Author Topic: Gnarcheon's Festival at the Grove of Needles  (Read 7188 times)

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Offline Johan

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Gnarcheon's Festival at the Grove of Needles
« on: March 05, 2013, 01:39:00 PM »
Qwydeon Albyr SYNCATH VY 237 (June 3rd)

No matter from what direction one enters, the vast forest is dense with deciduous and conifers. It is a healthy forest that stretches from the edge of the Tortured Lands, skirting the Wasteland of Archea, to roll to the northern sea and west all the way to the Dale of Wolves, stopping within a score of leagues of the Ghoul Swamp in the north.

This vast tract of unnamed wilderness is home to the Dale Gnomes, the Wildlanders, the City State of Kurr, the Citadel of Gholan, and uncountable tribes of various gargun. It holds the memories of scores of ancient peoples and conflicts. It further supports outlaying lands such as Rhohannus and D’Flewn, and across Feather Gap is the imposing Fortress of Durhain, which sits upon the waters of the northern sea, halfway between Rhohannus and New Jarla.

Although many believe that the venerable forest, having been home to so many for eons, is a well known geography, she holds secrets still from the masses.

One of these secrets is deep within the thickest part of the forest, in an area where great sycamores and sequoias squeeze in close to giant cypress and enormous pines as if to better enjoy each other’s company.

This part of the mighty forest is under a perpetual cloud; it rains daily here, often in such a deluge the likes of which would scatter lesser trees. But these giants drink greedily of the rain waters, and if man could penetrate this place, he would see that the ground is always dry, even while the rain yet falls. But man cannot penetrate here; this primal place has many defenses against the intrusion of man, from the dense trees themselves, many of whom are sentient and some of whom are apt to walk about, to a thick, thorny undergrowth, and the land herself, which is never calm and even, but seems to have birthed this place in a fit of upheaval.

Scree-strewn hills jut up abruptly and fall away just as suddenly leaving broad chasms to be crossed. Sharp, rocky teeth wait at the bottom of these chasms to chew any so unfortunate as to fall from the few spans of height…sufficient to kill anyone foolish enough to seek entry. And there are the magics that in subtle ways turn away the particularly obstinate.

If the rains were to relent, and the winds abate, a crow could fly over this denser-than-dense part of the northern wood in less time than it takes for Kossuth to mount the sky. Such an opportunity rarely presents itself to any crow, but at times the sun shines down upon the canopy of trees managing to barely penetrate unto the forest floor.

When these crows traverse this inhospitable wood, they might espy near its center a small mote of grassy meadow, half a score acres at most. At the center of these few acres is a splendid ring of resilient soft-needled white pine. These pleasant pine trees sit in a perfect circle that is about a bow-shot in diameter, and have sat thus since before humans entered the greater forest. Their soft needles have over the centuries carpeted the little circle across which that they stare at each other, and no sentient foot has ever trod upon them without Mahiya’s blessing, for it is only such as these as can navigate the uninviting wood that surrounds this place, and it is only such as these that the wood knows, and allows entry.

This is the Grove of Needles, and on this day every year meets the council of Gnarcheon to plot the north woods’ annual celebration of Long Summer’s Day.
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Offline Wildfire

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Gnarcheon's Festival at the Grove of Needles
« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2013, 10:59:02 AM »
She looked out over the grey, ash laden wasteland. Nothing grew here. Nothing lived here. Nothing except the children of The Nameless Void and it’s first born, Zyxu Archeon. The edge of the wasteland of Archea was rimmed with black skeletal remains of trees and the twisted and gnarled tendrils of bushes. She could sense their thirst for life as they futilely reached for her. They reached not to enjoy life but rather to drink it in offer to the Void. The once beautiful and lush forest that prospered here had been mostly consumed but what little had remained was changed into perverse, life-hungry shells of what they once were. They were aberrations and insults to all she held dear. They mocked Mahiya and the natural world. Cailyder looked across the expanse trying to see the Three Towers of Zyxu but her vision could not penetrate the dust.

