Author Topic: The Life of a Bastard - Assorted RPs of Hrafn Skovgaard  (Read 1432 times)

Eduardo Almighty

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Lead the charge, you idiot!
The truth about the latest new strategy

Hrafn reclined under the shade of a tree in the woods of Oporto, his agile hands passing over the documents and the last battle reports. More than mere reports, he had led one of these charges. He had felt willed and heroic, a sense of importance... which unfortunately was a lie. This was the honey his superiors used to lure young flies into their traps. That's why they chose only young Knights with few troops, because they were expendable, because they were willful... and idiots.

Hrafn: "So, some time ago someone discovered that the best way to dodge enemy archers was to send some poor Knights to the front line as bait while the rest of the army advances. Which kind of military genius did you need to guess it? I can imagine... I just didn't imagine it would become a trend that other leaders would use without shame, even in Sirion, where they claim to be so honored! In addition to letting their own regions revolt, now this... what a [email protected]#$ty place Sirion has become..."

The young crow finally chuckled. What would be better than a young Knight with thirty untrained soldiers waiting to be shot fiercely, wounded, left behind at the risk of ending up in a prison, with no competent Judge who has spent five minutes on a trading plan to recue him? Exactly... one of those old and fat Sirionite Lords with 150 men leading the charge. To get wounded. To be left behind. To be arrested and robbed of their gold, to lose their cities and their positions.

That would be something worth seeing.
Now with the Skovgaard Family... and it's gone.
Serpentis again!

Eduardo Almighty

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Serpent(i)s in Paradise
The night before the wedding

The ship slid through the murky waters of the Sirion River, ripping through the mist. The ripped sails dancing with the wind, the oars in their perfect timing led by men of beautiful brown skin, much like the mud of Abilotiel. They rowed and sang with a clumsy voice, a sacred and profane mantra.

"Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Iku-Turso R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn. Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Ghor Ault R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn."

The chant strengthened the Great Maharshi, his body now strong again, his unwavering will shining in his blue eyes. If there was some Elvish magic protecting Avamar, it had been broken long ago, for only the frogs croaked as the ship slid to the less guarded banks of Montijo. When the first curious peasants arrived, the High Priest took his hand out of the robe and poured silver coins to them; he would need good horses to reach Krimml in time. It was not his wish to interrupt the ceremony and steal all attention, but he needed to see his son. The right time would be shown to him, just as the crow above him would show the way.

Traveling with the stars, he entered Krimml in the evening. More silver coins guaranteed few questions. Besides, there was something disturbing about him. The men were naturally intimidated by that grey hair and those ancient blue eyes. His age revealed the rise and fall of kingdoms and empires. There was an impression that where he passed, children cried, the milk soured and the dogs growled with fear. He was the personification of the Old Gods, of ancient terrors and bloody sacrifices. He dragged his black and crimson robe along the streets like a plague spreading its pestilence through the festive city. His eight servants followed him, always repeating the mantra. For a moment he stared at the crowd waiting for the wedding and he had a glimpse, a feeling of someone familiar. Nesrah hid quickly in the mob, impressed by seeing a Serpentis again. Not someone without importance like the bastards, but one who, in comparison, eclipsed his gifts and made him look just like a child learning his first tricks. The Maharshi finally approached the guards at the doors of the great hall.

Guard: “The wedding is over, old man. There is nothing else here for you.”

The servants stopped singing and Yeux raised his face to face the guard, making him shiver under his armor.

Yeux: “I’m Yeux Serpentis, Last King of Melhed and Great Maharshi of the Bloodspeakers. Let me in, blood-sack. I’m here to see my son.”

The marriage was over, the night had already thrown its darkness on Krimml and the couple must have been enjoying a sweet embrace. Yeux didn’t want to disturb. He could scarcely remember the warm touch of his Queen or any other woman, but he knew how important that was to his lineage. Also, for someone given as dead, he wanted to see the surprise in the eyes of the young Wolf Prince. So, in a library or dark office, he waited, for there was not a man brave enough to say no to the older Serpentis alive, especially in Krimml, where Erik had exerted the pinnacle of his power.
Now with the Skovgaard Family... and it's gone.
Serpentis again!

Eduardo Almighty

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Corvus Inquietus

Hrafn shook his head from side to side like a restless crow in search of a flickering gleam between the planks of the floor. He was pretending to hear his scribe read the very few letters available to him, sitting there at the Thousand Bastard's headquarters in Krimml. The tavern was empty, a little dirty and messy from the last party. For a moment he heard Erik's voice in his mind, whispering, "Let me out, son... let me out!!!" -- Then a letter caught his attention, an interesting confusion. Hrafn laughed a cheerful, childlike laugh.

