(1867-06-13) An Exploring They Will Go
An Exploring They Will Go
Summary: Lucas takes Emilia on a tour of the woods outside of Highwater and a bit of a lesson finally happens.
Date: 1867-06-13
Related: Cats are Cats and other logs dealing with Emilia/Lucas interactions.
Emilia  Lucas  

Woods - Lonnaire - Couviere
See scene…

Time in Highwater Castle and the surrounding city had proven interesting in the couple of days since Emilia had arrived, at least for her. It made for a far different visit than her last time. It was far less busy, nor had there been lots of questions and confusion upon her arrival. The few expected meals, even if more private than some places had passed pleasantly enough, Emilia having dressed one might expect of her station and position, in a fine, yet simple gown. One that had worked well with the more private meals. And even if Emilia had resorted more to tunic and leggings during other times.

Much like she was in now, with the addition of leathers, for this trip outside of the castle and into the bit of countryside. That promised venture and turn of exploration, and a bit of a lesson to be given in time as well. “I am of wondering, is it much of the same…even if being of your home,” a minor turn of her hand as finger flutter in the direction of the castle being left behind,”there is still something that of lifts in of heading into of the forest. A weight of sorts that is gone for of the time. Of aye?” Those dark eyes of the ever stoic Cassomir shifting towards Lucas with the question laid out.


Lucas too is dressed in simple leathers, more befitting a Wraith than the son of a Duke. Indeed, when they passed through the city of Lonnaire, his presence barely elicited any notice. Just the way he liked it.

Free of the city a weight does seem to lift from Lucas’ shoulders as he strides towards the wood with an easy step. He nods readily, “Yes. Out here they’re rules don’t really apply, there’s no titles or need for courtesies, we can just be.” He grins then in response to that stoic look of hers. His mouth opens to make a remark about being allowed to smile, but then, maybe stoic was just who Emilia was, he shuts his mouth and keeps walking as they slip into the dappled shade of the wood.


The corners of her lips do tug upwards in way of a smile as response to his grin. “I do not of think it would be of possible to apply such of rules out within of the woods. The woods and the animals are having their own of way.” Emilia’s dark eyes drifting to take in the woods as they went. “There was of something else you were of thinking to say?” Having caught that mild fish out of water moment with his mouth opening and closing.

Uh-oh, he was caught. Lucas’ smile broadens a little despite that. “I was going to say with there being no rules here, that it meant there was no rule against smiling. However, I realize that’s a little hypocritical so I chose not to say it.”


There is a slight rise of Emilia’s brow as his smile widens and it stays raised that touch with what he says. “I am of seeing. Though you are of right, there is no of rule of against it, especially of here. “ A slight pause occurs, a flicker of hesitation before she notes,”I used to smile of more, before…of things. And some of times there is wish for a smile, it is felt of here,” her hand motioning vaguely towards her chest,”but they just do not make it to of here,” that hand fluttering up to a motion at her lips. Laughter, was a near absent thing from her. “I think it of surprises some that there is of someone who smiles of less than of Jaren. But then of again, most pay me of little of mind,” a mild sigh,”or least of used to. When of your brother up and becomes of King, people seem to suddenly have some of interest in of you.” A mild shrug comes after a moment,”But that is of the world back within of the walls. Tell me of this of world, your of world.” Those fingers giving a fluttery motion towards the woods they are walking within.


The edges of Lucas lips downwards as he curses himself inwardly. “I should have known that would have something to do with it,” he says meaning the incident that had changed her. “Forgive me?” he asks. Sure she pried his question out of him, but he still felt bad about bringing up that dark time in her past. “Why does Jaren smile so little?” he asks without thinking and then flinches as soon as his mind catches up with his tongue. Damn, he was trying not to talk about this. He sighs. “I am usually not this thick,” he insists. “I just meant Jaren seems to have everything a man is supposed to want.” He carries on walking as they talk, stepping over roots and uneven patches of ground like it was second nature. “And I can imagine it is hard to stay hidden. I remember when I came to court, everyone wanted to be my friend, even if we had nothing in common because I was the son of a duke and Alina’s little brother. I can only imagine what it is like being kin to a king.” He was technically a cousin of the l’Valdan, but a distant one, One be thanked.

He smiles when the topic turns to the wood. “I imagine it is somewhat like home but with more trees that are green year round, because of the cold,” he says, indeed there were a great many pines and cedars here, giving the wood a different scent than those to the south. “But this is just the edge of the wood, it grows wilder and more interesting as we go deeper,” he says then picks up the pace striding towards where the wood thickens and grows more tangled save for a narrow game trail barely visible to untrained eyes.

The path leads a good ways into the woods before coming to the base of a rocky hill, small as such things go, but rising almost out of the trees that surround it. A stream runs at its base with a gentle burble. “This is one of my spots,” he explains with a nod up the hill.

"Of easily," comes the response from Emilia at his question of forgiveness. A small upwards tugging at the corners of her lips coming shortly afterwards, not seeming to have taken offense on the matter. Or the one that comes soon after about Jaren. "He is happy for what he does of have, of family and to have of the love he long of wished. But to have of such has come at of a price. People often do not of see both sides of that. Much was of lost to become fo Baron, then of Viscount. And yet without of that, his chance to of marry as he did would not have been of possible." It was certainly a view and look few probably even considered, the long path that had lead to that outcome. "Plus he does take of his responsibilities and of duties of seriously," as most Cassomirs do seem to do,"the mantle of King comes with no small amount of them. But,"glancing over to Lucas,"he does smile of more than he of used to, especially now that he will be of a father soon enough."

