The Serin Mystique, Volume 13, Issue 1

Welcome dear readers to the latest edition of the Mystique!

In this issue, we report on rumors of all kinds of evil plans unfolding in
the corners of Serin. Nothing's safe - especially not the food! We also
report the outcome of the Mystic Maze, have several interviews with
interesting Serinfolk, bid a last farewell to our honored leader Blyx and
the noble Frewan, write a bunch of poems, and yes, something about a lady
possibly in distress.

Enjoy!

1) Highlights (see Decree, Muffins, Thwarted)
2) Cabal Affairs (see Scant, Kidding, Keeper, Justice, Knight, Warlord)
3) Coterie Affairs (see Mystic, Herald)
4) Events (see Maze, Results)
5) Gossip (see Lorne, Dracavian, Giant)
6) Obituaries (see Blyx, Frewan)
7) Poems (see Mote, Sting, Pinky)
8) Special Memoriam (see Damsel)

This edition brought to you mostly by Cyprian, with some contributions from
Grewin and the mascot.



1) Highlights

Decree

"The Legion's Decree: A Trap in Plain Sight?"


In perhaps an effort to legitimize an arbitrary & self-throning power-
grab, the Legions have written a brief decree with what I believe to be
entrapping open-ended language. That is, no specific exclusions are to
be found. At best there is a broad unspoken inclusion(s) that is(are)
designed to land any and all exclusions into the Legion's favor.


"By decree of the Legion of darkness..."

We should ask from whence does their alleged, unanimous authority come. I
may be ill-informed, but it seems to me that Darkhaven is the only town
where their influence may be absolute. Other towns are under the jurisdic-
tion of Justice. Now we can either assume Justice has secretly formed an
alliance with the Legion, that Justice has been silently beaten by the
Legion or Legion is stoking a bluff. Testing the waters. And anyway, isn't
'Justice' a facet of honor?


"...honor is to be outlawed in Seringale and the surrounding territories."

There is no boundary specified as to where 'surrounding territories' are
defined to end within their decree. It could span a proportional circle
around Seringale that stretches all the way to Darkhaven itself. Or it may
stop at Timaran. There is nothing defined here. Is it intentionally left
open? None may even refute it, assuming that 'surrounding territories'
spans a miniscule and reasonable distance from Seringale. Then all may be
tried under the stipulation that ignorance is no excuse. It can also be
fluidly applied to suit any individual Legionaire's whim. No uniformly
shared opinion on what 'surrounding territories' entails need exist between
one Legionaire and the next.

One may punish you as far out as the Outer Limits. Another may punish you
as near as the Crossroads. Neither have to give an account of the discrep-
ancy concerning where enforcement is applied.


"Anyone caught knowingly practicing honor or acting in an honorable fashion
will be brought to trial, fined, and executed by the Legion."

This is why I openly respond in a manner that can be easily understood to be
contentious and deliberately inflammatory. The kind of language found in
this portion of the decree lays blatant framework for legitimizing the
victimization of the weak, by virtue of disarming the strong of their honor.
Note also the missing exclusions here. It may very well apply to combatants
and noncombatants alike. No heroism. No generosity. No gallantly treating
a lady out of purity of heart. No smiling? No obliging greetings cordially?
Just how deep will they bury the claws of this edict? Where does the line
begin and where does it end? Caring about that in the first place
may be the power they seek to invoke within their attempted grasp around
Seringale.

"Honor" is also not defined in this decree. The Legions may start to
redefine it as they see fit. What it is, and what it isn't.

Any silence in response to this decree will be understood as an individual's
silent consent to their attempt to expand their sphere.
And it may not be officially recanted.


-Inked of Cyprian

Muffins

"Lest You Miss Out"

Maybe you've just finished indulging in-laws' expectations by putting
your best palate forward. Greens galore ruin the pungent, bold taste
of a main dish of a succulent veal or three. Maybe some sour healthy
concoction was rammed down your throat by a well-meaning friend. You
burnt your hard-earned pound of venison. Lost a bundle of armors to a
bitter nemesis. Your pet wandered off and you only noticed after you
exited Winter.

Whatever the misfortune: your life is miserable!

