The Baiovari.   Posted by Ben.Group: 0
Topaz
 player, 59 posts
Wed 27 Jan 2021
at 20:22
Music in the Wood
Though he's not seen the Rheinfall before, at least that he can recall from this life or another, the Faun recognizes the sound of it at once.  He'd played a longer version of it sitting on a bucket in the forest the night before the troupe had performed for the Queen of the Elves.  Such is nature of his gifts, unpredictable in both their frequency and clarity.

Looking on the children at play, the spray, the mist, as well as hearing the roar of the falls, Topaz is struck by the musical intensity of it all.  He knows this tune intimately, though he's only ever played it's theme.  Children aside, the Faun is moved by the spectacle of the falls themselves.

Topaz closes his eyes and listens, the music of wind and water on stone, of sunlight shining broken to sparkling through them all.  Without speaking, he retrieves his fiddle and plays.  While he has other instruments and his voice, he's best able to express the moment with bow and fingers on strings.  He plays slowly as water above the falls, through the rapids, the cascade itself as it crashes divided over unyielding stone, the swirling pool below, and the return of the river to a single flow as it continues onward.

He never plays tentatively, but the first time through the piece is abbreviated, less ornamented than subsequent repetitions.  Each time the music rises above the falls, then rushes through and becomes the Rhein again, it is ornamented differently, speaking of sunlight, of a particular tree growing obstinately in rocks in the river, or of kinder playing in the swirling pool at its feet.

It's a time before Topaz emerges from his reverie.  "I've seen the Rhein before, but never the Falls.  This moment itself is worth a five movement suite.  You've a lovely home.  It is little wonder the children are happy at play."

In that moment, the Faun looks wistful.  He'll have to leave this lovely place for others, but these falls, stunning as they are, are not his cynosure, only the music of them shared with others.  While Topaz is not, many Fey are placebound, existing so long as their focus exists, be it a waterfall, a mountain range, a leaf, or the frost on a window in winter.  He's always worried about his folk taking human children among them, concerned about the loss of wonder it can bring with it.

He asks wistfully, "Will they age here, these children?  Will they be happy as they do?  Will your own children remain so should their playmates age beyond them and dwindle?"

Topaz fears however the troupe acts, whatever the outcome, whatever they do may cause as much harm as it helps.  Children longing for the Fey world they've lost and might never have again, Fey folk bound by Human suffering, sickness, and aging.  Folk lost in the reverie of Fey magics are as likely to become great artists, poets, or performers as to simply die of ennui.  A Faun, such maudlin thoughts are nearly painful for him, still, they bear consideration.
Nwofia Barandi
 player, 170 posts
 Acrobat, Actress and
 A Living Surprise
Wed 27 Jan 2021
at 21:25
Music in the Wood
Nwofia nods.  "They are beautiful these children.  All of them.  Like the Children of the Tuareg playing with dust devils in the Great Sand Sea."  She sighs, listening with Topaz to the music and imagining how she would dance to such music.  There was a wrong done here and she can think of no way that wrong could be made right.

At least not yet.  She will continue to play the possibilities over in her mind.
Ben
 GM, 198 posts
 Your Master of Ceremonies
Mon 8 Feb 2021
at 20:48
Music in the Wood


"They will age here," Adagia says.  "In this place, worlds overlap, and they still live in the world you know.  They might age slower, because not all of there being is still there, but enough is real as they have known it.  Despite the stories, we have no great need to spirit humans away.  We have no wish for slaves.

"But I think this world will touch them.  I hope, in a good way.  They might long for it, this is true, but there might be just enough of that to drive them to become poets, or heroes.  Maybe wizards one day."

"Their memories will be clouded, but they cannot be erased," Nakkod says.  "For good or ill, what has been done has been done.  It will live with them, and the longer they stay, the stronger it will be."

"It can be a force for good," Adagia says hopefully.

"Or it might turn on us one day," Nakkod says.  "We do not know our fates, or theirs.  But do you accept our offer?  Then, at least, they are returned to their homes."
Tahra
 player, 163 posts
Mon 8 Feb 2021
at 23:26
Music in the Wood
Tahra offers her willingness. Whatever the circumstances, I'm willing to stand before these dwarves.
Nwofia Barandi
 player, 171 posts
 Acrobat, Actress and
 A Living Surprise
Tue 9 Feb 2021
at 00:07
Music in the Wood
"I was born to perform. Of course I will stand before the dwarves."
Alayna
 player, 167 posts
 Half Elf Equestrian
 Comely and young
Tue 9 Feb 2021
at 03:04
Music in the Wood
"I agree to these most fair terms. I will stand to perform before dwarves," Alayna stated. She turned her head to smile at Topaz, appreciating him standing with her.

