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Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone)

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151 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Fri Aug 31, 2018 9:13 pm

"Sounds like a plan," she says, and stands as well.

As everyone gathers their things and begins to file out, Sunrise tugs lightly on Glen's sleeve. "Hey," she says softly. "Can I talk to you for a sec? Privately?"
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152 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Fri Aug 31, 2018 9:22 pm

Glen looks at her. His eyes are pleading, and she can tell he is just desperately hoping to not have to rehash the earlier conversation. But he manages to force a slight smile. "How can I say no after you had my back yesterday? Sure. Here, or...?"
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153 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Fri Aug 31, 2018 9:36 pm

She bites her lip. "Outside? Maybe we can look for Rik as we walk."

Once they're outside and relatively private, she hesitates. "You're an elf. Does the term 'Star-Friend' mean anything to you?"
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154 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Sat Sep 01, 2018 9:32 am

Glen, who had previously been taking in the beauty of the Eleint morning as the colors of summer began to give way to the bright, fiery hues of autumn, turns his head sharply to look at Sunrise. His gaze is not not anger or alarm, but simply surprise. "'Star-Friend.' I haven't heard that in a long time, and especially not from someone so young, and someone who isn't an elf. No offense, of course! It's just usually something that..." He lets out a little laugh. "Not even folks of my generation of elves really talk about it. Village elders and people's grandmothers and that sort of thing, you know?"

Now, although he is looking at Sunrise, his gaze is far off, in a different time and place. "What do you want to know? And, just out of curiosity, where did you hear about them? It's not, like, a secret - just, like, it's old-fashioned, even among elves."
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155 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Sat Sep 01, 2018 10:07 am

"Laerdya," she says with a sigh. "She's been trying to recreate the ritual. For Gwyn."
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156 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Sat Sep 01, 2018 10:28 am

His eyes refocus on Sunrise as he gives her a quizzical look, cocking his head to the side. "The ritual? Wow. That's an even older tale. Why would she want...?" He trails off. "Hm." Glen is lost in thought for a moment.
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157 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Sat Sep 01, 2018 10:43 am

She nods. "Honestly, it sounded like wishful thinking, but she seemed confident she could do it. What's it supposed to do? Laerdya said, but I'd like a second opinion."
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158 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Sat Sep 01, 2018 11:12 am

Glen comes back from deep within his thoughts, and takes a breath. "Why don't we let these guys run around and play a little bit?" He says, indicating Honey and Elen. The baby panther has been impatiently rubbing against him and squirming around on the ground, wanting to play. Glen grabs a piece of jerky out of his bag, holds his hand down for Elen to sniff, then tosses it into the grass, with Elen pouncing after it. "I guess I should tell you what I know," he says.

"’Star-friend’ is one word for them; ‘Elf-friend’ is another, and ‘ruathar’ is another. It’s a term for an outsider who has rendered a great service for an elven community, or the elven people. Something big and important - saving an important life, or more likely saving several lives; saving a village from burning, or drowning, or raid by monsters or brigands; or otherwise doing something important, and useful, and good. In return, that community or elves generally will name the person a friend of elves, a ruathar, someone welcome and worthy of respect.”

“Ruathar can be elves - it’s someone who helped a community he wasn’t part of, and therefore didn’t have a moral obligation to help. It’s why ‘ruathar’ is clearer - elf-friend can get confusing when you’re talking about an elven ruathar. Communities who name ruathar often give them something - a token, an insignia, a broach, something like that - something they can use to show that they are a friend, if the need arises.”

“I’ve heard tell of this ritual you mentioned, but I’ve never seen it or its effects myself. Legend has it that in the days of old, there was a ritual that could make a ruathar literally more elvish, despite their birth race. A ruathar human would gain low-light vision, maybe even get a slight point to his ears. A ruathar gnome or halfling might get a little taller; a dwarf a little leaner. They all would live longer. A half-elf’s elven features would become more pronounced and they would live similar to the lengths that elves do.”

“Something magic binds ruathars to their adoptive communities, something that makes them more elvish and less of their birth race.”

