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The Queen of Beginnings and Endings: A Discussion

Held in the Shrine of the Queen of Endings, an open invitation to the public by the Voice of the Mother and the Queen's Blade, to discuss Death and who She is, what the Harlequins are, and to entertain questions about both.

Punch and pie.

And cookies.

Date

May 2, 2021, 1 p.m.

Hosted By

Tanith Raymesin

Participants

Alessia Cufre Evaristo Gael Preston Bhandn Lisebet Oswyn Raja Zoey Ripley Merek Zoya Quenia Caprice Valenzo Zakhar Grazia

Organizations

Location

Arx - Ward of the Compact - Shrine of the Queen of Endings

Largesse Level

Average

Comments and Log


Slipping into the shrine with an arched brow, Alessia smiles broadly when she sees Tanith, hand lifting in the air to wiggle her way as if they are long lost friends. A nod is given to Raymesin. Then she's heading to one of the benches... is that a cat lingering near her foot?

Cufre takes slow, but fluid steps toward a pew in the back. It's not dancer's grace, but that of one who freqents the Queen's Shrine.

Cufre has joined the pews nearest the back.

Alessia has joined the pews nearest the front.

Bhandn has joined the pews off to the side.

Ripley has joined the pews nearest the front.

Atli, a Whitehold Mountain Dog, 1 Harlequin jongleur leave, following Tanith.

Atli, a Whitehold Mountain Dog, 1 Harlequin jongleur arrive, following Tanith.

Tanith drops a beautiful bakery box.

Evaristo saunters inside with a cloak flutter and a rascally air about him, smirk in full force. That smirk grows into a wider smile and he finger-wiggles towards familiar faces, before he finds a seat.

Evaristo has joined the a pew that probably isn't infested with baby hobo spiders but I'd still watch where I sit if I were you.

Tanith nods up at Raymesin, her smile tempering to a half-smirk. Her eyes alight on Bhandn, her discomfort, then shifts to Alessia. The hand-wriggle has Tanith's lips twitching, but she waves to the woman as well.

Basket in hand, she pulls out a large bakery box, walking slowly over to ... Bhandn. "Godsworn," she greets him with a deep bow and a respectful tone. "Would be willing to open our discussion with a prayer?" She opens the bakery box- ...it's full of cookies. She offers it to him first, smiling.

Gael makes a slow, enervated heading into the shrine itself. His body's angled forward, stiff like leather, and each of his arms seems tightly coiled across his abdomen as though keeping something within from spewing out. His jaw's berth occasionally shifts rigidly to aching waves of hurt, each made worse by his inevitable easing upon some bench in the back. This, at least, affords some relief.

Having heard about the debate, Preston has come along to listen. Slipping into the Shrine with a nod to its Templars on duty, staying by the door for a moment to talk to them. He turns to look at those filling the room, smiling warmly to some of those he recognises, though he doesn't yet move to a seat, content to watch for now and idly turn the ring on his finger with his thumb. As Bhandn is called upon, Preston gives a polite clap.

Tanith's approach to Bhandn has the knight startled enough to be forgetful that he's trying not to get crawled on by eight-legged friends of the Queen. In what may be a surprise, he also blushes furiously at the question that Tanith poses to him about opening the discussion with a prayer. His response to the woman is quiet, practically a whisper, and when he's done speaking, he hangs his head and averts his eyes away from Tanith and cookies both.

an indeterminate number of cats have been dismissed.

Lisebet doesn't look for spiders. If she doesn't see them, they're not there. She pauses for a few moments to quietly say a prayer.

Zoey has joined the pews nearest the front.

Raja has joined the a pew that probably isn't infested with baby hobo spiders but I'd still watch where I sit if I were you.

Gael has joined the pews nearest the back.

Oswyn slips in quietly, claiming a seat near the back and trying his darnedest not to disturb anyone. Or sit on spiders.

Oswyn has joined the pews nearest the back.

Raymesin nods to the familiar arrivals as they arrive, the duster in his hand vanishing somewhere about his person while no-one's looking. And then he's making his way over towards the seats to take one himself.

Raja slowly enters the shrine. Last time she was here, her child was born. That was a long time ago! A couple years at least. She pauses, glancing around the area, looking for familiar faces. Spying Evaristo, she scoots around the perimeter of the room and slides into the pew next to him.

Raja gets chocolate skull cookies with vanilla icing from a beautiful bakery box.

Zoey spots Raja as she arrives, smiles, and moves to join her. Of course she is mindful of any little spiders on the bench, coaxing them out of the way before seating herself.

