Prelude : Fieltarn ex Miscellanea

((ooc : the following depict Fieltarn's vengeance over the his own clutch of Aes Criedne. Against the killers of his pater, Ogmios, 20 years after they've murdered him. More importantly I believe, it marks the moment where he stopped being obsessed with vengeance and actually found another driving goal : reform and foster his own Tradition, especially toward those he now unequivocally sees as his new family, the hermetic wizards of Hermes.

Oh, and consequently, if that may put your minds at ease (if need be), no, after this episode, he's not a psycho bent on revenge or killing anymore. Still, I think it shows some of his other perduring (and I'd dare say "better") traits, but I'll let you be the judges of that now... ))

(or the end of an obsession...)

"- Come on now, be reasonable Fieltarn. Free the shadow-wolf, name it!"

The voice was close, whispering in his right ear - the less bloodied one - then over his laying body. "I know you can still hear me, Son."

"Son", really? Thought Fieltarn. You old bastard.

"- The Circle beleives even your soul to be past saving, but for Dana's grace. But I can't think that you've forgotten so much of our ways." Filtiarn, eyes closed, stayed motionless despite the pain. Striving to ignore both the old druid and the pains of his beaten up body.

"- You are dying... the Stone of Pain has judged you, and there's no help to that. Its binds will kill you the instant you try and use their corrupt magic. But you can still renounce your rights to the Velgairn". the voice was still soft, but irritation betrayed the old druid's impatience. "For its own sake... Fieltarn. You must still respect that!"

Of course I do.
But again, Fieltarn remained motionless, like a corpse. At least he was now able not to fight the barbed vines anymore, and mentally savoured this meager victory over hours of torture. Even if he had the odd impression that the sacred altar duly noted his non-compliance, somehow, and intended to making him pay for it even more, later on.

"- He won't release it, Elder." replied another, sternly, to Fieltarn's left. As tired as the Elder's, but devoid of any false-compassion. "Before dawn he'll answer the call of the Ankou's bell, Aye. But even if his mind hasn't fled him already, he won't relent".

Gilros..., thought Fieltarn. Dear "uncle" Gilros, who had taught him how to see past the veils of worlds, how to talk with the souls trapped on board the chariot of death - the "Ankou". Gilros who had struck the fatal blow to his own brother Ogmios, Fieltarn's pater. The very same man Fieltarn had been searching all these years, even more so than the others of the Circle.

So, we're finally reunited, Uncle. At the thought, while Fieltarn kept his eyes closed, he couldn't prevent a vague smile to crack his tumefied face. which cost him a surprisingly sharp pain, distorting the smile into a grin.

"- See? He's willingly followed Ogmios misguided footsteps, Elder." His uncle's voice again. "And he dares mocking us, even now! He's gone the Traitor's path. Unredeemable."

Unredeemable indeed..., Fieltarn felt the wolf's rage fueling his own anger, and pain.

He tentatively openned his eyes to a clear night, careful not to move his head. The silhouettes of both men bent over him intently. One hoping for compliance and remorse, the other only expecting more defiance from a guilty fool. Both seemed unaware of the heavy clouds rolling behind them, below the waxing moon, almost full. He had sensed the storm before seeing it, but he had to be sure. At last, this damn storm is coming, good. The weather witch has hold her part of the bargain, after all.

"- Misguided fools", repeated Gilros, dripping contempt.

Fieltarn glowered at the other druids - his peers, once - his eyes narrowing. He thought about ignoring them again, knowing how much that had enraged them before, but he decided that Gilros outburst deserved an answer. They've been insulting Ogmios name long enough.

"- Ogmios... M-mis... guided? I... don't... think so. All he wanted... was... to save our Tradition. To save you...from yoursel--" The blow came to some already swollen part of his face, ruining Fieltarn hours of efforts to burry the pain in some depth of his fleeting awareness. It jerked his head on the cold altar, spraying blood. Eyes wide open now, flashes of light and purple swirled in the clouded sky. Is it dawn already? Can't be. We're not finished with them! thought both wolf and man, confused. we must...


"... a waste of our teachings, a danger to us all, as I've been saying all these years, Elder."
Fieltarn realized that he must have lost consiousness again. At least he was still unchanged. A man, if one tightly bound and about to be killed. But the silhouettes were gone, the moon now covered by the low, heavier clouds. The growing storm was darkening the night, and more importantly delaying the wolf - as he'd hoped for. I might still have a chance to survive my own stupid plan.

