Short Story: Aven's 'Works'November 8th, 1010 M.R.
He padded softly across the cold floor, passing the tomes on shelves, the rolled-up scrolls, and the other librarians attempting to translate, re-copying, and save the crumbling, ancient texts.
He was in the Library of Ivory, looking for a Faelinn Shadowmoon. Working hard he had gained the trust of the others quickly and thus it was quite refreshing instead of running to GET the materials, he was producing materials instead. Well, in an odd definition of materials.
Sometime in 1009...
Aven was a Changeling from Fae, but knew just enough about the Auroran religion and the city that he decided not to hide his true face when he entered a small temple a year or so back. Had it been a year? It was tough keeping track of a trivial thing such as Time on a regular basis, but the mortals were obsessed with it and constantly seemed to be running out of it. It confused him greatly, but not as much as the caretaker who looked upon his face. There were curses and mutterings and threats to contact the guard, but Aven was quick even then: abetting the fear and speaking about Aurora's tolerance for other races, and then presented himself at the altar.
He had lit some incense and a white tea-light candle, but he wasn't sure what a prayer to the Goddess of Light would entail, so Aven had spoken from his heart:
"Lady of Light, Aurora, hear my supplication. It's no longer good enough to fly under the radar, but at this point, I'm not sure where else I can leave information in plain sight and yet hope that it ends up not in the trash but in the hands of one that could do good with it. I know I risk perhaps those with less than good intentions finding the information I put to paper...but Goddess, I am one being. One being who is scared. I've seen the Darkness that grows in my homeland, and although the Courts do well to battle it and defeat it, it seems to pop up here and there, not to mention harassing the mortals. And then there's this order of--"
Aven paused as the caretaker walked by, staring at the kneeling Changeling as he passed, sweeping. Aven thought about a snappy reply such as 'Draw a picture; it'll last longer', but by that time the caretaker had already moved down the aisles, and instead Aven sighed at another lost opportunity, and looked up. "I'm rambling. Let me try to sum up.
"I'm looking for a safe haven where I can place the information, Lady of Light, and my lord Domino believes it would be safe, in all places, here. So I guess what I'm looking for is a job. I swear I don't mean the Library or the City or its inhabitants harm, and I really think I should be bringing this to His Majesty as he is my Sun, but you're the one who owns this place, so I figured it was smarter and more polite to ask you. A job, that is, if you can. I don't know if you want something in return, but I have to let you know I can't worship you, nor dally too long in a place that's not heavily tied to my homeland, lest I lose a part of myself that makes all Fae special to the mortals, to the Realms. I'm rambling again.
"So... yeah... much better at writing than talking. If you think this would be good for your people as well as the other Path-walkers and such, that would be great. A job. A sign? A sign of a job... yeah. ...Thanks," he finished awkwardly, and then he kept kneeling, peering at the little incense stick and the candle. Did he blow them out? Was he supposed to leave them there? Was it rude to leave them lit? What was the protocol here? And so he kept kneeling, staring befuddled at the two until the incense stick burned all the way down and his knees actually ached from the floor. The candle, however, was still lit, so Aven reasoned that half of it still being a-light was good enough.
November 8th, 1010 M.R.
The quarter hour chimed quietly as Aven poked his head around the oaken door. "Are you there, my lady?"
"I am," Faelinn Shadowmoon replied quietly, hunched over at her own desk, working hard on transcription of old documents. Aven envied the types of text she got to read; he hoped one day he might be able to see them himself but respected the lady's privacy as she dog-eared a page, and closed all the books before facing him. "What's up?"
"So, I was transcribing one of the documents that you mentioned Kovaks had been holding onto, but I noticed, word for word, it's already up in the Library."
"Yeah, I noticed that, too..." she drawled out, rolling her eyes.
"There are even notes of you moving it in 1008." Aven winked at her as he realized they were on the same page.
"It was filed weirdly and named weird. The weird name threw me off," grumbled Faelinn, moving away from her desk and stretching, then exiting the room and closing the door tightly shut behind her. Aven followed Faelinn back to the library's main building. "But this Kovaks, she put it up 1007. Surely it doesn't take an entire year to...?"
"I told you, the weird name threw me off. I added a template to it in my mass updates."
