(123-07-24) The House of the Lord of Light
The House of the Lord of Light
Summary: A dragon princess meets a priestess with fire in her eyes.
Date: 24/07/2016
Related: None
Players:
Rashiya..Viserra..

The Red Temple near Oldtown's docks blazes with light all day; but with the approach of dusk it becomes more and more a beacon, drawing the faithful and the merely curious through its open entrance under the Fiery Heart of R'hllor.

Inside it is all stone and flame.

The burning oil has been replenished, the braziers relit according to an ancient ritual, the great central fire well-stoked against the coming of night. The lesser red-robed priests wait in a row (two of them burly men whose faces are tattooed with flames; the third slender and paler-skinned) watching a woman in a clinging dark red gown, who stands as near to the fire as Targaryens themselves are wont to do, her eyes half-closed, her face tilted toward its flames, basking in that crackling heat which has set her fine pale olive skin aglow and cast odd shadows over the silk-wrapped curves of her body.

She gazes into the fire with an unflinching intensity — the priests, for their part, look to her as though she held their hope of salvation — she unclasps her hands and slowly lifts her arms high about her, casting an ever-more macabre shadow upon the plain stone at her back, between one brazier and the next. Not in ceremony now, but in sheer pleasure. And then she breathes out a slow, luxurious sigh and turns to the newcomer.

"Princess Viserra," she says pleasantly, though they have not yet been introduced. "I bid you welcome to the house of the Lord of Light."

Viserra had heard the rumors circulating Old Town about the new Red Preistess and her fervent worship of her so called 'Lord of Light'. She'd been intrigued, to say the least, and wanted to investigate as she so often did when something related to fire, or dragons crossed her path. Bryce did not share her enthusiasm. Not enough to try and bar her from geing (because really, imagine how well that would go) but enough to not come himself. Instead the princess is flanked by a trio of Stark armsmen, with their simple but sturdy arms and armor.

When the Princess enters the temple she is dressed for a social call, striking a balance between casual and finery, or at least as fine as Viserra gets as at a certain point beauty requires tight clothes and walking funny, which just seems silly. Her white hair is in a simple set of braids, held back by a hairpin in the shape of a wolf. Her dress is more representative of her own house, red with black accents, and black thread making up images of flying dragons across the red silk. It's a well cut garment, the fabric and needlework of the highest quality, but still more simple than one might expect from a princess. Not a gem to be found, for example.

Violet eyes sweep over the stone and flame, small smile tugging at her lips at the sight. It did feel familiar in a way that put Viserra at ease, though she did not let it sacrifice her awareness. When the preistess calles her by name though, that gets a raise of a royal brow. "You have me at a disadvantage." Viserra remarks, not quite sure how she feels about her hostess being so well informed. "But thank you for your welcome."

A small sound from the foreigner's sleeves brushing her gown, silk against silk, as she lowers her arms unhurriedly by her sides. She steps nearer through the temple's interplay of shadows and light to let the glow of a brazier fall upon her lovely face. Her smile broadens, gently. "I am a stranger in your land; I have no advantage here but that which is given me by the Lord," she explains, in a tone chosen to soothe and to reassure. She speaks the Common Tongue flawlessly. She wears only one jewel, at the hollow of her throat, but that a red gemstone of great size and surpassing clarity. "I am called Rashiya. And as it has pleased the Lord to call you to his fires this night, so it pleases me to make your acquaintance, Your Grace."

Any issuie that Viserra may have with the idea that she was called here by the Lord of Light is kept well hidden behind a plite mask. Then again, Viserra does not have any sort of reputation for piety, in her House's Seven or in her husband's Old Gods. Her ineraction with religion has been either passing intrigue, or where it must intersect with her life, such as weddings or the odd name-day. "A pleasure, Rashiya. Is there some sort of appropriate title to reffer to you by? Forgive me, I do not know much of your church or it's practices." Passing curiosity, civility, and even an odd sort of respect for another person that has the same sort of relationship sith fire that Viserra holds. Her Norther guardsmen are less enthused about being here. But their obligation is to protect their lord's wife, thus vigilent but silent they stay.

They make an appealing tableau, the pale Targaryen and the dark woman from across the Narrow Sea, each garbed in red, each with her trio of silent onlookers. The priests behind Rashiya regard the princess with opaque and dignified stares; the priestess herself retains that comfortable, inviting, confident demeanour, subtly suggestive of a meeting between equals.

