Playing Scarborough Faire

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Rackenhammer
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Post by Rackenhammer » Sat Dec 06, 2008 3:51 pm

Telemain had followed Kirjath behind the stage with curiosity. *I hope this is interesting.* He had carefully kept his face neutral through Kirjath's stumbling explanation, but when the dog had gotten to the point, tel's eyes widened with sudden interest. "Audial tuning by magical means? I'm impressed. Not many people know that's possible. However, there's not many that can do something like that. I'm no expert, but I'm fairly sure I can procure satisfaction, given enough time."
Something else Kirjath had said occurred to him. "Though, I can't do a thing unless I can hear... what is it you called it...a synthesizer? From the future?" *That explains his aura,he's a diviner, or something of the like.* "I'll have to see if I can join you in your visions, or sound...somethings, of the future. Unless I hear for myself what you want an instrument to sound like, I'm afrais you're out of luck."
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Post by Larcen » Tue Dec 09, 2008 4:43 am

Telemain's response was relieving; he had handled the strange request with a straight muzzle. Heck, Kirjath was practically warming up to the ferret. Of course, considering Telemain had just taken the looniest thing he could come up with and made it plausible, could Kirjath have been blamed for his sudden notion of fraternity?

The thought of someone else entering his already crowded head, however, made him squirm. Oddly enough, his primary concern was for Tel's well-being - he was half afraid that his mental cacophony would blow a circuit breaker if tapped into. But if it meant being able to satisfy his warped case of audiophilia, then there was little to stand shilly-shally about. *Eh, you're gonna have to wait a little more though, kiddo. Better finish the show before you go tinkering under the hood.*

"Tha-thanks...er, it is Telemain, isn't it? I guess I'll, I'll owe you for it. T-tell you what; since you're a...yeah, uh, mage, scholar, thingy, you can do any other brain-picking or study or whatever you want in return," he laughed nervously. He had the bad habit of staring at whomever he was propositioning, gaging their facial reaction. "Or, or s-something. That, that doesn't have to be it."

Any response Telemain had to the proposition needed to be made on the run, though, since Kirjath had realized that intermission was probably coming to an end. He did not relish repeating the incident at his first curtain call, and so had taken off to catch up with Lystar and Harken with little more than a murmur about it. Besides, he too had noticed the arctic fox with the curiously violet eyes approach the stage. He figured said critter might be worth observing.
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You say 'fundamentalist' like it's a bad thing. X3

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Post by Rackenhammer » Tue Dec 09, 2008 3:15 pm

Telemain grinned. "Right-ho. Good playing so far, keep up the good work!" Telemain sprinted back to his spot before someone took it. Inwardly, he was relieved that his curiosity would be satified. He only hoped that he could avoid being paid in money. Strange things happened to both him and his customers due to a jinx of Tel's whenever he sold his magical services, and he would prefer that Kirjath not be subject to it.
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Post by Flickerfinger » Wed Dec 10, 2008 10:35 am

. . . Who knows, who cares, for me?
C’est la vie.”

The last verse of the song came around and Lystar finished it in the original time. As much as he loved that song, he recognized that his little break section had been a little under-handed for a pick-up band. Still, Harken had taken it well, and proved himself a passable back-up singer as well. A portion of the applause detached itself from the crowd and blew onto the stage on Flickerfinger’s right, in the form of the Duke. “Well done, all,” said Algaur, more for the benefit of the audience than the band. “At this time we’d like to take a brief intermission, but there is much more to come.” There was the sudden buzz of conversation as the audience got up to stretch. “Can you play us back in a few minutes from now?” the Duke asked, and he had worked with musicians long enough to know the answer to that question.

Kirjath took that moment to catch Telemain’s eye, and the two of them took a moment to themselves. Lystar thought that his return would make a good measurement of how long an intermission it should be. Oddly enough he saw the mage return first, and then the heeler. He signaled Harken and the three of them returned to the stage. “We’re going to sort of bring them back,” the wolftaur said. “They’ll know it’s over when they hear music again.”

Kirjath, do you think you can handle this one?”

((This is a little thin, but I couldn't get much more detail in without god-modding. Hope you guys can take it from here.))
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Post by Larcen » Wed Dec 10, 2008 10:36 pm

Kirjath grinned meekly back in response to Telemain's compliment. "Heh...th-th-tha-thanks." It was marvelous how fur could hide a blush of embarrassment.

Upon rejoining Lystar and Harken, the former asked a question that ordinarily would have put him on the spot again. But the entire time he had been talking with Tel, listening to "C'est la Vie," and heading back to the stage, Kirjath had been contemplating his selection for the next number, just in case. Finally, something had bubbled up to the forefront of the back of his mind and stuck there.

"Sure, I, I uh...I mean...er, just, just try and pick up where, where I start, guys." Kirjath then addressed the audience, summoning all of his reserve to avoid stuttering. "This, folks, is one, I mean, a song I can guarantee you never heard. Before, that is. Or again, unless you're around a few hundred years from now. Then, maybe, I guess, but...aw, forget it." Sure, it was a horrific, insecure ramble of an introduction, but at least he didn't stutter, right? Kirjath sat down and led off, playing both the piano and guitar parts. Usually a soloist, he was used to supplying multiple arrangements, and his paws flew across the strings at a speed that hurt one's eyes to look at.

Thank heaven the cattle dog's singing was infinitesimally better than his speaking ability. The song's pain and melancholy coursed through him much like the blues singers to come. The pleading, tearful tone was not merely reproduced, but genuinely felt on many an occasion. Kirjath cringed, almost in tears as he poured out his own hurt and alienation with such soul that everyone in the stands who was old enough to have loved remembered those they had lost. Soldiers far from home, travelers, widows and widowers, young lovers all found themselves misty-eyed. Hands of couples young and old clasped to make sure the one they loved was still there.

"...Days go by and life goes on, I feel I've been away too long
What I would give to be with you, days go by and life drags on
Feel I've been away too long, for much too long, yeah

And all the while that I'm away, don't let our love fade away
Don't you fade away
Now as sure as the sun is gonna shine, the day will come
Now I'm waitin' for the day, there'll be no more sayin' goodbye paradise

My sweet paradise, you are the reason why it tears me up inside
And I break down and cry, didn't wanna say goodbye paradise..."


As the song neared its end, Kirjath picked up the tempo, making sure the others got the cue. Not like they're familiar with it, ya know.

Song: Tesla - "Paradise" http://www.last.fm/music/Tesla/+videos/5521191
Last edited by Larcen on Wed Dec 17, 2008 7:23 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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You say 'fundamentalist' like it's a bad thing. X3

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Post by Rackenhammer » Thu Dec 11, 2008 7:48 pm

*Ah, man, do you have to do that to me again?* Telemain never stopped marveling players who could induce a sense of loss in him, especially since Tel's life had been remarkably free from it. There was something else though, under the wonder and slight annoyance. A fear, deep in the heart of this brain-heavy mage, that he would never have what they sang of losing. *Please, no.* With that short prayer, tears began, for the first time that eveing, to gather in Tel's eyes.
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Post by Arlo » Tue Dec 23, 2008 5:18 pm

"Bwuhh?"

Harken, despite his best efforts, just couldn't wrap his mind around the song being played. It was fortunate that it seemed Kirjath was capable of holding his own for this one, because the bard was completely lost for words. It seemed that the quiet, muttering creature who came up with the patently absurd Seargent Whatsit and the Free Chicken Wings Gang had more surprises up his sleeve than his strange names.

