Our Vision of Immortality
Of late there has been much discussion on immortality, what it means to have it, what it costs to lose it, and what it's worth as a bartering chip in the theological sense. Those with strong convictions are welcome to come and make their stance known, and the High Priestess of Brundir, the god of the heavens and keeper of our immortal souls, will speak on what she has learned regarding this matter.
Sloane, a dark grey snow wolf, Prize Palinnar Warhorse arrive, following Kenyon.
Snowdrop, a gentle white Snow Wolf arrives, following Asa.
Bjornolf arrives, following Ellyn.
Belstrom enters and stands near the back, listening with his arms folded.
Deanna strides after her brother a few paces, supporting the wall with a languid lean.
Ayalith enters the shrine from the cloisters, bringing in a gust of warm air that causes the circle of candles around the central gallery of the shrine to flicker. The ceiling is open, exposing the darkening sky above, stars visible in the clear expanse. Wearing a blue silk robe embroidered with the golden vortex of Brundir, she steps into the central gallery and looks out toward those that have gathered.
"Welcome," she says warmly, her smile a gentle thing as she notices faces familiar and unfamiliar. "Today we're here to discuss our immortality. What it means for us to have it, what it means for us to lose it, and what our stances are on the use of it in bartering for forgiveness. There will be dissenting opinions," she warns with a rueful expression. "This is not a topic for the faint of heart. I won't ask that any stray from their heart, but I will ask that we gather here today with open minds."
Ayalith pauses, looking over those gathered once more. "What does immortality mean to you, personally?" she asks, pointing to someone at random.
strides into the shrine with an efficient, martial step. Finding an unoccupied chair, he takes a seat and adjusts his silvery robes afterwards, sitting up straight and silvery eyes focused upon Ayalith.
Archarnor has joined the Lower Ring of Chairs.
Valatir has joined the Upper Ring of Chairs.
Agis is there, having been in the shrine for a bit now, sitting in one of the seats that circles the shrine. Their bag beside them, leaning forward a bit onto their cane, hands folded on top of it. They're wearing the long gray silk robes with the marking of a Priest of Brundir, but otherwise plainly dressed. They watch Ayalith intently, head dipping in a quiet, respectful manner.
Valatir has joined the line.
Kenyon had arrived a short bit earlier, along with Asa, and moved to the standing area on the gallery floor, listening as Ayalith began to speak.
Kenyon has joined the Lower Ring of Chairs.
Kenyon has left the Lower Ring of Chairs.
Kenyon has joined the Gallery Floor.
Amid those filtering in Ellyn moves with a silent grace, slipping along the chairs that line the room to pass around them before sliding into a seat even as Ayalith begins to speak.
Asa has joined the Gallery Floor.
Ellyn has joined the Lower Ring of Chairs.
Thalion enters the shrine, hands clasped behind his back as he walks. Floating right next to him is his staff. Making sure he is out of the way and not blocking others trying to come in, he steps to the side. But rather to go sit down, he finds a spot by the wall. His unusual red on black eyes watch what's happening with idle curiosity, his gaze comes to rest on Ayalith, even as his staff settles down with him after a small gesture of his hand.
Ayalith nods for Valatir to speak first.
Belstrom moves away from Thalion fractionally, not even wanting to share a wall with the strange oracle.
As Thalion enters there is a polite and gentle nod given to the Oracle from Asa. Her gaze turning to rest upon Ayalith as she speaks. Listening to the priestess intently.
Spotting Thalion, Kenyon gives a small nod to the Oracle in greeting, before he turns to look to Valatir, waiting for the man's words.
Valatir has taken his place in the upper ring of chairs not terribly far from his way out. The done-up Lorandi has a very different air about him from those that may know him. He uses a bit of prestidigitation to make sure his voice carries well over the space. "Immortality, frankly, is not something that is an option to give. You cannot make that decision for the thousands who will die before their choice should we suggest it's time to give it up. Immortality means that we are able to finally work through the pain of the world before. Immortality gives us a chance to build something greater for those who come after us. There are some who have come before who are now nothing but a memory left in those who have the immortality to remember them. It means not allowing the sins of the past to be forgotten, repeated."
