In the water, deep and true
Jan. 18, 2020, 10:30 a.m.
Outside Arx - Crownlands near Pearlspire - Town of Hafeld
Comments and Log
In the water, deep and true has started at Outside Arx - Crownlands near Pearlspire - Town of Hafeld.
A dream brought everyone here.
Maybe you didn't know who everyone is but the urge to go north was strong. So strong. It drew you to the other people in the city and every few nights, the dream would resurface. Fragments of it that eventually you pieced together. Pouring over maps and asking around leads one to place their finger on a map even as that urge curls around the spine and takes place up in back of your mind.
Something whispers it, or you think it whispers it.
And there it is on the map. Sparte producing it - or more appropriately wilhelm, furnishes it and after a few minutes there is located. Somewent through the area and just like the dream offers, there's a village along the coast. A river head a few miles west of it that splits and isolates the town. When Marian touches the spot on the map there's a thrill. Joy.
Just north of the pearlspire. Questions about the area asked of the Count of Pearlspire or those of the Seliki family indicate that nothing is wrong, no reports of anything untoward. But the urge to go gets stronger and stronger till there is no choice. It's like an it that has to be scratched.
And so they set out. Horseback and with their gear. They know where they're going. They know that a woman waits for them. They know the path and as they set on the road, the itch settled a bit. The voice in the back of their head with that sorrow and neglect is appeased, just a little. Each day as they ride closer and closer, anticipation takes over and the road seems easy. As if something paves the way.
In Hafeld though, when they arrive, things seem -normal-. The river rolls, that very wide river and the people in the village seem fine. Everything seems fine. Everything -is fine- and that sorrow while still there, the neglect while still strong doesn't have the pull. So an agreement to settle in for the night since you arrived so late leads to the morning.
And to the river gone. A creek in it's place if that. When you emerge from the inn, that's all anyone is talking about. And that urge? To go to the rivershead? It flares up brighter inside of you. Calling.
And you can hear that song from your dream.
Marian has straddled the line of Faithful and respecting the Old Ways. When the river calls to her, she doesn't question the odd feelings. She only quietly sets her affairs in order so that she can join the party on their trip North. The mounting joy, the excitement as they ride towards something, a feeling causes the normally stoic warchief to joke gently with the others along for the journey. While private in her musings around the dream, there is a lighter mood that stays with her.
As a representative of the North, Marian clears the way for their journey, sending Ursa ahead with her messages to notify landowners and make sure there are no issues. She secures the proper permissions for the crossing, even adding her own coin to ensure they have decent lodging. When they arrive to Hafeld, she observes the people quietly, not feeling the urge to speak to them. She prefers to let the others play host while she starts to scout their path. As they approach the river gone, the creek that has been left in it's place. She looks to the others and only urges them, "We need to go."
Some people are just prone to wandering and adventures, sometimes in contrast and conflict with the duties that hold them stationary more often than not. Sparte was eager to answer this call when it came, but it took him time to get his duties in order to be able to do so. There is a broad, carefree grin on his face for much of the journey. This morning is no different. He nods in assent to Marian's suggestion, turning to move towards the stables. "I will ready the horses. We may need their help.""
Anisha Whisper is a curious sort, an eager thing and her dreams has had her seeking others, scouring journals and even mentioning her own. Her mount is rented, she rides side-saddle, and she is -not- all that used to the road, so her breaks are frequent. No whining, though. Songs at night, to help keep morale up.
And now they're here - she's wearing her seatouched wool, since it breathes. A summer dress for the lightness. Adjusting her cloak, as she was planning for a day of exploration and investigation and conversation.
"We do need to go," She agrees, with Marian. Giving Sparte a nod of thanks for his quick thinking. "Lay on, and I will follow," she declares. "And lend my aid in whatever way I can."
Lisebet doesn't always go on adventures, but she does go occasionally. And when the dreams and song are calling her, she listens. She knows people, socialite that she is, and meeting new people is always good. She travels reasonably well, quiet, friendly and in some armour a lot of the time due to being somewhat paranoid. But - it's Valardin fashion and it looks wonderful. At the comments, she nods her head. "Let us follow through and see what we find." She's still not sure how she will help, but she's certainly willing to bring her charm and diplomacy to the table where needed.
Lisebet checked perception at difficulty 15, rolling 7 lower.
Anisha checked perception at difficulty 15, rolling 6 higher.
Sparte checked perception at difficulty 15, rolling 5 lower.
