To the lands beyond the Rhine.   Posted by Ben.Group: 0
Topaz
 player, 23 posts
Sat 4 Jul 2020
at 04:13
Journey to the Court of the Black Forest Elves
Topaz rises the Queen does, standing in respect.  He gives a slight, rather formal bow though he keeps his regard to her at all moments.  "Rest well, Majesty.  It has been our finest pleasure to attend you this even.  We shall await eagerly the opportunity to ply our craft for your amusement and entertainment," he says in his mellifluous baritone.

Waiting until the Queen has departed, the Faun finds his way to speak quietly with Alayna apart from the earshot of others, offering only a tiny bit of Fey wisdom.  "Go mindfully, miss, the moss in the garden shall be soft and the young gentleman mayn't yet know his own blood is running high," he says softly before drifting away again, melting back into the murmuring conversation of the evening.
Nwofia Barandi
 player, 125 posts
 Acrobat, Actress and
 A Living Surprise
Sat 4 Jul 2020
at 10:01
Journey to the Court of the Black Forest Elves
Nwofia too curtseyed, low enough for her forehead to brush the ground, although this is of course less impressive for an acrobat than for most.  She doesn't stay down but rises again, standing at attention until the Queen is gone.
Siankiir
 player, 3 posts
 Oh, just an elf
Sat 4 Jul 2020
at 12:28
Journey to the Court of the Black Forest Elves
In the back of the gathering, one young elf could only sigh wistfully at the tale the old fox spun of lands beyond the Black Forest.  And these people!  These strange, strange people!  What had they seen and experienced already in their short lives?

Another sigh escaped her throat, eliciting a look of dismay from a matronly looking elf next to her.  "These fantasies are not for us, child.  Best you remember that..."

Siankiir only bowed her head sadly.  "I know, Mother...I know..."
Tahra
 player, 121 posts
Sat 4 Jul 2020
at 15:29
Journey to the Court of the Black Forest Elves
Tahra starts walking here and there. PM
Alayna
 player, 132 posts
 Half Elf Equestrian
 Comely and young
Tue 7 Jul 2020
at 04:51
Journey to the Court of the Black Forest Elves
Frowning slightly, Alayna nodded to Topaz. In many ways, it was a teenager nodding to a parent and not fully understanding. "Of course, I shall be careful," she stated solemnly.

She turned and accompanied her elven companion. "I can't wait to see everything you want to show me," she stated, taking his hand. "I'm so excited. And I thank you for taking me here. I still hope to find my family. But this is good enough for now. And... I love being here with you," she added with a blush.
Nwofia Barandi
 player, 126 posts
 Acrobat, Actress and
 A Living Surprise
Tue 7 Jul 2020
at 13:34
Journey to the Court of the Black Forest Elves
Nwofia cocks her head to one side, watching Siankiir's mother and wondering to herself whether Siankiir needs rescuing in some way. It seems entirely possible.  She didn't look like a child but understood that elves took longer to reach adulthood.  She wondered whether that was exactly the truth.  Perhaps adulthood came when the elven child learns to escape the oppressive hand of an overbearing parent.  She keeps wanting and keeps thinking and considers who to ask.

Topaz of course, her favourite dancing partner.  She asked him although 'of course' the question was entirely hypothetical.
Marcos Conner Esher
 player, 54 posts
 confuse the senses
 confound the logical mind
Tue 7 Jul 2020
at 14:32
Journey to the Court of the Black Forest Elves
Marcos had remained quiet in the back standing more so that he could see, but no less out of respect either.

He was enraptured by the tales told in vivid detail by the fox. By the time he stopped imagining the vistas surrounding the waterfall...the queen had already left.

He had much to think about, and much planning for tomorrow's performance.
Ben
 GM, 142 posts
 Your Master of Ceremonies
Fri 10 Jul 2020
at 02:39
Journey to the Court of the Black Forest Elves
Tahra works her way up a tree.  It's easier that she expected- the trees here have been used as "home" for centuries, as Elves often do wherever they've lived for a long time.  There are stairs, spiraling around the trunk, extending upwards along major branches, here and there suspended by ropes.  The wood isn't "regular" in appearance, it hasn't been cut to precise sizes.  The Black Forest Elves seem to prefer the look of nature.

