Stone Grove Rituals
July 13, 2019, 2 p.m.
Arx - Ward of House Redrain - Stone Grove
Comments and Log
Lucita has joined the Far away bench.
(OOC)The scene set/room mood is now set to: The plants in the Stone Grove are withered and brown. The trees are mostly barren of leaves and what is there is crackling and dried out. There are ropes strung between all of the higher places in the grove above head height, though not on the sacred stones of the circle itself. A small area has been set at the cardinal directions inside the stone circle with a small portable altar at each point and various items on each. There is a bronze brazier set up in front of the altar, burning steadily and smoke curling into the air. There is several small shield-shaped trays holding three or four bottles of whiskey each set near the altar at the front.
"I believe you're right, my lord." Alessia smiles, before turning to Lucita as she joins the one of the benches.
Alessia has joined the Far away bench.
Lucita gives a soft laugh at Mirk's recommendation and glances around for a spot to sit. Over to one of the benches she goes and settles into place, plenty of room left for others to sit, too.
Gabriel steps toward the benches as unobtrusively as possible.
Damien Pierce - A Charming Assistant, 1 Redreef Warden, Vagari - Cinder Kitten, 1 Order of the Firebird, 4 Byrne Mountain Men arrive, following Mikani.
Gabriel has joined the benches.
Mikani has joined the a patch of whimsical coppery orange poppies.
"You work for greater things," Gwenna replies to Mirk with a few more nods of her head. "Perhaps when things settle a bit, Halfshav and Redrain could host a similar tournament? We've that arena to hold it in, after all. Ah, but something to talk about another time." She helps with whatever she's directed to help with, and then it seems things are about to get started. Another quick grin is offered to Helena at her side.
Brigida has joined the by the pumpkin patch.
Soot, a gray foxhound puppy, 3 Iron Guardsmen, Violet, a shopkeeper, 1 Crimson Blades Lieutenant arrive, following Petal.
Kaldur edges marginally closer to Sparte, quiet murmurs, respectful of the solemnity of the gathering.
The High Shaman isn't a small figure and she steps to the front as she gets her preparations complete. Drea stands beside Mirk and looks out over the gathered crowd. Her voice rises above the noise of the people getting settled and she smiles. "Welcome, one and all! I am so delighted to see so many of you, of all walks of life and belief here to support our efforts to renew the Grove. Come in, within the circle if you please. Welcome, welcome. As all of you know, last fall, our Stone Grove suddenly withered one day. We have been working hard to gather information and to do what we can to return it to its former glory. Save your bells for later. If you'll give me a moment to call the notice of the Spirits, we'll start there."
Rukhnis comes quietly into the park, looking in her dark garb to be little more than a shadow drifting in through the moonlight. Coming up to the edge of the crowd already gathering around the stone circle, she stops a short ways apart from everyone else and, with a small bow towards the altar itself, takes up an unobtrusive post in a discreetly dim spot on the withered grass.
Drysi, a young shaman apprentice arrives, following Khanne.
Tatienne has joined the a patch of whimsical coppery orange poppies.
Jyri doesn't make much noise of himself entering the grove and moves to sit somewhere where he can see things well. He's unfamiliar to many here, but there's nods to everyone in passing. His expression is stoic and he is slightly more charming than the average rock, at least, but just barely. His one eye takes in the scene with scrutinizing interest. There's a respectful pointed nod towards Mirk and Drea as choses a spot there in the circle.
Brigida has been here all along, knelt in what was the pumpkin patch with her two Disciples. The Archlector has dirt on her robes and her hands as she performs quiet prayers to Petrichor, the Forest Lord. A canny observer may notice her peek out of the corner of her eye from time to time, making sure none of the Faithful get caught up with the 'heathens' of the spirit worshippers. So far so good and she returns to quietly beseeching Petrichor's favor on the events here. After all the Grove is sacred to Him too.
Petal is here in blue and ivory. She choses a spot in the circle not far from Cillian. the girl is quite and respectful. She looks over to Drea, giving her shaman her attention.
Settling on a bench, Sina watches as preparations are made. Those she knows, she offers a nod to, though her usual soft smiles are replaced with a thoughtful, serious expression that she can't quite seem to shake in the presence of all this withering. As one of the Godsworn, she won't be participating in the shamanic rituals of course. She's only here to observe, perhaps plant flowers and clear away withered debris if her help is wanted. Otherwise, she'll remain where she is, settled on her chosen bench. Her Templars and assistants are present, and the Templars are little more conspicuous than usual in a crowd this size, watchful and alert, while Jacinthe and Arindais settle in with pen and parchment for the taking of notes to record the event, as Scholars are like to do. One of the Templars eyes Sparte askance as the man arrives with his features hidden within a hood, and another notices Rukhnis and her lingering in the shadows. Sina, meanwhile, has a satchel with her, which she now pulls into her lap to withdraw a stick of charcoal and some sheets of fine parchment on which to sketch. She does whisper something in reply to Lucita real quick in passing, before focusing her attention toward Drea and Mirk. She begins to quietly form a quick sketch of them on the parchment, with shadows of withered plants all around, and a glimpse of the altar just behind them as well.
Gabriel appears out of place with his wife's family, but came to uphold the bond between the houses and see the Redrain circle whole again.
