(121-05-24) Maiden, Mother, and Crone
Maiden, Mother, and Crone
Summary: Valerity goes to the sept for wisdom and is guided by Leire
Date: Date of play (24/05/2014)
Related: Related Logs (Say None if there aren't any; don't leave blank. You have to use full URLs, like http://gobmush.wikidot.com/logtitle)
Players:
Leire..Valerity..

Starry Sept — Oldtown

One of the lovely things about becoming a lady Florent, for Valerity, is the proximity of Foxearth Manse to the sept. Two days ago, she was married here, and now she returns, seeking the quiet comfort she finds in the presence of the Seven. It's a simple ritual with which she begins, making a reverent circuit of the tall statues, lighting a candle at the base of each. She pauses and tips her head back, contemplating the face and figure above her, then bows it in prayer. She ends the circuit, as ever, with the Stranger. She does not neglect or avoid the unknown and unknowable god as some others might. His effigy endures the same look of intense contemplation, and is offered the same moment of prayer.

Leire is like a shadow at the foot of the statue of the Stranger, a silent, statuesque figure that pays homage to the least revered of the Seven so reverently as to blend in with the other worshipers (of which there are few) at his altar. She rises from her supplication gracefully, wearing a flowing septa's robe of dove gray, and collects a handful of tapers from the base of the effigy to distribute to those others knelt before the face of death. The last one is offered to Valerity, with a murmured word. "May the Stranger hear your prayer."

Valerity flashes a quick, shy smile at the septa. "Thank you," she says, softly, hands clasping around the seven-pointed star she wears. "I hope He does? I hope They all do." She looks back over the arc of other divines, explaining, "I've never felt… right, putting a petition to only one. The Mother for marriage, the Maiden for love, the Father for justice. It would be like coming home and only talking to one member of the family, shunning the rest." She looks back up at the hooded, star-eyed Stranger. "And He is the outcast. I have a soft-spot for outcasts."

A young acolyte follows after Leire, lighting the tapers she has distributed among the worshipers at the Stranger's altar. He ignites the wick of Valerity's candle with one of his own, so that she may place it among the others burning at the feet of the statue when her prayers are complete. The septa seems to enjoy the analogy made by the new bride, offering her a warm smile after she's made it. "I have a soft spot for the same," she confides, casting her fervent stare to the downturned face looming above them, the shrouded specter of death itself. "He's the most constant of them all, don't you think? Love and justice can at times be fickle, but death comes for us all."

"An end to all things," Valerity agrees, softly. "Whether death or… simply entropy. It's all we're ever guaranteed." She kneels to place her candle. "I try not to think of what the others offer as false promises, just — we have to understand they're temporary. And I wish it weren't so deeply in our frail nature to want forever."

"It is the nature of men to long to be like the stars, to burn brightly for all to admire, never wanting to be the one to burn out. I think it's a rare comfort the Stranger offers us, an assurance despite all else that there shall come a day when we lay down our mortal strife and know such peace as few of us shall know in life." Leire speaks with the easy matter of factness of those of the priesthood, watching as Valerity places her candle. "The Seven are certain to smile upon you, my lady, for remembering the Stranger at a time when most would look only to the trinity of womanhood; the Mother, the Maiden, the Crone." She touches the seven-pointed star she wears at the hollow of her own throat, fingering it idly as she speaks. "May I be of any assistance to you today?"

"I've been attempting to avoid the Maiden and the Mother's sight, most of my life," says Valerity, lashes low, though a wry smile dwells on her lips. "I neither wanted to be in love, nor married. At least the Crone has wisdom to offer." She glances with some guilt at the Maiden and Mother's statues. Sorry, ladies. "I hope so," she says, at the offer of assistance. "However much I beg the Crone for wisdom, I seem to little of it."

Leire seems inclined to forgive, though she speaks not for the two faces of the Seven who betoken love and marriage, in no small part due to the invocation of the Crone's name. The septa's eye travels to one of the altars opposite the Stranger's, where the Crone's wizened image is carved into a statue not unlike the one they are knelt before. "When the Crone is silent, it is for good reason," she assures Valerity. "But when she lifts her lantern to guide us, we are blessed indeed. I would be pleased to intercede on your behalf with the Oracle. Come, let us go before her together." Leire moves to lead the new bride in the direction of that particular altar.

Valerity follows, trouble and trepidation drawing a line between her brows. "I've recently been given so many blessings," she confesses, voice even lower than before, "and I don't know how to be happy with them. Knowing that they're going to end. I want to be grateful to the Mother and the Maiden, but I… don't know how."

"Prayer is as good a place to begin as any, and it is a step you've already taken today. There are times in our lives when we resonate more soundly with one face of the godhead over another. Perhaps with this new chapter in your life, you will be surprised to find the pages filling themselves with different characters." When they reach the altar of the Crone, Leire turns to Valerity, meeting her eye and asking her plainly, "What wisdom would you have from the all-knowing one?"

The newlywed lady takes a deep, steadying breath, looking plaintively up at the wise and weathered Crone. "I need… to understand. How not to be afraid. How not to be angry. Because the only wisdom I know, have ever known, is the Stranger whispering in my ear that this, too, shall pass. And even though it's all just beginning — I'm afraid of the end. My heart is already broken. And sometimes I want to treat him as though he's already broken it. Which… will only make sure he does. I want to be happy." She swallows. "I don't know how."

