#and obviously they’re all bards
Eda’s Requiem Speculation
I’ll be frank, I’m pretty certain this is the Rayne episode!
Think about it… Requiem starts with R. We know that Rayne, new head of the Bard Coven, is going to play a role as Eda’s childhood friend, as we can see from various shots;
There are three definitions for Requiem, more or less music-related (hence Mozart’s Requiem);
(Especially in the Roman Catholic Church) a Mass for the repose of the souls of the dead.
A musical composition setting parts of a requiem Mass, or of a similar character.
An act or token of remembrance.
Rayne’s name can mean ‘song’, and a Requiem can be a song… Eda’s Song, in a sense? A certain Song of Eda’s, that is sad and mournful, remembering things?
Keep in mind this shot of Rayne playing the violin, as they nod at someone with a sort of saddened determination;
It looks like they’re burning up, the way Willow’s memories did in Understanding Willow! Requiem for Eda could mean an act of remembrance… And if someone is mourning something;
Could Eda and Rayne be mourning their lost past love? We’ve all noticed how the filters on Eda in some shots look rather lovey-dovey, and in one shot of what appears to be Rayne remembering Eda, she looks like a young adult! Did Rayne stick around with Eda, as her only friend, during the initial years following the curse? If so, that must’ve made it all the more devastating when she did leave, long enough ago for this specific moment to be something Rayne remembers when seeing Eda again;
Likely, Rayne was promoted as the new head of the Bard Coven; Perhaps replacing their father, or just some other dude, someone who died or had to retire. Being a Coven Leader obviously conflicts with being friends with a wanted criminal, so this likely led to Rayne and Eda having to split, especially with ideological differences becoming all the more apparent.
With Rayne being a bard, perhaps they’ll compose a song, literally called Eda’s Requiem in-universe, as a mournful ode to their lost friendships, as a way of remembering their time together… And, Eda might feel the same way as well. Perhaps Eda will have to reconcile her own memory loss from the curse with her own memories of Rayne… And with that shot of Rayne burning up like Willow’s memories;
Will Eda lose some of her memories of Rayne? Or is Rayne helping her get back those memories? Will Rayne make a sacrifice of their own memories? Are they using Bard magic to undo this damage, to restore Eda’s emotions and help her remember the past? Either way, I don’t think anyone will die… YET. I hope it’s not Rayne because they’re NB representation, plus it’d be weird to establish them as this new coven leader, only to kill them off in their debut; There could also be foreshadowing towards the Death of a character, but we’ll talk about that later.
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what are the faeries and selkies in mnyt like? (also "my name your teeth" has to be the coolest name for anything ive ever heard)
aaah thank you sm!! it took me AGES to get it to a place i was happy with, it means so much to me that you like it! <33
selkies i’ve covered here, so faeries it is!
the fair folk are rarely seen in our world, due to the iron we use in pretty much everything. some say that’s why we started using it. still, most people agree that they exist, even if they rarely venture into inhabited areas of our world. sometimes you’ll catch a glimpse of them in forests, which is either very lucky or an omen of death, depending on your superstition. they’re beautiful and charming and admired by most, but everyone knows to be wary of them.
they’re even more powerful in their own world, but some would say less dangerous, as you’ll only encounter a faery in their own world if you’ve gone there willingly (via trickery, maybe, but willingly). most who go with them willingly are musicians (hello, dorian), and faeries value their bards. they won’t stop you from leaving, but there’s only one right exit, and a thousand wrong ones.
faeries have names relating to nature, which they use in the original gaelic that they speak. all faeries have a limited form of magic, and are at least able to cast a glamour and speak and understand the mother tongue of the person they are talking to, but some take the art further and become incredibly talented at it. others, like aiteann, are particularly skilled at weaponry (bronze, obviously — steel contains iron). a lucky few are selected personally by the queen to join her guard, to follow her orders without question and protect her with their lives.
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You're a Wind Sprite
Venti x GN!Reader
You are a little wind sprite that runs into traveler while they’re on a commission. They’re struggling some so you give them a helping hand and end up traveling with them for a while. The two of you travel far and wide, eventually ending up in Mondstadt. Because it’s a bigger city with more people than you're used to, you decide to stay out of sight during the day and explore by night.
The first night you explore you run into a bard in green. While you don’t recognize him, he knows what you are on sight and is immediately fond of you. There are so few wind sprites these days. He introduces himself as Venti and offers to show you around the city. You hesitantly accept and become good friends with him as the night goes on.
Near morning you bid your new friend goodbye and head back to where traveler is staying the night. You follow them throughout the morning, hiding when anyone approaches. Then traveler meets up with your new friend! They seem to know each other and have an easy camaraderie as they catch up with each other.
After sending Paimon away for a while, the topic of conversation changes. Traveler seems to have completely forgotten about you, because you know they never would have had that conversation with you there otherwise. The conversation is no longer about travel stories or funny experiences. It’s about things like archons, and gnosis, and fatui. By the end of the conversation your eyes are the size of golf balls (quite the feat considering your head is about the size of a golf ball itself).
When traveler realizes their mistake later they swear you to secrecy. There was no need, honestly. You never would’ve told anyone about the conversation with the topic being so obviously sensitive.
That night you choose to stalk Venti instead of interacting with him directly, watching him carefully. This is your (past?) archon? He doesn’t seem so bad. He obviously cares about Mondstadt and is here now at least. You actually come to quite admire him.
On his side of things, he absolutely knows you’re stalking him. But you’re not really doing anything wrong so he leaves you be, even though he’s terribly curious. When you’re done and fly off, satisfied, he is terribly bemused. Then he sees you with traveler the next day and realizes what happened.
Now that the cat is out of the bad, you mostly stick around with him instead of traveler. They had to go to Liyue anyway. And you vastly prefer Mondstadt’s windy plains to Liyue’s big rocks. Venti’s just reveling in the feeling of having a consistent companion who already knows all his dirty secrets.
At first you consider sticking around Barbatos himself to be an honor, but it becomes natural over time. He spends the nights with you in sprite form. You race around pull little harmless pranks. During the day you hide under his hat, hum along as he sings, and make funny faces at him when he gets drunk again. It’s nice to spend time with him. The two of you become inseparable.
He thinks you’re absolutely adorable and spoils you endlessly. Barbatos now officially has a favorite. You get cuddles and snuggles from both his human and sprite forms- even little kisses on the cheek when he’s especially happy or drunk.
While he may not technically be an archon anymore, he is just as important to you as he would be if he still was. You wouldn’t choose to be anywhere else because being with him just feels so right. You want to stay like this with him forever and can tell he feels the same way.
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Soo like 6 days ago I started watching the Witcher stopped at ep 7 bought the Witcher 3 and have been playing it nonstop. The shows okay? I think? (From someone who only knows what the series is from a 4 hour critic video that I had no idea what was going on in BUT- the game is so funnnn. Like I barely know what’s going on, from that video and people discussing things online but WOW??? Like how was I not told about this shit earlier??? Dandelions realllllly icky thooo like I thought he’d be more fun and less “wow your straight fucking scum” but I mean at least he cares about his friends? Triss and yennifer are... Oof rough BUT I’m only just in the game, hope they’ll grow on me? Or change? But Ciri? Is adorable? Her parts are so fun to play her dodge is so fun.
The novels! Have You read them? Where does one get them lmao Ik they’re translated?
[old timey fisherman's voice] WE CAUGHT ANOTHER ONE, BOYS!
Ahhhh new Witcher 3 fan!! Congratulations, anon, you've unlocked my numerous Thoughts™ and Opinions™ on the matter that I am now going to dump on you in bullet point form. No spoilers though!
Okay, okay, yeah I like this game a totally normal amount. I've sunk at least 250 hours into it (so far) which might not be much compared to the Pro Gamers and whatnot, but it's an insane amount for someone like me who possesses the attention span of a goldfish. I don't do any of the same thing for 250 hours (except write things on tumblr, I guess)
I didn't know what was going on either when I first played. I didn't even have the show to sort of help me out, Witcher 3 was the first Witcher story I ever dove into. The great thing though is you can just... google stuff? See, idk if you've worked this out yet, but the games all take place post-book series. All the stuff in the series happened, then Witcher 1 starts with Geralt having amnesia, and everything else in the games is new content. Which means that though there's obviously a fair number of book spoilers throughout, it's pretty easy to google worldbuilding questions without getting game spoilers. So once I understood that I was able to supplement what I was getting via game osmosis with stuff like, "Who the fuck is Nilfgaard again and why does everyone hate them?" or "What did Triss do to Geralt?" without getting any quest-specific spoilers. Basic wiki articles with, "Such and such is related to such and such and once did This Thing" was super helpful.
Yeah, the show is just okay. I'm far less enamored with it a year later than I was at the start. I think I was trying to like it more than I actually did... Honestly, I'm actually somewhat wary of getting more seasons simply because of how TV shows tend to dominate fandoms. The Jaskier/Geralt dynamic is a perfect example: once the show does something, a very large portion of the fandom tends to take that as their preferred canon. Finding non-TV!Jaskier/Geralt content is more of a struggle now. Which isn't a bad thing, god knows I'm happy to have more Witcher content in general, it's just too bad that we have game and book dynamics that are, at least here on tumblr, largely overshadowed by the show. My fave in the whole franchise - Regis - is someone I'm particularly worried for because if the show does him dirty and the whole fandom takes that characterization as gospel, I may not recover lol.
Dandelion's characterization in Witcher 3 is, sadly, not what I'd hoped it would be. To my mind book!Dandelion is superior to both game!Dandelion and TV!Jaskier. It's his dynamic with Geralt that made me ship them in the first place. He does grow on you in the game though (or at least he did for me), but he's definitely presented as more annoying/inept/creepy than in the books. And don't even get me started on how they butchered that relationship in the show... Though I WILL say game!Dandelion remains pretty funny. There's one quest in particular that never fails to make me laugh. Also his fashion is on point for a flamboyant bard.
Oof Triss and Yen... beware, anon, that is THE debate in this fandom and the one you might want to steer clear of lol. Personally, I'm not a fan of either. Triss is fine, I guess, but not someone I really, actively like and Yennefer is... well. Let's just say if I could do away with any character it would be her. I absolutely despised her in the game, was told she was better in the books, started the books, hated her even more, tried to give her a chance in the TV show, and ended up hating her there too. I'm just not a Yen fan, at all, which basically makes me the black sheep of the Witcher fandom lol. You might warm to them though, the majority do, however, know that you don't have to romance either of them. My Geralt was quite happy being a single father to his amazing daughter Ciri :D
I've read the short story collections and read enough of the novels to realize it wasn't my cup of tea. Basically, there are two collections of interconnected tales as Geralt goes about his witchering and then a six book epic following the hansa and everything with Ciri. Personally, I couldn't get into the epic and dropped the novels early on. In my humble opinion Sapkowski, writing a character like Geralt, (much like Doyle writing Holmes) excels in the short story format and then struggles stylistically in novel form. I found his writing tedious, the themes not nearly as poignant (many outright uncomfortable), and the fact that Yen is a central part of the whole tale didn't help sell things for me. Reading a six book series where a good chunk is dedicated to the supposedly epic love story of a couple where you hate one half and find the whole relationship cringy (though not in a way the story is purposefully acknowledging)... doesn't make for great reading imo lol. But I want to emphasize that that's my take and god knows it's a minority one. Most fans adore the books - and I do heartily recommend the short stories - so definitely give them a shot for yourself some time.
They are indeed translated (I can't read a word of Polish lol) and are very easy to find in a bookstore, online seller, etc. The wiki article lists them all.
(Though know that you definitely can't download ebooks for free via the Z Library. Nope. Not possible. Don't know why I'm even getting your hopes up.)
Really though, Witcher 3 is my fave, hands down. Out of the books, the show, the other games... Witcher 3 is the version of Geralt and the world that I truly fell in love with. When people say "Witcher" that's the version of Witcher I'm eager to discuss. However, if you can stomach early 2000s games with pretty terrible graphics, I recommend trying Witcher 1 and 2 once you're finished (I was immediately ready for more gameplay content after I'd finished lol). Witcher 1 is, in many ways, a mess. God the combat system drove me nuts... BUT it has a strange charm that I, in all seriousness, really loved. Meanwhile, Witcher 2 (Assassins of Kings) is far stronger. You can easily see the building blocks of Witcher 3 in the narrative choices and worldbuilding. Plus, AoK has Iroveth who is just such a fun character. Wish he'd made it into Wild Hunt :(
Also the comics! I bought the omnibus a while back and didn't regret the purchase for a second. House of Glass (the first story run) also has one of the saddest Geralt moments for me. Just this single panel that lives in my head, rent free, making me Feel Things on occasion lol. There's a new run, Fading Memories, releasing this month (!!!) which I can't wait to get ahold of once the trade paperback is out.
Oh god I could ramble about Witcher 3 for ages but this is already getting so long. Do all the side quests! Return to places you've already been to for fun surprises! Replay decisions to see how differently things turn out! Play lots of Gwent! Enjoy the gorgeous landscapes! Be sure to get the amazing DLCs when you're finished! Play Hearts of Stone first because Blood and Wine has an ending-ending and I didn't realize that, so it was a little weird to get the emotional finish and then have like 10+ hours of gameplay left! Oh, and if you haven't figure it out already know that you can put points into any skill in the General Skills tab (you don't build on it like the fighting/signs/alchemy tabs) and I would snag the "Gourmet" ability ASAP because it has saved my ass so many times.
AND ENJOY PLAYING
I wish I could play it for the first time again, but diving back into more Blood and Wine tonight will have to do :D
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Posada Remix Update! Chapters 13 and 14.
Book!Geralt, Dandelion, and Yennefer have just arrived back in Netflixland. Geralt intends to ask Jaskier to come back and live with him in his dimension. However, things become a bit sticky when they arrive moments after the emotional events on The Mountain.
“Jaskier won’t say yes anyway. So it’s irrelevant.”
“You’re so sure?” asked Yen. She looked at him like a school marm ready to renew her lecture about the importance of negotiation.
Before she could, Geralt launched into a bitter, but dramatic monologue. “Jaskier, get into this small cube that will be tossed through time and space. Your body could be torn apart and put back together with your guts on the outside. You could be sent to an era with nothing but reptiles that eat bards for dinner. Why, you ask? Why would you do this? Oh, to be with a version of someone you already have.”
He drew out the words ‘already have’. This was his best impression of himself sounding very, very stupid. Dandelion and Yen stood silent, watching him.
“What the fuck was I thinking?” he continued to rant. “Geralt here has probably come to his senses already anyway.”
“Shall I compose a poem for you to recite to him?” offered Dandelion. “Everything is more persuasive in verse. And since I know what I like, he’ll be guaranteed to love it.”
“No, thank you.”
“Geralt,” said Yen firmly, crouching in front of him, touching his knees for balance. “Look at me.”
He reluctantly tilted his chin to meet her stern eyes. “What.”
“I know you’re sensitive—“
“The beautiful Yennefer is correct, obviously,” broke in Dandelion. He was fixing his hat and straightening his coat. “You can endure a beating, a poisoning, or a stabbing better than anyone I’ve ever met. You’re terrifying in battle! But your feelings, they’re tender little—“
Yen saw Geralt’s eyes narrow so she hastened to cut Dandelion off. “—and the idea of your love rejecting you is painful. But you can do it. You’ve survived much worse.”
Dandelion planted his hands on his hips and tilted his head thoughtfully, gazing at Geralt. “I don’t know, Yen. What could be more agonizing than being rejected by the one you love?”
They were looking at him like two farmers consulting with one other on how to repair a damaged barn.
“This is all very helpful, thanks,” said Geralt dryly.
It was not helpful at all.
Dandelion sighed dramatically. “Just think of me and my art! I don’t get a ballad unless you make a romantic, daring effort! Allow that to motivate you!”
“You just make it all up anyway,” grumbled Geralt.
“Your point being?”
Geralt cursed Dandelion’s entire lineage under his breath.
“I heard that,” said Dandelion.
“Good,” Geralt retorted.
Yen intervened. “Geralt, what do you want? To go back without seeing him?”
His shoulders slumped. “No.” Leaving without seeing Jaskier was unthinkable.
Yen stood and brushed herself off. “Then think of the fact that he could be in your arms within moments.”
Geralt perked up. The immediacy of seeing Jaskier was a good antidote to his angst.
Dandelion, seeing that this approach was working, jumped in. “Yes, he must be close. That’s why we used his ring, right? To get directly to him?”
Geralt dashed to the cube and pulled the ring out of the box. The weight of it brought back the memory of Jaskier’s hand adorned with it, entwined with his. It gave Geralt the moment of courage, and perhaps, foolishness, that he needed.
“Well, that did it,” chuckled Dandelion. “He’s greeting a blasted piece of metal like it's his long lost gran.”
Geralt ignored his comment, but turned to face his friends. “This whole thing is ridiculous and you two are mad for helping me,” he declared. They shrugged helplessly.
Geralt needed to get this over with, one way or the other. “Let’s go find him.”
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Tell Me About The Light Behind My Eyes
Chapter 5 - About Trial And Error
(words: ~5.5k, rating: M)
read on ao3
Geralt wanders the familiar halls of the keep, sleep the furthest thing from his mind. He needs to clear his head, not used to endless ruminations anymore. His feet, he registers, lead him to Ciri’s room – just like every other night. Only this time it’s quiet in there, the low light of a weak fire visible under the door. Jaskier must have lit it, always having favoured warmth and comfort over anything else, regardless of the constraints of time. Something Geralt had secretly learned to appreciate – but never voiced. He had always left it uncommented, the way Jaskier would light a fire in the room they shared when coin was scarce, while lamenting how cold and miserable he was.
Geralt had always turned away to hide a smile behind a sigh.
Staring at the small strip of light under the door, he is taken back to those nights, all those years ago. When he would inevitably wake from a nightmare, breaking out in cold sweat of days long gone. Those nights where he would be gentled back into reality, greeted by the warm light of a fire still burning, spending warmth and taking the edge off. The dancing flames always helped to hypnotise him back to sleep, or at least into a deep meditation. He wonders now as he did back then, if Jaskier was aware of it. If maybe he lit the fires for Geralt’s sake as much as his own.
Coming back to the present, he watches the light moving gently under the door. It is then that he realises there are no shadows moving along with them, no footsteps to be heard, no hushed voices from inside. No smell of fear, no rapid heartbeat of nightmares permeating through the air.
It is quiet. Silent. Calm.
Carefully, as soundless as physically possible, Geralt opens the door. What he sees is a picture that has his slow heart skip an ever-careful beat.
Ciri, curled up under the covers by the edge of the bed, making herself as small as possible. That in itself is nothing new. What’s new is her stillness. What’s new is the smell. What’s new is Jaskier, sitting before her, leaning against the bed, curled in on himself as well. Sleeping there in what must be the most uncomfortable position imaginable. Geralt winces in sympathy at the angle of his neck.
