More Meditations on the Reflection
Dec. 28, 2019, 7:15 p.m.
Arx - Ward of the Compact - Shrine of the Thirteenth
Comments and Log
Balian, a Templar squire, Guy, a hunting kestrel, 1 Templar Knight guards arrive, following Preston.
Zoey leaves her guards, dog, and aid outside as she cautiously enters the shrine. She consciously avoids looking in mirrors, instead taking the time to study the faces of the others in attendance.
Dame Rosario Nevarre of the Oathlands, Anouk Ardennes, Anais Ardennes, Triage, The white dove of Mercy, 3 Valardin Knights, 1 Templar Knight guards arrive, following Sophie.
Nallah, a buff-looking tortie cat with green eyes, 3 House Mazetti Guardians arrive, following Alessia.
This evening the Shrine of Tehom is a bit busier than usual, with Silent Reflections here and there tending to the candles and offerings, and assorted Mirrormasks in prayer. In front of the altar is a woman in a dark mirrormask who appears to be preparing to address a crowd, as the congregation slowly filters in, Silent reflections usher them, silently of course, to take seats at the benches or positions standing in front of the many mirrors.
Lygeia, a calligrapher and alchemist arrives, following Rysen.
Fortunato has joined the Perfectly Balanced Bench Seating.
Peri has joined the Perfectly Balanced Bench Seating.
Preston steps into the Shrine, clapping the shoulder of one of the Templar guards by the door and murmering a few quiet words to let him know he can be relieved, with Preston taking his place. Of course, that it is Preston inside the plate armour is relatively obvious given that the figure has Preston's swords, Preston's white and gold armour with its distinctive line of red between the two, and of course, if that was insufficient - or incase anyone was thinking it was a very cunning thief or mimic - Preston reaches up to lift his visor before unfastening his cheek guards and pulling the help from his head and handing it to his squire. Who just looks at it, back at Preston, then the helm and then shrugs.
Fortunato is and remains a small man in umbra and gold and duskstone, a smudge among mirrors. He takes his seat on the edge of a bench, briefly turning his attention to his reflection with a kind of cranky familiarity.
"Welcome to the Shrine of the Thirteenth. If you are participating in today's guided meditation, you will want to find a place in front of a mirror to get comfortable." There are cushions being passed out as well, and an acolyte of the temple circles the room offering a candle to anyone who has come to meditate with the Mirrormasks today. The lady in the Dark Mask lights her own candle at the altar, a long black taper that burns brightly. Holding it in her hands, the flame dances across the reflective surface of her mask. "Begin by getting comfortable, settling into your space, and observing your reflection for a moment or two. Try to clear your mind of other thoughts that might interfere during this important work by slowly counting your breaths." There is another Mirrormask, Godsworn, who is prepared to assist those who need to find spaces in front of the mirrors, or might wish for cushions to kneel upon. The benches allow plenty of view of the mirrors as well, for those who choose to confront their reflections from here.
Zoey has joined the Perfectly Balanced Bench Seating.
Merek is still wrapped in a little bit of his gauze about the stomach, as well as a bit on his arm and waist. This is noticable by the loose mesh shirt which he wears, made with silk, in addition to the pants which he has with a belt about the waist, each link wrapped upon the waistchain which he wears so that it looks like a belt with an inset dragonweep. He adjusts his gloves, using the assistance from Meeka to find a place to settle in, while he listens. He does find a mirror, while he looks at it.
Ryhalt Curious, Ryhalt has a cautious smile as he enters and takes a seat at one of the benches, eschewing the cushions closer to the mirrors.
Rysen drifts into the Shrine of the Thirteenth with Lygeia by his side. Beneath his black mantle is a SECOND PLACE medallion pinned to his snow white tunic. He and Lygeia accept candles from the acolyte, and he finds a comfortable place on the benches of the shrine.
Rysen has joined the Perfectly Balanced Bench Seating.
Sophie enters quietly, her guards remaining near the entrance as she moves further into the shrine. She smiles warmly at anyone who manages to catch her eye, but she is focused on the task at hand, and she accepts both a cushion and a candle before settling in on the cushion across from one of the mirrors, her feet tucked up underneath her and the lantern she always carries settling in next to the cushion on the floor.
