Memorial to the Lost
Everyone is invited to come, and if any wish to dedicated additional skulls of their own on behalf of the lost, they can do so now. For more information about the ceremony, or what these skulls are, or for helping making one, please contact Aureth or Mae.
April 12, 2018, 9 p.m.
Arx - Ward of the Compact - Shrine of the Queen of Endings
Comments and Log
Mirari arrives, following Eirene.
6 House Velenosa Guards arrives, following Jaenelle.
13 King's Own Guardsmen, Zelda, the royal messenger, Felicia, Jaenelle arrive, following Alaric.
Alaric has joined the pews nearest the front.
Jaenelle has joined the pews nearest the front.
Wash has joined the pews nearest the front.
Eirene has joined the pews off to the side.
Jan has joined the pews nearest the front.
Aleksei has joined the pews nearest the back.
Mirari has joined the pews off to the side.
Felicia has joined the pews nearest the front.
1 Saik Guard, Micana arrive, following Lucita.
Eirene enters with Mirari closely following. The black clad Malvici removes her coat and folds it over her arm as she takes a seat, bowing to the altar and saluting the victorious dead.
A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Eirene before departing.
Esoka has joined the pews nearest the back.
Lucita has joined the pews off to the side.
Lucita walks in, glances around and quietly finds a spot to sit, remaining respectfully quiet
Mirari slips in to sit next to Eirene, crossing her arms and her legs as she gives the Malvici woman a long look. After a moment or two she glances around the shrine, letting her eyes fall on the various offerings that have been left.
12 Thrax Elite Guards, Crow - Thraxian Steward, Lilybelle - Maimed Maine Coon arrive, following Victus.
Wash and Jan arrive together, commanders of Kennex Ground and Navy, at least for the recent conflict. He introduces Jan to Alaric before taking a seat near the front.
Lethe steps inside quietly and and makes her way to the pews.
Esoka strides into the shrine, expression somber. Which isn't particularly unusual for her these days. She offers a few greetings here and there, then finds herself a place to sit in the back.
Sir Alren arrives, following Bianca.
Victus is arriving a little later than most, filtering in with his usual cavalcade of guardsmen who go off to their own pews respectfully. The High Lord himself is looking in bright spirits for what was quite a somber affair with a fresh bandage wrapped around his wrist. His feline friend comes in just behind him, carrying a blood-speckled badge with the symbol of the crown in her teeth. He and the pet find themselves a seat near the front.
Victus has joined the pews nearest the front.
Lethe has joined the pews off to the side.
The Shrine is as it always is - still, quiet, dark. Down toward the front of the shrine is a figure just as still, quiet, and dark. Clad in a dark cloak, hood down, pale face exposed, is Mae. She's standing, watching, waiting, as people settle into the shrine.
Bianca slipped in, moving off to the side and into the pews.
Bianca has joined the pews off to the side.
Candlelight gleams across the quiet of the shrine. Aureth is nowhere in evidence as people begin filtering in, but the solemn chapel is clearly ready for a service. It is unusually quiet but for the quiet murmur of those who are now arriving. The attitude is one of expectancy.
Zavi arrives, following Magpie.
Magpie has joined the lonely pew that smells funny.
Magpie slips in and drops down into an empty pew, wrinkling his nose up briefly but quietly watching.
Vercyn has joined the pews off to the side.
Aureth checked composure + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 3 higher.
From the chamber of stillness, Aureth emerges into the candlelight. Unlike other times that he has appeared in this shrine to perform memorials great and small, he is clad simply, in soft, layered robes of white: a humble priest approaching his congregation, his golden hair loose, free of jewel or adornment, shoeless and quiet. Reaching the altar, he turns to face it and kneels. His shoulders are back, and with his back to the audience, he has to project his voice with great strength in order for it to carry well enough for all in the room to hear.
"Death, Queen of Endings, Mother of Beginnings, I pray to you tonight."
He waits for a moment after saying this, giving people a chance to settle in, settle down. His bare toes curl behind him. "We pray to you tonight."
Eirene echoes uncertainly "We pray to you tonight." She glances at Lethe nearby to see if that's right. The Malvici doesn't do religion well, as she shifts in her seat and looks a little uneasy.