This message was last edited by the player at 02:44, Wed 17 Feb 2021.

Siankiir
 player, 43 posts
 Oh, just an elf
Thu 11 Feb 2021
at 14:24
Music in the Wood
Siankiir merely nodded as she pulled herself up to her feet.  The decision was not hers to make as the troupe seemed hellbent to perform for someone.  Still, should things turn sour whether with the fey or the dwarves, she needed to be ready to defend the others.

Entertainers were strange folk indeed.
Ben
 GM, 199 posts
 Your Master of Ceremonies
Thu 11 Feb 2021
at 16:53
Music in the Wood
From the point of view of the river Fey, getting to those Dwarves is easy.

"Not far upriver lies the Dwarven outpost of Tasgaetium.  From there, the river becomes a lake, the great Lake Brigantius. The Dwarves live along the banks.  It is a beautiful lake, but the Dwarves have never been... comfortable... with us."

And by "not far" they do, of course, mean "along the Rhine river".

But the problem at this point, which seems to have escaped Nakkod and Adagia entirely (perhaps they don't even know) is that the performers do not travel around merely by walking, and not alone.  There is a whole caravan waiting back in the settlement.   And while they can walk along the bank of the Rhine, the land seems entirely too rough and roadless to permit the passage of the caravan.

There is certainly no sign of any old Roman road here.   And if the Romans missed a route along a river side, it could not have been accidental.  Very likely, it is simply impassable for wagons along the river here.
Topaz
 player, 60 posts
Wed 17 Feb 2021
at 01:51
Music in the Wood
The deep forest itself gives Topaz few concerns.  Forests and wooded slopes are those preferred by Fauns in general.  The river is fascinating, as well, and there's his composition in memory and honor of the Rhein itself.  Heading nearer its source will give him further opportunity and inspiration.

To his companions, he says easily, "We should send word that we'll be upstream a few days before we return."
Alayna
 player, 168 posts
 Half Elf Equestrian
 Comely and young
Wed 17 Feb 2021
at 02:46
Music in the Wood
"Aye. Mayhap I can run back? I can bring Angel and anyone else who wants to follow. I might be able to do that, and still meet you, if I am swift."
Siankiir
 player, 44 posts
 Oh, just an elf
Wed 17 Feb 2021
at 15:03
Music in the Wood
"What about the Six Heads?" asked Siankiir with some worry.
Nwofia Barandi
 player, 172 posts
 Acrobat, Actress and
 A Living Surprise
Wed 17 Feb 2021
at 15:07
Music in the Wood
"The six heads?" asks Nwofia.  "Did I miss something?" She was happy to go along with Topaz along the pathways of the Fey and hope that in the process, she didn't miss a century or two.
Tahra
 player, 164 posts
Thu 18 Feb 2021
at 02:57
Music in the Wood
I think we should proceed to the dwarves just as we are. Entertain them, yes...as we can or hope to; but it's also a plea and negotiation. This is one incident. The larger question is relationships between dwarves, fey,and humans.
Alayna
 player, 169 posts
 Half Elf Equestrian
 Comely and young
Thu 18 Feb 2021
at 04:10
Music in the Wood
Alayna's shoulders slumped. "I forgot about them. Well, I will perform anyway. I can do lots of tricks. I could do stuff with someone else if they want."
Ben
 GM, 200 posts
 Your Master of Ceremonies
Sun 21 Feb 2021
at 03:44
Music in the Wood
The "Six Heads", Siankiir may have missed but the character was there for the references, she would have remembered.   It is the hydra that patrols the woods between the human town and the Fey territory.  It is a fierce beast, but the Fey tolerate it.  First, it gives them some isolation.

Second and more importantly, for those that do intrude, it is a test of character.  How do they deal with it?

Do they seek to fight it?   That approach worries the Fey the most.  Anyone who can take on Six Heads and win is a dangerous force to be reckoned with.

Do they flee?  That solves the problem right there- the sanctity of their woods is preserved, and it took no effort at all.

