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 The Sidhe Congregation (open) 
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Teh Spam!
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The journey went on and after a few days Flum and Nagash came closer to the tower. When it was in sight, they paused for a while and had some dried meat. Suddenly Nagash grinned and said:

" They'll be surprised, to see a demon and a gnome coming to their gathering, don't you think? "

Flum nodded. Judging by the expression on Flum's face the gnome did not seem to understand why exactly they were coming this way. So Nagash told him why he had summoned him.

" Them Sidhe are quite the intelligent race. I would like some more Sidhe territories in OAFish land. Since they're not the best warriors, I may offer the protection by my special Elemental infantry. Should someone with a grudge against Sidhe find them, that'd scare them off. But then, I don't know whether or not there are enough of them to make such settlements. There's much we can learn from them. But there's also stories that there are very few of them. Mayhaps we shall have to give Topheh a huge force of bodyguards!! Poor Topheh. You think he'll feel lonely, with so few of his people around? "

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Wed Mar 03, 2004 6:02 am
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Now he finally understood why Nagash had asked him to go with him. The travel had been swift and after they finished their dried meat they continued on the last few miles. So the Sidhe were to be offered protected existance? Interesting...

He was curious about the Sidhe. Could they or could they not make him a nice big turnip? How would they smell? And how would they feel when touched?

The word had spread about the Sidhe Lyssia. She had quite the scary reputation, but Flum was sure that behind her reputation would be a tender and gentle woman. He would show her his turnip.

As he pondered on these things they reached the base of the tower. Would there be a welcoming comittee somewhere?


Wed Mar 03, 2004 6:12 am
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Syek looked away from Toph and Sorentio, casting his eyes to the ground so as not to appear over curious. They had both been a part of the isle for far longer than he had, they had survived journeys and trials that he could only imagine. He knew that both were prominant men in the isle, rulers of lands and leaders of armies in the wars that ravaged Maxim. The boy could not claim to have done anything like that, there was no portion of the isle that he could point to and call his, no body of armed men that were willing to obey his orders. In a way he was glad of that, he wouldn't have wanted the responsibility that hung upon the others' shoulders. He had a bad enough time of it around strangers as it was, just going into a market to buy food was a difficult enough task for him. The thought of having to ensure that borders were defended, people were fed, taxes were paid, incursions were dealt with...it would have all been too much for him. Syek was rarely sure of any of his decision when they only affected him, Coristine and Kara, how much more uncertain would he have been if those same decisions had affected the population of an entire realm?

Why was he always so nervous? So afraid? The few others of his race that he had had the chance to meet had not been like him. They had always seemed so confident, so sure of themselves, not at all like the Sidhe boy. When they made a decision they stuck to it, almost seeming to know which path to take in their lives, which choice to make. If Syek made a big decision he knew that he would spend hours, possibly days or longer agonizing over whether it had been right, over whether he should have decided otherwise. Over and over in his head he would play out what might have happened if he had chosen an alternative, weighing up if that might have been better or worse. And he could never decide if it was or not, he could never be sure that he had taken the right route or said the right thing. Though he had tried to work on his lack of confidence matters had never improved, when he spoke his tongue always felt tied, his mind would race with everything he should say or do. Why couldn't he be like the others of his race? Why couldn't he be like Toph or Sorentio or any of the others?

He didn't want to be the way he was, he wanted to be confident and certain of himself, was that so much to ask for? Syek hated that he was so insecure when he made a choice, that he questioned himself more than any other possibly could. Everything he did or said seemed wrong as soon as it was done or spoken aloud, every time he seemed to find himself wanting to take it back and have a second chance to correct it. But he knew that even if he had that chance, even if he made each decision a thousand times over he would never be happy with them, he would always doubt himself.

Maybe it wasn't so strange for him to feel the way he did, for all he knew all the other Sidhe were plagued by the same thoughts, feelings and questions that he was. Perhaps his fellow Sidhe were so good at hiding them that he could not even glimpse them beneath the facades that they presented to the world. Or maybe he was so young in terms of his race that he simply hadn't learnt to ignore the questions. It was possible, he supposed, that as he grew older and more experienced he would learn to trust his decisions. Though he had lived long enough to be considered an old man by human reckoning, he was still a child in the eyes of his own race, a boy with much still to learn. But he would learn and time alone would be his greatest teacher, gifting him lessons that no creature of flesh and bone ever could. He hoped that he would learn to deal with the consequences of his choices just as he would learn to cope with the loss of his non-Sidhe companions.

That last he would have to learn, it was a lesson that could not be avoided.

Cautiously he looked at Sorentio, or more precisely at the place where the rhyming Sidhe was missing an arm. He remembered the day that Lyssia had led Sorentio to the ruins in the wasteland to meet Kara. Syek hadn't actually had the chance to meet his lady or Sorentio on that day, Kara had insisted that he stay away from them. Sometimes he really didn't understand the phoenix-magpie, especially not her insistance that he not meet Lyssia again. The bird and the sorceress were as close as two could ever be, sharing one soul between them but since the resurrection of the phoenix and the fall of Gyppeswyk...something had happened, something had forced them apart. Where once the two had been almost one person in two bodies now they were most certainly two seperate personalties. He was sure that Kara was doing all she did for his benefit but sometimes, sometimes his Sidhe curiousity made him wonder, made him question. What had come between Lyssia and Kara? What had happened on the night that Gyppeswyk fell not to enemy forces from outside but something within?

Only a bare handful of people had escaped the destruction of the fae city, besides the sorceress herself only three other creatures had survived. Aurelia, the tiny and innocent elf, had apparently survived, kept safe by the ghosts of the warriors who had been buried inthe catacombs beneath the city. Kara had survived, her flames burning brightly throughout the storm that had thrown down the stone of the city and stripped the flesh from the majoprity of the population. And himself, he had survived Gyppeswyk's destruction, he had been there when the end had come.

He remembered being in the library that night, happy, almost confident for once that everything would be well. And then...then everything when wrong somehow, the storm clouds had appeared over the city, twisted and unnatural, not a normal storm at all. When the storm had broken all hell seemed to be unleashed upon the city, chaos claiming the place that had stood against such things for so long. He had huddled in the corner of the library, watching in horror as the books and scrolls had spontaneously started to burn, cutting off his escape. And through it all he remembered hearing laughter on the wind, maddened, confused, scared laughter. Syek had put his scarred hands over his ears at the sound and then as the fires had begun to rage across the library...

And then what? he knew he should have died in the conflagration, not even his Sidhe blood should have been able to stand against the magical and mundane forces that swept through the city. But somehow he had. He couldn't remember how, all he remembered was waking up the next morning, light shining through the holes in the remains of the castle's walls. All around him the stone told the tale of a terrible fire but radiating out from where he lay was a foot of unmarked stone, almost as though something had protected him.

Two other approached the group of three Sidhe, breaking into Syek's thoughts of the past and the puzzles that it still presented him with after all the intervening ages. There was a veiled woman and a-

Fingers of pain stabbed into him, into his mind, into his heart, into his stomach, prying deeper, striking him though nothing was physically attacking him. It felt like claws were ripping into the very heart of his being, tearing away the very layers of his soul to get to the centre of him. Syek wanted to cry out, wanted to beg it to stop, to go away, to cease its assault on him, but who or what would he have asked? There was no sign of any enemy harming him, just a terrible pain that would not let him go. He had never suffered an agony close to what assailed him, not even when he had earned the scars upon his arms and hand had it felt the same. And through the heart of the pain he could almost hear the Art within him whisper, telling him a tale of something wrong, something against the very laws of nature, something that was breaking the balance. Though he was Sidhe Syek's Art had always seemed to favour natural order and balance, working through and with nature rather than imposing his will upon it. As a result he was tied to the balance, as Coristine had put it.

But now something was threatening that balance, and the pain of it was being visited upon him.

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Fate cannot be changed...but it can lead to better things


Wed Mar 03, 2004 8:04 am
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Lyssia reached the edge of the gazebo and took a moment to look upon it, there was certainly nothing like it in the red desert of Culaearien. The desert of the tribes was a harsh place, in fact many outsiders wondered by the Dardenites insisted on living there at all. It was a struggle to survive within the sands, a struggle that many lost against the forces of nature. When the sand storms chased one another across the dunes there were always a few that were caught in their path, a few that by ill luck or foolish could not find shelter in time. The population of Culaearien was always being culled by the very environment that they chose to live in. But rather than move on from the desert they remained there, holding to the same traditions and way of life that their forebearers had. They truly believed that the red sands were a holy place, sacred to Darden Himself and that they were blessed because they had been choosen to guard them from the forces of the false ones. It did not matter what they lost or how many of them died either from the conditions or from enemy attacks, the tribes would not budge from their beliefs. They trusted completely in the Lord and believed that they had been set to watch over the desert because it would strengthen and purify them, removing their flaws and making them more perfect instrument for Darden's will. Each soul in the desert believed that they were flawed, that they were not yet worthy of their Lord but that with sacrifice and hardship they would one day be allowed to stand before Him and be judged.

The lands of Culaearien were brutal, its people made hardy and strong-willed by the trials that they faced just to survive. The sorceress could not deny that if it was Darden's will to make a vicious and single-minded race of souls then He had quite probably succeeded in causing the tribes to settle within the red desert. She had seen the tribespeople in battle, but they were not the loud and screaming fanatical warriors that some seemed to expect them to be. No the tribes went to war and fought in utter silence, their quiet apparently unnerving their foes far more than any religious rant ever could. The only time one of the tribes would speak upon the field of battle was when they died, whispering Darden's name as life departed their bodies. They did not weep for the life that they lost, they did not cry out in their pain or beg for forgiveness, no all they did was speak the name of their Lord, it was enough for them.

Life was a harsh thing in the desert, plants were few and far between and rarely like their fellows from outside the borders of the sands. Various poisonous plants managed to live in some parts of the desert, normally close to the grassland borders and on the low hills that led into the western mountains. Voralphian tribe of the desert had made it their business over the generations to learn well how those plants could be best used. Often when they were about their business in heathen lands they would use the natural poisons of the desert. More than once a healer had found himself stumped by a victim of their poisons, unable to pin down exactly what had striken his patient. A hardy breed of corn could be found towards the grasslands to the north, a precious commodity for the desert folk. But it's worth was not just measured by how difficult it was to grow anything in the desert but also because of the terrible sandstorms that continually ravaged the northern portion of Culaearien.

Sometimes Lyssia would walk out in the desert and mourn the fact that it was not at all like her fallen home of Gyppeswyk. The desert was not a haven of life as the fae city and its surrounding lands had been. A gazebo in the fae city would not have seemed out of place while it still stood, a gazebo in the desert would definitely have seemed strange. There again if one were in Gyppeswyk now it would look no less odd, amongst the rubble of the city such a structure would indeed have stood out.

Where once Gyppeswyk had been a thriving and vibrant city now it was little more than ruins, hidden away from the world by a thick, almost impenetrable forest. Lyssia had no doubt that some had probably tried to enter the forest over the years since the city's fall. Treasure-hunters would have probably been interested to try and salvage some of the things that the city 'supposedly' held. Scholars too might have been drawn into trying to fight their way through the trees, their curiousity begging to know the answer to what had happened to the city and what remained of it. All that was common knowledge was that the city had cut itself off for a time from the outside world, all non-fae visitors had been turned back at the borders. Then, so the old tales went, a great storm had lashed out at the city and there had been no more soldiers to turn people back. But there had still been defenders of the city, the trees had grown up, making the way through a confusing and bewildering maze. The lucky ones who entered it simply found themselves back at the edge, the unlucky ones simply were never heard of again.