Merek has joined the Perfectly Balanced Bench Seating.
A raven-masked female figure in a white aeterna gown moves silently around the room, ensuring all who have joined in the meditation have received candles and cushions, quietly greeting many by name and serenely encouraging them to make themselves comfortable. New faces are particularly noted with warm, quiet greetings, directing them towards the mirror before them.
Peri nods awkwardly to the acolyte who passes a candle to her. She finds a place on a bench and listens tot eh officiant's instructions. Her foot taps nervously in this hall of mirrors, and she stills it.
Zoey quietly takes a place beside Rysen and more than one pillow to make herself physically comfortable in front of a mirror.
Drifting into the Shrine, perhaps a little late, Alessia walks along the corridor of mirrors with a curious smile before emerging into the main room. Her absence of a mask suggests she is off duty for the occasion, so she glances about the room for a spot to settle in. Naturally she does a little bit of a double take on seeing the Grandmaster among them. "Sir Preston." She greets, quietly, when she passes him.
Zacharie is silent as he accepts a single candle and a cushion. He is just as silent as he takes a sets the cushion before a mirror, not too close to the front but also not all the way in the back, and settles himself down upon it. It's not the most graceful possible way of getting onto a low cushion, but he seems comfortable enough with the result.
The lady in the Dark Mirrormask continues. "Once you have settled in with your reflection, use the flame from your candle to examine it. As you do so, ponder who it is you want to be, what you wish to show the world of yourself...and then consider what you do not. Look into your own eyes and confront the dark passions that rule you. Perhaps you are harboring wrath for an enemy, and fantasies of vengeance. Perhaps you are growing vain and greedy, or envious of those around you who have more. Each and every one of us has flaws, aspects of ourselves that are the shadowy ones, what we hope no one notices and fear admitting even to ourselves. Tehom teaches us to move past that notion of comfort and towards what we are afraid of, that it might be acknowledged and mastered. As you consider these things, continue to focus on breathing slowly, and on being present in this moment."
After a small pause, she continues. "When you have focused on your reflection long enough to see your true self, you may speak aloud what you are confronting to offer it to the Thirteenth, or you may ponder it in silence, the choice is your own. I will share my own meditation so that it might serve as an example..."
Rysen's grey eyes shift to Zoey, and he bows his head with a solemn smile of greeting to the Lady of Stormward. He then turns his attention to the reflective surface in front of him, gazing at his own reflection illuminated by the candle he holds before him, listening the words of the Lady in the Dark Mirrormask.
Merek checked composure at difficulty 15, rolling 1 lower.
Ringvald enters with what he could only consider to be the masses. His ocean-blue eyes, though currently reddened, wandered around the room to take in the sights and many people within it. Though not entirely sure what to do, he followed others and made his way in front of the room, where the person with a raven's head hands him a candle. "I'm not of this religion." He says rather firmly as he accept the candle. "I have an open mind though, recent times call for it now more than ever I suppose. I'm Lord Ringvald Clearlake." He adds, remembering finally to introduce himself before he goes to kneel on the cushion. As he looks up at the reflection before him though, he has a moment of relative confusion, then the right corner of his mouth gives a small twitch as he does his best to follow along with the guiding instructions.
Merek inhales, then he tries his best to calm his thoughts, but it's clear while he looks to his reflection, he seems a bit distant, met only with his thick stubble and a fashionably shaggy mane. There is also a shift to accept the candle while he peeks at it in thought, wiggling the device.
Fortunato turns from a brief and oblique study of his reflection to a settling on a cushion with a candle and studying it directly. He inhales and exhales. His eyes glitter in the dark. He says, softly but aloud, "Hi there," and, "I will never stop confronting you. Challenging myself against you."
Preston inclines his head to Alessia as she walks past, returning her greeting "My lady." He offers, but he doesn't make any move to go down and stare into mirrors - but he stays with the Shrine guards "May you have a safe...ah. Exploration?"
