Ten Thousand Gates > Conversing in the Doorway of the First Coin

Ulvath, the Dying King's Champion

Faugh, it burns yet! A curse of the runes, a King's Curse upon this filth-laden rain! Black upon the cobbles, black upon leather, filth upon all these huddled of low Halls and their strange hovels about - yet it burns naught and none but Ulvath and Bethen! A curse upon this witchery we have been brought to!

Black upon Leli who looks of Anseme's blood, but she cares not; to dance upon the cobbles as though a child or charmed by witchery. By my ax, there is naught of sense here for a champion thrown rune-bound.

Is this to be a Demonland? Where then are the Witch-Queen's foulnesses, waiting to be called forth to despoil Tulsrealm? I am to have no liking for this cloud and filth, be it so or be it not - and what of this Hall and archway you have found? If shelter it is, why do those of no Hall not shelter here? But see, they pass in rags without so much as eyes cast aside, burned not but wet with the filth of it, and bowed against it.

Aye, and what of he who brought us here; naught to be seen ... and no cursed filth and rain for his finery. A saga speaker who pretends to ax and shield, no more, mark my words. Plague and warm rot upon this burning, and him, and his gate!

[ Posted by Reason on July 29, 2006 | Permanent Link ]

Leli, the Fifteenth Note

Spinning, falling rain, and notes, oh the notes it has! Why such bitter music in your voices and all around when the water dances? See, see how it leaps and spins about the road and upon the roofs, and stepping here and running there - it makes me dizzy with the turning!

Dance, dance! Dance with rain and wind and oh! How I wish I could sing all these notes!

Can't you see the sad heart of it? Angry notes and bitter notes ... but oh, the colors, it is much more than black and brown and black, and spilling all and about. It is the note of Umery who sings so low above the old city, low and always with the sternest notes. Umery who never dances, no, but here is Umery in the music of the rain and upon us all!

Welcome Umery, I hear you! I hear your voice in the Song! La!

Come out, come out! Dance! Why are you all so hidden, why so turned away, why wrapped against the notes and this wonderful rain of colors?

[ Posted by Reason on July 30, 2006 | Permanent Link ]

Bethen, the Lost Dream

It is pain, it will pass; men have no strength in the face of inconvenient hurts. The rain and whatever it contains is but a part of this dream path, no more malign than the cobbles or these cowed poor. Perhaps Leli sees something in this dirt-washed place that we cannot - and so the rain lets her pass with claws sheathed, a cat stroked rather than cursed. No Demonland this, by your meaning, but a Demonland was whence we came.

The dream has split a hundred ways of one, and there is no harm here, no great spirit to consume and narrow the dreaming in ways I have never seen. Rias has delivered us, by his word, but to where? This is no dream of the Esem women, nor realm of any spirit I have heard tale of. Whatever Rias' intent, I must return! I must return to the dream ways I know, or search out a spirit guide who might barter favor for a path to the serpent spirit I seek. I will not give up Amande's life in the face of this great unknown!

You also, Ulvath, and Leli who dances there to the call of her heart - whatever shape of spirit you both may be, you are apart and far, lost as I. You must return, for all have a place in the dream realms and to leave that place is to risk death and worse.

Curse as you will, warrior, the path is for three; you and Leli as guides and allies. That much is clear to me by the dream itself, even as I cannot see it in my heart. A mere warrior and careless girl as allies against a venom spirit and these trials beforehand; I cannot see it, but the dream speaks to me and this is as it will be.

As to Rias and your anger - you will met him again, like as is not, and be free to call him as you will, but he is more and greater than we. Heart and body, he is no more than the pinprick at the dagger's point, just as the dread cast from that great door in the Void. He has branded this dream path by his presence, and branches curve back to meet his mark once more.

[ Posted by Reason on September 30, 2006 | Permanent Link ]

Ulvath, the Dying King's Champion

This is no clean, cold hurt of ax and battle - it is the burn of witchery! I'll curse it yet and again, and so long as any will listen, aye!

It burns you less woman, that I'll wager against my ax on a cast of the bone runes. You speak with the tongue of the witches who bedded trolls in Skara forest - sharp and a-babble with that best unknown to hard ax and long spear. Your witchery and knifes may stand beside my ax-arm, but that is no choice of Ulvath's.