Harken calmly let Kirjath have the spotlight, knowing that any attempt to play along would be spotty at best. He smirked. At least the audience was bound to be too absorbed with his band-mate's performance to notice the bard's own surprise. This whole event was certainly an interesting one, if not directly profitable. After all, fame was motive number one for Harken, and what better way to get known than to perform with a cast of characters almost as unique as he was?

(So sorry for the delay, everybody.)
[url=http://twilightus.net/feila/viewtopic.php?t=2892]Arlo: The Otter Gourmand[/url]
[url=http://twilightus.net/feila/viewtopic.php?t=2929&highlight=]Kenneth: Righteous Horse Knight[/url]
[url=http://twilightus.net/feila/viewtopic.php?t=2894]Arena Character: Fennwick: Stoic Lancer of the Forest[/url]
[url=http://twilightus.net/feila/viewtopic.php?t=2943]Harken: Mischevous Squirelly Bard and his bodyguard[/url]
[url=http://twilightus.net/feila/viewtopic.php?t=3055]Age of Steam: Roddy Fanning: Enthusiastic Wanna-be Spy[/url]

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Re: Playing Scarborough Faire

Post by Flickerfinger » Sun May 30, 2010 11:05 pm

((This thread was lost in the great hack of Feila a while back. I liked it enough to keep a backup, though. What follows is a reconstruction of what occurred after this post, exactly as written by the original authors.))

Flickerfinger wrote:
((Hello again, I’m back from Christmas break. I wasn’t sure about this song, but at least it’s a trio. Feel free to go a little crazy with it, make something up. This will likely be our last song, unless someone calls for an encore.))

Lystar had one advantage over Harken in that he was expecting something like this. True to his nature, Kirjath had produced a song so far outside of the normal experience, that an entirely different musical mindset was necessary to accompany it. Traveling with the heeler had given him some insight, but he wasn't confident, and with all of Gawain watching him he didn't fancy risking it. He caught Harken's look of utter confusion, and that sealed it - he stepped back and gave Kirjath a solo, just as they had given him "C'est la vie." It wouldn't do to leave one player out. Still, he found himself enjoying it. Kirjath was singing slightly outside of his range, leaving him with a raspy, gruff vocal, something the smooth-furred taur would have discouraged; but for Kirjath it was only natural, and it sprang from all his heart. As he listened he shivered, and it had nothing to do with the cool night air.

Among the applause that followed the song, a waving, bejeweled paw attracted Lystar's attention stage left. Duke Algaur stood at the edge of the stage, and held up one finger. Under his breath, Lystar told the band, "The Duke has called for one more. Can we do ‘Zen Scream’?”

It was a long shot; the eerie tune was not as well-known as perhaps it deserved. Even the name was a flawed translation of old Gawainish. It was a ballad, or so Lystar had been told – but no one he met could ever tell him what the words were. Still, the melody was popular enough. At least, everywhere he played it someone always recognized it.

The wolftaur began a slow pick pattern that wasn’t actually part of the song, but nevertheless irrevocably suggested the melody. If the band didn’t know it, they could at least improvise over it.

Song: Zen Scream
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MmZn7gQ6y18
((The actual song starts at 1:32))

Larcen wrote:
((Warm welcomings of the back nature. Was beginning to wonder if you'd abandoned us.))

If Kirjath had not been so involved with his performance, he might have noticed that nobody had tried to accompany him. Such a realization would have started a cascade failure of self-consciousness that eventually would have ended with him stopping mid-song, staring like a deer in the headlights - whatever those were - and finally blacking out from anxiety. Thank goodness for being in the zone. He finished without opening his eyes, lest the applause go to his central nervous system.

As Lystar called the final number, Kirjath tried to recognize the obscure tune. The image of a large, light-encrusted box about the size of a cabinet settled in his mind. Behind a glass
window on the front panel was contained a book of sorts, with heavy pages that turned by themselves at the press of a button. Written there were the names of various songs,
contemporary and nonexistent. He rifled through the pages until the correct title presented itself, and as a shiny, black disc fell into place and was embraced by a metal arm holding a
needle, his fingers started picking the third, somewhat higher accompaniment.

The only hitch was that, with the high-tempo finish of the previous number, Kirjath found this new tune almost too serene to bear. His paws ached to ditch the current melody for
something even more intense. Fortunately, the deal he had made with Telemain granted him enough patience to hang tight. Even so, he ended up taking a rare liberty with the arrangement, and played every chord as an arpeggio to get at least some relief.

Rackenhammer wrote:
The last song seemed to be a recovery from catharsis. Telemain brought his mind back to the present, and it started to wander to the deal he had made with Kirjath. *It will be so fascinating to see what goes on in head. I hope that my skills do not disappoint.*

Teale wrote:
((OOC: Hey just to warn ya, I'm not all that good at the mushy stuff))

Cynthia and the sketchy Jack Scratch sat far from the crowd where the melodies of the Faire were all just muffled sounds. They were alone in an empty tent where Jack could work his charm and win over the maiden's heart. He played her the melody that he would plan on repeating later that night. The tune that would sway her into a deep trance while he robbed her blind. Though the song would have no effect here, not with all the music, footsteps, and cheering to distract it's true tune. Besides the spell could only work if it was accompanied by the sounds of nature.

"I'll play you this song later, It's so much better heard under the moonlight. Under the stars out away from all this commotion. Out where I wrote it for you, if...you will of course accompany me there?" he strummed the tune, of course fibbing about the dedication of the song. He stared into her love filled eyes which reflected the falsity in his own. Just a put on, a show to get some money out of a unexpected young woman.

"Of course It sounds sooo romantic, Jack. I can't believe you wrote this song for me, and you shouldn't have given up your spot at the faire just to be here." She lied, not wanting him to be anywhere else.

"The faire? I already got what I wanted here. What's some silly prize that a poor musician would twiddle away in a day or two? My time with you is everlasting, I only wish that you would introduce me to your father. I'm sure that he would understand." Cynthia withdrew from the last part to twiddle with her fingers. Both of them knew that the duke would not have some poor street musician courting his daughter.

Just then one of the duke's hired guards overheard the melody along with Cynthia's voice and popped his head in the tent. Jack was not so surprised, but Cynthia whipped a tarp on
top of his head. "Now what's going on her mi lady? Is this fellow giving you some kind of trouble eh?" he was now in the tent pointing a blade towards the cloaked raccoon. Jack pulled the tarp off his head to meet eye to eye with the sharp steel.

"Now come on, what's all this hostility for nothing? I'm courting this fine maiden and I was just playing her a tune. You had to of heard it or you wouldn't have popped your head in on us, no?"

"I don't like the looks of you raccoon, and the duke won't like the idea of gutter trash like you eying up his daughter." He said as he reached out to grab Jack by the wrist, but Jack quickly whipped the tarp in his face, and jumped into the back of the tent. Blindly the guard charged into the back of the tent, knocking the whole thing down on the three of them. The guard fought to find Jack, while Jack sought out an exit, and Cynthia scrambled around trying to help Jack. She was the first to pop out from the big colorful tarp, while the other two figures fought around madly underneath. Just as he head popped out, a passerby recognized her as the duke's daughter.

The woman was one of those rich snob weasels that over reacted towards even the smallest things. "HELP! Someone's attacking the duke's daughter!" she screamed, attracting Cynthia's immediate attention along with a few guards in the nearby area.

Just then Jack popped his head out of the tent to see the guards on a rampage towards him. He shook the tent from his feet, while the guard still fought for his freedom, and kissed the
hand-paw of Cynthia. "I have to leave Cynthia, but I swear to you that I'll still play for you later tonight." With that he took off with a few guards dead on his heals, first thought was that he could probably gain some ground if he broke through the audience.

