Currently on hiatus. Will resume in July, or sooner.

Current story updates:

Current story interludes/Side stories:
Every other Saturday

Other pieces:
Every other Saturday (Saturdays I don't run the Interludes/Side Stories)

During certain periods updates may come more often; at other times updates may come less often. This schedule is my hoped-for goal.

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Sigilian 2

Introducing a new character today!
Tomas is the son of one of the Free Lords of Rin, the smaller unaffiliated islands in the middle of the Torin Island chain.
At some point I will upload a map for you guys.

Tomas folded his newest shirt carefully and placed it into the carryall. He would have his main luggage shipped with him, but he wanted something that was readily accessible, not in the hold of the ship.
So the most fashionable clothes went into here, and the ones that would hold dirt the least well. While he did not care for his appearance as much as some did he wished to make a good impression on his betrothed, the Lady Juniper Aveu Glante.
He did not understand the strange naming convention of some of the Destrian Dukes. To name their daughter “Tree of Light” Darr did not make sense to him, but he would not mention it when he met her.
Her parents and his parents were both fine with it, so he would accept it as well.
His book was last to be placed into his carryall. He had wrapped it in canvas, and then wrapped the ink and pen in separate canvas bundles, but perhaps he should…
Yes, he would.
A few minutes later he was struggling with oilcloth, trying to tie the twine in place without the benefit of someone to help. The servants were for the most part busy in other parts of the house. And they knew that it was potentially dangerous to enter into his room when he was busy; he had fast reflexes when Sketching and had broken a man’s arm by accident the first time he was interrupted.
And so when he did not want to be disturbed he was not, but when he could use the help there was none to be found.
But that did not really matter. Tomas preferred to do things himself anyways. And he didn’t particularly like the help. They were never as careful as he was, never worried about his materials and possessions like they would their own.
So he had packed his trunk by himself, packed his bag by himself, and now packed his carryall by himself.
He had been the one to set his room in order after he packed what he was taking, and he was the one to move what he was not taking off elsewhere, to one of his siblings, or to a place where it could be used in the case of the telescope and clockwork model of the moons. Hopefully someone would take an interest in it and try and learn more about the world that they lived in.
But, people didn’t seem to care about the patterns of the moons and that the three of them were going to converge in four months, or that it was the first time this had happened in a thousand years. Even his siblings only feigned interest.
He had initially picked up the hobby of stargazing from Aline, but she had been dead for twelve years now. It was time for him to stop comparing others to her.
He paused a moment and began to focus his mind, narrow his thoughts until he could slip into the State. It had at first been hard for him, but it seemed that losing his right eye had allowed him to better focus, to better achieve the State. Maybe it was because there were fewer distractions from the real world.
Once he was ready he began to Sketch. He didn’t need the Sigil to bring his carryall downstairs, but if he wanted his trunk to be brought down without servants entering his room that would require some bodily enhancement.
In his mind he pictured the Sigilian, the swirl and half moon shape of the Sigil of Bodily Perfection contained in its circle, the brilliant blue colour of the design.
He traced that shape, Sketched a part of the Sigil.
It took precision and skill to Sketch it correctly, and if he didn’t he would be forced to wait before trying again. Since there was no rush to get his trunk downstairs Tomas took his time, gentling following the half moon again and again.
For a simple task like this he needed more than the Basic, but he also didn’t need to Finish or Complete. He just needed a small boost.
As the crescent moon took shape before him in the air glowing the same blue as the Sigilian in his mind he felt the power begin to hum and fill the room. Soon the Sigil was at breaking point, ready to discharge its power at a single snap of his fingers.
Instead he finished the last stroke and stepped back content to let it slowly bleed the strength he needed. Testing his empowered muscles he began to lift the trunk, slowly so as not to damage himself, and then all the way up.
He’d judged the strength well, not giving himself overmuch, but not too little either. With something delicate like this it never paid to be rash and use his full strength lest he break something.
