Avaris

Beneath the Willow Tree

Apr 17th, 2021
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  1. Gurashi's melodic voice sings into your mind, "Ah, and you! *a sudden splash of pastel colors, like
  2. fireworks across the aethers* Welcome back and goodly morning!"
  3.  
  4. You tell Gurashi, The Heart's Friend, "[A benign amusement, a gentle whorl of bright light.] Thank
  5. you, Gurashi, and a good morning to you as well. You are ever exuberant, I have noticed. Where do
  6. you find the energy?"
  7.  
  8. Gurashi's melodic voice sings into your mind, "Ah ... the energy?"
  9.  
  10. You feel a slight tug within your chest and the air around you sparkles with motes of bright light.
  11.  
  12. Bizirik slinks in from the ether, clicking and thrumming softly.
  13.  
  14. You tell Gurashi, The Heart's Friend, "For your boundless enthusiasm and zest for life. You have a
  15. rare jo-."
  16.  
  17. Gurashi stares blankly into space.
  18.  
  19. Bright and clear, Gurashi, The Heart's Friend whispers, "...wh..."
  20.  
  21. Beads of sweat break out on Gurashi's face.
  22.  
  23. Suddenly panicked, Gurashi, The Heart's Friend asks, "Am somewheres where am not supposed to be?"
  24.  
  25. Gurashi trembles from head to toe, a single rippling shudder that raises their hair on end and
  26. causes them to curl their waving hands into nervous fists. "Was going to surprise!"
  27.  
  28. Avaris's antennae flick up in surprise, standing erect like curving banners of
  29. blood. Noticing Gurashi's identity, however, causes them to relax into loosely curling arcs. He
  30. holds up a placating hand, his tone gentle, "All are welcome here, Gurashi, be at ease."
  31.  
  32. Bright and clear, Gurashi, The Heart's Friend whispers, "Oh... O-K..." Slowly, their gaze darts left
  33. and right, examining their surrounds. "Where are we?"
  34.  
  35. Bizirik's head begins to droop. It opens its great maw and curls back its lips to allow its forked
  36. tongue to unfurl as it yawns before snapping its mouth shut.
  37.  
  38. Avaris leans his head to one side, a ripple of sparkling motes of bright blue motes
  39. spreading throughout the facets of his eyes. "Does it not seem familiar to you, Gurashi?"
  40.  
  41. Gurashi slowly relaxes, lowering their arms to their sides and taking a few steps this way and that,
  42. wide-eyed.
  43.  
  44. With a great sweep of its tail, Bizirik breaks off to the west.
  45.  
  46. Bizirik slinks in from the southeast, clicking and thrumming softly.
  47.  
  48. Gurashi stares blankly into space.
  49.  
  50. Quietly, Gurashi, The Heart's Friend says, "I do not often wander this way..."
  51.  
  52. Gurashi looks about wondrously, staring up at the kephera that towers overhead. "Is beautiful - you
  53. like it here??"
  54.  
  55. Avaris nods slightly, turning his head to look up at the trailing tendrils of the
  56. weeping willow that arc above him. He reaches up to brush his right pair of hands along their
  57. lightly swaying lengths, the gesture fond, almost tender. "Yes. Very much. It reminds me of my Lady.
  58. I find I can be at peace here, without feeling as if I am intruding upon Her Realm."
  59.  
  60. Gurashi too follows the kephera's gaze and reaching hands, admiring the fronds from their much
  61. shorter height. "It reminds me of Cheli," They chime as an afterthought, stepping over a visible
  62. root and coming to stop at the edge of the pond. "It is so pretty... Thank you for letting me drops
  63. in."
  64.  
  65. Abruptly, Gurashi, The Heart's Friend says to you, "I do not know where I get my energies from!
  66. Peoples comment on it lots - would share, if could! If could?"
  67.  
  68. Gurashi thrusts out a hand wielding a kafe-scented cookie, eyes wide. "Maybe is because eat lots of
  69. these."
  70.  
  71. Avaris lowers his gaze to look at Gurashi curiously, the crimson plumes of his
  72. antennae undulating as if caught in a languid current. "There is no need to thank me, Gurashi - I
  73. have no claim to this place, nor would I wish it. It is somewhere to feel close to Her, that all
  74. might come here and be soothed." Following Gurashi to the rim of the water, he tilts his chin down
  75. to study the still surface reflectively. "What of it reminds you of your daughter?"
  76.  
  77. Avaris accepts the cookie with a murmured thanks, though he carefully stows it
  78. within a pouch that hangs unobtrusively at the edge of his hip. "Perhaps so. Do try not to indulge
  79. in too many, yes?"
  80.  
