[Thorn's Blackmoor]Rowena's Crystal Chronicle

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More?

Yes!
5
83%
No!
0
No votes
Who is this Thorn fellow and why should I care, anyway?
1
17%
 
Total votes: 6

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RobJN
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[Thorn's Blackmoor]Rowena's Crystal Chronicle

Post by RobJN » Fri Jul 27, 2012 5:08 pm

Editor's Note: It is no small task, reconciling four thousand years of memories and dreams; of sorting through those dreams, to pick out which were genuine and which were shadow experiences of the Progeny. Battles, demons, and deaths -- thousands-- no, hundreds of thousands of them. How she could bear the pressure of them, I do not know. I had the luxury of spinning those memories forward, of glancing away, setting aside my work transcribing to wander the grove. There are stretches of weeks before I could go back to the work. But she has entrusted me with this task, the one last thing she wished for. How could I possibly refuse her, who had given up everything, except hope?

And so I set down for you
Silva's Story, the tale of the Last Daughter of the Lost Kingdom, teased and wrestled from a vault of red and blue dragonstones, cradled far above the Skyshield, where I compile this story in the last of my own days.

--- Druid Thorn, Seventh Year after the Fallen Thrones, AW 73, or about 1134 AC in the Old Thyatian calendar

-------------------------------------------
“Run!”

As if she had to coax me. The howls of the beast men behind us were plenty enough incentive. Ahead of me, Leansethar looked back over her shoulder, her green eyes lost in the flying tumble of silvery-gold hair.

“Hurry up!”

I’m sure she meant it to be encouraging, but she had Mother’s habit of making almost anything she said sound as if it were some sort of command. No, worse than that; a royal decree.

I already ran as fast as I could. Twins though we were, Leansethar and I still had our differences: hers happened to lean more towards the physical: she was faster and stronger than I (indeed, than most of the Guard); she dueled the Blue Rider to standstill on last summer’s tourney field. She insisted that the Solstice had nothing to do with it, but I am no idiot — truth be told, where Lea was the stronger of the two of us, I was the smarter. Give me a riddle or ask me to solve an apparent mystery and I would arrive at the solution well ahead of my twin.

But running….

Lea flashed by me, a blur of green-and-gold seen from the corner of my eye. I dared not look back, but the howls of the beast men climbed into whines and yelps. The pressure of the pack I’d felt at my back fell away, only to return as a lighter, brighter presence beside me.

“Why?” The word came out something of a pant. Sure, I ran, but it was usually confined to corridors and gardens and galleries.

“Jump!” Lea cried, and her hand closed on mine as the rooftop fell away.

Halfway through the arc, she let go, with a laugh, still laughing as she landed, light as a feather on the rooftop across the square.
I lost what little breath I had left when I landed only halfway on the tiles, feet dangling three stories from the flames and pikes and cobblestones below.

Arrows broke against the side of the building, spun away as they glanced off the tiles of the roof. Lea paid them no mind as she leaned down and extended her hand. Master Val’Kira’s bracers kept the mundane arrows of the invading troops from striking us, and I scattered the next volley beneath me as I called on the Air, and a small vortex of it hoisted me the rest of the way up to the roof.

I deliberately ignored my sister’s hand, taking my time straightening my skirts and hair. The spirits in the Air had absolutely no regard for my dignity whatsoever.

“Come on, Wena. Father is expecting us. You can muss with your skirts when we get to the castle. I don’t think the EGG’s troops much care about the placement of your bows and ribbons.”

She grabbed my hand — again — and resumed her breakneck pace over the rooftops, away from the smoldering breach in the Old Wall, towards the Spire, and the great castle of black stone that sat atop it.

“Why can’t we just do as Mother does, and simply Be there? It will take weeks to get the smell of smoke out of this dress!”

“You can wear my copy of it,” Lea said.

I wrinkled my nose. “Yours is trimmed in gold.”

“You can always work a glamour on it and turn it to silver. Oh! Or better yet, work it on our eyes, and we’ll trade places like we did— Jump!”

At least it was a shorter distance, this time. And I was treated to a few moments of silence, as we sailed through the smoky sunset, late for Father’s day-of-birth celebration.
Rob
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Re: [Thorn's Blackmoor]Rowena's Crystal Chronicle

Post by Chimpman » Mon Jul 30, 2012 5:47 am

I voted yes, naturally ;). I'm so impressed at how you can work on all of these different story lines (and keep everything straight)!

This should be an interesting time since the "taint" on magic in Thorn's Mystara doesn't come into play until after the GRoF. So I'm guessing that we will see a much more magically inclined world.
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Re: [Thorn's Blackmoor]Rowena's Crystal Chronicle

Post by RobJN » Mon Jul 30, 2012 6:09 am

Chimpman wrote:I voted yes, naturally ;). I'm so impressed at how you can work on all of these different story lines (and keep everything straight)!
Timelines, my dear Chimpy. Timelines.

