[ musing, seemingly to herself, atop her bed. nymeria's head and forepaws are pillowed on arya's thighs and belly. she brushes the sleeping direwolf's neck. ]
There’s a story of a girl who was born during winter. The cold was so terrible it stole into the house and past the great fire her father had built and it crept under the blankets piled high on the birthing bed. It killed her mother, but not her. She was born blue and cold but alive and winter was inside her.
[ children of winter. a fairy story. but arya is a northern girl — no, a woman, now — and though she has not seen winter yet, it lives in her bones. ]
She loved everything about winter. The cold and the grey skies. Making enormous snow castles that turned to hardest ice overnight and playing with the ice lizards that swarmed out of the snow, but she loved nothing half as much as she did the ice dragon.
It came to her when she was very young. She could pet it without burning her hands from the cold. And one day, she got to ride it.
She didn't tell anyone, though. No one had ever tamed an ice dragon, you see. Anyone who'd gone close would be found the next day a block of ice. And it was her secret anyway.
One day, when summer had come and winter was still a long ways away, other dragons, fire breathing ones, came with their riders. She hid and she thought she would die but her ice dragon came to her even though it was summer and ice dragons never come in summer. Even though she wanted to leave and be with her ice dragon in a place where it's always winter, she couldn't leave her family to die. And the ice dragon loved her so much it stayed and battled the other dragons and their riders and it froze them all and it won — but its wings were melted and it was felled.
[ arya takes her time running her fingers through her wolf's long warm fur. nymeria continues to nap, and arya finishes her story. ]
She ran inside the house and freed her family, but when she went back outside, where her ice dragon had been was only a pond of always cold water. She saved her family, but no one believed her. No one had ever tamed an ice dragon, after all.
It's only a story, [ she continues, her tone as even as it had been through the narrative, ] but I always hear of weird animals in other places. Mayhaps someone knows of one like it. The only true ice dragon we have is a bunch of stars: follow the tail and you'll go south but if you chase its blue eye, you'll find north.
[ find home, she means. but there is no ice dragon here either. perhaps it is only meant to live inside the stories old nan spoke in winterfell. ]
her face is flushed with her joy, and it reaches her eyes to brighten them while she regards the camera with a barely-contained grin upon her face. ]
Greetings, fair Tranquility. How does everyone fare this month? I have a query to put to you all:
Once, I believe there was a tradition of large communal feasts being held here, be it weekly or monthly. And the good lady who held them has departed since, causing an end to it.
I would think she would find that a great shame, indeed. Thus I propose that we should hold them again, either weekly or monthly depending upon the preference of the majority of you, and that we take this opportunity to eat together and know one-another better. What say you?
[ she will even provide the music, if necessary! honestly, these dreams of home have rendered her a bit homesick for such entertainment and interaction with others. and here, she does not technically require to keep her true nature hidden from those she socializes with.
elizabeth hesitates, as though she believes herself to be finished, and then adds hastily: ]
Lady Éowyn, might we speak in private at your earliest convenience?
I need help.
I need advice.
Er--... I don't even know what I need exactly. I just-- I need to talk to somebody.
[He pauses to take a deep breath and gather his thoughts, running a hand through his hair.]
My best friend woke up from a pod for the first time yesterday. He doesn't know it yet but in the time I come from he's dead. He was killed in a battle. I had to lie to him a bit and--... I don't know what to do now.
He's probably going to find out eventually and I don't think it's right to keep hiding it from him, either. If I know he'll find out sooner or later I'd want it to be from me, you know? Not-- not from someone who might not be as careful about it, or--
I just... I don't know. Then sometimes I think that maybe it'd be better if he never finds out. Maybe he never has to know. He can spend his time here without having to worry about his future because I don't even know what that would--
[Luke decides to not go any further with that thought tangent. Imagining his friend becoming an empty shell and living out the rest of his time on the ship like that isn't something Luke wants to spend any more time thinking about.
He gathers himself, sniffs, and sits up straighter, pushing his shaggy hair out of his eyes. He wants to go about this as objectively as possible, considering only Biggs' feelings on the matter, but it's difficult to near impossible to keep his own feelings in check.]
