08.07.3013: Fire and Ice Tales
Summary: These are the stories told at the Niveun celebration of story telling.
Date: 7 August, 2013
Related: In the middle of Fire and Ice
Alistair Ariana Chiron Declan Eirene Elodie Kadmus Kaedin Keanen Kira Lorelei Lyrienne Michael Reena Ronan Sammel Tiriel Una 

Frigid Wastes Shelter, Niveus
Niveus is a small moon, the surface of which is covered entirely in ice and snow. Light is filtered through heavy gray clouds, snow falling much of the time. All visible land is of snow and ice. Though there are vast, deep oceans beneath the thick surface, from above it appears as though the entire moon is made of ice. A few formations of mountain and glacier, as well as the settlements of Niveus, break up the vast, largely empty surface. There are only a few settlements to be found here, many are buried into mountains and even glaciers. Shelter, the largest, is one of the only ones easily visible from a distance. It rises from the moon like a great mountain of stone topped by the icicle-like weather stations and homes of House Iah, the lights from within visible only in a few places, giving the appearance of bright glowing rivers that run down the sides of the great settlement.

Most of the creatures of Niveus are visible only beneath the surface in the oceans, though ice bears and a few other creatures can be seen roaming through the snow. The ice bears resemble the polar bears of ancient earth, though they are often much larger and some have pale gray fur as well as white. There are also a few packs of great wolves, though it is a rare thing indeed to see one, and a few smaller creatures which are completely unique to Niveus.

7 August, 3013

Once everyone is seated, Una smiles at the group. "Thank you all, again, for coming. We have quite a line up for you tonight, at the end of which our winners from last year's contest will be presenting a story together." Anyone who remembers will recall that last year there was a tie for the storytelling contest, between two citizens). "To start us off, we have something a littel different. Lorelei Quelton, who is becoming a good friend of House Iah, has agreed to read us one of her poems." She turns to gesture to the girl, waving her to the front of the fire and offering her the microphone.

"Over there." Kadmus indicates to Ariana, then takes a glass of wine, "If you'll excuse me, Ladies." He says with a smile flashed to the women then he is on his way over to the seating, "Lady Reena, you look quite lovely today." He says, moving to seat himself beside the woman, "I'm quite excited to hear the stories told today. I wonder if I should have prepared something." he then goes quiet as the first storyteller is announced.

"I choose to abstain, and most prefer a reason. Thank you. Your ability to make every guest comfortable, the essence of hospitality, knows few bounds." Hadrian says cold and flat, other teasing ignored as he nods towards Lyrienne. "Of course, where is the little princess?" he asks as he moves to join family, sits near Lyrienne and smiles brightly to his small niece. The 'cold' Scientist brightening visibly to whisper and chat with his younger relative.

"Lord Kadmus, had I known you were attending," Reena says in a calm, flat tone, "I'd have worn the colors of your house, to show our current allegiance." She doesn't really look at her betrothed, focusing on the fire in the center of the circle and sipping her wine instead.

Lysandra is quick to abandon Lyrienne's hand in favor of Hadrian's, climbing up on his lap and happily describing her day. Though her description of her day involves a few more unicorns than it probably actually did. With Marus in Kaedin's care and Lysandra in Hadrian's, Lyrienne checks in on Julian and is pleasantly surprised to find him still napping. Success! She gets to sit down and enjoy time around adults and make the kids happy. "False alarm on the stomach bug," she murmurs to Hadrian, eyeing a passing bottle of wine. "It was more of a 'missing Mommy' bug, apparently."

Nodding a bit, Sammel starts leading Elodie over towards somewhere to sit now that things are starting. Smiling as he spots Ariana and Declan, he offers them a polite nod. "Lord Declan, Lady Ariana. Mind if we join you?" he asks. Glancing around for a few moments, then back at the others.

Lorelei glances to her brother, giving him a nervous smile and she'll smooth her skirt before walks to the front. Her hair is lose, to stay a bit warmer…and maybe give her something to hide behind. Giving Una a small smile, she'll take the mic. She jumps right in, reciting from memory. Her voice, unlike her usually timid quite, is that of a beatnik poet. the cadence is different, she stresses words, throws emphasis on syllables.

The first breath, cutting and cold.
Empty sky, filled with posibilites
The future,jarringly clear
The wind a life band to the very heart of this satellite
Encassing a truth, so passionate the warmth of her family
of her people."

