--- Chilling in the Library doing Library stuff...---
Everiine tells Breandryn, "Hail, dear little one."
Breandryn tells Wodewose Everiine Silvermoon the Wise, Centaur Brother, "Hello, papa! How are you? Are you happier? You were so sad last we spoke..."
Everiine tells Breandryn, "I am... more than one at once. A new set of tribes is forming, of which I am a part. But one of my little brothers has departed, and I grieve for the pain he feels."
Breandryn tells Wodewose Everiine Silvermoon the Wise, Centaur Brother, "I am so sorry to hear that. The world is a mad, wild place these days."
Everiine tells Breandryn, "It is indeed. But the new tribes are a source of hope and happiness for me."
Breandryn tells Wodewose Everiine Silvermoon the Wise, Centaur Brother, "I am happy for that, father, for I wish you to find peace and hope."
Everiine tells Breandryn, "We have not seen each other in too long, little one. Would you like to meet?"
Breandryn tells Wodewose Everiine Silvermoon the Wise, Centaur Brother, "Always!"
Everiine tells Breandryn, "Where shall we meet?"
Breandryn tells Wodewose Everiine Silvermoon the Wise, Centaur Brother, "Outside of your forests. I am still an enemy. Have you ever visited Gaudiguch?"
Everiine tells Breandryn, "On occassion."
Breandryn tells Wodewose Everiine Silvermoon the Wise, Centaur Brother, "You are welcome to visit here, or we can find somewhere neutral."
Everiine tells Breandryn, "If I am welcome there, I can meet you in your home."
Breandryn tells Wodewose Everiine Silvermoon the Wise, Centaur Brother, "Of course you are!"
(Gaudiguch): Breandryn says, "My father Everiine is going to visit with me. I will escort him while he is in the city."
Everiine tells Breandryn, "Shall I meet you outside of the gates?"
Breandryn tells Wodewose Everiine Silvermoon the Wise, Centaur Brother, "Sure!"
Breandryn tells Wodewose Everiine Silvermoon the Wise, Centaur Brother, "I have been nearly buried in books. I could use a break."
Old Imperial Road approaching Gaudiguch. (road). (Old Imperial Road.)
Throughout the location, small dancing flames flicker and spark. A cow wanders about aimlessly, minding its own business and paying you no attention.
You see exits leading southeast and west.
Breandryn peers at a cow unscrupulously.
A cow chews some cud and looks at Breandryn blankly.
Everiine arrives from the southeast.
With a low growl, a fierce timberwolf pads in from the southeast.
Breandryn beams broadly at Everiine.
Everiine flashes Breandryn a joyous smile.
Breandryn hugs Everiine compassionately.
Everiine folds his wings around Breandryn's body, wrapping her in a feathered embrace.
Happily snuggling in close, Breandryn says, "Papa."
Everiine strokes the back of her head. "I am sorry to have been so absent, little one," he says.
Breandryn's eyes widen as she steps away to lead her father towards the city's gate, her pained expression cast into sharp relief by the light of the lava pools. "We have had our own troubles as well," she explains, small hand slipping into his to tug him after her. "Oh, I will show you-".
Everiine keeps his wings folded to his back, though the painted stripes still show on the feathers.
--- into the city! ---
Beneath the Gates of Enlightenment. (road). (Capital City of the Grand Province of Gaudiguch.)
Dominating the entire area, the enormous Gates of Enlightenment have been parted to allow free travel. An elaborate assortment of designs that have been meticulously sculpted into the gold of the gates, tinged red in the light of the lava flows farther down the mountain. Large spires stab the sky as rounded domes loom overhead. The bordering walls of the city stretch onwards, supported by large pillars of ivory to contrast the golden colouring of the walls. Golden patterns swirl endlessly around the circumference of each pillar, spilling flawlessly across the road in careless spirals between the black marble of the platform and the large, hexagonal slabs of obsidian that pave the road into the city. Sprawling lazily across the mountainside, the domes of Gaudiguch are bathed in white from the Eternal Flame. A statue of a shapeshifter stands here, memorialising her noble spirit. Hackles risen, a fierce timberwolf prowls about here. A saffron manticore with a lemony yellow mane rests stony, pewter wings here, oddly possessing a bright peacock's tail, fanned out in colourful array. Wodewose Everiine Silvermoon the Wise, Centaur Brother is here.
You see exits leading northeast, southeast, and west.
