Flashback Guiding stars

Dove watches stars

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This shining population center is considered the jewel of The Sylira Region. Home of the vast majority of Mizahar's population, Syliras is nestled in a quiet, sprawling valley on the shores of the Suvan Sea. [Lore]

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Guiding stars

Postby Dove Brown on April 18th, 2017, 6:18 pm

40 Summer 512, late evening

Dove scudded barefoot along the battered corridors, keeping as quiet as she could, her head down to hide the bruise darkening on her cheek. Even this late in the day, there were people eerywhere, and the weight of their stares pressed down on her as heavily as the weight of all the stone caging her in, blocking her view, trapping her in a citadel instead of out in the fields. A scabbed graze showed through a tear in her trousers where she'd fallen before she managed to escape her father's renewed grief. Her own grief was a harder knot in her gut and she had no idea how to solve it. For now she turned corners almot randomly, more concerned with staying out of her father's reach for the night than going anywhere in particular.

A breeze floated past her nose, cooler and fresher than the air trapped inside the city, and as Dove turned to follow it, the ache shifted upwards from her gut to her chest. She hurried faster as the crowd thinned out finally, and then found herself staring through a doorway into a place that was open to the sky. What little she could see told her it was a garden more of stones than plbnts, but it was empty, and she could look up to the sky and see... She stepped in quickly before anyone spotted her, and slid down to sit against the wall just inside. Hugging herself to hold the grief inside, she tilted her head back and looked up into a clear sky freckled with stars. It was the closest thing she'd seen to home in over a season, and the stars blurred and trembled as she blinked away tears. Last summer, she and her brother and sister had spent most of a night hiding and stargazing. Now... now they were both dead, and the stars were there just the same as aways.
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Guiding stars

Postby Dove Brown on June 3rd, 2017, 10:37 pm

"You'd have liked it here, Raven," she told her ever hungry brother in a whisper, "we get three meals a day, and all I have to do for mine is a bit of work - nothing like what Father drove us through in the fields." She had to stop and blink at that, but the stars waited patiently for her tears to clear her eyes. "And Father can't take it away because he doesn't control the food. Or the money, Linnet. I - I know I should be grateful for being fed, but - I miss home. I want to see the sky, and smell the damp earth when it rains, not clogging people." She lifted a hand to swipe at her eyes. "I can't deal with Father on my own, please, not like this, not now. not without...."

She froze in mid sentence as she heard footsteps coming towards the door, and pressed her back uselessly against the stone behind her as if she could hide there. A tall man walked through the door, all shadows and grace, and took a seat on one of the benches. All she could think for a moment was that it wasn't Father, and her breath swept out of her in a gust of relief. Then she froze again as he turned at the sound. He said, "Who's there?" as if he expected an answer, as if he expected to be obeyed and Dove's voice froze with the rest of her at the sound of it.

The man's voice softened a bit, as he added, "I won't bite you, I just didn't realise there was anyone else here. Won't you come out?"

Dove swallowed hard and slid her back up the wall so that she could stand without leaving its protection. Moonlight danced across her face as she moved, and she flinched as her sore knee protested the movement. She shouldn't be here, not if this was the sort of place someone like him came, and surely he was going to send her out, back into the suffocating stone and rubble of the everyday passages?
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Guiding stars

Postby Dove Brown on June 15th, 2017, 11:10 pm

His gaze raked across her, and Dove had the feeling that he saw every tearstain, every crooked mend, every grain of dirt, every worn line, every injury she'd ever had. Dove dropped her own gaze to stare at her bare and grimy toes, but heat flooded her cheeks, making the budding bruise stand out even more starkly. She'd tried her best to take care of herself, but it wasn't enough. It would, she was sure, never be good enough to survive the gaze of someone like this.

His eyes were pools of darkness in his shadowed face, but his mouth tightened grimly as his gaze ran over Dove from braided hair to bare feet, and after a moment he spoke again, his voice still soft. "The Stone Gardens here are a public place of memorial. All are welcome. Did you come here to remember someone in particular?"

Dove looked up at him for a moment and then shrugged. "It would have been my mother's birthday today," she said slowly. She left it unspoken that for her, as far back as she could remember, it had always been a day for evading her father and his fists. But always before, she'd had her brother and sister to help her. Not any more. Not like any knight would care, or anyone as grand as this man. That mourning - whatever she was allowed of it - was hers, only hers, almost the only thing she had that was hers.

