To the lands beyond the Rhine.   Posted by Ben.Group: 0
Alayna
 player, 115 posts
 Half Elf Equestrian
 Comely and young
Thu 27 Feb 2020
at 03:57
Journey to the Court of the Black Forest Elves
She looked at him under lowered lashes, trying not to be obvious. She was underage, but aware she was pretty.

"I am so grateful to you, to take me to the Queen," she replied, trying to sound seductive, but failing as she really didn't know how to do it. "But I just want to mind my other family. And I am so very grateful. Thank you for trying."

She giggled, much more her age. "And I never worry about rules. So worry no so much of me. Whatever you can do, is much more than I deserve."
Nwofia Barandi
 player, 107 posts
 Acrobat, Actress and
 A Living Surprise
Thu 27 Feb 2020
at 14:04
Journey to the Court of the Black Forest Elves
Nwofia is somewhat shocked at the thought that humans are particularly fond of rules, but she says nothing.  Instead, she continues to look around her, learning what she can of her surroundings.
Ben
 GM, 122 posts
 Your Master of Ceremonies
Sat 29 Feb 2020
at 02:43
Journey to the Court of the Black Forest Elves
They pass small fields and beehives and more scattered Elven homes.  No sign of anything like a town or even a village, just homes, sometimes a cluster of them, at random intervals along the way.

Phileas, curious about the route, calls on Irkayo, who is, after all, the guide.  The Elf sighs.  "Duty calls," he says to Alayna.

"How much further is it?" Phileas asks.

"An Elf can cover it in a day's travel," Irkayo says, in a way that quite clearly implies "but you can't.".

"An Elf is swifter than our wagons," Phileas says, understanding.  "So we will have to camp along the trail for the night.  Are there settlements along this way, between here and your court?"

"There is, a place we call Rutti.  A rolling meadow, embraced by the hills all around.  It would be a good place to stop- after Rutti we must cross over a ridge.  It is the steading of the Ferleen family, who raise animals.  A few score Elves.  They probably expect us already, as word travels very swiftly when the nobles wish it.  They send messenger birds."

Phileas nods.  "I have heard of messenger birds. Elves are not the only ones who use such magic to communicate.  But tell us, are there also dangers here?  Would it be safe?"

"Is it ever safe?" Irkayo asks.  "We can keep armies of Orcs from our forest, and most things... but those foes that are subtle and skilled sometimes sneak through.  Sometimes I think our Queen allows it.  It keeps us alert, after all, and our skills sharp.  But at Rutti... even the most daring intruders would be challenged.  We cannot protect the whole forest, but we do guard our homes and children well.  Should anything happen, you would have the arms and magic of the Ferleen family in addition to your own."

"Then that is where we shall stop for the evening.  Perhaps even a little show for them."
Topaz
 player, 12 posts
Fri 6 Mar 2020
at 22:44
Journey to the Court of the Black Forest Elves
Topaz isn't really sure, himself, but has an idea that his folk are the result of imagined things, not made or created from whole cloth, but purely because others imagine they exist, so they do.  From the tiniest flower fairy living a Mayfly life of awakening, mating, and fading again to the mighty rulers of the Fey, they all have being because the collective imagination says they ought to.  The tiny little Golems were like they were because they were made.  But are they things or people?  That's the hard part, though he suspects most see them as objects.

"Not all beings eat.  Nor do they all sleep, age, nor cease at the end of the life they've been apportioned, Jolo," the Faun says easily.  "Whether you can continue, make more of your kind or others, that is, well ... that's something that's yet to be known."

He considers, tail wagging thoughtfully, "What have you learned that you did not know before, Jolo, or were you made knowing all you ever will?  If you've learned, or changed, then you are perhaps not exactly what you were before.  I think maybe I've asked the wrong question, but really wondered were you created able to become?  Are you able to frame a novel idea with the information you did not know before?  Can you reach a conclusions and consider implications?  Do you feel pride, sadness, joy, or shame?  Can you, using what you've learned change yourself and influence others?  That's maybe what life is, I think, the ability to express intention and by doing so to become something new.  Can you do those things?"

