Monday, August 8, 2016

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The Solitaire Crow - Ivinia - 8

8 Amorvrin

Sleep my brother, and far and fast,
Sleep until you dream of midnights past.
Travel well my sister, travel well
Travel until you you find what you are looking for.
Work hard my son, over the fields and dales,
Work hard my son, until you are sure of your last.
Quick soft my little girl -
Quickly catch, until he goes off to battle.
Call Ivinia” ca. 700



It was down below that the Commander was watching the crew – and how under have still made progress, though not as much with the full assembly. He was privately disappointed, but looked at each member, and could draw forth effort by showing each little secrets. Because remember, Commanders have to flight on water or land – in those days there was much less distinction until canon became more common. He also looked outside the window, to gauge whether they were making progress – and how much they made. There was motion, but again, not enough.

He also saw the corner of his eye, the Skald – and he wondered if she had something in mind, or whether she was enjoying the member of the crew that she had selected. When he had time, he would find out about this. He could not reach upwards, because again the cabin was not suited for this, but looked at the whole crew - with the drum beating a quick movement. Slow was not going to get them anywhere. Then he went to the main deck, which he then realized that the ship was new – because all of the older long ships did not have a main deck, but had their people huddle under tarps. He then realized that the vessel was built for the whaling islands in mind. Progress, even among older vessels, was happening - which was a novel thought to his mind.

Up on the main deck, Gwynwyffer and Loria were conversing, with someone more of an edge to their conversation. “ do you have any more surprises for us.” Started Gwynwyffer, “Or are you going to tell us when you are good and ready. I do not mind personally. But you have the crew on edge, and that means something to all of us who are passengers with skills of our own.”

“It is rather hard to describe, because you have a very different context. And that context is completely different from the one that elves have. Dwarves would be better for you to talk to, because they can understand, even if they do not agree, with you.” Then Loria looked out over the water, perhaps to capture the whale – which they had not seen.

“I still do not understand what you mean.” Though Gwynwyffer want to say other things, she thought the better of it, and instead wanted to probe what Loria was talking about. She had done this before, with some result.

“You think of yourself as an individual person, we do not. Partially because there are so many different humans across the worlds, while there are many fewer elves.”

“There is only one Gwynwyffer, one Loria.”

“There are multitudes of people of us, but you humans take your selves individually. Elves do not.”

“I do not understand.” She bit her lip, so as to get the elf to say more. So Loria began again.

“Untold, they are millions of worlds that can be described as Kethira - elves can perceive what their opposite numbers are thinking and doing – that is the best that I can describe it.”

“Why this difference? Why do elves perceive such possible worlds, and humans do not?”
There are so many fewer elves, and a difference in the number of humans. So it is better for humans to think of themselves as one. It is not so for elves. And I do not wish to about this, because I will give way yet more secrets.”

Gwynwyffer knew she had been dismissed. It was a conversation which occurred in parts each time they met. She did not know if this would be the last one. Loria probably did know. Which was annoying to Gwynwyffer. Loria, for her part, you that there was magic in the elves, and that probably in a world dominated by humans – there was some way to explain it, but then, there would be no elves to explain it. They would be off to the Blessed Realms.

On the forecastle, the Watcher and Green struck up a conversation, though it was less esoteric, and more practical. But they too were animated in their discussion.

It was the Watcher who began: “Would you rather we go to the Ivinia enclave, or trying to find the Morgath foothold – because it is clear that they have one in the whaling islands?” looking directly at Green, and trying to place how his features reacted. This was not hard, because green wore his heart on his sleeve. He was tough, but there was a moment to shedding his blood.

The elf knight thought about this for a very project second, and then said: “It depends on whether the Commander can get reinforcements from the hamlet. If he can, it would be better to get reinforcements – but if he can not, it would be better to smash in to the undead place. Unfortunately, there is no way to know if he can do so. Drawing on our own power, Morgath is waiting for us, and I would vote to ignore the Ivinians.” Then green looked at him, and raised both eyebrows, as if to ask the Watcher's opinion.

