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Welcoming a New Godsworn

Princess Sophie Valardin will take her oaths to the Faith and bid her family adieu as our newest godsworn sister.

Date

April 11, 2019, 9:30 p.m.

Hosted By

Aureth Sophie Ailith

Participants

Maja Madeleine Bliss Donato Helena Sorrel Jeffeth Lucita Estelle Margret Isabeau Orazio Ansel Rysen Rukhnis Jasher Alessandro Willow Arcadia Rinel

Organizations

Faith of the Pantheon Mercy

Location

Arx - Ward of the Compact - The Great Cathedral of the Pantheon

Largesse Level

Extravagant

Comments and Log


The Great Cathedral of the Pantheon has been done up with panoply. Billowing curtains of white silk hang from the walls and ceiling, forming a stylized, shimmering image that, if you squint and tilt your head a little, might be the White Dragon of Valardin. Lanterns of tinted blue glass leave a faintly cool sheen to the lighting, casting blue-canted shades of light in an almost ethereal glow to the underside of the silk.



A string quartet in white and gold raiments of the Faith play accompaniment as people filter in to prepare for the ceremony. The glow of a hundred white wax candles shimmers everywhere at the front of the chapel, and a woven carpet of white and gold thread has been rolled down the aisle from the entrance to the marble stairs that climb towards the pulpit. More colored lanterns -- these gold -- rest upon the steps to either side of the path on the way up to the altar.



Though many ceremonies that take place in the capital have taken on a pragmatic informality, tonight the Cathedral shines with the grace of centuries, with honor paid to the ritual and elegance of the White City of Sanctum.

She's early! None of this 'fashionably late' business (although, look at her! she is rather fashionable..) -- Maja bows her head respectfully when she enters the cathedral and then slips over to the commoner pews. A bright smile is given to those already seated there and then it's eyes front.

A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Sophie before departing.

Madeleine hurry, hurry, hurried her way in within a flurry of silks. She brushed off the hood of seasilk and removed her veil, tucking the latter into the sash she wore and revealing wind swept locks of her hair. She made her way up the side aisle to take a place in the side alcove.

Madeleine has joined the Side Alcove.

Here early, having been sitting and talking with Sophie in one of the pews, Bliss Whisper has long since shifted over toward the commoner pews, settling into the front fow as she does so. The Disciple of Limerance is dressed in neodymium brocade, a few swords (including one noticeable one across her back) and an air of anticipation as she wears a soft smile, her gaze up on the front - listening to the music and admiring the decorations.

Donato is already here seated

Donato is already here seated in the noble pews

Dame Marra, a limping fennec fox, Disciple Ismay, Disciple Fulgence, 2 Templar Knight guards arrive, following Ailith.

A none-too-common figure in the Cathedral, Helena Redrain has come today for the exciting event -- it isn't every day a prince or princess casts off their royal mantle to become a crownsworn, after all. She smiles when she steps into the building, blue eyes looking up at the billowing silk and glowing lanterns, lips parting at the beauty of it all. She wiggles fingers in the direction of Bliss and Sophie, before slipping into the noble pews, then turning to look around for those already there and to watch the entrances of friends and strangers.

Although she's clad more in traditional Thrax style, Sorrel clearly loves the Valardin style the cathedral is done up in for her cousin's vows. She sits primly with a six month old baby in her lap and a little two year old boy next to her in the pew. She looks excited and happy.

Ailith has joined the Altar.

Sir Jeffeth Bayweather is here and has been standing off to the side. He stands with his hands clasped in front of him, looking over the crowd. Back and forth, back and forth. There is a large helmet the shape of a bull's head tucked under one of his massive arms.

Silvershot golden hair brushed to a polished gleam as it falls about his shoulders, Aureth strides from the doors at the back of the cathedral to the front at a slow and measured pace. He walks with a deliberate gravity, his hands neatly clasped before him. The music from the string quartet trills and swoops over the general murmur of people finding their seats as he walks. His cloak shines in the varied light of candle and lantern, falling so long that it sweeps the ground behind him in an absurd extravagance of fabric, whispering aeterna against silk of the rolled out carpet that covers the aisle.



When he finally reaches the stairs to the pulpit, he turns to face the assembled, his cloak artfully swept around his feet. He had to have practiced it. In amidst the golden lanterns and slowly melting candles, he could be a painting.



Paintings aren't usually this loud. "Faithful," Aureth projects, and then waits.

1 Saik Guard, Micana arrive, following Lucita.

Rukhnis arrives, following Rysen.

Lucita has joined the Noble Pews.

Estelle has joined the Side Alcove.

Lucita comes in quietly curtsies and slips into the pews set aside for nobles, trying to not disturb anyone.

Estelle is present and ready, a bright smile stretching her features as she watches Sophie wth obvious excitement. She fidgets a bit in place, making an effort to keep from celebrating and clapping prematurely.

