A Matter of Faith

From Tenebrae
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Log Info

  • Title: A Matter of Faith
  • Emitter: Ravenstongue
  • Place: Temple of Eluna
  • Summary: Seldan's at the Temple of Eluna in Alexandria when the two half-elf sorcerers Telamon and Ravenstongue enter, seeking guidance on Eluna and other faiths. Seldan leads them to a quiet corner of the Temple, and Ravenstongue asks him difficult questions on the nature of faith and in Navos, the god of knowledge. The answers are hard to learn, but they help Ravenstongue determine her path going forward in matters of faith. Telamon, meanwhile, inquires about Eluna and shares knowledge with Seldan.
-=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=- Dramatis Personae =--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=-                                    
Ravenstongue      5'0"     99 Lb      Half-Elf          Female    Short half-elf girl with violet eyes and black hair.
Seldan            5'11"    187 Lb     Human             Male      Ginger-blonde human in armor wearing Eluna's symbol.                   
Telamon           5'6"     140 Lb     Half-Elf          Male      A platinum-blond half-sil man with dancing dark eyes                      

Temple of Eluna, afternoon.

Rain comes down from a gray sky in a light drizzle, providing a bit of relief to an otherwise warm day. Two half-elves make their way to the Temple District, and the shorter one clings to the arm of the taller one as they make their way there.

"Glad Addy agreed to babysit Pothy again," Cor'lana murmurs quietly as they step into the Temple of Eluna. Her violet eyes look somewhat troubled, as though she's not sure where to look or what to say once she's inside the temple. So she just naturally defaults to Pothy, who is indeed absent from her shoulders today--much to the relief of every food seller in Alexandria.

The rain is almost a blessing after the other day's brutal heat, cooling the air, though it'll be paid for later with humidity. His light cloak pulled over a fairly utilitarian tunic and trousers, Telamon looks reasonably anonymous, even with Lana on his arm. "They'll be fine. Addy can manage Pothy, and Pothy's not going to give her too much grief anyways. I just want you to be at ease." He looks down at her with a smile, as the two set foot inside the temple.

It's quieter here, the rain pattering down on the roof a barely audible susurrus, almost like a vaguely heard snore of someone in sleep. The comparison makes Tel's lips curl up in a slight grin, as he looks around. "Been a while since we've been here," he comments quietly. "Hopefully there won't be as many werewolves this time. And by 'many' I mean 'zero'."

The austere sanctuary proper, with its pillars of marble surrounding a crystal-clear pool that echo the dance of the stars high above, clouds or not, is quiet, with only a feer Seers in attendance, and a lone young human male, standing on the far side of the pool from the holy altar. A shock of collar-length, blonde hair shot through with just a touch of flame, and bright plate armor that is not so much polished, as opalescent, a sheen enhanced by the cool glow of silvery manalamps that light the sanctuary. Unlike the Seers, with the Star of Tears at their belt, this one carries a longsword that both of them will recognize. He is damp from rain, although not drenched, and wears two cloaks over all, a light traveler's cloak, and a curious one beneath it of iridescent fabric that is hard to look at completely.

Seldan drops to one knee before the altar, bowing his head in what is clear obeisance, then stands and looks around. It is both plainly him, and plainly him with no disguises and no glamers, much more ostentatious than his usual low-key presentation.

Cor'lana smiles up at Telamon--it's a small smile, but it's there. "Right," she says to his first sentiment, but it's said with the unease that is, well... the reason why they're there, or at least partly so. "I hope they're not here, either."

She looks over to Seldan up by the altar and presses her gloved hands together in front of her, the only visible part of her clothing that peeks out from under her cloak that she's wearing today. She takes a breath, and then she says, "Good afternoon, Sir Seldan?" It comes out as a question. Uncertainty does that sometimes.

Telamon nods, before walking along with her. As they approach the altar, he pauses, catching sight of Seldan. His lips curl up slightly, as he reaches up to draw his hood back, running a hand through his hair before inclining his head respectfully. "Sir Seldan," he adds politely.