Hrafn: "So, am I being confused with the Margrave of Krimml!? The Alfather would be glad to hear this. Hrafn Eyolf Serpentis, Priceps of Krimml, the Last Son of Avamar’s Golden Age. The new Black Dragon of Sirion…”

A man could dream, obviously, but not in Sirion. A Knight who looked long into the sun would be blinded seconds before being sifted by thousand arrows. The era of the great dreamers who dreamed Sirion had long passed away and all that remained was the coma of those old men who never died, who did not even bother to look for beautiful women to leave prodigious heirs in their places. Think about blind ambition. They were like old, blind dogs, afraid to lose their already gnawed bone in fear that they would not find another damn bone to gnaw at. Erik had suffered through betrayals, and perhaps even he did not realize that it had been Sirion who created those traitors, men and women who sold and corrupted themselves in the process of trying to divide the realm. Men and women who only wanted a chance to get away from all the bad things they had experienced at Sirion's hands.

Hrafn got up and walked to the window, looking towards Trinbar as the moon rose on the horizon. His older brother would be glad to march there again, set fire to the damn recruitment centers and temples erected by a false prophet. And then, finally, in a long and delicious torture, cut off his delicate skin from head to toe until turn him into a cloak to cover himself and parade under the storm. The young Knight took his death mask and covered himself with his black cape adorned with crow's feathers and left the scribe talking alone, going down the stairs toward the street. Captain Rita was dozing there, pretending to keep the place safe. She awoke startled as Hrafn walked alone.

Captain Rita: “Milord… Sir Hrafn… where are you going in the dark”

Hrafn: “I’m going to see my wife to-be. I heard that Lady Sigrid is in town... did you know that I have a sister with the same name? It reminds me of when the Alfather married his own daughter. Good times.”

He smiled and went down the street singing, his good humor returning as he bent over to steal a wild flower that was born in the cracks of the stones.

Oh yes, I'm the great pretender
Pretending I'm doing well
My need is such I pretend too much
I'm lonely but no one can tell

Oh yes, I'm the great pretender
Adrift in a world of my own
I play the game but to my real shame
You've left me to dream all alone
Now with the Skovgaard Family... and it's gone.
Serpentis again!

Eduardo Almighty

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Beehive

Since that month in which he had been chosen to represent the Alfather at the great annual festival, Hrafn was a little disturbed. Maybe it was the huge amount of wine, beer and ale; or all those herbs... and the worst, the Bloodmoon Fruit infusions. Sometimes his head was just a buzzing sound of voices and memories, some of his own, others totally invented to perfection by his own unconscious perception of the world. Sometimes the clarity came like a lightning striking a dead tree in a desert of silence. So he would rather sing to keep everything away, every piece of mind in its proper place. But one voice was louder than all.

"Don't be shy, son. Tell her you're going to plow her field like the last bloody farmer of Blaastambar in search of something to quench his hunger before dying in peace. That you're going to drink her to the last drop and quench your thirst like I(we) did with that last drop of wine from a bottle that I(we) take from that Fontanese bitch. Are you singing? Let me sing to her. Let me out, son!!!"

Hrafn shook his head and stopped singing to daze the voices. He was approaching the Bridge of the Fallen, a dark silhouette appearing in his black vest and his cape with feathers. He was not in his armor, but the short sword was resting at the belt. Already visible, he had not listened to the voices, engrossed in his own beehive. He was afraid to stutter as he spoke, so he first bowed in a beautiful and educated reverence, in reality, as imperfect and awkward as his own proper experience with the nobility. Only when he straightened his body did he dare look at her, just for an instant. It had to be her. Otherwise, he would be doomed to throw himself off the bridge and die in shame. They had sent letters to each other, but obviously it was not the same. He felt needles in his skin, a remind of those damn arrows. "You barely looked at her. Lucky you if she is not one-eyed as I am, smiling a toothless mouth at you like a sailor. Har Har Harrrr!"... He ignored the obscene part of the previous speech and the stupidity (but terrifying) truth of the last and filled his voice with an almost foolish courage inherited from those old dragons; almost.

Hrafn, looking almost exclusively at Ferdinand, feeling miserable for not having brought his own representative: "I am Sir Hrafn of the House Skovgaard. I am here to plead the right to court Lady Sigrid..."

He tried to keep his eyes on the servant, not knowing if that was the most respectful thing to do, but like a good raven, he tried to peek Lady Sigrid. Does she even look like a sailor? Damn voices. Luckily, his cape concealed the dead face of a poor Westmorian who had been skinned by Dürion. It would be terrible to break the ice. Little did he know.
Now with the Skovgaard Family... and it's gone.
Serpentis again!

