Order of The Oaken Dawn

SW: Planet Othala, 3 years before the Battle of Yavvin
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 Post subject: Re: Water returns
PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2015 4:31 pm 
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Head of the Raven
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"Lord Tyragon will never consent to meet with her." The skinny youth before him scratched his chin and shrugged. Alexander sighed. The united wrath of Teshwan's god-fearing people had reduced the glorious Clan Tyragon to a band of outlaws - goaded by his ravens, by order of Lord Gavin McGreggor - and with that he had to deal now. A bunch of unwashed louts, most of them too young to have fought in the clan's final battle. But they weren't all that was left of the forest-dwellers, he knew. It was just very difficult to get to any of the rangers who had survived the purge, not to mention Rojan Tyragon himself, heir of old Baek and the rightful Lord of Galadan Forest. The man was not much more than a legend now, a phantom that appeared and disappeared at will, claimed to be nothing more than a ghost by some, while others insisted he was still alive and waiting to take his revenge. Alex knew he was alive, at least, but had never met him in person. The messengers he sent to the Damhnait every now and then to trade in news and goods were the only connection the raven had to him, and the freckled boy in front of him wasn't of much help.

"He must see reason", he insisted. "There's much to gain for both of them if they join forces. Your clan could be restored to its power!"
"Her father helped destroy our clan!" The youth almost shouted now. "His knights killed my father and brother, my mother and sisters died of the fever when winter caught us in the forest after the White Knights had burned down our village!" His face had turned an angry red, and his hands had curled into fists. "And there are many more who'd tell you similar stories."
Alexander ground his teeth and nodded. "Just tell him he ought to think about it. She's not like her father, much less like the cardinal. She'd want to set things to right."

With that, he left the fuming boy and went to see Donn, who kept the ravens for the Damhnait. In the castles and towns all over Teshwan, the black birds had been replaced by pigeons to carry messages, for the ravens were said to be Berkana's creatures, but elsewhere they were still relied upon to carry messages over long distances. They were very clever birds, and didn't fall prey to bigger birds so often.

In the wake of Lady Cassilda's rescue, he had already sent a short report to his masters, but now he'd gotten new information that required another message to the earl and his son; he just wasn't sure what to make of it himself, much less how to break the news to them that their old friend and confidant had obviously brewed his own ale with the cadarian cardinal. That was what his fellow raven at Carthannach indicated, at least. He'd seen to it that one of his men remained at the abbey and helped searching the cardinal's belongings, and had received the man's report just the day before, along with a report from Castle Lochlann that worried him even more. With a host of White Knights riding towards Galadan Forest, tension in Teshwan would soon reach a level that could cause serious damage to his efforts. Right now however, the only thing he could do was informing his lords. He'd written a short message on four different papers that would be attached to the legs of four ravens, two headed to Monsegor, two to the stronghold of Marquis Borges, where Wallace would dwell right now. He had written the message in code, knowing there were still other players around, and one of them was Marquis Montauban, who might well be intercepting the earl's messages. The original message read:

Ma Tiarna,

we found evidence of contact between Perlesvaus and Marquis Montauban. Not sure to what ends yet. Might mean trouble.
White Knights approaching border in great numbers. Hostages didn't reach Carthannach, lost in forest, maybe? My ravens will investigate.

A.


He gave the papers to Donn, who attached them to the birds, and together they watched them taking flight.


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 Post subject: Re: Water returns
PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2015 8:05 pm 
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Othalan
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The noise in the great hall of Castle Lochlann was deafening. All the viscounts of Teshwan, as well as many lesser nobles were crowding the cavernous room, heatedly discussing the issue at hand even though the council hadn't yet started. As Aina made her way towards the dais where Heron was waiting on his high seat; a massive chair made of birchwood, its back carved in the likeness of the eight-spoked wheel of Cadaris; the voices were cut short all around her and numerous eyes were piercing her, some reverent, some hostile, but most just plain curious. Behind her, the discussion was resumed even more heatedly, though only in whispers now. By the time she climbed the steps of the dais, the room resounded with a murmur like moving waves in a gentle sea. She took a deep breath - or at least she tried to. The bodice of the new gown her aunt had made her wear, a nightmare of samite and lace in the deep blue and white of Clan Teshwan, was laced up so tightly she thought she might faint at any moment. She just wasn't used to this type of clothing, which made her feel a stranger even more. She had left Othala before her flowering, wearing girl's dresses that never confined her much, and during her time offworld, she had worn functional cloths that wouldn't hinder her in combat, much less breathing - except for one fateful evening on Coruscant. Once the memory of that night had made her smile, but now it only made her feel sick.
Heron awaited her at the top of the steps and took her hand to present her to the crowd. "You look beautiful, good sister", he said, looking out over the mass of people. Obviously he was trying to hide his own nervousness behind courtesies. Aina didn't care. Every fibre in her screamed 'flee!', but she stood firm, even managing a forced smile. Somewhere behind her sat her sister in a much smaller chair next to her husband's, radiant in her white gown. She was grace incarnate, even now that her belly was growing quite obviously, or maybe even because of it. Aina could never decide which was more likely.