Elation is but a hop, skip and jump away toward confectionary goodness.
Baked with only the finest ingredients from "Mama" Vevier's own divine
cupboard, Ulsa offers her signature prowess in a kitchen at Muffins 4 U!
The only place where invisible kittens with oven mits carry her premium
quality muffins with utmost care to the display case, daily! Muffins 4 U
strives to provide a pleasant and memorable experience every time the
immaculate baking is either sampled or gorged upon. Whoever you are, there
IS a muffin with your name embroidered on it. Whatever cloud hangs over you,
Muffins 4 U is dedicated to helping you forget those woes to the delicious
phenomenon waiting to meet your belly.


Come angry, come weary, come crazy: leave with something tasty!

Have your muffin and eat it too at Muffins 4 U!


-Inked of Cyprian

Thwarted

"Thwarted"

Have a mystery that needs solving? How about some orange crazies that can't
seem to be reasoned away? Never fear, Thamu's Mystery Team is here!

Today Thamu and I tackled the Mystery of the Strythoween Candy Men. Seeing
these strange skeletal folk appearing all over Seringale giving away free
pumpkins and smites, we just had to get to the source and find out where
they were coming from...and why! Who would have thought, such an idle query
would lead to the uncovering of a vast, nefarious plot that took us all over
Serin...

We started our hunt in Seringale at Hyando the butcher's. Because everyone
needs their daily meat intake. But shockingly Hyando knew nothing. Because he
is too busy sleeping at night to notice when strange creepy men come in to
give candy to his customers...

Next, we tried asking a beggar. I think Thamu might have spooked the one we
talked to though, because when she said his name, he ran away screaming about
conspiracies and being watched. We followed him to the soup kitchen but lost
him amidst the hordes of unwashed vagrants that mill around there. Darn.

But who might know more about the goings on in Seringale? The eyes and ears
of the thieves guild, that's who. We asked Faulkner, and he finally gave us a
lead! "Those creeps probably come from Witch Wood," he said. Pumpkins? Why of
course!

A pumpkin-man there corroborated his story. He said a skeleton comes out
around this time every year, chopping off the heads of his siblings and
turning them into candy. We followed the trail next to the Cemetery where the
skeletons might live.

No, not the cemetery in Seringale... it was astonishingly barren of skeletons
and instead filled with wispy souls and birds. Instead we went south of
Timaran and found our next witness. "Oh that guy? I know him," said the
grinning skeleton at the door. "He's usually just a normal skeleton but every
once in a blue moon someone sends him something that smells like pie and he
runs off looking all crazy talking about pumpkins."

Turns out, it's a bottle of some kind of pumpkin potion...crafted by Mab! We
went to the depths of Escimir to confront her.

When we arrived, she was making some "soup" that smelled suspiciously like
pumpkins. "What's that?" asked Thamu. "It's my magical soup that will take
over all Serin and turn everyone crazy!" explained Mab, helpfully. Well at
the sound of that we knew we couldn't sit idly by and let her carry on with
her plan. Biff! Bong! Bam! We smacked her cauldron upside down and gave a
good whack to her zombie friends too. And for good measure, we turned her
into a puddle. (Witches don't like clean water, apparently.)

And that's how Serin didn't turn into a land full of crazies. You can all
thank Thamu for that!

- Vanisse


2) Cabal Affairs

Scant

"Cabal Affairs: There are None!"

While one might celebrate that Serin's ground drinks less blood at this
time, the quill I hold laments a fact in its own right: that the affairs
of cabals are scant if there are any.

Cartsel, a stone giant, holds a refreshingly simplified explanation. He
states, "Sum them fella dies...all times," following with "An takes time
learnin be cabals. So maybes got have times till fills again." Lady
Nycticora's claws are found again in happenings, though. Cartsel pointed
out, "Gods sendin notes..." He needed say nothing further. I read it too.
She recently bloodied a scroll entailing a cryptic warning that bordered
on insanity. Or maybe I'm just too simple to understand what the Heavens
convey. It's clear though that her message had to do with cabal activity.