He thinks for a moment. “That’s all I know. If I had to guess, I’d say Laerdya is probably trying to give Gwyn a longer life, but you can probably tell me more about that.”
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159 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Sat Sep 01, 2018 3:44 pm

She nods, still frowning. "Extend her life, and make her healthier." She shakes her head. "I absolutely understand why she would want to. But something about it bothers me, and I can't figure out why." She shakes her head. "If it doesn't work, no harm done except to Laerdya's emotional state, and if it does work that's a good thing, right? So why can't I get it out of my head?"

She looks at him. "I didn't want to bring it up in front of everyone, because we don't need a lot of wild speculation about it. But do you happen to know any stories or rumors or whatever about how the ritual was done?"
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160 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Sat Sep 01, 2018 9:19 pm

"Right, it makes sense that Laerdya wants Gwyn to get the benefits of the ritual, but" he says, looking downward, arms folded in thought, "Gwyn isn't an outsider who has done a service for an elf community. It's not like there's a test or something, but she just hasn't done something that would make her a ruathar. I don't know if that's an antecedent for the ritual or if it's just something anyone can do for anyone on a whim; I would think not, but still, I don't know."

"As for the ritual itself, I don't know specifics, but I know... stories? I've always thought it was a myth. I've heard that the translation of 'star-friend' is at least a little bit literal; the ritual is supposed to happen at night under the stars. Then, the ruathar would be given a gift, usually something magic, and would be taught the magical phrase that would show they're a ruathar. Anybody can say the phrase, and saying it doesn't just magically make you one, but only the ruathar can use the magic which makes it legitimate. Apparently, the listener can tell the difference, but I'm not sure how? Again, this... just sounds like a story you tell to kids. Anyway."

"After the ritual, the ruathar would be led to a dark place to sleep and rest - I'm serious, here, not making this up as a prank - which would ideally be someplace with an open, empty tomb prepared, like a cemetery or a burial ground of some kind." He looks at her. "I know. I know. Anyway, they would spend the day locked in darkness, sleeping or meditating, and then when they rose again the next night, they were 'reborn' to the people who had adopted them. Reborn under the stars, reborn a ruathar."

He pauses, considering a moment longer. "Yeah, I think that's all I know. It's... I mean, the stories say it's a sacred ritual and that being a ruathar means you're a true friend to elves, so I shouldn't be so glib about it. The Nailo elders would be furious with me for being so disrespectful. I've just - I've never seen it or anything like it in my many years living in and studying nature, so I'd always kind of written it off, you know?"
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161 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Sat Sep 01, 2018 10:21 pm

Sunrise does, in fact, react exactly as he expects her to when he gets to the "open grave" part of the ritual. When he's done she shakes her head. "I wish I'd thought to ask what Gwyn thought of this. Or if she even knew. I understand that it's a great honor, but if it were me I think I'd be a little... uncomfortable." She shakes her head. "Even if she did manage to recreate it... I have to wonder what would happen if the ritual was done on someone who hadn't 'earned' it. Would it just do nothing? Backfire? Become horribly twisted in nightmarish ways?"

She gives him a sheepish glance. "You see why I didn't want to bring it up to the group."
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162 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Sat Sep 01, 2018 10:32 pm

Glen nods. "Of course. The group..." He frowns. "Wasn't ready to listen to things that weren't a hundred percent black and white today." He gives her a little nudge with his shoulder. "Present company excluded, of course." He gives her a tired smile.

"But yeah. Messing with the ruathar ritual is messing with very old, powerful elf magic. I wouldn't try it on an unwilling recipient or someone who hasn't earned it. You just don't mess around with stuff. But Laerdya is tired, desperate, and not thinking straight." He sighs. "This does not sound good."
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163 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Sat Sep 01, 2018 10:49 pm

"She's tired, desperate, and not thinking straight now," she says with a frown. "But I got the impression this isn't a new idea for her. She originally wanted to do this for her husband, apparently, and it sounded like she's been working on it for a long time." She sighs. "I don't have any ideas about how or if it fits in with everything else. Maybe it's nothing; what are the chances she could actually figure the ritual out, right? But I just wanted someone else to know about it, you know?"
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164 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Sat Sep 01, 2018 10:55 pm