Marian checked perception at difficulty 15, rolling 1 higher.
Horses are saddled and soon enough everyone is on their mounts, some in armor and others not and it takes a moment to orient. They're not going back across the river. This they can feel and while the townspeople are getting on with their day and those whose livelihood depends on that river are heading for the whomever is in charge, the small group forges forth. North west of the town, passing by small houses set in the woods that have grown out from the village. small plots of land that grow sustenance for the village. Everything that they need, seems to be -within- that river's hold. There are some who don't live near the river and they carry about their lives unconcerned. Nothing seems out of place though. Birds still sing, insects still buzz. If anything, this is a placid place, and would be a good place for any commoner to raise their child.
Marian is quiet as she takes in the scenery. She looks to the others and marvels, "Just like I remember..." Then gives a laugh because she's never been here before, "Perhaps in a dream." She takes a moment to take it in and then tells the others, "I know where we need to go...but we have to get off the horses." She looks to her two guards, "Watch them while we go up there to investigate."
Sparte rides along on the back of his horse, Hyb. He trusts her to keep with the other horses as the group follows the path, his eyes wandering over the river as though something about it had become particularly fascinating. After a while he gives a shake of his head, one pinky finger dipping into his right ear and shaking furiously for a few seconds, before he wipes the wax off on one leg.
Anisha looks over the people at work, furrowing her brow, casting her mind back to the dream. "It's eerie," She confesses, as the clop of horse's hooves hit the dirt. "If it wasn't for that dream I'd call this a pleasant day." She murmurs. Miriam's words has her pursing her lips. And as they move along, she halts her horse and slides off, almost exactly at the moment Marian speaks up again. "Path," She agrees. "From the dream. We're close." She looks to the others for reaffirmation. "...Gods, this is so eerie." She repeats.
Mounted up, and riding, is enough for Lisebet to concentrate on, as she's not an accomplished rider. Just average. She looks towards the river whenever it's in sight, wonderingly. The song fills her head as she continues to ride, pulling her. It's very loud, the song, blocking out the sound of the birds, buzz of bees and any of the rest of nature's sounds. She reaches one hand up to rub at her temple and then her ears, though she doesn't quite shake her head. It looks like she might want to. "If you ease off a bit, I could maybe think," she murmurs. Though she can't be talking to anyone other than herself.
And Lisebet dismounts when Marian says they need to.
Eerie, unsettling, comforting maybe? Whereas Lisebet and Sparte both heard it sooner, now Anisha and Marian hear it too. Though at Lisebet's words, the song dampens some, enough that she can indeed, think. It sounds like it's on the wind and as everyone dismounts, the leaves rustle in the tree's with that light breeze picking up, sirling fallen and strewn leaves about the ground and toward the path. Through that opening. Everyone recognizes it now. If they even put a hand up and push aside the branches and move forward it will be as if it were just that. Something is missing though. Not that sorrow. Not the neglect. No, those are still there, still strong. But something else is absent that was there in the dream.
Anisha checked perception at difficulty 7, rolling 22 higher.
Lisebet checked perception at difficulty 7, rolling 8 higher.
Sparte checked perception at difficulty 7, rolling 27 higher. Sparte rolled a critical!
Marian checked perception at difficulty 7, rolling 56 higher. Marian rolled a critical!
The sound of the river is missing. In the dream is roared, but here, now, it's gone. Absent.
Marian steps through the branches, looks upon the scene. Her brow is worried as she looks about. She takes off her helm just to be sure the item isn't stopping her from hearing. She looks to the others, "The water..." She looks to the sky and then down as if thinking deeply, "Mangata..." She gives a smile to the others, "We should pray to her to bring the waters back."
Sparte carefully dismounts, gently patting Hyb on her neck. "There there, girl. Take a break, I'll whistle if I need you." He reaches into one of the saddle bags, taking a length of rope out and hefting it over his shoulder before following the others through the opening. "Mangata, blessed as she is, should not be asked to give aid where we can right a thing ourselves." Sparte gives Marian a small smile in return, stepping off to find a sturdy tree to secure one end of the rope around.
"Mangata is the goddess of the sky and the waters," Anisha agrees - it feels good to state simple truths. To reassert at least a little normality. "And - and with the river missing... I remember the forest being thirsty." She notes. Furrowing her brow, casting her mind back again, as she walks along. "The slab, the six people. It turned from sorrow to neglect, for each of them that left the slab. We have to figure out what that means."