"- But was using the Stone really necessary?"
The voices were now a few paces away - Good - and he recognized the last one as belonging to Deirdre. Deirdre, the soft-hearted... who had taught him how to summon birds in less commanding tones than he was accustomed to. He couldn't help but remember, briefly. "Hawks are proud, too, Fieltarn, Aye. But they are more independant than wolves. Be patient". She had been right, of course. And she'll soon realize how diligently he had taken her lessons to heart, as his current situation testified. Patience, indeed. If only he'd know how much "patience" could hurt.

"- Aye, Dierdre. It was." The Elder's voice was still tense with irritation. "Strong Velgairn are becoming rare, subdued by the false religion, or enslaved by the Order of Diedne-the-Traitoress. Filtiarn must renounce his pact, before his last change! Or before--"
" - Before dying... yes.". Approved Diedre, with sincere but unmerciful sadness. I thought she liked me, once.

Concentrate, you idiot! Well, this leaves Cullach. Where is he?
Never was the chatty one, but-- Aah... in Dana's Name, no! NOT NOW, NOT--

Fieltarn didn't heard his own scream, barely human already, as the stone altar immediately cut it short, flooding his whole being, body and mind, with excrutiating pain that made his recent hours of torture seem like a friendly slap in the face. But this time he didn't lost consciousness again, unsure whether he had to thank the wolf eagerness in clawing at his awareness, or if the magical altar just didn't let him such respite anymore. Good. Can'

"- See, Elder? Even the Stone won't prevent the change much longer.". Gilros voice again, heavy with comtempt, but not closer despite Fieltarn's outburst. "I say we kill him, now. Before the Stone does. Maybe the shadow-beast won't fade for more than a century..."

" - My apprentice does not have a century."
A fourth voice, cold and sharp like a frozen stream. And like the others a few paces from Fieltarn's body. Fieltarn's hopes raised as he recognized the fourth druid. Cullach! Called "The wanderer" among an elusive tradition of uprooted vagabond wizards...

So they've all come. My search is done, time for act-- well, that is... whenever you want my scaly friends, I did say "when you feel the storm", didn't I?

"- Aye," Approved the Elder. "Cullach's pupil needs to bind a Velgairn. Soon".
Fieltarn heard the ponderous but determined the footsteep of the Elder druid coming towards him... Just as the wind rised to a threatening howl and rain refreshed his feverish body. A instant later, the Elder was standing over him again, holding a long knife with a surprisingly firm grip for his age. He looked silently at Fieltarn's face a minute or two, brooding. For effect, I presume? This doesn't work on me anymore, old man.

The rain began pounding on both men, suddenly, but Fieltarn nevertheless heard the other druids begin a chant around them, in a large circle. Then he felt the slippery bodies of three snakes - Ah. Took you long enough pals. The magical vipers slided silently between his ankles, his left hand and tigh... and another one went over his crotch. Snakes. Despite their reputation there's always a dumb one, with them... But he half-whispered half-hissed sincere thanks to his slippery saviors nonetheless. And urged them to spit their venom over the enchanted vines, in the same language only them could understand.

The Elder, slaped Fieltarn.
Can't be?!! The Old bastard doesn't know snakes. None of them bastards do!
But when he slaped him again Fieltarn realized that the old druid had mistakenly took his ophidians hissing for another mockery. And, of course, like an idiot he smiled again.

"- FOR THE LAST TIME...", screamed the Elder, restless now, "I urge you to renounce your Velgairn, Fieltarn. At least you'll die AS A MAN, not changed! ".

Fieltarn couldn't help but glance at the knife when lightning flashed on its silvery blade... now raised and pointed over his thundering heart. He opened his mouth, passed a blooded tongue over his lips, between his already elongated teeth. The Elder bent over him slightly, but still brandishing the ritual blade. The chant of the others intensified. As did the storm.

"I... recognize... that... knife. It's... Ogmios, is it not?".
And as thunder covered the angered roar of the druid, Fieltarn's unleashed his magic, now free from the binds of the Stone of Pain. The Elder's arm stopped in mid air, wavering. The others' chant quickly lose cohesion, immediately fumbling into a chaos of confused exclamations.

"You--you..." the Elder grunted, eyes wide open. Scared now. Still brandishing the damn knife, like a puppet theatrically posed by Fieltarn's strings of Mentem magics. Too bad you never learned the Parma, eh?

"I do not... care how I'll die, Elder. Probably... not today, anyway."
Fieltarn felt the wolf rushing him again, battling for control over their shared body. But after so many years he knew his limits. Most of the time.Not much longer, but that will do, he though, as he took his parens knife from the clenched fingers of the old druid.