Emilia gives a slight nod,"It was not so of hard before, mine of experience at of Court was…of different. I was long written of off, being but the touched little of sister of a Baron. But now in being the touched little of sister of a King? There is of interest, not in of me exactly, but in of the connection it might of gain of them to of Jaren. To of bad for them, I am not of blind nor of deaf and have heard much of the things they have of said over the years." Friendship with a Princess wasn't entirely helpful either when it came to hiding.

While her gaze does not stray oft from the woods, it does turn to them a bit more as Lucas speaks about them. That faint drift of her eyes likely something Lucas sees oft enough amongst Wraith and Huntress alike, always paying attention to their surroundings. "Of true, there are such of differences. Though there are of places in of Ironhold that have more of green year of round." Having those areas that are more mountainous than others. "Even if we do not of get such of cold as you do here, we do end up with more of snow and cooler of temperatures that some of other areas." Canting her head slightly as they do continue to go deeper into the woods,"Are there of tales, folk of lore that is associated with the wildness of your woods?" Curious perhaps, given the legends associated with the woods of Ironhold.

Her eyes do turn upwards to take in the small rocky hill,"It is a good of spot, much can be of seen from of there. Yet of ways to hide from being of seen if of wishing. " A small glance towards the stream,"Peace of ful, a good place for of thinking. I have of a similar place, though it is having water of falls near of it."


“From what I’ve seen of your brother the king, I can believe he’s someone to take his duties seriously but it’s good he’s found some joy in his throne. I can’t imagine there would be much joy in being responsible for the kingdom.”

Lucas laughs. “Ah, so the peacocks at court who used to sneer at you have suddenly changed their tune?” he gives his head a shake. “Hypocrites. I hope you and your brother is making them squirm, and reminding them of their previous remarks,” he says with a grin. “It would be just.”

Then with their attention on the woods he falls quiet listening to Emilia’s remarks and questions. “Lore? Not really, the l’Saigner have kept our woods clear of dangers for so long there is no mystery or fear to stir up much lore. The is some talk about the woods in the t’Corbeau lands to the north and the swamps to the south, but not in Lonnaire proper. What do they say of Ironhold? I believe I heard it mentioned once it is best to keep to the roads there, but beyond that I’ve not heard much else.” He looks up to the hill then. “Your spot sounds lovely. This one is suitable, the top has a good view and there is a cave part way up the other side that provides good shelter when the weather turns.” He glances to the steep path to the summit. “Shall we continue our exploration?”


“There is some to be of found, but as I am of sure you of see with of your of family, your of father, there is much of responsibility and of weight that is coming with such of position.” There is a faint tugging at the corners of Emilia’s lips,”It is not quite so of grand and of glorious as the bards make such of things out to be. But I of suppose the songs would not be quite so of entertaining if they were of laiden with of the truth of it all.”

Emilia nods, one of her smiles coming when Lucas laughs,”They of have, least on of the surface. As I am having no of doubt they still of sneer and speak such things yet, as I yet of hear them. They are just making a better of show for of Raelyn and of Jaren. Sometimes I think for Clara as of well. But for of me?” Emilia shrugs slightly as her feet easily find their way through the woods,”There are of plenty who think me of dimwitted enough that I am not of understanding the things they are saying. I of imagine they would be mortified to know of otherwise.” Stepping over a small twig, habit in making little noise as she goes,”They are not made to of squirm as much as perhaps they of should, but such things are of remembered and they do not make of the gains that they of seek. And of perhaps some of day they will be made to squirm.” Likely at just the right opportune moment.

“Such is of said about of Ironhold,” when to comes to the matter of keeping to the roads. “If mostly because the woods are of so extensive people get of lost of easily and are of likely to not be found in of time. But there are of a few stories as of well.” A small breath taken as she gives that hill another look,”There is talk of a circle of iron deep within of the woods, something a few have stumbled of across the years. Various of tales of exist about of it, such as treasure perhaps being buried of there or of it being of a gateway to of another of place. It is more of a thing that is speculated of about, a of mystery that people puzzle of over. The one that is most of told is about the Widow of the Woods. Tales of her are of told in of the way to keep of children inline, that she will come and steal them away if they do not of behave. It is said she was once of a witch that stole of women and of children to take away to of her secret lair to devour. And when of the Inquisition came to deal with of her, she was such a foul of creature and uttered such of blasphemies that even the Dark One would not of accept her in of death. And thus she was turned into of a roaming spirit, a of Banshee. Doomed to of the earth and left to haunt of the woods. It being of that on our of stormiest of nights, that it is of her wails that are carried upon of the winds.”

There are several moments of quiet before Emilia says softly,”What people are not of knowing…is there is now a new circle of iron, and there is really a of Widow, a of Banshee. “

A quiet breath is taken before she nods,”Of aye, let us of continue of the exploration. “ A slight motion towards the hill,”The cave sounds of..convenient to be able to of stay of out of here if and when you are wishing to be of away for a of bit. Or if poor of weather is of coming.”


Lucas begins up the side of the hill. “I suppose the key to finding joy in your duties is having duties worth enjoying,” he remarks of Jaren’s position. “Still I wish him well, both as your brother and your king.”

