The Preamble

In the heart of Ninraih's jungles, the Fae created the city of Ajteire, protected from the undead by the magic of fireflies and a pact with the Kerasoka. The complex network of trees, vines, and plants helps to keep unwanted visitors out. Read more...
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Memoria
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The Preamble

Post by Memoria »

As this tavern is situated close to the entrance of Ajteire and is typically the first thing a traveler sees, it was named The Preamble for its welcoming introduction into the city. The Preamble is a relatively new addition to Ajteire and was constructed next to the city boundaries as a lot of weary and lost people entering the city needed to rest, sit down, and gather their senses. Many outsiders claim that The Preamble is not really a tavern, as it has no defining walls. Tables, chairs, and lounging areas were brought together in a grassy clearing, with a few of the tables having umbrellas for protection from the rain. In a few corners, there are hammocks as well and if a person decides to stay the night, behind The Preamble is one of Ajteire's three inns.

There is a bar and servers so folk can order drinks and light snacks, but heartier food should be acquired at the cooking stations positioned around Ajteire. Like those stations, The Preamble is not owned by any person, but the duty to manage it is divided between the Fae and Kerasoka community. The residents who choose to work at the tavern are commonly those who are interested in hearing tales from outsiders. As for drinks, potent and sharp alcoholic beverages are almost never on the menu; instead, the tavern specializes in drinks like teas, coffees, wines, and light alcohols that have revitalizing properties. Many have stated there is even magic involvement in these brews.

Despite its simplicity, The Preamble aims to help the soul relax and does exceptionally well at that. Bards and storytellers freely flock to the area and the presence of song and storytelling helps to alleviate travelers of their troubles.

Note: You may use this thread to introduce characters or meet new characters. Staff (as they have time permitting) will likely create NPCs to respond to posts.
Word count: 318

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Nester Tattergild
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Should be Studying
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Re: The Preamble

Post by Nester Tattergild »

Monsoon rain hammered the palm fronds and umbrellas in the clearing, soaking the lush greenery and dripping from the vines that criss-crossed the jungle canopy above.

When rainstorms like this passed over Ninraih, Ajteire’s denizens tended to make themselves scarce. But even if there had been a crowd of patrons at The Preamble, there was no way they’d have been able to hear Nester’s fiddle or flute – or her voice, for that matter – over this almighty racket.

A curl of smoke rose lazily from the hammock she had retreated to. She was sheltered by the wide leaves of a large palm, and held a long, carved pipe in one hand, stuffed with a type of herb the locals liked to smoke out here. She’d forgotten what it was called, but in any case, it was light, fragrant and relaxing, and she attempted to form a smoke ring on her next exhale.

Before the ring could properly take shape, it was blown away by Zephyr, her parrot, who stretched and beat his sapphire-coloured wings where he sat, neatly perched, on a nearby branch. She eyed her feathered companion suspiciously. Sometimes, she thought he did that on purpose, as though he disapproved of the habit she’d recently picked up.

Sighing, she lowered the pipe and turned her auburn head where she lay, sea-green eyes surveying the dripping clearing. Thunder rumbled somewhere far above, long and low and menacing.

There was no denying it. Nester was bored.

Not just right now, because of the rain, but generally – being here in the city. It was a slightly disturbing realisation, and it made her brows knit together in a frown. She loved Ajteire; she always had. Her stays were always longer here than they were elsewhere in Khy’eras. But she’d been in the city for several weeks by now, and she was beginning to feel that familiar pull – that tugging that always reared its head when she’d lingered in one spot for a long stretch of time.

It wasn’t just a change of scenery she longed for, she realised as she probed deeper. Life in Ajteire was wonderful, but it was also leisurely and unhurried – slow and simplistic and relaxing, particularly at The Preamble, where she’d been staying.

No. It was something more she wanted. Something more exhilarating than her usual visits to Khy’eras’s other cities, or to Verdant Row. Somewhere, perhaps, she’d never been before. Where that might be, she had no idea. As she pondered, she lifted the pipe and put it in her mouth, and then cocked an eyebrow as Zephyr ruffled his vibrant feathers and took off into the pounding rain. Lifting herself onto her elbow, she watched him come to rest under a table, where he stepped from foot to foot and glared at her for a moment.

