“Bring me to serenity, let me be peaceful
Bring me to a place that my mind can wander and my thoughts can fathom
Show me that the water so violent and unforgiving can still have moments of calm
Show me that my mind so dark and cloudy can still have flowers bloom, even in the harshest of conditions
Bring me to serenity, let me be peaceful”
A female voice sang softly and melodically, accompanied by the sound of charming flute that resonated throughout the small dwelling, that was the home of Tolthe Kelsys. The gentle smell of freshly brewed, floral, herbal tea swarmed the home in it’s soothing embrace, completing the mood of the evening as the two siblings, Tolthe, along with his sister Tanulia, shared the moment of complete serenity.
As the last lyric left Tanulia’s lips, Tolthe completed the line of music with his flute before gently putting it down on it’s intricately carved stand on the mantelpiece. The music seemed to still hang in the air among the steam of the tea before it too faded away, leaving in it’s wake the gentle hum of the water that ever flowed through the Deepwell. “This tea is truly rejuvenating Hanno, I thank you.”
Tanulia’s eyes caressed her brother warmly as she spoke, her voice as naturally melodic as it ever was. “Oh Nèsa, it is with only the deepest pleasure that I give it to you. Having you reunited in my life has been a true honor, as I have often said.”
Tolthe matched her gaze, his voice, deeper and just more masculine then his sisters, still had that sheen of rhythm, though was more commanding and firm in it’s nature, without being degrading or condescending. “I must ask, that I burden you with a matter that has been weighing heavily on my mind of late.”
Tolthe made a slight adjustment in his seating after he spoke, his eyes remaining on his sister. “You know you don’t need to ask Little Tolo”
Tanulia smiled warmly, reminiscing for a moment of their childhood and how many times he has said similar things to her in order to speak his thoughts, in spite of how close they were and are. “You see, There is a certain group I have become involved with that I feel will strongly make a difference in Glimhollow.”
He clasped a hand around the book he always had attached to the belt on his hip and gave it a squeeze as he took a breath and continued. “This group has just been called to a vast meeting, a meeting of great importance that we have been planning. You see, I am a bookkeeper of sorts for this.. group.. and while I am in Ernest to the result of such a group, I fear that the path laid out to reach the spoken of result will be somewhat unclean.”
Tanulia, somewhat surprised at the topic of discussion, listened carefully. “Go on, Hanno.”
She said after a long pause, then took a sip of her tea, keeping it cradled in her gentle, long fingered hands. “Nèsa, I do not wish anything bad to happen to you.. or to anyone.. I do not want to see any more suffering which is why I feel so strongly and hope so deeply that things will change.” “I do not believe the meeting of the Dusthawks will result in as catastrophic a path as you would seem to think it to be.”
Tolthe stood up quickly then once again, sat down slowly. “How is it, you knew of what I was referring?”
His voice drowned as each word was spoken, resulting in a near whisper at the utterance of the last of them. He knew exactly how she could know of the meeting, he knew why her information was always so current and how she was so well informed and yet, there were still those moments of surprise.
Tanulia’s eyes flickered for a moment before she took another sip, put her mug down on a small table tucked between the stone seat she was sitting on and the hearth. Her eyes met his as she crossed her hands on her lap and fixed her gaze, “It matters not how I know, the matter is in how you, Tolthe, came to be so deeply involved in such a group.”
Tolthe looked at her pleadingly. Her voice was not disappointed, though it was slightly stern and her eyes, though fixed, were not unkind. “If you are involved, I have no doubts in how well the methodically this whole affair has been planned. Have faith that I believe in you with as much depth as a sister can bestow on her dearest brother. Please, tell me how I can be of assistance.”
Tolthe released a breath he did not realize was held then placed his own mug down before intreating, “Do not get involved with the Dusthawks, do not associate with anyone you know is partnered among them. This is what I ask. Please Nèsa, I do not want to see you getting in harms way.” “I cannot do that, I have little power over whom shall cross my path. I cannot be rid of those involved entirely.” “But, Tanulie..” “I cannot Tolthe, do not ask it, for it is something I am unable to give you. Do you not thing it would be easier for me to avoid danger if I am more aware of the dangers that surround me rather then shield my eyes from it.” “Please Nèsa, you don’t know grasp the danger you could be put in.”“My Hanno, my dearest Tolo, do not fear for me. Do not allow your fear of my circumstances distract you from your mission and duty to your group.”
Tolthe did not respond, he simply looked down at his hands, around the arch that surrounded his door in Elvin calligraphy and culture then back at his sister who stood now, taking a final sip of her tea. Her blue dress shimmered with the movement against the light of the spark crystal hearth before it was covered by the dull gray robe that encased her from head to toe when the hood was raised as it was being drawn now. “I must leave you now, Tolthe, please take care until we can visit once again.”
She stepped towards her brother and placed a kiss on his forehead then stepped in a glide from her brothers home.
The evening was young as she left the abode of her brother, her shoes tapping softly against the stone that made up the alleys and streets of the Deepwell with each step. As was the usual for this time of day, there was near not a soul to be seen as most who lived there were either busy nearing the end of their work on the docks or off to the reaches of the water on a ship.
She made her way to the lift, watching every corner and hearing every sound and echo from the streets so as to be weary of passing folk then found to her always great relief that she would house the lift without company. Her stepped in, set the lever to deliver her to the Scarlet Quarter and felt the pulse and burst of movement as the mechanism began, lifting her up in it’s steady clutches to her home.