In short order Tahra, and her faithful companion bird, have found a good viewing spot, a platform that might have been placed here for that purpose.  A few other platforms are higher up, but this one has a clear view of sky, and the others are apparently occupied by Elves who are drifting away from the main gathering now that Vulenk has told his story.

Some are still left, as Elves often stay up late, and the conversations take some time to fizzle out.  Irkayo is slightly but not greatly surprised that Alayna hasn't shied away, even when he told her he could not travel on.  One does not simply disappear from one's home on a lark, like that.

"I will save the gardens for tomorrow, they are better to see in the light," he says.  "For now, I will show you the watch towers.  It is good in starlight."

He knows that Tahra has gone up an inhabited tree, but not far are trees that were set up as defenses, with platforms and catwalks interconnected, so that Elves could move around and attack invaders on the ground below.  They haven't been used for that purpose in many years.  Now, sometimes this forest skyway is used as an "exhibit space" by Elven artisans, and there is traffic during the day.  At night, there is nothing.  Those Elves who are awake and looking for "something interesting" have converged on the strangers, leaving this area empty.  The platforms and catwalks are placed with care, and the forest carefully groomed to allow long views from platforms- good for archers, and also good for just looking over the forest and sky.

"If Elves do not have a family, we adopt," he says to Alayna as they climb into the trees.  "Everyone must have a family.  I do not know of any Half Elves here.  But I think we could convince the Queen to allow you to become one of us.  It is not impossible.  Something for you to think about.  This is a good place."


Vulenk decides to wander off himself- though he's never been clear on where he spends the night.  Do magic foxes bother with dens?  Little house in the woods, like in the storybooks?
But the fox has remarkable ears, and simply cannot resist a remark to the older Elf woman with Siankiir:  "Well played, madam.  Forbidding a fantasy to a youngster is the very best way to get them to pursue it!  You are a clever one!"


Those who are with the Argentos thing know one thing is certain:  eventually, Celeste Argentos will come looking for them, as the daughter of the Argentos's tends to be the one to make sure that everyone is together, no one missing, and everyone getting ready for the next day.
Topaz
 player, 24 posts
Fri 10 Jul 2020
at 04:13
Journey to the Court of the Black Forest Elves
Topaz does, indeed, dance with Nwofia, as graceful a partner as one might imagine.  Whether the music is staccato and percussive or sweeping and moody, the Faun is a fine partner.  Evening is a liminal time, with day yielding to the night, yet the exact moment of occurrence remains indefinable.  He finds this to his liking.

Since there is no music save the awakening of evening, the bard takes a moment to let his Fey-born vanity play itself out over the mostly deserted courtyard.  "A moment, if I may," he says to Nwofia, before calling his doppelgänger into being a short distance away.  The seeming smiles, then seats itself and picks up a lively, but easy evening tune on a multi-stringed, bowed instrument, perfect for an easy gamboling dance.

He returns his attention to Nwofia, giving an elegant bow, as much so as he gave the Elven queen so shortly before.  For the Faun, this moment in the heart of Elven lands, Nwofia and dance are the center of all things.  ""Mi'lady, wouldst dance?  I would most honored."
Tahra
 player, 122 posts
Fri 10 Jul 2020
at 05:46
Journey to the Court of the Black Forest Elves
DRAFT

Tahra sits while Klimmin, the bat, finds happy hunting. The moon is new. First looking for the planets, she find Venus near the western horizon. Jupiter is ascendant. The stars shine with scarcely a twinkle; the air seems stiller in this elven land. As she watches, she sees no cloud except, maybe, there are low clouds&perhaps just a haze—where sky meets earth to the southeast.  Slowly Tahra lets peace enter into her. She lies down; she sees a shooting star from the south. Watching, she sees another. Later, a third. The fourth she does not see, for she sleeps...deep, even breaths. Klimmins flutters down to rest on her hip.
Siankiir
 player, 4 posts
 Oh, just an elf
Sat 11 Jul 2020
at 20:38
Journey to the Court of the Black Forest Elves
For a heartbeat, Siankiir allowed herself to hope that maybe, just maybe Vulenk could get through to her mother.