He pauses bending over to negotiate a rocky place in the path where one has to climb more than walk. When he is done he turns and offers a helping hand to Emilia more out of habit than need. “As to the courtiers, I hope they are made the squirm. I hate hypocrisy and it’s nice to think that somewhere, in some court it is punished.” . He moves on up the hill. “The Widow of the Woods hmm?” he asks glancing back to Emilia. “From your other tales it sounds like there may be some truth to that story, is that so?” he asks pausing on the climb to give Emilia’s reply his full attention.

No remark is made of the hill and it’s cave, at least for now. The matter of the Widow has Lucas’ full attention.

“Of thanking,” comes Emilia’s words to Lucas’s words wishing Jaren well. “He will be of a good of King.” Even if she likely has some bias on that matter, she was far from the only one to believe that.

The way up the hill is negotiated along, following Lucas’s lead on that count with him being more familiar with the terrain. Doing well enough on her own as she climbs up after him, but the offered hand is not turned aside. Her fingers lightly sliding into the hand and taking that offered bit of assistance to manage the last bit. “Court is most being of hypocrisy though, is it of not? Or of least, it is seeming of so most of days.”

She nods slightly,”Of aye, the Widow of the Woods. And of aye, there is of truth to the story. For there is such of a Banshee, even if she does not of haunt of the woods as they of say. But she does of exist, just is being of trapped. And was of being of a Bane Sidhe when she was of flesh, not a woman. That Circle of Iron was of where she was trapped for a long of time, now she is kept within a different of Circle. “ There is a slight pause as she picks her way around a few rocks,”And her wails can be of heard upon the winds of the storms, the storms give of her strength to be heard by of more during such of times. I think that is why those visiting of Ironhold find enduring a storm a bit of unnerving. “


Lucas grips Emilia’s hand and helps her up the hill as he says “Seems so, my sister tried to explain the reason for it all to me once, but I admit, I started woolgathering part way through.” He smiles then and carries on up the hill.

Lucas listens a he climbs ahead of Emilia. When she’s done the pair have crested the hill and are treated to the wooded landscape that is laid out below them. “What sort of circle?” he asks of the Banshee’s prison. “And I can imagine that most would be unnerved by wailing on the winds.”


“There is of reason, just of sometimes I think some take it to a new of level. But I am supposing that a reason and purpose is found in everything that comes in of time. Such of war and of peace, each has of a need and of a place.” Considering a moment as she is helped on up the hill,”Though I am not of sure which I would end up woolgathering of more, during such an explanation about of Court or of during stewardship of lessons.

Her dark eyes drift over the view that comes with cresting the hill, taking in the wooded landscape that stretches out below them. “It is a circle of iron of pillars, each spaced of apart just of so in making of the circle. Each of pillar is being of taller then of a man.” Her hand fluttering into the air as of to indicate the height of them, rising just a little upon her toes to get to the height, even if the true height is perhaps a touch more. “There are of markings upon each of the pillars, some are in of High Imperial, others are being of Sidhe of Symbols. They all of have of their purpose in of keeping her of bound within. “

Emilia’s head cants a little,”But that is of it, they are not of knowing just what they are of hearing. For of most it is just the winds seem of shriller at of times, a touch of added of howling when they whip of through the trees or past of the windows. It is more of a feeling to of most, I of think, a knowing that there is of something within the sound of the wind but not quite able to put of a finger upon just of what it is. Just that it is not of right.” For Emilia…well it was something entirely different.


Lucas smiles in response to the question. “Definitely the lessons about court, stewardship may be tedious but it is useful,” he remarks. Not that court isn’t useful,

Lucas considers the view and his more sardonic smile of a moment ago softens to something more contented. It doesn’t last long though with the dark topic stealing it away again. “Hm,” he says as he considers the description. “I wonder how that prison works and how the people who made it knew how to do it,” he muses. He often felt like a novice in these matters and this was one of those times. “And I can see why the people would find that disturbing. It’s often the things that are just a little off that are the most unsettling. Something about the perverting of the familiar I think.”

He glances back out over the treetops. “Anyhow, at least you get a break from it here, where we’re the ones who are a little off, not the wind.”


“Quite of true, the lessons in stewardship are of useful.” There is a slight pause,”Though I of admit, I have never of minded of them. Certainly not like mine-sister, but then she has never had much of a love for of books.” Emilia making one of those corner tugging smiles,”Being more of comfortable with a bow in of her hand, and I am of sure there are many of a knight who would be of agreeing, but with of a sword in of hand.”

Both the view and Lucas’s musing give Emilia some pause to consider. “I am not of knowing of the history to of it, just that it is of working. I am believing it has of much to do with the faith of those who are of doing of the binding to the circle as of the circle of itself. I would of wonder if the origins are yet of known.” She did know the ritual certainly was yet known. “But I also of suppose, such of things…creatures…were more of common back of then, just as there was once more of those amongst the Vigilant of knowing.”

“It is perhaps of thankful, that it is only upon of the stormy of nights that it is truly of heard,” least by most! Emilia nods a little,”Of true, I do get of a break from it of here. “ Drawing her eyes away from the view as one of those corner tugging smiles comes,”Though I am of suspecting that I am being of a bit more of off than you. After of all, why would Rogue like me of so?” A hint of humor showing even with the dark topic.


