Open Chronicles an Elder Fires' Night

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And just like that, it was just the two of them again. So abruptly, it felt, if not lamentably. To him, anyway.

“ Wonder what came upon her. “ He started, a mix of worry and indignation in his tone as he stared into Margot’s wake, watching her well until she disappeared from sight entire. Strange behaviour, though whom was he to judge — bet he’d pulled a similar maneuver in the past, just wanting to get away. He was beyond being hurt by it, at any rate, his offence more in behalf of his remaining company.

No matter, them. An effort was made at a lopsided smile as he regarded the Seer anew, meeting her eyes.

“ Leaves us. If you’re yet accepting recommendations — “ As I couldn’t get a word in prior. “ I’d tell you to start with the unleavened barley bread. While great with just butter, you could have it with mutton or graved salmon. “ He shifted on his spot, glancing past her at the where people meandered, picking their favourites from the feast.

“ Both of those go well with the root vegetables, at that there end— “ An arm rose, gestured a direction. “ Roasted in honey, salt, black pepper. And to top it all off, little apple tarts. Deliciously sour, this time around. “

He’d settled to stare with a hand on his hip, catching his own enthusiasm in a clearing of a throat. Anyway—

“ Can probably tell I like the food. “ A tilt to his head and wider smile, self-aware as he took a step and lingered. There was urging in it, the lot of him waiting whether she’d set to stray alongside.

“ How’s all that sound to you? “

Seluria Estel'Narqua
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It seemed the party had infused much movement in their companions. Seluria stared after the others for a moment, perhaps a small, puzzled look coming to her gaze, before the pale Seer looked back to Kaarle as he spoke.

She listened wordlessly, following his gestures with a scarlet gaze as warm as the fire was against the cold of her ivory skin. And as the poor man grew ever more aware of his enthusiasm, perhaps because of it, she began to smile ever wider, finally ending in a small laugh like a brook over rounded stones as she nodded. "I think that is the most I have ever had the fortune to hear you speak, Syr Kaarle. And-" she holds up a finger, an amused twinkle in her gaze. "- I think that all would go wonderfully with some cider and cinnamon."

And with that, the Seer teasingly stepped alongside and ahead of him, aiming to walk with him through the crowds to the feasting tables ahead, her head turning slightly to continue their conversation.

"You seem to know a good deal about the topic. Do you cook as a hobby?" She asked, remembering how easy it was for a knight to forget they were living beings just as anyone else, and they too needed the small things in life to heal and to rest after a hard journey.

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Most she’d heard him speak—

It was true enough, he had to suppose. For him was no reputation as light of the party to be had, even being generous. Glum and drab most days, he’d heard himself be described as in the past. Not by anyone he called friend, but—

At least she had laughed on top. Scratching at his beard idly, he couldn’t but smile at it, genuinely.

“ Agreed on the cider and cinnamon. You’ve great taste. “ He nodded, warm regard sustaining as she animated to a stride which he hurried to match, catching up in two longer steps like the hops of a goat.

“ I dabble. “ He shrugged. “ We’ve duties aplenty besides, so the less essential passions tend be left by the wayside at times, no? “ Aware of the darkness in the statement, he remedied it by making an effort of at least keeping his tone light-hearted.

“ But— “ The rise of an index at a thought, a wider smirk “ Thankfully, I like eating just as much. Half the enjoyment, for me, in preparing food comes from being able to do just that. The other half is serving it, sharing with someone. “

Showing affection? He examined the inside of his empty cup, idly, like a man who couldn't remember draining it.

“ Time forbidding, one finds another way to do the latter. “

Seluria Estel'Narqua
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Seluria hums, slowing to, if not a stop, a slower stride as they came to the table, picking up one of the empty plates and passing it to him first, before finding her own. "I enjoy reading and drawing myself, when I get the time." She replies easily. "I can relate to enjoying the results of your labor- it's satisfying. And then, even if you do well, there is always something more you can try."

The Seer paused and smiled softly at the last. "Aye... it is these times and festivities that remind us to enjoy that. To treasure every little thing, rather than take it for granted." she glanced out over the crowds at the others, humming softly. "We don't know how long, or short, it may last."