With a gentle, elegant curtsy to Ringvald, the woman in the ravens-head Mirrormask murmurs privately to him, gesturing to a nearby mirror. She follows him, evoking peace even in her silent step, then stands behind him, quietly murmuring.
Ryhalt quietly thanks the one who hands him a candle. Holding it steady, he stares down one of the mirrors as directed.
The lady at the altar takes a few steps towards the congregation, pausing at a floor-to-celing mirror close to the altar. She looks at her own reflection even though the mask obscures her features, seeing something there despite it as the mirrors reflect one another's images back endlessly. "I see in myself the shadows that I would avoid. I see pride, so much of it that it blinds me, confuses me, and sometimes consumes me. It guides my choices, and thus guides them poorly. I see in myself mistakes I have made based on this pride. Potential allies I have alienated. Friends that I have hurt. I see greed. Greed that seems to have no bottom, constant yearning for more. Never satisfied with the boons I already have. I see all of this and more, and I confront it openly." She states with a clear, strong voice that echoes over the crowd, even where conversations continue. "I see these truths and offer them to the Thirteenth...and vow to rise above them. To make my every effort about rising above them." With that she sets her candle on the alter in front of that large mirror.
Another, larger, figure in a gleaming Mirromask settles on his knees before one of the many mirrored surfaces in the room with a lit candle in front of him, and in a practiced manner slows his breathing to a very deliberate pace that makes it easier to count them. The face of his mask remains turned to the mirror in front of him, as if he is staring intently, without moving. "Rage is what I see before me, and hatred. Not just the sort of anger that fades soon after it arrives, but the sort that lingers and can easily consume a person. Hatred that I am sure interferes with my duties as well as my own personal relations," his voice is deep and though he is not yelling, it carries easily throughout the shrine, "These are the things I struggle with above all others, and which I give to the Thirteenth in attempting to overcome them, so that they will no longer control me."
Dame Rosario Nevarre of the Oathlands have been dismissed.
Anouk Ardennes have been dismissed.
Anais Ardennes have been dismissed.
Triage, The white dove of Mercy have been dismissed.
3 Valardin Knights have been dismissed.
1 Templar Knight guards have been dismissed.
Standing behind Ringvald and gazing into the mirror ahead, a soft, serene voice comes forth from the ravens-head mirrormask. "I gaze into the mirror and see... truth reflected. Truth and pain caused to others, due to wishing for my own gain. Abandonment, deceit that I do not wish to know, but know, nonetheless. And anger - so much anger that it feels enough to burn my soul. And, beyond, is cool, cold pride that I disguise as simple need. The pain of it all tries to shift this away, but I must gaze into the truth. I must know it, hold it, own it - so I can overcome it." She breathes steadily, slowly as she speaks, her body relaxed and easy as the words roll forth.
Zoey forces herself to breathe and examine her reflection in the candlelight. Her back is stiff and straight, though how long she can maintain that posture with her child-swollen belly is anyone's guess. She focuses on her eyes, then her lips, as though by staring at them she might will the truth to fall from them as easily as wine pours from an open bottle.
Peri contemplates her nature in the mirror. Sometimes she is distracted by the people she knows or the sound of a shuffling robe as someone walks by. she has an itch that twitches her nose and she fails to ignore it, finally giving in and rubbing the tip of her nose. But she finally does focus on herself. Words come to her. "Impatience. I want to do everything /now/, no matter the cost. Impulsive." She stops for a while. "Anger. I want to destroy anyone who would hurt those I love."
"Thing is," Fortunato continues to the mirror, "I don't really want to give up the struggle. Ever. I delight in my turmoil and my flaws, and my flaws struggling with turmoil. I like my hunger and my anger and my foolish curious and my, well, /passions/."
"I see myself kneeling before Her," says Rysen, gazing at his reflection in the candlelight. "I see my cold hatred, my contempt, my desire and ambition which drives me to selfishness and failure. I see one who has hurt those he cares for in his carelessness and despair. I speak these openly, and offer them to the Thirteenth, and hope to feel the fire of hope and growth within me."
A nod is given to the Templar after some hesitation, before Alessia sinks onto a cushion in front of a mirror. She watches her reflection quietly, her expression placid, unchanging, even as others speak.