As far as rules are concerned, Topaz is unconcerned.  In some ways, he'd agree, though; humans, even more than Dwarves, seem to love putting labels on things, separating this from that, always comparing and contrasting.  It's a reasonable enough way of looking at the world, he supposes.  He elects not to worry over it, but rather to play a pleasant tune on his ocarina and watch the doings of the provocative snd engaging people around him.
Nwofia Barandi
 player, 108 posts
 Acrobat, Actress and
 A Living Surprise
Sat 7 Mar 2020
at 10:30
Journey to the Court of the Black Forest Elves
Why does Nwofia dance to the tune Topaz plays?
Is it simply because she is entranced?
That, I think would not be a fair or true thing for me to say.
Rather, I think she moves merely because she enjoys the dance.
Alayna
 player, 116 posts
 Half Elf Equestrian
 Comely and young
Tue 10 Mar 2020
at 03:02
Journey to the Court of the Black Forest Elves
Alayna stopped, and she sighed. The Elf was worried she was too young, and why not, she was. But she knew enough. She grew up in the streets. And he was soooooo nice.

But she dismounted, and took care of her horse, then helped as best she could to everyone else. She was nothing but grateful to help. And so she did. And when done, she went to change, using her dryad costume, as was her favorite, but she wanted 'him' to see it. And she applied her makeup, the green and white careful and artful. Then, she braided her hair, with leaves and flowers, some which she had to gather. And truly, all for 'him.'

After all, she was a young girl. And she thought it was love.
Ben
 GM, 123 posts
 Your Master of Ceremonies
Thu 12 Mar 2020
at 02:26
Journey to the Court of the Black Forest Elves
According the great naturalists and philosophers, everything is made of some combination of Elements.  Everything.  Mix Fire and Water and things like that just right, and you get something else out of it.  The debate comes in later, when they discuss exactly how to do that, and just what those most basic elements are.  Four just doesn't seem to do it.  Some Humans add Quintessence, which is basically shorthand for "Whatever else we need to turn this into that." Elves say there are many more, with Magic, Spirit, and Nature being Elements, and Shadow as well, and maybe the great ethical forces of Good and Evil.. it gets complicated.

But if we go with the Elven theory, then one can start to see the relations between things as they see them.  Humans are balanced mixes of Elements, the Fey have more Magic and Nature added in, and Elves are somewhere between.  Orcs are in the other direction, the polar opposite of Elves, if one assumes that Humans are the middle.

Goblins have that admixture of Magic and Nature, like Elves, though maybe a little less Magic.  They are at home in the deepest darkest forests, wholly different from Orcs who detest Nature and prefer to live within stone walls where they do not have to even see it.  Goblins are weak fighters compared to Orcs, Elves, and Humans.  And they do not have great numbers.  But they have skills and a familiarity with the natural world that gives them an uncanny ability for infiltrating through Elven defenses- that mix of Magic and Nature.  Where the Elves are graced with a touch of Spirit, the Goblins are tainted by Shadow.    It is a very good thing there are few of them.

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

The caravan settles into Rutti.  For the moment, Irkayo must play the part of Native Guide, meeting with the Ferleen family Elves and explaining who these travelers are.  It's hardly necessary, they were expecting this visit.  They already have a camp ground picked out- in their village, in a field generally used by the Elven clan's horses.  They can hear the sounds of the horses in the shelter in the distance.  Perhaps the animals are unhappy about losing their paddock to strangers.

The Argentos's speak with the Elders of the tribe, and of course, offers to pay for their hospitality with a brief show, explaining with some exaggerated sadness that their best must be preserved for the queen, whom they expect to meet tomorrow.  The trail ahead, he learns, is the least safe leg of the journey. Yes it is frequently patrolled by Elves.  But it is a very rugged area, with crags, glens, grottoes and gorges, and the Elves are always on the alert while crossing.  It is such rough country that not even the Elves can keep it thoroughly watched.

Phileas does not want to ask about particulars here.  That could be interpreted as rude, hinting that perhaps their hosts are not seeing to the protection of guests.

But he quietly asks those who are not performing to help out with guard duty.

