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Tales of the Acropolis 1.0
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2009 3:52 am    Post subject: Tales of the Acropolis 1.0 Reply with quote

Many were the stories told of the Acropolis.
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"It is not the literal past that rules us, save, possibly, in a biological sense. It is images of the past. Each new historical era mirrors itself in the picture and active mythology of its past or of a past borrowed from other cultures. It tests its sense of identity, of regress or new achievement against that past.”
-George Steiner


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 25, 2009 3:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It was with a new conviction and determination that Grayling Day returned to the Nydamis, just hours after sundown. The dock was busy; men, women, and children labouring with the day’s catch.

Iason Catspaw was at the harbour to greet him. "I could sail these waters blindfold, and still not be as lost as you, Grayling" he said.
Grayling did not respond at first, bringing his clinker planked vessel gently into berth. Once he had made his craft secure, Grayling leapt over the side, his worn leather boots landing heavily on the jetty’s timber. "I have spoken with Her, Iason. I have remembered the Sea. I will not forsake Her again, no matter how you test me."

Purpose and belief shone from Grayling’s eyes, and the Catspaw seemed somewhat daunted by this change in his adversary. A hush spread along the dock, sailors and their families pausing to watch the two young men.
"So. So, you spoke to the Sea, did you? Out beyond Treacher's Reef…dangerous waters, those.” mused Iason, "But it changes naught. Can you eat those words you traded with the waves, Grayling? Can your family?"
"No, Iason, they cannot" said Grayling gently, and he lifted into view a jib hooked through the mouth of the biggest Yellow Jack seen in living memory. Iason was struck silent at the sight, while sailors and bystanders crowded round to get a better view of the giant fish. Using both hands and all the strength of his frame, Grayling lifted the Jack high so that all could see it.

“Do you hear me, fisher-folk? I have spoken with The Sea! I have tasted of Her wrath, and Her bounty, and I have learnt the error of my ways.”
Grayling’s voice resounded across the docks, his voice carried on the strong sea breeze.
“We have all erred, my people. We have all forsaken our mother the Sea, taken Her gifts greedily without thought or homage. Who among you sacrificed the finest of your catch today, as was proscribed by our forebears? Who now remembers the proper rituals of praise and worship?”
A wild light danced in Grayling’s eyes, a madness that demanded compliance. All who heard him felt the power of his words, felt humbled and shamed by their lack of piety. Even the Catspaw looked humbled, standing silent and eclipsed beside Grayling Day.
“Do you think such blasphemy will be tolerated? ‘As patient as the Sea, and just as unforgiving’, we say. How long will our trespass against Her be tolerated, do you suppose, before justice is delivered? The Sea feeds and clothes us, provides of Her treasures that we might grow wealthy, and we have offer Her nothing in return. We have become complacent and lazy. Foolish the sailor who take the mood of the Sea lightly. Foolish and doomed!”

Sailor’s paled beneath their tans at Grayling’s words, fishwives wrung their hands and pulled at their hair, children buried their faces in their mothers skirts. Grayling stood erect and tall, as uncompromising as a sea-squall. Then, like the breaking of a storm, the tension faded from his voice.
“My people, it is not too late. The Sea has spoken to me – She has given us this one chance to repent our sins and receive Her blessing. This coolihoo I bear is testimony to Her mercy. Heed me, and our days of plenty and joy shall know no end. Heed me, my people, before all is lost. Heed me, Nydamis, hear the gospel of the Sea…”
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2009 9:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Her steps echoing in the silence of the Forum, the burnished skinned deity strode purposely to the center of the square surrounded with mostly empty space. Her qaftan billowed behind her, the tiny beaded braids which hung out from her head wrapping paralleling the qaftan's snapping.

In her arms she cradled a golden harp, which she positioned for playing then lifted her head to address the presences hovering nearby. Her liquid brown eyes sparkled with merriment as she plucked a chord from her harp, then spoke.

The silence from the deities of this City is deafening! It is time for the sharing of Song and Tales of that which we accomplish. Shall I start us off?

Song's rich contralto voice rang out within the Forum, as she regaled them all with the following.

Quote:
The sound and cry of battle drifted across the fields of the parks in the southeastern corner of the city. It dimly carried across the river to Melody, who was making her way across the easternmost bridge. The High Priestess was returning from the wedding of the daughter of a merchant to the son of a minor noble where she had performed for the celebrants and accepted many a sacrifice to her Lady in appreciation from the participants and their guests.

Her ears perked at the unusual sound, for it had been many years since the city saw military action. She entered the park district in search of the commotion. There being none to be found within the parks she continued on, following the sound to the city Wall and the road from the gate which led to the southeastern most village of the region. There outside the city Walls a battle raged! Yet the guards looked on nonchalantly; perhaps with a touch of amusement upon their features.

“Should you not raise the alarm?” Melody asked the nearest guard.

“Whatever for, milady?” the guard replied, bemused by her question. “It is naught but a training exercise for the newest Watch recruits.”

