By Oak, Ash and Thorn

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By Oak, Ash and Thorn

Post  Liv on Wed Aug 31, 2011 8:15 pm

I step out of my room, tightening the belt on my jeans. I’ve pulled on a sleeveless indigo top that displays my clan and calling tattoos. I wonder if Linhahn Sidhe will recall me. I have changed from the girl I was when I received this mark; a thirty year old adolescent all knees and elbows, gangly and thin as a willow branch. I smile at the memory as I walk down the hall.
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Re: By Oak, Ash and Thorn

Post  Liam on Wed Aug 31, 2011 9:50 pm

I don't at first notice Liv in the hallway. My own hair still damp from a quickly snatched shower the fresh shirt, of all things a white button down, still slung over my shoulder. Stopping just short of running into her "Sorry Liv." I just stop myself from saying Liveantreach unsure if it was a proper name or a pet name from that kinsman. shrugging on the shirt I smile "before we go I am going to check on Kaija, she has been a little too quiet of late" I smile "catch you in a little bit" carefully do not think of who we are going to meet and keep praying it isn't the same woman you met so long ago. probably isn't. no one is that unlucky, are they.
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re:oak ash and thorn

Post  Liv on Fri Sep 02, 2011 10:25 am

I nod, slipping by him to go on down the hall. "Give us a holler when you're ready to go."
In the living room, Djhuety is sitting stiffly on the couch, his hands clasped. His face is still, set, tight. And behind his eyes...fear. Fear, and anger, and something else...
"Are you ready to go?" I ask, laying a hand on his shoulder.
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Re: By Oak, Ash and Thorn

Post  Djehuty on Fri Sep 02, 2011 9:48 pm

"Not in the least... I feel like I'm going to be sick and my mind won't focus." I squeeze my hands together till the knuckles go white. "This doesn't feel right."
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re:oak ash and thorn

Post  Liv on Fri Sep 02, 2011 9:52 pm

I lower my head, catching his swirling eyes. "Hey," I say, and smile when he looks at me, "You're working yourself up; everything is going to be fine. Trust me on this. The Sidhe are good folk. You've nothing to fear from them. The worst that can happen is that we hit a dead end, right?"
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Re: By Oak, Ash and Thorn

Post  Djehuty on Fri Sep 02, 2011 10:00 pm

Grumbling under my breath, the words family, don't wanna, meet and a hoard of other terms reltated to the up coming 'reunion', I rise from my seat and slide into my coat, it rattle for a moment, then settles into place. I walk to the door still muttering, then in a slightly louder voice, "Lets just get it over with." I hold the door open and shepherd the others out, "All aboard that's going aboard."
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re:oak ash and thorn

Post  Liv on Fri Sep 02, 2011 10:02 pm

After a bit of searching and a detour around some rather cranky mages having a street fight, we manage to find an abandoned lot, empty save for an old oil barrel. I glace about, and nod.
“This should do.” I turn to Sylus where he perches on Djhuety’s shoulder. “Sylus, I need a living branch of oak, a branch of ash, and a branch of hawthorn. If the hawthorn's flowering that's all to the good. My world-walking isn't all that exact; could you oblige?"
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Re: By Oak, Ash and Thorn

Post  Djehuty on Fri Sep 02, 2011 10:07 pm

With a roll of his eyes, Sylus steps into nowhere. Turning to Liv, I raise an eyebrow. "What we need the branches for? I thought you said the door was open?"
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re:oak ash and thorn

Post  Liv on Fri Sep 02, 2011 10:13 pm

"It'd be better to say it's easy to unlock," I say, pacing a circle around our group, "The charm needed to open the door is called Faoi an Cnoc, quite easy to do, but not without the right ingredients. Think of each piece as a number in a combination lock. Some can do it by sheer will, but not I." I flinch as a branch smacks across the top of my head, and shoot a glare at Sylus as he lands, picking up the other two branches where he has dropped them. "You should try catnip. Might mellow that cantankerous nature."
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Re: By Oak, Ash and Thorn

Post  Djehuty on Fri Sep 02, 2011 10:19 pm

"Jealousy. Such a nasty emotion" Sylus stage whispers in my ear as he settles on my shoulder. I rap him on the beak and look back to Liv as she arranges the branches, the torn ends pushed into the packed earth and the tips twisted together, causing it to look like the start to a miniature tepee. Flowers and leaves erupt from the branches as Liv leans over them, causing me to take a quick step backward.
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re:oak ash and thorn

