Author Topic: Chapter 1 - The Sacred Elderberries of the Winter Lord  (Read 2919 times)

Offline Skyrock

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Chapter 1 - The Sacred Elderberries of the Winter Lord
« on: April 25, 2019, 02:55:07 PM »

12 minutes to midnight of St. Fyodor's Eve. About two miles north-east from the outskirts of Chancel lies Holtertkniezen, an uncanny elderberry grove with a dolmen at its center.

Spring has finally hit its stride, and yet shadowy spots still provide protection to the last snowy patches of winter so close to the mountains. A light breeze brings cold mountain air with it, making an extended stay uncomfortable. At least the weather and the unholiness of this night should deter any casual observers.

The grove lies in remote wilderness no pious person dares to enter, although a suspicious beaten path between the city and the the grove would make it possible to guide a mount or small wagon there if desired. And even from here, the twin clock towers of Orpheum Cathedral can be seen looming in the distance, sending a visible reminder of the power the Church holds in these parts. You await their bells to toll, signifying the start of this meeting...

Offline skydragonknight

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Re: Chapter 1 - The Sacred Elderberries of the Winter Lord
« Reply #1 on: April 25, 2019, 05:30:47 PM »
Despite walking along towards the grove in full darkness, Mist can't shake the feeling that she is being watched. Frowning, she quickly does her hair and cleans her clothes with magic, as well as adding a touch of warmth to the fabric to fight off the chill of early night. If either the grove-keepers or those beyond this world's fragile bounds were watching her, then she had better humor them and look her best, yes? She smirks at the thought, before looking at the small creature on her shoulder. Hazy had it's docile appearance at the moment, appearing as a faint specter of a cat Mist had once possessed as a child. Its form and size would vary depending on her mood, as the illusory creature was nothing more than a fragment of her own will. It returns her look, mimicking her smirk with a smile of its own - a comically wide smile displaying a row of long, jagged teeth. She patted the non-creature, momentarily overwhelmed by its adorableness.

Returning to the moment, she realized she was a tad early and halted her approach, choosing to stop  and sit next to a large oak still some distance from the grove proper. She would let others arrive first. After all, she was merely an uninvited guest...
Hmm.

Offline Raineh Daze

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Re: Chapter 1 - The Sacred Elderberries of the Winter Lord
« Reply #2 on: April 25, 2019, 07:05:49 PM »
Also walking along towards the grove, keeping a watchful eye and ear for anything out of the ordinary, were two foreigners. Though their countenance may have been obviously alien to these lands, their clothes were not: tailored, clean, and obviously in-fashion in Chancel. The more stunning but perhaps less out-of-place of the two, with dark hair, was motioned to continue onwards to the designated meeting place. The one with white hair affected a nonchalant air and a meandering path into the darkness.

Only to quietly come to a halt behind the mysterious watcher, eyebrow raised at the odd creature. "I did not know others were invited tonight. Come, follow us. Anyone might wish to prevent spying."
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Offline skydragonknight

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Re: Chapter 1 - The Sacred Elderberries of the Winter Lord
« Reply #3 on: April 25, 2019, 09:05:44 PM »
Mist nods in appreciation. "A person of talent. It seems my trip here is not wasted."

She stands and follows their lead. Perhaps this makes her an invited guest now? "As we are at a boundary, forgive me if I must exercise some caution and only introduce myself as Lady M. I can assure you that there are more eyes on this place tonight than little old me. Some of which will remain hidden to even your expert vision."
Hmm.

Offline Archon

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Re: Chapter 1 - The Sacred Elderberries of the Winter Lord
« Reply #4 on: April 26, 2019, 12:14:42 AM »
A statue of a warrior-saint (You could swear this is true, even if the specific saint is unclear to you), wearing golden-trimmed armor of heavy steel, is standing in the grove, and has been for several days.

Offline Raineh Daze

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Re: Chapter 1 - The Sacred Elderberries of the Winter Lord
« Reply #5 on: April 26, 2019, 11:45:40 AM »
Yuki cocks her head, "Of course there are those watching that cannot be seen. This place would be of no consequence if there were not." It was as close to an invitation as the assassin would give, introducing herself briefly as she further returned to the grove, "Fujimura. Hiding my name would be meaningless."

Standing behind Fuyuko, she places one hand reassuringly on the entertainer's shoulder and assesses the others already there. Individually, they don't seem too much a threat, but as a group--well, she was an assassin. Fighting fair wasn't her job. Besides, some common fighters were hardly of interest compared to the statue dominating the grove.

"Am I not the only one that finds this statue out of place?" This was, after all, a place of the kami--not one of the country's revered ancestors. A heavy and armoured statue could hardly fit less.
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Offline oslecamo

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Re: Chapter 1 - The Sacred Elderberries of the Winter Lord
« Reply #6 on: April 26, 2019, 01:25:59 PM »
A young looking woman with green hair, wolf ears, ministry clothes, shield and sword arrives, surrounded by two floating runed circles, its words gently vibrating and changing with every word and movement in the area.