Rackenhammer wrote:
It was still the middle of the song when all the commotion happened. *What now?* Tel thought as he snapped out of his reverie. He hadn't expected to see a ringtail, with very many people chasing him, headed straight in his direction. This wasn't exactly a new thing for him, and no one had ever had benign intentions when he rushed at Telemain like that in the past. Which explains the lightning bolt, designed to stun, fired at Jack Scratch at close range.

Arlo wrote:
((Sorry for the delay, you guys.))

"Whaa?" Harken leapt almost a foot into the air as the sound of a lightning bolt shook the stage. He took only a split second to gather his thoughts before coming to the obvious conclusion: the attack, which he was too focused on playing to see, was obviously meant for him.

"I didn't mean it!" He shouted guiltily, the catch-all phrase for any and all slights he may or may not have done to whoever was trying to assassinate him. "I didn't know who she was! I-it was the wine, I swear..."

Fennwick rose to his feet behind the stage. "Harken..."

"Fenn, buddy..." Harken edged backwards, talking out of the corner of his mouth. "... go on and tell the nice assassin that I'm innocent of whatever he thinks I did, will you? Of course,
by tell, I mean..."

"Harken." The bodyguard said, with greater insistence. "Relax. It was the guy from the trip here and the racoon from the tree."

"Oh..." Harken's face clouded. "Well, it's not like anyone would want to kill me anyway. It's not like I did anything..."

"I know, Harken, I know."

The bard took his place among the group sheepishly. "Well, that took off a few brown hairs. How's the damage?"

Flickerfinger wrote
Departure though it may have been from Kirjath’s lament of Paradise, as the song developed Lystar thought it was an excellent choice. It was bringing the audience back from that far-flung place of minor key and acoustic sonority whence the Lonely Harts had sent them. And as it progressed, Lystar began to be quite content with it. So content, in fact, that he began to lose himself in it. His eyes fell to the neck of the Serinex and half-closed; he was aware of the tiniest vibrations of the strings, the most minute fluctuation of the beautifully curved body. About that time the fog, which had disappeared during the intermission at Telemain’s disappearance, drifted back in vague wisps from the back of the stage. It pooled at the wolftaur’s feet, stirring in slow, circular wisps in time to the music. Lystar noticed it about then, and as he watched it through glazed eyes it began to take on the appearance of a thunderhead, and darkening as if heralding rain. It was a bizarrely real depiction in perfect miniature, dancing in perfect time to the music and magic of the Serinex, but oddly enough it disturbed the Bard not in the least. That is, until lightning struck.

Flickerfinger jerked back to awareness with an abruptness that was almost physically painful. Harken’s reaction indicated the same degree of shock, and for a moment Lystar became so disoriented that he stopped playing. The fog collapsed into a pale puddle at his feet.

"Well, that took off a few brown hairs,” Harken said. “How's the damage?"

Looking around, Lystar said ominously, “Pretty bad.” The song was broken, and all eyes were on Jack Scratch and Telemain.

((Sorry for back-tracking, but I wanted to throw Telemain a bone. I’m leaving it up to Teale to decide if her character was hit. The Duke will probably step in after a second or two, but really this little situation is up to her and Racken. ))
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Re: Playing Scarborough Faire

Post by Flickerfinger » Sun May 30, 2010 11:07 pm

Teale wrote:
(Sorry busy week, was kind of waiting for everyone to go first anyway)

Jack was paying attention to what he was running from as to where he was actually going. Not that smooth on his part but he did not expect that any of the audience would get involved. The moment he turned his head, a jolt of light was already shooting right in his
direction. He did not have time to react but the large instrument that he carried took a lot of the blow for him. The electric energy hit the instrument, not harming it but using it as a means of travel. The energy either faded or continued up to where Jack held the instrument.

The sensation stopped Jack dead in his tracks, loosing his footing and falling on his rump also set the guards closer to him. His fur was a complete static mess, all puffed out and crazy looking. He had not been stunned, thanks to his instrument, the guards were only a moment behind him now. He stood up, trying to brush his fur back down, which was entirely without avail. "Wohhh…now that was something, what‘s with all the violence around these parts eh!" he did not run because he knew that in a moment he'd be caught, and just as he expected the two guards rushed in. One pointing a weapon, and the other grabbing his arm. The guard's arm contracted some of the static, and his fur proofed out a bit like Jack's. "Hey! Watch my coat man!" He scolded the guard as he was led to the duke.

Somewhere behind them Cynthia was catching up to plead their case. Jack's only hope of getting out of the situation with his head. He hadn’t done anything wrong if Cynthia could just clear that up with these knuckleheads. “Hey, real thanks for the bad hair day buddy.” he commented as they passed the mage.

Larcen wrote:
(Drat. Missed my turn.)

The bolt had shocked Kirjath - not physically, of course - out of his semi-trance hard enough to produce a yelp that, if general outcries were translatable, meant Oh bleedin 'eck, what's got me?! Embarrassingly, he was nowhere even near the spell's danger zone, but that did not stop him from almost accidentally launching his instrument. As he recovered, escape plans started to form.

If a riot did ensue as he feared, there was no question who would be first to reach the gate, barring teleportation spells. His only weapons - psychology, theatrics, and superstition had little effect on large crowds. His methods were optimized for engaging three persons or less. Not being a fighter of any sort otherwise, "Keep Back Until You See an Opening and Then Run Like Unplace Was On Your Heels" appeared to be the best option. Plan B involved getting behind either Lystar or Fennwick. Cowardly and pathetic, but effective.

Rackenhammer wrote:
The guards that had grabbed Jack also grabbed Telemain, on the grounds that a rogue magician was dangerous and that Tel shoud be questioned, just in case. Tel would have argued, but he had seen what a rogue magician could do and really couldn't bame the
guards for being cautious.

"Meet you outside the inn in a few hours!" Tel called out to Kirjath, in order that he mot not miss their appointment. *Not going to let this guy spoil and investigation.*

The flippant comment by Jack Scratch was enough to elicit a response from Tel. "I have good reasons for being quick on the cast. Count yourself lucky that your grooming, such as it was, was the only casualty."

He looked back at Cynthia. "I knew you and her were going to be trouble. You sure don't aim low, do you?"

Flickerfinger wrote:
Watching from the stage, all Lystar could do was shake his head as Jack was led out of the audience under close guard. A hand was laid on his shoulder (the upper one, not the one behind his torso – thankfully), and Duke Algaur whispered in his ear. “I hate to do this, really, but we need turn-over. Will you clear the stage?”

Without waiting for an answer the Duke stepped to the edge of the stage and called to the distracted, ruffled audience. “Ladies and gentlemen, a thousand pardons for our untimely interruption. Lend me your ears!” It was a difficult thing to make happen; a good many of those present had been disturbed from their seats, and all had had their listening interrupted by a disturbance many of them couldn’t even see for the scope of the amphitheater. All were following the progress of Jack Scratch with no small annoyance. There were no kind looks for Telemain, either; Gawian took its entertainment seriously.

“Friends, friends! Allow me to introduce our next act!”

That seemed to Lystar to work; the audience began to give their attention to the stage once more. The Duke gestured stage left, where another group of ferrets, these quite young, waited tensely, clutching a handful of flutes with whitened knuckles. Lystar couldn’t say he envied them; it was going to be a tough crowd for a few sets. But seeing them there made him realize that the Duke had set this up before he had spoken to him; he wasn’t about to take no for an answer. He also realized the band was in a somewhat awkward position – the stage was no longer theirs. He shook his head ruefully and motioned to the band to follow as he left the moonlit stage for the dark, cold shadow of Scarborough. As a beautiful harmony from four flutes sang into the night, Lystar extended a hand to Harken. “My thanks for a great set,” he said, and from his eyes it was obvious he really meant it.