"I see," Aven shuffled through the papers stuffed under his arm as they walked. "I can't, however, find the letters that begin with 'Good Sir' and talk about how to make blades a bit. Did you want a copy of that?"
"If it's available, then yes. If not, don't worry about it; I can try to bug her about it myself."
"Probably for the best; she won't know me from a hole in the ground," joked Aven.
"I also bugged Iacob to respond for you."
"Thank you!" Aven smiled widely, causing the other elf to beam with her own smile. "You're not a bad worker for a changeling, no offense."
"None taken," he responded, putting the papers under his arm back in order. Now, he had a direction.
"By the way," Faelinn added as they sat down together at the closest table towards the tomes. "I talked to Ged for a bit."
Aven paused a half-second, looking into the wood elf's eyes before looking back down at the papers. "Oh. How's he faring?"
"He's weirdly protective over information he has."
"Like, bad. Anything five counselors-related is like a tightly guarded secret," she grumbled, taking half of the pile of Aven's papers and skimming about the weaponry against the Nemesis Wraiths.
Aven, however, was silent.
"It's odd," Faelinn tried again.
"That it is...may I please be excused, my lady? I just realized I haven't eaten yet today; I believe it's messing with my thought processes at the moment."
Faelinn waved him away with a smile and noted as he left the good work he had been doing, with a comment that perhaps he ought to leave his name on some of it. Aven only half-listened, and instead made his way out of the Library, into the street, past the gates, and out of the city.
"What are we going to do?!" Aven exclaimed to Domino, who sat smoking a pipe casually on the boulder above. "I don't want to pick up and leave again, but this is infuriating! Why keep the knowledge to themselves?!"
"Well, for one, you could be a Black Star Guild member in disguise," Domino responded, blowing out a five-pointed star with the smoke exhalation.
"Oh please!" Aven snapped, pacing back and forth. "If they don't know what to look for when dealing with Black Star then... then... screw the stupid mortals already!"
Domino eyed the other fae being, a bright spark of green lighting and then adding more smoke from the pipe."Aven, I warn you not to think so close-mindedly: you're a changeling, like I. We're better than any mortal at illusions of the sensory kind; but mark me when I say that if Lord Roger Byecross of the Circle strolled by here in conversation you wouldn't even know it. Remember your place, Peon."
Aven lowered his head and stopped pacing. "Yes, m'lord. I'm sorry, my lord."
"Much better. Now tell me truly: why does it bother you so that Ged Loremipsum is choosing to hold his cards so close to his chest. Is that not his right? As a fellow walker of Space and Fire, a Mage, you should know that even the Master had his secrets. And with good reason: if all Mages knew everything, there wouldn't be a need for them anymore."
The changeling breathed in, breathed out, and thought about his answer. And thought and thought and thought.
"I don't want to do it myself," he finally admitted. "Time, as they say, is growing shorter: for them and for us. I thought I had left enough clues in the beginning; to get the word out or at least the mystery everywhere, but even now those on the outside are growing nothing but either dismissive or angry or perplexed. No one knows how to help the Mages when we play our cards so close, my lord."
"At least Ged is playing cards, Peon."
The accusation stung Aven's pride, but he only glared at the Duke of Magic, puffing away on his pipe, and said nothing.
"Ged has been busy in other facets of his life, much like his current partner, Demetria. Citigel and Darian, from the Black Star Guild themselves--I don't have high hopes for either of them, but the Moon Goddess herself takes a special interest in Darian so we won't touch him. And then there's the Darkwillow, Gryffin. If he wasn't so involved in this 'future imperfect' he keeps speaking about WHEN and IF he showed up at gatherings; I'm sure he and Rosetta would have gotten along great. And Valas... oh boy, what an intriguing knot there." Domino chuckled and exhaled a long green trail of smoke, the whirls and wisps forming into a question mark.
"We're giving up on Airavarri, then?" Aven's anger had cooled, listening to Domino's rhythmic voice.
"Giving up? Nay. Accepting. He's not lost to us; we hold him in memory. And they'll be told how to gain him, should they wish to. Granted, it won't be so epic as Bedlam's already open and thus they won't have to complete atrocities and horrible acts beyond mention."
"You sound disappointed, my lord."
"What I sound like to you is of no concern, Peon. The point before you got me off on tangent about a dead elf is this: what have YOU done? Who the hell knows YOU? You think a Mage works behind the scenes? Hmm? No, certainly not a Mage who wants to stand against The Infinite Darkness in battle."
