A Mourner's Weight

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Log Info

  • Title: A Mourner's Weight
  • Emitter: Aryia
  • Characters: Aryia, Jinks, Verna
  • Place: Society for Progressive Arcansists
  • Time: November 16th, 2021
  • Summary: Finally a clear day in the sky, yet this one was spent indoors regardless. Aryia is meandering about the halls, borrowing a Kulthian book to practice her reading comprehension as Jinks arrives, humming a little ditty. They theorize the eventual fate of the gnome's shoes last night. Jinks subtly admits his secret ongoings, Aryia putting the pieces together, but the topic is shoved away as Verna arrives from the libraries. Conversation revolves around the morality of kobolds, language studies, the unending stomach of Tanith. Jinks sings a small tale about a Vardama boy, the Mourner and Aryia needing more context for it. The elf gets flustered as she doesn't understand much of Jinks's deluge of information. Verna heads off to do scholarly things, which then Jinks thanks Aryia for going after the winged beast after the vouivre nearly flew off with Jinks. It wasn't a dragon..? Aw man... now Aryia can't say she punched one...

Arcanist's Society, Midday.

By some grace of Dana, the day was brilliant blue and nary a cloud in the sky. Still the wind was chilly and the ground was damp, but wasn't as dreadful as it was the other day.

However, such a decent day outside mattered little within the halls of the Society, as scholars and mages go about their daily tasks and rituals. Busy as it was, working adjacent to the Temples, many of the bright minds here needed to be referenced on topics that bordered from religious to the arcane.

One such soul picking the hardback brains of a book was a scarred mul'neissa woman in her verdant green jacket, leaning against the wall. She's thumbing through a tome, idly reading while passing scholars shoot her a wary glance. Not due to her nature, no, but the fact that the book she held was written in a language most avoided and somewhat vilified.

Jinks whistles a cheery tune on his lazy way from the college, the notes flitting up and down not unlike the birds returning with the sun today. He twirls an ornate, ashwood scroll case decorated in silver filigree, sitting it to spin in a palm and then hefting it, catching with the tip of his middle finger where it continues to spin. He's put together fit for a painting; not a hair out of place, his fitted clothes clean and in the high fashion, he even manages effortlessly avoid the soft patches of grass and recessed cobbles sunk into puddles.

The gnome takes a long (relatively speaking) step and twirls on his heel to avoid crashing into an egalrin with her beak thrust into a book. A 'hup' sends the sparkling tube twisting end-over-end through the air. He pauses to consider the arc and turns away, closing his eyes, and catching the scroll at the small of his back. A self-satisfied smile spreads as he taps the case against the tip of his nose lightly.

Noticing Aryia, he sucks at his teeth and meanders by.

It wasn't an uncommon occurrence that others would be idly humming a tune as they go about their day. But the interruption of it and a movement makes her glance up and over her tome, spying Jinks. She stands up a bit straighter, giving him a light up-nod in acknowledgement. A hand flashes a few movements, coupled with a faint upturn of a smile. "You certainly had a nice night. Put yourself together pretty well too, considering the state I saw you in." <Handspeech>

"That woman is a bad influence," Jinks says, donning a dire expression before the joke takes him and his shoulders bob with a chuckle. "Cloistered academics, though, Coyote laughs; get them out of their stoles and..." he puckers his lips and offers the whistle of someone stunned or impressed.

"... actually lost my shoes last night. How does that happen?" The gnome laughs again and shakes his head. "But I learned a new trick when I tie off the Hymn." His heels click as they come together, his feet forming a V as he tucks one arm behind his back and drags the other down to indicate himself. "No more ill effects the morning-after. I'm sure there's some practical application to the spell, too, but the freedom of indulgence without reprecussions is... well, oh my."

"... I didn't happen to take my shoes off with you? Things are... hazy." So not entirely without reprecussions.

Aryia gives a breathy chuckle, shaking her head at the joke as she dog-ears the page and closes her Kulthian book and stuffs it in one of the many inner pockets of her jacket. Her brows raise. "Oh, that does sound nice. Getting rid of a hangover... might end up making me have a problem if I could do that."