“True, or in my case with nothing in hand,” Lucas adds to their list. “Hand to hand combat and all of that. Fortunately for me my family has just about given up on me being courtly so they focus on stewardship, it’s tedious but I can see the need and I need to be of some use to my family in the future.”

“Faith hmm? Well that’s troubling,” Lucas muses. He was not a man of faith despite his association with the Vigilant. “I hope there is more ways to bind these things than that. Not all of us believe so strongly.” He looks up then to take in the view some more but turns to smile at Emilia’s remark. “Somewhat perhaps,” he allows, “But we both have the reputation as being the ‘off’ sibling, the one they hide when it is time to be fashionable” He snorts of Rogue.
“True,” he allows. “Or she could simply be a poor judge of character, she did bond with me after all.”

He smiles a moment after that jest then he asks. “So, this business of listening to the shadows, how does it work? It’s been driving me mad trying to make sense of it.”


“Of true, and if I am of recalling you have done of descent in of the hand to of hand competitions. “ I mild hint of musing following soon after,”Perhaps of good that it was being of rained out this last of time. My abilities are not quite as good there, I doubt I would have managed to of well against most who normally of compete.” Emilia nods a little,”We do have to be of use to our of families, and even if not being of courtly, we do have to have an understanding of how it of works. If only to not of embarrass them to of much. Least so I of try. It is being easier to of hide in matters of stewardship, people are not of caring as much about who is managing of the papers, just that they are being of done.”

Emilia’s head cants a little at Lucas’ musing, her dark eyes studying him a moment. “Of interesting.” A slight pause before Emilia speaks further,”Do you really of think that the Sidhe had faith in of the One when they were first of creating such of bindings? Do you even of tink my own of faith in of the One is being of particularly strong?” With the life she has had, some might simply be astonished she even had any faith at all. “I think faith and having of it is more complicated than most are of thinking of it. As I am thinking you have of faith, it is just in of what and whom that is being of the true of question.”

“Hmmm..true, I am seen as of the ‘touched’ and ‘off’ of one, though mine-family does not actually of seek to of hide of me away. It is for of them I am of about and seen as much as I am of being. “ Emilia gives a slight shrug,”If it were of up to of me, I would of hide away from it of all. But I know there must be of a balance to of it. Plus, it of helps them in of a way….seeing some sliver of what I was of once.” A mild musing on her part and not seeming a thing that troubles her to speak of. Especially with the ease at which a brow rises and the bit of a look she gives Lucas,”Well of then, I guess that is making us both poor of judges of characters, since we seem to be getting of along with each of other.”

The question seems to amuse Emilia, or perhaps knowing it has plagued him so since it was first brought up. “The shadows can be of strange of things, interesting and of plain all in of one. Few of understand them of well, some far from as well as they would like to of think. Much like with a bow, there are those who can of shoot one, but there are few who of appreciate them of fully, of make the bow an extension of them of selves.” Certainly any weapon could replace the bow in the example. “In of your training, you are of taught to watch of the shadows, of aye? To find in them what is of out of place. A movement that is not of fitting, a shape that is not of belonging,”Emilia shifting some of her steps to illustrate her words to a degree, stepping into his shadow and having an arm drift oddly, certainly more gracefully than his own movements. “We think of the shadows of simply of something to look of at, like they are simply of a reflection of shade. Yet they are of more, they have of life and of voices of their of own. “

Lucas chuckles. “I try to be decent at hand to hand, though as events go that one tends to be unpredictable.” After all his last time competing left him and his opponent both in the dirt. He shakes his head. “And true, we do need to be useful, but fortunately be it stewardship or our other duties we tend to stay out of the view of others.”

“True, the Sidhe don’t sound like they worshiped the One, if there was even a One when they were about, I’m hazy on my theology,” Lucas admits. “As for what I believe in, I am not even sure I know that, or if I did believe in something how it would hold up against something like the Banshee,” he says giving a sidelong glance to Emilia. “What about you? Do you believe in the One or is it something else you hold to?”

The remarks about family and their own poor judgment quickly restore the smile that had wilted on his lips as Lucas replies. “It does seem we are,” he says. “Though as bad as our decisions apparently are, it is good to have company.”

The matter of shadows is heard with a furrowing of his brow and a few nods. “Yes, we do learn to watch the shadows and look for what doesn’t belong, but, that’s a long way from listening to what the shadows say. I mean how do you do it? Say, over there, where those trees cast a shadow on that rock, how do I hear what they are saying?”


“That is being of true, even if the knightly of events seem to have more of unpredictability of late.” Canting her head a little as one particular event is recalled,”Though Prince of Tristan was rather of surprising when he took to participate.” Even if he had not won, his participation and performance had been rather talked about. “Quite of so, as I know many do not know in what of ways I of help mine-family, and most would not of believe of it even if to be told.” It had been somewhat eye opening for Stephen, even if he had been more open minded than many of the Rivanian Court.
“The time of the One and of the Sidhe were of overlapping, but the Sidhe were of coming of first.” Emilia speaking of it easily enough. “But by of then the Sidhe had been of splitting into of Sidhe and Bane Sidhe. I am not of imagining they gave much much worship to something younger than of them. Though what, if of anything they did of worship…I am not recalling such of a lesson.” And it was not exactly something that has come up, though some thoughts wander that way to ask a particular Changeling. Even if They are smuggly claiming to be above all. “I do believe in of the One. Though I am not of sure it is quite in the same of way the Church may of wish. For I know He of existed,” something about knowing someone who was alive then,” but I not of sure He is exactly of paying of attention to someone of like of me, let of alone of caring about mine of path in of life. Others of importance are more of likely to have of His of attention.” Musing just slightly,”What I do have of faith in, is that of mine-family, their of support and of love. That the bonds that are of there with of them, of friends, are of strong and that they will be there as I of need, just as I will be in of turn. I have of faith that we will endure even in of the darkest of days.” Something they have proven a few times over. “I do not of think that faith must always be in of something of greater like of the One, but is sometimes just in of something simple, even if of great in of its own of way.”