Zoey has left the pews nearest the front.

Zoey has joined the a pew that probably isn't infested with baby hobo spiders but I'd still watch where I sit if I were you.

Zoey gets chocolate skull cookies with vanilla icing from a beautiful bakery box.

Tanith winces a bit at herself from Bhandn's whisper, reaches out to touch the man's shoulder. "The cookies are for everyone," she says with a quiet chuckle, reaching in to hand him one. Then Tanith turns and moves to Preston, the woman's calf-length gray dress swishing around her angles as she makes her way to the Man Himself. She offers -him- cookies as well. "Bhandn politely declined. Would you lead us in a prayer of welcome, Sir Preston? The cookies are not a bribe," she promises.

Tanith gets chocolate skull cookies with vanilla icing from a beautiful bakery box.

Evaristo gets chocolate skull cookies with vanilla icing from a beautiful bakery box.

Lisebet has joined the a pew that probably isn't infested with baby hobo spiders but I'd still watch where I sit if I were you.

Belatedly noting Preston by the door, Alessia nods his way, her warm smile still in place though she doesn't dare interrupt while he's on duty. She crosses her legs, getting comfortable in the pews, now cat-less. She seems to eye Tanith's cookies for a little too long though.

Ripley sits and stares at the wall of skulls, eyes alighting on this one or that one, a smile on his face, lost in his reverie for the moment.

"Oh nice, COOKIES!" Evaristo exclaims and gets up and reaches out to grab one, before sitting back down with Raja, giving her a happy grin.

Lisebet looks at those around as she settles her skirts, still not looking for spiders. If she doesn't see them, they're not there. Still. She glances to the front of the room with the discussion about who will lead in with a prayer, or at least as much of it as she can hear.

Merek walks along and finds a place to settle in to listen to the discussion.

Oswyn exchanges a few quiet words with Gael over in the back.

A glance is given to Zoey as she settles into the seat next to her. "Hey!" She leans closer, bumping shoulders. It's a gentle movemtn since Raja is still quite sore from the battle. Her gaze shifts to the box and when Tanith gets closer, Raja perks and snags a cookie for herself. No shame. None. Whatsoever. Then she is elbowed lightly by Evaristo and her eyes go wide and she grunts. Her voice is lowered as she glares over at Evaristo.

Saymore, the parrot that just won't stop arrives, delivering a message to Tanith before departing.

There's just a small hunch of big shoulders when Tanith lays her hand on Bhandn. He doesn't shrug off the gesture, but it's close, barely stopping himself from doing so. His face is still crimson from the question of leading with a prayer.

Preston wields Crusader, Blade of the Templars.

"That is a shame, Sir Bhandn is often very articulate." Preston admits, straightening up and pulling at his shirt to straighten it. Clearing his throat, Preston lifts his voice "Let us pray..." Unfortunately Preston is a Templar, and so prayer means he draws Crusader and plants its tip against the ground before kneeling and touching his head to its pommel "... to the Queen, who is there at our birth, and will be there at our end. Her duty, as her wheel, is never ending and unbroken - and in the sorrow of loss, as many have felt in recent weeks, let us also find solace in her work. Knowing the souls of our loved ones will return to us, to help guide us, or pass through the Shining Lands to Elyssium, to rest with the Gods eternal. May she bless us with the solace in our grief, and the wisdom to work beyond it, to know we prepare the way for our people to improve and continue, under their guidance." And the prayer completed he is quiet for a moment more before he stands and sheaths the blade, bowing again to Tanith.

Evaristo winces a little, then looks apologetically at Raja, but says nothing - he quiets as Preston begins the prayer, staring at the altar and the painting of a skull on the wall, then gazes upon the wall of skull mementos; he swallows hard, emotional, seeing a few of the skulls there in particular.

Tanith gets chocolate skull cookies with vanilla icing from a beautiful bakery box.

Gael takes a beautiful bakery box.

Gael drops a beautiful bakery box.

Raymesin bows his head as Preston draws the sword, and listens in respectful silence to the prayer. And when it's done, the gloved fingertips of his left hand touch the skull pin at his throat before his hands meet in his lap.

Raja puts the edge of the cookie in her mouth as the Templar makes his way up to the altar. In respect, her head bows and the cookie is quietly removed from her lips. There is a sense of sobriety and utter respect during the prayer.