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Taking the plate in a grateful nod, he listened in complete silence as she spoke. He picked out some of the bread first, shameless and unsurprising in his choices going forth. He’d just described his own taste exactly, nothing more, nothing less.

In so many words.

“ Hopefully this little thing will last for at least tonight. “ He slung a look past his shoulder at her conclusion, watching the milling of people. The dancing, a little further away now. “ I don’t think I’d have it in me, presently, to wrestle away whatever would see it end. Too soon anyway. “

He poured some cider for himself, then picking out an empty cup and offering it to her, pitcher yet raised in wordless question.

“ Reading and drawing. Have you favourite subject matter? “

Seluria Estel'Narqua
Taking much the same as he, though in smaller portions, the Seer hummed gently in response, before nodding in thanks and taking the cup offered, letting him fill it if he wished. Her eyes remained on Kaarle's as he asked the question, and the response was perhaps a tiny bit too quick- guessing his words before he spoke them.

"Wildlife, personally. There are many things that go unnoticed by the average person, and understanding more of the details in it, like the flowers, the insects, the animals, and the trees- there is always something new to learn or discover. And it is quite relaxing to study them at length." she hums. "As of late I have been reading more into the old tomes on divination and water magicks in the libraries, and trying to expand on its collections. Though that has been tough to accomplish."

At no denial he could perceive, the pitcher tilted to fill her cup. As she spoke on her art, his eyes strayed from her only for him to set the rest of the cider down, carefully.

“ Art is much like food then. Practice and exposure makes one aware of the subtler notes. “ A smile, baring some teeth as he took a bite of bread. “ Interplay of spices. Or the individual bends of branches. “

He’d watched them sometimes, idle in the yard. They were so visible in the shadows that were cast on the nigh white of stones, jagged edges gently waving in the sun at noon. At her pivot to recent reading, an inquisitive frown perched on his face, head keeling.

“ Why tough? To accomplish? “

Seluria Estel'Narqua
"Well- considering how old our order is, we have a bountiful amount of texts on those subjects." she notes, taking a sip from her drink, and then biting into a piece of salmon. "Some are more recent, others less so, and finding different texts on the same subjects that are not just the same things said in so many different words can be a challenge. It is a good thing- but also not necessarily the best. It is a sign that the arts of those magics has begun to stagnate, or been stagnant for however many years."

The Seer hums, moving to lead him to a table to sit at as she delves deeper into the subject, seeming unaware of her own enthusiasm for a moment. "I want to make sure creativity remains alive and well in those arts- you see it a lot in fire magic, but it also has some of the same issues, I suspect, in that is has a similar foundation -and that can take many forms." she notes, her gaze thoughtful. "Or perhaps I am just looking in the wrong places..."

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There weren't tears in Cyd's eyes, and if there were it was only a passing inconvenience. The smoke of the bonfire, blown her way for a moment, stinging. She felt claws brush against her cheeks, a gentle prompting from Petra.

At the touch, Cyd's face twisted up into a funny expression - her brows quirked up, and she seemed to smirk, but her eyes were still filled sorrow, old and glassy. She caught the hand, and held it there in her own. "Come now, Petra. Don't patronize me - I'm older than you, you know!"

The attempt at humor fell flat, and so did her face. Lowering her gaze, Cydonia loosened her grip, and pushed Petra's hand away. Let it fall wherever it may.

A soft smile touched her features, and she got some of her usual glow back, though she didn't raise her head. "Besides, this grief isn't difficult to carry. Nothing Leonarht gave me could ever be a burden."

Petra Darthinian
At Cydonia's attempt at humor, Petra thought to herself, "Then you would be wise to remember that age, time, does little to make grief but a more intimate bedfellow."

Instead, her hand fell away and tucked a stray curl behind her ear, sympathy twisting in her chest like a hand tangled in too tight of rope.

But there was light returning once more into her friend's voice and Petra followed her lead with a soft smile as they ventured towards happier memories, of a love experienced, instead of a love lost. That hand she had dropped, returned now to softly tuck under Cydonia's chin and raise her eyes to her own.

"Although if you ever do get tired of carrying it, even for a little bit, I do not mind helping if you'll let me."
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He made not a sound as she spoke, eyes flitting betwixt her and ahead his feet, lest he trip into something on their way. Trying to muster some sort of understanding into his tone, he hummed, frown pondersome as he settled to sit across from her.

