A Gathering in the Shrine of Brundir
Alethia Reid, Elder of the Priesthood of Brundir, is putting on a small celebration and a sermon for the Faithful, to honor the ascension of Lord Gureylain Rylanth from Initiate to Priest, as well as the recent return of Zaltar Aynarr from a perilous quest and his welcome into the priesthood as an Initiate. Elves who wish to join the Priesthood as Faithful will also be blessed at this time, and the Elder Alethia will be bestowing the Blessing of Rebirth on parents hoping for a child. Notably there will also be free food and stories about stars, to all who attend (religious or not).
Shakian has joined the Gallery Floor.
Belstrom has joined the Upper Ring of Chairs.
Triton the Eelhound arrives, following Talien.
The Brundir Shrine is decked out in dozens and dozens of tiny green and blue lanterns up clustered around the open ceiling, forming the loose suggestion of constellations. The real attraction is of course the night sky, clear and open to view the stars through. And three towering platters of spun sugar treats. The seating is a loose and cozy cluster of huge cushions where the pews normally would be, and thick carpets laid out on the floor. It's a comfortable atmosphere, but still manages to hold a slightly ritualistic air. The hemisphere brought back from the Champions rests ostentatiously in the middle of the room, and Alethia Reid is standing right at it with her hand resting on it. Eating a pastry with the other.
Shakian takes a seat on the open floor where he can lay back and watch the stars through the open roof.
Alethia says, "Thank you everyone for coming. While we wait for any stragglers, can I answer any questions about tonight, or the priesthood? Feel free to select a spot wherever you like."
As one one would expect for priesthood of a good who expects wickedness and virtue one in the same, Gureylain is standing in his leathers rather than priestly attire, cloak off, near the central part of the shrine. Staring into the central sphere, standing with himself centered to the divide in hemisphere.
Striding purposefully through the large doorway leading in to the temple, Admiral Talien Reymar steps into the roof-less clearing just after Alethia has spoken. He takes a moment to glance around at the crowd, the large, scarred eelhound called Triton stalking just a pace or two behind him.
Belstrom sits on one of the cushions in the back, and nods to the Admiral with a bit of surprise.
Alethia IS dressed in a priestess' robe, long and black and glittery with seemingly hundreds of embroidered silvery stars. Her ears are pierced with stars too, multi-barbed ornate little things. Her long blonde hair is loose, and she glances up and nods to the Admiral as he walks in. Near the door, two wolves are lying with their head in their paws, and glance up curiously as the Eelhound stalks inside.
"Thank you everyone for coming," the elder Priestess starts, and turns to smile mischievously at Gureylain. "Tonight we celebrate the rise of Lord Priest Gureylain Rylanth, and Initiate Zaltar Aynarr. I want to start by honoring Zaltar's people, the Thalerith, for a mission they've recently undertaken on a warning sent by Brundir himself."
Talien's sharp gaze cuts across the room, and he returns both greetings in a similar fashion, slightly inclining his serious,brooding visage in a nod. He lingers near the entrance for a moment before making his way over towards where Belstrom is seated.
Alethia says, "I'm told Filinnar soldiers died on this excursion, and one of the Sedriel was injured grievously by the Basilisk. Their service and sacrifice has not gone unnoticed by Thelos."
Sylindra Filinnar and Selene Aynarr arrived earlier at the Shrine of Brundir to show their support for young Zaltar Aynarr. They have taken some cushions near to the altar and so are quite visible to everyone else. When Alethia mentions the Thalerith, Sylindra gives a loud whoop and a whistle. As the priestess goes on to mention the fallen soldiers the Warlord stands up. "Their names were Ringith and Terrion," she announces, "their sacrifice will not be forgoten."
Shakian bobs his head in respect for those elves who have given their lives.
Joran slips quietly into the back of the shrine, just in time to catch the mentions of fallen Filinnar. Wordlessly, he bows his head and offers salute, though whether toward his Warlord or simply at the memory of his kin is unknown.
Belstrom nods in respect.
"The injured Sedriel is Flame Speaker Pyrravyn, he has made a full recovery," the Warlord adds.
Alethia seems like she would hate this loud whooping and whistling, as her Faenor poise is exacting and somewhat aloof, like a statue, but rather than look disapproving she actually smiles at Sylindra and bows her head a little to the Thalerith Warlord. "Thank you. I'll start with the most solemn task then, and pray.