He bows to the knight, his dark eyes glinting, as he regards the other man, the silver light of the temple glimmering around the two of them. Gently, Tel puts his arm around Lana's shoulders, giving her a squeeze before letting his arm relax. Mutual support; they lean on each other.

The name seems to grab the man's attention, and he turns, eyebrows raising politely at the sight of the pair of them supporting one another. "Lady Cor'lana, Master Telamon, Her light upon your path," he offers, turning and striding towards them. He is open, calm, even, self-assured, a very different man from the one sometimes to be found in Alexandria's streets. "What brings you here?"

There's a moment where Cor'lana just... hesitates. But then Telamon just gives her that little squeeze around her shoulder, and she looks at Seldan square in the eyes. Her violet eyes are simply tumultuous.

"I'd like to talk to you... About the gods. In a general sense, mostly, as I know you follow the Sky-Singer and not the Raven like I... I did."

Her hand goes to her chest, and her gaze lowers to the floor off to her side. "Or... do. It's hard to explain."

Telamon clears his throat a moment, before continuing the thread. ""My own adventures have brought me face to face with certain... let's call them truths, that seems to be good. While I'm not having the same worries she has, at the same time I've never been dedicated. Devout, yes, but not dedicated."

His lips quirk slightly. "So, any advice you might offer would be appreciated. And I am willing to tell you about some things in turn, about recent events. I don't know if they would affect you or not, but... it's always good to know."

"I am at your service." Seldan's first answer holds some puzzlement, but he nonetheless cants his head in the direction of the door that will take them deeper into the temple grounds, suggesting that they should follow. "This seems a private conversation. Come, let us find a quieter space."

Assuming they assent, he will lead them through the temple courtyard, and back into a small library, stuffed with scrolls and tomes aplenty, writing even etched into the very marble pillars themselves. Through this he leads them, and to the back, where a pair of tables is hidden in a back cubby that is mercifully quiet. It seems that not many come here.

Cor'lana follows Seldan's direction. It's almost like he's playing host and the two half-elves are his guests, as she looks a little more comfortable as Seldan takes them to the quiet corner.

She finds a seat at one of the tables and takes it, sighing as she leans back into it. "Sir Seldan, I suppose I should explain first my issue," Cor'lana says, looking to Telamon. "I've followed Navos the Raven since I was young. I grew up in a village in Rune that had no other half-elves like myself, and when I was mistreated by the other children, I withdrew into my mother's home. She allowed me to do so, as we were in hiding from my father in Llyranost--although I didn't know at the time--and I ended up taking my solace in books... and in Navos. I used literature and knowledge as a means of soothing my pain as I grew older, and I found comfort in the idea that there was a god who cared for people who did as I did--seeking knowledge."

Even as she speaks of the god, her tone is warm--but it quickly falls to pain, along with her expression, with her next words. "A few months ago, Tel and I were in combat at the Artificer's Guild, handling some machines that went haywire. I found myself praying to the Raven that He would protect me--and He didn't answer. And I came to realize in time when I was alone that in my childhood, He'd surely never heard my prayers, either--otherwise I would have not been rejected by others, nor would I have had to witness my mother dying in front of me. I've... come to believe I've been abandoned."

Telamon places his hand on Cor'lana's, but doesn't speak as she lays out her tale. Seated next to her, the two look innocuous, hardly out of place in this cozy little nook. As Lana's voice becomes pained, Tel's fingers curl around her hand, a reflexive motion. He might not even be aware he does it.

"I am... not particularly well qualified to give advice on this matter, Sir Seldan," Tel admits. "I never became enamored of any of the gods of light, though I paid them respect and devotion simply as a practical matter. I... didn't seek any kind of personal relationship."

Seldan's demeanor is studious, serious, and thoughtful, and he listens without interruption, seating himself as he does so. Armor on these chairs is rather incongruous, and yet he has clearly done it many a time. He absently removes his weapon belt as he listens, and lays Reunion down on the floor next to him. "The Father of Time is no longer counted among the Gods of Light," he points out, when both of them have spoken and fallen silent. "When Animus was slain, he became among the gods of Twilight, and in the Equilibrium laid aside His compassion. It is said that he guides the course of the world, according to Elhim's vision," he muses thoughtfully.

