Author Topic: Ghosts of the Past  (Read 1135 times)

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Offline Bynw

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Ghosts of the Past
« on: November 21, 2017, 09:26:09 am »
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Offline Bynw

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Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Reply #1 on: November 26, 2017, 03:56:18 pm »
** It has been 36 years since the beginning of the Pax Kelsona was declared. Fortunately it has truly been peaceful for most of it. Although King Kelson did lose his friend and mentor, the Duke Alaric Morgan, two decades ago when the outlawed Count Teymuraz made an attempt to invade Gwynedd from the south. Corwyn held them back, but the cost was high for her men and her Duke. In the end, Count Teymuraz was dead, blasted away by arcane power summoned by Morgan himself in defense of his King, his family, his people and lands. Count Teymuraz army retreated and there has been peace ever since.

The line of Teymuraz countinues on in Byzantyum. His children claiming their rights to the thrones of both Gwynedd and Torenth. Although no attacks or other attempts have been made. But peace is not guarenteed. Despite the attempts made to prevent wars with oaths and marriages. These are the things that sometimes cause the very wars they were meant to stop.

It is now the summer of 1164. A warm morning which will lead to a humid afternoon in Culdi. Lord Alister and his man-at-arms, Master Darcy, arrived in Culdi the day before on their trip to Rhemuth. Here they have stopped to refresh their horses and themselves. Spending the night at an Inn. Alister is to meet up with another here to help with his escort to Rhemuth and the King. **

Offline Jerusha

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Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Reply #2 on: November 26, 2017, 09:36:35 pm »
**Darcy Cameron surveyed the tavern area of the inn they had arrived at that morning.  Coming down from the private room Lord Alister had paid good coin for (extravagant as far as Darcy was concerned but it was the young lord’s coin to spend) he  had selected a table in a far corner out of the direct light of the large fireplace with a good view of the rest of the room.  The tables were gradually filling with patrons he did not recognize.  Good. No one appeared to be following them.  Lord Alister seemed withdrawn, but that was not unusual.  Darcy suspected he surveyed the room with as much interest as he did.

The tavern maid planted two bowls of stew, two mugs of ale and a loaf of bread in the centre of the table.  Her strong arms and ample cleavage were clearly in view and Darcy tossed a coin into the cleft. 

“We’ll have the better ale,” he said to Lord Alister.  Alister gave him a withering look.

The stew was a bit thin, but appeared to contain  a reasonable portion of meat.  Lord Alister broke off a piece of bread and passed the loaf to Darcy.  Darcy broke off a chunk and examined it carefully, looking for the weevils that were too often present in the loaves served at sea.  Lord Alister looked amused; Darcy scowled and took a large mouthful of bread.

A loud crash sounded from the kitchen area, followed by a shout and a wail.  Lord Alister startled, then looked to investigate.  Darcy laid a restraining hand on his arm.

“No good comes from interfering with the kitchen.”  Darcy said quietly.  “Unless you want to be poisoned in the morning.”
Lord Alister looked like he might object, but instead turned his attention to the stew.

Darcy did the same, but looked up as another entered the inn.**
From ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggity beasties and things that go bump in the night...good Lord deliver us!

 -- Old English Litany

Offline Laurna

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Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Reply #3 on: November 27, 2017, 01:40:07 am »
::Washburn Morgan had been riding several days, when he rode through the streets of Culdi looking for a particular inn.::

A late night Rapport from his brother had sent him out on this latest quest. He had been at the University of Grecotha representing Corwyn’s Patronage of the Schoola there: a school sponsoring the brightest human students in Gwynedd. His welcome in this good year of King Kelson's reign had been far more accepting of his family's known Deryni blood than compared to how his father had written of it in his journal. That was back when Alaric had first sponsored the Schoola to match the Royal sponsoring of the Deryni Schoola in Rhemuth. The suspicions and fears of the Grecothan human clergy and professors had finally been proven unfounded after the Morgan’s thirty years of patronage.

