Everiine enters the two concentric circles and stands next to @Neftarys
. "I see I am not
the only one who comes here to clear his mind," he says.
Neftarys blinks when you come into view. Hastily, he straightens his body, thrusting a fist against
his chest to answer your own salute. Teasing his bottom lip with his teeth, he dips his head in a
quick nod. "It... does help," he confesses quietly. "Although I haven't left the vicinity since I
swore my oath earlier."
Everiine faces the north and folds his wings to his back, standing with his thumbs
hooked in his belt. "There are times when I stand here for days, thinking, meditating, cleaning the
stones, and pondering many possible courses of action. It is a refuge for the spirit, a source of
strength and wisdom, for it is a place where the veil between realms runs thin, and the presence of
the Three Warriors is felt more keenly," he says.
Neftarys turns with you, gazing off after you and mirroring the older warrior's posture - although
his teeth still tease at his bottom lip, at first. When you finish speaking, he takes a couple of
short scuffling steps forward. "Cleaning the stones?" he asks softly. Then, a moment later,
without giving you time to respond, he presses with, "Then They come to you, sometimes? Share their
wisdom when you need it?"
Everiine nods his feathered head and remains where he stands. "On occasion, aye. I
have the respect of the Hunter and the Seer, but the Predator does not yet recognize me as worthy--with
good reason." Turning his attention to one of the many moss-covered stones, he brushes away some
specks of dirt. "It is nice to see the stones cleaned up from time to time. I find that the simple,
repetitive motions help to clear my thoughts."
Neftarys takes another short step forward and cocks his head to the side. He pushes a hand up into
his chocolate brown locks; coagulated blood makes a messy, diagonal line down its palm. "So you can
plan better?" he asks in a confused tone. "So you can think better how to protect the commune?" A
faint frown pulling at the corners of his lips, he slowly rights his head. "Inaction has never
seemed a useful course to me - if it can even be called a course."
Everiine taps his finger to his temple and flashes a wry grin in Neftarys's direction.
"The appearance of inaction does not necessarily reflect inaction. I may sit here for days at a time,
unmoving, but my mind and spirit are fully aware, fully at work; such work can be just as grueling
and intense as physical." One look at his aging body is enough to make the old bird chuckle,
fluttering his wings. "Some of us cannot handle as much physical punishment as we once could."
Neftarys continues to push the bloodied hand through his hair, mussing it with its passage. The skin
between his eyebrows scrunching inward in thought, he sucks an audible breath of air in through his
teeth. "I'm still not certain I understand, High Chief," he confesses quietly, still sounding
somewhat confused. "Although I take your point in reference to physical punishment." At that, for
the briefest of moments, a faint half smile just barely pulls at one corner of his lips. When it
fades, though, they tug into another little frown. "I think if I were to sit here as you do, it
would be very difficult to endure." He sounds a bit dejected at the thought. "I find my own thoughts
tend to resist control when I stop moving; they tug at me ceaselessly..."
Everiine chuckles and steps up, placing his hand on Neftarys's shoulder and giving it a
soft squeeze. "Little one, I have been practicing for over three hundred years. It has taken me a
long, long time to meditate as quietly as I do. You do not expect the beaver to build a dam with one
stick, nor the river a falls with a single drop of water. All such endeavours take time and effort,
and results are slow in coming."
Neftarys' expression falls, and with it, his chin. The skin between his eyebrows scrunches together
still further. "Then I must endure it," he guesses quietly, setting his jaw, a faintly draconian
note rising in his tone. And then his gaze flits up once again to find your own. "It's like learning
the sword," he decides. "No one becomes a master in a day, no matter how talented." And then his
voice falls in volume again, becoming softer and filled with something that sounds subtly profound.
"Even if they feel themselves to be so in dreams."
A soothing tone carries through Everiine's voice, as soft as the feathers that
brush against Neftarys's back. The silver fin folds to its customary place on his back. "It is very much
like that. Yet you have honed your body and mind to the task, ever improving, ever following the way
of the Hunter, adapting and learning." The old bird smiles, his deep emerald eyes flashing with
empathy. "So, you see? You are not so far from your goal as you think."
Neftarys's eyes mull over for a few brief moments. He seems to consider your words with care. "I
think I will become impatient," he muses quietly, then shifts his shoulders in a vague approximation
of a shrug. "But I will try it, High Chief." He pauses for a moment, then asks, "And it will help
me? It will bring me insights on how better to help protect the commune? This... helps us stave off
Everiine shakes his head, the beaded and feathered charms woven into his head crest
clinking together, and shrugs his wings. "I cannot say whether it will help you or not. It is
something you can try, but it may not aid you the first time, if ever. I do think trying for a few
years may benefit you anyway, for you will learn something from the experience. But if it helps you
at all, it may not bear fruit for years or decades to come."
Again the hand in Neftarys' hair shifts, its fingers clenching and then pulling around a lock of
hair in a restless, agitated way. "What will I learn, then?" Curiosity rises in his voice in equal
measure with confusion. "If it will not help me defend this place, what good will it do me?"
Everiine studies Neftarys closely, searching his eyes. For a while, he remains silent,
the sound of Moon River running by along the shore filling the empty space. Finally, he speaks.