Merek checked composure at difficulty 15, rolling 1 higher.
Zacharie gazes in the mirror with an intensity that makes it seem like perhaps he's trying to shatter it with his mind. Fortunately for all involved that doesn't happen. However, whatever he things he does not voice, remaining silent but for the quiet whisper of his breath.
Merek looks to his reflection while he seems to consider it for a moment. He manages to keep a little calm after a moment, then he thinks about what to voice to his reflection. "I see a man who has had so much taken from him, been used, and all it has left him with was not anger, or pride, but a sad emptiness. He doesn't want to care, he just exists. I don't know that I can break that reflection," he makes no vow, he just looks to himself within that mirror, waiting perhaps to see something.
"Very good." The lady in the Dark Mirrormask intones, having heard more attendees than usual actually sharing what they confront with the assembled, instead of holding it back. "You do not need to speak aloud to the congregation, nor to the mirror...but if you are willing I encourage it. Sometimes it is voicing a truth aloud that allows one to truly confront it. Truly master it. If you are uncomfortable doing so because a crowd is assembled, remember that there are always Mirrormasks ready to assist in this exercise at other times, allowing you to grow in privacy, and yet still confront your darkest truths with another."
"I have no sermon to accompany our exercise today. The meditations are sacred in and of themselves, and you need no speeches from me to wrap it up in a simple package. If I tried to do so, it would not be truth, and truth is why we are here. Confronting our own, however uncomfortable they may be. No one in this room is perfect. No one in this room enters it with nothing to offer the Thirteenth, with no passions to rise above. Do not ever allow yourselves to think otherwise. If we do not confront the darkness in ourselves, how can we confront it in the outside world? There is nothing to fear here." She pauses. "Save denial, which in this Shrine we are oft afraid of."
Zoey does eventually speak aloud, but it is in a whisper for only herself and those who sit closest to her to hear.
Ringvald turns his head slightly as he's spoken too, and takes one long breath, shifting to get more comfortable on the cushion, the deep blue of his eyes reflecting endlessly back and forth as he listens to those around him profess what they see. There was some truth to this practice, the man in the mirror with his messy hair and reddened eyes is not one he would have normally recognize, he could put words to that person staring back, unlike himself. "I see..." He begins, how odd it was to search one's own eyes for what was in them. "More grief than was ever expected to come so quickly. Foolishness, self directed anger. Mostly though there is... Serenity." His brow furrows for just a moment as he lets these things out, somewhat uncomfortable with the practice, but embracing it regardless. "That pain was the price for a brief acceptance that will likely never come again. I suppose it's what I don't see that matters though. I feel full of regret, but I do not see any."
Rysen continues to gaze at his reflection, the fire of the candle is reflected in his stormy eyes, like the rising flames of a burning city beneath swirling clouds of black and gray smoke, and is reflected again in the mirror into an infinitely distant point of light in an all consuming tunnel of darkness.
In the mirror before herself and Ringvald, the raven-masked head nods solemnly and murmurs in hushed tones to Ringvald.
Peri listens to the testament of others and contemplates all of those qualities in herself.
If Ryhalt is successful in seeing anything in his mirror, he doesn't speak of it. However, he does give a spare nod to the mirror, his flaws old, familiar foes.
Merek checked willpower at difficulty 20, rolling 8 higher.
Inky umbra skirts sweep the floor as the lady in the Dark Mirrormask walks among the congregants, now that her own meditation in front of the mirror has reached its completion. She does not eavesdrop purposefully, yet some of the meditations she does overhear bits and pieces of, and it is that which inspires her to speak to the gathered again. "I hear among you some who have confronted the darkness they see, yet confess they see no way out. No method of mastery. I assure you, all of you, that that is not the case. You have more control over yourself, your thoughts, your emotions, and your deeds, than you give yourself credit for. If you are unsure of the way to rise above what you have confronted...I encourage you to linger once our exercise is over. Speak to one of the Mirrormasks here, who are trained counselors, who are able to help you if you feel trapped by your own darkness, your sorrows, your regrets and experiences. If not today, then another. Do not leave with fear remaining in your hearts, with doubt. Unless you plan to come back, and let us help you. Let Tehom help you."