Margret lets out an audible gasp when she and Alessandro step into the Cathedral together. "It's so pretty!" She murmurs to her husband as they walk towards the nobles section. She lifts a hand to wave quickly to Bliss as they pass, but since the ceremony is starting she doesn't say anything. They quietly take a seat near Helena and her attention drifts to the front to watch the Ceremony.

"Praise be." Madeleine called from her place in return to Aureth's greeting to the mass of Faithful present, no shyness in her to be spotted when it came to the glory of the gods and these hallowed events.

Sophie remains near the back of the cathedral. Her hands are folded neatly in front of her, clasping a string of prayer beads. She smiles and gives brief nods to people as they enter, but mostly she looks like she's simply trying to keep her nerves from taking over. When Aureth speaks her gaze moves to the front of the room, and a smile spreads across her lips, and she draws in a deep cleansing breath to settle her nerves.

Lady Isabeau Telmar, too, has been present in the Great Cathedral for some smaller measure of time before the official ceremony is set to commence. The former princess has returned to the rich blues and pure whites of House Valardin, clad in an ensemble that suggests she is here not simply as the sister of the remarkable young woman taking her vows, but rather in some official capacity.

Orazio makes his way into the ceremony, though he's not the one holding it as much the the one observing it. Still, this is an important moment - the Mother Mercy swearing herself to the Gods. And so the Dominus arrives, his lined face serene, leaning on the staff of his office. He seems in good humor today at least.

Ansel is here, uncharacteristically a few minutes late, but once the Telmar Sword sidles through the door, the reason becomes apparent: Little Lady Sophia, swaddled in blankets of Telmar red, is carried in a sling around Ansel's shoulders. It's almost a comical offset to the Sword's armor, the tiny little baby balanced against his breastplate, and he rocks slowly from heel to toe, bouncing gently. Hoping the little Telmar remains quiet, Ansel looks up to the front of the room expectantly.

Rysen and Rukhnis enter the cathedral. Rysen's expression is solemn, and his gazes pass over all the candles and decorations arranged for the ceremony. Finally he sees Sophie not to far him. He nods, with a genuine and reassuring smile. He glances at Rukhnis, and then makes his way to the pews set aside for the nobility.

Rysen has joined the Noble Pews.

Jasher has joined the Quiet Alcove.

When the noise of the chamber has largely settled down -- or when Aureth's appetite for street theater has been satisfied -- he raises his hands, palms up. His sleeves shimmer white and gold in the overabundance of light. "We stand here in Arx, united in faith, in vows, and in hope. We stand here as brothers and sisters of the Church, as parishioners and priests, as shepherds and flock, and our arms and hearts are open to the gods and to each other. As we stand together, I invite you to rise and join me in a prayer to the Pantheon. A prayer of hope and of welcome. A prayer for a new beginning. For tonight, a new sister will take her vows, be released from her family, and join her new family. It is an occasion for joy, and so it is with joy that we shall pray."

Madeleine hopped to her feet, straightening her silks before her arms rose up toward the skies above --- well ceiling currently --- and her eyes closed in preparation. Though even with eyes closed, she murmured something aside to those seated with her.

Rukhnis trails Rysen into the cathedral, keeping her usual place just behind and slightly to one side of him. As he splits away to join the pews reserved for the nobles, she makes her way over to those for the commoners, chin slightly raised and expression distant, though the slight limp of her walk somewhat spoils her air of regality.

Rukhnis has joined the Commoner Pews.

Donato quietly listens with his head slightly bowed. This is one of the few times he is seen without his hat

Sophie's already standing.. or something like it. It's more like pacing, in a way that makes it look like she's not pacing. As people catch her eye she smiles at them and as Aureth indicates that it's time to stand for the prayer she stops and tips her head slightly while she waits.

As Aureth calls for prayer, Jasher dips his head, left hand placed over his right as he lingers in silent supplication. He stands in another, quieter alcove, silver glinting off the umbra of his coat like stars in a hungry sky, draped over a bearing more military than formal. Only the peace-bound hilt of his blade, chipped and stained, breaks the presence that the silk casts.

Sorrel stands to pray, her toddler standing on the bench next to her, trying to make a good show of being a good boy.

Rysen rises, and glances back at Sophie with a smile.

Estelle rises up to her feet along with the others, tilting her head downwards after Aureth's lead into prayer as her eyes close and lips begin to move silently. Still, she can't help but peek out at the Mother Mercy with an irrepressible grin.

As Aureth asks people to rise, it is only polite to do so, and so Bliss lifts herself up confidently, the Radiant folding both of her hands in front of her waist as she does. There might be some measure of pride to her bearing, but her gaze is focused on Sophie and she nods a couple times to something heard near her.

