya- Let me es-plain.... No. It is too much. Let me sum up.

So- for those who need the Cliff Notes version- Athlain is the son of Trey of High Rock, who defeated Dagoth Ur. He is 17 at the beginning of this story and has left home, due to reasons- some good, some less so. One of his distinguishing characteristics is an absolute inability to wield swords of any kind. That did not dim his desire to be a warrior of renown. As a result, he (reluctantly) learned to use blunt weapons, and now carries an ebony and silver mace that Athynae had made for him (known as Athynae's Gift or simply the Gift. Athynae Sarethi is the daughter of Serene of Cyrodiil, Arch Mistress of Great House Redoran and wife of Athyn Sarethi. Athynae is 2 years and 1 month older than Athlain. She is a master of almost any weapon, specializing in archery, thrown weapons, and her beloved ebony katana Dreamer. That sword was a gift from her mentor and trainer, Sethyas Velas (Uncle Seth), Master of the Morag Tong.

Athynae and Athlain have been best friends practically since Athlain's birth and have shared a number of adventures. Some of those that might be more accessible (because they are short) can be found in 3 threads within the Fan Fiction subforum- a couple will require a bit of digging--- “Postcards from Tamriel,” “Morrowind Memories,” and “Athynae Sarethi: The Making of a Princess”. Those are worth a look, as they have some insight into the characters in their earlier (pre-Blood on the Moon) days.

So- skipping a LOT of story- Athlain joins the Legion, goes to Solstheim, becomes involved with the East Empire Co. colony at Raven Rock. In the course of that, he is unwittingly dosed with skooma and becomes addicted. Athynae cures him and saves his life. Meanwhile, the Legion fort is attacked and the commander disappears. Athlain is tasked to investigate. In doing so, he spends time at Thirsk and the Skaal village. (The Legion officer who assigned him to investigate believes the Skaal are behind the attack on the fort). At Thirsk, he and Athynae befriend (and avenge) an orphaned Skaal girl, Ahnya Torvarsdottir.

Somewhere in there, while waiting for Athlain to show up from some task or other which has taken him away, Athynae is attacked (and infected) by a werewolf. With Athlain's assistance, she barricades herself in a cave while he chases a rumor of a cure. She is mentally besieged by Hircine, who urges her to accept his “gift” and become a great hunter. She resists, but also contemplates suicide as a better alternative to becoming a monster. Athlain succeeds in finding the formula for and preparing the cure, and (with Azura's aid) assists in Athynae's healing.

Athlain must win the trust of the Skaal before they will tell him what they know about events taking place on Solstheim. To do this, he must complete a number of “Tests”- Loyalty, Wisdom, and Strength. As he has finished these, werewolves attack the Great Hall and the Skaal Chieftain, Tharsten Heartfang, disappears.

Athlain and Athynae must now attempt to determine if what the Skaal shaman, Korst Windeye, suspects is in fact true. But first, there are more tasks- retrieving the Totem of Claw and Fang, and then completing the Ristaag. They manage both of these, and Korst divides the Totem, giving the bear claws to Athynae and the wolf fangs to Athlain. Shortly thereafter, the horkers begin dying all over the island. For reasons that are never made clear, Korst asks them to go to Castle Karstaag to investigate whether the frost giant (also named Karstaag) is causing the mass die-off. The giant is not there, but numerous rieklings and grahl (ice trolls) are- and they are fighting each other. Mayhem (and poor judgment- in Athlain's opinion) ensue. The A Team discover that werewolves took Karstaag.

Throughout their lives (and most of this adventure), the kids have remained obstinately oblivious to their feelings for one another (with occasional, quickly repressed exceptions). But the months of close contact and a growing mutual awareness of their attraction for each other finally comes to the forefront. With the investigation of the ice castle complete, they are about to go back to the Skaal village to ask Korst to explain what the point of that last adventure was.

@SubRosa- The Interludes were something I originally intended to take the place of an omniscient narrator, necessary as the story is told in first person. But- like the rest of it, they grew larger. Happy to have you reading!

@haute- They are both more aware that this is not going to be an “average” confrontation. And the growth you mention is something that matters to me- as a reader, as well as a writer. If I read 200 pages and on page 200 the protagonist ends up being pretty much the same as she was on page 1- I am profoundly disappointed. So- we have tried to avoid that trap.

@ghastley- Yes- and I think Athlain will probably have more to say about that....

@Grits- We will be ratcheting the tension a bit before they get to that ultimate showdown. So- I recommend a cold beverage and a comfy chair. And I hope what follows meets with your approval.

@Renee- Welcome! The summary at the top of this post should help you get caught up. And thank you so much for reading!

And now- more story!

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Chapter 19


We left Castle Karstaag the next morning- by the front door- no swimming necessary, thankfully. I didn’t need a recap of Athlain’s naked torso exiting the water- the image was already quite solidly implanted in my mind in vivid color- embedded like the gem in Dreamer’s hilt.

Athlain was more silent than usual and that was good; I needed time to think. Discovering that the missing giant and his pet rieklings weren’t responsible for the dying horkers had not really surprised me. I knew it was just one more of Hircine’s cruel games. And the proof, had I needed any, came when Krish casually mentioned the ‘wolf mens’ who had taken Karstaag. So none of that was what I needed to sort out in my head. I have always preferred simple answers to stupid problems and the stupid problem of Hircine had a very simple answer- find him and send him, as painfully as possible, back to his plane of Oblivion. See, simple end to stupid problem.

What were not simple were the complicated thoughts sneaking in without my consent regarding the metal-wearing man whose breathing I could hear above his clanking progress just behind me. Fine. He wasn't actually “clanking.” But anyone wearing that much steel should have been, so I heard it in my mind if not with my ears. And after all the words we’d shared last night, knowing he was experiencing the same confusing disturbances of thought brought no sort of comfort.

Practically since before I could walk, I had known I was going to be a warrior, in the Redoran tradition. I would protect the weak and innocent and combat evil in all its forms. And not too long after I had pledged myself to that goal, I had added another; I would keep Athlain safe. That vow had come to me as naturally as breathing, even if it did happen after an injury to Athlain that I felt responsible for. There had never been nor would there ever be a reason to ask why. But with Lord Dog Breath after us, I really needed to work out how.