"Ahh, think nothing of it, Lady Reena." Kadmus says with a bright smile to the woman, "I think your outfit you've chosen today is quite lovely." he says in compliment, hand reaching out to rest lightly on her arm for a moment, his attention on Lorelei for a bit longer, "Quite a wonderful poem, don't you think?"

Una sits with Tiriel after handing over the microphone. She takes up the knight's hand, squeezing a bit as the poem is read, her face taking on a moment's sadness.

Reena applauds for Lorelei by tapping a ring against her glass, her eyes fixed on the young woman. She doesn't pull away from Kadmus' hand, but she's sitting rather stiffly and all-too-proper for the Khournas woman. "Bravo! Beautifully done!" she calls out.

Tiriel had settled down with her wife and as the poem is read she sobers a little, face falling from the smile and a small nod of her head. She takes a small sip of her wine and then begins a bit of applause. "Well done." She speaks, a somber tone to her voice.

Alistair will smile broadly and raise his glass in a silent toast to the beauty of the poem presented. "Bravo indeed!" He'll echo Tiriel's sentiments.

Declan starts to formulate some greeting for Kadmus, when Ariana's attention falls on him, but just as quickly he's off to court his own lady, and it seems the young Arboren lord will not intervene in this other courtship. Instead he remarks, both to Ariana and to the others nearby, "It does seem as though it is the season for courtings, with so many lovely couples out tonight. Speaking of which, Sir Sammel, Lady Elodie, so good to see you both again. Of course, please do." He gestures at a place nearby on the bench. "How are you both enjoying your evening? I take it you are a little more accustomed to this sort of weather, at least, my Lady. But it isn't too bad in warm dress and with the fires going." Of course, once the actual performance begins, he turns his attention that way, listening without interruption.

Kaedin listens, though, most of the poetry is lost on him, he does give a polite appaude. on the other hand, Roan the ice bear cup in the large Knights lap gives a cub like roar of appproval from the poem, that or the clapping has her feeling like she should join in.

Eirene applauds Lorelei's poem and blows out a sharp but triumphant whistle. "Bravo!" The words are said with gusto before turning towards Hadrian. "Are you a fan of spoken word, my lord?" Her teeth chatter slightly whilst speaking.

Chiron lightly claps when his sister finishes her poem and gives her a smile and a thumbs up. He's proud of his sister, and where she's going with her poetry.

Cheering along with the rest, Michael's hands clap loudly for Lorelei.

Lorelei cheeks flush some, not r4ally comfortable wight eh attention, jumps slightly when the bear roars. she'll give a slightly warmer smile in the bears direction and will start to make her way back towards her brother. she has other poems, but will let other ago ahead.

Ariana isn't entirely surprised to see Kadmus leave immediately to tend to his betrothed, though her gaze does follow the young Heir, only so that she can spot Reena in the distance. As a polite gesture in greeting, she offers the Khournas a smile and subtle nod, before returning her full attention to Declan once again. "And you know that there will be many more such courtships, My Lord, as this war continues to rage on." Oh, it looks like they have company, "Sir Sammel and Lady Elodie, yes, please do join us. I was trying to explain the festival to Lord Declan just earlier, but I do believe that the tales will speak for themselves." Soon enough, though, she quiets down as they are all settled in their seats. Clapping carefully as she continues to hold her glass in one hand, she comments to the others, "It looks as if we are off to a wonderful start."

Hadrian's coldness falls away, his attention on his little niece Lysandra. Named for his mother. He even genuinely smiles as she describes her day and the improbably number of one-horned horses. "Really? Well. That is just amazing." he offers to the little girl- not a single hint of patronization or disinterest. He nods and smiles to Lyrienne. "That is most excellent." To the child in his lap, "Now we clap." he says to his niece, "For the performer." he explains, clapping for Lorelei.

A servant takes the microphone from Lorelei when she is finished. He offers her a small polite nod, then announces, "Our first storyteller tonight is The Lady Reena Khournas." He offers the microphone to the lady when she approaches, as well as a deep bow.

Kadmus offers light applause as well, smiling a bit as well, "I wonder if perhaps we might consider hosting some sort of social event in the near future in honor of our Betrothal, Lady Reena." He suggests, "A small betrothal party, or the like. Maybe we can sponsor some artistic venture as well." Though as Reena's name is called out he glances up as she's listed as the next performer.

Reena mumbles, "Perhaps," at Kadmus, and rises when called upon. The Khournas woman steps nearer the fire, turning to face the listeners and lowering the hood of her cloak. "I have a tale to tell, one told in song, if you are brave enough to listen. It is a story from long, long ago in myth." She closes her eyes, centers herself, then begins. Her eyes open to fix many audience members in turn with a knowing glance, like she bears some hidden knowledge. Her voice is sweet and pure, clearly trained, and the tune is melancholy, in a minor chord, unsettling almost.