She had arrived at Castle Lochlann four idae before, accompanied by Lady Rigmor, her little sister Gwenna and an entire entourage of knights, squires, petty lords from around Eilean Donil and their chattering ladies, an army of handmaids and servants and a score of House Teshwan's soldiers as a guard. As far as Aina was concerned, she would have gladly made the journey on aiwhsback and alone, but her aunt had insisted she'd share the big carriage with her and her attending ladies. It wouldn't do for the heir of House Teshwan to travel like some common wench, after all. And so she had been confined to the stuffy air, the ladies' silly chattering and slow rumbling movement of the enormous vehicle, cherishing the times they made camp for the night and she could flee the other women, if only for a few moments. Kam rode with her knights, who mostly shunned the strange warrior, so most of the time they didn't see much of each other during the day. Come night though, she slipped through the men who guarded their camp to meet with him some way off. She couldn't practice fighting with her lightsaber out in the open, so she had goaded Kam to secretly practice with her. The wooden sword she used was heavier than her saber, and felt clumsy with the blade covered in rags to avoid the guards to be alerted by the clacking of the blades, but she didn't take long to adapt to the new weight. Still she envied how effortless and graceful Kam made every move look even with a weapon like this, and there was much and more she could still learn from him, although she dared not hope to ever match him in combat. Whenever he was showing her a new sequence of attacks and parries, she watched in awe. The moonlight let his motion look even more stunning, and more oft as not she found her thoughts wandering off into a dangerous direction. Every time he touched her to correct her stance or the way she held her blade, it sent a shiver through her. Kam could sense her arousal, she could tell by the way he looked at her, but he never attempted to do anything inappropriate. Not until some nights ago.

Eskaia, the bigger of the moons, had been full, bathing the picturesque clearing they had chosen for this night's practice in her reddish light, while her smaller twin Endymion was hiding behind some clouds. They had gone through a series of attacks and counter-attacks, when they found themselves face to face, their blades locked between them. Aina looked up into Kam's eyes, studied his features. His breath smelled of herbs (and faintly of mead), and his lips were so close... And all of a sudden, he dropped his blade, pulled her into an embrace and kissed her. For long moments (much too short), she gave in, enjoyed his lips on hers, his strong arms holding her tight. But then she pulled free, stepped back. "We can't do this!" Her eyes were begging for forgiveness, before she turned and ran, so he would not see the tears welling up. She didn't join him for practice in the following nights, nor had she spoken to him since.
She remembered the night at the Abbey of Carthannach, the moment they resolved to start anew. And she had tried, really. But the hurt of betrayal sat deep, like a thorn that was festering in her flesh. And even if Rigmor wouldn't speak of it, Aina knew she would never be allowed to be with Kam, anyway. Too much was at stake, and if she decided to marry some stranger instead of an approved noble, she would lose any support she could hope to get from any of the lords of Teshwan. No one would follow her if she followed her heart.

Despite her early arrival, she hadn't had time to speak with Cassilda either, which made her sad. At the welcoming feast, her sister had asked to be excused, and in the days that followed it had seemed to her that her older sister was avoiding her. 'She's afraid of me... and I can't blame her after what she witnessed in that dungeon.' Besides Perlesvaus and Kam, Cassilda had been the only one to perceive the murderous rage that had been driving her when she had the cardinal cornered. Gwenna was spending much time with their older sister, so Aina didn't see much of the little girl as well. Most of her time was spent listening to her aunt and good-brother, anyway, who taught her about the attending nobles and their respective characteristics over and over. They never seemed to tire to tell her how she should behave at the council, until she felt like wanting to bang her head against a wall and be done with all of it.
'I was not made for politics', she thought morosely. ‘Though everybody wants me to believe I was born for it.' She thought back to the tournament, to the fierce warriors of the eastern steppes and their fighting women. At first sight, they had seemed like wild animals to her, but watching them on the field took the difference from them. They were striving and bleeding like any man. But they were free to fight and die, not confined to insentient rules that bound them to their male counterparts' will. How she envied them.