For all the time I had known Athlain, I had known where things stood- he was going to become a great warrior, because that was what he wanted. And I was going to keep him alive to do it, even if I had to half kill him first. Now that goal was achieved- the great warrior part- but I was still bound by my oath to keep him safe. And these new feelings were definitely going to complicate everything. I was a warrior and now he was one too. And, dammit, warriors didn’t have time for feelings- especially feelings outside compassion or anger. Athlain was my friend, my best friend in fact. And now we were combating all of these new feelings that could interfere with that friendship, possibly even destroy it.

“Do not ask me about love, Princess. Love is complicated, not the feeling of it; for you either feel it or you do not. But the defining of it in all its forms is beyond even the greatest scholars.” Papa’s words floated by as if carried on the breeze.

Loving Athlain wasn’t the question; it never had been. At some level, I had always known that I loved him. But that had been the love between best friends- companions who shared adventures and secrets and dreams. The current conundrum was how to navigate the change. It loomed like a rocky shoal suddenly appearing in once familiar waters. We had been side by side since he was born. I remembered rocking his cradle as he slept, impatiently waiting for the day he would walk and then run- with me. The knowledge that he would be my companion was palpable even then. Was this the natural progression of that? Did Mother and Trey have feelings like this? Or Mother and Seth? For each other? After all, I knew she had been central to their adventures and their triumphs. Had there been more than that? No! This was different, in some undefinable way. And yet I knew that they all loved each other; that they shared an unspoken, unbreakable bond. And I loved the brats and even the twin terrors, most of the time anyway. But that wasn’t it either. Was it because of my vow? The oath I had made to keep him safe? Or was it yet another plot by Hircine or some other Daedric meddler, playing with my mind, determined to drive me insane? I considered that, then considered the person who was troubling my thoughts.

Athlain was by turns serious and silly, cautious and reckless, kind and implacable. He was no longer the uncertain boy who had slipped away from home to join the Legion. But what he still was, in every way that mattered, was Athlain, with all his contradictions and complications. And that was what I had promised to keep safe, the essence of the man who I turned my head to look at, ready to explain to him that we did not have time for feelings, using simple words to get through his thick skull, only to notice he was lagging. What was that about? He definitely knew better than to try to lead, but he had never had any trouble keeping up, what with those long, muscular legs…”STOP IT!” I yelled inside my stupid brain, ”You are a WARRIOR, no feelings!”

I took a shallow breath and looked at him more closely. My nostrils flared in annoyance at his absent expression- didn't he know we were in the wilderness, far from safety? And when I inhaled, the air carried a scent with it, fresh blood. I whirled the rest of my body around to face him and glared. “Why didn’t you tell me you were hurt? Where is it? How bad? How could you be so stupid?”

“It’s nothing,” he mumbled through pale lips. “I just, I need to catch my breath is all.” As he dropped to sit on a boulder, his hunched shoulders gave the lie to his words. Why was he lying to me? I had seen him traipse up and down hills, cross streams, and push through snow drifts- all while wearing most of the contents of a forge, along with a serving platter and meat tenderizer from the kitchen. Besides all of that was the blood. I knew it wasn’t riekling blood because I had seen him clean his gear, but also for...other….reasons I really did not want to think about. I could just tell that it was his blood.

I folded my arms and the fingers of my right hand started tapping against the bracer on my left arm. “I don’t think so; try again. And do hurry as I’d prefer not to be dinner for any of the many beasts that might believe the scent of your blood means an easy meal.”

He tried to hide a wince of pain by turning his head. “It might be this place on my back.” He tried to sound offhand about it, but the words were strained. I stopped tapping and walked to his side as he continued, still avoiding eye contact. “I would have dealt with it, but it’s in an awkward spot and I didn’t want to waste a major healing potion on a minor scratch.” He tried to smile, but it was a weak attempt that turned into a grimace of pain.

“Minor scratches do not keep bleeding,” I responded, and then growled, “into the next day!” I felt like knocking him out, but I didn’t want to carry him, not that I could have anyway. “Let me see,” and I leaned toward him.

When he didn’t say anything, I glanced up to see his face set in a stubborn frown. “It’s fine. We can check it when we get back to Korst. In fact I’m feeling much better.” But when he tried to stand, his legs gave and put him right back on the boulder.

“Uh huh, I can see how much better you feel. Just dizzy from the clean air then?” I reached to the clasps on his breastplate and unceremoniously removed it. I got a muffled groan for my efforts.
His under tunic was saturated on one side all the way down and into his breeches under his cuisses. “Pull up your tunic and let me see.”

The ‘scratch’ was actually a gash as long as my hand and I didn’t really want to investigate exactly how deep it was. The bunching muscle and continued trickle of blood told me enough. I didn’t trust myself to speak, so I just cleaned the wound, threaded my needle and started sewing. He let go a wince and then a whine, followed by a moan of words, “Are you using the training you got from your mother or from the butcher?” He sucked in a wheezing breath. “And where did you find that sail-makers' needle? The same place as the hawser you threaded it with?” Athlain complaining was actually a good sign- far better than him suffering in silence, but I could see the seriousness of the wound made by the riekling blade, so I had little patience for his attempt at humor.

Perhaps if you had told me earlier, rather than ignoring it, I could have used finer thread. But you decided to bumble around in that wood stove you insist on wearing and made it worse.” I wish I had bailing twine, I thought to myself. Stupid. I paused to press the edges of the wound together with one hand before passing the needle through again and added as sweetly as I could, “Of course, if you would rather sew yourself up, I will be more than happy to stop. No? Then quit complaining and let me do this.”

The truth was, though I would never admit it to Athlain, that I was amazed he had managed to go as long as he did without collapsing or making a sound. Of course, I was even more amazed- and annoyed- by his stupidity,. There were other, older scars on his back, plus the ones I had seen on his arms and torso when he emerged from the hot spring...NO- not thinking about that! The point was he was no stranger to injuries or the need to treat them promptly.

“Stupid,” I muttered as I knotted the thread and stepped back, reaching for my pack and a healing ointment to coat the wound. I resolutely refused to think about whether I was referring to him or to myself for admiring the muscles of his back and the way they made a “V” as they plunged down to his…. NOT THINKING ABOUT THAT!

“Would you be willing to 'waste' that healing potion now, Sera 'I’d-rather-bleed-everywhere'?” I was caught between “want to kill him” and “want to save him,” so the sarcasm dripped like melting metal.

