Closed [Alements] In the Tea Leaves

Eselle sits down for a cup of tea and tries to meet the residents of Riverfall.

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Built into the cliffs overlooking the Suvan Sea, Riverfall resides on the edge of grasslands of Cyphrus where the Bluevein River plunges off the plain and cascades down to the inland sea below. Home of the Akalak, Riverfall is a self-supporting city populated by devoted warriors. [Riverfall Codex]

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[Alements] In the Tea Leaves

Postby Caelum on September 1st, 2014, 5:22 pm

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"Temporary," Caelum murmured, velvet dark eyes on the cards. "You mean that the pattern you're using is temporary, fleeting, there and then gone."

Silence sank over him as the fortune teller talked on. As surprise shimmered softly over Eselle and curiosity glowed within Gwin, he was still. He considered the High Priestess and her card, eyes tracing the line of the konti's robes and the altogether too familiar depiction of the Seer's Lily. It was a symbol that haunted his life, first seen glimmering on the arms that caught him in the dark waters off the coast of Black Rock. It appeared again later on the shapely calf of Lillis DeNerys and the dread night he had woken to find her with a knife attempting to carve it out of flesh. There had been blasphemy in it, but agony and trauma as well, a sickness that continued to haunt the woman that became his wife all of the remaining days of her life. The Lily had woken for him again in the walled city of Syliras and given him back one of the names lost to him on the lips of Aoren Skycrown -- Kasb'el, whose very face he wore now while Leth held dominion over the world.

Almost as if from a distance, he heard Gwin humming. Her tune was soft as it wove around the three of them where they sat in the corner of the first place he had made himself since the winter of his soul. Slowly, he rubbed the heel of his palm over his mouth and straightened a little from where he had slumped so low, elbow pressed to the arm of his chair.

He lifted his eyes to meet Eselle's across the tale-telling cards and there was something in his face that was far older than anything his appearance might otherwise project. It was ancient, how he checked a sigh against the backs of his teeth and shifted his mouth up on one side with a small shake of his head. Somehow, he was ageless.

"How far must a man walk before all that he is sloughs off of him like shed skin?" He questioned them. "How long before all that he was is left on the side of the road to turn to dust in the light of my Bright Lady?" He tilted his head in a nod, eyes lowering back to the cards and the patterns they were making for him. "I have a great many pasts. That may be one of them, and it would seem you're in it. We'll find out." He seemed certain of it.

He leaned forward, undaunted. "What's next?"


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[Alements] In the Tea Leaves

Postby Eselle on September 3rd, 2014, 7:56 pm

Eselle paused to consider Gwin’s song. It was a soothing counterpart to the fear bubbling in her stomach. She had never met Caelum before, she was certain. He had not seen her on Ravok or Mura, but she had never known the cards to be outright wrong. The seed of the idea nestled itself beneath her brow, that there was a secret within him that she ought to know. Then his own questions came, advanced prose that the Konti struggled to grasp. The idea though, the tone, that was clear. It was a suspicion she also held.

The Konti had never, to her knowledge, encountered someone connected with her past lives. She knew of them for certain, a diviner could look back past the current live’s past, to the paths the soul had wandered before. She nodded carefully, “ I think we shall see.” It was as though the moment spoke of prophecy and it made her unease return inspite of her Gwin’s haunting melody. It was one thing to see another’s past, but to see oneself’s past through another’s eyes? It was more self-reflection that any soul should be inflicted with. Still some part of her, curious and unafraid, wanted to look into him now to see this past. Her eyesight began to fray and without ceremony she flipped the middle card to stave off the unwanted vision from taking her over.

It had been a near thing, to avoid the unwanted vision. She disliked looking into another’s past without permission. Though she strove not to judge their actions only to receive them, it still seemed an invasion of the grandest kind.

The second card was perhaps more insulting than the first, it was miraculous how the cards could put her in the worst situations. “This card means the present.” She indicated the nine swords crossing in the center of the card, “This card means many things, but the soul of it is unwellness, and cruelty. I should say, this may not be you Caelum but someone around you. There may be an act that is… dishonorable, but you must not let it drag you down. You should avoid doubting your friends.” At least she hadn’t called him deceptive this time. No it was more warning than accusation when the present was involved. “The present is difficult to understand until it has become past. When reading a card for the present, the meanings are often… like poetry. They are pretty but hard to understand.” Eselle finally broke down and whispered in Kontinese, “Metaphor.” She doubted either understood her but it made her feel less inept with her speech. She fled back into Common for their benefit, “The future is again more difficult to understand, but I am getting ahead of myself.”
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[Alements] In the Tea Leaves

Postby Gwin on September 5th, 2014, 1:32 pm

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Melody :


Just imagine she's humming all of that...