“It is good to have of company, of aye,” Emilia offering one of her corner tugging smiles with the turn of agreement. And the One knows her decision to make the trip had been questioned many times over back home!

With the matter turns to the shadows, Emilia’s eyes drift towards the shadow in question, that of the trees. “It is a long of way from of watching, of aye. But in of ways there is similarities, much like of listening to of the wind can be of similar. Finding the differences to pinpoint what is of right, what is of wrong. To listen to of such,” Emilia’s fingers giving a mild fluttery turn towards the trees,”you must be willing to of believe, to of focus. They whispers of softly, words of hidden within of the winds themselves. Though nothing of great of interest, whispers speaking of our passage, of the passing of wind, that of the small of nest that is nestled within some of branches upon high with freshly of hatched chicks. It is being able to listen beyond the of expected, to find of that voice hidden within of the layers. Much like being able to see of beyond the of expected, to find of the difference that tells something being out of place.” Her eyes drawing back from the shadow dancing across the rock,”I know of some never do of master to see of the difference in of the shadows. And of think even fewer of yet can hear of them as I of can.”


Lucas nods. “Yes, the events do have a habit of taking a turn. Though I did miss Tristan taking part. I assume that was at the Royal Wedding?” he had been sadly unable to take part in that, house security and all.

“That’s about where I stand, I believe in the One, but I don’t believe he gives a shit about what goes on in the world or he’d done something about it by now.” He frowns that thought bringing his mind to his own sins done at the command of his family. All of which were yet to be redressed. He doesn’t let the frown linger, though it is noticeable, he moves on, replacing it by a smile willed on to his lips. “I am glad you have faith in your family,” he says diplomatically before turning to the shadows.

He chuckles a little then, though somewhat mirthlessly given the dark turn of his thoughts. “This sounds like it is going to be a lot of work,” he remarks as he considers what she says but undaunted he asks in his next breath, “What do I do to begin to learn. In all my own practice I’ve relied heavily on my mind.”


“Of aye, it was during that of tournament. He did not of win, but his of performance was quite of something as he managed to of knock out Sir of Evelyn with a single of hit. And later went of quite of a few of rounds with Mistress of Esyld.” His absence having been noticed at the time, even if perhaps the inquiry there had not been passed along.

Emilia’s head cants a little bit,”On of that, I am not of sure I of agree. While I of doubt that He cares of about me of specifically, I do of think he of cares about of the world as of a whole and what of occurs within it. But, I don’t of think He can simply do of something to change of things. As I don’t of believe He is being of the only force and of power who is of having of influence and of ability. Much like in each of our of Kingdoms, your of King, mine of Queen have much of power but to make of changes, some of sure can simply be of made, others take of time and of getting agreements to of exist. Such like with the path of peace being of walked of now, both wish for of it and yet even outside of forces must be of considered and consulted in of it.” The frown is noticed, causing Emilia’s hand to briefly touch to his arm and to note softly,”I know of the closeness and support that of exists within of mine-family is not of common.” Yet it was gained through great lose, and at the end of the day, she also knows that duty trumps all….Or in Jaren’s case, Alysande. There were limits to the support.

Her own thoughts perhaps turning a bit, joined with the other Voices that exist within her. Emilia’s gaze drifting back to him from the shadows,”Has anything in of our training ever not been of work?” There is a faint tugging at the corners of her lips as he appears so undaunted. “You will need of your mind in of this, as well as of your of ears.” The later rather obvious. “For you have to be of able to filter of out the noise, much like of filtering out of the noise in of a banquet or of ball in of order to listen to the voices you wish to of listen to. It of helps to pick of the right of shadows to of work of with. A single of shadow is but of a whisper, especially if it is upon of its own, especially those of the trees and of rocks. Yet when they are of crossing one of another, there can be of talking of between, like you and I are of talking of now. “ Giving a faint look around,”It is not a bad of place to of practice, or even of your room might be good…Any of place where there are little of distractions….Where you can of clear of your mind and give of focus to listening and drawing of apart the sounds that of come.”


“Really? He bested Sir Evelyn?” Lucas asks suppressing a chuckle. “I didn’t hear that. And fought Esyld too? Hmm, didn’t know the fop had that much fight in him.”

“I suppose so, but you’d think a god would have more time for the fine detail work than a king or queen would. They are a god after all,” he opines as he glances at Emilia. “As for families, I am glad yours is as close as it is. It must be a comfort.”

At the talk of shadows he begins to nod as he listens. “Fair point,” he replies of his training with a glimmer of a smile. He listens to the rest, nodding again. “The banquet, that makes sense. So I quiet my mind and try to filter what comes to my senses to hone in on what doesn’t belong.” At the mention of this spot being a good one to practice on, he nods. “I admit I thought it might be which is why I made it our destination.”