After a short while, he began to peck at the ground – some crusts or crumbs, or a juicy beetle, perhaps, that had caught his beady eye in the grass.

With a shake of her head, Nester settled back in her hammock and smoked, and stared up at the glistening canopy, and lost herself in daydreams of far-off places… and of adventure.
Word count: 542

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Toa
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Re: The Preamble

Post by Toa »

Someone had once called Toa impulsive and while she had responded to this by slapping them in the face in retrospect they may have had a point.

Of course it made sense to come to Ajteire, that couldn’t be denied. As one of the very few places that welcomed magic it was probably the best place to try to regain what she had lost. Maybe someone would be able to clear her memory, certainly a long shot but even if that was not possible she might at least be able to find someone capable of deciphering some of the book she’d awoken with on the riverside with. Yes, there were certainly some very good and sensible reasons for Toa to come to Ajteire and if anyone asked she would certainly offer those before admitting she had just gotten on the wrong train.

Not that this had been her fault really, what was she supposed to do when upon arriving at the station she saw a train just about to depart? She didn’t doubt that she could have checked it’s intended destination before chasing after it but to do that would have wasted precious seconds and thus run the risk of her having to wait for another train, something which could have taken centuries. Admittedly it could have also only taken a few hours but that was utterly impossible to be certain of now and Toa had decided it was best not to think about it. Instead she had decided to focus on making the best of the situation and this was something she had spent the entire journey considering. She'd come up with some ideas, some very good ideas, but unfortunately every single one of them had been built upon an incorrect assumption.

That Ajteire actually existed.

She hadn’t really paid all that much attention to the view during her journey and so she had offered a few choice profanities upon realising how far the train had dropped her from civilisation. Had she lingered a few moments to adjust to the alien landscape, perhaps even taking a moment to actually speak to someone, she might have found one of the several pathways that lead from the away from the station. However, after spending so long in the company of others in the cramped train Toa was eager to get moving and so she had simply scanned the horizon for evidence of the city. When repeated scans returned identical results (trees) she decided that the best course of action was to pick an arbitrary direction and kept walking until she found something. Suffice to say this was not the best course of action.

“Leaves...!” Toa hissed in irritation she once again stumbled through another dense network of branches.

It was perhaps not the most eloquent way of voicing her displeasure but that didn’t make it any less accurate. She had been prepared to get snagged on branches, having a hooded cloak makes that an unavoidable reality of life, but she had not been prepared for enormous leafy fronds swatting her in the face or drenching her with the rain they had managed to collect. This last thicket had managed to combine both of these qualities and there were several seconds of frenzied face wiping before Toa realised she had stumbled into a large clearing.

She paused then for a moment, still blinking water out of her eyes, and looked around. While it certainly was an improvement over the jungle she still wasn’t quite sure if it qualified as civilization. A few odd looks from those already in the clearing certainly seemed to suggest there was no intelligent company to be found here but the sight of tables with umbrellas was enough to convince her to linger a few moments and investigate. And so, drawing herself up to her full height, Toa decided to addressed the world in general.

“Can anyone tell me where I am?”
Word count: 661

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Nester Tattergild
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Re: The Preamble

Post by Nester Tattergild »

Nester had her eyes closed and was in severe danger of nodding off to sleep to the hypnotising pattering of the rain. But a stray drop, which had made its way to a point directly above her head, fell and hit her nose, making her jump where she lay. She raised a hand and wiped it off, grumbling, and for a moment considered heading inside. Her thoughts were interrupted, however, by the sound of foliage rustling across the clearing. She turned her head, squinting, pipe held in her mouth, and saw a very, very tall figure emerge from the tangled brush.

Nester stared.

That was a Lumeacia, if ever she’d seen one. And she hadn’t seen many, especially not in these parts. The elf’s pale skin and almost luminous white hair stood out starkly against the dark green backdrop, and Nester raised herself up on her elbow again to get a better look. The newcomer looked a little worse for wear – as did most people who turned up in Ajteire having trekked for some distance through the jungle. She’d been soaked by the rain, it seemed, and looked more than little… displeased. After sweeping her gaze around the clearing – and Nester noticed, then, that the elf’s eyes were slightly mismatched – the stranger opened her mouth and declared, “Can anyone tell me where I am?”