Gripping her sickles tight she breathed deep and crinkled her brow in an angry sadness. A snort of derision blew out of her boar, Grubar. Never one to be overshadowed, Koth, her wolverine, growled in ominous warning. “Be still my children.” The vigilant hybsil replied, “Our time of retribution will come. The Blood Tear has arrived and soon we will vanquish the enemies of Mahiya.”

The light and familiar voice of one of her “fronds” as she liked to call them asked from behind her, “Grenvardaien, are you ready for the journey to the meeting?” Cailyder glanced back and nodded. “Are you, my frond Sharrewn?” she asked knowing the answer. She pulled five berries of her Vallenbrush from her belt admiring their significance. “Our time of retribution will come.” she whispered.
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Offline Johan

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Gnarcheon's Festival at the Grove of Needles
« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2013, 01:58:59 PM »
It was true, Eswarth realized once again, that nothing happened truly by coincidence. The centaur had been a follower of Mahiya since he was very young, and being a Divine Soldier was what gave his life meaning, gave his bow range, and gave his great sword its vengeful wrath. Nerlander, his erstwhile companion, was similarly blessed and bore the symbol of mahiya in his deep, intelligent eyes.

Eswarth and Nerlander had received Shankaria’s rabbit only a day before they had  planned to start their leisurely journey  to the Grove of Needles, and a good thing too. Had not the Torquanic sent the bounding messenger, then Eswarth and Nerlander would have arrived at the Grove of Needles without their Vallenbrush berries.

And it was their path towards the Vallenbrush that had spontaneously placed them in the path of the necromancer Quetztochal.

The necromancer himself had been their most formidable foe this day. In many seasons, in fact. Eswarth and Nerlander had known at the outset that this was no ordinary cabal of ghouls and such. It was too near the Tower of the Damned, and at the same time too near Redstone to be anything but an army manufactory. A place to manufacture a legion of undead, and that was something that Eswarth and Nerlander could not allow.

Neither of Mahiya’s crusaders emerged from this fray unscathed; they had contrived to divide the targets such that Nerlander would engage the foul necromancer Quetztochal while Eswarth held the attention of what by that time remained of the small undead army.

Eswarth, for his part, now bore heavy, deep lacerations about his hindquarters, having been cut near to ribbons by the unnaturally sharp and poisoned talons of the harpies, they themselves made undead by the foul powers of the now-late necromancer Quetztochal.

Stealthy Nerlander managed to ambush Quetztochal himself, and had split the foul death priest in parts. The dire cougar’s great maw was more than adequate once he had gotten to the priest. Nerlander’s fur was now laden with hoar frost, and were it not for Mahiya’s blessings upon her two warrior priests – Her Ghrunvedling – the two companions would now member among the ranks of the undead themselves.

But this was not the first time that the two friends had done battle against the denizens of the Ghoul Swamp, and neither would it be the last. A prayer to Istisha brought loving healing first to Nerlander and then to Eswarth, and a fervent prayer to Kossuth brought a great mystical bonfire into being in the swamp. Such fire was the best way to ensure that the undead went back to being dead, and that any secret phylactery of the necromancer’s went unused. Eswarth and Nerlander remained vigilant until the last of Quetztochal’s ashes were airborne and harmless. They then burned thoroughly the remains of the undead harpies, ghouls, skeletons, and vampire lieutenants. None escaped the fire.

Satisfied with their work – work which had taken them days to accomplish – Eswarth and Nerlander turned their mind and feet southerly. It would take them the better part of the remaining days to get to the Grove of Needles, and this year it was far more important than it had been in years past that they not be either late or missing entirely. They were at current late, however. It could not have been prevented, as it would simply not do to leave Quetztochal to build his army in the tail of the blood tear, as it were. Still, centaur and dire cougar would be running to their utmost to arrive at the Grove of Needles before the Gnarcheon were departing and the Chankathur might start their own meeting. They had but two days ahead of them; sleep would wait.