Standing off to the side, Jeffeth Bayweather is looking over those in the cathedral, his gaze unfocused and far off as he stands.

Lucita stands with the others, her demeanor prayerful, a little nod and smile given Sophie.

Alessandro rises when Aureth calls for it, helping Margret as well, and the smile that had been on his face fades a little bit into a more solemn look -- but not too solemn, since it's a happy occasion.

Margret stands with Alessandro's assistance. Her head turns a little so she can spy Sophie and she gives her a brief, broad smile. Then she faces forward. Try as she might she just can't look as solemn as her husband. She just looks absolutely thrilled to be here.

Aureth lifts his voice, powerful and performative. His prayer is short, compared to the thirteen hours for which this would go in the cathedrals this one was done up in honor of. But he still finds plenty of room for words:



"By Death's grace we are born, and by Death's hand we are placed upon our life paths. To her we are thankful, and to her we give our due. By Lagoma's fire we are reborn, and by Lagoma's grace we approach a new season in our lives. To her we are grateful, and to her we sing her praise. From Skald's hand we take the leap of new choices, new paths, and by his strength we are free of tether, to grow into new roots, new lives, new passions. Under the clear sky of Mangata, we sing praise on the wind. Upon the lush earth of Petrichor, we kneel before our gods and give thanks.



By the love of Limerance, we embrace a new oath, new fealty, new duty, and in grace, we thank him. Before the gaze of the Sentinel, we hold to our truths. By the passion of Gloria, we face new challenges boldly and with glad hearts. By the delight of Jayus, we reach new heights of inspiration and hope. By the industry of Gild, we grow in charity of spirit and of purse. And we thank them, we honor them, and lift our voices and hearts in glad cry of our liturgy.



Today to the Pantheon our new sister will swear her oath to the Church, and to all the gods, and each oath, pure and clear and true, we will welcome and celebrate. Sing praise to the Pantheon, in the embrace of friends, allies, fathers and daughters, brothers and mothers, neighbor and liege and vassal and all. With many voices, we pray, and give welcome. With many voices, we pray, and give thanks.



May we all walk in the light of the Faith."

"So let it be." Madeleine murmured at the fruition of the prayer, far quieter than her original belt across the Cathedral. Another few words were murmured beneath her breath before eyes cracked open and she waited to see if they would be sitting or indicated to remain standing. She seemed happy as a clam overall, infectious grin creeping back into its broad display rather than the more subtle smile she had worn for the moment of quiet piety.

Sophie smiles warmly as she hears Aureth's prayer and her eyes close for a moment, her lips moving to something unheard. She lifts the prayer beads to her lips then, and places a kiss upon them. She moves toward the center of the pews once the prayer is over, and her eyes begin to sweep over the crowd gathered. Isabeau, Ansel, little Sophie get a smile, then another smile to Jeffeth, Estelle, and Bliss. The others in the crowd get smiles if Sophie catches their eyes, and even those she doesn't recognize get a warm smile from the Mother Mercy.

Donato mummers his response as well. His head is still slightly bowed in his quiet prayer position as the ceremony continues

Ugarte arrives, following Fortunato.

Fortunato has joined the Commoner Pews.

Aureth then kicks his cloak carefully behind him to avoid tripping over it and breaking his neck, and clears his throat. "Now I ask that you all give your attention to Mother Ailith and Princess Sophie. Thank you." Then he advances back down the stairs again, trailing his long and shining train of aeterna behind him as he heads for the pews and the other priests. With grace, elegance and grandeur, he trails down the stairs and manages to not light himself on fire in the process of exiting, stage left.

Aureth has joined the Commoner Pews.

Unsurprisingly, Isabeau looks to be taking this whole prayer thing terribly seriously. In fact, it takes her a few moments after Aureth's words have come to an end before she lifts her head; no doubt adding on a few more footnotes to the Gods on this incredible occasion.

Moonlight with its silver reach splinters off from the Great Cathedral's stained glass to cast a vibrant array of colors, awakening and enriching the grandeur of white and gold pantheon symbols and accents. The cusp of winter is in the air, a light chill warmed by the autumnal centerpieces surrounding the base of the massive gold floor candelabras that line along the perimeter of the Cathedral. These stacked gourds and pumpkins with layers of artichokes, sprigs of autumn herbs, and slithers of brilliant yellow thin peppers and purple berries, are intermittently accented by the lanterns of tinted blue glass or gold flower pots with orange and yellow-gold pansies, fiery red maple leaves and branches, and feathery foliage of dawn redwood laden with globes of gray-green fruit on the fringes. In their resplendent formal armor and tabards, the Templars and Knights of Solace stand guard at the inner halls. Mercies, in their white robes, stride down the main aisle toward the altar, carrying thirteen unlit lanterns. At the end of this line is the Legate of Concepts, sedate in her formal aeterna robes.