When Preston's done offering his prayer, Ripley lifts his hands and claps for the man, a smile on his face, eyes barely seen by the hair hanging in his eyes and then laces fingers, still smiling.

As the gilded silhouette of a Templar passes by his bench's flank, Gael rearranges away from Oswyn's conversational space and presses back - as much as he can - into the backing of his seating arrangement. An attempt at dignity begets the straightening of his convalescing posture, but fiery streaks that flare from hurt nerves all thorough him keep him crooked and hunched with its humbling agony.

There's a blissful smile on Alessia's lips when the Grandmaster makes his prayer and she closes her eyes, clasping her hands together in her lap, as though the words are close to heart. She even seems to be adding her own quiet prayer in the tail end, based on her eyes lingering closed after he's done.

Lisebet bows her head to listen to Sir Preston's prayer, quietly listening, her own prayers added silently.

Tanith looks grateful, respectfully bowing her head. The sword is looked at in approval as Preston draws it, her posture relaxed and her fingers laced together. When he finishes and bows to her, Tanith bows back, and passes the man the biggest cookie in the box, before taking the box itself and passing it to Raymsesin so everyone else can get some.

Turning to the crowd in the Shrine, Tanith's sober, tempered smile becomes a grin. "So! Welcome to our discussion on the Goddess of Death, the Queen of Endings. I am Tanith Grayhope, First Harlequin." She holds a hand out to Raymesin as he moves around the room. "This is Raymesin Ulbran, my husband, and Queen's Blade. I'm glad you're all here. The discussion today is to lead with questions and queries about who She is and what She is involved in, in our daily lives, what she governs in the sphere of ...well. Our lives." She winces at herself, looking sheepish. "I can talk to a room of brawling drunkards but I get nervous with quiet, attentive folk. Who knew?" She laughs at herself.

"I can yell questions at you if it helps?" Ripley offers.

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

Raymesin takes the box with a faint smile for Tanith, then starts making his way around to offer cookies to people. And if he's chewing on something by the time he's partway round, well, Tanith knew what was going to happen when she handed the box to Raymesin.

Gael isn't very attentive himself, lingering in the immediate room with a transient sort of attention and scrutiny. In spite of crippling injuries, it is an obvious sense of responsibility that maintains this particular Confessor on that bench he's sitting upon with the probable empire of spiders tucked underneath it instead of a bed. At times, he seems to turn and mull over something while looking at Oswyn, but never quite saying it, nor sharing it.

Raja chuckles at what Tanith says, "Who says I am sober?" She calls out in a friendly manner. She falls quiet as her cookie is now in her mouth.

Zoya ghosts into the back of the shrine, hands clasped behind her. Silver hair has been tied back in a long braid and allowed to hang without other restraint. She makes no move to join but watches mutely

Preston receives the cookiee with a respectful bow of his head to Tanith, and a warm smile on his features, before he steps back and moves towards a seat near the front. He doesn't seem eager to ask his own questions, but he does turn his head to see who might be the first.

Preston has joined the pews nearest the front.

Tanith perks a bit at Ripley's suggestion. Like maybe it would actually help. "-sure? I mean. Most of what we know from Death is what we've experienced, and heard from others and what they've experienced. Blessed Hamish, before he passed to the Wheel, had some great insights from similar conversations with others over the years." She gestures at the room, and up. "We know She was forgotten for a time, and that She was angry, and that Arx is Her city. We know She isn't the bringer of Death, but the act of coming home to the Wheel, by Her own care. We know She wipes our souls clean, and is there to usher in our new lives and that's why She governs Births as she does, and why mid-wives are especially of interest to the Queen of Beginnings."

Tanith looks about the room, eyes settling back on Ripley, her smile returning a little. "Shout your questions."

Evaristo sits up straight, raising an arm and waving it enthusiastically. "I have a question! What are the thoughts about how Death picks a life for people?"

"I WILL!" Ripley happily yells out but then sits back down for now as Evaristo seems to have a question.

The ongoing exposition from Tanith's orating sparks a sudden interest in Gael, he who so limited by his corporeal impairments does his best to rearrange of himself what he can and reel it all upright as to better position his head in such a view that he can see the Harlequin while she addresses the room, albeit under a modicum of duress.

Raymesin's eyebrows lift at Evaristo's question; he glances to Tanith, then nods to Evaristo. "We know as th'Queen can be asked ter change somethin'," he says, pausing in handing out cookies, "Like an elf as wants ter be 'uman an' forget their past lives. We know as Death sends some folks back when they're gonna be needed again, an' puts them places where they'll be needed, too. Other'n that, I'm not sure if we do know 'ow She picks lives for folks."

