> What are the facts? Again and again and again - what are the facts? Shun wishful thinking, ignore divine revelation, forget what "the stars foretell," avoid opinion, care not what the neighbors think, never mind the unguessable "verdict of history" – what are the facts, and to how many decimal places? You pilot always into an unknown future; facts are your single clue. Get the facts!
Aynur nodded as he inquired to her name, holding open the flap that kept the cold outside and the warmth inside for him to step through. Following through -or entering first, if he insisted-, she would motion to the seats for him to take one.
The interior of the cottage was warm and friendly, with unpainted stucco lining the walls up to the braces for the thatched roofing. The main room of two held a small fireplace for cooking and warmth, as well as a table, a few chairs, and an area obviously set aside for food preparation. Earthenware dishes of various types rested on a bit of shelving that hung neatly from one of the walls.
Without even asking what his taste in tea was, Aynur moved to hang a kettle over the lit fire. "I do," she responded, turning back around to face the young fox. "Although, not until maybe a season or two ago. And before you go getting any ideas, my young todd, I should caution you that the women of my line are renowned for our perception of events yet to pass…"
Aynur turned towards the new red fox, adjusting the glasses hanging halfway along her snout. She gave him a quick look up and down, before returning to feeding the fire before her. "Please," she said, letting a wry smile play across her expression, "call me 'Aynur'. "Ma'am' makes me feel like an old vixen." Feeding the last of the wood in, she closed the kiln and stood. The vixen stepped towards the flap-door to her home. "Come, let's get out of this cold, my young todd. I've tea on, and the company would be welcome."
A stucco-and-cobb cottage sat neatly in the middle of clearing, white snow highlighting careful carvings in the side surface and the lip of the thatch roofing. A handful of paces before the cottage, a moderate plot of earth lie with the obvious signs of clearing and tending for a winter garden. Two paces away from and beside the cottage, a wood-fired kiln sat, a thin curl of black smoke rising from its peak into the sky. Another small cobb building sat two more paces beyond the kiln.
From under an extended overhang on the cottage, a wax jute flap bulged before sliding to the side. From behind it, a matronly vixen stepped out into the snow with a soft crunch. Shivering for a moment, she pulled the brown shawl she wore tighter around her and trundled into the other small building. After a moment, she stepped back out into the open, several small pieces of timber carried in her arms.
With only the soft crunching of snow, the vixen stepped over to the kiln. Setting the wood down, she wrapped a paw in her shawl and pulled open the door. “Mmmm… Probably not done yet,” she mused aloud, eyes peering into the orange-glow. With a sigh, she knelt before the heated edifice and started to gingerly feed the wood into the flames.
One of the vixen's ears perked to noise. She ceased adding wood to and fanning the fire. “You can come out now,” she called out to whomever was there. “You needn't fear an old vixen like me.”
“Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!” ~Ozymandias, Shelley
Common Name: Aynur
Apparent Age: Late 50s
Apparent Species: Red fox
Height: 15 hands
Weight: 9.25 stone
Fur Colour: Ruddy-orange, brown, black, white
Eye Colour: Green
Full Birth Name: Aynur Vüsalayeva Safavi
True Species: Red fox
True Age: 61 Seasons
–--> Vüsal Leylayeva Safavi (Mother, Deceased)
----> Yusif Sarkarov Safavi (Husband, Deceased)
----> Ruslan Safavi Shirvani (Son, Deceased)
----> Sevinc Aynuryeva Safavi (Daughter, Deceased)
Marital Status: Widowed
Aynur has seen the end of an age, the toppling of a dynasty, and lived to scribe the tale. Even in her advanced years, though, she still takes pleasure in the vitality of youth, enjoying the way destiny swirls around important people. Were she a younger vixen, she might even like to go adventuring, but her old bones never let her stray too far from her home and garden.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
“Come, child. Let us cast the bones, and chart what fate has yet in store for you.”
The Second Dream
Aynur's immediate family have passed on into the Dark Forest, but that doesn't mean there weren't grand-kits that escaped the purge.
(( Not at all, Jared. I'm the only one missing. xD ))
Lord Bentley did not have any further business for the newly-made esquire at this time. There were more important things to be dealt with first - a journey to be carried out. He had taken care of nearly everything that he and, having expected Jared to accept the offer, Jared would likely need. Anything further, well, he had an idea of something else, but they could get that at the first of the Order's houses along the way.
"Let us be off, Esquire Jared," he said, following the young man out of the armory, through the sitting room, and out into the hall. He would take the lead once there were no more doors to open, as was befitting his station. As other servants opened the doors to the meeting hall once more, he strode in. "Apologies, Your Grace, for our tardiness; Esquire Jared and I had some last-minute business to attend to."
Lord Bentley nodded as he listened to Jared's appraisal of things. He did not let his disappointment show that the boy could not discern the magic, but he also realised that it was rather foolish to expect as much to begin with. He made a mental note to consult the bard on it later - likely as they were traveling. He would also see to it that Jared was given some proper training in swordsmanship, but there would be time for that later.
"Go ahead and return the chain to its stand, and set both the shield and weapon of your choice against it as well. My servants will see to it that they are likewise prepared for travel as mine will be."
Lord Bentley had not expected Jared to actually put them on, since it was possible they had been cursed, but he made no direct move to stop it. Further, it was possible that any enchantments it held were either activated on a command word or through another requirement. Regardless, he nodded approvingly as the armor seemed to fit the young esquire perfectly. "If my memory serves, my personal shield was crafted by such a smith. It was a gift from the previous King, and it has served me excellently all these years. My plate is maintained by my personal smith, though I have had it brought here for this venture. It's possible that any of the others might be as well, too." Lord Bentley picked up his shield, turning it so Jared would be able to see the mark of the smith that had crafted it. "The mail suits you," he stated, studying the blacksmith's choice in shield and weapon. "However, you won't want to wear it until we're actually traveling. Armor can get to being… Heavy after a while, even for people trained to wear it through the full of a battle. Also, what is your determination of it?"