She blinks, and the pugilist's face pinches a bit, the tips of her ears getting a touch red. "Uh, no. I went back to my room before you did anything..." she rolls a hand, "... more. Damn am I glad my room was on the other side of the building."

Wanting to shift topics, her chin nods towards the scroll case. "What's that?" <Handspeech>

"Expensive." Jinks answers simply, lifting the scroll case to eye it. He shrugs shallowly and tucks it away in a loop on his belt. "Some of my polite business in this city has stalled and it's due to escalate into outright espionage because... People can be so... intractable." He said the P-word with the emphasis to indicate he means Gnomes.

"After a very productive trip home a few weeks ago it seems only right to sort out some things here." He crosses his arms and turns to look to the south and east, up the hill towards where the grand homes of the nobility climb up the mountain. "But... you leave a dagger sheathed a decade it takes some doing to get it drawn." He frowns, subtly, and sucks at his teeth again. Tht, it goes.

Aryia gives a non-committal 'ah' at the round about answer. All right then, keep your secrets. Though, her idle thoughts wander off into the encounter with him at the library. She joins in his gaze off in that direction, then she nods a few times, seeming to get it.

"I do hope you manage to get it sorted out. If... uh... you need a hand, let me know," she gestures, unsure of how to help, but putting it out there. "I get what you mean. I've a few decades to try and draw out myself," scarred hands add as an afterthought, perhaps not on the same metaphor as the savvy gnome.

She looks to his feet for a moment. "... I think the blue haired gnome stole your shoes," she concludes aloud with a few gestures as an aside. <Handspeech>

"She might well have," Jinks agrees. He has shoes on-- very nice shoes, in fact, that go perfectly with his outfit-- but they're not the shoes he was wearing last night. He laughs, suddenly, and shakes his head, "Maybe she wanted to walk a mile in my shoes. Many would."

Sniffing, he turns away from his consideration of the high district and has a quick look about. "A countess had two bastards, twins, that I'd... inspired." He offers with a sigh. The mul has given the gnome enough looks along the way for Jinks to key onto her suspicions. There seems little point in being coy. "The timing is... odd. She traveled home to have them before the mists. So between that Event and my being... Gone for eight years. Well, they're 13, I've gathered. Nearing their birthdays."

"It would be nice to meet them," he admits with another shrug.

Did someone mention cloistered academics? The Arcanist Society grounds are likely to harbor a fair number of that demographic. Verna, one possible representative, exits from the Society's library. Perhaps unsurprisingly, a tome hovers open before her, perused as she moves across the courtyard.

Aryia huffs, not of annoyance, but a snort, her shaking her head at the pun. Though, the amusement dies down to a soft expression. She'd obviously picked up on such things, from Strike's party to little hints dropped along the way. She was an uneducated one, but she was sharp. Small gestures, fluid and smooth, like she was trying to speak soft. "I think that is a good idea. I lived most of my life not knowing my parents. It wasn't until recently that I remembered them..."

A floating tome makes her gaze lift, and a slight smile quirks her lips. The mute whistles two notes, attention grabbing, and waves to the Mourner. <Handspeech>

"Well. We'll see." Jinks decides, waving off the topic after Aryia whistles. The gnome turns and makes a space for the half-elf, plastering on a warm smile. "The way this city works we may all be dead tomorrow. Or thralls to some unstoppable, demonic influence." He laughs a bit and raises both hands in a helpless gesture, "Or be thrown in the stocks for telling that bawdy joke about Lady Sandiel in front of Silver Guard Serene."

"Or Tanith may confuse us for fish and gobble us whole..." He waves a finger through the air; the possibilities are endless.

Verna's hood lifts from her light reading at the whistle, though the gnome's words are not ugnheard. Her course alters towards the pair before she offers, "Good day to you both. I do not believe that Tanithariairisixchel would mistake us for fish; more likely, she would request that we provide fish for her consumption. What brings you to The Society this day?"

