Maid with the Nut Brown Hair

Started by Griffin St. James at 17 Feb, 2020 5:56 PM
3rd Moon 24, 2020
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13 Posts

Griffin St. James

Morrighan Traveler Bassilith 45 Winters 6' 2 Green Eyes Reddish-Brown Hair

I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul ~ The Invictus by William Ernest Henley.


Griffin stood outside the gates of Summerhold and looked at the imposing keep. Morgyn the Shepherd had sent word to Siege Perilous that a Traveler had come through a portal on his farm. The Seneschal of the siege had tapped Griffin for the job of locating the woman to see if she wished to return with him. She might find life at Port Duskhallow, Annwyn Court, or even Siege Perilous more to her liking than the more rural areas of Bassilith Island. Either way, the day was beautiful, and it felt good to head for the borderlands. Of course, Iryss always enjoyed the chance to fly.

He had left Iryss to go hunting for her midday meal. Although the people of Summerhold were, of course, used to seeing dragons, it was impractical to try and fit one inside the walls. Besides, he did not know where the Traveler stood on the subject of dragons.

Once inside the walls, Griffin began making his way through the market, giving a description of the Traveler and showing the likeness he had drawn based on Morgyn's description. The man had said it looked exactly like her. Finally, he found a weapons seller that recognized the drawing. Kudos to Morgyn, Griffin thought, while smiling at the stall's owner. The man finally pointed Griffin in the direction that the woman had gone after making her purchase.

Twenty minutes later, he caught sight of dark hair and, more importantly, the bow slung over the woman's shoulder matched the one the weapons seller had described.

Griffin sped up to a jog. Catching up, he took a step or two in front of her and stopped, looking at his drawing and at her face. To his amazement, the likeness was spot-on.

"Ma'am?" He said, not bothering to tamp down his Scottish burr, "Ye be Miss Davis? Hannah Davis?"


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Hannah Davis

Investigator Traveler Bassilith 24 Winters 5' 5 Blue Eyes Brown Hair

Hannah stopped short and blinked at the apparition before her.  The man who had used her name seemed straight out of Braveheart.  Besides, how did he know her name?  "How-" she began, but her mind made the connection.  "Morgyn..."  She shook her head.

Hannah crossed her arms in front of her new jerkin and took a defensive stance, eyeing the man critically.  She was still quite new to the whole Renaissance Faire-as-life thing.  For all she knew, this man was about to kidnap her.  "Who are you?" she asked.

"I am Griffin St. James from Siege Perilous," Griffin answered, understanding her caution. "I'm a Traveler like you, lass." He waited to see how she would react to that information. "I will be happy to answer whatever questions I can. Perhaps we can grab a meal?"

Hannah's brows furrowed in thought, but she nodded once.  It made sense; he was speaking to her in English, after all.  While she knew some people knew the language, that "some" was really "one".  Well, "two" now.  "I suppose so," she said at last.  "I haven't had lunch yet."  Her first question was the obvious, "I take it you came from the UK?"

"Aye. I was at home in Scotland when I got snagged by a portal. But, I worked at Montana State University...paleontology," Griffin smiled at the woman and gestured toward the street. "I know a pub that serves a great stew and it's even safe to eat. I promise that I have no designs on your fair self. I am here to check on you and to offer you an invitation to one of Bassilith Island's population centers is all. I'm fairly harmless...really." Griffin's eyes twinkled in amusement as he spoke. Truth was, she was a really pretty young woman and would soon be turning heads. Generally speaking, respect for women was ingrained into the citizens of Bassilith. However, they were not the only people in the land and there were brigands everywhere.

Hannah nodded and followed along.  He seemed genuine so far.  Of course, many men seemed genuine at first.  But she was still new here, and he was offering a path forward.  She'd go along, for now, but she'd be cautious.  "Montana State.  I am familiar.  I took Criminal Justice at WSU Spokane."

"Ahhh, so we were practically neighbors then," Griffin glanced over at her, "then you are...were...in law enforcement?" He pointed to a wide, relatively clean side-street to their left. "See the sign midway down, A Bird in the Hand?"

"Neighbors.  400 miles and two mountain ranges down I-90?  That's one way to describe it I suppose."  She glanced askance to his question and nodded.  "Training to be a detective.  Investigating disappearances.  Ironically, I think I figured it out."  She saw the sign he indicated and followed him towards it.