Post  Liv on Fri Sep 02, 2011 10:20 pm

I lay a hand on the branches, and tip my head back, close my eyes, and begin to speak. The Old Tongue slips out, a song, a poem, a plea. Powerful words, encompassing my longing, my need, my destination. The very air feels as if it’s leaning in to listen. I say the last word, and put out both my hands.
Something creaks. I open my eyes.
The Oak and Ash have grown tall and arched across one another, taller than myself, taller even than Djhuety. The hawthorn has woven round and round, in and out of itself, its flowers gleaming white against the dark wood, forming a complex design that fills the space between. I raise my hand, and push the hawthorn. It bends inward like a wickerwork door. Beyond it, a warmly lit corridor of pale gold stone arches away. I smile in satisfaction, and nod to myself.
“We are welcomed. Come on.”
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Re: By Oak, Ash and Thorn

Post  Djehuty on Fri Sep 02, 2011 10:26 pm

I look at the door and freeze. "Like hell... not through that door." My eyes turn red as I stare into the dim hall behind the living door. "Not through that door," I whisper again and again, rooted as the trees themselves.
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re:oak ash and thorn

Post  Liv on Fri Sep 02, 2011 10:33 pm

Carefully, I turn. Sweat beads his forehead, and his eyes are swirling red.
"Djhuety," I say quietly, holding his eyes, "Through this door is a truth you need to know. If you run away now, you will spend the rest of your life wondering what you missed. It will eat away at you. Trust me, I've run often enough to know. And whatever's on the other side, I am beside you. We are beside you. Your kith are beside you, always." Liam steps over, clapping Djhuety on the back. I smile, slightly, and hold out my hand. "Take my hand, and we'll make it. I swear."
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Re: By Oak, Ash and Thorn

Post  Djehuty on Fri Sep 02, 2011 10:41 pm

I grunt under the weight of Liam's hand and begin muttering again, low and inaudible. My eyes remain crimson, but now I'm focused deeper down the hall, as if trying to see the central chamber from where I stand. Whispered notes of music echo from the archway.
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re:oak ash and thorn

Post  Liv on Fri Sep 02, 2011 10:47 pm

Reaching out, I take his hand. Smiling encouragingly, I lead him forward.
The honeyed stone corridor quickly widens into a great, wide hall lit with something almost as bright as sunlight, but cool, with the feel of moonlight to it. And there are the Sidhe. Tall, fair men and women, none shorter than near six feet. Graceful, stately as they moved. They are like Humanity perfected…and at the same time they hold the pure free nature of the Kindred, the unselfconscious grace, and their bright grey and green eyes are sharp and wise. Somewhere, someone is playing a wood flute, sweet as a thrush and poignant as a nightingale. People stand about talking, or playing games of magic and skill. We step inside. A few of the Folk look up, and a young man comes loping over to us.
“Well met, strangers.” He says quietly, studying us with calm interest. I bow my head.
“Well met and blessing on all here.” I state. “We come to beg the conference of Linhahn Sidhe, she of the bright word and the bright wit.”
The young man nods. “That is well.” He turns, calling in the Hill Tongue. A slightly older man comes walking over.
“Come with me to speak to the Lady of Imbas.”
“I thank you.” I say, matching his tone.
We are led through the hall, and off into a side chamber, down long corridors. The room we are led to is lined with great green silk hangings and decorated with small potted hawthorn trees. Another door, at the end of the room, is marked at the door with three lines radiating out from a central point, like a sunrise, and a few words in the Hill Tongue. “Answer and enter.” The man says, and turns away.
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Re: By Oak, Ash and Thorn

Post  Djehuty on Fri Sep 02, 2011 10:58 pm

I stare as our guide turns his back to us and vanishes back into the maze of hallways and doors; "good help..." and "for all the good..." pass my lips, as my muttering fail to stop... the color in my eyes fades to neutral violet tinged with orange as I contemplate the intricately carved door.
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re:oak ash and thorn