  81. Gurashi crouches down at the edge of the water, hugging their knees as they look in the direction of
  82. the willow tree's trunk, admiring the fronds hanging far overhead. "She used to be a tree, when
  83. lived in the Forest," They murmur happily, swaying idly as they continue to embrace themselves,
  84. "just like this... my most favorite tree-wump-mine-child."
  85.  
  86. Gurashi nibbles on a mini kafe cookie topped with fresh raspberries.
  87.  
  88. Amused, Gurashi, The Heart's Friend says to you, "NEver eat so muchly to get sick, nope."
  89.  
  90. Avaris's compound eyes remain on Gurashi for a long moment before he repeats,
  91. slowly, "A...Tree." He turns to once again regard the willow, with a faintly cautious air, but
  92. shakes his head, as if dismissing some idea, before returning his focus to Gurashi. Settling down a
  93. polite distance from them, he crosses his legs beneath him and rests all four hands upon his knees,
  94. poised and dignified. "Your child has had an interesting path, it seems. Do you have...Many - How
  95. did you phrase it?" Carefully, in the manner of one repeating a foreign word, he recites, "Tree-wump-
  96. mine-childs?"
  97.  
  98. In a smooth harmony of buzzes, you say, "...Children? Forgive me, I am unused to your vernacular."
  99.  
  100. Quietly, as if to himself, Avaris murmurs, "Tree-wump-thine-childs?"
  101.  
  102. Gurashi continues to rock slightly in their spot, loosening their grasp slightly as their gaze turns
  103. to watch you settle in. "Her path has been bigly and interesting. Hard." They smile politely,
  104. suddenly no longer moving. "She is my only one, yes. My only mine-child. My most favoritest." They
  105. giggle at the attempts at addressing the not-present persons, bunching their shoulders. "Found each
  106. other, yes. Picked each others as family, when still lived in the Glomdoring."
  107.  
  108. The nearly serene manner in which Avaris holds himself alters subtly at the mention
  109. of the Glomdoring, an almost imperceptible tension creeping into his form, though his voice is as
  110. benign as before when he speaks. "I am glad for you both, to have found love, family, and acceptance
  111. in one another." A pause, and there is the slightest tightness in the multi-layered harmony of his
  112. voice, a strained note. "Especially in...That place."
  113.  
  114. Returning their attention to the water's edge, Gurashi, The Heart's Friend says, "You can find loves
  115. anywheres," They hum, returning to their minute rocking, "Even in Glomdoring, or the Hives. Is
  116. amazing like that."
  117.  
  118. Avaris's chin lowers in a small nod of agreement, the thick ruff of pristine white
  119. fluff drifting gently in the breeze. "You can. It is easier, in some places. There are places,
  120. people, cultures and atmospheres where love struggles to take root, and can grow...Stunted,
  121. misshapen."
  122.  
  123. Black, starry mist coalesces into Dusan, the coruscant as he gives a cat of black ink to Gurashi
  124. before disappearing again.
  125.  
  126. Gurashi nods and smiles, bobbing their head happily. "But it is still there," They whisper,
  127. accepting the cat before it can touch the water, cradling the inky creature close to their chest and
  128. allowing it to stain their shirt. "Mm. Mine-child mentioned that she went with you to visit the
  129. Glomdoring, with Mixter Esei? Is so? She made it sound like it was not the bestest of times..."
  130.  
  131. Gurashi pets a cat of black ink ingratiatingly.
  132.  
  133. Avaris watches the delivery of the cat without a readily discernible expression,
  134. still and composed as a statue carved from polished marble. "We ventured there, yes." The flowing
  135. lines of his antennae shift out and down, curling upwards faintly. "It was not a pleasant
  136. experience. I am glad, however, to have had it - It confirmed my suspicions."
  137.  
  138. Trailing in a bone-chilling fog, Murkrow, the ghost-feathered magpie flies in from the west.
  139.  
  140. Cheliyi stares blankly into space.
  141.  
  142. Gurashi strokes the inky beast along her spine, glancing up towards Cheliyi. They do not rise,
  143. lifting a hand instead to wave in greeting.
  144.  
  145. Pointing at the tree, Gurashi, The Heart's Friend says, "Mine-child, look. It is a you-tree."
  146.  
  147. Avaris likewise remains seated, instead inclining his head towards Cheliyi
  148. courteously, his chin sinking deeply into the dense fluff of his luxurious mane.
  149.  
  150. Cheliyi pauses, inclining her head politely to you before glancing up at the willow. She the turns
  151. her gaze across the entire area, suddenly looking deeply confused.
  152.  
  153. Gurashi again hugs their knees, hand scratching a cat of black ink's head as they watch Cheliyi's
  154. reaction, then your. "Suspicions?"
  155.  