The Whisper ties off her horse and furrows her brow. "The song makes me curious. I wonder..." She hums, alongside it, trying to harmonize, to memorize.
Lisebet looks to each as they speak, and smiles. "A song as a prayer, maybe?" she says. "That song is certainly mesmerizing, but it seems a bit odd without the river roaring by." She moves to look at the path, curiously. "I - do we pray on the way, or once we get to - the slab. It's down that path, right?" She stops there and looks at the others, being as they're all much more used to such things than she is, she thinks.
Marian shoots a look to Sparte, "I am not suggesting that we ask Mangata to solve the matter but such matters of correcting a wrong could not but be helped by a prayer before we set forth to correct it." She places an armored hand over her chest, "I myself would prefer to observe such things before..." She motions around them, "We explore further." She nods to the others as they mention the song, "Yes...perhaps..."
Sparte checked intellect + occult at difficulty 10, rolling 18 higher.
Anisha checked luck + occult at difficulty 10, rolling 7 higher.
Lisebet checked intellect + occult at difficulty 10, rolling 110 higher. Lisebet rolled a critical!
Marian checked intellect + occult at difficulty 10, rolling 18 higher.
Around sparte, the wind picks up, warm and balmy, swirling around him and sending clothing fluttering and hair before it pulls away and traces further along the path. And there, the woods play tricks on the eyes. Or so you think. Is it the leaves? Dirt and twigs? Are there people? Something happens regardless and before your eyes just before you blink it seems like there's people heading toward where the river is. Then just as swiftly, gone.
"...That's weird." Anisha concludes, about the wind and Sparte. And she nods off to the distance. "...The rest of you saw that, right?" She asks, a bit uncertain - but still moving forward, as much as Marian being ahead of her lets her. "I don't think we should tarry, we need to get to that slab, figure all of this out..."
At the clarification from Marian, Sparte looks to her again thoughtfully, then nods. He is convinced. Reaching to a pouch at his belt with his hand not holding the rope, he unbuttons it and sifts through the contents. Finding a scrap of weathered sailcloth he pulls it free, a scrap bearing Mangata's symbol upon it. It flutters with his clothes as the wind passes over him, eyes shifting to look around his surroundings. He squints at where the people had been, staring for several long moments. The prayer he mouths to Mangata is given with his eyes still on that spot, silent, not even for the wind to hear. He then tucks the sailcloth into his belt, loose, instead of back into the pouch that he subsequently buttons shut again. "Yeah."
Lisebet grins at Sparte, and she says, "Oh, entirely true. But a prayer cannot hurt, I expect." She looks to Marian and says, "If you have one, your highness, by all means." She smiles over to Anisha, concentrates on the music, squares her shoulders and sings along with it for a few moments, her own form of a prayer to Mangata, as they just thought about it. Lisebet is no bard, but part of her decorative training was in performing and so she does sing reasonably well. Usually.
Lisebet checked charm + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 46 higher.
Marian pulls out a small vial of water that she carries from the shrine of Mangata. She takes off her glove and holds it in her hand as she speaks a soft prayer to her, "Blessed Mangata, speak to us of stillness and change as your waters flow through the earth to bring life to the land beneath our feet. Over and around, your waters bend to find pathways we do not tread. Deeper still within the earth, you lay, undiscovered by no less strong, waiting for the time that your wisdom be discovered. May we be worthy of this task. Bring the memories, the water. Help us understand our purpose and serve you faithfully."
the breeze pulls away and seems to swirl around anisha. Almost to the point of lifting the whisper. Almost. Again and again it swirls.
The others, Marian, Lisebet and Sparte remain untouched, nothing ruffling, though the leaves and dirt, twigs adn natures detrius around their feet shifts in confusion.
Anisha shoots Lisebet a smile, and her humming goes a little louder. But she stops, as the wind almost lifts her delicate frame off the ground, and she stumbles. "Confusion," She declares. "I... It doesn't like it. It wants us to - We have to get there, quick, I think." She gives a shake of her head. "Mangata is - I think she's distant here, as the Crown is distant to this village." Her brow furrowing. "It's hard to explain."
Lisebet smiles, her gaze going from Sparte to Anisha, and then she says, "That does seem to be the plan." The petite Ashford duchess tilts her head, and adds, "So much confusion. It is hard to explain, you're right. But I think I understand, at least the feeling. We should go see if we can find that slab and see what is going on. Shall we?" She reaches a hand to part some of those branches, and steps onto the path now, starting to make her way along.