“ By my experience amongst two pursuits, I approach them very differently. Flame is more just a feeling, utility, an awareness about the air. “ Resting a hand on the table, he rubbed his fingertips together in an absent motion. “ The Loch lends itself more to creativity, to me. I might be thinking about it too narrowly, of course. “

He paused for a sip of cider, shrugging.

“ Both are subject to pure instinct and intuition, though, sometimes eluding words. And like any art, one could assume they are most immediately alive within their communities and largely unwritten about. “ This must’ve been old news to her, all of it. He downcast his look, examining all he’d picked on his plate.

“ So— “ Smile brightening, he stroked back his hair, some jest coming to his tone.

“ Find a better library or talk to practicioners directly. Maybe. “

Seluria Estel'Narqua
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Seluria quietly ate some vegetables as the knight voiced his own thoughts. The din of music and song and voices ebbed and flowed, slowly dying down a bit, and she nodded in agreement to his note on instinct and intuition. She had her own visceral experience with such in the Loch the first time she'd plunged into its mirrored halls, and it made sense to hear such a description from a practitioner of the Flame. Perhaps one of the closest to passion, creativity, rage, but also instinct and intuition as described.

Blunt words. A crooked smile; words taking on a teasing lilt when cast her way. Seluria hid her own snicker behind the side of a pale hand. "Aye... that much is true. Perhaps it would be a good idea to see when I can set aside some time to look into that." she muses, taking another sip. "Likely chances are I also need to go somewhere much less local- perhaps seek the coastline, or the riverlands, and see what the mages practice there and compare notes."

A soft click as the mug is set down gently to the table. "But, such is best saved for later. There is much to be done here and now." she hums, her crimson gaze scanning the crowd- the farthest masses a blur at this distance to the short-sighted mage, but some shapes were more distinct. Some colors more recognizable by their unique pallor.

And then, moving back to her companion, she dips her head. "How has your work been going as of late, friend? I hope it has not been too heavy of a burden."

Set aside time.

He hadn’t but sympathy for the fact, that one should’ve fallen short of being able to dedicate to all myriad of tasks that plagued interest. One too many, always, no matter what. While he thought to remind her that she could always consider just asking for help on whichever thing, be it the search or otherwise, he could all too well understand not wanting to. Some things were much too precious, made sacred by passionate interest that inspired dedication, the will to pursue them by oneself.

So, he held his tongue, occupying himself with his food instead until actual response was requested. To it, he gave an exaggerated sigh and a smile, with humour despite the shameless sag of his shoulders. Which work — Order business, or?

“ Not a burden, just— “ He glanced at passing air, chewing the rest of his mouthful. “ More preoccupying, than usual. Things feel in a flux and while I don’t usually worry for the future, I’ve begun to. “

What with the things we appear to be facing. Or was it just fact of aging, that with a yet another thing seen one begun to have more awareness, over oneself and things unknown; what might lurk. And therein, bloomed worry most of all for whom would stay after one was gone. So, a pressure to do more be upon each and every one, even if no way or capacity to possibly do so remained.

“ If anything, I’ve felt the need to ask you the very same. How do you figure yourself around that— premonition? Ill or otherwise. “

Seluria Estel'Narqua
A laugh came from Hector's voice, warm and warmer for all the flame that blustered and billowed not far behind them.

"Aye, Syr, a night for merriment is best spent in fine spirit," he gave a little shake of his cup, the strong drink inside sloshed about. "Though," he said with a proud clearing of his voice. "It's Syr now, since the last Ceremony of the Twinned Flame," he looked to the little cup of elder flower drink, and took it out of politness. Raised the cup of gin, and tossed the drink back.

A sharp inhalation of breath fed the fire of the burn a little more, and his face twist to the feeling. A shake of the bitterness helped ease the going down.

"Sharp," he said through gritted grin. Saw Syrs Kerraelas and Wulf milling about. Gave them a little cheers with his empty cup.

Even for a pair of Duskers, the two seemed awfully glum. Or was it tense? Hard to say.