Ailith bends at the knee before the altar, head bowed during her silent prayer. The nearest disciple keeps watch, waiting for when all gathered have settled, before giving the Legate a signal. At the precise moment, she rises and pivots to face the assembly, her eyes bright and hopeful as she regards each person with a gentle, welcoming smile. Though soft and tender, her voice carries through the Cathedral to the far corners. "Today marks a solemn occasion as one of the Compact has petitioned the Faith to join the ranks of the Godsworn and by these vows creates a new path to tread and upholds the ideals and responsibilities of the Faith, marking a new future. Thank you, Father Aureth, for a stirring convocation to welcome our new sister and the reminder to walk in the light of the Faith. May I please have Princess Sophie Valadrin, Mother Mercy of Lagoma, approach accompanied by a representative of House Valardin?"

Seated with Donato, Willow murmurs along, duskstone eyes focused forward toward the altar.

Estelle nods her head in silent agreement each time as Aureth acknowledges another deity in the opening prayer. A whispered response follows, before she straightens up and smiles. Unable to contain herself, she lifts her hand in a little encouraging wave in Sophie's direction as the tall young woman's attention alights on the Princess and Mother Ailith.

Ansel is already standing, continuing to rock back and forth gently with his daughter at the rear of the room. The Sword continues to murmur quietly in Sophia's ear, pointing out relatives and important figures to the uncomprehending little Telmar. Once everyone begins to stand, the Sword ducks out of the little sling, holding Sophia up, Raffiki-style, for her to catch sight of her mother, and aunt, as the ceremony starts to begin. This elicits a little giggle from the baby, and Ansel returns her to her sling, continuing to rock.

Jasher's lips shape his unvoiced agreement. Other than that, he remains unmoving, less a man and more a statue, as he continues to watch.

Sophie has joined the Altar.

Isabeau has joined the Altar.

Leif has joined the Commoner Pews.

As Sophie moves to the altar escorted by her dear sister her steps are slow and purposeful. Her hair, at least for today, is not in its customary practical braid that hands down her back. The golden waves are loose and hang to the small of her back. Most that make this walk are donning brand new white robes, but for Sophie the aeterna robes upon her back are the same color as the ones she's worn for nearly as long as she can remember. Underneath those white robes the very edges of a hem can be seen - tendrils of Lagoma's flame embroidered on aeterna. Her face is clean and fresh, and her hair, if one gets close enough, can see it's still damp. She comes into this Ceremony with her past washed away and her future about to begin. There's a set of prayer beads entangled around the fingers of her right hand, and as she walks her left hand folds into that of her sister.

Orazio stands apart, watching the ceremony with a serious look - he understands well the gravity of this moment. And his expression is steady as he watches Isabeau escort her sister to the altar, and Sophie make her devotions with the same grace as always. He nods once, as though agreeing with something unsaid, something unspoken that still hangs in the air, and a quiet glow of satisfaction flickers in the set of his jaw and the corners of his lips. It's not a smile, no. Just a quirk, really.

Aaaaand that's Isabeau's cue. She turns her gaze toward her little sister and, instead of choosing to make the approach to Ailith and the altar in some stiff, formal fashion, she extends her hand out to Sophie and clasps it tightly so that they can make those last few steps together, shoulder to shoulder. The mask of regal confidence and composure that the Valardin Voice so often wears with ease appear to already be cracking at the glistening corners of her bright blue eyes.

Ailith smiles, welcoming and encouraging of the two born of Valardin, and speaks once they have approached. "Princess Sophie's path that led to this decision to take vows of service to the Gods was not as clear and straight as one may anticipate. Years were spent in consideration, torn between duty to her House, family, and noble obligation, and then to her devotion to the Mercies and House of Solace. Her heart and mind are now clear of doubt as she makes the next steps, knowing what is sacrificed and gained by our responsibilities as a servant to the Gods and Faith. By these vows, she removes herself from the bonds of her previous fealty, her responsibilities to her family, and no longer provides them succor or shelter save as the Faith might provide succor and shelter to any other. Who is here to speak for Valardin?" Her gaze lowers, a subtle signal made to Isabeau.

"I speak for House Valardin," comes Isabeau's prompt reply.

Ailith splits her gaze between the two sisters, permitting a brief moment for the them, before continuing, "Lady Isabeau Telmar, do you release Princess Sophie from the bonds of family? Do you release Princess Sophie to the Faith, acknowledging her among these witnesses that her responsibility to Valardin has ended, and she may take up the yoke of the gods?"

There comes a slight quavering pause as Isabeau's lips immediately part again, only for a few seconds of silence to follow before she finds some of the shine in her own smile and finally says, "I do."

Aureth has left the Commoner Pews.