This should be an interesting time since the "taint" on magic in Thorn's Mystara doesn't come into play until after the GRoF. So I'm guessing that we will see a much more magically inclined world.[/quote]
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Re: [Thorn's Blackmoor]Rowena's Crystal Chronicle

Post by RobJN » Sat Sep 01, 2012 2:32 pm

Lea and I crouched in the shadows of one of the big chimneys atop the Comeback Inn. Shadows cast by the blazing fields outside of town, I might add.

The plaza square and roadway north was packed with Men. Evil Men, under the sway of one or another of the Egg’s minions. The tromp of their booted feet and clamor of their armor played counterpoint to a black-tongued chant, the words as dark as the banners that snapped from the tips of the forest of longspears. The chant burned my ears as the smoke pouring up from the western fields burned my lungs, stung my eyes.

“They march from the north. Glendower should have held for at least another day,” Lea said, her sigh interrupted by a cough. She hadn’t thought to put a kerchief to her nose and mouth, as I had.

“A feint, to draw most of Father’s troops away. And now they march on the Castle,” I said.

Lea folded her arms. “They can have it,” she grumbled. “Firing it might finally warm up my room.”
I pinched her arm. “Father is there!”

“Father and the his Companions can take care of this rabble,” my twin said. She waved a hand at the troops, pulling it back as several black-fletched arrows streaked particularly close.

“Father very well might perish,” I reminded her.

Lea leaned back against the bricks, her brow furrowing as she chewed at her thumbnail. It was still strange to us, living among Father’s people. Things changed, outside the Woods. Day and night, the moons, the people. They aged. Died.

That was the word Father used for those of his people who would not come back.

It was still a concept I was having trouble comprehending. People would go away. That was not so difficult. Fey lords and lordlings drifted away from Mother’s court all the time, and at times we even forgot about them. But they would return; they always did.

Outside the Woods, among Father’s people, they did not always come back. It made Father upset. It simply puzzled Lea and I.

“Surely, they come back.”

“It is not their way,” I said. “Father said as much.”

“He simply hasn’t waited long enough,” Lea said.

Lords, she was stubborn!

“Father’s people are not lived long enough to Wait.” I would have better luck chiseling the words into the stones beneath Castle Blackmoor. Of course, the words would take to Lea’s thick skull just as they would to those rocks, fading after mere moments.

“So now you are the expert on humans?”

“Obviously, I know more of them than you do.”

Lea stood up, reached for my hand. “We’re going,” she said.

“The walls are too far, even with the spirits of the Air to lend their aid.”

“As if we were going to flit among the battlements,” Lea sniffed. She leaned casually aside as another arrow hissed by. “This is no fun anymore. We’ll simply Step into the castle.”

I tugged at her hand as her other was about to draw aside the shadows.

“We will have to leave Father’s gift if we do that.”

Lea’s shoulders slumped, and she blew at a stray lock of hair that fell over her eyes. “That means more running. I grow tired of that, as well.”

At least we could agree on something.

“So we simply walk amongst the throng of thralls?”

Lea wrinkled her nose.

“A Vanishing, then.”

“And leave our clothing as well as Father’s gift behind? You know how Father’s people react to seeing us gowned in moonlight.”

“What was it the Fetch said we lacked?” Lea mused.

“‘Modesty,’” I said. We lost half a day’s light, listening to Master William’s lecture. I was sorely tempted to Vanish, but we’d promised Mother that we would to obey Father in all things, and to be especially mindful of that which made little sense to us. Those were the things, she’d said, that mattered most to Father’s folk. “And you know Master William hates when you call him that.”

Lea shrugged. "Well, it's all he does for Father."

"Aye," came the man's voice from below. "And nine of the ten times, it's one or the other of your pretty little--"

"Fletcher..."

I peeked over the thatch of the roofline, to see Father's chief of securities and the the big-shouldered Regent of the Lakes looking up at us from horseback. Whereas the Fetch was tall and thin as a dueling blade, the Great Svenny was something more like a woodsman’s axe. Perhaps draped with a bit of gold and finery. Truth be told, quite a bit of gold and finery. The number of jewels he wore about the trim of his ermine cloak made my fingers itch.

“Heads,” the Fetch said. “I was going to say ‘heads.’”
Rob
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Re: [Thorn's Blackmoor]Rowena's Crystal Chronicle

Post by RobJN » Fri Aug 30, 2013 1:43 am

The Fetch and Master Svenson could sit atop their horses, staring up at my sister and I because the Sniders ringed them, swords bared and bloody. They were in turn ringed by fallen Men of the Coot three deep. It must not have pleased the Egg to send too many of his thralls to their doom that night.

“M’ladies,” Master Svenson said, in a baritone nearly as big as he was, “it would please your Father if you would return to the Castle with us.”

“And what would please you?” Lea asked.

“A night of carousing, free of nuisance, would be quite remarkable,” Master Svenson said.