"The gods are not always kind, my lady, and it may be that your plight was intended to serve the course of the world. It is in my mind that the Father of Time will not turn aside from that which serves Ea as a whole, even if it means suffering. It is harsh to say, and there can be no doubt that you have suffered greatly." His eyes lower. "His faithful keep a life of self-discipline and self-reliance, my lady, and it may be that He would have you rely on your own strength."

Cor'lana listens carefully to Seldan's words. Slowly yet surely, an emotion dawns on her face--just a tug at her mouth that turns into a grave frown and finishes with her eyes as they glitter with tears that threaten to fall. "So you are telling me that the Raven has no compassion, even for His followers," she says, "and that everything I've gone through had to happen because someone or something decided, without my consent or seemingly without any care for me, that I had to."

Her hand goes to her chest again, but it trembles. "So it's not that I was abandoned. It's that He never cared. Because He can't care. He is too busy with things that do matter and I don't. Am I understanding it correctly?" The tears do fall down her cheek now. "Please tell me I'm not."

Telamon puts his arm around Lana's shoulders again, hugging her to him. He looks to Seldan with an unreadable expression, but his tone is gentle. "I think you might be going by it too fast, Lana." He exhales. "This... reminds me of something the Watcher told me. That certain things have to happen, for other things to happen, so that further down the road something good happens. It's why astrology and fortune-telling are so inexact -- there are too many things in play."

He sighs heavily. "Sir Seldan is, if I'm understanding him right, saying all that happened to you happened for a reason. It had to be this way. Why? Well... consider that it brought you here, Lana. With me. Let's take this a little further... what if somewhere down the road, our grandchild might be needed to face a terrible evil? Obviously, to get the grandchild, you and I have to meet. Which... means you had to endure what you did, so it would bring you here, to Alexandria."

Cor'lana pushes her head down into Telamon's shoulder, sniffling, like she's trying to hide her tears. She shakes her head at Telamon's words, however, and eventually says--albeit muffled, and through sniffles--"I understand, but... I just...!"

She pulls her head up from Telamon's shoulder, eyes looking around the room at something, anything, to hold onto, and then she just shuts them tightly. "I think I was happier when I didn't know the gods answered people--that they really do give blessings, that they grant boons to their worshippers, that they answer prayers. As a child, I used to just pray and I'd hope for a better day tomorrow, and then when I grew older, I prayed for real happiness--and I always held onto the belief that one day, it might all pay off, and--"

She opens her eyes, and her words just stop mid-sentence as she looks at the ring on her left hand.

"... Maybe it did," she says, more quietly, and the hand that's on her chest more firmly grabs at the fastener that keeps her cloak together.

Watching Lana's pain is clearly not easy for Seldan, for he closes his eyes briefly. "Your words are but partially correct, my lady, and your husband-to-be has the right of it. All things take their own course, and it is well to take a far-sighted view, understanding what may happen, because this happened, today. As things done to ease one's way, today, may make a greater boon impossible, so too may a hard road now reap dividends. It is even as Master Telamon here has said."

"But once has the Dreamer ever answered me directly," he explains. "It is a matter of faith, to walk a dark road, knowing that She stands with you, even when She cannot be seen. It seems that you have seen more." His tone invites an explanation.

Telamon opens his mouth, then pauses, collecting his thoughts. Then he speaks, "Sir Seldan... the werewolf attacks are not simply occurring for no reason. I, and several other adventurers, were able to learn that an avatar or aspect of Eluna had fallen to Ea, and was bound in slumber."

Tel squeezes Lana's hand, reassuring, before he continues, "Through a somewhat roundabout path we managed to make our way into the Desolation, where the forces of the Nightmare had gathered to try and find her. We... ah... freed her from her slumber, and she returned us here before departing. It was... very strange, but at the same time, I admit I felt a kind of resonance... presumably due to my own sorcerous talents being drawn from the stars." He looks at Cor'lana tenderly. "I didn't know if it meant anything, or nothing, but knowing Lana's pain, I sought answers in the hope she could find some here as well."