Athlain dipped his head and mumbled, “Um, my potions kind of got crushed somehow in the brawl, so I don’t actually have one. Which was another reason why I sort of didn't....” He trailed off and stared at the ground between his feet.

Breathe 'Thyna. One, two, three...two hundred seventy seven. “And so you just thought you’d try to bleed out and I wouldn’t notice,” and then my voice climbed in volume so that Aunt Baria could have heard me, “INSTEAD OF JUST ASKING FOR ONE? WHAT ON NIRN IS WRONG WITH YOU?”

“I really didn’t think it was all that bad until I started feeling the blood run down my leg and then I knew if I said anything that this is what I would get. So I’ll take the yelling, along with one of your perfectly wonderful healing potions, if you please.” And he gave me such a classically Athlain sheepish grin that it was all I could do not to kick him.

I didn’t say a word as I handed him the vial. He drank it and reached for his breastplate.

I smacked his hand. “No, leave it. In fact, remove the rest of your armor as well. You don’t need anything rubbing on the stitches I just finished.”

I didn’t wait for him to agree or disagree; I just looked around until I found a place a few feet up the path that offered good enough cover to hide his metal monument until it could be retrieved. He brought me the pieces and I stashed them, after which I placed a marker that could be spotted if someone knew what they were looking for. Of course, I didn't say anything to him about that, I just noted that the armor could be a “Shrine to Stupidity” and that people could come from all over the world to worship there. In fact, he could achieve an even greater fame than he would have as a warrior- he would be “St. Athlain, Patron of Stupidity.” Maybe that last was a bit much, but he had scared me, and I hated being scared. Then I reached for his pack and drew out his cloak and tossed it at him, before placing his burden over mine.

“Put the damn cloak on, and if you say one word about this extra pack on my back, I promise you it will be the last thing you say until you’ve seen fifty summers.”

I started for the village and knew he was no more than two steps behind me. The remainder of the walk to Korst’s was very quiet. And I struggled to ignore his scent- lavender, a hint of blood, but mostly the mixture of soap and steel and... everything that went straight from my nostrils to that place inside of me that was labeled “Athlain.”


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SubRosa
post Jul 20 2019, 06:58 PM
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Like like "Thyna's simple solution to a stupid problem

She would keep Athlain safe? What about that cliff racer hunting incident?

Love is indeed complicated. Aphrodite was the most vicious and cruel of all the gods...

Athynae's smelling Athlain's blood was a nice, subtle nod to her werewolvery.

Is St. Athlain related to St. Hubbins - the patron saint of quality footwear?



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haute ecole rider
post Jul 21 2019, 11:12 PM
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Shrine to Stupidity, indeed! I was chuckling throughout Thyna's tender ministrations to Athlain's little cut . . .

Oh, and yeah, that "V" of the back muscles . . . hrmmmm hubbahubba.gif


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ghastley
post Jul 22 2019, 02:15 PM
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I like the way that TES lets healing run the entire gamut from stitches and time, to the instant mending of broken bones in the middle of combat.

Somebody is going for the high-quality cosmetic repair here, because that's the result she wants. cool.gif


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SubRosa
post Jul 22 2019, 05:29 PM
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Speaking of healing, when are you going to heal your broken avatar treydog?


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Grits
post Jul 23 2019, 01:46 AM
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Athynae’s very simple answer to the Hircine problem is Nord approved! laugh.gif

I love how her emotions swung all over the place throughout the walk, the sewing, and some more Athlain-scented walk, while she intermittently declared that a warrior has none such feelings. It reminded me very much of my own processing at her age. Wondering about her mother, Trey, and Seth tells me she’s seeing them as people instead of only as parent and parent-adjacent others. I love how the strands of growing up that weave throughout this story are coming together (in a V shape, lol) at the end.


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treydog
post Jul 27 2019, 12:38 PM
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@SubRosa- Let's just say Athynae's definition of “safe” is... flexible. And I think the relation to St. Hubbins in entirely possible; we just have to hope Athlain is never overcome with the desire to be a drummer in a band.... Finally found a pup picture to use- that's the problem with changing computers and not being able to locate the backup drive....

@haute- Hope you are recovering well from your bronchoscopy- somehow, I think that should involve dinosaurs.... Anyway, she is a great believer in the idea that the 'healing' should involve a significant amount of 'and here's why you don't do the stupid thing that got you hurt in the first place'. And whatever her brain is telling her- her eyes have their own ideas.

@ghastley- It is true that in “A and A World” some healing (even of major injuries) is instantaneous- while other things take longer. And Athynae definitely has her own agenda at work, even if she is not completely aware of it.

@Grits- I think you are correct- Athynae has been spending too much time with Nords! And the emotions are anything but simple for her, which perhaps explains some of her... less-than-gentle healing method. One of the best things about this story has been giving the kids room to grow- and watching them do so.

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After Athynae had sewed me back together, with what I felt was a certain amount of savagery, not to mention the use of some sort of inquisitor's tools, she also made me dump my armor. And that meant we made good time toward the Skaal village, even though my head was somewhat fuzzy. I suspected the “healing potion” she had used was one of the “special” ones that contained a couple of extra ingredients. And I hardly needed the cloak she threw at me; she was putting off enough heat to melt iron.

I didn't actually mind her eloquent silence, as it gave me an excuse to remain quiet and to get a respite from the thoughts that had been chasing each other around in my head. The silence between us was fraught, but Athynae being angry with me over my failure to “take care of myself better” was familiar. The problem was, this latest silence felt like a pause in the conversation we had had the previous night. I wondered if we would resume that talk or if we would let the silence stretch until we could pretend it had never happened, and that we were the same people who had left Vvardenfell for this other, more deadly island. I stole a look at Athynae, seeing the way she walked so lightly, yet with such purpose, as if the very act of moving from one place to another was at once a dance and also a warning to anything foolish enough to challenge her. And I hoped with all my heart that things would not go back to how they had always been.

Before long we smelled the smoke from the village and emerged from the trees, where we were greeted by the hunters serving guard duty. One of them was Ingmar, the young Skaal hunter who I suspected could hunt ice bears with a stick. And my darker suspicions about him were once more awakened when 'Thyna veered off to speak with him, waving me toward the Blodskaal's house while she began a quiet conversation with the smiling Nord.

