++OUT OF VOID, OUT OF CHAOS++ Autumn 381YE Winds of Fortune

“I’m not sure I understand why you have to go,” said the Earl. Her guest shrugged expansively and spread its hands regretfully.

“It is not for me to say,” it answered, bowing it’s head. A single saffron tear ran down it’s alabaster cheek and dripped onto the china plate with an audible clink.

“I’ve very much enjoyed our conversations,” said the Earl. “I am loathe to see them come to an end. We have been friends since - wait we are still friends? Is it something I have done?”

Her guest looked up sharply, liquid eyes reflecting the Earl’s concern.

“No, no, no! It is nothing like that! It is nothing that you have done and nothing that I have done it is just … Things change. My affection for you has not changed, but…” It looked away, embarassed perhaps.

Earl Therese picked up the peculiar little box and made a great show of studying it, allowing her guest to collect itself. The egg inside was matte black, and seemed hungry for the dim candle-light. After a moment, her guest made a small noise to indicate it had regained equilibrium.

“This is not a serpent stone,” said the Earl carefully. “And yet we did nothing differently. Can you explain it?”

Her guest smiled sadly. “Things change. I’m sorry I cannot … I am not permitted to say more and if you are my friend you won’t try to force me.”

The Earl tapped her fingers on the table, and then let out a long breath.

“Of course I won’t. Of course.” She considered for a few moments, then locked gazes with her guest and spoke in a more formal tone. “I will accept the gifts you have brought in lieu of the remaining hearthfire, and I am happy that our agreement is discharged. I release you and your master from further obligation.”

A sad smile spread across the creature’s face. “Thank you,” it breathed, and then slowly stood up. The Earl frowned.

“Wait, are you leaving already? I had hoped …” she left her hope unspoken. Her guest gave her another sad smile, and gently shook her head.

“I’m afraid not. I have to leave.”

“You will be back next season though, surely?” Her guest did not answer. It steepled its fingers and bowed slightly, as it had so many times before, and then glided silently from the room without saying goodbye.

There was no need for it to speak - the Earl already knew the answer, in her heart and the pit of her stomach. Therese squeezed the bridge of her nose with her jewelled hand, a little surprised perhaps to find her own eyes glistening with unshed tears. Then she picked up her knife and fork, and finished eating her dinner, wiping up the last of the wine gravy with a slab of thick bread.

As she dabbed her mouth with a scarlet napkin, her Seneschal entered the dining room on skippered feet. Sensitive to her moods, he said nothing until she put the napkin down.

“Shall I gather the rest of the coven,” he asked in his quiet voice, his golden eyes concerned.
Earl Therese nodded. “Yes. And quickly. We will need to find a new source of hearhtfire crystals.” She glared at the peculiar box again for a moment, before countinuing “… And I think you should write a few letters for me. It’s past time for us to find out if anyone knows what is going on - and it is very obvious that something is going on, and I am a little disappointed nobody has told me what it is …”

Rituals doing things other than expected! Weird dreams! Upset in the Night Realm! It’s a conjunction and you know the drill … the stars reflect significant events, and the Wanderer is in alignment with the Great Wyrm.

You can learn all about this effect here → https://www.profounddecisions.co.uk/empire-wiki/Out_of_void,_out_of_chaos

#Eleganceisinferiortovirtueapparently, #chchchchaaanges, #Eastereggsarewhereyoufindthem

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