  156. Avaris's right antenna twitches towards Gurashi as they speaks. "Indeed. Of the
  157. Wyrd, and those it has laid claim to." Brushing the sharp edge of a chitinous thumb along his knee,
  158. he continues, in a diplomatic fashion, "Perhaps this is not the best subject to discuss. I would not
  159. wish to upset either of you."
  160.  
  161. Gurashi's gaze softens as they smile at you.
  162.  
  163. Cheliyi's frills twitch, the mugwump startled out of her thoughts. She opens her mouth, and then
  164. closes it with pursed lips. Her eyes flick to Gurashi, and she sighs. "Have told you, Wyrd is not
  165. like some sort of evil force. Is just nature. Not like it claims anyone unwillinglies or
  166. somethings."
  167.  
  168. Somewhere between embarrassed and amused, Gurashi, The Heart's Friend says, "Y-yeah, Mixter Esei
  169. mentioned they may not have done bestest jobs explaining it in the nicest of ways, mm."
  170.  
  171. Dryly, Cheliyi, Whisperer of Squids says, "They just kept petting the Wyrdling super weirdly, would
  172. not stop trying to spook."
  173.  
  174. Gurashi looks at Cheliyi, frowning as their expression fills with concern.
  175.  
  176. Rather than respond, Avaris turns his head from Cheliyi, to Gurashi, whom he
  177. regards levelly. "She is your child, Gurashi. It is not my place to correct her. Your opinion on
  178. this?"
  179.  
  180. Cheliyi raises an eyebrow questioningly.
  181.  
  182. Softer, no longer rocking in place, Gurashi, The Heart's Friend says, "...ah - just...you seemed...
  183. ill-at-ease during the Domoths, about Mister Caleb and his blessing from Her."
  184.  
  185. Gurashi quietly draws affectionate little circles on the top of a cat of black ink's head as they
  186. pet the inky cat resting in their lap. "Friends, allies..."
  187.  
  188. Avaris watches Gurashi for a moment in silence, before he nods slowly. "That is one
  189. manner in which to phrase it. He is misguided in believing that the Wyrd is not tainted, and that
  190. our Lady would look kindly upon having such a potent trace of that One in Her Realm." A slight
  191. pause, and he responds, "Do you really believe them to be your friends, in truth?"
  192.  
  193. Gurashi's eyes widen, and for a moment, they glance at Cheliyi, pausing in their petting.
  194.  
  195. At last, Gurashi nods very assuredly, chewing on their lower lip. "I do."
  196.  
  197. Cheliyi's frills twitch, and she wordlessly climbs up into the willow's branches with effortless
  198. ease. The mugwump settles on a larger bough, her tail wrapping in place to keep her steady as she
  199. watches the horizon.
  200.  
  201. Their voice rising a bit more hopefully, Gurashi, The Heart's Friend says to you, "...there are
  202. goodly peoples... that live all -over-. Even in not so goodly places." They begin to rock again,
  203. ever-so-slightly. "Alliances between organizations change... feels better staying open to
  204. friendships than to preemptively lock out...mm."
  205.  
  206. Gurashi squishes their cheek on their shoulder, thoughtfully watching Cheliyi as she begins to
  207. ascend the willow tree. "Caaareful," They call out.
  208.  
  209. At Gurashi's answer, Avaris's gaze upon them turns sorrowful, the hue of his eyes
  210. deepening to a deep blue. "Can you tell me, truthfully, without a trace of doubt in your good heart,
  211. that you trust them? That they have not - will not - hurt you, or those you care for? You left for a
  212. reason, I imagine."
  213.  
  214. With rumbles that shake reality, a Distant Timequake ends with a vision of the Alabaster Road upon
  215. the firmament. Time flows smoothly once more.
  216.  
  217. Cheliyi smiles wryly down from her perch, murmuring, " Who lived in trees?" before her smile falters
  218. and fades. Still, she does not respond, inclining her head to Gurashi as if to cede them the floor.
  219.  
  220. Cheliyi grimaces, turning her gaze skyward.
  221.  
  222. Gurashi slowly bobs their head side to side, rocking so far they almost teeter over. They quickly
  223. right themselves, turning in their spot, the stones grating beneath them as they do so, smiling.
  224. "...mmm, mm, they might."
  225.  
  226. Hopefully, Gurashi, The Heart's Friend says to you, "Would rather try to be friends, firstly."
  227.  
  228. In a sing-song voice, Gurashi, The Heart's Friend says, "'The Light helps to offsets the Shadow. And
  229. Shadow helps give depths to the Light.'"
  230.  