And after, a thorough search for any magics that might bring Quetztochal or his armies back again.
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Offline Johan

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Gnarcheon's Festival at the Grove of Needles
« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2013, 01:12:20 PM »
Mirriam flitted along through the forest in seeming capricious fashion while Flitter, his colorful kestrel friend, flew along with him: a bit above and a bit behind the sprite. The two were on a mission of utmost criticality before they swifted along to the Grove of Needles for the Long Night celebration.

They came along to the mushroom field, in the middle of which was a small cave – a tiny cave by most standards – that they disappeared into. Flitter only entered the little cave, and she had to hop along into the mouth of the cave, as flying was not an option for her.

Mirriam was a far more agile flyer, though, and his wings weren’t as demanding as Flitter’s were. The sprite flew deep along the narrow passage of the cave, down to the subterranean mushroom grove that Kaltya had supplied for him, much as she had for the field above. They were mystical mushrooms here, and served several purposes, from deflecting curious investigators to proofing the small grove from attempts to magically locate it. In truth, this was not the first line of defense for the small Vallenbrush that Mirriam was warden over (Chankathur was a high honor bestowed upon the lively sprite in addition to his status as Sho-Atraliar…Mahiya’s child).

He set himself down amid the mushrooms, some of which puffed a magical spore for him and him alone. This spore was an activator that, when mixed with his Song, would open the portal and afford him access to the little Vallenbrush to which he was bonded. The brush had long since been hidden away from the rest of the world as a matter of necessity.

The atmosphere started to become heavy with the magical spore, and Mirriam began to sing. Low (as Sprites go) at first, then joined by a music that he generated by rubbing his diaphanous wings together. His music tripped and lilted as he sang the ancient song of the Brownies – the Song of the Hidden.

Although the music filled the small grove, it did not resonate along the entry tunnel, nor did it reach the forest above. But inside, the mushrooms awoke and came to sentience and joined in the song, adding a soft luminescence and the occasional puff of colored spores at just the right time.

It was not long before the portal opened and Mirriam was allowed access to the Vallenbrush. When the portal opened, the Brush that was hidden there lent its ancient part to the song that filled the grove. Mirriam was always left with tears in his eyes when the Vallenbrush joined his songs. The brush’s voice was the foundation of life for him; it was ancient, and wise, penetrating and enveloping. It was love, guidance, mentorship, and affection all together. And it was so much more.

Wings rubbing, voice trebling, eyes welling, Mirriam greeted the Vallenbrush and told in his song the need for berries. The Vallenbrush already knew, of course…it always already knew.

Mirriam reached through the portal and five tiny, perfect, red berries were deposited gently in his small hands. The five filled his hands completely; he was glad to have Flitter’s help to bear them to the Grove of Needles.

Their task complete, Mirriam’s heart embraced the soul of the hiding Vallenbrush, and he withdrew, knowing a mother’s complete love for her child. He stopped his song, and slowly the mushrooms stopped their puffing and glowing and the portal slowly closed as it had so many times these past decades. Presently the grove was nothing more than a grove once again.

He and Flitter needed to be getting along to the Grove of Needles. This would be no ordinary celebration.
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Offline Johan

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Gnarcheon's Festival at the Grove of Needles
« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2013, 04:32:18 PM »
The humans called them Druid. The savage gnomes to the west: Gnarcheon. To the wee fey they were Sho-Atraliar, and the Centaurs called them Ghrunvedling. In Kaltya’s dialect of the sylvan tongue she was Fra Shathor: a child and soldier of Mahiya. This was the greatest calling and honor for Kaltya, but in addition she was the Lady of the Spore, and while not Chankathur herself, she had close ties to those honored soldiers and she knew that something was different this year as the celebration at the Grove of Needles drew near.

In the three days prior to the day of the festival, each of the Chankathur had spoken with their respective Vallenbrush plants and had each of them received the gift of five berries – one for Mahiya Herself, and one for each of Her divine children.

