To the lands beyond the Rhine.   Posted by Ben.Group: 0
Ben
 GM, 117 posts
 Your Master of Ceremonies
Mon 20 Jan 2020
at 01:51
Re: To the lands beyond the Rhine
Alayna talks to Elves...

"Then I will lead you to the Queen, by way of our trails... those big enough for your wagons, anyway.  We do not have these things.  They look like traveling houses!"

He introduces himself as Irkayo of the Sathower family.  "A very well respected family here," he says, "but also very large, and easy to get lost in.  There must be two hundred of us.  If you are an orphan and part Elf, it is possible this is your family too.  Many things happened during the wars.  It's been less than two years since the last battles, and like the marmots in winter, we haven't fully stuck our heads up yet to see what the world is like, so I want to hear the tales."

They talk a little while.   Like most of the young Black Forest Elves Irkayo Sathower has no fixed routine in his life.  Often he fishes, it's something he does well, and so he has gone to the shores of the Rhine and looked out across it.  He's been curious about the rest of the world.  The elder Elves, of course, don't like young Elves exploring.  They say they need everyone here to guard the forest, and it's dangerous.

"It can be dangerous, beyond our home," Irkayo says.  "Even on the edges.  The wars have left empty places, and these are soon filled."

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

Other Elves think it is odd to hear Escher describe his fellow Gnomes as old fashioned.

"the Tinker Gnomes old fashioned?" one Elf woman says, sounding shocked.  "How can that be, they are constantly unleashing new things upon the world, so many that it can be overwhelming."

"Not that we have them here," another Elf clarifies.  "Except a few things... the Golems, you have met.  But we hear the stories and there are occassional traders."

"I saw a musical... umm.... a device/." one older Elf says.  "A box that made music like little bells being struck, when you opened the lid.  Strange idea for a magical device.  If people had these things, would the young grow up not wanting to learn to make music of their own?  So many strange things the Gnomes make.  They are mysterious."

It gets later.  The Argentoses have no need to start dinner- the Elves provide food, they think it is part of what they are supposed to do.  Mostly, wild game and fish, and spring greens from the forest.  Bread is rare for them, they have no wheat fields.  But they do have some flat cakes baked from nut flour.

Hylensia reminds people, just because we have it easy this evening do not forget, we must pack up for a journey through forest.

"I wonder what the trail is like," she muses.  "I do hope not too rough for the wagons.  But then, if we are stuck here for repairs, the Elves seem friendly enough."
Tahra
 player, 103 posts
Mon 20 Jan 2020
at 05:45
Re: To the lands beyond the Rhine
In the meantime,  Klimmin is flitting, keeping the area bug-free.
Alayna
 player, 111 posts
 Half Elf Equestrian
 Comely and young
Thu 23 Jan 2020
at 05:31
Re: To the lands beyond the Rhine
Alayna found herself blushing with the attention from the (clearly, in her mind) older Elf. He was cute, as all Elves were, to her, and she couldn't help but wonder. But of course he could be her brother... or half brother... or cousin... or something.

"I would love to see your Sathower family. I truly know nothing of mine. I lived on the streets until I was an older girl, maybe seven or so, and then I was found by a kind woman who took me in before something truly bad happened. She let me live with horses and learn to ride and love them. My horse was raised from a colt. Angel is my love, and my joy."

He would have seen her tattoos, the vine and leaf designs on her shoulders and arms.

"I know other tricks, but I saved them. I am not as practiced, and did not want to slip in front of my own kin."

She nodded with his warnings, and made sure the younger ones heard her. "It is dangerous out there. I know. I am lucky to be here in this troup, with these wonderful people, who do not judge me and accept me."
Ben
 GM, 118 posts
 Your Master of Ceremonies
Mon 3 Feb 2020
at 01:54
Journey to the Court of the Black Forest Elves
When all are rested and all is ready, they prepare to depart, guided by the Elves, particularly Irkayo Sathower... though some of his interest in Alayna was taken down a notch or two when he realized just how young she actually is.  When the numbers all clicked in his head there was a sudden, unspoken, but evident "ummmm" moment, and Irkayao casually mentioned that he was 51 years old.