“Of really, he did. I think it was of surprising of everyone even of him. Especially for it to happen in one of exchange of blows.” Doubtful it was a thing Evelyn was likely to bring up either. “And his match with Eslyd went rather of long.” Even if she ended up winning the event, probably not a boosting point that match with the Prince of Fools. “Apparently he has more of fight to of him than anyone of knew.”

“Of perhaps, not of being of a god or of knowing of one, I cannot be of saying really just what He may have of time for or not. Or of interest of in.” Emilia shrugs a little. They wouldn't have these questions if they could ask a god, right?

There is a small tug at the corners of her lips as he does speak of it being a fair point. Even if unfamiliar with the fullness of the Wraith training process, Emilia did have her own to reference, which wasn’t a walk in the park either. “I am not of sure I would say it doesn’t of belong, just what is not being used to being heard. “ A nod occurs as she gives the place another glance,”And more of reason to of come of out here cannot be of hurting, of aye? Shall we give it of a try?” Dark eyes flitting briefly about, perhaps searching for just the right shadow to work with.


“Huh,” Lucas says grudgingly. “Perhaps the man is a better spy than he appears, he certainly fooled me as to his abilities.” The Wraith makes a mental note to study the man more closesly next time they met. If they ever did.

“I don’t really expect an answer, it is just frustrating. Leaving so much in the air like it is. You’d think a god would be more clear in what he wants.” Realizing he’s going around in circles he shakes his head. “Nevermind.”

“Always so confusing,” he remarks with a touch of a smile. “And sure, let’s practice I have a feeling this will be something I learn better by doing than just hearing about.”


“Or he was having quite of the bought of luck, causing of everyone to wonder of more about him. “ Emilia had done her fair share of wondering about the particular Prince. He had turned over quite a different leaf in the past year. And now married! Who would have thunk!

Emilia gives a faint shrug, she certainly didn’t know the mind of the One, or any god. Even if there could be continued speculation on the matter…to no real end. Simply conceding,”It is of frustrating not to have clear of answers.”

The corners of her lips tug upwards briefly, in that odd turn of what does seem to make for a smile for her. “Of true, it is easier to try of it to learn. And come…this one should do.” Taking a few steps off to the side towards a series of rocks. A hand faintly turning,”Let us of sit,” already shifting to take a seat on the ground. The movement a graceful and fluid motion. Waiting til he has joined her before speaking further. “Focus to the one here,” her fingers dancing along the edges of one of the medium sized rocks, its shadow blended with the ones upon either side of it. “and keep of in mind, you might not be of successful this of time. Or perhaps even at of all.” It was something noted quite simply, after all….few could likely hear the shadows, certainly in the way she did. “Now close of your eyes and begin to clear of your of mind of anything but what you of hear. Take slow of breaths, and as you let them of out, let them of carry of away the thoughts that may be of distracting.” Some aspects of the meditations she’s been taught in other lessons being put to use.

Falling quiet as Emilia allows several moments to pass, for Lucas to find some focus and quiet of mind. Or least make the attempt to it, it was something that did take practice in and of itself. But something most Huntresses and Wraiths could likely do to some degree. “Of now, begin to shift through the sounds, and push them aside to find of the next. Find the rustle of the leaves, and allow of them to fade of away. The sounds of the wind, the sound of our breaths.” Her voice coming softly and slowly as she leads through the lesson and practice. Naming the simple sounds that come in the area. “Push aside each of layer until there is nothing of left but what is unheard of by many, the whisper within of the whisper.”


Lucas offers a desultory nod about Tristan. The man would bear consideration at a later date. As for the talk of the One, he gives that a nod too. “Yes, it is.”

When Emilia indicates the rocks, Lucas moves to sit on one facing his teacher. His eyes cut towards the rock that she indicates and after a moment he closes his eyes and begins to take slow breaths. As for clearing his mind? Well with that there was a bit of a struggle. He was a quiet man on the outside, but inside his thoughts were always moving, analyzing, as Evelyn had rightly said when they’d first met, he lived in his head. It was hard to move out. Though with some effort he manages to clear his mind of all but the thought to clear his mind and begins to listen. This was something he was used to. How many times had he been in the woods on the hunt, or in some corridor where he wasn’t wanted and he had listened for the things he needed to hear. So it is easy enough to focus on what he hears, but to go beyond that, well, that’s something else entirely. He listens, but hears nothing, or at least, nothing he believes is legitimate. “How do I separate what I really hear from my mind just giving me what I want to hear?” he asks.


Time is given to Lucas to manage each step of the process, Emilia sitting still and silent, save of course for when she spoke through the path needed. Her breaths slow and whispers soft at most, often mixing within the sound of a breeze or rusling causing by the wind. Habit. Most likely.

The question that comes does have Emilia canting her head a little. Considering how to answer to some degree, after all for her…the shadows were easy to hear, to see. “Of practice,” is the answer that does eventually come. “Did it not take of practice to be able to hear of the scurry of a mouse within the rustling of the leaves? To find it of different then of the winds rustling of the leaves? To of hear and separate the shift of a quiet of step within the rustling of fabric?”