Aven swallowed hard, but again he said nothing. Domino eyed him and shook his head. "Perhaps being alone for so long has muddled your courage into cowardice. Do you wish off the Path?"
"No," was the gut response that issued forth.
"Then why do you force me to come out here and listen to your whining? 'Ged isn't doing his job'? Tough. Neither are you. Airavarri picked it up quickly, ran with the ball, and didn't think twice about consequences: he taught, he listened, he spoke, he acted. He didn't stop and wallow over mistakes made, and he didn't stop and rest for his own reward. He remembered his secondary and worked in tandem, together, and he SAVED people. That's how I remember him: a true hero that was with the Path-walkers." Domino flipped the pipe over and tapped it against his boot, knocking out the few embers and smokey leaf-and-clove mixture.
Aven bit his lip, and looked back to the City of Ivory in the distance. "I don't know what else to do; the people on the outside aren't just grasping it, I fear."
"Outsiders normally don't, but don't underestimate them, or lump the whole of the Realms into a generality. Shame on you if you do. There is a bright opportunity for you here, Peon," remarked Domino. "The Goddess of Light granted your request all that time ago and the safest place you've ever been is THERE when in the mortal Realms," he pointed a leather-bound gloved hand at the city. "You work with information, you have the means to get it out, and quickly. Yes, some of it might end up in the trash or the bonfire; these things happen. Are you a caterpillar that'll simply ball up now, and let the Darkness come and munch you over, just because someone else isn't doing their job? Are you doing yours? Or are you disrespecting Aurora and the chance she gave you, me and the orders I gave you, and their Royal Majesties who are counting on you, just because you feel threatened by more work and, dare I say it, interacting with people?"
And thrice: Aven said nothing.
"I think I've made my point. Go back and do what you're meant to do. So what if you don't end up becoming the Queen's Mage. It won't be the end of the world for you."
Aven looked over his shoulder, and saw that the pipe remained on the boulder, but Domino was gone. He picked it up and pocketed it. "It just might," he grumbled, making his way back to the city.
"...and that's it," he finished.
Faelinn blinked. "I see."
Aven fidgeted with his cap in his hands. "I should have told you sooner, but given that Aurora hadn't outed me yet, and I'm not evil nor subverting wills or anything, I figured She didn't mind me being mute about it, either."
"The Lady has her own opinions; I'm not privy to all of them," responded Faelinn tightly.
"Look, I'm really sorry! Please... please. Please let me stay?" Aven begged.
"...You may. On one condition."
"...YOU tell me the story of The Five Counselors."
Aven blinked. "You... really want to know?"
"Yes. Tell me everything."
The changeling scratched the balding spot on the back of his head for the form he'd chosen when in Ivory, and then sighed. "Okay, outsider, but it's long. ...'This is the story of Five Counselors plus One. But his story's already been told...' "
November 9th, 1011 M.R.
Aven sighed, throwing a small piece of fabric over the crystal ball. "I may have finally exhausted all I can about Masks from everyone... I'm not really sure." He shut the book next to him and rubbed his eye lids.
"It's alright. You're doing a good job."
He leaned his head against the stone wall. "I'm hoping no one finds this invasive. You think this'll be tagged as invasive?"
She chuckled. " 'Go not to the elves for counsel, for they will say both yes and no.' " She rose from the chair and said, "There's going to be a gathering under Rhiassa soon; a man made a prophecy and there might be bois to combat there. You going?"
"Thank you, Dame Faelinn, but if it's all the same to you I'll bow out on that one. You'll come back safe, I'm sure."
"Of course I will. I'm the Fae's AND the Lady's favorite," she joked, slipping out the door and closing it behind her.
Aven leaned over and snuffed out the two candles that were lit, leaving only the one. He contemplated the flame and the Lady's light, but was aware of the growing darkness and shadows around him.
"Please let them all get back safely," he prayed to the flame. "'Else who's going to be left around to read any of this?"
And with that, Aven blew out the candle and went to sleep.
Created by Janna Oakfellow-Pushee at 11-09-11 01:39 PM
Last Modified by Demetria Highwater (Rhiannon Chiacchiaro) at 11-04-12 11:17 PM