Melody’s head rose at the words, and she observed the exercise more closely. “Yes, I see what you mean,” she said as she saw how clumsily the dulled blades of the swords were swung and how often the archers missed the practice dummies she had mistaken for attacking forces. However, in a separate corner of the field were what she took to be more advanced recruits. For these recruits battled one-on-one with each other, and the techniques revealed were far in advance of the masses she had just seen.

One recruit in particular stood out above the rest, even among the experienced. Melody’s eyes opened in recognition as his familiar laugh echoed up the city’s cliffs. “For the love of…come on! My sister offered a better match than any of you and I defeated her easily!!” his voice rang out in a taunt to his comrades. Melody smiled to herself. Their weaponry teacher would have cuffed him soundly for bragging, let alone for telling a falsehood. She had laid aside most of her weapons inside the Hall, except for the small dagger within her cloak. No sense wondering the streets without some way of protecting herself. But there was no opportunity to present herself as a combatant to put Poro in his place. However

Looking about the field at the greener recruits, her eyes settled upon the worst, most clumsy soldier she could find. “Your blessings upon this endeavor, my Lady,” she whispered to her deity. Striding forth out of the gates of the city, she made her way boldly to the commanding officer overseeing the seasoned recruits. “Who speaks so haughtily of his fellows, Commander?” she asked, eyeing Poro with a grin. Her twin turned her way at her words, his smile becoming radiant at the sight of her, than schooling himself to martial decorum as he saw to whom she spoke. “Only the best recruit to enter the Watch’s service in many a year, milady,” the officer replied, recognizing Melody as the High Priestess of the Harper Hall, but not knowing her relationship to the recruit of which they spoke. “He needs a lesson in humility, I think,” she answered. “May I give it to him?”

The officer’s jaw shifted in amusement. “A lady amidst the Watch’s training field? I think not,” he replied gruffly, preparing to turn away. Poro’s eyes crinkled with suppressed mirth. “Oh no, sir,” Melody replied. “I will pick a champion, if I may.”

The officer raised a brow at her suggestion. “There are none here who can better him. But who would you choose to champion you? I am curious to see.”

At those words, Melody strode to the hapless recruit and raised his hand clasped in hers above their heads. “Here!” she cried. "With the blessing of the Lady of Song, Virelai, this soldier will defeat my brother!!”

“Your brother?” the officer grinned. "Do you have any idea of the caliber of your champion? For surely you know the training of your brother, if that he is…”

“I do and I have! My champion shall teach my brother his proper station, of that you may be assured.” Turning to the now quaking greenhorn, she quietly assured him. “I will sing a battle hymn for you, not for my brother. Listen to my voice, and should any instruments unexpectedly join in, gain confidence and ability from them. The Lady of Song has chosen you to show her power. You will not fail.”

The exercise was mercifully short and sweet. Poro took his position cockily, while the inexperienced recruit barely managed to hold his position. As the signal to commence was given, Melody broke in to song and the unexpected sound of a Harp accompanied her. The martial tune inspired all of the Watch who had gathered to observe. But its effects upon Melody’s champion astounded them all. His broadsword flew like a rapier; his footwork brought him in time and time again for the successful touch yet always out of Poro’s reach. As the hymn Melody sung reached its forceful conclusion, her champion tripped Poro out from under his own feet, and the last note died away with the point of his sword at Poro’s throat.

“Hold!” the officer called out, rushing to give Poro a hand to regain his feet. “Well fought,” he told Poro, before turning to Melody’s champion in anger. “Why have you hidden your abilities all this time?” he demanded of the young recruit. The soldier, still under the sway of the confidence of the hymn answered boldly, “I did not! It was the song we all heard which inspired me to victory. This Lady of Song of which this Priestess speaks is powerful indeed!” He made his way to Poro and offered his non-sword hand in fellowship. Poro returned the gesture still bemused.

“What is more, while I may never attain such ability again without Her help, I know with work it is possible. I did it once with divine help. If I train as I should, not as I have been,” and he shot a look towards his commander, “I may one day reach that level on my own.” Running to Melody he clasped her hand and fell to one knee before her. “Thank you. Thank you for showing me what I am capable of…”

“All praise goes to Virelai,” Melody said, setting up her bronze tripod and leading him towards it. “I know there is little you may have upon you to offer Her at this time, but even the smallest trinket given sincerely is welcomed.” The recruit nodded, then drew out an apple. “It is all I have on me, and is all I will have to eat until after dark, when we return to our barracks,” he said. “But I offer it to Song for showing me my potential in the Art of Battle.” With that he placed his apple upon the makeshift altar and Melody dispatched it to Virelai with all of the solemnity she would have given the prize bull.

As she folded up the tripod the Watch broke up around her and took position again upon the practice field, still murmuring about what they had just seen. Poro came up to Melody and set his hand upon her shoulder, looking at his commanding officer for permission to speak. The officer nodded. “You may have a short visit, but then return to practice.,” then walked off with Melody’s champion.

“What is all this?” Poro asked. “Why are you not home?

"And what was that you just did? I have never seen anything like it.”

Melody told her twin the story of her eternal moment with him in the Art District where Virelai revealed Herself to her. She told him of the founding of the Harper Hall and the Guild. She told him of the joy she found in Song, and the happiness her life has taken on since leaving home.

