Apr 29th, 2021 (edited)
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  1. You bow respectfully to Aeldra.
  3. Aeldra smiles at you, "There you are, Avaris. Tidings my friend." she makes a beckoning motion, "I
  4. promised to teach you something today, haven't I?." She nods seriously, "Come."
  6. Avaris dips his head in a swift nod, stepping into line beside Aeldra. "Good day,
  7. Aeldra - And indeed so."
  9. Aeldra's mouth turns up as her face breaks into a smile.
  11. The Gardens of the Rhapsody.
  12. The air is filled with motes of light emanating from a healing shrine of Terentia nearby. This
  13. location is flooded with shallow, crystal clear water. Dark, rich wood forms two steps at the
  14. entrance to the Gardens of the Rhapsody, bringing it up a couple feet above the lower walkways of
  15. the gardens. Pale white stones spread off in all directions, each carefully smoothed by the push and
  16. pull of the rivers that have grasped at them for decades or more. Little greenery grows from the
  17. ground, instead it drapes over the walls and from the trellises above, the walls themselves at the
  18. same height as everywhere else - that is, roughly around the waist in this particular garden.
  19. Pristine white doves flutter back and forth from the trellis to trellis, from alabaster perch to
  20. alabaster perch, warbling rhapsodic hymns to the stars, seas and the Light. Captured in pristine
  21. alabaster, the Elder Goddess Rhapsody sits in delicate repose. Resting within alabaster hands, the
  22. Rosewood Lute of Celestial Rhapsody emanates a soft light and vibrates with celestial music. There
  23. are 25 seekers singing in joyous carol about the garden. Yvai, the battle sheep dwells here, antler-
  24. bearing head raised proudly. Head bowed, an anointed urn-bearer of water and light holds aloft the
  25. blessed vessel here with a reverent, stoic grace. She is surrounded by a deflection bubble.
  26. You see exits leading east, south, southwest, and northwest.
  28. Aeldra ponders the statue of lady Rhapsody for a while before turning to you, "Do you have any
  29. knowledge in influencing yet, Avaris?"
  31. An elegant, willowy Elder Goddess, Rhapsody has been captured forever in alabaster stone. To
  32. eternally be remembered as seated, the Goddess maintains a relaxed, languid pose - her right leg
  33. lies on its side, flat against the stone dais upon which she rests, hooked bent at the knee. Her
  34. left leg is bent, her knee in the air while her bare, delicate foot lies flat against her resting
  35. place. Her left elbow rests against the same knee, thin, perfect digits wrapped delicately about the
  36. far end of her rosewood lute, her right hand captured forever in mid-strum. Her fair, beatific
  37. features are captured in a thoughtful expression, a small smile upon her delicate lips, the whole of
  38. her face framed by delicate plumes of pale white feathers. Great wings rise up from the Elder
  39. Goddess's back, their joints draped in alabaster thinly cut in mimicry of diaphanous silk, their
  40. plumage reminiscent of a pale white dove's feathers. About her neck, carefully woven, is a necklace
  41. made of a freshly picked daisies, their stems still a vibrant green.
  43. Avaris studies the statue for a long while in silence, the azure pools of his
  44. faceted eyes dimmed to a subdued hue of deeper blue. He stands with his hands folded behind his
  45. back, wings covering them like a cloak. At the question, his left antenna flicks to Aeldra, and he
  46. nods. "I do, yes. I did so with the kelpies in the mangrove, and the Anchoresses."
  48. Aeldra smiles softly and acknowledges you agreement with a solemn nod. "Then, I do ask you to strum
  49. Lady Rhapsodys lute."
  51. Regarding the lute, Avaris steps up to the statue, extracting his upper right hand
  52. and extending it towards the instrument, the motion somewhat hesitant.
  54. You strum a soft, beautiful melody from the Rosewood Lute of Celestial Rhapsody, which vibrates with
  55. celestial music that carries sweetly on the wind.
  56. As if in answer to a distant song, a flock of white doves soars above the city of New Celest with
  57. joyous rhapsody, before descending over the Gardens of Empyrean Memories.