She caught up with me at the cabin, where she dropped the packs. She said nothing of her conference with Ingmar, and I refused to ask. Instead we just walked to the shaman's house in silence. After he let us in, he smiled and said, “I imagine you didn't encounter much trouble- no doubt Castle Karstaag was empty? Not that it especially matters, as I had my doubts that the giant had anything to do with the horkers anyway."

Korst's casual words seemed to go straight to the wound in my back, which chose that moment to remind me just how much the battle at Karstaag had cost- and how much it might have cost. A vision of Athynae sliding down a table toward the gaping maw of a grahl popped into my head and then all I saw was red.

"She... could have died!" I roared as I launched myself at the shaman, fingers curled to grasp his throat.

But somehow, before I could reach him, I found myself being grabbed, tossed, and spun, only to land on... Athynae? She let out a “whoof” as we hit the floor together, but still kept her hold on my arms. As we lay there, she spoke into my ear, “You never lose your temper, not even in the middle of a fight. What's the matter with you?”

How could I explain? When he dismissed what we had experienced in that frozen castle, and then added that the frost giant was not responsible- it meant the whole trip and the slaughter that followed had all been for nothing. The memory of the battle in the banquet hall would likely haunt my dreams for years to come, not to mention the gash in my back that Athynae had carefully cushioned when she brought me to the floor. And while our position might have been a pleasant diversion in other circumstances, just then it simply reminded me of our conversation after the fight, a conversation that was in many ways more frightening than the battle itself. I had barely been able to speak to her since confessing my feelings. And that too, I now saw, was the shaman's fault. Blast him and all of his pointless, perilous errands!

“Let me up. I am going to kill him.”

She kept her grip on my arms and replied, “No. You will not. I understand that you are angry, just as I was angry after the Ristaag. And yes, I put my dagger to his throat. But you would not have allowed me to kill him, even if I had honestly intended to do so. And I won't let you do this. You need to do what you always tell me to do, Lainie. Think.” She waited a moment to gauge my mood. “Now, is it safe to let you up?”

Part of me wanted to stay there, but her voice was sounding a bit... strained, so I relented. “Yes. I promise I won't even try to hurt him.” She released my arms and I took my weight off of her- carefully, because the wound in my back was letting me know it did not appreciate my recent activities. As soon as I was clear, Athynae sprang lightly to her feet, making sure to stay between Korst and me. She might have trusted my promise, but she apparently did not trust him not to say something stupid. With a shake of her head, she said, “It is prophecy, Athlain.” She flicked her fingers dismissively. “And you know what Uncle Trey says about prophecy.”

My head felt too heavy to lift, let alone the rest of me, so I stayed there, shifting just enough to take the pressure off my stitches. I thought my movement was subtle, but 'Thyna's frown of disapproval told me otherwise. From my place on the floor, I quoted: “Prophecy is impossible to understand until after the fact because the gods are all bastards. And even when you think you do understand, it is only because your mind twists the words to fit the events. You would do better to wager on which way a scrib will go than to try to understand prophecy. At least a scrib has a reason to go one way or another.”

Athynae nodded once, and then pointed at the shaman. “And if we are dealing with prophecy, we need him.” She stared at Korst and added softly, but with steel behind the words, “So- if not Karstaag- then who?” It was clear from the way she gripped the blade in her belt that she already knew the answer. Without waiting for him to respond, she went on, “And what happens now? Is there a shrine or a special place we need to go? And how can we be sure which one of us Hir....”

Korst held up a hand, indicating that she should be silent. And it actually worked. I wondered if I would ever be able to do that. Maybe if I lived to be 500 years old and became a shaman? Probably not. Meanwhile, the only actual shaman in the room was explaining, “It is best not to speak that name just now, when he has manifested in our world. As to your other questions, the answers are not simple.” He turned to gaze at his books and added, “I will see what I can glean and meet with you again in the morning.” He turned his eyes to the darkness gathering outside the window. “Some things are best discussed only in the light of day. For now, you should rest and recover.” His hawk-like eyes studied our faces before he concluded, “I do know enough to tell you that what is to come will not be as easy as the chasing of the signs, for now you come to the facing of the god. Be ready for anything, daughter of Serene and son of Trey, for this will be the test of your lives.”

I finally rose from the floor to a more or less upright position and sucked air in through my teeth as the stitches on my back pulled and the muscles that were just beginning to knit back together threw in a spasm for good measure. 'Thyna narrowed her eyes at me, but I shook my head to let her know it wasn’t bad, just surprising. We stepped out the door onto the little porch and I looked across the open ground of the village. “I will go to Lassnr’s and you can go to the Blo-, … ah, the house you’ve been using.”

Athynae put her arm across my chest like a bar and declared, “Oh no, I don’t think so, sera. I am not letting you out of my sight until this thing is through. Besides, I need to change the bandages and clean your wound again. Let’s go.”

This post has been edited by treydog: Jul 27 2019, 06:36 PM


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The dreams down here aren't broken, nah, they're walkin' with a limp...

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SubRosa
post Jul 27 2019, 06:10 PM
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or if we would let the silence stretch until we could pretend it had never happened
This is a nice acknowledgement of how people deal with uncomfortable things in the real world. By studiously not dealing with them.

I can certainly agree with Trey's assessment of prophecies and scribs. You might throw shamans in there too for good measure. Korst certainly likes to live on the wild side.


Nit
She waited a moment to gauge my mood . “Now,
It seems a pesky space sneaked between your period and the word preceding it.


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Renee
post Jul 29 2019, 03:46 PM
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QUOTE
Welcome! The summary at the top of this post should help you get caught up. And thank you so much for reading!


I do appreciate the Cliff Notes. smile.gif They help big time.

Wow, so yeah, I would not want to see any of mine infected by Hircine either, unless they wanted to be (and so far, none of them have wanted this in Skyrim).

QUOTE
As we lay there, she spoke into my ear, “You never lose your temper, not even in the middle of a fight. What's the matter with you?”


Yes grasshopper, maintain focus. (not that he is a novice who's just coming up in the world...probably not actually) Sounds like he has quite the temper going on, very understandable under the circumstances.

Where exactly are they? Which province? Or even in a province?

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ghastley
post Jul 29 2019, 04:17 PM
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After Athynae had sewed me back together, with what I felt was a certain amount of savagery, not to mention the use of some sort of inquisitor's tools,

QUOTE
"I need to change the bandages and clean your wound again. Let’s go.”


