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Winged Words

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Winged Words

Post  Wynnsaren on Mon Jan 06, 2014 11:59 pm

Rova the 8th, 4712


My most extraordinary Rasven, My dearest prince,

I have awoken to whispers of a mysterious visitor; a magnificent and handsome young half elf who had appeared from time to time as mysteriously as an apparition in my tower while I slept!  

You never fail to amaze me.  You never fail to further endear your heart to mine own with your expressions of deep regard and tender care for my well-being.  While I fear I cannot recall your presence during those weeks, so rooted was I within a vision, even to hear of it now warms my soul which yearns desperately to have you near.

It occurs to me that we have spent entirely too much time in a state of unintended unconsciousness in the other's company.  Each of these moments is so precious to me that I give you my word that I shall endeavor to remain fully cognizant for as long as possible upon our next, much desired meeting.

As mentioned, I have spent these three weeks past deep within a new vision.  The stars aligned and I cannot help but believe that within that vision I have seen the face of the Shadow which has so plagued my dreams the last two years.  An intelligence infinitely alien.  Terrifying in its apathy.  Indescribable in the sense of sheer ancient power as it looked through me to my inmost being and left behind a dread chill in its wake!

I fear that it knows me.  That it has been in my mind, as disturbing a thought that could be, but it matters not I realize.  My path. . .  Matsuro Shi's path lies stretched out before them.  To abandon it now would be to doom us all and not only the Stolen Lands, but Brevoy, the River Kingdoms, and so very far beyond!  I do not have your ability to face such terror without fear.  There are times such as these when I wish that I could, but there is nothing for it.  For the good of us all, my fear must be faced head on.  This is by far my greatest test.

The gods in their wisdom have seen fit to give me a direction.  Kirya.  Whatever is coming, our path to thwarting its plans begins there.  I do not know how long the journey will be, nor even what we will find when we arrive -- so often my visions are vague -- but I believe there has been recent meteoric activity in the area.  It is there that we will start our search.

No doubt you have noted the wavering script with which I write to you, and for that I beg apology if because of it you find difficulty deciphering my words.  The shades of memories from the siege seem to have unsteadied me.  A troublesome development that I pray will pass soon.  

Every man, woman and child in Akiros has suffered in some capacity and there are so many who are in need of strength right now.  My thoughts lie especially with the four hundred families of whom I feel it necessary to speak with personally, as it was under my command that their loved ones fought and died.  I cannot bring myself to do it yet however, my beloved Rasven, for I feel as if it was just yesterday that we were there on that wall.  I find myself still reeling from the horror.  All that death. . .

Inevitably my thoughts turn to you; to the struggles you are facing in Brevoy.  How I wish that I was there with you, to comfort you and to ease your mind from the troubles in which you find yourself embroiled!  I know that for centuries you have managed on your own.  You have found many ways to cope with difficulty and trial.  So have I.  Yet now, as my soul cries out for the tragedy of all I have just borne witness to, I cannot help but to imagine your arms wrapped around me and your voice against my ear.  There is a comfort in that beyond anything I have ever known.

I have wondered if you feel the same.  When you rest upon your orchid divan in the evening and gaze up at the celestial lights with those captivating eyes, do you share in that desire for solace and support?  Does the burden of war weigh on you heavily?  You have been through so much in your lifetime and perhaps I am only projecting my own fragilities in this area.

I shall write you again as soon as I am able.  Likely from the road.  I confess that even under these circumstances I find myself excited to visit Iobaria as I have never been there!  Have you?  It seems such a wild place!  The discoveries and adventures we will experience on this journey, I much anticipate sharing with you in person, but such moments seem to be continuously stolen from me.  I must be patient, for the time will come when I once again find myself in your presence and graced by your sustaining voice.


