January 11th, 1010(Finally tells the story, but in the third person.)
After visiting the temple of Xaos and securing Sarus with provisions for two months, Sir Iawen Penn closed the heavy oaken door to the lower common areas of the tower. Squinting a bit in the bright rays, she bound her head and face with dark cloth to be covered, and adjusted the staff on her back, a gift from King Pyr of Chimeron. She stopped at each temple, saving Luna's today for last in the dusty deserts of Achoria. There was a point to that, Iawen had mused to herself, and it was her hope that now was not too crazy of a phase to contact the Goddess of the Moon.
The knight padded across the sands that sparkled with their own melted rime; a small frost actually covered some smaller, more populated parts of the country. Iawen wondered if the leader found the temperatures in Achoria to his liking, and who would look after Eris's apples if Morradin had returned to Blackwood, and Quazar to Folkestone. Perhaps she ought to learn how to farm. Sounded incredibly mundane, though. Iawen rounded the corner down a windy road-way between market stalls. The market-place of Achoria would be the right place to purchase an offering or two. One thing you learn quickly, thought Iawen: never come to the gods with a completely empty horn, for they shall fill it with whatever they like at the moment until it brims over.
Unsatisfied with her haggling skills but loaded down with two baskets later, Iawen briefly pondered if perhaps she needed more practice in the art of getting what she needed for a fetching price. At least the family would eat well. Iawen rolled her eyes and briefly scowls at her near-empty coin-purse. "Not even a new year yet, and already you've turned against me," she grumbled.
Glancing up, she saw it: the sand & wind-polished structure that stood tall to mark where the moon's progress in the sky might be, and where stars were most visible regardless of phase. Luna's Tower was impressive indeed, and Iawen
marveled that with all those who would call the Moon their goddess that there weren't more of these Towers out there somewhere.
"Greetings," Iawen's business-like tone comes through the door. "I wish to be allowed into the altar room of the Silver Lady."
An acolyte holds the door open, but blocks the way in with his body. Blonde, thin, and some stubble on the chin brought to Iawen's attention the potential boy's age, and she arches an eyebrow when she receives no response. "Do you speak Common?" she asks.
"Who are you?" the boy snaps in response. "We don't allow just anyone to come in here!"
"It's a temple to the Moon Goddess, not a secret society with handshakes," Iawen responds, annoyed. The Knight shifts a package to better balance it on her hip. "Or do I have to go and get a tattoo on my chest to show my devotion, first?"
There is a silent stand-off between the two, neither moving yet both having a staring contest as a female calls out, "Manu! Stop that! Any person is welcome here in the Lady's name!" A woman forces the door open wider as the boy flinches as though struck from behind. "Come in, come in, gentle traveler! The temple is available to you."
Iawen closes the door behind her with one leg, and places the two packages down on the table. "What's with the guard dog?" Iawen turns her nose up towards the boy, who is now watching from the stairs. Well, glowering would be more appropriate.
The woman begins to help Iawen undress from desert gear, and pauses with the jacket. "Oh, that is Manu. He's an orphan that was found wandering in the deserts here in Achoria. Doesn't talk much but when he was brought here to figure out what to do with him, he declared he wanted to stay here. I don't have much in the way of company, and it's
nice to have a hand now and then."
"Company? Don't get many visitors then?" Iawen allows her things to be taken and hung on a hook in the lower common room.
"Mercy, no. Don't get me wrong, we have quite a few adventurers that stop by, claiming to be priests or what-have-you, and each time I think, 'Maybe, just maybe we can get a real one'."
"A real what?" Iawen arches an eyebrow.
"Oh, a real person to stay. I've been here for a few years, even after the country turned into a desert, but still haven't seen anyone that promises to stay, do so. They give a little speech about serving Luna and 'keep it up', but don't lay down tenants or much of anything."
Iawen looks at the woman in disbelief.