She started to slowly sit down again but her sore knee rebelled and she more than half fell instead. The man made a move towards her, and she flinched back instinctively, jarring her back against the wall, her right arm - her newly scarred arm - crooking up to protect her head. No! No! Not again! The man stopped in mid stride, and backed up until he sat once more on the bench. Dove heard only steps and waited, frozen, for the blows to fall on her.

They didn't come.
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Guiding stars

Postby Dove Brown on July 21st, 2017, 9:55 pm

The man began talk, almost to himself, or at least without apparently expecting any response from Dove. "My people navigate by the stars, often and often, watching the constellations dance their slow dance. As the year turns, so does the sky. But there's one star they trust above all the others. We call it the Traveller's Guide, and every summer, we tell the story of it around our fires."

Dove brought her arm down slowly and warily, and hugged herself instead. Her fingers twisted against her shirt, winding and re-winding a loose thread trailing from a crookedly sewn mend, and her back stung where she'd jarred it against the wall. The man, she saw, looking up from her defensive position, was back on the bench and showed no signs of approaching. Instead, he continued to talk.

"It goes something like this." He tipped his head back as if taking inspiration from the stars he spoke of. " 'Long ago, when the stars were new, and still learning their dance, they tried to spread themselves evenly across the sky. But as hard as they tried to get the steps right and the pacing even, they found their circle becoming uneven and crooked. Some parts bunched up and some stretched out thin, and they squabbled over the reason why.' "

Dove swallowed hard. Her father's anger was hard enough to deal with. She wasn't at all sure she wanted to hear about stars being angry. That had to be worse, didn't it? All that light? She looked up, and despite her fears, the stars and the smell and sight of open air calmed her, soothed her, gave her the strength to carry on and endure.

The man went on, " 'Some blamed one star, and some blamed another, and they began to cluster in groups that thought the same thing was the cause, and that was the beginning of the constellations you see today.'"
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Guiding stars

Postby Dove Brown on July 21st, 2017, 10:00 pm

He said, "'They formed themselves into the spokes of a wheel, rather than an even circle, but a wheel needs a pivot point to turn on, or it falls down flat.'" Dove nodded, not taking her gaze off the sky. She'd seen a cart break once, and the wheels had rolled a little way and then spun down to stillness. "You've seen that?" the man asked, and she nodded again.

"Fair enough. 'Well, all the stars still wanted to dance, and be noticed for their dance, but to be the hub of the wheel is to stay always in one place, and they didn't like the sound of that. However, one quiet star, one that hadn't yet found a group because she didn't think anyone particular was to blame, offered to stand alone as the pivot for the others. They weren't very happy with that, because she didn't agree with any of them - or they with her - but they were happy to drive her into obscurity. None of them thought that being quiet or still was any way to get noticed. But that quiet still star is always there, always reliable, and easier to get to know than the others, who are always coming and going. We call her the Traveller's guide, because she's the one star that a traveller can depend on seeing wherever they are, and because of that she's easy to navigate by. And the other stars? The prouder stars, in their endless dance? They also depend on her steadfast reliabilty to do their dance successfully.' So you see," he finished quietly, "just because travellers get all the glamour and attention, doesn't mean that those who stay still, or quiet are any less valuable. We need both kinds in the sky - and in the world."

Dove drew in a long breath. So still and quiet could be wanted, could be valued at something more than nothing. Perhaps someday, if she succeeded in going home to Mithryn, she could grow into the human version of the Traveller's guide. For now... for now it gave her only hope. But perhaps that would be enough, in the end.
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Dove Brown
Keeping my head, my backbone, and my heart
 
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Guiding stars

Postby Anuk on February 18th, 2018, 10:46 pm

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G R A D E


XP

Endurance +1
Rhetoric +1


Lores

Endurance: Hugging oneself as a self-soothing technique
Rhetoric: Speaking to the dead
Syliras - The Stone Gardens: A place of memorial
Astrology: Story of how the constellations came to be
Astronomy: The Traveller's Guide remains fixed
Astronomy: The constellations move


N O T E S

Lovely memory, and storytelling. Thank you for the enjoyable read.


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