Post  Liv on Fri Sep 02, 2011 11:00 pm

Stepping up to the door, I study the inscription.“Where are you from,” I read out in English for the benefit of the others, “and what are your words?” I turn to my friends. “Answer and enter. This is a poetry game. The inscription is the traditional first question to start the game; we have to answer the question in fitting verse. Something that describes us. Let’s see…” I draw a breath.
“I am the sea's seventh wave;
I am the salmon in the pool;
I am the mountain full of poetry.
I am the hazel tree grown high;
I am the river laughing on the plain;
I am harsh wind across deep waters.
I am an infant: who but I
peeps from the unhewn dolmen arch?”
There’s a soft rustle, and a voice, low and sweet in reply.
"I am the sun's bright tear;
I am the hawk descending from the cliff;
I am the beauty of the flowers.
I the Oak tree grown wide;
I am the clouds reflected;
I am the Craft of the artificer.
I am the mother: who but I
stands to hew the Dolmen and its words?"
I turn. From behind a hanging, a woman steps, her green dress matching it so perfectly that it would have been impossible to spot her had she not stepped out. Her red hair flashes in the room’s light. She smiles at us, and in her smile is a joy, but a sadness too.
“Welcome, all of you. A hundred welcomes.”
Then she turns, her green eyes on Djhuety, fierce and sad and desperate and joyful all at once. She steps up to him, looking into his eyes for a long, long time.
“My poor boy.” She says softly, her voice low, with odd notes to it: almost laughing, almost crying. She smiles. Then she reaches out, and takes Djhuety’s hands. “Hello, Benedict. You’ve come a long road. And a hard one. My poor, poor boy. But now your road is ended. A thousand welcomes in your homecoming, my Benedict.”
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Re: By Oak, Ash and Thorn

Post  Djehuty on Fri Sep 02, 2011 11:08 pm

I pull my hands from hers, finally silent as I step back from her; I see the pain in her eyes as I shake my head. "I don't know you, or this place..." I mean only to distance myself from her, but it stings of accusation. I avert my eyes as the words echo in the hall, finally deadened by the flora and fabric of the decor.
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re:oak ash and thorn

Post  Liv on Fri Sep 02, 2011 11:18 pm

She nods. "Perhaps not. Perhaps this will do better." The lady speaks a few murmured words, and changes. Now, she is shorter by a bit, her face less dazzling, in jeans and a deep green buttoned shirt. She smiles softly. "This is how you saw me last. Do you remember?"
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Re: By Oak, Ash and Thorn

Post  Djehuty on Fri Sep 02, 2011 11:25 pm

A hissing intake of breath... I stare, my eyes rolling from gold to grey and back again. "All to well, Leanan," I growl in an undertone before muttering myself, eyes intent on the young woman; She shimmers a moment before being forced back to her original shape. "She's dead, I don't want to see her."
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re:oak ash and thorn

Post  Liv on Fri Sep 02, 2011 11:33 pm

Smiling, the lady shakes her head. "Not dead. Your story twisted in on itself. It forced a shape on me, because of the ambivalence of your feelings towards me; some that you realized and some that you did not. So I became the Wolf, and realized my mistake. I never should have tried what I did. I realized that as I ran back to my sidhe and unworked the charm. It took a long time to undo your work, my boy. And after I was free again, I took that lesson to heart. I could no longer lie to you."
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re:oak ash and thorn

Post  Liv on Fri Sep 02, 2011 11:47 pm

I look from Linhahn Sidhe to my friend, my brow furrowing. Despite her pleading look, his eyes are a grey that is nearly black, one eye twitching. To my discouraged surprise, I see drops of blood work their way down his fists; his finger nails are digging into his flesh in his strain. I step up, wanting to lay a hand on him but wary of doing so.
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Re: By Oak, Ash and Thorn

Post  Liam on Fri Sep 02, 2011 11:55 pm

I place my hand on Dejhuty's back, about where the scruff of his neck would be "Breath my friend. slow down and think, if you are hasty now then you will loose all that you have worked for." keeping my hand where it is I turn my attention to the lady of Imbas " I am sorry Lady I believe in our rush we neglected certain formalities? I am called Liam, and as you know my friends and I am aware of what you are called at least some of what you are called I believe those are now out of the way, correct?" I cock my head to the side a little offering a silent thanks to Liv for meeting her family my own fear now easily controlled "Now can we at least all be Civil with each other?" I squeeze a little to emphasize Civil for Dejhuty.
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re:oak ash and thorn

Post  Liv on Sat Sep 03, 2011 12:01 am

Linhahn Siddhe bows very slightly. "I greet you. And I thank you both, for your protection of the son of my daughter." She smiles down at me. "You especially, Liv Na Sruth, I thank. He has learned much from you."
"And I from him, my lady." I say. Reaching out, I take his hand, trying to will him my calm. He squeezes my hand so hard that I fear he'll dislocate something.
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Re: By Oak, Ash and Thorn

Post  Djehuty on Sat Sep 03, 2011 12:10 am

I grip Liv's hand as if to keep from falling into a pit. Shadows play at the edge of my vision as I try to focus on Linhahn Siddhe. I hear the words around me, but as if from a distance... and fall into the darkness, watching as the light fades to a spot beyond my sight.
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