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Messages - Conall Riordan

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Arctra / Re: Musica Vitae
« on: December 03, 2019, 07:37:00 PM »
The Mummer's Dance - Loreena McKennitt

When in the springtime of the year
When the trees are crowned with leaves
When the ash and oak, and the birch and yew
Are dressed in ribbons fair

When owls call the breathless moon
In the blue veil of the night
The shadows of the trees appear
Amidst the lantern light

We've been rambling all the night
And some time of this day
Now returning back again
We bring a garland gay

Who will go down to those shady groves
And summon the shadows there
And tie a ribbon on those sheltering arms
In the springtime of the year

The songs of birds seem to fill the wood
That when the fiddler plays
All their voices can be heard
Long past their woodland days

We've been rambling all the night
And some time of this day
Now returning back again
We bring a garland gay

And so they linked their hands and danced
Round in circles and in rows
And so the journey of the night descends
When all the shades are gone

"A garland gay we bring you here
And at your door we stand
It is a sprout well budded out
The work of Our Lord's hand"

We've been rambling all the night
And some time of this day
Now returning back again
We bring a garland gay

We've been rambling all the night
And some time of this day
Now returning back again
We bring a garland gay

Arctra / Re: De Moribus - The OOC Thread
« on: March 23, 2016, 08:41:12 PM »
Just bumping the folder with some video.

If you can excuse the song, here are a few clips of "Conall" in action.

We'll get back to this story soon! Promise! :)

Arctra / Re: De Moribus - The OOC Thread
« on: April 21, 2014, 11:37:20 AM »
Just a little video c/o YouTube that shows Conall in combat. (Clips of Clive Standen from the Starz mini-series, Camelot.) Warning: Loud music! Enjoy! :)

Arctra / Re: Seeking Allies
« on: April 20, 2014, 08:52:33 PM »
She smiled, almost to herself, watching the little flames rise and fall as the fire took hold. Her fingers passed through the dancing flame over and over again as she watched it. "I have never slept on a bed," she said thoughtfully. "Every night of my life, I have slept in the Goddess' arms, under Her watchful eye. I do not understand the need to shut out the world behind stone walls hacked from Her heart."

"Nor have I," he admitted. "Not a proper bed. A straw cot, but that is not the same thing as a bed, I think," he explained though she might argue that fact. He leaned over to rest the heavy sword against a tree, along with the trappings that held it in place, feeling a good deal lighter without its weight against his back. "It is for protection and shelter and warmth. It is just a different way of life than yours. That is all."

"A very different way," she smiled, looking up at him as she took her hand out of the fire. "The camp will not be quiet tonight," she added, aware that she had already given warning, but also aware that religion in the cities was a very different matter. "There will be songs and dances, fire-walking ... and there will be mating. Your people are welcome to join us if they so choose, but I think perhaps you might want to spread the word of what to expect. Friendships can be broken easily with misunderstanding."

He chuffed in amusement. "You think my people don't know how to mate? Or is it their revelry that worries you?" he smiled back, the hint of a smirk on his face as he lowered himself onto a rock near the fire, glad of its warmth.

Liayna laughed, shaking her head. "The mating is a part of the rites we follow at the full moon," she explained, mildly amazed at how easily he had misunderstood her. "Your people's idea of religion and how to observe it ... there are many who would be offended to think that what we do tonight is our religion. Too earthy, too animalistic. Too immediate. The Goddess is all around us, She is a part of us. We worship her any way we can."

"Would it surprise you to hear that I am not so easily offended, nor do I think our way of life is the only way to live." In other words, he was unlike those who scoffed at the idea of strange gods and customs and traditions. His mind was more open to new ideas than most of those she might have encountered in the past. "Should I go warn my people then, of what they can expect?"

"I am not talking about you," she chuckled, jerking her chin toward the caves, where his company were visible setting up a camp far more structured than the one that ringed them. "I am talking about them. They think we are savages, that we know nothing. You should warn them that whatever they see or hear tonight, they should keep their weapons sheathed, their fists unclenched, and their mouths shut. They are welcome to join us, if they do it with reverence. A single word of mockery, and the fever will have them dead before they can take it back."