Years tend not to show on Elves.

On most Elves.  It is clear, as they are around Elves, that many do show the effects of time.

"Sometimes it is not the years, but sadness that is brought with them," Irkayo explains.  "Losses can accumulate with time, and that, more than the time itself, weighs on us.  So when you see a wrinkled and gray Elf, it is an Elf who has experienced much loss in life.  Myself, I have been fortunate.  Much better off than some."

The caravan is lined up for the departure.

The Golems appear to bid their goodbye.  This has been an extraordinary time for them, not in many years have they been appreciated and needed and put to work.  And never since they were made has one of them been healed.

They make a last request of Escher:  "Can you bring Jolo or Ino with you, or maybe both, and heal them as well?  They will want to come back, we were made for this place, but until then they will help you as you command them.  It would be better, to know they are with you and serving you, than to have them lying useless in the store room waiting for one like you to come this way again.  We have waited so very long."
Tahra
 player, 104 posts
Mon 3 Feb 2020
at 03:56
Journey to the Court of the Black Forest Elves
After raising the possibility of the elves protecting the Golems, who are beneficial and helpless to protect themselves; Tahra rides at or toward the rear of the caravan. When her pet bat rides on her shoulder, awake; Tahra dozes. when he sleeps upside down in the shelter of her cloak.
Alayna
 player, 112 posts
 Half Elf Equestrian
 Comely and young
Mon 3 Feb 2020
at 05:05
Journey to the Court of the Black Forest Elves
Alayna could not hide her disappointment. He didn't look 51 seasons old, and though she would be 17 soon, perhaps... But she could see he just saw her as a child, and it made her almost cry. After all, he was cute. And Elvish. But still. And of course, they could be actually related, which would be awkward.

"I don't care how old you are. You're really nice. And I still want to meet your family. After all, I'm old enough to do this," she stated, indicating her petite form in her bodysuit. "And maybe I am related anyway. But I'm not a child"

So while she assumed she would not get to ride near him on her horse, she still planned to see him. So she spent a short time bathing, then made sure to brush her hair carefully, put the long locks in a ponytail rather than braiding, letting it cascade down her back. She wanted to look her best when they came to the Elven village.

This message was last edited by the player at 00:50, Tue 04 Feb 2020.

Marcos Conner Esher
 player, 41 posts
 confuse the senses
 confound the logical mind
Mon 3 Feb 2020
at 22:28
Journey to the Court of the Black Forest Elves
Esher is happy to speak with the small constructs again.

I would be happy if they chose to join me. As a gift to all of you, I present the group of you with this golden gear. May it always remind you that you are never alone as long as you work together in harmony with peaceful creatures. The Gearlord watches and care for all of his creations great and small.

this gift is not as effective as some, but with patience it can repair even the most broken things.


(repair minor damage {1 hp} 1/per day use activated [0 lvl spell * caster level 1 * (1 use per day) *2000] 200 gp)

This message was last updated by the player at 01:35, Thu 06 Feb 2020.

Topaz
 player, 9 posts
Wed 5 Feb 2020
at 00:51
Journey to the Court of the Black Forest Elves
Topaz joins in the general activity, preparing to depart.  He has little to pack, himself, so he helps where he can, packing, carrying, or loading.  He's had enough arrivals and departures while travelling with the Argentos in the past to know there's more work to be done than hands to do it.  It's not long before the caravans are packed again, props and sets stowed, dray animals harnessed, the final farewells begun.

While he'd played alongside others, augmenting their own performances, even given his own performance, once the work is done and the troupe gathered to depart Topaz raises his voice unadorned.  Gone is his warm baritone, a voice unsuited to the lament of parting he offers in Sylvan, replaced with a plaintive yet somehow hopeful gravel.  The Faun sings of stories and myth shared, of magics conjured and lost, of companionship shared around a fire at night, and of brief moments of joy and amazement.

But now is the time for leaving, so he sings a tale of the turning of the wheel, sleeping beside the road, of cold morning frost and spring rains, of another performance, another festival, and of meeting again in the mists of distant future, should time and fares allow.