::Washburn smiled briefly, checking that his saddle packs were still closed.::

The contents of the bag were minimal, nothing much of value. Except… for that precious journal that his mother had always nagged his father to keep. He had not known his father well. That man had been no other than the great Alaric Morgan Duke of Corwyn. He had been and had done so much in his far Too Short a life: he had been king’s champion, a general in the wars, a hero, nay, a legend in the eyes of Deryni and human folk, alike. Washburn had only a few precious memories of the tall golden haired Duke of Corwyn; glimpses of happy moments of father and son: riding a big black stallion on the saddle before his father in a parade beside King Kelson who sat astride his royal white stallion, and that time reenacting a battle scene with wooden horses and wooden warriors within the castle gardens of Rhemuth. Washburn had only a few memories of his father in Corwyn... only that last one… that last memory of the great warrior riding out the gates to meet an invading army. Washburn had been only five.

::Sigh::

If it hadn't been for his brother gifting him his father’s journal upon his knighthood, he wouldn’t have learned of the personal thoughts of the man who was a legend. The journal gave him a goal to strive toward. If only he could be half the champion his father had been. Or even half the nobleman his two brothers had become. It was hard living in the shadows of the Duke of Corwyn Kelric, his elder brother and the Earl of Marly Brendan, his eldest half-brother. They were truly great men. Wash felt the eyes of court, expecting so much from him. Perhaps that is why he was just as happy in the saddle doing the king’s business and/or his brother’s business than that of playing courtier at either Coroth or Rhemuth.

::Washburn rode passed the family gardens where he knew his grandmother and aunt had been entombed.::

That was decades before he was born. He had seen the tombs upon his last visit here. This trip, there just wasn’t time for that. He had promised to be at the inn by noon and it was already two hours after. He was late, and that was a poor showing on his part. Especially to the young lady who had been much distressed by circumstances beyond her control. Kelric had requested that he escort this young lady to the king. If they started out right away, they had several good hours of daylight remaining. Trouble was, he did not know if the lady in question was willing to camp out under the stars. Perhaps she traveled by carriage with a retinue of women; in which case their travel to Rhemuth would be very slow indeed.

::Washburn dismounted before the inn indicated by his brother's Rapport. He unbuckled his one personal saddle bag, then handed his horse's reins over with a small coin to the inn’s stable boy. He walked into the inn, his eyes ever vigilant of his surroundings. There were no noble ladies seated in the main room. He did not think this unusual, as a baron’s daughter would not have waited for him in such a public place.  There were several men seated at various tables, every one of these men seemed to mark his entrance. He was used to that. He was not here to hide, so he sat at a good table with his back to the fireplace and a good view of the entrance door and a door that lead to the kitchens.::

Moments later, a serving wench burst out that kitchen door, she yelled some rude words in Mearan-border tongue before coming over and plopping down a large wooden mug filled with light ale on the table before Wash. “Wha' can a get fa’ ya’,” the girl asked.

“The pottage I see your other patrons eating would be good enough, lass. I’d like it hot.” Wash put an extra small coin in the buxom girl’s hand. She almost seemed disappointed that his gaze stayed on her face and not lower. But then she saw the coin. She smiled happily and returned to the kitchens, bellowing some coarse words and hopefully fetching his meal.
« Last Edit: November 27, 2017, 01:50:38 am by Laurna »

Offline Evie

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Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Reply #4 on: November 27, 2017, 10:00:38 am »
**Lady Aliset glanced up as the handsome blond knight entered the inn. He looked familiar, although she was fairly sure she had never met him before. She felt certain she would have remembered. No, if this was the man the Duke of Corwyn had arranged to meet with her here, their paths had not crossed before, but his resemblance to his elder brother was unmistakable.  There was no hiding a Morgan, Aliset supposed, no matter how much he might try to blend in with his surroundings.  Unless, of course, Lord Washburn knew how to shapeshift also.

