Nine siblings born of divine descent,
Powers transcendent, a realm's ornament.
Vast dominion, their might untold,
Over mortals they reign, their stories unfold.
Skadi, with bow and arrow, her grace,
Nature's embrace, in the forest's space.
Ariadne, vineyards, and grapes in hand,
Harvests grand, blessings on the land.
Hera, spells and magic, secrets unveiled,
Cauldron veiled, enchantments detailed.
Artur, sword and shield, honor's flight,
Guiding the right, dispelling the night.
Valkas, dark arts, his arcane call,
Weaves a thrall, with power enthralled.
Igor, strength and fury, a tempest's tide,
Unbridled pride, battles fierce, none can hide.
Soter, love and compassion's true light,
Banishing blight, hope's beacon, shining bright.
Taliesin, melodies, songs to impart,
Healing the heart, soothing each wounded part.
Antioch, mischief's gleam, a playful romp,
Humor's pomp, tricks that make hearts jump.
Nine siblings divine, in tales we revere,
In powers combined, their presence is clear.
Born of celestial descent, their legacy vast,
Eternal ascent, in stories that last.
Nine siblings, each a unique blend,
In their realm they transcend, forever our friends.
As the tendrils of dawn's light stretched across the town of Eldoria, Harahel stirred from her slumber. The soft melodies of birds greeted her ears, a soothing serenade to begin the day. Today was no ordinary day—it was the day of the Taliesin Ascension, a momentous occasion in her world.
As the sun cast a golden glow through her window, Harahel slowly pushed aside the covers and sat up in her cozy room. The room itself was adorned with tapestries woven with intricate designs, echoing the beauty of the stories and verses that flowed through her God's teachings.
With a deep breath, Harahel swung her legs over the side of the bed and stretched, her muscles awakening like the world around her. She rubbed her eyes, rose from her bed, and crossed to the window, pulling open the curtains to let in the gentle morning light.
Today was a day for celebration, and Harahel intended to dress the part. She crossed to a wooden chest at the foot of her bed, its lid ornately carved with scenes of mythical creatures and celestial constellations. She lifted the lid and retrieved a gown of rich forest green, adorned with delicate silver embroidery that shimmered like starlight.
Slipping into the gown, Harahel felt the fabric cascade around her like a second skin. She fastened it with a silver belt, her fingers deftly working through the intricate clasps. Next came the accessories. She adorned herself with silver bracelets that jingled with each movement, as well as a pendant necklace. Engraved in the pendant was the image of Euterpe, the muse of music. Although she left this realm long ago, her inspiration can be felt in the wind and dreams.
With a final adjustment of her attire, Harahel moved to a mirror hanging on the wall. She ran a brush through her hair, allowing her brown locks to cascade in gentle waves around her shoulders. A wreath of flowers rested nearby, waiting to be placed in her hair as a symbol of her connection to her God and his muse. As she adorned her hair with the wreath, she said a silent prayer to Taliesin, thankful for the path he had led her on.
With her attire chosen, Harahel moved to a wooden desk strewn with parchment and quills. She carefully rolled up the poems and songs she had written for the occasion, tying each one with a silver ribbon. These were her offerings to her God—her words woven into verses that danced with magic and emotion.
Harahel carefully placed the rolled-up poems and songs into a soft leather bag, its worn edges a testament to the many journeys it had accompanied her on. She tied the bag securely, the silver ribbons glinting in the morning light.
Beside the bag lay her cherished lute, a finely crafted instrument, whose strings had carried her melodies through joy and sorrow, and today they would resonate with the spirit of the celebration. Harahel picked up the lute, its polished wood warm against her fingers, and slung it over her shoulder.
Leaving her home, Harahel made her way through the town. As she turned a corner, she saw a figure approaching her, dressed in the bright and colorful attire of a fool. He hid his face behind a mask, and the man's eyes glittered with mischief as he caught sight of Harahel.
"Hello there, my dear," he greeted her with a voice that danced like a melody. "What brings you out on this fine day?"
Harahel felt an immediate surge of annoyance, directed not so much at the fool himself but at the God he served—Antioch. Of all the names she wanted in her thoughts on this sacred day, his was the least welcome. "I have no time for you or your God," she said sternly as she attempted to walk past him.
The Fool, however, proved to be persistent, and he followed closely behind her. "My God has very little use for time," he replied with a playful twinkle in his eye.
Harahel quickened her pace, hoping to leave the fool behind, but to her dismay, he matched her step for step. She could feel his curious gaze upon her back, and an unsettling feeling nagged at her that he was up to no good. Finally, unable to bear the persistent presence any longer, she turned to confront him.
"Who are you? Why are you following me?" she demanded, her patience wearing thin.
The fool's grin widened, and he replied in his whimsical manner, "I am just a humble fool, my dear. As for why I'm following you, let's just say I find you interesting." With those words, he winked at her and, with a few playful steps, twirled around, causing his fool's cap to go flying off his head.
Despite herself, Harahel couldn't help but feel a twinge of amusement at his antics, though she quickly pushed it aside. She had far more important matters to concern herself with than the antics of a playful fool. "Well, I don't have time for your intrigue," she declared, resuming her journey with a brisk pace.
Yet the fool continued to persist, laughing as he jogged to catch up with Harahel. "Of course, you don't," he agreed, "You are clearly on your way to witness the ascension of Antioch's favorite brother."