It was a truth for Kaltya that what one mushroom knows, all mushrooms know. And she, the Lady of the Spore, would come to know what the mushrooms knew. And as her mushrooms were part of the defenses of each of the Vallenbrush plants, they whispered to her over these last days as the berries had been bestowed upon the Chankathur.

Why this had come to pass, she could only guess, but given that the Blood Tear had stained the sky, Kaltya knew that momentous stirrings were afoot.

Now, in the pre-dawn of the morning of the Festival, as she lay not-quite-sleeping on her bed of mushrooms they whispered her to full awake: “The first one comes.”

She smiled at the knowledge: one of her brethren had entered the thick northern forest en route to the Grove of Needles. She wondered who, exactly, the early comer would be this year.

She stretched a satisfying stretch and melted into her fungal bed. The dryad’s union with the fungal world allowed her to move instantly between clusters of mushrooms, and this gift she used to travel to the Grove of Needles to greet this morning, as she did every year.

She would busy herself in greeting the celebrants and in setting up the bonfires that would light the festival. One to each point of the compass within the Ring, and one in the middle; all in perfect balance, as Mahiya herself was. The fires that would be lit tonight would reflect each of the divinities: Istisha’s fire would burn green while Akadi’s would burn blue. Grumbar enjoyed a fire that burned a fluid sort of light brown while Kossuth’s blaze, like the great orb at sunrise and sunset burned a deep orange fringed with yellow and red. Mahiya’s fire, central to the concentric rings of forest, white pine, and divine fires, burned white with tongues that flickered in the colors of her children.

And she would wonder which of her Fra Shathor family would be first to show.
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Offline Wildfire

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Gnarcheon's Festival at the Grove of Needles
« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2013, 01:59:57 PM »
“Why must we go?” asked the acolyte, Yarlia. The question sounded harsh to Varshya’s ears. It wasn’t the actual inquiry that soured her but rather, the pronunciation of the words. They were in the ancient tongue, the language of the druids, what was known among the elves as the Avaranae, the maker speech. The acolyte’s implementation of the words was clumsy and unrefined to her ears. It always took time to master the art of the speech and that could only be done with practice. Varshya wished that Yarlia was a quicker learner.

The Vallenbrush steward continued to carefully pack her essential belongings for what was her lengthy annual journey. “We go because it is our responsibility. We go to meet with those we count among our family of Tra’Baellyan.” answered the venerable druid and water arcanist purposely in her native elven tongue. She wanted to avoid hearing any further mispronunciations of the sacred language.

“This will be my first journey beyond Karyn’Zyth. I think it will be exciting!” Yarlia exclaimed searching for something to talk about with her honored Tra’Baellyan. She sensed that her mentor was not overjoyed to be leaving. “That remains to be seen. It is always a blessed event, the meeting of this druid coven, but I suspect that your excitement extends beyond your inquiries to our devotions.” Varshya replied confidently while she packed the necessary trappings- which were few.

“I want to see the world outside of our forest. I want to see the large dewy meadows and human towns.” With her back to her student, Varshya’s eyes closed upon hearing about Yarlia’s interest in the human settlements. She breathed deep and stopped moving for a moment. Yarlia furrowed her brow and wondered if she crossed into forbidden territory with her instructor.

“This trip is not about satisfying some whimsical curiosity, Yarlia.” Varshya quipped turning around to look her student in the eyes. “Keep your mind on the task at hand and your curiosity on how better to serve our Life Mother-Father. You’ll find little good in other settled places.” Varshya said with a bit of venom in her voice. She regretted being so callous with the youngling in her charge. Neither did she like harboring anger as it so often led to irrational actions.

She smiled at her humbled student and nodded her head acknowledging that her inquisitive nature was testimony to her young innocence and wonder of the world. “There are many great things to see beyond our borders Yarlia- that much is true. See them you should. As the deer at a water pool, be cautious. That is what I mean by my words. Go now and fetch the others to be ready. The Grove of Needles waits for us.”