++++++

Algaur was furious. After introducing the flute quartet and as soon as Scarborough hid him from the audience his anger burst from him in nearly palpable waves. Out of earshot from even the musicians waiting backstage, where the rock height of Scarborough began to meet the ground, he located a bevy of guards, with Jack and Telemain in tow. The furious ferret flipped his mantle over his shoulder contemptuously and hissed at his captives, “Alright, names.”

The hand of a pine marten tapped on the Duke’s shoulder; it belonged to Berid, who had come as soon as he got a glimpse of the captive’s face. He cleared his throat and unrolled his parchment, indicating with his quill an entry made earlier in the day:

Fickerfinger, Kirjath Jearim of Domus, Harken Abirus
Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Harts Club Band


There were two other names, one preceding the list and one following it, both of which had been neatly crossed out: Telemain and Jack Scratch.

“Caught this one after your daughter, m’Lord,” explained the biggest of the guards that encircled the frazzled raccoon, a badger with sunken eyes. “This one brought ‘im down so we could get at ‘im,” he added, and indicated the patchwork ferx. The Duke was nearly grinding his teeth as he challenged, “What do you have to say for yourself?”

Teale wrote:
Whether it was because he was cocky, dim-witted, or just that calm minded, the raccoon Jack was all smiles and jokes. Even in this situation where his head could possibly be the price to pay. Part of his temper was in knowing that he could pick a lock as easily as a child could pick their nose. Yep, he was not worried so long as the duke did not want to string him up on the spot. He did not expect such harsh punishment for courting the duke's daughter, he hadn't done anything...yet.

"Oh come now! It's important for a poor fellow like myself to have wonderful grooming, otherwise there's not much to look at in these ragged cloths. S'all I can afford." he followed Telemain's eyes back to Cynthia, hopefully she could set things right. That or just make the duke more angry. "Me, I'm not trouble at all, this is all a big misunderstanding. Cynthia will vogue for the both of us and these dim witted guards will be all apologies, you'll see. Aim? Aim has nothing to with love my friend, unless your that little cupid thinger."

Jack's ears and eyes sparked up at the sight of the duke. What a fancy dressed fellow this character was, no doubt about his stature. "Whoa now, calm down. I did not want to meet you this way your lordship but your daughter was persistent that you did not know about us. I was playing her a tune on my instrument when your guard walked in and got all hostile on me. So of course I was trying to get the heck away from the brute. This good Samaritan here." he said, pointing over to Telemain. " Saw that I was in trouble and shot some stunning bolts at your guards, and well as you can see his aiming was a bit off." Jack spoke just fast enough that he could be understood without anyone else getting their say in until he was finished. "and well I guess alls well that ends well since I finally get to meet you in person your lordship. If I could have it, I'd like your approval in my courting your beautiful daughter." he flipped his head in respect since he could not bow with the soldier holding on to him, offering his free hand for shaking.

Larcen wrote:
As it turned out, Plan B worked just fine. Kirjath plodded on, trailing Lystar with his head low as usual. He could have passed for a monk with his posture and silence, if the tics did not give him away. But Kirjath's gift would not let him forget Telemain's instructions for a second.

*Sometimes you wanna go
Where everybody knows your na-a-ame,
And they're always glad you ca-a-ame,
You wanna be where you can see
Your troubles are all the sa-ame.
You wanna go where everybody knows your name.*


What that short ditty had to do with the local inn and tavern, Kirjath could only muse about.But it served its purpose in keeping his mind on track, whether he wanted it to or not. The annoyingly catchy song was getting on his nerves in its persistence. "I know, I KNOW!! Still got a few hours yet, all right?!" he finallly shouted, trying to shut the song up. It was a tad quiet for an exclamation, but still, it was loud enough. Enough for Kirjath to be mortified, anyway. He turned an apologetic look to anyone who might have been unfortunate enough to hear that little outburst. "I gotta get to that...that ma-mage," he sighed to himself.

Rackenhammer wrote:
Telemain turned a withering look to Jack. "Sir, a wizard of the Unseen University does not aim erratically. If I hit anyone with a bolt, it is because they are the ones that I intended to hit." Telemain turned back to the Duke. "I'm afriad I can't affirm or negate his word, your lordship. He left our group shortly after arrival, in the company of your daughter; she seemed to be expecting him. That's the last I saw of him before he came rushing up and disurbing those who by rights ought to have had an undisturbed set, with him playing accompaniment."

Tel sighed. He hoped this wouldn't take too long.

Flickerfinger wrote:
((Sorry for the delay, everyone; things did not go as planned this week.))

The Duke listened to his captive's words with the same care a pack of feral wolves shows in circling a herd of caribou: picking out the weakest, the easiest to bring down. Algaur was not a ferret to be toyed with - or so he had always told himself. It was well, if futile, that Jack had chosen to be polite.

The Duke largely ignored Telemain's parting jibe on behalf of the Lonely Harts; the words that burned in his ears were she seemed to be expecting him. He glowered down his long, ferret snout at Jack's hand, making no move to take it. After a tense moment, a single word escaped his lips: "No."

Cynthia made a strangled noise in the back of her throat and started forward, but was cut short by a sudden motion of the Duke's right hand. "Thank you, Telemain, you may go," he said, and the implied injunction quickly hung tangibly in the air between them; the Duke made no move to thank, approve, or even disapprove the hybrid for his actions, but dismissed him as though he had never been with the practiced ease of nobility. "No, Jack Scratch, you may not," he continued, scorn dripping from his voice. "You are a musician, or so you claim, and my daughter is of the royal line of Saxe-Weimar. Neither you, nor she," this with a pointed glance at Cynthia, "could have any future together. It would therefore be better, for your sake, if you were not to seek her company again."

Taking a nearly invisible cue from their lord, the guards released their hold on the two captives and took three steps back - weapons at the ready. Over the Duke's left shoulder could be seen Berid, the pine marten scribe, wincing in sympathetic pain.

+++++++

Elsewhere, Lystar favored Kirjath with a worried look. He was used to the cattle dog's outbursts, but this one heralded
something else entirely. Just what did he say to 'that mage'? he wondered.

Rackenhammer wrote:
Telemain was more than glad to be free of the place, but something held him back. His appointment wasn't for a few hours yet, so he didn't have to leave immediately. Having come from Wexlar, quite possibly one of the most egalitarian regions in Feila, something in him resented the attitude of the duke.

*Duke Fredrick of Wexlar would have been a little more polite, at least. He remembers why he is duke, and how delicate positions of power are.*

Tel spoke. His rational thought did not manage to shut his mouth in time, and retreated to the back of his skull and cowered as the words passed over his lips. "Just out of curiosity, your Lordship, what would have been a suitable suitor? Lord Miles von Wexlar, perhaps?" The words were almost calculated to provoke. Miles was Duke Fredrick's only son, the only male of Gawainian high nobility near Cynthia's age. He was also deformed, and the son of one who had seized the position of duke with only the barest heriditary claims and an army of commoners.

Flickerfinger wrote:
((Sorry to be so brief after so long.))

The Duke fairly sputtered at this question. A dozen responses suggested themselves to his arrogant mind. The one he chose was a look of disdain, and the biting words, “You forget yourself, magician. It is not for you to say.”

Of course, Cynthia herself gave a look of cold horror, belying the fear she felt for the spectre of a forced marriage that Telemain had raised in her mind. For all she knew, Miles von Wexlar was a very real possibility.

((My, I am having fun with the cliché, aren’t I?))

Rackenhammer wrote:
(I'm not sure if Miles will actually show up at the Faire or not. If not, could you please keep the Duke and his daughter as characters?)