Maneuvering out into hall he began the slow descent down to the main floor, trunk jutting out ahead of him like some kind of battering ram.
He had almost made it to the ground floor when he heard footsteps racing down the stairs behind him.
Another few steps and he would make it-
His sister jumped when she was still a few steps above and landed on his back, arms around his neck.
Overbalancing he had to throw the trunk down the remaining dozen stairs to stop from taking the fall himself.
As it bounced, landed, and spilled open his sister continued to crush him in a hug.
“You’re leaving today Tomas”
“Yes, I know”
“I’m going to miss you Tomas”
“And I’m going to miss you Dania. And mom, dad, Erik, and Tuner”
“But me most of all of course”
“Of course. Could you get down now? You’re strangling me and I need to go repack my trunk”
Once his sister jumped down he allowed himself to slide out of the State. He was proud of the fact that he had maintained it through the disturbance, but it came from long years of knowing he would be tackled by his older sister.
He shot her a smile as he began to pack his things again. Everyone would be down to see what the noise was about in a few minutes, and to say goodbye, but he knew his sister was right. He would miss her most.
“Dania, when are you going to visit your betrothed?”
She leaned against the wall and smirked at him.
“Not any time soon if I have any say in it”
His sister was best described as willowy with long black hair that hung straight, like the leaves of a willow. Blue eyes in an ivory face, she was described by many as beautiful.
She was wearing her customary riding leathers and had an (empty) scabbard at her hip so that she could get used to walking with it.
She was in training to be a Knight of the Land in order to protect those who could not protect themselves, and refused to be married to someone who would not allow her to fulfill those duties.
Their parents were having a lot of trouble finding someone who would fill those requirements and also be a suitable match.
“But you brother, are going to get married very soon now Id imagine! I mean, you’re going to meet her soon, and then she’ll love you and you’ll love her and it’ll be a wonderful marriage. Its not like your gloomy exterior and grim attitude could possibly put her off”
“Dania…I’m going to be a gentleman and try my hardest to be friendly and not ‘gloomy’. And even if we don’t feel anything for each other at first this marriage will strengthen ties with Destria to balance out the marriage of the Hurruns to that Lomwar lord. We need to keep the balance as even as possible, or else there may be a war”
“Yes, and I know that. Just, try and be friendly ok? Smile once or twice even though she isn’t family. And let their servants into your quarters. You can’t afford to be your usual eccentric self  while you’re over there. Right?”
“But, if you ever need any help or anything or she gives you grief for being a tad gloomy now and then you send me a letter ok? I’ll jump on the next ship and kick some sense into that loony Light Bush”
“Dania, do not make fun of Tomas’ betrothed”
The two turned to see their father marching in the door.
“She is a kind and pleasant young woman who your mother and I am sure will make Tomas very happy. And of course he will make her very happy as well. Now then, what are you doing packing your things in the middle of the hallway Tomas?”
“Ah, that would be my fault. I hugged him while he was carrying the trunk and it fell and spilled. Promise dad”
Though some of the clothes had picked up a bit of dust from the floor the house was clean enough that being spilled had not done them any harm. As he refolded them his father came over and patted him on the back.
“Tomas, you’ve grown a lot since you were a boy. Since you were betrothed you’ve become such a strong young man, and you have matured. I know that you will make us, and the house, proud”
“Thank you father. It means a lot to hear those words”
He stood and extended his hand to shake, but his father pushed that aside and pulled him into a hug.
“You’ll do just fine son. We all know that”
“Yes, we do. Dania, why are you just standing around, don’t you have something you need to be doing right now?”
“Right, yes mom”
Dania ran back up the stairs as his mother pulled him into another hug.
“Son, we believe in you. You do them an honour by marrying Juniper. You’re the best Sketcher in the house and you’re studious, hard working, and loyal. You deserve more than a Duchess, you deserve a princess of a royal house! Not someone who looks down on the Free Lords”
“Mother, this is what’s best. Its best for the house, best for the Council, and best for the Torin Islands. We don’t want a war, and my marriage will help to prevent one”
“Yes dear, I know. I was the one who set it up if you’ll remember. I just wish that things didn’t have to be this way”