Cor'lana continues to look at her left hand for a moment before she looks up at Seldan, the tears still falling from her face--but the sniffles slowing somewhat. "It's as Tel says," she elaborates. "I wasn't there for that journey, but when he came home and spoke of having met Her..."

Her words trail off again. "It wasn't until earlier this year that I actually remembered all of my memories, you see. When my mother died, it was in a ritual that passed down her magic power and ownership of Pothy to me--only one person can inherit the gift of knowledge, as she called it, at a time." The tone she uses when she says the word knowledge is warm again, but only for a moment. "The ritual also caused me to not remember parts of my childhood, my own name, or even that my mother died in front of me. And when I had the dream earlier this year, a woman that Mikilos told me was the Sky-singer was there--he had the dream, too, and we both saw each other in it--and she seemed to know my mother, but she disappeared as I asked her if she'd known where my mother had gone. It was the Tyrant who appeared afterwards that unwound the memory suppression and burdened me first with the memory of my mother unwinding into magic..."

Cor'lana takes a heavy gulp before she looks at Seldan again. "If that was Her, did She not tell me because She didn't want to hurt me?"

Still Seldan's gaze remains even, level, but his eyes close in compassion. "It is in my mind that such concealment was indeed an act of mercy," he agrees. "Such memories served no useful purpose, save to wound you. The Tyrant delights in wounding those full of hope, but She does not do so. I cannot say whether it was She that you saw, and I know not Her intent, but this much may I say with certainty - that She had a reason for doing so."

He turns then to Telamon, gaze again steady. "She spoke to me of such concerns, after I attuned the statue. She said that others would see to Her avatar, and it seems that that is so." Abruptly, he smiles, an easy, boyish grin. "That is well done of you. She does not forget those who aid her."

My lady, think not that ou have been abandoned by the gods," he goes on, looking back to Cor'lana. "We do not see that which the gods see. Our vision is much more limited, and we cannot always understand the divine design. We must trust that there is one. But, are you certain that it is the Father of Time you wish to serve?" This, he asks cautiously, and hesitates, as if there is more he wants to say, and is not certain that he should.

Telamon looks wry and rueful. "It was a near thing -- making our way through Quelynos, and then through the brambles of black roses in the Desolation. I'll be happy if I don't have to do it again for a while." He strokes Lana's hair, trying to soothe her. Remembering that miserable night when he woke to find her sobbing. "He asks the question that I want to as well. I can't shake the thought that maybe, you've found yourself on a different path, with Grandfather, and myself, and all that's happened."

Tel suddenly chuckles. "Her gratitude is enough, though Lysos was still a little dazed at the end of it. Um... when we found her, as I said, she was bound in slumber, and... well, the sight of her drove us to our knees. Except for Lysos, who... walked over and kissed her. And people say I'm impulsive?"

A different path, with Grandfather. The words cause Cor'lana to look away from Seldan and to Telamon. She gazes at him intently, although not in a way that suggests she's actually paying attention to the rest of his words, and she chews on her lip for a moment.

"I do walk a different path," Cor'lana admits, finally, and she looks down to her cloak--and she lets go if it, the fastener having come undone from her hand around it. The cloak sinks down behind her to rest on the back of the chair, the excess fabric flowing down to the floor like the sweeping of wings. The sorceress is wearing a long-sleeved linen dress, dyed a deep violet that almost matches her eyes, with a low enough cut to the neckline to show the feather mark on her chest, the knotwork lines jutting out from the plume to almost wreath around the feather.

"I am the descendant of the Feathered One," Cor'lana says, her hand moving over the mark to allow Seldan to look at it. It shimmers oddly in the light as Cor'lana's hand moves away from it. "This is my mark that shows my descent from him and to declare that I am his child. And since I've reunited with him, and I've come to understand that my feytouched nature comes from him... I've come to believe some of my disconnect from Navos, or perhaps even more than just him, might be because of his influence. Not that he's ever spoken to me of the gods, but... when you have reunited with family who cares for you deeply, who loves you, it's... hard to ignore that."