"Oh. That's...somehow worse. Would she go to this kind of trouble if she didn't know how to do it? She is a powerful wizard, maybe she spoke with the dead and found out how to do it? I don't even know if that's possible. But yes," he nods, "I'm glad you told me. I'll keep it in mind. Do you think we should ask Erdan about it? He is an elf, and a powerful druid, and he lived up on that same floor as Laerdya and Gwyn. She might have asked him."
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165 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Sat Sep 01, 2018 11:17 pm

She shrugs. "Maybe? I don't think investigating it is top priority, but if we have time and opportunity to talk to him, I'd definitely like to know more. The next couple days are already looking pretty full, though."

With a sigh, she glances around the yard, taking in the oddly-shaped animals. "Any idea where Rik got off to? He seemed pretty upset."
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166 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Sun Sep 02, 2018 7:27 am

"That's true. Well, maybe someone will just...run into him. You never know."

Glen peers around, looking for Rik around the grounds. "I'm not sure. Truth be told, I wanted to get up and walk out myself, but I didn't want to miss anything. I'm glad I didn't, so we could talk, but still. Today wasn't easy. I haven't felt as out of place as I usually do the last couple of days, but today was a big shift in the other direction."
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167 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Sun Sep 02, 2018 7:58 am

Rik is, in fact, visible when they round the corner of one of the barns; he seems to be being thanked by a man with a broad grin who is holding onto the strange bird-like creature from before with a leather lead. The creature is calmer now and looks only mildly perturbed to be caught.
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168 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Sun Sep 02, 2018 1:19 pm

She grimaces, reaching over to squeeze his shoulder. "Sorry. I know that can't have been fun."

When they found the corner she brightens, raising a hand to wave.
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169 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Sun Sep 02, 2018 3:36 pm

"Thanks. Sorry, I don't mean to complain."

As they round the corner, Elen goes darting over to greet the paladin again, bounding up to his feet and then excitedly sniffing at his feet, eyeing the nearby critter with suspicion.
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170 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Sun Sep 02, 2018 4:16 pm

The strange man laughs at the panther, holding his creature tightly so it can't run off. "Hello there, sweet baby!" he tells the panther with a grin.

Rik returns the raised hand, nodding to Sunrise and Glen with a grave expression. "I hope I have not caused you two any offense," he says with a troubled frown.
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171 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Sun Sep 02, 2018 4:20 pm

Elen looks at Zazrien and cannot help but bound over to him, sniff his leg, and then start rubbing hard against his leg and purring loudly.

To Rik, Glen smiles. "None taken here. I'm..." He hesitates and his face falls. "Sorry I didn't stand up for you. I was just too exhausted from defending myself. I owed you better, Rik, for the kindness you showed me."
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172 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Sun Sep 02, 2018 4:21 pm

Sunrise shakes her head. "Just wanted to make sure you were okay," she says gently. "I know we butted heads in there, but it... got rough. Sorry about that."
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173 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Sun Sep 02, 2018 5:24 pm

Rik shakes his head and places a hand on Glen's shoulder. "You have done nothing wrong. Neither of you. My frustration lies elsewhere."

Sighing, he looks away over the fields. "I am not so foolish as to believe my friends are perfect. Even the most honorable paladin can fall, after all. But, without evidence, without some shred of..." He shakes his head again, his voice trailing away.
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174 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Sun Sep 02, 2018 6:18 pm

Sunrise nods. "It's hard," she says gently, "when you've been hurt, not to assume everyone else is being hurt the same way. Sometimes it can lead to unfair judgments. If it helps at all, it's coming from a place of wanting to protect Gwyn. But I know it must be frustrating."
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175 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Sun Sep 02, 2018 6:45 pm

"Thanks for understanding, Rik." He gives Rik a friendly pat on the back in return. "It's good to remember we are all on the same team, but I do think some lines were crossed. I hope you're not reconsidering us all working together?"
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