Varshya felt the delicate leather pouch that hung around her neck and rest against her chest. There were five distinct Vallenbrush berries contained within the pouch. They were five berries that were the first of their kind to travel beyond the borders of Kaaryn’Zyth in centuries. It was indeed an important meeting this year. Varshya looked up at the Blood Tear while she waited for her enclave to assemble.
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Offline Wildfire

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Gnarcheon's Festival at the Grove of Needles
« Reply #6 on: April 09, 2013, 08:45:09 PM »
He loosed his arrow and quickly ducked behind the thicket of newly leafed bushes. He was as silent as the passing of the moons. He needed to keep the oafs off balance and guessing where he was. He could have easily dispatched them with a few of Mahiya’s blessings but he enjoyed the hunt- lived for the hunt. He would keep at least one alive to bring back the tale of the “forest ghost”.

With the speed of a rabbit he dashed towards the next tree but not before letting fly a volley of arrows all of which hit their mark. The howls the brutes made were answered by the call of his falcon, Spiritwind- which seemed more as a laugh- that circled above. He knew they would either frenzy and try to find him or they would flee. Their patience for this cat-and-mouse game would only go so far. Little did they know that they were actually the mice.

Maragarn stepped from behind his tree waiting for the confused pair of ogres and squad of orcs to notice him. He smirked his sly satyr smirk and measured the sharpness of one of his horns by playfully tapping the end of it. His mischievous nature would not let him stand idle for very long. He pulled his two sickles from his sides and fitted them over his shoulders. Then he pulled out his flute and whispered to himself, “How I wish I had my little harp. This flute is so…cliché.” From the flute came a melodious tune that sounded like wind and water blending together. The notes were of perfect pitch and the falcon above would call out in praise.

The group of confused ogres and orcs all stopped and looked at the devious satyr gleefully playing his sonorous flute. Maragarn lowered his instrument and grabbed his sickles. “Gentlmen, let us dance!” yelled Maragarn and off he rushed to meet them all.

Maragarn teased them, all of them, through the fight. He would feint, duck, parry, and appear as though he was far weaker. It was all a ruse. For in those moments of overconfidence were an enemies undoing. Now he would strike. His focus immediately switched from playful to deadly. Strike, move, strike move was his tactic. The orcs could barely follow him much less the ogres. Soon it was that the two ogres were lying dead as bloody heaps and only five orcs remained standing and now fleeing. Maragarn quickly pulled up his bow and set two arrows. Away they went both hitting their targets tumbling the orcs into the grass. The satyr was on the move after the other three.

As he pursued them he noticed that they quickly changed course and that they did so not expecting to. What did they see? What are they avoiding? He thought. Torn between his own curiosity and seeing another two orcs to their fate, Maragarn chose to satisfy his own curiosity. Spiritwind landed on his shoulder and let out a curious and questioning coo. “So there will be an extra two to tell the tale this day” he answered. “Worry not. They will eventually meet their fate as most do. My questions lay ahead.”

Cautiously and silently Maragarn crept forward. Ahead he could see hazy light gleaming through the trees. ‘There was no clearing here to my recollection’ he thought. He could feel a sadness emanating from the trees around him and a queer energy getting stronger as he approached the clearing. Something was wrong.

Spiritwind seemed to growl a warning to his partner. It wasn’t a growl of fear but of anger. Maragarn gently swept a branch aside with his sickle to reveal the cause of the orcs fear and the falcons ire. It was a circle of black and grey ash. Not from a fire but from something sinister- and it reeked of the foulness of anti-life.
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Offline Johan

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Gnarcheon's Festival at the Grove of Needles
« Reply #7 on: July 21, 2013, 09:14:22 AM »
In the first hours of the festival – while Kossuth yet kissed the sky – Shankaria roamed the grounds of the Grove of Needles in a delightful state of euphoria. Gearmund’s touch seemed still to warm her hand, and the remembrance of his gentle kiss could still be felt upon her cheek, though hands of time had passed since they parted earlier that day.