I hope she cleaned the inquisitor's tools. ohmy.gif


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SubRosa
post Jul 29 2019, 08:21 PM
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QUOTE(Renee @ Jul 29 2019, 10:46 AM) *

Where exactly are they? Which province? Or even in a province?

They are on Solstheim.


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treydog
post Aug 4 2019, 01:23 AM
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@SubRosa- I experienced that “just get on with your life like nothing ever happened” a number of times when I was Athlain's age. Denial is a powerful force.

Yes- Korst has the unfortunate habit of mixing mysterious with mysticism- I blame the fumes from his rituals.

Found and fixed the errant space.

@Renee- Excellent! As stated, I cannot in good conscience ask anyone to “start at the beginning.”

Athynae has strong feelings about NOT becoming a were-beastie and craving human flesh- it goes against a number of her principles....

And it is good to let Athlain's inner rage out every now and then- he feels it, he has just learned to keep it hidden most of the time....

@ghastley- There will be a couple more visits to the dungeon ah- healer's hut for Athlain. But she is good about cleaning up the red-hot irons and etc.

---------------------------------------

When we got to the cabin, I saw that Ingmar had been as good as his word- Athlain's armor was carefully arranged on a stand in one corner. It was so nice to have someone who did not argue with me every step of the way. Athlain's eyes widened at the sight, but I pretended not to notice. Meanwhile, all I could think was, thank Azura he didn’t have that on when I stopped him from jumping Korst or I’d be Athynae-flavored scrib jelly now. So instead, due to his completely uncharacteristic outburst, I just had a few bruises and maybe a cracked rib or two that Athlain would never know about. It was a small price to pay to keep him from doing something he’d regret. The constant tension from fighting an unseen opponent was obviously getting to both of us and the pressure was provoking us into reacting in ways we never would have under less stressful circumstances. If we were going to defeat Hircine, we both needed to re-center ourselves and ignore anything that was not essential to our goal. And that reinforced all of my previous thoughts about warriors not having time for feelings, especially confusing, unsolicited ones. So- goals. First order of business was to make sure my and Athlain's gymnastics had not opened up his injury.

“Sit.”

I pointed at the cot as I walked toward the cold fire pit and made short work of getting a fire going and placing a pot of water to heat while I gathered ointment, bandages, and a cloth to clean the wound again while also making sure there was no infection. The ointment usually sterilized what wasn’t clean, but those riekling blades were like nothing I had ever seen, so I wanted to make sure. Right now the last thing we needed was an infected wound. Athlain didn’t say a word, which was bothersome, because usually he would be yammering like a guar having her toenails clipped.

“So what’s with the silent treatment?”

“Just waiting for you to stop shuffling around.” His voice was flat and I looked at his face to see that his jaw was clenched, as were his hands.

“Are you still angry at Korst for something he didn’t do?”

“No 'Thyna, I’m mad at the situation; I’m mad that we’ve been drawn into this and have no idea what we’re facing. Or when. Or how. It also doesn’t help that this wound on my back feels like a thousand thorns are stabbing into my vital organs. Satisfied? Now do I have your permission to be angry?” His mouth was tight and his eyebrows both rose with the question.

“Very well, Sera Pin Cushion. Being angry is one thing, but taking it out on me, or Korst, for that matter, is a whole different exercise in stupidity. The stinging or thorns stabbing is probably due to the accelerated healing from the potion and the ointment working together. And if you think I’m not mad as a mistreated guar, then you are even more stupid than you proved just today by not telling me about the wound I am about to clean. The one that is responsible for all of this is Hircine and his machinations with this stupid prophecy.” Korst's admonition to avoid naming our enemy meant nothing to me. If the Lord of Mongrels had stuck his antlered head in the door, I would have cut it off and made a trophy out of it. Athlain was not the only one who was angry.

One side of his mouth almost quirked and his eyes were less dull. “Sera Pin Cushion? Really?”

“You’re the one that was talking about thorns,” I reminded him. “Give me your cloak and take off your shirt.” Think of him as a patient; don’t notice anything. I forced that thought into my brain with a mental kick as I put his cloak on the peg by the door. When I turned back he was sitting sideways on the bed with one leg stretched out and the other dangling over the side, his body turned to give me easy access to his injury. I uncovered the wound and was happy to see the ointment and the potion had already done quite well healing the skin back together with the aid of the stitches. I could probably remove those now, but decided another few hours would support the muscles underneath as they continued to knit. Tomorrow morning would be good, no later than midday.

“It looks pretty good and, as I said, the sharp stinging is probably the muscle healing. Athlain, it was quite deep, and as long as my hand.”

“Well that’s not too bad; your hands aren’t overly large.” I could feel him smiling until I popped the back of his head and he chuckled. “Do you abuse all your patients this way?” he asked, but his voice betrayed his weariness.

“Only the stupid ones,” I responded, going over to toss the used bandages into the fire. With seemingly every Daedra in Oblivion after us, plus who knew what else, I wasn't taking any chances with something that had his blood on it. I turned back and studied him for a moment. He still looked very tired; healing a wound like his under normal circumstances was taxing, and when it was pushed to heal more quickly by potions, it fatigued the body like running up hill for a couple of days. I retrieved my potions pouch and covertly combined a sleeping draught with an additional healing potion because he needed to rest, and without help, he would try to stay up half the night making plans. We needed rest more than useless plans if we were eventually going to face the Father of Hounds. I considered feeling guilty about sneaking in the sleeping draught, but not for very long.

I walked over to him and held out the vial. “I want you to take another healing potion and then rest.”

“After that we need to prepare, 'Thyna.”

“We are preparing. I’m preparing your medicine and then you are preparing to rest and heal. And you will rest if I have to tie you to the bed.” That was the last thing I needed to say because it set off all kinds of images and thoughts that slipped in through the ‘patient’ barricade I had erected earlier.

“You know what I mean, Naynay.” He liked to use Rah's name for me whenever I said “no,” because he thought the word play was funny. Which it was- but I would never admit it.

“Just take this and then we’ll talk about what we need to do,” in the morning, my brain finished as I handed him the vial.