With a slow, understanding smile, Leire hears out Valerity's plea, following her eye up to the wizened face that gazes down upon them with a knowing stare carved into its eyes. "You speak of matters of the heart," she suggests lightly, returning her attention to the new bride at her side. "It's not to say that you don't seek wisdom, but perhaps a different sort than we might usually look to the Crone to provide. Perhaps it is the Maiden you seek guidance from after all."

Valerity glances at Leire with a touch of alarm. "Are you sure?" She looks reluctant. The Maiden got her into this mess. "I'm trying to understand how to… survive what the Maiden began." Another glance, this one at the Maiden. Sorry. "I need to keep my head about me," she insists. A look up at the Crone. Right? Back her up here, Grandmother.

"The Crone is the hand that guides us in all things, that much is true. But love is the Maiden's province, and who better to ask than she for matters of the heart? That you've been a stranger to her until now matters not. Her arms are ever thrown open to new friends." And now it seems Leire sets their path in a new direction altogether, guiding Valerity to the prettiest effigy to be found in the Starry Sept, that of the bright, effervescent Maiden, who represents fertility, chastity and, as the septa is quick to remind, love itself. Retrieving a sprig of honeysuckle from the Maiden's altar, Leire uses it to anoint Valerity at the temple, over the eyes, on the lips, and the heart, most of all, lending her the branch to hold after having done so. "Blessed Maid, hear our prayer," she begins, about to launch into it on the bride's behalf.

However fervently she wishes to avoid the Maiden, Valerity only has it in her to argue theology with a septa up to a point. She follows meekly, submitting to the anointing, bowing her head and closing her eyes for the prayer. Her hands are clasped tight around her pendant throughout, perhaps primarily to keep them from trembling.

Looking from her unwilling subject up to the Maiden's pretty face, Leire goes on to offer the following in prayer. "Smile upon this blushing bride, who would enter your confidence and learn what it is to love and be loved. Arm her with the weapons of womanhood, that she feel at home at the hearth and in her husband's heart, the better to prepare her for the life that lays ahead. Let her know fear, as all women do who love a man, but let it not be her undoing. Instead, might it be that concern that lights the candle in the window to bring him home to her again and again. May they ever find peace in each other's arms, and may their marriage bring honor to the Seven as they evolve from Maid and Warrior to Mother and Father."

Valerity swallows against a lump in her throat, lashes damp as they absorb the glimmer of tears. She breathes deeply and deliberately until she can be certain she's not going to outright cry. "May it be so," she murmurs her endorsement of the prayer, however much her heart quails. "I know I'm supposed to be happy," she tells the Maid. "Please don't think me ungrateful. I'm sorry."

When the prayer is done, Leire turns her gaze from the Maid to the bride, wearing a warm smile that's no doubt intended to reassure, if not lend some measure of comfort to Valerity. "Happiness does not come easily to everyone. It is not unusual to be wary of that which we fear losing, for when we give love, we make ourselves vulnerable." She is unlike some of her sterner faced brothers and sisters in faith, seeming to have an easier air, or at least one more inclined towards understanding.

"Thank you," Valerity whispers. She tries on a smile for the septa, though it's pale and a bit weak, acknowledging the kindness. "I wanted to be a septa, you know. I probably wouldn't have been very good at it." She clears her throat and presses a fingertip to the inner corner of each eye. "You seem to have a desire to help people. I only wanted to get away from them." She looks around at the Seven, once more. "These were the only people I loved. And of course… that was an easy thing, wasn't it? There's no rejection here. No disappointment."

"It isn't a path I chose for myself," Leire admits, perhaps induced to say more than she might normally by the tears Valerity dabs from her eyes. "I was given unto the Seven and their service when I was but a babe. This place has ever been my sanctuary, and these faces my family." Her sentiment echoes that of the bride, but instead of looking up to the Maid, her eye drifts across to the Crone once more, indicating a possible favorite among the Seven. "Courage is too often ascribed to men, as though it were their sole dominion. Do not hesitate to look at the Maid, or the Mother, in your doubt. It marks you not as weak, but as a woman, and it is after all a woman who wears wisdom's face."

"They are a good family. I've never feared they would turn me away. Sometimes, that certainty was all I felt I had in the world." Valerity smiles, wry but gently so. "I suppose that makes us sisters. In a way." She shrugs, looking down with a chuckle. "Perhaps cousins."

"It would please me if you thought of me so," the septa says, briefly laying her hand on Valerity's for a squeeze. "My name is Leire, and it would be my honor to attend you again, if you wished seek me out."

"Valerity," says the new bride, placing her hand over Leire's briefly, but with sincere warmth. "Valerity Florent." She nods. "I will. Thank you, Leire. I…" she chuckles, softly. "I never considered that I needed a… guide… or an intercessor, before. I'm just that arrogant. But… your help was very…" She shakes her head slightly. "I needed it, today. Thank you."

Before letting Valerity go, Leire retrieves a ring of anemones from the Maid's altar, placing it over the bride's head as if draping a necklace about her throat. "The Seven keep you," she murmurs ceremonially, bowing her head to Valerity when it is done. "We rarely know what we need, until we discover it by accident," she says, her smile still lingering upon her lips. "You need not thank me," she demurs, but it's as good as a you're welcome.

~Fin

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