Gregory, an unassuming disciple have been dismissed.

2 Templar Knight guards have been dismissed.

Binky, an asshole crow have been dismissed.

"The Faith thanks Lady Isabeau and House Valardin, for allowing one whose heart is called to a higher purpose to serve wholeheartedly by being released from her oaths of fealty to fully embrace the Gods." Ailith bows before Isabeau, slightly bending forward to murmur with the noblewoman, then signals for her to rejoin the congregation. A moment is acknowledged for the sisters until Ailith speaks anew, her voice clear, and a smile directed to the Mother Mercy. "Please kneel, Princess Sophie, for if you would be of the Faith, there are vows which must be heard, understood, and taken without hesitation or reservation." The Legate patiently waits for the young Princess to be situated, a fond smile faintly appearing, "For Gild, do you, Sophie, swear to leave behind no wealth in your passing, save to the Faith itself? To support none as a spouse or son might, but only through works of charity? For Limerance, do you freely devote yourself to the gods and put these oaths you take tonight above all others? For the Sentinel do you swear to always seek the truth in the grace of the gods?"

As Sophie hears Isabeau's words she turns her head to Isabeau and she smiles. Tears well in her eyes as she leans in to kiss her sister on the cheek, and whisper in her ear. Then her hand slides from Isabeau's. Sophie sinks to a knee, smiling warmly as she lifts her gaze to her long-time friend and soon to be sister in the Faith. The white of her Mercy robes float around her, and her hands gently lower to her knees, the prayer beads still wrapped tightly around the left, and now sliding around the right as well.



Sophie's voice is strong and crystal clear as she starts to speak the first of her vows. The gravity evident in her tone, even if the excitement rings through with crystal clarity. "To Gild I vow to leave no wealth upon my passing, save what passes to the Faith. To Limerance I promise my heart and soul, that none may claim it as a spouse or child might. To the Sentinel I promise that I will have no pursuit of mine, save that which will be in the interest of others and of the Faith." Then Sophie's eyes settle on Ailith's again as her voice halts in preparation for the next set of vows.

Isabeau has left the Altar.

Rysen gazes at Sophie thoughtfully, listening as she recites her vows.

Aureth has joined the Commoner Pews.

Donato is listening thoughtfully as Sophie says her vows. His head is still slightly bowed in a prayer like manner

Jeffeth checked composure at difficulty 15, rolling 3 higher.

2 Leary House Guards, Jesmond the Giant arrive, following Arcadia.

There's a light sniffling sound, but the large form of Jeffeth Bayweather is definitely not crying and looking at the front with a bright beaming smile.

Willow looks up at the play of the light of all those candle flames on all that white silk for a long moment, before looking back down, listening in attentive quiet.

A Mercy steps forth from the side pews nearby, striding forth to the four rings of lanterns assembled around the altar. In the Mercy's hand is candle bearing the symbol of the Eternal Flame; the woman bends at the knee as a disciple assists with opening the lantern panes. Together, by the light of the Eternal Flame, they light three lanterns -- Gild, Limerance, and Sentinel.



The starlight warmth of the trio begins the first interlocking ring, casting a glow upon Ailith and Sophie. The Legate levels a steady gaze upon Sophie, approval met, and continues, "As Petrichor grants dominion, do you, Sophie, swear to uphold his ideals and enforce the traditions of Sanctuary to those granted it? To Mangata, do you pledge yourself to the protection of the waters, your ministry knowing no boundaries of land? And for Lagoma, do you swear to always be open to change, knowing that that which does not change, cannot grow, and must die in stasis?"

Arcadia sneaks in and finds herself a seat in the pews and quickly starts to listen.

Arcadia has joined the Noble Pews.

"To Petrichor I swear to uphold the tradition of Sanctuary and protect with everything I possess the safety of those who have been granted sanctuary upon hallowed ground." Sophie's voice rings over the interior of the Cathedral, her shoulders straightening as she continues. "To Mangata I swear to always protect the waters, with my ministries knowing no bounds to the lands." As Sophie continues her voice breaks slightly, but she says just as clearly, "To Lagoma, Our Lady of change.." There's a hesitation there and she says, "I vow to embrace change as it comes - always growing and making the world around me better, so that I might leave it a better place than I entered it." Sophie's eyes close as the weight of those vows sink into her, and she doesn't open them until Ailith starts to speak again.

Estelle listens attentively to the vows from Ailith to Sophie, occasionally whispering to the others in the side pew while keeping her gaze forward at the lighting display by the Altar.