Sparte reaches a hand up to his face, momentarilly shifting his hood out of the way as he wipes some sleep from his eyes. Nothing more sinister there than someone not getting enough sleep. He turns his quiet attention to Drea as she speaks, nodding slightly to Kaldur in acknowledgement of what was said.
Once Drea has had her word, Mirk steps forwards. "Thank you all for being here. I'll begin, on behalf of the High Shaman, with the preparation of the altar." As he speaks, he holds up a burning torch and drops it into the bronze brazier before the altar. It goes up quietly, burning fiercely, and sheds a soft light. Then he reaches into a pouch, and produces small offerings: Herbs. Seeds. Leaves. Even a tuft of direwolf fur he found somewhere. One by one, he casts them into the bronze brazier, allowing them to be consumed with flames. As he does, he speaks, his voice loud and carrying for the crowd. "This is not something for me to do alone, however. I invite small offerings from any of you, and for those that do not have an offering - or do not wish to be seen making offerings to spirits," there's a significant glance at the Faithful among them, including two Archlectors, "may take a bottle of whiskey from the trays. The first sip or the last sip of the whiskey would be a gesture of respect, here. I very much recommend the latter, personally, and if that happens to provide an excuse to reach a nice buzz...Well. This isn't an occasion that must be as solemn as the grave. The spirits can be called with a joyous voice as well. So by all means..." He steps aside, and waves a hand towards the brazier, offering to let others.
Gwenna takes a booze bottle with apricot brandy inside from a circular tray distinctly styled as a Northern shield.
Julian gets a booze bottle with apricot brandy inside from a circular tray distinctly styled as a Northern shield.
Jasher gets a booze bottle with apricot brandy inside from a circular tray distinctly styled as a Northern shield.
Lucita gets a booze bottle with apricot brandy inside from a circular tray distinctly styled as a Northern shield.
Gabriel gets a booze bottle with apricot brandy inside from a circular tray distinctly styled as a Northern shield.
Petal gets a booze bottle with apricot brandy inside from a circular tray distinctly styled as a Northern shield.
Mirk gets a booze bottle with apricot brandy inside from a circular tray distinctly styled as a Northern shield.
Alessia gets a booze bottle with apricot brandy inside from a circular tray distinctly styled as a Northern shield.
Jyri gets a booze bottle with apricot brandy inside from a circular tray distinctly styled as a Northern shield.
Arriving only a little late, Khanne does not run into the circle in a panicked rush like some old folk tale animal with a deadline, like she usually does to events, but with a slow, calm walk. Her slippered feet carry across grass that is usually vibrant and full of life, she herself wearing a color so prominent here when the plants are not at all withered as they are now. The Vala gives a smile and gentle nod towards the altar, towards High Priestess Drea and Elder Mirk before finding a spot as near to one particular large stone as she can get, to observe and pay attention to her fellow Spirit Walkers.
Khanne gets a booze bottle with apricot brandy inside from a circular tray distinctly styled as a Northern shield.
At Drea's words, Helena rises from where she's found a seat and moves forward into the circle, watching the reactions of others. Gabriel is given a quick nod of appreciation. Mirk's words about a 'buzz' make her smile and she asides to Gwenna, "Some might sacrifice a bit of comfort on the morrow if they're lightweights and not used to our northern alcohol." Her smile turns a bit impish as she reaches into a pocket, finding a bluebird's feather there.
Mikani takes a booze bottle with apricot brandy inside from a circular tray distinctly styled as a Northern shield.
Sina gets a booze bottle with apricot brandy inside from a circular tray distinctly styled as a Northern shield.
Wendy the little brown wren arrives, following Lora.
Lygeia, a calligrapher and alchemist, Lora arrive, following Rysen.
While a shift of her eyes in the direction of the watchful Templar shows that she's noticed their regard, it doesn't seem to be a thing that troubles Rukhnis much, her expression remaining sombre and subued as she returns her gaze to Drea and Mirk at the center of the circle. After a moment's pause she joins in the line forming to make offerings to the spirits on the brazier, her fingertips touching her sash briefly.
Brigida gets a booze bottle with apricot brandy inside from a circular tray distinctly styled as a Northern shield.
Cillian s hand moves to hold Petals and is silent as she stands next to him his eyes on Drea as he listens and watching.
Cillian takes a booze bottle with apricot brandy inside from a circular tray distinctly styled as a Northern shield.
Mikani has joined the line.
Gwenna has a briefly knowing smile at Helena's words, her head nodding to her cousin and amusement crossing her features. "Thankfully, Mistress Valery often has some hangover cures in her gardens for that exact purpose," she murmurs. "Even I've had need of it on occasion." Espying Vala Khanne when she joins, the Redrain gives her a respectful dip of her head in greeting.
Turn in line: Mikani
Kaldur takes a booze bottle with apricot brandy inside from a circular tray distinctly styled as a Northern shield.
Jyri has joined the line.
Helena has joined the line.
Gabriel has joined the line.
Mikani grins as she hears the best offering is the last sip. Raising her bottle slightly and drinks heavily of the bottle. She stops just before the last drink. Pouring it instead out as an offering to the spirits.
Rukhnis has joined the line.
Turn in line: Jyri
Gwenna has joined the line.