Then, he directs the show for the Elves of Rutti to begin.  Alayna will have to be at her best, here- the Rutti Elves are known for horses.  The Black Forest Elves do not have many, but many of those they have are here.

Jolo tries to be as helpful as he can, especially to Escher.  Anything that can be considered a towel gets expertly fluffed and folded.
Marcos Conner Esher
 player, 47 posts
 confuse the senses
 confound the logical mind
Thu 12 Mar 2020
at 03:15
Journey to the Court of the Black Forest Elves
though Esher is short on towels, he shows Jolo how the costumes folded for the reformers to quick change their costumes.

Esher does not focus his skills on his own puppets during this performance. He does a puppet show and it is flawless. but for this performance he played back up to the rest of the caravan. ensuring the dancers and physical performers have the best lighting. Ensuring that those that use word and music to stir emotion and has the best acoustics.

The last performance was all about what he could do for himself, while his focus for this one was about what he could do for the troupe. illusion based but very solid "dark way" bridges temporarily spanned between trees supporting ropes for climbing performances. shifting illusion tapestries disguised costume changing areas and staging areas for acts that were preparing to preform or had just finished their acts.

illusion could be used for grand deceptions or subtle support, Esher was skilled at both, but his companions never requested his skills to their fullest potential. so he took it upon himself to show pieces at a time of his skill set and allow his companions own creativity to inspire collaborations.



As a wizard Esher had enough scrolls in back up that he would not have to worry about "enough sleep/rest" to prepare spells. He was prepared to give his best performance for the queen as he always did in every performance.

This message was last edited by the player at 14:40, Thu 12 Mar 2020.

Nwofia Barandi
 player, 109 posts
 Acrobat, Actress and
 A Living Surprise
Thu 12 Mar 2020
at 11:16
Journey to the Court of the Black Forest Elves
Nwofia thinks it best to save her performance for the Queen.  For now, while she does not have the greatest of perception abilities, she is as nimble as the least nimble of elves and she has some knowledge of nature, and if necessarily some ability at setting traps.  She explains this to Phileas and asks his advice.  Should she perform tonight? or should she instead help with guard duty?
Tahra
 player, 108 posts
Thu 12 Mar 2020
at 19:33
Journey to the Court of the Black Forest Elves
Tahra sets up her chiromantic tent, and she is willing to undertake guard duty. (Klimmin will be active.)
Ben
 GM, 124 posts
 Your Master of Ceremonies
Tue 17 Mar 2020
at 01:15
Journey to the Court of the Black Forest Elves
Phileas consider's Nofia's suggestion, and decides, it is a sound one.  There are more than enough to do a small show this evening... and Alayna seems especially eager.

"I've never seen her quite so fussy with her costume," Phileas says.

Nearby, his wife Hylensia takes a deep breath.

But the troupe manager doesn't want traps set.  This is, after all, the home of the Elves, and they might be wandering around, or friends, or livestock...

"and who knows what sort of magical forest creatures," Phileas says.  "It would be very bad if we caused injury to any one of them.  But stealthy eyes, and security, yes, that would be good."

Jolo has found a niche.  Handling towels is a lot like handling costumes.  The little Golem perks up, suddenly being useful again.  Costumes can be cleaned, folded, repaired, just as if they were towels.  (and a few of them almost are).  The facial expression never changes of course, but Esher can tell, the way Jolo acts, clearly the golem enjoys doing useful, appreciated work.

Knowing what he knows of Golems, Escher also knows that ordinarily, a Golem can't be taught skills, except when they are built. He'd never be able to hand Jolo a crossbow and teach the Golem how to use it.  But... that's what they say about ordinary Golems, isn't it?

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

Very fortunately, when it comes to evening guard duty, the party has an ace:  Tahra's familiar Klimmin, who is a bat.  Being a bat means needing lots of food, so Klimmin normally flies around a lot after dark.  Being a bat also means that most of the Bad Things that might be a threat don't react at all to Klimmin.  Bats are normal, plentiful night time fliers.