But all thoughts of that disappear when he sees Ciri’s hand curled tightly into Jaskier’s shirt – the same he wore when he arrived earlier. Her other hand, he notices, hangs loosely from the bed, right above where Jaskier’s is lying on the floor, palm up. Geralt gets the idea that maybe they had been holding hands. Jaskier promising that he would join her in her dreams.
Try to find me, the shadow of a memory supplies. Focus on that instead of the monsters, Geralt. Just try to find me.
He blinks at the memory, its unexpected assault leaving him reeling as he stares at Jaskier’s hand. The one that he knows fits well into his, albeit all memories are hazy from sleep deprivation of the time. He had done this for Geralt, too. Once or twice. Taken his hand after a nightmare and told him to go back to sleep, see if he can find Jaskier there somewhere. He had, every time. Secretly.
Jaskier is still in his dreams sometimes, even without the handholding.
Geralt doesn’t know why, and doesn’t care to examine it further, but he allows himself to look at the bard. He finds that he doesn’t want to look away, though he doesn’t know the reason. Looking at Jaskier, it was never like this before. Never accompanied by this… this emotion. This painful yet still somehow gentle burning in his chest. Once again he finds his hands twitching at his sides to reach out and hold.
He won’t. Of course he won’t, and Jaskier wouldn’t let him. The way he jerked away from Geralt earlier this evening when the witcher caught his fall tells him that. Or the way he refused to meet Geralt’s eyes.
Or the way—
The way he smells. He smells good, of rose and amber and wood. Like Jaskier, and somehow that is now a good thing. But. But he also smells… wrong. The way a wilting rose still smells like a rose. The way a dying tree’s bark still smells of wood. The way the air smells right before a storm that you know is going to devastate the whole county. And Geralt doesn’t know what to do with that. Doesn’t know what’s wrong. Doesn’t know how to ask, what to do, how to help, how to be around Jaskier.
He sighs and winces when he sees the bard twitch, though he doesn’t wake up.
Geralt needs to get out of here, he knows, but tearing his eyes away from the two is more painful a thought than he expected, and he can feel frustration make its way through his system at all these sensations, all these thoughts, all these things.
Little Swallow, Jaskier had called Ciri. With that impossibly fond, mischievous smile on his lips. A smile often directed at Geralt. A smile he didn’t know he missed so much.
Little Swallow… How? How does Jaskier always do this? Bring comfort with the smallest of gestures, establish a relationship with everyone he meets and inflict himself upon them with no chance of ever being replaced. Geralt doesn’t know. He’s not even sure Jaskier knows how he does it.
He just does.
Lives and breathes comfort and joy.
And Geralt can’t breathe.
When the onslaught of thoughts and misplaced emotions becomes too much, Geralt lets himself take flight. His head is no clearer than when he arrived and he wants to punch something. Or someone.
As he silently closes the door behind himself, lifting it slightly in its hinges to keep it from creaking, Geralt decides that what he needs right now is a drink. Maybe some of Lambert’s liquor even.
Hoping to find his brothers there, his hands still twitching, his thoughts still racing at uncomfortable speed, Geralt heads to the large sitting room. He is relieved to see the fire in the hearth still going, Lambert barking a laugh at something or other.
“So,” Eskel says without preamble the moment Geralt steps foot into the sitting room. “This is your friend, the bard.”
“I’d honestly expected someone more pompous,” Lambert grunts, placing his empty jug on the table and reaching for the carafe to top himself up.
Geralt rolls his eyes as he takes a seat and reaches for a jug of ale himself. “He’s not my friend.” It comes out with more certainty than he expected, but his brothers still snort rather inelegantly.
“Oh right, Eskel! How could we forget?” Lambert rolls his eyes and speaks in an exaggerated voice, dripping with sarcasm. “Witchers are forbidden to have friends. Never, under any circumstances whatsoever, may we ever grow attached to people on the basest of levels.”
Huh, the ale does wonders for Lambert’s vocabulary, Geralt thinks absently as he tries not to bristle at his words.
Eskel says nothing, just regards him with a mild smile and then clinking his jug against Lambert’s in agreement.
“Are you telling me, brother, that you have friends?” Geralt challenges.
Lambert grins at him and downs his ale in one go. “No,” he huffs, then sets his jug down once more. “But I don’t sound so sad when I say it.”
Eskel snorts but says nothing, and Geralt frowns.
“We’re not friends, though,” he insists, aware of how lame it sounds, how petulant, but… isn’t it the truth?
“We don’t need anyone and the last thing we want is people needing us. You know, except for when there are monsters to slay,” Eskel supplies, and Geralt wants to agree. To thank him. But he senses a trap. It sounded an awful lot like an empty recital, the words uncomfortably familiar.
So all he says is, “Hm.”
“But not needing anyone, and not admitting to actually needing someone, those are two very different things, brother.”
Geralt is reeling again, assaulted by the memories and pictures and emotions once more that he just can’t sort out. They’re too restless, too many, too new, too raw. He doesn’t know anything anymore – hasn’t for a while.
And Eskel is here, talking like Vesemir on one of his My Pups Are Being Stupid And I Need To Wash Their Heads-days. That thought has Geralt smiling. “I think you spent too much time around people who think they know something about life.”
“He reads too much,” Lambert growls with an annoyed eye-roll.
Eskel just huffs and looks back at Geralt. “You know I’m right, though.”
“I know you think you’re right.”
“Oh, I’ll drink to that,” Lambert laughs and Geralt toasts to that. Neither of them winces when they feel Eskel’s harsh kick under the table.
They stare at each other for a moment, neither of them relenting, and the dynamic feels a lot like an exasperated parent talking to their petulant child. It is then that Geralt realises with a pang just how much he missed his brothers this past year. Lambert and Eskel only arrived a week ago and Geralt had been too swept up in worrying about Ciri that they hadn’t really been able to just sit and talk. Melitele, how he missed this!
Fuck. More emotions.
Before he can say anything, Eskel sighs and leans back in his chair. “Fine, I’ll let it go.” Geralt almost sighs in relief, but then Eskel adds, “For tonight. But what I’ll say is, nothing in your life right now is typical for a witcher. A child surprise? A bond with a sorceress? You obviously already have people needing you, Geralt, by choice or not. So you might as well go and want something for yourself as well. If only out of spite.”
Geralt can’t help but huff gently at that last part. Having Jaskier in his life out of spite? Yeah, that is absolutely a thing the bard would agree to. Enthusiastically, at that. Spite and Jaskier are like a lute and its strings. Inseparable. One completing the other. Of course, Eskel doesn’t know that, but Geralt doesn’t feel like explaining.
And it’s easier to focus on that than on his actual words. Because maybe Eskel is right, maybe he can want things, but he’s pretty sure he can’t want Jaskier. Not anymore.
He doesn’t even know if he wants him back in his life. Doesn’t even know what his life is anymore because everything has changed. With the djinn, with Ciri, with Jaskier. Or, without Jaskier.
A kick under the table rips him away from his disjointed thoughts that keep insisting on giving him a headache.
“You’re all over the place,” Lambert says and hands him another jug filled to the brim with ale. “What you need is to get absolutely shitfaced to get yourself sorted out.”
Eskel raises his pint for a toast. “And you’re in luck, brother, because we know how to get you out of your own head.”
“Alcohol and sparring?” Geralt asks with fond scepticism.
“Alcohol and sparring!” Lambert grins.
“Hear! Hear!” Eskel laughs and they all drink.
Jaskier wakes with a start and immediately regrets it.
He’s disoriented, confused, and in pain. Not a very pleasant combination to wake up to, especially when– fuck! His neck hurts! Well, scratch that. Every inch of his body hurts, and he can’t feel his ass or legs anymore. The hardwood floor underneath him is unforgiving, and the wooden frame of the bed has surely left a lasting impression on his upper back.
What on earth…
Then it comes back to him. Where he is and why he is here. Yennefer. Geralt. The princess. Young Cirilla who needs help, and somehow that landed him here. In the infamous, near-crumbling keep of the wolves. Kaer Morhen.
Ugh. Helping a child is all well and good, but he’s pretty sure that now he’s the one who needs help. Especially with moving and getting up from here. His legs are cramped, his neck stiff and quite possibly not in the mood for quick movements within the next... week or so.
Groaning, he tries to stretch, rubbing at his shoulders and nape to get some feeling back in there. Some not-pain feeling. What he gets instead is a full-body crack of every single joint he didn’t even know he had.
“Fuck, fuck, fuuuck,” he moans, opening his eyes to the sunlight streaming into the room from behind him. It must be pretty late in the morning, perhaps even noon already. Jaskier finds that he doesn’t care as he flops to the side to lie on the floor. Pathetic, but infinitely more comfortable than sitting against the bed.
Taking a moment to wiggle and put his body back into working order, Jaskier lies there and breathes. Stares up at the ceiling and gathers his thoughts.
Cirilla is already out of bed, and Jaskier thinks he distantly remembers waking up when she left the room earlier. It wasn’t the first time he woke up that night, startling every time the little girl moved or whined or breathed unevenly. He doesn’t remember what he said, but he had squeezed her hand every time and talked to her, gentle and sleepy. A strategy that was successful with Geralt way back in the days – and apparently with Cirilla, too.
It was worth it, but damn if he couldn’t use a full night’s sleep right about now. He can already feel a pounding headache forming behind his eyes. He’s tired. So tired. But last night comes back to him and he smiles.
Maybe it really is worth it. Feels a lot like it is.
Quite content to spend his morning on the cold, hard floor, countering one sort of pain with another, Jaskier suppresses a sigh when he hears footsteps approaching. He lets it out when he hears them stopping in front of the door.
A second later, the picture of Yennefer upside-down greets his tired eyes.
“I must admit, you really are a sight for sore eyes,” he says and tries for a grin.
The sorceress crosses her arms before her chest and regards him sceptically, her head inclined. “You look like shit.”
Inexplicably, and that’s probably the tiredness here, Jaskier laughs. It bubbles out of him and stays when he sees Yennefer’s lips twitch, too. “And good morning to you as well.”
It’s weird. And he doesn’t even like her. But after years of being alone, years without familiar faces for more than a week, it feels… it feels kind of good to see her, to know that he will keep seeing her for the next few months, probably. It feels good to have at least one constant, for however long he’ll have it.
And if that constant is jabbing at the sorceress and have her insult him right back, then that’s still a constant. Something he knows how to do. In a world that’s alien to him, where he’s alien, this is at least something. Something old, something persistent, something familiar. He won’t forbid himself to enjoy it.
For a fracture of a second, Yennefer’s expression changes, and Jaskier is immediately reminded of her powers. Of all their powers. Fuck, she can probably smell his thoughts or something. And the witchers, too. Oh Gods, what if Geralt knows—
“You stink,” Yennefer cuts through his thoughts. And, while offended, Jaskier is grateful for that.
Still! “Excuse you,” he frowns at her, more than aware of how silly it must look upside-down. He sure does not have the high ground right now, splayed out on the floor like he is. Still! “I didn’t exactly have time to bathe as I was making sure the Little Swallow was not consumed by her own fears, but oh, dear lady Yennefer, please! Accept my sincerest apologies for not meeting your olfactory requirements of post-traumatic nightmare fighting.”
Oh, great. Rambling. Sleep-deprived rambling, fired by the deep ache in his bones. Just perfect.
Yennefer sighs and stares at him. “Jaskier,” she starts, and he flinches.
She can’t call him that. He’s not Jaskier, he’s Julian. To her and the world and everyone else he’s Julian. He’s not used to the bard’s name anymore, not used to hearing it on people’s lips, spoken with familiarity. He’s not.
“Nope,” he presses, rasps, chokes. Don’t. “It’s Julian.”
“Julian,” Yennefer says naturally, like there was no disturbance at all. She doesn’t look at him with a weird or judgemental expression, simply accepts it. Jaskier breathes out slowly, quietly, grateful for the perpetually bored look on the sorceress’s face. “I thought maybe you’d like a bath.”
At that, Jaskier perks up, the tension of hearing the name long-unsaid by the world gone. Yennefer wants something from him, that is as clear as the rays of sunlight coming through the dusty window. But the offer of a bath to wash off the past days’ grime and dirt is far too appealing. Being clean. Warm water to soak in, to loosen the knots in his muscles he knows will be there once he gets up and attempts walking. Oh yes. A bath actually sounds like Heaven, and not even Yennefer could taint that for him.
And this is how he finds himself following the sorceress he deeply dislikes through a maze of halls in a keep he doesn’t trust will hold out this winter – funny, the ways life has. But he will gladly accept that if the tales Geralt used to tell him about the hot springs below Kaer Morhen are remotely true.
Yennefer leads him down, down, down, and Jaskier can already feel the constant chill leave his bones as the air becomes warmer and more humid with each step. His body tingles in anticipation.
As they step into a cave, Jaskier gasps at the sheer beauty that greets him. If he didn’t know better, he would say everything here is untouched, wild, pure nature. There are several pools before him, some steaming hot, others not so much.
Veins of sparkling colours mark the stone walls of the cave, and he wonders just what treasures lie beneath the keep, hidden away from human greed. The mountain’s insides lie bare before him and Jaskier needs a moment to take it all in. There are little sparks flying around, floating in the air like fireflies that have nowhere to be. Magic, he supposes.
He envies Yennefer in that moment, simply for the ability to cast magic in the form of warm, comforting, dancing light. A glance to the side tells him that she’s not looking at him but rather at the floating spots of light. Like they bring her comfort as well.
It’s weird, seeing her like this. Up close. Distracted. Like she is far away.
She looks tired, he notes. Not bad-night-tired, no. Something deeper, stronger, worse.
Fuck, no, Jaskier! You are not starting to worry or even care about this witch! You need a bath and some good sleep – and so does she, probably, but that’s on her!
He clears his throat and looks for a place where he can undress and leave his clothes.
“Don’t feign modesty,” Yennefer scoffs, evidently snapped out of her reverie. “I’ve seen you in worse shape.”
Jaskier huffs. “I was never in bad shape.”
“You were dying.”
He whirls to her and winks. “And I looked good doing it.”
She leaves that uncommented, and Jaskier counts it as a win while he throws modesty to the wind and undresses right there. He might as well. They are both two very attractive people – which she by the way didn’t deny. His neck gives a loud noise as he pulls his dark linen shirt over his head, and Yennefer frowns at him.
“I’m fairly sure you’re not that old yet. Did you sleep on the floor?”
“Well.” Jaskier balls his clothes up and places the clean ones on top so they don’t get wet or dirty. “Sort of?” The Look she gives him makes him elaborate. “I didn’t really sleep in the first place, but. Well. I was kind of leaning against Cirilla’s bed because I sat with her and then she fell asleep holding my hand and my shirt, and I wouldn’t dare leave. So I just. Stayed there. Once I stopped feeling my legs or neck or arm, it wasn’t too bad actually. I’m pretty sure I slept for, like, maybe an hour. So, not a total loss.”
Oh, how that witch’s stare can make you spill. Jaskier hates it. But now he knows what she wants because the moment he mentioned Cirilla, something happened to her face. A twitch, a brief raise of eyebrows, a moment of gentle features.
She wants to know what he found out about the princess, how she can help, what he did, all of it. She wants it but she wouldn’t ask for it, never ask, especially not outright. She needs that power, that stare, that high ground.
But two can play that game.
“You know,” Yennefer says, none the wiser about his internal monologuing. “I never would have pegged you for the comforting type.”
He frowns at her, confused. “What do you mean?”
“You’re calling her Little Swallow. You turn down a bed just to sit with her and hold her hand. And she lets you. You… make her smile,” she finishes, shaking her head. “It’s just surprising, I guess.”
Now it’s Jaskier who inclines his head, considering. “If you doubted I would be of use, why did you agree to bring me here in the first place?”
The sorceress shrugs and pulls up her skirt before sitting down by one of the ponds. The slightly steaming water inside seems to be moving and Jaskier decides to follow her. She lets her legs gracefully slide into the water, moving them in slow circles.
Jaskier steps in carefully and barely contains a groan as the almost uncomfortably warm water envelops him. Oh, this is perfect!
“It was Geralt’s idea,” Yennefer says after a moment and Jaskier looks up at her. Why is she always above him? This must be some unconscious symbolism shit. “Bringing you here, I mean. To say we were at our wit’s end is putting it mildly. We wanted to help her – still do! But,” she looks away, almost imperceptibly. “None of us are good at this.”
Jaskier nods, not really sure what to say to this. ‘Of course you’re not, you’re a witch and a witcher! Sterile for a reason!’ That seemed too harsh, even for Yennefer.
But he wants to say something because he feels like she needs to hear something. “It’s trial and error.”
She looks at him now, pulling one leg up so she can rest her head on it – an oddly vulnerable pose. It strikes him, but he tries not to let his thoughts show or she might close up completely again.
“Trial and error,” he explains. “With children. I never know what I’m doing until I’m doing it. And it seems hard, but in the end it, sort of, isn’t. Because while grown-ups like you and Geralt close off and hide emotions, children don’t do that. They laugh, they cry. They talk. They stop talking.”
She flinches at that and Jaskier feels that deeply. The mere thought still breaks his heart.
“Cirilla, she’s…” he trails off, grasping for the thought that just escaped him when a memory takes its place and he smiles. “When I was younger, back at Lettenhove, we used to get a lot of visitors. Other nobles, the usual. And they always brought their kids. Repressed little things, manners beaten into them to the point where they didn’t know their favourite animals anymore. Their own little kinds of trauma, I think.
“Anyway, mother would always have me look after them. She had a weak spot for children and knew I did, too. And then I would take them all to the library, six or seven little lordlings following me, their mother hen.” He laughs and he can see Yen smile gently, too. “At first, I would tell them stories. About the library, about the guests, about Lettenhove. Something to stir their imagination, to pull out the stick up their too-young noble asses. And soon, they would do the telling or the singing. They would grab a light from a corner and play shadow games. The library turned into a whole theatre,” he huffs, seeing it all play out in his mind’s eye.
“They were kids. They got to be children there, and so could I. That library, it was a safe haven, for me and for them. Years later, I would meet some of them and they, now adult lords and ladies in charge of their own land. They would come to me and tell me how they have their own library now. How they never forgot and took the memories home. Other than silence, there are no manners in a library. No rules, no oppression. Only freedom of stories among stories.” He sobers up and looks back at Yennefer, remembering the point he was trying to make initially.
“I believe every child has that freedom in themself. That safe space, if even for a minute. You won’t find that if you don’t talk to her. If you don’t ask her questions, or don’t let her make decisions, you won’t find it. Won’t let her show you. Won’t let her find it herself, even, because I’m not sure Cirilla knows that safety yet. That freedom.”
Yennefer stares at him. Blinks. “I think you’re trailing off there.”
“Possibly,” Jaskier concedes. “But I guess what I’ve been meaning to say is… Try. And fail. And then try again. Because she is doing the same. We are all doing that in life. She is a child, yes, but she has just as much an opinion on things as you do. Just as many feelings, possibly even more,” he jabs with a grin and is rewarded with an eye-roll, but she doesn’t interrupt him. “Treat her like a person, but let her be a child. She is remarkably responsive even without words, you just… have to look?”