  231. Avaris's lower right hand reaches out as if to steady Gurashi before they falls
  232. prey to gravity, but withdraws once they steadies unaided. He replaces the hand upon his knee, and
  233. turns his head to gaze out across the pond, quiet. "The Shadow corrupts, Gurashi. The Light
  234. purifies. I admire you a great deal, for the depth and intensity of the kindness, the love, and
  235. generosity that you hold in your heart." He exhales, the sounds oddly layered, as if several people
  236. have sighed at once. "But I fear for you, and for Cheliyi."
  237.  
  238. Gurashi tilts their head, gaze softening as they frown.
  239.  
  240. Gurashi blushes furiously.
  241.  
  242. Pursing their lips, Gurashi, The Heart's Friend says, "Oh."
  243.  
  244. Gurashi dramatically slumps forward, practically squishing the cat in their lap, causing a muffled
  245. meow to squeak out. "Please do not be afeared for uuuusss," They insist, shimmying once before
  246. finally uncurling and sitting upright again. "We are both strongly!"
  247.  
  248. Bizirik, the leothin gives Gurashi the once-over, eyeing them suspiciously.
  249.  
  250. Sincerely as they flex their arms awkwardly at their sides, face still beet-red, Gurashi, The
  251. Heart's Friend says, "Is true!"
  252.  
  253. A wry smile spreads across Cheliyi's face.
  254.  
  255. Like a gentle ripple in a crystalline pool, Cheliyi, Whisperer of Squids says, "Dad is like a sun.
  256. Always has been, honestlys."
  257.  
  258. Gurashi stares blankly into space.
  259.  
  260. Gurashi blushes furiously.
  261.  
  262. Glancing at them fondly, Cheliyi, Whisperer of Squids says, "They will be fine."
  263.  
  264. In contrast to the animated fashion in which Gurashi acts, Avaris remains still as
  265. the surface of the pond before him - a reflective mirror of serene water, undisturbed. "The mighty
  266. oak is strong, also. Yet it can choke and die, as a consequence of a single, insidious vine wrapping
  267. about it, killing it one day at a time, without it even noticing." He does not turn to look at
  268. Gurashi as he speaks, and there is no anger in his voice, no judgement - simply calm, and patient.
  269. "Perhaps it even thinks the vine a friend. An ally."
  270.  
  271. You think to yourself: A deep and persistent sorrow, for these kind and fine-natured souls. "They
  272. are so good, and warm of heart, and yet..."
  273.  
  274. Cheliyi peers at you unscrupulously.
  275.  
  276. Gurashi withers further in their spot, their arms unflexing and instead curling around their head.
  277. They drag their hands down their face, also staring at the water, nose wrinkled as they regard their
  278. ever-shifting reflection.
  279.  
  280. Quietly, Gurashi, The Heart's Friend says, "Is why've been training with Even-Bladed's Captain,
  281. yes... protect selfs, family, friends. Be friends - a smart friends."
  282.  
  283. Gurashi hums softly to themself.
  284.  
  285. Turning, at last, Avaris places a hand upon Gurashi's shoulder - The touch solid
  286. and firm, reassuring despite the unyielding nature of the chitinous plating. "As I said - I have no
  287. wish to upset you, or your child. If this is too hard for you to speak of, please - Do not persist.
  288. We can speak of lighter, easier matters."
  289.  
  290. Softly, Cheliyi, Whisperer of Squids says, "Mister Avaris, I appreciate your worry, I truly do. But
  291. my father is in no need of pity or sorrow. We do have problems with the Wyrd, and we have been hurt.
  292. But we are still here in Celests, making our own choices. We are fine."
  293.  
  294. Like a gentle ripple in a crystalline pool, Cheliyi, Whisperer of Squids says, "We are fond of home,
  295. and we miss it sometimes. We even still have threads, linking us back. But do not mistake that for
  296. blind loyalty or love."
  297.  
  298. Gurashi looks down at the hand on their shoulder, then up at the kephera, eyes shiny, expression
  299. tired. They start to say more, but Cheliyi beats them to it, causing them to look back at the water.
  300.  
  301. You have emoted: Avaris does not turn to address Cheliyi, his own voice quiet, but unfaltering. "Do
  302. not mistake my sorrow for pity. Nor, I ask you, should you seek to instruct me what or who is worthy
  303. of my feeling sadness. Your father hurts - That much is clear. I cannot heal that which wounds him,
  304. nor can I clear the shadow from your eyes." He gives Gurashi's shoulder a squeeze, then withdraws
  305. his hand once more. "But that does not mean I will not try."
  306.  
  307. At last, Gurashi, The Heart's Friend says, "Mister Caleb's nice."
  308.  
  309. Avaris dips his head in ready agreement. "He is."
  310.  
  311. Cheliyi stares at you for a long, considering pause. Her gaze then flicks I Gurashi, knitted brow
  312. softening ever so slightly. Without another word, she offers a single nod, returning her gaze
  313. outwards.
