Story Time at the Shrine of the Lost
Sept. 11, 2018, 8:30 p.m.
Arx - Ward of the Compact - Shrine of the Lost
Comments and Log
A quiet gathering at the Shrine of the Lost. They often are. Some hearty foodstuffs are laid out on a simple cloth. Thick bread, wooden cups with a brothy drink, and a plate of drumsticks on a hot stone. Sparte is settled a short way from the altar, flipping through a journal full of stories as he waits for people to come enjoy the simple fare. Or come for stories.
Gianna steps lightly through the garden, for once not decked out in silk and jewels. Well, almost. There's a sapphire ring on her finger. Her gittern in hand, she inclines her head politely to Sparte and finds herself a place to perch.
Waldemai goes to check out the food. Simple fare it may be, it's still better than Bachelor Chow.
Gianna inclines her head to Waldemai as well, though she doesn't make a move on the food. Instead, she arches a brow. "Who begins this storytelling?"
Sparte smiles at the familiar face of Waldemai, offering a nod. Gianna he takes a moment longer to consider, giving a slow nod like maybe he recognizes her but isn't sure. "Happy to have the company today. Who starts will be based on the story people want to hear, I suppose."
Waldemai has a drumstick, of course. "Any story is a good story," he opines.
Gianna adjusts her grip on her gittern, nodding. "I don't have a story; I just have a song, about dreaming. I don't know if that counts." She makes minor adjustments to the pegbox of her gittern.
Waldemai thinks about it for a few seconds, aided by some broth-based beverage. "A good song is like a story," he says. "It starts somewhere, something happens, and then it ends."
Gianna begins to strum her gittern, shaking her head. "This one, not so much. It's about dreams; sometimes dreams aren't stories. You dream, nothing really happens, you wake up and you don't remember a thing. Just that you've dreamed. I don't know if you'd call it a good story, but I can sing it and you can tell me if it's a good song?"
Sparte smiles brightly at Gianna. "I can't wait to hear it. I'd like to learn more about how you see dreams and music together."
Gianna checked charm + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 49 higher.
Waldemai doesn't play an instrument, but knows the the sound of one when he hears it. "I think your opinion is better than mine, but I can try." Not much of an offer, there: sit back, be serenaded, have some chow...Life is rough.
Gianna nods to them both, pausing to flick her hair over her shoulder. "I learned this song from a bard named Ella Higginson," she says. And she begins to play, raising her voice in song. Her voice carries well, as she is clearly a trained singer. The melody is gentle, soothing.
"It is the time when crimson stars
Weary of heaven's cold delight,
And take, like petals from a rose,
Their soft and hesitating flight
Upon the cool wings of the air
Across the purple night.
It is the time when silver sails
Go drifting down the violet sea,
And every poppy's crimson mouth
Kisses to sleep a lovesick bee;
The fireweed waves her rosy plumes
On pasture, hill and lea."
Waldemai applauds politely, since the context discourages whistling and cheering. "You're right, it didn't have much of a beginning or end, but that's a pretty song that paints a pretty picture. It's just like being there."
Sparte leans back and listens with his eyes closed, a small smile as he nods along. When it ends he joins in Waldemai's applause. "I am so glad we have a Bard's College now, so more songs and tales can be shared. I could share a story about a dream, but it might not make much sense. It certainly isn't a poem, and I'm no musician of talent to put it to song."
Gianna smiles at them both when she finishes the song. A warm smile. Pleased, content. She sets her gittern aside, though still closeby. "I'd be interested in hearing your story about a dream," she tells him, leaning over to rest her elbows on her knees and cup her chin in her hands.
Waldemai is willing to second that motion. "As long as it doesn't mean I have to have a story myself...Stories don't stick in my head, I'm afraid."
Sparte picks up a wooden cup with the brothy drink, blowing on it before taking a sip. He nods to himself in satisfaction, letting the warmth flow through him before he starts. "This is a story called the wash woman's dream. There is a woman on a distant isle, who each day to work walks seven miles. She does the laundry of seven lords and ladies, and has seven young ones with seven dirty faces. Seven hours of rest get her through each day, and in each she dreams of a child living in a different way. The curious one a carpenter, the bold one a soldier. The quiet one a seamstress, the brave one a sailor. The nosy one a barber, the dull one an author. Seven little children, with seven little lives. Seven little dreams, yet only six with stories in their eyes. The seventh, they are special, but every child born is that. Yet six dreams are ones with stories to say, only one is unwritten, and unwritten it will stay."
That's way too deep for Waldemai. "Poor child," he says. "Couldn't his author brother or sister write him a story so he doesn't have to stay unwritten?"
Gianna purses her lips for a moment before saying, "I do wonder at the author being the dull one."
Sparte chuckles. "There are stories we should write just as there are stories best left untold. That doesn't mean they lack a story, that doesn't mean their story is less grand or meaningful. It certainly made you forget about that poor mother though, interesting that."
"She has seven children," Gianna says, her tone bland. "Her story is essentially told, all bound up in the little lives she has to take care of." Hopefully Gianna is not a mother.
Waldemai was thinking along similar lines. "I don't know if her story is told, but it's what mothers do for their children. Maybe it's not that we forget her as it is that we know her story." Oh, oh...His brain may overheat soon.
Sparte takes another sip of his broth, giving a shake of his head. "How the story would be different if it were not a mother. Hrmm. Yet the dream was what the story was about, and perhaps it was the least visible part."
"Perhaps it depends on how much faith one has in dreams," Gianna says, turning the ring on her finger so the sapphire catches the light. "I don't pay much attention to them. To me, the practicalities of having to care for seven children is what catches my attention."
Waldemai isn't used to thinking about things like dreams. "Maybe the unwritten dream is hers, that while her other children have their lives, the unwritten child is the one that will take her away." He warms to the topic. "And it's like wishing on a shooting star. If she tells, it won't come true, so it's got to stay unwritten."
Sparte raises his toast to Waldemai. "Now you're getting it. What else might it have been? Could it have been?"
"A life not bogged down with six children's worth of diapers," Gianna suggests, her nose wrinkled.
Waldemai shakes his head. "Maybe the child has no dream because he has no future. Kids die, you know. It might even be easier if you have no dreams." Nothing like circular logic, right?
Sparte shakes his head. "Another story then, since the wonder in this one is being worn away so readily."
Gianna sits up straighter, pushing her hair up off her neck. Stupid summer. Stupid hot.
Sparte is quiet for a while then nods. "Perhaps tonight won't have many stories... But it had a lovely song, and lovely company. That is enough."
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