"The wind in the valley is bitter and cold.
Sing Hushabye Lullaby Ley…
And wolves prowl the hilltops or so I've been told.
Hushabye Lullaby Ley…
The fair folk watch over good children at night,
And keep them from harm, so they say…"

Reena leans in close to someone in the crowd, arching a brow at them.

"…But stories and legends are not always right…
Hushabye Lullaby Ley…
Hushabye Lullaby Ley… "

Reena's story-song continues, as the woman sweeps around the circle, leaning in conspiratorially as if she's telling everyone a deep, dark secret.

"When I was a girl I went walking alone.
Sing Hushabye Lullaby Ley…
I sat down to rest 'neath the tall standing stone.
Hushabye Lullaby Ley…
I drifted and dreamed 'neath the full autumn moon
Of silvery laughter so gay.
I'll always remember that dark, haunting tune.
Hushabye Lullaby Ley…
Hushabye Lullaby Ley… "

Lyrienne claps gently for Lorelei's poem, and Lysandra claps with more enthusiasm. Marus, for his part, claps and shrieks a bit when Roan roars, before Lyrienne hushes him quietly for Reena's performance. A faint smile curves at the song, perhaps remembering, as she rocks Julian in time with the tune.

Sammel smiles, taking the seat now. "Thank you. And I'm quite well this evening. Although I'm not yet fully used to the climate here, it's always a pleasure to visit." Going quiet at Lorelei's poem, applauding for it, and then quieting down again as Reena begins to sing. Listening with a smile at the moment.

Una leans slightly against Tiriel as the performance begins. Her smile is soft, her eyes alight. Its clear to anyone who pays attention, she is having the time of her life listening to Reena.

Reena steps behind a guard and peeks around from behind him, as if he is that standing stone in the song.

"I saw figures spinning in garments of green,
Sing Hushabye Lullaby Ley…
I moved to the shadows so I'd not be seen.
Hushabye Lullaby Ley…
They whirled and they danced round a figure so small
Like ravens that circle their prey.
They kept the child silent and still in their thrall.
Hushabye Lullaby Ley…
Hushabye Lullaby Ley…"

The tone of Reena's song turns sinister as she spins in a circle and then crouches down low, hands out for balance, peering around the circle with a devilish gleam in her eyes.

" And then in an instant the dancing had ceased.
Sing Hushabye Lullaby Ley…
The revelry's end was the start of the feast.
Hushabye Lullaby Ley…
Perhaps I remembered, perhaps I but dreamed,
The changeling was carried away.
But burned in my mind is that horrible scream…
Hushabye Lullaby Ley…
Hushabye Lullaby Ley… "

Reena rises to look off into the distance as if following the vision of the screaming babe being born away by the Fae, then sweeps towards Lyrienne's little ones for emphasis of the last stanza.

"The fair folk in autumn are hungry and wild.
Sing Hushabye Lullaby Ley…
So keep to thy cradle and sleep well my child….
Hushabye Lullaby Ley…"

As the last note fades, Reena draws her cloak's hood up, and steps back from the firelight, into the shadows.

Once more he claps loudly, though the way in which Michael does this might suggest he's actually making his hands warm. Though, the cheering praise for Reena is certainly genuine.

Lorelei leans into chiron, letting her arm slip into his. she'll clap softly.

Another roar for the storyteller, Roan actualy manages to pat her paws together two or three times. Kaedin blinks at his bear and smiles. "Good girl." he says with a pat to her head before he looks up and smiles at Reena.

Lysandra is wide-eyed in Hadrian's lap as Reena finishes the song, looking up to Hadrian as if for confirmation. Will they really get her? Lyrienne twists a rueful smile toward the Khourni lady, dipping her chin slightly, as Marus leans over her to pat Lysandra's leg. "S'okay, Lyssie, I'll get 'em!" he promises fiercely.

Tiriel, who has been watching the crowds almost as much as the storyteller, leans over, whispering to a servant. The servant nods and hurries off while Reena is finishing her song. As the song ends, the servant returns and approaches Keanen, and silently offers the man a simple cloak of drab grey with ice bear fur lining.

Kadmus offers out an applause for Reena as she finishes the song, a bright smile upon his lips and he remains seated, and his gaze follows the woman as she steps back towards the shadows, though soon wanders to see who the next performer is.