Through humming that little melody, Gwin set her surroundings on fire so that everything appeared more vivid, more alive. Music helped her concentrate and it didn't even occur to her that it'd be different for others lacking her deep connection with it. The notes came as easily to her as breathing did to others and she didn't pay attention to how her mouth released the song. In performance there would be a voice and an instrument, ideally a violin, but her humming switched back and forth between the two components, hardly allowing a moment of silence.

She nearly missed a beat when something happened around Caelum. He didn't shift or change posture, yet he seemed different. Not even mortal, but far older, wiser and more than could ever be achieved in a short handful of decades. When he spoke, the words carried the gravity of centuries. Gwin interrupted her music to whisper some of her own, light and thin as parchment compared to his. "Certainly it'd take him more than a lifetime, more than two or three." She bit her lip before releasing the burning question. "Still I don't understand how you can know all this, but I will not interrupt further."

With that she closed her mouth and picked up where she'd left off in the melody. Next came the present, more difficult to interpret. Eselle seemed to do a good job though, carefully searching for and olding on to the right words in that language unfamiliar to her. The single word in Kontinese flowed around her music, a tone Gwin had heard before and welcomed, before the explanation continued.

Leaning forward, she cupped her chin in her palm to admire the new card. With the ever-changing sea in her eyes, she'd refrain from commenting and instead eagerly wait for the future to be unveiled. Wasn't that the last purpose of every reading, the card all others led up to? And when it was done, Gwin would attempt to judge how well Avalis guided the hands of Her daughter.
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[Alements] In the Tea Leaves

Postby Caelum on September 14th, 2014, 11:38 pm

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There was something a little like humor in Caelum's face. It lingered, not quite good but not exactly bad, a sun dappled shadow of emotion flickering in a face that ought not to have been so old. Kasb'el Sunsinger had died in the height of his life, far from a child but not yet with silver to further distinguish him. He sat back, crossing his legs again even as the akvatari's turn floated around them, haunting and gorgeous as the ghosts of lost love.

"Your cards offer an unkind opinion of me, Eselle," he pointed out.

His hands slid to rest against the arms of the chair and he lifted dark eyes, still smiling a strange, warm smile, to study the konti fortune teller as if perhaps in the air surrounding her he might find the memory of Avalis. Her dark sister's mark glimmered on the back of his right hand as if to stand in testament of its own.

"Am I the cruel liar, a creature of dishonor blossoming to nightmare in the present? Or is that what surrounds me?" He glanced to Gwin, then back again. "Is that what I am up against? What do you think? What is this saying? Don't be kind. Tell it to me straight."

He knew a small thing or two about nightmares, and what the nine of swords suggested. Yet how very little he did was evident, and he grimaced slightly while lowering his eyes back to the cards and their shadowed portrait of him. Perhaps it was not obvious, but it was not Eselle's reading he questioned. Her insight and talent was not subject to his disdain. No, not in the least. It was rather the cards themselves. It was Fortune itself, great Lhex and enigmatic Avalis. He had a very curious view of the gods, and one that was rife with conflict.

"Metaphor," he echoed, but not in Common. He said it easy kontinese, and then repeated it in Common with a gesture of his hand to indicate the connection. "Metaphor. It's a comparison using a term or phrase that is not literally applicable."

He drew in a deep breath and slumped deep into his chair, listening to the low hum of his tavern and feeling the ebb and flow of patron's needs and desires around him, around them all. Through it was the gentle backdrop of Gwin's song, subtly complicated as it wove threads of influence against their senses.

"Gwin's song is a metaphor. Or it could be," he murmured, and he gave her his smile. It held appreciation for what she did. "You're rather talented, aren't you? You want to understand how Eselle knows these things? Eh --" He squinted across the table at the konti. Curiosity glimmered. "So would I. Can I offer either of you something more to drink before we continue?"


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[Alements] In the Tea Leaves

Postby Eselle on November 1st, 2014, 5:16 pm

Gwin’s music wed talk of fate and reminiscence and the mingling made Eselle remember. It wasn’t a dream, but a fantasy. Not so consuming as vision, nor as fast, memories of childhood. Fighting against the ‘It’, she had known it was evil but could never call it’s name. The Seer knew something was amiss there, but tried not to dwell on it. It was easy to look into others, to see their umbrage and give it new life through word and picture. Someday there might be courage to spare.

Her eyes drifted from the card to Caelum and Gwin. “A liar? I am unsure, it is a hard thing to lie to another. But to lie to yourself that is... both harder to see and easier to do.” Her voice seemed distracted but slowly drew into a quiet murmur. She cleared her throat as her attention focused, “I am sorry. I would say that this card is about others. The swords of doubt as they can be used to fight you.”