With a start, she realized that the lord in question had probably been told to expect to meet with a young noblewoman on the road, not a nobleman.  She suppressed a rueful smile. It had not seemed entirely safe to head out towards Rhemuth on her own--well, nearly on her own--in her true form as a young maiden. Not to mention how her reputation might suffer were it to get out that a noblewoman was traveling across the kingdom without any maidservants to help safeguard her reputation. But she no longer knew whom she could trust at Caer Mariot, nor in the village below her family manor, now that her cousin Oswald had replaced so many of her household with his own supporters and cowed the villagers into grudging acceptance of their new de facto overlord.

The King, of course, would hardly allow that situation to stand for long, especially once Aliset had a chance to inform him of Baron Oswald's true allegiances.

But first, there was the problem of getting to Rhemuth.

She turned to the traveling companion she had hired to escort her this far. "Cameron, I believe that's the man we're looking for." She pointed out Lord Washburn to him with a subtle glance in his direction and a slight tilt of her chin.  "Would you let him know we're here? I . . .doubt he will recognize me."  Especially not in a young lord's guise!  Unless . . . Had Lord Washburn ever met her twin brother Alister? That thought had not occurred to her before now.  Had his brother informed him of Alister's death along with the rest of her male kindred?

This meeting might end up being more awkward than she'd anticipated! She hoped not.  Maybe there was some way to discreetly inform him of her true identity once he grew close enough to touch. She dared not attempt a mind-link with an unfamiliar Deryni, even an allied one, from across the room. There was no telling who else might be capable of sensing the attempt, even if they couldn't actually intercept the message.  And she didn't want to risk him giving her away with a startled reaction if she spoke into his mind unexpectedly.  Not only did Darcy Cameron not know the noble lord who had hired him was actually a noblewoman, she had also neglected to inform him she was Deryni.  How might he react to that if he knew? While there was a greater tolerance towards Deryni and magic in the Kingdom in her generation than in her parents' day, a few people still regarded Deryni with suspicion, and a few days of acquaintance had not been enough to let her know if Darcy Cameron fell into this category or not.

Aliset hoped for the best as she watched her hired escort approach the Deryni from Corwyn.**



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Offline Jerusha

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Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Reply #5 on: November 27, 2017, 03:20:38 pm »
**Darcy Cameron casually approached the man Lord Alister had indicated, hoping to avoid calling too much attention to their meeting.  Not that it would go unnoticed; who had not noticed the tall knight dressed in black with the red Lendour stag emblazoned on the tunic as he came through the inn’s door? The serving wench had approached is table far quicker that she had theirs!

Darcy initially approached from behind, but changed his direction to ensure he was clearly seen.  Few people, no matter what their rank, appreciated surprises.  And if he remembered correctly, Lendour was a Deryni holding.  All the more reason to be cautious.  Darcy had nothing against Deryni in general; other than a vague envy of their powers.  Actually, the only Deryni he had ever met had drowned at sea, so the man’s magic hadn’t helped him much.

Darcy stopped in front of the knight’s table, made momentary direct eye contact, and bowed politely, keeping his hand well away from the hilt of the short sword hanging from his belt.

When the knight nodded briefly, Darcy straightened.  “My lord, I believe I am escorting the nobleman you are seeking.  We sit at the table in the corner; he asks that you join us.”**
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Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Reply #6 on: November 28, 2017, 05:28:41 am »
**The man who approached, was not a fellow Washburn had originally considered as his contact for the Lady de Mariot. This man in nondescript, serviceable brown garments could barely be distinguished from the shadows of the corner he had come out from. Washburn had been aware of the two men there in his periphery. Still it seemed to him that this fellow’s gaze followed the tavern girl too keenly as she served Washburn his stew, as she teased a different fellow at the next table, and then when she retreated back through the kitchen door. What seemed to bring the man out from his shadows was a loud banging of kettles and a shout from the back room. As Washburn took a spoonful of hot stew, he was certain he was about to witness the shadow man intervene in the kitchen on the girl’s behalf. Perhaps he was her amore and was coming to her rescue. Somehow Wash got the impression that it might be the cook who would soon need rescuing.