Very little of what she said came as a surprise, until she was nearly finished. He followed her glance toward the camp where the men and women who had followed him here - some of them friends - were setting up camp, quietly laughing and talking among themselves. He frowned a little at her words, knowing she was right. Their alliance was too new, too fragile. One misstep and all would be lost, but it would be him who had to answer to their leader for the loss. "What do you mean, fever?" he asked, as his attention returned to her.

Liayna frowned, trying to find the right words to explain herself. "Your priests have a word they use - ecstasy," she tried. "A state of being that comes upon them when they commune with your gods. We have no priests. We all experience our own ecstasy when we feel the Goddess upon us, in our own ways. Many lose reason and will react without thought. I did not warn you of our rites to accuse your people of treachery, nor to make certain you knew our differences. It is your lives I sought to protect."

"So, you are saying that the danger is that if they seek to mock that which they don't understand, those who are under the influence of the Goddess might take that mockery to heart and seek retribution. Is that what you're saying?" he asked, needing to know precisely what she meant so that he could pass this along to his own people.

She held his gaze with clear, honest eyes. "Yes," she told him simply. "And if your people were to retaliate, as I am sure they would, we will slaughter them." She sighed, resting forward, her arms on her knees. "You asked why only twenty-eight of us. We are the Goddess-sworn, Her warriors, chosen at birth to serve Her will in the ways of the wild. One of us for each day of the moon's cycle. A force ten times the size of yours might be able to kill us all before they were cut down. And Clan Tarven do not boast."

He held her gaze with clear, honest eyes of his own. "We are not like you. We are not warriors, trained from birth. Some of us are, but most are not. Most are people who have come to us out of need, seeking protection from those who would do them harm. They know what it is to be mocked and persecuted. I can assure you they will respect your ways and your rituals. And if they do not, I will see to their punishment myself. You have my word."

"Do'ryvias, Conall Riordan," she nodded to him, her expression relaxing. For a moment, the look in her eyes seemed almost embarrassingly intimate, as though she had seen into his soul, read every secret of his heart, and shared her own. "I would not have blood shed tonight, of all nights."

He was not sure what the word meant, but he assumed it was an agreement of sorts, that she was taking him at his word. He would have to be certain that the contingent understood the gravity of the vow he had just spoken. "I can assure you, there will be no blood shed." He moved to his feet, as if he thought he'd better get on with it. He needed to speak with his own people and help set up camp for the night. There was no rest for the weary, after all. Not yet.

She nodded to him once again, warm and smiling. "Do not worry about hunting to feed yourselves," she told him. "We have enough and we are happy to share it with our new allies." Her smile almost became a smirk for a flicker of a moment, before she seemed to remember herself. "Enjoy the night, Conall Riordan."

"Well met and thank you for your hospitality, Liayna Na'Kari," he said before moving to retrieve his sword, slinging the leather strap over a shoulder. He offered another nod to her, both respectful and friendly before ducking back under the skin that served as her shelter and making his way toward the caves where his people were setting up camp.

Liayna watched him go, her smile once again secretive, all hers. "Goddess-touched and he doesn't even know it," she murmured to herself, gripping her left wrist reflexively as she chuckled. "What a life he has before him."

((A few new additions to round out the cast of characters and add to the story and drama. Thanks to Liayna's player for indulging me and for just being awesome, as usual. More coming soon!))

Arctra / Re: Seeking Allies
« on: April 20, 2014, 08:51:00 PM »
Conall seemed to catch her hint, though they were as different as night and day. He gestured to his men with a single hand again, and they dismounted from their horses, almost as one. He slid down from his horse with a fluid, supple motion, taking hold of his horse's reins to level the field, so to speak, offering their own trust in return for the clan's. "We are your guests for the night, and we will respect and honor your wishes, Liayna na'Kari," he replied, using her full name as she had used his.

She spoke a word in the tongue of the Wild Ones, and her clansmen and -women began to walk away as she turned back to their armored guests. "Then come, Conall Riordan," Liayna welcomed him, gesturing for him and his company to come with them. "Our camp is not far."

"Conall," he corrected, with a faint smile of his own, the first since arriving and meeting the small contingent, as he came up beside her, his horse following at his rear. "My friends call me Conall," he added, in way of explanation. At his back, the rest of his contingent mirrored their leader, following behind and leading their horses along with them. Some of them had started to talk quietly amongst themselves, but so far, none had uttered any complaint or challenge.