He finishes his monologue in the face of more staring on Yennefer’s part. Not expecting any sort of response, he lets himself sink further into the warm water until it reaches his chin, his nose, his eyes, and then swallows him completely.
It’s bliss, and the air surprisingly cool against his skin as he rises to the surface again.
Yennefer is still watching him.
“You’re right,” she says at last. “It is surprisingly easy when you put it that way.”
Jaskier only smirks knowingly because people keep insisting on underestimating him and he really might just use it to his advantage someday.
“I’m not as full of myself as you think I am.”
The sorceress honest to the Gods snorts at that and flicks water at him. “That says more about my low opinion of you than about how full you actually are of yourself, bard.”
Jaskier splashes water right back at her and shrugs. “Still true.”
A shift in the air, a magical push, and Jaskier finds himself under water again, pushed down briefly by an invisible force.
He comes back up, sputtering, coughing, laughing, and fucking scandalised! What the fuck!
“You fucking witch!” he wheezes, brushing his hair back from his eyes and scowling at her as well as he can under the utter delight bubbling up inside him.
“Sorceress. Or bitch. Choose one, bard.”
Jaskier looks at her, his eyes narrowed. “Witch,” he says. A challenge.
Yennefer holds his gaze for a moment, then flicks her wrist once more and he’s under water again.
Before he can catch his breath enough to even try and get back at her, the horrible, terrible, no-good witch has risen from her position by the pool and towers over him. If it weren’t for the glint of amusement Jaskier can unmistakably make out in her features, he would consider being afraid. Like this, though, he merely raises an eyebrow at her.
She flicks a bar of soap at him that he manages to catch easily.
Right, that’s why they’re down here. He grins at her.
“Oh, by the way. I know what you’re doing, Yennefer.” She raises her eyebrows at him and Jaskier lets her. “You want me to tell you more about Cirilla. Tell you everything I know.”
He lets it hang in the air between them as he brings the soap bar to his skin. It smells wonderful, a light floral scent, mixed with something wooden. Probably something that won’t overwhelm the witchers’ senses. Jaskier won’t complain, that’s for sure.
Yennefer’s annoyance and impatience are palpable and Jaskier soaks in it. Two can play that game, he promised himself earlier, and he does intend to play. At his own pace.
“And I will tell you, my dear witch,” he continues as he switches the bar of soap to his other hand. “As soon as I am done bathing, I will tell you everything I know.”
Oh, it feels so good to see her grate her teeth like that, to see her scowl, to see her accept that somehow, this stupid bard had gained a higher ground for himself. Jaskier cackles as he continues washing himself. He is relaxed like he hasn’t been in quite some time.
He takes his time, deliberately drawing it out, trying not to watch Yennefer too closely, lest she might still turn him into a frog after all. She has sat down once more, watching him with that intense stare of hers that almost cracks him several times. But instead of Cirilla, he then just tells her other things, which in turn frustrate her some more.
But must come to an end eventually.
So, bathed, washed, oiled and dressed, Jaskier finally sits beside her in a small alcove and watches the lightning spots dance about as he tells her everything he has learned in the past half day.
He tells her about the stories he told Cirilla, both about her and about Geralt, and he is glad when Yennefer doesn’t rip his head off. He tells her about the princess’s need for comfort, soft things, warm things, light. How she always watches the door, but is always far away from it. How she smiles, how she inclines her head in clear confusion.
“It’s really very obvious how she feels, when she feels. It’s…” he hums, thinking. “Like looking at a poem, understanding what it doesn’t tell you but not discarding the things it does tell you. Wait,” he looks at Yennefer. “You’re not in the habit of enjoying the finer arts of poetry, are you?”
She shakes her head. “Was busy fighting men, prejudice, and then a war. No room for poetry there.”
Jaskier hums again, not quite agreeing, but actually seeing her point. “I’ll let you know when I can come up with a more suitable comparison, then.”
“Eh, I think the comparison works,” she shrugs. “I don’t understand poetry. Not what the poem says and certainly what it does not say.” And I don’t understand the girl either, she doesn’t say.
Jaskier looks at her, baffled, because this is the most admission to a failure he will ever get with Yennefer, and he wonders distantly how they even got here. They’re not even friends. Hm.
“Time to read then, hm?”
She looks at him, meets his eyes with her beautiful, dark ones. Jaskier feels like he’s getting a small taste of what Geralt saw in them back then. They’re good eyes.
“Trial and error?”
“Trial and error.”
It feels like… like something has changed. Between them. Like an unspoken agreement, to simply try not to kill each other. Maybe even fail, he thinks with amusement, but then try again.
Not a friendship. Far from it! But. An agreement. To try. For Cirilla.
It’s more than he could have ever imagined.
Something has changed between them, that much is clear. They stay down here for another while, sitting in silence as they watch the little dots of light dance through the air. Wrapped in warmth and the comfort of clean clothes, Jaskier realises again just how tired he is. It’s hard not to fall asleep against the hard stone wall.
“Don’t quote me on this,” Yennefer tears him from his tired thoughts, her eyes not moving from the scenery before them. “But I think it might not be too bad to have you here.”
Jaskier smiles and rolls his eyes fondly. “I won’t.”
“Good. Because I will have to kill you.”
He’ll work through that later, he decides. For now, he’ll just watch the lights and accept the warmth he feels.
Masterpost | Next Chapter
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Tell Me About The Light Behind My Eyes
Chapter 3 - What's Past Is Prologue
(words: ~6.7k, rating: M)
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Jaskier is just packing what scarce belongings he travels with these days when there is a knock on the door. He frowns. Yennefer has decided to remain downstairs, talking about keeping an eye open or something, but Jaskier didn’t miss how pale she has been when he first laid his eyes on her. Pale and tired and weak, if one only knows where to look. Granted, she is still the most beautiful woman on the whole Continent, and could probably still wipe out this whole town with a flick of her little finger if she so wished, but… The way she holds herself. The way she hasn’t yet threatened to cut off his balls and feed them to him if he didn’t do as she said. The entire Ciri business and even the please. Something is wrong with her, very wrong.
And it’s not like Jaskier cares about Yennefer. Nope, not at all. But, well. Call it curiosity. The smell of a good story afoot. Yeah, good, call it that. No sympathies lost here whatsoever.
Another knock tears him away from his thoughts, and he curses himself. It really has been easier to get lost in his thoughts since he’s been travelling alone. There’s something he must work on.
“Who is it?” he calls.
“It’s me, Julian,” comes the warm voice of Ewa, and Jaskier relaxes immediately. Even feels a smile bloom on his lips before he can even invite her inside. The door opens and reveals her face, sporting an equally warm smile.
“Ewa, my dear, what can I do for you?” he asks as he finishes folding the last undershirt that desperately needs a wash.
The old lady steps into the room with a grace that keeps surprising Jaskier, and closes the door behind herself. “Oh, I just came to give you your coin,” she reminds him with a glint in her eye, and it takes every ounce of self-control Jaskier possesses to not sigh at that. “No protests, boy, we’ve been over this,” she chides him knowingly, and Jaskier grins.
He watches as Ewa places a leather bag of considerable size on the small table by the window, and once again the need to protest rises in him. This is too much! There is no fucking way he made all of that in just a few days.
Before he can speak, though, Ewa waves him off and sits down on a chair to watch him pack. It is obvious that there is something on her mind, and so Jaskier waits for her to find the right words while he finishes gathering his belongings.
“That woman of yours,” she begins, and Jaskier already wants to protest, because Yennefer of fucking Vengerberg sure as all hells is not a woman of his. Or anything of his, for that matter! No. Oh no, no, no. But Ewa continues before he can voice his various thoughts, “Is she safe to travel?”
She is not safe to do anything with, Jaskier’s mind supplies immediately, but he has a feeling that might not be what Ewa means. He frowns at her.
“Does she need rest first? Food? Some tea? She looks like she does.” The old lady sighs, and Jaskier’s confusion and, frankly, bewilderment, only grow by the second. Yennefer? Needing rest? No way. Surely not.
“Sorry, whom are we talking about here?”
“Black hair, dark eyes, beautiful, yet no one dares to sit close to her. A loner with a piercing stare,” Ewa explains, and yeah, okay, she’s been talking about Yennefer all along. “Strong. But I tell you, when she first stepped into this house all my instincts told me to give her a room and two days of rest. And a good friend for a bit of a cheer.”
Jaskier lets that sink in. There’s really nothing else to do now that his bags are packed, which is a bit of a shame, too. He likes having things to do with his hands, something to let his mind focus on. Something other than Yennefer, that is.
Now that he thinks of her, though, he gets the feeling that Ewa might be right. He deflates a litte. Maybe this is not about him after all.
“I don’t really think she has friends,” Jaskier offers lamely. “Let alone know what that concept even is.” He sighs and runs a hand through his hair, suddenly restless again. A hum. “She does look a bit tired, doesn’t she? Usually, she would have threatened to cut off my balls on three different occasions by now. Huh.”
Ewa smiles knowingly and nods. “Well, lucky that she has you now,” she offers ominously and Jasker actually almost loses it right then and there.
He physically has to take a step back and finds himself almost hysterical at the mere implication that he and Yennefer might be anything… well, anything! “Oh-ho, oh no, oh sweet Ewa, oh no. No way. Nope. Nuh-uh, that woman is not my friend. And even if I did have any sympathies left for her, I can promise you, my sweet love, that I am the last person on this blasted Continent that she would ever consider a friend. Oh no. We have a... well, a history and it is none of glory.” Jaskier is vaguely aware that he has resorted to wildly gesturing again, as old habits die hard, but a situation like this requires all the gesturing, all the dramatic flourishes, anything at all possible to underline just how much he and Yennefer are not friends or any sort of acquaintances.
Ewa rises from her chair, that kind smile still on her lips, though there is a trace of disapproval or potentially just fond exasperation in her eyes. Like she knows something he doesn’t and finds his lack of insight amusing. Which, yeah, fair chance.
“Julian,” she begins patiently, though Jaskier feels a lot like he is being scolded by his governess. “You of all people should know that if this were a story -- which it might as well be, mind you… If this were a story, then you can begin your tale wherever you like. And then what is past becomes nothing but prologue.”
Jaskier stares at her, because how dare she talk in such ominous yet wise words! How dare this wonderful old lady use his own best argument against him? Because, yeah, life is a story, and you get to choose how you tell it. Yennefer, though, is not a story. She’s a legend. And Jaskier is not sure if it’s not bad luck to mess with the stuff of legends. Of course, he can’t tell Ewa that, can’t just tell her who this woman with black hair and purple eyes is.
All he can do is sigh. Which, good, because he loves the dramatic effect it gives the half-hearted glare he shoots her. “This is still never going to happen,” he waves her off, a clear and strong implication that this is final, that he is done talking about this.
Of course, Ewa ignores it. Infuriating woman! With her all-encompassing kindness towards every stray and her determination to enforce it. Jaskier loves her with his whole heart, obviously.
“You never know,” she says, like she does know. “And even if she will forever be a stranger to you, dear Julian, let me remind you that for people like us, it is a high duty to take care of strangers.”
Jaskier frowns at the implication of her words, once more appealing to his deepest need to take care of people around him. Appealing to the artist in him, the storyteller, the bard. The one who distracts from the bad things in life and emphasises love and peace. It rubs him the wrong way, to have that used against him and in favour of Yennefer, who by the way would curse him all the way to hell if he even tried to console her in any way, let alone in his usual manner. But Ewa doesn’t know that. And she doesn’t fucking listen to what he can’t possibly say.
Frustration like this is something he hasn’t felt in a while, and he almost wants to welcome it like an old friend. Almost.
Instead, he meets Ewa’s eyes firmly, his hands resting on his hips adequately. “I ask you, do not waste time and energy trying to convince me that this woman needs, of all things, a bard in her life.” He just barely manages to suppress a scoff. Then wonders why he even bothered in the first place, and scoffs after all.
Ewa doesn’t deign his dramatics with any sort of reaction, just gets up from the chair and crosses her arms in front of her chest – a mirror of Jaskier’s own pose, he realises indignantly. “Frankly, I think we all need a bard in our lives. And a friend.” She raises her eyebrows and Jaskier feels how her eyes are piercing into his very soul. “Lucky if they’re the same person.”
“Ewa,” he sighs, though he does not have any sort of comeback. Nothing to say. Nothing to add. Because everything is already out in the open; there is no love lost between him and Yennefer, and even if there was, he certainly is the last choice for a friend she would make. Ever. At all.
He’s not even sure why he entertains Ewa like this. Nothing here is up for debate.
Apparently, graciously, finally, she raises her hands and relents. “All right, all rights. Let an old lady talk until she’s blue in the face, and all. I merely came to give you what’s rightfully yours, and to make sure everything’s all right, my dear.”
Jaskier softens and gifts her a grateful smile. “Thank you, darling,” he says gently but firmly, then walks over to where the leather sack is still resting on the table where she put it. Reaching for it, he empties about half of it on the table without looking at Ewa, then pockets the rest. Behind him, Ewa tuts but thankfully doesn’t comment further, possibly having realised that arguing with Jaskier is a battle not chosen wisely.
“Thank you, Julian,” she smiles gratefully once he has turned to her again. “For everything. The town has been lighter for your presence. I’ve seen more smiles in the past few days than I have in a while. And I’m sure that young boy you taught how to play that instrument of his will follow right in your footsteps,” she winks, and Jaskier chuckles.
“Yes, that he better does! There was talent in his fingers and a twinkle in his eye. That’s more than what I started with, let me tell you.”
Ewa nods and joins his chuckle. “He also has a sizeable heart, that boy. Like you. And I’m sure that wherever you go now will be blessed with the same light, I’m sure.”
Jaskier snorts but tries not to lose his glee, not with an audience so apparently invested in all his dealings and relationships. Okay, his smile does falter, he feels that, but makes up for it with a wink.
“Well, that’s unlikely,” he shrugs, aiming for nonchalance, then shoulders his bags and walks over to the door Ewa is now holding open for him. Bending slightly, he gives her a kiss to the cheek, and grins. “But I’ll blind them if I must.”
At Ewa’s grin, he feels something deep inside him settle. And he knows right then and there that he absolutely would do that.
Downstairs, Yennefer is just finishing a glass of undoubtedly atrociously mediocre wine when Jaskier descends the stairs. Raising her eyebrows, she sets down the glass and rises from her bench.
“What took you so long?” she snaps in lieu of greeting, and Jaskier feels his undying love for her grow ever stronger.
“Sorry, love, but I had to convince the lovely innkeeper that we do, in fact, hate each other.” He smiles at her, makes it as flat as possible, void of all warmth. He is tired, frustrated, and not at all appreciative of the several turns this day has taken. He shouldn’t take it out on Yennefer probably, as she is only the messenger of sorts, but well. She never hesitated to take everything out on him, so maybe this is their thing. Their not-at-all-friends thing.
Yennefer shrugs and puts on her coat with a grace that fills Jaskier with a deep jealousy. Well, for her grace, and also for the fine fabric the coat is made of – it seems to shine in a deep black even in the dim light of the tavern in late afternoon. Furs and feathers keeping her warm against the harshest of weathers. Ugh. Once more, Jaskier finds himself mourning the loss of his fancy attire. The finest, warmest, most shining and sparkling and expensive fabrics to adorn his noble bottom.
If nothing else, it’s another thing he can bond over with princess Cirilla.
Which is what draws him back to the present where he finds Yennefer staring at him with an entirely bored, aloof, condescending tilt to her eyebrows. If he didn’t hate her so much, he would admire her expressive features – and she would undoubtedly put a curse on his vocal chords and threaten to castrate him if he implied something positive about her again. And then, out of spite and out of the sheer opportunity to annoy her further, he would lose what little is left of his sense of self-preservation, and shower her with compliments. Both genuine and back-handed.
Oh, what a terrifying yet refreshing thought.
“Bardling, you are even more in love with your own thoughts than I remember,” she drawls and turns to leave the tavern.
Jaskier frowns at her, because what the hell is that supposed to mean? He sputters as he follows her, affronted enough to not be filled with a sense of dread and apprehension upon leaving the inn. “I beg your most likely unavailable pardon?!”
Yennefer scoffs and doesn’t bother to hold the door for him, so that it almost slams in his face. If he weren’t so frustrated, he would almost appreciate the dramatics of that. As it is, though, he doesn’t.
“When you don’t waste the air you’re breathing with unnecessary syllables, you stare.” Yennefer explains, her strides long and sure, as though she has a certain destination in mind and doesn’t just want to get away from Jaskier as soon as possible. “And when you stare, I just know you’re wasting a sizeable amount of sanity by thinking. You’re talking less than I remember, but you think more, it seems. You’re your own best audience, I would guess.”
He’s sure she aims for sniding, cutting comments. But so far, she’s right. He has indeed developed a habit of losing himself in thought spirals. And being one’s own best audience would actually make an excellent line in a song, so he keeps that in mind, thanks. Thus, no witty comebacks here, just an acknowledgement of her words. Anything else would lead to further discussion, and while he loves that usually, discussing with Yennefer is a frustrating and, frankly, terrifying affair. So, he passes.
“Bold of you to assume I have any ounce of sanity left in me,” Jaskier murmurs instead, more to himself than to her. But he is regarded with an entirely not so charming snort nonetheless. Interesting. That sounded as genuine as it would get with Yennefer.
He follows her into a dark alleyway, no traces of sunlight reaching the deepest parts of it. The perfect place to safely portal out of this town, he supposes. He just barely resists the urge to look behind himself and make sure they’re not being followed, but he knows this would make them suspicious.
Yennefer stops abruptly and turns around to fix him with a scowl that somehow manages to look like she’s exceptionally bored. Yeah, okay, he still envies her for being able to look like that.
“Have you portalled before?”
“No?” What kind of a question is that?
“Good,” she says with no indication of actually being pleased. “Don’t puke on my dress or I’ll have your guts.”
Jaskier sputters, but before he can say anything more to that, or ask if she must really raise even more questions with every word that leaves her mouth, the sorceress creates a portal, and Jaskier is frozen to the spot in the face of it. Wind that has no source – well, other than sheer chaos probably – hits his face and whips through his hair, blowing it out of his eyes. A tiny reminder of what Yennefer is capable of.
The portal looks awfully unstable and wobbly and it crackles, and well, now that he’s really thinking about it, he’s not sure he really wants to join her. Sucks for the princess, but there is no way he’s going to survive–
Before he can voice any of those very pressing concerns, though, Yennefer rolls her eyes at him and shoves him a little.
“Age before beauty,” Jaskier offers lamely, then squawks when she shoves him again. Distantly, he is reminded of the trail up the mountain across that godsforsaken shortcut the dwarves led them to. “Alright, alright,” he murmurs and steps forward.
One moment he is in an unassuming town he can’t even bother to remember the name of, the next he’s… well, somewhere else. And his stomach is decidedly against the whole thing. He has to breathe through it and swallow a few times, moving to lean against the dark wooden planks of the closest wall. His legs feel funny and, okay, closing his eyes is definitely a bad decision.