And there were the stories of worse things that kept visitors from disturbing the fallen city. Tales of packs of wild dogs to the south and worse, half-glimpsed beast to the west and north. Of course there was always the east, the sea-facing border but no one had even tried to enter from that way, no one tried to reach the tiny port build into the bottom of the cliffs themselves. It was generally considered that if the other ways were so well guarded then the chances were that something just as bad if not worse would keep people from reaching the city by boat.

There was of course one way to get to the city itself and that was to travel with one who had once been a citizen of the place. Of course those were few and far between since the fall of the city...

Just like the Sidhe, she said to herself sadly, knowing that there were only a handful more people who could navigate their way to the fallen city than there were Sidhe. Of course the people who were able to get to the city would grow less far more quickly than the numbers of Sidhe ever would. The last citizens of Gyppeswyk were fae for the most part but they were not of her race, death would reach them longer before it took the last of the Sidhe from the world. Death would take them and eventually it would be only herself and Syek left, the last two gatekeepers to Gyppeswyk.

Syek...she began to step into the gazebo when a shudder of pain ran across every nerve-ending in her body. But it wasn't her pain it was...it was a shared pain, almost like that she used to suffer when Kara was hurt. Almost but not quite. No, it wasn't her soul companion who was hurting, the bird was not even close enough for the sorceress to sense her thoughts. It's the boy, she muttered hoarsely, almost choking on the words. The child was in pain, he was hurting but she didn't know why, she had heard no cries for aid, no sense of him calling upon his Art. Only a sudden stabbing pain, and if she was only feeling the sense of it how much worse was the child suffering?

The sorceress squeezed her eyes shut, her hands balling into fists as she drove back the pain, forcing it away from her. She swallowed the ghost pain, calming herself even though she could still feel Syek's pain on the very edges of her nerves. Her heat told her to rush to him, to help him and comfort him, to hold him to her and protect him from all the hurt and pain. Buther mind told her otherwise, her mind told her that it could not be that way, it never could, he had to stand on his own. Especially at the meeting of the Sidhe, it was time for him to take his place as one of the acknowledged Sidhe in the isle, not as simply her apprentice or ward. He had to stand or fall on his own, he had to make his own decisions and finally become what he was meant to be. She could not help him with that, this was a journey that he had to make alone, or at least without her.

Lyssia took a deep breath and settled herself, all emotion or sign of the trauma that she had suffered gone. She walked into the gazebo, her eyes seeking out Azrael, Archmagus, lady Oriana, the sorceress said, bowing her head to each in turn. I thank you for your invitation to this gathering, it will be good to see how our race fares in these times.

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Wed Mar 03, 2004 9:06 am
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The Sidhe nodded agreeably as the one who'd been introduced as Toph spoke. Indeed, if he concentrated he imagined that he could sense Lyssia up ahead, though it was still difficult. Lyssia was the only other Sidhe he'd ever truly interacted with, and any sense he'd had of her at the time he must've put off as nothing--after all, why need to sense someone who was not trying to hide, but rather was remaining in your company in plain sight?

Even so, this strange ability to sense other Sidhe bothered him--or, at least, it bothered him that he'd never known about it. Yet another thing about his Sidhe heritage that he knew nothing about, all thanks to--well, never mind that. He would likely learn enough at this meeting--had learned a lot already, in fact.

The boy, Syek, seemed overly shy, though the Sidhe caught him glancing at his missing arm. He was used to such things, and he supposed that especially at such a gathering his deformity would be a curiosity--a sign of his weakness, no doubt. He still remembered that day at the lake, all that time ago. The impudent brownie Sihra had been leading an exploring expedition, one that the Sidhe had taken far too lightly--he'd been but a simple poet then, seeking to turn his curse into a blessing, and wanted some inspiration. They'd come across a lake filled with water of the purest black, the aptly-named Onyx Lake. The waters reflected no sunlight, merely absorbed everything into its depths.

As if that weren't bad enough, they'd approached the shoreline for a closer look. That was when the Onyx Elf appeared, some half-mad resident of the lake, imbued by its powers and trapped by them all the same. He'd gestured and threatened them, until finally the Sidhe had foolishly drawn his sword, and the Elf had brought the waters of the lake crashing about in waves. He'd been splashed by only the smallest amount, just the tip of his fingers, yet the onyx poison of the water had quickly taken hold and spread.

Lyssia had been there as well, and she, too, had been touched by the waters. Only she had had her magpie-friend, Kara, there with her, and Kara had healed her instantly. Oh how the Sidhe wished he'd asked for the same then! It wasn't until a long time later, once he'd finally realized the full extent of the desperation of his situation, that he thought to look for Lyssia, to see if he could be healed the same way. It had taken even longer to find her, and even then he'd only succeeded by spying on a chance viewing shown to the boy Coren, shortly after he'd rescued him. Lyssia had helped him, of course, and he owed her a debt he could never repay. Yet his foolishness had still cost him his arm in the end, for at such a late stage Kara could not heal the damage, only remove the poisoned limb.

The Sidhe was about to speak, about to tell the boy to go ahead and look at his arm, about to lift up the useless sleeve so that he could see the blackened scar where his shoulder should have started. Yes, he was about to, except Syek suddenly looked past him, his eyes widening and his mouth opening in a shout that never came. He looked at Syek's face for but a moment longer, seeing the pain reflected there, before quickly turning to face what must be the attackers.

Two others stood off in the distance, though they did not seem to be threatening at all. Yet Syek's reaction was not one that one would make simply upon spotting an enemy of any sort. Thinking quickly, he murmured a quick spell, the first thing that came to mind:

"With power from my missing arm,
Shield this boy from all that harms!"


He didn't look back to see if his spell had had any effect, but took a few steps forward towards the figures. Belatedly he remembered his Sidhe-sense, though something felt wrong with it. Syek and Toph he could sense clearly, bright shining beacons. Even the others nearby he had no trouble with. But of the two before him...well, one was obviously not Sidhe, he had no sense of that one at all. But the other...it felt like a Sidhe, at least at first, but in the presence of so many true Sidhe it could hardly be mistaken for one, for its aura just felt...wrong, twisted, somehow. Was it simply that, that had hurt Syek so, or were these two actually attacking him somehow, casting some spell of their own? One quick way to be sure--he muttered another spell beneath his breath, almost more quickly then he could think about it:

"Of all the spells these two do make,
The harmful ones will surely break!"


It was a crude spell, but all he could accomplish at the moment--if they were spellcasters of any repute, it would likely have little effect, but at the least the Sidhe felt certain he would see them react in some way, at which point he could resort to something more powerful--and probably more deadly. In the meantime, he just had to hope that his shield would serve the trick, or at least dampen whatever it was that Syek had felt, and pretend that all was well. He called out to the two before him with hardly any hesitation.

"Greetings, both, and welcome, too.
'Tis good to see more faces new.
But we are nearly at the tower,
Let's get there first within the hour.
Later shall we truly talk,
For now, let us simply walk."

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[center]Sorentio Rhicende
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1am GMT 27/3/04
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Wed Mar 03, 2004 9:31 pm
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Toph blinked in surprize as Syek suddenly cried out in pain, and quickly crafted a few wards around himself and the boy. Toph felt his magic spreading outwards, falling feather-light onto the two Sidhe, covering them with protective force. As his spell snapped into shape, Toph was already summoning forth more energies, creating a small ball of fire in his hands. Whatever was causing Syek harm would discover that they had bit off more than they could chew. Already, Sorentio was moving towards two figures, who were emerging from the woods. Toph didnt recognise them, which was not unusual, but the messages he was getting from his mind were... odd.

The younger one... was Sidhe... sort of. Toph recalled the strange other-sense he had felt upon reaching the island... that of a mysterious hiding Sidhe. This was the same one as before, and was obviously not hiding, but as Toph brought the uncomfortable feeling to the foreground, he noticed that nothing had changed. The Sidhe was... not... complete, somehow. Toph felt... dirty, somehow... a not-Sidhe was... not something Toph wanted to think about.

Toph shifted his attention to the other, and smiled, dropping his wards quickly.

"Astavia! What a surprise to see you here!" Toph bowed slightly, "What brings you to these woods, and with such unique company?"
Toph smiled at the young Sidhe beside Astavia... no need to be rude...
"Its nice to meet you. I was not aware that there were any new Sidhe in this land. It makes me happy to meet another."

Toph turned to look at Syek. The boy still looked in pain... Toph looked back at the new Sidhe, and back to Syek... If Toph felt uncomfortable, perhaps...

Toph recast his wards, specialised this time against mind magic. It wasnt exactly the right type of spell, becuase a Sidhe's kind-sense wasnt really magic at all... but it might help the boy a little. Or so he hoped.

As Toph turned around, he noticed more movement along the trail, and this time, he had to groan, and mutter under his breath, "what are THEY doing here?"

Nagash and Flum... Toph hopped they would be better behaved than they were at home... Toph doubted Azrael or Lyssia would appreciate too many antics out of the pair. But now that they were here, there was nothing to do but welcome them.

"Nagash! Flum!" Toph called out. "So good to see you! Have you come to visit with the Sidhe?"

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Wed Mar 03, 2004 11:05 pm
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OOC: Sorry Astavia, couldn't resist!! Rest assured, Lyssia will get her piece of vegetable too...




"Nagash! Flum! So good to see you! Have you come to visit with the Sidhe?"

It was the familiar voice of Topheh. As Nagash had expected. He was standing amongst some others. A few he did not recognise, but Astavia was there too, and Nagash knew her.

" TOPHEH!! ASTAVIA!! '

He ran to them, hugging Topheh first, then kissing him on the cheek, before doing the same thing to Astavia.

" Yeah, we're here to listen to you guys. And I want to invite the remaining Sidhe to a sanctuary in OAFish lands, under the protection of nine garrisons of the finest warriors. But that's to be discussed later on... "

He turned to Astavia.

" Milady, my Cucumber stands ready for you. "

He said in formal OAFish greeting.

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Thu Mar 04, 2004 6:42 am
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It hurt. It hurt so much. His thoughts came in fits and starts as Syek tried to fight back against the pain, to beat it down by the force of his will alone. What was happening to him? There had been no attack on him, or at least nothing that he could trace to a physical or magical source. Just sudden and most unexpected pain threatening to burn away his nerves and leave him with nothing left. Deep in the grip of the agony that option seemed perferable, but anything would have seemed preferable, anything at all so long as it stopped the assault upon his flesh. The Art rushed through his body, swamping his mind, an endless cacophony of warning and caution. Something is wrong, so very wrong, it seemed to say, something is threatening to break the balance. Syek's tie to nature screamed through his Art, warning him with pain and sensation that 'it' was wrong, that 'it' should not be.

He wanted it to stop, tears ran down his cheeks as he slumped to the ground, his legs no longer able to find the strength needed to stand up. His fingers dug into the earth as if to ask it to lend its resistance to him so that he could withstand the assault on his senses. The boy had always been so careful, thinking it better to work with the world around him rather than trying to be above it. With his Art he had worked with the forces of nature instead of treating them as slaves to answer his every whim. Maybe others would have thought his approach odd but something within him told him that it was the right way to go, that it was part of the path he had to take. But working with the natural magic of the natural had bound him to it, though its strength was his strength so too its weakness was his. He could be affected by the lands and the balance that he found himself in, weakened or strengthened by them. Left to itself the world would find a balance in all things, but when people knocked that balance...