Sparte nods as if in understanding. "Alright, alright..." He uncoils the rope as he follows the path ahead, keeping the end tied off lightly taught. "I can tell when I'm being told I'm taking too long. Hope I didn't tie this off too early, that I've length enough for what we're about to do."
Marian is satisfied with the prayer given, although the strange confusion and sorrow has caused a frown as she nods in agreement, "Yes, let's get to the slab." She will take a position that ensures if they are ambushed that she can defend the group. As the forboding increases, so does the warrior's need to protect others.
You're so just like the dream only without the sound of the river, you go ahead. Bird song picks up again and bringing you to realize that at some point it had stopped. Around the point where everyone but Anisha started praying to Mangata. Light filters down through the canopy and you lift your hand to push back another branch and just like the vision, you emerge from the woods to the river's shore.
But there's no one. No older woman. The river looks like it does in the dream at it's worst, water barely coming out of the mouth of the river head. There's the slab, just as they expected. As they make their way closer, the music dies out, whatever song some woman sings fades and a thrilling feeling, that you've stepped foot where you need to be.
The water at the rivershead shifts, rises for a moment then back down. The breeze picks up again and swirls around everyone and just a little push it feels like toward the slab.
Anisha checked perception at difficulty 10, rolling 22 higher.
Lisebet checked perception at difficulty 10, rolling 4 higher.
Marian checked perception at difficulty 10, rolling 22 higher.
Sparte checked perception at difficulty 10, rolling 2 higher.
Anisha furrows her brow deeper, and moves towards the blanket, the cane, the shoes. Regarding the slab. "I think... I think we need to do something." She notes. And, well, why not. She steps onto the slab, and reaching into her memory, begins humming that song - vocalising. Not as a prayer to Mangata, but as they heard it coming in.
Anisha checked charm + performance at difficulty 20, rolling 44 higher.
Lisebet glances at Anisha, and she nods. "We do need to do something." She pauses to look at the blanket, cane and shoes, thoughtfully, and then her gaze turns to the slab as Anisha moves to start humming atop it. She shrugs delicately, and then goes to join her, assisting. This time, not as a prayer to Mangata, but with the sound of that river roaring in her mind, how it sounded in the dream.
Anisha checked luck + occult at difficulty 20, rolling 12 higher.
Marian checked intellect + theology at difficulty 20, rolling 5 lower.
Lisebet checked wits + occult at difficulty 20, rolling 54 higher.
Marian doesn't join in the song, letting the other two handle such matters. Instead she puzzles over the woman's cane, the possible missing person that might be about and explain things further. She takes a moment to look around to see if there are tracks that they might be able to follow.
Sparte checked intellect + theology at difficulty 20, rolling 33 higher.
Anisha's feet press to the slab as she stands, the notes of that song pouring out from her mouth. Lisebet joins her.
Everyone can hear it on the wind, that breeze that picks up and seems to play and dance along with that song. The water surges from the riverhead and spray comes up, picked up by the breeze and flecks of the freshwater splash in a fine mist across everyone there. And then you can see it.
Not in truth before your eyes. No. It's in your mind. Everyones mind. There's no river here, only woods and all that sorrow and neglect gives way to fear. To danger. To desperation. Battle sounds are in the distance and you instinctively know that whatever happened here, happend years ago. Centuries ago. This slab was there but it juts out from the ground and a group of five people huddle on it. One woman stands out before the others. A storm rages above them.
"Bring out your offerings. Quickly." She says. The voice familiar to all of you. The singer. "The spirits will protect us." And they gathere there on the slab. The dark haired woman pulls a ring off her finger as everyone else puts their gifts upon the slab. There's a carved pebble, a small rag doll, a flower and a small carving of a family embracing. Each arranged beside the other. The woman seems satisfied, and turns, holding the ring up and out. "Spirits we call! We beg for your help, we who have been faithful. We who have come with offering. To the wind and waters we pray. To the earth we beg. Danger comes that will take us from these lands." The stone ring is held higher. "Ever will we stride to this point, to give our thanks. To give our due to you who have fed us. To those who have kept us alive. Who give the water and the tree's, the ground that our food grows in. We beg of you, help."