Through the haze of sudden sickness, Jaskier is vaguely aware that he is standing inside the legendary, infamous castle of witchers. Any reverence and awe he would usually feel is replaced with the urge to keep the contents of his stomach precisely in there. Nausea is the worst! He would take being kicked in the face by angry elves over feeling nauseous any day.
Quietly, a voice in the back of his mind reminds him that, wait, shouldn’t it be impossible to portal into these walls? Huh. Well. Then again, there’s probably nothing that Yennefer can’t do. You know, except being kind to him.
A second later, the portal snaps closed the very moment Yennefer steps through with a lot more grace than he did. Again, Jaskier is in grudging awe of her. But feeling sick to his stomach is definitely still the more prominent feeling here. Ugh.
“Huh, you didn’t empty your guts,” the sorceress says, one perfectly shaped eyebrow raised. “Colour me impressed.”
“M-hm,” he croaks, not yet trusting himself to open his mouth.
She looks at him with amusement. “Let’s not do this again.”
“M-hm!” he nods emphatically and the amused twinkle in her eyes deepens. The sadist.
After graciously giving him a moment to breathe through his disgraceful portal sickness, Yennefer tells him to follow her. He does, and all he sees are more wood panelling and stone floors as they cross various corridors and heavy doors on the way to another somewhere. It’s very disorienting how everything looks the same.
Finally, she leads him to a heavy double door that is the first of its kind so far, so maybe he can remember that. The other remarkable thing about this room is how warm it is, a healthy fire lit in the hearth. And well, warmth is always welcome in Jaskier’s book, so he will definitely remember all the ways to get to this room. He already feels his stomach begin to settle at the warmth.
As he lets his curious eyes wander, he realises that this giant room must be something of a common room, a living area maybe. Carpets line the walls, and furs are spread out neatly on the floor. A large, semi-open kitchen area is to his right. This huge, warm room must be where the witchers spend most of their time. Brooding in company, he imagines.
His musings abruptly come to a halt as an old man with hard features appears from the kitchen area, sleeves rolled up to his elbows, drying his hands on a rag that has seen better days. Jaskier swallows. His hair is long and white, though it seems more from age than from his witchering business. A scar runs along his left eye, all the way from his eyebrow to his cheek. It gives him a harsh look, a hardness deeper than the steely expression he presents Jaskier with.
He has a vague idea of who this might be, following the tales he has heard.
“Ah, she found you,” the man says gruffly as he eyes Jaskier with what seems like a mix of suspicion and curiosity. “Though, I must admit, from what I’ve been told about you, I expected something more...” He trails off, and Jaskier feels an amused smile creep onto his lips.
“Flamboyant? Extravagant?” he offers with a tilt of his head. “Hmm, what else. Gaudy, maybe? Though that wouldn’t be my first choice.”
The man stares at him for a beat, then gives the tiniest of nods. “Yeah, something like that,” comes the gruff reply. “Nothing so plain.”
Jaskier winces in memory of his beloved doublets that could outshine everyone else in the room. In every room. Even at court! Ugh. “I had to give up on colour right along with my name and reputation, you see.”
“Hm. Probably a wise decision.”
“Yeah, well,” Jaskier shrugs, still not sure whether he should be delighted or insulted that people keep underestimating him. Always have, always will. Granted, it’s probably more of a chance than anything else once his ego manages to get over it.
“Vesemir,” the man says suddenly and holds out his hand. Jaskier takes it with a smile.
“It’s a pleasure,” he says and finds that he means it despite the man’s gruff exterior. And probably interior. Huh. Still holding the man’s hand, he hesitates. Then decides to stick with, “Julian.”
For the briefest of moments, he sees Vesemir’s eyebrows lift in surprise before he schools his expression to casual indifference. A look even more impressive than Geralt’s. He’s aware of the name Jaskier used to go by, then. Has probably heard something about him from either Geralt or Yennefer.
The mere thought makes him bristle at what they would have told the other witchers about who was coming into their home. Probably called him useless and annoying, which, okay, fair point. But he has no intention of being completely useless while living in someone else’s house – or castle, for that matter. His good manners forbid that, as do both his conscience and his compulsion to do something with his hands lest he goes mad.
So, he swallows and feels the need to defend himself a mere minute after meeting the man. Great. “Listen, Vesemir, I don’t know what exactly you heard about me,” he begins and the old man inclines his head a bit, his face unfortunately still unreadable. “And with Yennefer and Geralt doing the talking, I’m sure I don’t even want to know. But I just want to say that I’ll do everything in my power to help Cirilla. I’m here primarily for her, not for anyone else.” Vesemir looks like he wants to say something, but Jaskier cuts him off quickly. “However. If there is anything you need, anything I can do to, uh, help or something, I’ll do that, too. I’m not as useless as I may look – or be spoken about, indeed.”
He cuts himself off before more rambling can ensue. True to form, Jaskier!
Vesemir musters him again and the bard almost twitches in trepidation under the scrutiny. But he means it. Kaer Morhen looks like it would need every helping hand it could get. And, well, Jaskier has two.
Eventually, the man gruffs again, and it’s almost as impressive as Geralt’s grunts. “You look like a young man who has two healthy arms and legs still attached to his body. In my book, that’s all I care about. And if that mouth of yours can make the little cub smile, that’s a convenient bonus.”
And that’s the end of that, it would seem.
Jaskier smiles despite himself, glad to see that he is still fluent in Witcher-Speak and hears Vesemir’s declaration for what it really is: Welcome to Kaer Morhen.
Geralt is watching Ciri as she goes through the parkour he’s set up for her for the third time in the late afternoon hours. Even though her eyes are hidden behind a blindfold, he knows that her face is blank. Like always. Her eyes no longer puffy and red-rimmed from secret crying, but instead from exhaustion. Despite that, her movements are precise. Clean, swift, calculated. As brisk as the breeze blowing through his hair, announcing cold days ahead.
It should make him proud, that single-minded focus of hers. But it doesn’t. He knows that she doesn’t sleep, at least not much. In the beginning, her cries and nightmares kept all of them awake most nights, but after Lambert made a comment about that a few months ago, she apologised for being a bother.
That was the last time she had spoken to any of them. And it breaks Geralt’s heart to watch her every morning at breakfast, not really looking at any of them. Eating just the barest amount to keep her strength. Training for the routine. Staying alive out of spite. Because she might as well conquer everything life is throwing at her instead of giving up now.
It pains him deeply to see her like this, but he is at a complete loss. This life, it is not suited for a child, let alone a princess. He has always known that. All he can do, all he knows to do, is to watch her. So that is what he does, while his throat closes up and his heart breaks for her a little more each passing day.
Since the very first day, a bone-deep guilt has been clouding his mind, and he can’t look at himself in the mirror. He can’t even look at Ciri without feeling wrong, helpless, guilty, a monster.
But he does look at her. Always. He has to keep her safe.
But now, months and months later, Geralt still feels like Ciri is slipping through his fingers, out of his control. Same as everything else. He would think he’d be used to it by now.
Turns out, he is not. And it hurts.
Watching her as she goes through the motions she has perfected over the past few weeks, blade perfectly in her hand like it belongs there, feet landing where she intends them to… Geralt finds he is petrified.
Because it is the words she doesn’t say that get replaced with perfectly aimed strikes. It is the tears she doesn’t show that get replaced with a balled first. It is the trauma, the confusion, the never-ending pain that gets turned into a weapon.
Inevitably, it is the human that gets lost in whatever it is that keeps her up at night.
She is too much like all of them, Geralt notices miserably. And she is only eleven years old. A child. A little girl. His little girl, as Destiny would have it.
But she deserves better than this, better than him, better than them. Better than anything they could possibly give her.
Ciri deserves Jaskier. Casting his eyes away from the girl’s practiced movements and into the sky, tinged in golden red clouds from the setting sun, Geralt hopes beyond hope that Yennefer manages to find Jaskier soon.
As if answering is silent prayers immediately, there is a new sensation, a bit out of place. The feeling of a heartbeat he hasn’t heard in what feels like an eternity.
Then the familiar sound of the heavy gate opening behind him rips him away from his thoughts. Geralt watches as Ciri masters the final stretch of the parkour with bravura, then he turns around and promptly finds himself petrified for a completely different reason.
Because there he is. Jaskier, trailing behind Vesemir silently, without any rambling or complaining or opining. Head up, face carefully blank, his eyes somewhere above his shoulder.
Geralt secretly prepared himself for this all day, but nothing could have ever prepared him for this. He’s not entirely sure what exactly he had expected, but it was certainly not the picture presented before him now.
He certainly hadn’t imagined Jaskier to look like this. The brightest, most hideously colourful clothes he used to favour apparently had to make way for dark, unassuming, washed out linen. If Jaskier in scarlet or in cornflower blue had been a sight to behold, nothing in the world could have prepared Geralt for the bard dressed in all black, the clothes hanging rather loosely from his shoulders, like they are too big for him. Geralt finds he is equally unprepared for the way Jaskier’s hair is slightly longer now than he used to wear it, slightly curly, falling into his eyes until he flicks his head a little so they can rest on his brow. There is a scruff on his cheeks, though it can’t be older than three days, and it is neatly trimmed – but still, it’s a far-cry from the clean shaven bard Geralt had known for all those years.
Jaskier looks… he looks good. So good. He still has those laugh lines around his eyes and they make something inside Geralt’s stomach settle. Knowing that, despite everything, they hadn’t been replaced with a perpetual frown lets the witcher breathe easier – for some reason or other he doesn’t care to examine too closely.
He is only vaguely aware that he is staring, but with the way his arms twitch at his sides, inexplicably wanting to reach out and pull the bard into a hug… staring really is the more bearable option.
Especially since Jaskier is staring right back, at least for a full seven seconds before he tears his eyes away and leaves Geralt feeling… something. Something bad. Bereft, maybe. Yeah, that does sound like a Jaskier-word. Hm.
Geralt swallows and forces himself to look away, to turn back around to where Ciri is still standing, blade loosely in her hand but the blindfold now resting around her neck. Looking at him, then at Vesemir and Jaskier, a slight frown between her brows. Geralt winces and hopes that this is going to end well for everyone.
“Well done!” he calls, forcing a smile onto his lips. “We’ll work on your guard more tomorrow.” She nods and Geralt once more can’t read her expression. He sighs silently before calling her over and turning back around to Vesemir and Jaskier.
He can do this. He can keep it together around Jaskier, he can get a grip of his racing thoughts and heart, he can ignore the despair that has settled in his stomach the very moment he held Ciri in his arms for the first time. He can ignore the sense of impending doom, he can be there for her, train her, watch her, save her.
He can do all of this with the scent of rose and amber and wood polish surrounding him, grounding and untethering him at the same time. Fuck, since when does Jaskier smell so good?
Since when does he look so good?
Anyway. Anyway! Geralt can do this.
Jaskier looks up and meets his eyes again for the briefest of moments.
Fuck. He can’t do this.
Jaskier can’t do this. Well, he can and he will, but see, he doesn’t want to. He did not wake up this morning expecting to see Geralt again, and now here they are.
And Geralt looks… tired. Exhausted, apprehensive. Constipated. If Jaskier were a lesser man, he would even go so far as to say Geralt looks a bit lost. Not just because he’s been staring at Jaskier a bit too long, though that is concerning as well. But it’s more than that. The way he holds himself, those broad shoulders all but slumped over, that perpetual frown a tad deeper than Jaskier saw it last, and the scruff on his cheeks a bit more prominent.
And that doesn’t even mention the deep, dark shadows under his eyes. Worse than the time Geralt was looking for a djinn and spat at Jaskier that he couldn’t fucking sleep. He looked tired then. Now he just looks lost.
Jaskier wants to go to him, wrap his arms around him and ask what is on his mind. He wants to take him to the nearest bed, push him under the covers and not leave the room until he is sure the witcher is finally getting some sleep. That wouldn’t even be the first time, he thinks, pictures of a shared room from what feels like a lifetime ago swarming his mind.
He grudgingly acknowledges that a part of him still wants to take care of the witcher. Still wants to make sure he is okay, has enough food, enough drink, enough coin. It’s not as large a part anymore as it used to be, thankfully, but it is one of the deepest, strongest, most innate parts of himself. And that is exactly the problem.
Jaskier sighs as the painfully familiar ache settles in his chest once more. He knew seeing Geralt again would do that to him, it was why he didn’t want to come. He doesn’t deserve that ache, but knows very well there’s no cure against it. Not even time and space have been enough. Or other lovers – and Melitele knows there have been enough of those.
“Greetings, Geralt,” he calls before his thoughts can continue their spiral out of control, and is acutely aware that it comes out much too cheerful to be genuine. Even someone like Geralt would no doubt pick up on it.
The witcher barely looks at him and grunts, the nuance of which Jaskier can’t seem to figure out.
“Well, guess we’re still not talking, then,” he mutters with an air of faux nonchalance, and resists the urge to bury his hand in the too-long sleeves of his black shirt. It’s a nervous habit he has cultivated over the course of the war, but he knows the witcher would recognise it for a sign of weakness, cowering, hiding. But Jaskier is not hiding. He’s over that.
Secretly, he is glad that Geralt barely regards him. That he doesn’t immediately recognise the meaning of the grunt, that he hasn’t memorised them as well as he thought he had. Maybe, just maybe, this whole endeavour won’t end in heartbreak again. Maybe he really doesn’t care about Geralt as much anymore and only has to get used to being around him again for the pit in his stomach to settle.
As he sets eyes on a young girl slowly approaching them, all thought of the witcher and his own feelings about the situation flee from his mind immediately. He identifies her as the fugitive princess of Cintra without a single trace of doubt, her unmistakable pale blonde hair still as bright as he remembers. She looks a lot like her mother, her hair tied back with a black leather band.
Jaskier whirls to her with a gentle smile, giving her every ounce of his undivided attention. “Ah, you must be young Miss Cirilla, then.”
“It’s Ciri,” Geralt grunts from behind him, and Jaskier doesn’t even try to hide the genuine irritation he feels.
“Oh, no, no, no!” He doesn’t turn around to Geralt, just stands up straighter and inclines his head a bit. Rolling his eyes for only the princess to see, he laments, “I will not be taken down the rabbit hole of brutish discourtesy quite so easily as everyone else.” He bends down slightly to make up for his height and mirthfully winks at her. “Us nobility, we have to stick together, do we not?”
Cirilla gives him a mildly confused but entirely intrigued look. Jaskier grins, realising he has got her hooked.
“Oh dear, where are my manners?” he gasps with a tad more exaggeration than he is used to, then takes a step back and bows before the girl. “Allow me to introduce myself, little Miss Cirilla. Julian Alfred Pankratz, Viscount de Lettenhove. Delighted and at your service.”
The princess, now finally in her element, returns his flourished bow with a perfect curtsy herself. Jaskier smiles gently at her, and his heart swells tenfold in his chest when he sees her return it. There is a glint in her eye now that he could swear was not there before.
Oh, he is going to treat her like the princess she is, he decides right on the spot. It is now his one mission in life to make her smile, to teach her to keep it, and to keep her safe. Nobody will hurt her as long as Jaskier is there to prevent it. And, oh, is he here. He is so here! Geralt might regret all of his life choices, Yennefer might want to curse him, hex him, mute him. Vesemir might… well, Jaskier doesn’t know what Vesemir or the other witchers might do, except maybe join Geralt in his pity party.
But Jaskier is here to stay. Until the princess doesn’t need him anymore. He has time.
He turns slightly to look at Geralt and Vesemir, but they seem to be frozen in the face of that scene. Especially Geralt. Jaskier would have expected him to roll his eyes at his dramatics, or even to chide him, to not call her a princess, to do or say something! But he doesn’t. He almost seems like a statue, only staring at Cirilla with something akin to wonder.
The princess, in turn, is still looking at Jaskier with an intrigued half-smile, like he’s a new puzzle for her to solve. Well, maybe she would like to share her findings on that with him someday in the future. The past few years brought along one identity crisis after another.
“Now, Miss Cirilla,” he adresses her with a dramatic expression of high expectation. “Please tell me you have more regard to music than these two philistines who probably don’t know a ballad from a sea shanty.”
Another almost-smile and a nod, though not as jerking as he expected. Progress.
What’s more is that Jaskier can’t help but be delighted that he might have found a willing audience in the princess.
“Wonderful! Now, would you mind joining me inside so I can settle in and then tell you the story of how Geralt reacted with barely a grunt of acknowledgement to one of my most famous, and, dare I say, most brilliant ballads? No, wait, he actually did say more. He accused me of lying. Lying! Preposterous! Appalling, I tell you, my dear! Oh, or how about the story of my accidental lute-acquisition? Which, funnily enough, is directly linked to the other story. Would you like to hear about that? Heroics and adventure! Even friendship and love. I have the best of stories, believe you me, little Swallow.”
He pauses to look down at the girl walking next to him for any sort of reaction, ready to apologise for imposing on her time and peace of mind like that. But the tiny real smile sitting on her lips stops him. Her eyes are cast downward, her smile secret. Like she is trying it on for the first time in a while. There is still that unmistakable tension in her shoulders, but hidden behind the strands of long hair that have come loose from her ponytail, he can definitely see a smile.
Jaskier’s heart grows ten times its size and in that moment beats only for her. He decides on the spot that nothing in his life has ever mattered more than making this little girl smile. Making her happy and making her see the good things in life is now his first and only mission.
And if showing her the light means blinding the others, then so be it.
Masterpost | Next Chapter
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Bear with me here, but I am firm in my belief that the tapestries in the Halls of Mandos function like movie screens, showing either important events or important people (often said important people are just going about their daily lives).
So all the dead members of the House of Finwe just sit around a tapestry with imaginary popcorn and watch the world. Some of it is tragic and moving of course, but so much of it is benine (they spend the majority of the second age trying to figure out who Gil-galads parents are).
But once things start happening in the third age (in which our movie-watchers have previously split their time alternatively encouraging Galadriel to deck Saruman in the face, and getting weirdly invested in Shire politics) they quickly develop a favourite hero. Said hero is Eowyn. She reminds them all of Aredhel, and by the time she joins the army they’re all in mass support of everything she does.
What I’m saying is that once Eowyn actually fights the Witch-King, she has the entire House of Finwe cheering her name, and when she wins they all riot so hard Namo kicks them out of the Halls. Naturally both Maedhros and Anaire (once someone tells her about it) lament the fact that they couldn’t marry Eowyn instead of their current husbands, and the rest of the family vehemently insist that Arwen chose the wrong mortal.
HCanon I absolutely ADORE THIS. However, if it doesn’t culminate in Gandalf being forced to go back to ME to “go get our girl” under pain of death until Eowyn is like “no I’m good” at which point Olorin has to haul ass *back* to Valinor, while a very upset Faramir is protesting that he’d like to see the undying lands, pretty please with a cherry on top. (I love Faramir very much and im sorry)
Also, just to be clear: they know Saruman is bad news pretty early and are angrily yeeting popcorn, almonds, and the occasional knife whenever he shows up on screen. At first Namo thinks its just them being Overly Aggressive, and honestly, the Feanorians aren’t quite sure why they hate him so much either. But at some point Saruman does turn evil and the valar do concede that when it comes to being oddly in tune with exactly who is “a traitorous piece of shit” the shiny murder family (minus Celebrimbor who is a kind and innocent soul) takes the cake.