Done, he climbs without a further word onto the nearest wagon and waits for yet another ending to herald another beginning.
Nwofia Barandi
 player, 105 posts
 Acrobat, Actress and
 A Living Surprise
Wed 5 Feb 2020
at 08:16
Journey to the Court of the Black Forest Elves
Nwofia too has little or nothing to pack but she can't sing either so she makes herself useful wherever she is needed.
Ben
 GM, 119 posts
 Your Master of Ceremonies
Mon 10 Feb 2020
at 03:06
Journey to the Court of the Black Forest Elves
Escher has a patient/passenger with him when they depart:  he is joined the Jolo the Golem, who is quiet.. damaged golems are more or less inert.  Even these "intelligent" golems, it is as if losing the ability to perform their function robs them of whatever force empowers them.
But the others reverently load Jolo aboard in the hopes that Escher can repair him.  The others tell Escher that if he can, please return Jolo one day.  Jolo was created as a Towel Fluffer, Incense Mixer, and Back Rubber and like all Golems, the instinct to perform the intended functions is strong.

Which is still a little odd to the Gnome.  The tinker Gnomes build magical animated automatons, yes, but they have instructions, not instincts.  A golem should just do what its supposed to, not feel an instinct to do it.

And that seems to be a big part of the unease the Black Forest Elves feel to these creatures.  Living beings feel, the golems should not, and that bothers Elves.  There is a special providence to the beings of the natural world, one of the Elves tells Tahra, and these Golems violate that, much more than others.

Yes, the Golems will be protected, as they are now: the general protection of the Elves for this ancient human bath house.  But that is all the golems can expect.  Certainly the Elves will not invite them to festivals.

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

One of the benefits of the informal way of life of the Elves is a lack of clear daily schedules.  If an Elf thinks he is going to be carving arrowheads or making baskets one day decides to take the day of and see what's going on with these odd visitors, there's no shame, no implied laziness, no "Get Back To Work!".  It's the main reason Irkayo Sathower is able to shrug off a few days of his normal activity in order to escort the caravan.  A few older Elves do as well- they feel it is necessary to make sure other Elves know the caravan is invited, and not intruders.

Irkayo starts the trek riding near Alayna, telling her stories of the Elves, not just the Black Forest Elves but the others as well, because he thinks possibly she missed out on that heritage.

"Of course you know that there are the Savoy Elves of the Alpine Mountains to the south, and in their way one might think they aspire to be Humans.  They build towers and palaces and wear clothes made of shining white cloth. Lots of clothes, complicated clothes.  If you search within yourself for visions of home, if you see white topped mountains instead of deep green forest, it may be that your family is from the Savoy.  I have met some.  Very educated, and their lives are filled with joy and light.  Some might envy them.. but not those born to the deep forests as I am."

The Elves are masters of the Black Forest in more ways than one.  Centuries of Elven magic has adapted the forest to them and them to the forest.  When they travel with the caravan, the narrow foot trails open in front of them, wide enough for the wagons, and the forest closes back behind them.  It's much easier going than they thought.  Not very fast, because the paths still aren't very level and the wagons must go slowly to avoid damage.

The draft animals like the pace, at least.  They all seem quite relaxed.
Alayna
 player, 113 posts
 Half Elf Equestrian
 Comely and young
Tue 11 Feb 2020
at 05:16
Journey to the Court of the Black Forest Elves
Alayna rode with the elder elf, hanging on every word, even as it was clear she was becoming enamored with him. After all, she was a teenager, and he really didn't look that much older than her.

"I truly have no memories, but I suppose I haven't tried. With all you have told me, I might try harder now, knowing what to look for. I just remember being alone, having to protect myself as a child, having to hide and being oh so hungry. I never knew anything of where I came from, and it hurt. Was I abandoned because I was half blood? Didn't they want me? I just never knew."