The people with her chant, something long lost and forgotten and for a moment it seems like whatever they are praying to might not answer. Deperation growing thicker. Before there's a roar, a mighty vicious roar. The ground shakes beneath your feet and for a moment the world seems to stop.
Then the ground errupts. Water geysers high and comes back down with a mighty crash and each of you feels the wet. Feels the water rush toward you and feels like it might take you away. But it doesn't.
When the waters stop surging upward, only out, when it roars past the edges of the slab do you see that the woods are gone past that rock. An unspannable length of water running both ways, forging a river that cuts through the forest. But there's only four people on the slab. The offerings are gone, save for the ring which lays there in the pool of water and the woman who lead them is gone.
And like that, the vision ends as the sprays of water evaporate from the skin. But there's a splash and out of the rivers head comes an old woman, drenched, gasping for air and a hand on an outcropping, trying to haul herself out.
Marian is stunned at first by the vision, it stops her in her efforts to find the owner of the cane. As the vision lifts, Marian finds her wits and then quickly moves to go assist the old woman. She ignores the dampness and mud on her white leathers, "Here...elder, let me help you." She is gentle in her touch as she pulls the old woman out onto the outcropping.
Sparte is not the closest to the woman. Others will reach her before him. He does what he can, instead, and lets the rest of the slack out of the rope he was holding. Looping it once around the side of his belt and tying it off, he then steps forward to join the others. "I begin to understand what has happened here. The wind spirit guiding us was one of a group." Sparte looks up to the sky, then down to the elderly woman. "One spirit, one shaman."
"They forgot." Anisha declares, simply, settling onto the slab, the vision knocking the wind from her. "I think - I think we need to fulfill their promise. Or... Release the spirits, if the village can survive without the river. But I don't know if they can," She notes, quietly. "We should try to find gifts too, I think."
Lisebet's singing cuts off with the vision, caught by it. When it releases them, with the water there, and the old woman, her eyes widen. She takes a breath and nods. Shamans. Definitely. "I don't think the village can survive without the river, but we could find gifts for the spirits who are helping them. It must be terrible to be alone, forgotten, and lost. It - a lot of things have been forgotten. Maybe, if we can, we can get the people of the village to come by here with offerings so it doesn't get forgotten again as well. If we can help here first, that is."
Marian's hand is taken, the woman helped up out of the water, the liquid sluicing off of her. Around sparte the breeze picks up, swirling about him again and then around Anisha and finally Lisebet when she speaks. Neglect gives way to a sense of rightness. The breeze playful and water burbles up from the riverhead and splashes on Marian's knee's. "The ring is down there." It's breathless, the woman leaning on Marian. "I tried. It's too deep. I'm too old. I'm sorry." The old woman is in near tears, white hair plastered to the sides of her head. "My son would dive down and get it but he is gone. I tried. They have been forgiving but I.." She stumbles. "There's not many of us anymore. But I keep trying. You need the ring." That rivers head. It's deep and dark. But from your dream you know that on a ledge down there, there is a ring. A stone ring.
Marian checked stamina + athletics at difficulty 25, rolling 29 higher.
The rope, the end tied off on Sparte's belt, it is clear he thought he would be the one to dive. He saw this coming, saw that it would have to happen. Yet, as he looks between Marian and the old woman, some realization hits him that it isn't him that is called the most strongly to do this. "Ugh... Marian." He starts trying to get the rope off his belt and realizes his knot was - to his frustration - too secure. He takes the entire belt off instead, allowing his pouches to fall loose into the mud at his feet before he offers it over towards her. "In case anything goes wrong. I'll be watching, tug twice if you need help."
Marian gives a solemn nod to the old woman as she sobs about the missing ring. She softly tells the elder, "I shall retrieve it for you." She gives a look a sympathy to the woman, "I know you would do it if you could. Don't worry, I shall take the place of your son in this matter." She then steps back and starts to strip down to undergarments, a pair of thin cotton pants and tunic that keeps her armor from chafing against her skin. For her companions that have never seen Marian at the public baths, the deep scarring on her body speaks to the sacrifices that this warrior has made for Crown and Compact. The blades and bites of canines tell a story within itself.
At Sparte's urging, Marian takes the rope and ties it around her waist. She nods at his thoughts, "Good man, yes, let's tie it to my waist." Then the warrior princess dives down to the darkness to get the stone ring that is waiting under the depths.