A second wave washed over him, searing along his body, snake-like lines of fire racing along his senses. He pressed his head to the ground, wishing that the world would just swallow him and make it all go away. But that wouldn't happen, he had to push the pain away, he had to rid himself of it or at least shut off the waves of suffering that crashed against him. Only then would he be able to turn his attention towards the causes of the torment, to seeking out whoever or whatever had visited such pain upon him. Perhaps he had made some enemy during his years? Not that he could remember any as the pain lashed out at his thoughts, tearing them from his mind as quickly as he was able to put them together. It was as though a burning lash was being used without mercy upon his mind, punishing him for a crime that he could not remember committing. The pain of fire and flames seemed to tangle themselves about his body but with nothing of the heat or outward physical signs. Inwardly he burned with the pain of the attack upon his body.

Syek remembered the fire...

She had been trying to save him, there had been no older way to protect him from the darkness, from the shadow made flesh. But the fires had burned his arms where she'd held him, carrying him away to the safety of friendlier lands. The flames had worked upon his earlier scars where the flames that had forged his faith had burned him. Fire had eaten into him, the Art alone keeping the spark of life alive in his body, urging him to hold onto life even as his flesh wished to give in and rest forever. He didn't blame her, he'd known even then that there had been no other alternative, no other way to stop the darkness from killing him. If there had been another way then she would have found it, she would have done anything rather than see him hurt.

But the flames had still hurt, burning his arms and hands till he thought that he would never again he able to use them. He remembered her talking to another, one who had spoken with a kindly old voice, one that had given the impression that it was protecting him. But neither of them had been able to save him from the flames or the scars that he had been left with. It had been necessary, the choice had been his death or scarring at her hands and what choice had that really been in the end? The wound from the fire had taken a long and painful time to heal but in the end they had, but they had left the skin in his arms twisted and discoloured. They were a permanent reminder of those times, of what had happened, of how it had changed his entire life. He didn't blame her for what had happened, he knew that she had had chosen to save his live even though it had harmed him. His scars might mark him out as different from the rest of the world, they might have him labelled a freak and an abomination but they were a small price to pay compared to his life.

No he didn't blame Kara for the scars she had given him.

He felt the magics of the other Sidhe falling upon him, pushing away the pain momentarily. But a moment of respite was all he needed, it was enough, it had to be enough, there would be no second chance. With the agony held back by the wards of Sorentio and Toph, the young boy mentally gathered his will and his Art, forming a cage from it in his mind's eye. He pictured the pain as one of the great black beasts that protected the forests of Gyppeswyk, a ravenous, maddened creature that sought to consume him. Syek closed his eyes, concentrating entirely on the vision in his mind, forcing the beast to enter the cage, shutting it away temporarily. The pain receded, trapped from a time by the cage of will and magic in the boy's mind though it continually tested its pen, trying to find a way out.

Syek relaxed a little as his breath slowed and returned to normal, wiping away the tears from his eyes and the sweat from his brow. He got to his feet unsteadily and cautiously, afraid that at any moment the cage would break and the pain would be upon him again. It was there at the edge of his senses, reduced to a dull ache for the time being but always reminding him that it was there, that it was waiting for his concentration to fail. He felt weakened by...well by whatever had just occured, though exactly what had happened was confusing him. The Sidhe boy swayed slightly, his old eyes still telling the tale of the pain that he was holding in check. Something had upset the balance and he had been made all too aware of it through his carefully built up bond with the natural order. The strength of the assault had surprised him, he had not been expecting anything like that to happen, especially not when he was headed to a gathering of the remaining members of his race.

The boy looked at his surroundings with eyes tired from what he had undergone. Others had turned up while he had been incapacitated, two men that he did not recognise but that seemed to know Toph and the veiled woman. That would have to do as a sign that they were friends and not enemies of the Sidhe race who thought to sneak up on the meeting of the last. He felt slightly withdrawn from the meeting of apparently old friends. It was for the best with his current state, he barely felt as though he could remember his own name, let alone hold a coherant conversation. He needed time to recover from whatever had just happened to him, time and peace, though somehow he doubted he would get much of either.

He tried to focus his thoughts on the people before him, hoping to clear away the fog in his thoughts. Toph...he was an old friend if his lady, they had known each other for quite some time and though they found themselves on opposite sides of some things still that friendship managed to endure. Sorentio...the rhyming Sidhe and yet he also remembered reading something in his lady's library about one of her journeys that had he had played some part in. Perhaps he also knew his lady and had travelled with her some time ago. The fog slowly started to rise from his thoughts, his mind able to connect the words in his head with greter ease. The two newcomers...had he heard Toph call them Nagash and Flum? Familiar names those, connected with the...the Isonians, yes Coristine had spoken of them as being of her faith. And the one called Nagash had called the veiled woman...Astavia, yes he'd heard of her also through the gossip mongers and information traders through the isle. And the girl who travelled with her-

The caged pain launched itself at the bars of its prison in his mind, almost breaking through as it caught him off guard. The girl? She was the cause? But how? It made no sense, she didn't look at all like someone who would disturb the balance that he was connected to. And yet...she looked Sidhe but felt different, not-Sidhe, a puzzle to be sure and one that he did not want to solve. Not until he was more in control of himself at least. He turned his thoughts away from her, not wanting to give the pain in his mind another chance to escape.

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Fate cannot be changed...but it can lead to better things


Thu Mar 04, 2004 8:02 am
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Toph turned from Astavia and the girl and back to Syek, alarmed. The boy had fallen to the ground from the pain, despite Toph and Sorentio's enchantments. Toph took a step towards the boy, but Syek had seemingly recovered, pushing himself slowly to his feet. Toph examined the boy for a few seconds, to make sure he was all right. A shadow of his pain still flitted across Syek's face, but the gaze the Sidhe returned was calm. Whatever had befallen the boy, he had fixed on his own. Very nice. Toph nodded and smiled at Syek, using his skills to project his voice into the boys mind.

"Good job, Syek. A trick like that isnt usually mastered until much later in life. Here, you know where to use this better than I do."
Toph let go of his magic slowly, letting Syek take control of it if he wanted. The ward was fairly versatile, Syek might be able to use it to further distance the pain from him...

Suddenly, Toph stumbled as Nagash bumped into him, giving him a ritual OAFS greeting. Toph rolled his eyes, and turned around.
"Nagash, was that really necessa-" Toph gaped as Nagash repeated the gesture to Astavia, and followed up with another OAFS greeting.

"Nagash!" Toph shouted. He hurried over to his friend's side.
"you know that not everyone appreciates the most honorable greeting you have just given Astavia... although it was very well put." Toph continued, smirking at his friend when he was sure no one else would see.

"Milady," Toph turned back towards Astavia. "Please forgive my friend, the OAFish culture has many interesting traditions, which I should have informed you of before this point. Please know that Nagash holds you in high regard."

OAFish culture... Toph had never thought of it like that before, perhaps because he had seen so many such "cultures" pass away, and had believed that this, the newest, would follow the others into oblivion. But, Toph realised now that after these many years of participating in the culture, he had come to accept it. It was good to know that his friends were so funny.

Newness... Toph blinked, That was it! Toph recalled the one time he had seen a newborn Sidhe, ages ago, just days before he and his family had left Mo'Pri and made their way to Tonan. The baby had had a feeling of... not wholeness, as if her Sidhe spirit was still trying to anchor itself in this world, instead of another, where, presumably, it had resided until called. The feeling wasnt exactly the same, but now that Toph concentrated on it, some of the impermence of the baby's aura was present in this new Sidhe, as well.

But the girl looked older than she should have if she was such a young Sidhe. Then again, Toph thought, it had been a long time since he had seen young Sidhe, and his own childhood was long behind him. Perhaps he just couldnt remember how quickly Sidhe grew up physically. Regardless, he had only seen the baby for a few days... perhaps this impermenance in the Sidhe spirit lasted for a while. Toph once again cursed the fact that he had grown up apart from other Sidhe... this would be a useful thing to know... how mortal was a Sidhe before the soul binded itself to this world?

Toph shrugged. It was one of the great questions, debated by philosophers down the ages... of what importance was the soul to the body? Toph didnt know... but perhaps Lyssia would. Toph chuckled at the thought. 'So long since she taught me, and still I go to her for the answers to these questions.' Toph thought.

_________________
~OAFS' Resident Sidhe Mage~
The "EpiToph of Faith" ~Nagash


Thu Mar 04, 2004 4:01 pm
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{OOC, sorry for the delay, had comp problems. all is good now}


Azrael nodded absent-mindedly at Oriana's last comments. He had much more on his mind, most notably the anomaly that approached. He had come across many things and beings in his time, but never something like this.

The signature was there, he heard the tone vibrating across the invisible threads of magic that bind all Sidhe together. He was very attuned to this thread, living as long as he had would grant so much. Some Sidhe, especially those that were not trained in the old way would not understand it as well. Perhaps this would be something they could discuss.

He closed his eyes and sighed as he realized his mind was wandering, something that rarely happens. Focusing again, his thoughts traveled back to the anomaly and its signature. Normally the tune would be something like a silver bell, ringing clear, bright, and even.

This signature did come across as a bell sound, only a Sidhe would. However it was more along the lines of a copper dinner bell. Clangy, uneven, and distorted. It could not even be a half-breed or part Sidhe mixed with other races. Those still had a silver bell tone, just not as pronounced, more like just one part of a multi instrument orchestra.

The being that came had only one tone, that disturbing and obnoxious copper bell. He could not shake the feeling that something was not natural, and that something or someone had played with the natural order of things.

As if heralding his thoughts, he heard Tierney's voice and it woke him from his musings.


Avus.... what it is?! I can feel it; I know it is near, I don't know what it is.... it can't be Sidhe can it? Giving her a thin lipped smile, he placed one arm around her shoulder and drew her close to his leg.

The vision is strong within you Ny'epti, I am proud of you. I can't tell you anymore than you already know, but rest assured I will do everything in my power to solve this mystery. When they arrive Tierney, I do not want you to mention anything of this. Let me handle this. He gave her a reassuring one-arm hug and looked up at the walkway to the gazebo. The time had come.

Before him stood the guests that answered his call. He was quite sure this was going to be the extent of it.


Archmagus, lady Oriana, I thank you for your invitation to this gathering, it will be good to see how our race fares in these times.

He remembered Lyssia well. Aside from his own family, she was the only other Sidhe he was well acquainted with. He thought back to the first time he had met her in person. It was on a quest for the truth...at least the truth according to Maxim. Prior to that quest, all on Maxim believed in the words of prophets. Their quest single handedly showed those prophets to be false ones. The demon Maeldict, Lyssia, himself, as well as some other had found the Book of Tismad, revealing the current Gods to the world.

Lyssia had many doubts about herself and her magic in those days, Azrael had tried to help her understand what she truly was, a being more in touch with the Art than any other race.

He had heard much of her since those days, and she had passed through many a gauntlets. Yes, she was scarred, but stronger for it. He nodded in return to her.


It is good to see you again Kaa'ni. Considering the nature of the Congregation, the Sidhe word for 'Proven Mage' was appropriate. Of all that I hoped would answer the invite, I had no doubt in your attendance. Please, make yourself comfortable. There are refreshments if you so desire.

Giving her a thin-lipped smile, he made his way past a few steps toward the path, not to far off he saw the rest of the gathered.