"Lord Brundir," she starts, and goes a little thoughtful, "please guide Ringith and Terrion Filinnar back to the Wheel, and from the Wheel return them to us at a time when we need them most. A time in the future when our world is free of monsters. And if such a world can never be, let us receive their souls again with kindness. It is our family bonds that make even the most grueling tasks and dangerous work into honor, and joy."
Sylindra returns to her seat as Alethia starts praying.
She finishes by nodding again to Sylindra. "Good. Zaltar told me of Pyrravyn's bite. I'm glad he's recovered."
Shakian bows his head, listening to the prayer. When it is done, he resumes watching the sky, sitting companionably with Puss.
Alethia says, "Tonight, the Lord Priest Gureylain and myself will be talking about two star formations. One of them you may have heard of before, but the other one is a legend I've uncovered only recently, and I'm hoping it will impart some wisdom to everyone that hears it. It's lucky that I have Gureylain and Zaltar with me for the work that I'm sure is to come. The cooperation of Lorandi and Thalerith is always precious because it has been so rare."
It is not hard for one to get lost within the Shrine, and the grandness of the opened room. Silent from her seat beside Sylindra, Selene takes her time looking over each aspect of the building and those who have gathered within it. It is only when Sylindra cheers does it bring the woman back into the moment and she can' keep the instant grin from forming in responce. There is still nothing said as a list of those who've passed or were injured is spoken about, eyes closing once the prayers begin and the ceremony starts,
Alethia says, "But there's no reason why it should continue to be. There are forces at work in this new world that we're only beginning to witness or understand. And we must all learn to rely on each other for assistance and wisdom, or we stand in danger of being divided again like our ancestors were before us."
Alethia breaks the very serious talk to go pluck up a pastry spun out of sugary cream into the shape of a lizard monster, and she gestures to Gureylain WITH it, "Your first sermon, I leave it to you Lord Rylanth."
Sylindra takes the opportunity to get up and grab herself some pastries, selects a basilisk and a ship, then returns to her seat. Once she's settled herself back down, she hands the ship pastry to Selene. "These are probably Zedmir Nalduine's," she says quietly, "he's a weird wizard chef, but his stuff is good."
Alethia takes a place near the front too, which puts her near Sylindra and Selene. She is eating a basilisk and savoring the sugary treat. "Mm, yes, I asked Zedmir to make these. He's very good."
Gureylain's head bows at the prayer for the lost, solemn and smiling brightly up at the opening in the ceiling, even as tears roll down his cheek. Head tilting to the side as he looks to the stars, as if there was recognition there.
He listens to Alethia as she discusses what she will, and he bows his head when he is indicated to speak.
"The Lighthouse. The Eye of Nylenth - a star I learned as a youth, that I cast in similar light as the Huntresses, or the Arbor star... Points to move by, but not understanding their meaning." he motions to the section of the ceiling at the northernmost point - where a single star, brighter than others winks down at the gathering.
"Captain Nylenth, I consider close to kin. Because she saved the lives of my family and my child." he lets that sink in as he draws on this thoughts, to continue.
Alethia settles in her big cushion, and her eyebrows go up in a rare break from her composure. She evidently has never heard this before, and watches Gureylain as he speaks.
Shakian contemplates the Eye as Gureylain speaks. He nods as he takes in the words.
Ears burning, Zedmir sneaks in the back (or has he been here the whole time?), not wanting to disrupt the festivities. It's storytime, and he's ready to listen!
Selene takes the ship, eyeing it critically before she says softly, "I dont believe it would make a good seaworthy vessel, probably would grow too soggy if attempted, but..." here she times a bite, then nods in appreciation, "it is not a bad pastry." She takes this opportunity to finish the entire thing while listening to Gureylain.
Zaltar is standing in the shadows quietly as the crowd gathers. He looks like a statue
The Warlord listens quietly and intently as the old Ranger speaks.
"The Lorandi were sailors, in the old world, and the houses hand their own ships. While the storms raged and killed our kin. While we sunk beneath the waves en masse. I stood upon the masts of the ship that carried my family, my cousin... So many of us. Lashed to the main so that the winds would not cast me from the nest and I asked for help. I asked for their lives and consigned myself to be taken. I didn't care which of the gods struck me... And maybe it was Brundir asking Garwen take pity, or Aerath, or maybe even Baridon seeing my oaths to protect my child with all I could give." Gureylain silences a moment, eyes half lidding as his voice rises with emotion, the passion of his fear and desperation piquing, rather than maintaining the powerful calm most would expect in a sermon. Contrasts. Light and dark, peace and excitement. Navigating the paths set before him. The ways of Brundir.