"Ah, sorry I'm late, had to finish some paperwork. Did I miss anything important? No? Are you going to be my coworkers for this assignment? Ah, where are my manners. Lobinha, from the Ministry of What's Right and What's Wrong. I hope we can all work well together!"

She's followed by a trio of slow flying fairies, two carrying books and taking notes while the smaller one just surveys the area with a smug smile, breathing confidence and status. Slowly after there's a pair of red haired woman with a cloak and a small satyr girl, all with shortspears and darkwood shields at their backs. Then there's a blonde woman calmly carrying a finely crafted scythe.


"Am I not the only one that finds this statue out of place?" This was, after all, a place of the kami--not one of the country's revered ancestors. A heavy and armoured statue could hardly fit less.
"Excellent observation Lady M! Clearly this is what we've been gathered here to investigate. Be careful and do not touch it, it may be some kind of trap. Do any of you have any experience with checking for such dangers? If not, I'll try to trigger it from a safe distance so please stand back just in case."

Then Lobinha carefully approaches and appears to sniff the air around the statue.
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« Last Edit: April 26, 2019, 08:49:08 PM by oslecamo »

Offline Arccosecant

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Re: Chapter 1 - The Sacred Elderberries of the Winter Lord
« Reply #7 on: April 26, 2019, 02:11:30 PM »
A man approaches, dressed for the cold in drab clothing. He seemed especially ill-equipped, with no visible weapons, armour, or other tools on his person. It was not so much his appearance that was nondescript, so much as the way that he carried himself that caused him to seem to blend in to his surroundings, even though he was plainly visible. Especially so, given the present company gathered at the grove. The man shows a brief look of surprise, as he sees the group. You see as he lifts his head that behind his spectacles, his eyes are unnaturally dark in colour, including the sclera, contrasting with his blond hair.

"Are you all here for the same purpose? I was invited here after speaking of a personal matter, and I did not expect so many to be here."

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« Last Edit: April 26, 2019, 10:10:38 PM by Arccosecant »

Offline skydragonknight

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Re: Chapter 1 - The Sacred Elderberries of the Winter Lord
« Reply #8 on: April 26, 2019, 05:09:01 PM »
Mist looks between the Attention Squad and the Strange Crew from Beyond, wondering if their talents will overall compensate for their lack of discretion. She then notices a less conspicuous man approach and focuses on him as he speaks, noticing something similar to...Abjuration? Or Conjuration? A voice suddenly whispers in her head, leaving her with more questions than answers. What was sigh-on-nicks anyway? Well, in any case, it was clearly a defensive technique from outside traditional magic. Good. Cautious types won't die off while they are still useful.

"So it would seem. Though I am uncertain about that one." she says, turning to the 'statue' and approaching it step by step. "Construct, do you serve a master or are you fully aware?"

Looks similar to an angel? Whoever designed it has peculiar taste. If I wasn't certain that the Church would rather hang it's creator rather than employ them, I would be more cautious.
Hmm.

Offline Archon

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Re: Chapter 1 - The Sacred Elderberries of the Winter Lord
« Reply #9 on: April 27, 2019, 12:44:45 AM »
1:1"I am fully possessed of free will, as are all intelligent being under heaven."

The statue is still holding still, but that seems to be a matter of personal preference, not an attempt to pretend inanimateness.

1:2"I see that that what was preordained has come to be. I hope that our work together will be auspicious."


Offline Raineh Daze

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Re: Chapter 1 - The Sacred Elderberries of the Winter Lord
« Reply #10 on: April 27, 2019, 11:24:50 AM »
"As much as I have experience with checking traps, either a statue is animate or it isn't. There is little more to it, other than identifying their weak points," is Yuki's answer, "Though this one seems to redundantly have armour."

Where did a massive warrior statue get armour? This was a very strange continent.

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Offline Archon

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Re: Chapter 1 - The Sacred Elderberries of the Winter Lord
« Reply #11 on: April 27, 2019, 11:52:57 AM »
1:3"Are you ignoring me?"

The statue looks at Yuki quizzically.

1:4"I assure you. The divine has granted me my fair allotment of both motion and cognition."

Offline Skyrock

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Re: Chapter 1 - The Sacred Elderberries of the Winter Lord
« Reply #12 on: April 27, 2019, 07:11:54 PM »
As the clock approaches 5 to midnight, the starry sky seems to get much more crowded with cold blue lights. As you watch closer, you realize that these lights aren't stars - they are moving and flittering, high above you in the sky, though too far away to make out any more details. A faint sound of baying hounds, galloping hooves and jingling bells emanates from them, slowly coming closer and closer and getting louder.

Fuyuko looks up and nervously adjusts and re-adjusts and re-adjusts her courtier dress and jewelry again and again, visibly distressed.

The air around the dolmen gets much colder, culminating in a thin layer of rime on the ancient pagan stone construction. Soon it spreads out the grass around it and the rest of the grove, covering the elderflower blooms with sparkling but cold rime. It is soon followed by a gentle, slow snowfall eminating from the dancing blue lights above.