"I am not your friend, Conall Riordan," she told him, her smile secretive and whimsical, strangely infectious as she glanced up at him. "The Goddess knows what I am to you." Brown eyes flickered back toward the men and women who followed them, and her smile deepened. "But if you wish it, I will name you Conall. I am Liayna. Na'Kari is my ... title, I suppose you would call it. It means child of Kari. It names my family line, tells from whom I have come, nothing more."

"If I am not your friend, then what am I?" he asked, though it was true they had only just met and could not yet be called friends. Allies, perhaps, but not yet friends. "Riordan is my family name, as well. It was my father's name and his father's before him. Conall is the name given me at birth," he explained, hoping she'd see that they weren't so different after all, at least, in that regard.

She nodded, grateful for his explanation. His question, however, was not going to be answered in a way he was happy with. "What you are to me has been decided by the Goddess," she told him with a warm lilt to her voice as they passed between the trees, following the steps of her clan. "You will know when it is time to see." Ahead of them, grey granite rock rose between the trees - a hidden cache of caves and overhangs deep within this forest, concealed by brush. The nomads had raised simple shelters in front of the caves, nothing more than thick skins suspended high to give shade and cover to the furs that lay beneath. "The caves are yours to make use of as you wish," she told Conall, raising her voice for the benefit of his company. "We will not sleep in the heart of the earth."

He followed along beside her, arching a curious brow at her explanation, which, in truth, explained very little. It seemed she knew something he didn't, but, though curious, he thought it would be disrespectful to ask what that something might be. "We appreciate your hospitality, Liayna, and hope to return it when we reach the mountains." He waved a hand to the rebel contingent once again, and they moved past to the caves beyond the clan's camp. A woman came up and took charge of her leader's horse, giving the other woman a brief sidelong glance before joining the others.

Unlike Conall's company, no orders were given to the nomads, who simply moved to go about the business of preparing the meal for the night from the carcasses that lay by the firepits that peppered the ground. They didn't set any guards on their perimeter, but then, they didn't seem to make much sound at all, speaking quietly to one another in their own tongue as they settled to their business. Liayna met the sidelong glance of the woman who took the reins of Conall's horse, and held it, issuing an unspoken challenge with a knowing smirk. Then her eyes returned to the tall leader of the Arctran company, and her smile relaxed once more. "Before we reach your mountains, we will have shed blood together," she told him, with a confidence that could have been unnerving. "We will all be brothers and sisters in the Goddess then."

There went that single brow of his arching higher at what seemed like a prophecy to him and spoken with simple clarity and surety by a woman who hardly knew him. "Did your goddess tell you that, as well?" he asked, with no hint of malice or mocking in his voice, simple curiosity. He hardly noticed the exchange of glances between the two women, and if he had, he would have more than likely found it more amusing than worrying.

Liayna chuckled softly. "She sees all, but no," she assured him as she ducked beneath an overhanging skin, unslinging her bow and quiver from her back and waist to set them down. This was her sleeping place, it seemed. "There is a company of the false queen's men walking the wilds. They are seeking you out, Conall Riordan. We will help you kill them."

Conall followed her, ducking beneath the skin, realizing too late that this was her makeshift tent, her private quarters, so to speak, but he was already there, admitted without question or qualm, and it would be rude for him to reject that welcome. He watched with mild interest as she removed her weapons, though he did not do the same just yet. His sword would remain safely on his back until he decided it was time to remove it. "Me?" he asked, more surprised at her knowledge of this than at the fact that he might be a wanted man. All the rebels were wanted men, some with higher prices on their heads than others. "You are not interested in riches, then. You must know they would offer you a substantial reward for my capture." Whether or not he was testing her was uncertain. If she knew he was wanted by the queen's men, then she would already know of the reward. He guessed from what he'd seen already that the clan preferred a simple way of life that did not include such riches as the queen could offer.

"Their only reward to my people would be to try and slaughter us," Liayna told him pointedly. "The clans do not want a full war between our peoples. We only want the way of things restored." She settled down onto a handy rock, gesturing to another nearby. "Sit, if you have a wish to."