"Come," Anisha offers to the old woman, with a smile. "Come sit on the stone with us. They've been forgiving, you say. They will be again. They understand, I'm sure. Princess Marian is a formidable warrior and an excellent physical specimen." She offers a little smile, looking after Marian. "Remember with us? Tell us the story? I'm sure they'd appreciate that, while we wait." She gives Sparte a rueful smile, as Marian disappears into the water. "...I'd be pretty useless in trying to pull her back up, I think."
Lisebet inclines her head politely to the elder as she is helped up to the slab. She smiles, as Marian promptly volunteers for the dive, and moves to sit with Anisha and the elder, quiet now, as she thinks. "I don't know if I brought anything that would be a good gift."
Sparte slips loose his cloak, draping it over the shoulders of the old woman to give her some warmth, then turns his full focus to the rope. He measures out the length with his eye. Plenty of slack still, seems he didn't tie it too soon after all. Maybe. Anisha's comment gets a small tch sound from him. He isn't the picture of might himself. Lisebet's comment gets him thinking. "If you didn't, o through my pouches that fell. There should be something you feel is worthy there."
The water is cold. It was one thing to wade in calf deep and help the old woman out. But the warmth of the air and the sun does little and doesn't penetrate the water. It comes from some place deep after all. Where sun doesn't touch and the earth doesn't warm it. The rope secure around her waist, the Princess of Redraind dives and fora moment her body recoils against the freezing water in as much as all that water seems to want to push her out. The river may be damped but there's still water coming up and it has the promise of viciousness. How far down does she have to go? What did the dream say?
Anisha and Lisebet tend to the woman as Sparte waits patiently for Marian to resurface, the water seeping into his boots. Around them the song picks up again, that wordless tune that plays on the breeze. "Long ago the spirits saved us. Something dark in the woods threatened to take the town. Centuries ago. The village forgets, it's been so long." She leans against the two, shivering as the sunlight hits and starts to warm her up though clothing stays wet and cold for now. "They turn to the pantheon. There's less of us now." Shamans. She believes in spirits. "My family told the story all the time when I was growing up. We kept to the way. We kept the promise. Honored her sacrifice. But then everyone died from age and there was just us. My husband and then my son." They settle on the slab, warmed from the sun and the breeze plays around the three women. "You get the ring. You give thanks for her sacrifice, that great shaman. She offered herself if the spirits would save the village and protect it. Water, has memory." The cloak settled around her shoulders helps. "The water thanks you back, and another year will pass with it giving what is needed for the village." There's a sob. "It has been me, just me. My son died in a battle. everyone else has forgotten. They have not giving honour and they are unhappy. I saw you. All of you. In a dream. But I didn't think you were coming. I tried to get the ring myself."
Marian swims down, down into the hole, the cold waters trying to leach away her strength as she pushes forward. Her lungs burn but she does not falter until she finally reaches the ledge where the ring is waiting. She graps the ring in her fist and then tugs on the rope with her free hand to let Sparte know that she's coming up. Then she uses her powerful legs to try to break the surface of the water before her air runs out.
Sparte checked strength at difficulty 15, rolling 12 lower.
Marian checked stamina + athletics at difficulty 20, rolling 25 higher.
"I have an idea," Anisha says. "What if, once we've given sacrifice, we go back to town. We make it about the history, we tell a story of the town's founding, and we make it a yearly ritual of thanks. And we'll help you find someone to pass the knowledge of the rite along to." She gestures to Lisebet. "She's a wonderful singer. And she can sing and tell of what happened, and we can teach the song. And while she does that, you and I will walk the crowd and find the ones the story takes true hold of." She glances to Sparte, to where Marian disappeared. Considering. Then she lays back, and she sings - it's a favourite song, about comfort and validation. Forget the bits that are terribly Lycene and speak about being someone's reflection - the overall theme is one of warmth and comfort.
The signal comes from Marian to be hauled up. Sparte spots it, immediately grabbing the rope and yanking upwards in an attempt to help her along - it goes absolutely terribly. First his boots slip in the mud, landing him on his back. Then as he tries to get to his feet, the water filling his pants tries to steal them away from him - and without his belt, very nearly succeed. He ends up with one hand on the rope and one around the hem of his pants, having to haul /himself/ out of the water just to not be in Marian's way. Forget anything about actually helping her get to the surface faster. And yes, he is entirely covered in mud now.
Anisha checked charm + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 49 higher.