I spoke to Lufiers first, though. The slith was happy to help me by offering
his own take on the faded cabals. He had some points to offer that could be
worth connecting dots with. Making mentions of a loose-cannon dark-knight
named "Zakras," of the elusive Ulsa and Rhuul, another slith. It may be the
cabals are not altogether convulsing in empty spaces somewhere...but rather
embracing a calm as former rosters are purged that they may be filled again.

Some rosters aren't altogether empty. Speak to Lufiers yourself on that if
you're interested who still holds a respective banner.

Cabal affairs may not be at rest for too long..but then, who can say? Time
is broad..and her forks are even broader.


-Inked of Cyprian

Kidding


"Legion's Penumbral Hand"

The creep of darkness quietly exuded from he that would later become the
Penumbral Hand. A legionaire by the name of Sevaush came surreptitiously
to myself and others, being the only one that held such a dark banner as
clearly as far back as I can remember. Of a harnessed destructive indig-
nation did Sevaush seem to channel the abyss reflected in his eyes as
he verbalized a slithering purpose. Following an appearance of his dark
god Lord Zylenier, it'd seem that steps forward began to manifest beyond
Sevaush's emaciated form.

A day following, I discover a scroll delivered to me with tidings to those
that'd seek to once again subjugate Serin with absolute evil. To sink the
weak six feet back to where they belong, to summon power on the strong -
to whom it belongs. The Legion had been quiet since the day I had signed
myself among healers. Was it to prepare roots strong enough to graft the
Penumbral Hand into them later? Is it no accident the Legion had lain in
wait for the Knights to continue to disappear one by one?

Who can say....


-Inked of Cyprian

Keeper


"A Tip in and of Itself"

Keeper, a cabal of guardians that are intended to block open roads that
pave a power's way to monopoly, seems to discern that the winds have
become too erratic. The Grand Master of Seasons, Temur, submits an
applied example:

"It made no sense that the Knights received an 'at war' flag just
because they captured the skull of the Legion. I had to fight the
Knights when the Legion had (already) been slaughtering the Knights."

Explaining to myself that the winds are attuned to cabal relic capture,
Temur suggested that maybe the Heavens should apply a more involved
diplomacy in the heart of these winds.

My own unsolicited opinion is double-edged in light of this. On the one
hand, it could be said that the winds themselves tip the scales that the
Keepers are meant to balance. On the other hand, it could be said their
job is so well done that no cabal stands to gain any foothold against
another, should they so much as lift a heel in efforts to fulfill their
purposes.

What do you think, Serin? The Heavens may incline an ear.


The current Keepers are Grimfrakk, Rhuul and Temur.
Grimfrakk is their mortal leader.


-Inked of Cyprian

Justice


"Move Along..."

True to the adage, "Move along, nothing to see here," is the impression
left upon myself after speaking with the Chimera of Order about Justice.
The laws are regularly observed by Serins, and Legion's decree is
rather considered by they to be an evening bar stool jest. I'll end
this article in closing that it's nearly impossible to exaggerate
anything from the words of Auhror. He's a concise creature that leaves
no room for very much hyperbole. Must come from his no-nonsense nature...

Anyway, the roster of Justice is the same as before. The mortal leader
is still Kedaleam, under the divine auspice of Lord Davairus.
Its members are Thamu, Auhror and Cedowyl.


-Inked of Cyprian

Knight


"The Curse of Destrian?"

Valour is still the bastion it was founded to be, but it might be that
only flaws in mortal fallibility are all the tarnish its name. Such is
what might be the first in line to succumb to the curse of Destrian.
Aydhen, the shadow of Valour has indeed vanished into the Ether, never to
return. What if it were a rusting curse that has yet to become so
brittle that it claims none any longer?

Did it start with Destrian? Or did it start at the very beginning. As
early as Lord Rodyn's mortal days? Let the thought emulsify a bit...
Anyway, Sir Lolath has been recently promoted to Archon and is the highest
ranked soldier of the Castle. Sir Jagroth doesn't straggle behind at all
on that note. Defeats seem to have been suffered, but true to a spirit
I saw in Dame Shaldwyn and demonstrated by Sirs Lolath and Jagroth, they
sound largely undaunted.