Raja blinks at something Raymesin says. "huh.." She calls out, "I know this is a longshot, but what are your thoughts on immortality?"

Zoya taps a finger against her crossed arms. A question, perhaps has occurred to her, but she doesn't shout it out, holding it close.

Lisebet smiles at the conversation local to the pew, quietly murmured as it is. She glances up at the questions being asked, and listens to them, and the answers for now.

raises her hand, then nullifies the gesture by asking her question right on its heels. Well, no. It isn't a complete waste, as it lets everyone know where the question is coming from. "What do you think is needed in times of Ending? How do we both honor our grief and show our gratitude to Death?"

"Right, we know specific examples," Evaristo nods thoughtfull, and smiles a bit ironically at the examples Raymesin brings up. "I also suppose it is not an easy feat to understand the divine and their decisions. HEck, I wonder - if Death was here right now and we could literally ASK her, if she could even answer it herself."

Though he still looks a bit nonplussed, Bhandn's eyes rise as Tanith finally starts to speak. His face is still a touch red from earlier, but he's regaining his composure. His mouth opens, but Raja speaks first, and the question posed has the knight looking more thoughtful, before he returns his attention to Ray and Tanith to see how they answer about immortality.

Cufre has joined the line.

Gael has joined the line.

Tanith lets Raymesin handle that particular question from Evaristo, her gaze shifting to Raja. Her brow furrows a little in confusion. "As in the immortality of ... our bodies? Humans? Or the soul?"

Tanith's attention shifts to Cufre, the woman smiling brightly in recognition. "Hello there!" That question has her nodding. "I can tell you what I do, and encourage the other Harlequins to do." She finds a place to sit, a stool near the altar; the air becomes more more casual as her ankles cross and her hands fold into her lap, bracelets catching the light with her movement. "We know She's there to take us back, it's a comfort to know it's not the end. But no one should die alone." Her eyes move to Ripley, recall in her gaze. "If we know someone is meant to pass, a Harlequin can be there if no one else is. I will say, sometimes it helps to witness the event of old age, and illness, and the relief that comes with the end. Of course, having your loved ones die when there's no warning-" She grimaces. "Some people get angry, and they should. But there should be gratitude; you walked your life with that soul. Maybe you will again." Her head tilts at her husband, her smile loving and small. "I'd like to think the Queen would let us if we asked."

Raja has joined the line.

Ripley has joined the line.

Lisebet has joined the line.

Cufre returns Tanith's smile and thanks her for the words that follow. It seems she has no follow-up questions.

Raymesin's smile for Tanith is just as loving and very small. "It'd be nice," he says, then looks to Raja. "Immortality - depends, really. If it's the kind'a immortality as comes from takin' life from other folks, or takin' souls from other folks, that ain't right. If it's the kind as comes 'cause Death decides not ter take yer, well, that's 'tween you an' 'er. An' there'll be other sorts'a immortality too that I ain't met yet - it all depends on if it's the Queen's idea or not, an' if it breaks 'Er rules or not."

Raja glances about. As others are asking their questions. She decides to be a nice person today and falls quiet as Cufre is asking her questions. She finishes off her cookie and licks her fingers clean. Her gaze turns to Raymesin and his explanation. "Interesting." She says to him. "Thank you."

Oswyn has joined the line.

Turn in line: Cufre

Turn in line: Gael

Zoya has joined the line.

A much different, more intangible sense of apprehension chases away Gael's physical pains into a dull, fading throb. He reaches out, presumedly to take Osvyn's hand, shoulder and aid in rising off of the bench with what little majesty a failing body can attain. Once he is upright, nervousness directs the drab discolor of his eyes to look around the room, viewing many faces. Feeling, then, horribly judged by them. Clearing his throat for Tanith and Raymesin's attention, he says, "I am Gael," with a clarifying tone. "And I have a question."

Freeing himself from his assisting tangle with Oswyn, Gael smooths out both whorls and wrinkles thorough his coat before tugging at its bottom hem, rearranging it for better presentation. "What of those who die, First Harlequin--" His voice, its tone, hangs inconclusive in the air. "--Then come back? Their heart stops beating, then is reignited by medical means, or something else. Has the Queen ever taught anything in this regard?"

Oswyn offers Gael some help and support with the quiet sort of amiableness that's kind of characteristic of him. He sits down again on the edge of his seat, ready to help again when Gael has finished.

