December 8, 2015 at 9:00 am #1620
[Jeff, I thought I posted this last night, but it looks like it didn’t go through?]
Caris wanders outside to find a quiet spot under a tree. She hears the village slowly quieting down as the blanket of darkness brings sleep for most. But she is wide awake. Caris closes her eyes and clears her mind. She readys herself to Commune with Ehlonna. For guidance, for closure, for peace.
The next morning, Caris is eating breakfast with the others. Gazing down upon the celebrators. Perhaps she will decorate her own cup. She notices Grey in the doorway. What has HE been up too? she wonders… Caris eyes both Stern and Grey, giving them “the people’s eyebrow” 🙂December 8, 2015 at 1:37 pm #1621
-in response to Stern-
Taking a seat with the rest of the group. Enjoying his breakfast,drinking from a little grey and green clay cup of his own creation.
-to Caris’ people’s eyebrow-
Grey winks, smiles wide like a school boy, and turns back to his breakfast with gusto.December 8, 2015 at 2:24 pm #1622
In response to Grey’s wink and grin, Caris narrows her eyes for a moment in suspicion of the elf. She can’t help but grin back, and goes back to her breakfast. “So everyone… I see Grey here has decorated his own cute little cup.. are the rest of you down for a little arts and crafts?”December 9, 2015 at 11:28 am #1623
I suggest you all go out today, amongst the people, alone. Says Grey with a wry grin, You do not always have to travel in a pack.”
He stands clapping who ever is nearest on the shoulder “I am heading back out, I only stopped by to breakfast with you. Enjoy your day comrades”.
Grey stands, adjusting his great coat and pulling his hat on, striding for the door. He stops at the threshold, a gray shadow silhouetted by the golden light of morning. Tipping his hat at the group he calls back merrily “Expect me when you see me.”December 9, 2015 at 12:37 pm #1625
Shen Ling, especially the colorful homes, shops, docks and parks around the lake, is done up in style for the celebration to come. Tables of all styles and sized have been brought out into the streets and parks. The brightly colored beads, paints, feathers and other crafts laid out among the tables only adds to the festive appearance. People are out in numbers, yet there is a subdues tone to things, this is a ritual of mourning after all. People sit quietly, working on their cups, politely sharing the items at the tables and speaking in hushed tones. Some sit in large gatherings, others prefer to find a shade tree to lean up against in solitude. Many have the red rimmed eyes of those who have lost much, cried for days, maybe weeks, and finally ran out of tears to cry. The victory is great, but today is about those who did not make it to the celebration…or according to Oki Lo Kin, Today is about those who did make it, who wish they could share it with those who did not. Occasionally you will hear a loud voice speak up, as someone stands on a table to give witness to a lost loved one. Some will stop to listen, some softly cry as the testimony moves them, or makes their own loss a little too painful for a moment. Some stay fixed on their cups, nodding in approval as they continue their work. At the end of such a testimony, all within earshot whisper “Heart is homeland”. This is definitely different from the wild impromptu celebrations that broke out the night the Unicorn returned, or the rowdy yet productive mingling that took place in the taverns of Oldhome the next night. This is an attempt of a people to make peace with the costs of victory. To recognize though things can be rebuilt, and lives reforged, loved ones cannot be replaced. They each mourn in their own way, yet they do so together.
Those who do not work on cups quietly prepare for the nights festivities. The finishing touches are being put on temporary stages and feasting areas. Roasts are being slow cooked, mountains of bread baked up fresh in a hundred ovens, cakes and sweets, massive kettles of spiced rice…the smell is intoxicating. Random people, mostly elderly folk that remind you of the classic grandma/grand pa types, wonder about all day with baskets, handing out samples of the first batch of baked goods. Rosemary bread, sweet rice balls, and cookies flavored with peanuts and almonds. Surely men roll out heavy looking kegs, setting up bear gardens for the night ahead. Most people are not drinking, but occasionally one of the keg tenders will come over and fill just one persons cup full of an apple infused, spiced saki, from a fancy clay jug, that looks a little like an oversize tea kettle. These drinks seem to occur at random. More commonly, people sip on hot teas of various flavors, and brightly decorated tea stands are set up everywhere, many of them staffed completely by children, with perhaps one elderly adult who keeps an eye on them from a distance. The Tea is not free, it’s an unspoken known that each stand is set up for a specific family who had a lost, and proceeds will go to them. Oki Lo Kin mentioned that those who can afford it will drink one cup from every stand before the day is done…it is an honor to all who have lost, and to Chu Jung to do so. That’s a lot of tea, and dozens of colorful outhouses have been set up in a few roped curtained off areas.
The most interesting thing, is that no one seems to pay you or anyone else any extra notice at this time. In fact, just across the way you spot The Lord of Shen Ling, dressed in rather plain, muted greens, sipping tea. To his right, Oldbow, to his left, a beautiful dark haired woman with perfect posture, she looks half elven to you. Finally, there is an elf dressed in grey’s, and for a moment you think it might be Grey, the resemblance is shocking for a moment, before the obvious differences are noticed.
December 9, 2015 at 1:21 pm #1626
(( Just reposting mine AFTER Jeff’s because it seems to make more sense there, as we both posted simultaneously…))
“Sorry I’m late…” Hrothgard says in a low deep voice, finally emerging, dressed in perfectly polished armor. Nobody having seen him all night. “What are we working on here” (( Sorry guys – been a cray-cray couple of days!)).
“Where were you, Brother?!” Caris asks almost harshly.