But the look Ualiar gave the wily old fox could chill a hot spring.

"I," began Ualiar in a crisp tone, "have already lost my heart-sworn to that world.  The older elf bristled.  "I will not lose my only child as well.  Look to your own kin, elder fox..."

Siankiir cast her eyes away from her mother.  She knew the rant well enough.  Taken by neither illness nor enemy, her sire abandoned Ualiar while she was with child.  It seemed more and more that Siankiir's purpose was to serve as a bitter reminder of that erstwhile father.

...if I remind you so much of him, then you should let me leave so I don't keep disappointing you anymore...  The sentiment remained unspoken.  Siankiir lacked the arcane aptitude that many of her people (including Ualiar) possessed.  Nor did she have the archery skills that one would expect from an elf.  Passable in melee, but really, among her kind, Siankiir may as well be a fallen leaf from a tree.  Unnoticeable...

Instead, Siankiir's violet gaze followed the two of the strangers as they danced.  The faun was impressive enough, but the human woman with the odd skin was what enraptured her.  Skin as dark as life-giving soil, the woman danced with a vitality that Siankiir never would have expected from a human.  Perhaps that was a talent from being a short-lifer:  Dance as if every day could be your last.
Nwofia Barandi
 player, 127 posts
 Acrobat, Actress and
 A Living Surprise
Sat 11 Jul 2020
at 20:54
Journey to the Court of the Black Forest Elves
In reply to Topaz (msg # 242):

Nwofia curtseys, a gesture that is full of grace, formal and yet loaded with erotic possibilities, although it is not clear whether it is meant for Topaz or for others who may be watching.  "The honour would be mine Sir Topaz, let us indeed dance." Without music she let her feet beat the ground in a stately rhythm. She crossed her arms loosely before and beneath her breasts while her palms and her fingers beat two more, different beats in counterpoint and syncopated counterpoint to the rhythm of her feet, bringing together a whole, complex rhythm unlikely to have been heard north of the Middle Sea before. She smiled at Topaz, inviting him to copy the rhythm so that she could release her hands and dance.

Once the two of them were dancing to this exotic rhythm, she moved in time and countertime with Topaz' feet occasionally coming close to ask her question or to breathe hot breath against his ear, or to touch, or not to touch, communicating such touches and such non-touches to the elves around, wondering how they would interpret the dance.

"Does the young elf need rescuing?" she asks, "And is it something we should do, even if she does?"
Alayna
 player, 133 posts
 Half Elf Equestrian
 Comely and young
Sat 11 Jul 2020
at 22:05
Journey to the Court of the Black Forest Elves
Alayna climbed with Irkayo, sad that he couldn't continue with her, but determined to spend as much time with him as she could. She marveled at the trees, the pathways, everything about the city. But too, she remembered the Queen's words, about the Elves of the mountains, and her own silvery hair that might be a clue to her true home.

"I am sure that your Queen is very generous, and that she might allow me to stay. But..." she sighed. "I love my travels, and the show, and my horse. I do not think I could leave them, just yet. Which..." She took his arm with her hand as they reached their destination. "I do not wish to leave you. We have just met, after all. If... I mean, when I leave, might you... might you want to see me if I come back?"

It truly didn't still occur to her that he could wait years and it would be little to him, where her years passed more quickly. And she had the anxiousness of a teenager, who saw years as things that were a very long way away.
Topaz
 player, 25 posts
Sun 12 Jul 2020
at 11:38
Journey to the Court of the Black Forest Elves
Ambiguity is a fine enough state of affairs, one that suits the Faun just fine.  He follows the intricate rhythm through the percussion of hooves against the earth.  The seeming that he's called twines melody into the rhythm, an wild desert wind skirling over desert sands and bare stone.  He plays of wide rivers, flocks of ibis of blue and red and white and grey, and of broad sandy plains baked in a heat of the southern sun.