Ever Yours,

Wynnsaren

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Wynnsaren

Post  Wynnsaren on Wed Jan 22, 2014 7:54 pm

Rova the 16, 4712



To My Beloved Master Winter,


Oh Rasven, there is so much I wish to tell you!  So much that has happened!  While I am quite confident that one letter cannot possibly contain the enthusiasm which I feel for these discoveries, nor the gravity of the events of the last few days, I shall boldly attempt what I can at this juncture.  I will not be named coward in the face of such adversity as this missive presents me!

Iobaria is a beautiful land.  At least that which I have experienced, which admittedly is precious little at this point.  My companions speak of wide blue skies and green coniferous forests; craggy mountain peaks that scrape the clouds and reflect the colors of the rising and setting of the sun upon their stone.  The air is thinner here but invigorating. . . lightening somehow, as if there seems to be less holding me to the ground.  The forests are weighted with the smells of mosses and lichen.  Soft and earthy scents that remind me of my days in Varisia.   It feels older here however.  Full of mystery and magic, this place is thick with history, the whole land seems to vibrate with it.  There will be no time to visit the many ruins of old civilizations I am told exist in this land and yet I feel blessed to have been granted the opportunity to spend time here.  

The Kellid people feel familiar to me.  I have oft hoped to sojourn among them for a time, for the shoanti believe they are all originally of one people, though I do not think the kellid would so readily admit to that shared heritage.  These 'northern brothers' have many similarities in values.  Strength, honor, family, freedom. . .   Fierce ancestral and cultural pride.  We stayed an evening in Mishkar where I was able to engage many in conversation over the course of a few hours and found myself quite comfortable within their company.  Perhaps they too recognized a familiarity in me, for it did not take them over long to open up about their lives and history in these lands. . .something the shoanti would only do very guardedly in front of a tsamek.  I am duly honored.

Ahh, but see how I ramble!  

There are so many more details which I desire to share with you, especially those surrounding the mining town of Kirya, but if I were to pen each of these things, I fear even my silver raven would plummet from the skies due to the sheer weight of this correspondence!  In order to prevent such loss I will spare you all but the highlights for now.

The 'meteor' which I had seen in my vision had made landfall less than a month before we had arrived but as it turns out, it was no meteor at all!  Instead it was some kind of Lirgeni vessel built to traverse the stars!   Can you imagine sailing amongst the stars?  How incredible a people they must have been. . .  

As you might expect, we were not the only parties interested in finding the crash site.  Our own arrival was preceded by a group of Galtan cultists calling themselves the Cult of the Dreamwalker, who were attempting to facilitate the arrival of an alien being. . . an emissary of the old gods, using an orrery artifact that was located upon the space-faring vessel.  

The entire town of Kirya had been magically cursed by the leader of this Cult, to force them to undergo a bestial transformation once the Emissary activated them, which would have conscripted every inhabitant to a raging, ready-made army.  

Would have.  

Its plans were thwarted this time, but the being retreated into the night sky at blinding speed and we were unable to locate it afterward.

Once the remaining alien presence were defeated, three mi-go and some kind of terrifying cross between a polar bear and a rhinoceros, we were able to Remove the curse that had been placed upon the town's water supply.  The local temple will care for the citizens until the last remnants of the magic has left their systems.  

Much to my ire and that of my companions, the leader of the Cult eluded capture as well.  I fear her plots have not been exhausted and that we shall one day meet her again on this path of Fate we share.  In spite of these frustrations, I feel we have learned much about what machinations are at work against our world. . . at least much more than we have previously known.  The time draws ever nearer to the culmination of the matter.  They will be ready.  They must be. . .

We will be leaving here upon the morrow.  Though I wish I could stay in this place a while longer, there is much work yet to be done back in Akiros.  For my part, I will be leading a delegation to seek out Queen Feluanil -- of whom I have previously written -- very shortly after our return to the city.  I certainly look forward to meeting this fey queen for myself.  It seems she has seen a fate surrounding my king, and I hope to learn exactly what that might be and whether our visions are compatible.  I worry that such outside influences may threaten my mission here, though King Thaddeus seems quite clear on the importance of this gods-given purpose to the future of us all.  