Telemain now was both provoked and hesitant. It really wasn't for him to say, but there was a suspicion in the back of his mind that the Duke might not have any rights to say either. He opted for a conciliatory tone, "I'm just saying that instances such as these are only going to become more common, and worse, may become habitual, or even pathological. If you have any definite plans, you'd best reveal them sooner, rather than later."

In the meantime, Tel was wondering just what exactly he could do. His old Master had impressed upon his apprentice's mind that it was a good policy to leave any encountered situation better than it was found. Of course, magic might not be of much use concerning the affairs of the heart...

Arlo wrote:
"Well, that's one way to end a performance."

Harken took off his hat and ran a hand through his headfur. "Can't say I really care for giant bolts of lightning, but it beats a bar fight anyday, to be sure." He sighed as he looked at the rest of the group. "Well, mates, I don't know about you, but I at the very least enjoyed myself." Putting an arm around his bodyguard, he smiled widely. "And I bet old Flufferbottom here's glad everyone got out with two ears and a tail each, aren'tcha Fluffs?"

Fenn grunted and nodded. "I wouldn't lie to you by saying it was boring, to say the least."

Harken mussed up between Fennwick's ears. "Ah, Fenn Fenn Fenn, when are you going to drop this big tough bodyguard business?" He looked up. "In all honesty, though, I did appreciate this opporitunity. Rest assured, if you ever need my raw talent and good looks, you're free to call on me anytime. Say, where'd that stripe-tailed fella and the lightning guyget to? They've been gone a while."

Larcen wrote:
*Whew. Missed that one.* It seemed that most of those around Kirjath had not paid his little rant any mind, except maybe Lystar. But he was polite enough to not make a big deal of it anyway - a quality the dog appreciated.

Still, the theme song persisted. When Harken asked about Telemain and that raccon's whereabouts, Kirjath figured a little conversation might get his mind off of its tormentors. "I...I uh, think he, they got them-themselves arrested by the...by the Duke. The way they are, pro-probably still trying to...er..." His "gift" suddenly kicked in, and the words coming out were not entirely his own, but relayed seventh sense. "Negotiations continue in a case earlier today involving a higher-ranking official's daughter and members of the band..." he twitched as his clairvoyance cut out just before the band in the broadcast was revealed, then picked up again at the next word.

"It turns out that all assault charges have been dropped and one member released, but officials are still debating whether accusations of statutory...statu-...gah!" The vision had passed again, leaving only an impression of what happened next. He rubbed his temples while filling in the blanks. "Something to do with the ringtail and the Duke's daughter, caught, maybe, together or something. I think. It's not...wasn't all that clear." Kirjath laughed nervously and gave the rodents a shrug. He knew how awkward it was to listen to someone go from broken speech to fast-paced reporting and back to stuttering again.

Flickerfinger wrote:
Awkward, yes, but it gave Lystar insight. His conclusion wasn't encouraging. "Come," he said, "Methinks we should have a look - before things get really bad."

He should have known better.

Elsewhere, the Duke hadn't taken Telemain's comments as conciliatory. He found them patronizing, and even insulting. Which is not generally a good way to relate to royalty – but no one appeared to have told that to Telemain. "I have said it once already, scholar," the ferret ground out, "My plans for my daughter are not of your concern. I have no wish to -"

Applause broke into this conversation, and Berid tapped on his Duke's shoulder. "The next act, milord," he whispered urgently.

"Introduce them yourself, Berid," the Duke said. He knew it was beyond his power to hide this anger. Berid slipped obediently away, and the Duke leveled his eyes on Telemain once more.

"As I was saying," Duke Algaur continued, "I have no wish to hear any more advice from you. It is a matter beyond your station. I shall not require you to leave the Faire – tradition says that everyone is welcome here -" and it was clear he rued that fact, "but do not presume to intrude upon this affair again. Begone from us, ferx."

A barely perceptible signal put his men-at-arms once again at the ready. "Sorry, pal," the biggest one said down his spearblade. "Orders is orders."

+++++++

Flickerfinger and company met Telemain half-way, on the shadow side of Scarborough. Lystar spoke first. “Are you well, Telemain?”

Lystar spoke first. "Are you well, Telemain?" he asked.

+++++++

She was black as night, with a bone-white flute in her hand. She wore moonlight and pale sun about her, ethereal garments of white silk and jewelry of rich gold. Her eyes glittered in her ageless face as she stepped out the shadows, eyes that showed less than they knew. A devil's smile played on the wolverine lady's lips, a smile that glimmered with the soft ivory of her teeth. Duke Algaur noticed her before he turned around, by the prickling at the nape of his neck.

"Dierdre," he breathed.

"Milord Duke," the female answered, in a voice that only hinted at sarcasm.

"Why are you here, witch?" the Duke hissed, rounding upon her.

The wolverine looked hurt. "Just doing a little number with my girls. Am I not allowed at the Faire as well?"

"That was you?" the Duke said. "Perfect."

"I'm glad you liked it."

"What do you want from me?"

"Nothing; I came to give you something. The four-footed bard, Flickerfinger?"

"What of him?"

"Are you so blinded by your temper that you cannot see?"

"I don't take kindly to insults, Dierdre. No matter how much my father trusted you, I don't have to tolerate you."

"The strap, my lord Duke, that holds his shining instrument to him. It is well made, is it not?"

Rackenhammer wrote:
Telemain groaned as he accepted Flickerfinger's help getting up. "Times like this, I miss being an apprentice. No matter what kind of Master you had, he never let anyone mess with his apprentice. Master Skeve would have defied royalty; it'd be even odds afterwards as to who'd come out on top."

Tel dusted himself off as best he could. "Nothing's broken, I should be fine. Well, Kirjath, if your appointment's over, we can get started as soon as you're ready, and as soon as I've had a bath." Tel realized that the wolftaur bard hadn't heard their conversation. "I'm going to try to see if I can magically tune his instrument to replicate the ones he hears in his dreams."

Larcen wrote:
Kirjath lowered his head in the canine equivalent of an embarrassed blush. The wolftaur had a right to know what his partner was planning, at least in Kirjath's mind. "Ye-yeah. That sums it up. What he said."

Kirjath held his inanimate companion fondly, looking it over. He remembered hearing something about magic users requiring some sample of...well, his dreams called it DNA, but it was just a hair, or blood, or something belonging to the customer's body to enact
personalized spells, whether for good or evil. If so, that was no problem. The mahogany-colored stains splattered all over the zither's inlaid wood body had been explained away as flaws in the woodgrain, but when it might worry those he cared about, Kirjath's honesty was not always rock-solid.

The first few nights after buying the instrument, Kirjath had used his insomnia to practice. As the others slept, he would steal away into the woods out of earshot. There, he would play. And play. Until the crack of dawn, until the blood from his fingertips seeped into the woodgrain, he would play obsessively, every night until his perfectionism was satisfied. Kirjath had even resorted to wearing gloves for a time to hide his bandages, lest Lystar worry and try to stop him.

Thus, there was plenty of genetic material in the wood fibers to accommodate enchantment, if the rumors held any truth.

"I-I...er...ready when you are." Kirjath looked from Tel to Lystar and back, waiting for either to start off.

Rackenhammer wrote:
Telemain smiled. "Good! There's an inn nearby which will suit our purposes. Lodging's free, during the Faire, but the bed is not. I won't be needing one, so I can cover board for us both." Gawainian merchants found that an A la carte approach served them well, attracting the frugal, and wrangling more money from the splurging.

After taking care of the pecuniary arrangements, and after the first thourough bath he'd had in a while, Tel rejoined Kirjath in the room he'd gotten for them. "This will suit. The instrument is fully receptive, I see. The first thing I'll need to do is to actually be able to hear what you hear. In order to do that I need to know how it is that you hear it."