Anyway, I want to hear from someone who's been in the same spot. Would you want to know? Or would you rather never find out? And then from the other side of things, have you ever had to talk to someone about this kind of thing? Let me know... if you can. Thanks.
her mother's absence and the hell that awaits her family in the future have not been forgotten. they hang like a great weight about her neck, and in the way her shoulders bow a little despite being straight and stiff otherwise. she keeps her eyes averted from the camera for now, as she speaks up quietly: ]
It all began upon a lovely day in spring
A maiden fair stumbled upon a King
Beneath the boughs of a mighty oak
Whilst two boys clutch'd at her cloak
And lo he came upon them there
Stricken at once by the maiden so fair
He gaze'd at her and she at him
Love-struck and helpless to its whim
[ she releases a long breath of air, and finally looks up at her comm device. her face still appears peaceful, as though the words and the act of writing them have had a calming effect. and perhaps they have. she effects a small smile, though, for good measure. ]
I think it a good beginning. What say you, Tranquility? Putting such a tale to words has been a daunting task, indeed.
I shall continue, and add more to it. But I must ask, are there such tales whence you hail from?
[ and if poetry is not your jam, elizabeth has another query. she holds up a plastic container (a stick of deodorant) and a glass bottle (perfume) and various other sundry items she has found. all sweet-smelling, all utterly confusing to a girl from the late middle ages. ]
And I must beg another query of you, if you please: what are these? What purpose have they?
[ anyone who knows her will see that this is only an attempt on her part to distract herself. sitting idle and stewing over the heaps of negativity life loves to send her fmaily's way has never been her thing. ]
[That's it. That's all there is to be said, save for everything unsaid. But those things were never meant to be spoken. They were too deep to be put into words. The daughter he never knew he had is gone.]
I am King Thranduil. [Which is a title he doesn't point out unless he's being official about something. This came after the bit about Tauriel for that reason. He is stoic but relaxed, and there is a warm tone to his voice.] Nederlands has contracted me and mine to protect the gardens alongside ship security. I am sending the rules he has written for us to enforce. [True enough, a link appears.] Unfortunately, half of us are gone, and therefore I would encourage you to speak to Tyke or to Miles Edgeworth if your interest is in helping to guard a sanctuary that gives us life every day we are here. To be a part of my force, I would expect your fealty.
Which brings me to another matter altogether. A number of us were accustomed to feudal rights in our homelands, and these I offer to any who wish for the comfort of a feudal lord. I would uphold your rights as a vassal and hold you to my laws and those of this ship, and in return you would uphold my power to protect you and others. It will not stop any trouble you might have with ship's security, but at least you would have a lord to speak on your behalf.
[Or damn you, if you've really screwed up that badly.]
My law does not supplant that of this ship, but it will give you the right of a feudal lord. Unless you wish it otherwise, you will be under my protection, not in my service. I am not seeking to build a private army, nor does this absolve you of past lawbreaking or troublemaking. In another's country, we must obey another's law.
Lastly, there are two nests of fledgling sparrows in the gardens. If they are natural prey for an animal in your possession, you will ensure that your animal has been properly fed before bringing it to the gardens. I encourage all to come hear them sing.
But the sudden news has stripped him naked, so to speak. When Frodo shows his face, he looks sickly. His face is pale and his eyes are red. He doesn't try to smile; there's too much weighing on him to make him even attempt one. His eyes are glazed with tears, that show a lot more about how much he hurts than he'd ever dare to let on.
Frodo can't hide it now. His limit's been met. ]
How do you go on, when you've met an end? [ His voice is raspy, and weak. ] When you've met your limit, what do you do?
[ His one hand is clutching to the Ring that hangs from his neck. It's heavier than ever, and the chains holding the necklace in place is cutting into his skin. It was like it knew that he was upset, and was feeding from it... ] Oh, Merry. My poor cousin...
[ A pause. ] How can I go on?
I seek to inform the ship that Guinevere was nowhere to be found after the jump, nor have I been able to contact her since. From what I am told, people may be taken from this vessel as unpredictably as they arrive, and I see this notice is not the first of it's kind.
[He takes the moment for a breath, and there is a certain ease about him, even if it is a mask and he speaks with a fondness, neither cold nor detached from that matter. A leader must be capable of separating their own feelings from what they seek to project to others; rallying bravery when they feel fear. Encouraging hope, or strength when they have little of their own. He would not make such a public broadcast, where he incapable of such.]