From that point, she was somewhat quiet, a little sad.
Marcos Conner Esher
 player, 42 posts
 confuse the senses
 confound the logical mind
Thu 13 Feb 2020
at 04:23
Journey to the Court of the Black Forest Elves

21:06, Today: Marcos Conner Esher rolled 17 using 1d20+10.  arch eng.
20:45, Today: Marcos Conner Esher rolled 22 using 1d20+10.  craft puppet.
21:03, Today: Marcos Conner Esher rolled 7 using 1d8+2. repair light damage CL2



Esher had no reference on the construction of a golem, but from a standpoint of damage to limbs Esher looks over the construct. noting specific areas that will need attention.

but he was going to need a guide, during his work and what better guide then Jolo himself.

so with a few arcane words of power and a prayer to the Gearlord that this would work...Esher cast "repair light damage" healing the small construct for 7 hp.

he then checks to see if it has regained the willingness to interact with its surroundings.
Ben
 GM, 120 posts
 Your Master of Ceremonies
Tue 18 Feb 2020
at 21:25
Journey to the Court of the Black Forest Elves

The forest parts to allow the passage of the caravan, and closes in behind them, but it seems to do its bare minimum.  The path never opens any wider than it has to, twigs and leaves brush against wagon sides.  When there is any natural meadow, clearing or even a stretch of good, level ground the path opens into it, even if it requires a short detour, as if not willing to waste any energy.

Because it isn’t.

“It is important to us to be part of the forest,” Irkayo says.  “Alayna, I would ask you which part of nature draws you the most, the forest or the mountains, but I think that would tell you only a part of the story, and a part of the story can be more deceptive than no story at all.  When we get to the court of our Queen, there are those with strong spells who can learn of your past.  Perhaps we can talk one of them into looking into your heritage, if you do not know.”

It is at this point when Celeste Argentos, nearby but pressed within hearing range by the closeness of the forest around them, asks a question.

“Mister Sathower, there have been many references by yourself and others to your queen.  It was she that requested us, they said.  But of your king… he did not wish it?  Or do you not have a king?”

Irkayo Sathower sighs.  “We are an old culture here, and we have been isolated and have our own ways of sustaining ourselves.  It is our way to have a queen, but no king.  She takes only consorts, and only temporarily, and always from different families.  Latheer has been our queen two centuries and she has lived seven.  In that time, she has had consorts from at least ten of the families of the Black Forest.  So in this way, she is more a part of our families.  We are more.. interwoven.  More so than a single king and queen would give us.  I hope this arrangement is not disturbing to anyone?  I would advise that if so, say nothing.”



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

Jolo blinks.  The little doll touches his head and neck and leg, where there had been cracks.

“I am repaired”, Jolo says in that very Golem manner of reporting the absolutely obvious.  And then, a little more tentatively.  “Mostly repaired.  I am capable of most function but… where are we?”
Nwofia Barandi
 player, 106 posts
 Acrobat, Actress and
 A Living Surprise
Wed 19 Feb 2020
at 07:53
Journey to the Court of the Black Forest Elves
Nwofia hears about the reason for the Queen and she smiles the most beautiful smile she has ever smiled before. She finds this a beautiful concept and decides that should she ever settle down, it will be as a queen.
Marcos Conner Esher
 player, 43 posts
 confuse the senses
 confound the logical mind
Wed 19 Feb 2020
at 14:29
Journey to the Court of the Black Forest Elves
Esher continues to look over JoJo. Lookiy for damage that need more then simple magic to repair.

What is the last thing you remember?
What damaged you so horribly? Because it does not look like a normal lack of routine maintenance.


He had learned from his experience with the others of his kind that they answered best when presented with straight forward inquiry. But just as every creature is different and unique, he hoped to find more then a child's mind within this piece of master craft engineering.
Tahra
 player, 105 posts
Wed 19 Feb 2020
at 19:28
Journey to the Court of the Black Forest Elves
Word filters back to Tahra about the Queen. She replies "Variety's the very spice of life, That gives it all its flavor."

[William Cowper]
Alayna
 player, 114 posts
 Half Elf Equestrian
 Comely and young
Wed 19 Feb 2020
at 20:20
Journey to the Court of the Black Forest Elves
Alayna blushed, thinking of what she liked most. She did know her favorite costume was the wood nymph one, so perhaps?

"I think the woods call to me more. I love these woods too, and I sometimes I feel like I am closer to trees and green than anything else. But perhaps that is because towns and such sometimes hold bad memories for me. But if I could learn more, that would be wonderful. More than wonderful!"