Rysen arrives at the Stone Grove with Lora. Lygeia also follow just a step behind. Rysen makes his way over to the circular tray, and takes a bottle of brandy, and, with a glance toward Lora, moves to stand near the end of the line.
Jyri straightens up to his full height and even smiles, something which softens his features considerably. He takes out a small colorful drawing from his satchel, the scroll paper covered with flowers in bright colors, waiting for his turn at the brazier. He snatches a bottle of that brandy on the way, tilting it towards Drea and Mirk in thanks before he comes up to do his offering. "This is how we see the Grove," he tells the spirits. "In our minds, in our hearts. It will be like this before our eyes too." He shows the painting briefly to something invisible, then puts it to flames.
As people begin their offerings, Mirk stands near the altar, arms folded over his chest, watching with interest to see what people would bring. He nods his head in approval to Mikani, as she pours out a little of her bottle. He peers with interest at Jyri's drawings, and says, "Very much fitting."
Turn in line: Helena
While Mirk has been talking, Drea has been going to the four altars that she set at the corners of the grove. She lights a smaller brazier with coals bright red and yellow and places on it what looks like chunks of rock. Smoke wafts off them and a rich flowery scent coasts along that smoke twisting into the air. She moves to the other side, moving counter-clockwise to the other altar as people are coming up to get in line. On this altar, she sets a large candle with three wicks that join together as lit to create a brighter flame. She tosses a powder on the top and it crackles and sends the flame a little higher. Then she moves around to the third altar opposite the smoke and she sets a large bowl of water, a little fish inside splashing around and sending up droplets periodically. Her last rotation ends at the big altar at the front. She drops handfuls of earth in a small mound and then dusts it with a few seeds, before she turns to face the group again. She waits for everyone to take their turn at putting the offerings on the altar. She smiles at Khanne as she arrives.
Lucita has joined the line.
Petal has joined the line.
Jasher has joined the line.
Helena approaches the brazier and closes her eyes, murmuring something under her breath before she gives to the fire the small bluebird's feather, the flames quickly eating up the filaments in a pretty display before it curls into black ash. From another pocket she produces a tiny vial, which she uncaps to pour not into the fire but onto the ground at its base. "Water from Farhaven's springs," she says, in quick explanation. She moves away to let the next person make their offering.
Turn in line: Gabriel
Khanne has joined the line.
Yes, Lora accompanies Rysen. To a point. That point is approximately two steps after the taking of the brandy bottles, for she collects one from the tray as well. But then he heads for the line and she does not, instead tilting her head slightly to watch. Him, and everyone in line ahead of him, and those gathering behind with very somber interest.
Jyri has joined the a patch of whimsical coppery orange poppies.
Gabriel steps forth to the altar. He presses the bottle to his chest and surveys Drea, Mirk, and the assembly, saying "Blood of my blood. Bound in honor, eternal." With this, the old duke drinks the bottle, leaving only the last bit which is ceremonially offered.
Jyri steps away to leave room and moves to stand with a group, nodding politely at them. He watches with keen one-eyed interest, but also starts a quiet conversation with those nearby.
Turn in line: Rukhnis
Gabriel returns to the benches quietly.
As she reaches the brazier, Rukhnis looks very soberly at it for a long moment before slipping her fingers into the folds of her sash and drawing out some small item from within. Thin and flexible and tied with a scrap of ribbon, it looks almost like a braided lock of hair. She winds it once round her finger, briefly, then loosens it and lets it fall into the flame, watching as it catches fire and begins to curl and darken. "To wake from what is no more," she says softly, "and to dream of what may one day be born anew." Bowing reverently, she slips her way quietly out of the line and back to the margins of the crowd once again.
Julian has joined the line.
Turn in line: Gwenna
Gwenna takes one of the whiskeys and drinks it; hardly unexpected. It's perhaps done in a daintier fashion that the gruffest of Northern warriors, but the spirit behind it is still the same. Lips move quietly as she shuts her eyes just briefly and then opens them. Her offering is a weathered piece of red leather that appears to be a collar of some sort. "I brought this with me from Farhaven, among other small but very special things. One of my favorite hounds in Farhaven, Mutters, used to wear it. As happen to all, he grew old and passed, but his memories have never faded. We need just remember and, perhaps, that spark of life returns, whether in recollections or in new, budding greens." That said, she gives the piece to the flames and moves aside to let the next person come forth.
Kaldur has joined the line.
Mikani watches those giving offerings as she takes her place again. She gives a smile to Rukhnis and Rysen before looking at those gathered with her at the poppies.
Turn in line: Lucita
Lucita checked charm + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 29 higher.
Lucita says, "A few months after coming to the city back in 1007, Princess Valencia recommended the Stone Grove as a place of beauty and peace and recommended it be a place to visit. When I did so, I stayed so long night fell and Lords Anze and Arik came in and lay on the soft carpet of grass to view the skys. It was a shared moment I have never forgotten. I'd like to see that restored here for our children and our children's children to know that beauty and peace. I have been told in the past that the spirits like music and singing, and that is what I do best so hope this song of Petrichor's Prayer of Stewardship will serve as an offering for here is also sacred to Petrichor to the Shaman or rituals is intended."
Lucita finishes the song, takes a sip of the brandy with a gesture of respect, lowers her gaze and heads back to the bench at which she has been sitting.