While the seeming plays, the Faun dances alongside Nwofia, tapping out his own staccato beat in echo to hers.  Perhaps his dancing suffers a bit for all that he's tending the seeming that accompanies their dancing.  Still, he's the consummate partner, as intimate in his brief touches to support her at movements as if she were the sea he the shore.

Soon enough, the music of his seeming concludes and the Faun leads her to pause in the pas-de-deux.  To her whisper, he replies lowly in his rich baritone, "Taking one's first step away from home is often longer than journeying the remainder of a lifetime.  She'll have to find her own path, I think."

In any case, Topaz is not entirely free to act here.  Though he's come as a performer rather than embassy, the two roles are never entirely separate for him.  Further, he recognizes the role of provocateur the fox plays, often playing it himself on behalf of his court, but intervening here would be a deep breach of the gift of hospitality his folk and the Elves have long extended to one another.  He bows to his partner slightly, offering his hand.  "Shall we stroll and take the night air?"
Nwofia Barandi
 player, 128 posts
 Acrobat, Actress and
 A Living Surprise
Sun 12 Jul 2020
at 11:53
Journey to the Court of the Black Forest Elves
Nwofia nods and takes Topaz' hand, ready for that stroll and hoping for somewhere to talk more quietly.
Ben
 GM, 143 posts
 Your Master of Ceremonies
Tue 14 Jul 2020
at 01:13
Journey to the Court of the Black Forest Elves
Elven family relationships are much more complex than Human ones.  This is especially true with the Black Forest Elves, where a small population and the Queen's policy of switching consorts regularly has linked up most of the Elves in a tangled web.  Their long lives play a role.  For a Human family, four generations alive at the same time is a rare event.  For Elves, it is common, and five and six are common as well, and even more.  What's more, the Elves do not decline quickly with the passage of time, so that while Human great grandparents can be expected to be in the twilight of their years, Elven great grandparents, and their parents and grandparents, are still in the prime of health.

So it is that for Human, the Parent-Child relationship changes when Grandparents are around, and generally in the favor of the Child.  For Elves, with ancestors four more generations back being present to lend their advice (asked or not) the relationship is a delicate dance of balancing centuries of family sensibilities.  From an Elf point of view, a Human family exists in a simplified social vacuum.  For Elves, a jungle.

Every Elf learns, sooner or later:  Nothing is ever truly over, because there are always more family members with opinions to consider.

Most Elves learn, it becomes all too difficult to track, best to just go with what custom teaches.  Irkayo falls into this category.  Tradition is not to be questioned.
Tradition says, when there is no reason not to, then live in the moment.  And Alayna clearly understands the situation.

"When you come back I will still be here," Irkayo says to Alayna.  "I am not going anywhere."

He gestures to the network of catwalks and platforms through the trees.

"When this place was made," he tells her, "it was thought, if the Elves of the region were ever in great threat, we would gather here to make our stand.  So it was made to be home to all of us, when we needed it.  Most of it isn't used.  If you don't want to go back to your camp, there is room enough here.  We could spend the night."

**** ***** *****

Meanwhile...

Celeste Argentos welcomes Marcos back to the camp.

"It's always like this with performers," she says.  "Strong willed.  Especially young ones.  It goes with the territory, I suppose.  If they weren't, they wouldn't be here.  They'd be home planting cabbages or something like that.  Not that... not that it's a bad thing to plant cabbages, if that's what you want to do.. I can't see it, though.

"My parents were talking about the show tomorrow.  And I told them what the Fox and the Elves were talking about.  Beings like Vulenk are very rare and very special.  They're old and wise like... well Elder Dragons would never admit it, but they don't have a monopoly on Wisdom.  He's trying to do something.  He needs the Elves to rekindle a desire to see the world.  I think it's more than just a whim.  The push is all too obvious, the motive is what he's keeping hidden. I really wish everyone was back, it's going to be a..an interesting day tomorrow."