There he saw three other Sidhe. He saw Toph, a man he had met in the past and aided with a spell at one time.

He saw Sorentio. He had battled against him in the world's faith wars many times. Life had not been so kind to him; he was missing an arm and is rumored to be cursed to speak only in rhymes. Azrael understood curses very well.

He saw a young boy, young to eyes at least. He was Sidhe, young in Azrael's standards, but old to the world of mortals. He had never met this boy before; he stood there unabashed in simple peasant clothes. Azrael could feel the aura of magic that had been weaved not too long ago hovering over the boy, Azrael sensed he had been in some distress recently. He narrowed his eyes; the boy was strong in the vision as was his granddaughter Tierney.

He saw the demon Nagash and his Gnomish companion Flum. He knew Nagash well enough. SAO and the warriors of Oafs had fought along side each other many times. Although Azrael was never too keen on their antics and mannerisms, they were steadfast allies and reliable. He made note to keep an eye on them anyway.

Finally his eyes fell on the final two. One was a woman in a shroud. Her appearance seemed elvish in nature, but Azrael could not tell. She also seemed somewhat not 'normal' to the world. However she was not as abnormal or disturbing as her companion.

It was a girl; her appearance was that of a girl in her teens in mortal standards. Her looks were that of a Sidhe. She was lithe and long limbed; Azrael noted that she seems a bit too tall though for a Sidhe. The disturbing feeling and signature grew louder now inside Azrael. He remained composed; something like this would not cause any outward display of emotion. His eyes darted to the boy Sidhe then. He now knew what had distressed the boy. This was turning out to be far worse a subject than he had thought. It would require careful handling.

He looked up at them and smiled.


Come now, I did not invite you all to stand out there. Please come in and have some wine and fruit, I am sure your travels have been long.

_________________
[center]
GM
[glow=#FFCC66]≈●§ÁØ●≈
We shall never rest[/glow]

[/center]


Sat Mar 06, 2004 12:28 am
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She approached the tower cautiously. There was already a small group gathered close by.

She knew she was not wholly sidhe, but part of her was... There had been a time when she had yearned to know her of her past, where she had come from. All her deepest memories were of the sphere of grey. The prison she had lived within for so many ages.

She had no recollection of a mother or father, brothers or sisters, or home...home before the Knights Errant and the Platinum Grove. The large silver trees would always be her home now, but she had lived under several banners since then.

The call to join the others was so strong in her now, but she did not wish to look so totally alien from the rest. She had a strange sensation that there was already unrest among the gathered group. Something or someone here was not quite right.

Landing deftly and gracefully, just beyond the gazeba she looked the group over. Who are what could be just so...well...wrong? It was not an ability she had inherited so she shrugged and sighed deeply.

It would not do to come among them in her smaller form so while she was hidden from their eyes she closed her own and concentrated on the magic that would transfrom her from her bird size frame to a more sidhe like appearance. There was a shimmering around her which seemed to grow and spread within the air, and then where only a second before had hovered a small pixie now stood a lithe young sidhe.

A sidhe with irridescent wings, a bit short perhaps, but in all other aspects a sidhe. It was now time to make herself known...although she doubted her prescence would be a surprise for some. The sidhe had a way of knowing when their were others of their kind around.

With a slight shiver of anticipation she approached the gazebo and her old friend Azrael.

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[center] "Ex Umbra Inter Consilium Decerto"
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THE BRAT
Pixie Queen of Theives ~ SA[/center]


Sat Mar 06, 2004 5:24 am
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Astavia was very aware of the others as she approached and especially of their reactions towards Médë. Astavia was not certain what to make of what she saw, especially from the boy.

That the Sidhe were all attuned to one another was well known and each of the men's eyes were drawn to Médë from more than just idle curiousity. The girl seemed to be arousing in them some consternation, judging from the frowns, the perturbed, almost alarmed looks and the muttered spells, which Astavia could not miss. And then, there was the pain in the boy. A physical pain so great, that it caused him to collapse, resulting in the others to come to his defense. But defense against what?

Médë?

Astavia did not know why they saw her as a threat. She did not know enough of how the changes in Médë had occurred. All Astavia knew was what she had read in her grandmother's recordings of the experiments, and what she herself had witnessed in Médë. It had taken longer for the soulstone to transfer the life energies and magic essence to the girl, than what her grandmother had estimated. Perhaps this was what these Sidhe sensed. Perhaps the transfer was still not complete. Or it could be the fact that no Sidhe blood flowed through her veins, for her bloodline had been human. Still, Médë had received the invitation, one meant for Sidhe only. That meant something.

Astavia did not have all the answers about the girl. That was one of the reasons she was here, to consult with the Sidhe and perhaps Azrael himself regarding Médë's creation. All she knew was that Médë was a Sidhe. These were her people. Whether they would accept her or not, Astavia did not know. At the moment the chances did not look good.

Astavia held Médë back when she instinctively stepped forward as if to help the boy. She felt the girl stiffen as the boy looked upon her with fear and distrust.

Then.. a much needed distraction. The OAFs, Nagash and Flum had arrived and sweeping onto the scene, bringing laughter and release from an all too tense situation.

Nagash came up to Astavia 'greeting' her in Oafish custom, as Toph put it. Though Astavia blushed beneath her veils, she also smiled, for she knew there was no offense meant. There was an innocence and purity about their actions which overrode the reaction that 'polite' society might have to the gesture.

Astavia smiled unseen beneath the veil but her voice did not hide the smile. "I took no offense at Nagash's actions. I am most honored that he considers me worthy for his cucumber to be at the ready for me." She nodded to Nagash. "Greetings my friend."

They were greeted by Azrael, who had approached while all of this was transpiring and they moved as a group towards the gazebo. His looks at both herself and especially Médë did not go unnoticed. Médë was very subdued, her face serious, her earlier enthusiasm and excitement obviously quelled by the boy and the men's reactions to her. Astavia said nothing, taking the girl's hand once again. Whatever was going to happen, Médë was going to have to accept it. Astavia would help her as much as she could, but in the end, this was Médë's life and these were Médë's people. Astavia could not undo what her grandmother had done. She had to see what Nalinea had started through to the end. For the girl's sake and perhaps, for all Sidhe.

_________________
[center][glow=white]Alt of Ms Evernight 2003/2004
ISTARI D'TIAVAIN
[/glow]

My stave predicts my path, white on winter white,
cold as bones left in the ashes of abandoned fire rings
[/center]


Sun Mar 07, 2004 4:37 pm
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Syek nodded in silent thanks to Toph, taking control of the magical ward that his fellow Sidhe had laid upon him. He still could not believe the strength of the sensations that had washed over his body and rubbed his nerves raw. The boy felt as though he had been skinned alive, all the protective skin flayed away till there was nothing left but rawness and exposed nerves. Whereever his clothes touched his skin it seemed as though he was feeling too much, what had been the gentle rub of cloth on skin was now akin to salt being rubbed into an open wound. His awareness felt uncomfortably heightened by the pain, as though all the illusions and fairness in the world had been torn away, revealling the bloody and wounded truth beneath. He had never wanted to see so far beneath the surface, he hadn't never asked to delve so deeply into what lay under the pleasing facades of the world. All Syek had ever wanted was to see the world, to walk its roads and see it for himself, not to just read about it in books. Over the years of his life he had seen a great deal of the world, walking unseen, dismissed as just a child. But now he had seen too much, felt too much and the trial of it had worn him down to the point of exhaustion.

Not even the labyrinth in the Sidhe Sanctuary had made him feel as he currently did and that tangled mass of passages and pathways had almost killed him. The labyrinth had been a terrifying ordeal for the young Sidhe, even though many ages had passed since that time he still found himself waking from a nightmare of it at times. It was strange really that it plagued him so after all his memory of the labyrinth itself was hazy and vague. It wasn't like he had forgotten it but rather that he had tried to subconsciously block it from his waking thoughts. He remembered Ginaus, his lady's teacher, leading him to the door, he remembered stepping through and speaking with the spirits of the two Sidhe who had not been able to move on, and he remembered stepping into the labyrinth itself. But after that? From that moment to when he had woken up, feverish and suffering from the first burns to his arms, there was nothing, a blank in his memory. Well not so much a blank, more like a corruption of his memory, as though his memories of the labyrinth itself had been taken away, mixed up, shattered and only a handful of the shards handed back to him.

He kept his eyes averted from the girl, maybe he would be lucky and she would think that he was simply shy around females about his age. Well it wasn't a complete lie, he was shy and easily embarassed except around those he knew and was comfortable with. Of course those that he was comfortable around numbered only a few; Coristine, Kara, Lyssia, those few did not make him feel as though he wanted the earth to swallow him whole. But others, even Toph who had shown him nothing but kindness and friendship, did make him feel awkward and out of place. He wished that he had the confidence that he saw in others, he wished that he could somehow find that strength around others. But it didn't matter how much he tried to bouy up his confidence around others, it always just disapated like mist caught in the glare of the sunlight.

And then he saw Azrael.

Syek stopped stock still, afraid for a moment that the Archmagus would somehow find him unworthy. Of course he had heard stories of Azrael as he had grown up, his lady had been most insistant that he learn of others of his race. But still none of that had prepared him for actually meeting him. He wasn't sure what he had expected from the Archmagus, now that he thought back upon it the boy couldn't remember ever really having a mental image of Azrael. Not that that mattered now, now he could see exactly what the Archmagus looked like, now he knew what the eldest known Sidhe looked like. Syek couldn't imagine how many ages Azrael had lived for, how much of the world he had seen from its birth and how much he had seen change. It was, to the boy's mind, almost like trying to imagine what the very stones of Gyppeswyk had seen from the day that they had been carved; impossible to fathom.

Syek was still young in terms of the Sidhe race even though a human might look at him and think him only a dozen summer's or so old. Indeed he'd had more than one soul who he'd met trat him like a child, like a human child, thinking that he knew nothing of the world. He'd always found it easiest to just grit his teeth and pander to their ideas of who and what he was. It was easier that way, much easier than trying to make them understand that his apparent age did not tell the tale of all his years. Humans and the other shorter-lived races always seemed so eager to take things on face value. So many of them looked at the world and thought that it was just as they saw it, nothing more, nothing less. Maybe that was why so many of them were easily taken in by illusions and the like that the youngest of Sidhe could see through with ease. And maybe that was a matter that he would one day find the heart of as he grew older.

Would he ever grow as old as his lady or even the Arcgmagus himself? Certainly there was the chance that he would provided that no unfortunate accident ended his life prematurely. But to grow that old? To see so many be born, live and then pass onto whatever lay beyond life? It would be difficult to manage that wouldn't it? Oh his flesh would have no trouble surviving but his mind and his soul that was the key, maybe he would never reach a great age, his will to live shattering long before his body ever grew weary.

Keeping his eyes from the girl that the veiled woman had travelled with Syek looked towards the gazebo. It was a beautiful construct there was no doubt about that, especially to eyes such as his that had grown used to wastelands and ruined cities. But it was not the gazebo or the promise of much-needed rest that it held that caught his attention. No it was the sight of Lyssia, his lady, his teacher, his guardian. Physically she looked no different really to the day that she had left him in Kara's care to search out the Torturer and deal with him. She looked no older and the scars upon her throat had not dulled at all, she wore robes of a different colour to the familiar blue that he remembered but that was all. No physically she had not changed but looking into her eyes, pale grey with veins of a darker hue running through them, there he saw the changes that had been wrought in her. Yes there were changes, but they were in her heart and in her soul, in some ways she was stronger than the sorceress he remembered. And in some ways she was...not weaker but rather more at peace, more resolved with her course in the world, more commited to the path that she walked.