Further bonus: they demand occasional cuts to Maglor, which is then spliced in comedically, in a “Meanwhile Maglor” segment which could well be the same clip over and over. *insert that meme where the child wipes away a movie screen characters tear*
When Frodo first shows up, he is almost crushed by the whole family demanding to meet the mayor. Frodo is really confused who “the mayor” is and if he is also “the potato man” until he finally exclaims “Why that’s SAM!” He is swiftly informed that no one ever calls him that, jeeze, but yes that’s “Sam.” Where is “Sam.”
They also go after Galadriel for giving Sam that tree and magic dirt because she really upset the balance of power there, but did she even consider that?? NOOOOO. She didnt.
There were all those rumors of Sam’s mayor ship being blessed. Was she aware of that?? Of the ridiculousness she’d brought into what was normally Good Ordered Politics!!! Galadriel’s like “fuck yeah I did think about that actually, and can you Really say Sam doesn’t deserve a little bit of awe from the people there”
The Feanorians realize that, being Galadriel, Galadriel is RIGHT. And since they have no sense of a middle ground, they get in contact with their sleeper agent Maglor (who’s obviously a sleeper agent and very much in contact with them, shut up). Who will now fulfill my life’s ambition of forming a cult as a (in)famous bard. The cult of Samwise the potato man. Sam would like to know what the Fuck is going on and he shows up to Valinor with Questions. (please ignore this paragraph, I just want a cult)
Of course they’re also very pleased with Frodo, who is Small and a very precious little guy. Because we ALL love Frodo.
Thanks so much for the ask, your head canons are hilarious and full of life as always. Have a great day :)
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The Witcher Eurovision!AU
Just an idea that got into my head while I was in the shower, since, as every European and non-European on this hellsite knows, it’s Eurovision night, baby!
So it goes like this:
Jaskier is a semi-famous (AKA Youtube-famous, probably) English singer with songs that range from “a bit weird but I love it” to “completely deranged and I LOVE IT” - a bit like The Amazzing Devil, obviously
he draws his inspiration from his life - like the time he gets inspired by a D&D campaign he plays with Geralt and writes Toss a Coin to Your Witcher (but Arvari, haven’t you already written that– Oh, shut up, brain, this is COMPLETELY different than the last time!)
he plays the song to Geralt before he records it, and Geralt, while secretly loving it and trying very hard not to blush, is like “Jesus, Jaskier, this is probably the shittiest thing you’ve ever written”
“Ex-fucking-CUSE ME, Geralt, it’s a lovely song, I could probably win the Eurovision with it!”
“Jask, if you somehow manage to be chosen for the Eurovision with this shit, I’m gonna be your background pole dancer, because that’s the only way I could make someone toss a coin to me.” (They’re both a bit drunk at this point, obviously.)
anyway, challenge fucking accepted
Jaskier knows there’s only one person who could help him to make this happen - so he tells Yen, Geralt’s ex-wife
who laughs for like ten minutes when she imagines her hunk of an ex-husband fucking pole dancing, and then immediately promises to do something about it
she pulls some strings, maybe sucks a few cocks - Jaskier is honestly too afraid to ask - but she gets him in
so apparently, Geralt now has to learn to pole-dance
when Lambert (who, in this incarnation, is ginger and angry and Scottish, because fucking reasons that have nothing to do with a fact that I’m personally into ginger Scottish men, no ma’am) hears about it, he absolutely loses it
he demands to be allowed to go to the finale with them (and fucking hell, Geralt didn’t want anyone to know, and now everyone does, even people who don’t even know what Eurovision is, and Ciri has told all her friends and Geralt now prays that the ground would just open and swallow him whenever he has to pick her up from school and runs into one of her friends’ mothers...)
anyway, Lambert is allowed to come. So is Eskel. So is Yen and her wife Triss and of course Ciri. And Lambert’s boyfriend Aiden, because Lambert won’t take no for an answer.
Valdo Marx is sent a very special invitation which he very impolitely declines
also Lambert, who’s spent some time traveling with Aiden, bullies every non-British friend he has into voting for the stupid bard and the hot pole dancer (it doesn’t take much convincing once he shows them a video from Geralt’s rehearsal)
anyway the first time Jaskier sees Geralt actually do his pole-dancing number, he very nearly has a heart-attack
(no, he hasn’t been madly in love with Geralt ever since he met him twelve years ago, why are you asking?!)
he is pretty sure he’s not gonna survive the three minutes on stage with Geralt, but baby, what a way to go
he does survive
even though he spends the three minutes giving Geralt heart eyes that the whole of Europe can see
and call it adrenaline, but when the song comes to an end and Geralt gets down from his pole, Jaskier does the unthinkable and just... fucking kisses him
and Geralt just... kisses him back?
at this point, Lambert loses it again, and the whole audience with him
of course, they now have to wait a few hours before they can talk about it properly, but... Geralt it holding Jaskier’s hand while waiting for the results in the green room and WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS?
if Jaskier had known, he’d have gone into the Eurovision like ten years ago
or just kissed the idiot
anyway, this is how the UK finally wins the Eurovision, thanks for coming to my TED talk
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Sun's For-Fun Class Hopes for C3
Disclaimer: obviously, Critical Role is the cast's game, and they should play whatever they want, because it's theirs and we-the-viewers have no ownership over it.
Boy do I wanna see some people play some classes.
Travis: Artificer. Something still in the magical realm, because he plays Fjord so brilliantly. I also think his tactical nature would serve this class well. Honorable mention: Blood Hunter.
Laura: Monk. She would fucking kick ass. Jester is such a cool cleric, but I think Laura is incredible at melee range stuff and I want more. Also, the way her dice have been treating her lately, this woman deserves to roll more attacks. HM: Bard.
Liam: Warlock. He does dark themes so well, but beyond that, he understands the importance of aesthetic. Which is half the point of a warlock, anyway. HM: Druid.
Sam: Barbarian. Let Sam Go Hog Wild All The Time. His ad bits have proven he's entirely capable of inspiring rage, and I'd love to see him play a martial class. HM: Cleric.
Ashley: Bard. This is not just a knee jerk reaction to Yasha's harp--I really think she misses being a caster, and the versatility of bards just can't be beat. HM: Druid.
Taliesin: Sorcerer. A deceptively narrow spell list combined with advantageous metamagic? Throw Wild Magic on there and it's basically got his name on it. HM: literally anything he's a genius
Marisha: Paladin. This one gave me trouble, because Marisha has consistently displayed her ability to be a motherfucking badass at whatever she plays. Paladins are my favorite class, though, combining healing ability with martial strength. The best of both worlds. HM: Fighter.
Is this a balanced party dynamic? Hell no! But the heart wants what it wants. Going from two clerics to zero sounds like a truly terrible idea. However, I stand by my decisions, because this is for fun and also the lulz. Please do not respond in great detail about how wrong I am, I do not care.
If you have other class suggestions for C3, you can drop them in my ask box. Let's be real, as long as they're still playing, I'll be thrilled.
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🖊🖊 for Athera, 🖊🖊 for Evune, and 🖊🖊 Wren?
YASSSS!!! Under the cut, darling!!! Thank you!
🖊 She has a bird companion (it’s a white tailed kite--or inspired by it), a bird species that was used by the Ancient Elves but have become rare because of poaching (and because humans just ruin everything.) The birds are gorgeous, absolutely beautiful and even pure/innocent looking...but looks are very deceiving. They’re quite vicious, and unless you know their nature, they can be clawing your eyes out within seconds and you’ll never see it coming. But that knowledge is only known to the Dalish and a rare few outside of the clans, and Solas is one of them (just like he knows oh so much about everything else....not suspicious at all <.<), and it’s something he recognizes...which leads to him actually getting a deeper look at Athera, because she’s easily underestimated as the little Dalish elf girl that is seeing the big world for the first time...and that is very dangerous to do. So he approaches her with that in mind, treating her a bit differently than some of the others do, and it catches her attention quickly (the handsome elf apostate is giving her attention, don’t judge her.)
🖊 Athera has tattoos that resemble her vallaslin on her body. They start on her chest, go down between and under her breasts and down her sides to her hips. They’re not exactly vallaslin, but they’re intricate, line designs that complement it. They’re the same color as her vallaslin as well. You never would expect it, but when she became the First of the Lavellan clan, she decided to get them as a show of her dedication and commitment to her clan. Plus, they look super cool. She actually doodles the design when she’s off daydreaming by herself (if she’s not actually drawing something specific.)
🖊 Evune plays chess with Cullen often, practicing with Solas or Dorian whenever either of them are free so she can be better. Evune is excellent at playing Wicked Grace and cheating, she’s one of the best players in Skyhold, only challenged by Leliana and Josephine. Even Varric is impressed. She could have tried to cheat in attempt to beat him, but Evune decided to actually give it a try--a risk since it wasn’t a game she knew a lot about. But Cullen let her win, and that becomes very clear when she tries to play against Solas and Dorian afterwards--they both kicked her ass. As Cullen and her continue to play a weekly game together, they become a bit more challenging as she gets better, and it’s quite obvious he went easy on her the first round, and she teases him about it from time to time.
🖊 So, Evune also has her vallaslin extended, though hers go down her arms. She tells people who ask that it’s to help Andruil guide her bow, making her arrow shoot steady and true. It’s backed by the absolute talent she was with it (you can hear Sera muttering “show off”). Her time in the city under her adoptive noble “father” gave her time to pick up on some bard talents, and the Red Jennys (after targeting him) added to that a bit once she was on the streets and working with some thieves guild. Her being reunited to her Dalish clan just added to what she had learned. She sees her gift as a blessing, so she extended her Andruil vallaslin to show that. She often would joke with Felassan that he might have been the Fen’Harel’s arrow (his name meaning slow arrow and choosing that name based on one of the myths), but hers was far faster. He would roll his eyes with a smirk, because it was just fun, lesson of the story aside.
🖊 Wren uses Latin phrases as key words or signals with those she works with, more often with Rowan and Randy. Each phrase means something different, and they even have a security phrase to let the other know that they’re in danger without really saying they’re in danger. Yeah, it’s pretty obviously sus since its in Latin, a dead language, but at the same time...it’s a dead language and most people would have no idea what was said. It’s a system that doesn’t fail, and she even starts to use it with Quinn during New Dawn, both using Russian and Latin to communicate hidden messages...that may or may not turn romantic down the road.
🖊 She has a specific lullaby for each of her children. Simple Man and Free Bird are for Braxton, Beyond the Sea or Moonlight in Vermont for Liliana, and Tiny Dancer and Dream A Little Dream of Me are for Harper. Sweet Child O’ Mine is universal though, that’s for all of them. Even in the bunker, she would play them on her piano as they sat with her, and she made it just as special to them as it was to her when her mother did the same thing. After John’s death, Wren holds Harper close, singing to her, and it just gives them that mother/daughter moment that helps them get a bit closer to healing.
Thancred for the character meme
How I feel about this character:
I love Thancred to death and he’s one of my favorite Scions. It helps that Gisele started off as a THM so started in Ul’dah and he was the first one I actually met, but he’s such a brilliant character in the sense that there’s very little inkling of just how complex he is when you first meet him. He starts off the sort of stereotypical dashing rogue type, but then you get to know him and find out he’s got more layers than an onion.
All the people I ship romantically with this character:
Aside from Gisele, Y’shtola and Urianger are the biggest ones and it’s one of those things where I would ship the three of them even if they weren’t involved with Gisele. Then there’s Haurchefant and Emet and the latter is 100% your fault btw.
My non-romantic OTP for this character:
Riol...in my headcanon they’re practically best friends, given Riol’s role as an intelligence operative for the Scions.
My unpopular opinion about this character:
Preaching to the choir I know but as always wrt fandom attitudes toward slutty characters, it severely chaps my ass when people portray his slutty tendencies as a character flaw and that with growth and maturity (and likely, the love of a good ______), he becomes monogamous, usually either with a WoL or more recently since ShB with Urianger. It’s not that I care if people write him as monogamous with whomever, it’s not my cuppa at all but like knock yourselves out. My problem is when folk treat his promiscuity as some kind of character defect and/or a sign of emotional immaturity that can or should be overcome with the power of True Love or some shit--that’s just offensive, on any number of levels, but specifically because of the ugly beliefs about poly folk that it perpetuates. And as a poly folk myself, it’s hurtful. Thancred has flaws, but being a thot is not one of them.
I also don’t think the glib rogue nature of his personality is entirely a fake persona either...the way his character has evolved over time, doesn’t mean he was somehow just putting it on. I think he posed as a bard because he has that natural charisma and silver tongue and that made it easier. And there’s much more to him than that obviously. People have said he was intended to be a Bond sort of character and he’s evolved from that but people forget or don’t realize that Bond was originally a scrappy mfer with working class roots, much like Thancred.
One thing I wish would happen / had happened with this character in canon:
That he had stayed brown after Heavensward but I figured it was ~just a tan~. (sigh)
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redesign of my first and beloved tiefling, Silence Z’hendix Pix
he’s now fluffier and has an easier hair to draw (for me at least) but still loves colorful strings and gold :punch: :pensive: on the left is his current self as we left it on the campaign and on the right is the mandatory kid version
also also random facts, ramblings about him and the old designs under the cut
okay so ORIGINALLY he covered his OWN FUCKING HORNS with his braids because of some asinine shit about his family being war criminals and being recognized by their very distinct horn shape (its deadass bnuuy ears shape) but for the redesign i’ve decided that he just. breaks off his own horns and replaces them with prosthetic ones - yes, shiny ones, his entire thing is “im running away from the military and the government for deserting, so i must become a super extravagant and annoying bard, yeah that’ll throw them off, they’re looking for someone with depression” so getting shiny golden horns isn’t too weird
the eye and star freckles are bc this mf subclassed in warlock and made a pact with a star, Howl Pendragon style yes.
he gets to keep his mama’s pearl earrings forever bc it makes me soft and cry everytime i remember. and he still loves colorful strings bc i love the colors
dont think too much about the inconsistent eyelashes, they’re light yellow but i forgot while drawing the left one
his left side (shoulders and back) are scarred bc of that Funny Time He Spent At The Military :tm: (the military being the clearly obvious evil authoritarian empire in the entire campaign, our Big Bad) where they just Mark Every New Recruit With A Tattoo and obviously you cant just have that if youre a sexy tiefling on the run, so. you know. slime acid.
there was also something about his family having a tradition that involved cutting your right ear off to honour the founding member of the family - which is later something that makes Sil go “maybe I really come from a cultist family, no wonder communicating with these specific deities was so damn easy” and he’d be 100% right
BASICALLY his family was founded by Chastity Z’hendix Pix, a tiefling who went “yeah, I know about religion, watch this” and created a sex cult worshipping an ancient deity - so this idiot is the reason every Z’hendix Pix has to :
cut their ear, as one does during family dinners
have an adjective/noun name but make it ironic (SILENCE being a loud ass bard, CHASTITY beign a sex cult leader, etc)
get casually approached by some deity (which one ? who knows, this family is old and has dabbled a lot in the occult) and subclass as a warlock
eat hot chip and lie
anyway here’s the og ref sheet
like what are you wearing from the waist down, sir, what’s all this, who allowed it
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Some mountains and a dog part 10
previous | AO3 | masterpost
For once, Geralt didn’t wake up all at once. No, it came gradually to him, the first thing to reach his half unconscious mind being the warmth that surrounded him; he didn’t open his eyes and simply nuzzled closer to the source of that warmth. He didn’t sigh but he would have, had not he been taught at a very young age not to externalize what he was feeling.
He could hear Jaskier’s heartbeat next to his ear and vaguely realized that the reason he was being so comfortable was because Jaskier was there. Well, if he had Jaskier with him, he could allow himself to stay here a little longer. He could use the rest, after the events from the previous night.
That made Geralt open his eyes and shoot an almost panicked glance towards Jaskier. Gone was the sleepy laziness that came with waking up safe and warm; he suddenly needed the reassurance that it had not been a dream.
His eyes met blue ones that were shining with affection. A hand fell on his arm, drawing meaningless patterns in a soft touch that sang of love.
“Hello, Geralt. I don’t know why you look so panicked, everything’s fine- oh!”
Geralt interrupted him mid-sentence to kiss him. He drew away to look at the blush that had appeared on Jaskier’s cheeks; he was obviously pleased.
“Not that I mind a good morning kiss – in fact, I fear I’ll need one every morning now – but are you okay?”
At any other moment, Geralt would have taken the time to consider the question. But here, with the sun lighting up the room and falling on Jaskier’s hair, making it look more golden than brown, with the way Jaskier was smiling up at him, his hand still a solid reassuring point of contact between them, Geralt immediately knew the answer. The anguish from when he had truly woken up was gone.
“I- you’re here, so- yes,” he mumbled, not quite looking at Jaskier but not avoiding his eyes either. Just because they were together now didn’t mean it was easier for him to talk.
But Jaskier seemed to understand, for his smile turned even more tender. The silence between them was a comfortable one; they both could hear the birds singing outside, and Geralt knew that if he were to glance at the curtainless window that was behind him he’d find a perfect blue sky, a promise for a bright and hot summer day.
Jaskier’s stomach grumbled, and Geralt couldn’t help but huff a laugh. They were still them, despite everything.
“Oh, hush,” Jaskier chastised, faux pouting. “We should get up anyway, I know you’re not one to stay in bed for long in the morning – Melitele Herself knows how many times you dragged me out of a room that I had rented, because Witchers don’t sleep until midday, Jaskier, the Path is waiting for me. Don’t laugh! You know it’s true!”
He was right, of course, but Geralt would rather eat Roach’s saddle than admit it.
“We should head downstairs,” he said instead, just to enjoy the look of sheer outrage on Jaskier’s face. “I have to tell you about my hunt,” he added, and Jaskier’s look softened.
“You have to, indeed,” he amended. “I’m sure Violet and Lila want to know what happened. What happened, by the way?”
“You’ll have to wait until I tell them,” Geralt said, just because he knew it would annoy Jaskier.
“So no preview because I’m your- your-”
Geralt could see that Jaskier was struggling to find a word; thankfully, he for once had one ready, one that he would have used earlier if he had dared to do so.
“Companion?” he suggested, warming up at the way Jaskier’s smile suddenly seemed even brighter than before. “No, no preview because you’re my companion, you’ll have to wait.”
Yes, Geralt thought as the two dressed up, Jaskier still pouting and him keeping his face as blank as possible, nothing has changed at all. The only difference was that he was allowed to take Jaskier’s hand in his and that Jaskier now randomly pecked him on the cheek, like he did right before they left their room.