Klimmin makes a report early on:  yes, they are out there, in the woods, watching from a distance.  Creepy, hooded, cloaked, shorter than Humans or Elves, but not stout and sturdy like Dwarves.  Speaking in hissed whispers the bat can certainly hear, but not understand.
Tahra
 player, 109 posts
Tue 17 Mar 2020
at 03:03
Journey to the Court of the Black Forest Elves
Tahra strokes her pet. She rises as if going to relieve herself. And on her way she passes close to an elf whispering Wait thirty seconds before wander walking. Attackers to [direction] are weighing options. She does her business and goes back into her chiromancic tent.
Alayna
 player, 117 posts
 Half Elf Equestrian
 Comely and young
Sat 21 Mar 2020
at 18:44
Journey to the Court of the Black Forest Elves
Alayna was herself not aware that she was acting differently. She was working on her blue costume, one that showed her thin figure to best effect, with some of it looking transparent, being sheer white throughout, but much of it laid with blue lace that hid most of her. Her hair was carefully braided, then wrapped about her, her makeup in blue that made her look somewhat otherworldly. The back was bare, showing her vine tattoo. Her hair was woven with blue lace as well. While the others had seen her wear this costume, she had never taken so much time with it. Even her horse was decorated in blue, especially his tail.

Of course, she would deny that she was taking more time than usual to dress...

Once she practiced dressing and such, she waited nervously, wanting to do her best show yet.

This message was last edited by the player at 17:55, Sun 22 Mar 2020.

Marcos Conner Esher
 player, 48 posts
 confuse the senses
 confound the logical mind
Sun 22 Mar 2020
at 12:47
Journey to the Court of the Black Forest Elves
Marcos completes his dark way bridges serving as the upper supports for the back drops for the show that night. He also points out (to any elf or party member that wishes to pay attention) the ease of getting to the upper most areas between the trees. high ground had strategic advantages and he did not wish for the opportunity to go unnoticed.

he then began to weave sound and shadow into the upper canopy of the trees, causing the sound of wind in the trees to stop and leave only the eerie creaking of the trees. shifting and amplifying the sounds of the creaking to give the impression that the trees themselves were speaking to each other in a language only known to the trees.
Nwofia Barandi
 player, 110 posts
 Acrobat, Actress and
 A Living Surprise
Sun 22 Mar 2020
at 13:16
Journey to the Court of the Black Forest Elves
Nwofia keeps eyes, and in particular ears open as she takes part in the watch, looking out for goblins or whatever else might seek to prey on the troupe and its hosts.
Ben
 GM, 125 posts
 Your Master of Ceremonies
Mon 30 Mar 2020
at 01:59
Journey to the Court of the Black Forest Elves


Alayna is the star of this particular show, which is helpful as the local Elves raise horses and really appreciate her skill.

And quite a few certainly appreciate her costume; she might have been thinking of impressing Irkayo, and although he is certainly there and certainly impressed, Alayne has an impact on most of the young male Elves of the settlement.

In fact, when others are performing, they make their wishes clear:  "Bring Alayna back!"

Hylensia watches the reactions.  "We have young star material in Alayna," she says to her husband Phileas.  "Shining like that, so young, she is very powerful in a great many ways.
 But then the hard part is always protecting her from herself."

Tipped off, the Elves carefully watch the perimeter of the clearing surrounding their settlement.  There is movement out there, they see it, but... nothing comes close.

One of the elder Elves approaches Tahra. It is a woman in a cloak that seems to be a quilted mash of green, gray and brown patches.  "You've seen them with your magic, yes?  Goblins.  Sometimes, they watch us.  They will not attack here, Goblins  are always too few and we are well defended and they know it.  This forest is ours, and they are intruders.  But.. away from our homes they can be dangerous.  They may be a problem when you travel tomorrow."

Word filters through the Elves that Goblins are near.  Irkayo, of course, finds the moment to tell Alayna, though he doesn't seem overly concerned.

"They stay away from our homes because they know our homes are well protected.  But they are curious, very curious.  Just like us, this is all something they have never seen before."
Tahra
 player, 110 posts
Mon 30 Mar 2020
at 03:15
Journey to the Court of the Black Forest Elves
Tahra rose when the elder appeared. Your presence honors me.