It had been good so see her tindaren – her husband – again. It was also good to know that he was yet so close to the Great Hunter and all were aware of the tumultuous times ahead. She would love for him to visit the Grove with her, but he was not allowed. Mahiya suffered only Gnarcheon in this place. Also, Gearmund had his work to do, and Shankaria had hers. Thus, while she had come to the Grove of Needles, the Master had sent Gearmund to Horn Dale by way of Shir Shyrak...some mystery to be explained there, though what exactly none knew as yet.

And now she was surrounded by her brothers and sisters. The first couple of hands of the festival were regularly the same: meeting and greeting, solidifying old friendships and making new acquaintances, introducing new acolytes or apprentices. She knew that while all Gnarcheon would of course have seen the Blood Tear and knew the magnitude of its portent, none knew all. Not even Shankaria knew all that it meant; that knowledge wasn’t even in the palm of Mahiya, Shankaria thought.

Still, even with the specter of troubled times ahead, there was joy at the Festival at the Grove of Needles. In fact, Shankaria noted, some of the more expressive Gnarcheon were already exploring each other’s bodies as part of their individual observances to the Great Cycle. Such was common on this night, but more usually towards mid-of-night. Some, however, just hated to wait. Shankaria smiled and moved on.

The five great bonfires were now completely set up and ready for their lighting. The fires would be lit as Kossuth bade farewell to the celebrants in little more than a hand.

Shankaria made her way towards the “kitchens”. Various Gnarcheon brought with them to the festival foods that might only be found in their native parts of the forest and beyond. These variably delectable morsels were brought to the Festival to share with others who might not have them on a regular basis. Their kitchen, where the sharing would be done, moved about from year to year, but Shanrkaria thought that she could smell an apple cider mulling with spices to the west end of the Grove, so west she went.

Varshya would no doubt have brought some of her elven jams and perhaps some Fey Honey from distant Karyn’Zyth and Gearmund, knowing where Shankaria was bound, had prepared for her to take to the festival a pack full of Big Horn from the far side of the grasslands of the Dale. This meat he had seasoned with his special spices that grow only in those mountains.
The Master had sent Gearmund there for His work, and Gearmund had taken the thoughtful opportunity to spice the meats for Shankaria.

She smiled again at her tindaren’s presence in her mind. Her stomach growled a bit in anticipation.
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Offline Wildfire

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Gnarcheon's Festival at the Grove of Needles
« Reply #8 on: September 07, 2013, 02:38:24 PM »
Ashe was both giddy and anxious. Never before had he been to this meeting. There were many secretive meetings of druids concerning all manner of things in the vast world of Mahiya. While Ashe was the son of Zachary Clearwater- he who carried the mantle of Zebulon- and an accomplished Hierophant in his own right, it did not afford him special privilege to be involved in all of that which was occurring in all of the circles. He often admitted that condition was best and likewise a relief. “Let the fire burn and the water soak” he thought. It was an old saying among druids. It was a reminder that one individual can’t, nor should, do everything; that each thing has a specific purpose. Perhaps that was why he was here at this meeting. He smiled at his epiphany and a tingling comfort came over him as though Mahiya itself had spoken to him.

Across the grove apart from the ripening festivities Ashe spied among the pine boughs an individual that could only be interpreted as a centaur. He could not see any details as the shade of the trees surrounding the grove were shielding the waning light of Kossuth. The silhouette was unmistakable. It had to be the Vallenbrush steward Eswarth from the Tumbling Plains. That was the limit of Ashe’s knowledge on him. It seemed a good time to diminish his ignorance and introduce himself.

As he drew closer he could see the great sword strapped to Eswarth’s back. He found it odd that he had not seen it when he first noticed him but that may have been a trick of the light. Ashe kept a respectful distance from Eswarth so as to not offer surprise upon introduction. He was a tall and imposing figure and it seemed to Ashe that he also had a majestic integrity about him.