Ahh, but women certainly do have a tendency to create trouble, do they not?

Have you ever happened to hear of Queen Feluanil in your dealings?   I suspect that this particular fey has been around for quite some time.  

Not that I am inferring that your advanced age would give you reason to know of her of course, merely that perhaps through your contacts and long reach. . .   Well. . .  That is to say. . .  Truly you seem quite spry for a man who has lived well into his second century of life!  While it is likely I could best you in a foot race and surely dance circles around you given the opportunity, I feel you should be proud of how well you are holding up at such a distinguished age!

I pray thee, forgive my jest, for I find myself in a most excellent and spirited mood this evening and my dearest desire would be to find myself at your side, immersed in a lively dance of words if not one of true steps!

A package should be arriving for you within a few days and it is my hope that you will find beauty in its contents.  A wise -- and dare I say exceedingly handsome -- man once told me that when one sees something that threatens the fabric of one's imagination, that it should be studied awhile, listening to how it speaks to the mind. . .to anything that it has to say.  

This item in question was retrieved from the Lirgeni vessel.  Its history is what makes it so hauntingly beautiful in my mind, not to mention its general composition, but the crew chose this themselves to remind them of home on their long voyage through the stars.  Sorrowfully it is a home that no longer exists.  At least not they way they knew it.

I hope you fall in love with this work as I have.  While I do not recall you possessing its like among your collection, I suspect I have seen but a fraction of such works.  What can one present to a man that has everything?  Either way, I fondly wish for you to accept this gift and allow it to remind you that though my own purpose has me wandering nearly constantly among the nations, that I -- like these Lirgeni voyagers -- have kept mementos to bring to mind a home and heart so precious to my own.  Soon I hope to set these tokens aside in favor of your most remarkable and altogether tangible presence, my dear Rasven Winter.

May that day hasten ever nearer!



Humbly and Earnestly Yours,

Wynnsaren

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Wynnsaren

Post  Wynnsaren on Mon Apr 07, 2014 10:06 am

Gozran the 19th, 4713



My Most Formidable Prince,


In the spirit of truth and openness I must make confession to you.

There are evenings that I lie awake under the stars, struggling with the nagging notion that I may have made a most dreadful mistake.

This game that we have begun -- for truly that is all it amounts to -- will, I fear, come to a most violent and abrupt conclusion. Even under this threat, I know that I am in far too deeply to turn away from the course. My pride now drives me on though surely it will prove folly.

Through this I have come to a shadow of understanding of the just how dangerous a man you can be. Even when I feel confident in actions personally taken, I cannot help but sense that you are luring me into a most fatal snare as might some treacherously handsome spider!

Is that part of your game then? Do you intend to undermine the confidence I have in my own abilities with your unnerving patience and surety in each and every move you make? With a quirk of your silver brow and a captivating smirk playing at the corner of your lips, you design to flummox me into another poor decision! And gods take me if it does not work! Even such distance does not diminish the potency of your effect upon me and I am ruined.

The road looks clear and while it seems that my own triumph is nigh at hand, something warns me otherwise. Something preternatural? No, I believe it must be that I have an understanding of my opponent. Still, while I fear a trap I have little choice but to stay the course and press on. It is from that cautious position that I make my move.

Knight to F3. Your king is in check, Master Winter. Do your worst. . .

A swordlord told me once in the usual braggadocio that accompanies the title, that duelists make the best chess players, for they have learned the art of leading their opponents into making fatal mistakes. They know how to capitalize on every slip and even use their rival's strengths against him. I tentatively agreed with his assessment at the time, but now I see the full scope of that truth reflected in your eyes and in your style of play!

Solace I take in this fact: If I win, I win and if I lose, I win. How could I feel otherwise when I find myself playing against the great Rasven Winter, whose heart has been freely given and mine own to him in return!