Mirk remains near the altar, offering a quiet thinks to each person as they step closer to the altar - and to him. There's a raise of an eyebrow, at Gabriel's, though he doesn't seem to disapprove, and a look of respect at the thoughtful offerings of Gwenna and Helena. But when Lucita steps forwards with her own explanation, he says, "I welcome your song, though it be separate from our own offerings to the spirits, and I hope its beauty touches all present."
Brigida stays knelt in her pumpkin patch, pausing from her prayers (Aletta and Keski like good Disciples keep going quietly). The Archlector of Petrichor silently watches the ritual, not participating but rather observing from the sidelines, watching everyone with a rarely blinking stare. Lucita's song brings a very, very slight smile to her face before it vanishes behind her serious visage.
Turn in line: Petal
Petal gets a pewter framed flower crown with yellow ribbon from a woven willow basket lined in white wool.
Drea gives smiles of encouragement to anyone who seems hesitant and just stands with Mirk to allow everyone the time to make their offering. She greets anyone who wants a greeting, hugging those who want hugs and supporting each person's offering, one by one.
Petal steps up when it is her turn, the girl looking over the plants in the grove and seeming to pay special attention some of those she cultivated, the cabbage and the poppies. Her brown eyes are somber, her cheeks are pale and her gaze is hopeful. She reaches in her basket pulling out a crown of flowers. She speak with her heavy accent. "I come here into this grove with faith that it came be healed and hope that it will be. I know very little about praying to spirits, but they love plants here as do I and humbly add my prayer and my voices and my love for the land and plants here. This crown was designed a long time again by one who loved the land, Dame Leola and I know she would want the grove healed. She says laying it do with the other offerings.
Turn in line: Jasher
It's Jasher's turn, and the man's demeanour is distinctly discomfited as he approaches, like a prize stallion penned up too small, or a lamb toeing into a den of wolves. Before the brazier, he looks into the crackling depths, the light reflecting in his blue eyes. "We are different," he says towards the brazier. "I am of the Faith; I should not acknowledge you beyond the academic. And when I walk from here, that will be true. But for here and now..."
The man pops open his bottle, letting the smell of alcohol, apricot, and hazelnut waft forth. He lets it there for a moment to permit the brandy to breathe, before tilting the bottle, allowing the brazier the honour of a first sip.
"Let my Dream intersect yours," he says as he watches the liquid flow. "Let us see this place made whole again."
He tilts the bottle back up, stopping the flow, and takes a drink himself. Then he replaces the top on the bottle and walks away, rejoining the bench at the back.
Turn in line: Khanne
Tatienne has joined the line.
Sina has joined the line.
Khanne walks towards the brazier with bottle of brandy in hand. She has not opened it. Though the occasion is one of hope and renewal, she herself looks solemn, her eyes glittering slightly with tears threatening to fall. She has been quiet since she arrived, merely nodding to people in greeting, returning all their own greetings silently. Now, she steps forth and opens the bottle, pouring a bit in to make the flames dance higher.
"It's been years and years since I first stepped foot here. I have seen it thrive, and seen it blighted. I have seen the grove reborn and then wither again. I have... touched, each stone here, and they have felt my every emotion. My hands have grown rough from working here. My memories of this sacred Grove are numerous, and I am blessed." Khanne pulls out a small pouch from within a bigger pouch. She opens it and spills the contents into her hand. It looks like tea. "In this are herbs, a flower, a piece of charred wood, and a tiny shell mixed with wood shavings soaked in whiskey... this pouch represents some of my most powerful memories of this place, and I offer it to the Spirits today, in hope that memories of old will help the Grove thrive anew." She tips her hand over to let the mixture drift into the fires of the brazier, her eyes looking deep into the flame. She stands there a bit longer than she need to, as if perhaps, she is saying her own, private words in her thoughts. Eventually, she does give a nod and turn to walk back to that familiar stone pillar, standing there with bottle in hand.
Turn in line: Julian
Julian steps up and looks around a bit confused, but it was asked of him. So he drinks from his bottle until it is down to the last sip, and adds his with everyone else's. He doesn't really know what to say so he bows with a smile. Raises and heads back to his seat.
Cillian has joined the line.
Turn in line: Kaldur
Kaldur steps up when it is his turn, lips pressed flat, expression solemn whatever the suggestion that it can be a joyous thing. He is uneasy. He unseals the bottle, tips it back throat working in long pulls to leave the last sip for an offering. He drags his wrist over his mouth and speaks quietly, head bowed, the words are personal, not meant for others' ears. He nods to the High Shaman, Vala Khanne, and Elder Mirk as he pads by, plates of his mail rasping quietly. He takes a place on the fringe of the gathering, apart from others.
Mikani moves to stand by Kaldur quietly. "Good to see you Lord Kaldur."
Turn in line: Tatienne
Helena is overheard praising Drea.
Helena is overheard praising Mirk.
Tatienne gets up when her turn comes, and walks towards the altar. She murmurs a prayer, trusting the spirits to understand her, and picks up the bottle of whiskey, taking a few good sups before adding the last sip, then adding some herbs of her own. When she's done, the prodigal from the oathlands steps away and returns to her previous spot.
Lora has joined the line.
Drea is overheard praising Mirk: For all that you do for the Spirit Walkers and the Stone Grove. May the Spirits ever bless him.