"What is it that troubles you so?"
Neftarys' confusion only seems to heighten at the question. His eyebrows knit together around
scrunching skin, while his teeth bite down to dig ephemeral little furrows in his bottom lip. At
length, shifting his shoulders in another vague approximation of a shrug, he says, "I told you; I'm
afraid. I'm afraid of what will happen to this place when it's overrun - either by Civilization or
the Wyrd, I don't know." Voice falling softer, he adds, "Of what will happen to the people in it."
Everiine steps in front of Neftarys and cups his cheeks, raising his eyes to him. "You
speak as if the destruction of these woods is inevitable, as if its fate has already been written.
That is an incredible burden to carry. It is no wonder you are so afraid, for you see a set future
that can only be forestalled." He puts his hands on Neftarys's shoulders and squares him. "I have lived
for over three centuries. I have seen such horrors that would haunt your nightmares descend on these
woods. I have heard tales of our ancestors that made me physically ill. And still, these woods stand." Nodding his head, he lowers his arms. "You bring upon yourself too much guilt. If these woods are
to fall--and I do not believe that they shall--it will not be your fault."
Neftarys lifts his gaze when prompted and listens quietly, his eyebrows only knitting the more
fiercely together for each successive word. Even after you finish, he remains silent for a long
moment, his eyes darting between the older warrior's as though searching them for some hidden piece
that will alter the puzzle of your words completely. Finally, whether he finds it or not, he asks
quietly, "Then I am powerless?" Once again, he sounds dejected.
Everiine purses his lips in thought, then treads over to Moon River. Kneeling, he
scoops water in his cupped hands, then pours it out onto the ground. "Tell me, little one," does the
River still flow?" he asks with his back to the waters.
Neftarys turns slowly to follow you with his gaze. Eyebrows continuing to knit together in confusion,
he watches you silently right up to the moment you ask your question. "Yes," he answers, in a voice
that still sounds perplexed.
Everiine beckons to Neftarys and steps into River itself, bracing himself against
the powerful flow. "If I removed every drop of water from the River, would it still press so
forcefully against my legs?" he asks, lifting his wings to keep them from getting wet.
Neftarys follows with one hesitant step and then another. Teasing at his bottom lip with his teeth,
he once more shifts his shoulders in what's not quite a shrug. "No," he concedes quietly. "I suppose
Everiine dips the tips of his wings into the river, then flares them, sending
droplets of crystal into the air. The light of the stars twinkles in them as they fall back into the
river where they belong. "When I removed one small part of water, it did not matter enough to cause
the river to fail. But, if it were not for every drop of water working together, the river would
have no strength. Every part matters." He lowers his wings, dipping them in the water again. "Do you
"Yes." At first, Neftarys sounds almost reluctant. "Yes, you're right," he repeats again. And then,
more brightly, "Yes." He takes a couple more steps forward; finally, he stands at the water's edge,
not far from you himself. Once more teasing at his bottom lip with his teeth, he asks, "But
shouldn't each part strive to be as strong as possible, like a ring in a fine suit of mail? What if
that ring fails and the tip of spears gets through to wound the forest?"
Everiine wades through the water to stand next to Neftarys. He gives his wings a good
flap to shed them of their water, then holds them up to dry. "A ring of mail is crafted by mortals.
A river is crafted by nature. Which do you think better survives the spear? Now, which do you
believe are the Serenguard? You are right in that we should be as strong as we can. But each of us
supports and surrounds the other, and through that bond, we are strengthened. Even if one ring of
mail fails and the spear gets through, the one ring does not bear the burden alone."
The skin between Neftarys' eyebrows scrunches inward again. "Yes," he agrees. "Yes, I suppose that's
Neftarys reaches up with still bloodied hand and massages at his neck with its index and forefinger.
"You still haven't told me what I'd learn from meditation."
Everiine grins and inclines his head, shaking loose a few beaded and feathered
charms that now swing in front of his face. "That is something only you can discover," he says.
Neftarys blinks at the answer - it apparently wasn't what he was expecting. But then, at length,
after several moments of silent consideration, he bobs his head in a nod. "Very well, High Chief: I
will try it, and see what I discover." He sounds far from certain of the experiment, but neither
does his interest sound disingenuous. But then he glances back over his shoulder, off to the south
toward the road that cuts the forest in two. Upon returning his attention to you, he offers you a
smile that's warm despite being tight-lipped. "But I should go, for the moment. Sylari will be
waiting for me at home, and..." He hesitates, then winces slightly. "I'm afraid I stopped speaking
to her rather unceremoniously earlier; she'll probably be worried."
Everiine chuckles and steps back, clearing the way for Neftarys's escape--or his capture,
depending on one's point of view. "Aye, she will. I would not dare keep you from her," he says.
Neftarys's smile broadens at the comment, wakening rare little dimples in his cheeks. And then just
as quickly, it fades back into neutrality, his expression turning solemn. "Thank you for the counsel,
High Chief; I do appreciate it. I feel... somewhat better about things, now."
Shifting his attention to you, Neftarys powerfully slams a fist against his own chest in a tribal
display of respect.
Shifting your attention to Neftarys, you powerfully slam a fist against your own chest in a tribal
display of respect.
Neftarys leaves to the northwest.