Aurethkll

The Mercy and disciple of Lagoma work in unison once more. Three more lanterns create a new interlocking ring by the altar -- Petrichor, Mangata, Lagoma. The pathway for Sophie becomes clearer by the luminous lanterns. The gentleness of her eyes is brightened by the smile Ailith gives to Sophie following her stated vows, especially that of change. She continues solemnly, "And for Gloria, Sophie, do you swear to act with honor in all your dealings as a priest of the Pantheon? For Jayus, do you vow to always seek the inspiration of the gods and let them color your life? In Vellichor's name, will you preserve the history of the Compact and the Faith, and work tirelessly to unlock the ancient understanding of the gods we once thought lost?"

It seems as once the vow to Lagoma is made it fortifies Sophie and she sits up a little straighter. Her voice is stronger as she says, "To Gloria I vow to always act with honor as a Priest of the Pantheon, and to encourage the honorability of others around me with my example. To Jayus I vow to be open to inspiration, that the gods may work through me and inspire me to do their work in my actions, both large and small. To Vellichor, I give my thirst for learning, that will I never stop seeking truth and to restore the knowledge that was stolen from us." Sophie's not looking away now, but smiling as she speaks, as she prepares for the few remaining, waiting for Ailith's words patiently.

There's a moment, a brief moment, where Bliss brings her hand up and wipes at her eyes - just barely at the corner of them, before she takes in a deep breath and sits a little taller, watching Sophie take the vows - her eyes flit around the room for just a moment, before watching the pathway begin to be illuminated.

The luster of the lanterns flickers, highlighting the shimmer of gold at the altar, creating a calming effect on Mother Mercy. Three more lanterns join the others, a third interlocking ring created -- Petrichor, Mangata, and Vellichor. There's a brief private exchange between Ailith and Sophie before the ceremony continues, the Legate's voice steadfast and strong, "As First Choice fought for our ability to choose, do you choose of your own free will and without reservation, to serve the Pantheon now, and to make that choice again, each day, until your time of passing? As the Queen of Endings shelters souls in the realms beyond, do you swear to shelter souls in the lands of the Compact, from their birth until their death? And in the name of Aion the Dreamer, do you swear to serve the creation we share, and preserve the Dream Eternal?"

Jasher stands straighter himself as he watches Sophie take her vows, the lanterns coming to life with the spoken word and affirmation. Perhaps it's the flicker, the interplay of light and shadow teasing at the alcove he resides in, that imagines the sparkle in his eyes and the smile on his lips as he watches, and listens.

"To the First Choice, I exercise the free will granted to me to devote my life to the gods, that I may do their work for the rest of my days, until I am returned to the Great Wheel and that in keeping for the Queen of Endings I will shelter souls from the time of their birth until their death, granting succor to those in need." Sophie's eyes close again, though there is a serenity to the smile that graces her lips. This time she speaks with her eyes closed, "To Aion the dreamer, I vow to serve the dream and to preserve the Dream Eternal, that we may live on in the stories of our descendants for many lifetimes to come."

The beauty of it all seems to have Helena rapt and enthralled, her wide blue eyes taking in the glowing path as the poetic vows no doubt please the poet's heart within the Redrain princess. She smiles when she sees Sophie stand straighter, hears her voice grow stronger, and she tips her head to murmur something to Margret, her golden curls resting against her protege's fiery red tresses. Her smile grows a little wider at the mention of the last three gods and goddesses.

It is only once these vows are stated that Willow's composed demeanor is moved, shaken, and her head lowered to shield her face, though a faint sniffle can be heard even as she reaches up to /scratch her cheek/. Probably. *sniff*

The pantheon is nearly there, the fourth ring nearly concluded -- Skald, Queen, Aion join the ring of lanterns. The brilliance of this light sharply contrasts with nightfall, bathing Sophie in the light of the representations of the pantheon. Ailith folds her hands together, solemn as she stands tall to state, "One final vow remains. Tehom, the Reflection, requires of you a vow to know the darkness within yourself, to channel your passions and not allow yourself to be ruled by them. Do you swear this as well, Sophie, and in doing so, take on all the responsibilities and duties of one sworn to the gods?"

Sorrel absently pets the curls of the baby in her lap, enrapt by her cousin's ceremony. She sits in prayerful silence and enjoys the formality of the religious occasion.

Rinel has joined the Commoner Pews.

And the last vow comes, to Tehom - and Sophie's eyes open. She looks up at Ailith and her voice is clear and bright as she says, "To Tehom, I promise to recognize the darkness within myself. I vow to accept it, and to strive to channel it into productive energy for the good of the gods, and to the people of Arvum." Sophie's voice fades a little bit as she finally finishes with a quivering voice, "I take on all responsibilities and duties of one sworn to the gods, that I might serve them and bring positive change to this world." Sophie's breathing deeply as she says this, happy tears welling in her eyes and dripping down her cheeks.

Aureth is overheard praising Sophie: She has walked this path gravely, thoughtfully, with an eye to her own personal growth, and worked on developing her understanding and her relationship with all of the gods and with the Church. I am proud of what she has accomplished and delighted to welcome her as a Sister of the Faith. Welcome, Sister Sophie.