Eduardo Almighty

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Sordidus strategies in Sordidus.

Hrafn heard the ravens crowing, filling the night while a shiver ran down his spine. Hours later he would receive the scribe with reports that magic was being used before the battle. While he surveyed the wounded and tried to cheer up a little the ones who would fight again in a few moments, he thought about how many lies he would have to swallow. How much stupidity and cheap talk had been thrown down the throats of simple Knights who thought that obeying stupid orders was honorable and glorious. They wouldn't need to be giving their lives and that of their soldiers unnecessarily, but for them that was the ultimate honor: obeying a stupid order and dying for it. Mistakes happens, they say... how to ignore the fact that there was as a damn moat and a palisade on their way!?

They had said that if it were not for the use of magic, Garas would never be kicked out of Oligarch. Well, Garas was no longer in Oligarch, but magic was still being used systematically against him. Not that a traitor did not deserve, but what's the merit in being a liar!? What is the merit of using freeman to do your dirty work when your incompetence does not allow you to win battles even in greater numbers? Garas not only betrayed Sirion, but also killed any trace of honor that had remained in the Sirionites in the process. Only one man had been able to expose who they truly were willing to be to keep their positions of power.

Hrafn: "Fortunately the General has Trinbar to go back in. It may be useful for him to visit the false prophet and ask for a good ritual to help him in the next battles, at least he has a parasite with whom to advise himself."

Captain Rita: "I hope for you and your marriage, Sire. We have to get out of here while we can... whatever your father did, we obviously do not live in the paradise he built..."
Now with the Skovgaard Family... and it's gone.
Serpentis again!

Eduardo Almighty

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Crow Bard

Captain Rita was waiting for him when the jailer set him free. She was expecting a deplorable image, but Hrafn was fine and smiling. He looked inebriated, drunk with happiness. She forced a discreet smile and raised her hands; in one the sword, in another the lute. The young raven flew gently to caress the sword, but determined on the instrument that made him happier. His fingers sang along the strings and the sound filled his soul. The Alfather was perfect in his completeness, but his children were small portions of him, small details magnified to perfection. Hrafn was his voice. Hrafn was his music. Hrafn was his perfect world: when everything is broken up and dances. He sat right there on the spot and waved Rita do the same. He had spent a good time in the cell talking to a Quaestor who remembered his father. He was thinking about her redhead all the time. But he also thought about Sirion, miserable new old world. Erik was also there struggling against imaginary chains, wanting to escape. So, they sang.

I do not want to tell you
My great love
Of the things I learned
In the books
I want to tell you how I lived
And everything that happened to me

Living is better than dreaming
I know that love
is a good thing.
But I also know
That any song
is smaller than life
Of anyone

So take care, my love.
There's danger in the corner
They won and the road
Is closed for us
'cause we are young

To hug your brother
And kiss your girl on the street
That's what made your arm
Your lip and your voice

You ask me
For my passion
I say I'm delighted
As a new invention
I see it coming in the wind
Smell of new season
I feel everything in the living wound
Of my heart

It's been a while
I saw you on the street.
Hair in the wind
Young people gathered
On the memory wall
This memory
It's the picture that hurts the most

My pain is perceiving
Although we have
Done everything we've done
We are still the same
And we live
We are still the same
And we live
Like our parents

Our idols
Still the same
And the appearances
Do not fool
You say that after them
No one else showed up

You can even say
That I'm out
Or else
That I'm inventing

But it's you
Who loves the past
And you do not see
That's you
Who loves the past
And you do not see
That the new always comes

Today I know
Who gave me the idea?
From a new consciousness
Are you at home
Guarded by the gods
Counting the vile metal

My pain is perceiving
Although we have
Done everything, everything
Everything we did
We are still
The same and we live
We are still
The same and we live
Like our parents...
Now with the Skovgaard Family... and it's gone.
Serpentis again!

Eduardo Almighty

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The Palace of Exile

For seven years I dwelt
In the loose palace of exile,
Playing strange games
With the girls of the island.
Now I have come again
To the land of the fair, & the strong, & the wise.

Brothers & sisters of the pale forest
Children of Night
Who among you will run with the hunt?


***

Hrafn entered Avamar as a child entering a sweet dream. Perhaps the smell of the city was not the same as when his father reigned there, but for him there was a pressing familiarity. This might no longer be the Avamar who had Krimml and Oligarch under her tutelage, nor the city of the Harems anymore, but Her was still his city and always would be, in one way or another. Just as the present and the past were fractured there, so it was with Hrafn, with his mind and his heart.

Hrafn: "Alfather, I need directions..."