Athlain downed it like he always did, in one gulp- mostly a result of conditioning from one too many nasty-tasting concoctions Rah had come up with that he wanted us to just ‘try’. I sent up a silent thank you for the few things that were still constant in my life. But then his eyes flew wide as the aftertaste registered.

“I hate you.” He glared at me with narrowed eyes.

“It was either that or using one of the forge hammers on your head; although that wouldn’t cause too much damage, since nothing is in there.”

“Only because you already knocked it out.”

“I was trying to knock loose the stupid, but you just keep managing to make more. Lie down before you end up on the floor.”

“You know, one of these days I’ll find a way to pay you back for all the stuff you’ve done.” He tried to look angry, but the potion was already kicking in so he just looked drunk.

“Everything I have ever done has been for your own good, even if it didn’t feel like it at the time.” As his eyes drifted closed I added, “Just know that every injury done to you hurt me too, as much or more and for longer. But look at who you have become. You are the warrior you always wanted to be.” I pulled the blanket up to his shoulders and leaned in to lay a gentle kiss on his forehead. “You are my warrior.” I whispered the words that I knew he was too far gone to hear.

I sat on the floor propped against the cot as Athlain slept and I stared into the fire as the flames undulated through oranges, reds and yellows, transforming in my thoughts to the sunset over the dust and ash of Vvardenfell. Rahvin's face came readily to my mind after Athlain had called me “Naynay”. I pulled my pack to me and drew out my journal and a small quill. After a brief moment's thought, I began to write. But these entries were different. Rather than recording the events that had occurred and my thoughts about them, I considered each of the most important people in my life.

Rahvin. Would I ever again see him caught up in the excitement of creating a new potion or contraption? Or celebrating his success in practice, conquering yet another weapon, Oblivion bent on learning them all because “you never know what will be close at hand”? Or hunched over the table in his laboratory as he meticulously measured and calculated to create a new concoction? One sleeve would be pushed past his elbow, the other dragging against the tips of his fingers, his hair sticking out in every direction, mussed from running his hands through it repeatedly. And the look on his face would be of complete and utter concentration on the task at hand, even as he carried on a conversation about something completely unrelated. Whatever Rah was doing, he was absorbed totally in, whether it was building something, destroying something, creating something or fighting an invisible foe in the training room. But at the same time, that agile brain never stopped working on at least one other problem. A single tear slipped down my cheek.

As the tear slid unhindered to drop from my chin I thought of Brianna. Bree, whose strength was in her supposed weakness. It was not truly weakness, but some people were foolish enough to think so. Her defining characteristics were her empathy and her sympathy, her abhorrence of injustice of any sort. Of the three of us, Bree was the diplomat; she resolved, or tried to resolve, any argument she was privy to. As young as she was, she had spoken eloquently before the Council about how the guar that came from the surrounding areas for the tournaments were treated. And, largely because of her words, rules were changed. If you thought because she had a big heart that she was weak, it might be a fatal mistake. She did not choose to be primarily a warrior, but she was not second rate with a weapon by any means. She was almost as deadly with a crossbow as I was with my recurve and she could snatch a knot out of twine with a whip. Did I sound like a proud big sister? I was- very proud. But her favorite weapons were words and she used them with same deadly accuracy as I did Dreamer.

Dreamer. Uncle Seth. I wished I knew what was going on with him slipping in and out, leaving cryptic messages and gifts, taking journals, watching. My mentor, my instructor, my confidant since I was old enough to form words into sentences. Tumbling through all the memories was nothing I could explain, for there weren’t words to describe it all. He was the parent my parents couldn’t be; he let me get hurt so I would learn lessons then dried the tears as he showed me how to heal those hurts. He taught me about honesty and integrity, about character and what kind of person I needed to be.

And then it occurred to me that there was the answer; he was watching to make sure I was applying all of the lessons, and that I could and would survive being an adult, but more importantly, a warrior. I stopped there because I didn’t want to delve too deep beyond that, mostly because I needed that positive to hold onto. I wanted to prove myself to him, but I also liked the comfort of knowing that if he was close I was safe, or safe enough. He wouldn’t stop the pain, but he would keep it from killing me. That was my hope anyway, as small as it was.

Mother, whose lessons had helped me keep Athlain alive several times over. Her training in the art of healing was a priceless gift that could never be taken from me. And her mentoring Athlain with the staff had given him what he had needed the most, a way to fight and win. Then there was the chance to see her for the person she was, the mother, the wife, the leader. I did not always understand or agree with her, but I never questioned her goodness. Yes, that was my mother- beautiful and intelligent, honest and kind, and if I was half the woman she was, I would be happy.

Papa, my place of peace, my shelter in the storm. His calm and stable presence was a gift beyond estimation. Bree took most after him with just enough fire from Mother to turn her words into iron. He gave me a love for reading and knowledge, and the certainty that there was a safe harbor, no matter how violent the storm. Papa, I love you so much. I love you all so much.

I think I was preparing for the “maybe”. I refused to think it wasn’t possible for me to defeat Hircine, but it was also possible that he would win and I wanted to make sure each of them knew how I felt and what I thought when I thought of them.

Uncle Trey and Aunt Baria, Maesa and Caia. They were the rest of my family and I could not begin to imagine how lonely and cold it would have been had they not been a part of my world. I promised them I would do everything in my power to get Athlain safely back to them.

At last, I returned my journal to its pocket in my pack and prepared my pallet, for I needed sleep too. I put my head down on the rolled up fur that was my pillow and stared into the flames, willing my eyes to close and my mind to still. Finally sleep came to me over the snow-capped peaks of this frozen island that had become my personal pocket of Oblivion.

The next morning, after a long and not terribly restful night, helped only slightly by the minor healing potion I took for the cracked ribs and bruises, I built up the fire and prepared tea for myself. Normally, someone else would do it for me, but that “someone else” was snoring, which was an impressive feat as he was lying on his stomach. I knew I had brewed the hackle lo just like Kausha always did, but it did not smell right and when I took a sip, it tasted faintly of... scorched mud. The sizzle it made when I spat the mouthful back into the fire woke Athlain and he must have read my expression correctly from all the way across the room, because he managed not to say something annoying. Which, under the circumstances, would have been anything at all. He was even able to breathe quietly as he wandered over to the kettle and gave it a cautious sniff. He recoiled quickly and then silently carried the container to the door and outside, where he emptied the contents on an inoffensive snow drift, which turned an odd shade of green.

