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Old 01-16-2011, 02:05 PM   #162
MysidiaDrakkenbane

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Yes, the latest entry is a prequel. It will be explained why in a few entries. The LJ has long been gone and left behind. The people that read it left it long ago, so I didn't see the need to keep it up.

Time marched on, as it always had, and the early spring months warmed to mid spring. Mysidia kept to herself most of the time, as Joffrey was knee deep in preparing for his Rites of Passage Ceremony. Every day that wore on, the more everyone talked about it, the heavier her heart hung. She abandoned all curiosity for anything going on outside of the Tribal boundaries. Some of the Hierophants grew worried about her, as her depression grew on. But this was her punishment. Endure it or face banishment. She was helping one of the Herbalists tend to their garden when she looked up and watched as a caravan of horses and wagons started to enter camp. Several of the tribal members recognized the visitors and began to swarm over to them, greeting them with bright smiles, handshakes, and hugs. The majority of them were Barbarian and the few who weren’t, weren’t dressed nearly as opulent as they were. Mysidia surmised they were house servants of whatever family rode into camp. Joffrey came out of his hut, shirtless from one of his tattooing sessions. Mysidia couldn’t help but give a faint smile. As family tradition, and part of his family name, he chose the dragon to be tattooed onto his chest and arms. And since Mysidia hadn’t seen Joffrey in a few weeks, she was shocked to see a full grown beard upon his chiseled face. It gave him an aged look. It suited him, she thought. She wiped her hands on her apron and stood up to stretch out her back. She watched as Joffrey recognized the caravan and ran over to it holding a look of pure joy on his face. Upon looking at the banners that were carried, she vaguely could make out the insignia of a Dragon, among other Barbarian symbols. It was Joffrey’s family. She smiled, happy for her friend at such a heartfelt reunion. She turned and was about to finish the work she started when a larger Barbarian caught her eye. He was a foot taller than Joffrey and as wide as a tree trunk. His woad was extremely intricate and covered the majority of his face and bald head. From what she could gather, and much like the rest of Joffrey’s family, it too was in the shape of a dragon. It appeared to continue down across his chest and arms, but his clothing blocked the rest of it from view. His goatee was braided and well kept; not a hair was out of place. He seemed to be taking in her appearance just as intensely as she was taking in his. She blushed slightly, realizing that she was probably staring longer than what would be considered appropriate. She fumbled wiping her hands and smiled at him for a moment, before kneeling down and finishing her gardening. “Cousin!”, she heard Joffrey exclaim. In the corner of her eye, she could see him run up to the man she was staring at. “Joffrey. Gods, has it been 18 winters already?”, he said taking his arm in a handshake. “Machene. Is that really you? Karana’s teeth, you’re as large as a house!”, Joffrey said and hugged his cousin. “Baron Machene, now, my son.”, Joffrey’s father said. Joffrey couldn’t help but gape. “Baron, now? My, you have been busy. And what have they been feeding you??!” “Wooly mammoth steaks. Can’t get enough of them.”, Machene said and slapped his stomach. She quietly picked at the weeds that were choking some of the herbs, overhearing their conversation. She felt guilty eavesdropping. A necessary evil, she thought. She couldn’t help but notice that Machene kept watching her as they walked into Joffrey’s hut. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ +++ Two days later, Joffrey’s ceremony was underway. Everyone was joyously singing, dancing, eating, drinking, and praising their new Shaman. Before the Naming Ceremony started, Mysidia walked over to Joffrey’s hut and entered. She started to congratulate him when she stopped dead in her tracks. Machene was helping Joffrey fit his ceremonial furs on. “Oh.. I’m sorry. I didn’t know you had company.”, Mysidia started to say and turned to leave. “Mys, don’t leave. I want you to meet my cousin.”, Joffrey said and grabbed Mysidia’s hand. “Mys, this is my cousin, Machene. We were born the same season, so he’s more like a brother to me than a cousin.” Mysidia, remembering her manners, curtsied in front of Machene. “Your Grace.”, she said. Machene and Joffrey laughed. Mysidia quickly looked down and she could feel the heat of her embarrassment creep up into her pointy ears. “Oh, Mys, it’s all right. Titles mean little with us. He’s “Baron” in Qeynos. Here, he’s simply Machene Drakkenbane. You don’t have to address him as royalty.”, Joffrey said. Machene, wanting to ease Mysidia’s pride, took her hand and kissed it. “Mysidia”, her name fell off his lips “it is a pleasure.” She felt the blushing continue. Mardock came to her rescue when he watched the tiny events unfold. “I…I have to go. I just came to congratulate you, Joffrey. You’ve earned it.”, she said smiling at her friend. “Will you be at the Naming Ceremony?”, Joffrey asked. He knew how much it hurt her that she wouldn’t be participating in it. “I wouldn’t miss it.”, she said, faking a smile. The sadness behind her eyes spoke their own