Captain Curls, an attentive, ebony guard poodle, Aspira arrive, following Quenia.

Captain Curls, an attentive, ebony guard poodle, Aspira leave, following Quenia.

Aspira arrives, following Quenia.

Looking at Gael, Tanith considers his question for ... a heartbeat. "She either takes you or She doesn't," she says. "If you come back and wake up, you're still here, be it Her will or good luck." She shrugs, but she's smiling. "You're taken when you die. I mean. Most of the time."

Gael says, "Always?"

Evaristo has joined the line.

"Only most?" Alessia asks with a brow raise, speaking out of turn.

"Maybe if it's not your time," Lisebet interjects, "She returns you to your body, and so even if your heart did stop, it starts again?" She's also out of turn, but supposing an answer to Gael's question.

Raja looks to Gael, questions in her gaze. Though, she is quiet and contemplative.

"Sometimes there's ghosts," Raymesin says, as though he were discussing the weather. "That's the 'most of the time' bit. Some folks can see 'em, most'a us can't." He's still making the rounds with the cookies. "An' some'a them ghosts are souls as didn't go back ter th'Queen, rather'n just echoes of people."

The Marquessa of Igniseri enters into the temple. The dog is most definitely /not/ with her; it was left at home. Quenia makes sure to slip through the door quietly and moves to go take a seat somewhere closer to the back, so as not to disturb any discussions already in progress.

Evaristo is playing with a coin, letting it dance over his knuckles, disappear now and then, then return to dance again, even as he listens with fascination to the discussion around him. "I think she totally intervenes sometimes! Someone is dying, but it's not RIGHT - you know."

Turn in line: Ripley

Gael's attention flits this way, then that - to Alessia and Lisebet respectively - as each impose their question, and supposition. A subtle flinch creases the crooked extent of his nose, and he reels back his head -- not in disdain, no resentment, simply confounded. His brows seek each other sadly, and a faint sighing air leaves his parted, creased lips. Shoulders slump. Until, it seems, Evaristo pipes up. His vision goes searching, but it doesn't take him long to find the bardic sensation. "That's an encouraging thought," he says to him, with a grim sort of amusement.

Caprice is a late arrival as well, seeking the nearest available seat and taking it with minimal fuss, to limit any distraction she may cause.

Lips press together as Zoya takes in. Perhaps her question was answered as her finger stops tapping.

Quenia has joined the pews nearest the back.

Caprice has joined the pews nearest the back.

There's some interesting, but also confusing things that are being said. Ripley is, after all, new to the whole supernatural thing. But he pops up when it's time, his time to stand and ask a question. "BUT WHY IS IT FUNNY?" He asks, yelling it out before turning his volume back down to normal. "Like, no, really. Everyone runs around being punny, but like, death isn't funny. Losing people isn't funny, there's no humor in that. Having a baby isn't funny. It's joyful yeah, maybe some day I'll get a bit of that joy but like..." Shaggy ginger haired ripley leans forward. "Why... is it all jokes?"

Bhandn maintains a silent watch over the proceedings. He's regained himself now, expression back to its more stoically neutral state. The knight lets out a grunt at Ripley's question, shifting faintly, but Bhandn's grey eyes remain squarely on Raymesin and Tanith, drinking in every word that comes out of their mouths. He's the attentive listener today.

"There are also those killed for a Godly purpose. The Gods know though, when to take - we cannot think we can fool them. They always know our truthes as they happen, from beginning to end. They know our worth, and our shortcomings. Our successes and our failures. As they happen. They know if a death is truly the end or something else." Preston offers from his seat "Death is at times the only answer to a problem - how does one test one's commitment to ideals if not in the most deadly, the most extreme of situations? And the path to the wheel is but one destination - Elysium is our souls final destination, when all our work is done."

Valenzo enters in quietly and casually, indifferent to his tardiness and any looks he might receive because of it. He finds a seat towards one of the dodgy pews at back.

Valenzo has joined the a pew that probably isn't infested with baby hobo spiders but I'd still watch where I sit if I were you.

Clowder of nine 1-year old cats, Shekies arrive, following Zakhar.

Evaristo perks up seeing Valenzo, if he could possibly BE more perky (apparently, he can.) He waves, and scoots over to make room for the man. "But it's not about Death! It's about life!" he counters to Ripley. "Death is there when we are born, and when we die. Sends us back to the living, and picks us up when we die. You think she wants us to not have fun, while we live?"