She held her tongue as Celeste Argentos came to ask her question. It made her smile. A woman related to them all as Queen. What a wonderful idea!
Topaz
 player, 10 posts
Tue 25 Feb 2020
at 00:22
Journey to the Court of the Black Forest Elves
Topaz isn't really sure what to make of the tiny Golems Echer's taken on the task of repairing.  He doesn't intrude on what seems to be a deeply personal moment between the Gnome and the tiny creations, but he's quite taken with the amazing artifice that can coax awareness and empathy out of brute matter.

In a later moment, he asks Esher curiously, "They are clever, it seems.  Are they alive?"

---


The Faun's met the Crown of the Ardennes, performed in the court there as a courtier, embassy for Princess Nia Sian Rosedrake, and simply as a talented musician.  Elves are long-lived, perhaps eternal in some cases.  That Latheer would long reign is of little puzzle to him.  There have been many Titanias and Oberons through time, with some returning to the role after a time away from it.  In each and every case, the incumbent gradually becomes the Fey ruler in question, replete with memories and mannerisms of their predecessors.  The Queen's choices are of little surprise or concern for him.


When Nwofia and Alayna, alternately, smile about the Queen and her choice of consorts, Topaz is amused.  He's not positive, exactly, what spurs their smiles, perhaps the thought that a queen rules and selects her consorts.  Maybe they're imagining themselves through the lens of the Elven queen.  The Faun doesn't question the smiles, but does respond to them with his own lopsided grin, perhaps adding the slightest flick of an ear or wag of his tail.
Marcos Conner Esher
 player, 44 posts
 confuse the senses
 confound the logical mind
Tue 25 Feb 2020
at 02:37
Journey to the Court of the Black Forest Elves
Esher Pauses a bit with Topaz's question, and then begins speaking; not out of any coherent thought out direction but in a rambling we will see where this goes way seeming to paralell a conversation he has been having with himself, as he worked through an internal discussion on the meaning of life and big unanswerable questions.

Being alive is not for me to judge. But the way I see it; to be alive is to be uniquely capable of independent change in response to external stimuli. the stimuli differs from one creature to the next. you could sing and dance for a fish, and there is a chance it would not understand or appreciate it, but it is clear that the elves did.

a tree is alive not because I say it is, but because it responds to water and nutrients in the soil by growing. you are alive not because someone else says you are, you respond to music ans dance, and i am sure a good meal and fine wine. but it is all stimuli and to each you respond differently then any other creature, such is the magnitude of infinite variances to infinite stimuli.

You are alive just the same, I grant that the spectrum of stimuli you respond to is wider then a tree, or a field mouse, or even myself.

regrettably my response to most stimuli is to copy it and reflect it latter, I may manipulate it and twist it to show a new point of view, but i am not a creator of great art. In some ways this tiny construct is more alive then me.

I believe the harder question is to the presence of a soul, this creation though it may be artificial contains within it a consciousness that cares what others think and what others want.
Which is more then some of us have seen from some creatures.

this creature's capability to comprehend, this conversation may not match your or mine. but it has likely not stopped caring if you or I want something from it, or if it can help in some way.

It was not designed for it but I am certain if I asked it to hold a tool it could and would do it because it genuinely wants to help. and if presented with that stimuli I would likely try to assist even if it was not designed in that way for that task.

It cares and wants to be the best it can be, and takes pride in it day to day work. Can you say as much about every man woman and child you have met...or ever heard of?

Because I cant say that I have never lost faith in a single creature. There are days when I cant even say that I live up to half of what i just described this broken creature as being capable of.

...

...

wow I did not mean to dump all of that on you. But since i did...thoughts?

Topaz
 player, 11 posts
Tue 25 Feb 2020
at 05:30
Journey to the Court of the Black Forest Elves
While Esher wends his way circumlocutorily around the idea of whether a Golem is a living thing or not, Topaz listens.  Life is one of those fuzzily-edged things.  "Many things can respond to a prompt.  If one was clever enough, I suppose, one could even make a machine with enough ways of doing and going that it could sense and respond in limited ways.  I'm not sure that would make it alive, though."

