Thursday, June 30, 2016

Friendships Gained

Mosaine approached the pond, where the man Tarvhos and elf Thannor sat by the water. As the Southerner neared, Tarvhos took up the ragged leather hat resting by his hip and stood, giving a brief nod to his friend. "I'm going to go get some things together for the party." with that, he dismissed himself, only smiling to acknowledge the woman before going on his way. Mosaine cast her eyes on the elf, who seems lost in some thought as he looked out over the calm waters, which were painted with beautiful hues of gold and orange by the evening sun.

"Mae govanaan," she greeted him, and he does likewise. The woman took a seat beside the elf, resting on her knees, and studied his expression before following his gaze out over the waters. "Are you tired?" she asks, continuing on in her own tongue, which is familiar to Thannor.

"Not truly, no..." Thannor responds, then goes on to ask if she herself is well. Mosaine must not hear his question, or else chooses to ignore it for the time, and lifts her chin slightly at the response, again turning to watch his expressions.

"Ah... your soul is tired?" she inquires. Thannor only gives a nod in response. Mosaine smiles warmly and nods, "I see."

A stretch of silence goes on, until the Southerner is again the first to speak. "We are preparing for the next journey?" she asks. "Aye, just so." is the response she is given. Unsatisfied, she goes on to ask where they will go, and when Thannor explains they go to the Misty Mountains, he must then proceed to clear up confusion as the Southerner asks if the place is in Forochel. A few more questions are exchanged; is it in the north? she asks. Is it cold, she wonders? Each question is given a short reply, to which she doesn't seem bothered. However when it grows silent again for a stretch of time, she stands and it seems she might abandon the conversation. It is not so; rather, she bids the elf to "wait there", and only paces off a few yards to pick up a fallen stem from the willow; adorned with still fresh green leaves and gentle white flowers.

Making her way back over to the elf, she stands behind him now, indicating his hair. "May I?" she asks, touching it briefly. Thannor looks a little surprised at first, blinking and furrowing his brow. Then he smiles. "Yes, you may."

Seeming pleased, the woman takes up a seat behind the elf with her legs folded, resting the branch in her lap and proceeding then to run her fingers through Thannors hair to comb it. "What is your whole name?" she asks. Thannor closes his eyes as he goes on to respond, "My father named me Damrion. My mother named me Thanguron. In time, folk began to call me Thannor..."

"Hmm.." upon her lips is a small unfaltering and pleased smile, and everything about her is calm with the slightest image of curiosity adorning her features. "You are born of this land?" she goes on to ask, running a hand over his forehead to pull the hair back with an ever gentle touch. The elf exhales slowly, relaxing his muscles. "I was born in Eryn Lasgalen--what Men once called Mirkwood. It's... quite far."

Mosaine nods slowly, contemplating the answer briefly as she runs her fingers behind Thannors ears to obtain the last few strands of loose hair, then separates locks of hair evenly between her fingers. "I know little of this land, but I have been studying what I can understand from Skalithors books. He has been very gracious to share them with me." she goes on to say.

"He's a good fellow." Thannor replies.

Beginning to braid his hair slowly and carefully, she continues to let her curiosity drive the conversation on. "Do you miss your home?" her tone is quieter now, sympathetic. Thannor is silent for a long moment; when he speaks, his voice is quite soft. "...Very much."

"What do you miss the most of all?" she inquires. Slower now, he replies, "My loved ones."

Still holding the locks of hair in one hand, with her other, Mosaine reaches forward and touches the elf's ear, curious at it's shape, and massages it between her fingers briefly. "You have family there?" withdrawing her hand and contiuing on with her project, she waits for a reply. "Yes. My mother and father..."

"Ah.." she is unsure how to respond at this. Now she hears the elf sigh and she half closes her eyes. "I'm sorry, I should not have asked.." the Southerner utters regretfully. "No need to apologize." Thannor responds.

After some time, the long golden locks of Thannors hair had been made into a braid, and the woman ties it at the bottom with a strip of cloth.

"You are hurting so deeply. I am ashamed to say, I do not miss my home like you do." she goes on, now taking up the stem in her lap and beginning to shape it carefully...

"There need be no shame. All feel things differently, and that is well." he assures her.

Mosaine smiles warmly, and after some time, finishes making the branch into a circle. She lifts it and places it on Thannors head.

"Eh?" he wonders. "What is it?" he asks, as the woman now moves around to the front of him and pulls two locks of hair forward on either side of his face, which she also braids. When she is finished, she steps back and gestures to the water. "You see?"