Gael seeks out Oswyn's aid, proffering to him a palm that, should it be taken, delivers the majority of his weight in the need to eventually ease himself down on and back to his bench. His head perks up as Preston speaks after, and the engagement in the Carnifex's message takes root in the ashen aspect of the Confessor's forlorn features. He smiles, albeit wanly, and folds his arms together at a weak hang.

Oswyn rises to help Gael seat himself again, murmuring something to the man.

Tanith shoots Preston a grateful grin and nods. Ripley's question gets a laugh; she can't help it, looking at her husband for help on that one. "Raymesin can answer that one better. My experience with the Queen is mostly with the beginnings part; I'll be honest, most of what I have felt from Death is love. Not sweet, kind, gentle love, but... the enduring love of a Mother. It's not always pleasant or light; often times it's weighted. But-" Her head tilts back to smirk at Raymesin, letting him speak.

Tanith also points at Evaristo; he gave a good reply.

Raymesin nods to Preston when the man speaks, and turns his faint smile on Ripley at the question. Once Evaristo's said his piece and Tanith's added hers, he adds a dry, "That, an' the Queen's got a sense of 'umour."

Turn in line: Lisebet

An old man dressed in dark leathers and silk with a cat riding upon his shoulder, and a long scar cutting through the middle of his face walks in just as Evaristo is declaring that the queen, she wishes for fun in life. Yelling back without a thought of who is in the room, with a rough Avarni accent a little broken, "She's gotta a terribles sense of humor then!"

"I mean, she writes on the inside of my skull so... I think we... have different interactions with her. She can be awefully loud." Ripley contents. "Ain't seen funny yet." But he looks to Raymesin, a glance to Evaristo then back to Raymesin. Then he frowns. Just plain frowns and sits back down.

Tanith's response gets a curious look from Alessia and she nods, as though fully absorbing her words. She seems to be twirling the ring on her finger over her glove, glancing at the altar briefly. She doesn't seem to have any more questions beyond her temporary interruption.

Raymesin hehs at Zakhar and Riley. "No-one ever said as they was /good/ jokes," he points out.

When it's her turn in line, the petite duchess stands up, looking a bit curious. "My question is a bit different," she starts with. "Apart from a love of puns and spiders, how does one know if one is called to be a Harlequin, or to serve the Queen of Endings in some fashion?" She pauses and then adds, "Maybe a love of spidersilk as well?" It's not quite a pun.

Preston adds, after a moment of reflection "Of course, if you listen to stories, there are those who claim life can be extended and souls stolen from the Queen through the use of the Abyss. Though those sustained in that way cannot step foot in sanctified ground once they are sustained wholly by the Abyss, as separated from the Abyss nature resolves the situation by reducing them to ash. Of course, stories, one understands." Preston muses, smiling warmly once more "But the Templars can always tell when the Abyss is near, by those same stories. At least those most senior. They would feel the heat, even before others. But..." And Preston bows his head apologetically to Tanith "I digress, and apologise."

Zoya huffs briefly as she moves a few steps to stand beside Zakhar. Her lips move, but the words are for his ears only.

Tanith shakes her head at Preston, her smile warm. "No, please; I'm not Godsworn and while I think I was chased into this Shrine and being Harlequin but the Queen, I'm still pretty new to the clergy. I appreciate it." To Lisebet, she grins. "And that's a great lead in to that question. You know after a while. At least-" She gestures at herself and Raymesin, her eyes flicking over the room to a few others with knowing glances. "I've had my hands in midwifery since I was very young, felt Her presence in other ways, fallen into things that had Her mark all over it. Death and endings, beginnings and birth. When She was brought back, I felt something but didn't answer. When-" She looks at Raymesin. "-when endings became beginnings again, the 'something' got louder." She looks to Preston. "I- ... I imagine that's what it feels like to be called to serve. Some pulls are stronger than others."

"When people said 'you are heading straight for Death', I didn't realise they were right," Evaristo says. Yes, of course there's a PUN.

Raymesin clears his throat. "Me, I got inter a discussion with an 'Arlequin, an' after I got over m'self I realised as Death were my goddess an' that's all there was to it," he offers to Lisebet. "I figure there's as many tales as there are 'Arlequins, but I figure we're all 'Arlequins 'cause it feels right."

Turn in line: Oswyn

Zakhar mutters, "I thought ... city would be better ... ... after these ... To ... be arguing the same ... ... beginnings over and over. Sense of humor, ... that's what ... is to be ... then we'll be having ... fucking fun ... time I ... around to ... time."

