The Journey (Peregrine x Freyja)

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Peregrine, Oct 20, 2014.

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  1. The Four Horns of the Great Faith began to sound as the first touches of morning light broke over the horizon. Their song was deep, a massive river carving its way through a canyon, the four tones harmonious as swallows in flight. The people of the Temple City of Elia rose at the sonorous cry, dressing in silence and making their way out into the streets and towards the Temple of Atonement, the most magnificent cathedral of the Great Faith.

    The stranger was already awake, and he turned his gaze away from the peach-stained horizon to grab the travel-worn cloak on the bed and swing it over his shoulders. He was not the only one in The Copper Pipes to be departing the inn at first light and joining the crowd of locals headed towards the cathedral. The Temple of Atonement was known the world wide as the most beautiful piece of Eliam’s architecture, and it enticed hundreds of thousands of travelers to visit every year. Even through the quiet months of the winter The Copper Pipes, the grandest inn within the city of Elia and reportedly once Eliam's own home, would still be filled to the brim with occupants.

    Everything within Elia was constructed and maintained to standards of perfection. The white cobblestone streets were kept meticulously clean, and green ivy and roses climbed up the walls of the stone houses and the poles of the lamps that lined the street. But everyone forgot about the city as the temple came into view around the corner. Many who had never seen the Temple before were brought to an awestruck halt as the as the marble glowed under the dawning sun. One dwarf stopped in her tracks, dropping to her knees with tears streaming down her cheeks. The stranger walked over to her, extending a hand and gently lifting her back to her feet. She smiled up at him through her tears, before resuming her walk to the temple.

    The stranger’s eyes caressed the Temple with a wistful air, following the line of the outer wall, which traced the edge of a circle . Even from this distance it was clear that the stone of the wall had been carved to the likeness of the ancient forest. The rising sun cast shadows on the birds, bringing them to life, and made the marble leaves seem to shiver in the breeze. At only one point was the scene interrupted, where two marble trees created a semicircular archway that granted entrance to the inner sanctum of the Temple. At the top of the carved forest the outer wall domed slightly, before meeting up with graceful pillars that supported the upper reaches of the temple. At the pinnacle of the swirling lines of the Reach was a perfect sphere whose sides looked as though they were made of lace. With the light of the sun touching the marble it was just possible to make out the glint of the Horns.

    At the foot of the two closest pillars, crystal clear pools of water dripped from the pillars, collected from the morning dew that had beaded onto the temple and the remnants of the last rainstorm. On one pillar the Falcon, the symbol of Sahel, was carved into relief, and on the other the Stag, the symbol of Eliam, gazed out on the onlookers. Here the crowd split into two groups, one forming at each pool. Each person dipped his or her fingers into the water to wipe their face clean, murmuring quiet prayers to their chosen Prophet, before steepling their fingers into a sphere and gently kissing their pointer fingers. Only the stranger abstained from this quiet ritual, and the others were all too wrapped up in their own prayers to notice.

    Passing beyond the pillars it finally became possible to see the single staircase that curved up into the Reach. Here the priests were descending, dressed in white robes trimmed with various colors to denote rank, before seating themselves in the wooden pews that faced the back of the Temple. And there, elevated slightly above the main floor, four alcoves between five pillars held the statues of the gods.

    On the far left, carved out of a clear crystal, was the Lady Kastya, her fingers steepled into the sphere and pressed against her lips, hair in a wild, flowing halo around her head, long robes sweeping the floor around her. Her face was serene and peaceful, with her eyes closed and her head slightly bent. To her right was the figure of Sahel, crafted of sapphire crystal. His feather hair was smooth against his head and down the back of his neck, while a healer’s satchel marked with the Falcon was strung over his shoulder. A sad smile toyed across his lips, and a single tear gleamed in the corner of his eye. Next was the emerald statue of Eliam, antlers curling down behind his head, short, furry hair sticking up on all ends, and doe-like ears down and relaxed. In one hand he held a chisel, in the other a hammer, and a tool belt was wrapped around his waist. He alone smiled openly and honestly, the corners of his eyes wrinkling in joy.

    Last was the figure to the far right, carved out of an abyssal obsidian so black it pulled all color into its depths. Skaldreg’s head was thrown back and stretched into a manic laugh. His giant wings were furled and his arms and wings were all tightly bound with heavy metal chain. Rams horns curled around his head, and his clawed fingers scratched at his own body, leaving deep furrows. Compared to the elegant and beautiful figures of the other gods, Skaldreg seemed to mock those who entered the cathedral, insulting their desire for a place of peaceful worship.