Guinevere, I know had many good friends aboard the Tranquillity. She was here for some time and I do not wish to miss informing those who ought to know. Though I've no doubt her kind spirit and generosity will be missed here, Camelot is her home.
[Filtered to Lucrezia]
Though I imagine Guinevere would deny favoritism, I think she loved you best Lucrezia. She spoke so fondly of you. I know she looked forward to attending your wedding.
[Could have locked that to Rebecca, feel too sick to care.]
[backdated to the 5th, during this.]
There are now three flets, which pass as treehouses, in the gardens. These are homes and if anyone is seen nearing them to gain access, they will be shot on sight. I assure you, an arrow is far more difficult to extract than a bullet. [ #EXPERIENCE, urgh. ] Additionally, you will find the Elven quotient aboard the ship is now officially in charge of garden-based security.
That means we need not apologise if your actions force us to maim you.
[ Can you hear someone sharpening a knife? Humming? Sounds a lot like Legolas in the background, right? Someone pissed off the Space Elves. ]
Thranduil is indisposed and has appointed myself in his stead. If you have any concerns which fail to be entirely moronic in nature, you may bring them to me.
cross-legged in the gardens, her sewing basket at her side, her hands neatly folded-- )
I have a request of those who man the smithy, and a boon to offer in return for seeing it done.
The man turns at last, nudging the deer away with a gentle, chronically shaking hand. Those who have never seen an elf usually know one when they see one nonetheless. He does not look entirely human, especially in the way he moves, like a tendril of smoke in the air as though his feet only just touch the ground. He does not seem to mind the rain on himself, but he pats the deer with an impatient look toward his soaking bed.]
[OOC: action or network replies are both fine]
[ It's Meriadoc again, a smile on his face as he surrounded but what appear to be woodshavings. ]
I am Meriadoc Brandybuck, and as near as I can determine from the way time passes aboard this ship, my birthday is a little less than a week. As with hobbit tradition, I have made preparations for a party, and as I can only assume this ship does not exceed a twelve mile radius from its center, everyone is very welcome to attend!
There will be gifts and delicious food and general merrymaking, since it seems we could use with something a little more fun after all of the stress of what has been happening before.
It will be in a section of the Gardens, so if at any point you would like to wander in and participate you are most certainly welcome! ]
[ There is a text sent out to all of those who volunteered to help in some way. ]
Thank you all for offering to help, I was hoping we could get started baking perhaps a day or so before the party, so everything could be ready by then. Again, thank you all very much!
My name is Thranduil. [He pauses for a beat as if that's significant. Which it is, to someone.] I am King of the Woodland Realm in Northern Mirkwood. If you have only arrived in this last jump, I extend to you my personal greetings and condolences. If among these stars you find a better life than that which you left behind, I am happy you are here. Êl síla erin lû e-govaned vîn.
Now to the heart of it. Some months ago, many of us experienced one another's feelings and memories. It is to those who had such a link with me that I wish to speak. I will ask nothing of your own memories, only of mine that you saw, though I have naught to offer but gratitude in return. I would prefer to speak of them on this network with no filters, but if you prefer, we may arrange to meet in person.
Finally, for there are many who have come and gone and come again since I announced it first, I am skilled in birdlore and beastlore. Should you have need of such aid, I would be glad to be of service.
For your time and patience, I thank you all. Be of good health.
[He lifts one hand from his lap to shut off the device. In the second it is onscreen, it can be seen to tremble slightly before the image goes black.]
Afternoon! I am Meriadoc Brandybuck, and as a bit of an effort to combat some of the awfulness around us with more cheerful things, I figured I might take the time to get some of the more legal aspects of certain events out of the way. If anyone can direct me to a lawyer of some sort, I'd appreciate the help in drawing up some documents.
[ Things like, say, a will & testament, a marriage license, and something not-unlike adoption papers if still different. Best be prepared. ]
I understand that very few people have any concept of Hobbit Legal Code, but I can certainly help on those aspects, so long as someone knows the basics of civil contracts.
[ There is a pause, as he looks down and fiddles with something in his lap before returning the camera ]
Also! If anyone has talents in baking or other things I would be most interested in recruiting your help for a way to lift spirits.