"I caught Her eye through the clouds, the small gleam, but I knew our heading, I knew. The sight of her was the beginning of the ends of the Storm. Captain Nylenth's gaze cut the clouds and I could shout down to the steerselves, where to turn, so that we could anticipate the winds and the waves."
"The stars, are guiding points, but they still live, in Brundir's sky. Elven heroes who remain in the realms of the dead, to watch over us... Servants of the gods as well, giving signs and direction." he silences again, and The Old Wolf of Rylanth, seems to consider if he should continue, looking to Alethia.
Shakian contemplates the words as he contemplates the stars in the sky, the combination creating new insights.
"It's hard to comprehend sometimes, the sheer magnitude of souls that Brundir looks after. I've been asked before if it's possible to identify a particular soul in the night sky, but how to do it? These legends are all we really have that tie us together through time, with the people that came before us. To look directly up and know that another soul is guiding you home..."
Alethia trails off and seems to sigh a little, holding a sugary ship-pastry as she leans on her cushion.
Alethia says, "Is this why you decided to become a priest, Gureylain? I never asked I don't think."
Talien crosses his arms across his chest, having remained standing. He leans against a pillar, one hand idly reaching down as Triton begins to headbutt him.
Rising, Alethia moves to the center of the shrine again and rests a hand on the sphere where it sits on its pedestal, glancing back at the elves that sit or stand near the back of the shrine. "The Lighthouse Star is one of the most hopeful ones to spot in the sky. But not all stars are so good to see. I'm going to talk about a small constellation, just two stairs, to the south. The Dueling Stars. And it seems a happy coincidence that we have so many Thalerith here tonight."
Belstrom raises an eyebrow, leaning back on his hands as he listens to the priestess.
Gureylain does not answer Alethia's question at this time, quieting as she says she will be speaking of another constellation.
Shakian changes his seat to contemplate the Dueling Stars.
Talien's lips curl upwards just slightly at the corners at something Alethia says.
Alethia nods to Gureylain discreetly and then looks toward the back of the room, and very faintly she smiles.
Alethia says, "The Dueling Stars are a little known pairing, almost lost to our records, but I find them fascinating and tragic. The legend originates from thousands of years ago, during the Five Years' War. Or as it would eventually be called, the Scorched Earth War."
The priestess rests her little ship pastry rather irreverently (or appropriately? Brundir does seem a bit eccentric) on top of the large sphere in the shrine, and she points out a very faint pair of stars in the sky, way off to the south. It could be their imagination. Hard to just point at. They seem vaguely reddish colored.
Joran's hands clasp behind his back as he glances upward in search of the indicated constellation, a fleeting grin passing over his features before an glint of idle amusement settles into his otherwise reserved expression.
Alethia says, "The legend goes that during this fight, the Thalerith and Lorandi were at their most vicious. It was the thickest part of the war, and at the time must have seemed like the lowest point in the lives of the warriors and mages there. Thalerith were raiding the landscape in their vengeance against horrible slight. A theft. An evasion. And the Lorandi were standing their ground. It had been four years since the war began."
Alethia says, "The two stars are the souls of not rival warriors, but, tragically, a father and his daughter. Kargrin Filinnar had seen his only daughter married to a Lorandi nobleman just a few years before the fighting began, and though he fought without hesitation for his Warlord, he prayed that he would not encounter her on the battlefield. But the gods are not always kind."
Belstrom lifts his chin, his eyes narrowing.
Sylindra is seems very interested in the story, but she visibly leans in closer when Kargrin Filinnar's name is mentioned.
Alethia continues softly, gazing up at the sky for a moment, "Kargrin and his daughter Liseth, now a Tenlindil, clashed on the battlefield and neither of them would break the line. They were both celebrated fighters- Liseth was a fury, a sight to behold. She had been a treasure of the Thalerith before her marriage into the Lorandi, and there too she was a beacon of hope in a bloody and dark war. Both of them had sworn to let no elf stop them. To fight with the last of their strength.
Gureylain listens intently, head tilting to the side but making no sound. Taking in the story as it is told, having become still as a Lorandi plains lion prepared to leap for the rush and kill, even his shoulders seem to roll like one of the great cats.
Zaltar drops Wooden Replica of a Basilisk Skull.
Alethia says, "And that is exactly what they did. The legend goes that the two fought long after others had fallen and been replaced around them, like two stones in a churning tide. Their duel is said to have lasted a full day, from one sunrise to another. When the dawn broke both of them were gone."