"Aye, from what I have learned over the last ten years, many of Earth's unexplained disappearances have wound up here. Most of the portals on this end seem tied to the cylchs, the standing stone circles," Griffin said as they ducked in the door beneath the sign displaying an outstretched hand with a dove nestled in the palm. "From the cleanliness and quality of the food, I suspect this place is owned by a Traveler although I've never confirmed that."

The interior of the pub was well laid out with separate dining and bar areas. It reminded Griffin of numerous pubs that he had frequented in England and Scotland. Moonglobes hung over the large, well-made wooden tables providing pleasant and discreet lighting. The interior was redolent with the smell of food and whatever cleaner and oils they used on the rich paneling that lined the interior walls. It sure beat the dickens out of some of the places he had dined in since coming to Aereth.

Griffin gestured to a table off in a corner and saw Hannah seated before taking a seat himself, "The ale is good too," he grinned. "Were you investigating a disappearance when you wound up here?"

"I was," Hannah replied.   "A few, really.  Seems a lot of them were connected to that abandoned house.  I went in to see what was what, and... ended up here."  She looked away for a moment as that embarrassing recent memory bubbled up.  The moment was brief and she turned back to him.  "I guess I'll be just another mugshot on that wall now."


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Griffin St. James

Morrighan Traveler Bassilith 45 Winters 6' 2 Green Eyes Reddish-Brown Hair

I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul ~ The Invictus by William Ernest Henley.


"Aye, 'tis rough, especially coming to grips with not being able to go back. There are scholars and mages trying to figure the ancient world gates out." Griffin stopped speaking as a cheerful serving maid came to their table. He ordered two bowls of stew, fresh bread, cheese, and two mugs of ale. "Trust me," he said as he ordered the beverages, "the ale is usually safer than water in establishments like this even if this one tries for cleanliness."

"There are more like us, many more actually," Griffin went on to tell her. "There's just no guarantee that they wound up on Bassilith." He did not want to bring up the dangers of a Traveler landing on Eirares or Iaphios. Hannah had not been on Aereth all that long.

Hannah stared at her hands for a long minute.  It had already been rough, coming to grips with her new reality and adjusting her lifestyle.  She had gotten used to 21st century life.  Jumping into a medieval setting was jarring.  She didn't expect she would really get used to this for a while yet.  "Morgyn told me as much," she said.  "If they could end up at most any point on the planet, the odds of running into someone I was investigating is quite small."

"Aye, the odds are small, but then look at where we are at," Griffin paused as the serving maid brought their meal. He gave the bread and cheese a cursory once-over to make sure there were no obvious issues like mold. As always, everything looked good and safe to eat. "Eat, lass."

Hannah was surprised at how hungry she really was.  She similarly examined the food with a critical eye, but with nothing untoward, ripped off a piece of bread and complimented it with a slice of cheese.  Following it with the ale provided a surprisingly pleasant savoriness.  "Itf goob," she commented through her second mouthful.

Griffin nodded as he also tore off a chunk of bread and cut a chunk off the cheese. Ducking the bread into the hot stew before grabbing his spoon. Like Hannah, he was hungrier than he thought he would be. "It is good," he stated after chewing and swallowing the spoonful of stew and the bread.

Once the first pangs of hunger had been satisfied, Griffin leaned back in his chair with his mug of ale and regarded the young woman opposite him. "How much have you seen of Aereth? Have ye encountered any of the...more unusual...beasties yet?"

She shook her head and similarly leaned back with her own ale.  "All I've seen is the five-day walk from Morgyn's farm to here.  There were some strange sounds in the forest, but I wrote them off as local birds and such."  she paused and furrowed her brow in concern, "What do you mean by unusual?"

So, how exactly did one explain the wildlife of Aereth? Almost everyone on Earth was familiar with plants such as the small Venus Flytrap. Aereth had them also. Only they were often the size of a small horse and could entrap a person and devour them. Then there was the fauna...

Griffin took a deep breath, "How familiar with Earth's ice-age megafauna are you?"

Hannah blinked, she didn't see any glaciers around.  In fact, it had been pleasantly warm, for a Seattle native at least.  "What, you mean like mammoths and saber-tooth tigers?"

"Aye, for starters," Griffin replied, watching her face as he spoke. "There are animals and...other things...on Aereth that you should learn about, lass, before going off completely on your own." The next part was going to strain her credulity. It still threw him for a loop on occasion. "For example, Aereth never had dinosaurs...it had, and still has, dragons."