In turn, her twin saw his sister aglow with the presence of the Divine upon her and knew she had found what she sought. He had found a place within the Watch, yet as she had observed, so far it was not a challenge for him. He had always loved wandering the Arts District with her, and as she spoke he found he wanted a place among them. Yet he did not wish to leave the Watch. His eyes took on a pleading look as he listened more and more. Melody seeing this reached deep within her faith and laid her hands upon the crown of her brother’s head.

“Do you believe me in all I say?”

“Yes.”

“And will you speak for me before Father and Mother, should the need ever arise?”

“Not only that, but I wish to represent Song within the Watch. If today is any example, she has great power indeed. My fellow recruits saw that, and the story will spread. I wish to bring glory to Virelai with its telling.”

As Poro finished speaking, a glow spread from Melody’s hands. When the glow faded, she cupped her hand under her twin’s chin and gently kissed him. “As I am no longer Sande, you are no longer Poro. Go forth to the glory of Virelai, Lady of Song, Marziale. She will accompany you always…”


The harp plucked one final chord, and silence once again deafened those within the Forum. A wry chuckle escaped the lips of the Lady of Song.

Do as you will.
But let it be known that more often than not, I, for one, am willing to share among us.


Once again cradling her harp in her arms, her qaftan and braids trailing after her, Song's presence disperses from the Forum until another decides to come forth with tales and song to share.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 28, 2009 12:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Theresa sat in front of the audience in the Heart of Darkness. There was no use for podiums or standing, as nobody could see anyway. So, she sat on a comfortable stool before the audience. There were almost 100 present tonight. A good turnout, no doubt. But, tonight was the Winter Solstice, the longest night of the year. The winter's long nights and short days had many in the city pondering the nuances of darkness, now that it was known there was a Goddess of it. But all those present tonight were regulars. Nyx appealed more to the poor than to the rich. The rich who could afford candles to burn through the night. And since Nyx had instructed her that the faithful need not make sacrifies to her at all, those with nothing to give had been flocking to her temple every night.

Theresa herself had been joined in ministering to the faithful by Shawn, an older man. He'd lived on the streets for years, helping those around him when he could. When Theresa had started gathering the homeless together, and encouraging them to help each other, he'd quickly stepped forward. At first he'd been simply helping the others as she'd suggested. But over a couple weeks, he'd developed a strong sense of connection to the church. Last week, he'd come to her at sundown and suggested that he could feel Nyx's presence around him as Surya left the sky. He was announced as a new priest at that evening's services.

But tonight was Theresa's time to speak. The faithful slowly shuffled their way into the temple, by now knowing the layout of the place from memory. Early on, it had been decided to affix the benches to the floor, so that people could learn their positions. It also helped to have a solid object to grab hold of when people stumbled in the dark. Theresa herself had been meditating here in the Heart for hours, and felt like she could sense where things were without even stopping to remember them. Perhaps she was just imagining things, though.

She listened to the people entering. Everyone was quiet and reverential once they'd sat. It was almost as if lacking vision to know their place in the world, they were using their other senses instead. And, busy listening to the sounds of the place, noboby was bothering to make noise of their own to fill the silence. Theresa preferred it this way, so she was pleased that everyone else seemed to settle on this position without anybody needing to say so.

The Grishams had just entered. She could hear the youngest girl, Clarity, whispering to her mother. "Mommy? Where is everybody? Why is nobody speaking?" They'd just joined the church last week, and Clarity must be the exception to Theresa's rule.

Smiling, Theresa called out, "We're all right here, Clarity. We've been waiting for you to join us, before we get started."

The little girl gave a startled shriek, then tried to hide it with a giggle. "Hi, Ms. Theresa. You didn't have to wait for me."

"Oh no, dear. This is for you as much as it is for us. It wouldn't be fair to start without you." A few others in the room chuckled at this.

A moment later, Theresa heard Clarity and her family sit in a row towards the back. The place was mostly full already. One or two stragglers might arrive after them, but it was about time to start.

"I great you all, in Nyx's name. May her Darkness shelter and protect you." Most of the faithful responded "Protect us in your warm embrace." Theresa wasn't sure how they'd all started saying that; she had no set scriptures she spoke from every night. But over time, certain words and phrases had just felt right, and certain responses from the crowd felt right to them in return. She could only imagine the subtle hand of Nyx in this.

"Tonight is the longest night of the year. More than any other night, Nyx rules now. But even on this night, we all know that the darkness will end. In a few short hours, Surya will again rise into the sky and steal the darkness' protection from us."

"Here in the Heart of Darkness, and in other nooks and crannys around the city, darkness will remain. Waiting for nightfall, when it can once again reach from mountains to ocean and cover us again."

"But consider a more metaphorical darkness. Consider how, these past few months, we've all felt a little safer when in the dark, and a little more exposed... a little more vulnerable, in the light. And that could be the light of the Watch's lanterns, when they come to beat us, or the light from the Inn's window, showing us the false love they offer for a price. The friendship that turns to hate and pain if one of us were to reach for the door handle. But here in the darkness, surrounded by Nyx's love and each other's presence, we're all a little more at peace. Even alone in a dark room, I can still feel that love. Your own love, as much as Nyx's love. I can feel it around me."