“My greetings to you…Eswarth...?” Ashe stated and asked all at once. He instantly realized how bumbling and clumsy he sounded and could not help but cringe ever so slightly at his foolishness. Naturally his very act of cringing gave him the sense that Eswarth too took him for a fool and may have even been insulted. “Let me start over if you will.” And Ashe cleared his throat. “Eswarth I presume?”
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Offline Johan

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« Reply #9 on: September 10, 2013, 09:30:00 AM »
Eswarth had only just arrived at the Grove of Needles when he was approached by a brother whom he had never met, though the stranger seemed to know Eswarth, at least by sight and name. As eager as he was to find Shankaria, he turned to regard this human; the truth of the matter was that Eswarth had less of a chance in finding the tiny Torqaniq among the throng of Gnarcheon than he had of finding a specific pine needle in the Grove. As always, it would be for Shankaria to find him.

He looked down at the human and replied as kindly as he could: "You have me at a disadvantage, Revered Brother." He said, his voice rumbling in a deep baritone. "I am Eswarth, called Slayer of the Dead. Who are you?" He held out a huge hand in the manner of the humans he knew.

Think Worf when you think Eswarth
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« Reply #10 on: September 10, 2013, 08:37:36 PM »
Ashe was relieved to know that his guess had not led him astray to full embarrassment. He took the centaur’s broad hand with his right and covered the embrace with his left. To Ashe this was always a warmer greeting as it offered a trusted vulnerability to the other.

“I am Ashe Clearwater of Threshold.” Ashe said with pride as he looked to Eswarth’s eyes and then completed his sentence with a nod of his head. He wanted to add a title to his name so Eswarth might have more definition of Ashe’s role in the circle. Having lived a very long time and done much he wasn’t exactly sure how he would define himself. Was he a guardian of Threshold? Yes, as were a few- namely the Protectorate. Was he a teacher? It seemed he was but he felt he was more than that. Perhaps a name and current origin were all that was necessary in this instance and that Eswarth may know of him just the same. At this point a title didn’t much matter as the time for stating such had passed. To speak of one now would only serve to be awkward.

“I trust your journey was filled with pleasing sights and little hassle?” Ashe asked him. “To my recollection the Tumbling Plains are in full bloom this time of year. An inspiring sight to be sure.”
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« Reply #11 on: September 11, 2013, 09:10:37 AM »
At the mention of Ashe's given name, Eswarth's eyes narrowed as if in suspicion, and he looked askance at the human. "Clearwater?" He echoed. Eswarth knew from his dealings with the various humans of the wild lands, not to mention of Redstone, that a human's truth was not always the same as THE truth.

On this day, in this place, and with this man's bearing, Eswarth knew immediately the truth of Ashe's claim. Ashe was not a typical celebrant at the Grove of Needles, but given the Blood Tear and Shankaria's call for the Vallenbrush berries, this year was anything but typical.

"Times of great moment, indeed." He rumbled as a slight smile crept into his otherwise serious face. "It is an honor to meet you; I've heard much of your doings though you've been quiet for some years now." He clasped Ashe's hands in the manner that Ashe grasped his; perhaps that was how it was done in Threshold.

"Do you stay through the night?" Eswarth asked, cryptically questioning whether Ashe would be attending the Chankathur's meeting, which would commence after the other celebrants had dispersed. Whether or not Ashe  appreciated that unspoken meaning would be telling to Eswarth: either Ashe's presence here was for the discussion of the Blood Tear and to renew ties, or it was for the deeper currents that now carried the Soldiers of Zebulon forward.
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Offline Wildfire

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Gnarcheon's Festival at the Grove of Needles
« Reply #12 on: September 11, 2013, 08:43:35 PM »
When Eswarth took Ashe’s hands in greeting Ashe understood just how truly massive this Slayer of the Dead really was (and was relieved that he was not among the ranks of the undead being in the presence of the mighty centaur). His hands disappeared under the thick fingers of his new friend. He quietly chuckled at his recollection of Maccabeus’s hands being subjected to a similar situation when Ashe’s took the young Dale Gnome’s hands in his own greeting. He smiled thinking about a greeting between Maccabeus and Eswarth! Would they even be able to shake hands? It seemed that one of Eswarth’s fingers would suffice just fine were they to shake hands upon meeting.