Breandryn leads Everiine up a twisting staircase to emerge onto a gaudy, gilded platform. The gates loom before the pair and she is silent as she enters the city proper, glancing back at her father with an uncertain expression. At first, it is unclear why, but then the breeze stirs, wind laden with the acrid smell of burnt wood and masonry and, lingering beneath that, the sweet-sour scent of death, baking and rotting in the sun.
Everiine's nose twitches, and he frowns--well, more than he normally does, at least. He turns his head, scanning the horizon for the source of the stench. "You have experienced a catastrophe as well. There must be many bodies, if you have not yet recovered them all," he hypothesizes, laying a hand on the small woman's shoulder.
(Gaudiguch): Malarious (from the Aetherways) says, "Doom!" <--- lol, good timing
Breandryn starts at the touch - she's lapsed into a pensive silence and she blinks in surprise, recalling his presence. She gives a mute nod and, after a slight hesitation, squeezes his hand to tug at his arm as she breaks into a trot.
Faintly, Breandryn says to Everiine, "I...it's easier to show you."
Everiine urges her onwards.
--- travel travel travel ---
Before the tip of the Eternal Flame. (Capital City of the Grand Province of Gaudiguch.)
Throughout the location, small dancing flames flicker and spark. At the peak of the largest edifice of the city of Gaudiguch, the entire city, with all its glittering domes and winding streets, stretches out in all directions. The tip of the Eternal Flame, reaching upwards from the centre of the pyramid, vivaciously dances this way and that, acting with a will of its own and spouting forth small tongues of flame to softly crackle away. While the temperature here is markedly cooler than inside, the tip of the Flame still exudes a warm, comforting heat. A light, warm wind blows past, carrying with it a mix of fresh air and the scent of a bustling city. Upon the smooth floor are various phrases written in the dracnari language, written in artistic swirls and designs that are most concentrated in the area closest to the Flame and virtually absent by the short, neatly-constructed sandstone wall warding against falling. From this height, the people walking along the streets are mere specks, while in the far distance mountains rise upwards from the flat, shimmering desert sands. His great scaled visage lurking here within arm's reach, the Guardian Drachou resides here within the Eternal Flame. There are 4995 ember butterflies dancing about here. An all-encompassing heat flows from the shrine of blackened iron which stands here. In the shape of an open palm, a metallic sigil lies here. A sigil in the shape of a small, rectangular monolith is on the ground. Hackles risen, a fierce timberwolf prowls about here. A saffron manticore with a lemony yellow mane rests stony, pewter wings here, oddly possessing a bright peacock's tail, fanned out in colourful array. Wodewose Everiine Silvermoon the Wise, Centaur Brother is here.
You see a single exit leading in (open door).
Breandryn may be small but she is nimble and even with his warrior's training Everiine finds her often tugging at his arm to hurry. The path is quick and direct, through the city, past heaps of rubble and clouds of smoke, upwards, into a pyramid, to finally emerge on a platform overlooking the entire city. The woman pauses for a moment to solemnly bow at the Guardian dragon coiled beside the Flame, before approaching the balcony - from here, the view explains everything: far below, the lower city unfolds and it is as if a giant, clawed hand has raked its way through Gaudiguch, the city's famous pyramids now smoking ruins oof rubble clotting the streets and scarring the view.
Everiine leans forward on the short wall, casting his gaze across the domes and roofs of the sprawling city below. From up here, the stench of death isn't nearly so strong, and the wind flutters through his head crest, the considerable number of beaded and feathered charms woven into the feathers clacking against each other. "what happened?" he asks.
Everiine frowns at the devastation, and his question is the only words he speaks. His wings flap, showing their colours and shedding some of the sand the wind has trapped among the feathers, then fold to his back once more.
(Gaudiguch): Enadonella says, "Breandryn, is your father enjoying his visit?"
(Gaudiguch): Breandryn says, "Not particularly. I am showing him the destruction and he is concerned and sad for us."
(Gaudiguch): Enadonella says, "Well, do send him my warmest regards and welcome. I hope he does find something to take comfort in where his daughter's home is concerned."
(Gaudiguch): Breandryn says, "Thank you. I will pass on the sentiments."
(Gaudiguch): Breandryn says, "You are welcome to come visit with us."
(Gaudiguch): Enadonella (from the Astral Plane) says, "Oh, I am just spending some time with my wife. Thank you though."
