KirthagKirthag Posts: 541
Kirthag sat in her office, rifling through the ledgers and parchments scattered about her large desk. Accountings from the vendors, funds for the community center, requests for services, drafts for additions to the museum. With a grunt, she shoves another pile of scrolls to one side, frowning in her frustration. The paladin slams her fist onto the cleared area when there is a cough at the door.

"What?" she barks, her squinting eyes glaring toward the intruder to this, her private area.

"Lady, y-you said to come if, if..." the other stammers.

Opening her eyes, Kirthag notices it is the lad she had gotten employed in Blackthorn's castle. He is only one of several young ones in her service, her ears around the realm. She relaxes some, knowing this particular boy would only come here, all the way to Yew from Britain, if it is of some important thing. "Not 'ere lad. Go to the kitchen and I'll meet ya there."

The boy's eyes widen with the unspoken promise of some succulent treat. He nods and dashes away quickly through the castle.

She stands from her desk. Age may be creeping up on her, for the chill of the past winter is still a strong memory to her joints. Kirthag stretches, muscles reacting to the movement under her simple linen gown as she reaches toward the ceiling. She still moves with the solid grace only granted to those who have earned their mettle on the fields of valor. Donning a cloak for warmth, she exits the office.

In the kitchen, the boy sits upon a short stool near the counter, his eyes large as he looks upon the concoctions of a budding master chef; his mouth salivating as he tastes the aromas thick in the air. He attempts to compose himself as Kirthag enters the room, but his hunger makes his stomach growl.

"Boy! When last did ya eat?" Kirthag asks as she moves toward a bubbling cauldron containing something savory boiling happily over the hot coals.

The boy just stares as the Celt takes a wooden bowl and scoops some sort of wondrous stew from the cauldron. She smiles at him, handing him the bowl with a spiked wooden spoon. "This be curry, lad, and ye'll want ta use this... spork." Taking the strange utensil and the full bowl, the boy is beside himself with the anticipation of such a feast.

"M'lady, but... f-f-first, at Castle B-b-blackthorn, a strang-g-ger speaketh o' some... f-f-fellowship," the boy stammered. 

Ripping a chunk of bread from a loaf on the counter, Kirthag sets it before the boy and nods slowly. "Continue," she utters, waving him to place the bowl on the counter in front of him.

The boy does so, takes the spork, and scoops a large chunk of stewed beef with just the right amount of melting fat and gristle. His eyes are wide, savoring the meal to come, but stops and shifts his gaze toward his hostess. "The strang-g-ger speaketh like th' Wraith people. He hath that look like nothing else is p-p-proper, e'en the K-k-king."

She lets that sentence hang in the air for a moment. Her mind mulling over what the boy said, and the memories that news has summoned. She nods once, signaling the boy who starts shoveling the curry stew into his gaping maw. He smacks his lips with zest and contentment as Kirthag leaves him at the kitchen counter.


She moves now, several hours later, through the halls of her Yew castle, with a torch in hand. She is wearing heavier clothing: lined leather with a heavy fur cloak about her shoulders. She is deep within the older halls of her home where boxes and chests are not just locked, but sealed with magicks and wards against opening. Her hair is loose, hanging well past her shoulders and catching in the cobwebs of the catacombs that haven't been burned away by her passing. By the time Kirthag stops at a certain door, the webbing is thick over her fiery red locks. 

Standing at the door is a tall, slender figure in robes of light. Kirthag lowers her torch with a sigh, and stares at the other figure. 

"This door hadn't been opened since 'that time', has it Celt?" The figure turns toward Kirthag, her dark eyes sparkle with the light of her raiment, not the torchfire.  

Kirthag replies, "Nae. Not e'en a rat would chew the wood of this door."

The figure nods, then lowers the hood of her shining cloak. Hair dark as the Void shines with the sheen of exotic, fragrant oils from distant worlds. Her dark eyes survey Kirthag for a moment, and she nods slowly. "You've aged some, haven't you?"