Larcen wrote:
In the room, waiting for Telemain had been borderline intolerable. Kirjath set his fingers upon the strings, frantic for something to do, then removed them, figuring he should be patient. But he had to do something. No, better to wait. He had to. He oughtn't to. But...
No. With each flip flop, Kirjath canted his head to alternate sides in a disturbed likeness to a comedian portraying two characters in dialogue. This action continued until the door opened and the fur of the hour stepped in.

When Tel started, Kirjath was all ears. He stared, eager to catch every syllable. As the ferx finished, however, Kirjath was suddenly unsure of all this. His words had to be careful. "Well, uh, y-you know, you know how you can hear a song, then, then after it's over you keep hearing it? It, it-it-it's like that. But uh, I-I-I never really hear the songs. Before. Er, never heard them before." *Hold it together, boy; you ain't lost him yet.* "That's where, that's where the music comes from, anyway. I just hear it in my head, all the time. The rest, well, when I'm asleep, I dream stuff that...well, picture a town crier everyone can hear all over the world at the same time. And when you hear him, you can see what he's talking about as it happens. Kind of like a theater too, some of it is. It's not all real. Well, it is, but it isn't. I mean, it will be. Eventually. Like hundreds of years from now." Kirjath checked for facial cues regarding Telemain's response before continuing. He also shot Flickerfinger a glance, partly for reassurance. *Yeah, back off before you lose 'em entirely.*

"I-I guess you'd have, uh, have to see it yourself, then. And hear." Kirjath blinked, epiphany striking. "Or-or-o-or did you mean, like, y'know, where it, where it comes from? That, I uh..." he trailed off, looking toward the heavens. "I don't know. The priests told me, well, some say it's a gift from God, some say I'm possessed by demons. C-cou-could be either; I don't know. Maybe both? I mean, some of it's really nice, but some..." he finished the sentence with a shudder. "You won't believe. An-and a lot of it, a lot of it has something to do with whatever's going on...like someone's trying to tell me things, like warn me sometimes or let me know what's happening, but they only do it through songs, TV clips and news broadca-- er, I mean, that town crier, theater stuff I said about."

After finishing, Kirjath took another facial reading, unsure what to think. Some of what he had shared had not been revealed even to Flickerfinger, his closest friend. Now he had just bared (almost) all to this relative stranger. Even the self-deprecating voice in his head was silent.

Rackenhammer wrote:
Telemain listened, something he was good at. He kept his face impassive, but closed his eyes as he tried to make sense of what Kirjath said. *Heard with the mind, not through the ears. That makes sense. I don't know what he means by most of the rest. I think I can get this to work, though.*

"All right, in order to proceed, we'll need to create a mind-link. Thankfully, I have some materials on hand." Tel produced, from various pockets, several odds and ends, chief among them being two headbands, one with a green stone, and one with a blue stone. "The blue one is yours. Put it on, and try to concentrate upon the instrument you want me to implant in yours. Scales and chords will serve best, but I'll work with whatever I can get." He paused before handing the band over to the heeler. "You understand what this means, right? Will you be able to handle having someone else listen in on your mind, the last private sanctuary of any fur?"

Larcen wrote:
Kirjath sniffed curiously at the headband. Uncertainty rose where once stood the desperate confidence that he was ready for this. *He just had to go and ask that, didn't he?* Finally, after mulling it over, he nodded.

A newcomer to the practice of mind-linking, Kirjath had his questions. "What I gotta know is when you come inside my head, should I...like, make a um...make a, you know, a place ready for you? Or...I mean, how does this work? Will I actually meet you in here or...?" Kirjath canted his head to the side quizzically.

Flickerfinger wrote:
((Sorry to fade out on you guys. Allow to add the last word on the Faire . . .))

"I'm going to try to see if I can magically tune his instrument to replicate the ones he hears in his dreams," Telemain explained.

Lystar turned to Kirjath, surprise and interest rolling in his blue eyes. "Ye-yeah. That sums it up. What he said," the heeler seconded.

So that's why he was so anxious, Lystar thought. He had his doubts as to whether or not Telemain could accomplish this goal - the ferx was not the type to make idle claims, as Lystar had seen, nor was he the type to undertake a task beyond his ability; but to Lystar's mind music was a thing beyond magic, tampering with it beyond the realm of possibility. Still, if it did work, it was something the Bard wanted to see.

"I-I...er...ready when you are," Kirjath prodded, and shook himself into movement.

Telemain followed, still brushing dust from the pockets of his vest. The wolftaur turned his body with a subtle movement of his spine, and the three left Scarborough Faire by way of the midway, back to the path they had taken that morning to reach the Faire, and from thence to Neustadt. Lystar spared the torch-lit fairgrounds a look over his shoulder as they crested a hill on the road, and sighed. The Faire was beautiful in many ways - but it was a pallid and translucent beauty, when such as Algaur ran it as he did.

+++++++

Lystar remained a passive observer throughout this conversation, laying on all fours at Kirjath's feet, with his forelegs crossed in front of him. The Serinex he had laid against the bed, and he ran his fingers idly through his mane as Telemain spoke. "The instrument is fully receptive, I see," Telemain said. It ought to be, Lystar thought with no small spark of conviction, he's poured his heart and soul into it.

Kirjath's explanation of his gift was similar, albeit more thorough than the one he had given Flickerfinger on the road to Dierdre's shop, where they had acquired the instrument. To say they had bought it wouldn't quite be fair - the wolverine merchantess had taken as her payment a little gold, a song, and a tale to match. An odd price, Flickerfinger pondered.

And then Telemain produced the means to work his enchantment. It was a curious thing; the magicians Flickerfinger had known worked differently, without artifact or aid of any kind save elemental runes. The wolftaur's reaction at this moment was interest, and just a hint of nervousness.

Rackenhammer wrote:
"Well," Telemain moved to answer Kirjath's question, "What's basically going to happen is that the part of your mind that hears music as music is going to be linked with the part of mine that does the same thing. It's like... building a doorway in a wall, where thoughts can pass freely through. Mostly, what I'll 'hear' is the music, and what you think or feel about it. Any particularly strong emotion or though will also go through the doorway. It's not painful, if you don't fight it. These magical devices were used by one of my professors to get around my absolute tone-deafness and to teach me to hear music at all."

Tel arranged few other crystals and runes on the floor, and nodding, said, "We may begin now, if you wish."

Larcen wrote:
Kirjath nodded, then donned the headband and closed his eyes. In order to corral the usual chaos, he employed mental imagery. A small, wooden box appeared before his mind's eye, one the likes of which could not be found even in the remotest bazaars of all Feila. Its sides converged at the top to form a rounded point, much like a cathedral window - or a tombstone. The front was adorned with knobs and holes covered by fabric, with a tiny window in the front that showed a series of numbers. Kirjath steeled his nerves, and one of the three knobs turned. With a click, the window lit up, and utter cacophony poured forth as one of the other knobs spun wildly, along with the needle on the display.

On the outside, Kirjath cringed as inwardly he fought to control the broadcast. He spoke, but his voice in the physical world and the one heard through the headbands were distinctly different; the latter being older, deeper, more theatric. "Sorry, folks, but we appear to be experiencing some minor technical difficulties this evening - please stand by. This is CBS Radio, live from..."

Back inside his head, Kirjath willed the tuning knob to his control. Music began to play from the box and through the link. The samples played for several seconds each, sometimes from the start, sometimes the middle or close to the end. He started off with sounds that were pleasing, what he would have liked to play. Soft love songs, then mellow jazz, soul-kindling hymns, and ethereal instrumentals were channeled through the mind-link.