Saskia Kerraelas Alaric Wulf Theolonious Montbank
Seluria thought quietly for a few moments, contemplating his words. "It is a rather unnerving feeling- the lack of stability." she murmurs quietly, taking another bite of salmon. "You notice more and more how things were whittled away over time. How much was lost. And yet..." her gaze wanders to the crowds around them- particularly the small children, watching them chase each other, some squealing in glee or annoyance at their companions about one thing or another.

"For all that was lost, some was still gained. So we cannot allow ourselves to fall into despair. Even as our order shrinks and seems to grow ever less relevant in the grand scheme of the world compared to olden days, I see no less passion in the eyes of the squires and the knights. It may have changed, or been tempered, certainly. Some more harshly than others. But is it not experience that helps us survive and thrive despite things being in flux...?" she asks.

Despite her bold words, however, there is a troubled look to her gaze. "There is... I suppose a more personal fear, of what can happen, however. As all must bear."

Thrive. He met her eyes at that, watching the expression on her face. His had long since taken a grave turn, transmuted to something more befitting funerals than nights of revelry. But for once, he didn’t feel at all like it was unbecoming. In her company, it was like he’d been given permission to be whatever feeling begot.

An exhale left him like he meant to release his soul into the cooling air, pause alive for a moment still as he mulled whether to speak at all.

“ Anything could happen, feels to me. “ In tune with her, he gazed about. “ Good and bad. As such, I see the passion yet ablaze in our Kin both encouraging and saddening. “ What if the battle is all for losing? What if it takes just one more of us to risk all for it to be won?

Betwixt the two is where one usually lived — discouraged by fear and yet emboldened by hope. Such a conflict could get vicious, on darker days.

“ It doesn’t suit to voice one’s doubts too often, though. For while I agree it is experience helping us survive, what lets us thrive is one another — as such, being one prone to despair isn’t a terribly beneficial reputation. “ He said, willing some spirit to his look as it sought her anew.

“ Needs be appreciated when one gets to — speak unwittingly without abandon. “ An idle wave of a hand and a smile as he attempted a lighter tone.

“ You’ve a rather disarming way about you, did you know? “

Seluria Estel'Narqua
The fire was warm.

Innis had gotten so used to the steady glow of lochlight - heatless flames that illuminating the library shelves, or cast shadows down long, dark hallways - that she'd forgotten about people and dancing and the crackle of real flames and the rough scratch of wood against her hands. Night time meant quiet study, and wordless vigils. It meant being alone.

As she hitched up the pieces of wood higher against her chest, Innis felt like some beast come crawling out of the cave half-starved after a long hibernation. If someone were to tap her shoulder just then, or call out her name, she would surely startle. But she managed to make it all the way to the fire undisturbed, and arrange the fresh logs in a compelling star-stack, without anyone bothering her. She squatted next to the flames for a time, and let the heat sink into her.

There were many fires, here and about, and many hands tending to them. Some ways off, Innis saw one flame dance higher than the rest, sparking and red. And she heard, too, a familiar laugh. In the warm glow she saw Syr Montbank's feathered visage, and next to the owl knight --

"Why, is that Syr Rookheart of Dawn?" Innis announced as she approached the pair. She spread her arms in mock astonishment, adopting the theatrical cheer of an acquaintance reunited after some time. "Fancy seeing you here!"

Hector Theolonious Montbank
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"Surely so, now, sincerest apologies," Montbank commented softly as Innis made approach.

"Fitting the title to such a stout heart, long plied to the deeds of duty. Syr Rookheart," Montbank said as if making the title firmer in his mind, and allowed to the two to converse as his head swivelled to regard the fire, his hands working to ply another gin into service.
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The Seer laughs softly, her own softly forlorn expression lightening a bit at her companion's compliment. "It seems I do- an odd trait for one of the Dusk." Seluria admits, taking another sip of the cider and letting it warm her, the taste of apples and cinnamon washing down the savory tang of salmon and herbs. "Perhaps it has something to do with seeing things... perpetually in flux, as we spoke of. It makes me more conscious of how others can react to the words of others, and especially to my own. But it is never assured."