Erik Eyolf: "Follow the street and go through the market, then follow the fishy smell and you will soon be in the Red District. You will want to talk to Theodora, she has a clean house with clean beauties you obviously cannot afford, but I'll find a way. Everything in Avamar belongs to me, you know..."

Hrafn: "Seriously??? I was talking about... I need your guidance!"

Erik Eyolf: "What, have you become loyal as a puppy in a blink of my single eye? Don't be silly, boy. I think better when there's a beauty riding on my lap. ​You give me what I want; I'll give you what you need."

The young crow snorted and covered himself with his black cloak, not wanting to be seen by his Lady as he headed into a world of sinful pleasures. He could feel Erik's smile burning on his own lips and his body reacting as if possessed by that lascivious entity that was his father. This time Nesrah followed him, hidden in the midst of the noisy crowd. The sorcerer had seen Yeux Serpentis in Krimml, as old and alive as only a Great Maharshi could get. A warlock. A dangerous wizard. With Sir Hector in a Duke's position, Nesrah had to make a choice. Although Hrafn does not have the Serpentis name, he would be best suited to hide something... preferably far from Sirion. If Erik's Eye fell on the wrong hands, it could go away with the Tandaros. Nesrah didn’t want this, much less that Yeux, still alive, took control of the family. Of all the clans. Hrafn was his apprentice and his favorite, so the Eye should stay with him. Before he entered the brothel, the sorcerer "accidentally" thumped into his apprentice, letting the jewelry with the Eye slide into one of his pockets. Hrafn didn't notice, but for Erik, or the schizophrenic fantasy that was Erik (Hrafn), the future unfolded a little more. His raven eyes sharpened, but all he saw when the door opened was a hypnotic dance of bare breasts.

A few hours later, lying down, exhausted, sweaty and satisfied, Hrafn had his epiphany. Erik, now complete and glimpsing the future, whispered in his ear:

Erik Eyolf: "In time you will find the truth. Offer her the Hieros gamos. We are one now, son. I name you Mir Atal, Avatar of Destruction and Power, Lord of the Deepest Depth, Ruler of the Crevasse of the Void. I gave my left eye for the knowledge and power he had to offer. That belongs to you now.​ Avenge me... and make her moan for eternity, 'cause it will make me proud."

Hrafn dressed himself amid a great mental mess and staggered drunkenly down the street until a breath of fresh air brought him back to reality. Lady Sigrid must be in town. He needed a bath... and to meet her. Luckily he was in the city of the Daughters of Avamar and the Thousand Bastards. He was at home.
Now with the Skovgaard Family... and it's gone.
Serpentis again!

Eduardo Almighty

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RPs among Hrafn and Sigrid - I believe you can read her part in her own RP section ;)

Quote
Sigrid barely notices Hrafn until she practically rams him from behind.

Hrafn felt the push and turned back in surprise, his hand almost reaching the dagger in his belt. The fire in her hair blinded him for a moment and his hand weakened, almost like his legs. The beauty of the two was contrasting, since Hrafn had a more taciturn charm. His angular face showed a sharp but timid curiosity. The black eyes under arched eyebrows gave him almost an stern look, but his black hair, shaggy like a crow's wing was the sign of a jovial and casual image. As usual, he was in his eternal mourning for the Alfather, dressed in black with crow feathers adorning his cape. His forehead still had traces of sweat as if he had fought an arduous battle just a few hours earlier, so the white skin was a little red, more so after he had found Sigrid like that, so abruptly. Like every bastard of Erik, half-elf, half-human, half royalty, half religious, Hrafn had his father's draconian eyes, certainly not the same color, but the same transient intensity. When he saw her, that force flowed and it was as if he could spread his arms like wings and burn Avamar with a breath of fire. After a little embarrassing indecision, he bowed respectfully, looking at Ferdinand and then at Sigrid. Maybe it was Erik pushing him subtly, because this time he spoke directly to her.

Hrafn: "Lady Sigrid, I didn't expect to meet you here, so abruptly - and as if there was nothing more to say, he reached out his hand in an invitation - Please, come with me. This is my father's city... it was, at least. I know everything here. I'd like to show you a place before we have to leave to Montijo."

Like a proud raven, he straightened up and looked no further at Ferdinand or the broken-nosed Captain, his eyes courting her lips for a moment. He wanted to show her the gardens and the statues. The architecture of the old harems, everything that had been imported from the Sultanate and from other conquered realms. But mostly, he wanted to talk to her alone. Be with her alone.
Now with the Skovgaard Family... and it's gone.
Serpentis again!

Eduardo Almighty

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Quote
"Likewise, Hrafn. Didn't mean for you to see that... [email protected]#$ happens, eh? Sometimes a man's got to be put in his place lest he grow accustomed to overstepping potentially lethalboundaries...."