  59. A wave of blessed light precedes the entrance of a lost white dove from the south.
  61. Singing a radiant song, Lachlan, the Celestial Dove alights before the statue of the Elder Goddess
  62. Rhapsody, clear expectation shining in his eyes.
  64. Lady Aeldra Ladyn, of Cerulean Waters says, "Now, we're looking for a lot of doves."
  65. Bright motes of light suffuse Lachlan, the Celestial Dove as he sings a sweet song in answer,
  66. looking forlornly across the Gardens of Empyrean Memories.
  68. Lady Aeldra Ladyn, of Cerulean Waters says, "They're around the garden."
  70. A wave of blessed light precedes the entrance of a lost white dove from the south.
  72. Lady Aeldra Ladyn, of Cerulean Waters smiles and says, "Find them and empower them and bring them
  73. back here."
  75. ((Some influencing of doves!))
  77. A lost white dove trills out a delighted warble as she surrounds the statue of the Elder Goddess
  78. Rhapsody, now soaring among 10 shimmering celestial doves.
  79. As the last of the lost doves soars above the statue of the Elder Goddess Rhapsody, only Lachlan
  80. remains. The Celestial Dove sings a final, shimmering note that hangs suspended in the air, but
  81. hesitates before joining the other doves - as if one last piece is still missing.
  83. ((Grabbing the special lotus))
  85. Lady Aeldra Ladyn, of Cerulean Waters says to you, "Now, before you hand it in, it is custom to
  86. invite the city, as Her song is beloved by all of the city."
  88. In a smooth harmony of buzzes, you say to Aeldra, "Ah, of course. Thank you for alerting me."
  90. (Celest): You say, "I am about to summon the Flock of Miracles, if anyone wishes to listen."
  92. Aeldra smiles and nods to you. "Let's see if anyone is coming."
  94. Avaris nods lightly, carefully holding the lotus within the cupped palms of his
  95. lower pair of hands.
  97. In a smooth harmony of buzzes, you say to Aeldra, "It seems as if we will be alone, for this."
  99. Lady Aeldra Ladyn, of Cerulean Waters smiles and says, "Go ahead then, Avaris."
  101. Aeldra nods her head emphatically.
  103. You give an enchanting star lotus in eternal bloom to Lachlan, the Celestial Dove.
  104. Lachlan, the Celestial Dove accepts an enchanting star lotus in eternal bloom in his beak and rejoin
  105. the other doves in song, a shimmering light enveloping him as he takes flight.
  107. Suddenly and without warning the air is filled with hymnic, rhapsodic music, echoing throughout the
  108. gardens, beautiful and eloquent, shimmering through the aether with a luminous white light.
  110. With heartbreaking resonance, the rhapsodic music swells with emotion as Rhapsody's voice rings soft
  111. and clear:
  112. 'You are the Light of My Soul.'
  114. 'Weaving this beautiful dream...'
  116. 'Lost to time's endless stream.'
  118. 'Take My hand and know...'
  120. 'You are the Light of My Soul.'
  122. As if listening through time, you watch the Lady Rhapsody serenade a beautiful Goddess who silently
  123. walks beside Her on a distant shore. Though She sings brightly, each word aches with sweet
  124. melancholy.
  126. 'Dawn breaks for You tomorrow.'
  128. 'Even as the tides rise and change...'
  130. 'As Our world turns cruel and strange...'
  132. 'Forget all your pain and sorrow.'
  134. 'You are the Light of My Soul.'
  136. The slim figure beside Rhapsody wipes at Her eyes, trying and failing to smile as She takes the
  137. winged Goddess's hand in Hers. The flock of doves arcs overhead, weaving through the sky with gentle
  138. grace.
  140. 'When lonely and cold winds blow...'
  142. 'Look to My doves as they fly.'
  144. 'For You I shall be their silent sky...'
  146. Aeldra listens, hands folded tightly, a soft and sad smile on her lips.
  148. 'Basking in Your radiant glow...'
  150. 'You are the Light of My Soul.'