  314.  
  315. Gurashi smiles a little broader, looking towards you again, holding up their arms. "Have you ever
  316. seen my Shofets before? The Thousandfolds? They are the Resin Childs, right now. Always changing
  317. shapes, like me," They ramble on excitedly. "Even more than me, I bet!"
  318.  
  319. Muginn, the ghost-feathered magpie flops himself into Bizirik, the leothin's arms.
  320.  
  321. You have emoted: The flowing banners of Avaris's antennae flick towards Gurashi at this abrupt shift
  322. in topic, turning his smooth face to look curiously upon Gurashi. "Pardon, your Shofets? I do not
  323. know of these resin children, or the thousandfolds." He pauses, and then ventures, "Are they...A
  324. parent? Or..A pet?"
  325.  
  326. Gurashi's eyes light up as they smile.
  327.  
  328. You think to yourself: "Not a child, at least - They have but one."
  329.  
  330. Bizirik, the leothin jumps slightly as the magpie flops onto it, shaking out its head and giving the
  331. bird a few cautious sniffs.
  332.  
  333. Gurashi bunches their shoulders, folding their hands over their chest, then thrusting out both hands
  334. to show off both mercurial Mysraian prayer beads and a shifting, living poppy of burgundy petals in
  335. tandem. "The Thousandfolds - They are my Divines, yes. Like you follow in the Lady Empyreal's
  336. footsteps, am one of Theirs'es!" They beam, practically glowing with pride.
  337.  
  338. Muginn, the ghost-feathered magpie gives Bizirik, the leothin a friendly cuddle.
  339.  
  340. Rambling on, their arms still extended, Gurashi, The Heart's Friend says to you, "Right now, Their
  341. shapes is the Resin Child, yes. Like how I am a human, instead of a kephera, or a trill, or tae'dae,
  342. yus."
  343.  
  344. Bright and clear, Gurashi, The Heart's Friend says, "But...with more meaning...think?"
  345.  
  346. Gurashi ponders the situation.
  347.  
  348. You think to yourself: Sudden realisation is swiftly followed by faintly amused chagrin.
  349.  
  350. Bizirik, the leothin snuffles at the magpie curiously, its tail slapping the ground once, twice,
  351. then raising curiously. It looks towards the willow tree and the mugwump perched within its
  352. branches, snorting.
  353.  
  354. Avaris lowers his head apologetically. "Forgive me - I was not aware. I am not as
  355. familiar with the myriad epithets that foreign Divine possess, as I perhaps should be." He leans
  356. slightly towards Gurashi, studying the beads and the peculiar poppy with evident interest.
  357. "Fascinating. I suspect, from your comments, and these tokens, that They are a mercurial Divine?
  358. What is the significance of the Resin Child form?"
  359.  
  360. Muginn, the ghost-feathered magpie shakes his head shifting in place as he shoulders his wings. The
  361. magpie struts up to the trunk of said tree, before jerking his head toward it as if to beckon to
  362. Bizitik.
  363.  
  364. Gurashi turns over their arm, watching as the petals of the bloom change before their very eyes,
  365. shifting from burgundy into burnished bronze. "That is the best part," They giggle, beaming with
  366. pride, "I am not one-hundred percent certains! Am still learning. Have never seen Her before! The
  367. Resin Child. But She lives like a most beautiful song, right here," They swoon, curling their right
  368. hand inward and patting themselves over the heart. "I could listen to Her sing all day..." They
  369. trail off, glancing down at their shifting reflection in the water.
  370.  
  371. Gurashi looks suddenly to you, face lighting up as they smile brightly.
  372.  
  373. Avaris watches the shifting hues of the petals quietly, lifting his upper right
  374. hand to absently coil a thick tuft of fluff about his index finger. "That is a very fine thing,
  375. indeed." Leaning back to his original, upright posture, he nods seriously, shifting all four of his
  376. hands to cover the glossy, armoured surface of his chest, over his heart. When he speaks, the
  377. harmonious blend of tones and pitches that make up his voice are wistful, reverent, and endlessly
  378. fond. "Yes. The Lady's light resides in my heart, as well. I never feel as if I am parted from Her,
  379. in truth. Perhaps an indulgence, on my behalf, as I am so new to the Order, but..."
  380.  
  381. Avaris lifts his shoulders in a slow shrug, lowering his hands to his knees. "Such
  382. is the effect Divinity has upon us."
  383.  
  384. The ghost of a smile passes fleetingly across Cheliyi's lips.
  385.  
  386. Avaris gestures at Gurashi with a gentle, circular wave of a hand. "Tell me more of
  387. this...Shofets. What do They value? What are Their tenets?"
  388.  