Before Nester could move or take her pipe out of her mouth, a squawk issued from beneath the table Zephyr had flown to, followed by an unmistakeable wolf whistle – a trick he’d picked up in the slums of Fellsgard and was prone to deploying whenever he encountered someone new.

To her dismay, a few seconds later, his high, croaky voice called out, “Help! I’ve been turned into a parrot!”

That had been one of hers. She’d thought it would be funny (and she had to admit she’d been a little tipsy when she’d taught it to him), but the blasted bird had so far picked the most inopportune moments to blurt it out. Within earshot of Fellsgard’s patrolling soldiers, for example. Now that had required some hasty explanations…

Shifting and wincing slightly at the memory, Nester sat up in her hammock and shouted, “Shut up, will you, you feather-brained idiot?”

In response, Zephyr blew a raspberry.

Nester manoeuvered herself out of the hammock, straightened, and surveyed the newcomer from across the clearing, one hand resting casually on her waist.

“Welcome to The Preamble,” she said. “You’re in Ajteire – Arbor of Fireflies.” She paused, grinned, and then added, “You look like you could use a drink.”
Word count: 441

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Toa
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Re: The Preamble

Post by Toa »

Toa did not react well to surprises, something that can be very tiring for an amnesiac.

She’d been looking around the area in the hopes of identifying someone important but she abandoned this effort entirely when a shrill noise rang out across the clearing. The sudden noise had caught he off guard and with a growing sense of anger she sought out the source of the noise so she could roundly chastise it. Toa would admit that she had not expected the perpetrator to be a bird but after so long traveling she could no longer be truly surprised by the hideous noises animals were capable of making. What was surprising was when the bird spoke.

There was something deeply upsetting about carefully constructing a worldview only for it to be regularly smashed to pieces by some incredibly inconsiderate piece of reality. This had happened to Toa more times than most people could count, thirty seven, and though this it was always a frustrating experience she prided herself on being able to quickly adapt and create a new, more comprehensive understanding of the world. Even now her mind raced to incorporate talking birds into her theories and so when someone else spoke it took a few moments to realise what they had said was almost as bad as talking birds.

“You’re in Ajteire – Arbor of Fireflies.”

“What.” said Toa finally.

Utterly ridiculous, this couldn’t be Ajteire. All that was here was trees, lots and lots of trees. No, that didn’t make sense… well unless Ajteire was made of trees. Like a city of trees. Like a tree city. But who would want to live in a city of trees. Birds maybe. Wait, are birds in charge in here? No, if birds were in charge the copperhead woman wouldn’t have been rude to the bird. Maybe everyone here can just change into birds? The bird said something about changing into birds. That woman could be a bird as well, probably one of those birds that love shiny, gaudy things. She even came out of some weird nest a second ago. So it could be a city of bird people would live in trees. Maybe everyone here is a bird...

At this Toa once again looked around the clearing, this time noticing that everyone seemed to be staring at her. Unbeknownst Toa had spoken every step of her very tenuous line of logic aloud, having once again fallen into her habit of talking aloud to herself just so she could hear an intelligent voice. As a result of this those near enough to hear gave her looks of genuine bafflement while those further away had to make do with a vague sense of uneasiness. Of course Toa had no idea this was why she was getting so many odd looks and quickly determined it was due to either jealous or prejudice, perhaps both. In response to this she flipped up the hood of her cloak and cleared her throat.

“I actually do need a drink.” she announced, furrowing her brow as she pondered how exactly a bird society would do that “Is there some kind of… communal bowl?”

Toa looked around at the bird people once again and then, upon reflecting on what she had just said, frowned disapprovingly.

“If so that’s disgusting.”
Word count: 557

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Harroc Crownegrove
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Re: The Preamble

Post by Harroc Crownegrove »

Under the hunter's instructions, Harroc ambled down the vaguely straight line between the massive tree trunks and pillars of vines. In true Ninraih fashion, the skies rumbled before pouring down sheets of warm rain. The Druid chuckled to himself as the first heavy drops struck his hood. There wasn't much to do for the weather, he would simply have to dry his armor again.