Chiron squeezes his sister's hang slightly and claps softly as Reena finishes her song. He leans over to his sister, "What did you think?"

Reena circles around the fire to return to her seat, trying not to break the spell of the song for the little ones in the audience. She settles beside Kadmus once more and reclaims her wine. "I sing a little," she admits to her betrothed with a small shrug.

Hadrian shakes his head quietly to Lysandra. A reassuring little thing, complete with hug. No one would be taking Lyssie, not at all. "Faeries are incompatible with Orelle DNA. They'd be more afraid of you, than you of they." It even rhymes.

Once Reena starts to sing, whatever conversation that Ariana was in is cut short and her full attention is focused on the young Khournas Lady. This is the type of music that truly moves her. Not the rock or.. techno or any other sort. Turning towards Eirene, she does comment, "Lady Reena sounds lovely doesn't she?" Eirene, herself, being an opera singer, would appreciate such a song. Finally, she offers her applaud, turning lightly towards the others, especially to Declan, "What did you think of that song, My Lord? Was it to your liking?"

With another deep bow for Reena, the servant approaches and collects the microphone. "Our next storyteller is Lady Doctor Elodie Iah."

Lorelei blinks, looking up at her brother. She clearly wasn't actually listening. "It was nice." she'll shiver some, leaning into him more.

Sammel smiles as he listens, applauding with the others at the end of the song. "It's quite a lovely song," he offers, before he smiles to Elodie as she's introduced as the next storyteller. "Your audience awaits you. Show them how good a storyteller you are."

Keanen looks at Tiriel, and he lifts the old sweater, showing the layers of shirts beneath it, and he grins. "I'm good, yo. Thanks." He smiles, "But if you'd like, you could help keep me warm later or something." He tosses her a flirty little wink.

Kaedin is about to applaud for Elodie coming up, when he blinks at what Keanen just said and bites his lip.

Tiriel gives Keanen a bit of a look up and down and then waves the servant away who holds the cloak in front of the man. She tosses him the same sort of wink, "Not on your life." She speaks and looks to Una, "Why would I take you when I have this?" She lifts Una's hand and kisses it.

Keanen shrugs, quickly answering Tiriel casually, "Because the three of us would have an awesome night." He shrugs, and then looks back towards the stage.

Lyrienne smiles warmly back at Hadrian, mouthing a 'thank you' even as Lysandra burrows into his lap and pulls her own cloak closer around herself. Where she's safe from creepy faeries!

Elodie applauds Reena's performance with the rest, then takes a breath. Standing, she gives a smile to Sammel for his encouragement, and walks to the circle. Taking her place by the fire, she looks around, and starts with one of the traditional introductions to a story.
"Once, a long time ago, before the ways were built and during the first time of Lords and Knights…"

Eirene smiles warmly to Ariana and apparently nods in agreement.

Una looks back at Keanen, giving him a 'seriously?' look. Then she looks at Tiriel, planning to roll her eyes in amused annoyance. But of course Tiriel has to get all romantic, make her blush and duck her head a moment. When she looks up again, she gives Tiriel a look to warn off any further mushiness, then turns her attention to offering Reena a nod of thanks and waiting for Elodie to begin.

Lorelei tries to focus on Elodie and will take the rest of her glass and finish it off, rather quickly.

"There was a nobleman, Kaftir, with a beautiful daughter named Zosia. As with most fathers, his only daughter was the apple of his eye, and he doted greatly on her. Zosia not only had beauty of form and figure with flashing dark eyes that contrasted with her honey blonde hair, but she was possessed of a sharp wit. Her intelligence was prized by her father, a bragging point that he often liked to point out…" Elodie pauses for a moment, and a wicked gleam enters her eyes. "Until it came time for her to marry.
"You see, that same intelligence and wit that was such a boon when Kaftir had a problem he was mulling over, became the bane of his existence when it was turned towards the suitors that came asking for her hand. There was always something wrong with every single one of them, and, one by one, she sent them packing. Kaftir began to fear that he would never find a man that would live up to her standards, and that his daughter would drive the entire male population from their door.