"R'hllor sheds His divine light upon all the kingdoms of the world," she says, smiling, "and we who speak His word adopt the local forms of address wherever we go. To make us more easily approachable, you understand…? By those who have not a birth such as yours, an easy facility with foreign words." She inclines her head toward the princess in a manner which serves to imply that her understanding, as well as her birth, must indeed be superior. A thick strand of shining black hair falls over her red silken shoulder: red and black, fire and blood. "In Qarth I am—" And she utters a foreign word before her own name. "In Asshai," another, more euphonious, a word sung more than spoken. "In Volantis or Lys," and she gives herself in High Valyrian a title suitable to a highly respected cleric, but also a sage or a seer. "The people here, they call me just 'Lady Rashiya'," and she shrugs, giving Princess Viserra a conspiratorial little smile. "Better than 'Septa', I think…? Those unfortunate women seem to me to lead lives as grey as their robes."

Viserra nods along with each word, listening and seeming to know most of the words for what they are. The joke about Septa's does earn a smil quirking of her lips from the Princess. "True. Though I've learned to not judge the faith by their grey robes. Not many of them, anyway." Because really, who in Westeros didn't get up to not good when nobody was watching? Whatever 'no good' happened to mean to them. "Very well, Lady Rashiya it is." For the particularly discerning there might be a sort of begrudging note for the granting of noble title to the preistess (whom Viserra has assumed is a commoner) as well as a feeling of surprise at being spoken to as equals. However, the dragon princess also understands where she is standing, and the changes to the social order that comes with standing in a spiritual house. "You seem to have settled into Oldtown well."

Rashiya has large, warm, one might even say melting almond-shaped eyes, the irises a hue nearer red than brown; these eyes haven't left the princess since first they found her, and they reckon up not only what she offers but what she begrudges, accepting it all with something rather like fondness. "The city has welcomed me," she returns graciously; "from the first day people have had the courage to gather round the new fires here, to join with their neighbours in seeking the Light and denying the dark…" And to hear the new priestess preach, or so the talk has it.

"You speak as though you know many septas, Your Grace; have you long been interested in religious matters?" she asks then, as though genuinely keen to know. "… I have not yet met a septa," she admits. "I understand they remain behind the high walls of their motherhouses, or else they are given to noble households as upper servants — minders of children, tutors of manners and embroidery — and they remain subordinate, always, to septons, without leave to perform marriages or burials, or any of the other rites of their faith." She sounds faintly incredulous. "There I cannot help but see the work of the Other, setting up unnatural divisions between men and women even in the service of their false god… Am I ill-informed, Your Grace, or is it true that none in the Faith of the Seven consider the sexes equal in such service? Am I the only one in Westeros," she laughs, not unkindly, "but for my brothers here," whom she indicates with the lift of a pale hand, the sweeping of a long dark red sleeve, "whose God believes that a woman of faith may, just may, have greater gifts to lay before His altar, than her stitching—?" The gentle amusement in her tone, and the genuine curiosity, soothes some of the sting from her estimation of the local clergy and their ways.

Well this got political quickly. To the first question Viserra shakes her head, "I have not known many Septas, but I have known many people. The most stringent and ordered of outward apperances can hide the most chaotic souls." she remarks. She listens to Rashiya's half criticism half questioning of the faith of the seven, small smile on her lips while the Red Lady speaks. "You have come right to why i avoid organized religion." There was a septon at her wedding, a cold colf septon while she and Bryce were married under a wierwood tree. Not that her wolf-husband's cold gods had any love for her and her dragon fire. Though the gods of westeros being called flase does bring a slight narrowing of her eye. "People are more complicated that aboutany discription of them would paint them to be. But what you have heard is what is expected. Very often what happens."

The foreign priestess nods once as she listens; her lips curve in a smile of rueful acknowledgment. "And when it does not…? That, I should find intriguing," she agrees. "Perhaps some of those souls, even whilst bound to the Other, try in their own ways to reach toward the Light…?" She cocks her head, questioning again; she shrugs, accepting that such things must remain, for now, a mystery. "… I grieve for you, truly, Your Grace, that you have not known the solace of faith," she adds, taking another smooth and graceful step nearer to the Targaryen, looking into her eyes with a deep attentiveness that conjures a sort of bubble about them, as though they two were the only people left in the world. "Is there some word of solace I might offer you tonight?" she asks softly. And she begins with offering her hands, open, palm-up.

Viserra's reaction is initially averse, a subtle movement of chin raising that might be remensicient of a large carniverous animal who doesn't like what they're smelling. "I did not come here to find God, Lady Rashiya. I came here to find knowledge, not faith. If anything is to come of my learning it will certainly happen after I have enough available to me to make an informed decision." Because, yes, she is intrigued, the brightness of the flame and intensity of the preistess are both alluring to the dragon princess but she is not parched and seeking a higher purpose in her life. Not yet anyway. Not to mention the politics, both with her extended and immediate family.