When he came back, I watched closely as he poured water into the kettle, followed by five new hackle lo leaves and a spoon of honey. He then placed it on the hob to bring it to a boil. And that was what I had just done a little while earlier. But the steam that rose from his effort smelled like... paradise. He lifted the kettle off of the fire and placed it on the hearth, took my mug from my unresisting fingers and repeated the process of disposal, then cleaned the mug thoroughly. By the time he returned, the temperature in the kettle had dropped below “boil your lips, tongue, and tonsils” which meant it was ready.

He poured the first cup and handed it to me, and I just held it for a moment, reveling in the way it warmed my fingers. Finally I took a sip and then closed my eyes and decided life might still be worth living. As the miraculous beverage warmed me, I opened my eyes and told him, “I'm still mad at you, but I won't kill you... for now.”


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The dreams down here aren't broken, nah, they're walkin' with a limp...

The best-dressed newt in Mournhold.
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SubRosa
post Aug 4 2019, 02:04 AM
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So long as NayNay is not CrayCray, things will be fine for Ser Pin Cushion.

Good luck knocking loose the stupid, I find that tends to stick tighter than superglue...

That was a very nice interlude as Athynae took stock of her life and the people in it. As you said recently, some writers forget to put the people in their writing, and just concentrate on the Blam! Pow! and Boom! Here we see Athynae's humanity (elfmanity?) shining through.



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haute ecole rider
post Aug 6 2019, 06:27 PM
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I really enjoyed this quiet time on Thyna's part, where she took stock of the people she loved (not Athlain, I noticed, but she's been a bit - preoccupied - with him lately so . . . ). It was good to be reminded of her family, both blood relations and otherwise. And yes, considering her own mortality beneath all of this - the silent, looming dread that she wouldn't see them again in this lifetime flavors these recollections. For me that was the most powerful part of this segment.

That's not to say the preceding conversation with Athlain and the healing process weren't interesting, either. Ser Pin Cushion, indeed! laugh.gif
QUOTE
“We are preparing. I’m preparing your medicine and then you are preparing to rest and heal. And you will rest if I have to tie you to the bed.” That was the last thing I needed to say because it set off all kinds of images and thoughts that slipped in through the ‘patient’ barricade I had erected earlier.
This made me chuckle, as straps and chains are part of my Alise's bedchamber as well . . . cool.gif


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Renee
post Aug 7 2019, 07:12 PM
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Aw that poor healer. laugh.gif I understand how it is though... sometimes taking medicine / healing is not an easy process.

That's neat how all those names get brought up. I don't know them yet, but it's neat how each name gets is own dedicated tribute.

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Darkness Eternal
post Aug 10 2019, 08:24 PM
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I think it was a great idea to post the summary for the story that began in 2007(Wow . . . that is dedication!). Athlain and Athynae have a very solid and deep story together, and the summary itself, of course, doesn't capture its entirety as the actual tale itself.

Athlain's ire against the shaman isn't without understanding. Korst's nonchalant attitude toward their trek to Castle Karstaag was more or less, I imagine, slap in the face. The stakes were high.

"Prophecy is impossible to understand until after the fact because the gods are all bastards. And even when you think you do understand, it is only because your mind twists the words to fit the events. You would do better to wager on which way a scrib will go than to try to understand prophecy. At least a scrib has a reason to go one way or another.”

I liked this very much. Prophecy can be tricky, just as the gods and deities in the ES universe.

It would seem Uncle Trey has inspired our heroes here. I can imagine being out in a frozen island in the middle of nowhere infested with snarling dangers would remind one of the warmth of home and the embrace of family members. Chapter 20? Or perhaps still 19, gave some insight in the mind of one of the protagonists. I enjoyed Athynae's inner thoughts.


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And yet I am, and live—like vapours tossed.
I long for scenes where man hath never trod
A place where woman never smiled or wept
There to abide with my Creator, God,
And sleep as I in childhood sweetly slept,
Untroubling and untroubled where I lie
The grass below—above the vaulted sky.”
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treydog
post Aug 11 2019, 01:39 AM
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@SubRosa- I realized we never did explain the origin of “Nay” as a use-name for Athynae. The back-construction is that it came from when her brother Rahvin was very young and had trouble with the “th” sound. And Athlain's head has been bashed so many times that I think the “stupid” is now a feature rather than a bug.... And it is good to know that this quieter moment allows readers to see the thoughtful side of Athynae, whose larger-than-life personality usually communicates itself via more physical means.

@haute- From the beginning, I wanted this to be a story about growth. And realizing that she may not win every battle is quite a change for Athynae. And yes- she has a different place in her head for Athlain- one she is still trying to figure out. And that appears again in her momentary lapse into fantasy....

@Renee- some of the names are explained in the text- so let me see if I can give a quick back of a postage-stamp summary of the others.

Rahvin and Brianna- her younger brother and sister.

Uncle Seth is Sethyas Velas, a Dunmer and leader of the Morag Tong, Redoran council member and friend of the Sarethi family. Athynae's mentor in all things a warrior should know.

Mother- Serene of Cyrodiil, (minque's main character in her fan-fiction, when she was still writing). A contemporary of Trey during the time of the Blight and the struggle against Dagoth Ur, she married Athyn Sarethi and became the leader of Great House Redoran.

Papa- Athyn Sarethi.

Trey and Baria, Maesa and Caia- Athlain's parents and younger sisters.

@D.E.- It was really past time to provide that summary- it has been a long journey to get to this point, with many pauses on the way. And just as showing Athynae being thoughtful was important to making her a fully-realized character, we wanted to let Athlain finally let go of his iron control, just for a moment. And I enjoy the idea that prophecy is made vague and obscure on purpose, just so the gods (or whoever) can claim that whatever actually happens was what they intended all along.... They are both having thoughts that maybe the definition of “adventure” as “someone else having an absolutely horrible time” has some truth to it.

-----------------------------------------

Korst guided us to seats at his table, the surface of which was piled with books and scrolls. For the first time since I had met him, the shaman looked tired. Even so, his voice was still commanding as he launched into his explanations. “The 'Wild Hunt,' or the 'Great Hunt,' or simply the 'Hunt' is a... game whose origins are lost in the mists of time. It is a contest or tournament that the Daedric prince Hircine initiates every thousand years in his guise as the Hunter. It is because of that long span between Hunts that the records are fragmentary.” He gathered his thoughts before continuing, “The coming of this event is foretold by the Bloodmoon Prophecy. There are three signs that foretell the Hunter's return to our world. Like all prophecies, they can be interpreted several ways, but I think you will agree with my thoughts. First, 'Fire blazes from the Eye of Glass'.” He reminded me, “You yourself investigated the unnatural fire that even now burns at the center of Lake Fjalding.”

