- (164.62KB, 944x792, malice4.jpg)
"A remarkable feat." The old master calmly answers, "Yuka Kazami is a foe that few could face on equal terms."
"Yeah, aren't we awesome, or what?" Marisa happily answers. "Hey old man, I think you're an allright guy after all -ze."
"Hmph, how rude." Alice indignantly interjects. "Youki-dono, you mustn't think badly of her because of her lack of manners, after all she cannot help her boorish nature."
"I take no offense from the truth, Lady Margatroid," The old master kindly answers, "I am an old man, and so the Lady Kirisame's comment is accurate."
You think you can see a hint of annoyance flicker over the features of the dollmaker, probably because the diplomatic words of the old master leave little opportunity for further flyting on this point. Unsurprisingly the black-white witch also seems slightly disappointed. Instead the two magicians turn to you with expectation evident from their features.
"And you Sigurd, what did you think?" The crafter of puppets suddenly asks of you.
You lean back in your seat, reflecting upon what you have heard. The first truth is that it is for your sake that these two women have fought, if for no other reason then because it was you who dragged them with you on your quest.
And this friendship you share is true, forged in fire and sealed by the blood you have spilled for each other.
"A tale of great deed, and a tale well told, so I deem it." You reply to the puppetmaker. "And more than this, a tale of true valour, great gain of the coin of heroes have they earned, mighty mages of wildling wood."
"This I know, in his heart every man it has, the feeling when among true friends. For him they have shed their blood, as he would shed his blood for them, true and tried kith found in forest of magic." You gently continue your word-weave, for you feel as if you must give something back to these two wonderful women for the deeds they have done for your sake.
"Little has he to offer, though great is his gratitude. No rings of red gold he owns, nor fine silver-wrought blades. His is not the wealth of kings, no lands of plenty can he gift, nor sleek-sided sea-steeds, such ones that a man joyously rides upon Aegir's realm. Only one thing can he give." You pause for a short moment to catch your breath, then you rise from your seat and turn to face your audience while beginning the gift-giving.
"Hear, ye who would know, for this is his gift. He gives a memory, he gives a prayer and a song. Hear, ye who are heroes among gods and men, hear and remember."
Your audience, both the ones seated around the table and the gods watching and listening, had better be ready for this performance. So your mind speaks as it is filled with the fire gifted by Kvasir's blood, that best of draughts, and that madness when the Skald finds the gift to turn words into magic.
Clear rings the voice, calls out and bids all who hear it to burn the words into their memory. So is the voice of the song-smith as he begins his work.
"Thus has he heard, right-renowned song-smith, tale told like no other.
Well-fought battle, worthily waged, so was it told by honoured host,
Spear-song's sound, Sigföðr's delight, raven-cry's rasp, Rúnatýr's joy,
Battle-din, battle-sound, such it was, when High One saw blade-clash born.
Wonder-crafting wizardess, wide-famed witch. Two they were, facing fierce flower-beast.
Sought victory's ash-tree, far-famed foe-gallows, found the favour of Odin.
Thus has he seen, sharp-sighted tale-teller, high heroes like no others.
Brave they were when spear-clash called, Týr's match among Midgard's mortals,
Noble they were when blade-dance began, Balder's equals among heroes of men,
Fought they did, as High One bids, the fiercest battle, but flee did not.
Rising high, heaven-striding, this they did, to clash of spells, clash of curses,
Will and valour victory won, coin of courage and honour among heroes.
Never friend leaves friend in need, never in true heart falsehood is found,
So spoke Odin, One-Eyed God, in days of yore he uttered.
Thus he knows, high-hearted word-weaver, fair friends like no others.
True they were, beloved black-white, dear dollmaker, fought for friend as friend shall."
Now is the time. Well-chosen must the Skald's words be, well-honed his instict. Know he must when to open wide his word-hoard and when to keep his verse well-measured. Now is the time, and now you sing the end of this song.
You end the rapid word-weave with these swift staves and turn to your audience. The pause you make is short, but seems to drag out for eternity. Alice's expression is almost stunned, as if she can not quite believe her ears. Marisa's eyes are filled with wonder, as if she has found some rare and hidden treasure. Even Youki seems truly impressed. With little left to say you seize the moment and end the weave of words.
"So by Fimbultýr's favour, so by song-smith's staves, victory will ever last.
Highest honour he has been handed, to sing the tale of flower-fiend's lay,
So has he spoken, crafted the gift to fairest friends, gift of song and saga.
Honour to the heroes, honour to the fallen, and honour to Odin who judges."
For another long moment there is silence. Then Shanghai silently floats up to you and suddenly hugs your arm tightly. Glancing at the doll's mistress you see that Alice is looking away, yet the tears flowing down her cheeks and the smile on her face cannot be hidden.
"AWESOME -ZE!" The black-white witch suddenly yells, jumping up from her chair and knocking over her cup in the process. Nearly shaking with excitement the forest witch slams her hands down on the table and looks you straight in the eye.
"You! You're hired -ze!" The black-white witch exclaims, the statement accompanied by a huge grin.
Marisa's outburst is followed by a moment of silence, which is followed by the soft laughter of the puppetmaker. Wiping the tears from her eyes, Alice smiles slyly at the overly excited black-white before shooting off a sarcastic comment.
"What are you going to hire him for, you silly girl? Not even you can be that desperate... or can you?"
"Shut yer trap, doll otaku." The black-white replies, brushing off the implied insult. "It doesn't matter for what he's hired for anyway, it'll end up in kickin' ass an' takin' names anyway, and you know it -ze!"
"Oh dear." Alice mumbles while slowly shaking her head. Shanghai mirror's the gesture of her mistress, but the little doll fails adorably at replicating Alice's look of exasperation.
"Bah, you're too stiff, too stiff I say -ze. This is gonna be awesome, just you watch!" The forest witch replies with a laugh. "An' don'cha worry Sigurd, even though you're my hireling, I won't boss ya around too much -ze."
"An' that reminds me, what'cha wanna do now Sigurd?" The black-white witch asks you. Pondering the question for a moment, you find innumerable paths of possibility in front of you, a myriad ways you can wander. Which one should you pick?
[ ] Write-in only.
So update's wordcount lenghtened, and ending was too open-ended. Pick something to do, kind Anonymous.