The thing was that Geralt had never really allowed himself to be gentle with himself before meeting Jaskier; and even then, it was the bard who made him understand that taking a break was not useless or futile. “Sometimes, you have to stop for just five minutes to be able to go on” he had said, and Geralt tried to remember these rare words of wisdom. It was easy to take a break for Jaskier; his friend needed more breaks than him even if he wasn’t human, and it had never been a pain for him to stop walking because the other man needed to, despite what he had been telling him. Years after their first meeting, Geralt had come to understand that he too deserved to rest.
Maybe that was what it was, the peacefulness that he was feeling as he walked down the stairs trying not to trip over his own foot as he avoided the plants. Maybe that was what Jaskier had wanted him to feel all these years – like the weight of his armor had been lifted off his shoulders. Or maybe it was just because he and Jaskier were together now – because his feelings were actually returned.
“You’re going to regret wearing a black shirt, you know?” Jaskier said as he walked down the stairs behind him. “I mean, you’ve been alive for what, decades? Centuries? And still you keep on wearing black shirts on sunny days. Heatstroke is no joke, darling, and I’d rather not have to put you on Roach to drag you somewhere safe – don’t you dare laugh at me.”
“Hmm,” Geralt replied, because that was the safest thing to say at the moment – anything else would have launched Jaskier into a rant about Geralt’s (lack of) good taste in clothes.
Lila and Violet were already awake. Violet’s red hair had been braided, no doubt Lila’s work; speaking of Lila, she was wearing –
“You have glasses,” Geralt said flatly, not quite managing to make it sound like a question. He was practically sure she hadn’t been wearing glasses the previous days.
“I made some for her,” Jaskier explained as he sat down on the bench. “Hello, Violet, Lila. Good morning! Please excuse Geralt here, he doesn’t have the best manners.”
Violet chuckled as she poured them milk. Geralt sat down on the bench opposite of Jaskier and Charcoal immediately rushed to his side. The witcher started to pet him, marveling at the softness of his fur.
“Good morning to you both,” Lila smiled before turning to Geralt. “Your companion is one talented man, Geralt, I can see – everything, now. It’s- I can’t thank you enough, Jaskier.”
A glance to his bard informed Geralt that the other man was smiling at Lila.
“I’m just glad I could help,” he said. “Now, Geralt, I believe you promised me that you would tell us about your hunt.”
Ah, yes, the hunt. Geralt hadn’t thought about how he would tell them what exactly had happened, but this was a job; words always came more easily when he had to talk about a hunt. So he told them, slowly, how he had walked for hours before finding what he had been looking for, how the monster that was taking the sheep was actually a family of shifters trying to survive, how young the pups had looked – how desperate to live they all had been.
“They won’t attack you,” he finally said. “I told them that instead of stealing they could find shelter here with you – that you were more welcoming than other humans. That you’d need time to forgive them, because they took away from you things that were dear to you, but that you’d never throw rocks at them. I don’t know if they’ll listen, but I tried my best.”
Violet had tears in her eyes and had taken Lila’s hand for support. Everything around them seemed quieter, despite the birds singing outside and the sheep that he could hear from afar. It was easy, up in the mountain, to forget about the unfairness of men, about prejudices and how people were trying to escape them.
He hadn’t stopped petting the dog – the mechanical movements helping him to think, to focus on the task at hand.
“So- we’re not in danger.” Lila said.
“And they’re the one who attacked our dog.”
“They are,” Geralt confirmed, because it was the truth.
Lila frowned and looked at Violet. The two of them seemed to have an entire conversation through that one glance, and Lila sighed.
“I’m glad to hear that we’re not in danger – that whoever they are, they’re just trying to survive, not to actually harm us. Thank you for- thank you for telling them that they can come if they want, I’m not saying I’d welcome them with open arms, but- you know.”
Such kindness was something that Geralt could not help but admire; he told her so, and Lila smiled.
They had all been eating quietly for a few minutes, all lost in their thoughts, when suddenly Jaskier said:
“Dear heart, don’t think I’m not seeing you giving your bread to the dog again.”
Caught in the act, Geralt froze. Violet snorted. Jaskier wordlessly gave Geralt half of his bread again, a soft smile on his lips that made Geralt want to kiss him. He didn’t, but smiled his thanks.
It was not his fault that he couldn’t resist giving bread to the dog; his brown pleading eyes seemed so sad when he didn’t, and the last thing he wanted was to make him sad. So giving his bread to the dog it was – and if it made Jaskier laugh, well, it was a win-win situation.
“When will you two leave?” Lila asked Geralt, who looked at Jaskier. The bard shrugged.
“Not so long after we’ve finished breakfast, I think,” Geralt replied, and Jaskier nodded.
“As much as I love to be on holidays with Geralt,” he sighed, “he still has a duty to the continent.”
They finished eating breakfast, Geralt once again giving his bowl of milk to Jaskier just to enjoy the smile on the other man’s face. They put plates away, and Jaskier stayed with Lila to wash the dishes while Geralt went upstairs to pack their things. It didn’t take him long, and he was carefully setting Jaskier’s lute case on the table when he caught the end of their conversation.
“See? We told you he loved you. It was obvious.”
“Yes, in hindsight I guess it was, but still-”
“You worried for nothing, Jaskier. We had known you two for less than five minutes and we knew – how you didn’t notice is beyond me.”
Splashes of water.
“I mean- We were friends for a long time! Maybe that was the way he was with his friends!”
“I heard that, Geralt.”
He walked outside, finding them looking at him. Both smiling, they had piled up the dishes to put them away – it was done, then. Jaskier helped Lila, thanking Geralt when he saw that all their things were ready.
Geralt went to search Roach. She gently headbutted him and he pet her before saddling her. She had eaten already, her fur was still brushed from the previous day; they were ready to go.
Their small vacation had turned into something great, Geralt mused as he walked towards the house, something that they both hadn’t seen coming – Jaskier tricking him to take a break for his own good, and Geralt deciding to indulge him because he wanted Jaskier to be happy first and foremost. He couldn’t have planned that they would end up together, that he would earn the right to hold him – wait, he had that right now. Geralt couldn’t wait to snuggle against Jaskier the next time they would go to sleep – not that he would ever say that out loud.
Jaskier had made some flowers grow again, to Violet’s delight, when Geralt joined him.
“Muscaris”, the bard said, “because the blue of the small flowers goes well with the violet of the crocuses.”
Geralt let him talk with Violet and Lila while he put their bags on Roach. It wasn’t everyday that Jaskier could truly talk with someone that wasn’t him or another witcher – they rarely met his friend Essi while on the road. Maybe they should; a meeting could be arranged.
“You’ll always be welcome here,” Violet promised as they were about to leave. “Don’t hesitate to come back – hopefully you won’t have to solve another problem next time.”
Jaskier replied something that Geralt didn’t listen to; he was thinking about how to adapt their travel plans for the next year to come back here – it wasn’t like him to get attached to humans so easily, but Lila and Violet were kind souls that he wanted to see again. And Jaskier kept on saying that he deserved a break from the path from time to time – it wouldn’t hurt anyone for them to climb up the old volcanoes to meet two shepherdesses and their dog, and hopefully a family of shifters helping them.
“Until we meet again,” Jaskier said to them, and Geralt nodded. He petted Charcoal one last time while Jaskier was putting in their bag the cheese and bread that Lila had given them – she had insisted and Geralt hadn’t had the heart to tell her no.
He took Jaskier’s hand in his because he could, the other one leading Roach. The sun was making the dust of the path look almost white, and he could already feel that putting on a black shirt had been a bad idea, though he wouldn’t tell Jaskier that.
They walked down the valley, the world open in front of them, thinking of what they would do next but still enjoying the way the sun warmed their skin, how the birds seemed to sing only for them, their hands holding each other in a point of contact that looked like nothing would ever be able to break it.
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5000 question survey part 7
601. Do you have a lust for life?
Not really. Wouldn’t say that indentify with that statement.
602. Do you want to get more out of life?
Right now I do in times of covid. I wanna travel. BUT covid passports are becoming a thing soon and three million swedes have gotten the vaccine by now. We just gotta stick through it.
603. Would you want to learn to...
Convert to Buddhism?
Not really since I’m not looking to do that. I think from what I’ve read before about it though is that you don’t do that as an official ceremony at a religious place. I think you do it on your own wherever you want. So that’s a bit different compared to the other world religions.
Cure a hangover?
I just know that getting some electrolytes into your body and taking a warm shower is a good cure. And puking, if you need to. That’s the ultimate way to rinse out your system, if we’re gonna be honest.
Hm I don’t think I wanna know that.
604. What character from a movie is most like you?
According to a random online quiz, I’m the Joker, which I don’t know what that means. I haven’t seen those movies. Action movies bore me.
605. Are you comfortable with the idea of your own death?
Yeah. I’m not scared of death. I know that it’ll happen eventually and that it will be sort a relief.
606. How do you feel about arranged marriages?
They’re fucked up.
607. What do you hate that everyone else seems to like?
Working out. I don’t understand how anyone could see joy in that. Oh and people who love running. “Runner’s high”. Makes me wanna vomit.
608. What do you like that others seem to hate?
Hardcore punk? A lot of people like that though. But I guess the majority of people don’t. It’s a nieche genre.
609. If you had to be named after a month, which month would you pick?
November would be pretty cool. Even though it’s one of the worst months of the year. It sounds cool.
610. Is time more like a highway or a meadow to you?
Highway, definitely. Time felt like a meadow when you were a kid but life rushes by so quickly as you get older.
611. What is your favorite movie?
Pulp Fiction, Fight Club and The Shawshank Redemption share the number one spot.
612. Which would you choose to be back in the day: a warrior, an alchemist, a minstrel, a bard, an oracle, a peasant, or a merchant?
613. What is your favorite song lyric?
That is a very broad question, but the first one that comes to mind if “I’d probably still adore you with your hands around my neck” It’s from the song 505 by the Arctic Monkeys. They’ve got a lot of lyrics that I love.
614. What will you never run out of?
615. If you could force someone to fall madly in love with you, (anyone you choose) would you do it?
No one. I don’t know who that would be.
616. Have you ever seen the Disney movie The Black Cauldron?
I don’t think so...
617. Have you ever read The Black Cauldron by Alexander Lloyd (or any of his other books in the Prydain Chronicles)?
618. Have you ever written a paper the night before it was due?
How about the day it was due?
Now that is on another level. I definitely haven’t done that.
619. Is there a movie you have watched so many times that you can quote it line for line?
620. What is your favorite season?
621. Do you mind being described as cute?
No, but that is not a word that’s commonly referred to me.
622. What is the tackiest object in your home?
Hm. I’ve got a knick knack from when I went to the Efteling in the Netherlands that’s a tree with a face on it. It’s a character from there and I’d say it’s kinda tacky.
623. What do you think people are most ignorant towards?
Hm. I can’t think of an answer. If a big amount of people are ignorant towards something, I kinda feel like there’s a reason for it? Maybe that’s a weird thing to say, idk.
624. What is it that makes you an interesting person?
I don’t think I am interesting. I’m just another person.
625. What makes other people interesting to you?
Their minds and backgrounds.
626. How open to suggestion are you?
Pretty open, I’d say.
627. Is Michael Jackson black or white?
Now that’s a question. I think the best thing to do would be to ask him.
628. Are you often lonely?
I guess. After a whole year of covid, I think a lot of us are feeling kinda lonely.
629. What’s the most unusual pet you’ve ever had?
I had a bunny, and I’ve had a few hamsters, but those are not unusual.
630. Have you ever threatened an authority figure?
I have a vague memory from when I was like 13 where I think I tried to hit a teacher? Maybe I’ve supressed this? I gotta ask my mom about this. I had a pretty rebellious time in my early teens.
631. If you had to choose would you rather make all your decisions henceforth with your head only or with your heart only?
My head. Love is blind.
632. How imaginative are you?
I’d say I’m pretty imaginative. I’m not creative in the traditional way in terms of music, drawing, etc but I am capable of thinking outside the box.
633. Do you like the Counting Crows?
Haven’t really listened to them so idk.
634. If you took this survey from the diary (5000 Q Survey V2.0) did you note me so I could read it?
Idk what this means so I’ll just skip it.
635. Are you more tense or laid back?
I feel like I’m a bit tense. I am very critical and I’ve got my walls up high.
636. Does your happiness depend on anyone else, or are you happy no matter what any one says or does?
I’m not happy, period. Right now I’m content with my life, but I don’t believe that happiness is a thing. Suffering is always going to show itself.
637. What do you think of the idea of putting the bible into the format of a fashion magazine to attract the interest of teenagers?
What the fuck.
638. How often do you drink to get drunk?
Pretty much never.
639. Would you consider yourself to be diplomatic?
Yeah, I’d say so.
640. Do you think that most of the classes you have taken were taught in such a way as to make plain the relevance of the subject matter in your everyday life?
Definitely not. I haven’t used math in my daily life, for example. Or arts.
641. Do you remember Crystal Pepsi?
I do not know what that is.
642. When was the last time you spent a night away from home?
That was when I visited Mattias in Piteå in fall.
643. Some people say that there is no such thing as a stupid question. Is that true?
No that is definitely not true.
644. What is the most interesting TV channel?
I don’t watch TV. I stream everything.
645. Name one song you could live without hearing ever again:
Dance Monkey. I would become religious if I was promised to never hear it again, actually.
646. Do your pets understand you when you talk?
I guess she understands some words. Like no. And she reacts when I say her name. That could be it though.
647. What are three things you HAVE NOT done that might surprise people?
I’ve never had sex. I don’t pride myself on that fact but the few people who know have been surprised.
648. Have you ever had a secret admirer?
They wouldn’t be secret if I knew about them.
649. Have you been to a museum this year?
No I have not.
650. Do you ever watch porn?
I think I’ve literally watched porn twice in my life. I just find it very weird and unnatural and I also don’t support the industry.
651. Do you think that it would be a good idea if people served in the army, navy or air force for a while before they were allowed to vote?
Again, what the fuck.
652. If you were required to do this to vote, would you?
I don’t think I’d even be allowed to because of my mental illness, which means that if society worked like this, it would be insanely undemocratic.
653. Do people often give you weird looks?
654. Do like Japanese cooking?
I love sushi.
655. Do you care for stray animals?
It makes me sad to see them, yes. I’ve never saved one or whatever though.
656. Which animated movies have you seen and what did you think of them: A Charlie Brown Christmas, A Garfield Halloween, The Secret of Nimh, The Last Unicorn, The original Lord of the Rings cartoons
I don’t think I’ve seen any of those.
657. Are you ambidextrous (equally good at using both hands)?
No. That’d be kinda useful though.
658. Do you always say; “bless you” after someone sneezes, or do you hesitate?
I don’t say that when someone sneezes.
659. If you and your friends could go away for 2 days over Halloween weekend where would you go?
Salem. I’m interested in the history of the witch trials so that would be cool.
660. Which of these animated movies have you seen and what did you think of them: Watership Down, As the Wind Blows, Grave of the Fireflies, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Spirited Away
I’ve seen How the Grinch Stole Christmas and I’ve seen Spirited Away. I was sort of lukewarm on them both. I don’t really care for christmas movies and I don’t care that much for animated movies either.
661. Do you feel that society is male dominated, female dominated, or neutral?
Obviously it’s male dominated.
662. What words offend you?
Some slurs. I’m not as PC as I used to be but there are certain slurs that should just disappear.
663. They’re just words. Can you get over it?
No I can not cause the history behind them is way too important to consider.
664. Have you ever looked into different religions?
Yes, I took religious studies in high school and became interested in religions because of that class. I am also really into cults. I love reading about that. I got a weird obsession with wicca for a while too, but I realized afterwards that it was when I was manic.
665. Which ones have you looked into?
Most of them, but I find alternative religions and cults the most fascinating.
666. What do you think of Satanism as a religion?
If you actually read up on what satanists define their religions as, you realize that it’s more harmless than a lot of christian movements. That said, I still find it a bit weird that people get into that. Kinda seems like a cry for attention and being unique. Also, I just realized that this question number 666. Nice.
667. Do you like it better when your classes are taught sitting in rows or sitting in a circle?
Sitting in a circle is a bit cult like isn’t it? Kinda creepy.
668. Have you ever read your own tarot cards?
No. I never got that far in my wicca journey.
669. Which ones do you like better, the three old star wars movies or the 2 new ones?
I actually haven’t seen any Star Wars movies. That is also a thing people are surprised by.
670. If you scream in outer space does it make a sound?
I don’t know, I’m not a scientist.
671. If you saw The Queen of the Damned did you want to be a vampire/Goth afterwards?
I haven’t seen that.
672. If you saw SLC Punk did you want to be punk afterwards?
Haven’t seen that either.
673. What is your favorite zombie movie?
I haven’t seen that many but I was pretty into The Walking Dead for a bit, but I thought it got kinda stale after three seasons.
674. Best kids birthday party: ceramics, chuck-e-cheese, roller rink, bowling, sleep over, movie theater
Sleep over. Those were lit. And they got pretty spicy too when the truth or dare started.
675. What were your parties like when you were a kid?
Well they were sleep overs. But when I was younger, it was eating cake, opening presents and playing some game like grab bag or similar.
676. Best teen (about 15-16) birthday party: ceramics, chuck-e-cheese, roller rink, bowling, sleep over, movie theater, house party, catered in a hall, restaurant, family trip, concert
I loved concerts as a a teen so that would’ve been good.
677. What are/were your 15-16 year old parties like?
I didn’t have any birthday parties nor did I celebrate birthdays as a teen. I didn’t want to cause I didn’t want attention me. I also didn’t have many friends.
678. Best 18th birthday party: ceramics, chuck-e-cheese, roller rink, bowling, sleep over, movie theater, house party, catered in a hall, restaurant, family trip, concert, club, pool hall, college party
679. If you are 18 what was your party like?
I didn’t have a party and I didn’t celebrate either.
680. Best 21st birthday party: ceramics, chuck-e-cheese, roller rink, bowling, sleep over, movie theater, house party, catered in a hall, restaurant, family trip, concert, club, pool hall, college party, bar, Atlantic city/Las Vegas trip
And concert. But once again, I didn’t celebrate my 21st birthday.
681. If you saw The Craft were you interested in wicca/paganism/magic afterwards?
I don’t think I’ve seen that...
682. What are your top 3 priorities?
Nurturing my relationships, career and rest.
683. If you saw fight club did you want to get into a fistfight afterwards?
684. What is your favorite smell?
There’s so many great smells. I love lemony scents. The cucumber and tea tree scent that Dove has is one of my favorites probably. Freshly mowed lawns. Fresh baked goods. Basil. Clean laundry. Regular cleaning soap. That’s a few.
685. Give everything below a humor rating (1 = laugh your ass off, 2 = lol, 3 = smile, 4 = lame, 5 = not funny, 6 = offensive):
People falling: 4
Rape jokes: 6
Sarcastic comments: 2
Blonde jokes: 5
Dirty jokes: 2
God/religion jokes: 2
Long-ass jokes: 5
Death jokes: 2
Pain/sickness jokes: 5
Animals doing cute stuff: 4
Bodily functions: 3
Knock jokes: 4
Ethnic jokes: 6
Ironic situations: 1
685. If you saw Cruel Intentions did you want to have lots of meaningless sex afterwards?
Haven’t seen that.