Aryia waves again, flashing another, "Hello, good day," within it. But her brows pinch at the name brought up. As well as the list of potential demises. If that was the case, she'd be out of town by now. Food or not.

She tries to mouth the name, getting as far as 'Tanithar-' but gives up, shaking her head. Hands provide answers, "More Kulthian. And I, uh, was pulling some strings to get something from some people here." She flashes a band on her thumb. Simple in design, half of it was a black stone, the other half some sort of alabaster stone. Fitting. "Not much else."

She blinks, then looks down at Jinks. "Say, your legs doing alright after that... dog shit field trip we went on?" <Handspeech>

"There's harder things to fall on than a beach." Jinks responds with a grin, pushing aside the wince he makes as a first reaction. "Seyardu took care of the worst of it in the moment-- or, rather, Telmentar, I suppose? Whether you credit the vocalist or the voice for the performance."

His lips thin into a frown and he issues a slow sigh. "Seeing the way those... kobolds have treated their prisoners," a pause, "I know she wants to liberate the lizards from their masters but they knew what they were doing when they entombed that Sylvanori girl to go mad and die. And I'll never forget seeing Endril how he was," he goes a little pale, forcing himself to swallow. The gnome doesn't add 'or eating a piece of him' but he definitely thinks it. He gives a little grunt of frustration instead.

He's happy to think of Tanith and give a grin remembering the antics of the insatiable gold whelp. To answer Verna his simply taps a nail on the scroll case tethered to his belt.

Verna nods at the explanations and/or indications offered as such. This is a convenient locale in which to procure enchanted items or spell knowledge, certainly. To Jinks, she notes, "I trust that you did not purchase the scroll from the same singed man that offered a scroll for our return..." A rhetorical inquiry and, perhaps, an attempt at humor? "Still, the beach was not entirely unpleasant."

Her hood pans to Aryia, then, as she inquires, "How does your Kulthian progress?" <in Kulthian>

There is no recognition of the name Telmentar in Aryia's face. "S-y-rd-," she simply hisses. But her face smooths out, lips quirking off to the side as she shifts on her feet. "... imagine you had a Dragonspiiter pointed at your skull at all times. And no matter what you did, that trigger would go off faster than you can react. You too would do unspeakable things. Else you die."

It goes without saying that she herself has done such unspeakable things.

"I just hope the thing I'm sewing for her will help in some way..." she sighs, frowning. "I know how she feels..."

She looks over to Verna, her cocking her head to the side before giving a sharp nod. "Good! I think I'm getting the hang of reading it now. I'm sure I can speak it if I talk slow..." Funny that. <Handspeech>

"Ha!" Jinks does laugh at Verna's mentioning of the seared mage. Seeing that fellow squirm under the scrutiny of Seldan upon their return was a singular experience. Nice to not be the one that'd earned the ire of a paladin for a change. "That beach was nice, yes. I'd never been to the Jade Isles before and it was a rather unexpected break from our recent gloom. Now if Randolf could come properly prepared and not insist on drinking half my provisions... Well, the day would've been a total coup."

The gnome glances up at Aryia, offering a grudging nod. "No, I know. I do. And I'm trying to look past it-- I told Cryosanthia I would. It's a difficult thing," to move past 70-plus years of bias, maybe, or just to step back and consider the larger picture when you're surrounded immediately by the horrors. He doesn't specify either way.

On the topic of languages: "I still haven't remembered my Sildanyari and the lyrical tragedies of the Felwood survivors used to be some of my favorites..." He tilts his head, considering the books of either woman before glancing past to the library. "I could study... but I'm sure at some point..." he snaps his fingers and touches the temple of his right eye. "Like a lot of the things from before it'll come back, hopefully."

"While I have not had a Dragonspitter held to my skull as you described," Verna notes on that topic, "I do understand the nature of the situation. Still, the threat of death does not justify all acts, nor should it. Death is a natural part of the cycle. There are worse fates."

