(121-02-25) Beautiful Vanity
Beautiful Vanity
Summary: So two Northerners walk into the Starry Sept …
Date: 25/02/2014
Related: http://gobmush.wikidot.com/log:121-02-25-a-failure-to-elope

Maera doesn't look back at the happy couple or the plumed Lord Garvin. "There is a wierwood at the Citadel. The old scholars keep it near their ravens when it ought to be given a proper grove. But, it is there still, and I know Archmaester Thane well enough to be able to pray there when the mood strikes me." The ornate doors of the Starry Sept open smoothly on oiled hinges, and she falls quiet as they step into the building proper.

The Starry Sept is the seat of the Faith of the Seven. The High Septon resides here, as do any number of clergy who study here or attend him and the faithful. Seven domes and seven towers make up the structure, all of them richly decorated with seven-pointed stars, carved or inlaid or painted, or in mosaics of tiles.

The largest dome, the worship area, is a heptagon like all the others, but much wider. The seven-pointed star is inlaid into the white marble floor in massive slices of highly polished semi-precious stones: amethyst and rosy quartz, jade and lapis, onyx, cat-eye and garnet. The soaring domed roof is painted a deep blue with glittering sparkles of mica mixed in, and hundreds of seven-pointed stars picked out in gold and silver leaf.

Each of the seven walls holds a statue, larger than life, of one of the gods. The Father, The Mother, The Warrior, The Maiden, The Smith, The Crone, The Stranger. They are painted wood, beautifully and realistically carved by artists of great skill. Their gowns and robes are leafed in gold and set with jewels, and their eyes are alabaster and jet, with irises of sapphire or emerald or deep brown citrine. The exception is The Stranger. His or her statue is plain, almost stylized, the face hooded and the robes painted glossy black with minute flecks of black dragonglass that make it glitter very faintly, like the most distant of stars.

There is an ornately carved and inlaid altar before each statue, for the faithful to pray, and light their candles.

"Is there," Hellan replies, a hint of uncertain wonder hanging upon her words for such a thing as a wierwood at the Citadel. It seems an oddity, but it holds interest to the woman. "I expected to be far from any sign of the Old Gods here…"

The starry dome sparkles above them as they enter the Sept, every detail gleaming and larger than life. Upon the words of the Old Gods they enter the realm of the New, and she looks up not with awe or wonder but that critical curiosity. The colourful Sept washes over her upturned face, drawing a marked hush before she speaks again. "… it is beautiful…" she admits freely before her brows begin to cinch together. "It's like stepping foot in a jewel, isn't it. Beautiful… vanity."

"Very beautiful." Maera says in agreement. She has seen the inside of the Sept before, but the glittering idols and sparkling ceiling still grab her attention. "Behold what Southern wealth can buy." Her voice holds some bitterness to it, "A few gems from the ceiling could feed Bear Island for a winter."

Hellan's mouth, faintly parted, now firms and straightens under Maera's truth while her eyes remain roving over the scintillating sights. She sighs long and quiet a similar bitterness lodging between her brows, squeezed there. She's stopped moving, simply standing as still as one of the statues. "It is full of beauty and wealth yet it … seems empty. I wonder how many mistake faith for the charm of sparkling stones in these walls."

"That's the problem with these people." Maera says softly, "They measure everything in wealth. This must be pious because it is wealthy and beautiful. Nevermind that their smallfolk starve within the city. They value things and do not see the beauty in their own people." She sucks in a breath, "I suppose I am a hypocrite in some ways. After all, I am taking a southern husband for money and the hope that such an alliance will make our granaries fuller for the winter."

Hellan's jaw tightens where it's set, as good as spoken agreement on the ways and wealth of the South. "Hardly," she says, then, to Maera, looking from the glamour of the Sept to her niece to speak frankly. "You've disproved yourself as a hypocrite with your own words, thinking of our people fed. I won't disregard that it's a difficult thing to wrap one's head around, a Southern husband, but the Bear Island needs the wealth. This town needs more in its granary like it needs another fleck of jade or garnet."

"It feels wrong, sometimes." Maera admits softly, "But the longer I am in this arrangement the more at ease I am with it. Ser Griffyth is not an ostentatious man, and he respects my prowess and skill as a warrior. That would be difficult for most Northern men to stomach. He is likable. These things…ah, they make up for his faults, I suppose."

Hellan nods in understanding, a stern, do-as-you-must sort of nod; she knows how it can be, though perhaps she is not the best example for a firm marriage to a husband with faults. "True and earnest respect is as important as it is rare from a man to a woman. As long as he continues to uphold you in respect, you will manage as you should. You are Lady Mormont." She smiles tautly at the corners of her lips. "Soon I will meet this Ser and pass proper judgment."

"I am Lady Mormont." Maera echoes the other woman's words with the faints twitch of her lips. "I've been too long away from Bear Island." She says softly before she shakes her head as if to clear the cobwebs, "…would you like to look more?"

"No," Hellan states decisively, the words barely out of Maera's mouth. She squares her shoulders against her artful surroundings and clutches her skirt, quite prepared to turn her back on the statues of the Seven. "I'd prefer to return to walls that look more of home." Opposite of the Starry Sept in every way.

"You'd have to travel some leagues for that." Maera comments as she turns as well and begins making her way towards the door.

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