“Can I see? Wait, there’s no shafts? it just.. grows in two colours?” “Er. Not exactly.” “The other humans’ plumage isn’t near this bright. Are you a born leader?” “HAH. no.” “It signifies caste, then? Or a mating display?!” “Not even close. I went out and paid an artisan to apply a harsh chemical to rip out my natural colouration, then apply this artificial one.” “That sounds.. unpleasant.” “Yeah it burned like a <<dog?>>, my scalp was tender for days after.” “If it doesn’t create any advantages, what’s the point?” “Ah, it just looks <<rutting>> <<cold>>. What other reason do we need?” “..humans are weird. .. .. .. do you think it would work on feathers?”
I really like names of Japanese traditional colours. Some of them are truly incredible, like, for instance, 利休茶 - colour of Rikyu’s tea, 千草色 - colour of thousand herbs, 千歳緑 - thousand years old green (there is also 千歳茶 - thousand years old brown or colour of thousand years old tea), 裏柳 - colour of underside of willow leaves and 長春色 - colour of long spring season. And some are simply beautiful and quite poetic. Few examples:
白茶 - colour of white tea
松葉色 - colour of pine needles
若竹色 - colour of young bamboo
老竹色 - colour of old bamboo
藤色 - colour of wisteria
藤煤竹 - colour of wisteria and susudake (smoked bamboo)
鴇羽色 - colour of ibis’s feathers
小豆色 - colour of azuki (red beans)
紺桔梗 - colour of navy blue bellflowers
白橡 - colour of white oak
花葉色 - colour of flower leaves
墨色 - colour of ink
曙色 - colour of dawn
狐色 - colour of fox
空色 - colour of sky
水色 - colour of water
桜色 - colour of sakura
苔色 - colour of moss
Druids suffer when it comes time to divvy up loot and salvaged equipment throughout the party. They often cannot wield metal weapons nor armours, the tenants of their faith explicitly restricting them from doing so. Instead, they must only lay hands upon whatever the earth gifts them.
Sometimes that is just a stick. Maybe, if you’re lucky, a pointy stick.
Let’s change that now, shall we?
Here are five pieces of equipment for the walking wrath of a winter’s storm, the living breath of the wild, and the legends that take the responsibilities of the world. A Herculean task indeed, for they bare the entirety of it upon their shoulders and may well be the last few keeping it from shattering upon the ground.
I love me a good Druid.
A casual passer-by would never discern this gnarled branch of wood as anything above the leaf-litter it hides within. A wise-hearted man of the world may be able to identify the true potential held within if they search close enough. They will see a boiling, primal strength stored amongst its coiled fibers; a seething hatred that predates most venerable civilisations and folk who reside within. It carries itself through the air like an ogre’s club, promising unrivaled impact with every hurl of the shoulder, roaring with every swing. Often, however, the weapon remains undiscovered and lies for years on-end without recognition. That is until a wandering child takes up the club and plays with it for a while, miming the sword-swings and parries of a mighty knight or storied warrior of old, until that is they accidentally topple an oak tree with a single strike to the trunk.
This item of apparel is a hooded cloak constructed from the hide and head of a huge boar with fur as dark as coal dust. The head is hollow and jawless, sitting atop the wearer’s scalp as if they indeed were a boar on human legs. Its trailing fur is coarse and warm, nearly entirely resistant to arrows and bolts, bouncing them away like glancing blades of dry grass off of a stone wall. Whenever the possessor has the capability to transform themselves into other creatures, they find that their new forms possess the strength of the boar itself. Many foes think twice of attacking a party when they see that they possess a house cat that can push merchant-carts clean off of roads and break a man’s knee backwards at the joint with a single brutish kick.
Spear of Sanctuary
This lancing pike, nearly 7-foot in height, is decorated at the head by a collection of half-a-dozen brightly-coloured feathers and leaves that never rot or discolour. The spearhead is a wicked, snaking stone that is saber-sharp on its bladed edges. It can easily puncture through steel plate if directed well enough. More interestingly, this spear, when held aloft and proudly, allows all those within a few yards to be utterly unharmed by natural weathers. Blizzard winds and snowstorms will pass over like a blanket of cotton, hail and flash-flood rains will bounce away and around as if they were afeared to land at your feet, and oppressive sunlight and searing heat will simmer down to a cool day of gentle temperature and calm.
Palm of the Patriarch
An ancient Druid and wise leader of his people was faced with war. He had several allies, but possessed little to no preparation for outright hostile conflicts. Noticing this, one of these allied civilised regions offered an entire arsenal of fine steel and wicked silver; swords with strength and craft of enough quality to surely sever a mountain from its peak. However, the Druid’s devotion to his deity made it impossible to willingly wield metal. His allies merely smiled and revealed the second shipment they had brought; a single chest. Inside were dozens of red-leather hand-wraps that looped around the palms of the wearer. It was explained that whatever weapon was wielded within a hand that was dressed in one of these, regardless of the manner of its manufacture, would become something else; a stone just as fine and sharp as steel, yet not. The Druid accepted the gifts and paid with a thankful smile and warm embrace of his allies. He would stand beside them when war finally came to their lands.
This crossbow bolt is large and heavilly damaged. It’s shaft is crooked and queer, nearly as awkward to aim with as it would be with a writhing ferret instead. It’s chipped flint head is loosely attached with frayed string and wire. The entire body of the object is unattractive to a worrying degree. Once fired it will collide with the target and merely splinter upon impact; the head breaking into dust and the shaft thudding into the obstacle. Then, a few moments later, a great disturbance will echo around as the trees themselves shake and quiver, the skies cry with a thousand songs, and the ground rattles in fear as every living creature within a mile around will halt whatever they were attending to and focus solely on destroying the target. A thousand gulls, a hundred rabbits, a dozen deer, three-hundred wasps, a few-thousand ants, and every squirrel, hedgehog, badger, beaver, otter, and wolf will chase the recipient until his feet collapse away
under him through sheer terror, just before a colossal wave of roaring ferocity rolls over their carcass like an avalanche of tooth and claw.
Happy birthday to me (for yesterday) and anyone else who celebrated their birthday in this general allotment of time.
Sirin or the Bird of Sorrow is a magnificent but cruel bird-maiden of Russian legends. Her body of a giant bird of prey is covered in thousand midnight-coloured feathers and a set of sharp claws, big enough to crush a horse. From the chest up, she’s of human appearance and her sinister face of a beautiful woman is adorned by a golden crown or nimbus. Sirin lays her precious eggs on distant seashores before casting them into the waves. When the eggs hatch, a thunderstorm sets over the oceans till they become so rough that no soul can travel across. She is a death-bringer. Her honey-tongued singing voice stupefies mortals, making them forget everything they had ever known in this world and announces their imminent death. People would attempt to save themselves from Sirin by shooting cannons, ringing bells and covering their ears but to no avail. Her terrifying smirk is the last thing they see before she plunges down at them with her claws and carries them away to the realm of death called Nav where she forever resides with her brighter counterpart Alkonost, her beloved sister otherwise known as the Bird of Joy.