She had always told him that each creature on the isle had to walk their own path through their lives. That the path was not necessarily easy, that it could test those who followed it and killed many long before they ever reached their destination. The path would fork many times over, letting a soul choose their own route through the world with each decision that they made. Lyssia had told him that she could not make those choices for him, that only he could decide upon the path that he would take. She would not interfer with his choices, no one had the right to alter another's path.

The thought of his guardian's own path drew his eyes to the twisted circlet of silver and black metal about her brow. He didn't like the creation but knew that ever since the fall of Gyppeswyk the sorceress had worn it, seemingly unable to remove it. He had only ever asked her of it once and even then he had not gotten any straight answers. All Syek knew was that the circlet was magical, almost like an arcane 'lock', woven of the Art and of Lyssia's own will. But what was it keeping out? Or keeping in?

He made his way slowly towards the sorceress, his body threatening to fail him at every step after his recent troubles. Finally he stood no more than three feet from Lyssia and bowed his head to her, M'lady, I bring you greetings from Kara, she wishes that all was not as it had to be when last you and she met. And she asks...she saks, he blushed, wishing that Kara had not insisted on having him memorise such a silly greeting from the phoenix. And she asks if your ward still pleases you in his life?

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Fate cannot be changed...but it can lead to better things


Mon Mar 08, 2004 11:37 am
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Lyssia watched the boy sadly, knowing that the life before him would be a long and arduous thing. The years would roll out long and seemingly unending before him, time would take away everything he ever worked for and everyone he ever cared about. All he would have was the other Sidhe, the other members of his race who more than often chose seperate and different lives to one another, keeping them away from each other for ages at a time. It would hold many trials and test him many times over before he ever found any sembalance of peace. If he ever found any sembalance of peace. She remembered her own search for that elusive idea, seeking endlessly for some final answer to her troubles, seeking for some way to finally be able to rest easily with the world and all that occured within it. But there had been no peace for her at the end of her travelling, no way to ease her mind or answer made everything make sense finally. If anything as she had searched matters had become worse and ever more confusing, the circlet that she wore was proof of that.

She had had peace once though, a long time ago, back when she had first come to the land of Maxim from the ruined world of her birth. Yes there had been peace for a time, not the peace that the alliances traded with one another at the end of their wars. No, there had been peace for her soul, a good time, a time when Kara had been with her, when she had known love and when no matter what was thrown at her she felt as though she could withstand it all. Good times indeed, times that, looking back upon them, she had squandered, living them with no thought of what would come. The future had seemed like a wonderful blank canvas then, empty and just waiting for her to come along and paint it brightly with what she wished to be, with a continual picture of those joyous and simple times. It had all seemed to easy and so...pleasant, unchallenged, untested, pure and unsullied by the interference of the outside world. Oh there had been battles for dominance, there always were, but somehow they had seemed less complicated back then, their threads easier to pull apart.

And then one day that had all been shattered, in one terrible and dark moment her whole life had been destroyed. Bede, the Torturer's then companion and guide, had sent a powerful force of magic against Kara in her phoenix form, wounding the bird fatally. Lyssia had shared the bird's pain, feeling the agony of her companion's death as Kara had been forced to burn herself up in her own fires. All that had been left of the bird was a blue gemstone, small enough to lay comfortable within the palm of the hand. Those who had looked into the stone had sworn that there was a flaw in the beautiful jewel, that it almost looked like a bird flew and danced within the stone as the light caught it. The blue phoenix's egg, the final proof that Kara had died. Lyssia could remember holding the egg in her hand, tears streaming down her face, feeling the pain of her companion's death over and over through their shared soul.

That day Lyssia's soul had been shattered, torn apart by the death of Kara, half of it in the world of the living, half in the world of the dead. It had been a traumatic experience for the Sidhe woman, one from which she had never completely recovered.

She watched the boy walk towards her, the tale of his own recent pain showing clearly in his watery-blue eyes. What she would not have given to rid him of that pain and take it for herself, the boy did not deserve to suffer so. She was older than he was, more capable of enduring whatever had struck at the boy. He was so young, so very young and so very innocent, desperate for acceptance and friendship. Lyssia looked at Syek and saw the features of his dead mother from so many years before, she saw the pain of the dead Sidhe woman mirrored on the boy's face. The expression knifed at the sorceress's heart, reminding her that it did not matter that she had brought the boy up, that she had been the one to protect and teach him. No, none of that mattered, he was still not of her blood, he would never be her child and she his mother. She would walk the lands alone, carrying her bloodline but not passing it on, alone...

The boy spoke his words nervously to her, the sound of his voice bringing an unexpected smile to the sorceress's lips. It was rare to see a true smile upon her face, usually she kept her features even and ambiguous, hiding her feelings from any that might seek to use them against her. But the boy, the boy was a different matter, he had always been able to reach her emotions, never mind that he had rarely, if ever, realised it. Yes child,[ she said gently, You please me greatly, you have grown up a great deal since we last stood face to face. I know that I was right to see the makings of a good man in you then. She took the boy by the shoulders and turned him to face Azrael and the other Sidhe, I would like to present Syek of Gyppeswyk to you all, my apprentice and ward.

She recognised most of those who had travelled to the gathering of the Sidhe. There was Toph, a friend from many ages before, one that she had fought against many times but still gladly called friend. And then Sorentio, ally and fellow under the banner of the Officium, one of only a few who had seen Kara in recent memory. To most Kara was just a myth, a tale that had come from the ruined fae city of Gyppesyk, no more real than mirages seen in the heat of the desert sun. "A blue phoenix?", she had heard people say with the twinkle of laughter in their eyes, "A child's tale, not real, not the real guardian of a long-dead city". And then Nagash, yes she knew well of the OAF-ish one, though she had to admit that his kind were more than a little of a mystery to her. Strange fellows but still they delighted in life and perhaps that was the greatst gift that they could offer the isle. The other who stood with him...well she did not know that one, presuming instead that it was probably another who flew that banner.

And Astavia Dovanucci. Yes Lyssia knew well of her, had even visited the great city of Tiavain in search of the veiled woman, not that she had known who exactly she had looked for then. But such days when she might have travelled to the city outside of war were long gone. As much as her curiousity drew her to question about the place some wounds were struck too deeply to ever be forgotten or healed.

The girl that travelled with the veiled woman...Lyssia's eyes narrowed as she looked in her direction. But the grey eyes of the sorceress did not seem to look at the girl but rather through her, beyond her, almost as if Lyssia was looking for something else. For a moment or two she did not look away, keeping her gaze steadily towards the Sidhe-like girl. Then she nodded slowly to herself as if she had gained the feeling of an answer to whatever question flittered through her mind. Though Sidhe in appearance the girl was not, that much Lyssia would have said gladly, she had most certainly not been born of the race. Yet she looked like one of them, almost, there was something...the sorceress could not place her finger upon it quite. there was no denying that Lyssia could not sense the girl as she could other Sidhe, but the feeling was different, wrong somehow.

She frowned, not liking the way that events were panning out, whatever Astavia had brought to the Sidhe gathering it was not one of them. It was...wrong, it held the seed of something else at its heart, like a rose grown from the seed of a lilly, wrong, unnatural, not meant to be.

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Mon Mar 08, 2004 11:39 am
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It seemed as if no one had noticed her prescence yet. How strange for such a congregation of sidhe. As she walked towards the group she felt the icy grip of fear clutch at her insides. It had been so very long since she had been around anyone....any creatures at all. She knew that Astraea was somewhere nearby and would suddenly appear if she sensed too much fear within her mistress.

I will not be afraid. These are my people and at least one of them you called friend at one time. Surely they will not turn you away. There are others here that are not even sidhe....

Thalia took a deep breath and let it out slowly and approached. There was Azrael, he seemed to be the only person she could recognize. No one else was familiar to her at all. It was good that she had come, she needed to meet these others, time for her to come out of hiding.

Hello Azrael, it is so nice to see you again. Turning to the others she smiled and made her introduction.

I am Thalia. I'm sorry to say that I don't think I've had the pleasure to meet any of you before. I have had a tendency to stay to myself these last few years. I hope this gathering will help to allieviate that for me.

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[center] "Ex Umbra Inter Consilium Decerto"
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Pixie Queen of Theives ~ SA[/center]


Mon Mar 08, 2004 5:37 pm
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Toph nodded to himself as he felt Syek take his ward. Good. The boy would have been foolish not to take whatever help the others could give, after his episode. Looking back at the young Sidhe, Toph could sense the energy flowing through him, part from himself, part from Sorentio, but much of the Art in him at the moment was his. Toph smiled back at Syek and winked as they made their way to the pavillion where Azrael awaited. The boy would turn out to be a powerful Sidhe in his own time, like the others gathered here.

Toph's gaze instinctivly went to Azrael as the mage came fully into view. He looked no older than the last time Toph had seen him, long ago.
'What did you expect? That he would have suddenly, after so many ages, start aging again?' Toph teased himself. Of course Azrael looked no older. He was the oldest among them as it was.

As for the others... Toph had no idea. It was one of the small curses to such a long lifespan... Toph knew he was younger than Lyssia, and older than Syek, but as for Sorentio, or Oriana, or any of these others, Toph had little idea of their relative ages. At least the mortal races could point at someone and say "He is in his 30s" or "She is in her 80s." With Sidhe, it wasnt so easy. For one, most Sidhe didnt count their lives in years anymore, but in ages or centuries, at that. And anyways, after a few years at the start of their lives, they stopped aging as quickly, slowly growing to maturity as the processes of time slow further and further until they come to a standstill, the slow decay that the other races faced dissapearing like dew.

Toph looked up at the tower above him. How long had it been standing, right here, tenanted by Azrael? Centuries? Millenia? Toph marveled at its size. It made his entire castle seem... rather small by comparison. Oh well.

Toph bowed before Azrael.
"Thank you for inviting us all here, Archmagus. A meeting of the Sidhe is long overdue. I have not seen some of these Sidhe in many a long year."

Toph began to say more, but Lyssia inturupted him, introducing Syek to the rest of the Sidhe. Toph was sure the boy felt uncomfortable with all those eyes on him. 'I'D be uncomfortable, and I rule a kingdom!' Toph thought to himself. There was something about being examined by eyes that have seen ages come and go that was simply unnerving. Toph smiled reassuringly at Syek, and projected a short message to Syek.
'Welcome to the clan, youngin''

Toph looked over Syek's head to Lyssia and bowed slightly. It was good to see his friend again, although he could see that she was troubled. Lyssia often was, though, and Toph was one of the few who knew some of the reason why. Toph had seen Lyssia when she was not Lyssia, but Lossandrea, using Lyssia's body to hold her dark soul. Toph had been there when Kara had been spectacularly reborn, and Toph had run with the others, syek included, when Lyssia told them to get out of Gyppeswyk as quickly as they could. When Toph had next seen Lyssia, months later, she had appeared allright, just a little wearier than he had remembered, and with a strange look in her eyes.

Toph looked back at Syek... wasn't someone going to say something? Bah. He might as well start. Toph wasnt sure if there was any ceremony, but this silence was growing unbearable.

"Welcome Syek. May your life be long."

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Tue Mar 09, 2004 1:09 am
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There were many things he had wished to converse about, so many as to lose count. He still had not made up his mind if he was going to go through with his secret act that he had not informed anyone of, not even Oriana knew. As stoic as she could be when he came to him, he knew she would not take this option he had well. Glancing at Tierney made the option even harder, he had made her a promise. His thoughts were interrupted by Lyssia's voice.