"Enadonella says hello," Breandryn faintly mumbles, gaze sadly transfixed by the ruins. At first, it seems she may not have heard the question, but eventually she speaks, voice low and nearly lost on the wind. "There was an attack," she explains, hand slipping out of his to rest on the balcony's wall. Her fingers tighten around the rock enough to break skin, but she seems not to notice. She swallows heavily and looks up at her father, eyes wide and imploring.
Shaking her head, Breandryn says to Everiine, "Another Hallifax from another time did this and they no longer exist. I do not understand. Nobody attacked us, yet we have been hurt, so hurt..."
Everiine doesn't seem to understand, his head tilted like a curious bird and his eyes unblinking as they search her wide ones. The volcanic resplendence startles him for a moment and he flares his wings, quickly sweeping the area before calming and folding his wings to his back. He returns his attention to his daughter. "I am afraid that I am not well-read in Hallifaxian temporal science. I find it rather dull, and worse, useless." But that answer doesn't seem to offer any comfort, even to himself.
"And apparently lethal," Breandryn forlornly adds, leaning sideways to slump lightly against Everiine. She sighs, looking back to the ruins, and whispers, "....I am going to burn it all." Her hands drop from the wall and she finally notices the sluggish bleeding, absently wiping her scraped palms on her skirt. "A pyre so bright it will rival the stars and dance as high as the heavens, for the city needs to mourn and celebrate and find strength."
After an uncertain pause, Breandryn murmurs, "...and that is likely the safest way to dispose of what may be lurking in the ruins."
Everiine wraps first an arm, and then a wing, around his daughter, drawing her to his side. "That is the best way to honour the dead: celebration, and remembrance. Obviously, such a grand funeral pyre would be... dangerous, where I am from. But in the city of the Firefolk, I cannot think of a better way to send their spirits off." Taking her hand he wipes it on his kilt until the flow of blood ceases.
Breandryn seems to take comfort from the closeness and her focus slowly fades from the destruction to fix back on Everiine. "Oh!" she breathes after a moment, cheeks flushing in embarrassment. "The Serenwilde-" Her expression grows worried as she watches him staunch her bleeding. "Father, is it safe? The Serenguard...You said..."
Everiine doesn't look up. "The Lost Tribe is no more," the old bird says, refusing to use its name. Checking her hand, he licks his thumb and gently wipes away the dried blood around the wounds. "But out of the ashes, new beginnings have grown. I myself have thrown in my lot with the Wodewoses, an ancient alliance of tribes now reformed."
Breandryn watches Everiine closely as he speaks, ears lifting as she listens. "Oh, Papa," she murmurs and then she is hugging him, small and soft and a bit laughable as she tries to comfort the far older and stronger man. "Are you all right? I can't imagine - that was your world..."
Rather abruptly, Wodewose Everiine Silvermoon the Wise, Centaur Brother says, "And that world is over. It does no good to dwell on it." It clearly bothers him and causes him grief, but he pushes past it, focusing all of his attention on the injured hand, as if helping to mend that wound acts a proxy for his own pain. "There is new life out of the ashes."
Breandryn pulls back at the harshness in his tone, eyes widening as she looks at her father. Slowly shaking her head, she murmurs, "We cannot just abandon the past, father, like a room we are forever forgetting and locking away." She frowns, gently retrieving her long-since-fixed hand, and points out, "There is beauty there, to cherish and remember, as well as pain and sorrow to learn from." Lifting a chin to indicate the still-smouldering ruins, heat enters her voice as she bites, "I will never forget what happened here - it shall fuel me."
Everiine braces his forearms on the wall and leans until his head nearly rests between them. "I do not forget. I will never forget. The blood of my teacher will forever be on my hands. The names of my kin will always be on my heart. The tribe that raised me and taught me everything I knew, and which I led, for over three hundred years, will never, ever be forgotten," he says, his voice growing louder and firmer with each new thought. And yet, before reaching a climax, his shoulders slump, as do his wings, and his voice falls to nary a whisper. "But if I do not move on, I will die of grief. Please, let me move on."
Breandryn lifts a hand to her lips, flushing in shame as Everiine speaks. As his shoulders slump, she hesitantly creeps closer, hand lowering to rest on his forearm. "I'm sorry, father," she mumbles. "I didn't mean...I would never..." She sighs and gives up, chewing on her lip as she falls into a troubled silence.
After a few moments of thought, Breandryn says, "Papa, tell me of your new tribe. The...Woodewoos?"