As it stands now, Sir Jagroth and Sir Lolath are the ones generally
keeping the Legions at bay from the Crown. Be emboldened to rem-
ember that Light shines exclusive to any amount of encroaching
shadow.

Lords Ceridwel and Olyn remain the divine patrons, and the leading
sollerets remain mortally vacant. They that comprise the Knights are
Sir Lolath, Sir Jagroth, Dame Shaldwyn, Sir Lufen and Footman Shorien.


-Inked of Cyprian

Warlord


"The Art of War at Rest"

I haven't seen any Warlords about for a while, and the meaning of it flees
even my liberal speculations. Instances of their presence I know for sure
ceased altogether after the Legion issued its decree. Is it a coincidence?

Lord Lorne of course has been sighted often enough, and I admit a period
at which I asked Grimjark to show me a thing or two of battle a bit after
Legion's decree was released. But still, I can't help but feel that the
decree's emphasis on outlawing honor had something to do with its Halls'
vacancies...


-Inked of Cyprian


3) Coterie Affairs

Mystic


"Silent Mysticism"

The Mystics are more elusive than the coterie name itself by now. I can't
discount probability that they walk Serin when I do not, but if so - maybe
Vanisse should consider sourcing her jingle hat from different cheeses. Or
I should stop bumbling so that I wear it less. Duke Iryn is the only one I
hear much of in passing, and Talyira seems to have fallen into a study-
stupor. She was always putting her communing to the grind stone. Lord
Varliv, of course is accounted for, and Lady Vevier. Who can say when wise
sages will once again grace Serin as a collective, and less as a sporadic-
ally appreciated eclipse.

To knowledge available, the Mystics are comprised of Iryn and Talyira.
They are yet led from the Heavens by Lord Varliv and Lady Vevier.

This article is my own, and does not necessarily reflect the thoughts,
opinions or beliefs of Herald.


-Inked of Cyprian

Herald


"The Few, the Loud, the Inklings"

Azerayhna, Keeb, Odile, Zanderic and others unlike that unsightly bearded
fairy are good company; some are much better-looking than others. Some
need to put down the feather duster once in a while...

Complaints aside, the Frozen Quill and myself are doing well as we continue
to attempt to chronicle Serin's heartbeats. The late High Herald Blyx has
found Acadia, and has returned to it. Though Grewin and I think on her
fondly, we still have eyes open for promising individuals as we mingle with
you all, doing what we can: stir pots and spill their contents. Naredak
had returned and I had a good while spent with him. It seems his heart is
being called toward cabals. Whatever he chooses, Grewin and I will wish him
well. Vanisse may have some bitter sprinkles to impishly decorate his good-
bye cake wi- ..who am I kidding? Grewin and I may pie her face with it
first....if her sonic-speed jaws don't catch it before contact, anyway.

Ah, to be a Herald. Where flaws are glorified and traits are exploited for
the better, at the expense of none. The Few. The Loud. The...inklings..?

Grewin and I merrily make up the Heralds for now, and Vanisse leads us as
she sleepwalks before us in sleeping-bag-pants.

Dump that water barrel on her face, soldier.


-Inked of Cyprian


4) Events

Maze

Come One! Come All! Well all who are of the arcane inclination! For
we now have a great new event just for YOU! It's called the Mystic Maze and
the fun is indescribable! It's so fun you will leave hairless and wanting
to eat your own brains! But seriously I have run it and so has my not so
jovial, and sometimes hard to understand cohort Cyprian!

All you need to do is find a Herald or Mystic to get you started! After
that it is up to you and your spell set to finish the Maze! Each and every
one of you who completes the maze with all your hair intact and with fully
functioning brains will be awarded wisps essences! Those of you who
over-achieve and get the top times will have even better prizes including
gold, and a Custom title!

We look forward to seeing you all run the Maze and have a blast!

*Disclaimer* The Heralds, The Mystics and all who represent them are at no
point responsible for, hair loss, partial brain consumption, or loss of
motor skills due to lack of brain matter.