Rashiya appears far from discouraged; those outstretched hands spread further open and then become part of a gracious shrug, her silks flickering flame-like about her as she turns again to the temple's great sacred fire. She has been standing nearest to it all this while — and yet not a bead of perspiration has touched her face. A commonality with true-blooded Targaryens.

"I might tell you that faith begins in ignorance, Your Grace," she murmurs, warming her hands at the fire with a lightness which hints at a desire to pluck one or two of those flames from amongst their kind and play with them as toys; "that one must believe before one can hope to see." A sinuous half-turn, and again she looks into the princess's eyes, her own a rich and gleaming dark red. "Faith is a gift to the Lord of Light; revelation is a reward for faith. Faith is all the more precious and pleasing to the Lord when it does not equivocate, nor demand — when it is a freely-offered gift of the heart and the blood. And yet sometimes, undoubtedly, by the Lord's will the order of such things is reversed… I saw you in the flames, Princess Viserra Targaryen of House Stark." She gestures toward her great fire. "I saw you here, not two days past — and I knew that you would come to me. I know the restless heat in you, and I know," her chin lowers, her eyes hold fast — she appears gently reproving, as of a child who keeps needless secrets long since revealed, "what you truly seek. It may be that you will find here such… knowledge, as might be pleasing to you. But, I think, only if you are willing to open your heart as well as your mind. And if you should also find faith, well. It will not come from an— informed decision," she says delicately, "a list you make of the reasons for or against. It will be because the fire within your Targaryen heart, feels an answering warmth."

Violet eyes widen in surprise, not necissarily in awe, but it isn't every day a preistess says they were informed by divine sight that you would come visit them. "That is not a leap I am willing to take at this point." Viserra says evenly. "But I appreciate the candid clarity." becasue at the very least it came off as clarity, not rhetoric. Viserra takes a few steps closer to the sacred fire, not as close as Rashiya stands to it, looking but not touching. Though touching it is tempting, strangely moreso than mundane bonfires she has encountered. Her guards are not happy about this decision. "I do not know if I beleive that you saw me in the flames." Viserra says, truthful, but not in an attempt to be disparaging. "Which has no bearing on it being true or not, simply what I see. Perhaps I am blind, perhaps I am not." Agnostics can be some of the most frustrating people to try to turn on to religion. "But I will admit that you are right about the flames being appealing."

The Stark guardsmen may be unhappy. The lesser priests of R'hllor simply… aren't there, having melted into the shadows and away, leaving Rashiya herself comfortably unconcerned to be alone with four strangers: three well-armed men and a hardly defenseless Targaryen princess.

When the latter comes nearer she takes a step to the side, making room next to her; "Would you like to see as I see?" she inquires in a friendly way. "… Of course you would," she adds, without waiting for an answer. "Fire is a living thing, Your Grace; ever-flickering, ever-shifting. You know this; you have looked before, often… It is the work of years to see the shapes and the patterns within the flames. Years more to discern what will be from what may be or what was. It is no easy discipline, and yet I think…" Her eyelids half-lower as she considers Princess Viserra. "In your blood, there is a natural affinity. Come closer if you like," she suggests, with a small inviting smile. "Look your fill. Doubts or no, you are welcome." The great ruby at her throat glows with more than a mere reflection of fire.

Viserra hesitates, weighing her options for a moment. Physically, she is safe, she has her guards and her own prowess to fall back on. Spiritually, perhaps not. Though despite that concern she steps closer, coming to stand beside the other woman. She considers the flames, though she doesn't look for patterns, or really stare /into/ them so much as she feels them, leaning more on her sense of touch than sight. "Perhaps." She says distractedly, her attention having been caught almost completely by the flames. There is no denying the fire is different, likely even divine. Not a god she wishes to give her heart and soul to, but the new sensation is captivating. There is at least twice she has to catch herself before her hand reaches into the fire.

"Beautiful, is it not?" the priestess murmurs beside her, in a voice tender and understanding. She watches Princess Viserra watching the flames. "Our sacred fire… You feel it, don't you? I can see that," and there's perhaps a touch of admiration in her voice. "And yet not two years past," she sighs, troubled by the recollection, "the people of Oldtown in their fear, in the superstition whipped up amongst them by the grey septons of the Seven, extinguished the very fire which came before it. The people suffered, they suffered greatly, by that deed. It is the most precious of my tasks while I am in this city to see that our fires endure, and that this bastion of light at least remains… For the night is dark and full of terrors," and in her sweet and musical voice the words have the savour of liturgy and the candour of a promise.

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