W Navarre

CHALLENGE II: Category C: Power

Recommended Posts

Previously...

               "The queen!” scoffed Ásgeir, “She is a myth...”

 "Touching the queen’s gladiator is Tabu.”

 "...tomorrow the god mother has called you.”

 “The queen mother?” the child gasped.  He had touched the queen's gladiator! 

1%201%201%201%201%20Captu.JPG

 Ásgeir could barely remember the last time he had seen the queen mother, so many years ago, after his own mother had died.  She had seemed tall and great to him then, even though Amalia had been with him; but now all was different, and he felt a hint of fear creep over him as he was led by his father down a long, long winding staircase, far below the city once more, to where a stranger he didn’t know, the ruler of the great city, had summoned him.  What would she say about the Tabu?  He had broken hallowed law.  What could she do to him?

 He was distracted by the great place he was walking through, and for a moment in his wonder he forgot his fright and everything else he had been thinking about.

 Ásgeir had never seen this place since he was very little, and he had almost forgotten what it was like, so tall and long, the enchanting cavern many kilometers wide and a hundred feet high, and buried inside it the beautiful palace standing in the center of the greatest chamber of all.  But he remembered the queen mother, Ani Morazza, who had cast off his whole family that day his mother died upon the soft couches of this very palace; his god mother had struck his father across the face, and her guards had beaten him out of the palace, and he had never returned.

 Ásgeir remembered the words she had used.

 “You are a weakling and a coward, Navarré: you shame the name of Cioto!”

 “And I am ashamed of it,” he had replied, and the boy remembered turning his face away sickly as the queen turned white with wrath.

 Ásgeir blinked sadly and shook his head.

 He looked up at the elegant roof and at the corbels and pillars holding it up.  He had never seen as rich a place in all his life.  Then, as they entered, the great palace’s intricate interior met his eyes.  He stared at the beautiful carvings of the ceiling which half disappeared into the nebulous haze.  Who had made all this?  He barely knew it existed.

 Suddenly he noticed his father was not by his side and the boy looked back. 

800x521.jpg

 “I go no further,” said Navarré wistfully, standing outside the arches through which Ásgeir had already passed, “To cross that line means to be a Cioto.”

 Ásgeir looked at him strangely, but his father merely turned away his eyes to look to the huge rock walls of the cave, and their vacant gaze disturbed the boy.  The child gulped.  He was far from eager to see the queen his grandmother, and he went across the hall very slowly.   

 At last he reached a wide gate of ivory and cedar, beside which stood a severe guard whose face looked dark and gloomy in the dim candlelight.   

800x417.jpg

 The doors opened and as he entered Ásgeir looked up at the guard, who he saw bowing just as the door closed again behind him.

 The boy felt his knees grow weak now.  He looked around and he saw he was alone.  This room was old, and in spite of the ancient luxuriousness of the tapestried walls and beautiful windows, it appeared half destroyed.  

 He tired of the anxious survey of the walls and tried instead to remember what the queen looked like: tall, thin, and pale, with eyes like blue coals.

 “Venerio,” a voice said, and the boy started and nervously sought the speaker.  “Bow.”

800x485.jpg

 Music sweetly charmed the air from some other quarter, but Ásgeir barely heard it.

 She was there, right beside him, and she looked far shorter than he had remembered: but he saw her eyes bearing down upon him and he inclined his head for an instant, watching her.  Her face was dark and youthful.  He thought she looked very young, but people called her an old witch.

 For the first time, he wondered if it might be true: was this girl really his grandmother?

 His wandering thoughts were cut short by her voice again, as she stepped away from him, into the center of the old room.

 “Oh, I forgot,” Ani added with a lisp, interchanging an order in Itsü with the guard from another hall, “What is thy name?  Ásgeir.”  She wet one of her fingers with her lips.  “It should have been Venerio.”

 “I is.  Venerio is my middle name,” the boy replied, staring at her boldly.  He noticed the music stopped as she ignored him and spoke on.

 “Come, Ásgeir, I something to show thee.”