If she had been taking a drink of her ale just then, Hannah might have performed a classic spit-take.  As it was, she dropped the roll on the table in her brief shock before picking it back up and placing it on her plate.  "Right.  Dragons.  Next you'll tell me there's dwarves and elves and everything else out of Lord of the Rings."  The comment was full of snark, but she did consider the context.  This was a completely different planet.  Who's to say what could be found out there?  Besides, why would Griffin make something up like that?

She pushed her mostly consumed bread forward on the table and regarded the man who just pronounced that dragons existed.  He wasn't cracking into a grin or losing composure.  If anything he had become more serious than before.  Her incredulity morphed into curiosity.  "I suppose I will have to see it to believe it," she said at last.

"Weeelll," Griffin drawled in his best Scottish burr, "if ye decide to return with me, ye'll meet dragons since that's how I got here. My day-job since arriving on Aereth is as a dragon rider, a Morrighan."


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Hannah Davis

Investigator Traveler Bassilith 24 Winters 5' 5 Blue Eyes Brown Hair

Hannah crossed her arms across her chest, gauging Griffin's intent.  "Go with you?  Where to, and how?"  As genuine as Griffin seemed, she had just met him.  A healthy bit of skepticism was fueled by experience in law enforcement.  She didn't doubt her ability to protect herself, but the best defense was generally not to open oneself up to dangers.

"Your choice on where, lass," Griffin said reassuringly. "There's Siege Perilous and the citadel where the Morrighan are headquartered in Bassilith, the Gwerin city of Annwyn Court, or Port Duskhallow. Iryss, my companion dragon, will convey us although we will have to open a portal since Summerhold is a fair distance from the population centers I named. Once we're there, if you like, we'll find you a room at the citadel, an inn, or with one of the ladies I know. Your choice."

Hannah furrowed her brow.  Almost all the words he said were complete gibberish to her.  "Those names don't really mean anything to me.  Maybe you can describe them?  Where would an investigator be welcome?"  The second half of his offer was easier to choose.  She'd find her own room in whatever city she ended up in.  Within whatever keep... or citadel... she was welcome in.

"The Gwerin are one of the ancient races of Aereth. Their cities are called courts. Annwyn Court is their capital and where their ruler resides as well as many other people," Griffin explained. "Port Duskhallow is this land's major sea-port. The Morrighan are the dragonriders, think of them as this world's air force," he paused and grinned at that. Iryss would certainly not like being compared to an airplane.

"A siege is a collection of dragon aeries - uh...homes. Siege Perilous is the largest and oldest of their sieges and the citadel is the Morrighan's city-fortress that is built in and around the aeries. This land is Bassilith Island and the continent it lies next to is Vendia which is where other realms and kingdoms are located in this region of the globe," Griffin paused again, "I dinna bring any maps wi' me, but can show you some when ... if ... you return with me. As far as your welcome, you'd be welcome anywhere."

She nodded, considering what he told her.  It wasn't much, but she acknowledged that she would really have to see it for herself.  At least, she could look at those maps he referenced.  "I suppose I can go see what Siege Perilous is all about," she answered at last.  From there, she'd decide where she'd try to make a life for herself.

"Good," Griffin said as he rose to his feet and began to wrap up their leftover bread and cheese to take with them. "I hope you are not afraid of heights."

She accepted her wrapped bread and cheese 'doggy bag' and gave him a quick double-take.  "Wait, what?"  Heights didn't bother her in the general sense, as long as she had a way to secure herself.  Airplanes weren't a big deal, for example.  But she was no tightrope walker.

 


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Griffin St. James

Morrighan Traveler Bassilith 45 Winters 6' 2 Green Eyes Reddish-Brown Hair

I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul ~ The Invictus by William Ernest Henley.


Griffin grinned at Hannah, "Well, the ridin' harnesses are verra secure, lass," he assured her as he led the way out of the tavern.

It took time to wend their way through the maze of alleys, streets, and markets of the hold. Once the main gates were in sight, he paused, "Please do not be frightened. Iryss would never hurt ye." Griffin was never sure how much to say to someone that was seeing a dragon for the first time.

They continued their trek outside the gates and just over a small rise. Griffin immediately spotted Iryss resting near a rippling brook. "Iryss, my lass, we have a passenger. I don't know if she can hear the mindspeech," Griffin warned the dragon verbally.

Hannah kind of just went along, following Griffin through the city and out into the countryside.  She didn't know exactly what to expect.  Griffin had said "dragon", so she supposed that was a clue.  Still, she couldn't help but stop and stare at the very large very much dragon shape curled up next to the stream.