As Ashe listened to Eswarth speak it conjured up a fleeting feeling of dread within the aged druid. While Eswarth was honored to meet him and spoke kindly of his deeds- and Ashe had no reason to doubt his intergrity in saying so- Ashe was regretful of some of the things that he had actually done in the past. He had always been regretful of them but in meeting a member of the circle he wished that some history was unavailable to be known. Ashe had never been proud of the blood on his hands regardless of the circumstances by which it came. Did the noble centaur know such things of him?

“I will be among you through the night good Eswarth” Ashe replied to his question. “I bring news both lifeless and verdant from Threshold in the mouth of the Valley.” Ashe was less than subtle in his intimation of the news to come. “And it’s news all of the Vallenbrush wardens will need to know.”

Ashe’s thoughts went to Maccabeus and the others heading into the Valley of Mist. He desperately wanted to know how Whisper was doing and he considered tapping into his Seer capabilities. He regretfully refrained from such action as it would leave him open for the temporary madness to creep in and he needed to be as sharp as he’s ever been for this night. Whisper was quite strong and had survived so far and she had Istian, his dire bear, with her. Still time was melting away and her life and the life of the Goldleaf Grove was in the balance. He mused at how hot her temper would be the next time something tried to defile he trees. The Abyss has no fury like a dryad defending her trees.

“Where are my manners? Are you thirsty Eswarth? Shall we share in the delight of a drink? Perhaps some food?” Ashe said trying to be pleasant after his personal thoughts.
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Offline Johan

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Gnarcheon's Festival at the Grove of Needles
« Reply #13 on: September 11, 2013, 09:23:59 PM »
It seemed clear to Eswarth that Ashe must know a bit more than most Gnarcheon. He wondered fleetingly who might have informed the elder, but it was only fleetingly; it was not for him to question such things.

At the mention of food, Eswarth realized that he hadn't eaten since before dawn that morning. He was therefore famished and thirsty as well.

"I could eat a whole gazelle." He said. "And a fair sized ale would soothe my parched throat as well." He adjusted his great sword and enormous bow as he moved towards the few small fires that marked the "kitchen".

Eswarth was no fan of small talk, but it occurred to him that he might be able to indirectly glean something from Ashe with a simple quesiton: "Are you looking for anyone in particular tonight?" He scanned over the crowd and noted a number of people he knew, some better than others. "From this height I might be able to find a person or two who you can't see from down there."
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Offline Wildfire

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Gnarcheon's Festival at the Grove of Needles
« Reply #14 on: September 12, 2013, 08:35:16 PM »
As they followed the smell of food both could hear the musical pipes, the beating of drums, and the plucking of strings playing together to form an undeniably intoxicating aria. Silhouettes danced in front of the fire and laughter echoed among the trees. On the outskirts of the grove among the tall pines, fireflies twinkled amidst the underbrush. This was a scene that only the fey folk were truly capable of creating and Ashe felt blessed to be among them this night and in this moment.

“I…um…” Ashe stammered trying to break his gaze from the enchanting dance. “Yes…rather…no. I wasn’t looking for anyone in particular.” Ashe replied to his tall companion. “Now that you mention it though, I wonder if my friend Maragarn was privileged to join this festivity. He also dwells in the mouth of the Valley of Mist.” Ashe looked up at Eswarth, playfully jealous of his height at this moment, and asked, “Do you see a jovial Satyr dancing with a ring of feykind?”
Wildfire

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