At this point, the sword at Seldan's hip pipes up, in the voice of a querulous old man. It's clearly been listening in on the whole thing. "I could wish Seldan listened to his family like you do, girl. He shoves us in that benighted bag all the time! And if he hadn't beaten his own father into unconsciousness-"

Another voice pipes up from the same point, this one a middle-aged man with a distinct khazadi accent. "Baram Padaryn richly deserved that, and I was glad to see that old coot get his."

This time, it's a young female, a deeper voice with many overtones. "I enjoyed watching that, the self-righteous prick. Shut up, Kanian, you know it's you he mostly gets tired of."

Meanwhile, Seldan just closes his eyes and lets out a low sigh of the long-suffering, and pointedly moves his foot away from it, even as an argument breaks out between voices in the sword. There seem to be at least five and maybe six, possibly more. "Enough, he says finally, in a tone that brooks no argument. The chatter continues, until he looks over the side of the chair and stares at it in what appears to be a battle of wills. Finally, the cacophony subsides, and he looks back up. "Family is a powerful force in one's decision-making," he agrees mildly. "And yet is it also yours to decide for yourself where you shall turn, for not always have I walked the Dreamer's path. Tell me, what other paths have you explored?"

Telamon kind of just stares at the sheathed sword which seems to be talking a great deal, for an inanimate object. "Um," he starts, intelligently, before stopping. Then he tries again. "Does it always do that?" He suddenly remembers why they're here, and hurriedly adds, "Never mind. We can talk about it later maybe."

He glances at Lana. "Maybe that's what we need to do. Start looking at our options. I mean... yeah, it's a bit more serious than shopping for a new cloak, but at the same time, the gods respect serious devotion, and you don't get that with a spur of the moment decision. It has to be from the heart."

The solemn feeling that had been present the entire time on Cor'lana's face--the pain, the glimpses of past suffering--almost vanishes entirely with the voices inside Reunion. She actually smiles, looking at the sword and then at Seldan. "Father problems too, huh," she says. "And enthusiastic ancestors. I think we are alike, Sir Seldan."

She looks at Telamon and nods. "I... Well, I have contemplated the Sky-Singer. I've also found myself contemplating the Muse, and I've thought briefly about the Trickster, but I think out of the two, perhaps the Muse might appeal to me. To both Tel and I, actually."

Cor'lana smiles a little. "Both Tel and I write poetry, although I write more than he does. I've... actually been writing in some way or form since I was a teenager. It helped with the loneliness of isolation."

Seldan has the grace, at least, to look embarrassed. "Even so," he answers Telamon shortly, but accepts the prompting to return to topic at hand, instead offering Cor'lana a very small smile. "My honored father no longer troubles me, nor I him, but it may well be so. Your family marks you as well," he nods to the feather on her chest. "I know little enough of the Muse, for her road shall never be mine, but I would counsel you only to explore her road, read her teachings, and see what your heart says. You will know the road that is yours, when you happen upon it." This he says with certainty. "It is as I have said - not always did I walk the Dreamer's path, and even so was it that I found Her."

Telamon looks amused. "Am I the only one here who had -- has -- a congenial relationship with my father?" He waves off the question. "Never mind. Sir Seldan makes a good point, though. I think... Lana, you and I have discussed this before. You were... not worldly, and that covers more than just knowing how the world works. You never got the chance to examine the gods."

He smiles at her. "But, you know regardless, I'll be with you every step of the way. I've never given much thought to the Muse, myself, but..." He shrugs lightly with a grin. "I'll try anything once."

Cor'lana smiles at Telamon. "I'm just grateful to have you supporting me," she says. "And if you choose to go with the Sky-singer, and I don't walk that path--I'll always support you like you do me." She leans in and gives him a quick peck on the cheek.