"Noble lords and ladies," Heron addressed the crowd, still holding her hand lightly in his. Hesitantly, the whispering ceased, until the hall was silent but for some shuffling of feet and the soft rustle of the noble ladies' robes.
"I present to thee the Lady Aina Rohana Mairi of Teshwan, come to claim her seat as the heir to her late father, Lord Uriens of Teshwan, Earl of Donil, may Cadaris bless his soul. She's come to be recognized by the Great Council of the West, to receive Cadaris' blessing and hear the oaths of those who would swear fealty to her."
The murmuring started anew, and here and there came shouts of 'Witch!', 'Pretender!' and even worse, countered by calls of 'Redeemer!', 'Aingeal!' or 'Godly Herald!', until the hall rang with the uproar and Heron had to signal the captain of his guard to restore order. Aina stood unflinching, taking whatever they threw her way. The disdain she felt for them grew ever more, though. They knew nothing.
Though Heron had warned her of it, the following quarrel tired her to the point when she found it hard not to just turn and leave. Finally, she just stepped forward and began to speak in a loud, clear voice. She had to pick her words wisely, she knew, and so much she wanted to tell them would have to be left unsaid.
"These are trying times for all of us", she began, and the commotion slowly abated until all eyes were fixed on her. She remembered the evening in the claret marquee, up on the dry albigan plateau, when she had conquered her fear and stepped before the midlandish nobles to tell them of the threat that lingered above. She felt like sais had passed since then. She was no longer the shy young maid she had been then, so full of fear and self-doubt. She knew now she had it in her to change the world, and nobody in here could stop her if she relied upon her strength. But she needed these people, however vain they were. She needed to convince them to change their very view of the world. A vain hope in case of some, she knew. But there were others who would truly listen, and if she thrived to touch their hearts, she would have won a great deal.
"I know most of ye would rather see a man on my father's seat", she continued when all was still. Next to her, she could hear a sharp intake of breath. Bluntness was not what Heron and Rigmor had advised her to exert at this council, yet she felt the plain truth was the best way to handle the situation. Those people needed to hear what she had to say, if they would like it or not. And she knew there were not few who would appreciate her telling the truth, as soon as they'd find out she had actually spoken true. Heron and Rigmor weren't her only advisors, after all. Aina had spoken to some of the nobles in beforehand, getting her own picture of their attitude, and Alexander had told her quite a bit about the teshwanian nobility, as well. Though she didn't dare trust the raven when it came to personal matters, she knew his intentions in helping her to unite her people were genuine. As secretive as he was, she could not sense anything false about him, and she didn't think he had any powers with the Force, so as to veil his true intentions from her. His loyalty lay with Earl Gavin and Wallace, he didn't care to deny it. But Wallace wanted Othala united as well, so as long as their goal was the same, it wouldn't hurt to take the raven's advice, she guessed.

"I can't give ye that, but I am as devoted to serving Teshwan as any man could be." A murmur rose again. One of the nobles near the dais crossed his arms and spat on the floor. He wore the dark grey and yellow of House Jirel, she observed. 'Viscount Yarol Jirel of Lewal. One of Heron's bannermen.' Their crest was a yellow whale on a dark grey field; The county's wealth still came from whaling, mainly, with two thirds of it bordering the icy northern ocean that was home to plenty of the huge animals. Next to him stood a man who could only be Lancair Guy, the infamous Viscount of Corbanic, mimicking his sour expression and hostile demeanour.
But there were also friendly faces down there. Her uncle Bran, for example, who towered over most of the nobles surrounding him and gave her an encouraging smile, and the plump Lady Alinor Osrun of Trestall, master merchant of northern Teshwan and a good friend of aunt Rigmor. They were the only women holding counties by themselves, so far, and Aina was sure of their support, at least. Uncle Halvor hadn't been able to make the long voyage, but had sent his son Hanley instead. Aina spotted the young man somewhere in the back of the hall, staring sullenly towards the dais but making no attempt to challenge her claim. It seemed Rigmor had carried out her threat to talk him out of doing so. His claim hadn't been a very good one from the start, being only a nephew of the late Earl of Donil, but he would surely find some support amongst the nobles, if only because he was a man and she was not.

"Alas, the tidings I bring art not good ones, I fear," she continued. Many times had she wondered how to tell them about the threat that lingered above their world, but there seemed to be no adequate way. "A millennium ago, strangers poured from the heavens, and with their fiery swords, they changed our world forever."
A rapt silence had spread. The pious were expecting a glorious tale about Cadaris' aingeals, no doubt, while others were simply curious if what the young Countess had to say was worthy of their attention.
"The heavens art about to tear again, and soon. This time, they wilt spill an army of beings who think they art superior to us. And they wilt come to conquer, to rip from our earth whatever they deem valuable, to enslave our people and bind them to their master's will. Ye have been told there art no other worlds beside Othala - that was a lie. There art countless worlds up above, and I have seen them. I've been on some of them, learned about their lore, their people's history. I've seen some of them brought under the yoke of that so-called empire that spreadeth like a disease. But Othala shall not fall! We need to prepare, we need to stand united against that foe!"
Silence followed her words. The nobles looked helplessly at each other, their confusion was palpable. Was this woman mad?