conversation, however. She left the hut and Machene watched her leave. “What’s her story?”, he finally asked his cousin. “Mysidia? She came to this tribe as a swaddling babe. Bearsoul and that man”, he nodded towards Mardock “raised her.” “She’s the tallest wood elf I’ve ever seen.”, Machene said. “That’s because she’s not. She’s Rydian.”, Joffrey said and finished putting on his ceremonial garb. Rydian..? Machene had thought they were extinct with the invasion of the Iksar. And with them so close to a sacrificial altar, he grew curious as to why this particular one sought asylum among a tribe of Druids and Shaman. “I know that look, cousin. She’s not worth the trouble.”, Joffrey said, his voice full of warning. “Trouble?”, Machene asked, grinning. “Follows that girl where ever she walks. She has absolutely no fear.”, Joffrey said fastening his boots. “That kind of bravery gets a man killed. She needs more than just Tunare watching over her. As much as I am her friend, I don’t envy the job Mardock has in front of him.” As truthfully blunt as Joffrey was, he wasn’t doing it for his cousin’s benefit. He was secretly jealous of the attention Machene was giving Mysidia. Joffrey kept his feelings to himself, as he was happy enough to simply have Mysidia’s friendship. However, anyone of the male persuasion, was not going to get any closer than Joffrey wanted them to. The moment had arrived and the entire camp was stirring with activity. Everyone was wearing their finest as they gathered in the courtyard of the tribe. Bearsoul, adorned in a pure white bear pelt, stood atop a stone fixture that seemed to have been there since the world was created. He raised his hands above his head, looking up towards the darkening sky as day gave way to night. “Children of Karana, and of Tunare, and of the Tribunal, we greet you. This night marks the end of the days of youth and the dawning of adulthood, where the fleeting days of innocence are left behind, and an age of wisdom begins. Joffrey of the House Drakkenbane, step forward.” Joffrey, walking tall and proud, quietly made his way and knelt before Bearsoul. Bearsoul lifted his hands and held them above the bowed head of Joffrey. “Since the dawn of time, Shaman have been a conduit from the spirit world to the world of men. We have given wisdom and council where needed, aided the sick and injured, protected the strong, and imbued the weak. We have communed with those who have passed and eased the passing of those ready to cross. And so continues the tradition for another Voice of our ancestors. Joffrey, at this time, do you wish to take on another name?”, Bearsoul asked looking down into his face. It wasn’t uncommon for Druids and Shaman to take on a name, to signal their Rites of Passage complete and announce to anyone who encountered them that they had done so. For Shaman, more often than not, they had taken on part of their name from either their family or from their totem animal that they had gone on an extensive vision quest to receive. Since Mysidia was not receiving her Rites of Passage that spring, she had not undergone the vision quest. She was undecided on whether or not to take another name. It was purely the choice of the individual and didn’t take away from the ceremony or those who were graduating and moving on. “Yes, Great Chief.”, Joffrey said. “Talon” Mysidia gave a small smile, approving of his new name. She looked and had seen a small symbol of an eagle around his neck, his totem animal. “So be it. You cast off your name of Joffrey from your childhood and embrace the name of Talon to signal your journey into adulthood. May your path be lit with wisdom, not just from the Gods, but from your ancestors and the wisdom of those who yet live. Rise, Talon, and be recognized by your Spirit Brethren.”, Bearsoul said and gave a proud smile, clapping his hands to signal the close of the ceremony. Everyone jumped up and gave a large round of applause. Mysidia watched as his family members all circled him to give him praise, handshakes, and warm embraces. Talon, seeing his childhood friend in the distance, parted the crowd and started to walk over. “Congratulations, Joffrey…I mean Talon.”, Mysidia said scratching her head, trying to get used to the new name. “You’ll have to excuse me. It’s going to take me a while.” “You can still call me Joffrey, if you want.”, he said looking down at her. “Talon…”, she said softly. “I like it. It suits you.”, she said beaming a smile at him. “Are you going to join us at the banquet?”, Talon asked. Mysidia nodded. “For a little while. Hierophant Strella has a laundry list of things for me to do tomorrow. I’ll have to get an early start if I’m to finish everything before supper.” Mardock walked up beside Mysidia and clasped Talon’s hand in a warm handshake. “Congratulations, Shaman Talon. May your hardships be minimal and the Gods bless you with happiness.” “Hardships give wisdom, Mardock.”, he said smirking a little. Mysidia turned to her friend and raised an eyebrow. Had he grown overnight without her looking? That comment wasn’t like him…or was it? They all walked over to the banquet hall and sat down at a rather elaborately decorated table. Food as far as the eye could see, lay before them, and the scents of marinated cooked meats, fresh fruit, and mead filled the air. Mysidia’s mouth watered. Talon took a seat next to his cousin Machene and across from Mysidia. Mardock was within earshot, but far enough to give his