Of Dusk and Deceptions.

Of Dusk and Deceptions.

Postby Guillaume » Tue Jul 18, 2006 9:47 am

The procession begins just an hour shy of twilight. Through lengthening shadows and gloomy summer warmth they walk; to the tune of nothing but their own shod feet. They begin at the iron gates of Lothbury, proceeding from there towards the town itself; they walk trails both narrow and broad, two-by-two and with caskets upon their shoulders.

Those are what draw eyes, when they've reached Myrkentown proper: the caskets, and the unmistakable crimson and gold of their bearers. There is not a man, woman or child in their number that doesn't sport those Lothbury colours.

Through Myrkentown streets, the procession winds; past the shattered offices of Councilor Helstone; past the barrister's notices of warrant. Past the Beast's gruesome leavings, they march; past homes and businesses and chapels. This is Lothbury's mourning, silently displayed, and soon the procession has aquired followers. Children, curious at so solemn a display; mothers who have lost sons to the attacks on those caravans; fathers who risk their lives by daring to till a field. Myrkentown has, in recent months, learned a great deal of the nature of suffering, so that such a procession speaks naturally to the heart; by the time it has reached the town square, it has almost tripled in size.

That is where the pyre awaits.

The flames draw those bystanders that the procession had left uninterested. They illuminate the square in tones both golden and fierce; they drive back the shadows, make shining luminaries of mortal men and women. And they consume, one by one, the bodies finally drawn from those caskets.

Had the swelling crowd expected a speech, from the Lothbury Lord who has led the procession all this way? For at first, there is none. There is simply this:

"Aideen Godart." Who'd been a pretty thing, before a chunk of falling stone caved in half her face. There's still a bit of auburn hair that isn't quite stiff with dried blood. The flames devour it, when her corpse is cast atop them.

"Finian Hob." Who won't be much good as a beekeeper, what with that crushed arm. The fire that consumes his body doesn't much care that there was a hint of kindness in his weathered face.

"Mathieu Beaudouin." They're covering their children's eyes, when it's this one's turn. He, however, has none left. Liquid flame had taken those, along with all of his hair, and most of his left side. The pyre takes the rest.

And on reads the list, and on yet further -- and not all of these are unfamiliar names. They've families in Myrkentown, some of them. They've
friends. And seventeen of them burn here in the town square, each name spoken firm and grave, before the Lord speaking them finally ascends to the square's Deck.

Did they imagine that he had escaped this holocaust unharmed? Plainly not. Like so many of those that have marched in this procession, he sports bandages beneath his garments -- and atop, as well; they are bulges beneath the longcoat, at shoulder and side; they are wound about one of his hands. The other employs a cane, for Guillaume now walks with a pronounced limp. But this does not keep him from ascending to that Deck, nor from lifting his voice once more, as:

"Perhaps they believe this will cow us. Do you think so, Myrken Wood? They fling rocks at your home, and fire at mine. They savage caravans bearing food, and slaughter your sons for the crime of defending them. They wish us to fear -- and for that, I would fault no man. They clearly wish us to despair -- for they imagine that we have not known hardship before; they imagine that we are not well-aquainted with grief.

I cannot make sense of this for you. I cannot point you to a man and say that he speaks only the truth. I cannot point you to another, and say that he knows only falsehood. But this much is clear: that the drow, who wish to shake our hands with one of theirs, and murder our sons with the other, are not an 'ally' who I would willingly trust. That Thessilane -- a territory three times the size of ours -- would send spies and assassins upon us, when their armies could seize this province within a week."

There is a hush upon the crowd. There is the crackle of flames, as they consume human flesh; the stench of burning skin and hair. It is, by now, a familiar one. And Guillaume steps towards that pyre with a sash in each hand: one cheery blue; one lifeless grey.
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Postby Guillaume » Tue Jul 18, 2006 9:59 am

"I believe, Myrken Wood, that Councilor Helstone is deceived, in this matter. I believe that a great many of us are deceived -- and that stirring unrest, working violence upon your fellow Myrkenfolk, will only work in favour of those who would deceive us. I believe that these -- " the two sashes are brandished high abvove his head -- "are a nonsense. This is how I reckon their worth."