"The crown prince, far away, had heard of this noblewoman of great beauty and intelligence, and decided that her standing was such that she would make an acceptable union as his wife, and accordingly he sent word to Kaftir of his wishes.
"Kaftir didn't know whether to rejoice of the news, or to dread hearing what his daughter would say to dismiss this latest suitor.
"Surprisingly, Zosia did not dismiss the crown prince's suit. But her father's relief was short lived when she said she would accept if he acceeded to three requests. If he was to marry her, Zosia insisted that he must learn a trade, and present her with proof of his accomplishment.
"Kaftir's mouth fell open," and Elodie's expression mirrors the shock of the father at the daughter's demand. "This was the crown prince! One did not make demands of the crown prince, it was not seemly. However, he dutifully passed along the 'request' of his fair daughter.
"Geyorg, the prince, considered the request, and then he nodded. "This I shall do. After all, I do not wish to force the fair Zosia's hand, but to win it." So saying, he unknowingly granted the first request. As for the second, he spent some time among the people, and decided to take up the craft of weaving. When he had mastered the art, he wove a handkerchief in a beautiful rose pattern, which he gave to Kaftir to present to his daughter.
"Zosia accepted the gift, and as her final request, she wished for equal power with her husband. She wished to rule with her husband, and share in the decisions to be made. This, also, Geyorg accepted. And so, they were wed.

Reena listens thoughtfully, her lips pursed, at the tale of a strong woman demanding to be seen as an equal and valued enough for a prince to learn a lowly task to be worthy of her. She sips her wine, looking transfixed and a little sad.

Alistair will send one of his aides to grab him another wine, seeming transfixed by the tale being presented.

Tiriel lofts a brow and leans forward a bit. She mutters something very soft to Una.


"The couple had been married for a few years, and had developed a deep bond between the two of them." Elodie continues her story, a fond smile emphasizing the joy the two found together. "During that time, the king had passed away, and Geyorg was now king. When news came to their ears of unrest and of citizens disappearing in the western lands, the two of them decided that Geyord must investigate the matter himself. And so, he set out, diguised as a commoner on his wife's advice. Zosia stayed behind to keep matters running smoothly while her husband was out.
"After a week, Geyorg reached one of the western towns, and stopped to rest in one of the public baths. As they relaxed in the waters, they were set upon by manager of the baths, being hit over the head and dragged away. When they regained consciousness, they found themselves chained below the baths.
"The manager explained that they were there to work, to split the wood and tend the fires that kept the waters in the baths above warm." Elodie steps out of her story narrating voice, and addresses the audience more conversationally. "While this may not sound so difficult to us today, as we are used to our hot and cold running water, in those times, the water was heated by great fires built in hallways that ran below the bath house. It was not unusual for a draft to suddenly change the direction of the flames, and many a man lost their life for the comfort of the bathers above. " As the gravity of the men's peril is allowed to sink in, the lady returns to her storytelling.
"Sensing the danger that he and his men were in, Geyorg thought quickly. He convinced the man that he could make extra money for him, if he could but use a loom.
"The Queen will pay handsomely for finely woven handkerchiefs, and I promise you that I weave the best in the entire kingdom."
The manager, being a greedy man, saw no reason to pass up the chance to make a few more gold coins from the work of his prisoners, and so the loom was set up. Geyorg worked feverishly to recreate the rose patterned handkerchief he had once made, knowing he was racing against time to keep his men alive. When it was finished, the manager went to the capital, and requested an audience with the Queen.
"Now, Zosia had begun to worry when she'd had no word from Geyorg, but as soon as she saw the handkerchief, she knew immediately it was a sign from her beloved. She smiled to the manager, and calmly paid his price, exclaiming over the workmanship of the piece, and expressing a wish to buy more. As soon as the man left, she ordered one of the knights to follow him, and thus discovered the location where Geyorg was being held. The next day, at the head of the royal army, she rode to the west, and freed her husband and the other prisoners that had been kept there.
"Geyorg was very glad that he had acquiesced to Zosia's strange request long ago when he asked for her hand. He seldom questioned her judgement, and the two ruled happily together for many long years." Her story finished, Elodie clasps her hands together in front of her and gives a small bow, before she returns to her seat next to Sammel.

Reena applauds for Elodie with a small smile at the romantic tale. Of course, she had to go bring up baths didn't she, so there's a little bit of strain in that lilt of her lips.

Tiriel gives a smile and applauds for her sister in law!

Una shifts, leaning closer to hear Tiriel. She chuckles at the words, and slips an arm around the knight's waist as the story continues. When it ends she clapped along with the others as she had for Reena. Her smile is bright as the stories continue.

Alistair raises his second glass of wine in another silent toast and has his aide scribbling notes.

Chiron claps softly again, smiling. He looks again to Lorelei, "You want another drink?"

Eirene claps for Elodie and slowly rises from her seat. She murmurs to Ariana and Declan before waving to her brother. It appears there are things she needs to take care of at home.

