Avaris

Getting Acquainted

Apr 28th, 2021
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  1. Soothing white light briefly fills your vision, fading to reveal a sidereal path to the Font of
  2. Fortitude outlined in bright, glittering starlight.
  3.  
  4. The Font of Fortitude.
  5. Cold, argent light filters through this chamber, which is upheld by stark white pillars illuminated
  6. by starry torchlight. The frescoes painted upon this water-filled chamber are haunting in their
  7. black-and-white shading as they depict the horrors of the Elder Wars. Here, countless Elder Gods
  8. hold Their ground before the likes of Kethuru, Crazen and Zenos, held in proud formations perfected
  9. by the Second Circle. Yet the wounded and dying have begun to pile up behind Them, and while many
  10. faces which grace these walls seem familiar, far more are blurred, as if the memory of Them has
  11. finally begun to fray. A statue of Lantra, the Lady Mediatrix looks upon all these images in
  12. silence, surrounded by startlingly bright red lotuses which blossom at Her feet and crown Her regal
  13. brow. A single crimson lotus blooms eternally in Her outstretched hands as water and light flows
  14. forth from beneath its sanguine petals, as if stained with blood.
  15. You see exits leading northeast, south, and northwest.
  16.  
  17. You sense a quiet, unseen presence watching you here, at once both calming and disquieting.
  18.  
  19. The statue of Lantra, the Lady Mediatrix seems to animate before your eyes as Her gaze turns towards
  20. you, the red lotuses blooming at Her feet in the water.
  21.  
  22. Sanguine lotuses blossom before the flowing waters of the Font of Fortitude as a calm, feminine
  23. voice emanates from the statue of Lantra, the Lady Mediatrix, "Well met, Avaris of Mine."
  24.  
  25. Stepping within the chamber, Avaris's antennae flick upright into faintly quivering
  26. spears of red as the statue animates, whereupon he immediately sinks to one knee, head lowered. "My
  27. Lady. It is good to hear Your voice."
  28.  
  29. Endless cascades of water and light flow into this luminous pool, enchanting in its celestial glow.
  30.  
  31. Sanguine lotuses blossom before the flowing waters of the Font of Fortitude as a calm, feminine
  32. voice emanates from the statue of Lantra, the Lady Mediatrix, "And I yours. From your prayer unto
  33. Me, I sense it has been an eventful past year for you."
  34.  
  35. You think to yourself: A surge of positive feeling, an instant and powerful response to the sound of
  36. Her voice, the knowledge of Her presence - Tinged somewhat by a shivering note of faint
  37. apprehension. What if he has done wrong?
  38.  
  39. Unfurling to reveal their starry hearts, radiant lotuses bloom upon these waters with a stoic grace.
  40.  
  41. The waters ripple about the statue at the centre with something like bemusement, sending the lotuses
  42. adrift.
  43.  
  44. Sanguine lotuses blossom before the flowing waters of the Font of Fortitude as a calm, feminine
  45. voice emanates from the statue of Lantra, the Lady Mediatrix, "Every time We speak, you assume My
  46. ire."
  47.  
  48. Avaris dips his chin down a shade further, the thick fluff of his mane brushing
  49. against the glossy white of his carapace. "Yes, my Lady. There have been...Tensions. I am trying to
  50. be less brash, as You advised, but it is." His fingers flex, as if seeking to curl into a fist, but
  51. freeze at the words. "I..."
  52.  
  53. Avaris hesitates for a moment, and then says, carefully, "I dread it, Lady, more
  54. than assume it. I know I am raw, and have much refining of the self to do, and do not wish to
  55. disappoint You."
  56.  
  57. You think to yourself: Never that. Anything, in truth, but that.
  58.  
  59. There is a peaceful stillness to the waters at the Font of Fortitude, considering your words with a
  60. practised patience.
  61.  
  62. Sanguine lotuses blossom before the flowing waters of the Font of Fortitude as a calm, feminine
  63. voice emanates from the statue of Lantra, the Lady Mediatrix, "Tell Me of these tensions, that I
  64. might understand what ails you so."
  65.  