Following the gesture, Thannor looks to the water and smiles. "It looks well on you." she comments. "...Thank you." the guardian responds slowly.

Now she retreats to the nearby tree, leaning against it and looking out over the pond again. By now, the sun has set and the water has turned a deep blue in the asbence of the light, with only the reflection of the moon to give it life.

Thannor meanwhile gazes into the water; for just a moment, his smile falters, though only just. He shakes his head briefly, careful of the flower crown. Mosaine acknowledges this just as Asbel clops up behind her, nudging her arm under his head so it's resting on his back. She strokes her fur briefly, before proceeding to ask with a concerned expression, "What is wrong?"

"It's just... that reminded me of someone. It was... nice." the elf explains.

"Of someone?" she asks.

"She and I, we used to do this sort of thing." he goes on with a warm smile.

Mosaine nods slowly and the warmth returns to her expression. "Your face is almost glowing. I am glad you are happy." she comments. "It was nice." he says again, "Lovely work, truly." now he indicates the flower crown. Mosaine smiles brighter still and rests her head on the tree. "Thank you. You are a beautiful soul." she utters. The elf obtains an almost sheepish expression and thanks her, "As you are." he goes on to say. "I do not deserve your kind words." the southerner utters, though her smile does not falter.

Stepping forward now. she teaches Thannor how she would say goodbye in her tribes own way. A touch of the lips, a touch of the right eye, and then of the ear and heart, proceeded with a palm outstretched towards the other, indicating a dedication of their words, mind and heart to their friend. Thannor listens and observes, and when she is done, she is silent for a long while. Concern again is visible, if just so faintly on her expression, and she moves closer, placing her hands on either side of the guardians face before giving him a brief kiss on the forehead, and resting a hand on his breast above his heart. "Your sufferings have not been unheard, and I am ever ready to offer my heart as aid however I might. I am a stranger in this land, but I am not a stranger to it's men. If you will let me, I will call you friend always from this day forward." she now takes a step back and bows just briefly.

Thannor looks on, "Mosaine.." he begins slowly, taking a deep breath. "No word of thanks can say enough."

The woman shakes her head just slightly. "Do not say thanks, only say 'friend', that is more than enough."

Thannor smiles and stretches out a hand. "Then here is my hand, and my heart in friendship with it. As you have heard my suffering and eased my pain, so shall I endeavor to ease yours. If you have need, only call."

Stepping forward, the woman clasps both hands on Thannors hand and bows her head briefly, thanking him.

"No need for thanks, yes?" he smiles sheepishly.

"Goodnight, Lote-Fea." she gives him one last look and turns away, leaving the area with Asbel in tow. He carefully removes the flower crown and examines it a moment, before replacing it on his head.

                 -An account of a roleplay with Adriana and Snowstep, involving Thannor and Mosaine

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Manka Lle Sinte

          I will never ask for your sympathy. Nor will I try to make you understand, because understanding as I know it has to be gained with time. If I could only make you know, then perhaps you might begin to understand more easily. For now I can only hope that our patience will hold out while we learn as well as we might with what has been given to us. 