Aina could feel Heron's hand on her arm, but she ignored his warning gaze. She was tired of playing games. Time was running short, they needed to know the truth. They needed to see that not their petty claims were most important, but Othala as a whole. She knew she walked a dangerous path, but those who would oppose her would have done so anyway. They would learn the truth of her words soon enough, wouldn't they? Let them learn the hard way, then.
"Dost thou really expect us to believe such outrageous lies?" The Lord of Corbanic had found his voice first, his question scornfully ringing into the silence and giving spark to murmured discussion again. "I couldn't fail to notice thou art not speaking of Teshwan alone", another one further poked the gash. 'A green tree on a white field - Ribald Ashtree of Faldorn.' One of the upstart-lordlings who had profited from the Tyragon Purge, but not one of her father's bannermen, but one of Heron's. "How opportune for someone who secretly conspires with our archenemy and even consorts with barbarians."
Aina didn't flinch. She had expected talk like that, hadn't doubted that rumours about her stay in the midlands would reach hostile ears and would be turned against her.
"That's because this menace threateneth all of Othala, not just Teshwan", she retorted calmly. "It is time to lay aside all enmity, to settle old quarrels."
An outcry went through the crowd. "Thou canst not be serious about this!" Tarique Majère, who had formerly been a petty lord in her father's service and had been raised to Viscount of Argyll in the wake of the purge, spat furiously. "Those midlandish bastards cannot be trusted! They have been troubling our borders for hundreds of sais!"
"Have there been any notable attacks from midlanders on our borders since Clan Tyragon hath been put down?" she asked quietly. He shrank back under her cool gaze and finally shook his head. "No, my lady."
"If it's really true, let those 'imperials' have the steppes and midlands, why not?" someone shouted from the back of the hall. Aina let her gaze wander over the crowd for a moment before she answered: "Because they won't stop at our borders. And even if we could stop them - what do ye think will Teshwan be worth if all the rest of our world lies in ruins? Teshwan will not survive without the rest of Othala. Even Cadaris cannot save us then."

A storm broke loose. Again, she felt reminded of the evening when Wallace had told the midlandish nobility about the threat to Othala. Everybody was shouting at each other, some of the nobles left the hall, not willing to listen any further. Heron's guard tried to keep the order, and the small group of White Knights who had been dispatched by Heron to serve as her guard posted themselves beneath the dais to prevent the angry mob to advance up the steps. Cassilda was brought out through the small door at the back of the dais, but Aina stood her ground, letting the waves of hate wash over her. Despair started to crawl into her heart again, when she watched them quarrel down there. They were kin, why couldn't they feel it? Their fear to lose their belongings was ruling them, turning to anger as they knew no other way of defence than attack. If they could only understand that the real foe was not inside this hall, but inside themselves.
With tears in her eyes, she retrieved her saber from the folds of her gown, held it up over her head and ignited the blade. Blue it shone, almost white inside, a blinding light no one could stand long to stare at. The hall fell silent once more. Everybody froze on the spot, staring wide-eyed towards her.
"I pledge this weapon to the defence of our mother Othala. I swear to uphold Teshwan's honour and act in its people's best interest. But, by everything that's holy, I also swear to crush down anybody who acts against Othala's people as a whole!"
For a few minutes, everyone in the great hall was deadly silent. When the first had overcome their shock, however, the question was posed that she had both feared and anticipated the most. "What proof dost thou have of this threat?" All eyes were upon her.


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 Post subject: Re: Water returns
PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2015 2:02 pm 
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Head of the Raven
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Time had been short, and he hadn't been able to silence the persistent whisperings of doubt that had ceaselessly tried to convince him that this time, he would fail. It wasn't his first mission that seemed impossible, and so far, he had never failed to reach his goals - however, time had never been so short, and never had there been so much at stake.
Given those circumstances, he could be very content with the outcome of his endeavours. It had been difficult already to find out where the artefact was now, as it had vanished during the purge, and when he learned who had it now, he doubled his efforts to talk to that person. Convincing the man to leave the item in the raven's care had proven impossible - instead, he had insisted on taking the thing before the Great Council himself - a turn that even the raven had not been able to foresee and that took Alex aback. In a way, it was a fortunate thing that he had agreed to present the artefact to the nobles, but doing it himself was a risk Alexander couldn't fully estimate. He could only hope for the best...