  66. The foot that supports Avaris's upraised knee shifts minutely, the arcing blades of
  67. his talons rising and falling to settle upon the floor with the faintest of sounds. "It is the
  68. Glomdoring, Lady. I have given much thought as to how I might change matters, and sought advice." He
  69. gestures aside, his lower left hand briefly sliding out into the air, before returning to folding
  70. atop its brethren upon his chest. "Lady Aeldra advised a Sermon on Purity. I will attend to that
  71. myself. Lady Terentia has instructed me to learn the..." He falters, briefly, a tinge of
  72. embarrassment slipping into his tones, "The language of the...Heart, Lady. So that I might sway in a
  73. more gentle fashion."
  74.  
  75. You think to yourself: A mental grimace. "Poetry. That will not go well."
  76.  
  77. Keen interest shines in the Lady Mediatrix's stony gaze as the sculpture's mouth upturns into
  78. something akin to either a smirk or a smile.
  79.  
  80. Sanguine lotuses blossom before the flowing waters of the Font of Fortitude as a calm, feminine
  81. voice emanates from the statue of Lantra, the Lady Mediatrix, "You spoke with the Lady Even Bladed?"
  82.  
  83. You think to yourself: The tiniest, most infinitesimal mote of uncertainty - That would not have
  84. displeased Her, surely? She did not seem at all the jealous type, or inclined to begrudge seeking
  85. wisdom from various sources.
  86.  
  87. Avaris nods slightly, voice almost entirely firm. Almost. "I did, Lady."
  88.  
  89. Sanguine lotuses blossom before the flowing waters of the Font of Fortitude as a calm, feminine
  90. voice emanates from the statue of Lantra, the Lady Mediatrix, "I confess great curiosity as to Her
  91. answer."
  92.  
  93. The faint scrape of chitin sliding upon the flooring accompanies Avaris's small,
  94. vaguely uncomfortable motions, his antennae coiling in on themselves in tight loops.
  95. "She...Instructed me to learn...Poetry, my Lady. From Her muse, Calydice." A short, embarrassed
  96. pause, and then, "She is also, of course, very against the Wyrd. And advised me well. As You did,
  97. Lady."
  98.  
  99. You think to yourself: Growing mortification, and the overwhelming urge to place his face in his
  100. hands and sink into the ground. /Poetry/. And now She knew. He could endure this - He just hoped
  101. that She would not bid him show Her his clumsy attempts at hammering words into shape.
  102.  
  103. Sanguine lotuses blossom before the flowing waters of the Font of Fortitude as a calm, feminine
  104. voice emanates from the statue of Lantra, the Lady Mediatrix, "Devotion expressed through song,
  105. prose and lyricism can be a powerful antidote to ailments of the spirit, indeed. Calydice... I have
  106. heard she was a muse of the late Sidereal Prince, a once-patron of New Celest. In her you would find
  107. a worthy teacher, indeed."
  108.  
  109. Sanguine lotuses blossom before the flowing waters of the Font of Fortitude as a calm, feminine
  110. voice emanates from the statue of Lantra, the Lady Mediatrix, "Though there are other places to
  111. learn of the art, should you seek to find them."
  112.  
  113. Avaris's answering nod is a fraction less assured and smooth than is his norm. "So
  114. She mentioned, Lady, yes. It is an...An honour, to have so honoured a teacher." The coiling plumes
  115. of his antennae lean upwards at this, curiosity threading through the harmony of his buzzes and
  116. hums. "I would gladly accept any guidance You would be kind enough to grant me, Lady."
  117.  
  118. You think to yourself: "Even if it means more poetry. The things we do for our Divine."
  119.  
  120. The glassy surface of the waters shimmers, revealing the vision of a Goddess you do not recognise.
  121. Beautiful wings unfurl from Her back, and as She plays the lute in Her hands, Her voice is
  122. mesmerising - so exquisite you forget for a moment that it is naught but a memory, trapped within
  123. the water.
  124.  
  125. Sanguine lotuses blossom before the flowing waters of the Font of Fortitude as a calm, feminine
  126. voice emanates from the statue of Lantra, the Lady Mediatrix, "What do you know of the Starhymn
  127. practised by the Cantors of New Celest?"
  128.  