The woman is young herself, but older-looking than the boy. She has dark hair and light skin, and is thin, dressed in simple dark blues for Luna's acolytes. A quick glance at the boy shows the same colored clothing. "Are you even a worshiper of Luna?" Iawen asks, raising both eyebrows. "Me? Yes...I was given up by my mother to the Temple many years ago, before I had a say, and so here is where I've always been. People always come, say a few things to me, and then leave. Manu might be the first to stay..." she looks up at the boy, then back at Iawen. "Not many in the North worship Luna because they don't know what to expect, what rules or regulations there might be. Without the late Nero, this
temple also lost its funding and now resides on trade only. We grow medicinal herbs and plants that aid in healing in return for basic necessities."
Iawen is stunned into silence.
The woman seems uncomfortable under Iawen's silence, and awkwardly asks, "Are these for the Lady?" pointing to the packages. Iawen shakes her head once and answers, "Yes and no... one is for the care-takers of the temple. I guess that would be you... and you. That is, if you let me by you on the stairs."
Manu glares at Iawen.
"Charming kid," Iawen quips as the woman opens one package.
"Are... these sugar buns?"
"Dumplings, actually. I won't be able to celebrate the Moon Feast come March thirty-first, and I have great need to speak with Luna now... these are for your consumption."
"T-thank thee, lady, but I'm sorry that we don't have a suitable repayment..."
"Consider it a long over-due tithe from Nero, then," Iawen claps the woman on the back, and then crosses the common area to the stairs with the second package. "I'm going up there, whether you like it or not. I'm not going to hurt you, but I've definitely booted my share of brats in the hind-end; fair warning."
Manu stands, eyes gleaming with a light that silently meets Iawen's challenge, but the woman says, "Thank you, kind lady. Manu! Come have a sweet. It may be the only one we get all year!"
"Yes, Manu, go have a treat and get off the stairs, savvy?" Iawen adds quietly, glaring back at the child over her glasses and smirking.
The boy complies as Iawen makes her way up the stairs. Iawen mentally adds 'never having kids' to the list of things she'll never do. (Oh, how the gods like a good joke... - Sir Iawen Penn)
In the upper altar area, Iawen is surprised to find two catlings there, and quietly steps out, waiting. Soon, one purrs in Iawen's general direction, "Is there something I can assist with?"
"I see. Forgive me, my apprentice and I will be on our way shortly."
"This isn't your regular temple?"
The catling chuckles, swishing his tail from side to side. "Not since the days of the Empire. No human truly knows what Luna worship is. We change as the Lady changes, and that always keeps us on the move. The Moon Goddess is not a stationary object, therefore we shouldn't be, either."
"...Interesting thought; I'll keep it in mind."
"Wasn't giving advice, just stating fact. Come, Rr'shect..." the catling reaches out and embraces the smaller of the two under his arm and towards its chest. "Besides, no mortal here knows what to do with Luna in the first place. Why do you think it's a barren desert?" He growls in small fits as the two leave, and Iawen is sure he was laughing.
"Fuck lycanthropes some times, really," Iawen mutters, carrying her package in and staring upwards.(Seriously. The gods LOVE to laugh at me. - Sir Iawen Penn)
There is a big window in the ceiling for when the moon shines in, and there are candles in small arrays to light with prayers. All candles are white, and a couple are lit. Iawen nods to herself, and glances up at the window. "You're either going to love me, Aunt, or hate me. I'm prepared for any response."
She slings the package down on the floor, closes the door to the altar room, and gets to work.
All candles are lit, and Iawen is dressed in plain muslin, barefoot as she kneels before the low table placed under the window. A prepared dish of rabbit is there, smoking still on the little ember coals Iawen has placed on her feast plate. The horn is displayed, filled three-fourths with only water, yet free of debris and cold like the North Wind.
Iawen takes a deep breath, and begins to serenade the Moon. (For the sake of the tale, I have truncated the bardic. However, it has been placed in the Ivory Library with its translation so you may feel free to read it there.) As the last notes are sung, Iawen lowers her forehead to the stone floor, and places palms flat on the floor, granting five minutes of silence should something visit or some near before Iawen addresses the
"Luna Noctilua," begins Iawen, breaking the silence, "it is my bended knee that waits upon you, it is my blended voice that calls to you, it is my bloodline that seeps through to you. I need your guidance in this time, I seek answers to that which I do not understand, and I am willing to pay a great price in order to get these answers. Luna, please answer me, or send a messenger for this time of need." Iawen raises her head, sits back on the stone with legs crossed, back straight, and waits with eyes half-open, staring up at the ceiling.