“Dear, nothing is gained by fretting over what cannot be. Now, since neither Erik nor Tuner is on the island when Dania gets back, thats the four us gathered. Its about time for you to be leaving Tomas. You don’t want to keep the ship waiting”
“Of course not father. If they have to wait too long they may leave, and then where will I be? Late for my first meeting with my betrothed. What a fine way to introduce myself”
“Tomas, don’t be so cynical. You’re a fine young man, you’ll make a wonderful first impression”
His mother hugged him again as Dania came running back down the stairs.
“Tomas, I’ve got something for you!”
She leapt the last few steps and thrust a package wrapped in oilcloth into his hands.
“There are five things in there, something from each of us. I just finished mine now, so thats why you didn’t see any of them sooner”
He felt the parcel. It was heavy, and there were definitely multiple things inside of it. His brothers must have sent these by ship for them to be here.
“Should I open it now?”
His parents nodded encouragement as they stepped back to give him some space.
He flipped the trunk lid closed and sat down on it. He could lock it up or put these inside later.
The oilcloth fell open to reveal five things wrapped in brown paper. He picked up the smallest first.
The paper was thick and crinkled as he unwrapped it. It had an odd smell and was covered in salt stains.
Inside there was a letter wrapped around a pen.
So, today’s the big day! I remember when I went off to meet my betrothed. It was such a nervewracking experience, all these emotions, fear about making a good impression, worry that she wouldn’t be kind or someone I’d want to marry, nervousness about letting my parents down, sadness about leaving home…
There was almost too much.
But it all turned out fine. It was an amazing few weeks, the trip by boat, meeting her, and then traveling the island learning about the places where I would be spending so much of my time. And I knew that I could always come visit my family again whenever I wanted, so that dulled the pain of missing you guys.
My point is, stop worrying your gloomy head, and enjoy life! Look forward to the adventure ahead of you, and don’t stop.
Included is a pen. I bought it from a bazaar in Laeros. Its had the Sigil for Shadows Permanently Sketched onto it. Put it to paper and enter the State, and watch, it’ll write with no ink. And the lines it leaves won’t run or bleed and don’t need to dry or be blotted. Its an incredible toy for someone like you who loves to take notes about everything. Use it well ok?
Good luck, and see you when you get home!
Tomas took out the pen and looked at it. It was a regular metal tube that came to a point at one end. But, if he entered the State…
As soon as his mind slipped into it he could see thousands of tiny little swirls on the pen’s surface. It had definitely been Permanently Sketched. He would have to look at it in closer detail later.
“Tomas, what is it? I haven’t seen this stuff yet either”
“Its a letter from Tuner and a pen that doesn’t use ink, instead using Permanancied Shadow”
“Whew. That is one expensive trinket!”
“It is. You had better thank your brother when next you see him Tomas”
“Of course Mother. Would you like to see the letter and pen? Don’t use it yet, I haven’t even tried”
As Dania pounced on the pen he began to open the next package.
The paper on this one was from the island, and inside was a beautifully crafted dagger. The scabbard was tooled leather and the blade was forged of pure steel. He could, if he tilted it, see the waves and folds in the metal, signs of true craftsmanship in a Vertari dagger.
A half-basket hilt would guard the hand from any strikes against it but not restrict its range of movement. The bottom of the hilt had the Bern Crest carefully detailed into it.
“Tomas, use it carefully. You’ll be going out into the world now, and you’ll have to travel alone sometimes. Sometimes you’ll have to fight. This is to help you do so. Be wary, and alert, and you’ll be able to make it through anything with a little preparation”
His father walked over and handed him a belt.
“It would have made the package too unwieldy, but that belt is good leather, tanned and prepared so that it won’t weather or break. It should serve you well”
“Thank you Father. I promise you I will use it well, and only when it is necessary, not before then”
“As it always should be, violence as only a last resort”
Setting the dagger down on the trunk (Dania quickly grabbed it up leaving the pen in its place) he turned to the third parcel.
“That one is from me”
He nodded to his mother as he unwrapped it. Inside there was a large pile of cloth.
Standing and shaking it out he found a beautiful green cloak. It was quite heavy and clinked, but when he put it on his hands quickly found the pockets that had been stuffed with gold.
Once those were removed the cape hung nicely and swirled beautifully.