Lisebet listens to the story that the shaman elder tells, and then to Anisha's song. She watches Sparte and waits for Marian to resurface. "We will help today, we can do that," she says. "And then we can definitely go to the village and help to get more people to help. I am willing to sing a story." The petite Valardin offers a gentle smile. "If the spirits will allow such."
Marian feels the cold down to the bones as she pushes forward but she keeps on swimming. The odd tugs at her waist doesn't help her at all reach the surface but that doesn't daunt the stubborn woman. She finally reaches the surface, holding the stone ring her her fist with a triumphant, "I got it!" She manages to get to the edge and lift herself up, bursting out in a laugh when she sees the state of Sparte, "Did I do that to you?" She shivers and looks to her companions to see if there is a free blanket.
Sparte just lets out a sigh as he gets to his feet. He shakes some of the mud from his arm not holding up his pants, looking over the state of himself. Marian's question gets a rueful look, then Sparte focuses on shaking more of the mud off himself. "I slipped." Sparte steps, very carefully, over towards where he had taken off his belt to get the rope free. The process of getting his belt and pouches back on will not cure the mud coating his clothing, but at least it will keep his pants on. "I'll... Figure an offering out. I need a minute."
The urgency is back again. The song on the breeze mingles with Anisha's and the old woman seems to get a second wind. "I tried that once. They laughed at me and questioned my mind. Called me touched. But maybe if there are others." The tugged rope and Sparte falling has her stuggling to rise and look hopeful. The breeze, the leaves and dirt, those twigs pick up and swirls around the slab and a feeling of rightness. Marian's bursting up through the water brings a smile to her face and relief. "We can do this." She looks to the gathered people - there's a blanket that she had there for herself that MArian can wrap herself in.
Sparte may need a minute but whatever is urging them onwards and brought them here instills in them a sense of urgency. It curls around the spine again and the breeze and spray from the water seems to herd and push them to the slab. "We hear you." The old woman admonishes. "You brought them. We are here, we're trying. Please have patience."
Anisha lets the song end, sighing contentedly, raising two fingers to feel the wind against the pads. She looks to Sparte and Marian, and undoes her cloak, offering it to the latter.
"For most of them, it will just be a story. A summer festival," Anisha tells the old woman. "A celebration of life and a distant figure, a mythical thing. But for those who truly understand the wonder - and there will be some - it will become a true offering. Even if they otherwise don't have any gift for dealing with spirits. I don't think I'm particularly special in that regards."
Marian accepts the blanket given by the old woman, "Thank you..." She wraps herself in the warmth and opens her hand to show the stone ring, "Here it is." She offers it to the old woman who seems to know what she's doing. At Sparte's admission that he fell, she shakes her head but there is little judgement. Then she goes to her things to retrieve a personal gift for the ceremony. She pauses for a moment and then takes a worn piece of paper from it's depths after her hands dry. It's been read over and over again so it's stained a bit. She returns back to the group and lets them know, "This is a note from my departed husband, a few days before he was taken from me..." She offers it to the old woman.
Sparte gets his belt secured, taking off his muddied gloves and tucking them into the side. Carefully opening up the one pouch he has that is waterproofed, he looks through the contents. Deciding, he takes out the copy of the map that guided them here. Only a smudge of the mud from his folly marring it. "I will offer the map that led us here. I will make the map anew when we return, so others may find their way when the next year comes. May help remember." He holds it out towards the old woman. His eyes scan towards the air above them, a quirk of an eyebrow on his muddied face. As though wondering what it thinks.
Lisebet nods. "A festival every year at the right time seems a very good thing. Even if it's an excuse for a party, that may be just what is needed to keep the tradition and the ritual alive." She pauses to consider, and fishes into her belt pouch to come up with a small figurine of a horse and rider. "I have this," she says. "It was something I was going to give to my niece, but I haven't had a chance to do that yet." It's a unique little horse, picked up in a small stall in town.
The old womans hand comes out from Sparte's cloak and takes the ring from Marian, holding it in her hand. "I couldn't get it last year. They were unhappy. But nothing happened. I thought perhaps they understood that I was too old. But the dream..." She takes that note then, holding it in her hand and looking to Marian. It flutters in the breeze, the edges flapping up and down playfully. Anisha's hair is swirled as she finishes her song and it would seem that the spirits are happy with what they take as an offering. Spartes words and map soon joins the note and ring in her hand, palms trembling with age. "They must be made to remember. Somehow, some way. The spirits must be honoured." Well, the faith of the compact -might- have some things to say on that. On quaint back woods customs and traditions but.. As anisha says. It could become a festival. The water burble a little stronger when lisebet offers up that little wooden carving but then sinks back down and what was a creek from that river head is swiftly cutting down. Drying up further. She looks to Marian, the old woman wilting, tiring. "Lead it if you would?" She looks to the water. "I don't think we have much longer." There's a worry in her gaze. She offers up the things gathered to Marian.