  152. Here, the radiant smile that has graced Rhapsody's face begins to dim, if only slightly. Her wings
  153. wrap tenderly about Lantra as the Hamadhi exhales, facing the Fourth Circle Goddess with utmost love
  154. and misery.
  156. 'And though Our Fate is now resigned...'
  158. 'Should You return to these shores...'
  160. 'Know My salvation is tied to Yours.'
  162. 'Let Me be the wake You leave behind...'
  164. 'You are the Light of My Soul.'
  166. The Goddesses embrace, Their shadows illuminated in starlight as They kiss. It is a moment that
  167. seems at once too brief and infinite, and as They pull away, Their eyes both glisten with tears.
  169. 'No matter where My song may roam...'
  171. 'My heart remains at Your side.'
  173. 'Dearest one, please do not cry...'
  175. 'This song is Yours, and Yours alone.'
  177. 'You are the Light of My Soul.'
  179. As the vision fades, the doves begin to flutter skywards, their ephemeral bodies easily passing
  180. through the statue of the Elder Goddess Rhapsody into the skies above.
  182. A flock of white doves wing high above the city, singing rhapsodic praise down upon the inhabitants
  183. before fading into the clouds.
  185. The Voice of Rhapsody says, "This was the last song I sang while living, the night that I severed My
  186. Voice to protect all I loved from Zenos. This was the last song I wrote for the Light of My Soul...
  187. My beloved Lantra, the White."
  188. The air grows gentle with a bittersweet tenderness as the music quiets, the Voice of Rhapsody
  189. radiating a sense of abject sorrow, love and joy at once that blesses you with its strength.
  191. Aeldra wipes tears from her eyes, sighing.
  193. Avaris lowers his hands to his sides, forgotten as he watches the two Goddesses,
  194. the hue of his eyes so deep a blue as to be nearly black. The sanguine plumes of his antennae wilt,
  195. falling limply down to hang lifeless upon the thick ruff of his mane. He lowers his head in mute
  196. sorrow, and is silent for a very long time.
  198. After a while Aeldra speaks, her voice soft and hushed "And thus you know the joy and sorrow of our
  199. Lady at the loss of Lady Rhapsody and are reminded of the power of Her song."
  201. You think to yourself: A well of aching sorrow, deep and bittersweet - A complex mixture of many
  202. feelings, great and small. He was glad, in a way, that his Lady had experienced a love so joyous and
  203. true, that She had loved and been loved in turn, but..."Ah. To have Your heart filled so completely
  204. with another, only to have it torn away...That must leave a most dire wound, of the sort that does
  205. not ever truly heal."
  207. The nod that Avaris gives in answer to the words is a minute thing, a sliver of
  208. motion that barely stirs the glossy white of his head. His voice, when he speaks, is quiet, a
  209. mournful lament born of many layers of sorrow, grief, and pain - but there are traces of something
  210. brighter in the harmony, as well. "Thank you for showing me this, Aeldra."
  212. Aeldra nods softly at you, "I feel, all of ours need to see and know, it is part of our Lady and Her
  213. past."
  215. Aeldra cups her hands together in offering. Motes of light unfurl to reveal a single star lotus in
  216. her palm, lingering there with radiant beauty.
  218. Aeldra gazes down at the star lotus then at the Voice of Rhapsody, "I am sorry." her face full of
  219. sadness and remorse "And thank You."
  221. Unmoved from his subdued posture, Avaris twitches his chin in another nod. "I
  222. agree. It...Is a very important perspective to have. I think that this has shaped the Lady more than
  223. perhaps anything else has, in Her life." A slow, whispering exhalation flows from him, soft as a
  224. cool breeze.
  226. The disembodied Voice of Rhapsody floats in the air as a mass of effervescent sparkling light. Her
  227. glorious voice fills the air with a beautiful song of hope and love, of courage and justice, of
  228. light made incarnate. The atmosphere sparkles with each rise and fall of the pitch of her voice.