On another matter, I wish to make you aware that I soon intend to pay a visit to the Mwangi Expanse. Nantambu in particular. This business is neither political nor divine, you understand, but personal. The Pathfinder lodge here in Akiros will be able to provide me passage via Teleport as soon as I am able to gather enough information with which to barter, and King Thaddeus has kindly agreed to assist me in doing so. I hope the wait will not be long for the more I learn, the more curious I become!

I also look forward to meeting the native peoples of that land and only wish I had practiced polyglot with you as well as Skald during my last visit. All in good time I suppose. I do recall you remarking to me once that only polyglot can rival the language in the ability to convey emotion in storytelling. It is my hope that I will find this to be true as well. Surely I will find a tale of adventure or two to share with you upon my return.

Prayers of Fate and Fortune ever wing their way to the gods on your behalf, and please. . . I would have you remember that when I am not with you physically, I am there with you in spirit. Always.

Yours,

Wynnsaren

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Post  Wynnsaren on Thu Oct 23, 2014 10:44 pm

Neth 7th, 4713

Min Elskede,

There have been most recent developments in my mission here in Novastasia.  In haste I send out this missive with the fervent prayer that it is delivered into your hand before any rumor reaches your ear, for there is no telling what perversion the truth has undertaken in its flight from the castle!

King Thaddeus lives.  In spite of an assassination attempt in which mine own hand was employed toward the deed, he is well and in good health.  How my position within his kingdom will be affected remains to be seen but if the angry mobs outside have been any indication, there will need to be a reckoning before all is said and done.

The trouble began, as it so often does in my case, while I lay dreaming.  A vision took hold of me and again, I was not alone within.  The presence spoke to me this time in a voice like that of a child with a raspy edge of foreboding, taunting me as the vision unfolded.  

In the beginning I stood looking out over the mist-shrouded Tuskwater, listening to the Song of the Spheres as I am often wont to do.  It started as a single discordant note among the Great Symphony and then spread into a cacophonous, mind-raking shriek!  I could see them then!  The stars!  Only to watch as they began winking out one by one, or so I thought at first, for the shrieking. . .the Anguish of the Stars continued and I knew that the celestial lights had not gone out but were being overtaken by a great Writhing Darkness that approached our world from beyond!

As I was standing in stunned horror evoked by what I was watching, a deafening crack reverberated through the vision as the Thing from Beyond pierced the moon with one of its tentacles as it reached toward our planet.  The voice was just behind me then and when I turned to view my tormentor, I found myself alone upon the balcony of a tall tower within an ancient city surrounded by a massive curtain wall.  Instead of the Tuskwater, this city sat beside a mist-covered river with mountain peaks beyond jutting up into the horizon.  

Regular people stood out in the streets of this city, peering up into the sky as I had been, and then it started to rain a thick, black ichor from the cloudless sky.  To my continuing horror, the citizens below opened their mouths to it as if entranced, only to undergo a sudden and even more terrifying event as plant-like vines sprouted from every orifice and climbed toward the heavens!  A central stalk had burst from the tower I was standing upon and I watched as all of the lesser vines veered from their course to merge with this greater stalk to form a huge, twisted digit which reached up in an attempt to connect with the black moon-piercing tentacle.

Then the vision moved me into the tower itself, where I observed the room strewn with shards of broken glass, but neither was I alone in this place for here resides the source of the central stalk.  It is hard to describe precisely what I saw. . .  It appeared to be a sickening mass of fungal matter nearly six-feet in diameter, with various oozing branches wriggling about, waving and caressing the giant glob.  From this thing the central stalk sprang.  The mass writhed and pulsated as if alive and occasionally small windows would open up to allow a glimpse inside.  Brains!  Many of them of different sizes and shapes all beating as some hideous heart!

The voice asked me then if I was sane and I remember hoping I was not at that moment for nothing so terrible as what I was witnessing could exist in the realms of sanity!  Could it?  

