Knightober 2021 – braids


Children shouting excitedly alerted Liamath before he saw anything — cries of “firebird” and “sunhawk” pulled his attention like a puppet on its strings, to the great amusement of the merchant-crofter whose produce he’d been contently mulling over.  The redmint and spicy-sweet black plums would have to wait —

— Or, there could be no need to wait long at all. 

Before Liamath more than turned away from the lean elder’s stall the bird — a flickering sihouette of moon-pale wisps, far more solid than it looked, was swooping on him.  The wychling thing dropped a leather pouch into his upstretched hands, then whirled away and dipped low to flutter over the laughing knot of children before fading from the world.

Liamath was painfully aware of the curious stares he was getting from the entire village market, and didn’t blame them one bit.

I suppose it was quite a show.

“Come on now, lad, show us what you got there, eh?  So long’s it’s not anything secret, of course.  A special report from your noble?  New mission?  Love token, mayhap ~?”

The plum-seller’s eyes danced merrily beneath his battered felt hat, and Liamath did chuckle before shaking his head slowly in denial of all three.  What he drew from the pouch was something very different: a braided cord of quilted twists of silk, tri-coloured, and long enough to settle around his neck.

“No, goodsir, none of those.”

Liamath’s voice was soft, withdrawn.

“My lord has returned my lost one to me.”

The elder nodded silently.  No more needed to be said.

-*-

Mourner’s Devotions: A braid of twisted cords, wool or silk or linen, carried by many in Kauvr — at least one cord is filled with a core made of plaited hair or similar mementos of the dearly departed.  More ornate devotions may have strands of tiny beads threaded through the braid, or be bound at intervals with metal- or jewelwork.

Knightober 2021 – breastplate

“I like to be able to move more freely, and that strikes me as adding extra weight for Swift …”

Liamath’s companion for the evening, a lean wanderer from Neshin’s great plainslands to the south who gave her name as Rekhi — gazed contemplatively at the plate of gleaming steel-lacquer she was cleaning, looked across the fire to Liamath, then shook her head with a chuckle. Her dark eyes gleamed with an amusement that Liamath found infectious —

“If I rode a toothy beast like yours through twisty trees and around glittering growths like yours, I’d no doubt think the same thing! It’s worth it, though, even with the maintenance, having a bit more between me and whatever barbs get flung my way. Tamma doesn’t seem to mind.”

Tethered a respectable distance from campfire and Swift both, the sturdy bay mare in question looked up at the mention of her name, then quieted. For his own part, Swift had settled into a comfortable loafing kneel and was dozing away.

All in all, it was a pleasant evening, with unexpected but welcome company, and Liamath welcome the chance to chat and talk shop a little with a fellow knight. In the morning they would part ways — he back on his wandering circuit, she to make her way east towards Urulaya — but for now, time enough for a brace of partridges over the flames and a bit of rose-mead to share between them.

-*-

Neshi Plating: Not actually a solid breastplate — and not solid steel, either, despite its appearance. Cunningly linked smaller, articulated plates composed of multiple layers of steelsilk lacquered together and shaped to conform to upper torso, shoulders, abdomen and back are attached by stitches and riveting to a normal steelsilk base. The plating offers more protection than plain steelsilk, but requires near-daily maintenance of its lacquer.

Knightober 2021 – star sign

Liamath — much to his chagrin — had lost the path, and it galled him to admit it. Of course, he meant ‘lost the path’ quite literally; what was missing was the literal path. Or, rather, the road he’d been riding along, thin overgrown cart-track that it was.

I suppose this is what happens when you haven’t been on an actual road in a good span of days, but I don’t have to enjoy it. There should still be a track.

— But track there was not, and as Swift picked cautiously along the growing strange pale twistings of the trees — the metallic call of creatures hidden in undergrowth now beginning to shimmer darkly — too many strangenesses told Liamath just what he and his steed were faced with:

There was a primordial cyst. And it was rupturing. This stretch of land was not safe.