As Liam's appointed emissary and diplomat, he could not very well reject her offer, nor did he want to. Though he might not want to admit it, he found her intriguing and wanted to learn more, not only about her, but about her people and customs, as well. Was that not how someone made friends of a stranger? Though wary, he thought that if this was a trap, they would not have left her alone with him, nor would she had removed her weapons in his presence. "Do you mind if I make myself comfortable?" he asked, though she had already told him to do as much. It had been a long journey, and he was travel-weary.

She chuckled softly, lighting a small fire to chase away the chill of the darkening sky. "As comfortable as you can," she assured him. "I know most Arctrans are not comfortable in the wilds. I daresay even your camp in the mountains has a bed that is all yours, yes?"

"Not a bed such as is had in the city," he replied. Though she could not know it, he was not really accustomed to comfort; the wilderness suited him just fine. "There's freedom in the wilds. Peace and quiet," he told her as he unfastened the bindings that held his sword in place.

Arctra / Seeking Allies
« on: April 20, 2014, 08:49:30 PM »
The small contingent of men and women and horses had been traveling for some days through mountainous territory to a prearranged and neutral meeting place that had been agreed upon between the leaders of both factions - rebel and clan alike. They were not at odds with each other - at least, not yet - each group tolerating the presence of the other so long as they did not clash and compete for resources. Rebel numbers had swelled over the years as the population grew more restless and unhappy with the false queen and her regime, mostly made up of those who'd been named traitors and outlaws, along with their families.

Word spread of a safe haven in the mountains where refugees and the oppressed could live their lives in relative safety and peace, until such a time when the true line of Arlan was restored. It was the leader of the rebels - one Liam O'Connor - who had sent this contingent to seek an alliance with the nomadic clans of the wild, led by his closest and most trusted friend, a man he had known for many years and who he considered to be the brother of his heart. Among the rebels, he was second only to Liam in terms of leadership. His name was Conall Riordan.

Only one clan had answered the summons; only one clan was represented at the meeting place. They were known as the Wild Ones, nomads who had lived and traveled these lands long before civilisation had taken root. They shunned the cities of the Arctrans, a proud people in their own right, but looked down upon by those who considered themselves civilised. Savages, they were called; fools and idiots who worshipped not the nine gods, but a single goddess. And yet, when civilised medicine failed, it was to these savages, these Wild Ones, that the Arctrans often turned; to the people who knew the land and the old ways of healing and magic. The animosity ran too deep to allow clans and Arctrans to live side by side, and though the nomads were tolerated, they were not considered countrymen.

Of the seven clans, only Clan Tarven had responded to Liam O'Connor's call. Twenty-eight men and women waited in the clearing chosen, standing patiently without speaking, waiting for this Conall Riordan and his men to come to them. They wore furs and woven wools, leathers they had cured and shaped themselves, weapons hewn from stone and wood, eschewing metal. The one who led them was Goddess-touched, had come here at the behest of their Clan Father stood in their midst, hands loose at her sides, away from the bow and daggers she wore as she waited for the rebel Arctrans to appear. As men and horses came into view, the nomads turned as one to face them, calm and patient, but ready for a fight, if a fight was coming.

The leader of the rebel contingent was tall and broad-shouldered, as hard-muscled as any warrior, though his broad frame had been shaped another way well before he'd joined the group of rebels in their cause. He wore leather over cloth, a broadsword at his back. Dark hair hung loosely to his shoulders, eyes the color of the forest. The contingent came to a halt some distance from the clansmen with a single, silent gesture of a hand from their leader.

If he was disappointed by the lack of clansmen who had chosen to answer the call, he made no sign of it. His expression remained stoic as he and his men silently observed the other group, as though they were sizing each other up. At last, as no arms were drawn or threats were made, he spoke, his voice deep and even and unemotional. "I am Conall Riordan," he started, introducing himself first so there could be no mistake. "I come in peace and in friendship at the behest of our leader and in hopes of forming an alliance that might benefit both ourselves and the clans."