Watching the steady pulsating of the brains, I suddenly felt certain that if I struck deep with one of the shards of glass, that I could kill this monstrosity and end the madness that was transpiring outside.  And so, I carefully approached, the glass cutting into my palm as I prepared to drive it home and just as I was dropping my arm to strike true, the voice uttered three words.  "Dreams are His."

It was then I woke to find myself standing not in an ancient tower, but a familiar throne room and my hands were not sticky with the pungent ooze of corrupted brains but with the hot, red blood of my king!

He was sitting listening to room full of petitioners when I moved up onto the dais and attacked him without warning, so as you can imagine all hells broke loose, only worsening when four "citizens" shifted into their true forms -- the same type of anthropomorphic rhinoceros men that we had battled in Iobaria!  They assumed the secondary wave of the assassination attempt with their leader, who came in halfling guise.  It turned out to be none other than the leader of the Dreamwalker Cult, Abtaroah Vorenic, who had eluded us previously!  She did not do so again.

Four guards gave their lives in defense of the king, and a handful of citizens were injured in the mad crush to exit the throne room, but the attempt on King Thaddeus' life -- as I have mentioned, was unsuccessful.

I am touched by the way my charges have rallied around me.  Even the king -- who I discovered is rather terrifying when on the receiving end of his righteous fury, pardoned me after hearing my explanation of events.  All other collateral damage will need to be dealt with once this new threat is put down.

It was determined that this ancient city from my vision was none other than Skywatch in Brevoy!  You know better than I the ominous stories that surround the place and I am sure to come through this experience with a story or two to tell.  In person perhaps.  It has been too long, though I have discovered that any amount of time feels too long a span to go without your dear presence.  I miss you. . .

Currently I am sequestered to my quarters, where I am preparing for the start of our journey this evening to Skywatch.  I will not pretend that all is well with me, for I feel as if I have lost what tenuous hold I had on myself; my own person.  I am unnerved by the very prospect of sleep.  Where once my dreams offered solace and respite, now I fear to whom I may become a threat.  How can I be so easily used when I believed my dreams to be governed by the Tender of Dreams herself!  Is she not one of those gods whose will I serve above all else?  Can she not protect me at my most vulnerable hour?

It has taken me many decades to arrive at a place where I felt content with the gods and their machinations.  Perhaps I did not have a life of my own but I accomplish good in the lives of others.  Perhaps I would never know my birth parents nor be blessed with a family of my own, but I helped bring many together over the years and have had more good friends for which one could possibly hope.  In spite of all I do not have, I always had my mind and my body.  The gods pushed me in the direction yes, but they never controlled me outright and violated me by using me as some unwilling puppet!  It feels as though the sands are shifting beneath my feet and I do not know to what I can cling but to finish the purpose set before me.  You must understand, for you have been through so many similar trials and many more difficult than any I have had to face!  

I hope to write again soon, my dear Rasven, and in a less frenetic state of mind than I currently find myself!  

Yours.  Always.

Wynnsaren

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Re: Winged Words

Post  Wynnsaren on Tue Jan 13, 2015 10:46 pm

Neth 11th, 4713

My Dear and Insightful Rasven,

While I wish to tell you of our most recent exploits since my last missive, I have regretfully been asked not to reveal all that has transpired at this time.  Know however that we are safe.  

I will continue to be away from the castle for a few weeks on important business, so any further correspondence will be spotty until I am able to return to my current home.  I beg your understanding in this regard and ask forgiveness for the all-too-concise nature of this letter.

On a separate note, I have of late developed an interest in immigration patterns among our neighbors.  Has the population of Silverhall and its surrounds decreased since the war began?  It is quite curious the number of immigrants we have so recently received in Akiros -- which I need not tell you, is historically unusual for this late in the season.  One thing I am always sure to enjoy is hearing the stories that they have to tell.  Such tales never fail to be intriguing!

Devotedly,

Wynnsaren

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