 She stepped out of the room, her quiet steps almost inaudible on the rugs and carpets of the floor.  Ásgeir followed, his eyebrows anxiously bent over his eyes, while he surveyed the queen’s figure as best he could in the fluttering light of the chandeliers.

 She stopped at last and he found himself standing on a tall balcony facing the immense expanse of the cave, and far below he saw a multitude all bowing, and before them a large pool of clear water.  Suddenly he felt very small, and shrunk against the wall.  What was that before the pool, on a small raised platform of stone? 

 “It is the priest,” Ani said, as though reading his mind.  “The priest of the Étiere Kolgari, the last of his ancient order: and that is the altar of sacrifice.”

 Ásgeir felt his heart palpitate.  “What do they sacrifice?” he breathed.

 The drums suddenly beat out a wild call, and a small group of chanters began to moan a mournful lullaby.

 “Look,” Ani said simply, watching the boy as he bent over the parapet.

 Then the child pushed himself back and tried to close his eyes in horror, but he could not, for they were fixed upon the sight: a little child, a little smaller than himself, dressed in a ragged white cloth, was walked out through a narrow stone archway, silent and terrified.  Ásgeir saw him turning his pitiful eyes upon the crowd, and he dared to bend over and look again, trying to catch the child’s eyes.

 They were taking him to the center, there where the ropes suspended the altar stone from the roof high above, hanging it over the cool and lovely water of the pool.

 Ásgeir screamed, but his voice was lost amongst the cries of the chanters, and he turned on the queen instead.  A horrible question was written on his face, and for the first time he truly regretted having done what had brought his attention to the queen his grandmother.  

 “It is but an ancient Kolgari rite,” she answered him, staring out again at the dark, torch lit scene.  Thou shouldst learn it.”

 Anger filled the boy, and yet terror also. 

 “They are raiding the west, Asgeir; already men have infiltrated into the very palace, and into the prisons of the queen’s gladiators.”  She turned and paced up and down the balcony, keeping her face always turned toward the altar stone.

 Asgeir closed his eyes, trembled, and grew pale as she mentioned the gladiators.  He leant back sickly against the wall, striving to burn out the melancholy sound of the lullaby and the horrible drums.

 “Yes, they have reached even here,” Ani said, as though she did not notice.   “Men from the East: knights, raiders… they come on crusades, and sometimes… they are looking for something: Asgeir di Cioto, thou art that something:  in the–”

 “Arcassan!” Ásgeir suddenly interrupted her, his uneasy eyes having spotted a handsome Kolgari in the multitude below and his mind remembering the beckoning face of the gladiator the day before.

 “Arcassan?” asked Ani, scanning the crowd quickly.  “Who is that?”

 The boy did not answer: his awestruck face had suddenly turned instead to the altar of stone, where the poor child of sacrifice stood mutely as they lifted him and tied him down upon it. 

 “Aen thilivern hén,” muttered the priest, and suddenly Ásgeir saw him wave a glowing knife in the air, a knife that had appeared from nowhere.

 “That is the knife that formed the realm,” remarked the queen mother, smiling at the child at last, a charming and enchanting smile.  “The knife the boy took with him, a knife made of the very first, the strongest Aurumium ever mined by the druids from the ancient city of Zamorah: hard as steel and beautiful as gold, is it not?”

 Her face was like a mask.  Why was she saying all this?  He had almost forgotten why she had brought him there: what was she waiting for to tell him?  He banished the fear from his face, trying to be brave, yet the sight he saw held him tranced with horror.  

 “I had a dream, Venerio,” Ani Morazza said as she watched, and Ásgeir suddenly doubted if he knew at all why she had called him; he looked at her out of the corner of his eyes and was silent.  “I dreamed with Di Cioto and his ring, and I saw it on a hand: I felt that it was yours.” 

 Then Ásgeir’s distracted eyes flew back to the child above whom the knife had been raised, and he wished instantly that they had not: the boy lying there was suddenly cut to the heart and one last scream rent the air.  The knife that formed the realm came down upon the boy’s little heart, and the whole stone altar block slowly shattered and crumbled beneath the dead boy, dyed blood red.  It slipped slowly into the great sluggish pool and was swallowed, but in but a second the waters above turned red also, and as though it were blown by the wind, the color seeped swiftly across the pool just as the shaking water grew calm again.