"At least... I know that... none of you... deserve the wolf."
He raised himself on an elbow, threw his trembling legs over the edge of the altar. Drawing from the wolf rage, he was able to stand convulsively before the last members of his old circle. It was actually harder not to jump at their throat despite his wounds, but that would just unleash the change, and he needed just another minute or two now.

"But, be assured... that I'll kill you all, now... AS A MAN!"

edit : some typos.

"So, Fieltarn, what would you do, once you actually joinned a covenant?"

"- Hmm? Should I hear an invitation, there? I thought your sodalibus felt that I was pushing their hospitality. And yours specifically, for some of them at least. Not that I'm complaining, I sort of got used to it - about me being hinted at that I'm outstaying my welcome I mean, but--".

"- Not all of them do. And stop pretending to blabber so you can dodge the question, would you?" She throw a silk cushion at his face, in a playful manner.

He caught it easily, feigning shock. And slowly draw back the sheets barely covering her body, in retaliation.

"- Or at least tell me how would pursue your admirably ambitious dream, Fieltarn".
He noticed how she toned "admirably ambitious" as if to say "completely unrealistic". But at least she cared enough to smile in a studiedly friendly maner, rather than a mocking one. And no doubt well a praticed smile, too. Like a cat, deceivingly looking posed and barely curious... while watching the mouse-hole. He smiled in return, genuinely, and gazed at her athletic curves before answering.

"- I would start with establishing good relationships with my prospective covenant's peers, naturally." he shrugged, leizurly caressing her tigh.

"- hmff, who wouldn't... That's not an answer."

"- Ah, but see, my sweet Hypian friend, if I can not share first the best of my talents with those I'd live with, there would be no point in trying and sharing my teachings with the rest of the Order".

"- Your Tradition's teachings... So you'd proselytise?" Again, he heard the barely veiled amusement; convinced she already knew the fall line of the joke - and maybe she does - but still not deliberatly offensive. "About your religion or some of your... magical practices?" She pursued.

Fieltarn's finger stopped at her knee, when she said "religion". His hand now oddly tinted red from the light filtered by the stained glass of a large window. He glanced at his clothes, spread throughout the room. His belt and... yes, the knife was there too. Somehow, it was never far, even when Fieltarn thought he'd left it packed deeply in his modest belongings.

"- No. I wouldn't 'proselytise'. Not about religion, its not our-- my ways." He moved his hand through a less reddish shaft of light before resuming his caresses, ignoring both the knife and its dark reminiscences. "Not anymore."

She said nothing, so he confided further, not oblivious that by doing so he accepted the role of the mouse, Lured out by all her warmth and peacefulness. I should tread carefully here....

" - I admit that I have a rather... vague vision of where I'm heading in this regard at least. For now, as it still is a long term project after all. Still, I guess that it is kinda ironic since I'm usually a planner, even if one who tries and never ignore his instincts - as you well know." He looked at her face, his hand now resting on her ankle, gently if a bit possessively. But she remained serenely patient, unfazed, even though she didn't appear unappreciative of his attentions. Tytali... he thought, always composed or passionate, but never doubting themselves. Despite all their inner scars. For an instant, thinking about his own demons again, he envied her self-confidence.

Then he simply winked at her.
" - But in any case, as I've shown you, Brigitte, I'm not as alone as it seems."

" - Ah! you are confusing me now", her eyebrows raised in deliberately feigned innocence, clearly stating she was rarely confused, by anything. Are you referring to the protection of your Goddess or to your... hmm, how'd you call it? your shadow-wolf?".

" - Both of course, although I was referring to the later actually, with you being one of my first... hmm, confidents, about my Tradition's bonding of shadow-beasts." He moved passed her and over the bed to pick up a bottle of vine, dismayed at how far they've already honored its fine vintage, the previous night. "Still, it was a risky move, Brigitte... insisting to witness the change".

"- No risk, no fun" She mused. "Besides you were chained, and I'm not some helpless maid." she shrugged. "But, 'Confident' you say? hmm... I like that, Fieltarn. Althought I was almost expecting you to say 'prospective convert', or 'probate' perhaps". she teased, unrelenting.

  • "I would never dare", he lied - not until anyone would swallow my own bait, that is. Even if you of all people, probably never will.

Then he tasted some of the remaining vine, before offering her the bottle, nonchalantly.
"- A mere peregrinator like me, since that is still who I am, halas, would be foolish to tease a Tytali about some half-forgotten beliefs. I know how distrustful your House is - legitimately - when it comes to spiritual pacts...". He took back the now empty bottle from her hand, gently.

  • "...and believe it or not, but I respect that". he finished sincerely, before pulling her into his arms.