  129. Avaris's posture shifts in response to the vision - more so, in truth, to the
  130. voice, as he rises, leaning towards the unknown Goddess with fascination gleaming in the faceted
  131. pools of his eyes. Turning at the sound of his Lady's voice, he once again dips down into a more
  132. formal posture of reverence, giving his head a minute shake, the argent light of the chamber
  133. gleaming across his polished carapace. "Nothing, in truth, Lady."
  134.  
  135. You think to yourself: Lingering, intense curiosity. "Who was that? What a wondrous voice that was."
  136. Awe, pleasure at having been graced with such a beauteous sound, and a faint pang of regret that it
  137. is not still filling the air with its sweetness.
  138.  
  139. Sanguine lotuses blossom before the flowing waters of the Font of Fortitude as a calm, feminine
  140. voice emanates from the statue of Lantra, the Lady Mediatrix, "We of the Hamadhi were Divine of the
  141. Third Circle focused upon the art of healing, but We were not the only Elder Divine with such
  142. specialities. The Artists of the Fourth Circle, too, held Their domains. Painters, sculptors... And
  143. Keepers of Song, who each recall a note in the symphony of Dynara's Song of Creation. Rhapsody was
  144. one such Keeper of Song, and the Starhymn is Her gift to New Celest."
  145.  
  146. Sanguine lotuses blossom before the flowing waters of the Font of Fortitude as a calm, feminine
  147. voice emanates from the statue of Lantra, the Lady Mediatrix, "Aeldra or Alarin may show you how to
  148. summon the Voice of Rhapsody within the city of New Celest."
  149.  
  150. You think to yourself: "Rhapsody. She seems a fine Goddess, if my Lady speaks to highly of Her, and
  151. She gifted the Starhymn to the city." Warm regard for this new Divine, and a burgeoning sense of
  152. curiosity. Why had he not heard of Her before?
  153.  
  154. Avaris nods emphatically, voice firm as he responds, "Thank You for sharing Your
  155. Wisdom with me, Lady. I will seek to do so soon." He pauses, disengaging his lower left hand so that
  156. it drifts up to seize a tuft of his mane, coiling it around his forefinger in slow, looping motions.
  157. "I have two matters that I would like to speak to You about, my Lady, if You have time - But I can,
  158. of course, do so later, or send You a prayer."
  159.  
  160. Avaris pauses a beat, and then adds, a touch hastily, "Unless that would bother
  161. You, of course! I do not wish to be a pest."
  162.  
  163. Sanguine lotuses blossom before the flowing waters of the Font of Fortitude as a calm, feminine
  164. voice emanates from the statue of Lantra, the Lady Mediatrix, "My time is yours. Speak of what you
  165. will."
  166.  
  167. Avaris lowers his head further still, the errant hand returning to lie flat across
  168. its three brethren in a sober gesture of reverent gratitude. "I will not take such a gift lightly,
  169. my Lady. Thank You." Silence pools about him for a time, as he gathers his thoughts, the sanguine
  170. curves of his antennae uncoiling to bow flow outwards, dipping down at their tips. "I recently
  171. brought someone to Your Realm. Eatti. She seems a good hearted soul, if...Very skittish. I thought
  172. it would calm Her, being here, in Your influence." He tips his head aside, continuing, "Which it did
  173. - Despite my oafishness scaring her more than once. I showed her Your Fonts, and tried as best I was
  174. able to explain what they meant, to me. To share with her what I thought of You."
  175.  
  176. Once more, the lower left hand creeps up to worry at his mane, the gesture this
  177. time distinctly a nervous one as Avaris says, "I hope that was alright, Lady. I have scarcely
  178. entered Your service, but none others were waking, and I am at peace, here. Was I right to do so?"
  179.  
  180. Endless cascades of water and light flow into this luminous pool, enchanting in its celestial glow.
  181.  
  182. Sanguine lotuses blossom before the flowing waters of the Font of Fortitude as a calm, feminine
  183. voice emanates from the statue of Lantra, the Lady Mediatrix, "All those who serve Me should see fit
  184. to speak of Me unto others, if they so wish. And My realm is open to all who do not wish it harm. If
  185. you seek My permission for either, however, you now explicitly possess it. If your fear is you have
  186. misrepresented Me, well. Then I suppose I would learn of such a transgression in time, though many
  187. months have passed, and no such outcry has occurred."
  188.  