Ayalith listens to Valatir speak, nodding once he finishes. "I agree that our immortality grants us the safety of time uninterrupted. But I disagree with your assessment regarding our ability to forget the past without it. Without our immortality, our lives would still be long, we are a slowly aging race, especially compared to our abandoned allies, the humans." She looks around again. "Is there anyone else willing to speak on what immortality means to them, personally? Don't be shy, this is our future we are discussing. Everyone's future," she reiterates firmly.
Thalion's gaze remains on Ayalith for a beat longer, before he turns his eyes to the gathered crowd once more. He catches Asa's nod as well as Kenyon's, and then that gaze settles on Valatir. He watches and listens in silence, and while there is a slight narrowing of his gaze at the elf, he offers no opinion of his own, turning his attention instead back to Ayalith.
Quietly Velandria slips into the shrine. Her silk long gown dyed in various shades found in the ocean is damp and stained with salt. Her long hair has been braided and bound up with silver and pearl combs. She finds a quiet place in the back.
Kenyon has joined the line.
Agis has joined the line.
Turn in line: Kenyon
Ayalith nods for Kenyon to speak next.
Asa has joined the line.
Asa quietly sat with Kenyon listening as Valatir shared his thoughts on Immortality and what it means to him. And as Kenyon's turn come up, she smiles warmly to the Blood Templar.
As the Lorandi expedition prepares to travel westward into the thick forest that borders Torendaar, hundreds of Golden Elves pour out in to the streets of the city to listen to the blessings being bestowed upon King Arminel and his group and to bid them good luck on their journey. Lord Zedmir has prepared not only a feast for those well wishers gathered in the Toreendar Courtyard, but packs of adventuring supplies and delicious foods to eat as the group travel on their way.
High Priest of Loran, Lord Rawlin Nalduine offered a Blessing of Dreams to each adventure before their departure. General wishes of good fortune and asking for guidance are given to the group about to depart. But more so, Rawlin reminds them to make great use of her most precious gift. Time.
Marquis Galeren prays over those gathered as well, asking for the blessings of Torth to grace them. To give them calm and steady as they head out on their westward journey. All in all, the group is feeling very inspired as they head out into the unknown.
The people of Torendaar, in general, are all hoping that King Arminiel makes it back safely and quickly. Unease over Princess Leda's temporary rule has begun to spread.
The Blood Templar steps forward as he's nodded to, and Kenyon starts to speak. "To myself, the immortality we have regained is a two-edged sword. Is it a gift, to be treasured? To be certain it is. That very fact is part of what would make it's sacrifice meaningful, however. That it is important and dear to us. Without it, we will know the ravages of illness, and age, yes... But as the Priestess said, not so much as those we left behind. It is not, however, a gift earned. We regained the immortality that we had lost by coming here, yes, but at what price? We broke our oaths to the other races. We abandoned them to die at the swords of the Host, and gave into our own fear. I realize my opinion is likely to be unpopular, but my immortality is a reminder of that betrayal, for as long as it is unearned."
Turn in line: Agis
Ayalith nods as Kenyon speaks. "Agreed. If it wasn't a sacrifice, it wouldn't be called a sacrifice. Your opinion will not be popular, but we all need a little more experience making hard choices and standing by them in this life. Balance in all things." She nods for Agis to speak next.
"Immortality is a gift," Agis speaks up in a soft, raspy voice. They sit up some, but don't stand. "A *gift*, not our *right*. The gods have already proven they can take it away. I believe it is something we must earn... through our faith and diligence." They glance towards Kenyon. "However, it seems some gods believe we deserve it more than others. Aereth gave us back this gift. Scorning her choice may be dangerous. Especially for the Aerans. While I agree it would be a suitable sacrifice to show our commitment, things are not so simple." They glance towards Velandria, then.
Deanna has joined the line.
Turn in line: Asa
"Agreed, it isn't simple at all," Ayalith says in her same gentle tone. "But for those interested, I'll be sharing later in the discussion what Lord Brundir has shown me, and perhaps it will give those of you as yet uncertain some heart about what comes next." She nods then for Asa to speak next.
Velandria has joined the line.