Now it was the Watcher's turn to think carefully, and he too was in a thinking mode, they could both here the ship moving up and down, and seagulls flying around. It was clear that land would be over the horizon.

“I would do the same.” Unlike Green, there was no merriment in his reply.

“Then we should raise a day attack – since Morgath is much stronger at night.” It was a reply filled with deep experience.

“There is a reason why Pradeylki exterminate them from the further regions of the North.”

“That is why I prefer Naveh – the humans are in charge, rather than the other way around.” A grim smile spread across his face.

“Do you think that we are rid of the god of assassins and thieves?” But there was no taste of humor in the reply, again.

“There is not enough out here for Naveh, will there is plenty for the Lord of the Undead. On the other hand, the god of assassins may wish to speak with us when we get back to the mainland.” And by speak, he meant kill. With a delicious note of affection - they were not just killers, there was an art to their ways.

Looking down at his boots, the Watcher nodded – and then looked up again, it was clear that there was someone watching them that he would prefer not to know his thoughts. Green looked around, and saw the Skald coming up from below, Which he scowled his brow at. But not at the Skald, herself, but had the game she was playing.

Just then, a cloud rolled over the deck, momentarily blotting the sun out, and making the temperature even more freezing. Everyone pulled their cloaks slightly tighter.

Then, from the front of the bow, a long line as if something underwater was coming towards them. Something long and slender, and directly for them – there was little doubt that it was coming straight for them. It is line was straight, without any curving or swerving. It was at this point that the Watchers face lit up, and he is beard quickened. He hastened to the Commander, who was out at front – it was to all that he had something to say, quickly.

He would have preferred to say something to the Commander, and his ears alone- but the swell of the wash had made it apparent that that was not going to work . So he raised his mighty voice – it drew a deep resonance. “Lower the sail, and turn. It is the other black dragon!” It was manifest why this was important, because it could lead as far as it wanted to - and plunge the sail with a snap of its spine.

But it was to late, and the face of the black dragon came up out of the water about two fathoms ahead of the prow. It was a ghastly garish thing, with the tongue which was almost as wide as the entire face, and with eyes that were enlarged so that they took up a large fraction. It spun its way, effortlessly driving up and shattering the canvas has it rolled past. Then it sank again, but almost no one believed that it was going to be the only pass. And in a few minutes, one could see that it had turned around and was now directing itself at the rear.

It seemed like it was going to crush the tail, and leave the long ship as a hulk. The cloud darkened, and seemed almost visible that this was not an ordinary billowing mass. Everyone braced for impact – which did not come, and instead the giant whale that they had followed came from below. While it was shorter than the dragon, it was quite a good deal wider – and the tangling mass which expelled and then disgorged the whale was an enormous site to be hold. It reentered the sea, with the dragon attached to its mouth. It dissolved into a diffused torrent, and then was gone.

At this point that the Watcher peered over the side, trying to see if there was anything left. While he did so, strange thought came in to his mind: the whale was a baleen will, not one of the toothy variety. He turned to the captain: “There is something curious about this, normally be will which we have been seeing derives its food from the smallest of creatures. We could be watching Pradeylki – not that that is unknown, but this is a sign.”

The Commander turned towards him, and put his lips together in a very closed fashion.

“We have been seeing great deal that is peculiar, and everyone imagines that anything is extraordinary. Even if it is not.”

Turning to the Commander, and whispering back.

“There are some happenings which are ordained by more powerful creatures.” They looked at each other, and did not utter another phrase.

After a long while, bubbles came up beneath the ship, and then a long time past and strips of dragon leather reached the surface. But it was not enough to be stripped of the whole dragon. And this they looked for any sign – of either whale or dragon. Because either of the pair were air breathers, and would therefore have to come up. Even if they both could stay down for a prodigious amount of time.
Loria turned to Green, and indicated by a show of hands that she would like to bet on the outcome – because, it was obvious to the elves that the whale was probably one of Sarajin's companions, if not an actual wife. They made signs with their fingers, and Loria took the whale's position, while Green took the dragon's odds. But it seemed neither of them were winners – elves however could bet along time.