  189. Sanguine lotuses blossom before the flowing waters of the Font of Fortitude as a calm, feminine
  190. voice emanates from the statue of Lantra, the Lady Mediatrix, "Thus I can only presume you have
  191. spoken well of Me."
  192.  
  193. Once more the water ripples with silent laughter, emanating from the statue at the Font's centre.
  194.  
  195. You think to yourself: Relief, cool and soothing as gentle waters spreading throughout his heart.
  196.  
  197. Avaris's nod is a slight one, the gesture slow. "I would not dare say a word
  198. against You, Lady. I do not think that I could." He gestures at himself with a small twist of a
  199. plated wrist, explaining, "I will need to get better at such, I think. I would be greatly ashamed if
  200. I were to misrepresent You, unintentionally or otherwise. I am clumsy, in such matters, and do not
  201. know You near as well as I would like." A short beat, and then, "Ah! That reminds me, Lady -
  202. Apologies - I was asked recently how one might honour You. If You enjoyed song, or art, or other
  203. offerings or gestures. I was not certain on any such, admittedly. I recommended Falaine strive to
  204. heal Cheliyi's beliefs, as she intended, but I could not suggest anything concrete. Would You mind
  205. sharing with me what You enjoy, so that I might answer, in future?"
  206.  
  207. There is a long, thoughtful pause as the waters still, the lotuses furling slightly as the statue of
  208. the Lady Mediatrix ponders the question, weighing Her answer.
  209.  
  210. Sanguine lotuses blossom before the flowing waters of the Font of Fortitude as a calm, feminine
  211. voice emanates from the statue of Lantra, the Lady Mediatrix, "I do not expect uniformity from those
  212. who serve Me. Expressions of Devotion differ among shards, for you are as varied as the Divine you
  213. splinter from. There are those who find joy in prose, expressing their ties to Me through story or
  214. song, and those who prefer to pontificate, such as Faragan or Alarin, who have written books and
  215. performances expressing My Tenets respectively. There are those who express service to Me by
  216. defeating those who would harm the city of Light. Still others, such as Azula and Auriella, serve Me
  217. through examples of leadership - guiding the city and caring for each member of New Celest who
  218. desires their aid. Perhaps, however, this is not the answer you are asking of Me." Another long,
  219. held pause lingers before the Goddess finally says, "Though I hold fondness for all artistry, I
  220. confess that I hold a special tenderness and regard for the gift of song."
  221.  
  222. You think to yourself: A memory of words written upon a page addressed to him, with cutesy hearts
  223. and cat faces adorning them, fairly vibrating with enthusiasm. 'Do you sing, Avaris?' A
  224. contemplation, deep and sober, as he considers the words - How they might help Falaine, and how they
  225. apply to him. Devotion.
  226.  
  227. Sanguine lotuses blossom before the flowing waters of the Font of Fortitude as a calm, feminine
  228. voice emanates from the statue of Lantra, the Lady Mediatrix, "A perplexing method of service that I
  229. do not understand is the proliferation of sweets and desserts upon My Fulcrux and personage. A
  230. Goddess of health and vitality is perhaps not the ideal candidate for such offerings."
  231.  
  232. Avaris nods along thoughtfully, the soft, feathered curves of his antennae drifting
  233. forward and down as he concentrates on some inner thought - until the second portion of the answer
  234. elicits a brilliant, rippling wave of scintillating motes within the inverted teardrops of his eyes.
  235. A low, rich laugh, woven from many warm and pleasant sounds, emanates throughout the chamber. "Ah,
  236. yes. Many seem inordinately fond of such. It seems very common, to bombard even strangers with gifts
  237. of food and sweets." A pause, as he tilts his head, and offers, "Would You like me to nudge them
  238. towards other forms of gifts, Lady?"
  239.  
  240. You think to yourself: A thrumming sense of deep fondness for this Goddess, for the dignity and
  241. poise that She exudes with such natural grace - And an appreciation for those, slightly misguided,
  242. who seek to honour Her, as is only right.
  243.  
  244. Sanguine lotuses blossom before the flowing waters of the Font of Fortitude as a calm, feminine
  245. voice emanates from the statue of Lantra, the Lady Mediatrix, "Tavi has fortunately or unfortunately
  246. been willing to accept such offerings in My stead. I fear this may have given her too much of an
  247. appreciation for sugar, but I believe her sweet tooth is tempered enough with moderation. For now,
  248. at least."