Already I have been changed so much by this land. However the group I have come upon in recent days, not like any other ever known across the land, has pushed the boundaries of my curiosity, and where my zeal and courage have begun to fall short, they have reignited it within me...
 I was born to the men of the South, and I will say so without shame. It is a beautiful land in it's own right. It is an unfortunate truth however, that it's people are without law; ravaged by unceasing war.
I know not who I was born to; from the youngest age I can remember I was under the protection of a nomadic tribe, known as the Tribe of Farmona. A small tribe made up only of women - those who had sought shelter from the bloodshed, and those who like me had been left without home or family to claim for themselves. Our language, though littered with the varying dialects of the South, is as I have come to know it, "Elvish". I wonder now, looking back, if our beloved leader was of our own race, or one who was sent on that specific duty that she filled so well, of gathering those lost sheep and broken innocents, and giving us a chance at life and the ability to hope. 
So much more was it than a refuge! The tribe became a culture of it's own. While many women brought with them their own influences, we were taught songs and dances unlike the ones of my native race. We were taught to speak to animals, and hear the land; that we might find food and water if only we listen.  We were taught methods of battle and defense, healing and how to study maps. We were as much warriors as we were nurturers, healers, and craftsmen. Our strength was not used to fight for power, in the name of greed; nay! It was used to the defend to the defenseless, to seek justice, to lend strength and hope to those who had lost their morale fighting the same causes.
 However, it came at last to end  not even in the last decade. The tribe might have continued on forever but the land is increasingly suffocated with war and it's side effects. We were led then to the land of the North, reaching the place that has laid claim to my heart. We arrived in Gondor.
I could scarcely tell you where the Tribe had gone upon reaching the place. We were together only a short while. To join the men of the North, we would have no choice but to sift our way into their lives however we might.
For myself, I had made home the beautiful port city of Dol Amroth. Although I had deeply fallen in love with it, I could not rest; there was a great upset that the very earth bemoaned and left the animals of the land in unrest. So taking up my sword I have since furthered my path North. I assure you, no encampment of dark beasts, no injustice placed before me has been left to continue their deeds in peace. 
 Not all matters are settled easily, or at all, by one man alone. I have learned my weaknesses and limitations. I first spoke on a strange group and now I will say the rest regarding them. This odd gathering of men and creatures from many places in the great expanse of this land; it is called a Kinship. I have learned of Elf and Dwarf and even half-men and men who can change to the form of a beast. And where one might believe they would all be at odds, they have come together in the same place, in the green hills of what is called the Shire, to fight the  darkness I have tried so hard on my own to diminish.
 In spite of the oddness of the gathering already present, I have felt out of placed and to some extent as though they lack trust in me. I will accept this knowing that is just as likely to change with time as water and wind with time will wear upon stone. I know that my language and ways are different, however my heart beats as theirs do and there is common ground yet to be found.
I finish by saying this. This is my land. I have bled for it, and I will continue to do so as long as l live. I dedicate the breaths that I take, the beatings of my heart in the name of what is right. The blue I wear on my skirt represents Dol Amroth combined with the tears that men have shed against injustice. The red of my scarf - the blood of the fallen innocent and those who fight for freedom, for the good of the land. The purple and golds are a reminder that we as men are not all fallen - we are yet to be deprived of the Kings in all of their majesty! Glory is not gone from the world. We are not without hope or blind, helpless creatures left in the dirt.
It is why I say, "if they knew". They will know, I will give them reason yet to cease their doubts. And in time, they will give me reason to grow in understanding of them also, that when it is all done we might call on each other as friend

                                 -Mosaine of Farmona

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Kinship Challenge Revival!: Instructions

It's time for a new Kinship challenge!

This month's kinship challenge features a collaboration effort between our members, it will consist of several monthly stages where we hope each of you might use your extraordinary talent to contribute in some way!  

This month's stage is (drumroll, please)


The instructions for this month's challenge are simple; 
Enter the world of Middle Earth and locate the most inspiring location that best represents the theme of this collaboration; "Unity" and take a screenshot (you're welcome to submit up to five by the end of the month) 
Your screenshots will be viewed by the rest of the kinship (your collaborators) who will take a vote on which screenshot(s) to use as a reference for the rest of this collaboration. All submitted screenshots will be featured on this blogpost for kinship vote, and even if you don't feel like you can contribute a screenshot, we hope you will vote and help us decide on which beautiful reference to use for this continued collaboration (we know it will be a hard choice to make!)

So, without further ado, get your eyes ready, get in game, and get inspired!

Friday, June 3, 2016

Fluffy Thingamajig

They’re walking arm-in-arm through the streets of Minas Tirith, as they have so many times before.  It’s wonderful to see him again, she thinks—letters are great, but there’s something about talking in person.  They chat as the go, telling each other of what’s happened over the months.  He regales her with tales of patrols and skirmishes, of his home and family.  She tells him of time spent in Bree, and of patients (stubborn and otherwise) and an eccentric but kind old (well, all right, older) gentleman that she’d come to be fond of.  They bring up jokes old and new and their laughter fills the air.  It’s a grand thing, she thinks.  Nothing better than dusting off a good joke.  She recognizes the route they’re taking; indeed, she scarcely needs to think about it, after so many years.  They head into the sixth circle, toward the Houses of Healing.  She’s always liked it here.  The area around the Houses of Healing is fresh and green.  Here, the air is made sweet with the breath of trees and flowers and familiar herbs. 