"In fact, today around lunchtime, when Surya was highest in the sky, I was up above working with Shawn on some repairs to the shelter. We'd finished eating with a few minutes to spare, and I took a moment to close my eyes. And there on the street, Surya's glowing orb at its zenith above us, I was in my own little island of darkness. Surrounded by all of you, in that moment of darkness during the day's brightest moment, the feeling of love and safety returned to me."

"So, I excused myself down here to the Heart, and pondered the meanings of this. I've been here ever since."

"I have decided something, here in Nyx's dark embrace. I never want this feeling to end. Never again do I wish to pull apart from this holy communion with our dark mother. And so, I shall not. It is eyes which allow the darkness to leave us. I would give up my eyes, rather than give up our mother's embrace."

The audience had stopped their formulaic responses, so they could listen more closely to her words. A tension could be felt in the room, though none were quite sure why. Clarity could be heard whispering, "Mommy, what's happening?" Mrs. Grisham didn't answer, and all attention was focused towards the front of the room.

At that moment, Theresa screamed, with all the force she had. But it was cut short. Nobody moved. Nobody spoke. Their attention was focused to the front, but they wanted to know what was happening so much, nobody was willing to make sounds in response.

Theresa could be heard breathing heavily for a few moments. "There. It is done. Forever more will I remain in Nyx's embrace." She paused a moment, then in a more quiet voice, "That hurt more than I expected it to. Shawn, can you come up here for a moment?"

Shawn could be heard moving up the aisle towards Theresa's voice. "What have you done? Are you all right? You're scaring us all."

"Be not afraid. This was my choice. Nyx demands no sacrifice from the faithful, but I realized that being apart from her was more of a sacrifice than my vision. If I can sacrifice those eyes that seemed to bring me nothing but fear and hatred, and receive this closeness with our Goddess in return, I call it no sacrifice at all."

"Yes. That's what scares me. But, I feel the rightness of your words. Still, you're bleeding, and you need to be seen by a doctor." Shawn turned to the audience, then. "Tonight's ceremony is concluded. Please return to your homes, or for those who have no homes of your own, you're always welcome to call this place home. Think on what has happened here, though I hope nobody else will follow Theresa's example without discussing it with the rest of us."

"Now, Timmy. I know you're closest to the door. Would you mind running ahead to to the healer's house to wake him? I'll be along with Theresa shortly."
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 09, 2010 6:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The young street rats gathered round old Silas, dirt and grime ground into their faces and clothes like a badge proclaiming their status, or lack of it, within the city. The older among them, the tweens, watched barely concealing their sneers. These lessons meant little to them; of what use were they? They didn't help them improve at picking pockets or snatching food from the market stalls. Yet within their most secret heart, they had to admit the old Harper's words stirred something, like an old memory, deeply buried.

The younger urchins listened enraptured, and attempted to memorize the lessons and the rhythms with which old Silas drove morals home. But more and more the lack of discipline in the lives of these children manifested itself in a mistimed clap or misstep in a dance. Silas despaired of retaining them; already a pair of older urchins had stopped coming to his early evening teaching circle in the gutters of the market. To where he did not know.

The curly-topped mop of Briar's hair grabbed his attention. Barely five years old, Briar had struggled the most with the rhythms when the circle first met. Yet over time he became one of the best rhythm keepers, after the initial play through of a lesson. Silas wondered at that. Briar did not strike him as one to tag for StoryTeller/Chanter apprenticeship; his memory seemed not to retain the rhythms from night to night. He would sit without clapping through the first recitation, digging at the dirt. But with the second time through and thereafter, he was dead on in his beat. No matter which part of the chorus he took.

Silas decided to watch Briar this night.

The first run-through went as all the others, with Briar sitting silent. The second time Briar was perfect.
Silas called the boy over. "The third years over here needs reinforcement. Go sit and learn that part instead."
Briar paled, then nodded and took a seat with the nine and ten year olds.

Again, the first time through Briar did not join in, digging at the dirt instead.
But also again, the second time through, he had the part perfect.

Old Silas stood and had the group run through the lesson again, walking around the perimeter of the circle until he was standing directly behind Briar, looking over his shoulder at what Briar had done in the dirt.

There in front of the small boy, a pattern of small rocks were laid out in a line in front of him.
Silas waited for the lesson recitation to run his course, then squatted next to the youngster and laid a finger on one of the rocks. "What is this?" he asked.

The urchin turned bright red.

"A couple of months ago, when you began these lessons and I first started coming, I was the worst of your students. I flubbed the rhythms every time. So I thought if I placed a rock for each clap, I could have a line in front of me showing me how many claps to do in a row, or how long to not clap, or mark all sorts of different clapping, so I need not memorize.

"You are not angry, Silas? It has helped me to keep the rhythms better. Especially when we learn something new, like I did tonight."

Silas looked at the boy, with one eyebrow raised. "And you do this as you learn each new song, or each new part?" Briar nodded. "I admit at times," with a wink at the boy, "that even I will mix up the rhythms of the different sections. Can you mark more than one section at a time?"

Briar looked thoughtful. "I haven't done so, but maybe rows of rocks lined up above each other, one for each part, might work?"