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 Post subject: Re: Water returns
PostPosted: Thu Sep 10, 2015 7:33 am 
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Othalan
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Aina straightened and sadly shook her head. "None, so far. I've come here before ye in all honesty, I swear by my soul that I don't mean ye harm." The crowd was getting agitated again, but she let her voice rise over the commotion. "I will give ye the desired proof, if ye art willing to give me some more time. There art also others who have been to the stars, and written records of offworld visitors in older times. I will share with ye what knowledge..."

Her speech was cut short when the great oak-doors to the hall were opened with a bang and a small group of people made its way towards the dais. Before them, a hounded looking Sir Ronan thrust his way through the crowd to reach his commander first. Heron descended the steps to meet with him, while Aina saw the crowd slowly parting in front of the other newcomers who made their way towards them. In the back of the hall, a lone figure had parted from the group and melted into the shadows beneath the large hangings. The lithe frame belonged to Sir Alexander, no doubt. She knew his way of moving by now. So he had finally returned from his latest foray. She briefly wondered what he had been up to now, when she realised the surprised whispers of the nobles near the dais. The small group had almost reached the steps now, and the tension in the hall was palpable. All eyes were on the tall guy who led the group. He was handsome and lean, with dark hair that fell to his shoulders and keen eyes that fixed Heron with a hard stare. The Lord-Commander of the White Knights equally stared back, obviously as surprised to see the man as anyone else in there. Anyone except Aina. She had no clue who that stranger was, though something about him touched some buried memory within her. She was pretty sure he was none of the more important nobles; a petty lord, maybe, though his attire didn't even suggest that possibility. Yet his appearance had an undeniable impact on all who gathered around them. She could sense some of the knights beneath the stairs tense at his approach, and a strangled little sound escaped Heron's throat as he stepped into the man's way.

"Thou art either very brave, or very stupid", the lord finally addressed him after they had been silently assessing each other for some moments. A sneer lit up the stranger's face, revealing a gap among a row of otherwise healthy looking teeth, which added to his roguish appearance. The small band of men who accompanied him were nervously shuffling their feet and scanning their surroundings, clearly feeling out of place. All of them wore sober-coloured, plain clothing like any peasant would wear, but the tall yew wood bows they carried over their shoulders were crafted masterfully and marked them as something more than mere commoners.
"Well, let's say I should have been wiser five sais back", he returned cryptically, then looked up towards Aina. There was curiosity in those eyes, but also a deeply rooted sadness. Ignoring any attempts to stop him he shouldered his way past Heron and his knights and climbed the steps, his gaze never faltering. Aina tensed, but she could sense no aggression from the stranger, only a mild sense of expectation, so she gestured towards the guards to let him pass. When he had reached the top of the steps, he took her hand and placed a gentle kiss upon it.
"It's a pleasure to meet thee again, mylady."

Again, that sense of recognition struck her. She took a moment to study his features, but what made her remember at last were his eyes. They were a strange mixture of light blues and greens, the exact opposite of his father's dark ones. Once, they had been alive with youth's abundant confidence, but no more. Though it had only been six sais since last she'd seen him, he looked a much older man now. She inclined her head, then looked up to him again.
"The pleasure is mine, Lord Tyragon." She replied, deliberately using the title that had never been his. When Clan Tyragon had been purged, she had only been twelve sais old, and entangled in the sorrow the loss of her mother had caused as well as her troubles to control her Force abilities. But after reading her father's diary and the letters he'd received back then, she had tried to find out more about the incident. She had heard quite some versions of the tale, and putting two and two together, she had come to the conclusion that the purge was a horrible crime that demanded justice. She pried her gaze from the heir of Tyragon to turn towards the crowd again. Most of the faces down there showed confusion, insecurity - but there was also blatant hate. Heron was just reaching the top of the dais, throwing another dark look towards Rojan Tyragon, then urgently addressing her in a low voice.
"Mylady, consider what thou art doing! I strongly urge thee to let me deal with this man and his... band."
Aina gently shook her head and replied: "I want to hear what he has to say. We'll continue the Council on the morrow."


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 Post subject: Re: Water returns
PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2016 6:07 pm 
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Othalan
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"I have to thank thee, Lady Aina. I wasn't sure at all if thou wouldst hear me out..."
Rojan Tyragon's face indeed showed gratitude - whereas Heron's expressed his deeply-rooted mistrust against the heir of the infamous clan, which didn't seem to disturb the latter at all.
"Don't thank me yet", she replied coolly. "The fact I'm curious about what brings thee here doesn't mean I'll feel happy about it."
He wanted to reply something, but Aina gestured him to keep quiet for now. "There's much we have to discuss, thou and I, so I'm grateful thou ended thy game of hide and seek. But I fear we're short on time right now, given the angry mob of nobles out there who'd really like to see the both of us burn. I'm sure Sir Alexander had his good reasons to bring thee to me, and to be honest, I'm hoping it'll be something that helps us to convince them otherwise."