 Ásgeir panted and closed his eyes, stumbling backwards, as far as he could from the horrible scene.  Then he opened them for an instant and he saw that Ani was watching the scene with fevered eyes, and took one more step back.  Then another, and another, till at last he turned to run.

 As he ran down the long hall he heard the drums cease and the chanters grow silent in their lullaby while the waters of the cave slowly cooled, and then in their place an eerie silence filled the air, almost ringing, it seemed, against the walls of the immense cavern and down the narrow sides of the gallery.  It was over.

 The boy paused on the point of crying and glanced about gasping.

 He was in the old room again, and he leapt at the windows, and at the tall, closed doors, beating them frantically with all his might, trying to break through, to escape the terrible place.

 Then he stopped dead in his tracks.  Ani Morazza was beside him again, and he thought for a moment that it was magic.  What was she thinking now?

800x378.jpg

 She took her cloak off and called in a guard. 

 “There is a new queen of all of Historica now, Ásgeir; she is giving bread to the needy.  Give the starving child a piece of bread,” she said to the guard.

 Ásgeir saw he carried a basket with food and he felt hunger gnaw at his stomach.  But he looked away from it knocked it from the man’s hand.  “I am starving, but I will take no queen’s bread: it would mean she owns me, and she never will!”

800x514.jpg

 The Ilesole queen looked at him keenly.  “Charity should come from friends, not monarchs: thou art right.  But I am thy friend, Ásgeir Di Cioto: eat it.”

 He bent down and retrieved the bread with eagerness, and yet he kept his eyes always warily fixed upon the queen mother.  

 “It’s not so bad,” he said, but the sweetness in his voice was mixed with bitterness as he remembered what he had just seen.  He could not eat all the bread. 

 “Why are you giving me bread?” he asked.

 “Why does anyone give anyone bread?” answered the queen, “Because they care for them.”

 “Then the queen of wherever you said cares for us?” asked Ásgeir, his voice a blend of melancholy and disdain.

 “The queen cares for her people,” answered Ani, “but not… for people.  She gives charity because she thinks it is her duty: but she did not give me this bread.”

 “I did not come to talk about bread,” he broke in.  “Or to eat it.”

 “Thou dost not know why thou camest,” said the queen languidly.

 The boy felt at last that he did not, but it could not make his mind easier.

 “Dost thou remember the dream I told you of?” Ani sat down upon a couch for the first time, and fingered a paper.  “I dreamed of the end, Ásgeir, and now I know, that as I was here at the beginning, I will be here at the end.”

 She snatched up a candle and stood suddenly, holding it to the paper.  “Dost thou see this, child?  It will be like that… it shall to burn, and because of that I have called thee here.”  She dropped the paper as the flames licked at her fingers and crushed it beneath her feet.  “I am going to tell thee something I never told thy foolish father, Ásgeir.  There was a scroll.

 “It is there, beneath the darkest tile in the room,” she nodded towards a corner, “and no one has touched it, no one has seen it save I since it left the hands of Di Cioto, thy grandfather.  Its words, Ásgeir, can change the world, and they can change thy life forever.”

 The boy made a motion, but Ani’s jaw grew firm and she made a harsh gesture.  “And no one will touch it, no one will see it, until I say.  I have told thee so that another knows; fire destroys… fire burns… fire hurts.”  She looked up with wide eyes at the roof, and Ásgeir thought they even looked scared.

 But he stepped forward defiantly and called her gaze back down.  “How do I know that Ilesole will burn to the ground?  It cannot!”

800x544.jpg

 “Thou shalt know,” answered the queen mother scornfully, “Because thy house will rise in flames.”

 “Then how do you know?”

 “How do I know?”  She smiled.  “Well, the god knows many things: I am his queen: the god queen.”

 “God queen?”  Ásgeir looked at her in disdain.