Once it is Asa's turn to speak she gently stands, smiling to the those gathered. A polite dip of her head to all. Her hands resting gently before her, "Immortality is a great gift, one that we as Elves treasure deeply. My family were thankful for the return of our immortality. For it saved my twin's life, Saaru was always sickly and more then once close to dying because of it. I adore my family, Saaru is my other half, as it is with most twins. I fear for what it will be if they were to lose it again."
A soft pause as her gaze softly moves over those gathered. "But I know they are strong in spirit, and I know that we, my family, will do all we can to keep them safe and healthy. A gift should be earned, not just taken. We broke our oaths and we must make amends for it. We are strong, and together we can earn it back." A short pause, "Together we can find the path through this, it may not be easy, but the right choice is usualy not easy."
Archarnor has joined the line.
Turn in line: Deanna
"A very personal view on our blessed immortality," Ayalith says, her expression one of empathy as Asa finishes speaking. "And yet such a brave stance to take, despite the risks and costs associated." She nods for Deanna to speak next.
Selandriel stands in the back, watching, quiet and unobtrusive. She does not get in line. She does not speak.
Deanna let her hands part in an opening gesture. "We failed. When our immortality was stolen from us we failed and broke our oaths and fled, shamefully and with nothing short of pure cowardice. As a result Baridon took from us our Ithiriel who entreated the gods that sought to lead us into this new place. As a result we lost many to the travel. as a result we saw the unity of our kinships scattered. Surely, the death of our Ithirel, our kin and the unity we once enjoyed is no small sacrifice."
"I am no priestess nor any sort of philosopher. But, I believe and trust my older brother more than almost anyone else in this world and he believes in Acharon. When Belstrom entreated his god for an answer, what he was told was this -- We use our own genius and energy to come up with a solution. Our own." She repeated the phrase after a scan through the crowd. "If the God of potential itself, the one who speaks of unbinding oneself from unneeded restrictions. I've heard it said that this immortality is not a thing earned. But, I posit it is something that we don't earn so much as prove worthy of such once we have it through our actions and choices." The second-born family leader paused then to take a breath, nodding to herself. "By how we live and what use we make of it. That's no easy thing or simple choice. It's a dedication that is done again and again and again."
Thalion lifts a brow at Deanna's words. He looks at Ayalith. "May I?" He steps forwards, reaching with his hand towards the staff. It flies to him. He walks with staff in hand, towards the High Priestess.
"I respect High Priest Belstrom a great deal," Ayalith nods toward Deanna. "But the nature of interpretation being what it is, I cannot help but wonder if what Lord Acharon is saying is that we must, on our own, decide whether or not to offer up our immortality, or to replace Lord Baridon. These are our choices, these are our solutions. To set Lord Baridon aside because we cannot face his disappointment or cannot bear to pay the price for his forgiveness is an option, but I believe it is the wrong option," she says with a quiet conviction. Ayalith steps aside when Thalion approaches, a symbolic gesture considering there is plenty of open space within the central gallery. "But of course, Oracle."
"First. Baridon did not take your Ithiriel from you. He did not even sink those ships. That was not his anger you felt. So for the cause of that, you should look somewhere else," Thalion points out, turning to look at everyone else. "The High Priestess is correct here," he dips his head to Ayalith. "I've listened to you all talk about this, and tried to keep myself from getting too involved. But perhaps it is time, I offer some clarity. Not making a choice, will spell doom to your society. Losing the concepts embodied by Lord Baridon, should not even be a thought and it certainly shouldn't be an option." A pause. "So the options are, you gain his forgiveness," he looks around. "Or you find someone else to embody those concepts. There is no third road. There is no option, without the involving of the gods." And with that, he dips his head to Ayalith and steps back, letting go of his staff as it comes to rest at his side once more.
Ayalith's mouth forms a little 'o' of surprise as the Oracle goes in, but she recovers quickly, clearing her throat. "So, there's that. Our immortality means many different things to us all, and we cannot be so quick to point fingers, but rather we need to be quick in deciding what we're going to do, moving forward, to regain the balance that is so precarious now. I spoke to you all before of the bloody, unbalanced scales and what we needed to do to right them. So now I'll speak on this - Lord Brundir reminded me that sometimes the road to the greatest reward is littered with sacrifice. Sometimes those sacrifices are tough to bear, but that is the nature of sacrifice." She extends her hands in welcome. "Are there those who would speak further now? Remaining on topic of course, but addressing all things related to our immortality."