A slight pause coming to give him some time to consider the questions and think to training past. “It takes of practice to be able to clear of the mind when wished, to filter through all of the sounds. Even if not of hearing the shadows, to of manage of that, you become to better master of your mind and of thoughts. Be of sides, shadows often say of things that we would not be thinking of them to speak of about. Even if other of times, what is of said is not of surprise at of all.”


Lucas keeps his eyes closed but habit makes him turn his head. “Yes, but what will tell me what I am hearing is really the shadows and not my own mind. Especially if the shadows are prone to saying what we don’t expect?” Indeed the whole business was a knot he had yet to figure out how to untie. “But I suppose the trying doesn’t hurt, as far a meditation and hearing other things go,” he allows as he straightens his head and tries again to still his thoughts and let the sounds of the shadows come to him.


“You will simply of know,” comes the answer eventually. Even if not entirely helpful, but then when were such types of lessons ever easy or straightforward? Emilia does continue though,”Shadows each have of their own voices, of sounds. So it is of hard to say you must listen for of a specific of sound, like when of listening for of footsteps or of rustling leaves. But as you of practice, you will better of learn of your mind, the voices of it. As you learn of them, you can sort of through them like of regular of sounds. As you of manage to of do that, you can of discover which are of you and which are of…..something of else. “ Which for Emilia, is a bit more than simply the shadows. “When you come to know of yourself, then you are simply of knowing that it is not of your mind but of the shadows.” Falling silent to allow him to listen and work through his mind and the sounds, to see if he can find the voices of the shadows beyond it all.


Lucas nods. Was it bad that some of that made sense? He wasn’t sure but pushed on anyhow before realizing with their eyes closed she could not see him nod. “I understand,” he says and settles back onto his rock to listen to the shadows. His thoughts drift through his mind but he leaves them be and his ears bring him the many noises of the forest and hill. The wind passing through the trees and over stone. The sound of a squirrel chattering in a nearby tree, even the sound of his own breathing but nothing that sounded like a shadow.

He takes a longer deeper breath, then tries again, his shoulders tensing with frustration at his continued failure. He sits like that awhile before he lets out a breath and opens his eyes. “Am I doing it right?” he asks Emilia. “The parts you can see and hear I mean?” he asks.


In contrast, there is a certain calm and stillness to Emilia as she sits there. Her own breaths coming quite slow and easily, making barely any sound at all. The only sound and movement that comes from her as Lucas makes his attempt to transverse to such a level to find the shadows.

Working through a few exercises upon her own that help to lessen Their voices in her head for the moment. Though her dark eyes do shift to Lucas as he opens his eyes and voices the question. “Of aye, you are going through the right of steps. Though you are trying to of hard at of time. “ She pauses briefly, perhaps uncertain if she should even say what does come out next. “This amuses your own of shadow. It finds it a most of interesting of game on some of level. It is still un-of-decided if it actually wishes of you to succeed.”

“It is not of an easy of skill to of master, Lucas. Do not be of frustrated if you do not find of their whispers, especially in of your first of attempts. There are of few who even of believe of it possible,” likely such talk has only helped cement that 'touched’ impression most have of her. “And of those who actually of try? I am believing it of rare that someone is of succeeding.”


Lucas blinks. “Wait. What?” he asks. “My shadow talks to you? And it can let me hear other shadows? Also, what do you mean I am trying too hard?” there is a touch of frustration in his tone. He wasn’t sure if she was just messing with him or not.

Lucas takes a slow breath to calm himself and he says “So, I could just be running my head against a wall with this then? It may never happen?” he asks.


There is a slow nod from Emilia, which can be seen since his eyes are now open. “Of aye. Though it is perhaps not so much that it is talking to me as I am of listening to of it. Just as I of listen to of the other of shadows. “ The next is his series of questions causes a shake of her head. “It cannot help of you, nor of stop of you of either. But it does not of mean it is not of lacking of an opinion upon of the matter.”

Her hand flutters up and her fingers dance at him when there is that mild edge of frustration rising in his voice,”That is what I am meaning. You are of pushing to find the whispers of the shadows. Trying to of force of it. There has been of a tenseness to of your posture, just as of now such frustrations rise to tinge of your voice.” Her tone even and sincere enough in her response.

The corners of her lips drift down a little,”Of aye, it may never of happen. But I would not of say you are of simply running your head against of a wall. There is much yet to be of gained yet in of the attempt, in gaining such of control within of yourself you do of gain further of insight and awareness of that which is of being of around you. There is of purpose yet in of the practice, even if the end of goal may be not be of reached.” Emilia pauses a little,”It would be of like…if young of knights in of realizing they might never be of the greatest of knight of their age, simply of gave up being of a knight. Is there not much yet for them to of gain in of striving to be of the best of knight they can of be? “


Lucas furrows his brow. “I am honestly not sure if that’s comforting or not,” he admits with a slight frown. His shadow speaks? What in the Abyss? He pauses then and studies Emilia for a moment. “Are you sure you’re not having me on about this. I mean we’ve both seen weird things but…talking shadows?”

There is no argument about his frustration. Lucas stands then and begins to pace, trying to walk it off. “I know. I just need a moment to get back in control of things,” he says as he does so.

He smiles wanly, “Yes, there’d only be brother-in-law Gabriel if that were the case,” he says of the knights. “But I see your point and there is some value in this practice… as long as this isn’t some elaborate joke.”