  389. Kindly, Gurashi, The Heart's Friend says to you, "You are lucky to have found Someone so soonly
  390. after stepping through the Portal! I did not find the Shofets until..." They laugh, "my ...I, I was
  391. old!"
  392.  
  393. Bizirik, the leothin gives Muginn, the ghost-feathered magpie another good sniff, then suddenly
  394. sneezes, shaking out its head, rolling over, so far that it half-splashes into the water, tail
  395. lifting.
  396.  
  397. Muginn, the ghost-feathered magpie freezes in place, covered in leothin snot.
  398.  
  399. Muginn, the ghost-feathered magpie stares blankly into space.
  400.  
  401. Bizirik, the leothin grins smugly.
  402.  
  403. Gurashi's gaze softens as they smile at a shifting, living poppy of bronze petals.
  404.  
  405. Avaris nods firmly. "I am blessed to have found Her, and to have met Her, so
  406. young."
  407.  
  408. Muginn, the ghost-feathered magpie immediately dives into the water after Bizitik, warbling
  409. indignantly as he cleans his feathers.
  410.  
  411. Gurashi looks down, noticing the distinct lack of the inky black cat, once again hugging their knees
  412. comfortably, rocking side to side. "And, you are not wrong, and it is not indulgent. When you join
  413. Their Orders, then They ARE with you. The Divines are strongly like that. Powerfuls." A pause.
  414. "Always watching, listening even, if They want! Is pretty neat. Reassuring. Scary sometimes."
  415.  
  416. Cheliyi glances askance.
  417.  
  418. Bizirik, the leothin snorts, grinning smugly still at the magpie it has just sneezed upon, watching
  419. the creature preen and clean.
  420.  
  421. In a rush of summery warmth, the rich smell of grasses and flowers rises around Cheliyi in a sultry
  422. wind. Briefly, her face is dappled with patterns of sunlight through waving grasses.
  423.  
  424. Gurashi ponders the situation.
  425.  
  426. Muginn, the ghost-feathered magpie narrows his eyes at Bizirik, the leothin in an unnerving manner.
  427.  
  428. Softly, Gurashi, The Heart's Friend says, "The Shofets..."
  429.  
  430. Muginn, the ghost-feathered magpie glomps Bizirik, the leothin playfully, knocking her over in his
  431. enthusiasm.
  432.  
  433. Correcting themselves, Gurashi, The Heart's Friend says, "The Thousandfold..."
  434.  
  435. Avaris tilts his head to his left, considering. "I do not believe that the
  436. attention of your chosen Divine should ever be frightening. It is a comfort, to know They watch over
  437. you, benign and loving. Or, it should be, at least." This said, he lapses into silence, listening to
  438. Gurashi attentively.
  439.  
  440. Quickly, Gurashi, The Heart's Friend says, "Oh! No no, MY dearest Divines does not scare me, no. But
  441. other Ones do sometimes," They clarify, blushing, "haha! Sorry, did not mean to confuse, uh..."
  442.  
  443. Blurting out, Gurashi, The Heart's Friend says, "Love! And Will!"
  444.  
  445. Avaris nods in an approving fashion. "Love is a fine concept to champion, and
  446. Will."
  447.  
  448. You think to yourself: "So long as they are not used against anyone, or to mislead and corrupt. Such
  449. can be done all too easily, sadly."
  450.  
  451. Gurashi covers their face, flustered, then flails and wiggles excitedly, sitting up straight. "'When
  452. you are Beloved, you can do anything you want, so long as it is done in Love', yes! Is important, to
  453. love," They recite, shutting their eyes and inhaling happily. "It is important not to let others
  454. impose their Wills upon you, and to not impose yours on others, if can help it."
  455.  
  456. Cheliyi nods her head at Gurashi.
  457.  
  458. Cheliyi stares blankly into space.
  459.  
  460. Gurashi looks at Cheliyi, face lighting up as they smile brightly at her.
  461.  
  462. Cheliyi openly laughs, her frills resonating with joy as the occasional squeak escapes her.
  463.  
  464. Avaris is less immediate in his response to this, his antennae curling down and
  465. jutting forward in a manner oddly reminiscent of horns. At length, he remarks, "I see. That
  466. seems...Perilously easy to abuse, as a concept. There have been truly terrible things done, in the
  467. name of love."
  468.  
  469. Gurashi nods their head emphatically.
  470.  
  471. Cheliyi hops down from the tree with a soft thump, bowing hastily. "Must go out the pearl aways.Be
  472. well, yes.
  473.  
  474. Looking down, Gurashi, The Heart's Friend says, "They have many Paths, yes. Many Aspects, as
  475. mer..cu...rrrrial, as Thems. So many colors and lessons They teach. Is important to be a goodly
  476. persons, yes." Proudly they chime, "Am a student of Saffrons, yes. Orange, like me!"