Not his problem, not today; though the cook did put up a stew better than most inns could brag about.

Washburn took in the full make of the man. A sturdy man with a wide walk who balanced well from heel to toe. It came to Wash where he had seen that walk before. On the docks of his home city. Here was a man well accustomed to life on the deck of a seaworthy vessel. The thing was, Culdi was in no way near any harbor. Why was this fellow so far inland. For the Mearan girl Perhaps?

Best to mind his own business. So he hunkered down to fill his empty belly with a spoonful of the stew before it had a chance to cool down. Therefore, when Wash looked up next, he was surprised to find the seafarer, a man actually about his own age, who had turned and was approaching the Lendour Knight. Giving due to the man’s bravery, there weren't many who would approach a Deryni Knight of the realm, Wash did little other than lower his spoon and shift his feet to a better place. Just this subtle motion brought the sea man to a halt where he gave a respectful bow. Only after Washburn acknowledged him did he come closer and announced his true intent.

“My lord, I believe I am escorting the nobleman you are seeking….” the man said. "...

Washburn furled his eyes. “Nobleman….?” he repeated not really hearing the rest that was said. “But I was told....” He turned to the seaman’s companion sitting at the corner table. A familiar face in the shadows watched for his reaction. Washburn mouth fell agape in surprise. Was he seeing a ghost? Here was the friend he had been told was dead, murdered by foul hands. Yet he was hiding, so very unlike the friend he had last seen at twelfth night when he had stood witness as Lord Dhugal presented squire Alister Mariot for knighthood to the king. That evening which had followed Alister's knighting had lead to quite a row involving Alister, Washburn, young Arilan, and the McLain cousin’s all in tow.

Aware that everyone in the tavern was watching, Washburn was careful to not jump up too fast nor pace to the corner table with too much jovial relief. Still he could not keep the wide grin off his face. Finding a friend alive was just too much good news.

“Khardasha! But it is good to see you,” he said emphatically but in a low tone, “Kelric’s news had me grieving your sorry corpse the whole way here.” Wash sat down in the chair opposite. “I am sorry for what happened to your father,  but... my God it is good to see you.”**                                 
« Last Edit: November 28, 2017, 05:38:32 am by Laurna »

Offline Evie

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Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Reply #7 on: November 28, 2017, 12:30:09 pm »
**Aliset's mind whirled as she pondered how to respond to the knight's greeting, considering the implications of her different possible courses of actions.  How well had her twin brother known Sir Washburn anyhow?  She and Alister had been close in their childhood years, but his squiring to Duke Dhugal, followed by his knighthood, had caused an inevitable separation between them during the latter halves of their lives, and although they had retained close emotional ties, they'd hardly had enough time together in the past few years to be able to share every aspect of their very different lives.  She knew that her twin had admired and respected the man before her, but were they close?  Were they merely friendly acquaintances, or so close that she had little hope of pulling off her current masquerade?

Perhaps she should go ahead and reveal herself now, sad though it made her to dash his false hope at finding 'Alister' alive.  It might be easier on him to discover that now than to find it out later, and perhaps be angry at her deception.  But on the other hand, would knowing he had a lady to escort cause him to alter his dealings with her, perhaps slow down their progress towards Rhemuth by insisting on hiring proper chaperones for her first?  Time was of the essence--even now, she suspected her cousin Oswald was beginning to call his allies to himself, spreading word of his treacherous victory over her family to the Mearan separatists whose cause he supported, informing them that they could call upon the greater support he could manage now that he had his hands on Caer Mariot's resources.

Over her dead body! She was the legitimate heiress to the Mariot lands now, and her loyalties were to Kelson of Gwynedd.  And this knight before her was her best chance of getting to her liegelord alive.