Tahra considers the question before replying slowly Neither "Yes" nor "No". Perhaps you'll indulge me with some conversation...I'd like to know why you ask. You're knocking on a door that opens into my life.
Nwofia Barandi
 player, 111 posts
 Acrobat, Actress and
 A Living Surprise
Mon 30 Mar 2020
at 06:49
Journey to the Court of the Black Forest Elves
Nwofia approaches Phileas and asks, "Will we be performing for the Goblins at any point? If so I think perhaps my skills may be of some interest... some form of act in the trees, combining tumbling, jumping, balancing and sleight of hand.  I think they might enjoy it.".
Alayna
 player, 118 posts
 Half Elf Equestrian
 Comely and young
Wed 1 Apr 2020
at 02:57
Journey to the Court of the Black Forest Elves
To say that Alayna was amazed at her popularity was an understatement. The teen knew she had done a perfect show, but still, the cheers and the calls, many from the men, both embarrassed and amazed her. She took extra bows, and when called back, did her backflip to the ground that she had practiced, only wobbling a little with the landing.

Coming back to the trailers, she was out of breath and flushed with excitement. "Oh, I must know what I did right! They loved me! I just cannot believe it!"

She was taking off the decoration from Angel and brushing him when the unconcerned Irkayo came to tell of the Goblins. She blushed as he approached, wishing she was not so worn looking from the show.

"Goblins? Oh, I have met some. A girl on the street often does. They are a bit rough, but not as objectionable as Orcs can be. I know a few words of Goblin, but only a few. The Orcs have better... um... curses." She blushed again. "I do not know if they would like the show as much as the Elves did. I fear I am too tired to do another one right now."
Topaz
 player, 14 posts
Wed 1 Apr 2020
at 23:56
Journey to the Court of the Black Forest Elves
Of the evening's performance, Topaz plays only a small part, complementing with music the displays others perform.  He plays his fiddle, a departure from the Byzantine lyra, bowed from his shoulder, occasionally beneath his chin in more spirited passages, rather than vertically from his lap.  The small instrument has none of the drone strings familiar to such instruments, though.  It's closest in form, perhaps, to the medieval Vielle which will come along in the centuries to follow.

He plays easily, not in the feverish and passionate way that wrings perspiration from him as he's done so recently.  Tonight is Alayna's evening, she and her equine companion.  The Faun simply plays, joyously in time and counter-point to the lass' vaulting dance.

Of Goblins and their skulking, he is uncertain.  "Word of our passage precedes us, it sounds."

Hearing Nwofia speak of performances, he asks, sounding skeptical, "Do we mean to play for them, then?"
Nwofia Barandi
 player, 112 posts
 Acrobat, Actress and
 A Living Surprise
Thu 2 Apr 2020
at 11:03
Journey to the Court of the Black Forest Elves
"No idea", said Nwofia.  "But we played for Orcs so why wouldn't we?  I'd even play for the Garamantes if I had to."
Ben
 GM, 126 posts
 Your Master of Ceremonies
Sat 4 Apr 2020
at 02:17
Of the Lore of Goblins... as told by the Black Forest Elves
A few of the characters, Nwofia included, have traveled far enough to know that folk of a kind in one place, such as Elves, Gnomes, and especially Humans, are not necessarily like those somewhere else.  Such it may be with Goblins.

After the performance is finished, as everyone is beginning to settle down for the evening, the elders of the Ferleen clan talk about their nearby visitors, the Goblins.

"I have never thought I would hear anyone talk of inviting Goblins in," a woman says.  "They are nothing but trouble, and danger.  Not as spiteful and malevolent as Orcs, but considerably more cunning.  Orcs are brutes, and try to force their way into the Black Forest.  Each time, they have failed, but sometimes not without cost to us.  The Goblins, however, are clever and know something of magic and stealth.  They are not strong creatures, so they have adapted and become clever creatures.  But this limits their numbers.  They cannot come in armies of thousands or even hundreds.  A Goblin band numbers no more than twenty.  They strike only the weak.  You see, Orcs would merely tell themselves you are weak and attack.  Goblins will study first.  They will not attack tonight.  We are strong enough to resist them and they know it, once they realize that you only add to our strength, they will only watch."