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« Last Edit: April 27, 2019, 07:20:34 PM by Skyrock »

Offline Raineh Daze

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Re: Chapter 1 - The Sacred Elderberries of the Winter Lord
« Reply #13 on: April 27, 2019, 07:39:16 PM »
Yuki puts one arm around the fretting Fuyuko, not blinking at all the oncoming paraphernalia of winter. She of course, naturally, didn't respond to the talking statue: you had to be mad to talk to inanimate objects and she wasn't going to be the first one to start acting like the unmoving scenery was starting a conversation. If she was going mad, that was going to stay to herself.
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Offline skydragonknight

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Re: Chapter 1 - The Sacred Elderberries of the Winter Lord
« Reply #14 on: April 27, 2019, 09:29:02 PM »
Mist feels a brief shiver pass through her that is more than the temperature, as if something is peering into her very soul. Beneath her she feels Hazy hiding in her shadow, shivering from more than just the cold. It seems some part of her, be it wise or foolish, was considering running.

She dispels the Sight from her eyes, knowing it will do her no good. If she was your average intruder of questionable moral character, then perhaps she ought to be on her knees begging for mercy now. Instead, she pulls out an old electrum coin and flips it once casually in the air, knowing the proxy's senses won't miss it. The sooner the Archfey stopped trying to intimidate her, if that *is* what they are doing, the sooner she could start warming herself up, after all.
« Last Edit: April 27, 2019, 09:31:48 PM by skydragonknight »
Hmm.

Offline Arccosecant

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Re: Chapter 1 - The Sacred Elderberries of the Winter Lord
« Reply #15 on: April 27, 2019, 11:05:31 PM »
Maxim meets the eyes of the statue and nods, as the snow begins to fall. He looks around at the others, noting their body language. He had learnt to act as a (mostly) functional member of society by mirroring and reacting to how others saw strange phenomena, though in this specific instance, it did not seem like acting normally was of the highest priority. There was an obvious tension in the air.

More out of habit than anything else, Maxim makes a gesture with his hands to invoke divine protection, and glances upward. He stands in what is almost, but not quite a trained combat stance, as his left hand seems to be ready to reach for something.

Offline oslecamo

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Re: Chapter 1 - The Sacred Elderberries of the Winter Lord
« Reply #16 on: April 28, 2019, 10:27:16 PM »
1:3"Are you ignoring me?"
:"Oh, hello. I see fire in those eyes!"

"Apologies for our confusion. Some of my favorite superiors are statues."

1:4"I assure you. The divine has granted me my fair allotment of both motion and cognition."

:"Indeed, you seem to have a strong sense of duty, just standing there waiting for so long."

"...What divine are we talking about exactly if you don't mind me asking?"

Then when the air around the dolmen gets much colder:

"Don't worry, this level of power can only mean the avatar from an archfey. Certainly a simple show off before they tell us the reason why we are gathered here. Still be prepared everybody."

With a wave of her shield, all of Lobinha's minions run and fly to hide behind whatever's cover is nearby.

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Offline Skyrock

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Re: Chapter 1 - The Sacred Elderberries of the Winter Lord
« Reply #17 on: April 29, 2019, 02:05:55 PM »
Fuyuko leans into the embrace. She is still anxious, but the company of Yuki helps her to keep her composure.

Slightly puzzled, she looks over to Lobinha. "Just an avatar? It is not Fuyushogun, the Lord of the Winter Court himself?"

Offline Raineh Daze

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Re: Chapter 1 - The Sacred Elderberries of the Winter Lord
« Reply #18 on: April 29, 2019, 08:24:20 PM »
"Even so, a messenger should be treated as one would treat the sender... to do otherwise would be a grave insult." And nothing needed to be said about the cost with insulting this particular entity.
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Offline Skyrock

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Re: Chapter 1 - The Sacred Elderberries of the Winter Lord
« Reply #19 on: May 01, 2019, 07:50:58 AM »
The whirling blue lights circle closer and closer, until you can make them out as sprites, most of them just frolicking around, ringing tiny bells, laughing and chattering in their high-pitched voices, while others with the gift of mimicry howl like baying hounds or mimick gallopping horse hooves. What all of them have in common is a pale blue light aura that already feels cold just from looking at it.

As the bell of the distant cathedral finally tolls, they suddenly descend on the grove in a wild gaggle and make it hard to see. When they scatter again, you spy a green-clad hunter sitting on the dolmen, his feet loosely dangling from the top stone. His hat is  adorned with antler pieces, and a green neckerchief covers his face but for his almost luminiscent icy blue eyes.

"I see all I have called have come to Lord Tserbero's court." He snips his fingers, and crimson dancing lights mark Mist, Yuki and Zadkiel. His cyan eyes shine like rays of frost on the three. "And then some. Explain your business here!"

An excited chatter goes through the sprite swarm. "May I prick her finger?" - "May I pull her hair?" - "Huh hey, let me sink my teeth into her buttocks!"

Fuyuko finally loses her nerves and throws herself to the ground, kowtowing in front of the green-clad figure.

"F-forgive me, Fuyushogun-sama! Please! She is my wife, and I thought... it would be acceptable invite her, because she is my wife... and she is better at this than an me, and... Please don't punish me! Or her!"