Alive and perhaps all the more quickly if she could but keep up the pretense just a little longer.

Aliset rose and favored Sir Washburn with a sweeping bow.  "My Lord, well met! I have much news to tell you, but not here." She swept a quick glance around the room before meeting his eyes again.  "Someplace more private would be best, methinks." **
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Offline Laurna

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Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Reply #8 on: November 28, 2017, 01:32:00 pm »
**“I can get us entrance into my family's garden.  There is enough privacy there for you to tell me what in the name of Hell happened to you. And where is your sister?”

Washburn was so intent on his friend's presence that he did not register the commotion behind him nor the awful scream that echoed from beyond the kitchen door. At least not at first. **   
« Last Edit: November 28, 2017, 01:51:20 pm by Laurna »

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Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Reply #9 on: November 28, 2017, 01:56:12 pm »
**Aliset jumped at the scream, startled, one hand automatically straying to the hilt of her belt dagger.  She cast a wary glance at Darcy Cameron, taking in his reaction before glancing towards the kitchen and looking back up at Sir Washburn with a questioning look.**

"In necessariis unitas, in non-necessariis libertas, in utrisque caritas."

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Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Reply #10 on: November 28, 2017, 06:57:04 pm »
**Darcy had drawn his short sword more by instinct than desire.  Not necessarily the best reaction in a crowded inn.  He did not charge toward the kitchen door, but moved quickly towards it with his back against the wall.  As he reached the door, he drew back as hot flames surged from within.  He had no desire to become scorched meat, but the scream had died to a soul-wrenching wail....**
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Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Reply #11 on: November 29, 2017, 03:57:54 am »
**Washburn too reacted. In quick motion he handed across the table his saddle bag to Lord Alister. “Take this, mind you don’t lose it! Get to your horses! That stable’s too close to the kitchen; if the roof goes they'll both go. Mine’s the black stallion with the red bridle. Meet you out front.”      Wash didn’t wait for his friend to move. Rather quickly he spun on his heel, pacing to the kitchen door, stopping shoulder to shoulder with Alister’s man. “Friend, follow me! I hear her crying, too. Let's see if we can get to her.” Wash hoped the young seaman chose to follow at his back.

The flame at the door had resided to black smoke.  Wash took a deep breath and entered, following the sound of the girls wailing. He found the tavern girl before he had to take in another deep breath, but this breath was hot and smoky and it stung at his throat. The girl was bent over a thick broken beam. The one that should have held the kettles inside the hearth but had burnt at the center and weakened to splitting like a twig. Stew from the first kettle was spilled over the girl's dress and onto the floor. Less fortunately, it was cooking lard and oils from the second turned over kettle that burned across the floor and had set sacs of goods at the back wall to flaming. The girl cried, her hands blackened as she continued to  pull at the broken beam. She couldn’t lift it. Try as she might, she couldn't budge the broken shaft off the man who lay beneath it. Here was the tavern cook, who still held the ladle in his hand. “Hurshell wake up,” she cried, “Hurshell! I told you to fix that, over and over. You never listen, I told you! Get up!”

Washburn pulled the girl to her feet, she wailed at being handled, but he ignored her. He pushed her to the back hoping Alister’s friend was there to take her in hand. In the flame-lit kitchen Wash now saw that only the wetness of the stew had kept the lard and oils from burning the cloths of both Hurshell and the tavern girl. Hurshell was breathing, but he was pinned down and the flames were moving in faster than before. 

::Wash took in another smoky breath.  Steadied his heart rate, than searched for that spell he had always played with in his youth. Move an item with more than just hands. Let the powers of his Deryni blood help lift the beam up to free this man Hurshell, so they could get him to safety before the building burnt down.:: **   
« Last Edit: November 29, 2017, 04:06:59 am by Laurna »

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Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Reply #12 on: November 29, 2017, 11:42:44 am »
**Darcy Cameron recoiled as the tavern wench careened against him.  He grabbed her by the arm to keep both of them upright.   He sheathed his sword and pulled the woman along with him as he turned back into the dining room.