Trudging down the way down was the Commander, because he had something to do. A short glimpse told everyone that the Skald was not there, and this would be the exposure of what she had been doing. However, each person had decided different things. Most of the crew thought that she was sleeping with one particular individual. But that was not the only thing that people had in mind. Thus, the entire crew – with the exception of the Watcher – hurried down to see what was the issue. He noticed, at least the cloud had gone, which said that the dragon was quenched, even though it said nothing about the whale.

But very few were concerned about the whale – because the Commander had gathered himself an aura. It was not of magic or miracle, it was not fell or occult. It was more along the force of will, which he normally made apparent in his gestures – and was held back when he spoke to anyone. It is the presence of a man inside the room, who when he starts talking – everyone else listens. Now the expressions of this work plan to see, and everyone could see that it was focused on the man who the Skald had been paying attention to. And thus, his red cloak, his strange open faced boots, and every little detail which said that he was from a long distance away from the sea and the ways of it. He was a man of the land and coast, not of the fjords and inlets that surrounded them. But still for all of this, he was the man who people looked up towards, and measured their judgment by – except, perhaps, the elves – who never the less felt a kind of difference. Perhaps because they were the only people from beyond.

With each passing row is arms and hands showed how massive he was in his torso and limbs, it was at this moment which he looked more in command then ever. And with each passing row, the men who were attached to the oars caught a breath – he was not coming for them. But what was he doing? There is no way that in a contest over the Skald there would be any doubt who would win it. The best that anyone among the rowers could say was that she wanted to dominate him, rather than the other way round. It just made no sense as anything sexual. But what could it have been? If the sexual was not involved, still less would be a contest for anything else. One could not see anything that the rower would have that the Commander could not easily dispatch him for.

Unless it was a strange obsession, which the rower had played on the Skald – a forbidden lust which only he would know existed. But even that was almost laughable. But what was it? Even now, with the answer sit in plain sight, it was hard to imagine. Even when the evidence was piled up in front of all of them. From the prominent – why there were two dragons, and the very different ways that they navigated – to the most obscure – the flick of black that the priest had pulled out of one of their eyes – none of them would convince most of them of the plain fact. The reason that there was a Morgath, was that he was in there missed. The Dragon had been going straight for them, because that is the point of view which it was getting instructions. Not close beside it, where it is flight was unimpeded, and scouring the wisps of earth, draining of every bit of things that were dying all the time. The reason that a spec of undead was here – is because here is where it came from. The reason for this and other things was that there was an undead creature – and that most of its energy was spent deluding the other people, and relying on the sense that there were a smells from other people which would disguise the week of undeath. It would have to take unendurable feet of will – but that is the nature of undeath.

It was undying unwill.

But even undying unwill reaches a breaking point – and the Skald knew this. Alone, knew that this was the person who was already undead, because it was the only person who did not respond to her wiles. Everyone else thought that it was control over the sexual urges. Perhaps even that the rower was not interested. But it was more than that, and she knew it. If she could pester them long enough – it would eventually scream out into the distance. There would be a shock of the mind, unfrettered by the body and all its functions. It would drain life out from the very see itself, so appalling was its need to measure it is time in undead. It was entirely absorbed in its own calculations, as mad as they might be. The undead was trying to get every last inch of the Dragon, crew, everything that he needed to hide.

So what the Skald had been doing, was a low kind of tune – a melody which celebrated life, and was only understandable to one person. Whether she was there or not, its focus was not in distance, but in the kind of range that makes distant noises visible, though they are not audible closer. To the undead, it was a kind of madness, but someone else's madness.

Thus, the Commander was not just carrying his own will, but was amplifying through the sound of the bard. Even as the Commander was going towards the rower, it was standing up. Standing up and it seemed growing with every passing second. It seemed that nothing could prevent its pace, it seemed that the space was larger. It seemed that everything was coming to this: the unwill of undead – and a hymn to life itself.