Celestria has joined the line.
Ellyn has joined the line.
Turn in line: Velandria
Shifting her position a little bit, Velandria moves two steps from her position. "It is correct that not all the gods share this view. Aereth gave us this gift back. She is the one who brought us here. I know this is a hard choice to make but there are three options. I would advise not taking. The third for it will bring anarchy, I agree with Thalion on this point, it is not a good idea. Yes, even I can agree with him on a point or two. I do not think that giving up our immortality is the way. Any choice that is made will lead to issue. Those of Aereth would rather a different choice was made. Many were lost on the journey over and many more died in battles before the journey. What is key, is that learn from what we did. This means that we do not repeat the mistakes of our past. Our fighting the poising of the land and other dark deeds and sins we did in the old world we cannot do here. We need to move forward. I do not wish to give up what Lady Aereth gave back to us. Baridon will does not simply overrule Aereth's decision. I say this for Arean loves her as much as she loves us. She is connected to us deeply. I would rather we find another to replace him. I also realize that this idea is being set aside. I understand the fear, a price will be paid, no matter what we choose. This is not an easy choice, but there is a choice and it exists. Yes, the currents are changing around us."
Kenyon has joined the line.
Turn in line: Archarnor
Ayalith listens to Velandria speak, her brows furrowed slightly, but then she smiles in understanding. "Lady Aereth made her choice, and the other gods make their choices as well. But the decision of whether to offer up our immortality is ours to make, which is why it should be discussed, weighed, and prayed on. It isn't an easy choice to make, but I believe it is the option that will restore balance to our souls and our lives." She nods for Archarnor to speak next.
Standing up straight, Archarnor bows slightly to the room after adjusting his robes. Speaking in a melodic, clear voice, he begins. "I do not think that a one of us believes that we should make amends in some way for breaking our oaths to the allied races we left behind. That being said, as a Disciple of Estril, I question whether the sacrifice demanded of us is just. Without our immortality, the efforts we are making to establish a new life here will become all the more precarious, lifetimes cut short and wisdom lost. Also, we will be taking it from all of our kind, not just those of us weighing in here. And should Baridon's demand outweigh the choice Aereth made? If so, why? I am of the firm opinion made by Kinlessa Deanna. We have it, let us make ourselves anew here, proving our worth - with our immortality." Pausing, he gazes at Ayalith before dipping his head. "My opinion is also unpopular, but shared by some of us of Lady Estril. Strip Oaths from him, as he is not just, but arbitrary. Give it to the Lady of Justice to enforce. Her hand is fair and stern. Baridon's demand is neither, but arbitrary and cruel - and ultimately could cause our demise. I care not to surrender that to him, not when the other gods have spoken otherwise or not at all."
Valatir snorts and shakes his head.
Turn in line: Ellyn
"It is a curious stance to take, that Lord Baridon's ire is cruel and arbitrary, when the loss of our immortality does not strip us of our immortal soul, and yet Lady Estril and her followers are perfectly willing to snuff out the soul of one who makes mistakes in their life, regardless of the many balanced lives they lived before, or could live after," the High Priestess of Brundir notes with a mild coolness. She smiles afterward, faintly. "But thank you for weighing in of course." She nods for Ellyn to speak next. "We must wrap up soon, as Priest Agis will be taking the floor shortly."
Elizaldian made his way into the shrine, dressed in dark, but finely cut robes, hood up to help with the chill in the air. He glanced around, giving a small nod to those he was familiar with.
Archarnor scowls faintly, muttering something under his breath about not pandering evil.
Ayalith asks, clearly, "Was there something you wanted to add?"
"Speak up for the class! I couldn't hear you back here," calls Valatir.
Aside from a soft comment here and there within the lower seating Ellyn has listened to each speaker in turn as they've voiced their thoughts and opinions. When it is her turn to speak the High Lord rises gracefully from her seat in a shimmering wave of silver for the nestle of her long dress that is tailored to her sleek form as her skirts slide in a cascade to the floor. Beneath the veil of her lashes her green gaze slides from Ayalith to Thalion before the chime of her voice resounds easily within the large circular room. "I can not claim to have made up my mind upon the matter at hand though my heart says that no God should be replaced. We have broken an oath, grievously, and for it a price must be paid. As I am not as well informed as some I will simply start with what I have heard here and now."