surrogate daughter room. The conversation was kept light. Mysidia, having never traveled outside of the tribe, asked a great many questions about Talon and Machene’s homeland, Halas. And once started on that topic, they took several hours speaking about their homeland. It was obvious they had great pride in where they came from. “So much ice and snow.. I doubt I’d make it through the first winter.”, Mysidia admitted plainly. “You’ve lived here your entire life then, Mysidia?”, Machene asked putting down his goblet. “Yes. I’ve never known a harsh winter.”, she said returning. “It’s a balance, then.”, Machene said. “Your summers here are just as brutal to me as the winters where I am from, to you.” Mysidia smiled and held up her goblet to acknowledge her endorsement of his statement. As the night grew, and the mead had really began to flow, the conversation grew more serious. Politics always seemed to the topic of popularity among men when their imbibing had gone to ridiculous levels. Mysidia listened intently, but kept her thoughts to herself. She knew better. She had barely stretched her legs beyond the tribal walls and knew very little on the world around her. She accepted her sheltered life, mostly because she knew of nothing else. One of the Barbarian women watched Machene and the attention he gave Mysidia. Mysidia could feel the woman’s gaze and grew uncomfortable under the scrutiny. “Mysidia, is it?”, the woman finally said, taking a long sip from her goblet. “I was hoping you could answer a question for me.” Talon and Machene looked up sharply at the woman and their eyes went wide. Everyone seemed to hold their breath when this woman spoke. “Of course, madam. I hope to have the answer you seek.”, Mysidia said innocently. She had no idea what trap lay before her. “I overheard you saying that you were Rydian.”, the woman said with a flat look on her face. Yes, ma’am.”, Mysidia said respectfully. “I was wondering how one could be so calm, knowing full well that there was an Iksar altar not two leagues from here. You do know what they sacrifice, don’t you, dear?”, the woman asked, with a steely gaze. Everyone gasped and Bearsoul shot a look over to Mardock, who in turn, shot a look of danger to the man sitting next to the rude woman. “Aunt Mara!”, Talon said standing up. “Mother!”, Machene insisted. Mysidia paused for a moment, collecting her thoughts. She could feel all eyes turned towards her, waiting for her answer. If she answered in haste, and gave away her obvious disgust for the woman, she would dishonor the Tribe and surely be banished for it. If she swallowed such an incredulous question, she would dishonor herself and the guests would never take her seriously. “I do know what they sacrifice, madam.”, Mysidia said calmly. “However, it is not my place to judge those who practice their religion as they were taught to do. I am sure some of my Druidic rituals would raise a few eyebrows in here. And yet, I am merely doing nothing more than communing with the Great Mother.” Mysidia rose from the table. “I would love to further our conversation about such matters, great lady. However, I have a very taxing day ahead of me tomorrow. Besides, I find that such conversations go smoother without the amount of mead that was consumed this evening.” She turned towards Bearsoul. “Thank you for the banquet, Great Chief. The meal was exquisite. Talon,” she said turning towards her friend, “I wish you wisdom and prosperity on your journey. May Karana guide your decisions and light the way towards your destiny.” Mysidia left and she could sense the smug look that Mardock and Bearsoul gave Mara. She could also tell that whatever reaction Mara hoped to get out of Mysidia, the one she received wasn’t close to the one she wanted. As she walked towards her hut, she heard footsteps running after her. She turned around expecting to see Talon running after her, and was surprised to see Machene instead. “I am so sorry…”, he started to say. Mysidia dismissed it. “It’s all right. Everyone had more than their fare share of mead tonight.” "I…hope this doesn’t effect our friendship. My mother’s thoughts are not my own.”, he said looking for Mysidia’s reaction.

She widen her eyes in a joking manner. “I should hope not. The cord was cut long ago.” Machene laughed, pleased at her acceptance. They stood before each other for a few moments. Realizing that their silence had started its journey in the uncomfortable department, Mysidia broke it with a smile. “Well, good night, Machene.”, she said turning towards her hut. And even thought Machene had smoothed things over with Mysidia, his mother’s question did more than she cared to admit. She had all but forgotten about that altar. The rage that lay dormant in the back of her mind began to grow and fester. Something had to be done. She simply couldn’t let innocent people be slaughtered in such a way. Even animal sacrifices were done away with, and they were the purest form of admiration to the Great Mother. Men have evolved and so did their rituals. The fact that they were Rydian didn’t matter to her. It was, however, the underlying factor to her rage. And rage, like any fire, burned through the corners of her common sense and she felt herself holding her breath, trying to calm it. Convincing it was working, before she knew it, she had a plan. She sat down on her bed and watched the moon climb the sky…waiting.

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