[ There isn't much use raging over things that can't be changed, and bright hearts and good feelings do amazing things in the face of despair. Merry knows something of that. ]
[There's some muffled speaking, the view is a sort of blurry darkness – not really much of anything can be seen aside from fuzzy sort of darkness or heard for that matter, what one might expect for an entirely accidental effort to contact the network. There’s another voice.] Now it is recording, see? [and then silence.]
[The world spins briefly and the view of a wall slowly focuses, as if someone is carelessly holding the phone away from themselves, a male voice can be heard, near.] That is exactly as Merlin has done before. [So the once King insists as if it might not be heard by others, as if the fault here does not rest with him.]
[The view upon the screen now eases into focus, Arthur is clearly being guided now in adjusting the device. You can hear a softer voice off camera, one that’s full of patience, that would be Gwen.] Like this, Arthur. [ The camera is now sturdy and facing the correct way, you can see Arthur’s face in full view, no longer just an upside down view of his nose.] Thank you Guinevere. [His adoration is quite plain, both in voice and in the look upon his face. His gaze soon turns once more to the camera.]
For those I have not met, I am Arthur Pendragon. [Largely the entire vessel is unknown to him, Arthur's preferred to keep close to those he knows best, for the most part his purpose here is to protect them.] My inquiry concerns work aboard the Tranquillity, if I may find it. I'd look to ensure the security of the ship, join the patrol. [Arthur's gaze lowers a moment, as if he's concerned his confession might sound foolish, and it is with brief reluctance he goes on, voice stern.] I'm growing concerned of the safety of the halls here. It is clear more than just shadows watch us.
I-I think I'm lost. [His voice is pitched high with nervousness, his stutter more prevalent.] S-something is f-following me, I keep seeing...shapes and f-faces and things in the m-mirror.
[Ori's voice cracks, dropping to a whisper. His eyes are glittering with moisture.] I-I just want t-to go home. I d-don't want to die, I don't want anyone to die!
[The screen suddenly shifts and it becomes apparent that the young dwarf has thrown it across the hall. There's muffled sounds of crying for several minutes before it finally shuts off.]
this is not about the fluctuating temperatures, however. ]
I need blankets, [ she begins without preamble, ] and pillows. I would prefer them with color, but any spares you have will be enough.
[ she prefers the ones people receive than the standard issue, but arya has no problems stripping unoccupied rooms if she must. blanket forts are serious business and it is very hot and humid in the gardens. the struggle is real. ]
I also need—hey!
[ the tension breaks with the sudden and utterly unexpected appearance of one (1) shirtless and sweaty gendry. who unceremoniously shoves face and shoulders into the frame. ]
Who are you talking to?
Get out! [ arya shoves her hand at his face to push him out of the shot. the image shakes as she fumbles with the comm and with gendry. ] Don't be rude!
[ the joys of teenagers and almost-teenagers in space. ]
--it is all very small, in the wake of that most important detail. it is, however, a sort of smallness that permits her anything else to think on while she gathers herself enough to, perhaps, investigate its cause. her first contribution to the comms network is therefore simultaneously accidental and very much with purpose: a period of audio recording where nothing much seems to be happening, video of Nuala's hands as she turns the device over several times, of her face as she examines it. audio, again-- an exasperated sigh, a little jostle, and then a startled vocalization followed by a bit of scrambling, and then, finally--
Nuala, having at some point prior to this transmission found her way to the room she's been allocated, looks composed of nothing but determination to be composed. )
( ...and patience. she has that, too, in great stores. this is a device for communication. someone is going to communicate with her. eventually, this will begin to make sense again. )
This is a shipwide, public broadcasting of the terms of a meeting I- Melkor, who some know as Morgoth- held with the so-called High King Thranduil, delivered as an attachment. May his acquaintances, allies, friends, and enemies take note.
For those short on time or interest: like most creatures of any sense or instinct for self-preservation, especially in environs such as these, I strike back when struck.
Those who wish to speak with me regarding this or other concerns may leave a message with the date, time, and location of a suggested meeting place, where conversation will be had in person. All other messages will go unresponded to.
:) Have a pleasant day.
[ Audio recording attached is the fleeting convo here between Thranduil and Morgoth. As a link, because I'm lazy. ]