- Grewin

Results

[Maze Results:]
Auhror the Oracle of Spectres - 26 minutes, 10 seconds
Moerou the Sage of Arcane Power - 29 minutes, 2 seconds
Sevaush the Penumbral Hand - 29 minutes, 9 seconds
Thamu the Sage of Arcane Power - 1 hour, 8 minutes, 32 seconds

Congratulations to Auhror, who won the fancy grand new title:
The Arcane Chimera of Order!

Thank you all who played!


5) Gossip

Lorne

Glorious day today, I was witness to the amazingly bloody yet ungodly
short battle between the Lord Lorne and the Keeper known as Temur! Although
a tough fighter and well learned in the arts of combat, Temur stood little
chance of winning. A crowd watched with abated breath as Temur prepared to
face the formidable Lorne! Within not a moments breath of the battle
starting Lorne dispatched Temur with a hit doing unspeakable things to him!
Ending the battle and leaving the spectators wishing for more. It was
rumored that Cyprian was forced into depression due to the short length of
the battle, but that has not been confirmed.

On another note it is also rumored that Grewin, in all his Mightiness,
scared away the Lord Lorne with nothing other than his presence... Or smell
depending on who you ask. Needless to say it was a well fought battle, full
of courage and swift death, followed by what some would say cowardice in the
end.

Penned By

Grewin the not yet smited Herald, but soon to be!

Dracavian

"Moerou, The Fiery Dracavian"

It came to mind when I saw the contorted draconian faces skewered on pikes
in the middle of Solace. This was the war she referenced. Truly what
all bitterly short-lived, but sizzling romances are made of; and that
which I suspect many indulge in 'hush-hush' settings. An idyll passed
discretely from mother to daughter tells us that this red-eyed,
half-scaled young lady has her roots found in passion. Whether it
were irresponsible or no is a tasteless notion to entertain. Because of
the sultry encounter shared between two foes-turned-lovers, a life was
born. For I am satisfied in that I speak not just for myself, but as on
behalf of others, that this horned avian & draconian conglomerate is a fair
and welcome pair of clawed feet that walk Serin. This lover of flame is
indeed just another proof that there are no "accidents." You need do as
little as look at her. Seemingly mismatched or mish-mashed, you can clearly
trace the meticulous graft of unique and natural beauty. So on the
contrary, scale and flesh both compliment each other with asymmetric
symmetry.

In unwavering parallel to the intensity that birthed her, Moerou seems at
least in-part consumed by a strong drive to celebrate and study fire. Its
level of focus in her is passion defined. Even to the point of
spontaneously combusting herself or things around her, as she does little
more than sleep. Being so embroiled with an inspiration that you turn it on
yourself at times: that is aspiration.

A second trait true to her origin is the free spirit she seems to exude.
Her tongue can't seem to be bridled either. This can be good or bad,
depending on who your are. Pleasant to speak to, sharp of tongue, fond of
apple juice and abhorrent of salads: this and the above reflect the Moerou I
perceive. I hope you all find the time to acquaint with her, and she, you.

Maybe your perceptions will impart further angles to her.


-Inked of Cyprian

Giant

"Daijob, the Open and Inquisitive"

A rendezvous with Dame Shaldwyn bridged a second meet with Daijob, a
storm-giant whose curiosity betrays the scope of his mind. In his own
words, he calls it 'simple.' As an open sheet spread beneath the whole
sky, his desire to understand things waits to absorb precipitating
knowledge. A follower of Lord Varliv, he hails from a no-name village as
well. One whose culture though, revolves heavily around fishing. Bordering
Valour, he'd began bringing tributes to the Knights when he was of age. In
that youth, he'd often indulge trips to Valour to see street performers and
watch amusedly as Legions would steal from Knights, only to be chased around
its streets. His favorite street performer was the fire-thrower. Seems
other than that, Daijob's time was spent plucking coconuts, obliging
requests from his mother for fish-paste and fishing.