Harahel's steps faltered for a moment, her heart tightening at the fool's words. She turned to face him, her gaze narrowing with suspicion. "Antioch favors no one but himself."
The fool's mask hid his true emotions, but his grin remained unshaken. "Now, now, Antioch has nothing but love for all his siblings. What tales of intrigue has Taliesin spun about my benevolent God?"
Harahel's brow furrowed as she contemplated the fool's words. "I need no tales; he has shown me his true nature."
"You've met him?" the fool asked, his face lighting up with curiosity at this revelation.
This abrupt revelation stopped Harahel in her tracks. She hesitated for a moment, considering her response carefully. "Yes, I have," she finally admitted, "And every night, as I sing my prayers to Taliesin, I beg that I never see that vile, pitiful deity again! Now, leave me alone!" With a sense of determination, Harahel stormed off, this time the fool did not follow; he simply stood there, wearing a knowing smile that hinted at deeper mysteries.
Harahel's heart raced as she walked away from the fool. As much as she tried to focus on the upcoming Ascension and the celebration of Taliesin's legacy, the mention of Antioch had stirred a sense of unease within her.
With determined steps, she continued on her path, her gaze fixed on the forest ahead. The trees stood tall like ancient sentinels, their leaves rustling in a gentle breeze. The forest had always been a place of solace for Harahel, a sanctuary where she could connect with the divine and find inspiration for her verses.
As she walked deeper into the forest, the sounds of the town began to fade, replaced by the whispers of nature. The soft crunch of leaves beneath her feet, the trill of distant birds, and the soothing rustle of leaves brought a sense of calm to her racing thoughts. She took a deep breath, the earthy scent of the forest filling her lungs.
As she arrived at the meadow, Harahel could feel the anticipation building in the air. The space was abuzz with activity as people set up decorations, arranged seating, and prepared for the day's festivities. As she wandered through the meadow, her lute in hand, she noticed one of the senior disciples, Celia, frantically trying to set up everything before the event.
"Celia, is there anything I can do to help?" Harahel asked, approaching the older disciple with a warm smile.
Celia looked up, relief evident in her eyes. "Oh, Harahel, thank goodness you're here. We could use an extra pair of hands. Can you help me with the seating arrangement? We want to make sure everyone has a good view of Taliesin’s ascendance."
"Of course, I'd be happy to," Harahel replied, setting her lute and bag aside to assist Celia. Together, they moved benches and cushions, arranging them in a semi-circle around the central stage where Taliesin would stand.
As Harahel and Celia focused on their task, a male bard, unknown to the two ladies, approached them, strumming his lute with a mischievous glint in his eye.
"Ah, my dear maidens, what a delightful day for a celebration," he greeted them with a cheerful melody.
Harahel sighed, feeling the weight of the preparations. "It is indeed, but we could use some help right now, not songs."
He chuckled, seemingly undeterred by Celia's response. "Ah, but my music is the heart of any celebration. It lifts spirits and brings joy, just like Taliesin's blessings!"
Glancing at Celia, her patience tested, Harahel replied, "I appreciate the sentiment, but we have much to do."
The Bard, however, was undeterred. "And I could think of no better motivator than a song," he persisted. "The Ballad of Taliesin and Antioch, perhaps?"
Harahel exchanged a knowing glance with Celia. The Ballad of Taliesin and Antioch was a song about the ongoing rivalry between the two deities. While the tale might be amusing to some, it was anything but for Harahel. "Thank you for the offer, but we're focused on setting up the seating right now. If you'd like to contribute, lending a hand would be more helpful than a song." She replied.
The Bard's mischievous grin persisted, but this time he set his lute aside and approached the benches. "Very well, ladies. Let's get to work then."
With the Bard's assistance, the task of arranging the seating progressed much faster. Despite his playful nature, he proved to be a capable helper, and soon the benches were positioned in a way that allowed everyone to have a clear view of the central stage.
As they finished, Harahel wiped her brow with a satisfied smile. "Thank you, both of you. The Bard gave a mock bow. "My pleasure, now, if you'll excuse me, I believe I have a new tune to compose."
With a wink, he picked up his lute and strolled away, leaving Harahel to ponder the coincidence of two people bringing up Antioch to her. A coincidence she feared was anything but.
She did her best to brush those fears aside to admire her handiwork. The meadow was now transformed into a space of celebration, with banners fluttering in the breeze and benches neatly arranged for the spectators.
As the day progressed and the sun climbed higher in the sky, more disciples and townsfolk arrived, each bringing with them a sense of excitement and anticipation. The air was alive with the hum of conversations and the occasional burst of laughter.
Harahel found herself drawn to the central stage, where a majestic banner depicting Taliesin's figure billowed gently in the wind. She took a moment to close her eyes, letting the breeze brush against her skin, the rustling leaves of the nearby trees seeming to echo the quiet melodies in her heart.
With her senses attuned to the gentle caress of the wind, a soft yet commanding voice resonated through the air. It was a voice that carried a depth of wisdom and magic, a voice that could only belong to one: Taliesin.
"Open your eyes, my dear disciple," the voice spoke, and Harahel's heart skipped a beat. With a mixture of awe and anticipation, she opened her eyes, and there, standing on the stage bathed in a radiant light, was Taliesin himself.