While Preston does not join in the reflections as others, it is none the less worship. He carefully draws Banisher, the diamdonplate blade at his hip, and he carefully kneels with its point on the shrine floor and he rests his head against its mirrored pommel as he whispers a few quiet words of prayer and contemplation. Perhaps not quite the worship suggested, but a tribute to it anyway. He looks for a moment into the mirrored surface of the pommel before he straightens. The blade is carefully returned to its scabbard and he resumes his standing by the entrance. "There is no-one so lost the commands of the Gods cannot steer them to a better path." he states after the mirrormasks. Whether this is in support or not, well. That's perspective for you.
With his meditation completed, the kneeling man in the gleaming Mirrormask stands up, turning his head from one side to the other as the Mirrormask leading the ritual speaks. Facing the room as a whole, he makes himself silently available as she speaks of the others of their discipleship who are present.
Fortunato remains where he sits, folding his arms now, watching himself with a faint and crooked smile. "My darkness keeps me rooted. My light keeps me standing. Change is constant. Again, I change myself for another self. But mastery I will never know, perhaps. That's what's so exciting."
At the words of the Lady in the Dark Mirrormask, Rysen's gaze shifts briefly to the woman wearing the raven's head mirrormask. He turns then to his own reflection again, and finds his face darkened by doubt. He breathes deeply, and his expression slowly relaxes.
"I vow to try," Merek says then to his reflection. It looks like he has a lot upon the mind, while he watches the mirror. He does look a bit like he can't really move past what he sees though in all.
Eventually the woman in the Dark Mirrormask meanders back to the front of the Shrine, standing before the ancient altar that predates the city of Arx, black as night. "Once you have finished your meditation, once you feel satisfied with what you have experienced here tonight...experienced here among the devout who are ready and willing to support you, experienced here the worship of a god of the Pantheon, whose guidance makes better people of us all...then we thank you for coming, for experiencing this with us...and for allowing us to guide you in something that we know is uncomfortable, and difficult. No matter how far you came today, no matter how much you saw or didn't, whether you spoke aloud or kept your thoughts your own to consider...you have done something to make yourselves stronger. Wiser. Complete. Take pride in /that/...though not too much, lest you find yourself back here having to confess it." Oh a Mirrormask joke.
Ryhalt chuckles softly at the Dark Mirrormask.
Gently, the woman in the raven mirrormask nods to the mirror and, possibly, to Ringvald before murmuring again and, with a gentle curtsy, shifting away to Preston.
Ringvald considered the words whispered to him by the raven masked person, he was hardly so philosophically inclined, he liked questions that could be answered, and none of this seemed very definitive. "Perhaps that's the point." He mutters to himself as things seemed to be coming to a close already. He lowers his head an blows softly over the candle, darkening his reflection, but not moving from where her knelt.
Merek stands up a bit from the mirror while he looks to those mirrormasks. Then he finds a place to settle in and waits for one that might be free, while he seems to content in his thoughts.
Peri stands up and returns the candle to an acolyte. She leaves the shrine as quietly as possible so as not to disturb a soul.
Alessia is overheard praising Mirrormask.
Peri has left the Perfectly Balanced Bench Seating.
Zacharie pulls his eyes from the mirror when the Mirrormask woman calls the session to its end. He snuffs the candle, rises to his feet, and picks up the cushion to be returned to an acolyte. He says nothing save a brief thank you to said acolyte before quietly leaving.
Zoey checked composure + performance at difficulty 20, rolling 8 higher.
Alessia is overheard praising Vanora.
Alessia is overheard praising Dianna.
Merek is overheard praising Dianna.
Someone wearing a large mirrorsilver mask in the shape of a raven's head is overheard praising Vanora: An excellent guide in self-reflection.
Merek is overheard praising Vanora.
Fortunato remains, with his hands clasped around his candle, and his eyes forward. Despite his almost light words and seeming acceptance, he is uneasy in his fixed seat.
Ringvald is overheard praising Vanora.
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