Rojan raised an eyebrow and smirked. "Well, I must admit I've been wondering about his intentions..." His smile became even more wolfish. "But I see now that there's going on much more than meets the eye. Well then... straight to business.”
He produced a lump of cloth from a pouch on his belt, carefully unfolding it until it revealed a small cubicle with symmetrical patterns etched on its surface. Aina inhaled sharply, and Rojan, eyeing her intently, smirked again. “I see thou knowes’ what it is. Well, it’s also the reason why my clan has been nearly eradicated.”
Aina stretched her hand out to take the cubicle, but Rojan pulled it back and shook his head. “No, mylady. This is no gift.”
She gazed at him and slowly nodded. “I think I know what thou wants’. Alas, thou must know that I can’t give thee anything but my word at this point. Maybe we’ll still burn.”

For the first time, his smirk faded and he looked thoroughly serious. “I know,” he said. For some moments, none of them spoke as he seemed to assess her. Then he stretched out his hand and offered the cubicle to her. “I believe thou art my best chance to obtain justice, mylady. It seems if anyone can free my people of their charge, it is thou.”
Aina nodded and carefully took the cube from his palm. She shuddered as she touched it, thinking of the responsibility he had just imposed on her. She could only wonder how Clan Tyragon had come to possess a holocron, but she had the feeling she should have a word or two with Sir Alexander about it.
A jedi holocron on Othala – it might explain a few things, and she was dying to explore its contents, but she needed time to figure it all out. She had never handled one before, only watched her master doing so.

“So... this is the artefact thy people found,” she said, eyeing Rojan carefully. “Do you know what it is?”
He pondered her question for a moment, staring into space, while Heron eyed the holocron suspiciously.
“I don’t know what such a thing is called,” Rojan finally answered, “nor do I understand how it works. I do know though, that it seems to be some device to keep memories. One of the Damhnait managed to... activate it somehow, back then...” His voice trailed off and that sadness returned to his eyes as he seemed to relive memories long past. After another moment of silence, he shook his head and looked at her. “The information that thing keeps questions everything we believed in. I think the cardinal knew it would threaten the church’s standing, though I don’t know how he would know about it – even the Damhnait had never seen the like before. Perlevaus would have wanted it destroyed, along with anyone who might know about its contents.”

Now it was Aina’s turn to nod. “That seems likely. Though I don’t know yet what it contains, I can imagine there might be information that could change the people’s view of the world forever,” she muttered to herself, before she addressed Rojan again. “It is called a holocron. I will see what information I can extract from it, and how that will help us in convincing the other nobles that we’re not the lunatics they believe us to be... wish me luck!”
And with that, she left the room and the two men staring after her, one thoughtful, the other utterly confused.


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 Post subject: Re: Water returns
PostPosted: Mon Jun 13, 2016 7:32 pm 
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Othalan
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A frustrated little sound escaped Heron’s lips after Aina had left the room. He was sick of being confronted with all that information he didn’t understand. No one ever explained a thing to him, all he ever heard was ‘Sir Heron do this, Lord Lochlann do that’ or ‘Everything will be explained in due time’. Aye... but when would that be?

He turned around, noticing that scoundrel Rojan Tyragon watching him with a bemused expression. And that smirk lingered around the corner of his mouth again. Heron narrowed his eyes.
“Don’t think I will let thee get away just like this,” he growled. “Even without the charge of heresy thou and thy bunch of cutthroats art nothing but thieves and murderers...”

Rojan laughed, a cheerless sound like the whetting of a rusty blade. Then his face became serious again, and the look from those sad eyes gave Heron the creeps. Rojan stepped forward, stopping a mere arm’s length before him and taxing him with a steely gaze now. “Cadaris shall judge me, then,” he answered with an impertinent grin. Then he leaned even closer and whispered: “If one of thy knights lays a single finger on one of my men, those thou’rt missing will die crying for their mothers.”
He straightened again and added: “The same will happen if I do not return to Galadan Forest in due time after the council.”

And there it was again – that smirk which made Heron’s blood boil. In that moment, he imagined laying his fingers around the other man’s neck, slowly pressing the life out of him. Only the thought of his men in the hands of the tyragonian bandits held him back. He took a deep breath, but still his voice trembled with barely contained rage when he answered: “At this moment, half of the White Knights are on their way to Galadan Forest to look for the lost ones.”