"We all do. Mind ya it dun catch up t'ya as well," Kirthag barks back. "A'sides, Darksinger, ye've been in that Void too long, eh?"

The Darksinger observes Kirthag for a moment. Is this still the warrior woman she called sister, enemy, and savior? The tall woman tilts her head slightly as her mind starts to gestate upon that question - but is quickly interrupted. 

"Ya might be able ta contemplate th' Multiverses with long thoughts, but if we're gonna do this, ya need to speed things up a bit." The impatience in Kirthag's voice is evident, and the Darksinger nods slowly coming to some realization.

"Then we shall open the Door, Lady Paladin," her response is almost melodic. "Let us see what is To Be." 

The two women place hands upon the door; Kirthag her right hand and the Darksinger her left. The strong, muscular hand of the Celt vibrates with a sort of power that courses through the warrior woman's arm. The Darksinger's slender fingers tremble with the shining forces that seeps through her veins. The door shivers, then lunges against some unseen force within the grains of its ancient wood. Was that a clap of thunder? Did the air just coalesce over the area? What is that wavering in the air?

Then, light as a feather, the door swings back from the women by some unseen force, and disappears without sound. 

Hands still resting against the space the door used to occupy, a wave of energy flows through the women, past the threshold, and into the space beyond where the door stood. Within moment, a column of frigid air returns, only to dissipate at the hands of the females, becoming a gentle cold breeze that barely ruffles their hair.

Kirthag lowers her hand first, then her eyes. What is in the room is not for her.

The Darksinger stands still, her hand still raised, but now against nothing. She sighs, a mellifluous sound in the dank hallway - and a soft tone replies from depths of the room. Slowly, as if unsure what she is doing, the Darksinger turns her wrist, stretching her fingers toward the room's interior with a beseeching gesture, her palm upward in the movement. Again, she sighs; or was that a soft hum?

Another tone from the space past the doorway, definitely in the key of G from some stringed instrument... and a small glow as if far away - too far - in what appears to be a small, dark closet.

Suddenly the Darksinger thrusts her hand past the door jamb, fingers outstretched and demanding; she emits an obviously demanding expression of sound. Her voice clear as crystal, resonating a single note that drifts through the area as a force of reckoning, a command, a challenge - and a call.

Kirthag closes her eyes; a tear escaping before she does so.

A matching chord echoes from the space in the room as if in reply. It starts deep, then grows in pitch and volume. Within moments, the Darksinger's voice and the chord are one - a force of sound and energy so as to move the gods themselves (if they would listen). The air crackles, power surges from nothing and yet everything.

Kirthag actually takes a step backward, her mind starting to summon her own powers in case she needs to withdraw to safety. Her thought, "Gods... what have we done?"

Then, just when Kirthag thinks her ears, heart, and soul would burst with the sound, it is gone. 

Just one utterance away from summoning her holy light, Kirthag opens here eyes to find herself squinting in the darkness.

"In lor," someone utters softly.

Kirthag can see once again. She blinks, then looks around. Next to her stands a woman of her own height and build, but with the darkest of hair and fairest of skin. This would be her betrayer, enemy, sister. Lark Kohl, who now gently and lovingly holds onto what must be the oldest and most decrepit of lutes in all of Sosaria, smiles softly from beneath her ebon braids.

"I am home sister," Lark's sing-song voice flits with joy. "Your bardess is returned to Sosaria."


  • McDougleMcDougle Posts: 3,742
    this is fantastic !!!!!
    Acknowledgment and accountability go a long way... 
  • ArronArron Posts: 485
    A+ Story. I was totally pulled into the story. Thanks for sharing. 
  • KirthagKirthag Posts: 541
    edited June 2019
    The pick axe swings in a wide arc, slamming into the frozen mountain of Dagger Isle. Walrus and polar bears meander off in the distance as the faint echo of an Ice Troll's call reverberates along the icy cliffs. Tandy glances over her shoulder to make sure her giant beetle is still snuffling in the snow near her, then her pick axe swings that wide arc again. Usually wearing her dark cloak in this frigid climate, today Tandy is wearing her dark kilt and a linen shirt. She sweats with her effort to extract the quality granite she requires for her present construction project - but she is not happy about it.