Everiine puts his old, bony hand over Breandryn's. "You have done nothing wrong, little one," he whispers, squeezing it. In response to the question, he sits up, still resting on his arms. "Ah, the Wodewoses. They were misfits in the early days of the Moon Coven and the Hartstone who ended up forming their own tribes. Each was indepedent of the others, and laid claim to a specific territory in the woods. They worshiped the Serenwilde as the Verdant Land, sacred, with a spirit of its own. Their most famous contribution to Serenwilde history is their participation in the Nature Wars against--" He pauses and glances over. "Against Gaudiguch. They fought valiantly, but were all wiped out."
Breandryn blinks at that twist in the tale. "Oh dear," she quietly mumbles, looking rather embarrassed. She glances over her shoulder, back to the Guardian Drachou, and chews on her lip, clearly weighing something in her mind. After a few seconds her stare shifts to her father and she coughs. "I...umm..."
Breandryn pauses, squirming a bit as her stare slides away.
Quickly, Wodewose Everiine Silvermoon the Wise, Centaur Brother says, "It is in the past. The Wodewoses of today are not those of old."
Breandryn looks only slightly mollified by that, hand snaking up to tug nervously on a lock of wan hair. "Papa," she finally confesses. "The Guardian gave me a prophecy." She is unable to meet his eyes and instead looks out over the city, voice very soft as she explains, "...the vision warned of the forests, the communes, of past wars they still remembered, of vengeance they still seek..."
Everiine looks out over the city, at the devastation, a blatant reminder of what retribution means. "There will always be those who seek vengeance. Many of the Shelterfolk have not forgiven this city for the terrible, unmovable scar that now runs through the Serenwilde."
Confused, Breandryn echoes, "Shelterfolk? Scar?"
Wodewose Everiine Silvermoon the Wise, Centaur Brother says to Breandryn, "The Shelterfolk is one name for the Seren. The fae name of the woods means "place of shelter". As for the scar--why do you think there is a road of white stone that cuts through the heart of the woods?"
Breandryn blinks and blushes. "I...I never thought of its source," she mumbles, her embarrassment transforming her - for all her years, in this moment she is the exact image of the young, naive warrior her father first met years and years ago.
Wodewose Everiine Silvermoon the Wise, Centaur Brother says, "Nor had I, for many long years."
In dismay, Breandryn says, "Why would anyone destroy part of the Serenwilde? It is beautiful and special. They were cruel!"
Wodewose Everiine Silvermoon the Wise, Centaur Brother says to Breandryn, "People do things in war."
A saffron manticore with a lemony yellow mane tenses slightly before emitting a low, threatening growl.
Resting a hand on the beast's shoulder, Breandryn says to a saffron manticore with a lemony yellow mane, "Calm, Lemondrop. There is no war coming."
Breandryn glances uncertainly over to her father, eyebrows raising hopefully.
Wodewose Everiine Silvermoon the Wise, Centaur Brother says to Breandryn, "I am not aware of any war coming."
Breandryn smiles tentatively at that, nodding to a saffron manticore with a lemony yellow mane. "No wars," she reassures the beast. Her stare slides past the creature to the dragon coiled in a lazy sprawl near the Flame and her smile wavers for a moment before she blinks. "Prophecies are fickle," she suggests, a quiet question in her words.
A fierce timberwolf tilts back his head in a low, resonant howl.
"They are," Everiine answers, looking out over the ruined city. "I should get back to my home. I can already feel my wings crisping," he says, looking over his shoulder and unfolding his wings, giving them a quick inspection before folding them again.
Breandryn blushes and nods. "Of course," she says, ducking beneath the man's arm to worm her way in for a hug, squeezing him as tight as her frail little arms can. "If I can help, let me know? I am so sorry that I am not alone in my mourning."
Everiine wraps his arm around his daughter and kisses the top of her head. "No, you are not alone. But mourning should be done in community, so that is no bad thing," he replies.
Breandryn nods absently, her attention already being dragged back to the destruction far below. She makes no offer to see her father out of the city, his presence already dwindling from her notice as the sight of the ruins captures her once more.
Faintly, Breandryn says, "A fire to reach the heavens..."
A saffron manticore with a lemony yellow mane tenses slightly before emitting a low, threatening growl.
(Revelry): Malarious says, "Burn baby burn, Burn baby burn." <--- lol, again at his timing