As Aureth steps into position, Mae turns and steps up beside him, a step away and half a step back. She keeps her hands clasp in front of her, looking out over the gathering. Her lips move to faintly murmur out a few words, likely echoing Aureth.
"We pray to honor the souls of heroes that fell to the sword. To the spear. To the arrow. To the darkness. We pray in remembrance of the fallen, of every soldier who swore an oath and came to the call of her liege, of every knight who lifted his shield to defend the Compact, of every healer who gave everything to help protect and defend others. Thousands fell in fighting the menace on the seas and upon the mountain. We pray to honor those, who by your grace are returned to you, whose heroism we remember in our hearts and minds, and whose souls you now hold safe upon the Wheel."
Aureth lifts his head, and, his hands lifting, he offers them in the traditional gesture of prayer and entreaty. At this angle few can actually see the solemn passion in his features. "We honor them. We remember them. We mourn them, but we thank you for the gift of their lives. All things must end so that they may begin anew."
Vercyn arrives a bit late, so the man does not march to the front pews, and opts for somewhere less intrusive to the proceedings. He moves towards Lucita, but does not offer any greeting even as he takes a seat. His expression is somber, his brows furrowed, but he keeps his chin lifted as he observes Aureth.
"We pray," Aureth continues after his beat's pause, hands still lifted in entreaty, voice still projecting with a showman's strength to reach, in its lift, throughout the entirety of the sanctuary. He was a performer before he was a priest, and it shows in many of his choices. Many, many of his choices, "for the souls of those who did not choose to fight. For every human soul that was dragged, unwilling, into this conflict. For every man and woman who died without choosing the risk. For our enemy that was deceived, for our enemy was enslaved. For civilians who could not escape. For every human soul who drowned upon the waters. For every person who could not decide, whether because they were enslaved by the dark weight of a will beyond their own, or captive to a debt they could not pay. For every person who could not choose what risk to take, what life to live, even what furniture to sit, we pray for those human souls. All of them, too, were gifts of life that lacked, for whatever reason, the choice of their path. We pray that they are safely in your arms, upon the Wheel, and that in their next lives, they will have other options. We pray for them, Death, because you spun them, too, and though we slew them, we know that they were human."
Ugarte arrives, following Fortunato.
Fortunato has joined the pews nearest the back.
Bianca has left the pews off to the side.
Sir Alren have been dismissed.
Mae turns her eyes to the floor as Aureth prays. They half lid, and she stays silent and still. At least until a flick of a smile crosses her lips, there for just a moment before she coaches it back down to that somber look.
Magpie leans forward, crossing his arms on the back of the pew in front of him, watching with quiet interest as Aureth goes on. A brow is raised at the direction the archlector takes the sermon, a tiny smirk pulling at his lips as he silently shakes his head.
Now, kneeling before the altar, Aureth bows his head very low. "Finally, Mother of Beginnings, Queen of Endings, I pray to you in commiseration and grief for any souls who were lost to you. On whom the Abyss had clung too dark, and deep, and terrible to let go. Who were taken from you, and who you could not reach. I grieve for them with my whole heart. I am sorry if we failed you. For I do not know if it happened. But if it did, I pray that one day, we will find a way to save a lost soul."
Then he is silent for a long moment, and if there is more that he prays, he does so without speaking. Finally, slowly, he pushes himself to his bare feet. It takes him a moment, and he's a little unbalanced as he turns to face the congregation. His eyes are altogether grave as he flicks his glance across the assembled congregation, but it's hard to say what is behind them besides a kind of hard-set tension, which lingers in the set of his shoulders and his jaw.
As Aureth kneels, so too does Mae. Down to her knees she goes, and any trace of that appreciation is gone. She looks grim, as she stares at the ground. She waits until Aureth rises, then she rises, just the same.
"Thank you for coming." Now that he is facing them all, Aureth's voice is quieter. It's still pitched to carry, but no longer requires the projected resonance of all his capacity to reach the four corners of the chapel. "We are here to remember, to honor the fallen. All the fallen. Harlequin Mae has worked hard preparing the chapel for tonight, so I'll ask you to give her your attention next."