"Y- Yes," she said at last, "That's a dragon all right."

She wasn't afraid, not really, just... cautious.  Iryss looked like she could swallow her whole, and Hannah really didn't have any defenses against such a creature.  Still, she did approach, just a bit slower and a few meters behind Griffin.


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Iryss of Siege Perilous

Morrighan Dragons Bassilith 3,somthing something Winters 13.3 ft. 32 ft. Topaz Eyes

 

  • Use the wings of the flying Universe,
  • Dream with open eyes;
  • See in darkness
  • Dejan Stojanovic

 


With a full belly, Iryss was more than content to loaf in the sunshine for a while, soaking in the warmth while Griffin did whatever it was Griffin did in town, and she was dozing contentedly when she sensed that her pet was coming back to her.  She was just about to sit up to greet him when she also sensed the other...

Human, female...

Seriously?  Again?  He'd adopted another?  Well, she supposed that someone had to help the ones who fell into this realm, and Griffin had a overly-big heart that tended to get him in trouble.

"Iryss, my lass, we have a passenger. I don't know if she can hear the mindspeech," Griffin warned the dragon verbally.

For a moment, she contemplated her action, inclined, at first to bound up and let out a loud roar followed by a good flame to scorch the lady's hair, but then she knew that Griffin wouldn't like that. 

So instead, she rolled onto her back, like a contented cat, her topaz eyes blinking languidly at the young woman as she produced a slight puff of smoke.

"What do you plan to do with it, Griffinstjames?  Are we taking it home?"


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Griffin St. James

Morrighan Traveler Bassilith 45 Winters 6' 2 Green Eyes Reddish-Brown Hair

I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul ~ The Invictus by William Ernest Henley.


Griffin shook his head in amusement at Iryss. He answered Iryss using the mental dragonspeech as well as aloud for Hannah's benefit, "Yes, Iryss, Miss Davis is coming with us although she will not be housed in my home. Once she has had time to decide what she wants to do, I will help her find permanent accommodations."

He reached out to rub Iryss's belly scales, pushing firmly so that the dragon would get the benefit of a good scratching. The tough plates made it difficult for a human's touch to penetrate.

To Hannah, Griffin said, "Iryss welcomes and greets you. She's a bonny lass, yes?"

@[Bongo]

Sam


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Hannah Davis

Investigator Traveler Bassilith 24 Winters 5' 5 Blue Eyes Brown Hair

Bony?  Hannah looked over the beast, languidly laying next to the steam.  It didn't look particularly thin-

Wait, no, that was a Scottish thing, wasn't it?  Bonny.  "Y- yes?" she hazarded, unsure of the meaning of the highlands colloquialism.  "I mean, I really don't have a point of comparison, this being my very first dragon."

She cautiously approached, though still remaining a step behind Griffin.


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Iryss of Siege Perilous

Morrighan Dragons Bassilith 3,somthing something Winters 13.3 ft. 32 ft. Topaz Eyes

 

  • Use the wings of the flying Universe,
  • Dream with open eyes;
  • See in darkness
  • Dejan Stojanovic

 


Welcomes and greets?  Iryss blinked languidly at Griffin, then rolled to her feet, letting out a few little smoke ring huffs as she stood, then shook out to her full height, knowing that her scales were shimmering brightly in the sun.  Arching her neck, she slowly unfolded her wings, expanding them out to display just how magnificent they were, as if that needed to be expressed!

 

Finally, she squatted down and stretched her neck out toward the newcomer, resting her head in the grass beside her.

She may touch me if she wishes...


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Griffin St. James

Morrighan Traveler Bassilith 45 Winters 6' 2 Green Eyes Reddish-Brown Hair

I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul ~ The Invictus by William Ernest Henley.


Griffin watched Iryss's display. Dragons tended to greet other dragons and even people with such displays. For other dragons, it was a way to recognize one another since the intricate and beautiful eyespots on the wings were unique. Their language included images as well as a variety of words and emotions. He gave a mental laugh too. Some dragons also wanted to make sure their full magnificence was on display. This was also intrinsic to their nature since they could be territorial and combative with one another.

Reaching out, Griffin lay one hand gently alongside Iryss's fearsome jaw.

"She says ye may touch her if you like, Hannah," Griffin looked at the woman, impressed that she had not gone screaming back to the hold. She seemed wary but curious, not afraid. That would go a long way in breaking the ice with Iryss.


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