Chapter VI:16

A son he left me, in the ways of men,
should a mother bemoan he is as him,
tis it better a woman hath a grandchild,
to care for girls, charmed by his wiles,

wouldst it be wiser that I’d not bore his son,
wait for a daughter that might so choose none,
oh he left, tis his loss, he’ll die cold and alone,
an old woman warm, and surrounded at home.

– A Matron’s Lament, 423 E.R.

The Bees and the Trees 

Rhaeus 4th, 1 S.R.

“Up and at ‘em, soldier,” Katrisha commanded.

Liora woke, and turned a spiteful glare to the woman beside her hammock. A nudge to the shoulder accomplished no more.

“Come on, we still have a dozen women, and near so many children in need of training. I made that… pirate, promise she would give them opportunity. The chance to be more than fate has brought them to. I intend to not be a hypocrite in this.”

“Then don’t,” Liora said, and stared back at the ceiling, clutching her arm.

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Chapter VI:15

The last word may be all you get,
when all else falls to bitter regret,
part on good terms such they are,
if one last barb, not quite too far,

a pence or a sov can never compare,
to leave an opponent stewing there,
walk away resolved for the morrow,
one more chance you might borrow.

– The Last Word, 517 E.R.

Parting Wagers

Rhaeus 3rd, 1 S.R.

“Oh poor Laset.” Rihonae frowned, stepped closer, and reached for a frozen face, turned aside in the moment of a blow. It was too cold to even get near. She withdrew the hand, and shook her head.

It had taken a dozen locals, a bunch of planks, and Rihonae herself to move the mass into the orrery chamber the prior evening. Even so, a few had gotten frostbite, and the chamber had grown a bit colder for its presence. It sat behind a throne, moved to the edge of the dais, and fit well enough. Rihonae glanced to Katrisha, who stood below the step up.

“Have you come to ask about leaving?” Rihonae offered with a dismissive wave. “You are free to go, if you can figure out how.” She stepped around, and sat with a petulant grimace. “It was nice, having a god at my side.”

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Chapter VI:14

What whispers in the dark,
those things we’d never do,
passing frightful impulse,
to our own selves untrue,

what lurks in the shadows,
fear of a fate at hands unclear,
where eyes flit ‘n heads turn,
oh there’s nothing there to fear,

it should give no quiet or respite,
only an ever sinking, seeping dread,
where one casts light into shadows,
and so learns, it was all in their head.

– The Lurker, 523 E.R.

The Sun, The Moon, and the Sea

It was snowing. That wasn’t right.

Katrisha saw her breath swirl around her. A twin the same height, and with the same dark hair stood across, already in a fighting stance. A broad shouldered, stocky man sat on a short fence at the edge of the training ring. It looked a bit bad for the railing.

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Chapter VI:13

Men say we all bleed, the same red blood,
yet learned ways would deny it is such,
what foolish notions fill our heads,
stories fit for children sent to bed,

something glimmers there within,
a gift of starlight, so wearying,
a promise gilded and forsook,
ever humbling the sanguin hook,

O’ tis mostly, that same crimson thread,
if one ignores an illness best to dread,
O’ what gifts to bring us to such loss,
all we are given, doth come at cost.

– A Cursed Gift, 112 E.R.

The Silver Thread

There were a great many gathered in the orrery chamber. Locals and pirates, Red Women and those in contrary white. All, called by a song that touched air and heart with an alluring, joyous melancholy. Some, were cautious to enter. Three siblings, and the company that followed more than most.

Sund was already below. He stood outside a ring of Singers, at the edge of the lowest tier, just below the two steps back up a dais. He glared at Laset. She bore this little if any mind, and circled Orwell in a beam of sunlight, stood before Rihonae’s throne. It did not seem the right time of day, for the angle of the beam shone down upon him, and yet to look around, it seemed it might be.

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Chapter VI:12

Yaerdwyrm, yaerdwyrm, measuring an ash root,
how long be the tap, of a guardsman’s boot,
yaerdwyrm, oh yaerdwyrm, how beautiful afar,
there count out the beats, cautious you are,
yaerdwyrm, yaerdwyrm, oh wound round the base,
twice seven ‘n six, five ‘n six, less five ‘n eight,
oh wait, oh wait, ‘n hope not to be late.

– The Spider and the Looking Glass, 425 E.R.

Upon a Clockwork Sky

Katrisha stood in an archway, and watched Mayari walk out into a city etched from stone. “Well, what do you think?”

Etore stepped up behind her. “I think, I want to think about it.”

Katrisha turned on a heel. “So, think out loud.”

“Not that it might matter, since she knew you had asked me here, but, perhaps somewhere more private?”

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Chapter VI:11

The second is born,
and the first to die,
over life and death,
of stars presides,

speak of the heir,
a Sylvan first born,
the one whom crown,
shall one day adorn,

fear for the schemes,
of a dragon who lies,
and the coming of age,
when men wail and cry…

– The Black Book, date unknown

The Measure of a Wyrm

It was a large round table, though there was a head, by virtue of a throne. At the left and right hand of a would be liege sat a dragonborn, and an elemental. An extra pair of eyes, peered out low over the plates, at the right of the white haired woman with silver eyes.

“Who’s the kid?” Ambrush asked of Katrisha as they filed down into the hall.

“At a guess, Mayari’s,” Katrisha offered. “Did no one mention him?”

“I think they were too busy arguing about geometry,” Etore interjected, “and who am I to ruin their ‘fun.’”

“A child that young, she’s over three centuries old, if she is who she claims…”

“Perhaps for once, immortality is what it’s cracked up to be?” Katrisha obliged.

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Chapter VI:10

What tower stood beneath the sun,
what work of Faun and Boor undone,
what gardens stood all there about,
what merriment the gods did flaunt,

there looked out first of all to see,
‘neath dark boughs of mother tree,
there stood err the one to climb,
come from hence before time,

oh son of mighty sun returned,
oh folly of flesh that would burn,
oh rise ye namesake of morningstar,
oh yes at last, ye’ve climbed too far.

– The Tower of the Sun, 21 B.E.

Shadows of the Walls

Dahlia circled a woman made of water. The shimmering, detailed form turned with a curious step to follow her. Each reached several times to touch the other, but retreated. It was hard to tell who led or followed in this dance, and it gave Katrisha no peace to watch. Less violent, but all too recently familiar.

“Leave her be,” Wren ordered.

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