Rojan didn’t seem to be impressed, though. “Thou could send all of them, and every single soldier of Lochlann, and still they wouldn’t find anything in my forest. Don’t bother sending any more men into danger. I am not thy enemy, Lord Lochlann.” He smiled sadly before he turned and left the room, leaving Heron more confused than ever.


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 Post subject: Re: Water returns
PostPosted: Sat Mar 25, 2017 7:43 pm 
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Othalan
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The day after

On this morning, the hall wasn’t as full as it had been the day before. Some of the viscounts had refused to join the council again, and had begun their journey home. Others still dwelled around to witness the process against Perlesvaus which had been scheduled for later that day, but weren’t fain to hear what Aina wanted to tell them, much less swearing fealty to her.
Again, she stood at the top of the dais, nervously fumbling with the cube in her hands and trying to fill her lungs with enough air against the constraining corset her aunt had made her wear again. Heron sat behind her in his throne, her sister next to him in hers. In the shadows in the back of the hall, she could make out Rojan Tyragon and his men, accompanied by Sir Alexander. The raven had visited her late last night to warn her of some of the viscounts plotting against her, for which she was thankful. She wished she could convince all of them, but she had always known that was an impossible feat. She would have to see how many would follow her and then it would be her duty to choose the best possible husband to strengthen her position with the remaining lords. Maybe she should accept Lord Ferrat’s proposal to become his second wife – he wasn’t the youngest aspirant, but had much influence thanks to his position as merchant master of southern Teshwan, and him being still here made her hopeful he’d be a reasonable man.

Now however, she had a whole different task at hand – after figuring out how to activate the holocron, she had spent half the night to check its contents. Unlike the holocrons Master Riggs had shown her, which had mainly contained lessons by other Jedi Masters for her training, its contents were of a whole different kind. A thousand sais ago, a Jedi knight had recorded how a delegation of Jedi had landed on Othala in pursuit of a member of a group called the Serpent Sith; while they had come to believe the serpents’ influence concentrated in the north, their arrival on the western continent had sparked a revolution among the male residents of the thitherto matriarchal society. Based on a small group of men who spread the prophecies of the sailor John Cadraque, who they claimed to be a gifted seer, more and more men joined the new believe in Cadaris as a ‘good’ counterpart to the ‘evil’ goddess Berkana. The Jedi, whose coming John Cadraque had foreseen, were worshipped as godly beings, come to free the men of Othala from the influence of the evil witches. According to the ancient recordings, some of the Jedi had come to like being venerated like this and decided to stay on Othala after they had completed their mission in the north, which had resulted in the devastation of the Lands under the True Mountains and the uprooting of a whole nation. Apparently, the owner of the holocron had tried to warn the Jedi Council of their treason, but had been hunted down and most likely killed. The recordings ended abruptly and left many questions. Aina could imagine how the pious warriors of Clan Tyragon must have been feeling about the revelations his holocron held for them.

Upon her signal, Donal the herald pounded on the floor with his staff to draw the crowd’s attention towards the dais. When the low humming of voices had abated and all eyes were on her once again, she began her speech:
“I promised ye to bring proof of my words – well, I didn’t think I’d be able to present something to ye so soon, but thanks to Rojan Tyragon, here’s something ye ought to see.” She held the holocron up so all could see it. “This is the artefact the warriors of Clan Tyragon found on a fateful day four sais ago. The one that shook their belief and that Cardinal Perlesvaus used to declare them apostates and hunt them down. It is called a ‘holocron’, a device that’s used to store information, and it is not of Othala.”
A murmur went through the crowd, but Aina didn’t let herself be distracted. She commanded silence and activated the holocron once more, letting the ancient Jedi knight speak for himself. Aina could see how its contents disturbed the lords and ladies, but none dared to interrupt. When the account ended, a hushed silence dominated the hall. But before any of the nobles could voice their doubts, Aina began anew: “I know this is not the kind of proof ye expected. It looks like magic, and somehow it can be called just that. Ye know the tale it tells, though we’ve not been told all of it.” She paused, desperately seeking for a way to make them see that all of this was real and not just some lie. She knew they must have many doubts about this, and she couldn’t blame them. For generations, they had been taught a different history, and that magic existed and was a vile thing. The skeptics among the crowd were just about to succeed in whipping up the anger anew, when the herald pounded the floor again and demanded silence as an elderly man in the white robes of the church’s high ranks shoved his way through the crowd and up the dais. After a brief whispered conversation with another white-robed church-member, Donal announced: “His Eminence, Cardinal Symeon ó Maolomhnaigh, Voice of our Lord!”
Aina was taken aback, as was the crowd. As Perlesvaus had been stripped of his office and all titles and convicted of high treason and heresy, the church’s dignitaries had held their own council to appoint a new leader of the church. Apparently, they had come to a decision. Aina didn’t know this new Cardinal and was unsure if he’d be a help to her or not. Anyway, she had no choice but to let him speak. She bowed her head to him and received his blessing, as was customary between the church’s and the worldly leaders in Teshwan, then he faced the crowd. The hall had become dead silent.

