|Summary:||Marsei and Camillo both happen to seek prayer at the sept. Camillo has news about Loryn and Miranda.|
|Date:||January 9th, 2017|
Starry Sept — Starry Street
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 black 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.
As the servant who sets schedules, it is not such a difficulty to find some time away from the toil. Today he is choosing to spend it at prayer, kneeling at the foot of the Maiden statue. He often kneels before the Stranger or the Crone, so today is perhaps a departure.
Ever since Marsei stopped attending morning prayer with Septa Leire some months back, the lady's visits to the Starry Sept for personal prayer have been more sporadic; not at all less, but at different times upon different days. It is one such time this very moment when her need for prayer seems to overlap with that of a familiar servant. She does not notice him at first; she makes her way toward the array of altars, smiling and ducking her head down as a few worshippers pass her on their way out. Candle in hand, she kneels beneath her chosen face of the Seven. The lady has donned a light rose-coloured hooded cloak against the cool fall air; she sweeps the softly lined hood back to nestle over her hair and shoulders, and it is only then that she catches sight of Camillo.
Only she isn't certain, at first, and finds herself watching him. First, to be sure her eyes don't deceive, and then wonder. It should come as no surprise that Marsei's statue of choice is that of the merciful Mother, but Camillo's choice of the Maiden beckons her curiosity. She tries not to stare — not to look at all, really, to intrude upon private communion between man and deity — yet cannot quite help it while she thinks he hasn't noticed.
Camillo seems to pray as sincerely as ever, knelt directly on the stone floor with his head lowered and his hands clasped. At length, he gets to his feet—a little creakiness in the knees a reminder that he is no longer among the young men. He sees Lady Marsei when he turns and bows his head to her.
Marsei again looks up to acknowledge Camillo (as though she hadn't already noticed) with a smile and bow of her own head, full of reverence for their shared surroundings. Rather than spend her prayer time watching someone else, her attention has turned to the altar in front of her, arranging the candle and cupping her hand around the flame protectively to fend off a stray breeze. Her own prayer is silent and devoted, and though her face is mostly tranquil, it is a look of devotion, not longing for an answer, as some prayers. Though quite capable of marathon prayers, she does not remain, head bowed, at great length. She looks back after a time, preparing to rise, seeking Camillo and hoping he lingers. "Seven blessings, Camillo," she greets, kind voice softened to a further hush in the sept. "I hope you find what you are looking for," she says - not without a hint of question.
Camillo does stay behind, though he gives Marsei the space to pray. When she looks for him, he approaches, posture as respectful of the holiness of the place as her voice is. "Just to speak to the gods is a comfort," he says softly. "Sometimes I think it is only they who will know if they have given us what we ask."
Marsei agrees with a soft smile. "And there are times," she says as she starts to rise, "they are clearer than other times. But a comfort all the same." She rises from her kneel slowly but with ease; there is no creak of knees, but a rustle, papery, from within her hooded garment. A small scroll tumbles from an inner pocket, and she swipes it swiftly from the polished sept floor on her way up. Small, but too heavy to be carried by raven, the parchment is pressed with dried flowers. "It is somewhat of a rare thing to see a man at the foot of the Maiden," she ventures, though by the tone of her voice, she seems warmed by the notion, in a manner.
Camillo watches the scroll fall to the floor, watches Marsei pick it up, but then pretends for the time being that he has seen nothing. Instead, he answers what Marsei has posed to him. "Perhaps I am wrong, my lady," he says in his usual humble manner, "But…I thought…if any can grant a certain…purity, can…appreciate what is good about one's path or…help to keep one's path to what is good and pure and right by the Seven, it should be the Maiden. Though of course I am not so close to Her as you, my lady."
"Quite so," Marsei says approvingly — knowingly, having come to the same conclusion herself. She looks from Camillo to the statue of the Maiden, further heartened by the logic. She holds the little scroll, almost hidden in her hands, as though she, too, ignores its existence for the time being. "I have gone to Her myself on many an occasion for the same… well," she smiles, her voice lightening with a hint of a gentle laugh. "I'm sure our reasons must differ, but … for you to have thought of the Maiden's guidance at all, it shows your heart looks to the right path."
Camillo bows his head at Marsei's kind confidence. "I hope that is right, my lady," Camillo says. "I hope She wil smile upon me if I come with a sincere heart." He lifts his head and ventures a smile in Marsei's direction. "You know the Lady Miranda now married to Ser Loryn Tyrell, do you not, my lady?"
A glimmer of curiosity — paired with distinct concern — shines in the lady's eyes as she regards Camillo, perhaps in light of one of their recent conversations in the library, but she does not voice her query over his path out loud. Only in part because she's surprised by his question about Lady Miranda. "I do," she answers cheerily. "In fact, I had a conversation with her…" she glances a short distance from where they stand, "Right about there, not terribly long before she…" Her voice nearly takes a turn from quietly upbeat, but stays on track after that distracted little pause. "… left the sept. She's a darling."
"I understand that they are to celebrate a blessing from the Mother, my lady," Camillo says, passing on the gossip quietly, but certainly not unkindly in tone.
"Oh!" Marsei's hands clasp together — not without care toward the flowery scroll — in sincere delight. "That is a blessing!" she exclaims, though her quieted voice carries it away half in a whisper. "And you've heard before me? I wonder if there is anything you don't have your ear to," she tells Camillo in good humour, her smile quirking upward.
Camillo smiles a little. "I happened to overhear as Ser Loryn was announcing that the child would one day rule this land," Camillo says with a note of humor. "I think he is quite carried away in his pride."
A soft laugh escapes Marsei fuller, a musical little sound that carries through the grand dome they stand in. She looks up at the statue of the Mother from whence this blessing came. "He may well be right, if Lady Miranda has a son." It takes a moment for her to realize, caught up in staring at the Mother, what she's said. She gives Camillo a smile that edges on mischief, a sparkle in her eye, and, with an airy pointing gesture, says, "But don't tell anyone I said so."
Camillo tilts his head a little at the remark, but when Marsei makes that request, he smiles back and the look is true assurance. "Of course not, my lady," he replies.
"It does seem to be a season of change," Marsei says more somberly — in comparison, at least, to a moment ago — as her gaze is drawn back to the statue above which her candle still burns. "I hope and pray it is one without too much turmoil."
Camillo's gaze flickers downwards briefly at the reminder, and he nods. "Do you think…many people will go hungry this winter?"
"They should have enough stored away, should they not? With what was left out for them, during the winter traditions…" The lady's optimism reigns, though it is not without question; she's aware that she may not know best when it comes to the reality faced by those who do not live in a rich, protected tower. She heard well enough when Camillo told her about the woes of his northern friend's village. "I wonder if the Citadel knows how hard the winter will be."
"In Oldtown, my lady?" Camillo asks, then he nods slowly. "Perhaps. Many of them. Though…the old, the sick, the disgraced…they are not always cared for." He looks up. "I should like to know anything you hear from the Citadel, my lady."
Marsei nods her agreement. "In times of need there is always the hospitality of the sept." Except, perhaps, in the case of the disgraced; she does not quite pause to consider that. "I believe Lady Miranda still looks in on the orphans. I expect they will need more aid than ever as it gets colder…" She frowns a little, but her lingering gaze upon the statue of the Mother does not let the expression last long. "I will help, if I can. The people of Oldtown should not suffer while we are safe in the tower."
Camillo nods gently. "The more care taken of the people, the stronger the city will be, and the more the people will love its leaders," he agrees. "Now I'm afraid it is time for me to be back to my tasks, my lady, but I hope we can talk again soon, and you can tell me what news the Citadel has."