    The stranger seated himself in the back of the Temple, and he stared at the four statues with a great intensity. His expression did not waver until the sound of the horns came to an end, and the High Priest stepped up the two steps to the four statues. As the man began to hum the soft notes carried all the way to the back of the Temple, and the stranger finally turned his eyes aside.

    Despite the silvering of his hair the man was still relatively young, certain to see the Temple of Atonement through several more decades. His white robes, trimmed in gold, were neatly pressed, and in one hand he carried a crystalline bowl, filled to the brim with clear water. He paused first before the statue of Skaldreg, and his humming abruptly transitioned into words.

    “May he find peace in his eternal prison,” he said in a clear, deep voice. He lifted a finger and dipped it into the water, before pressing it gently to Skaldreg’s forehead. The water beaded on the black stone, before running down the statue’s face. Very few people within the crowd echoed the priests words, and most of them counted among the ranks of the clergy. The stranger’s lips moved faintly, barely shaping the words, but no sound escaped his lips. The High Priest did not seem disturbed by the silence, and moved to the left.

    “May he guide our hands.” The water beaded on the green statue, clinging to Eliam’s forehead for a moment before slowly rolling down. This time the answering reply was warm and loud. A burly man in front of the stranger even threw in a heartfelt “Be praised!” and formed the sphere with his fingers, repeatedly kissing them. Once more, the High Priest moved left.

    “May he heal our wounds.” Once more the water touched the statue’s forehead, and once more people answered. The words of those who spoke this time were softer, but no less earnest. The High Priest moved left.

    “May she save her souls.” The drop of water seemed to glow on Kastya’s forehead, and at that moment the sun rose high enough to stream over the outer wall and into the temple, casting all of the statues into radiance. Gasps echoed through the halls, and there was not one voice that did not echo the word of the High Priest. Even he and the other priests paused at the glorious sight, before forming the sphere and kissing it gently.

    “May she save our souls,” the stranger repeated quietly as the last gasps and murmurs faded. His lips twitched slightly.

    The High Priest placed the crystal bowl in a small hollow in the center pillar between Sahel and Eliam, before turning to the people, a wide smile spread across his face.

    “I thank you for joining me today, and welcome you all.” He spread his arms wide, as though looking to embrace the whole room. “Today is a special day, as we provide the chance for some of our disciples to enter into Priesthood. I hope you will join me in a prayer for those who feel themselves ready.” His fingers came together before he lifted the sphere over his head, and everyone in the room mimicked his action. The High Priest began to hum again, but this time other voices joined his. The various voices twined together, and quickly found harmony.

    As the people hummed a young woman with light brown hair stood, carefully straightening the lay of her grey robe. She stepped out from among the ranks of her fellows and moved forward, stepping up to the alcoves. She paused before each statue, forming the sphere and kissing her fingers, before murmuring a quiet prayer. When she was finished she kneeled down before the statues, pressing her head to the ground.

    Two more followed after her, a young, red haired dwarf, and a skinny young man with short, black hair. Each stopped before every statue, offering a prayer to the god it represented.

    In the back the stranger was starting to shift. He had come here on a whim rather than from any form of devotion, and the obsequiousness of the disciples set him on edge. Unfortunately he was not in a position to leave until the gathering came to an end, so he pulled his cloak tighter around him and tried to look anywhere but the prostrating forms swathed in grey.
  2. Ah, the horn's beautiful yet sleep-disturbing song pulled Robyn from her deep sleep slumber and announced the beginning of a very special day; the day she were to attain her priesthood and it was a destiny she both welcomed and feared. The frail maiden pulled herself out of the clutches of the warm bed and woke herself up with the shock of realisation. The grey mass of cloth that hung against the wall was the proof that her day had arrived.

    The girl, brittle and porcelain wrapped herself in the blurred colour and looked at the vision in the reflection. In the midst of the chaos made by disciples preparing for the ceremony, she saw her reflecting glaring coldly back at her. The blue eyes sharpened like daggers killed the fear she held for the ceremony and with a sight she turned away from herself and went to meet her impending doom. Other disciples she met during the march down to the hall all seemed so happy and excited.

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