April 22, 2017, 11 a.m.
Arx - Ward of House Redrain - Stone Grove
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After a tail-end of one particularly tedious patrol, Agnarr steps into the grove, wresting his heavy helm to tuck it underarm. He isn't incredibly spry, but at the least he no longer moves like an old man.
The Stone Grove is laden with the heavy scent of Northern herbs and spices in the air, having been tossed in a shallow basin along with a few softly burning embers for smoke to rise slowly from the altar in the center.
Freja stands before it, the three red woad marks already on her own face as she looks to the others beginning to trickle in.
Khanne is sitting on the ground, cross-legged, in front of a stone pillar. She is in a sort of meditation stance, though her eyes are open. Deep breaths are taken, filling her lungs before they are exhaled slowly.
The familiar chime of Cybele's staff gently resounds, as the tall prodigal enters the Grove. Blonde hair bound back in a braided crown, held in place with a raven-themed pewter comb. This seems to be Cybele's new thing; raven-themed jewellery to go with the ebon dress and the red kirtle. Taking a moment to consider the grove and the inhabitants, nods of greeting are offered to Khanne and Katarina and Valery and Freja, before the shaman steps over to join the Scout of the First Snows. Fingers curling against the staff, giving a nod to Freja. "I will help however you want me to, Freja Redrain."
Katarina lingers at the fringes of the gathering of Redrain, perched upon the crest of a hill overlooking the ritual just now underway. Legs are drawn toward her chest in a lazy curl of limbs, and chin set atop a knee, a hand lifted in wave toward the only face she recognizes out of the assemble - Khanne.
Asger makes his way into the grove six of his best men walking alongside him with at least one of them carrying a bottle of whiskey in hand. Helmet under his arm, Asger runs his hand back through his hair, careful not to loosen the utilitarian braid that binds its.
The chime of Cybele's staff gets a fond smile from the Redrain and she turns to give the other Shaman a one armed hug, albeit moving gingerly. Freja is wounded, heavily, that much is for certain by the visible marks on her neck. Still, she carries on and asks of Cybele, "Say the prayers to beseech the Spirits of their help while I give the marks? My father gave my brothers and I the marks while a Shaman would say prayers normally.."
That reason why shared, she turns to the rest here and her voice raises, "The three drops of Redrain, worn plainly on our faces for all to see as we go into the fray - a warning and promise that we will fight, we will stand, and we will slaughter - Until the Last. It used to be my brother and I that would wear these alone, 'Torrud's Bloody Brood', as they would call us back in Farhaven. I think it is now time this becomes tradition for us all, so if you are of Redrain's fealty, vassal or of our blood, I ask you to come forth and join me in honoring the former Sword of Farhaven and his fighting spirit to receive his woads."
Valery waves her fingers to Cybele, a light but warm smile touching her lips. She raises her feet to the bench, crossing them under her skirt, as she looks around, nodding politely to the other known faces. As Freja starts talking, her eyes turn to the shaman again.
Agnarr has joined the benches.
Though he doesn't sit, Agnarr finds a bench nonetheless to place his helm, wresting off one gauntlet so he can get his hair and beard in some semblance of order, sparing a nod for Asger's entrance, but otherwise listening attentively.
Khanne gives a nod to Katarina who sits upon a hill outside of the circle of stone pillars. She smiles at the jingling chimes of Cybele's staff. At Freja's words, she begins to rise up. Somewhere above, Serenity gives a falcon's screech as she flies free. Khanne approaches Freja. "I will wear the red woads, in addition to the runes that will cover my skin beneath the leathers I wear." She looks to Asger and the men with him, giving him a nod as well.
Cybele gives a nod, and quickly begins to beat the base of the staff against the ground, the chimes now jingling in time with Freja's words, the rhythm setting as Cybele begins to slowly move around. Once the Scout-Shaman has extended the invitation, Cybele's voice rises in a high-pitched, undulating chant, odd words half in Arvani and half in Northlands shav and probably a third half in neither, beseeching the spirits to witness, to respect, and to offer blessing upon those so marked today, who will fight in the name of Redrain and the North. Who will stand firm against the End of all Ends.
And so it comes that Khanne is the first to receive these marks; Freja reaches back to the altar and takes a small and shallow bowl from it, filled with an earthern red paste. It doesn't take long to give the three diagonal red marks across the face, but it is the prayers that make them. After the marks are given to each person in turn the scout will place her forehead against their's, muttering words and a soft and personalized prayer for them all. Khanne's done, she beckons for the others to come forth.