**** ***** *****

Celeste wasn't the only one considering Vulenk's motive.  While Vulenk's plan wasn't deliberately aimed at Siankiir, her mother knew it might well have been, because young Elves sometimes take a long time to subdue the sense of wanderlust that tempts them to leave home.

Siankiir is reminded that Black Forest Elves are few.  The whole population of the Black Forest could be housed in a Human city, though surely they would have it.  And Human cities were so many, no one could name them all.  That is why the Black Forest Elves lived here and protected their homes and their ways fiercely.  Unlike the innumerable Humans, there was no second choice for them.  If they didn't hold this one place, they'd have nothing, and their legacy would vanish.

They can hear a few other Elves debate this, as the other Elves are leaving, trickling away into the night.  Everyone knows the Fox's intent.  It was clear.

But Why?
Marcos Conner Esher
 player, 55 posts
 confuse the senses
 confound the logical mind
Tue 14 Jul 2020
at 14:44
Journey to the Court of the Black Forest Elves
Marcos finished his current preparations and put his tools away. He left vague instructions for his mechanical friend to fold and lay out costumes for the next days performances.

Then headed to Celeste Argentos' location.
tis a fine evening and the hospitality is not what I expected while visiting nobility and royalty. But I am sure you did not have small talk o. Your mind.

Did you have some ideas on how I can add to the performances tomorrow morning?


Marcos had been telling his companions and fellow preformers that there was more he could do to support each of the preformers in thier performances. He hoped that this would lead to some truly spectacular and collaboration.
Topaz
 player, 26 posts
Wed 15 Jul 2020
at 21:50
Journey to the Court of the Black Forest Elves
In reply to Nwofia Barandi (msg # 248):

Topaz takes Nwofia's offered hand and leads her in his best promenade fashion along the shadowed ways, enjoying the dappling of moonlight that leaks through the trees.  He regards Nwofia, pricking ears neither entirely caprine nor humanoid along with his gaze.  In his mellifluous baritone, he asks, "What shall we discuss, Nwofia?  Elves and their reluctance to wander, tomorrow's performance, Vulenk the Fox, or perhaps the beauty of stars and moonlight on the moss?"

While they walk onward easily together, the Faun falls into silence, listening to the night, the sounds of their footfalls, and Nwofia's breathing.  While he says nothing, his tail wags occasionally in syncopated and broken rhythm behind him.

This message was last edited by the player at 21:53, Wed 15 July 2020.

Ben
 GM, 144 posts
 Your Master of Ceremonies
Thu 16 Jul 2020
at 01:09
Journey to the Court of the Black Forest Elves
"I'm supposed to keep my ideas out of it," Celeste says with a slightly annoyed shrug.  "Too composed, too classical, those were my father's words.  Not exactly.  He didn't say 'too', he implied it.  He said we should go far from what the Elves know, and the Elves know composed and classical.  I think... he is going to want to center things around Nwofia, because she is the most exotic person we have.  From the Elf point of view.  You would be exotic if we were performing for the Franks, so would Topaz, but here... Elves have seen Gnomes, and Fauns.  So it's Nwofia at center stage."

Celeste looks off into the forested distance and adds, "She should be back.  They're not children, I'm not going to go fetch them."

Through it all, Marcos's Golem Assistant Jolo has been quietly working.  All of Marcos's clothing is clean and neatly folded...again... and Jolo seems extraordinarily proud of it.
Alayna
 player, 134 posts
 Half Elf Equestrian
 Comely and young
Thu 16 Jul 2020
at 01:34
Journey to the Court of the Black Forest Elves
Alayna looked at the pretty lights below, the stars above, then to Irkayo.