"There are no more than a few hundreds of them in all the Black Forest.  They lived to the east of us, once, but when the Huns first came the Huns swept them up into their armies.  They made of them scouts and infiltrators, and sent them out ahead of the Orc armies.  The Goblins realized that they were merely being used.  They hate the Orcs for that.  Many fled, and settled in secret little groups.  But hatred of Orcs does not automatically translate to friendliness towards Elves.  They have robbed and even murdered, and do not respect that we are the lords of the Black Forest and they merely intruders."

"Perhaps elsewhere they may have found a role in society, and live among people.  Here they are only outlaws, and dangerous ones at that.  Mind your guard when you are on the road tomorrow."

Irkayo asks, if this is the case, can the Ferleens spare escorts, to help protect the caravan?  They are, after all, invited by the Queen of the Black Forest herself.  How can the Elves allow them to come to harm in the Black Forest, their own land?

The Ferleens take up the issue.  They are a little disappointed that Irkayo has made it a point of honor like that.  Now it is hard to refuse.  They probably wouldn't refuse.. but it would be nice to have the option.

"We will send two good warriors with you.  But please, do not try to find them and invite them here tonight.  It would be a trying time."
Ben
 GM, 127 posts
 Your Master of Ceremonies
Sun 19 Apr 2020
at 22:12
Of the evening in Rutti.


When the shortened performance ends, it leads directly into an extended dinner lasting into the evening.  The Elves of Rutti do the work and don't accept any offers to help.  They treat the visitors as guests, not a passing entertainment troupe.  Dinner is a sort of light Elven Pot Luck, as they hadn't been preparing for this.  Dessert is a very sweet cherry wine.

There was a lot of positive notice of Alayna's performance.  For Irkayo, and all of the Elves, it was something wondrous to watch, but those that have worked with her elsewhere know she put something extra there.

Irkayo notes with some regret that there is nothing here he can share with her this evening, it's a small place, and it belongs to the Ferleen Elves who would have first claim on offering any tours of their settlement, and they cannot go beyond this evening because the Goblins are out there.

"But when we are at the Queen's Court it will be different," he says to Alayna.  "There is more of a... well more of everything there.  And the gardens.  There are wonderful gardens. For here, though... I have volunteered to be a guard for a shift this night.  You should not, you have worked hard, and you have to keep well rested and sharp if you are going to do that again.  It would not be right for you to have given your best here, and not for the Queen."

Phileas, though, is not content to let the Elves do all of the sentry work.  After all, the caravan normally posts a watch when they camp, even in cities. (Mostly, in that case, to watch for thieves.)  He sends Celeste to make the rounds, seeing that everyone has eaten, and is settled in for the night.  He expects to leave early, because Goblins are not normally "morning people".

When she passes Nwofia and Topaz she offers her opinion on performing for Goblins.  "It is something we've never done.  As far as I know.  Of course they might have slipped in here and there to watch a show.  But we've never performed specifically to entertain Goblins.  Honestly I do not even know what they would like.  From the sound of it... they are not Orcs.  But everyone perceives them as nothing more than little Orcs. Perhaps they would be interested in refinements that Orcs are most clearly not."
Alayna
 player, 119 posts
 Half Elf Equestrian
 Comely and young
Thu 23 Apr 2020
at 01:04
Of the evening in Rutti.
Alayna spent time speaking to all who saw her, laughing and flirting. However, she sat next to Irkayo, giving him most of the attention. Tired she might be, but she was loving the attention. And the cherry wine. She truly loved that, and became giggly.

"I have loved horses since I was little. And I raised Angel from a colt. There was a nice man that let me do that, and in the end, he gave him to me. I think he can read my thoughts, and sometimes I know what he's thinking. Such a beauty. And he knows it. I could lose everything, except him."

She stayed up as long as she could, but eventually had to go to bed. She wished she could perform for the Goblins, but she had given all she had for the last two performances, and she was more tired than normal. And wobbly legs didn't lend themselves to a good performance, she knew.
Tahra
 player, 111 posts
Thu 23 Apr 2020
at 03:26
Of the evening in Rutti.
Tahra has been notable for her nonappearance, not leaving her tent.