Politely and subtly, Hrafn drew back the hand he had offered. Touching her seemed a daring beyond limits, so he just gently turned his body so they could walk the market side by side. Anyway, the "[email protected]#$ happens" brought a smile to his lips. Listening to a Lady speaking like one of the Bastards was a good sign.

Hrafn: "I'll show you the ruins of what was once Sirion's greatest duchy, with Avamar being the heart of an idealized kingdom within the Republic... maybe I can entertain you and make you forget any worries."

That was not a simple walk. Though a little shy, Hrafn was smart enough to make his court and use Avamar in his favor. Walking with her through the market, he stopped first in a shop that sold and repaired second-hand lutes. He reached his pocket and pulled out a handful of coins; the pieces were minted with Erik's head with a turban. The coins were no longer worth in Sirion, except to the right people. With a limited lot, those commemorative coins had their own floating value. The young crow picked out the instrument that suited him best and smiled at Sigrid, leading her to the street again, to a tent that was selling fresh fruits. Again, he reached his pocket and opened his hand to the saleswoman's surprise. It seemed she had seen a ghost. Her lips were paralyzed until she could whisper:

Saleswoman: "My Sultan, you can take what you want... it's everything yours... my life is at your hands"

It was Hrafn's turn to be surprised and look at his own hand. Among the coins was an exotic trinket: a transparent crystal globe containing an eyeball. He quickly closed his hand, slipped it back into his pocket hoping that no one else had seen it. He took a basket of pears and grapes to continue his walk, hoping Sigrid hadn't paid attention, after all, she might not know what that eye meant. He looked at her and forced a smile, continuing the walk. He was taking her to the old harems, away from the eyes of the new Margrave of Avamar. Many bastards were still infiltrated in the local administration and Hrafn was counting on them to clear the way. A few nods, some secret gestures and they passed through the huge worn-out columns of age-worn marble covered with ivy. He crossed a threshold once protected by eunuchs and entered the immense hall with old fountains, now everything taken over by natural gardens that drank the sunlight that fell through a fallen piece of the ceiling. He cleaned a stone bench with his cape so they could sit, waiting for her to do it first.

Hrafn: "Let me entertain you before they send us back to bleed in Sordidus..."
Now with the Skovgaard Family... and it's gone.
Serpentis again!

Eduardo Almighty

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While My Guitar Gently Weeps

Quote
"Tell me, Hrafn, what's with those merchants earlier? You didn't even haggle, which was weird enough in and of itself. On top of that, you gave them some weird coins I've never seen nor heard of. Not to mention the fruit tent exchange... I smell a story! Do tell, young 'Sultan'. I love a good tale."

The young crow waited for her to settle, standing before her, gently fingering the strings of the lute as if in a little mental distraction. Did she realize how beautiful she was for his eyes? Yes, she certainly knew. Hrafn didn’t have the same determination Erik had when dealing with women. He needed to find a way to not look like a complete idiot in her presence. He heard her like a distant echo, a little lost in his own insecurity... until he had a snap. She called him by his first name, without titles or social conventions. He just needed to relax a little and be himself.

Hrafn smiled and approached her to put the lute on the bench, his hands fast releasing the clips of the black cape. Wrapping the cloth in his head, he gracefully made a black turban flowery with black feathers, taking care to leave a niche in the front where he, more confidently, placed the crystal ball with the Elven eye staring at her like a third eye; a three-eyed raven. He slipped a hand into his pocket and pulled out one of those commemorative silver coins, flipping it to her to catch in the air.

Hrafn: “These coins were minted in commemoration of my father's first Triumph, when he defeated the Sultanate and returned from there bringing in tigers and elephants, freed slaves and concumbines. It was when he began to reform Avamar in his image and likeness, building harems, libraries, plazas and gardens. For a long time the Temple of Retarte in Avamar was the greatest building ever seen in Sirion, rivaling a few others around the known world. It was when he added the title Sultan es-Selatin to his name, incorporating the culture of a defeated people in his own. Then he advanced, finishing the work with Fontan and Westmoor. It was when the Duchy of Avamar had Krimml and Oligarch under his command. He was on top of the world... and them, he fell.”

The young sultan leaned carefully to pick up the lude again, testing its strings and tuning. Those were careful approaches, regally measured to approach her just enough, on the edge between education and boldness.