Or do they get by through wit?  That is the sort of thing that impresses the Fey.  The decision by the characters not to fight Six Heads was part of winning the acceptance of the Fey folk here.

But one in and accepted, the issue of Six Heads is much simpler.  Nakkod and his companions can distract the creature rather easily.  They have had years to learn the ways of the beast, and though it is ferocious, it is rather stupid.  They know exactly how to steer it- Six Heads has become, in effect, their front door.  An illusion, a strange sound or two in the forest, and they can send it galumphing off in any direction they please.

If one of the characters is going back to tell the Argentoses of the delay, Nakkod will arrange for Six Heads to be suitably distracted for your going and return.

But how much to tell the Argentoses?  The whole story?
Ben
 GM, 201 posts
 Your Master of Ceremonies
Sun 28 Feb 2021
at 17:07
Music in the Wood
To move things along...

We shall assume, at this point, that Alayna returned to the Argentoses, explained (to whatever degree she chose) the situation, and then returned the group here.

The Argentoses were curious, of course.  It's not normal for their performers to request a special diversion like this.  On the other hand, it's for a good cause.  And it would take a long time for the caravan to work its way around, as no road follows the Rhine River.

On the third hand... what if something happens to them?  They just couldn't let their stars go off like that, in the face of whatever it is out there.

"I should go, these are my performers, my mess they got themselves into," Argentos said.

"These are Fey and there are Fey rules, and.. well not so much rules as understandings," Hylensia said.  "What they said they would do they must do, they must take the lead.  If you go, you will be telling them what they ought to do.. you may not even do so consciously, but they might look to you for guidance and you will give it.  But this is their challenge now and not yours.  Do not give they Fey a loophole."

Argentos nodded... and pondered.

"I'll go with them, not to lead the way but to... watch out for them."  It was Celeste, their daughter, the one who always sought to bring grace and refinement into her music, but more often acted as scheduler, organizer, and general wrangler for the cast.

Hylensia sighed.  "What I said to Argentos would go doubly for you, Celeste.  You cannot lead them.  And you are.. a natural interventionist."

"They usually ignore me anyway.  I know.  I just think we need keep a hand in this, because it would be wrong not to."

Celeste was known for having certain ideas about right and wrong.

"You be very careful," Hylensia said.

Celeste, being Celeste, made sure they were well supplied- she packed up what food she and Alayna could carry, a heavy burden, but to be distributed among the others as soon as they could.

The Fey folk kept Six Heads well distracted with annoying sounds and images, and so it was that Alayna returned, with agreement that they rest of the troupe would entertain in the Baiovari village for a few days while this group went on their mission- with Celeste in the role of general helper and advisor and "pack mother" and most certainly not leader.
Nwofia Barandi
 player, 174 posts
 Acrobat, Actress and
 A Living Surprise
Sun 28 Feb 2021
at 17:20
Music in the Wood
Nwofia stood at the beginning of the path, waiting patiently as the waters beneath the sands, as the ice in the mountains, as the cat that watches the swallow.  She held herself still in that patience and she waited until the party began to follow the path to the Dwarven camp.  Then she place one foot in front of another and walked and walked and kept walking until she, until ALL of them arrived.
Siankiir
 player, 45 posts
 Oh, just an elf
Sun 28 Feb 2021
at 21:44
Music in the Wood
Siankiir kept her position towards the front, in case of potential threats.  Her violet eyes carefully and constantly kept alert for any possible surprises.

"I know the language of the Dwarves.  Are any of you familiar with it as well?"  The elf said it not to brag, but rather if she had to gird herself to be interpreter again.
Nwofia Barandi
 player, 175 posts
 Acrobat, Actress and
 A Living Surprise
Sun 28 Feb 2021
at 21:48
Music in the Wood
Nwofia grinned at Siiankir. "No, sorry.  I'm a stranger to this continent."  Then she continued trudging along.
Topaz
 player, 61 posts
Mon 1 Mar 2021
at 21:29
Music in the Wood
Apologies, all.  I've been away unexpectedly for most of the last week with family in hospital and am taking a week away from work for my b'day this week.  I'll be about, but slow until next weekend/early next week.

In response to Siankiir, Topaz shakes his head and offers one of those smiles that warms some to their toes.  "I don't, beyond the odd oath or curse.  Most Dour Folk to manage well enough in Germanic, though.  The tongues're related."