Waldemai gives her his attention.
Eirene bows her head, grimacing. There's an underlying anger to the woman, one of many recently widowed.
Esoka has bowed her head as Aureth began his prayer. Murmuring along with it. Sometimes in Arvani, occasionally in the tongue of the Crownlands shav'arvani, though it all sounds part and parcel of the same prayer.
Magpie makes a bit of a twisted expression briefly on his face, his feelings rather difficult to read. It does pass though as Aureth hands things over to Mae.
Jan diverts her attention from Aureth to Mae instead, storm-gray eyes flicking in the young woman's direction. She holds still and silent.
Lianne is quiet and still through the prayers, all hints of the soft smile with which she'd arrived earlier now gone, replaced with a reverent melancholy which lingers as the Archlector directs attention to the Harlequin.
“Thank you, Blessed Aureth,” Mae says, in a voice that’s very faint. She flashes the man a quick smile, then takes in a deep breath, and steps forward. “Hello, everyone...” she starts, her voice now loud and clear. “We are here today to dedicate into our memorial wall two new skulls,” she says, gesturing back to the wall (look wall). “For those that do not know how this goes, it’s pretty simple. We have built this wall to hold these skulls - carved of stone and wood and forged of metal - to remember people that we have lost. Today we are here to add these two skulls in honor of those that died in the Pirate War. To remember those who lost their lives at Setarco and Stormwall.” Mae pauses before she pulls the silken sheet off the two objects on the altar.
Lucita's hands are clenched tight in her lap and she has a taut, somber expression as she gives silent prayers where they fit within the service.
Fortunato has arrived late, and arrived quiet. He settles himself on the edge of the bench, his hands loose in his lap.
Mae drops a charred timber skull for those lost in the battle of Setarco.
Mae drops a charred timber skull for those lost in the battle of Stormwall.
Waldemai crumples his cap in his hands as he looks at the ceremonial skulls.
Vercyn watches the service with a serious, but unreadable expression. His gaze is intense as the focus shifts from Aureth to Mae, and continues to remain coldly silent.
"I wrote to some of the leaders that were in the north and some that were in the south. I asked... what should this skull be? What should it be made of?" Mae asks aloud, as her dark eyes flick to and fro. "The response I got was not wholly what I expected, but it was Duchess Belladonna and Duchess Ann that both ending up sending me timber. From Belladonna, a piece that had likely been the mast of a ship that had been crushed in the seas of Setarco," Mae explains, as she gestures to the one skull. "From Duchess Ann, a support beam of one of the homes that was lost in Stormwall." Mae pauses to take a deep breath, then she continues. "These two skulls both represent loss. So very clear. Because even as we won the day... we lost so much. Over a hundred thousand dead... on our side. Not total."
Felicia gives a slight nod for Mae's words, and the crafted skulls, seeming grimly approving of them as she silently listens.
"Last time I stood before you all, after our losses to the Metallic Traitor... My message was one I don't think we hear enough. So I'm going to say it again," Mae says, projecting out with a bit more energy. "Those that have died are not coming back. The holes they've left in our lives will never truly be filled." Pause. "And they shouldn't. We should /remember/ them. We should mourn them. We should miss them. And... as I said before... we should cry. Because sorrow and misery is part of this world. And it does us no good to act like it isn't," says the small woman, as her eyes go glassy.
"But do not let your sorrow overtake you. Do not let it move you to inaction. Do not let these sad memories steal from you the joyous ones that are in front of you. Not all in this world is loss," Mae says, some of that energy fading.
One more pause, then she moves to take up one of the skulls, then the other. "In the name of the Queen of Endings and Mother of Beginnings, we add these two skulls to our memorial wall, so we might remember all that died in those two terrible battles."
Mae picks up a charred timber skull for those lost in the battle of Setarco.
Mae picks up a charred timber skull for those lost in the battle of Stormwall.
Mae puts a charred timber skull for those lost in the battle of Setarco in memorial wall set with skull mementos.
Mae puts a charred timber skull for those lost in the battle of Stormwall in memorial wall set with skull mementos.