Silas brought the boy to his spot in the circle, then had each of the three sections run through their parts, one at a time. Briar marked a row of pebbles for the first part, then moved down and made a row of rocks for the second part directly under the first, followed by moving down yet again and marking a third line of rocks. Studying the rows, the old Harper had the circle run through the lesson with all parts playing one more time, following the three rows of rocks and feeling his excitement grow. He understood Briar's markings innately; each part was perfectly marked to be followed, instead of drilling it to memory.

Smiling broadly, he rubbed the mop of curly hair of the urchin next to him and made plans to talk with a carpenter and sand artist at his next opportunity. He was starting to visualize a table of sand with a protective cover in which the rhythms could be pressed to mark them, and then kept permanently from being blown or jostled. A way to preserve Song and Tales. The Guild will be pleased...
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 20, 2010 12:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A few weeks later, Shawn entered into the Heart again. Theresa had just resumed her place on the stool in the front of the room, though it was still early afternoon out in the sun. He was chuckling to himself then. "We may just convert that doctor to our faith. Wouldn't that be a stroke of luck? He says you must be under the watchful eye of some god or goddess, since that's the cleanest healing wound he's ever seen. No sign of infection or other problems at all. Then he realized he'd said 'under the eye' and got all embarassed. The man has a stern look about himself normally, but when he lets his guard down he's almost human."

"How will we pay him, Shawn? You know we have little coin to us." Theresa didn't want all the attention to her. She felt it was becomming somewhat of a circus, pulling attention away from Nyx's message of love, and towards her own example as a crazy person. And she wasn't crazy, anyway. The response she'd gotten from the faithful the next day has been amazing. There had been strangers in the audience then, eager to hear word of a goddess who could inspire her priests to deface themselves. It was the right result, though maybe for the wrong reason.

"Pay him? Bah, a small army of people just descended upon his home and cleared all the snow from the place. His garden is the only one in town, other than that business in the park, to be clean and well kept. We seem not to need coin anymore, with this many people each willing to exert an effort on your behalf. He suggested that if you wanted to injure yourself further, he'd be happy to help out in exchange for similar efforts on our part."

"Theresa, this is incredible. I know you're not getting the reaction you'd expected from what you did, but... can't you see how your blindness is bringing us all even closer together? At this point, if ANYONE of our flock were in trouble, the entire congregation would be there to help out. As soon as someone gets around to writing them, I'm sure they'd all be singing songs of Nyx and her blind Prophetess of Darkness. You've done for all of us what you'd only intended to do for yourself, don't you see? That one act has surrounded everyone with the love and protection you sought. And it's still growing."

"I'm afraid I'll have to put a stop to those songs, Shawn."

"Why's that? It's just what we'd hoped would happen."

"Oh, I'm sure it is. It's just that... I'm not blind."

Shawn stopped, then. "What?"

"I'm not blind. I can see you clearly, right now."

"Don't mock, Theresa."

"I'm not. You're seated to the left of the aisle. Your head is tilted to the side, and you're picking your ear. It's funny how people act when they think you can't see them. For the past week, I've been treated to people picking their noses, fondling themselves, scratching itches in places they normally wouldn't. Yes, you're waving your hand at me. I can see that too. But the best part is watching their faces. In public, people try so hard to limit be passive; keep their faces stern. Here in the darkness, I get to see their emotions all laid out for me, because they don't know I can see. Watching tears run down a burly man's face while he listens to your speaches of Nyx's love... it's incredible. Wonderful to know how they really feel, but also it's very intimate. They're sharing that with Nyx only, and I've been blessed to take part in it."
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 01, 2010 3:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Szabad arrives at the Heart of Darkness, below the Shanty Town, a few hours before Sunset. He does not enter. Despite the cooperation between Surya and Nyx, the joint effort in this matter, it is probably not wise for the High Priest of the Sun to enter the High Temple of Dark.

A woman comes out to meet him. He bows his head in respect. "You are Theresa?"

She smiles. She was clearly uncomfortable in the presence of Szabad, and especially the Sunbeam. But she smiled through it, and was friendly. "I am. You are Szabad. I'm afraid I will require your assistence on the journey there. Your, uh... companion really is a bit of sunlight, made manifest, isn't it? I haven't been this blind since I had eyes. It is oddly humbling."

"It would be my honor to guide you. It will give us some time to get acquainted."

They walk to the Court. The Sunbeam is always near, making sure the two are safe. But, for the sake of Theresa, it keeps a bit of distance. They give themselves a couple hours for the walk, so they can become acquainted, but still arrive at the Court before Lord Surya sets.

Each are known around town to some degree. That, and the dancing Sunbeam, cause all to stop and watch them. And, just before Sunset, Szabad speaks:



*bows*

Your Honor,

I am Szabad, High Priest of Surya, God of the Sun. Welcome to the Acropolis. I am very happy that justice will be the rule here.

The Goddess of Darkness is Nyx. She and Lord Surya are polar opposites. Light and Dark. Yet, between them is... everything. Sunrise to Sunset; Sunset to Sunrise. None understand the need for balance more surely than they.