686. Do you get at least three hugs per day?
Nope. I don’t think I’d want that.
687. What should someone never say to you/call you if they want to remain on your good side?
I would get really hurt if someone called me stupid. I’m so scared of being unintelligent. I would also be hurt if someone made fun of my mental illness in a hurtful way.
688. If you saw Trainspotting did you want to do drugs afterwards?
I did see it and I enjoyed the movie but it didn’t make me wanna do drugs. The whole vibe of the movie was very tragic.
689. Do movies have a great influence on you?
690. Do you have a favorite reality TV show?
I’ve been watching Big Brother this spring and I am really into it. I didn’t think I would.
691. Are there certain roles that people are pressured to play in society or can they basically do whatever they want?
Of course people are pushed into roles.
692. How does the 2004 Dawn of the Dead remake compare to the original movie?
Haven’t seen that.
693. Have you ever held a magnifying glass over an insect to burn it?
No. I find it kind of psychopathic to deliberately want to kill an animal, no matter what animal it is.
694. Have you ever pulled the wings off a fly, butterfly or any other insect?
695. What would you think of a guy (if you're into guys) or a girl (if you're into girls) who wanted to take you to the park to feed the birds and look at the turtles and fish in the water on a date?
That sounds nice. Maybe a little bit cheesy.
696. Do you use public pools?
I don’t like swimming so I don’t go to pools, but I did go to our local swimming pool with Ellen last year and it was ok. It felt clean. Some pools are very nasty.
697. Do you use public bathrooms?
Only if I really have to and if I do, I make sure to squat over the toilet. I don’t wanna touch the seat.
698. Do you use public showers?
Like at the swimming pool? Yeah, you sort of have to. The showers at my local swimming pool was also okay.
699. How old will you be in 17 years?
38. Oh my, that’s scary to think about.
700. Would it effect you at all if you knew that a very large meteor was headed towards earth that would impact in 17 years?
Yeah, of course that would feel scary.
As promised: let's talk Hades, and how acts of abuse can create toxic environments for everyone around them, and also how people react to those environments--and to them being disrupted.
(For reference, I have just kicked Theseus's ass for the first time, it was exactly as satisfying as it was intended to be, and then I got predictably slaughtered a couple of chambers into Styx. Spoilers for everything through that point, but please no spoilers in reblogs/comments for anything after that!) Also, TW for a whole lot of discussion of abuse, particularly verbal and emotional abuse, and abusive familyworkplace dynamics.
Okay, so. To start out with, Hades is an abusive parent. He engages in innumerable acts of verbal and emotional abuse towards his son, because yep, that's what you call it when a parent constantly berates and belittles their kid for every perceived failure, including the ones the parent themselves could have prevented. Sometimes especially the ones the parent could have prevented. Zagreus failed at his office clerk job because Hades refused to teach him how to do it and then blamed him for not already knowing how. Cerberus tore up the lounge because Hades, who was actually there, chose not to stop him. Hades created, possibly deliberately, and then took full advantage of every opportunity he saw to insult and demean his kid, and the clerk job flashback shows us that he was doing so even before the escape attempts started. I'm pretty sure we're all on the same page here, but: yep, that all constitutes abuse, even if they're gods. Even if Hades has reasons for Being Like That. Even if you think Zagreus seems okay and unharmed by it (which: repeatedly throwing yourself into a gauntlet of violence that inevitably ends in your own pain and death because you're so desperate to escape home, not actually an indicator of someone who's okay). We all good on that?
Cool. Because I'm not really here to talk about how Hades' abuse directly impacts Zagreus right now (although there's for sure an essay in that too). I'm thinking about how it impacts everybody else.
Hades isn't as obviously unreasonable with anybody else in his kingdom the way he is with his kid. When we see him lecture somebody else, it's usually for an actual failure to do their job: Hypnos for literally falling asleep on the job and not doing anything that was assigned to him, Megaera for letting us past her so many time, Orpheus for being a court bard who refuses to sing. His attitude is super confrontational and unpleasant, but on the surface it doesn't necessarily look as fucked-up. Thing is, though, whether any individual act of aggression towards an employee/family member is justified or not (I would generally argue 'not', because aggression towards employees/family members is, y'know, not justifiable)--it's not about the individual acts. It's about the entire cultivated atmosphere of toxicity and abuse.
One of the very first things Meg ever says to us is, "I'd rather be on your bad side than his." Up until that point, we've got no reason to believe Meg has any history whatsoever of fucking up at her job. In fact, we've got plenty of reason to believe she's good at it. She's fiercely proud of it, she's frequently Employee Of The [Time Period], and we've apparently never even met her sisters because she handles her shit herself. But she's still scared of Hades. Dusa, who is an anxious wreck at all times because oh god what if she gets fired what if she gets fired what if she gets fired, in spite of apparently being absolutely exemplary at her job, is scared of Hades. Every single shade in the Hall is clearly terrified of Hades, and it's not because of what he's done to each of them. It's what they've seen him do to other people.
Which is how toxic environments work, whether they're work environments or families. The Court of Hades is of course both, always, with the bonus hell layer of you can't quit even if you DIE. An abuser in authority doesn't have to target you in order to make you feel scared, cowed, and desperate to please them. Humans (and gods who are basically extra-powerful humans) are good at learning by example. The residents of the Court get the picture.
So this Court is a minefield--and everyone except Zagreus is very good at tiptoeing around mines. We see it in Meg, so desperate to do her job well. We see that Hypnos very clearly does not give a shit about anything, but he still makes sure to have a list of excuses ready if/when Hades ever confronts him about failure to do his job, just in case. We see it when Achilles tells us that my ability to help you is constrained by the authority your father gives me, or whatever the line was sixty runs ago when he couldn't let me into locked chambers. The system, such as it is, works, and if Nyx talks to Hades as little as possible, if Thanatos avoids the Court entirely, if Achilles treads very carefully and knows how to keep his head down--well that's just the system, right? That's just how things are.
Even Zagreus seems to have had a role in that system as the court fuckup. He's the kid who didn't have a real job or purpose. He could take the focus of Hades' generalized, day-to-day ire off of everyone else, without triggering some of the more direct and violent ire because the work he was doing didn't really matter (a LOT of Hades' rage-triggers seem to be related to job performance, which means that the people with real jobs are of course the most at risk). And he could do so "safely" (big emphasis on the quotation marks there) because he alone of the court is Hades' actual kid, who's Prince of the Underworld no matter how much he fucks up. If one of Nyx's other kids gets something really really wrong, she might be able to protect them from some consequences, but Hades doesn't have any layer of supposed parental affection holding him back from getting violently furious about it. Zagreus gets a nice bedroom and the abuse is limited to words rather than divine power, and Hades is a dick to everyone but he only occasionally condemns people to eternities of torture, and only for good reasons like refusing to sing when your job is to be court bard, so it's fine, everybody's fine, everything's totally fine, right?
Except it's not fine when everybody is so clearly worried about anything going wrong. And it's especially not fine for Zagreus, who's the person to finally say no. He's leaving, for his own sake, because he deserves better and he's finally convinced he can have it. And that turns the whole system into disarray.
I am endlessly fascinated by the ways this game portrays different characters reacting to this upheaval in their carefully-mapped minefield. It's different for authority figures and peers and servants, different based on how people are positioned in the house under Hades' rule, and it's so spot-on and I love it.
Nyx, for instance, is absolutely calm about the whole thing, because Nyx has power. Hades can't hurt her. Hades can't even really do much against her children, not when Hypnos and Thanatos are gods in their own right. Yes, Hades rules the kingdom, but Nyx owns the land, and she gives no shits about his rages. And it's interesting, too, to see the lines she doesn't draw. The deal seems to be that Hades doesn't fuck with her, and doesn't outright threaten her kids (because Hypnos is bad at his job, demonstrably so, and Hades hasn't ruined him yet), and she doesn't interfere with the way he treats the people around him. She gives Zagreus advice and support and the mirror, but she also doesn't take a direct stand against Hades. He can't hurt her, but he could make life...difficult. She's protected, her position in the minefield is more of a safe viewing platform than slogging through the middle of it, but the mines are still there.
And then we have Achilles, who is one of my favorite characters in the whole game because of how he reacts to this whole situation. Achilles, like Nyx, is so supportive. Every single time you see him he has something encouraging to say. He gives us his Codex, secretly finds us weapons, trained us for years, clearly wants us to succeed. And still he's limited, not necessarily out of fear for himself (though he has to be scared for himself, he knows what Hades does to people who anger him), but out of concern that if he gives Zagreus too much help in one way, he won't be able to provide help at all later. He's still so careful.
Achilles and Nyx are so fucking important to this story because they're the only authority figures Zagreus really has in his life except for his father, and they are so supportive. They're what keep this story from being a nightmare of psychological horror and depression. They can't stop the pressure from Hades and this life in his house being miserable for Zag, but they can give us hope, remind us that Zagreus is still loved. And they have such an incredibly important role when it comes to guilt, which is one of the biggest ways toxic systems maintain themselves.
If Zagreus leaves, what happens to everybody else? Who takes Hades' wrath then? Who becomes court scapegoat if he's not there, and also, who gets punished for his escape? These questions matter, and we see him worry about it! He asks Nyx and Achilles both, is it going to be okay that you're helping me, are you going to be alright, will my father hurt you for this? And they are both so firm about telling him no. No, I will be fine. See, here's the list of reasons about why I'm going to be fine, why my position in this minefield is secure. They make a point of telling us that it's fine, that we do not need to hold ourself back from getting out of this abusive situation for their sake. That is instrumental in Zagreus's ability to keep making these escape attempts without feeling too guilty and worried and selfish to go on. (Another thing that's actually really important in setting up that dynamic--we see that Hades cares about Cerberus, even if he's using him as a pawn against us, and Cerberus seems to be the one figure in court who Hades doesn't get mad at. The dog isn't at risk, and that is really essential in keeping the story from getting too grim.) These people who we care about refuse to let themselves be held hostage to secure our good behavior.
It's also really useful for raising the stakes later in the story--we see Hades arguing with Nyx once or twice, and we see Zagreus feeling guilty about it, but it's also a sign that we're making enough progress to piss him off. After I finally made it out of Elysium on my last run, I came home to find him furious with Achilles in a way that actually makes me nervous, because Achilles does not have nearly as much security in his position as he says he does. (Achilles is such a good teacher/authority figure, because he knows goddamn well what Hades could do to him, and still refuses to let fear for his own situation stop him from helping the abused kid under his care escape his. And no, not everybody has the capacity to do that, but it matters so much coming from the guy who helped raise us. It matters so much. I do not even have the words for how much.)
It's also no mistake that many of the people we find supporting us along our journey are either the people with the most power in their immediate environment, or the least. Sisyphus helps us because what more could they do to me than this? Orpheus is a little wild around the eyes and somewhat disconnected from reality, and he wishes us the best because someone should get what they want and also he no longer gives a single fuck what happens to him. Eurydice has her own cozy little corner of Asphodel, as safe from Hades' rage as anybody anywhere in his realm because she's tucked in such an out-of-the-way middle place she's outside his notice. Dusa is so scared of everything anyway that, crush aside, she isn't any more threatened by us escaping than she is just by her everyday life here. Charon is unfathomable and unstoppable; Skelly literally exists to be a punching bag, and yet he also seems basically immune to pain, no matter what we do to him. There's no threat from Hades there.
So the people most at risk when I flip the world on its ear are the ones who have so much standing that they have something to lose, but not enough to protect them from losing it. Which of course brings us to Than and Meg--who are, of course, the two people who also seem by far the most upset by my attempts to leave.
As authority figures, Nyx and Achilles are constantly reinforcing the message that it's Hades' fault, not ours, if they or anybody else get caught in the crossfire of his wrath. I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing, and it's not my guilt to bear. From Megaera and Thanatos, we get the opposite message--I am fucking with things, I am hurting people, and I need to stop. Zagreus isn't just abandoning them, as a friend or brother or lover or all of the above they're Greek gods who even knows. He's betraying them. They were in this together, as friends or lovers or whatever, but now Zagreus is sending earthquakes through the minefield they both still have to stand in. He is about to capsize this boat in the middle of a thunderstorm, he is fucking with the system, and they're the ones who are going to get most hurt.
I'm so curious how this is going to work for Than, who out of everyone we meet holds the closest role to Nyx's in terms of being sheltered from Hades' wrath. He's the guy who gets to leave, after all, even though he always has to come back. I've seen the least of him out of anybody so far because it took forever for me to get to Elysium, but two things really stand out and I'm so interested to see where they go. One, he really genuinely does care about Zagreus. He wants us safe, he wants us unhurt, the accessory he gives us only grants its bonus if we clear a room without taking injury, he keeps showing up to help. And two, he wants us to give up and go back and recognize how good we had it. Which is SO fucking interesting, considering how miserable Zagreus so clearly was, and how legitimate his reasons for being miserable were.
It makes me wonder so much about Than's standards for comparison. Does he know something we don't about what's waiting for us on the surface, something that might theoretically hurt Zagreus even more than staying down below? Has his life, which apparently allows him more freedom than anybody else in the Court, sucked horribly in ways we haven't seen, and that's why he spends so little time there in the first place? Either of those things is plausible, both of those things are plausible, and yet either one leads to this sense of patronizing, because he refuses to simply tell us. If something terrible is awaiting us, don't give us vague warnings, tell us what it is and let us decide for ourself! If you're fucking jealous because we might get out entirely and you're still stuck coming back here, say so. If you're worried about your mom--and he does bring her up, how could Zagreus turn his back on her like that, does seem to worry for her--then let's have an actual conversation about how many times she has insisted I do this and also how much I love her.
And, right, it's clear that a lot of Thanatos being upset is simply, you were going to leave me without even saying goodbye, you want to leave ME, which is understandable! But, like, he is demonstrably the one god who gets to visit the surface. He's the one person we actually COULD expect to see again. And he is absolutely also upset because there's an Order To Things, and we're fucking it up. We used to be his careless callow reckless friend who could talk back to Hades and get away with it, and now we're not, and everything is changing and we might leave him altogether, and we might leave him alone in that court without us, and he hates it.
Is it a short-sighted, selfish fear on his part? Yes, absolutely. Even if he's not scared of Hades on his own behalf, he is still frightened by what happens if we upset this system--and maybe it's the sanctity of a much bigger system than the Underworld that he's worried about! Maybe it's the whole divine and cosmic order. Whatever system he wants so badly to protect is enabling the abuse Zagreus has been dealing with for however-long he's been alive. Whatever system he wants so badly to protect OUGHT to be overturned, or at least shaken up. But this is what toxic systems DO. They convince the people within them that they have to be maintained, that a broken system that hurts the people within it is far better than no system at all, that changing the world is too scary and too dangerous. And Thanatos wants his whatever-Zagreus-is-to-him to be there, because he loves him and also because that's how the world works, and those things are all tangled up in one another, and that is how relationships are in a messed-up family like this so therefore I love it.
And Meg. Meg, the best for last, my dear, beautiful, furious, bitter, scared angry tired girl. I adore her. I am absolutely never going to date her, because the thing Zagreus needs most in his life hurts her, more directly than anybody else in the story, and that sucks, and it's not Zag's fault but they still shouldn't be together. Meg has taken more injury from this situation than anyone, quite literally as well as metaphorically, and it's not her fault any more than it's ours, but oh boy it has made her lash out and it's awful and it's perfect.
Meg's place in the Court of Hades is unique because she's not dead, not a mortal, not anything other than a god--but she's also not family. Nyx is not her mother. She's very much part of this system, she and her two sisters belong to Hades-the-realm and therefore also Hades-the-king, she can't leave, but she also doesn't have that protection of Nyx watching out for her in the same way. She's not royalty. She and her sisters (if you ask Hesiod instead of Virgil, which seems to be the interpretation the game's going with here) sprang from the blood of maimed Uranus at the same time as Aphrodite, but fuck knows Aphrodite isn't claiming them as siblings. And she can't be fired, exactly, but she sure can be demoted, and she sure can be made miserable in her job. Meg is vulnerable in a way very few people in Hades' employ are. She's a lot harder to do away with than any one random shade, but she's also a lot harder to miss blending in with a crowd.
What's more, she's the one person in this whole mess who is specifically tasked with stopping us from leaving. Hypnos isn't ordered to put us to sleep and keep us in our room. Thanatos can't be compelled or punished if he doesn't hunt us down. Achilles isn't told to lock us up and keep the keys. Meg is the one stationed at the doorway to Tartarus to keep us in. Meg is the one who gets in trouble when we leave. Meg (who Hades knows goddamn well Zagreus cares for, or cared for, who he absolutely knows we used to date) is the one who has to fight us again and again and again. And she's the one who keeps dying.
Again, it's this incredibly fucked-up guilt/hostage situation deliberately designed to keep people from fleeing abusive situations. Meg's insistence on fighting us now puts Zagreus in the position of having to hurt her himself again and again. Now suddenly we're the ones sticking a sword in our ex-girlfriend. Now suddenly someone can point to our desire to leave, to flee, to escape, and say, how selfish. How cruel. How terrible of us to want to go, when we're even willing to hurt the people we love to do it.
Except, right: Hades is the one who demands Meg stand there and stop us. Hades is the one who puts both of us in that position. Meg is also in an abusive situation, and she's willing to hurt us to protect herself. "I'd rather be on your bad side than your father's." It's easy to blame her at the start for being complicit, for being a tool of our father's abuse, for being on his side. It gets harder as the game goes on. I've killed her so many times. There's no way for her to beat me. She knows at this point that she can't beat me. She still fights, every single time, still throws herself upon that spike, not because she thinks she has any chance of stopping me but because she is so damn scared of what will happen if she doesn't try.
In fact, Meg's the one person we have actually seen face consequences for our actions so far, instead of just facing the threat of them. Her sisters are here. Her sisters, who she clearly does not want here, who are wild and violent and who she does not want in her life or anywhere near her, let alone near the job she takes so much pride in. She gets to deal with them now. (Hades doesn't have to deal with them. They're still not allowed in his court. But Meg does.) She gets stabbed, and bludgeoned, and shot, and lightning-struck, and poisoned, and every other thing we do to her. Thanatos doesn't. Nyx and Achilles and Hypnos don't. Bug Meg? Oh yes. Meg pays.
And yes, ok, she is complicit in this system. Everybody is complicit in this system. Zagreus who's trying to escape on his own behalf instead of overthrowing his father for the sake of everyone he'd otherwise be leaving behind is complicit in this system. Pointing fingers and pulling strings of who's more at fault? and who do we blame for this? is exactly how this sort of system perpetuates itself. Your sister always talked back at the dinner table and put everyone in an even worse and more violent mood. Your coworker refuses to work more than forty hours a week so now you have to take overtime to pick up their slack. You're enabling your dad by asking your sister to shut up, you're enabling your employer by working as hard as you do so you don't get fired, everyone's at fault, everyone's to blame, everyone is--
It's not everyone. It's Hades. It's Hades at the root of everything, and probably something big and institutional and fucked-up even beyond him. But even if everyone down in this Underworld does have to be trapped here forever, even if he's trapped here forever, Hades is neither challenging the system that put them here nor trying to make that fate better for anyone else stuck with him. He's just created an entire kingdom of backbiting and misery and people who can either go along with his whims or suffer the consequences.