Turn in line: Sina
Mirk is overheard praising Drea.
Rukhnis's eyes are darkened with melancholy as she looks on, arms folded and still, and listens to everyone making their offerings. A faintly thoughtful expression also works its way in as she watches Kaldur say his own silent words and make his way apart, but she makes no advance upon either him or Mikani, and her gaze drifts upward to observe the starry sky hanging over the stone circle.
Khanne is overheard praising Drea: The most graceful High Priestess
Mikani is overheard praising Drea.
Mikani is overheard praising Mirk.
Perhaps Lora has finally seen enough; finally heard enough. Perhaps she's spent long enough watching Brigida that she's come to a decision. Either way, eventually she moves again, joining up at the tail end of those waiting their turn to make their offerings.
Khanne is overheard praising Mirk: Cousin, Elder, I am honored to know you and blessed to watch the work you do for the Spirits and the Spirit Walkers.
Sina doesn't place any offerings nor participate in the ritual, though she does watch the proceedings with interest. She watches Jasher as he speaks, her expression thoughtful, her features settling into a hint of quiet resolve. After a moment, she rises to her feet, and takes a bottle from the basket as well, and moves to step forward to join the line. She does not bring any offerings, nor will she participate beyond this one thing. But when it is her turn to step forward, she closes her eyes, and offers a silent prayer of her own. Then she opens then, and looks to Drea specifically. "During a time of need, you sheltered me here within this grove. Though we are not of the same faith, and there was no obligation for you to do so, you aided me. While we do not share the same practices, I offer my respects and honor our friendship. I will offer my own prayers, to Petrichor, to Lagoma, to Mangata - that your grove may be healed. Together, Godsworn and shaman, may we find common ground to heal what has been sickened." She lifts the bottle of whiskey then, and takes a sip with a determined look on her face. Then she bows her head to Drea and Mirk, and withdraws back to her bench, resuming her seat and her quiet prayers and sketching.
Sparte is overheard praising Mirk.
Sparte is overheard praising Drea.
Turn in line: Cillian
Cillian its his time to step forward he does so pulling a pouch from his belt opening it up and pouring a small amount of dried items from it into his hands, "When I first came to the city I found the Grove to be a safe place, a place I felt home again in. I found myself spending many hours here in the Grove, found myself coming here to center myself to think of my future." he looks to petal thn back to the flames, "May the spirits return so that all may feel the same as I do." he tips his hand letting the dries flowers, seeds and herbs fall from his hand along with vines that are twisted into the shape of rings connected to one another, he bows his hand and turns to head back to stand next to Petal.
Rysen has joined the line.
Turn in line: Lora
Rinel has joined the by the pumpkin patch.
When it is her turn Lora steps forward with a tiny measure of some of the wariness that some others have displayed, but it is not now hesitation, only contemplation. "One does not have to understand in order to believe; one does not have to believe in order to understand. I understand that this place is important, and not just in the hearts and minds of those gathered here, now; I believe that it may yet be saved, healed, and will grow again." She has a little sip from her bottle then, and reaches out to brush her fingertips along the edge of the altar, a slightly longer and wordless meditation before she moves away.
Turn in line: Rysen
Gwenna smiles and gives a nod of appreciation after Lora's words at the altar.
Rysen steps before the brazier with Lygeia. He reaches into a holster in his belt and removes a scroll or parchment sealed with wax. He holds out the parchment as Lygeia takes from her bag a small vial and brush. Dipping the brush into the vial, with a graceful sweep of her hand, she paints a lemniscate over the scroll in a dark substance. Rysen tosses the parchment into the brazier and there is a bright flash of fire. The parchment is quickly consumed, and Lygeia and Rysen bow their heads for a moment. They bow, and then step back from the brazier with solemn expressions.
Jyri is looking more and more relaxed and happy over there, for each offering done by the visitors.
As Rysen retreats from the brazier, the last one in a succession of offerings, Mirk steps forwards and raises his voice, carrying easily across the Stone Grove. "Last call if anyone wishes to add an offering. Those of the Faith, or those that didn't bring an offering, are welcome to pour the last sip or first sip of their drink over the fire." He indicates the trays, and the bottles on offer to anyone who wants to claim one. "The libation is a gesture of respect, not necessarily one of worship." He scans the crowd, waiting to see if anyone steps forwards.
Rinel mutters, "... ... a member ... ... Faith."
Khanne lets her gaze drift slowly towards Rinel.
Alessia has joined the line.
Turn in line: Alessia
Sparte has joined the line.
Tatienne raises her eyebrow at Rinel's words, glaring at him and muttering something of her own.
Tatienne says in Ravashari, "Why is she even here, then?"
Gwenna, as well, arches a brow in Rinel's direction, though it does not linger more than a moment.
Alessia rises, full bottle in hand. She approaches the brazier, pouring a little of her drink over the fire. Inclining her head to Mirk, she returns to her seat.