Your reputation for fairness precedes you. And fairness is balance. Surya and Nyx wish to aid you in your duties, so that you may ensure fairness for the people of our Acropolis. Surya grants you the vision known as the Light of Truth. When the accused who are brought before you speak, you will know the degree of truth they speak by the strength of the Sun's glow that your eyes see in them. My Lord hopes this will make it easier to exercise the fair judgement for which you are known.

And please, Your Honor, do not fear this gift. It comes with no strings attached. Lord Surya will not ask any favors, or offer any advice, in regards to your judgements. He gives you the Light of Truth because of the fairness with which you are known to conduct yourself. That is what He is interested in, and He will not attempt to alter, to pervert, it. He would not have sent me with this gift if the judge the king sent was not known for such fairness. Anyone claiming to be speaking for Lord Surya who does ask for any favors or special consideration is most asuredly NOT speaking for Lord Surya. He, and all of the Acropolis, ask nothing but that you preserve us from barbarity.

*bows*


After Theresa speaks, they leave. It is now as bad for Szabad as it was for Theresa on the walk to the court. He has sent the Sunbeam to Nihon to await his arrival, so that its nature would not conflict with Threresa's power. Being immersed in that power is not easy. But his faith in Surya, and Theresa's understanding and kindness, make it bearable. Even pleasant. They arrive at Nihon safely.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 01, 2010 3:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It was a bright and clear, crisp winter afternoon in Acropolis. Theresa was within the Heart of Darkness, thinking of what her day would hold. She saw a head poke into the chamber, and Shawn spoke. "Theresa, he's here."

Theresa stood and made her way to the exit then through the halls and tunnels up to the surface streets. As she left the dark confines of the temple and stepped out onto the street, she stumbled. "Oh dear." she muttered, as her vision failed in the blinding light. If she could see, she would see a young man in golden robes, with a freestanding beam of sunlight next to him. But in the beam's presence, she can see nothing at all.

The man reached out a hand to steady her step. "You are Theresa?"

She smiled and allowed the contact. It was not presumptuous, merely providing balance. "I am. You are Szabad. I'm afraid I will require your assistence on the journey there. Your, uh... companion really is a bit of sunlight, made manifest, isn't it? I haven't been this blind since I had eyes. It is oddly humbling."

"It would be my honor to guide you. It will give us some time to get acquainted."

The two spent several hours making their way through the city streets to the Courts, talking quietly as they went. She heard the sounds of people's surprise. She assumed from the sunbeam.

When they arrive, Szabad makes his speach, and Theresa stands next to him, showing support by her presence.

As the sun sets to the west, it dips behind the buildings at that end of the square. The shadows, moving slowly during the height of the Surya's journey across the sky, are now racing across the ground and then up the walls of the courthouse. As the line of darkness passes over her, Theresa stands a little taller.

"Your honor. I am Theresa, High Priestess of Nyx, goddess of Darkness. The Church of Nyx is well pleased that his Majesty has seen fit to appoint a man of such fairness to enforce the laws of our fair city. To show our support for your efforts, and for your goal, Nyx has chosen to grant her blessing upon you. As you now hold the Light of Truth, to bring light to the truth in all things, so shall you also see into the darkness of men's hearts. Nyx and Surya know that you will use these gifts fairly and without bias, and so I repeat Szabad's promise that no conditions come with them."

She chuckles. "I'm afraid there's no catchy name for this blessing, however. It is what it is." She hears a brief snort from Szabad at this.

With the ceremony over, Szabad dismisses the sunbeam. Theresa then waves her hand over herself and Szabad, and the two of them vanish from sight. They reappear in front of Nihon, where Theresa delivers Szabad to his temple.
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Casting my gaze over the city, the aftermath of the violence and butchery leave me saddened and concerned. The city needs to be soothed and calmed, and perhaps redirected from frustration and loneliness.

Idly strumming my harp, I send its tones drifting on the breeze; a musical phrase and some words come to mind. A smile creases away the concern as an idea begins to take shape while I pluck and hum the couple of lines that strike my fancy:

The marching band came down along main street
The soldier blues fell in behind
...
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 28, 2010 6:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Facetor, Chime's High Priest, has been seen at several performances of The Trio of Bumblers, looking troubled.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 02, 2010 4:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The chill of winter slowly easing into spring made journeying from northern village to northern village easier. Whoever insisted we leave on tour during the height of winter was mad, Stefan thought to himself. Then he recalled the request to tour and the itinerary came from Song's high priestess herself. He had to admit those of the outlaying villages were extremely gratifying in their response to the troupe's performances. And the women who heeded Song's call to journey to the City! He shook his head to clear it. If the call has such a response at each stop, perhaps future disturbances of such a nature can be avoided altogether, he mused.

Their final performance in the northwestern most village successfully received, Stefan turned his attention towards the coast and their plans to hunt out fishing hamlets and whaling communities. Even though Spring is in the air, the isolation Winter brings should mean warm welcomes for the troupe. Stefan grinned to himself. Perhaps a sacrifice or two to Libidinal wouldn't go astray, even if we are touring at the behest of Song.