If he could have stopped here, Kirjath would have been ecstatic. But the other side of his curious case had yet to be accounted for. The dial leaped violently, and the overall emotion Kirjath registered changed. These were the songs that, rather than desire to play, he had to play, lest their sheer complexity tear him apart. High-speed bluegrass, feverish baroque arrangements, insane rock 'n' roll, intense heavy metal, and the like came through, causing Kirjath to bare his teeth under their torment. Sitting on the edge of one of the beds in their room, he gripped the sheets tightly with both paws as his entire body shook. The only thing keeping him going was the promise of finally being free from these songs.

He continued through until every sound he had heard had been represented. Finally, Kirjath opened his eyes and released his hold on the covers. He felt somewhat lightheaded after all the mental taxation the ordeal had involved on his part.

"That...that was, I think everything...y-you, you ok?" *Wait, 'ok' won't be a word until the entire world goes to war.* "Er...are you all right, Telemain?" he asked, as the tremors started to die down.

-----------------------------
For your listening entertainment, a few selections of what Kirjath transmitted (not EVERYTHING, mind you, but a decent enough taste of what might run through his head. Or, just take a nearby analog-dial radio and spin the tuning knob around a coupla times):

Bread - If
Gershwin - Rhapsody in Blue
Martin Luther - Ein Feste Burg ist Unser Gott
John Newton - Amazing Grace
Styx - Come Sail Away (3:19-4:40)
Boston - The Journey
The Tornadoes - Telstar
The Virginia Ramblers - Train 45
Beethoven - Moonlight Sonata Movement 3
Supertramp - Goodbye Stranger (4:45-5:47)
Deep Purple - Highway Star (1:58-3:06)
Petra - This Means War (2:09-2:33)
Petra - Jekyll and Hyde
Rackenhammer wrote:
The term "shell-shocked," like OK, hadn't yet been invented. It would have described Telemain fairly well. He had been busy. All sound was vibrations through air, and those vibrations tooks the form of a unique wave for each sound. Tel had been rendering those waves into magical form, and storing them in the crystals. he'd had to work fast and frantic in order to preserve their integrity.

Tel's face was drenched in sweat, his fingers cramped from all the gestures they'd had to make. After breathing heavily a few times, he mustered speech. "I-I'm fine, I think." Tel took a couple more breaths as he leaned back against a wall. "I've got all the data I need. I should be able to isolate the instruments and correspond their notes to your instrument. That will take some time, though, and I will only be able to do it with the stringed instruments, since your zither is one of them. I should encourage you to find a band for more accurate representations of those songs. You seem to be on to a good start, though."Here the magician smiled at Flickerfinger.

"The job will take some time, all of tommorrow, probably. For now, though, we should get something to eat. It is a little past the dinner hour."

Larcen wrote:
Only the stringed instruments? Kirjath felt his heart sink as he returned the headband. He might have known that even magic could not free him from the scourge of his existence. The only thing that remotely held that promise would have been the magic of the integrated circuit. But the ferx had tried, anyway. And as luck would have it, the instruments that plagued him most all had strings, so one should count one's blessings.

He shook out the cobwebs, then agreed with the magician on the food part. "I-I'll run down and get something. Uh, for us. Any, any req-requests?" Kirjath stood up, swayed a little, then steadied himself on the headboard. Apparently, the endeavor had been more draining than he had thought.

Flickerfinger wrote:
((100th post is mine! Sorry to shut you down, Larcen, but I need an excuse to get Lystar out of the room. Hang on, this is going to be a long one.))

To say it was disconcerting would be like saying Lake Esperanza was moist. To Lystar, the pair had conducted this magical foray, complete with sweating, clenched fists and frantic gesticulating, in total silence. Furthermore, as he watched the air between the headbands took on the same shimmer that appears above a campfire. When they finished the fur along his spine was standing up – and for a wolftaur that is a lot of fur.

The real reason for his concern, however, was the Serinex. During this ordeal his enchanted instrument had begun to feel . . . agitated; it vibrated without sound against his back, a certain restlessness coming over it and him. He could even feel it beginning to become uncomfortably warm against his back. He could only hope that it hadn’t interfered with Telemain’s magic – worse, that Telemain’s magic hadn’t interfered with it.

[quote:] "I-I'll run down and get something. Uh, for us. Any, any req-requests?" Kirjath stood up,
swayed a little, then steadied himself on the headboard. Apparently, the endeavor had
been more draining than he had thought.[/quote]

“I have one,” Lystar said softly as he got to his feet. “You stay put.” His voice was gentle, but firm - it brooked no argument. Kirjath had tampered with something beyond the understanding of either of them, and Lystar was as nervous as he had ever been, especially seeing the heeler’s weakness. Besides that, he wanted to get the Serinex away from all this for a while. “I’ll send up the house special,” he said, and flowed out of the room without another word.

After a quick word with the innkeeper, and the parting of another few thalers* from his person, Lystar stepped out into the moonlit night behind the inn. It was a dirt street, dusty and narrow, but the moon filtered down in a halo of silver between the buildings, and it was quiet. He drew the Serinex from across his back and anxiously ran his fingers over the fingerboard, then plucked the strings gently one by one. The seven-stringed wonder was quiet, but whole. The tone of each string and fingering was still vibrant and rich, and the wolftaur breathed a sigh of relief. He turned to go back inside . . .

. . . and found himself face to face with a hooded figure, only its eyes visible beneath its black raiment. “Spy,” the figure whispered, in a voice none too friendly. It was a Gawainian voice, by the accent, but flat and smooth. He couldn’t even tell if it was male or female.

The ghost of a growl formed in his throat.

A second hooded figure appeared from the shadows to his right. “A fool’s spy, to wear his colors so brazenly,” it said. This one was almost snide. Yet a third voice, cold and thin, spoke to his left. “The strap on that pretty little instrument,” it hissed.

The fur before him picked up the thread of the other’s thoughts, starting a round-robin between the three hoods. “It is of Edwinish make.”

“The royal weave, used only by the Kitty King himself.”

“You must be in pretty tight with His Golden-ness.”

“How long did you spend at his court, spinning him tales?”

“We of Gawain don’t deal with cats.”

“We don’t deal with the favorite of their king.”

“It would really be unfortunate . . .”

“. . . for a career as promising as yours . . .”

“. . . to end early, you understand?”

The accusations and threats surrounded him until the growl resonated throughout his entire body – which made for an impressive sound indeed. The three hoods even had the unique and dubious honor of seeing the taur’s teeth bared in anger. But they stood still as statues, without emotion or reaction of any kind, until it was Lystar who turned away, with a savage twist of his lupine body.

A few minutes later he walked into the room again, his tail twitching, his fur bristling.

*A thaler is a small silver coin, the second lowest of Gawainian denominations. For more information, see the Gawainian Currency Thread.

Larcen wrote:
(hehe, you played right into my paws. Sorry to use you like that)

Kirjath nodded blankly, then made his way back to the bed and sat down, reclining. There was no arguing with Lystar, seeing as how he easily had a hundred pounds on the bipedal canine. He closed his eyes, intending to further question Telemain regarding the procedure involving his zither, but his gift took over as soon as his eyelids met. The message was not one solid broadcast, but a patchwork of different reports, all making a whole. If he had met one from the time his visions came from, he might have likened it to rapidly changing the channels on a television with poor reception.