A fan of adventure, Daijob eventually took to an unkempt and slightly crazed
priest that passed through his village. Among the tales the priest would
tell, Lord Denadlyr sounded to be a heavily drawn subject. Outside what's
explained to him, Daijob dismisses the rest as mystery. Like when the
crazed priest would tell Daijob, "Shut it and walk." He was lost on why
he'd be told to do that. As can be gleaned, only after a bit of determina-
tion did the priest allow Daijob to follow him out of his village. Once
they two reached the Academy of the Sun, Daijob recalls the priest vanished
into a ray of light, never to be seen again. Who was this priest? Was it
Lord Varliv? Was it a figment of the storm-giant's avid desire to underst-
and? These and more, likely float around in Daijob's mind. Acquaint him.
Maybe the mystery will unveil itself between the two or more of you.


-Inked of Cyprian


6) Obituaries

Blyx

"Blyx"

I pen this note in honor and remembrance of my young friend, the pixie
Blyx.

She came to the Heralds when the taverns were quiet and filled the silence
with her infectious excitement and balls of golden dust. I later learned
that she had tumbled into Serin from an unstable portal to the fae realm of
Acadia. During her early Herald years she demonstrated an admirable work
ethic and talent not only for gathering news but creating unique events.
Later, she spent an increasing amount of time questing for the elusive
portal to return home.

The Heralds were revived after several celestials of lull, with the bustling
efforts of Blyx, Naredak and Grell, and Volume 12 of the Serin Mystique was
born. During the second issue, Nyhlis joined the team, while Brumblwitz,
Cyprian and Grewin hustled the third issue into creation only a few renewals
ago. Throughout her tenure as High Herald, Blyx led the halls with great
foresight, open-mindedness and creativity, with a particular talent for
designing events. She leaves behind the Wisps that continue to pop into
Serin every so often, whimsical reminders of the fae realm only separated
from our own by a gossamer film.

In her last sighting in Serin, Blyx revisited Mocker's Tavern and had drinks
with Cyprian, Grewin and myself, threw a proper pixie tantrum, absconded
into a forest, ate handfuls of hallucinogenic mushrooms, and otherwise
behaved exactly as the Blyx we all knew.

It was a perfect last day. She will be missed.

- Vanisse

Frewan

I am sad to report this day that I have heard rumor from a very reliable
source, who wished not to be named, that Frewan has taken his own life.
When I asked my source why, and where, and how, this happened he had few
answers from me other than saying Frewan valued being a Noble very much.
That he was sorry that he failed in his duties to Valour, and that he was
extremely embarrassed to be played by the sly Ulsa. Frewan could not handle
living with the dishonor of losing his Nobility and therefore made the
choice to end his own life. As for the Court hearing, I do not know that
there is even reason anymore for said hearing unless of course Astenos wants
to bring Noath infront of the honorable Varliv, for his accused
wrong-doings. I would love to see our court system in use! I am saddened
this day but hopeful for a more peaceful tomorrow, let the slain not be
forgotten. Let the wounded heal, and the dishonored find honor from the
gods.

Penned By


Grewin the Novice


7) Poems

Mote

"Writer's Mote"

The quill is in hand,
Just post-Mystique.
How much time have I,
A few months? A week?

Sitting by myself,
I stare a bookshelf.
Nothing comes to mind.
Write on a drow elf?

Absurd. No such thing.
As though stature shrinks,
Walls rise when I think.
Viable as a quasit tree.

Earnest I squint the eye.
Extant ideas they'll belie.
When at once I hit the mark,
And jot about avian sharks.

Futile & no matter I force,
Spur spares the idle horse.
I gaze up an eternal tower,
Brilliant: "slith flowers."

Irritating. Total genius.
Bored pixies couldn't save this.
Now behold this jubilee without order:
How I just butchered this entry's borders.

The more I think,
The more I don't.
The less I stir,
The more I'm sure:

That otiose chokes my throat.
I've come a'sea without boat.
Empty a jar, barren a note.
Upon me is Writer's Mote.



-Inked of Cyprian

Sting

"Sting"

How long until this thing,
An all too familiar sting,
Stops redefining loss to me?
Not once. Twice. Now Three.

The words of logic silent,
Emotion grows as defiant.
Was there ever a surety?
They which were once nearby-
Now so far and away from me.

Are ties ever safe to plant?
The price high, watering- scant.
Grown beside, roots intertwine.
Risk shares 'twixt yours & mine.