And with that, they are cast atop the pyre, to burn like the corpses laid there before them. He's stepping back then, as something stirs amidst the crowd; stepping back to continue:

"Remember that stench, Myrken Wood. Remember that we burn our dead because we do not dare to bury them decently; remember why that is -- and know that I would join them in those flames before ceding a foot of our land to those who intend to seize it from us. To those who mean to deceive. And if you doubt me on the matter of deception, if you think that unlikely, then I invite you: look upon these, the beasts responsible for the corpses we give to flames tonight. Look upon these, and tell me that they are Thessilane issue!"

That stirring becomes a genuine disturbance: a cluster of men that drag two limp corpses to the fore; two that had, thus far, escaped the flames. The gathered crowd must rise a little on their toes to see them clearly, for their bodies are remarkably small; they must crane their necks to be certain that the things are green. Smash is the larger of the pair, clearly a brute; Stomp's eyes might once have shone with intelligence. But they are both goblins, they are both quite dead; they are both indicted in bloodshed, before a crowd that has known so much of it of late --

-- and which descends upon them as a vengeful mob.
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Postby Vanidor » Tue Jul 18, 2006 3:05 pm

"And I still believe in a Myrken that is strong, and better than the petty sqwabbles we have fallen into since the false proclamation by Councilor Helstone. He is confused, but things will come to rights in the end..." This came from a figure that, until then, had been wrapped in a long cloak of grey wool, with a deep-set cowel that hid his features. His voice... echoed over the collected crowd, now that they had calmed some in their mindless destruction of the two goblinoids. Fingers rose and peeled back the heavy hood, letting the ends fall to his shoulders. Head tilted high. Proud. His coat of Janerio-Grey came to his throat, where the devices of Myrken and the Brotherhood were proudly displayed. His eyes were... imperious, prideful. There was nothing... humble about Kerrak al`Nerun. Nothing in the slightest.

"And nothing will change the scape of Myrken. Not in this reguard. For you are the strong. You are the resilient! You are the one's who have never backed down or given up! There is Sense in the people of Myrken. There is Pride in the people of Myrken! There is Honour! And you are the one's who will survive to tell your children about how you dealt with the chaos sown by the agents of the Drow. Of the dark powers that threaten Myrken. There will be no tales about me. Or Giscard. We will be footnotes in the histories, for it will be you who will have conquered!"

"Just remember the price paid by those who would protect you, who would raise their arm to shield you and keep harm from you. That we of the grey will stand besides you until there is nothing left to stand for... and beyond." It would be then that the mound besides Kerrak would shift. What would have been taken as a pile of cloth, would instead be shown to be ten of Kerrak's own. His head tilted, a glance for the reverently laid stack of men and women. Five guardsmen stood to ward the bodies of their comrades. "In this new born tradition of Myrken, we commit our dead. Let our ashes mingle with your ashes, and our spirits become one under the Light."

The pile shifted again, the first body lifting from the group on unseen hands. Kerrak was serene, his features hard, but his eyes tired. "Alice Demoshea, of Meadowford... Dalin Billings, of Foggy Bottom... Teryobin Smithy, of Myrken... Jacobin, of Almark... Cheroic Kalistanov, of New Dauntless... " Kerrak would intone the names of each of his fallen soldiers in that somber and calling voice. These were men and women slain in the recent troubles, four at least by the hands of the militia and their fright. They had just wanted to keep the peace, but now they laid slain by their own comrades.

Once the last of the departed were added to the burn, Kerrak would focus on it, the flames growing hotter and higher. His guardsmen created a semi-circle around him.
"By the Light, and High Adon we shall prevail. Just as this fire burns to show our unity and strength, and to put our dead to rest... So shall we burn brightly in the night, and keep the Shadow at bay." With that, Kerrak would turn and allow the strands of Fire to keep the flames burning, letting them unravel themselves slowly and in their own time. With his guard they would depart, moving unobstructedly through the crowd.

One should always be drunk. That's all that matters... But with what? With wine, with poetry, or with virtue, as you chose. But get drunk. - Charles Baudelaire

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