Turn in line: Sparte
Sparte pushes back his hood and steps forward, showing the tiredness on his face. It has been a long day for him, but not one that diminishes his smile for having heard and witnessed the other offerings given today. He pulls a book from his waist as he moves towards a brazier, the cord around it carefully unwound. Bringing the book up and open, he begins flipping through it as he speaks. "It was when I was first learning how to draw, that this place was brought to my attention. I wasn't very good as an artist, and that made this shrine a place to practice. Flowers are extremely gentle in their criticism." He finds one of the pages he is looking for, tearing it free from the book with a deft tug. He slips that sheet under one arm, continuing through to find a second. "It was the span of a summer I would come here on and off, to draw the flowers so known for being like none other. They're good, peaceful memories. I hope one day someone else will be able to spend their time in this grove, partaking in the beauty of nature here." The second page is found, this time it takes Sparte a few tugs before he gets the right angle to tear the parchment. "I offer up the first drawing I made of a flower that summer and the last. A token of how this place helped me to grow, and how I hope to see it grow again." The two pages are taken in Sparte's hand and gently fed to the brazier together. He carefully rebinds the book as he watches them burn, turning to dip his head towards Mirk before stepping away again.
There's a bit of silent commotion near the pumpkins as the Archlector of Petrichor delivers a thwap to a certain loudmouth's head. Rinel looks startled, then chastised. She kneels down next to Brigida in prayer, and is mercifully silent for the remainder of the ritual.
As soon as Sparte has finished, Mirk nods his head to the man and deposits a bronze lid over the brazier, smothering the flames. Then he addresses the crowd. "I'd like to extend my thanks, and the thanks of the Spirit Walkers, to each of you, whether you brought an offering, you poured out a drink, or you merely observed the proceedings. Some of your gestures and words have touched even me." His expression is utterly serious, defaulting to somewhere between 'stern' and 'stoic,' leaving it uncertain whether it's a joke or a serious comment. "And now comes the time to annoint the altar."
That said, Mirk removes the lid and uses tongs to carefully remove the coals, setting them on the upturned lid. Then he lifts the entire brazier and pours out just a sprinkle of the collected ashes from all of their offerings onto the altar. He washes the ashes away with wine and then water, carefully annointing the altar each time.
Once he's finished, he gestures to Drea. "Now, if you would all direct your attention towards the High Shaman, please."
When all the offerings are complete and Mirk turns back to her, Drea calls attention again, with her raised arms. "We ask for the blessings of the Spirits on our gathering today. To the Spirits of the Wind, to bring the clouds in and out, we offer incense and smoke. To the Spirits of fire, we offer fuel to consume and to grow the fire and make it strong." Drea gestures to the main brazier where people have burned some of their offerings and to the back where her candle is lit. "To the Spirits of water that enrich and keep alive the sacred plants of this place, that feed the soil and the roots to keep this grove strong, we offer our tears of our soul for the damage that has been wrought here." There is someone standing by the altar with the fishbowl in the back and at mention of it, they pour some of the water into the earth.
The altar annointed and his part in the ritual finished, Mirk quietly slips away from the altar and instead joins Khanne in lingering near a particular standing stone.
Mirk has left the altar.
Gabriel quietly inclines his head to Mirk.
Jyri is focused fully on the ritual, curious and happy to see it. He nods at the three heads of the Spirit Walkers, respectfully.
Mikani silently slips out as to not disturb anyone. She says a final prayer to the spirits and gods for the revival of the stone grove on her way out.
Sina only continues to sit and sketch through the ritual and the calling of the spirits' blessings, observing in respectful silence. She glances up occasionally as she seeks to capture the moment in charcoal on the parchment in her lap. Meanwhile, Jacinthe and Arindais quietly take notes, occasionally conferring with one another. She glances briefly toward where the commotion is near the pumpkins, and Sina gives a soft sigh, and turns her eyes back to her sketch. Her features scrunch up in an unreadable look for a time while she draws, but it eventually smooths over once more while she observes and sketches.
Rysen gazes thoughtfully as Drea preforms the ritual, though a smile passes over his face as he notices Mikani move past him on her way out.
Mikani has left the a patch of whimsical coppery orange poppies.
Damien Pierce - A Charming Assistant, 1 Redreef Warden, Vagari - Cinder Kitten, 1 Order of the Firebird, 4 Byrne Mountain Men leave, following Mikani.
"Last, but certainly not the least, to the Spirits of the Earth that hold up the stones, that feed and hold safe the roots, I have saved some of the seeds from before the withering of some of the special flowers and plants here. These will be replanted in the earth to grow again, at the will of the Spirits. We ask that all the Spirits who come to this Grove or call it home give a Blessing on our Gathering. That we may, with our actions, give back to this Grove that has given so much and it is our hope that we can assist in a renewal to bring this sacred circle back to its strength and power." Drea's arms drop and she looks out over the crowd.
"Please take a moment, if you wish to shed a tear here for the Grove, please let it drop into the earth to add to the offerings here, today. I have shed many tears here over the years, myself. Take a moment to feel what you feel in this moment, to share it with this group of people gathered to support the Stone Grove and all the different things that it means to /all/ of us. We are from different backgrounds, walks of life, and different faiths--and we all stand together to love this Grove. It is a place of peace, of power, of life, and of faith and we give up to the Spirits, or to the Gods, our desires to restore this Sacred Circle to as it was before the withering."
Gwenna has left the a patch of whimsical coppery orange poppies.
Khanne quietly watches Mirk and Drea as they perform the offering. Her eyes follow each movement, her hands clasp before her, bottle still in hand. When Mirk comes to join her, she gives him a small smile and lightly nudges her elbow against his arm in greeting. Her attention soon returns to Drea though and she nods along in agreement to her words.