Gwin’s question, the doubt resonating, set the Konti’s brow to furrow. “I am not a fair teacher. There is much I didn’t say. I do not know anything Gwin, it is the World that knows it. The Goddesses touch the World and the World knows that touch. From this touch small things are born like the path of crows to the north, the knowing of signs in cards…” She trailed off to take a drink of her tea, only to see she already had. The Seer smiled with faith of the future, “Like the leaves in a cup of tea.” There was much to explain about fortune telling without ever approaching a medium, but she tried to be polite and succinct.

She tilted the cup, the tea leaves had clumped together to form irregular shapes. She saw a curved sword, a scimitar and footsteps. Eselle slid from her chair to bring the empty cup to Gwin and Caelum respectively. “I believe,” She began slowly, “ I believe, that there are no accidents in our lives. If there are no big accidents, then there are no small ones either… not even the leaves in your tea. The future can always change, but the past cannot we just do not understand the truth of it. The past is many paths that come together to make the present and that present changes us to lead to the future.” As the seer spoke she settled anew both in thought and posterior. “Do you understand?”

She nodded gently, “Another cup of tea would be welcome.”
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[Alements] In the Tea Leaves

Postby Gwin on November 3rd, 2014, 9:33 pm

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He was agitated or at least his words were. Tilting her head, Gwin observed the exchange and noted the little changes in the melodies their voices created. Those without that deep connection to music mostly didn’t notice, but she heard everything… and understood it too, as far as music went. Where the people and their little quirks began, that was the point she was beginning to get confused. Was he accusing? Or merely curious?

His questions seemed rather ridiculous though, in fact, she had to bite back a little smile. “It doesn’t seem that way, no,” she supplied cautiously before leaving the fortune teller and her client to questions of interpretation. The way he looked at the cards, however, revealed a little of what whirled and cranked in his head. It was the cards that irritated, not the one reading their faces. Eselle only translated their silent music into tone and word.

She blinked when Caelum offered a word in a foreign language, Kontinese obviously, before repeating it for them to understand and learn. After a moment, she mirrored his smile. Yes, music meant something else. Gwin of all people knew that all too well, drowning herself in music and chasing an impossible idea. It was precisely because of its nature that she couldn’t find what she was looking for.

The smile thinned. “You know things too,” she corrected softly. An unspoken question lingered between her words. How? Why did he seem so… aged beyond his physical years? The melody she hummed hinted at the answer, but it wasn’t for Gwin to know unless he told her. She gave a thoughtful hum. “You see and you know what it means though,” she said to the Konti.

A petite hand returned to the tea pot that turned out to be… different from before. “I still have some, but it feels rather cold.” Mild surprise weaved into her voice, the expression of one so removed from the material that things like tea growing cold tended to slip her mind.

Instead she returned to the talk about time, knowledge suspended between present and future. Eselle was met with an eager nod. “Aye. There are no coincidences. Sometimes music helps to understand connections… but it can’t anticipate the future. It makes light of what is happening or has happened… at least to me,” she concluded modestly and looked down.

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[Alements] In the Tea Leaves

Postby Kiva on January 26th, 2016, 10:26 pm

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Such a Beautiful Thread . . .


Hello, my lovely writers! So, I have some good news and some bad news. We'll start with the bad news. First off, it looks like I cannot award grades to Eselle, Caelum, or Gwin due to your ledgers being out of date. :( The good news is, if you come back to Mizahar (assuming you've stepped away for a bit), update it, and PM me, I already have your grade written up in a notebook and ready to be posted.

In the meantime, I'd like to talk about what I thought of your thread. First off, I really enjoy seeing how Eselle approaches the challenges of explaining the cards to the others. It seems no easy task, especially for someone whose native tongue is not Common. I enjoyed reading her struggles and concerns, as well as the descriptions of the cards. I have a few decks myself and love them dearly.

For Caelum, as always I absolutely adore how you write your character, from the description to how fluid his movements and speech are. He just seems so... dream like. And it's fantastic. One of the reasons I believe if Caelum were a real person, I'd likely have an unrequited crush on him. >.>

And to Gwin, the musical Akvatari... Your character is so... maybe edgy isn't the right word, but when she tells them she believes the gods have abandoned/ignored the people, it felt like such a dramatic moment. You know how to pack a punch in your writing and drop big moments like that so casually. It's fantastic. P.s: Love that song you posted!

As always, I hope I get to read more work from the three of you and just let me know when you come back and are ready to rock n' roll.


 
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  • Deduction | 2
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  • I originally believed that I would not be able to give you a grade due to ledger issues, but realized you have not been posting IC since your last update of it. Since PCs are not require to deduct living expenses that they were not actively writing in, I realized my mistake. If I missed something or you are unhappy with your grade in any way, please let me know and I'll be happy to give it another look/edit if necessary.


. . . I brought it a Treat.
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