She shrugs slightly, her gaze softening further however as Seluria's gaze wanders to Kaarle's. "I take that as my role especially among the knights...for all the- I guess /alien/ nature of my appearance and magic, I try very hard to be someone that another can speak to in full confidence without fear of judgement." she sets down the mug lightly, thinking.

Finally, the Seer speaks again. "I recall at one point, but a year or two ago, that I had been working to cleanse a stretch of tainted land. The villagers were afraid and had claimed something foul had claimed the life of two of their children. First a young man- and then a girl who had foolhardily ran into the forest after him."

The Seer exhaled, steam clouding the air between them. Firelight flickering and fading as the images of dark trees and grey mist seeped into her words, soft, and muted as the sounds of dead leaves crunching underfoot. " was not a monster that so plagued them and set them out to burn the trees and what they thought their enemies were. The young man had gotten himself into deep, deep trouble. Curiosity is a terrifying thing sometimes..."

She lightly swept one hand over the table, before pulling her fingers back and balling it into a loosely clenched fist. "He had gotten his hands on a tome on the dark magics through a less than well-intentioned merchant, and innocently sought to become a mage in his own right. But the consequences of such spells were very nearly his undoing. The lad fled into the forest- his desire for help spreading into the trees, the grass, the soil- bleeding and turning it dark. The girl, from what I came to learn, had been one of his closest friends, and chased after him. When I found them, he was half fused into a tree, and her hands were rooted to his shoulders from trying to pull him out."

The Seer looks a little disturbed. "If you hadn't looked closely, you could have mistaken them for a twisted monstrosity, so far progressed was the effects. But, ultimately...sometimes, accidents happen. Very, very bad ones. And stopping and listening can often mean the difference between life and death, I have come to find."

"Of course, after a lot of work, they were finally freed and cleansed. I am certain he will respect magic much more after that...and hope he will become a very good teacher in future, once he finishes his tutoring on a safer topic." A faint smile plays on her lips.

Seeing things—

That was right, wasn’t it, but something that yet escaped his mind time and again. A strange thought to adjust into, that one might foresee the words and actions of one’s fellows, even to the slightest degree. He couldn’t but hum thoughtfully at it, lost in rumination as to what it must’ve been like. She regarded it with a nonchalance he didn’t know he’d had the capacity for, even if being more conscious could only be a useful thing, surely.

The tale therein pulled him back, to watch her as she weaved details into something he’d merely heard of in passing. It had been without depth and a brighter ending, until now. A flicker of hope and a lesson.

To stop and listen. He felt a pang of awareness at that, having done not so much of that in his life. The desire to merely go forward, faster and without remorse, blinded by the sheer multitude of all the things that needed doing, often reigned supreme.

What is one thing amongst so many? Nothing. Potentially everything. Life and death.

“ One should hope such an experience translates to respect and care, rather than fright. I’ve seen both and the latter rarely amounts to much. “ A lopsided smile, a shrug.

“ Prospective, much too daring mages aside — What became of the tome and the girl? Do you know? “

Seluria Estel'Narqua
Her hands wrap around the warm mug, watching the steam rise for a few moments as she quietly listens. "Sealed away in our vaults for the first. I will admit to a sore amount of temptation to destroy the tome when I got my hands on it, but scattering the amount of power contained in it could result in unexpected consequences. And being able to cite any curses or hexes could prove...useful, in future. To understand how one is made, so it can be undone." The Seer's nose wrinkles in the smallest hint of a rare display of distaste, but she understands the importance of keeping even such ugly resources as an asset.

Taking a small breath, she sips at the cider, her crimson gaze clouding a bit as a myriad of emotions flick through her mind. "The girl was returned to her parents- and naturally they were overjoyed to see her alive. The amount of potential reactions in such heated moments can be a bit overwhelming sometimes."

Seluria chewed on the inside of her cheek and gave Kaarle a sidelong glance. Trying to guess how he might react? "For the boy's sake, I fibbed a bit, and did not clarify what the source of the corruption was. So I expect she is keeping an eye on him to make sure to temper his curiosity going forward. Had her parents known, I expect she would have been forbidden from going near him, and to me, she was clearly a good influence and did not hate him despite the danger he put them both in." She notes. "Perhaps not one of my more honest moments, but I don't need to be able to glimpse the future to know the consequences of a lack of peers to lean on."