"And quite the voice it is, Lady Reena." Kadmus says with a little smile, though attention now on the story that Elodie tells, lounging back a bit and sipping from his wine glass. Once Elodie finishes her tale he offers an applause for her.

Falling quiet once again, Ariana eagerly listens to Elodie's tale between sips of wine. The story itself seems to capture her attention and claps gently for such an intriguing tale. However, when Eirene rises to depart, she nods once in the Volen's direction, "Be safe, My Lady. I hope that you were able to enjoy much of what you've heard here this evening."

Kaedin claps, but the Roan starts to get out of hand, wanting to go play with Elodie, and he frowns. 'Abit too excited Little ma'am." he says to the bear as he feels a particular tug in his chest. "Lyri, I'm going to put Roan in her pen, and probibly head home… pains again." he says as he motions for Marus to stay wit hhis mum as he stands, cuddling up the bear as he moves quietly over to Una. "Milady, I'm sadly taking my leave… Roan settle… This was wonderful." he says with a bow as the Cub actualy calms down, though is still twitchy. Kaedin takes his leave.

"Oh, I rather liked it," Declan remarks as Ariana inquires about Lady Reena's performance. "It had something of a sense of those Arborenin folktales you were referring to earlier, actually. We do have some superstitions of strange creatures carrying people off into the forest. And wolves and ravens and hills, for that matter." He grins a bit. The story that follows is attended with like interest, although his attention is turned as Eirene announces her departure.

"Thanks for coming with us, Kaedin," Lyrienne says softly to the knight, smile warm, as she opens up her cloak to make room for Marus to sit next to her. Now that the storytelling is in full swing, Marus seems content to curl up next to her mother, while Lysandra is looking a little sleepy-eyed in Hadrian's lap as well.

Lorelei nods to her brother, clapping for Elodie. "Yes, please..I could use another."

Ariana's brow lifts at what Declan says and she nods slowly, "I can only only wonder what frightening things may be lurking deep in the thick of your woods, as have many imagined for years." Her slender frame shudders, perhaps due to the cold or maybe the thought of those dark woods.

Leaning back a little in his seat, Sammel smiles as he listens to the story now. As the story comes to an end, he applauds, smiling as Elodie returns to her seat. "You know, you have quite a gift for the storytelling," he says, before he adds, "I really enjoyed this story as well."

"Thank you," Reena says politely to Kadmus. She finally looks at him, her pale eyes bright in the reflected firelight. "Lady Elodie's story was very well told, was it not?" she asks.

The servant appears to reclaim the microphone with another bow, then announces, "Our next storyteller is Lord Keanen Arboren." The microphone is offered to Keanen with another bow.

Keanen walks to the front of the group, a little skip to his step. When he reaches the center, he shoves his right sleeve up to the elbow, revealing his cybernetic forearm and hand, and the wristmounted vidscreen projector he's wearing. He smirks, his heavily lidded eyes glancing around. "What up? Hey. So, anyway. Here's this awesome shit or whatevs."

The wristmounted computer flickers to life, projecting a holographic image of a long, sterile corridor, the image viewed through a very artistic, grainy filter with high contrast. The image slowly zooms on the lone figure in the image, a janitor mopping, as Keanen begins to speak.

"Slow bleached hallways
low vidscreens, muffled suffering
into unfamiliar pillows."

The image changes to that of wounded men and and women in the medical ward at Shelter Hospital, still through the same filter. As the camera slowly moves through the ward, it's easy to see that these are soldiers, many of whom look seriously injured and terribly forlorn. As Keanen speaks, the camera makes it's way to the end of the ward, where a window looks out over the arctic Niveus landscape.

"The scent of spoiling life
stretched out on starchy sheets
Dreaming out the window
to the dying branches of perpetual December."

The image shifts again, still through the artistic filter, and now shows a rather lonely looking young man, scraped and bruised, his body covered in hospital gowns and bandages, sitting in a wheelchair attached to an IV. Bright light from the window slowly creeps across his swollen face. The young man appears contemplative as he reaches up and puts a cap on his head, decorated with the military insignia, the shadow of the hat's bill darkening an area over his tired eyes.

"Under a sunset
that makes you stop -
take a breath and wonder…"

Once again, the image changes, now showing the wreckage left behind on the snow-covered battlefield of Niveus. Snow is falling, the damaged and unsalvageable wreckage of Hostile and Haven military equipment now partially covered in snow drifts. Icicles hang from twisted pieces of metal as wind blows the white snowflakes across the scene.