A bard of Tallath's Hearth spoke a saga of the Tulsrealm as all but a dream of the Gods. Twas but a year past that trolls maddened by warmth and rot came upon the Hearth and tore him asunder. I and ten more strong ax-arms hacked trolls to blood and screams by torchlight that night - and how is that a dream?

Would that this place of blackened rain and hovels be a dream, aye, but that thrice-cursed Maggat would find a way betwixt knife and neck whilst I slumbered. No, Ulvath is awake; this is the workings of Maggat and demon runes against the King and Tulsrealm.

[ Posted by Reason on October 1, 2006 | Permanent Link ]

Gulhgra, Doorwatch of the First Coin

Who bothers? Hruh. Who talk and talk but not enter? Hruh.

This is not drink house. You go now, leave door clear. Rrruth. Should know now. Hruh. Stupid Tailings ones. Stupid.

What? What you look at? Hruh. You not hear? You go now. Rrruth.

[ Posted by Reason on October 6, 2006 | Permanent Link ]

Bethen, the Lost Dream

Hold back your ax, Ulvath! Hold! A dream-path, a guide ... this spirit stands astride a path. No...yes, but it shifts, it shifts. There are too many paths here, too many and twining about!

Spirit, stand, we do not threaten - we shelter from this rain that burns.

Ulvath! This dream has need of speaking! You can see neither nightmare nor venom spirit by hide and fat, color and teeth. All can appear as any, and any may show the way; you must listen to me in this, King's Champion!

[ Posted by Reason on October 7, 2006 | Permanent Link ]

Ulvath, the Dying King's Champion

Aye, King's Champion, and never to die facing a foe with ax raised. So did Tulsrealm grow great! Foul beast before and foul rain behind, and you to speak of fair and foul as one and the same - and silver dagger in your hand whilst the words were on your tongue. Witch for a mother, but father from the Spear Hall, say I.

Ho, foul beast! Broad and tall, fat and grey you are, but long of teeth and troll-fast - and man-speech and man-thoughts behind those eyes. This I see, and my name is Ulvath, that you might know!

See, it thinks how best to cast us forth from this arch and passage, and wonders if it can. I need no witchery to tell me of the ways of man and beast - aye, nor troll and demon. Speak as you will woman, and thence will be what will be.

[ Posted by Reason on October 7, 2006 | Permanent Link ]

Leli, the Fifteenth Note

Umery, why will you not sing more to me? I heard your notes, so solemn with rain and splashing on the walls, and I danced! Where are you now, is it not your part in the Song? None here will dance, but they hide and walk in brown and rags and spill notes of nothing to themselves. Will you not even speak to me? Or you, with the stick that taps against the notes, or you, hidden in your cloak? Where are your voices; how can you not sing to the dance of rain and the tones of cloud and cobble?

Such music all about, all so strange; is this what a city is when lived in? But the notes are all so faint beside the Song I sang - as though soft Derema and quiet Toley sing to echo from the farthest stone pillar and back. Those who would sing are silent but for the notes that fall from all and about. Oh, how I wish I were above the old city once more! Will Myrelin fly high to sing my part ...

La! Such notes from kind Bethen and tall Ulvath. New notes, and more, and who tolls and swirls as the deepest bell amidst ivy in the wind?

Bethen, Ulvath, who now sings such deep notes? What song are you making, and can I not sing too? Oh! Not ivy, but gold all a-swirl, can't you see? He dances inside like the bells of the old city, so deep from afar but the highest notes of the Song hidden within. Why do not all here sing like this, what a wondrous place this would be - rain and Umery, the bells of the Song, and all such voices!

[ Posted by Reason on October 14, 2006 | Permanent Link ]

Gulhgra, Doorwatch of the First Coin

Gold you say. Rrruth. Not Tailings one, look like coin learner from Pavings place. Hruh. Black wet guards not know to say nice to tail rain. Stupid guards.

Mrth. Guards not know to say nice to me. Wave sharp is not nice. Learn nice and tail rain not angry. Hruh. Stupid guards bad in Tailings, Tailings ones steal and steal.

Hruh. Where learning books and learning clothes, small learner one? Why come to Coin as surprise? Rrruth. No announce, no letter.

[ Posted by Reason on October 15, 2006 | Permanent Link ]