Khaavren, a dutiful assistant, 2 Redrain Guards leave, following Gwenna.
Khanne is overheard praising Drea: Powerful and inspiring words.
Rysen is overheard praising Drea.
Lucita quietly observes the ritual, listening to Drea and Mirk as they have spoken. A glance is given those who sit at the bench with her though she, for the moment, says nothing aloud.
Rysen is overheard praising Mirk.
Sparte gets his book tucked away, replacing his hood so as to hide his tired face from view once more. He remains, attention turned towards Drea as he listens quietly.
Jasher sheds no tear. His blue eyes remain stark. But he does open his bottle and pour out a little more to the earth at Drea's words.
Gabriel is overheard praising Drea.
Gabriel is overheard praising Mirk.
Flynt arrives at the scene and decides to head towards a group gathered near patch of poppies.
Flynt has joined the a patch of whimsical coppery orange poppies.
From where she stands with her gaze turned skyward, Rukhnis might already be shedding a tear or two, if the occasional brush of hand against cheek is any indication. But on the other hand it's so dark where she's standing, and so well apart from everyone else, that it's hard to really make anything out about her aside from the occasional small shifting of the darker shadow that her form makes in the night.
There's a smirk at Mirk's words, as Helena watches and listens. She murmurs something softly at the invocation of the spirits to her cousin Gwenna beside her, before her lashes dip when Drea asks for them to reflect on their feelings and shed a tear. She's an emotional creature -- most people who know her well have seen her tearful at some point or another, especially in the last year. Whatever she meditates on, her hands coming up in a steeple as she rests her forehead against her fingertips. Her lips murmur something -- those close might hear the word 'thank' among her utterings. A few tears slide down her cheeks, but her lips curve up in a smile, nearly beatific. Two salten drops slide off her cheeks and she lifts her head.
Drea takes a moment to take a breath and drink some of that whiskey herself, pouring it onto the altar with the rest of the offerings there. "We wouldn't mind helping to make it better than before either, just to make it clear," she half whispers there at the end of her sentence. She raises her voice again. "This altar has been here from time immemorial. It is a part of the Grove as the Stones themselves. We ask a Blessing on this altar and the Offerings made here this day on it. May it, with the power of its history and of all the years of Offerings placed here, take also at this time, our wishes and our love for the Spirits and this place. We rededicate this Grove and this Altar to the Spirits, and to Petrichor--for whom this is also a sacred space."
When the offerings are done, Drea moves to several boxes set to the side. "Many of you brought a bell. If you didn't, there are some here. You see the ropes up on the trees above your head and around the grove. If you wish, you may hand your bell to the helpers we have here and they will hang it up. As the wind blows through the Grove, may the Spirits of the Wind hear our offering as the bells remain here to ring. As the rain falls, may it course off the bells and remind the Spirits of Water that its nourishment is needed for this place to thrive. The bells are made of metal, taken from the earth, moulded by hammer and fire to this offering that can remain here and show our continued support of this Grove. Our love for it, our need for its strength will echo through the Stone Grove with the ringing of the bells." She holds up one of the bells from the box, walks to a helper on a ladder and offers him the bell. "With the offering of the bells, our Ritual is complete. We thank the Gods and the Spirits that we have access to this Sacred circle of stones."
Tatienne rises to the chime of bells as Drea calls for bells to be handed over to the assistant, the bell she offers is not quite like the ones she wears, but it's a well-made copper bell regardless. Once she hands it over, she sits back down where she was.
Gabriel quietly stands and gives a respectful bow, perhaps to the hosts and perhaps to the grove itself. Before collecting his guards and heading back toward home, he specifically acknowledges Drea.
Gabriel has left the benches.
2 Bisland Guards leaves, following Gabriel.
Rysen's grey eyes slowly sweep over all the withered plants of the Stone Grove. His face is solemn and before long, tears fall down his cheeks to the earth. He steps over to the boxes and, taking a bell along with Lygeia, hands one up to one of the assistants, as does his dark eyed retainer.
Jasher takes another drink from his reopened bottle before replacing the top, allowing himself to exhale, long and slow. He does rise again, though, walking over to take one of the bells; one with a little dent, visible only on close inspection. He runs his thumb over the flaw briefly before handing it over to one of the helpers, staying to watch the bell as it's hitched up to join the growing number. Only when it's done and rings freely does he turn to leave, silent.
Helena finds the bell she had brought, a silvery thing embossed with leaves, and she hands this to the assistant with a murmur of thanks. "What a lovely idea. I think I will spend more time here with the bells reminding me that we are cared for by the spirits at all times."
Cillian is overheard praising Drea.
Cillian is overheard praising Mirk.
Mirk murmurs a couple of quiet words to Khanne, and then produces his own bell, prepared and set aside in advance. Privileges of knowing what to expect, it seems. He hands it up to Drea's assistant with a bare hint of a smile, before nudging Khanne in turn.
Rinel has left the by the pumpkin patch.
Rinel has joined the Another bench.
Tatienne is overheard praising Mirk.
Tatienne is overheard praising Drea.
Jasher is overheard praising Mirk.
Jasher is overheard praising Drea.
Sparte is overheard praising Mirk.
