Xenofos — Clay
????, Storm Season, Season/Illusion Week
Storm Season/Illusion Week/Freeze Day/ At temple of Uleria [[[s02:session-29|Session 29]]]
“Aranda, I have felt call of the Goddess. Distant like from afar and muted by other voices in my dreams and soul. I know I do not have time or liberty to become Her servant like one initiated to Her mysteries. Can you instruct me in how to venerate her properly?”
The initiate gives him a thoughtful look. “Yes,” she says, “I have wondered if you heard her more clearly than many others who pass through our Temple precincts. I would need to speak to one of the priestesses to gain permission, but I believe you would be welcome.”
She strokes the backs of her fingers down his cheek as she stares into his eyes. “Yes… I think so.”
The scholar looks back with plain sincerity. Relaxed, his eyes open for examination.
She leaves him with a platter of simple, nourishing foods and instructions to eat, bathe, and rest or walk in the Temple gardens. She promises to return within a few hours.
He nods and thanks. After eating he takes his ablutions and strolls to gardens where he will sit down and write something. Or so it would seem. He seems to get lost in his thoughts and remains staring at his pen without even dipping it into ink.
When she returns, she finds him there. She gives him a fond smile, before taking his pen from lax fingers and laying it on the writing desk. She leads him by the hand to the room he has been sleeping in.
“Sit, Xenofos,” she says, pulling him to the floor with her.
Xenofos sits cross-legged with cranelike agility.
Aranda sits in front of him. Her graceful curves are draped in a soft wool robe of pale pink, the weave so fine that it is almost sheer. “I spoke to the priestess,” she tells him.
“Pray tell me, what did she say, Aranda?”
“She has left it to my judgement. Let me see your hand, please?” She holds out her own, palm up.
He turns his hands open, palms up.
She takes the left hand in her own, and traces the lines of the scar on his palm. “You did this to yourself… tell me of it.” Softly spoken, but not a request.
“I… It was in Dark Season. I had prayers to make to Her and no sacred altar nor proper sacrifice. So I gave some blood that it might carry my words further.”
“I see. Lesson one, She accepts blood sacrifice, but does not demand it. And self-harm as punishment, disguised as sacrifice, will not please Her.” The words are gently chiding.
“This… there is a preparation we can make, to add colour. This we will do on Godday. Normally, it would have been on Harmony week, but…” She shrugs. Turning his hand over in hers, she examines the back of it. With a delicate touch, she traces over bones and veins. “Here, we will put the second rune, so that your hand shows the two sides of Uleria’s infinite love.”
He nods. “I hear your words. I was not seeking punishment Aranda, just making do with what I had. I will not make a habit of this.”
She nods. “I accept your word on this. Let us speak then of the Goddess and the other lessons that you must learn…”