Hrafn: “This eye... they say a sorcerer named Nesrah snatched my father's left eye, ironically so he could see beyond his flaws and the mistakes that marked the end of his political career in Sirion. My father was certainly the greatest Judge the Republic had the pleasure of supporting. He transformed Avamar, supported the right people to the right positions. In a single mandate as Prime Minister he ended Perdan's incursions at a time when Sirion and Nivemus were defenseless. And, of course, he slept with so many women that we are the result: the Thousand Bastards. Entire clans and families, every one of them with the legal right to claim his legacy. And this preserved eye... it’s the symbol that I was chosen to lead them all.”

Sigrid hid her mysteries while Hrafn gladly gave his own to her. That eye must have been hidden. He should not show it off lightly, let alone to impress a woman. He didn’t know, but her future was far more promising than his own. It did not matter what Erik had done for Sirion. It did not matter that all his family members were infiltrated into Sirion's administration: he would remain a nobody or worse... Erik ended his days much more hated than loved. There was nothing for Hrafn in Sirion, just Sigrid. However, being there in Avamar, in the ruins of the harems and with the black turban on his head and the lute on his hands, facing the poor victim of his young and puerile love, he felt himself greater than Erik, greater than anyone. That transient force she'd seen before had returned more intense to his black eyes and reverberated like a majestic aura when he began to play and sing for her.

Road,
A bare sword
In the sky a huge yellow moon,
So round, is drifting,
As if floating,
Sailing the blue of the firmament
And in the slow silence
A troubadour, full of stars
Is now listening to the song I made
Just for you, Sigrid
I'm just a poor amateur
Passionate
An apprentice of your love
Wake up my love
For I know that underneath that snow lives a heart...
 
Come here, Sigrid
Give me your hand
Your desire is always my desire
Come, exorcise me
Give me your mouth
And the wild rose
Come give me a kiss
And a ray of sunshine
In your hair
Like that of a diamond that, splitting the light,
Explodes in seven colors
Thus revealing the seven thousand loves
That I've kept only to give you,
My Sigrid...
Now with the Skovgaard Family... and it's gone.
Serpentis again!

Eduardo Almighty

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A Death in the Family
Events before the meeting in Avamar and... well, today.

There's a lady who's sure
All that glitters is gold
And she's buying a stairway to heaven


Hrafn was staggering through the battlefield, wounded, giddy and lost, trying to find a trace of lucidity amid the chaos of the battle that was still going on around him. He had just some notion of his own wounds, unlike the first few times when he just fainted and woke up times later with fragments of what had happened. This time he was awake. He was there, lost in the confusion, the noise, the mud and all that blood. All around him were the dead and agonizing; allied and enemy soldiers in a profusion of red and brown, in agonizing sighs and cries for help or indefeasible mercy. Even with his eyes and senses dull with blood, beneath the chaos and disgrace, he spotted Captain Rita. He listened, but it was as if he was asleep. Halfway up he woke up with a mental alarm. She was not just fainting. She was not just lying wounded and bleeding in the mud. His legs insisted on running toward her, but an unexpected cold blood kept him calm. He could not falter. He had to solve that for her. Closer, with open eyes lost in time and an open mouth that had let the last breath of life escape and flow, Hrafn could not help but think she looked like a dead cat. She loved cats and it was always thus that they died, in a moment, in a misfortune of their last life. Stubborn tiger. He searched for her breath, for her heart, for her wrist. He needed to attest to what he already knew. They lost her. The crow pushed the last feather from his wing and placed it between her hands on her chest. He reached the Captain's horn and didn't hesitate to call the retreat cry. Those cursed inexperienced last soldiers would die along the road, but the last one would still live until the last part of the way, because that was what they were... danm loyal bastards. A family.

***

When they entered Krimml after another incursion, Captain Bartolf didn't dare to put his eyes on Hrafn. He didn't know if that terrible eyes was because he was alive or because he hadn't died. Yes, contradictory in essence. Ten Stormbringers marched with them and they still didn't feel proud of the name.  Hrafn had tried to motivate them with that honor after discouraging others. Now he only blamed himself while he walked ahead to the funeral. He tried to keep his mind in order even while the aerial voices danced in a borial of warm and cold colors. His mood a confused amalgam trying to find balance in vagaries of rival feelings. As if he needed to say something, his way of trying to calm his subordinates was not very encouraging.

Hrafn: "They don't really care about us..."

The Sacred Grove was as dead as its temples once magnificent. As dead as she was, magnificent as she was in her glass coffin, covered in red roses in contrast to the white skin carefully prepared for the sepulchral event. The hall of the old tavern was filled with family members: banners, scribes, scouts and soldiers. Bureaucrats and stewards of small estates. Merchants and smugglers. Rebels of regions that Sirion forgot. Priestesses and whores. Old eunuchs and concubines. Priests retired by obligation. They were the cracks, the forgotten pieces of Sirion. They were Erik when he said "I'm Sirion". They were his legacy, scattered and huddled together to keep that damn memory of a Republic still alive and breathing. Respectfully, they waited and veiled while the paid mournings cried loudly. Hrafn didn't interrupt them when he approached the icy glass to whisper his last words.