Jyri gets his own bell out; it's made out of iron, suitably so considering his Iron Guard status. He moves to hang it up there himself. "This is great," he surmises it with a content rumble.
Sparte is overheard praising Drea.
Lucita moves to take one of the bells and watches it hung before turning to the others once more.
Jasher has left the Far away bench.
3 Thrax Guards leaves, following Jasher.
Lucita is overheard praising Mirk.
Sina closes her eyes as Drea calls on those gathered to take note of their feelings at this moment. A soft smile touches her lips as she hears Drea's words of inclusiveness and standing together in love for the Grove, and her features do shift ever so slightly, a single crystaline tear running down her cheek. She sets her drawing aside and bows her head, letting the tear fall to the earth. A silent prayer is offered to the Gods, and then Sina lifts her gaze once more and then gathers up her sketch and charcoal, putting them back into her satchel. Her two assistants continue to write, taking notes about their observations in that purely objective way of scholars.
Lucita is overheard praising Drea.
Sparte is overheard praising Jyri.
Rukhnis remains in the shadows out of easy view for a while yet, and only after several others have offered bells to be tied in the trees does she step forward with one of her own, plucked from her sash the same as her offering had been. It's not a bell, exactly, but more of a chime which seems to have been hand-made, and not by any artisan either -- it looks to be a small brass cup turned over, with a little piece of smoothly polished seashell suspended from the center of it. While it may not be as melodious as the bells which it joins, it does make a pleasantly musical chinking sound as it's lifted up to be hung and the little clapper catches the faint breeze.
Cillian moves to slip he bell from his wrist and hand it to a helper so it can be put up to hang, he looks around finding Sparte nodding to him giving him a small smile then moves back over to Petal leaning in to whisper to her.
Petal is still here, the girl looking thoughtful and keeping quiet for the most part. When Cillian whispers, she murmurs something softly back.
Sparte seems satisfied he witnessed what he came here for. A small nod is returned to Cillian, then Sparte turns to take his leave from the grove.
Petal mutters, "... gave me these ... along time ago."
Khanne smiles at the gentle nudging from Mirk. She wasn't prepared as he was, having been out of the city often as of late. She goes to the box to collect a bell from it and steps aside. She doesn't hand it right away to a helper, but slips it into a pouch she carries, lifting that pouch to her lips then. Closing her eyes, she whispers words into the leather, words not meant for the ears of those around her, but only for the contents of that pouch. It is only when she has finished that she takes the bell back out and hands it to the helper to hang. Lifting the pouch to her face, she peers with one eye into it and smiles before slipping it back into yet another pouch. This woman has pouches in pouches in pouches.
Rukhnis takes advantage of the general bustle that comes with the ending of the ceremony to meld back into the shadows again and slip quietly out of the grove.
It's a few minutes more before Lora takes her leave, drawing back a few steps toward the edge of the grove. There's one more long look at the whole of it, contemplative, as if to fix the scene in her mind's eye, but she does then turn to go.
Wendy the little brown wren leaves, following Lora.
Helena has left the a patch of whimsical coppery orange poppies.
Sir Floppington, the soulful hound arrives, following Rowenova.
After her bell has been hung, Helena makes her way to Mirk and Drea. "Thank you so much for allowing us to take part in this today. It was truly lovely," she says softly to both. "The bells are so beautiful. I shall be quite happy to hear them in the future." She moves in the direction of the Redrain Villa, a wave or two to those who she knows if they catch her eye before she departs.
Drea smiles at Helena and offers her a hug before she goes. "I hope that the chimes will be a constant support for the Spirits here.
Khanne speaks softly to Mirk for a moment than gives a nod to him.
Jyri has left the a patch of whimsical coppery orange poppies.
Onida, a boglands wolf-hound, Outi the Iron Hound, Gene Erique, Guardsman, 3 Iron Guardsmen, Tero the Iron Hound leave, following Jyri.
Rysen bows to Drea, and begins to make his way out of the grove with Lygeia, offering a brief, respectful bow to Mirk as he leaves.
Lygeia, a calligrapher and alchemist leaves, following Rysen.
Flynt bows at Tatienne and says "I have seen you wearing a bell a couple of days ago at the city center. Pray tell was it for religious reasons?" lowers his voice and adds "I am not really well versed in local customs, truth be told."
One last gaze upwards at the bells, a smile touching his lips for a moment, and Mirk nods his head. "I was glad to have the chance to do this," he replies to Helena. "And glad to have the chance to see everyone. I hope it won't be as long before I see everyone again." He nods in the direction of those from Redrain, in particular. Then, he heads away from the standing stones, stopping by Drea to offer a few quiet words, and then he continues onwards, out of the Stone Grove.
Drea leans up to listen to Mirk and whispers something back with a smile. "Thank you for your contribution to the ritual. It was much appreciated."
Having been somewhere in the background, Nova and Flop emerge to the fore to with their own bells, silver in color and one each on necklaces they both wear. Of course, the human being of the duo takes care of the hanging of the bells for the both of them before they slink back into the crowd.
Drysi, a young shaman apprentice leaves, following Khanne.
Aegis, a large red Oakhaven bloodhound, Rurik, a prodigal assistant, 1 Crimson Blades Sergeant, Khanne leave, following Mirk.
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