"The best thing we could do, I suppose," he adds, "Would just be to ask one of them.  Maybe they've an opinion?"
Tahra
 player, 106 posts
Tue 25 Feb 2020
at 07:22
Journey to the Court of the Black Forest Elves
Hearing the conversation, Tahra offers an opinion. Whether a non-evil animal, machine, person, plant, or tool—or rock for that matter; I suggest one treat it with respect. And the evil ones, with the respect due danger.
Marcos Conner Esher
 player, 45 posts
 confuse the senses
 confound the logical mind
Tue 25 Feb 2020
at 15:42
Journey to the Court of the Black Forest Elves
Esher listens to the comments made by his companions, and while they give no finite and mesurable answers to big unanswerable questions they seem to be in a general agreement that respect and inclusion should be shown, allowing each creature to self determine for it's self.

looking to Jolo
What do you think, of all this? do you believe that you and your companions are alive?
Ben
 GM, 121 posts
 Your Master of Ceremonies
Tue 25 Feb 2020
at 17:52
Journey to the Court of the Black Forest Elves
The Black Forest is very "three dimensional", as forests go.  Up, down, over hills and around them.  The caravan finally settles onto a broad trail in a valley screened by forested hills rising like walls.  Here, the first sign that Elves do build things... at least, beehives.  And there are tended fields, although much smaller than the fields of Humans, and divided by strips of forest.  Then, here and there, almost invisible in the trees, they can see homes.  Small, rounded cabins with walls and roofs of old gray wood, enrobed in moss, almost indistinguishable from the trees they sit in.

Irkayo Sathower may have some doubts over Alayna's youth, but he is a male elf, and reasonably young as Elves go, and much like his human counterparts, "resistance to flirting" is not one of his strengths.

They are going to see the queen.  At least, perform for her.  That's the invitation.  But clearly, Alayna means a more one-on-one meeting.  The Queen of the Black Forest Elves isn't as detached from her subjects as some Human royals might be. She can't be- a large number of them are family, at least through marriage.  He can't be certain, but...

"Of course I will take you to see the Queen," he says boldly, dancing around the issue of what his chances of success actually are.  "And you do not have to worry about the rules.  I have heard Humans are very formal and have all kinds of rules for this.  We... do not.  We are fewer in number, but closer together, rules aren't necessary for us."


They roll along, with Escher talking to Jolo.

It's not easy to read the expressions on the little golems.  The mouths can move, the eyes can move, the rest... well the rest is glossy paint.  Artfully done but incapable of showing any emotion other than a cheery sense of duty.

Is Jolo pondering?  Or staring blankly? Hard to tell.  But after some silent moments Jolo offers an answer.

"Not a question I was made to answer," is Jolo's first response.   Of course not. Jolo was made to answer things like "Do you have scented candles?". This is so far off from that!

And then, after a moment's more pondering.  "I see, I hear, I speak.  I do not eat.  I cannot continue my kind... only a maker like you can do that.  But here I am.  What is life?"
Tahra
 player, 107 posts
Tue 25 Feb 2020
at 23:09
Journey to the Court of the Black Forest Elves
When she hears Irkayo Sathower say "...rules aren't necessary for us.", she rolls her eyes.
Marcos Conner Esher
 player, 46 posts
 confuse the senses
 confound the logical mind
Wed 26 Feb 2020
at 20:27
Journey to the Court of the Black Forest Elves
Esher looks pleased with himself, while also more confused then before.

I could read into that and make all sorts of assumptions that would likely be wrong. So i think that if I cant answer those same questions about myself, I should not pause before I assume implied meaning. I think that recognition of ones limits is a lesson i have not yet learned so in that, Jolo you surpass me in the understanding of one's self.

for now I say rest, because it feels like the wagons are circling and stopping  it is time to set up for an extra special performance.


Esher waives his hands a bit to renew the illusions comprising his costume, make up, and various personal illusion adornments. He ensures the stitching is just so. With missed stitches and frayed threads and amateurish miss aligned patterns. something that to the keen eye, and intelligent mind would stand out as intentional. because a perfect garment is easy but intentional flaws show attention to the detail that went into such a flaw.

This message was lightly edited by the player at 23:09, Thu 27 Feb 2020.