Rise up this morning
Smile with the rising sun
Three little birds
Pitched by my doorstep
Singing sweet songs
Of melodies pure and true
Sayin': This is my message to you

Saying, don't worry about a thing
'Cause every little thing
Gonna be all right...


Then he ascended like the fire of a funeral pyre and took the crystal eye from his pocket, pointing it at the guests, at his family, at those who had their eyes on him. He didn't need a black turban, 'cause his eyes lit up with the fire of a thousand hells. The flames burned in his eyes until fade by a black vortex into a misty void. His voice echoed like a thunder, letting the static crawl into his watchers.

Hrafn: "I'm Mir Atal, Avatar of Destruction and Power, Lord of the Deepest Depth, Ruler of the Crevasse of the Void! Now you'll sing and you'll dance. You'll drink and celebrate. You'll feast her death until she dance in my vortex and returns beyond the afterlife reincarnated as a goddess among us! This is my command and you will obey!!! My word is Law. I'm Sirion!"

Like a torrent, he almost dropped the crystal ball. Hrafn was not accustomed to these stronger and sudden outbursts. However, as in his letters, he didn't let his shyness speak louder and made his order be obeyed. She deserved, if not for her own, for all the others who deserved to be recognized before her.
Now with the Skovgaard Family... and it's gone.
Serpentis again!

Eduardo Almighty

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The Alfather
A Christmas Tale

I wanted to sing a sunlit song
I dropped the sails on the masts in the air.
I released tigers and lions in our backyards
But the people in the dining room...
They are busy, borning and dying


I was just another rustling child running through the properties Erik had acquired in Sirion after diligently serving Dolmbar and Trinbar for so many years. He was Duke of Avamar now, even more rich and powerful. Echtelion could rule there, but when the Judge de Sirion came to recruit in the Capital, he was the star. People came from everywhere to see him, for the most part, his families scattered, but always close wherever he was. In addition to his many legitimate and bastard children, throughout his life and with the growth of his possibilities, Erik had adopted and embraced many others less fortunate, anyone who had the slightest chance of crying out for his help. The wings of the Silver Dragon of Sirion were large enough to house the children of those who had died in the war in his name. Those who would live in the alleyways, in misery. Under his aegis, everyone had at least a worthy opportunity. A name to cry out in a moment of despair. A great family to provide when he was no longer there. But while he was there, he was the world for them.

I remembered how Erik arrived with gifts, treats and toys. A huge circle of children of all ages, colors and shapes. An idea so adverse to aristocratic rigor that it certainly had offended many nobles. Sometimes he would appear in full armor, or with a regalia and turban, or a pristine religious mantle. He was a character for us, always different. Sometimes furious with his servants, sometimes gentle from the start. Didn't matter, when Erik turned to us, he was just smiles, music and commitment. On each occasion he had a different tale, a legend, a theatricality exaggerated by bards, buffoons, dancers and musicians. Everything had a magical, edilic, grandiose proportion. In Avamar he would parade with us on elephants, giving fruits to the giraffes while his young children played with tiger cubs. In Sirion we participated in races mounted on huge turtles, because that amused the childlike humor of our father. In Trinbar we had training swords and shields to stage the defensive battles against the entire world. And we ran along the fortifications 'cause Erik had left the region safe with conquest after conquest. In every part of Sirion, in every cultural niche, in every little aspect; Erik had infiltrated all of them and fertilized them so that they can grow vigorously. Yet, they died.

***

Hrafn: "... and then, he left us..."

The children looked at Hrafn with a deep disappointment. Angry eyes and a few mumbled grunts of rebelious children pretending to speak low.  Where were the damn presents? Why weren't they rich as before? Why didn't anyone look at them like they used to? Why did they have to pay for the failures of the past without earning anything in return? Hrafn felt his throat tighten. How could he tell them that all that was dead? That Erik was no longer there and that now they could not even count on the gifts of a Serpentis Duke in Sir Temple? Duchess Luci thought she had a problem with his pessimism. Well, she didn't have to deal with a handful of angry and ferocious children. He had to improvise.

Hrafn: "... but I have heard that he will come back in the Avamarian holydays on a flying wagon guided by two elephants, two tigers, two otters, two lions, a deer and an auroch, two giraffes and a sanguinary wolf named Gormok on their heels. He will come back dressed in Avamarian red and Dolmbarian green, flying over the East Continent as the Silver Dragon of Sirion. All he'll ask for is an offering of bread, beer and a prayer. Do this and you will hear his laughter echoing in the night like a fat thunder... and in the morning your gifts will be there."