Aureth is overheard praising Faith of the pantheon: We grow today in joy and hope.

Helena is overheard praising Sophie: The picture of devotion and piety.

Sorrel is overheard praising Sophie: Cheers to Sister Sophie!

Margret is overheard praising Sophie.

Fortunato is overheard praising Sophie: She will be magnificent. She already is.

Rysen is overheard praising Sophie: A beacon of light and promise of hope for the people of Arvum.

Bliss is overheard praising Sophie: If the world were full of people like this one, there would be far less need for people like her. There is very little more to say about her grace and thoughtfulness.

Estelle is overheard praising Sophie: She's taken such a big step towards change! She is ever an inspiration, sooooo happy to welcome her.

Willow is overheard praising Sophie: It is courageous to leave one life behind to fully embrace another. Strong, poised, and lovely, I am moved by the devotion of the Mother Mercy.

The final lantern completes the rings of the pantheon -- Tehom -- and upon that signal, the Mercies gathered at the corners of the Cathedral step forth in union to softly hum the canticle of the Godsworn. Care is taken when Ailith lowers at the knee, her tall visage no longer towering over the knelt woman, and she extends her hand in offering to Sophie. "Then rise, Sister Sophie. Today, the Faith acknowledges you as one of its own, and let all who witness, both mortal and under the eyes of the Gods, recognize and accord you the respect and responsibilities thereof." Ailith calls forth, addressing those gathered, and smiles broadly with distinguished joy and serenity. "All, please welcome Sister Sophie, priest and Mother Mercy of the Faith of the Pantheon." The Templars and Knights of Solace in unison salute, the clink of metal armor echoing in the Cathedral. And a songbird among the Mercies, likely a Devotion, chimes in as the musicians lift up their stringed instruments, striking with the bows in adding to the cheer and celebration.



"And in honor of our newest Sister, the harvest you see here today is being distributed across the city to the sick, tired, and needy. There are refreshments for those who choose to remain to congratulate and welcome our Mother Mercy." The sparkle of tears appear at the corners of her eyes when Ailith steps down from the altar to embrace her friend, Sophie. Whispered words exchange, Ailith quite caught and choked up before stepping back and straightening to give Sister Sophie, Mother Mercy of Lagoma space to meet her family and friends and fellow members of the Faith. The lanterns will remain lit until dawn. The disciples by the altar applaud their young Sister, then break apart to attend to their duties about the Cathedral and city -- or in this case, for many, set out the refreshments to the rear of the Cathedral.



For the curious among this vast refreshment spread are pumpkin soup, an herbal tea of honey and apple to soothe, artichokes gently grilled and sprinkled in herbs, some with thin slices of roasted ham or slithers of almonds. And flutes of white wine are distributed in celebration.

Ailith is overheard praising Sophie.

Arcadia is overheard praising Sophie: An inspiration, and so brave to leave what is known behind. What amazing things she will do.

Madeleine has left the Side Alcove.

Lucita is overheard praising Sophie.

Bliss is overheard praising Faith of the pantheon: A true pillar of the best aspects of Arvani society, and a reminder to us all to be better.

Donato is overheard praising Sophie.

As the Ceremony ends Sophie leans in to give Ailith a gentle kiss on her cheek and then she stands, turning toward the crowd gathered. She looks out at everyone and the smile that spreads across her lips is radiant and warm. She looks out at her gathered friends and family and her eyes stop briefly on each of them. She doesn't speak, at least not yet, she simply looks out at the people she cares about. When she finally does speak she says, "When I asked Legate Aureth what I needed for this Ceremony? his response, was that I needed white robes. My response to him was simple. White robes - I have plenty of those! I look forward to serving the people of Arvum as not only the Mother Mercy, but as a Godsworn Priest of the Pantheon. Thank you all for the support you've shown to both myself and the Mercies over the years."

Isabeau is overheard praising Sophie.

Bliss is overheard praising Mercy: The Mercies of Lagoma - everyone who wields a blade knows how important they are.

Ansel is overheard praising Sophie: The Mother Mercy has served the city on countless occasions in countless ways. Her ceremony was the beginning of an exciting, and monumental, next chapter!

Estelle lets out a happy holler, hands raised in celebration for Sister Sophie. After restraining herself throughout the ceremony, she's finally able to call out praise and encouragement for the newest Godsworn, mirthful tears wetting her cheeks as she bursts forth with cheers.

Ansel is overheard praising Sophie: Sophia is fortunate to have such a humble and selfess godmother

Leif has left the Commoner Pews.