Time swings its stoic paddle.
Memory jeers and swats withal.
Bring them Chance & make the call.
Fate, detail where scores fall.

I wring the tired sliver of hope,
A worn cloth once steeped below.
A cruel twist collects the drip.
In my face, another irony spits.

Travelling afar, you hold treasure.
Warily gripped, foot meets fissure.
By an ally's missing hands you fall.
Shards scatter & realization scalds.

Under the blaze, flesh splits black.
Languished bursts aglow the cracks.
Neither blister nor melt, you burn.
Instead you harden as you learn:

Loss is the four-letter word.
The dearth felt & forever heard.
Stitch my fingers back in place.
Affixed on things that disappear,


These digits are again severed by the Reaper.



-Inked of Cyprian

Pinky

"A Wise Little Finger"


"What do you seek?," said She.
My focus went sharp explicitly.
Asked in contexts not much to do,
Segwaying little & out-of-the-blue.

An attempt to stop aimless words?
Eyes stuck to the oceanic horizon,
I froze & thoughts fell toward Her.
My soul once again began to stir.

As on command, my mind turned inward.
Time felt stopped, going no further.
Unexpected, space reduced to a dot.
Sounds became quieter than thought.

Memories sped up, echoing the Past.
Preconceptions fled me just as fast.
A force began compiling the exigent,
Draining all trivial in an instant.

Imagine a wide room becoming a tunnel.
Most colors whirl & start to funnel.
Chills crept me, a loud crack sublime:
Its reverb seized on a pulse of mine.

Surrounding light slowly went dimmer,
Against that turquoise-azure shimmer.
My soul bare, her silhouette sharper,
everything around blurred behind her.

Before I even understood the notion,
My answer flowed just like that ocean.
How simple the words ended up to be,
All I knew had still preempted me.

No reaction, not so much a blink.
Afterward shoulders felt no release,
As though nothing's hid from Vanisse.
Forge out the folds of a molten blade,
later she'd every single crease.

My words struck true their own accord,
But incomplete as half-empty drawers.
Was that the point?
Do I attempt to haste potential?
Is that why she asked?
Was that her wisdom?
To count and show my current sum?
To settle, await & see what I'll become?

Silently teaching a man most voluble,
She gently unraveled this tongue's spool,
Tossed his thought cap & kicked his stool.
The drawer doesn't have to be full.

Revealing the simple in the complex,
She painted Present & omitted the rest.
Vanisse shows more truth in sneezes,
than I ever could in my most earnest.

Leave it to the One sagacious and perky:
To stump the loquacious
with only her pinky.


-Inked of Cyprian


8) Special Memoriam

Damsel

"The Star-Stealing Damsel"


In a star-worshipping realm known as "Ora," there was once a mercenary.
He would live for the glory of battle, but not in the manner that most
his peers did. He would instead live for the thrill of overcoming
a reluctance in the heat of battle. A heart-anchored reluctance
toward taking an enemy's life, or just merely spilling their blood.
Also savored of him was the adrenaline that tapered off as he drew his
sword out of a foe as their body became inanimate vulture feed. This
mercenary's name was "Rudrous."

Lamentably, Rudrous' ability in battle was awkward, if not that it
had been lacking altogether. Worsening matters, he lost many more
friendly duels than he won. Having no other passion other than his
love for the stars and the study thereof, he cleaved to his sell-
sword life. In Ora, there was simply no significant coin to be made
studying the stars unless you were born noble. Royal courts throughout
the realm would sooner neglect cleaning lavatories than sponsor any en-
deavor of commoners. This left Rudrous in solitude with his passion.

Despite his clumsy execution of parries, dodges, slices and thrusts,
Rudrous always survived a war - no matter how futile, no matter if the
side on which he fought won or lost. All that kept him from falling
on the field of battle was another chance to behold the beauty of the
stars any following night. They consoled him. They seemed to requite
his adoration with a grace difficult for him to convey in words. He
loved them. Somehow, just thinking about them enlivened him so much
that no matter how many fierce wounds he sustained in battle due to his
clumsy form, he always collapsed face-up nearby an ally's encampment.
Whenever he would rouse concsious, the stars were always there before
his eyes....as though waiting for him.