  477.  
  478. Bright and clear, Gurashi, The Heart's Friend says to Cheliyi, "Go go go!"
  479.  
  480. Gurashi flails about helplessly.
  481.  
  482. Avaris turns at the noise to check upon Cheliyi, nodding at her as she
  483. speaks. "Go well."
  484.  
  485. A glorious beam of light shoots out over New Celest.
  486.  
  487. Turning back around just as quickly, Gurashi, The Heart's Friend says to you, "And yes - takes lots
  488. of practice! To be balanced. As a Saffrons, uhm, uhm, -I- am learning how to make the world a better
  489. place, by choosing to do -kindly- things, yes. Loves begets more loves, and kindnesses, and..."
  490.  
  491. Gurashi trails off, looking up. "Oh! She did it."
  492.  
  493. Gurashi beams broadly.
  494.  
  495. Avaris's attention shifts to the effulgent lance of light that pierces the
  496. firmament, nodding before he returns his attention to Gurashi - though he faces out across the pond
  497. still. "In an ideal world, yes, that would be the case. Often, alas, such fine qualities are taken
  498. advantage of, and abused. Your Divine seems a gentle sort, thusfar. Is that so?"
  499.  
  500. Gurashi puffs their cheeks and shakes their head. "Well, They are often wonderfully gentle, at least
  501. what I have seen! But, not all the time, no. They are also a great warrior." They cant their head,
  502. "Have been in bigly wars, before, even, so as tough as need to..." Suddenly, they perk up, blinking
  503. twice in recognition.
  504.  
  505. The feathered curve of Avaris's right antenna shifts towards Gurashi as they trails
  506. off. "Is all well?"
  507.  
  508. Gurashi shakes out their head, returning their attention to you with a smile. "Voices on the
  509. aethers, yes, fellow Beloveds..." Happily they bob their head side to side. "Did you know, Your Lady
  510. is going to be helping the Beloved soonly - helping cure our sweetly Beloved Priest of their
  511. afflictions, yes! Isn't that kindly of Her?" They hum. "Yes, all is well."
  512.  
  513. Gurashi tilts their head curiously.
  514.  
  515. Gurashi seems to be listening curiously again, head canted slightly to the side like an animal tuned
  516. in to an unseen sound.
  517.  
  518. Cheliyi shuffles back in, settling down next to Gurashi.
  519.  
  520. Avaris lets out a soft, "Ah." of comprehension. At the remark about his Lady, he
  521. turns, antennae snapping upward to vibrating attention, his eyes bright and interested. "Indeed? I
  522. was not aware of such, no. Your Priest will be in the very best of hands - She is a superb healer.
  523. If She cannot cure what ails them, then none can. All shall be well, I expect."
  524.  
  525. Avaris dips his head in greeting to Cheliyi.
  526.  
  527. Cheliyi's mauve frills twitch to some errant sound.
  528.  
  529. Comprehension flashes across Cheliyi's face.
  530.  
  531. Gurashi suddenly bolts upright, dusting off first the front, then butt of their pants. "Yes, yes!
  532. She is the bestliest of healers, bet is what the Most Beloved thinks too, is why asked Her, am so
  533. SORRY but," They suddenly bow at the waist, frantically pointing at the poppy on their wrist. "I
  534. have to go attend to a thing!"
  535.  
  536. Like a gentle ripple in a crystalline pool, Cheliyi, Whisperer of Squids says, "Ah, Mixter Aschwar?
  537. Hope they are doing okay with the project, know it is hard work."
  538.  
  539. Cheliyi blinks.
  540.  
  541. Bright and clear, Gurashi, The Heart's Friend says, "I must...see a thing? And be clever." They hum.
  542. "I do not think it will take forever?"
  543.  
  544. Cheliyi openly laughs, her frills resonating with joy as the occasional squeak escapes her.
  545.  
  546. Gurashi throws back their head as they laugh.
  547.  
  548. Cheliyi gives Gurashi a friendly squeeze.
  549.  
  550. Bright and clear, Gurashi, The Heart's Friend says, "A newly additions! To Their temples? Beloved
  551. Sulwh was singing to the mothies and said hello~ so I must as well!"
  552.  
  553. Gurashi grasps a vibrant mandolin of songbirds and stars close to their heart, eyes wide.
  554.  
  555. Cheliyi hums softly, her mauve frills vibrating with song.
  556.  
  557. Avaris lifts a hand in farewell. "Ah, do not let me keep you. I wish you well, and
  558. thank you for the company."
  559.  
  560. Like a gentle ripple in a crystalline pool, Cheliyi, Whisperer of Squids says, "Go, go. Say hi to
  561. them and maybe Them for me!"
  562.  