Iawen loses track of time, and a cramp has settled into her back. She hears the door open and the scraping of footsteps on the stone floor. A woman wearing the dark blue robes of one of Luna's acolytes enters the room. Her hood is drawn up but the shape beneath the robes is decidedly female. The scraping sound is the bandaged feet of the woman. Looking more closely at the woman, her hands are wrapped in bandages as well and there are bloodstains marring the white cotton wrappings.
The woman ignores Iawen and head to where the rabbit is laid out. She throws back her hood and a cascade of long black hair flows down her back. She picks at the rabbit tearing off small morsels and eats for a moment. The woman sighs then turns to where Iawen is. She is younger looking than one would think but gives off an air of other worldliness. "You wanted to speak with me, Niece?"
"Yes, my Aunt and my Lady. I would not ask in such a way if I did not feel it important. Ugh..." Iawen cringes a bit in a failed attempt to get up. Working out a couple of kinks and the cramp tenderly massaged a second time, Iawen stands and continues after a half-bow to the woman. "That which I ask is about the cult of Luna and one Kenna Fairbrook. I do not understand the tales and twisted information that babbles and does not match from the adventurers' lips, and get angry when at first glance, the power and recognition is all that they have come for. My lady, what are your wishes to be done with the cult, and how should I handle one Kenna Fairbrook in further dealings? Raise her if she's dead? Kill her if she isn't? Offer shelter? Offer pain? I seek badly to understand, to further this in your name, but if you rather I would not and let the adventurers handle it, please, please tell me and it shall be upheld. Tell me what changes must be undergone, and I will do all that I can to make sure of it, or to stand back if that is what you desire." Iawen bows her head, although still standing, leaving her right hand on her back as to not throw it out.
"My wish has been a simple thing and something I have told any who have asked so very, very often. Save my lost children. I locked them away in a fit of rage, knowing if they spread their lies the gods might fall. Garm took a personal interest in this conflict two years ago and sent one of his deathknights to warn the adventurers. He could sense the balance shifting. If it shifts too much, one of the gods may fall and I fear it may be me.
"You speak of a 'Kenna Fairbrook'? Mackenna is her actual name. She was one of the first to call out to me that I can been able to hear in a very long time. In the early summer she asked for protect from scrying. She's afraid. She took a few of her men and ran. They are thinking of what to do now. The high elves of Moonhaven are a curious lot. Their number have dwindled since the clans embarked on their ancient exodus and were fewer still when some who followed my Sister left to join the human kingdoms. There aren't many of them, but other forces work with them to make them more persuasive.
"I believe in my heart some of them can truly be saved. All is not lost. They are led by a madman, a murderer, one bound by duty and one who is lost in love. All of those answer to my avatar. An opportunist took advantage of a child and now we have An'kardisa's plight. I can't reach her and I am blind to her actions. If I destroyed her, I would lack the power for some time to create an new avatar. Weakened, I believe that the other power would try to gain control of my position. I cannot directly intervene with the elves."
The woman sighs and closes her eyes.
"When she is ready, Mackenna will know that she can contact you. There are those who can be saved and there are those who must be destroyed for the good of all. My champions must make themselves known to those who would challenge them. They must lead the charge and help those who would free my children. They must be bound as a pack and look for the good of all and not of themselves. When they champion me, they champion all of me."
She opens her eyes and looks directly at Iawen. "Void Maiden. Iawen Penn. Niece, by your blood I charge you thus: When next I call to you, answer."
Iawen blinks under the intense gaze of the woman and when she looks again, the woman is gone.
...and that's all I can remember for now. Luna hasn't called to me since, as far I can recall.
Created by Janna Oakfellow-Pushee at 01-18-14 07:15 PM
Last Modified by Janna Oakfellow-Pushee at 01-18-14 07:31 PM
Last Modified by Janna Oakfellow-Pushee at 01-18-14 07:31 PM