At this point in the game, Meg is so fucking tired. Every time we run into her in the lounge, hunched over a table, the venom in her voice when she tells us "Do I look like I have anything to say to you?" is so bitter and so exhausted. There was a system, and she knew her place in the system, and it was a system divinely ordered by the gods themselves, and sure it was cruel but that's the literal will of the universe as far as she knows it. She had a role, and her role was vengeance and punishment and violence against those who'd committed the most egregious of sins in life, and there was a point to it, she was the divine deterrent to convince people not to do those things, and that was just, and that was right. The GODS THEMSELVES said so. How do you argue with that? You can't possibly argue with that!
And Zagreus is arguing with that. In trying to leave, he's questioning the unbreakable rule that nothing in the Underworld ever gets to leave it. In disobeying his father to do so, he's questioning the unbreakable rule that what the gods say is LAW. He's breaking everything.
And of course he's not trying to do any of that. He's not trying to destabilize the system at all. He's just trying to get himself out of it, to a place where he feels like he belongs and maybe a parent who's slightly nicer to him than this one. But toxic systems like this one break when the people within them have access to another option. When the kids find a way to actually leave, and not answer the phone, and not come home for holidays, and not deal with it any more. When the employees have the economic freedom to quit. When opportunities granted by education, money, social support, etc etc etc, show up and give people a choice. Even if the option is only ever for Zagreus--he's demonstrating that an option exists. Which is, of course, the one thing the system cannot ever allow.
I really like this game.
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hq d&d thoughts
i am missing dungeons and dragons atm, and i don’t have a group to dm for, so here are my hq d&d thoughts for various teams. i understand this is extremely niche content, but idc
teams included: shiratorizawa (tendou, ushijima, reon, semi, goshiki, shirabu), kamomedai (suwa, kanbayashi, nozawa, bessho, hirugami, gao, hoshiumi), aoba jousai (oikawa, iwaizumi, matsun, makki), fukurodani (washio, konoha, sarukui, komi)
no content warnings needed! other than your usual d&d chaos
okay, this is obviously ran by tendou. and the campaign is filled with over the top tropes, specifically things that he’s read in his favorite shonen manga. kidnapped princess? done every few levels. bandits attacking poor travelers? yep, seen almost on a monthly basis. like, if you read his favorite shonen manga, you will probably see a plot that looks exactly like what he’s introduced into his campaign (no issues with this, of course! just don’t read any of his favorite shonen)
despite how stereotypical the campaign is, it is so fucking good. like, random classmates will just walk up to any of his players and be like “hey, any updates on the campaign?” eventually there’s a facebook page ran by tendou to update everyone weekly
if twitch and streaming were around during the time, they definitely would have been streaming the campaign for a live audience
the party is the most tanky and dps party you’ve ever seen. ushijima and reon are both human paladins, semi is your stereotypical half dark elf rogue, and goshiki is a human fighter. eventually they convince shirabu to join bc they desperately needed a cleric dedicated to healing
there is no overarching campaign plotline. mostly they just explore the world that tendou has developed and made for them, which tendou absolutely adores, and they genuinely love just exploring. semi is constantly trying to pull spoilers out from tendou, and he’s been successful once or twice
suwa runs the campaign and is a pretty traditional dungeon master. usually runs campaigns based off of the source material provided from wizards of the coast with very minor modifications. between taking care of the team and class, he just doesn’t have the time to prepare something too extensive
unfortunately, the second and first years force him out of his comfort zone and into improv
kanbayashi and nozawa play pretty normal characters. kanbayashi plays a high elf wizard that’s searching for ancient lost artifacts that belong to his people. nozawa plays a gnomish bard that flirts with everyone and is working to set up a trade empire of his own, competing with a distant family member
the second years? they swear up and down they didn’t plan it, but they’re all aarakocras. gao is a barbarian aarakocra (despite how the race is not designed for that), hoshiumi is a monk aarakocra, and hirugami is a warlock aarakocra. hoshiumi claimed gao was cheating off of him, hirugami jabbed at hoshiumi for creating a character that was so lifelike to him, and gao just wanted to drop shit on his enemies. bessho, the lone first year of the campaign, created a tabaxi rogue and frequently chased around the birds of his group
all suwa could do was sigh and spend an entire night redesigning his boss fights to accommodate for their flying speed so they were actually hard for the group
there is very little to no balance in the team, but they somehow make it work. a lot of glass cannons, with two tanks. so lots of damage, but they go down a lot frequently and have a lot of close calls
this one is unique in that there is no overarching plotline. instead, they rotate through different dms to mix things up, and each dm has their own unique twist. so it’s mostly just them doing a new oneshot with the same characters each week
oikawa bases a lot of the enemies off of people he doesn’t like. this was pointed out in the first campaign when iwaizumi accused him of basing the final boss off of kageyama. there were also a lot of enemies that seemed to be based off of a certain ace from shiratorizawa
there is always a dragon in iwaizumi’s oneshots. like, always. dragonborn, dragonkin, an actual fucking dragon. dragons everywhere. so everyone knows to prepare for a dragon fight at some point and stocks up on elemental protections
no one wants to admit it, but matsun’s oneshots are their favorites. they’re really interesting, with fascinating plot points about religion, spirituality, etc. he ended up deep diving into different real-life religions to make his oneshots more interesting, so now he knows a lot about religious beliefs and genuinely enjoys a good discussion about religion
makki’s campaigns are just straight up trippy. you are definitely taking a trip to the astral plane at some point, or just a different plane of existence. his campaigns are very interesting, but incredibly unpredictable. no one knows what to expect from his oneshots, even matsun
iwaizumi plays a defense-based paladin, oikawa plays a bard, matsun plays a cleric, and makki plays a rogue
washio is like, a complete nerd for tolkien. learned english just to have access to all the tolkien’s materials. that being said, washio’s campaigns are insanely detailed. like, he estimates that his players have only discovered about 75% of the world after a good 10 years or so of weekly sessions
probably developed a language for his own campaign, but that’s a different discussion for later
he draws from various east asian mythology, but it’s very heavily based off of japanese mythology. every once in a while, there will be some random western mythology thrown in, but it’s mostly east asian mythology
because of how long the campaign has been going on, there have been numerous character deaths. komi started with a rogue, then a fighter, and he’s currently a gnomish bard. konoha has stuck with fighters every time his character has died. his current iteration is a half-elf fighter. sarukui has played a druid each time, since he’s a big fan of the class. when firbolgs were released, he intentionally killed off his character just to make a firbolg druid (washio wasn’t upset when he found out, he was just like “??? you could have just asked me for a new character”)
bokuto tried really hard to play a session one time, but he couldn’t concentrate on it because he kept getting distracted. so the group made sure to give him weekly updates, and they continue to give him weekly updates even when they graduated from high school
when washio’s volleyball fans found about his ongoing campaign, they were obsessed with it. akaashi offered to help the pro edit and publish his campaign, but he declined since it was a private thing. he did, however, agree to design a few one-shot ideas for people to have at their own homes
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About the game:
google definition: The Dungeons & Dragons roleplaying games are about storytelling in worlds of swords and sorcery. Like games of make-believe, D&D is driven by imagination. It’s about picturing a crumbling castle in a darkening forest and imagining how a fantasy adventurer might react to the challenges that scene presents.
adding on in my own words: D&D can be played at a table top in person or an over the phone online and console game. If played in person the game typically just needs the DM ( Dungeon master) who runs the game (tells the story and controls the npcs/ events to happen) and a bunch of people/friends, their made up characters and their imaginations. The game usually has a story world made up and explained at the start by the DM and then a slight snippet of what their adventure or goal is and how all characters are to start. From there on the players take in turn to role their dices which determine how well they can play out what ever they want to do. You can buy made stories, characters and adventure packs made by d&d, however most campaigners make up their own stories and characters to play by. (like me). It is less expensive, more imaginative and easier to play when all you really need that way would be pen, paper, dice, and imagination.
For example; if one time the DM explains that there is a dog off the shore drowning and one character sees and decides they want to save it - they would roll their dice. If the character gets above the dms set number they will be able to swim out and safely rescue the dog then being able to happily carry on with their goals in game. If the player doesn't, then the plan of rescuing the dog doesn’t go so smoothly and the dm will explain that the character may not be able to swim very well or the dog had already gone under therefor not being able to save them etc etc. Each dice roll has an impact on their story, making it more unexpectable and more fun to play over a long span of time.
Most campaigns last 2-3 years however it is all the DMs choice on how long they choose to make their adventure go on for. Players can die in game and if that happens they can introduce a new character and backstory to join their friends again should they want to.
In game you pick a race/species as well as if they have good/bad intentions and what their main occupation is. You also can pick what they look and sound like since most players draw and then voice their own characters in person. Like most fantasy games, films and books, you can play as nearly every fantasy based and made up creature from plain human to a tiefling or Tabaxi.
Tiefling- (deer/bull/humanoid mix) My character cunnuroz is a tiefling for example.
Tabaxi- (cat humanoid mix). My character Felix is a Tabaxi for example.
When deciding your characters species and then occupation etc, you usually pick their background ie- a marine or outlaw etc and then you pick their specific background for example if they are a marine they may be one of these:
but obviously if they are a marine then they're not going to have a job completely out of marine surrounding depths. The same with outlaw if your an outlaw your not going to have a shop keeper job because that just wouldn't work- well unless your very good at hiding your rue identity in your job.
To an extent any one you play can have any job or occupation however bards play music or are known for magic with their music so are more likely to have a musical job than flying an aeroplane. Same with an orc/ rangers are more likely to have forest and woodland/animal surrounded base jobs than to be working in a sea merchants. (This applies to whatever race you play as they all have their own specific known for abilities and jobs to which they usually stick with). Again weather you stick with the usual dnd character making classes and rules or well hey make your own is completely up to you.
For my FMP, I decided to make character art/sheets for my own group of characters to be played in an in person game of d&d. I picked their races, main jobs and personalities to then draw as I would see them. My final pieces are just the different character art itself as well as group pieces ive drawn and a YouTube podcast mock up I made which people would listen in to if the campaign was real. I researched different cultures or known styles of clothing to impact my characters to make sure their clothing is somewhat worn by that kin of character in real or official games. My Fmp links to my original contrast theme of changeable/constant because of the huge impact the dice has on the circumstances which happen in real time as they are playing just like everyday decisions are impacted by a series of events and decisions in real life.
It's A Lot so you don't have to do all of them obviously but all odd numbers for Lark and all even for Cauterize
Collin I’m love you <3 I may not get through them all and I’m gonna skip the less relevant ones but you bet I’m gonna answer a lot of them. Under a readmore because this is gonna be a Lot lol.
1. Lark - Why did they choose their class(es)? their subclass(es)
When they were a teenager they went to see a powerful, retired bard named Marsha who offered magical fantasy transition to anyone who desired it. While there, they were inspired by how welcoming she was, and by her masterful piano playing. They learned the basics of music from her and continued that path after they left. (College of Lore bards just get the real good perks imo lol)
2. Cauterize - Before they met their party, what was their main goal?
We haven’t played yet so he hasn’t met his future party members, but his goal is basically to earn a living and go unnoticed. And the past he left behind finds him, to burn it out and finish it off once and for all.
4. Cauterize - If they could learn one spell that isn’t available to them at present, which spell would it be?
Well he’s a monk so he has very limited magical abilities. Fireball would be sick but very attention-grabbing. He would enjoy Vicious Mockery, but Disguise Self would prove the most beneficial (for low-level spells considering he’s level 3).
5. Lark -Do they follow a higher power? what are their thoughts on divinity?
Hard no. They don’t put much faith in the gods, even though they know they exist. In Lark’s mind, the life they have is theirs to live however they damn well please, and they’re going to make the most of it, because nothing is waiting for them afterwards
8. Cauterize - What are three songs that suit them?
He has a playlist! https://open.spotify.com/playlist/3FzJakPSGPq9KL4snLcqW6?si=a53d2c47077a4d5d But the three of my favourites for him are: Just One Yesterday (Fall Out Boy, Foxes), Prodigal Son (Rationale), and Sunrise (High Dive Heart)
9. Lark - Do they care about their appearance? how much effort do they put into presentation?
OH BOY do they ever. Lark is absolutely the type to spend an hour getting ready every morning, even when adventuring. They're very particular about their fashion and overall appearance, and a majority of the time they're putting on some kind of performance to be more attractive/charming. They only really let their guard down around their party, and particularly around their partner. Sidenote that they don't like getting dirty ex. going into the sewers, but they will if they have to. It also took them some time to become okay with the prominent scars on their face, and the other nasty scars they've picked up during their adventuring.
10. Cauterize - How often do they lie? what situations cause them to be dishonest?
HA! Like, all the time. He has his fair share of secrets to keep, which means lying and deflecting when anything personal comes up. He's also a criminal, so he has to be careful about what he says and to who.
11. Lark - What skills are they proficient in? why?
As a College of Lore Bard, just like. So Many. Sleight of Hand (+7), stealth (+7), investigation (+6), insight (+11), perception (+11), deception (+15), intimidation (+10), and persuasion (+15). Most of them are skills they picked up from their time as a honeytrap, deceiving, seducing, and stealing from nobles. Perception they honed during their journey because the party needed someone with an eye for danger.
12. Cauterize - Have they ever been in love?
Once. Or at least, the closest thing to love he's ever felt, he didn't get much of a chance to explore it.
13. Lark - What do they dislike about themself? why?
Oooh this is a hard one for them, because they have a Bit of an ego. But I'd say their tendency to push people away, and how they worry they're always too close to having their bad habits slide into addiction.
14. Cauterize - What is something they love about themself?
Oh see now this one's equally difficult! Because Aut does not have much of an ego, he's always careful to stay humble and is fairly pessimistic. Love is a strong word, but he's proud that he takes control of his own life and future.
15. Lark - do they trust their party? why or why not?
At the beginning Lark (Virus) didn't trust anyone (except Rancor their familiar). Trust was foolish, and letting people in on your secrets gave them power over you. But they've slowly learned to trust their party member with their life and their secrets. Mostly thanks to Kairos' stubborn persistence and affection lol.
16. Cauterize - What are their feelings on the people who raised them?
Ooh this one's too spoiler-heavy to really answer, but Not Good.
17. Lark - What do they dream about, when their dreams are their own?
Hmm this is a tough one, I haven't given much thought to their dreams. Their nightmares definitely consist of the times they've had to kill people, and maybe the rare nightmare of their upbringing. In terms of good dreams, probably memories of past lovers tbh, and of music. Dreams of a quieter, retired life with their partner.
18. Cauterize - Do they see themself as a leader or a follower?
Another tough one! Aut would hate to be forced into the role of a leader, but he's also to stubborn and opinionated to be a well-behaved follower. He's kind of a lone wolf rn. This would be an interesting one to see how things play out and where he falls on this spectrum.
19. Lark - What haunts them? what doesn’t?
Definitely the people they've had to kill. They never used to kill, and don't want to kill unless that person is "irredeemable" or is too great a threat to them and their loved ones. They harbour no guilt over their thieving and honeytrapping tendencies though, especially because they use it as a way to steal from and blackmail the rich nobles who deserve it.
20. Cauterize - Which of the five senses do they rely the most on?
Sight and sound. His monk training would have taught him not to rely too heavily on any one scent, but these two are the best suited for sensing danger and incoming attacks in combat.
21. Lark - Do they follow their head, their heart, or their body?
Pffft. I mean... defs their body more than they should. But they're not a fool, and typically have enough sense to think things through first and weight the risks. They rarely follow their heart - almost never did until recently.
22. (Lark) - What is a promise they’ve broken?
I don't think Aut has made many promises, and the one I can think of is a major spoiler lol.
This is actually a really interesting question for Lark tho, because they have a strict moral of not making promises unless they truly mean them. They'll lie through their teeth and manipulate people without a shred of guilt, but as soon as they use the word "promise," that means they're dead set on keeping their word.
23. Lark - How do they feel about nicknames, titles, or labels that have been given to them? how do they feel about their name?
Lark never really got any nicknames or the like tbh. They're proud of the reputation they've built (whether that's for being a clever fuck or a skilled bard), so anything related to that they'd get a bit of satisfaction out of. They chose the name Lark Freesia for themself, as it embodies them and is truly their name, and they'd never trade it for anything (though they would add to it when they get married lol).
24. Cauterize - Which of the four elements speaks to them the most?
Okay this one's plain and simple - fire. I mean, he is a fire genasi. But also he hates being associated with the sun (for ~reasons~), and so he really leans into his association with fire, as... almost an act of rebellion against that.
25. Lark - What stories do they like to tell? what stories do they like to hear?
As a bard, I think they'd have a talent for remembering grand tales they've heard from other bards, and like to add their own twist and dramatic flair to them. They're more of a musician, but I think their songs would tell stories, and their favourite would be of triumph, of freedom, and of found family - though subtly. They like to hear stories from those they love about their own lives, anecdotes that open a window into their history and happiness.
26. Cauterize - Who do they miss?
Without getting into specific spoilers, the only family he ever had, and the man he loved.
(I’m gonna keep adding to this lol)
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Current DnD characters in progress
Silvo, the Tabaxi Warlock who sells fake magical talismans and has an Archfey patron that appears to him in the form of a magical billboard a la Danny the Street. He’s also an asshole and speaks like a chain smoker even thought he hasn’t touched any type of drugs
You, the nonbinary Triton Sailor Bard who fancies the occasional bottle as well as a one night stand. They’re currently facing an identity crisis trying to determine their true name (besides being always referred to as “hey, you” for most of their life).
Lodoor, the Desert Druid Goblin (of the Circle of the Land) with a fox companion named Blue. Said fox was named after a goblin friend he failed to save in the past. He used to be part of a goblin clan but left of his own accord. He also talks like Kevin Conroy.
Pfeiffer, the Artificer Tiefling who has a dark emotional past and we first find her discarding her wedding ring into the fire without hesitation. She speaks with a wispy Irish accent.
Periwen Harspull, the Half Elf fighter who wants to find her evil family (but keep a very good distance away from them at the same time). Said evil family includes three older brothers named Coryn (the worst and oldest of the bunch) and twin brothers Thaddeus and Selby and all three of them try to emanate being actual elves. Their parents, now deceased, were named Guldr and Thalia. This character I have the most fleshed out in terms of backstory.
Ball, a teenage Kenku Wizard who specializes in Graviturgy and has a familiar that appears in the form of a Siamese cat
Fendar, the Orc Rogue who can BS his way out of any situation. He also talks like NoHo Hank
A Firbolg Druid always covered in bracken and moss who currently does not have a name at the moment... so in terms of image only: kind of like Swamp Thing
Obviously not all within the same campaign but still in the workshop!
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