Smiling, Rysen rises from his seat in pews. Seeing Sorrel with her children nearby, he comes to stand beside them and smiles warmly at Sorrel. "Your son is perfectly behaved, Your Highness - far more disciplined than I was at his age," he says with a grin, and kneels beside Sorrel's son. "What did you think, my friend?" he asks the boy. "Many beautiful words, and lights to celebrate Sister Sophie's vows, no?"

With Sophie offering her thanks and the vows being finished, Bliss lifts her hands in loud clapping, the Radiant Whisper giving out a sharp whistle into the air as she does not try to keep her enthusiasm for this down, a bright smile spread across her face now.

Aureth has left the Commoner Pews.

Gregory, an unassuming disciple have been dismissed.

2 Templar Knight guards have been dismissed.

Binky, an asshole crow have been dismissed.

Jeffeth is overheard praising Sophie: Welcome Sister, Mother.

Rinel applauds and wipes a few errant tears from her cheeks.

Willow takes up Bliss' applause as she slowly rises.

Willow has left the Noble Pews.

Jasher lifts his gloved hands as if to clap--then stops. He looks at them, brows furrowed in--annoyance?--before he settles for a salute.

Donato joins the applause, slowly rising as well

Kamon has joined the Commoner Pews.

Arcadia also stands and applauds, smiling warmly at the newest sister. She does get distracted by Rysen's interaction with the small child. She flushes briefly and quickly returns her gaze to the ceremony.

Corban has left the Commoner Pews.

Reedy, a King's Own aide leaves, following Corban.

Lucita has left the Noble Pews.

Sorrel's son doesn't really know what to say to Rysen, so he just holds up his plushie and says, "Captain Teemo!" as loudly as he can manage, having sat and played quietly through the ceremony. He's two.

Rukhnis passes one hand slowly across her face, and lets out a sharp breath. She half-stumbles her way out of the pew and makes her way over to Rysen.

Lucita rises and claps when that wave of applause begins, smiling warmly at Sophie.

Arcadia has left the Noble Pews.

Sophie flushes at the applause, the same smile on her face, and her cheeks wet with the happy tears that still continue to spill down them slowly. She steps from the Altar. Her hand reaches out to ruffle the hair of the child standing on the pew near Sorrel. She nods her head gratefully at people as she passes, but she seems to be headed initially toward something that simply can't be resisted. Sophie approaches her Isabeau and Ansel and she leans in to kiss the top of Sophia's head, because really? Who can resist a newborn baby's head. She squeezes both of their hands before moving on to Jeffeth. Forget formality, she just wraps her arms around the big lug in a great big hug.

Kamon has left the Commoner Pews.

Jeffeth checked composure at difficulty 15, rolling 4 higher.

Ansel and Isabeau are standing at the rear, with the Sword bearing the couple's daughter in his sling. At Sophie's approach, Ansel gives a warm, but slightly wan, smile, leaning over so that little Sophia can reach up at her godmother. Complete with a fuzzy head of golden hair, and sparkling sapphire eyes, the littlest Telmar gives a happy gurgle at her favorite aunt.

Rysen laughs happily. He rises to his feet and says to Sorrel, "Captain Teemo, eh? I shall have to find a couple of plushies for Lady Ann's twins." His smile fades a little, but hearing the joyous clapping and seeing Sophie, he smiles again, and nods to Rukhnis, then makes his way to Arcadia's side.

Stepping away from the alcove Jeffeth smiles brightly as Sophie bounds over to him. He's in his most formal of armor, and it's not the most comfortable of hugs. And there is a bit of a panic when Sophie approaches with his bull helmet tucked under his arm, the helmet falls making a CLANG CLANG CLANG, the alaricite bulls head bouncing around on the ground. Jeffeth winces but ignores it for now, drawing Sophie into the deepest of hugs, pulling her in closely to murmur quietly down to Sophie.

Jeffeth drops The Bayweather Bull.

Estelle giggles and grins happily at Sophie, taking advantage of her trying to encircle Sir Jeffeth to wipe at her own eyes a moment. "This whole thing was soooo amazing! Congratulations Sister!" Her smile seems almost too large for her face, though she does jump a bit at the 'bouncing' of the metal helmet, and chuckles it away.

Arcadia turns her gaze upward to Rysen's face, "Lady Ann? That is your cousin?" she murmurs to Rysen conspiratorially "I find a couple of sweets in my pocket helps steal the love of my cousin's daughter."

"That's the name of the toy," Sorrel explains to Rysen with a laugh. "We couldn't miss Sister Sophie's ceremony, and it's hard to sit quietly." The toddler makes a bolt towards the woman in white only to have his shirt snagged by his mother.

Rukhnis follows behind Rysen like a stubborn shadow as he moves off, and she comes to stand just behind him, very discreetly, leaning in to say something to him.

Arcadia notices the shadow behind her and swivels her gaze to Rukhnis, she gives her a smile on recognition "Hello again."



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