Lenore, the ebony raven have been dismissed.
Joshua, the tree elemental have been dismissed.
Alethia plucks up her ship-pastry and bites its mast off, her amber eyes distant but a little wistful. "It is said that even to this day, Baridon calls upon these paired souls to blaze brighter in the sky when war is approaching. They are, thankfully, rarely spotted among the sea of lights in the heavens."
"Kargin and Liseth acted with great honour, they are an inspiration to us all," the Warlord declares from her seat.
Belstrom says, "Excellent stories, both--thank you for sharing them."
Alethia nods to Sylindra and Belstrom, eyeing the other one for a few seconds a little uncertaintly. "The honor is ours, of course. Does anyone have any questions about Lord Brundir, or what we do here at the Shrine?"
Shakian has been shaking his head at the sad fate of the two doomed elves, but stops when she asks about questions.
Talien has adopted a rather more serious look than he'd held before, his brows knitted over those bright eyes of his.
Joran seems to miss the question, his gaze still angled upward toward the indicated Dueling Stars, brow furrowed and apparently lost in his own thoughts.
Selene finds her eyes automatically lifting upward as the story ends, even if the chance to see these specific lights are slim. Then they are once more lowered towards Alethia and then Gureylain. "Thank you both" she finally states, dipping her head in thanks for the stories shared.
Gureylain lifts his hands to gently applaud the story told by Alethia, his thin smile present. The old Ranger watches her and the listeners in the crowd before he finally decides to answer the elder priest, "It was more that it felt right that I finally come to the priesthood, recently... But I think the Captain set me on that path, half a cetury ago." turning to bow to Selene when she speaks.
Alethia says, "I like this legend, personally, because it doesn't end well. I know that must seem strange. But tragedy and bitterness are inescapable parts of war... and the sheer odds of finding a family member in the thick of battle, what cruelty that must have seemed to them. But in a very small way, Brundir let them be at peace when they returned to the Wheel. I have to wonder what he thought of that war. Or any of our wars."
Alethia nods to Gureylain, and her solemn distant demeanor shifts. She gives him a small, rare smile. "Thank you for speaking. And welcome to the rank of Priest, Lord Rylanth."
Talien nods himself at Alethia's take on the tragedy.
Alethia sets her hands together and nods to the room at large. "Thank you for coming tonight, and listening. I will bestow any blessings on Brundir's behalf that you'd like. Simply come up and ask. And enjoy yourselves with the rest of your night."
A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Sylindra before departing.
Shakian gets up from the seat on the floor and signals to Puss to follow along. "Thank you very much for a thoughtful evening," he says. "I am so used to guiding my way by the stars that I forget there is more to them than where they are."
Joran slips around the perimeter, moving toward the front before offering a nod and a salute toward Sylindra in quiet acknowledgement. He looks in Alethia's direction with a faint smile and an incline of his head once more. "Thank you, for inviting me. I am most thankful that I had the chance to learn of the constellation, and to be present for most of the ceremonies."
Talien remains where he is for a moment before pushing himself away from the wall, his faithful eelhound companion following dutifully along a step or two after him. He claps Belstrom on the shoulder as he passes, quietly saying something to him before continuing on his way towards the Priestess. He offers her a respectful bow of the head. "As, at my most base, I am a sailor, I cannot possibly give thanks enough to the stars in the sky. They guide us home." He offers her a rare smile.
A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Belstrom before departing.
Alethia nods gravely, but her gold eyes seem to light up a little at Talien's words, and she smiles back. Also rare.
Belstrom smiles and nods to the Admiral, looking at Alethia with a hint of pride.
In an aside with a more formal tone and a measured, likely polite expression, Joran adds to Gureylain, "I had the opportunity to meet with Lady Elendril before arriving here. She requested that I offer you regards of House Palinnar. Congratulations, Lord-Priest Rylanth."
Alethia says, "I too navigate by myself a lot of times, and they have saved my life more than once."
Talien nods a grave agreement before saying, "Thank you, Priestess. It was quite the informative evening." He turns, then, and makes his way towards the exit of the temple.
Belstrom follows the admiral to the doorway, stepping outside as well.
Belstrom has left the Upper Ring of Chairs.
Triton the Eelhound leaves, following Talien.
Sylindra says, "It was a beautiful sermon and ceremony, thanks to the both of you" Sylindra says to the Priest and Priestess. She gets up and approaches Gureylain addressing him specifically, "Congratulations on to you old Ranger, may the stars continue to guide you on your path.""
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