"If the snow will ever stop falling
if the ice will ever melt
and if the light of December
will always fade the same from
hospital windows."

The final image is a slow shot pulling away from Shelter Hospital, snow falling and the flickering lights of an arriving emergency vehicle throwing lensflares across the grainy image as it fades to invisible and the projection ends. Keanen stands there a moment, scratches his cybernetic forearm absently, and then just walks off.

Before the next presentation starts, Chiron gets up and grabs two more drinks. He smiles lightly to Lady Una and Lady Sir Tiriel before returning to his seat. Hanging Lorelei the drink he asks her softly, "Are you ok?"

Kira walks throug hthe snow, finaly able to get away from her fashion work to come and enjoy time wit hher favorite client, as well as her favorite friend. Over her clothes is a huge fur cloak, and walking with her is a shorter version of herself, her Daughter Young Mistress Brianna, who is training to be a Knight. Walking over to Una and Tiriel, she and her daughter both ovver a deep curtsie. "Miladies."

Una listens to this story without a smile. She keeps her hold on Tiriel, seeming uncertain how to react. When Kira approaches she manages a smile, nodding to the woman and her daughter and gesturing to the nearest empty seats. "Welcome." She murmurs, "You're just in time for our last presenter."

Alistair will sit in an awed silence following the presentation, clapping feeling entirely inappropriate. He'll look to his aides as if to see if they 'got' it. He'll begin whispering about symbols and imagery.

Reena slowblinks at Keanen's presentation. She's not sure if it's over or not when he walks off. She drains her wine glass. "And here I was worried my song might be too dark and dismal," she murmurs to Kadmus. "That was downright depressing."

Having dozed off thanks to the warmth of the fire, Michael rocks slightly and is suddenly awake again. He looks around, and then shrugs. Looking up the stage after a time to see who it was he'd missed, but doesn't recognize the person so he offers a polite clap.

Lorelei nods to Chiron, "Yeah…Just a lot to deal with. I"m ok." A soft smile, then she frowns when Keanen starts, but her face goes neutral as he speaks. anyone looking at her can see her glass shake slightly at his words. She'll wait till he's done before clapping.

Kadmus laughs softly and offers a nod of his head towards Reena, "It was wasn't it?" he agrees, "Though I don't know that I didn't feel your song was too dismal." He says, "But not every story is a bright one, I suppose, especially when we do tap into myths and legends."

Ariana is a little surprised when Keanen's name is actually announced, so when she notes the familiarity of her friend as he stands there projecting this film for all to see, she watches the production with curiousity. In a quiet aside to Declan, she notes, "Your Lord Brother really does have a talent for film. These shots… while dismal, do tell a wonderful story in itself." She then claps gently when it is all over, her own gaze trailing behind Keanen once he uncermoniously leaves the stage.

As she has to see the presentation of something that she has to see all too routinely, Elodie's hand tightens on Sammel's arm. She closes her eyes and leans her head against his shoulder to shut out the scenes that she had hoped to escape her on a story telling night. It may be rude, but she can't summon the strength to clap even politely as she seeks some strength and reassurance from her knight.

Keanen doesn't linger, walking up the aisle from the stage directly to the table with the alcohol. Once more, he takes a glass, chugs the entire contents, and then walks off towards the Way Gate.

"I'll not let any horrors carry you off, have no fear," Declan promises, his tone more joking than serious. Whether there are superstitions about such things, it seems he does not put a great deal of actual faith or concern in them. When Keanen is announced, he too shows a bit of surprise… and also some concern. Of everyone there, it is surely the least surprise to him how dark his young brother's performance is. However, despite the tone of the performance, he looks more relieved than upset by the time it is over. "He's always had a great fondness for photography. But that was exceptionally good work, even for him."

There's some polite applause from Sammel, but he can feel the hand tightening around his arm, and the head leaning against his shoulder. He sighs a bit as he reaches out and puts his other hand over hers. Lowering his voice to whisper something now, while waiting for the next story to be told.
Sammel whispers: I'm really sorry that you had to see that on your evening off. I don't really know how to feel about it either.

The servant stands once more, collecting the microphone and announcing, "We have one final storyteller, Senator Alistair Hartcliffe."

Taking the stage with a bit of shiver, the frail-looking Senator, barely shy of 40, looks up at the audience with his pale blue eyes alight with excitement. His words will ring with a flair for the dramatic, trying to excite and entice the crowd with his words.