Katarina leans forward against her upturned knees, golden eyes dancing from Scout-Shaman to Arvani Shaman as the undulating chanting wafts up from the stone pillars below to reach her ears. Eagerly, she watches with bated breath, painted fingers twisted in the folds of her robes.
Glancing to the others assembled, Agnarr shrugs faintly and steps forwards to take his turn after Khanne, saying nothing.
Asger returns Khanne's nod with a small one of his own, watching as the small ceremony is performed and she is properly woaded. As the halfshav woman steps down, the duke gives a small gesture for his men to remain in place and makes his way to stroll on up to the alter with a solemn set to his features. As he approaches he offers Freja a small nod
Khanne closes her eyes as Freja paints the earthen red across her face. When her fellow shaman whispers to her, she smiles and gives a nod, her hand rising to curl around Freja's bicep in a brief grip of thanks and a silent sort of 'you too'. She steps aside, allowing Agnarr and Asger step forward.
Agnarr is a giant all his own, taller even than Freja, and so she has to give his marks standing on her toes. With a soft laugh she beckons him to bend down a touch so she can press her forehead against his and give him is own prayers.
Asger gets the same, but luckily without that height problem. Milling between them are other countless soldiers lining up that are in Redrain's service, (NPC's yo), promising that the woaded marks will be seen all along the walls as Brand's army marches.
Cybele continues the chant, staff shook at each and every one as they receive their blessing, ensuring the attention of the spirits upon every red-marked face. Looking to Khanne, offering a smile, gesturing to the staff, to Khanne, to Freja, and then to themselves - that Khanne may offer the spirit's blessing on Cybele, when the time comes for the shaman to receive their marks.
Valery moves a bit on place, looking around at the others when they join, looking at them at each mark is done. She doesn't approach, though. Woads for a warrior are probably a waste of the spirits' attention on the small apothecary.
He does as requested, bending - with some difficulty - at the waist so that Freja may touch him. He nods a single time, mutters a quiet little incomprehensible prayer of his own, then steps back to allow the rest to get their own marks, returning to the bench where his helm's been left to watch the rest.
Khanne nods to Cybele and stands nearby, awaiting the time for them to take their turn. Misty-grey eyes peer out in bright contrast to the red streaked across her face. She begins her own quiet murmurs on the Shav language of the north, letting Cybele's voice ring out louder.
Asger lets out a small grunt of acknowledgement before he makes his way back to stand among his men, holding his hand out to the one with the bottle and taking a long drink from it once it is handed to him.
And so others come and go, receiving the marks and their own prayers. It is a mixture of soldiers, healers, and even little ones that wish to look like their ol' pa. Freja beams with pride as she carries on the tradition of her father and Cybele's chant falls and rises in pitch to soothe it all over, lending the entire ritual its own otherworldly quality here in the grove. When Cy's turn comes, Freja gives Khanne a nod.
Cybele hands over the staff to Khanne, making sure that it is done in a manner that the rhythm of the beat is not interrupted, still slamming it to the ground, once, or twice, making sure Khanne has the rhythm going before letting go. Only then does the shaman slowly drop the chant, and moves over to Freja, offering their face for painting, their forehead for murmured prayers, and their ear to listen to what the first Scout has to say.
Khanne glances towards Freja as Cybele steps forward. Freja of course does the woading itself, offering the private prayer to Cybele and painting their face. Khanne takes the staff in hand, carefully continuing the held rhythm, making the chimes ring out to call out to the winds, the ancestors, the Spirits all around. Her voice continues the chant as well, Northlands Shav sung out in a calm, soothing tone.
Having no man-at-arms to steal alcohol from, Agnarr instead nurses his flask in the usual northern tradition.
Freja's lips curl with a small smile at Cy receives the marks, her prayers offered to the other Shaman lastly as the woading ceremony reaches it end here. She steps back after seeing to Cybele and turns to empty the woading pot's contents into the slowly smoking basin, extinguishing the embers with a soft 'hiss' as the final smoke rises in a small cloud.
"Until the Last." is all Freja says, a closed fist brought over her heart and against her breastplate in a soldier's salute. It is not in the capacity of Shaman she acts today, but rather her father's daughter. It is solemn, but strong as the entire ritual ends on House Redrain's words alone.
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