The tale was so fabulously unbelievable that the children grabbed it as if it were the last piece of blanket on a cold night. The Alfather would return, even for a single night. Hrafn would only need to get elephants, giraffes, gifts and everything else. Fortunately he knew some places to look in, where his father had buried what had not been given willingly to those who had forgotten him, his name and what he did for a realm that forgot its culture in a blink of an eye... for a single city, for a single old man. If there were no more temples, perhaps it would be easier to go back with a flying circus and meet those who cried for him door after door.
Now with the Skovgaard Family... and it's gone.
Serpentis again!

CryptCypher

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I love Hrafn's roleplays. The subtle combination of ancient and modern, young and old, past and present... Its like he's a phantom caught beyond his time - an old-soul trapped in young body. *ahem* Fitting, I think.
[email protected] BM: Yxevarii Auru'in, Grandmistress [Ruler;Priestess-Inquisitor] (Obia'Syela-BT); Sigrid Gudrun Auru'in, Avenging Exile of Xavax, Countess of Slimbar (Redhaven-EC);  Masalu Auru'in, Linguistically-Challenged Sumerian Death-Cultist (D'hara-DW)

CryptCypher

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Phoenix and the Raven (I missed you!)


Quote
Princess Sigrid,

I stand here before the nobles of Redhaven to fulfill my oath. My life is yours to take.
Hrafn


Quote
Hrafn Skovgaard, Son of Serpentis, Bastard in Exile;


By order of Ehrendill Eyolf Serpentis, heir of the Eye, your life is hereby forfeit.

By Fate our pact is bound - in blood thy oath manifest.

Whence flies the gilded Phoenix, a brooding Raven shall follow - my Will thy willing cage.

By  light of embers a shadows is cast - and within it you shall always tread.

You belong to me now, and forevermore.

...Forgive me. It was the only way I could save you.
[email protected] BM: Yxevarii Auru'in, Grandmistress [Ruler;Priestess-Inquisitor] (Obia'Syela-BT); Sigrid Gudrun Auru'in, Avenging Exile of Xavax, Countess of Slimbar (Redhaven-EC);  Masalu Auru'in, Linguistically-Challenged Sumerian Death-Cultist (D'hara-DW)

Eduardo Almighty

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The Unforgiven

"Alfather, why hast thou forsaken me?"


Hrafn was a raven without a murder; punished, exiled, banished and relegated to oblivion. He was not a Skovgaard anymore, now he was a Serpentis, but an outlaw could not use the name without giving himself up to shame, so he was just Hrafn, the hunter or Hrafn, the princess’ slave. As a witcher, his life now was to travel alone accepting contracts to get rid of monsters and undeads without any glory associated with it. His services were paid in silver, bronze or food; the once abundant gold was now as rare as a bath. His black wings now ripped apart, his mind an empty, silent vessel. The elegant regalia he “borrowed” from Avamar were replaced by a battered armour covered with hardened leather straps. Instead of the turbans and prestigious ornaments of a ring-giver, now he had only a bronze bracelet and a necklace with a boar tusks and monsters claws. Maybe the only thing that would differentiate him from the peasants was the wolf’s hide over his shoulders, a sword and a thief’s hand swinging in his belt as a warning to those who crossed his path. His only protection was the intimidation, a dread first impression: so he must look like a Hell-Brute; a Corpse-Maker. Hrafn, the Shadow-Stalker.

His oath had been delivered in the most recent ruins of Oligarch, in the temple erected to the people of Xavax that had already been abandoned without the due care. There he knelt down and placed a silver goblet on a decayed altar stone, letting his blood pour from an open cut. He offered honey, a coloured feather, a rare woodland flower and left there a wooden statuette he had found along the way and carved himself into the voluptuous shapes of the Lady with fiery hair that burned his dreams. That was his offering and his oath. There he prayed for her as for a goddess and that was all he could do, because the shame still prohibited him to meet with her.

Behind Hrafn’s eyelids, Erik watched his little bastard in silence. Yes, he was there as he had always been. There was no shame for him to accompany his young crow in that ungrateful life, but it was only for him to overcome the fear, shame and guilt. He had fought a lost war against a nobler adversary. He had bet everything and had lost. Erik was not silent for Hrafn, but for Sigrid. She'd led his son along a path without return: the Silver Dragon wanted his compensation. Of course, Erik might just be a schizophrenic construct of a sick mind, but even so, when this construct was set to be Erik, he set out to be the best.

(The RP was set using the items in his inventory)
Now with the Skovgaard Family... and it's gone.
Serpentis again!