In a village one day, some eight hundred furlongs from the next battle
to come, Rudrous visited a blacksmith forge to buy a new sword. To his
surprise, the blacksmith was a woman. He'd later learn her name to be
"Sulrina," and she moved with a grace and elegance unlike any woman
he'd ever seen. This spoke volumes. Being a mercenary, Rudrous was a-
ccustomed to refusing women in taverns, preferring instead time alone
with the stars he so loved. Sulrina's delicate and comely frame was
such that it burned into his mind's eye - ever present, whether in rest
or as awake. She was an absolute rose absent any thorn to Rudrous.

Still, he kept these frivolities to himself, spouting off a tradition-
ally "sanctioned" chauvinistic remark. To this, Sulrina really allowed
no room for breath as she quipped her own retort. It was at that
instant, under the echo of that wit, Rudrous fell in love with the
damsel - to his proud displeasure. Blacksmith or no.

Keeping the feeling to himself, Rudrous instead maintained the distaste
expressed by his narrowed eyes. So he half-heartedly bought the sword
she had just forged and left, intentionally discarding his gratitude.
So it was that he made his way to where his employers pitched their
tents over against the enemy. Nothing differed in this battle. It had
its chaos, its thrills, its glory...save one difference. He could not
so much as spend a second in thought about the stars. Every moment
between clashing steel, Sulrina graced his thoughts. For the better
part of a year this went on, until finally Rudrous decided to visit
her in that village. It was no longer the stars that drove him numb to
wounds he sustained, but the thought of Sulrina.

To his muffled joy within, she was there indeed at the village forge,
tempering steel with the exact graceful strikes he had seen the first
time.

Tactless and a bit on the thoughtless side, Rudrous said "I cannae
understahnd 'ow a lass came tae be a blahcksmith. 'Ow came ye tae
thes?" Not the suavest greeting. Sulrina said nothing.

"Och, ded I interropt anythen' by cohmin, 'ere?" he asked, raising a brow.

Sulrina turned around quickly and quipped, "No?"

Sparing the two a public disclosure of 'moments' and private periods
that spanned flaring times that lead to their union, the two had event-
ually married. But so it was that on a fateful, cloudless night,
Rudrous fought bravely, moreso than he ever had. He was fueled by all
reflections to do with Sulrina, and time spent with her. He'd have
never traded those Memories for anything. This would be to his
detriment. The relentless disregard of Time had long since snuffed
the flaring power of youth. Rudrous sustained wounds that'd prove to
be his last, and he quietly knew it. Bitterly aware of it, he fled the
battle as he thought of nothing but seeing Sulrina one...last...time.

Using a battered sword as a crutch, he managed to survive the trek.
But as a morbid twist of Fate would have it, she was nowhere to be
found. Signs of 'leaving him' were absent. 'Faithful' characterized
her always. Beside this, her forging tools were still laid out in
perfect order the way they always were, prior to a following day's
tempering. Broken entry was also nowhere to be found, neither could
the tell-tales of struggle be seen. Lastly, both of them preferred a
picturesque setting for their home. It was surrounded by little else
than plump, fertile soil from which crops would grow for furlongs
around. Farm peasants had precious little ambition for which to act
in Ora, as nobility were very demanding. So burglary or abduction
were not the culprits.

Exhausted and enduring final stings of pain, he finally stumbled over
a chair during his search, and his battered sword fell to the ground.
Tears streamed silently down his stoic face as he crawled toward the
bed wherein they'd retire every night, and for decades. Bloodied, he
dropped himself like a rag-doll upon the bed and turned himself face-
up, uttering what would be his final words.

Rudrous said, "I dannae understahnd...I didnae see any stahrs ohn
the way 'ere. Where 'ave they all goon? Sulrina...."

Whereupon a divine presence whispered to him, "The stars are there,
and they ever were. Your damsel stole the beauty thereof. For
you had eyes for none but her, and her beauty outshined even the
sun."

As his vision finally failed, Rudrous said, "Aye, thaht shae
did...," and he died, with a smile on his face.



<>In memoriam, Blyx the Ambassador of Acadia and former High Herald<>


-Inked of Cyprian


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