"There once was a Lord who was the blessed father of three triplets. As he aged, he began to think of succession. As it had long since been forgotten which child was truly the eldest, and not wanting a crisis to follow his death, the Lord devised a plan to determine which of his children was truly ready to rule his house. His plan was very simple. He took the three to a large corn field and stood on the other side. He proclaimed to them, 'I shall grant the rights of my title to the one of you who can cross the field in the straightest path.'
"The Knight, bold and strong, claimed the passage first. She decided to look to her left and to her right, gauging her distance by the scenery around her. Mountains in the distance. A forest to the East." He points to his left and to his right. "After several hours of careful measurements and steps, she reaches the edge of the field and turns around to field the trail she has left behind. What she observes is a giant zig-zag, back and forth, a pattern of diagonals across the corn stalks." He'll be making hand gestures of zig-zags at this point. "With a sense of foreboding, she stands next to her father, waiting for the attempts of her siblings.
"Laughing in pre-emptive triumph, the Academic Son strides forward to take his place, his plan ready to be set in motion." He'll pause briefly for a sip of his wine and set the glass back down on the stage.
Tightening his cloak, he'll continue. "The second to face the trial, the Academic Son, looks firmly at his feet. If I can judge my steps, then I shall walk the straightest path. Thus, putting one foot in front of the other, he makes his way across the field. Step by step. Step by step. Never stopping to pay attention to the trees or the mountains, he ignores his surroundings, attempting to ignore the fault of his sister. After a few hours again, the brother turns around and looks at his progress to see a giant curve, though he was certain that hed been putting one foot in front of the other. He too, slightly dejected, stands next to his father.
"The final sibling to step forward had taken up to studying the art of the bow, and he looked straight ahead, picking his point on the horizon. Never worried about his steps looking the right way, never concerned with the wind from the east or the Mountains to the west. He focused on his target, as if he were an arrow and pierced through the corn towards it. After his hours of walking, he turns to see a straighter line than his siblings. Far from perfect, it is excellent nonetheless.
"The Lord approaches his children with a hearty smile and simply says, 'A Lord must lead, to lead a house is to remain focused on the goal, not the people around you, not even on yourself. A Lord's life is one of dedication and sacrifice. This is why the task was set before you. Learn to focus on what is important, hold fast to the ideals of honor, ignore the storms outside and within, give of yourself to the higher calling.' " He'll pause briefly.

"Thus is the tale of the Lords Triplets." And with that, he'll make his way off the stage.

Kira moves and takes a seat with her daughter. The young Squire looking tired, though it comes with Brianna's new line of work. Leaning into her mother, Brianna blinks. "Will Sir Ronan be about Mother?" She asks, and Kira chuckles. "Possibly, you can ask him to dance if it will please the Lordling." She says as she listend to the story and smiles. "Wonderfull." She says with a small clap.

Reena applauds for the Senator, her breath frosting in the cold, and her cheeks flushed red with it. The Khourni woman isn't used to the frigid temperatures of Niveus, she even found Landings a bit chilly, so she's started to shiver just ever so slightly. "A wise old tale, that," she murmurs to Kadmus.

Elodie's eyes open, and she looks up to Sammel with a grateful smile, letting her grip loosen as she turns to the next presenter. Senator Alistair's story is absorbed with a quiet smile, and, with her arm wrapped around her bethrothed's, she applauds whole heartedly at the fable.

The servant stands, and after a quick word with Una takes his place once more. "Before we end our storytelling for the night, we have one more poem from Lorelei Quelton." He offers the poet the microphone before taking his seat.

Chiron claps loudly, he wasn't aware that his sister would be performing once more! He gives her an encouraging smile.

Sammel looks a bit relieved as he sees that Elodie seems to be feeling better, and offers her a smile in return, before he turns to listen to the Senator's story, applauding afterwards. Looking around at the other once more, before he hears the part about one more poem, and turns his attention to the poet once more.

Lorelei claps, finishing her drink. She seems to be calming down, with the drink and newest story. She'll give chiron another smile, and then blink looking. She forgot. She'll stand up and walk to the mic again, this time, smiling softly to the crowd before starting. Again, she reads as a poet, not her her nervous timid voice.

All of my thoughts of you, shattered
Scatter in the wake of this war
I come to find you, even if only in dreams
Wait for me, love.
In the corners of your mind.
Know I am there.
Don't fear.
There is nothing that can tear us down.

My wish on the falling star
Is that it is a falling star
That you should come home,
And wish with me
that children will never fear the Heavenly Bodies
That red eyes will never haunt the woods,
stalk our dreams
and only wishes remain in the sky."

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