As he walked Harroc's mind wandered, his eyes simply sliding over the rare person passing by. During his youth in the wilds, he'd met a fair number of people and learned a good deal about cities in general. Despite many meetings with traveling traders, roaming hunters, and even the occasional small camp he'd never actually been to a city. He was surprised how few people he'd come across, but after a moments thought he decided that perhaps the rains were more bothersome to people used to having standing homes.

He finally came across a clearing, interspersed with various pieces of furniture and clearly trampled by regular traffic. He glanced around, his eyes skipping over two women clearly in conversation before making his way to a table with a wide umbrella covering. He slumped on to a stool, slid off his gear and let out a long sigh. It was then that he heard something interesting from the women. The white-haired one was muttering loudly to herself about birds. Looking at her with a raised eyebrow Harroc noticed a brightly colored parrot resting beneath the nearby table.

With a small bit of concern for the creature, and how it found itself grounded in the rain, he spoke to it. In his head the words were simple; parrots were smart but tended to ignore things they didn't care for. "Safe? Lost? Hungry?" He asked in a series of chirps, clicks, and coos. Harroc was so familiar with speaking to the wild animals he often forgot most people couldn't do the same.
Word count: 323

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Roan Mohan
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Re: The Preamble

Post by Roan Mohan »

It was crowded today, much to the fae musician's excitement: the Preamble was full of a pleasing mixture of familiar, native faces and the curious, sometimes ragged visages of strangers. Travelers, adventurers, traders, and hunters—Roan made it a point to greet with friendliness who he could whenever he had a moment to do so, it was true, and he always had a smile or a few quiet words for folks he'd known for decades. He'd hunted alongside a few of them. He'd told stories until dawn with a few others. He'd tended the gardens with plenty of them, too, but today he wasn't serving for the watch kitchen.

Today he was entertaining with song.

The tickle of nervousness, much like that cool trace of sweat that danced down his spine from between his shoulder blades, was one of his favorite feelings as he hovered under one of the many umbrella tables, tuning his instrument and reading the body language of those who had gathered.

Some folks looked tired and lost. Other people looked just as enthused as he did. Roan smiled at a few of his friends who were taking their turns serving today, watching them flit lightly through the clearing, offering a calm respite to those who wished to take a pause. The scent of rain was heavy in the air, which was most likely only something a native of Ninraih's humid, thick jungles could even detect given just how weighed down by heat and moisture the place already was, but the lithe musician could feel it in his light bones.

Shouldering his mandolin into its proper place and letting his slim, calloused fingers find their comfortable homes on the smooth wood and strings, his tortoiseshell plectrum caught a little light in the ruddy glow of strung up lanterns. Roan strummed a few chords to find the right volume he wished to play at, not calling attention to himself with a greeting or announcing his presence with some grand introduction. Instead, he moved smoothly into a gentle, easy beginning set of music, wandering the clearing and weaving between tables.

Building a comfortable atmosphere of sound, he chose a slow, relaxing melody, floating between the notes a bit of magic to further calm and relax the minds and bodies of those who heard it, of those who met his smiling green gaze and felt the sincerity of his chosen song. He didn't sing or speak up, simply walking around, pausing for a few moments here and a few moments there, shifting from one tune to the next as he improvised out of his own talent instead of sticking with anything particularly well-documented. He enjoyed improvising the best, anyway, pulling from old folklore and digging up forgotten tunes to rework and make his own, pulling from his own vivid imagination to create moving pieces of sound.

It was a service all its own, the way Roan offered music to strangers like the Preamble offered food and rest to travelers, and he lived for the ability to give all he had in such a pleasing, song-filled ways.
Word count: 516

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Roridula Lunatus
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"Where's the library?"
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Re: The Preamble

Post by Roridula Lunatus »

Roridula clambered up onto a stool in a well-lit corner of the Preamble. A bard wandered, singing soft melodies that made a pleasant background noise with the usual murmurs one heard in a tavern. Realizing that she'd absentmindedly chosen a taller seat, Rory shrugged slightly and kicked her feet back and forth, her wings flapping lazily. Not having her feet touch the ground might be tiring, but for now, the light was the important thing. She cracked open her book, leafing through the pages to find a spot known only to her, before laying the volume open with a soft thud.