  229. The Voice of Rhapsody looks to be crushingly strong.
  231. After a moment Aeldra nods in agreement to you words, turning her attention finally away from the
  232. disembodied voice and to you, "Yes, dear, nothing else, aside maybe the Elder Wars themselves." she
  233. agrees.
  235. A voice so quiet and soft it seems but a whisper on the wind comes to you, its cadence the familiar
  236. sound of the Empyreal Goddess: "You now understand the steep cost that comes with the preservation
  237. of Purity, of how many that have given Their lives and Their joys to protect it. You have fulfilled
  238. your first vow to Me, My Avaris."
  240. Lantra, the Empyreal has appointed you to blessed by Purity in the Divine Order of Lantra, the
  241. Empyreal.
  243. Lantra, the Empyreal has bestowed Her divine truefavour upon you. It will last for 1 month.
  245. Lifting his head, finally, Avaris steps towards the glittering light of the Voice,
  246. regarding Her for a quiet moment before he lowers himself to his knees, the motion gradual and
  247. dignified. Bowing his head before the emanation, he clasps all four of his long, armoured hands upon
  248. his armoured chest, placing them over his heart. Somber, his voice is pitched quietly, but is solid,
  249. without so much as a quaver of uncertainty or upset stirring the words, as he says to the Voice, "I
  250. do not know You, Lady, and will never have the chance to - And for that, and for You, I grieve.
  251. Thank You, for giving the most precious gift of all to my Lady. For showing Her that She is worthy
  252. of love, and accepting Hers in turn." He falls silent, lifting his head briefly, as if hearing
  253. something.
  255. The shards of light that make up the Voice of Rhapsody shimmer and sparkle brilliantly as complex
  256. trails of song echo through the vicinity.
  258. You think to yourself: Deep reverence, the warm and pure light of his regard for his Lady tinged
  259. with the hues of mourning. "Thank You, my Lady. I will fulfil the others - All of them."
  261. A solemn gesture, Aeldra nods towards you, in agreement of his words.
  263. Aeldra pauses a while longer, pondering both you and the Voice of Rhapsody, before speaking again.
  264. "To complete what you've learned here today, I would ask you to follow me to our Lady's realm, so
  265. that you may connect these memories with those that our Lady shares with us. Let us both drink and
  266. reflect upon what else we may gain in insight."
  268. Returning to bowing his head towards the Voice, Avaris lets out a small, heartfelt
  269. sigh. "I know that we cannot give Her what You did - Would not dream of it, for that is not
  270. something that any should ever strive to replace. Yet we will love Her, in Your stead, Lady. We will
  271. seek to fill Her heart, piece by piece, with love and Devotion of a different sort. She will be
  272. happy again. She will know love. I swear it on my soul." The words are spoken with a grave
  273. solemnity, an intensity ringing in each that speaks of unshakable resolve, driven by passion, by
  274. devotion. At Aeldra's words, he rises to his feet, bowing deeply before the Voice, and holding the
  275. gesture for a long moment, before turning and stepping back to Aeldra. "Of course. The Fonts, and
  276. the basin, yes?"
  278. Aeldra nods seriously at you, "Indeed and I do agree wholeheartedly with what you said, dear. Let us
  279. go." She turns her focus skyward, focusing.
  281. Aeldra closes her eyes and bows her head, chanting softly. White light blossoms around her in answer
  282. to her words, drawing the faint outline of a sparkling star lotus in her palm.
  284. The Voice of Rhapsody moves in a steady rhythm, swaying to her own song.
  286. A sense of grace and power radiates from Aeldra as her eyes flutter open, calm as she beckons to the
  287. aether in the name of the Lady of Everlasting Remedy. In answer, the star lotus in her palm unfurls
  288. to fill her world with bracing, beautiful white light, enveloping her completely as she dissolves in
  289. a flurry of immaculate petals.
  290. You follow Lady Aeldra Ladyn, of Cerulean Waters to where a lone magnolia tree blooms.
  291. Bracing, beautiful light suffuses the alabaster altar of Everlasting Remedy in motes of white. The
  292. faint outline of a star lotus briefly manifests before the altar as Aeldra materializes in a flurry
  293. of immaculate petals.
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