I would like to present Syek of Gyppeswyk to you all, my apprentice and ward.

Looking down at the young one, he gave his normal thin lipped, crooked smile. He could tell the young one was intelligent and brave for his age, but he was certain the sight of Azrael's mirror eyeballs and gold skin had set him aback some. Bending down on one knee he came face to face with Syek.

It is a pleasure to meet you Syek of Gyppeswyk. He said in a firm voice. I am, as you already know, Azrael. You have a very adept D'ni young one, be attentive to all she has to teach you, no matter how mundane it may seem to you at the time. You have a possible infinite amount of life ahead of you, and we never stop learning.

Do not be afraid or shy around your people Syek.
Azrael said, voice dropping to a rasping whisper Unlike many of the other races on Maxim, the Sidhe have a kinship that transcends faith or the Gods. You are amoung your brethern here.

He rose to his feet and gave Syek a pat on the arm. No sooner had he done that had he heard another voice.

Hello Azrael, it is so nice to see you again.

I am Thalia. I'm sorry to say that I don't think I've had the pleasure to meet any of you before. I have had a tendency to stay to myself these last few years. I hope this gathering will help to allieviate that for me.


Thalia, my old friend. It is indeed good to see you. I had sensed your presence, but one never knows where you will end up will they? I had no idea you wuld end up here. Please join us.

Azrael made his way to the table, taking a seat where he could see everyone equally. Once they all took a seat, his reflective eyes looked over the assembled. The last know Sidhe and he was the eldest. Although he had been accustomed to being one of the elder Sidhe for many ages, there had been those older than him, mostly on the world of Mo'Pri. Not so here on Maxim.

He was all this ragtag group of a forgotten and mythical race had for reference of their glorious past. None here remembered the cities of crystal amoung the forests. Houses and abodes woven from the earth and the Sidhe's own magic. They never saw the gleaming Lumi'ka-sul; the Tower's of the Magi. There was one in every Sidhe city, here is where they learned to control their inborn craft.

As if torn from his memories, the glaring signature from the young girl with Asatavia ripped into his conciousness now that she was in his presence. There was no way out of it, this was definitly going to be brought up during the Congregation and he was not sure what the overall reaction would be.

Clearing his throat to get everyone's attention and picked up a crystal goblet which held red wine.


I would like to take this opportunityHe said in a clear voice to thank you all for coming. I know most of you went through a long and tiresome journey. Now that you have arrived, enjoy the comforts and services of my tower and of Arcanis Proper.

A toast
raising his goblet he invited them to do the sameto the Art and life, or as its said in the old tongue, Sli'tha Ili'sar u Vi'taa! Taking a sip, he took his seat.

Some of us are familiar with each other, and some are not. I think it would be appropriate for everyone to introduce themselves.

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Wed Mar 10, 2004 8:23 pm
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The Sidhe tried his best to ignore all the ruckus around him. Now that the boy no longer seemed to be in any immediate danger, he was no longer concerned with the antics of the others. When Azrael summoned them inside, he quietly trailed after the others, moving almost like a shadow in his black cloak. He listened with some interest as Lyssia introduced the boy as her apprentice, then took his seat when Azrael indicated.

He raised his glass for the toast, sniffing at it carefully before taking a sip. It was unlikely that Azrael would call them all here just to poison their wine, but who knows, maybe the old Archmagus had gone senile and wanted to be the only Sidhe left in the land. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary, so he swallowed some of it. He'd fought off worse poison than any that could be put into a drink, he thought ruefully.

Azrael asked for introductions, causing the Sidhe to frown slightly to himself. He was very conscious of his status as the Rhymer, a fact that revealed itself as soon as he spoke and identified him even more than his missing arm. He had no doubt that that, too, would become part of his legend, as it were, but for now he was known in the rumor mill and gossip circles simply as the Rhymer. He wasn't sure why it bothered him so, except for perhaps that it identified him by a curse that he hadn't been able to break in many, many years, a constant reminder of his failure.

There was nothing for it. He might as well go first, and hopefully be forgotten after everyone else had introduced themselves as well.

"Sorentio is my given name,
The Rhymer, you may know the same."


His eyes met Lyssia's for a moment, and he was about to say more, then stopped. No more truly needed to be said.

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[center]Sorentio Rhicende
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1am GMT 27/3/04
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Wed Mar 10, 2004 10:13 pm
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He wandered the lands of Maxim for so long that it seemed a milenia had passed since the legions of Ten disbanded, he lost all track of those who he once fought beside and cared for, as for Pyren this had been the third most grevious thing to happen to him since the loss of his family by invading Foret mercenaries and the insuing destruction of his homeland Carthia. But since those dark days not one instance of crulety or injustice could move him to intervene on anyone's behalf. Instead he attributed the misgivings of others as a sign from his DemonGod Darden that he was not ment to interfere anymore, but only to watch from a distance at times or from close at hand as their fates were decided by the god.

Content to wander the lands Pyren rode first far to the north after the lords of Ten went there seperate ways seeking solitude and reflection to the lands where winter was all year long and then skirted the coast for what seemed like years on end. He had passed thru many lands some that belonged to his god and more that belonged to the other two, these lands were precarious at the best of times and especially for a wandering dardenite priest. But he had survived and had journeyed as far south as the black jungles would let him pass by mount and foot.
Mighty and feared had he been at one point in these lands and there were still the odd old darden historian that recognized him by ethier face or name and gave him ethier provisions or helpful directions when he asked, but by this point all he had become was no more then a recluse wanderer. But yet still there were not many along his travels that did not gave way to him as he walked thru their various towns. None short of the mighty Droben could match his height or girth and fewer still could equal his strength for a titan had very few equals in that regard.

But as he rode along he reflected back with a smile on his face of the many days of glory and good fortune he spent in the Ten. Even his massive war horse Amir an animal as unique in size and intelligence as Pyrens strength brought stares of awe and even fear as they rode along. He traded his black draco for this creature and to this day it still puzzled Pyren as to why he did it, but it was as if there was a voice in the back of his mind that told him
"this would be his most loyal of companions even more so then the black wyrm".An the voice had been right for even in the most dire of situtations, Amir never waivered and it seemed to know just what Pyren was thinking, he was a beautiful beast standing 50 hands high.Twice that of a normal heavy draft and thrice times the weight with a black sheen coat as dark as his wyrm's scales.

The beast was used to haul exotic animals around that belonged to a travelling show which had passed thru a village Pyren had been staying at for awhile, the owner was so enthralled to have traded this beast for a trained dragon a deal Pyren thought at first was not is his favor. But found later that he got the better end of the deal as the original owner did not know how much a dragon needs to eat and as a result lost his collection of exotic creature to the draco in a hunger frenzy.

He had travelled for several weeks thru the darklands of the south skirting the dark strange forest at night and finding it useful shade in the hot sun then to Pyrens delight he came across a mid sized city of some unpronucable goblin name by mid week. It was here that Pyren ran into the old owner of his mount as he made his way in to quench his thirst. So much was the animal keepers anger that he caught up with Pyren in the middle of the street as he walked his mount towards a tavern hitching post and demanding at the top of his lungs that Pyren
"Return the great horse and pay for the loss of his livlehood by the drac" that he was unaware that Amir had lined him up for a booting, the man never saw it coming as two great hooves caught him square one in the head taking it off and the other in the chest sending his still standing corpse clear across the road to fall lifeless against the side of a building.

It seemed Amir preferred his new life to the old and Pyren would not begrudge the animal that, patting the beast and then tieng his reins to the post he wandered inside out of the setting sun which in this climate was still wickedly warm. Making his way towards the barkeep Pyren tossed some silver on the counter and asked for the barkeeps coldest refreshment he had and a stable boy to tend his horse out of the sun, the man behind the counter barked out a name in elven and a young elf appeared from behind a door.Pyren tossed the boy a few silver pieces and told him to
"give my horse a bath and a good rub down with a soft brush".

The lad bit into the silver piece smiled and bowed but then stopped dead in his tracks as he opened the door, a look of fear was across his face as he pointed to the massive beast tethered to the post.
Aye lad ..that be him, now be off with you he will do you no harm as long as your are mindful of his strength and do not disrespect him.Somewhat shaking Pyren watched as the boy untethered the reins and walked the great beast around to the stables out back, chuckling to himself Pyren found a sturdy seat in which to rest his body into and enjoy his cold ale. It was during his second mug of ale and dinner that the boy returned thru the front door sopping wet and still a shade paler then then norm for this area that Pyren noticed the bow nodded at him and then approached to tell Pyren thatYer horse is resting in the stable sir bathed n brushed would there be anything else he wouldneed? Shaking his head Pyren returned to finish his meal and the boy wandered into the back presumably to get into some dry clothes and await jobs from the barkeep. It was then he heard a name spoken a lil to loudly from a corner table.

The city of Arcanis A name that had struck a long forgotten memory resurged to the forefront of his mind Arcanis... Arcanis..he rolled the name over and over in his mind and then it struck him, he remembered a city of a powerful Sidhe magi that once went by that name. Standing he made his way to the table and begged the occupants their forgivness for overhearing but askedTis the city you speak of Arcanis where does it reside from here.
He asked the patrons and was told that The city of Arcanis was located on an Island south of the mainland another 5 days ride South by Southwest from here. Bowing and thanking them Pyren finished his meal an drink in solitude, after his meal he retired for the night. The room servant walked him to his room opened the door bowed and bid him a good rest.Upon entering and finding the bed to small Pyren was content to lay down the blankets on the floor by the fire. Propping a chair under the door latch he settled his gear on the bed and stoked the coals some, before slipping under the blankets and falling fast asleep.

To Pyren it seemed as if he had just closed his eyes when the crow of the cock made him bolt upright, never one for being an early riser his mood was sour as he splashed the cold water on his face to wash away the nights sleep. Dressing quickly he removed the chair from under the latch and made his way down to the inn for a hot morning meal, a luxury he not often afforded himself but enjoyed the massive meal none the less. After his meal he walked towards the bar counter and purchased a small flagon of brandy in a travelling flask, not much for spirits by nature ,but wisdom had taught him that it would help to chase off any chill should it arise and was a good bargaining chip with any farmers should he need food or a nights logging in a barn. After paying for his room and the brandy he walked around to the back of the inn to retrieve his mount, he waited while the small elf resaddled the beast and asked Pyren
Would you need any oats an sugar for your trip sir?Shaking his head no, Pyren did thank the lad by smiling and giving him a gold piece for the boarding and a gold piece for his efforts in bathing and brushing of his mount.You did a fine job of cleaning him up lad and i am thankful and me thinks Amir is thankful to

As Pyren patted his side,Amir nodded his approval aswell after he strapped his bed roll and the brandy to the back of his saddle Pyren with one swift fluid motion hefted himself into the sadlle. Gazing down upon the young elf with a smile the boy returned the smile and took a bite into the gold piece and a grin from ear to ear crossed his faceIf i may sir, can i have your name for future reference should ya pass this way again. That i may welcome you again with such service and at least be able to thank ya properly by name.I am lord Pyren the Titan, high priest of the late house Ten and devout follower of Darden and you my young elf are a good salesman. Perhaps if i pass this way again someday i to will seek out your services may Darden shine upon you and yours good fortune.
Tossing a wave as he rode away Pyren made his way along the rough cut road towards the destination, he followed the road and directions he recieved from the patrons. It was an uneventful journey to the coast where he chartered a boat for him and his mount only to the city of Arcanis and his only adversaries were saddle sores and the hot sun which by the time he reached the great city had all but subsided, as he had walked the final few miles on foot to relive the discomfort and to stretch his cramped legs from riding.