“Its got some waterproofing on it, so it should keep the spray or rain off of you unless its really pouring. Its also got a lot of pockets for anything you could need to carry and has a hood. The coins are for if you need to stay at an inn one night while you’re away”
“Or, by the sounds of them, buy an inn” Dania placed the dagger back down and looked Tomas over with a mock frown on her face.
“I think it needs to be a little lighter to better offset your eyes and while it is beautiful now how long will it last? And more importantly, will the colour match his fashions, and still be in fashion this time next year?”
She winked.
“It looks great Mom, Tomas. It’ll match most of your outfits and looks good with your hair”
“Thank you Mother, and thanks Dania”
He picked up the second last parcel. More exotic paper.
The letter fluttered to the floor as he pulled out a pair of boots.
“Just like Erik to get me boots”
He put his old boots aside and tugged the new ones on.
“They fit well”
He opened the letter and sat down to read.
I’m writing this to explain.
Those are indeed boots. They make your feet not get sore when you walk.
They’re good quality, made of good leather and all that, and should last unless you really beat them up. I had the cobbler make them especially for you.
I also hope that they fit, because I put a lot of effort into them.
You know I’ve been practicing my Sketching, almost as much as you. I’m learning about Permanency now, which is fun. So I thought I’d practice.
Its not as easy as it sounds, and it sounds really hard. Your boots may not work because I might have messed up, but if I didn’t then they should help you walk for a long time, since I know you like to pace.
Or, you know, if you need to walk up a mountain to see some sick villager at the top whose last wish is to see the betrothed of the Duke’s daughter or something silly like that.
Anyways, hope they work, and good luck! I’ll see you at some point, so until then enjoy life, and I’ll assume that you’ve said thanks.
“Erik Permancied our Sigil into these to give me more endurance”
Tomas looked down at the boots then up at his family. They all looked surprised.
“I didn’t even know he was learning Permanency. But, this is surprising. Really surprising. Wow”
“Tomas, he made something, Permanencied something for you! Thats so cool! He better make me something just as cool when I go off to finish my training!”
“I’m sure he will. And Tomas, thats a great honour”
“It really is Son”
“I know. I’m not sure when I’ll see him again, so if you guys see him before me, thank him, will you? I’ll also write him a letter as well, and Tuner, but, thank him in person for me please?”
“Of course. Now, that last ones from me. I also made it, but its probably not as impressive as Erik’s”
Tomas grinned and pulled the paper open.
The book was bound in leather and had clasps to hold it shut. As he flipped through it he saw page after page covered in his sister’s neat drawings interspersed with pages written by others.
“Dania…what is this?”
“Its a book! Its a big guide book, sorta. I made maps of all the islands, and then some of Destria in greater detail, and then sketched all the Sigilians of the Houses of Destria, and the individual Sigils. I took some other books and pulled out the pages that I needed about what the Sigils did and the pages with information about the areas, the proper etiquette, how to act, what to eat to fit in, and what to avoid and bound those in after the drawings.
“And then I looked up the advances in science made in Destria in the past little while and wrote those out in a few pages at the back along with a field guide about what you can and can’t eat. So, its got information you’ll need, information you’ll like, and maps and everything! I had some help from mom and dad with getting all the information together and the servants helped me bind it, but yah, its uhh. Yah. Thats about all I can say about it”
Tomas flipped through to the field guide.
Don’t eat the red capped mushrooms unless they have white spots on their underside. They are called deathstools for a reason, so don’t eat any you dork. And try not to touch them either, because-
He closed it and did up the clasps.
“Dania. This is the nicest thing you have ever done for me. Thank you so much”
“Eh, it was fun writing it all out. And I got to practice my drawing. Gotta make good maps if I’m a Knight, right?”
Tomas grabbed her into a hug, and then his parents.
“Thank you all so much. I’m really going to miss you”
“And we’re going to miss you son. Now, get the rest of your things. The carriage has arrived and its time for you to head out to the boat. You don’t want to be late”
As the carriage rattled and bounced away from his home Tomas leaned out the window and waved until his family was out of sight.
They had their own lives to live and their own duties to attend to, and he had his.
He settled in and began to compose three letters, one to each of his brothers, and one to his betrothed.

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