Oswyn has been having a very quiet conversation in the back pews - he looks about ready to tell Gael something, but then he realizes it's his turn and he rises from his seat, squinting at those at the front of the room. "When we had forgotten the Queen of Endings," he begins, "One of her aspects was assigned to another god, Lagoma. The change of life to death, Lagoma was seen as a comfort. My question is, is it still appropriate to find that comfort with Lagoma as well as the Queen of Endings? I'd definitely give credit to the Queen, of course, but... what about Lagoma?"

Raymesin turns his faint smile on Oswyn. "We honour Mangata for wind an' wave, an' we honour Petrichor for forests an' fields. An' without wind an' rain there'd be no forests an' fields. Nothin' wrong with honourin' Lagoma's changes at the same time as Death's endin's an' beginnin's."

With her question answered, Lisebet inclines her head politely. "Thank you," she says. "I do have to leave, but I'll come back. I'd like to continue the conversation if you all don't mind." She steps out of the pew, turns to respectfully bow her head towards the altar, and then starts to make her way out.

Oswyn considers this answer; he looks thoughtful, nods, and says, "Thank you." With that, he reclaims his seat.

Alessia checks composure at daunting. Alessia fails.

Silver haired Zoya arches an eyebrow at Zakhar, before turning back to the questions being asked.

Raja has left the a pew that probably isn't infested with baby hobo spiders but I'd still watch where I sit if I were you.

Preston lifts a hand to Tanith as she looks to him, his head shaking "Please, service is something we all give, in the ways we can. Though I cannot speak to the bravery it takes to choose to serve. To be Godsworn we give up family, name, title, inheritence, property. I was an orphan raised in the Rectory from close to birth, all the family, name, and property I had was already the Faith's. I was given the chance to serve, to embrace who I was. I did not ever have to seek a calling, or sacrifice a name. I was Preston then, I am Preston now. But we all hear the Gods, at some point. In the words of a Seraph, or in the silence before battle. And the Faith is honoured that those such as yourself are drawn to serve." Bowing his head once more to Tanith, he then catches Oswyn's question and nods at Raymesin's answer "Mm, the Gods are a chorus. A singer alone can be heard, and yet without the chorus, you do not get the depth of sound to appreciate the whole of the piece." If he hears Zakhar he pretends not to for now.

Turn in line: Evaristo

Evaristo is paying close attention and is nodding along, clearly finding this all very interesting. When it's his turn to ask another question, he stands up this time. "Not so long ago, some old knowledge was dug up from the late four-hundreds, from a Laren Redrain - he was apparently a Deathspeaker? He'd made - and assumedly others - a note that humans were NEVER reborn as something else, while Nox'alfar, Rex'alfar, Khati, or anything else, may very well be reborn as a human. But Nox'alfar, who can look at someone's soul and know what their first soul was, say that they never see a human soul, being reborn as something else. Has there been any new knowledge on this? How is it that 'humans are weird', as Lord Laren Redrain noted?"

One minute Alessia is sitting on the pews, listening intently as the questions are posed and answers given. She doesn't seem to be focusing on the Carnifex' words though, simply glancing around her before her eyes widen with absolute horror. She jumps from her seat, looking around her, her eyes showing bewilderment. And then suddenly, she just starts laughing. It's a little manic the way she laughs as she looks around her. She lifts her hands as if in surrender, a quick look to the altar, still laughing and then she's heading off. Without a second look.

Alessia has left the pews nearest the front.

Sirra, a very quiet maid, 3 House Mazetti Guardians, Rance, a rebellious swan that likes to headbutt leave, following Alessia.

Lisebet has left the a pew that probably isn't infested with baby hobo spiders but I'd still watch where I sit if I were you.

Ramona - A Guard in Ashford House Colours, Bigsby - A Thoughtful Looking Young Man in Nondescript Clothing, 2 Ashford Archer, 1 Ashford Scout leave, following Lisebet.

Something Evaristo says has Sir Bhandn's undivided attention now. He's staring at the bard, but keeping quiet. Whatever it was, it has the knight a little perturbed in a troubled way, his brows drawing together and a frown now being directed at the floor of the shrine. Bhandn shifts in his seat briefly, adjusting his two peacebound swords, but he doesn't call out or speak, but rather thinks.

Tanith draws up her leg to hook her heel on the rung of her stool, listening to Preston's response to her and then to Oswyn, following along, nodding. She opens her mouth to say something, and then-

Alessia ... has to leave? The Harlequin watches the other woman leave, concerned, but then distracted; another question and this time, from Evaristo. Her brow furrows more.