    "It's one thing to submit the plans and discuss the timeline and *huff* plan out the resources for this. Is a completely different *huff* thing to throw me scribbles and say, 'Make it 'appen!" 


    Gently pulling the fine granite from the mountain side, Tandy continues her muttering and complaining as she deposits the large chunks of verite granite into her bug's storage space.Normally a stoic and agreeable woman, this fine morning has the mistress crafter all ruffled. 

    "Gotta make more room, says she! Lark is back, need us more vendors, and yes, move all the public services closer to the main entrance!" Standing tall with the pick axe resting on her shoulder, Tandy looks at the giant beetle.

    "'An dun ferget ta move da hall, an' make sure ma office be clean when I git back!" Tandy imitates Kirthag's celtic speech rather well, "BLAST IT ALL!" she yells as she expertly swings her tool back into the mountain.

    "One would almost think you wish to swing that thing into Kirthag herself, maestra," a sing-song voice states. 

    Tandy whirls around, pick axe at the ready, only to see the newest resident of Evergreen, Lark Kohl, sitting atop her ethereal llama. Relaxing her stance, Tandy wipes the sweat from her forehead and eyes the other female.

    "Figured you would be up this way, Darksinger, "Tandy clips her words. "Lots of critters around for you to hone your skills on."

    Lark smiles slightly, an almost childish vision. "I do not use Darksinger anymore - just as you do not use Minerva. We all change with time, maestra."

    Tandy jerks at the mention of the "old" name. "We may, bardess. Although there is one constant among us." Once again, she grips the axe and scowls thinking of the paladin's barked orders.

    "You mustn't hold it against her; Tandy is it now? Kirthag has so much to prepare for." Lark nudges her ghostly mount to a slow walk toward the north. "After all, she wouldn't have found a way for me to return if it wasn't necessary."

    Tandy glares as the bardess passes her. The decrepit lute sounds with perfect harmony, reacting against the slender fingers plucking its strings.

    "There are whispers, dearest tinkerer. Old enemies and older friends are whispering." Lark stares into the distance, her eyes losing focus as her mount takes her toward the swirling snow around the bend. "You are part of the plan, Tandy," the wind carries Lark's words as she disappears behind the mountain.

    Tandy watches, realizing she is standing against the mountain without proper clothing as a tempest works its way toward her. Shivering, she whistles to her trusty beetle, silently wishing for her flaming bug than this her oldest pet. She stows her tools in the bug's pack, then expertly swings onto its back. Laying low, Tandy rifles through her rune book making sure she still has a charge for the spell back to the YCC. "Long way from Napa, eh bug?" she muses, then whispers the words of power just as the blizzard descends.


    Swatting at a biting mosquito, Kirthag makes sure she catches the pesky insect without making noise; no easy task wearing full plate armor in the dank jungles of Trinsic. She must be silent, for despite this being the blasted land of Felucca, there is all sorts of activity going on. The celt is on one of her regular jaunts through the countryside, surveying the land and the whereabouts of ---

    "I dun ken why I still do tis," the paladin mutters softly to herself. Having traveled the mists from Napa, it has been a very long time that Kirthag has seen anyone she actually knows. But for the dreams, and the whisperings, Kirthag would instead be out on the warm seas, pirating--er--capturing pirates and their ill-gotten-goods for the betterment of Yew. She had just repainted her vessel, the SV Evergreen, and had finally gotten the concept of the new cannon firing system, when the visions started. She pushed them to the back of her mind, that is, until, a certain boy came to talk about some 'fellowship' seeking audience with Blackthorn.