The bit about the Jade Isles is new to Aryia, her curiously listening as he head lazily swings between the two as they converse. Though, she sighs, and nods slowly. "Yes, I know it is. It's hard. Shit, you're the one that convinced me to not smash the egg."

The mute snaps a finger towards Jinks. "Oh, that too! Thanks for reminding me. I've started to remember how to write in that now," she mentions to Verna, filing away the bit about Jinks forgetting the language. For another time, like other topics.

Though, Verna's insights put a thin line on Aryia's lips. She looks aside. "... it is if its the worst fate you can think of," she slips in, finishing by rubbing her throat. <Handspeech>

"My good deed for Quintoos," Jinks smirks at Aryia, "however misguided it may ultimately prove to be..."

For Verna, "I suppose it depends on where you find yourself after the Harpist has her say? The rest of time in Heroes' Welcome and the Dome of Heaven sound nice enough," the gnome holds a hand palm-up, gazing at it. Then the other, "... but spending any number of years trapped in the courts held by the Dukes of Hell? Teased with endless pleasures only to find the next inventive torture at its beginning." The hands bob up and down as if scales trying to find their final weight and rest. "Unpleasant, that."

"Indeed," Verna nods to both, lips pursing into a frown. "You are both correct. I did not mean to imply that all alternatives are preferable, only some... of which you make a fair example, Jinks. I admit that I have some experience with both sides of the comparisons, for better or worse."

Aryia sighs and shrugs. "Well... we'll see..."

She tilts her head to the side. Then gives a small shrug. "... I don't know. I don't really think about where I'd end up. Don't care enough, Varmada will figure that out for me." Was that... tolerance in her tone of hands? <Handspeech>

Jinks closes his eyes and leans subtly back, lifting two fingers as he hums searching for a tune. The rings glitter as they bob and swipe. His eyes dart behind the closed lids before he has it and smiles.

"Come and hold my hand

I want to contact the living.

Not sure I understand

This role that I've been given.

I sit and pluck my Harp

and She just laughs at my plans.

My head speaks a language

My heart can't understand."

The lyrics have a Myrrish twist to them in the vowel sounds and Jinks has to sing higher than he normally would... but he proves up to the task. The unprompted performance draws a few curious looks but the gnome just glances between Verna and Aryia, canting his head and raising his eyebrows. "Ser Robertus Guillome, the Third. A verse from 'a Mourner's Weight.' Probably the best finished work of his short life." He gives a little surprised laugh and ventures, "Fitting for a man who so struggled with his devotion to Vardama, I suppose."

Aryia blinks, listening to the verses sung. She... struggles with any deeper meaning, were the faint look of frustration anything to go by, followed by a sigh and a kick at an imaginary pebble. "... I... don't get it," she gestures slowly, rubbing her hands afterwards. An honest conversation, and it's clear that she flounders at it. "... why is it fitting?" <Handspeech>

Verna considers the prose, hood panning between the two,before opining, "It is an interesting stanza, though I, too, am uncertain of its significance. Unless the qualification of completed work and the mention of short life implies that it was one of the few, or perhaps only, completed works? It would thus become the best, or one of, by its nature." Perhaps it is consolation to Aryia that Verna also appears to not 'get it?'

"The story goes that he was called to Vardama's service as a boy after his mother passed but couldn't help but feel resentment about the fickle nature of mortality." The gnome thinks a moment, "He was the... fourth child? But his mother's favorite; they were very close. She was sick frequently and he would keep her company when she convalesced."

"He grew up a bit queer because he spent so little time with his peers. Stayed a little boy because it seemed to bring his mother comfort. Then she died carrying an unexpected fifth child."

Jinks sniffs thoughtfully and licks his lips. "He joins the church but keeps to himself, trying to come to terms with how the world works. Life, death, loss... all of that. Tries to sort it out through his works but remains tortured by all accounts; manages to complete so little and then dies young."

"Maybe not fitting... ironic? He spent so much time trying to come to grips with life ending that he never properly lived."

