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The Grace of Felonwood

Posted on Wed Mar 1st, 2017 @ 10:53pm by Mikhael Stormdanovich
Edited on on Wed Mar 1st, 2017 @ 10:56pm

Chapter: The Feast of Samhain
Location: Felonwood Hold, Harkania March, Cymeria
Timeline: Late Afternoon, October 31, 3550

The procession from Stormholm Caer left late enough in the day to assure they would arrive at Felonwood Farm just at dusk. It was proper for the High Lord to be present for the lighting of the great bonfires. To emphasize the joyful nature of the gathering, tiny bells had been affixed to the horses' bridles or in bracelets around their fetlocks. Many of the riders carried small lap-harp type instruments strung with chimes and bells. The sounds of the bells, interspersed with human conversation and the occasional snort or whinny of the horses, made a soothing and cheerful accompaniment for the riders. Outriders had poles that rested in special cups affixed to their stirrups with small moonglobes suspended from the other end. The globes were covered as an artificial light source was not needed at that hour, and would likely not be needed for the return journey as both moons would be lighting the night sky.

Sealgair, the smaller of Gaia's two moons, had not yet risen. By midnight, however, she would be riding high in the night sky, full and golden, a true Hunter's Moon. The moon's name actually meant 'hunter' in the language of the Cymry and Celts. For those that looked for such things, the image of a leaping jaguar would be visible on the moon's surface when it cleared the horizon.

Marnwr, the Judge, so named because it was always present, always watching, day and night, glowed in the late afternoon sky. The moon's three rings glittered even in the daylight sky.

The High Lord and his Morrighan were somber figures riding amongst the colorful and gaily clad riders of the household. The Morrighan wore their dark, gleaming scale mail uniforms although bells jingled on the reins of their bridles, easily stripped off in case a covert action was needed. Mikhael also wore black. Instead of his normal riding leathers consisting of a tunic, leggings, and boots, he wore a form fitting outer coat made of supple leather the fell to just below the knee and was split to allow for riding. Heavy sidan silk gussets were cleverly sewn into the joints allowing for ease of movement. Beneath the long-sleeved outer coat, he wore black leggings and tall boots. Underneath the tunic was a heavy sidan silk undershirt designed to foil the points of arrows and spears. As a concession to the occasion, his flowing riding cloak was deep blue lined with scarlet. The cloak was held in place by steel clasps designed like thunderclouds with lightning bolts descending from them, a chain ran was attached to the ends of the lightning bolts. His dark chestnut hair was held away from his face by a narrow, plain fillet of dull silver that encircled his head. His two swords, Taranau and Gwerth, rested in scabbards affixed to the saddle and his blacksnake whip coiled menacingly at his waist.

The procession turned away from the High Road, following a track that lay along one of the many tributaries that fed the roaring Gwyfal River. Felonwood Hold and its lands were situated on a small islet of land formed by a split in the tributaries. Bridges arched across the swiftly flowing water allowing people to come and go with ease. Tracks of forest land shielded the farm from the harshness of Harkania's climate and provided respite from the summer's heat on the small island. The U-shaped hall lay in the center of the farmlands, embracing a large stone-paved courtyard that provided an outdoor living area for the residents and workers. Long trestle tables had been set up inside the main hall and in the courtyard to accommodate diners. Shallow pits had been dug around the farm where bonfires would be lit once night had fallen and moonglobes had been hung from wires. Once the sun had set, it would look as if they were floating high above the gathering.

The current farm managers, Daffyd and his wife, Emlyn, moved around the courtyard, greeting new arrivals and speaking with friends and family. Daffyd's family had lived at Felonwood for many generations and was proud of the fact that the farm they managed was one of the largest and most beautiful belonging to House Stormdanovich. It produced a wide variety of vegetables, grains, nuts, and fruit as well as raising cattle, chickens, sheep, goats and Suri, a camelid native to the Cymerian highlands.

Mikhael relaxed somewhat as the hooves of his big blood bay stallion clattered off the bridge into the courtyard. He dropped to the ground and shrugged out of his cloak, tossing it across the saddle. He left the cloak chain clasped to his tunic allowing the dull silver to alleviate the darkness of his clothing. He next unfastened the scabbards from the saddle hooks, settling Taranau on his back and securing Gwerth to the wide belt that encircled his trim middle.

"Let the celebration begin," Mikhael exclaimed to all present after greeting the Lord and Lady of the Hearth.

 

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