As he approached the great city Pyren saw many guardsmen partrolling the walls as the city flew it's banners with pride, but what had intrigued him was the seemingly crackle of mystic energy it ebbed and flowed over and thru him like a soft breeze. Although not an astute wizard as some, Pyren had learned of the arts that were needed for both war and survival in the wilds and could recognize a magic enchantment. Someone or something powerful and old resided in the city and the scent of..Sidhe was strong on the wind, even Amir was aware his ears stood straight up and moved from front to back at unperceived sounds and his head aloft ,but for all his musing he remained close and did not startled as the approached the gates.

The guards were checking those that entered for reasons on visiting Arcanis and soon it was Pyrens turn to be asked, as he walked up the guard he guessed was unerved at the size of the travellar and his mount as they approached. When Pyren stood but arms reach from the guard he noticed he was a good two feet taller then then guard and thrice the mans width across his shoulders.Somewhat stuttering his request the guardsmen asked Pyren
Whattt theee..umm be yer bbbusiness here sir I am Lord Pyren high preist of the late house Ten and devout follower of Darden I have come seeking your master, I request an escort to his keep and notice of my arrival be forwarded to him if you please.Nodding to his request, a dozen large men encircled him as he was escorted towards a large spired keep and a messanger was sent on ahead of the group to annouce his arrival and intention on meeting the master of the keep.

Stares and hand covered whispers by those they passed by were common to Pyren as this was a frequent response towards him from the various places he had been in the past, in short notice he had been brought before a beautifully constructed tower, dismounting he untied the brandy flask and handed the reins to a stable hand. Who Pyren noticed had the same shade of white across his face as the young elf did when he first saw the size of the mount he was charged with taking care of.
Climbing the steps Pyren was greeted by a houseman at the door and ushered inside, after bowing Pyren was informed by the houseman that..
His master was in the great hall attending a congregation of fellow Sidhe. But that his orders were to escort anyone seekng an audience with him to that room and could he be kind enough to follow.Allowing the servant to lead the way Pyren followed the man as he walked down the hall towards a well crafted double door, upon reaching the servant bade him to wait momentarily as he opened the doors ans annouced the new guest.

M'Lord, honored guests may i present Lord Pyren high priest of the late house Ten and devout follower of Darden who seeks audience.Bowing after his annoucment he moved to the side to allow Pyren to enter the hall, As pyren entered the room he all but stopped in his tracks there sitting in a semi circle was a man who's face he did recognize from a long long time ago ..Azrael the magi and his daughter the lady Oriana, a brief flash of memory crossed his mind of a day so long gone by but not forgotten by Pyren had ordered the destruction of her home in a war of steel and sorcery. Trepidation caused him to avoid her glance and he focused on the magi himself to regain his composer, bowing to the master of the keep Pyren spoke.M'Lords and Ladies I greet you all with a well met and good fortune, i have sought out the one who wrote this invitationHolding up the scroll he had taken from a notice post outside a tavern.I come in good faith and with no malice or malignment of heart and offer my skills as you would see fit. Bowing again he waited for reply and permission before sitting.

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~From the endless void we come, and blackness shall consume us. Time is the abyss and death has no meaning~
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Wed Mar 10, 2004 10:58 pm
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Lyssia smiled, though not unkindly, as she watched Syek blush slightly under the scrutiny of the other Sidhe, his embarassment obvious to all. She had not made the introduction with the intention of embarassing the boy but rather simply to make him feel more a part of the gathering and less of an outsider. The child had always been cautious around others, even those that he had known for many years. She remembered well enough that even Aurelia, the most innocent of souls, had been able to make the child feel awkward when all the little elf had been doing was giving the boy his birthday present. Of course Aurelia's present had been a mongrel puppy who had proved to be quite a handful for the tiny thief, enough of a handful that she had collided with the boy and knocked him flying. Those that had seen the sight had laughed, not mocking the boy but simply amused by the actions of Aurelia. It hadn't stopped the boy from blushing and thinking himself the butt of the joke even if that had been far from the truth. Sometimes the sorceress worried that the child was too serious for his own good, though that was a fine sentiment coming from her.

It was easy to consider the sorceress far too serious, far too involved in her thoughts, far too obcessed with questioning everything about her. She hadn't always been that way, or at least she had never been so caught up with such thoughts in her earlier years. Lyssia had always had more than a touch of Sidhe curiousity about her, longing to know, to learn, to find out, to see what was hidden and gorge her mind on its truths. When Gyppeswyk had still stood the Sidhe woman had used to travel all over the isle, following the trails of stories and rumours to find out if there was any reality at their hearts. Rare was it now that she made journeys like that, more often than not her journeys were ones into her own mind. Though the stories and tales still interested her greatly it was the truth of her own heart that held her attention in a firm grip. She longed to know what was at the heart of her own soul, to learn the truth of herself, to find out the root of herself, the beginning of her thoughts and actions. Perhaps then she might find some reason for the deeds of her past, or maybe she just hoped for too much.

She looked down at the boy as Azrael spoke to him, wondering what Syek was thinking, hoping that he would not be afraid of the Archmagus. True Azrael was powerful but he would not be the man that she had known if he attacked the boy for no reason. No, the boy had not need to fear Azrael, not unless he annoyed the Archmagus. Considering that she had heard that the Archmagus had been patient enough to survive Aurelia, Lyssia doubted that there was any Syek could do provoke him. The boy would do well to listen to the words of Azrael, listen and remember them, they were words that would sustain him through the long ages ahead of the child.

A life that was better measured in centuries than years...she'd met more than one of the younger races who longed for such a thing. She'd run across them over the years of her life, men and women seeking to prolong their lives, even gain immortality. They saw it as the greatest of goals, the pinnacle of their studies, the most precious treasure that they could ever own, the chance to live forever. Always Lyssia had shaken her head in despair when she had met the alchemists, scholars and mages that sought unending life, they did not truly realise what they searched for, the consequences and burdens. To live forever, yes it might seem a great and glorious thing to the younger races, but only one who had felt the slowed passage of time knew that there was a darkness at the heart of this 'wonderous' long life.

To live forever, or at least have the potential to..yes at first glance it might seem wonderful. They would have all the time in the world to accomplish all they wished to, to see whatever their hearts desired. To watch empires rise and fall again, to know the circle of power and watch it turn and turn again. Time to study and time to enjoy the world, yes a fine thing indeed, time without end, time to think and time to act. What a gift, what a bonus, what a glorious thing, time no longer a worry, death no longer a threat. Yes she'd heard them all, she'd heard their posturing and posing, their thoughts on how to achieve their aims and their imaginings of what it would be like. The Sidhe woman had seen people waste their entire lives in search of forever, envious of what came naturally to her race. They wasted...yes wasted their lives rather than enjoying and using the time alotted to them, fearing death, trying to stall the inevitable. It was so terribly sad to see them, their youth gone, fleeing from their life as they tried to gain what was out of their reach.

The possibility of living forever came with a terrible price though, one that those who serached for it so desperately never saw. To live forver, to see every friend and family member wither away and die, to watch as death claimed everything that they had ever known. Those who lived a mortal span and no more never truly understood what it was like to watch time pass by. As a Sidhe Lyssia had seen her friends die, their children grow up and in turn die and join their forebearers in the grip of death. How many generations in Gyppeswyk alone had she watched grow up and die? Too many, far too many, so many that most were reduced in her memory to little more than a jumbled collection of family traits and deeds. Generations reduced to a series of common features held by a single bloodline. To not just be a part of history but to become it, to be one of the few that carried it onwards, it was a terrible thing. And it wasn't just a matter or people dying but things larger and grander than anyone man or woman of flesh could ever be. She had seen alliances rise and fall, cities that had once been known the length and bredth of the isle reduced to no more than ruins. And she had seen death come to Gods.

She had met those mortals who had achieved their aim of lif without end, wretched creatures who finally understood their folly. Pitiful, lonely creatures who had lost everything except for their lives, trying to live for the temporal power that they weilded. Some begged for mercy, sought out the sword or the poison vial to finally put an end to their despair and sorrow. Others struggled on, trying to remember, trying to forget, trying to rekindle their spirit and finding instead that they were little more than hollow, empty shells that could never find a final peace. Well perhaps that wasn't entirely true, they could find peace eventually, but only if they stopped running from death and turned to face it, finding rest in the embrace of the grave.

Lyssia shook herself from her thoughts, taking a goblet of wine she inclined it to the toast that Azrael had called. She brought the goblet to her lips as she sat down, allowing it to wet and lips and no more, clearing away a little of the strain of the journey. It was not that she distrusted the Archmagus, quite the contrary, but rather that she had no wish to drink too much of what had been offered to her. Not yet at least, she wanted to keep her head for the dicussions, there were matters to be talked of, important matters. Besides it had been too long since she had been in such company, she wanted to remember it with a clear mind, wanted to capture each sight and sound within her memories likes insects within amber. After all who knew how long it would be before the Sidhe met again? And how few of them might remain next time?

Sorentio caught her gaze as he introduced himself in his cursed rhyming words. How they had both changed since they had first met by the shores of the Onyx lake, neither obviously for the better. Or perhaps she was hasty in that assumption, they had both grown older and perhaps a little wiser from their experiences. Many events had blighted both their lives in the intervening years but maybe what they had gained was worth the cost? He had paid the more obvious physical cost, the loss of his arm, but she was no less scarred mentally.

She bowed her head to the others at the meeting, knowing that most already knew her or at least knew of her. But still it was only polite to introduce herself properly, to not do so would be unseemly. Yet before she had a chance to speak another entered the gathering, a Lord Pyren, a name she recognised from various news and gossip that she had caught over the years. Though she had never met the man he seemed open enough in coming to the meeting of the Sidhe, another interested in the company of the remaining Sidhe of the isle. Welcome Lord Pyren, the TEN were always known to me as a devoted and strong alliance, I am most glad to see that at least one of their number still walks the lands. The one you seek, the one whose invitation has led you here is the Archmagus Azrael, she gestured towards her fellow Sidhe. I am Lyssia, once of Gyppeswyk, now of Culaearien, advisor to Silus, the one who leads the people of the red desert while his mother is...unwell. She paused before speaking the last word, knowing better than to say any more of the Vision-Seeker's ailment even if news of Ebony's unnatural sleep was fairly common knowledge in the isle.

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Fri Mar 12, 2004 8:06 am
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The Sidhe looked over the one who called himself Lord Pyren without much interest. He barely listened to Lyssia's own introduction, obviously already knowing her. There were others he did not know, and he awaited their introductions with some interest as well. It was never a bad thing to learn of new people.

He let his gaze roam over the others. There were perhaps a dozen, perhaps some more. Certainly there had to be more Sidhe than this left on the isle. Surely the race couldn't have died off this much. He shook his head. If not, then where were they? The Sidhe were by nature a curious race, and it was hard to believe that many would resist the invitation to such a meeting.

He eyed Azrael carefully. He'd never actually met the Archmagus before, though of course he'd heard of him. Few Sidhe hadn't--indeed, few non-Sidhe hadn't. By far the oldest Sidhe alive, Azrael new more about the Sidhe's history than any in the room combined. So why had he called this meeting? To impart some of his wisdom upon the dying race? To offer up some kind of solution to their decline? Or to ask for help himself? He couldn't wait for the meat of the meeting to get underway.