"I... I should go back, but I do not wish to. Yes, I would like... like to stay," she stated, blushing.
Nwofia Barandi
 player, 129 posts
 Acrobat, Actress and
 A Living Surprise
Thu 16 Jul 2020
at 11:30
Journey to the Court of the Black Forest Elves
Nwofia walked beside Topaz through the highways and byways, the holloways and shadow ways around the village, hand in hand and enjoying silence until at last she said, "All of those things we should discuss although I meant the reluctance of elves to leave.  Surely that makes them vulnerable?"
Siankiir
 player, 5 posts
 Oh, just an elf
Thu 16 Jul 2020
at 12:43
Journey to the Court of the Black Forest Elves
They said nothing, mother and daughter, on the way back to their home.  Neither reassurances that she was only concerned for her child's welfare nor hollow promises that the younger would acquiesce to her parent's wisdom.

Something was in the air.  Both Siankiir and Ualiar knew it -- and neither wanted to tip their hand.
Marcos Conner Esher
 player, 56 posts
 confuse the senses
 confound the logical mind
Thu 16 Jul 2020
at 14:57
Journey to the Court of the Black Forest Elves
Marcos looked pensive for a moment. Then asked Celeste...

Well I have a few ideas that could be interesting. Some are not composed, some are classical, neither are both and a few are neither.

One direction would use bending and twisting the perception of reality. Traveling into the twilight zone. Where all tethers to reality fall away.

Another direction would be shocking and abrasive, it is more appropriate for the working class.

Topaz
 player, 27 posts
Fri 17 Jul 2020
at 02:22
Journey to the Court of the Black Forest Elves
A stroll through a lovely place is a worthwhile reason to go walking all of its own.  Topaz is quite happy to walk along with Nwofia.  When she presents her topic, though, he pauses, thoughtful.  "In some ways, it might. In others not so much, perhaps."

He's uncertain how much she knows about the Elves, the special magics they create and protect, their ways of life.  He's not even really sure where to start, but he gives it a go.  "The Elves, well, they live very long lives.  That's the most obvious thing.  If we were to meet everyone here, we'd likely meet someone who remembers when Romans first came into Gaul, or met Gaius Julius of the Caesarii in person.  The Queen, well, she may be old enough herself to recall the time of Alexander.  It's not polite to ask."

"To most people," the Faun says a mite sadly, "those are things from an almost mythic time.  To the Elves, those things, and the collapse of their lands to the forest we're in now happened in just a couple of generations.  Humans scare them a bit, you see.  You move so quickly and change the world at such a dazzling pace.  Languages, gods, cultures, magics all rise, age, and die ... and are replaced multiple times in less than one of their lifetimes.  This causes many to have sort of a depression about existing, ennui, if you will.  When it hits one of them terribly, they will show age like any being.  How long one of them might live without such concerns is anyone's guess."

He adds, "They also have very few children any given handful of years.  Any child among them is ... exceedingly ... precious.  The older Elves who remember what came before fear the loss of every child.  There are less every generation and they don't know how to stop that, so they've retreated here to at least slow the dwindling."

Topaz has grown quiet through the course of his short monologue, introspective perhaps.  The topic touches all too closely to home for him.  Great and precious things eons old had been lost irrecoverably in the last few decades, replaced by things new and uncertain.  "It's not my place, here and now at least, to convince a parent to release her child, nor the child to disobey her parent," he says somewhat wisfully.  "That, I think, has already been decided.  There is another question one might wonder at.  Why did the Queen, in her wisdom, bring the outside world in?  She's knows it will cause the change her folk have so long been avoiding.  Maybe that's something we can speak to in our performance?"
Ben
 GM, 145 posts
 Your Master of Ceremonies
Sun 19 Jul 2020
at 23:53
Journey to the Court of the Black Forest Elves
"I'm sure my parents will be planning something, they'll probably have a discussion tomorrow about the show, and get our ideas together," Celeste tells Marcos.

Eventually, she went back to her wagon because she understood that being well rested was important.  She hoped the others would reach the same conclusion... but "show people" were of their own minds.  No use trying to herd them in.

But the following day is in a new thread:  Performance for the Elf Queen