While Alayna carries word to and from, the Faun falls into a bit of reverie over his homage to the Rhine.  He plays variations on the original theme, performs versions on fiddle, Syrinx, ocarina, and even harmonica.  He sings some and dances other parts, letting the rhythm and percussion of his hooves and movement over rocks speak of the rivers movements.  The bard even resorts to spoken word, declaiming in poetry and prose of a handful of tongues to the River.

He's no Fossergrim, and certainly not a Rheinmaiden, though.  To mortal ears his various efforts may capture the spirit of the river at a place or in a specific moment, to him it remains incomplete  There's some essence, the spiritus or Geist of the thing as a whole.  As yet, he's only managed to describe the great river through tiny glimpses.

As diverse and capable a performer as he is, none of it is written down.  While others may hear, it's to himself and the River he performs, a lover courting his paramour of the moment.  He throws himself into the effort with the heat and passion that perhaps only a Faun can manage.  While he hears the River in his music, he does not yet hear his music from the Rhein.  Only then will he know he has it right.
Alayna
 player, 170 posts
 Half Elf Equestrian
 Comely and young
Sun 14 Mar 2021
at 02:42
Music in the Wood
Alayna arrived, leading poor Angel, as the paths were not great for a ridden horse. But she was determined. She brought news, then set to amaze. She knew that the short folk were not horse riders, and she wanted to show them that what she did was not magic, but skill. Only in that would dwarves appreciate her show.

"I must be athletic, not simply agile. If I am not exhausted by the end, I have not done my job."

To that end, she prepared to do tumbling at the beginning, just to show her grace and strength. Only then would she mount Angel, but it would be to do more of the same, a small girl with a giant horse, working together.

She paused to speak to Topaz as he played. "Please, give me music to help me soar. This is so different. I want to show what I have practiced, the bare bones, not what I show when I fly and ride. I want them to see no magic, just what my little body can do."
Nwofia Barandi
 player, 176 posts
 Acrobat, Actress and
 A Living Surprise
Sun 14 Mar 2021
at 10:39
Music in the Wood
Nwofia needs no music written down but dances as Topaz plays, just as she would dance to the music of the shifting sands or the movement of the Great River or the roars of crocodiles and hippopotami.  Somehow though, she remains on the path even though with every step it seems she will lose it.
Tahra
 player, 165 posts
Sun 14 Mar 2021
at 19:17
Music in the Wood
Tahra walk along, paying just enough attention so she doesn't stumble. From he expression, she's deep in thought.
Ben
 GM, 202 posts
 Your Master of Ceremonies
Mon 15 Mar 2021
at 00:17
Music in the Wood
The trip is shorter than one might expect.  A narrow but fairly easy trail follows Rhine river, upstream from the falls, through forest that alternates between hilly and marshy.  The Fey folk have trails that keep away from the most impassable wetlands; letting you find them seems to be a privilege they have extended to you, otherwise the trip could easily and literally bog down.  But it's just a one day jaunt through the woods along the river.. in fact they find the Dwarves by mid afternoon.

At least, they find the fortified outpost of Tasgaetium.  It's not a city by any means.  It's an island in the Rhine, with a big stone tower and a bridge, and a little walled town on one side.

 But it's definitely Dwarves.

The difference in philosophy is evident.  The Fey hid with forests and magic and coopted other hazards, like Six Heads, to make life challenging for intruders.  Dwarves have a different approach:  heavy stone defenses, and every shrub and tree in the immediate area cleared to make nice, easy ranges for their heavy crossbows.

The Dwarves, many Humans know, were close allies of the Empire during those old days.  Dwarves liked the way the Empire had everything organized, they liked the way the Empire had ambitious construction plans, with roads and bridges.  It was a natural coming together.  Now, Dwarves have retreated behind their walls as Elves have into their forests.  Anyone approaching Tasgaetium would surely be seen by watching eyes behind the arrow slits in the stone.  It does not look like a welcoming kind of town.

You can also see a few boats on the river.  Downstream travel, for reasons of waterfall, is clearly out of the question, but the Dwarven strongholds lie upstream, especially along the shores of the great lake to the east.
Ben
 GM, 204 posts
 Your Master of Ceremonies
Mon 22 Mar 2021
at 00:45
Music in the Wood
From here we go to a new thread:  The Dwarves of Bodensee .


Bodensee is the archaic (Dwarven) name of Lake Constance.