  563. Cheerily, Gurashi, The Heart's Friend says, "We will talk more, we will!"
  564.  
  565. Gurashi beams broadly at you.
  566.  
  567. Gurashi reaches out, pulling Cheliyi into a tight embrace.
  568.  
  569. Gurashi flails about helplessly.
  570.  
  571. Bright and clear, Gurashi, The Heart's Friend exclaims, "Stay goodly! Stay kind!"
  572.  
  573. Gurashi flails about helplessly.
  574.  
  575. Cheliyi watches after them fondly, shaking her head.
  576.  
  577. Cheliyi gives a cinnamon donut sprinkled with crushed nuts to you.
  578.  
  579. The sun reaches the zenith of the firmament, pausing in his quest to allow the land to bask in his
  580. shining golden rays.
  581.  
  582. Cheliyi's mauve frills twitch to some errant sound.
  583.  
  584. Cheliyi winces in pain.
  585.  
  586. Avaris accepts to donut with a gracious nod of his head, and moves to stow it
  587. within the pouch that is secured to his hip - only to be foiled by the cookies and assorted other
  588. goods that bulge outward. He pauses, uttering a thoughtful sound, then simply elects to hold onto
  589. the donut.
  590.  
  591. In a smooth harmony of buzzes, you ask Cheliyi, "Are you alright?"
  592.  
  593. Cheliyi nods her head at you.
  594.  
  595. Like a gentle ripple in a crystalline pool, Cheliyi, Whisperer of Squids says, "Mixter Yilan just
  596. had an unfortunate run in on the astral planes. Was a sympathy wince."
  597.  
  598. Comprehension flashes across your face.
  599.  
  600. In a smooth harmony of buzzes, you ask Cheliyi, "Do you also follow the Thousandfold, as your father
  601. does?"
  602.  
  603. The ghost of a smile passes fleetingly across Cheliyi's lips.
  604.  
  605. Like a gentle ripple in a crystalline pool, Cheliyi, Whisperer of Squids says, "I do not. They are
  606. very lovely, very kind. But... well. Have not devoted myself to another Order."
  607.  
  608. Avaris tilts his head to one side, curious. "Another?"
  609.  
  610. Cheliyi opens her mouth as if to say something, but pauses.
  611.  
  612. Slowly, Cheliyi, Whisperer of Squids says, "Yes. As I lived in Glomdorings, followed one of the
  613. Pantheon there. Lord Silent."
  614.  
  615. Avaris is silent for a long moment, before he eventually utters a soft, "Ah."
  616.  
  617. In a magnificent attempt at diplomacy, Avaris inquires, somewhat stiffly, "And was
  618. that...Fulfilling?"
  619.  
  620. Cheliyi's left hand moves to rub at a peculiarly bare part of her right forearm, lacking in any of
  621. the usual adornment of her wrists. "Left Glomdoring, left Him. Not exactly... well. Had a hard time
  622. trusting anythings, even if the world was reals. Am getting better about it, but I have not..."
  623.  
  624. Cheliyi waves her hand dismissively.
  625.  
  626. Like a gentle ripple in a crystalline pool, Cheliyi, Whisperer of Squids says, "Is why I am not in
  627. an Order, not in a Guild. Taking it slows."
  628.  
  629. Cheliyi caresses a gentle water lily brooch gently.
  630.  
  631. Softly, Cheliyi, Whisperer of Squids says, "Dad and Mister Dad were the only ones who seemed real,
  632. for a time. Helped anchor me. But beyond that... well. Like I said. Taking it slows."
  633.  
  634. If Avaris's gaze follows the motion of Cheliyi's hand, there is no readily
  635. detectable way to truly tell, as the huge, inverted teardrops of his compound eyes face ever towards
  636. the stillness of the pond. "That is wise, I think. Rushing into such important decisions rarely pans
  637. out well."
  638.  
  639. Faintly bitter, Cheliyi, Whisperer of Squids says, "Indeed. I did learn quite a bit, from His
  640. teachings. To understand silence, to work for bettering yourself... but, some things I could not
  641. follow, not truly."
  642.  
  643. In a smooth harmony of buzzes, you say, "I am not surprised. They seem a harsh lot, the Divine of
  644. that place."
  645.  
  646. The ghost of a smile passes fleetingly across Cheliyi's lips.
  647.  
  648. Avaris rises gracefully to stand, donut still held securely in hand. "If you will
  649. excuse me, Cheliyi, I feel I must rest. I will return later this month, but if you are not present,
  650. I wish you well."
  651.  
  652. Cheliyi inclines her head politely to you.
  653.  
  654. Like a gentle ripple in a crystalline pool, Cheliyi, Whisperer of Squids says, "Be well, Mister
  655. Avaris."
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