“I of imagine, given time to think upon of it, it will not be wholly of comforting. Perhaps not so much that it might be having a of voice, or that all of shadows have such of voices, but the matter that you have not of control over what it of says or does not of say.” Nevermind that Emilia seems to have the ability to hear them. There is nothing in that stoic demeanor that gives indication that she is anything but sincere about the matter. Then again, there really was rare indication of much of anything upon those stoic features. “I am quite of certain I am not having one over upon you, Lucas. Is it so of hard to of think that shadows have an essence of their own? But perhaps you now of understand why I speak little about of this with others, for even of seeing and knowing what you do, you struggle to of believe it could be of so. And it may be of a joke.” Likely having learned quickly to keep her mouth closed on the matter, but not soon enough.

Her dark eyes follow Lucas as he gets up and starts to pace around,”Recall of when you first started of your training, the frustrations that came with the lessons. Especially to find you could not do things as good as others more of trained, or as of well as you thought you should of be able to. “

There is a faint tugging at the corners of Emilia’s lips,”Or mine-brother Jaren.” Slipping smoothly to her feet at the return to the possibility of it all being a joke. “I of promise, Lucas, it is not some joke, simple or of elaborate. I am not of a fan of such things. Nor would I have spent much of time working to get mine-sister to even allow me to of come.” It had taken quite a bit of effort to get Raelyn to agree to the trip.


Lucas tilts his head giving the notion some thought. “Yes, you’ve got the right of it. It’s that I don’t control what it says, also, that I can’t hear what it’s saying. Not that there are a lot of people who can hear it I’d wager,” he says. Had he agreed that his shadow was actually talking? He wasn’t sure but for now better to go with it than not.

At Emilia’s comparison his thoughts do drift back to the start of his muddy, cold and oh-so frustrating training in the halls of Three Rivers. His hand to hand training came easy but there was a lot that hadn’t. He nods. “I recall,” he says with a touch of a smile. “My teachers would have beat me for thinking my training was a joke.” He does not say that to elicit pity but in jest if such harsh teaching was the norm.

“Anyhow I trust you’re not joking, it is all a lot to take in all at once. Sort of like learning about monsters.” He says before giving her a nod. “And I am glad Raelyn agreed. You’ve been good company and I am sure there are diplomatic advantages as well.”


Emilia does quietly watch Lucas as he gives the notion thought, perhaps not the best to have pointed out. As it could be an unsettling idea, but also perhaps some indication to her truthfulness on the matter in willing to point that out. "Of aye, there are not of many. In of truth, I cannot of say I know of any of other who can hear of them as I can. Many who can read of them quite of well, but of listening is a different thing and few are likely to consider it of possible, let of alone even try.”

“And then in of turn, call it of a lesson and training in of itself,” the beating that is. Having some reference to draw upon herself, even if far from the harsh levels of treatments that Lucas endured and survived. And knights think they have it rough!

Emilia nods,”It can be a lot to take of in, but there is also not much of time for me to give repeated of lessons and pass such of information in small of bits. You have much of to think over and work of with now.” She does pause as she considers a moment,”I of think, there is perhaps connection in of the two, shadows and of monsters. In having ones of eyes opened to such of a world beyond our of own, truths we did not know of before, it of allows the mind to consider of more than beyond that of our world, to consider of what seems of impossible. “ A faint tugging occurs to the corners of her lips,”I am of glad as of well. The company is of enjoyed, as well as of the break. Though of true, there are some diplomatic advantages, even if of small. After of all, there must of be since it was in such of veins that I was able to get Raelyn to of agree, the positives to be of found in of the visit.” Ah, politics.


Lucas seems placated by Emilia’s confirmation. “Well that’s something at least,” he allows. If his shadow could speak best that there weren’t many who were listening. As to his training and ‘lessons’ he nods. “That they did,” he says somewhat proudly. “Not to say that I prefer that type of training.”

He nods. “Yes, it does seem like I am at capacity when it comes to this subject right now,” he admits. He did have a lot to work on. A further nod is given at the comparison between their training and the monsters. “It was easier with the monsters, they were there in front of me and there was no ambiguity as to if they were real or not. This, is somewhat trickier.” He stands up from his rock, stretching out his legs as he does. “Even a small diplomatic winfall is better than nothing,” he says. “Even if it is mostly an excuse to make the visit possible.” A smile at that. “Should we explore the wood a little more? I think I will need some time to let what you’ve taught me so far sink in.”

“I am not of thinking anyone is of preferring that type of training,”notes Emilia. Those did often end up being the rougher sorts of lessons by and far. But also the ones that rather stuck with a person.

“You do seem to have managed to get of a good of grasp to of start of with and to continue to work of upon.” It did take awhile to master ones own thoughts. Even those who weren’t working to listen to shadows took awhile to manage that task. Emilia nods,”It is of true, it is of rather hard to of deny the existence when it is right before of you. But even with some of monsters, I am of thinking some have of a hard time of believing they of exist.” Shifting along to her feet with a graceful turn of a stretch in the process, almost catlike in a way. “Of true, and it is of being a valid of enough reason as well.” A gentle tugging comes at the corners of her lips,”Of aye, I would enjoy to see more of the woods. And should you have further of questions after mine visit, you can always of write. There is of the option of using of the Vigilant of network in of that, should you not wish of such letters to be so of open.” Starting to walk along on with him to where he might lead and show next in the days walk in the woods.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License