At my nod, he continued, “Second is the Tide of Woe. You have but to go to the coast with its dead and dying horkers to know that the Tide has risen.” He then pointed to the window and reminded us that Masser was in her dark phase and that only Secunda would be visible for the next several nights. “And the final sign will be the Rising of the Bloodmoon. Secunda's face will turn red, and by this it will be known that the Hunter has come with his Hounds and that all that remains is for him to choose his prey. I believe we all have our suspicions regarding that.”

He paused long enough to place his hands lightly on the documents scattered before him. “Apparently, the rules of the Hunt are not always the same. Still, some aspects remain constant. First, he sends forth his 'Hounds' to 'course the prey,' that is, to drive his chosen quarry to the site of the actual contest. Second, he is scrupulous about giving the object or objects of the Hunt a 'sporting chance' to survive. And finally, anyone who evades or defeats his Hounds faces the Hunter himself in combat.”

Athynae had sat patiently through the recitation, but now her restless energy propelled her out of her chair and set her to pacing the limited space in Korst's cabin. “So, we are just supposed to wait? I hate waiting! And besides, I,” she looked at me and paused, “we have already defeated every one of his mangy mutts that we have encountered. So where is he? And don't even get me started on a 'sporting chance' after he tried to invade my mind!”

Korst picked up a yellowed scroll and said somberly, “I do not think you have met any of his Hounds yet.”

Athynae whipped around, prepared to argue, but the shaman raised a placating hand. “I know that you have fought and destroyed a number of werewolves- the Totem you returned is proof of that. But those were 'normal' lycanthropes, if you will. The Hounds are said to be larger, stronger, and far more cunning.”

That pronouncement slowed Athynae's steps and she finally settled back into her chair. She looked as hopeless as I had ever seen her. Her voice was low as she asked, “So does that mean we aren't close to the end of this- that it might continue for months... or years?”

Korst laid a comforting hand over her clenched fists. “No. All the signs indicate that the final act will be soon.” He replaced the scroll and picked up a volume bound in red leather with gold script decorating the spine and cover. “Kensei Sosine recorded that, when he fought Hircine, Secunda turned red three days after what he refers to as 'the Blood Tide'.”

The name caught my attention. “Wait. Kensei Sosine? You mean he was real?”

If I was surprised, Athynae was practically electrified. Her hands reached for the book Korst was holding, and it was clearly only supreme will and a deep respect for the written word that kept her from snatching it out of his grasp. Her agitation became even more profound when Korst lifted a bushy eyebrow and answered, “Not just real, but he is perhaps the only person known to have emerged victorious from the Great Hunt. He then had the Cuirass of the Savior's Hide crafted from the Daedra prince's own skin. This book, the Gaiden Sosine, is the story of his life.” Now Athynae was quivering like a spring. Korst handed her the book and added blandly, “Would you like to see it?”

What you need to know is that Sosine was more than a hero or even a myth to Athynae and me. Seth had given her a book called The Way of the Sword for her sixth birthday. And Kensei Sosine was the purported author of that book. She had devoured it that first day and practically worn the pages out from reading it thereafter. I know for a fact it had been rebound at least 3 times. More than that, it had featured in our imaginary games, and many of our early arguments had been over who got to “be” Sosine.

I had pointed out, with impeccable 4-year-old logic, that since Sosine was a “he”, and I was also a “he”, that I should get the choice role. 'Thyna responded just as forcefully that the Kensei was a swordsman, and that she happened to have a (cut-down, wooden) practice sword, which she actually knew how to use. And besides that, she was older and bigger than me, so there. And, as an additional note, even a (cut-down, wooden) practice sword can leave some serious bruises when wielded vigorously. Finally, let it also be known that coming back home with spectacular bruises will get you forbidden from playing with someone for a week and that someone's (cut-down, wooden) practice sword taken away from her for a month.

But what really mattered, and the reason Athynae was so intrigued, was that here was proof that someone had faced Hircine and survived. Perhaps we, or at least one of us, would be able to do the same. My thoughts gave rise to a question whose answer I dreaded, but one that needed to be asked, “So, it has always been a single champion who faced the final trial?”

Korst shook his head decisively and again laid his hands on the documents he had gathered. Even Athynae looked up from the Gaiden Sosine, which she was cradling like a newborn child. “Not at all,” the shaman said, reinforcing his head shake. “In times past, entire villages or tribes have been... invited... to participate.” He looked into the distance, weighing his next words before speaking. “Though you have done much for us, including retrieving the Totem and completing the Ristaag, you are not Skaal. So some of our beliefs will seem strange to you.” He looked at Athynae and went on, “You were upset at the deaths of Sattir and Grerid, I know. But they went not only willingly, but happily. Because, to die in the Ristaag- or in the Hunt- is considered one of the highest honors a Skaal can achieve. We see this world as a test of our skill and our courage, merely a step on a longer path. As a result, we revere the events and the opponents who test us the most. For it is only by facing challenges that we achieve greatness and are found worthy in the eyes of the All-Maker. A Skaal may lose a battle or even their life, but what matters is to fight honorably and well.”


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The dreams down here aren't broken, nah, they're walkin' with a limp...

The best-dressed newt in Mournhold.
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SubRosa
post Aug 11 2019, 01:50 AM
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I am imagining Korst as being played by Max Von Sydow, as he goes over the prophecy.

They have not even faced the real Hounds yet? Yikes!

Wow, six years old and Athynae was already training to be a warrior. Granted, Knights became pages at that age, and Spartans entered the Agoge...

I laughed at the convoluted story about the cut down wood practice sword!

And some great Skaal world building there.

If things get really bad for A&A, they could always call in some backup. I know a Stormcrow who would be delighted to throw her cape in to the fray. Not to mention an Arvern Witch and Light Elf wizard. I have even heard that if you say her name in the mirror five times, Persephone will appear...


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- Lo-Fi Version Time is now: 23rd August 2019 - 10:55 PM