Marian gets dressed as others gather their belongings. She listens as the others talk around her. She then steps forward to retrieve what the woman offers and then speaks in a clear voice to the river, "Water has memory. As does this river." She gives a gentle nod to the woman, "Hafeld may have forgotten their origins but we do not." She gives a smile to each person that came on this journey, "And it is our pledge to help them remember by putting forth a festival to celebrate the river, the history of old." Then repeats the words that she remembers from the dream. The words that were spoken at the first sacrifice.
Marian checked command + leadership at difficulty 15, rolling 35 higher.
Lisebet waits, as Marian speaks, and then she starts to sing again, adding her voice to the ritual, the song from the dream, as she can remember it. Her words and voice, the memory of the roaring river, protecting, helping, comforting.
Lisebet checked perception + empathy at difficulty 25, rolling 23 higher.
Anisha checked perception + empathy at difficulty 25, rolling 37 higher.
Anisha, too, adds to the song, once more joining in to vocalise and counter-harmonize. To lend richness and depth to Lisebet's music.
Marian checked perception + survival at difficulty 25, rolling 40 higher.
Lisebet checked dexterity at difficulty 5, rolling 16 higher.
Marian checked dexterity at difficulty 5, rolling 13 higher.
Anisha checked dexterity at difficulty 5, rolling 2 higher.
Sparte checked perception + empathy at difficulty 25, rolling 0 higher.
Sparte checked dexterity at difficulty 5, rolling 14 higher.
It has been a long time since Marion took to the old ways. The love for Mangata burns in her heart. Burns in all their hearts. But the spirits don't care. The spirits just want to be honoured. So the tangible offerings are placed. The map, the note, the little carved statue from Lisebet. Anisha's song still lingers in their ears, taken up by that spirit.
That spirit who as Marian starts to speak seems - it's a trick the eyes yes? Has to be a trick of the eyes and the water as it starts to burble up again and unnatural waves form - appears before them. They hear it in their minds. All of them, even as Marian echo's the words long ago. Echo's the words that Marian spoke. Water, has memory. This water at least. But there's an offering missing. That ring in marian's palm is not an offering. No. It's a focus. The old woman moves forward to the spirit or whatever that shape is in the water, a hand coming up to her mouth. She says something all of it almost lost in the sounds of the ground beneath their feet shaking. "I give myself to you, so that they may have safety. So that they may have their livelihood. So that they may understand what they have forgotten and that you give. I am sorry. I offer up myself as she once did. Protect them again. I beg of you."
It feels like the vision. It plays out only there's no woods before them but that barren river and with that same roar, just as the old woman takes a step forward, the river head errupts. Water bursts forth again with a promise of strength and renewed vigor behind it. Up into the air, then crashing down, water swirling toward the rock, a threat to take everyone with it. Water curls around the old woman and she turns to look at the group with a smile and like that, she's gone, engulfed like the woman in the vision was when the river head was first birthed. It sweeps up onto the rock and water takes away the offerings, the map, note and wooden horse. For a moment, Anisha's voice falters, the song stolen from her lips before it returns.
And then the waters receede just enough that they are safe -if a little wet- and they can see the water's edge rolling out to either side as it tumbles down the dry river, filling once more.
And with that rushing water, goes the sorrow. Goes the neglect. Swirling in to fill those voids is joy, a sense of suecurity and happiness. The spirits, it seems, are appeased. If the swirling rush of air that lifts hair in all directions and tunic edges and cloak. The ring is gone too, and in the minds eye you can see for a moment. Back on the ledge, safe and sound, beneath the water.
Sparte is less muddy for the rinse, which is perhaps welcome. It does not look it, on his face. He is grumbly, almost growling when he pulls himself clear and takes stock of his belongings. "A life given in sacrifice... We didn't even learn her name." Sparte glances around at the others, then gives a short whistle for Hyb. Perhaps she'll hear it. "We need a fire before anyone catches sick and joins her. Let's get to the village and dry off, then decide what we're doing next. I don't believe our job here is done."
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