She looks at Seldan with a look of astonishment, however. "I... Well, it's silly to say," she says with a little nervous chuckle, "but... it's hard to picture you as anything but one of Her followers, Sir Seldan. I mean... I think of an Elunan and I picture you. Maybe that's also part of why I can't picture myself following the Sky-Singer. I can't measure up."

"There is no need for you to do so, and well may you find your own way, and your own strength." Seldan colors at the compliment. "My honored father is a Sunblade, and dead set that I should follow in his footsteps," he explains. "I was sent to Rune when my sorcery first manifested and I set a pell afire." A small, rueful smile for that. "It was there that I found the Dreamer's path. Father was dead set against it, such that I was kept from my family and sent abroad after taking my vows. I was told that the church was concerned for my safety, such was his reaction."

The explanation is steady, and holds no regrets, nor ill will. "Although the path of the Draco Solis is not mine, and I am not His, even still am I comfortable among His people, for it is the faith in which I was raised. It is true that I beat Father senseless, for he demanded to know when I would turn to my proper path, and I informed him that I had shed blood in the defense of the Draco Solis' altar, and bade him question me when he could say the same. He struck me for insolence, and we fought."

Telamon nods slowly, though he can't help but wince a little. "My father initially desired me to follow in his footsteps as a diplomat; when my own talent emerged, though, he preferred to see the possibilities rather than the limitations. He's encouraged me to find my own path, wherever it goes."

He sighs. "I think every father has... an idea in mind for their offspring. But if there's some change, some difference, well... some handle it better than others." He looks at Seldan. "Despite whatever animosity there may be, I do hope you reconcile with your father."

"If he deserves it," Cor'lana replies, bridging off of Telamon's last sentiment. She looks a little out of sorts again, a sort of complex mixture of emotions in her eyes. "At this point, I don't know what my own father deserves other than... some peace and quiet."

The look in her eyes turns to a thoughtful one. "Speaking of which... Sir Seldan, I don't want to tie up more of your time here. Thank you for listening to me, and to Telamon. You helped me a great deal--and I'm pretty confident in saying that means you also helped Telamon."

Cor'lana's grinning at that last remark, and it continues when she looks at Reunion and says, "Thank you for letting me meet your ancestors as well. I hope I can return the favor if you ever come over to our house for dinner and Grandfather happens to be there, as well."

"It is as I have said. Although your quest to stop the Hound is not to be mine, and so am I bidden by Her," Seldan replies, reaching down and picking up Reunion and his weapon belt by the scabbard, his mien composed. He seems to be a man who has come to terms with what he is. "I am yet at your service, as much as may be. There shall be no reconciliation, this side of the Halls. does he not approach me first." A thing that the paladin clearly thinks is unlikely. "Should my duties permit, I would be honored to do so, and yet will I not place the pair of you at risk. The llyranesi yet hunt me, and not idly or for long do I venture within Alexandria's walls. I know not to what lengths they will go, in their foolishness, and I would not have you caught up in it."

Telamon shakes his head. "It can't be helped. Your account was... disturbing. The elves of Llyranost... should have known better. And yet..." He spreads his hands. "As I've remarked before, it is easy to fall into bad habits. Let's hope they eventually come to their senses, Sir Seldan. In the meantime, I wouldn't have you in trouble on our account." He smirks slightly. "We find ourselves in enough of that on our own."

He stands up from his seat, letting a hand rest on Cor'lana's shoulder. "You've given us a lot to think about, some things to ponder and eventually make decisions on. For that, I thank you. Perhaps at some point we'll work together, to try and mend the world's wounds as best we can."

Cor'lana picks up her cloak and fastens it back around herself as she rises with Telamon. She looks up at him with a smile, leaning into him as she holds her by the shoulder. "We do get into plenty of trouble," she says, a touch of that feytouched mischief creeping into her eyes and face.

She looks at Seldan and nods to the Elunan with respect. "I'm grateful for everything you've done... And if you can't come visit, perhaps I'll send you letters back. I've never had a pen pal, after all."

There's a spark of amusement and perhaps even wonder in her voice as she says that. The two half-elves give their goodbyes and leave the Temple, going westward back into the rain.