    Kirthag's pooka stops, ears flittering back and forth as it seeks to locate the source of some sound it hears. Breaking from her reverie, the paladin slowly turns in her saddle to peer through the jungle behind her. No movement, not even those pesky mosquitoes. Fingers wrapping around the hilt of her Soul Seeker, the active part of Kirthag's mind whispers this would be the Bloodwood in Napa. Here, in this shard called Pacific, the area is nameless.

    And so, too, are the riders off in the distance. She hears them before seeing them - and decides she is not quite ready for a fight against a roving band of murderers.

    "Sanctun viatis!"

    And in a flash of light, she is gone.

    Seven riders cloaked in black ride upon the spot the paladin just vacated. They circle around, detecting who was there, how long hence, and if was friend or foe. Their speech is soft, quiet, not even audible. The leader nods once, and the band heads deeper into the jungle, leaving the small clearing bordered by a large pond.


    Lark trudges through the blizzard, the small female almost doubled in size from the amount of the caked on snow that enshrouds her. Silently, she thanks the gods for the thick cloak she wears right now - without it she would surely find herself in a terrible way in short time.

    The lute safely tucked under her cloak, Lark stopped playing for a bit now. Her magic just isn't strong enough yet to deal with the cold and the beating blizzard at the same time, she has a goal to reach and no amount of blowing snow is going to stop her. Grateful for her magical mount, she just huddles beneath her cloak against the elements...

    ... which suddenly cease!

    Aware that only a few steps behind her is a raging tempest of snow, wind, and ice, Lark quickly casts a few protective spells upon herself for warmth. No sooner than having done that, she is whisked away, only to end up standing before the Shrine of Honesty. Lark smiles, for this is her destination, then kneels atop the alter to begin her meditations in preparation for what is to come.
  • ArronArron Posts: 485
    Very good. I wait for the next part of this story.
  • KirthagKirthag Posts: 541
    edited July 2019
    Dragging another crate of goods into the ship's hold, Kirthag ponders what to do with this lot. Several crates are destined for her home port of Yew, but some of them go to other places. Despite what others may think, the Celt is fully aware that all the cities need their supplies - she just doesn't have the time or the energy to go running to all of the cities with these crates.

    A wave and a nod to the deck hands who assisted her in this latest battle on the seas as they depart with their share of the bounty, and Kirthag directs her tiller-man to head toward the closest port, Britain. A busy port, being the capital city, Kirthag makes note of the various officials she should visit while there. First on her list is the Castle British. Although more akin to a tomb than the lively palace it once was, she still views this as the seat of the Crown - and where she pays her respect and swears fealty as she had in days of yore. Though empty the thrown rests, Kirthag makes it a point to visit every time she is in the capital. 

    The ocean breeze is crisp and salty as the SV Evergreen enters Britain Bay. Taking the helm, Kirthag directs the ship to a berth and leaves instructions with the stevedores on what to unload. Dressed now in her travel wear, her armor safely stowed in her cabin, the Lady Paladin walks along the city streets on her errands.


    "There is no more than what you see, and yet you still wish to have more? Off with you!" 

    "But please, m'lord, we are hungry and there is nothing left at the -"

    "That isn't my concern, is it now? Be off and leave hard working people be!"

    Dejectedly, the beggar moves away from the bakery, sulking deep under the rags and tatters he calls clothing. Sidestepping a puddle, his attempt to stay dry are thwarted as a passing horse stamps the muddy mess which splashes the beggar. Looking as if the world is his enemy, the sodden and dirty street urchin just stares at his feet.

    "Here, you poor thing," comes a gentle yet strong voice, and a large, athletic hand is offered to the beggar. He accepts the hand, and looks upward at the owner of it.

    The man is tall, large, and blocks the sun. The epitome of health and vitality, yet with a soft demeanor that could be mistook as weakness if one would misjudge him so. His outstretched hand is like a giant swatter, and yet is a comfort despite the callouses of hard work. "Let's get you to where the Fellowship can give you some food, eh? And hopefully a bath as well."