*Tensions are high this evening, following...
...no details have been released, but a team of...
...representatives from the Gawainian...
...several...-men, surrounding...
...in the streets outside a hotel in...
...regarding treatment of Edwinish ambassadors...
...wolftaurs really exist? One scholar claims...
...so far there have been no casualties...
...More from our chief reporter...*


As the vision ended, Kirjath sat up with a yelp. The cobwebs had been brushed away now. He watched the door carefully, anxious for Lystar's safe return. Realizing what Telemain must have thought of the sudden outcry, he explained as best he dared. "Some, something, I think...happening in the, in the alley, with Flickerfinger. He's all right, I think, but...well, wait for him to come back. When the taur did return, Kirjath gave him that haunted look that said he knew more than he should, and that what he knew frightened him. "What, uh, what ha-happened? Out there. You...all right?"

Rackenhammer wrote:
"Uh, thanks." Telemain told the wolftaur bard as he left to send up food.

Tel rested with his eyes closed for a moment. *I am halfway through a great work. I'll make it good, too.* Tel's old tutor had taught himthe difference, long ago...

Kirjath's sharp cry brough the ferx back to the present. He reserved comment until Flickerfinger returned, and then he saw it. The Edwin King's colors, which Lystar wore. Tel was more cosmopolitan than most Gawainians, and had traveled to Edwin (in disguise, of course), and had not found it as bad as propaganda claimed. Still, the source of the trouble was more or less obvious. "We don't usually obsess over fashion here," Tel said with a wry smile, "But some things just cannot go unnoticed." Tel nodded his head towards the offending article.

Flickerfinger wrote:
"Not in this duchy, anyway," Flickerfinger agreed, remembering that he had traveled for some time in others without having any trouble at all. "Wait . . ." he said, as he pieced something together. Telemain would not have made that statement in that way unless he knew that Lystar had been threatened. How had he known - but the look in Kirjath's eyes gave him the answer. It was the first time he had seen Kirjath's gift used to the effect of clairvoyance, and it left him with no small sense of awe.

"I feel you may know some of this already," the wolftaur began, "But two seasons ago I wintered in the courts of His Majesty Godric Manchester, living and dining in the shelter of his castle, in exchange for a song or a story over the evening meal. When the season turned I made to set out, and sore he was to see me go, for he had grown used to my company - and I had come to respect him as I have no other monarch before or since. Still, the road called, my paws ached to run, and I would not be denied. We parted on good terms, and he bestowed on me many parting gifts - among them, a standing invitation, and this," tapping the strap, "to replace the crude rope that I had used hitherto. I did not know that it was so clear a mark of his favor, and it appears that the favor of Edwin's king is suddenly no favor at all in Gawain." He sighed in frustration. "I have just been threatened, for the first time in my career. Told in no uncertain terms to leave town." Shaking his head, he added, "With all the time I've spent in Gawain, my only question is why here, why now?" And in that phrase it became clear that Lystar was indeed frustrated, even angry - but also saddened.

At that moment there was a knock on the door. "Dinner for our guests," called the voice of a young female.

"Come in," Flickerfinger said, and she did. She was a wolverine, slight of build and dark of color. Something about her was familiar, but the Bard couldn't quite put his fingers on it. Demurely she placed the wooden tray of food upon the corner table and bowed. Her manner, perhaps, or that stripe of silver in her fur . . . The barmaid turned as she left, and flashed Lystar a cold smile. Suddenly he remembered, as though a blindfold had been pulled from his eyes - and in that same instant, she pulled over her head as if from nowhere the hood of a black cloak, exactly like those he had seen that very hour in the alley.

“Dierdre,” Lystar breathed, and lunged at the door, but too late. It slammed in his face. Growling he fumbled with the knob and stormed into the hallway - but she was gone.

Larcen wrote:
Kirjath listened intently, for his visions gave him virtually no information of the past. Even knowledge of the present was rare, and only if it was something that the celestial originators of the transmission thought to be important enough. As such, all he knew about Lystar's past was what the taur had shared with him.

Before he could form anything into words, however, something went askew. Kirjath knew that Dierdre had been important, but he was unsure exactly what her presence meant. The way Lystar had tried to follow her, there was definitely some issue. He rose, calling after him. "Uh...Lys- *cough* Flick? What, what's a-matter?"

Rackenhammer wrote:
Telemain, like many magicians, could put two and two together rather well. "Weimar-Sachs, more than any Duchy, knows the scars of war. Edwin's armies marched into it no more than 15 years ago. To be fair, Gawain's have been over the border just as often. Animosity between the two countries is felt here more than anywhere else, hence, the increased hostility towards anyone they condier an enemy. That answers the where. As for the when, well, I'm afraid that may be guilt by association. Jack and I didn't exactly endear ourselves to his lordship..."

Then the barmaid opened the door and presented their dinners. Tel was too absorbed in his meal to notice the look she gave Flickerfinger, but he could hear his reaction. "Oh, it may not be safe for us to stay here."

*This reminds me of the bad old days as Master Skeve's apprentice. Now what have I dropped myself into?*
Know thy wolf, and unto thine own wolf be true.

If all the world is a stage, I want better lighting.

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Flickerfinger
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Re: Playing Scarborough Faire

Post by Flickerfinger » Sun May 30, 2010 11:09 pm

((This is a little different, and I'm very proud to finally present it, almost a year and a half after the inception of this thread. This is my conclusion to this story, which never actually made it to the forums. I liked this thread, and I hate to see a good story without some passable ending, so over a long period of the past few months, I've put this together. Enjoy!))

Flickerfinger wrote:
"What's a-matter?"

"Wheels within wheels, Kirjath," Lystar replied as he scanned the hall. Seeing nothing, he stepped backward into the room and shut the door with deliberate slowness.

"It may not be safe for us to stay here," Telemain said worriedly.

Lystar shook his head, and his long white hair rippled over the strings of the Serinex. It let out a dusty sigh. "Peace, scholar," he replied. "It's me she wants." It appeared that Dierdre had, through some witchly power of her own, let only the taur remember her fully. Given that, and the threat of violence that still weighed heavily on his mind, he wasn't sure how much he should tell his companions. True to his vocation, he said less than he knew. "The witch who sold us yon zither - she must have set someone on me. At least three others with her are prepared to have my hide for the legacy of Godric Manchester." He fell silent again, considering.

The events, conditions and conjectures swirling in his mind coalesced into a single course of action. It wasn't a happy one - in fact it was the kind he thought he had left behind years ago. "I have to leave," he said heavily. "I am no longer welcome in this duchy, and as long as you travel with me, you won't be either. It may be time for me to leave Gawain altogether."

He said his goodbyes, and no small ones they were, for the storyteller had entangled himself in two great stories in this adventure, Kirjath's and Telemain's. Neither were ones that he was eager to leave, for he did like to see how such things turned out. But the threats made the thought of Gawain's hospitality bitter indeed, and anyway he had ways of finding an interesting fur again.

As it turned out, Kirjath Jearim went on to make quite a name for himself in Domus, and as his peculiar ailment waxed and waned he fell in with high-born and ill-starred alike. Telemain he would meet again in Yamaha - but that is another story altogether, one that not even the Bard himself would have conjured up as he took to the road from Scarborough in the pale pre-dawn light of the following morning, plucking idly on his seven-stringed instrument as he went.
Know thy wolf, and unto thine own wolf be true.

If all the world is a stage, I want better lighting.

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Larcen
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Re: Playing Scarborough Faire

Post by Larcen » Mon May 31, 2010 10:14 am

((Bravissimo, Flick. A satisfactory end to one of my favorite RP's, and the first one I actually finished.))
"Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." --Groucho Marx

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Re: Playing Scarborough Faire

Post by Rackenhammer » Fri Jun 04, 2010 10:39 am

((Bravo from me as well! Tel's story has gotten fairly... complicated since you left, though.))
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