 “Careful what thou thinkest, child,” she said coldly, staring harshly at the boy.  “Thy father… well, he may be dead soon.”

 She called the guard in once more.  “That is all, boy.  Remember what you have seen, remember what you have heard: always.  And remember, the desert plant always flourishes best… in the desert.”

 Ani Morazza bowed slightly to the boy, and he bowed in return, but he did not turn his eyes down.  Ani’s eyes narrowed and she nodded, and the guard by his side painfully bent down his head.

“Careful with those in power,” murmured the queen, turning away, “Ásgeir Venerio Di Cioto.”  Then she looked back for one moment with her sharp impenetrable gaze into the boy’s small face.

800x469.jpg

 “They often use it.”

 

Spoiler

Well, this chapter was slightly dark... this is my entry to Challenge II category C, since it is too big for category A due to my misreading the size limit :cry_sad: .   I am keenly aware that there are flaws in both the story and the pictures, which again lack variety, but I was glad to get this build done in a day and a half, the floor was greatly difficult! And here it is:

P1144762%20%21%21.JPG

800x562.jpg

800x628.jpg

800x507.jpg

Comments and critiques, and suggestions, are very welcome, both for the story and the build!  I hope it's not too confusing, but I understand if it is.  This, however, is the last installment for quite some time I fear, so enjoy please!  

 

Edited by W Navarre

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The build here is pretty amazing for two days, excellent ornate style (though as I mentioned elsewhere, the arches don't look comfortable to walk through!).  Impressive floor in particular!  Not a whole lot of furniture but what there is is great.  Personally I would have used cleaner white bricks, but I suppose that was intentional for the area around the macaroni tiles?  Speaking of which, the sideways S is a great design!

Dark story indeed, I think it helped clarify the relationships though.

Edited by Kai NRG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice little build, J. I love the floor! :wub: As you mentioned yourself, I wish there was more variety, given the lenght of the story. One thing I've noticed is that you've changed Asgeir's head (face expression) only once, while he was actually scared for most of the time (same goes for your previous episode, when his sister gets in between him and the father: he smiles in that shot). Your only-LEGO shots are very neat and clean and I like the focus. The story gets complicated here! Guess you got yourself involved with the Varlyrian intrigue? :laugh: Awesome job, keep it coming! :thumbup:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Another brilliant entry from you!

I love the amount of detail you've managed to pack into a relatively small MOC - the use of printed tiles and bricks really makes it stand out. The little additions around the room like the bench, wine bottles and mini statue also really bring the scene to life!

Also kudos on writing the story - it was much easier to follow this time round! There's still a bit of mystery but it's good that this time round every paragraph doesn't raise 10 questions that we need to wait to answer! :tongue:

Look forward to reading more!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is quite the story!  I have been reading along.  Kind of dark in parts, and glad you didn't build that, but the builds are very nice.  There's a lot of detail there and great use of the printed bricks from the old adventurer's sets.  Great job!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice build with lots of lovely details, especially the small white columns using minifig heads. The weathered look of some of the bricks gives the whole thing some grittiness. I am less of a fan of the stickers/printed pieces, not because I object to printed pieces in general, but because they are a bit irregular. The one on the right, with its matching patterns, looks good, but  the one on the left looks like it was cobbled together with whatever printed or stickered pieces you could find in the tile color. 

The story is also quite nice, and I am excited to read more and more of it. Keep it coming!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/16/2019 at 6:00 PM, Kai NRG said:

The build here is pretty amazing for two days, excellent ornate style (though as I mentioned elsewhere, the arches don't look comfortable to walk through!).  Impressive floor in particular!  Not a whole lot of furniture but what there is is great.  Personally I would have used cleaner white bricks, but I suppose that was intentional for the area around the macaroni tiles?  Speaking of which, the sideways S is a great design!

Dark story indeed, I think it helped clarify the relationships though.

Thanks!  It's important to me that the story doesn't confuse too much or baffle the reader to an undesirable degree, so that's very nice to know! 