And the moral coil was cracking with the strain on its substance. There are places - for example Yashin - where this collision was common, because the magic is in every wisp of flower, every grain of sand. Where there are tunes in abundance, and the wells to magic and miracle are with every passing breeze. But here it is different – this world is of physical matter, inflicted only by magic from beyond its own reach. It is like the moon, rather than the sun.

What this was, was an Amorvrin – free undead – not a Gulmorvrin – unfree undead. Its undead was Morgath own, but it feels and seeks willing to obey. But it is a whirlwind, and eventually its undead is spent, and then Morgath claims it is prize – the Amorvrin becomes Gulmorvrin. The free becomes slave.

It was a wail of anguish – which was not of the nature of the world. Everything was distorted, and surreal. For just a moment, it was nothing like the sun. while on the physical plane, almost all of the rowers were bent over backwards, and screaming. It was almost as if the physical was emulating the sound which came from the Amorvrin. People heard the scream in their heads, and were trying to duplicate it. Everyone was hunched over – except the people who had a vice like grip on reality, which was only a few in number – and most of these you have already know.

The other thing which was not visible, and yet visible inside the head – was the black spheres which were the Bukrai – the anti-magical force which guides the creatures of Morgath. It to had all visible and audible components. There is a reason why Morgath is only hinted at in his nature. It is said that he has 13 names, each one of which moves a believer to utter madness. But even as it strives Bukrai – it remains separate from it, as if trying to swallow and purge at the same time. What this means for an Amorvrin, is that it has a physical manifestation of this psychic power. Everything in range is blackness, with a variety of details which change from one until the other. Even the elves, dwarves, and other such beings do not ever talk about this above a whisper.

Lesser beings feel there in sides being chewed out, and they have nightmares about being eaten alive.

But what saved the leaders of the crew, was that the Amorvrin was still scattered – because it was working for stealth – not power. Because while the effects of Morgath are instantaneous, they take a long time to produce. They cannot rapidly change their footing to mortal creatures. Thus, what happened was that what seemed like a rower, was converted to a pitch black shadow – as they had seen on the other black dragon. He also did not have a sword, not because he was not capable of manifesting such an object. Thus, he was standing up, completely straight, in a way that could not be explained physically. But that also was true of the Skald and of the Commander. Even in here, the long ship shuttered as if there were a violent storm. The rowers hid and cowered, while the priest tried to comfort them. The Watcher was standing outside the gate way, holding everyone else back. There was a stream of black rags floating in the air, moving as if they where lazily drifting – when everything else was twisting and turning violently.

Under the feet of the Amorvrin, the wood grew black, and luminescent - its hands went to his head, and it looked like he was going mad.The only light was coming from the Skald, who was encased by a bluish light, which went from her to the Commander – because she was concentrating on making him in a sphere of protection. The Amorvrin had wild amounts of power, but the Skald could pick out what she wanted the Commander to illuminate. Every time the Amorvrin lurched, little bits of everything was shattered, bent, or broken. Spoons were flying about everywhere, and the bowl that they ate with were crushed. But the Skald, though she was close behind it, concentrated only on keeping the Commander encased. The red cloak, and the spun black were moving inexorably towards each other. Each was determined to obliterate the other, and on share power it seemed that the utter blackness would easily win. But the Commander was calm, his cloak loose about him.

Under the blackness, came light – amidst the chaos that was the Bukrai urge to destruct – came a clear pure note. Though each person would sing a different one – when assembled into a choir, it would resound as a chord. The black and the red gripped each other, a man wresting with a demon driven power. The blackness had many feet, with which to bring him down – but he stood there, as if his limbs were rocks. They were clenching each one to the other – the Amorvrin holding a death grip with all its legs, but the Commander would have none of it – and instead bore the weight of its down and down. The its eyes when from white to black – just as the Skald, on the floor, leech off the last bit of her power.


 Then there was blackness, and the ship fell to pieces within a whirlwind. 

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