Sensing his rider’s growing unease, Swift tossed his head and bared his fangs, pawing the mossy, clinging ground with a forehoof until Liamath leaned, maille chiming, to pat the gelding’s smoky neck.

“Shh. Shh, now, we’ll make our way out. Shh.”

Swift snorted, pawed once more, and stilled; Liamath took the opportunity to pull a long necklace of stoutly twined leather cord from under mantle, maille and tunic, rubbing the twisted hide between his fingers in a nervous fidget that belied his soothing words before lifting its pendant up to the wavering light of chaos-touched day.

Tiny stars drifted in the cerulean depths. Good.

Liamath clasped the rough prism in one hand, nicking flesh on its sharp edges. Watching the stars whirl with sudden purpose, he nudged Swift to turn sharply about and forge a new trail.

He’d lead them towards home.

-*-

Wayfinder: A rough, ragged oblong or prism of specially-selected crystal, which must be touched to a prominent local marker and anointed in one’s own blood under a starry sky in order to awaken its power. At any time afterwards, another touch of blood will call the lights inside the crystal to a flurry of activity as the crystal guides its owner back to that one chosen location. Some wayfinders may be attuned to a specific individual instead, or to call a specific individual to the crystal’s owner.

Knightober 2021 – marigold

Yes, here we are — I did say there was a third one ;3

Knightober (which is using prompts from rayleearts @ Twitter) is working a little differently, with a prompt every three days instead of daily. I’m also using a different format, or at least posting more words (lol), so these will be independent posts.

Speaking of the posts they’re a hybrid sort of subject: each one gets a wee bit of writing about one Liamath Corvan, a roaming knight of Kauvr (and his wolfish horse, Swift) and a bit of kit or magic or what-have for rpg-land that references the writing. Let’s see how long I can do this, lol.

-*-


“It’s not what I wished for, but we seldom get what we want, eh, Swift?”

Swift — being far too interested in his meal to bother with pointless noises from his master — barely deigned to swivel an ear before returning to his repast.  Well, Liamath was just as happy to let the gelding finish off the deer, ‘rude’ as being ignored was; he’d already claimed his own portion and delivered a haunch to the crofters in the vale to the east.  Let Swift have the remainder, a well-deserved reward for racing down the wretches who were so recently a plague.  He’d not taken too many chunks from the damned brigands’ hides, after all.

Liamath was more interested in said brigands, alive or dead.  If he hadn’t been on circuit …

I have no doubt at least half their number were Urulayan.  But that means nothing; it’s as easy to take to raiding in Urulaya as here in the Grey, and what do bandits care for sovereign land?

Pah.  Time enough in the morning to chew on it.

Sighing, Liamath scratched next to his empty eye.  Lord Kaerna would be eager to hear about the incident, but alas her vassal’s wanderings were far from over. 

May I find a messenger the next time I cross a town.  Starfang’s eyes, what a mess.

— But that could also wait.  For now, Liamath wanted to wash dirt and brigand blood from wolf-mantle, glittering maille and his well-tangled dark hair, get his venison cooked over his wee fire, and — most of all — deal with that glancing blow the wretched brigand leader fetched him.  With a wince and another sigh, he dug through a saddlepack to find a crystal teardrop that nestled in his palm, liquid fire to tend to his own bloodied hide — a bit much, perhaps, but better used than to risk infection or chaos.

“And come the morning we move on, eh Swift –?”

-*-

Flowerflame:  A distinctively deep flame-orange elixir, spicy and peppery, distilled from marigold and magic and other, more secret things, and normally contained in small crystal phials the size of one’s thumb or smaller containing 1 to 6 doses.

A single dose may have many uses, depending on how it is applied — in oil or fat or milk as a magically healing balm (1d4+1), in honey or milk as a panacea against cursed illnesses, drawn like ink on anything from beads to corpses to ward away unclean forces …