On 1/16/2019 at 6:42 PM, en_zoo said:

Nice little build, J. I love the floor! :wub: As you mentioned yourself, I wish there was more variety, given the lenght of the story. One thing I've noticed is that you've changed Asgeir's head (face expression) only once, while he was actually scared for most of the time (same goes for your previous episode, when his sister gets in between him and the father: he smiles in that shot). Your only-LEGO shots are very neat and clean and I like the focus. The story gets complicated here! Guess you got yourself involved with the Varlyrian intrigue? :laugh: Awesome job, keep it coming! :thumbup:

Thank you for the kind words! The floor was the hardest part you are right! Yeah, I think I will try to find as many different but similar faces for him as I can, we'll see if that can be improved somehow! 

On 1/18/2019 at 6:03 AM, Basiliscus said:

Another brilliant entry from you!

I love the amount of detail you've managed to pack into a relatively small MOC - the use of printed tiles and bricks really makes it stand out. The little additions around the room like the bench, wine bottles and mini statue also really bring the scene to life!

Also kudos on writing the story - it was much easier to follow this time round! There's still a bit of mystery but it's good that this time round every paragraph doesn't raise 10 questions that we need to wait to answer! :tongue:

Look forward to reading more!

Nice to hear that about the story :laugh: . I'm trying my best, and the next part is in the works, but don't know how long it will be... thank you, with all the brilliant Varlyrian entries like yours we might move up in the ranks! 

On 1/19/2019 at 2:55 PM, Grover said:

This is quite the story!  I have been reading along.  Kind of dark in parts, and glad you didn't build that, but the builds are very nice.  There's a lot of detail there and great use of the printed bricks from the old adventurer's sets.  Great job!

Thank you!  I didn't build it you are right, but I have pretty much built it before ... :wink: 

35250725154_cdcf10631f_c.jpg

On 2/4/2019 at 5:53 PM, Henjin_Quilones said:

Nice build with lots of lovely details, especially the small white columns using minifig heads. The weathered look of some of the bricks gives the whole thing some grittiness. I am less of a fan of the stickers/printed pieces, not because I object to printed pieces in general, but because they are a bit irregular. The one on the right, with its matching patterns, looks good, but  the one on the left looks like it was cobbled together with whatever printed or stickered pieces you could find in the tile color. 

The story is also quite nice, and I am excited to read more and more of it. Keep it coming!

Thanks!  The idea was to use the same parts on the right and the left, but I hadn't got enough, and just like you said I used whatever I could get together. Not ideal, but it balanced off the right side a little, and what else could I do?  I have to plan better next time and know the limits my parts set me! Thank you for both commenting and critiquing! 

Edited by W Navarre

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great work with the moc! I´m impressed with you guys that could write so long stories! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice build !

I particularly like the fountain floor with the mosaic ! Good job on that !

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Excellent combination of tan, dark tan and white!  I love the raised floor and the fountain using the PoP helm.  Very polished for 2 days, and quite the story.  Great work!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/8/2019 at 1:11 PM, Judge of the Wastelands said:

The saga continues! Nice build here, very clean. 

Yes it does, thank you! 

On 2/9/2019 at 11:43 AM, de Gothia said:

Great work with the moc! I´m impressed with you guys that could write so long stories! 

Thanks mate!  I hope I can pull it off and keep it cohesive!  

On 2/10/2019 at 6:01 PM, Faladrin said:

Nice build !

I particularly like the fountain floor with the mosaic ! Good job on that !

Thank you, that was the hardest part for sure, glad it paid off. 

On 2/15/2019 at 1:14 AM, Rogue Angel said:

Excellent combination of tan, dark tan and white!  I love the raised floor and the fountain using the PoP helm.  Very polished for 2 days, and quite the story.  Great work!

While I wasn't sure about the brown in the top of the walls I did feel confident about those colors, glad you like them too!  The fountain just came together once I saw those two hats, it's kind of tilted but not bad.  Thank you! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Have to say this is one of my favorite builds from you. Something about the combination of colors and architectural style just looks so good!
Super cool arch shape using those 1x2 bows beneath the arches, and the printed elements fit in perfectly.

Lovely floor mosaic to finish the scene :thumbup:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.