“Well… you may have noticed my attendant was… quite beautiful, and….” He begins before Caris interrupts him:
“Stop. Don’t need the details” she says with a chuckle.
“The bathing process took some time” he smirks and winks at Caris. “I was quite dirty, as it were.” He says with a pause and a grin spreading across his face. “Turns out… so was she” he whispers to Caris and laughs as he sits next to her.
“HROTHGARD SKALDURR!” Caris scolds him, trying not to laugh.December 10, 2015 at 10:56 am #1630
As the sun is setting, the various outdoor drinking venues open up. Bands begin to play. The music of Shen ling is a blend of rhythmic drumming with haunting melodies played on woodwinds and large multi stringed instruments. The Melodies are ancient and strange, like something out of another time, and some have a decidedly elven influence. Haunting and rhythmic would be the way to describe it. Shen Lings people are steeped in their traditions, but they are not uptight, and you have seen this in the past days and even now as the celebration begins. They have their social rules and etiquette, but these things feel transparent, and to look at them, it just looks like any group of people having a good time at a festival.
Yet it is more, there are tears among the smiles, and those red rimmed eyes of those who have endured much, but above all, there is a look of relief. This is the lively part of a wake for an entire peoples dead. Clay cups are filled, the most lively bands get people out to dance. Shen Ling’s dances are lively jigs with lots of jumping. The footwork is quick and energetic, but the upper body is held dignified and graceful, favoring sweeping movements of the arms that half or quarter the speed of what the feet are doing.
A large stage overlooks the biggest beer garden, and underneath a sweeping canopy of canvas, three long tables are arranged in a u. These are the Lords tables, and you have been given a place at them should you chose to sit there. Daidoji, Oldbow, Grey’s Cousin, and the mysterious dark haired half elven woman are there, along with Shanzee, Sharn, and Sheal, and many others who have been given a place of honor at the Lords Table. Dinner will be served in about an hour, but the drinking has begun in earnestDecember 10, 2015 at 11:52 am #1631
Stern is in his white robes looking like that of an abbey monk. A pair of Silk stoles, one blue rimmed with Blue sigils of his people and another one red rimmed with markings to that of Krom around his neck. Stern holds a simple brown clay tea cup on which he has etched the symbol of this land, of Shenling.
He approaches the Lords table. He bows respectfully.
“In this land there are many faiths, and we must honor them all. In these times I must pay respect to the Battles that have been fought. And to that, Krom does not win battles, he helps the deserving warrior win battles. War is fair in that it oppresses and aids all equally and that in any given battle, a mortal may be slain or become a great leader among his or her companions. It should not be feared, but seen as a natural force, the storm that civilization brings by its very existence. Arm all for whom battle is needful, even foes. Retreat from hopeless fights but never avoid battle. Slay one foe decisively and halt a battle quickly rather than rely upon slow attrition or the senseless dragging on of hostilities. Remember the dead that fell before you. Defend what you believe in, lest it be swept away. Disparage no foe and respect all, for valor blazes in all regardless of age, sex, or race. Krom looks with favor upon those that acquit themselves honorably in battle without resorting to such craven tricks as destroying homes, family, or livestock when a foe is away or attacking from the rear (except when such an attack is launched by a small band against foes of vastly superior numbers). Consider the consequences of the violence of war, and do not wage war recklessly. The smooth-tongued and fleet of feet that avoid all strife and never defend their beliefs wreak more harm than the most energetic tyrant, raider, or horde leader.”December 10, 2015 at 1:10 pm #1632
We of Shen Ling tend to see war as a sin, for the way it bereaves us, yet always, eventually, trouble finds it’s way to every shore, and so in a sense you shine light on a new way to think of it, like a storm…you enlighten and give us something to think on…
We did not ask for this battle, or the curse of the Nightwalker, but we are grateful our ancestors passed down to us the art of battle well, so we were ready for it, and we are grateful to this generation, who has shown they learned those ways well, and truly, humbly, we are grateful for the help the gods have sent us, and for the aid of mysterious strangers.
Heart is Homeland!
and Oki Lo Kin’s cry is taken up by the crowd. He lets slip his cup, which shatters on the cobbles below, a look of relief washes over him, and he walks towards Stern, his arms wide, ready to embrace the huge warrior priest.December 10, 2015 at 1:23 pm #1634
Hrothgard stands off to the side quietly taking in their customs and traditions and trying to show proper respects to them all. He watches with a slight smile tapping his foot and head a bit with some of the music and dancing. Not mingling, though making eye contact and nodding happily to all passersby, making himself open and approachable should anyone wish to speak to him. Otherwise merely taking it all in, and leaving the business to those with better minds for it than he.December 10, 2015 at 2:17 pm #1637
Cariss goes down with the others to take in the festivities, she takes in all the sights, smells and sounds. She feels light and fresh after the soothing bath last night before bed. She wears her finest priestess gown of light green silk with dark green ivy delicately embroidered throughout. Her golden hair is braided and curled, with small white and blue flowers nestled among the braids. Her heart jumps at the sight of the Lord of Shin ling. He has never been gone from her thoughts ever since their ride together with the unicorn. She feels such a strange yet close bond with this man. Caris even felt a little twinge of jealousy upon seeing the beautiful dark haired elven woman at his side. She laughed to herself at her silly schoolgirl emotions, and made her way to the first tea stand.
As she came to the stand, she noticed a little girl and boy who must have been brother and sister standing there, wide eyes looking at her. She smiled at them placing her cup on the table she had made a simple design from flower pettals and leaves in the shape of a unicorn upon one side. As she placed a gold coin next to her cup she asked the children what kind of tea they were serving today?
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