A few healers—one or two near her own age—call out to them as the pair passes.  One, a tall girl called Mordis, chuckles and teasingly asks when the wedding is.  Merendis grins cheekily and jokes back that she won’t be invited, thank you very much.  Even so, she has to ignore the faint blush that rises to her face, which  just makes Mordis grin.  It’s not exactly a secret to the women of the Houses of Healing.  Once upon a time, she would have just laughed it off, without getting all red in face.  But things had changed.  Those jokes, well-meaning as they are, hit a little close to home.  Over the months, she’s become keenly aware of just how dear he is to her—in snatched letters and hastily-written lines, all more precious to her than silver or gold or a thousand fine dresses.  She glances up at Condir, and frowns slightly.  She knows that look.  The way his eyebrows furrow, the look in his clear green eyes, the way his nose scrunches up (which she’s always thought endearing)…  That’s the face he makes when there’s something on his mind, and he’s thinking of how to breach the subject.

Still, Merendis doesn’t press him.  He’ll tell her when he’s ready.  Which comes sooner than she expected.  

“Can we talk?” he asks. “…In private, I mean?”

Mmhmm, definitely something on his mind…  

“Of course,” she replies.  “Everything all right?”

They walk in relative quiet for a few moments.  He leads her to a grand old oak tree, and the friends settle themselves down in its shade.  She glances over at him.  Condir’s running a hand through his dark hair, beautiful green eyes narrowed as if in thought.  He really is handsome, she thinks.  Too late, she realizes that she’s staring; sheepishly, she averts her eyes.  

“Merendis…  There’s something I need to tell you,” Condir murmurs, giving her hand a gentle squeeze.  His face is flushed, and she can’t help but notice the way that brave Condir squares his shoulders.  He fixes her with those green eyes, and her heart skips a beat.  He continues, voice soft and steady, telling her how glad he was to get her last letter.  How much it had meant, after a trying day, to read the inspiring words of someone so dear to him.  He pauses, just for a moment, and brushes some dark hair from her eyes.  The movement is familiar, affectionate, something he’s done a hundred times before.  And yet…
“I know this is…rather sudden,” he says at length. 

Her heart begins a drumroll against her ribs, even as she puts a hand on his shoulder.
“I want you to know that no matter what happens, I’m happy to be your friend.  But over the months, Merendis, my feelings for you have changed.  Your last letter gave me the courage I needed to say this.”

And suddenly she’s all too aware of how close they’re sitting, how Condir’s gaze softens as he looks at her.  He moves closer still and earnestly takes her hand in his.  Her heart pounds so hard and fast that for a moment she thinks it’s about to burst.  Hope swells in her chest, warm and bright.  She hardly dares even to breathe. 
“I love you.” His voice is steady, sincere.

He loves her.  He loves her…!  He continues speaking.  He loves her for her kindness, her courage and strength.  He loves her for her wit, her eyes, her smile…  Her eyes widen.  Her heart leaps as he murmurs those words—words she’s longed to hear, hoped that she might hear—for months now.  Her vision blurs, and she roughly wipes her eyes with the back of one hand.  And before Condir can ask if she’s all right, or before she can give herself a second chance, the words come rushing out of her.  She loves him.  She loves his courage, his heart, what a gentleman he is.  She loves how kind he is.  And she loves him for his beautiful eyes, for his laugh…  She’s rambling and she really doesn’t care. He relaxes, takes a breath, and smiles at her.  He has a wonderful smile.  She squeezes his hand, face alight.  

“Can I…”  He hesitates, just for a second.  “Can I kiss you?”

She grins.  She knows her face is burning, but doesn’t care a whit.  

“I thought you’d never ask.”

He chuckles and shifts, drawing her closer to him.  Gently, he cups her cheek with a hand; she reaches up to put a hand on his shoulder.  Condir closes the distance between them, and as their lips meet—

“…dis?  Meren…”  

She blinks, and the next thing she knows, she’s not in Minas Tirith at all, but curled up on a bench.  Afternoon sunlight slants through the windows.  The pop and crackle of the hearth fills the still air.  She rubs her eyes and stares down at the knitting in her lap—the beginnings of a shawl that she’s making for Mama.  She can’t quite squash the disappointment that washes over her, or the longing that pierces her heart.  Merendis shakes her head briefly, as if in an attempt to clear it.

“Merendis?” the voice persists.

She glances up almost sheepishly at the mustachioed man before her, fine hat in his hand.
“Sorry, sir, did you say something?” she asks, rubbing the back of her neck.  "I was…just thinking, is all.”

Premton’s smile turns knowing, and she suddenly has the feeling that she’s about to be teased within an inch of her life.

“Oh, is that so?”

“Need I remind you, sir,” she begins quickly (perhaps a little too quickly), summoning that cheeky smile, “that we had a deal?”