The inn patrons we jumping to their feet as the smoke billowed out from the kitchen. 

“You,” Darcy shouted, “all of you!  Get outside and grab whatever buckets you can find!  Form a fire line, fast, or this whole place will go up in flames!”  Darcy had spent too many years at sea to ignore the imminent danger from the fire.  It had been one of his duties to lead the fire brigade on the ship to put out any fire as quickly as possible.  Jumping overboard into the frigid Northern Sea was not a pleasant option if they could not get a fire under control.  Hopefully Lord Alister’s friend could look after himself for a moment or two.

More orderly now, men and women dashed from the inn and began to form a line to pass the buckets filled with water from the nearby well from person to person. **
From ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggity beasties and things that go bump in the night...good Lord deliver us!

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Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Reply #13 on: November 29, 2017, 12:25:55 pm »
**Grabbing up Sir Washburn's saddlebag along with her own travel gear, Aliset dashed out of the building and around to the stables behind it. Alerting one of the grooms to the danger of the kitchen fire spreading, she left them to water down the stable roof in preparation for the imminent emergency as best they could while she dashed inside to assist with leading the horses to safety.

The horses, with their keen senses of smell, had already sensed the danger, for indeed even the humans around could now easily pick up on the smell of smoke emanating from the burning kitchen next door. As she watched, a tongue of flame rose up from the nearby building. She forced her attention back to the horses, saddling them as quickly as she could, for she didn't know if there would be time to lead them out of the stables first and then return for their gear. This was quickly enough accomplished with her own horse and with Darcy's, both of which were accustomed to her, and she allowed them to be led out of the threatened stables by one of the stable lads while she turned her attention to Washburn's mount.

"Whoa, steady lad!" she whispered as she approached Washburn's horse, who regarded her warily. She could tell the rising excitement around them was beginning to spook the large destrier.  Hopefully his training would help keep his mounting agitation in check, although knowing that she was completely unknown to him, she approached him with alert caution as she continued to murmur soothingly as she reached out a hand towards him in hopes he would allow her to saddle him and lead him out to safety.**

[Bynw, do I need to do a roll here to see how Wash's horse is responding to me under these circumstances?]
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Offline Laurna

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Re: Ghosts of the Past
« Reply #14 on: November 29, 2017, 04:06:55 pm »
((roll 2d6  results 1+6   Verification Number: 4v6wgc0c24))

**Uncle Duncan had taught him the art of focus. Kelric had drilled him in moving objects; pushing a thing away or throwing something further and with better aim than was normal, such as an arrow, a rock, or a javelin. This skill needed now, though similar, was to hold an object high while wakening enough from his mediation to physically pull the man out from underneath the raised beam.**

**One hand encircled the wood’s splintered end. As if the hearth beam was no more than a plank, the nine foot piece raised upward.**

In this partial meditative state, Washburn heard Hurshell groan, “Help me.”

“I got ya now. Take my arm, if you can.”

**The knight grabbed the man's arm above the elbow, even as the cook grabbed his arm.  It was a good hold and Washburn pulled the man out of danger.  The beam fell to the floor with a decisive k’thunck. Wash left Hurshell sitting against the open frame of the door, letting the cook catch what breath he could.  Wash then spied a stack of gunny sacks near at hand. His dagger was quick to slice the top sack open. Smiling with satisfaction, he saw the contents of ground-down-wheat and tossed the powdery stuff over the burning oil on the floor.  He repeated with a second sack of flour, dowsing the flames that were near. It might not help the building as the far wall was aflame, but it gave the two men time for the one to lift up the other, for him to lean hard on the knight’s shoulder, and for the two to find their way through the smoky tavern out into sun-filled daylight and fresh air. **
« Last Edit: November 30, 2017, 12:15:51 pm by Laurna »