Tanulia peered out over the Deepwell as she rose, seeing the dock and those who worked it in the distance, the smell of fresh caught food that was regular to the area begin to abate as she went higher up. She glanced at the tightly compact stone homes, most without light peering from the windows and some with illumination as wives hummed songs while they set about preparing dinners or doing chores. The area went dark, then brightened once again in the startlingly more colorful area of the Scarlet Quarter where the doors opened and Tanulia stepped from the platform.
The Scarlet Quarter was one she knew well as it has been her home for many years now. She weaved her way through the people that were about, the crowd growing as the evening did, until she found herself in front of the door painted with a deep red rose and ivy. She opened it cautiously in case an unknowing person was standing on the opposite side and stepped into the lively and bustling kitchen that was the back room of Isabels Brothel. “Kela! You’re earlier then usual today!”
cried a somewhat portly but beautiful woman who stood in front of a large stone table, carrying a try of snacks to set down. “My goodness you look like you could use some eat’n. Here!”
She said, picking up a hand held vegetable pie that still warmed Tanulias hands with it’s touch, it’s fragrance of being freshly made wafting into her senses. “These jus cooled ‘nough to eat, so get to it!”
The cook smiled again and winked before turning around and continuing to prepare food for what promised to be a busy night.
Tanulia removed her cloak, revealing once again the beauty and elegance of her blue gown she wore. Her legs, exposed to the air with each step, prickled in thanks at the change in temperature. She set the cloak on a hook attached to the wall next to the few others that already hung there. In that moment, a few other girls made there way inside, giggling and laughing. They waved happily with exclamations of, “Kela!”
as they hung their own cloaks, grabbed a vegetable pie for themselves and ran off towards the ever growing louder chatter of the girls in the powder room.
Tanulia finished her pie then made her way into the busy room herself. Girls were piling in as each moment passed, some in front of mirrors, putting on a fresh coat of make-up, some were partially changed into that nights attire while others helped. The room was seemingly a madhouse of giggling girls, gossip and chatter but Tanulia would not have it any other way in this make-shift family of theirs. She reached her mirror and adjusted her natural curls just so, applying a soft gloss to her lips and fixing the Elvin headdress she that was her signature piece at this point. The beautiful heirloom given to her by her mother.
Everything was in place, everyone was just about ready and the room began to clear as the girls went to work. Tanulia followed with the others, making conversation and hearing tales of interesting and exciting things that the girls did or witnessed with their last client. The scarlet red curtains that made up the partition between the clients and the mistresses parted ways as the girls began to file out. Some met with regular customers, some began to work their magic on lost or interested patrons and others filed into the streets near the brothel, always staying nearby to find their work. Isabel, the beautiful headmistress of the brothel kept up with the crowds, keeping everyone in line and entertained while her few employees that worked more as wait staff brought out trays of finger sized food for the customers who had already payed.
Tanulia took a moment to take it in before making her way to the headmistress to see who the lucky winner was for this moment of her time of those who no doubt, had lined up as they often had.
The door closed gently behind Tanulia as she left his home, leaving behind her an emotion so mixed, he couldn’t quite place it yet. With his mug of tea back in his hand, he gazed out the window towards the water taking sips as he listened to the water, his thoughts still, if not more, fearful then ever. He knew where his sister was going, where she always went when she left him and how she lived. He still hadn’t mentioned any of his findings to her and still had no intention to.
With the last sip of his tea consumed, he stood up, reached in his pocket for a small bottle and with a heavy sigh opened it and downed it’s contents in a single gulp. He then arranged his garments on his person and left his home, making his own way to the lift. The streets had picked up a few users since his sisters departure and was now crowding with the tired dockworkers making their way about the town, some heading in the same direction as he as his footsteps led him to the lift.
When he arrived, the lift was nearly packed full this patrons, all going to various different regions of Glimhollow. The smell of sweat, fresh produce and water overwhelmed the crowded lift as if rose, leading its captives to their destinations, taking Tolthe, to the Gray District.
The doors opened, people came and went, never slimming the crowd and pushing those waiting for later stops towards the back of it’s carriage until finally Tolthe landed at his requested destination and got off. The streets were full of people of all types, surrounded by the sounds of shouts and wails, breaking bottles, excited introductions and clattering footsteps. The gray stone that lined the walls was uneven, dirty and poorly maintained as some buildings had unintended windows and extended entrances that were not part of the original design.
Tolthe found himself heading towards a tavern for a quick meal and a cold drink. There was one in particular he enjoyed visiting that lay halfway between the lift and the Nest. It was named The Sleeping Lantern, after the giant hearth that glowed in the center of the great room. The elf stepped up to the counter and ordered his food, the soup of the day and a cold ale, dropped a few coins then sat down at the edge of the bar. To his left were two dwarves debating on the proper use of a specific type of stone. Behind him sat a husband and wife arguing about the husbands most recent actions and before him was the gaunt human male bartender that listened carefully to a slightly intoxicated young man, laying out his soul about a girl who stole his heart then left it to the wind, as his glass was filled again with an amber liquid.
The bartender, still listening to the young man as he worked, picked up the bowl of soup and placed it in front of Tolthe, then skillfully pulled out a glass and filled it with ale. “Will that be all for you there, Lotkey?”
Tolthe nodded in the affirmative and began eating his food. It didn’t take long before he completed it, ready to continue with his evening, anxious for what it would bring. He left a few more coins, stood up and left the building, making his way towards the nest.