A server dropped off the citrusy herbal tea she'd ordered and a small bowl of nuts. "What'cha reading?" the server asked, his cerulean wings flapping quickly. He'd set a ruddy tanned palm on the tabletop, and his dark blue hair hung in his eyes a bit, Rory noticed, as she flicked her eyes over to see who had spoken.

"Hmm?" Rory pulled herself away from her book. "Oh! It's a collection of studies on pyromancy and there's this fascinating experiment done with adjustments to the traditional spark spell. Did you know you can change its size if..." The fae server's eyes had darkened and he'd flown away. Rory shrugged. She preferred to be left alone right now - unless someone wanted to point her to the nearest library or talk shop.

A chart on vowel pronunciations and their effect on the spark spell caught her eye, and Rory dug in her bag for her journal and a pen. This might come in handy later, and she didn't think she could lug around all of her books. Once she was finished reading, she'd post it back to her parents to put in her room. Despite her mom's occasional jokes that she was losing a daughter but gaining a library, Rory knew her parents wanted her to do whatever she needed to pursue knowledge.

She took a sip of her tea and began to copy the table. Maybe she'd have enough light left to finish the volume tonight.
Word count: 347

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NPC
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Re: The Preamble

Post by NPC »

Deep into her book and copying, it was very likely that Rory would not realize the giant that sat down in the stool next to her until there was a very audible and weary thud. It was an eight-foot-tall Ue'drach with an impressively powerful appearance. Part of Rory's light was dimmed, not for the approaching night, but for the shadow he cast over her. It was not just Rory that was oblivious to company, but the Ue'drach as well, who stretched out his wings and knocked Rory clean off her seat.

Hearing a light yelp, the draconic kin looked around a bunch of times and then finally at the ground to see a dazed Fae. A hand went to his mouth in surprise, and then just as quickly, he dropped his hand, moved from the seat, picked the tiny Fae up, and placed her back on the seat before any objections were made.

"I am so sorry, miss! I'm obviously not from around these parts and I forget how little... Khy'eras people can be!" he said with a small and guilty looking smile. Despite his bat-like wings, straight pointed horns, and bulking mass, the Ue'drach did appear to be rather timid and friendly in nature. "My name is Xalusae and should we become acquaintances or friends, you may also call me Xal."

Though sitting once more, Xal gave a flourish of a bow, this time without pushing Rory off her seat. Turning his head, Xal directed his gaze to the book she was reading and pointed a sharp, clawed hand at the page, expertly without ripping the parchment.

"That one is pronounced IG-NI-LUX!" When pronouncing the words so clearly, Xal turned his head towards the treetops and a bit of fire blew out of his mouth. He dropped his gaze back to Rory. "It means 'fire' and 'light'! Are you an avid reader, miss? Do tell me you might be able to show me where all the Ajteire libraries are?"
Word count: 330

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Roridula Lunatus
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"Where's the library?"
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Re: The Preamble

Post by Roridula Lunatus »

“Hey!” Rory was swept off her seat by a leathery wing belonging to the huge person who had taken the seat next to her. A horned face looked over the table edge, surprised to see her. He picked her up as lightly as she would a feather and placed her back on her seat.

Rory craned her neck to look up - way up! - at the person who had done all this. His horns and wings showed that he was one of the dragon-men; an Ue’drach, she remembered. Apologizing, he said his name was Xalusae, and he looked rather repentant. Also terribly large, but a fellow book lover. Excellent.

“I’ve only just gotten here a day or so ago myself, but I’ll be looking for the libraries tomorrow. I want to learn everything about magic!” Rory grinned, looking up at Xalusae. “Do you know what books are best for a foundational understanding of temporal magics? I haven’t found much yet,” she said. “Mostly I’ve been reading about elemental magics and trying to understand the particulars of how they’re cast,” she said, pointing to the chart she’d just copied.

If he knew, she’d be a step further in her research; if he didn’t, well, then maybe he’d move. Either outcome was fine by her. “I want to train as a wizard, and a good wizard knows as much as they can find out about their magics, I’ve been told.” Rory swung her legs on her stool. “So that’s me. What’d you come to Ajteire for?”
Word count: 268

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