“Do you think he means us?” Lea asked me. She asked her question again as the Fetch helped her from the roofline. Old and gangly as he was, he was still very strong, like all the Men of the North.

Master Fletcher chuckled. “Only the Great Svenny would refer to a swarm of invaders attempting to lay siege to his King’s castle ‘a nuisance.’”

The Great Svenny did not seem such a fearsome warrior as he helped me from the roof, gentle as could be. He settled the folds of his cloak over me, then snapped the reins and shouted a command. The Sniders wheeled their mounts, forming a wedge and cutting a path up the trail to the castle.

The Fetch galloped after us, Lea behind him on Jek’s withers.

“That didn’t answer my question!” she shouted, to be heard above the thundering hooves.




Father was not angry with us. He was furious. How could we be so careless? (We were not. We cared deeply for Father. Why else would we go to such trouble to bring him his Nameday gift?) How could we cause him to worry so? (He needn’t worry about us. The Men of the Egg practically ignored us.) What would he do, he asked us, if something happened to us? (Nothing happened to us, so he need do nothing.)

It was times like this, Mother said, that we must be meek. Our appearance was one that seemed to elicit some sort of protective response in most Men of the North. Something about ‘Ladyship’ and ‘honor.’ It baffled Lea and I. We wore the guises that Father expected of us, that of mortals perhaps a little over a decade old, though such spans of time really had no meaning to my sister and I.

Khoronus’ curse touched us differently than both Men or Mother’s kind. Though we were not entirely bereft of time’s ravages, Lea and I moved through it much, much more slowly than mortal folk. [Thorn notes: “It is unknown how much of the twins’ timelessness is due to their fey nature, the tampering done to them at the City of the Gods, and the countless bouts of cold sleep nestled in the Throne of Stars. Silva — Her Imperial Majesty — is well over four thousand years old, yet she appears to have only aged a few years in the nearly eighty that I have known her.”]
Rob
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Re: [Thorn's Blackmoor]Rowena's Crystal Chronicle

Post by RobJN » Fri Sep 06, 2013 5:41 pm

As a special 100th post over at the blog, I've jumped a bit ahead in the continuity, revealing the beginnings of Rowena's exploration of the Aetheric, and her plan to secure the empire's future, Project SONATA
Rob
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Re: [Thorn's Blackmoor]Rowena's Crystal Chronicle

Post by RobJN » Sun Jun 15, 2014 2:00 pm

From the Time Beyond Years

“Look upon it, child!”

Hands that had wiped tears from my eyes now tightly gripped my own, tearing them away. I squeezed my eyes even more tightly shut.

“Look!”

I shook my head. I tried to turn away, but the hands were on my shoulders, forcing me to face the other way ‘round.

“Rowena Argentia ap Andahar, open your eyes.”

I could no longer disobey. Even though I carried only half the blood of her people, Mother’s invocation of my True Names was not something against which I could fight.

I opened my eyes, and looked upon a vast, empty sky: not a glimmer of starlight, no pale moons, no trace of Sollux. I looked up not at the eternal blue-black haze, gray dawnlight in the East and luminescent echoes of sunsets in the West. This was not the twilit sky of Mother’s realm.

This was the Sky Beyond.

Unbidden, the tears began to sting. My eyes burned, and the blackness wavered.

“See, my daughter.”

“Please…. Do not make me.”

“You are of age. I was even younger than you, when my mother bid me to do this very thing. I can protect you from it no longer.”

I felt Mother’s arms around me, unfold, one cold and pale and beautiful wrist held before my eyes. In her other hand was the dark blade that reeked of dead earth and fire. The wrist of that arm, I saw, was marred by an ugly greenish-purple welt, shot through with veins of writing, inky blackness.

I swallowed. Mother spoke the truth, of course. She had even let Leah See before me. I reached up for the knife.

“Careful, my sweet,” Mother whispered in my ear. “Take it only by the hilt, do not touch the pommel.”

Mother held it as if a butter knife, but it was heavy, as all the things of dead earth and fire made by Men.

I hesitated, but Mother closed her hand over the edges of the knife. She made not the slightest of sounds, but I felt her go tense. Pale, reddish pink blood sizzled and blackened along the edge of the knife. Mother let one bead collect along her thumb, wiping it across my right eye, and then another across my left.

The sting of tears left, replaced by the deep, tingling chill.

“See, my daughter.”

I closed my eyes, took a deep breath, and met Mother’s magic with my own.

Her hands tightened on my shoulders as I opened my eyes again.

They tightened further as I stared into the Empty Night, laid bare and eternal before my Sight.

I could not weep, but I could scream.

The Sky Beyond did not seem to care. If anything, it seemed pleased.
Rob
Thorn's Chronicle: The Thread Index|Thorn's Chronicle Blog
My articles at the Vaults of Pandius; My W.O.I.N. adventure in ENWorld's EONS Patreon #56.
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