Cardinal ó Maolomhnaigh made the sign of the wheel, then he spoke in a deep, calm voice: “What Lady Aina tells is the truth. There are others of those devices that had been kept by the church for centuries and whose contents have luckily been recorded, as no one was able to retrieve them nowadays. Though their content is far from being as unsettling as those of this item,” he added with a small chuckle. Aina inwardly sighed with relief. This new head of the church seemed to be more affable than the last. An awkward silence spread, only interrupted by shuffling of feet and a few unbelieving murmurs, as the new cardinal left the dais as unceremoniously as he had entered it and made his way to the side of the hall. Aina, feeling all eyes on her once more, didn’t know what to say, and after another few moments of fumbling with the holocron, she cleared her throat and ordered a break till after noon. She thought it best to let all those news sink in with the nobility – and not least she needed a break now herself, to calm down and maybe try to acquire some more information about that new head of church.


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 Post subject: Re: Water returns
PostPosted: Mon Apr 17, 2017 11:29 am 
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Othalan
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“By the grace of our Lord, Cadaris the Bringer of Light, I bless thee, Aina of Teshwan, Countess of Donil. May thy rule be a prosperous one” The newly elected cardinal took his hand off her head and stepped back as she stood and faced the crowd once more. It was done. She had been officially named Countess of Donil by the remaining lords of Teshwan. Most of the viscounts of Donil had stayed, and had sworn fealty to her, as was tradition. They would be loyal, as long as she kept her oath to protect their lands and people. It had been so from the beginning of time, an ancient rite that remained untouched by religion and personal convictions. Once, the oath her ancestors had sworn had comprised not only the lands of Donil, but the whole of Teshwan, and those had been the kings and queens of old, mere legends now, known only in song and tale.

Following the break she had ordered, and a brief but enlightening conversation with Cardinal ó Maolomhnaigh, he had introduced himself to the nobility and given his blessings to all of them. After that, the council had voted for her inauguration, which had been a formality, as there had been no one to challenge her heritage and most of Donil’s nobles were willing to place their trust into the late earl’s daughter anyway, as her father had been a just and prudent leader. Merely Arius Dunnaheir of Galahad had left the day before, and Rowan Mynoc of Jera had refused to swear fealty to her, a matter to discuss in her own court. Even her cousin Hanley had bowed before her, swearing in his father’s stead. It meant much to her that he hadn’t left despite his apparent grudge against her rule, and she’d make sure to thank him when they were through with the official parts of today’s ceremony.

One thing she had still to do, though. As Countess of Donil, she was obligated to dispense justice over the former cardinal, alongside the Earls of Lochlann and Galadan and a representative of the church – in this case, the new cardinal. Since no new Earl of Galadan had been appointed since the purge, due to the quarrels between the new viscounts and all the problems the tyragonian renegades had caused, Aina and Heron were the only worldly judges in this case.
Perlesvaus was brought forth from the dungeons, looking haunted and haggard, staring unseeing and constantly muttering under his breath. The following couple of hours were filled with numerous accounts of Perlesvaus’ crimes against the church and the realm, evidence was brought forth and finally, Perlesvaus was given the chance to repent. He stared long and hard at her, then he began laughing hysterically and cried: “Ye’re all going to die!” over and over until he was subdued by the guards.
Aina was taken aback by the change he had undergone while being imprisoned, but then she could only guess how he had been treated while dwelling in his own dungeons among all the other prisoners who had ended there because of him.

A few words were changed between her, the cardinal and Heron, sealing their consent about Perlesvaus’ sentence, then Heron stepped forth to announce their decision. “Cyril Perlesvaus, by the wisdom of our Lord Cadaris and the secular authority of this court, thou art found guilty of high treason, heresy, and the instigation to commit murder in several cases. Thou art sentenced to death by hanging, as defined by the law of the Clans of Teshwan as well as that of the Church of Cadaris. May Cadaris have mercy on thy soul.”
Aina shuddered. It felt awkward to decide about the death of someone, and that this had been her first official act didn’t make things better. Still, there was a small part within her that felt a great satisfaction as Perlesvaus was led out of the hall by his guards, his head hanging now, though he was still shaken with occasional bouts of mad chuckling. The hanging would be executed in the morning, and it would be a great spectacle, she knew. Especially with such a prominent convict.


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