Shaking the reins, the troupe's caravan slowly lurched forward, and started making its way down towards the coast.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 02, 2010 6:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fragments of a Tormented Soul: Orden Attends The Theater

Orden's patience is at its end; try as he might, he cannot ignore the priest who was surely sent to torment him. Slipping out from the hut-cum-temple one night, he attempts to flee and find himself a new place to stay, where he will not have to suffer the daily visits of worshippers of Strife. Alas, the priest Fallo has anticipated him: he is watched, and followed secretly wherever he travels.

When Orden stops in a new part of the city, thinking himself anonymous, he finds that the worshippers still come to him, asking for small blessings. After the first few such times, he begins to suspect, and becomes more wary, but despite his efforts, watchers still manage to trail him.

As the weeks progress, the guardsman becomes increasingly desperate, and his pursuers more bold. The cat and mouse chase escalates to the point that public skirmishes occasionally break out as he attempts to flee them.

Finally, things come to a head when an attempt to cross the Arts district finds Orden confronting two followers in a crowded theater - enraged by their constant harrowing, Orden turns on them suddenly, and before anything can be done to stop him, he beats the men to death. Out of his mind, he is dragged from the theater screaming of the goddess who refuses him peace.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 02, 2010 10:08 pm    Post subject: A wedding!! Reply with quote

I am thrilled to announce that Theresa, High Priestess of Nyx, has, for reasons we cannot imagine, agreed to marry Szabad! Not only is this a glorious tale of love, but it is also a joining of Sun and Darkness! Who could have anticipated such a thing? It is a unity the likes of which the world has never before seen!

The wedding will take place, naturally, on Sunset of the equinox. What better time could possibly exist for such an event?
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 03, 2010 4:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

One evening, all of Nyx's priests are seen to wear heavy blindfolds. Though it's hard to tell behind the masks, they seem to be in some amount of pain that evening, and the next. Over time, the appearance of pain grows less, though the blindfolds are always worn afterwards.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 03, 2010 2:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It is common knowledge that The High Priests of Darkness and Sunlight bequeathed upon me certain gifts, to promote justice within the city.

It is with pleasure, therefore, that I have agreed to conduct today's ceremony.

(*Removing judge's robe to reveal the regalia of the High Priest of Chime*)

Welcome! We stand before this company on this beautiful day (*grinning wryly at the Sunbeam*), to witness something truly momentous, the joining of Theresa and Szabad.

Today, before the Gods and Goddesses, you shall witness a tranformation, as Szabad and Theresa share vows and become one.

We come here today to witness the joyous celebration of the love between them, supporting them in their decision to be joined as one in the sight of the Gods and Goddesses.

I now call upon my God, Chime The Dealmaker, to witness their vows and to sanctify the blessed contract that they symbolize.

*Addressing Theresa and Szabad* Please grasp each other's right hand as you speak your vows.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 03, 2010 7:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SZABAD


My Lord Surya spoke to me one day. He had an assignment for me. Things have been going badly for the City, and he wanted to try to help calm things down.

There is a newly appointed Judge. He is said to be fair. I will help him. I want you to go to him, and explain my gift as I bestow it upon him.

There is more. I am working with Nyx in this. She is also blessing the Judge. And her High Priestess, Theresa, will act for her as you will act for me. Go to her temple and walk with her to the court...


Well, no need to bore all of you with the full details of His words to me. The relevant part is that I was to go to Theresa and walk with her to the court. I, High Priest of the Sun, was going to be in the close company of the High Priestess of Darkness for hours! Truly, I was expecting to feel pain from her mere presence! Yet, my Lord had commanded it, so I must obey. And my Lord loves me, so he would not order me into harm. So I would be safe, yes?

Well, yes. But, no. I was safe from pain. Safe from danger. But I was not safe from getting my heart stolen, and getting my life turned upside-down! How could I have known what Theresa would do to me? How could I have known that the opposing forces that she and I represent would, that they could, draw me to her like nothing I ever imagined? Like nothing I could resist, even if, for an instant, I wanted to?

The Sun is light and warmth. It is the hearth. The family. The home. But Darkness is primal power! It is a fierce excitement and beauty that I had not known existed. It is all that the Sun is not. And Theresa personifies it. She draws me as one magnet draws another. My opposite than I cannot resist.

I love you, Theresa, and I will be by your side for the rest of our lives.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 04, 2010 3:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Theresa sniffs during Szabad's speech, eventually pulling a hankerchief from the stem of her bouquet, where it had been hidden for just such an occasion.

"Szabad, from the moment we met, your concern was always for me. Though the presence of your god blinds me, I have never felt out of control of vulnerable in your presence. I know that you are honest and direct, and that you will face any problems head-on with care only for others in your heart."

"What's more, though I gave up my eyes to more completely appreciate my Goddess, I found that I could see better without them, though her grace. Only in your presence am I completely in the dark, unable to see at all. It's as if Nyx were granting me special favor, only when we are together. I know you do not understand this, but that you love me because of it speaks all the more to your favor."

"Our gods brought us together to do a service to the city, though the person of this judge. But perhaps what we can bring to the Acropolis is more than that. We can show everyone that people can come together, not just in spite of their differences, but exactly because of them."