She turns to Thelion then, "Perhaps this builds on what was just brought up in that I'm not certain how there are only two options, though I know not what the third is that was hinted at," she dips her head to Velandria before continuing as well as Archarnor for his mention of what is a just and fair price. "We speak here about the sacrifice of immortality in order to appease Lord Baridon. My question then is this, in plain terms, has anyone tried to renegotiate that price?"
"Very well. Yes, we are quite willing to erase the souls of irredeemable evil. You are not one to judge who she considers such," Archarnor replies in a cool, calm voice before taking his seat.
Deanna let her gaze move from Archarnor to Valatir and then to Ayalith.
"I won't argue with you about souls, no," Ayalith responds easily with Archarnor. "I'm the High Priestess of Brundir," she reminds him with a little laugh as she turns to listen to Ellyn. Nodding slowly, she looks to Thalion. "If you could?" she defers to him for this question.
This time, Thalion speaks from where he leans against the wall. His red on black gaze settles on Ellyn. "The gods embody the concepts they represent. Without a god to give a concept voice, that concept would simply cease to exist," he explains. "If Baridon continues to remain silent, you will lose concepts such as Oaths, Choice and Consequence, Fealty and Loyalty, Judgment. The meaning of these concepts will simply cease to exist. So, doing nothing, is not really an option." He draws a deep breath and exhales. "If there are more questions about this, I can answer them after we're done here as I don't want to use up all the time," he points out. "But you need a god to voice these concepts. Lord Baridon is certainly an option. I've served him faithfully for thousands of years. But I do not lie, and I... care about your kin. So, I presented an additional choice. He can be replaced. By another god, or by a non-divine... like me," a pause, "or you," he gestures to Ellyn and stops. "As for negotiation. He is a god. Why would he negotiate with the non-divine?, Perhaps one of the other gods could try... Perhaps they have tried already. Each god has their own belief about this, about anything really. They don't always agree. In my experience, they rarely do. Some gods thinks he should be removed, some think he should be appeased. Ironically... the Choice is yours, however. The gods will not decide this for you, but you can try and convince them to change their minds, to support your views, if they decide to favor you."
Alethia slips in very quietly toward the back of the gathered group, looking extremely contrite when she hears the Oracle speaking instead of Ayalith.
Kenyon steps forward again, speaking once more. "To those worried about angering Aereth, yes, that is a valid concern. I would state that angering Gala, the Goddess of Life, Healing, Forgiveness and the very plants we consume however, is also not something to take lightly. It seems to my mind that either choice is going to result in angering at least one or more gods and goddesses. To that end, perhaps energy should be directed at convincing the gods to be less angry than they would otherwise with the choice made," he states.
Continuing on, "Baridon is also the god that embodies Loyalty, as Thalion has already said. Should we make this sacrifice, he will return the loyalty shown him sevenfold. It will not be an easy road, but we shall have Baridon's support as we work to earn back our immortality, as well as that of his wife, Gala."
A shrug then, and "Some say to replace him with Estril. They are upset that Baridon has turned from us, due to our betrayal. As Priestess Ayalith has alluded, what, praytell, do you think the Reaper who took hundreds of souls from the wheel in one swoop would do if it were she who was betrayed? Would she merely stand aside and watch?" Kneyon lifts a brow, and leaves that to think upon, before he starts to head out himself.
Ayalith extends her hands in entreaty toward those gathered. "I've heard your thoughts today, and you've heard mine and those of your peers and leaders. But it doesn't stop there. Lift your voices to Lord Brundir if you seek understanding of his will. Stand up for your beliefs, whatever they may be, whichever side of the immortality divide your heart calls you toward. In the end, the decision made will affect us all, so don't allow your voice to be silenced. In the end, we must do what we must, as Lord Brundir reminded me personally. With the loss of our immortality comes sickness and death, but also redemption and growth. Let us all leave here with hope wrapped in conviction, and our faith stronger for the trials ahead. Bless you all, and may your stars ever shine," she says in benediction.
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