Alaric regards the skulls being enshrined in the wall with a pensively thoughtful expression, contemplative yet at ease.
Completed with her part, the small Harlequin whispers a few words to the skulls. Then she turns back to the altar, to step beside Aureth. She looks back onto the crowd with two small streams of tears falling from each eye, but her expression mostly holding strong. She murmurs to him.
Mirari has left the pews off to the side.
Eirene is being emotional support for Lucita at the moment. She looks solemn yet her jaw is fixe in anger as she studies the skulls.
Lucita is being emotional support for Eirene at the moment. Her expression somber, gaze fixed on the skulls being added to the wall.
Aureth gently weights his hand at Mae's back for a moment, giving her a grave nod, and then inhales deeply as he turns his gaze back out across the congregation. "Life is a gift," he says. "There are many to whom that we must say this goodbye, and we will hold them in our hearts. Remember what we have lost, but embrace what we have. Death grants us this gift, to see what we will do with it. When we return to her -- as we all will, as we all do -- those who still live will remember us. Remember the fallen, let them live on in your hearts and in your memories, and they will live on in our wall." He lacks tears to shed himself; his gravity, his solemnity, will have to do. "Thank you again for coming. Death has blessed you all, and loves all your souls, as she loves all souls. Remember it."
Wash ducks his head and gives a moment of silence after the skulls are situated on the wall.
Jan remains seated, bowing her head for a few moments as well.
A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Eirene before departing.
Esoka is weeping openly, tears streaming down her bronze cheeks. She makes no attempt to conceal this, crying openly. Her curly head bows deep to Aureth as he finishes. "We shall remember," she promises soft.
Victus has his head down in his own quiet reverence. His fingers intertwined as he mouths silent prayers of his own.
Magpie checked composure at difficulty 15, rolling 2 higher.
With the ceremony concluding, and Mae holding her brave face, she opts to just stay next to Aureth. Or, well, she does lean vaguely against him. "Thank you," she murmurs out. To who? Well, who knkows.
Felicia murmurs soft agreement all but under her breath, nodding her head sharply for the words offered as her attention remains settled on Aureth and Mae, drawing a deep breath before expelling it slowly.
Jaenelle lifts her head from its bowed position as the ceremony ends, taking a deep breath as she looks towards the wall as if to memorize each position of every skull.
Magpie sits quietly, no tears. He is grim. He is ... composed.
Alaric exhales a long breath, looking up to the ceiling or probably more accurately just in its direction, his focus turned more inward. His head then bows, and he murmurs something indistinct to himself for the shrine's goddess. With that, he stands and smiles up to the Archlector and the Harlequin. "Thank you both," he declares respectfully.
Vercyn rises to his feet now that the services are concluding. Hands held behind his back, he gazes upon the wall, chin held high. "We have a saying in the North." He rumbles pensively. "When a mother wolf gives her life to protect her cubs, it is the greatest gift she can give. The cubs may not think of it when they grow up, but deep in their bones they always know they owe her their lives."
Eirene takes her cue from the King. She stands and bows to the altar, murmuring to Kucits before she takes her leave.
Eirene has left the pews off to the side.
Wash stands up when the King does and moves forward. He puts a hand on the wall of skulls thoughtfully and rests it there for a moment before turning and heading for the exit. Like everyone here, he lost people.
Wash has left the pews nearest the front.
Lucita nods to Eirene, standing shortly after she does. A curtsy is given, a final silent prayer and she turns to make her way out.
Lucita has left the pews off to the side.
1 Saik Guard, Micana leave, following Lucita.
Lianne remains still and silent where she sits in the back, though she's paying less attention to what's going on up front now, her gaze downturned, seemingly settled on her lap where her hands curl in ever so slightly against the dark silk of her dress. While others cry, she does not, seemingly, instead, lost in her own thoughts.
Felicia also rises, with a firm nod for both Mae and Aureth, seemingly content to slip away with the rest of them.
Jan rises to her feet, resting her closed fist just over her heart. Then she's turning and heading out herself.
Felicia has left the pews nearest the front.
Jan has left the pews nearest the front.
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