He shifted a bit in his seat, waiting for the others to finally introduce themselves, whoever they were, so that they could get started. They'd all come a long way to just sit around, waiting for nothing.

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[center]Sorentio Rhicende
Rhyming Magician
Sanctum Officium
1am GMT 27/3/04
[/center]


Fri Mar 12, 2004 10:25 pm
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Lifting his head to meet the gaze of the one who spoke, Welcome Lord Pyren, the TEN were always known to me as a devoted and strong alliance, I am most glad to see that at least one of their number still walks the lands. The one you seek, the one whose invitation has led you here is the Archmagus Azrael, she gestured towards her fellow Sidhe. I am Lyssia, once of Gyppeswyk, now of Culaearien, advisor to Silus, the one who leads the people of the red desert while his mother is...unwell.Pyren then bowed again at the welcome she had offered him. I thank you dear lady for the warm welcome, to what seems a meeting more for the Sidhe then an outsider. But i think we share a common intrest in that as i look around, I see less then a score of Sidhe here and am curious to know. Is the plight of your race as dark as mine, for there are rumored but six of us left in the whole of the Isle's.

Gazing around the congregation Pyren had assesed the number of Sidhe to be around a dozen gathered here, but he had only a small knowledge of Sidhe. Most of their history was unknown and or kept in secret from prying eyes, when he was a young member of Ten he used to attribute the Sidhe as kin to the race called Natives on the main isle. An thus was always apprehensive of any attack on them, their magic skill spoke volumes in power,and their longevity of life albeit almost equal to or greater then the elves.
Still standing ,Pyren turned his attention back towards the Archmage and spoke to him.

Magi Azrael it puzzle's and vexes me that there are so few Sidhe present here, has the plight of the Sidhe been cast as was the Droben so long ago that the ancient texts of the prophet dictated their demise.

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~From the endless void we come, and blackness shall consume us. Time is the abyss and death has no meaning~
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Sun Mar 14, 2004 3:55 am
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Azrael waited as a few introductions made their way around. Some seemed tight lipped at the moment, but he knew primarily why, especially when concerning the Sidhe guests. They, like he, for the most part led solitary lives, not used to company. While this was a common trait in Sidhe, it had become even more pronounced as their numbers dwindled. Hearing Lord Pyren's question, Azrael decided it was time for him to speak once more.

Yes Pyren, as you can see the numbers are indeed few. However do not think us in the same lot as the slovenly and intellectually bereft Droben. As far as my opinion is concerned, they are no more than anotehr beastly creation in the same lot as lesser animals of this world such as cattle or lizards. If anything, they are a creation gone wrong, stuck somewhere in the evolutionary ladder between beast and intelligent life.

No, we are not dwindling because of any prophecy or edict of these so called gods of Maxim or their emmisaries, the only one of which I formally recognize being the Prophet Decae. Instead we Sidhe are disappearing due to our own lifestyles.
Pausing for a moment, he took a sip of wine and leaned forward to continue.

You see, there was a time when the Sidhe convened in this manner quite frequently. There were scheduled Congregations, including any and all Sidhe able to attend. These were mostly gala affairs allowing Sidhe to socialize with their brethern, perhaps finding a certain spellbook or artifact, or even a mate.

Then there was the Council. This Council was made up of the nine eldest Sidhe of the realm, they were the Vetus, and six of the younger generation called the Juvin. This Council dealt primarily with the Art, or magic. Here decisions were made concerning the allowing or disallowing of spells to be taught to apprentices, validating and confirming tomes and texts, cataloging magical artifacts and weapons, and even setting a course outline that Masters would follow in training their apprentices.

Ever since the migration from the old world for some of us, these traditions were lost. The native Sidhe kin of Maxim had no structure as those of us from the old world had. None of us had considered trying to organize this native population, for we expected more of our kin from the old world to find their way here. Unfortunatly not many survived the cataclysm. Those of us here found ourselves caught up in this world's politics. First drawn into a war of prophets for a supposed god named Celan. Then some were involved in the quest for the tome now known as the Tismad, which gave us our current supposed deities and the ensuing faith wars which followed. It seemed our thoughts for our own race had become clouded by, at the time, more urgent and closer to home events.

This brings me to the crux of why I called you all here. Our race is dying, not because we are hunted, but because we forgot our heritage. I am convinced there are more Sidhe upon Maxim, some native, some migrants from the old world, but I feel deep inside me that they are out there.

There are enough of us here to form a rudimentary council. Considering there are not as many as there once were, this Council could be as small as three members. Of course, it would only be wise that these members are voted in a democratic way, the only requirement I would impose is that those voted for must be the Sidhe age of maturity, that being 300 standard years old.

Please my friends, tell me what you think. I did not ask you here to hear myself talk.

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[center]
GM
[glow=#FFCC66]≈●§ÁØ●≈
We shall never rest[/glow]

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Sun Mar 14, 2004 6:12 pm
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In any great gathering, there are those who come only to linger in the glow of others. Unobtrusive, keeping silent and blending in. Wallflowers, some would call them. Reclusion came natural to some, and it was rare for those who were not themselves shy to understand the motivations behind those who were.

For her part, Visitor found that blending in came most naturally.

The journey had been a pleasant one, though she had begun with no particular destination in mind. Over the past months, she had made a point of avoiding civilization save where it was neccesary for her to do otherwise. It wasn't that she didn't like the amenities that came with such places, but the press of people was often too much for her comfort. The wilderness had it's own presense, but at least it was a quiet one compared to the constant motion of a city.

There had been no path, per se, but the mountains had proven surprisingly agreeable.

Silvery claws flexed on her shoulder a bit, and she reached up to run a gentle hand over a platinum plume. She had encountered the bird in a high pass, and it's company became a sort of comfort on the long walk. There didn't seem to be much of a reason for it, but she didn't ask for one.

They were standing in the trees now, within sight of the gazebo where the various Sidhe were gathering. Curiosity drove her forward now, as it always did in places like this. It was quiet, for a place bearing signs of people. There weren't the throngs that went with most habitations, but there were people here.

She crept forwards. Anyone who happened to be looking for such things would have said she went under a spell at that point, although historically few had. It was nothing so complex as a wizard might produce, for one thing. She didn't blend in with the walls, or turn invisible. She didn't melt into shadows, or anything really dramatic like that. She simply became the sort of thing you didn't bother seeing. A servant, perhaps, or a simple peasant.

The bird with the silver feathers stayed in the trees for the moment, occasionally catching a sparkle of light through the branches. It knew not to attract attention to her now.

She got to the gazebo and knelt beneath the level of the deck just in time to hear Azrael's last words. By now she knew enough of the language to know what he'd said, and she wondered what exactly she'd missed...
[center]~~~~~
When I was eight I had a friend, with a pirate's smile...
Make-believe, and play-pretend we were innocent and wild...

~Cyndi Lauper, Sally's Pigeons[/center]


Mon Mar 15, 2004 1:26 am
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Toph listened to the others introducing themselves around him, and tried his hardest to come up with something suitable to say about himself. It wasnt often that you were asked to tell beings who would live much longer than any marker you could possibly mention to talk of your origins and current abode. What should he say? Should he speak of his home, deep in the forests on the eastern side of Tonan? Should he speak of his membership and recent leadership of the silly group of friends who searched incessantly for their Rods?
No... Toph realized that all of those things, while important at the moment, were not what the Sidhe needed or wanted to know about. They, in fact, likely knew that already, and if not, he was sure Nagash would inform them shortly. No, what the Sidhe wanted would be something different. Toph's life story, summarized, or something. Then Toph had it.

"Good day to you all. My name is Toph, and I am one of the youngest Sidhe born in Mo'Pri to arrive in these lands, having just reached my age of Maturity a few short decades before the cataclysm forced us to leave. In the time since, I have made my home in the forest glades. It is good to meet all of you, at last."

Toph listened as Azrael spoke, and sipped politely at the drink that was in front of him. It wasnt bad, really... just needed a little bit of currant in it. Toph indulged himself in a small spell that added the requisite flavor to the wine and sipped again. Perfect. Toph knew that some of the elder sidhe would have noticed his little trick, and shrugged to himself. What was raw power good for if, in using it, one forgot about the pleasures of life? That was one thing Toph had never understood about Azrael. For as long as he could remeber, the eldest Sidhe had kept in his tower, studying his magics. Toph knew that the Archmagus' skills came from such steadfast concentration, yet... Toph felt that it would be many a century before he would ever understand what would drive someone away from the world around him and into seclusion. Life was full of surprizes and choices, and despite Toph's knowledge of the cyclical nature and underlying patterns of life... it was still good to experience it first hand, with eyes open, and with a smile on his face.

Azrael finished speaking, and Toph signaled to be regognised. Rising to his feet, Toph began to speak.

" As I mentioned before, I do not remember much of Mo'Pri. After the centuries, I remember little of that place, both because I spent only a small fraction of my life there, and because of the pressures and frantic nature of this island."

Toph paused. There was a third reason why he did not recall much of Mo'Pri, but he was not about to share it with the others gathered here. In the tumultuous years following his parent's deaths in the crossing to Tonan, Toph had found an old book, and within it a spell of forgetfulness. Toph had been intruiged, and read the spell to see how it worked. As it turned out, it was your basic forget spell... the person casting the spell would not remember anything about a specific event or place. Toph, intruiged, and knowing, or at least thinking at the time, that he was only an elf, without any innate magic at all, decided to try the spell out. Whimsically, he had said "Mo' Pri" and then began to chant the spell. When he came to, the book was a pile of ashes, and Toph could only remember fragments of his past homeland.
Again, not something the others needed to know about... it was a bit embarassing.

"As such, I cannot recall any such meetings, likely because I was under the requisite age to attend them. I do, however, believe that a more regular gathering of us few remaining Sidhe is vital to our survival. However, even this will not be enough."

Toph glanced around the assembled people.

"As one of my pasttimes, I have dutifully examined the wildlife around my castle for the past millenia or so. And all populations seem to have a point that they reach, after which there is no return to a viable population.

We Sidhe passed that point long ago. There are what, a dozen of us left, in this room? and Did not Azrael send an invitation that would magically find Sidhe wherever they were? One Dozen... to revive an entire race."
Toph turned to look at Azrael.
"I hope, as fervently as you do, that perhaps there do exist more Sidhe on this island, that merely did not care to come to our gathering, and I hope that, one day, we can find them and restore our race to a healthy number. However, we must also speak of something else at this meeting: how do we wish to be remembered by the world, when each and every one of us succum to Death's patient hand?

I personally want to know what the youngest among us have to say on this issue, for, odds have it, they will be the last ones on the island, or if not that, they at least do not have their minds clouded-." Toph paused... clouded wasnt the word he wanted to use... "-filled with memories of the past. They, as with all races, are our future, whether we accept that or not."

Toph's gaze fell on Mede, and he watched the girl for a few seconds. What was her story? Toph was eager to find out.

Turning back to Azrael, Toph bowed.
"In this I must disagree with you, Eldest. I believe that any should be allowed to be a part of this council. While some may see their insights as childish, perhaps their simple approaches ot the situations we face will be just what we need to follow the correct path. Thank you."

Toph nodded and sat down, waiting for another to speak.

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The "EpiToph of Faith" ~Nagash


Mon Mar 15, 2004 2:38 am
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