  249.  
  250. You think to yourself: The thought strikes him - Do the Divine even eat, as mortals do? Surely They
  251. did not /need/ to, and the image of his Lady indulging in some of the more lavish foods that he has
  252. seen is an incongruous one, but...Perhaps. He could picture Her sipping some tea in a dainty, very
  253. lady-like fashion.
  254.  
  255. Sanguine lotuses blossom before the flowing waters of the Font of Fortitude as a calm, feminine
  256. voice emanates from the statue of Lantra, the Lady Mediatrix, "The Lord Crumkane is well known and
  257. regard for His culinary tastes and innovations. I believe My distaste of chocolate is an odd wedge
  258. between Us."
  259.  
  260. "As You wish, my Lady.", Avaris responds, the harmonious tones of his voice touched
  261. with humour. "Ah. Yes. I suppose He is somewhat cuplpable for something of a plague of ill health
  262. effects born of overindulgence of sweets, yes. Do You enjoy any foods, Yourself, Lady? I confess, I
  263. do not know if You even eat at all."
  264.  
  265. Sanguine lotuses blossom before the flowing waters of the Font of Fortitude as a calm, feminine
  266. voice emanates from the statue of Lantra, the Lady Mediatrix, "There are times where tea is soothing
  267. to the palate. A subtle vanilla can also be a pleasing flavour. Yet I seem to indulge less than
  268. most, even among My cousins."
  269.  
  270. You think to yourself: A mental note being made, neat and fastidious, and filed away for future
  271. reference.
  272.  
  273. Sanguine lotuses blossom before the flowing waters of the Font of Fortitude as a calm, feminine
  274. voice emanates from the statue of Lantra, the Lady Mediatrix, "Feasting and drink mong Divine is
  275. usually done in celebration. I suppose some might say that I have spent most of My existence in
  276. pursuit of work and knowledge, rather than celebrating the fruits of such labour."
  277.  
  278. You think to yourself: Ah, this does not surprise him in the least, though it does sadden him,
  279. faintly. Why should the One that works the hardest receive such little recognition, such little
  280. relief?
  281.  
  282. A low, thoughtful sound shivers forth from Avaris at this, his antennae curling
  283. forward and down. "Do You never allow Yourself to enjoy Yourself, my Lady? I apologise if this is
  284. impertinent to ask, but...I worry, for You. Working all the time, bearing such burdens upon Your
  285. shoulders, Your heart, it is..." He lifts his shoulders in a small shrug, though there is no apology
  286. in the gesture, or his tone - simply a firm resolve, and concern. "Well. I would not dare advise a
  287. Divine on what is good for Her."
  288.  
  289. For the first time, you sense a difference to the silence that falls between you - a discomfort,
  290. perhaps, or an unspoken tension lingers in the air. A strange regret fills you, though it seems not
  291. your own, as the waters ripple once more, as if churning with indecision. At long last, the waters
  292. still once more, as if resolved.
  293.  
  294. Sanguine lotuses blossom before the flowing waters of the Font of Fortitude as a calm, feminine
  295. voice emanates from the statue of Lantra, the Lady Mediatrix, "Seek out knowledge of the Lady
  296. Rhapsody, Avaris of Mine."
  297.  
  298. Abruptly, the statue loses all animation, and the Font of Fortitude goes silent.
  299.  
  300. You think to yourself: Concern, stronger and sharper than before - Guilt, yes, and remorse for
  301. causing such an emotion with his words, but primarily worry for Her. What is it that makes Her feel
  302. so? The thought of Her as anything but at peace, calm and content, rasps upon his heart like broken
  303. glass dragged along tender flesh. He would fix this, if he could - And if not, he would find ways to
  304. make joy and pleasant sentiment burgeon so that they eclipses all else. "I swear it shall be so."
  305.  
  306. Avaris grows still, gazing up at the statue as if willing it to animate again, a
  307. nearly palpable sense of remorse emanating from where he kneels. At length, he rises, bowing deeply
  308. to the statue, and murmuring, "I am sorry, my Lady. Thank You, for Your time."
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