"So, to your point," Jinks looks to Aryia. "Better to live now and leave the sorting to the Harpist."

Aryia listens carefully to the context, her closing her eyes to better imagine it. Though, eventually, lips turn downwards into a sad frown. "Poor kid..." she motions slowly. Now she tries to connect the prose, and the context and... is found wanting.

At least Jinks gave her the translation between the verses. "I still don't get how that song relates, but... that's why you do what you do. Thanks. I've given similar advice to others before." She glances to Verna.

Then, the mute taps her fingers together. Looking a bit... embarrassed. "... who's the H-A-R-P-I-S-T?"

"Vardama is known as The Grey Harpist, especially among the sildanyari," Verna explains. "She, like most all of the deities, are addressed by many names, oft by different cultures. Her melodies are to soothe both their spirit and those of whom they leave behind. I comprehend the message, now that it is made plain."

"The bardic colleges are quite fond of that title, too, for obvious reasons." Jinks adds in agreement with Verna. He shakes his head at Aryia and waves a hand, "My religions and planar studies tutor was Myrrish. The kingdoms aren't so far from the Sky Curtains and Clockwork Point. People say Althea here but I'm still in the habit of thinking Her 'Telmentar, Goddess of Creation.'"

"It's all a mess, though. Who thought Draco Solis should be 'Dragonfather' and Bauglir, 'Dragon Father.'" He emphasizes the break to illustrate the subtle difference."

"Anyway. When you grow up rich and your parents can throw money like rice you end up knowing a lot of esoteric nonsense and people teach you to find deeper meanings even when the author might not have actually intended it... and THEN you get the Hymn just whispering random factoids in your ear at all hours." He makes a face, eyes going subtly larger. It's quite the trial, clearly, being an insufferable know-it-all.

Aryia blinks at the answer, and her cheeks dusts crimson. "... right... context..." She rubs at her face, and deeply sighs.

She glances to Jinks, biting her lip as more names, places, titles come and wash over her. With very, very little understanding pricking at her visage.



"... sorry, you lost me at sky curtains," she motions slowly, using the literal words instead of a proper noun. Further evidence she did, indeed, didn't know what he was speaking of.

Clearly frustrated at herself, she shuffles on her feet, hoping the action would dig a hole so she could hide in it. "... sounds annoying..." is all she offers. <Handspeech>

Jinks makes a face and opens his mouth to say something before Verna excuses herself and hustles off, book tucked under an arm. His shoulders lurch in a silent snort of amusement. Academics. "Don't worry about it," he waves a hand again, dismissing Aryia's apology.

"Maybe someday you'll see the Sky Curtain mountains-- maybe even Clockwork Point," he adds the second part turning a bit wistful. "You, me, Seyardu, the paladina, and Lysos on an airship to escort some overrich noble wanting to commission an invention. Reading about it wouldn't do it justice, anyway. Hells, I knew full well what a vouivre was and the gods damned thing nearly flew off with me." He smirks and tilts his head, "Thanks for that, by the way."

"(nearly soiled myself...)" he adds, muttering under his breath and looking away.

At least the apology managed to balm some of the mute's anxieties, her getting herself reoriented. Torch-lit gaze settles on the man, her tilting her head to the side. A light smile breaks through. "... that sounds nice. Well, maybe without the noble. Can just chuck them overboard." Her lips quirk at her little joke.

She blinks, then snickers silently. "You're welcome. I probably would have as well. Fucking terrifying, that thing. Good shot with the magic, I'm surprised it landed."

A long sigh. "... so it wasn't a dragon...?" she ventures, turning slightly to start walking down the halls with the gnome. <Handspeech>

"A 'VWEEV-ruh,'" Jinks nods, falling into step. "Using some kind of illusion magics I couldn't pierce to see its true form even as it held me. Like the Black Rose knight. They hold a kinship with the more wicked fae creatures but I don't know that anyone's ever discovered their origins..." He plucks the scroll case free again, twirling it idly as they walk.

-End Scene-