Confusion rippled through the nomads at his words, but they made no sound in response. Their leader stepped forward - tall and slender as a willow, brown curls rustling in the slight breeze, brown eyes holding Conall's gaze. She studied him for a long moment. "You are welcome, Conall Riordan," she said finally, her voice lilting with the exotic accent of the Wild Ones. "I am Liayna na'Kari, chosen of the Father of Clan Tarven. The alliance is already made; we are to join your army and see the heart of the matter done. Our clan will tend to the details in Phalion."

A single brow arched in unveiled surprise. It had been almost too easy. Why, then, had he been sent to negotiate an alliance that had already been decided? It seemed to him that only one clan had answered the call, and that clan had already made its choice. "Is this all of you?" he asked, doing a quick headcount and counting twenty-eight in all. A small band, and yet twenty-eight more to aid in their cause was better than none.

His surprise seemed to amuse the nomads, smiles and smirks appearing on the faces that watched his men. But no smile was wider or more obvious than the smile on the face of the woman who spoke for them. "You doubt us, Conall Riordan?" she asked him in amusement. "You think twenty-eight of the Goddess-sworn is not enough for your war?"

"No, Lady," Conall replied, bowing his head respectfully. If he was surprised that a woman had come forward to speak for the group, he did not show it. Perhaps Liam had chosen his envoy well, afterall. "I am sure you are a valiant group. I only want to make sure we are not awaiting more of you."

"Lady?" This time, the laughter did make itself known throughout the group, lead by Liayna herself as she shook her head. "Keep your Lady, Conall Riordan. I am Liayna ... not civilised as you are, but simple. My name is all the title I need. And no, there are no more coming. We have been fighting this war longer than you have, city man. There are many words that need to be said to bring the conclusion to the right course."

He bristled a little, more at the laughter than at the reprimand. His horse seemed to take more offense than the man, however, making his opinion known with a toss of his great head and a snort. Conall stilled the horse, soothing his restlessness with the pat of a hand. The small group of men and women behind him remained quietly watchful, as they would unless and until he told them to do otherwise. They did not want a fight from these people; they wanted their help. "It is clear we have much to learn about each other, Liayna," he admitted. "My men are tired. We have traveled far. Would it be acceptable to you and your people that we camp here for the night to rest before making the return journey to the mountains?"

"The camp is prepared," she told him, spreading her hands in a peaceful gesture. "You and your company are welcome to join us tonight. Be warned that the Goddess' belly is full - hinder our observances, mock us, and no one will make the return journey. A warning, Conall Riordan. To our new friends."

"We have not come to mock your way of life or observances. That is not the way of friends and allies. Is it not better to learn about each other's differences and respect those differences than to mock them?" The question might have been a subtly hinting that in order to demand respect, they also needed to give it. None of his men had yet laughed or even quirked a grin; the same could not be said for the clansmen.

"Respect requires a level field, Conall Riordan," Liayna pointed out, quite deliberately lifting her chin higher than necessary to look into his face, making her own subtle point about him and his men remaining on horseback for this meeting, despite outnumbering the group they had met. "I gave warning because your civilised ways are not ours, and I have been to one of your cities. Our  worship on the night of the full moon is wilder, freer, than you and yours are used to. As I said, it was a friendly warning, rather than risk a mistake putting an end to our friendship." She took a step back, and the nomads she led turned their backs as she turned with them, calling out, "We give you our trust, Conall Riordan, you and your company. Would you do the same for us?"

Arctra / Re:
« on: April 19, 2014, 10:09:57 AM »
A song for the rebels and refugees and exiles of Arctra...

We Will Go Home (Song of Exile) - Leah

Land of bear and land of eagle
Land that gave us birth and blessing
Land that called us ever homewards
We will go home across the mountains

We will go home, we will go home
We will go home across the mountains
We will go home, we will go home
We will go home across the mountains

Land of freedom, land of heroes
Land that gave us hope and memories
Hear our singing hear our longing
We will go home across the mountains

We will go home, we will go home
We will go home across the mountains
We will go home, we will go home
We will go home across the mountains

Land of sun and land of moonlight
Land that gave us joy and sorrow
Land that gave us love and laughter
We will go home across the mountains

We will go home, we will go home
We will go home across the mountains
We will go home, we will go home
We will go home across the mountains

When the land is there before us
We have gone home across the mountains
We will go home, we will go home
We will go home across the mountains

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