"Stay with me, Szabad. Stay with me, and I will stay with you, no matter what else happens."
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 04, 2010 4:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As the vows were being said, Melody’s heart swelled with the joyous melody she felt inside. Perhaps an improvisational performance, one of the Joy in my heart, rather than the piece I prepared, is the way to go, she thought. Drawing out her five hole bamboo flute, Melody begins to play a joyous celebratory jig. She finds she can not contain the Joy within her; it will not allow her to stand still. Her piping causes her own feet to move to the music, carrying her around the room.

As she moves about the room, treating all gathered to her piping, a separate more serious, romantic tune, played on a disembodied harp, begins to resonate in the room. At first Melody hesitates in her own playing, believing the two melodies clash. But as she listens her face brightens, and her own bliss in the experience of communing with Song is clear upon her face. “May the gift of your own music bless this union, milady,” she breaths while she returns to her improvisational tune, finding the two disparate melodies reinforce and lift each other in to a majestic whole.

In the joining of the two disparate melodies, it is shown there need not be conflict, strife, or chaos due to apparent differences. Nor that total opposites must strive against each other, but instead may work together in harmony and balance, much like the marriage between the High Priest of the Sun and the High Priestess of Darkness demonstrates to the entire city.

The joint song coming to an end, the plucking of the harp slowly fades out of the room and Melody returns from communion with Virelai to the joyous occasion around her. Her dancing and playing slows, and she draws the flute away from her embrasure while the High Priests and High Priestesses standing around her smile knowingly. Blushing slightly at the realization that it was obvious to the others that her Joy in the occasion was mixed with the direct communion with her Lady, she spreads her hands wide and bows towards the newly united couple, then awaits what comes next in this celebration of the union of perceived opposites.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 04, 2010 12:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As the music ended and Melody resumed her seat, Caireen stood and waited for the applause to end.

She raised her cup to the newly wedded couple and said, " This is a joyous event, indeed, to see two opposites attract so strongly.

"The goddess, Diana, wishes to bestow her blessing on this union as well.

"She blesses you with many children, that they become your twilight and sunrise - the bridges between night and day - further strengthening your devotion to each other and setting the example for all Acropolis.

"May you cleave to each other with trust, honor and security, as a babe cleaves to its mother's bosom, and be the standard of love and family for all the world."

With that, Caireen smiled and drank deeply from her cup.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 04, 2010 5:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A late winter breeze blows through the pavilion, picking up scattered rose petals along its way. Sweeping through the aisles, it ruffles the hem of Theresa's dress, lifting it just enough to show her delicate ankles before it playfully circles about Szabad's feet. As the little whirlwind retreats slightly from the newlyweds, it begins to gain strength. Soon every strewn petal and scrap of festive ribbon is cycling about in a forceful column of air that towers over the gathered onlookers and threatens to tear away Theresa's veil and bouquet. Suddenly, the wind dies, and as the wedding's detritus falls to the ground, the form of a man is revealed. Lithe, and taller than any man present by an arm's length, he is outrageously dressed. A golden dart hangs lewdly from a sash around his waist, and one hand holds a staff of office that could be only politely described as suggestive. The other hand reaches out to rest familiarly upon Szabad's shoulder.

"Did the couriers fail to deliver my invitation?" the man asks, a mischievous gleam in his eye. "Well, no matter. I sense my presence is not undesired."

"Certainly, not, my lord Libidinal," Theresa answers. "We heard you had departed these lands, at least for a while." Hearing the guest's name revealed, all the attendees dropped to their knees in respect, the high priests in attendance only taking one.

"Oh, no need for that kind of formality," the god declared. "Rise, everyone. This is a celebration, isn't it?"

"Yes, my lord. And even happier with your appearance," says Szabad. "Serving girl, please bring a draught of our finest for this most honored guest."

A fine, pewter mug was given to Libidinal, who lustily quaffed the beverage in one drink. As he wiped the foam from the top of his lip the god intoned, "Ah, that was fine indeed. I must admit, though, the barley has always felt rough on my tongue. I prefer something sweeter. Here, try something of my own creation."

Libidinal proffered the mug to Szabad and Theresa, placing each of their hands upon the vessel that was now the clearest of crystal. Inside sloshed a liquid golden in color, a fragrance of honey that was nearly intoxicating in itself wafted from the mug. "This is my gift to you," Libidinal said. "Its taste will be as sweet, its potency as strong, as the love between you. And as long as love flows between you, so shall my mead flow from this cup. Let it... nor your bed," he said with a wink, "be empty from now on."

Szabad lifted the mug to Theresa's mouth. When she had taken a large, satisfied drink, she raised it in turn to Szabad's who did the same. "It is sweet," Szabad said.

"And very strong, husband," Theresa answered.

"Now that warms my heart," Libidinal said. "While I wish I could stay with you through the night, and I mean all through the night," he said suggestively, "I must be off. Congratulations, you two. Please pass along my regards to your masters."

As Libidnal bowed in farewell to the wedding's hosts and its guests, the wind picked up as suddenly as it had died away. The god disappeared in a swirl of flowers. From that day on, the tale lived in the Acropolis. No wedding was complete without drinking mead in a ceremony like Szabad's and Theresa's.
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