    "Fellowship?" asks the beggar.

    "Aye, they have set up a soup kitchen in East Brit - I'll take you there," answers the man.

    Kirthag watches as the beggar stands and shuffles with the hulk of a man toward the east. She wonders just what sort of group this Fellowship is, remembering another group of similar name and purpose from another age. There was a nefarious goal to that group - one that almost broke the land. She mulls over this and finds her feet following the pair. 

    True to his word, the large man leads the slight beggar to a ramshackle construction on the eastern edge of the city. There, another burly man greets the pair, and guides the beggar toward the soup line. Kirthag approaches, leaning slightly forward to peer into the building without actually entering.

    "You don't have the look of one in need, my dear." 

    Kirthag starts a bit, spinning around and into a defensive stance facing another large, muscular man in plain clothes.

    The man watches as Kirthag realizes he is unarmed and relaxes. He extends his right hand in friendship while the left is held up to display his palm. "I am Cal," he simply states.

    Kirthag grasps Cal's hand with a firm grip and pumps once. "I am Kirthag."

    "Oh! The glorious Lady Paladin of Yew?" Cal questions.

    "Well," retrieving her hand and shuffles a bit, Kirthag blushes slightly. "I wouldn't call me glorious - that be a hard title to hold upon."

    "Ah, but we've heard of you, m'lady! Your deeds  and generosity for the people of Yew are well known! It is said your deeds upon the sea are just about legendary! How many pirates have you accosted  overall?" Cal's enthusiasm seems genuine.

    "I am not one to brag, sir," is Kirthag's reply. "Everyone has a story that leads them to do good or not. Those pirates took the wrong tale, I simple made sure they would have the chance to turn it around."

    Cal nods. "Spoken like a true Knight of Justice, Lady Paladin. But what brings you to our stoop? Are you here to help us with our cause?"

    Kirthag spies the piles of cargo chests toward the back and the side of the building. Knowing she has several within her hold destined for cities other than Yew, she smiles a bit. "Aye, I s'pose I ken that. Yessir," she looks to Cal with a smile. "I've lots of confiscated crates in the hold of my ship that should help your lot."

    "Excellent! Most excellent, indeed! I'll direct some of our men to... what is the name of your ship?" Cal waves toward some of the other burly men in the Fellowship's building, and they come toward the pair.

    "She is the Evergreen - cannae miss her she is, well, green," Kirthag chuckles slightly.

    "Very well then. Men, Lady Kirthag has more cargo for us to distribute to those in need. If you please, to the docks." 

    The other men smile and nod thanks to Kirthag as they depart toward the docks of Britain. Kirthag watches after them, knowing her network of runners within the city will reach the Evergreen first and alert the tiller man of this happening - he will have all of the crates for the other cities on deck by the time the group of men arrive.

    "As appreciation for your assistance, please, Lady, take this token of our gratitude," Cal extends his hand with a small coin grasped between his fingers. 

    Kirthag shakes her head, "Nae, sir. Is not needed."

    "No, please, I insist. It is not currency, just - a small memento of the appreciation of the Fellowship."

    She takes the coin, feeling its weight as she slips it into one of the pockets of her vest. "Then I shall keep it as a token of such. But I must be going now, I still have business within the library and the bank."

    With a nod of his head and a small salute, Cal watches at Kirthag moves away toward the west and the center of the city. 

    Kirthag moves with a sense of purpose, but not for the tasks she stated. The coin jumbles in the pocket of her vest against her side and she ponders the significance of such a token. Her mind in thought, she doesn't notice the slight figure following her as she approaches the one-time home of Lord British. Instead of going toward the throne room, she takes a smaller door and finds herself walking briskly down a long corridor to... a library.

    She has books to read, old books, books which will help her remember what happened with a small and forgotten town of Sosaria.

    "Paws," she whispers.

  • ArronArron Posts: 485
    Very nicely written. I enjoyed it and look forward to the next installment.
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