"I don't know if that's the Queen's purview so much as the nature of souls. Which, I'll be honest, I don't personally know a lot about. The feeling I have about our souls is that they're us, and the memories we've forgotten are given to Her when we're wiped clean, and that to dwell on what happened before takes away from the new life and our new experiences." She looks at Raymesin. "I'm not really familiar with that-" She gestures at Evaristo, eluding to everything in his question, still looking at her husband. "You?"

The old man, Zakhar, has settled into a seat and occasionally gives a little tap to the floor with the bone cane that he has. The cats seem to sit nearby him or the door, without any concern about others in the room. He nods to Zoya with a faint grin.

At this turn in conversation, Zoey pulls one of her notebooks from her satchel and flips through it. She stops on a particular page, scans it over, then gives a satisfied nod before lifting her head again.

Grazia looks exhausted when she returns to the Shrine of the Queen, pale and drawn and with distance in her whiskey-hued eyes. Nonetheless, she holds herself with dignity, shoulders back, spine straight.

Grazia has joined the pews nearest the back.

Raymesin too turns a puzzled look on the departing Alessia, and then he's focusing on Evaristo's question. "I don't know," he says. "I don't know why it works out like that. I ain't seen anythin' ter say as it's wrong, though - but I ain't Nox an' I can't see souls, so I figure as I wouldn't'a seen it anyway."

Sirra, a very quiet maid arrives, delivering a message to Preston before departing.

"Sometimes...." Quenia speaks up from where she's seated. "Sometimes they ask to be returned to the Wheel as humans. Such was the case with a pair of sibling elves. They regretted their part in history, where they worked on the wrong side of things, and they begged Death to be returned as humans to account for what they've done in the past. I can't imagine that's the case with all, but perhaps some?" she says from the sidelines.

"I wonder... if it has to do with how we are the Children of Skald," Evaristo muses, looking around at the others as he sits down. "A later creation, right? All the others, have been around so LONG. Maybe... maybe to be reborn as human is true freedom, of a kind. As you said, some elves just wanted to /forget/. To be able to start over." He nods to Quenia, smiling at her. "There's also something I've wondered... we know Nox'alfar are reborn again and again, as themselves, yes? The same soul, the same person? But what about the OTHER elves?"

Caprice has left the pews nearest the back.

Caprice's departure is as unobtrusive as her arrival, a respectful nod given the host in a moment that seems convenient to borrow her attention.

Tanith smiles quietly, her chin dropping to her fist, her elbow on her knee as she listens to the discussion continue. "Souls and what they are ... I can't say much on the topic," she reiterates gently. "Just on what it is we do as Harlequins, what we know Her to be, how we Serve Her." Her smile tempers as she becomes thoughtful. "Though ... it's said She makes them all so...?" And shrugs.

Zakhar takes chocolate skull cookies with vanilla icing from a beautiful bakery box.

Raymesin gets chocolate skull cookies with vanilla icing from a beautiful bakery box.

Cufre has joined the line.

Tanith gets chocolate skull cookies with vanilla icing from a beautiful bakery box.

Turn in line: Cufre

Valenzo gets chocolate skull cookies with vanilla icing from a beautiful bakery box.

Cufre just speaks up, no hand raised. "Something you said earlier is nagging at me. Mother gifts us with our souls, and she embraces that soul when our time on this arc of the Wheel is done, but Who decides when that soul has reached its fullness in that turn? When we die, I mean?"

Zakhar has joined the line.

Valenzo has remined quiet through this gathering, his arms folded, ponderous and thoughtful. An observer, but not much the participant.

Tanith is still looking at Quenia, thoughtful. "Maybe. I know that She can get angry, too; if punishment can happen, rewards and mercy happen too, right?" She looks then at Cufre. "Well, I don't know if it's a matter of 'done', just ... when it happens, we go to Her and the Wheel. We all choose, and sometimes our choices end with-" She gestures vaguely. Death.

"Oh!" Cufre says, "oh. I hadn't thought of it that way." Clearly. "Thank you." She frowns, given something new to puzzle over.

"It is my understanding that she sends us back because she wants another chapter to our story," Zoey chimes in.

Raymesin nods. "An' I don't want ter think about a world in which we couldn't die," he says quietly. "No matter 'ow much pain or sufferin' we was in." And he shudders.

Zakhar taps his cane a little as Raymesin speaks, settling back in to grab at a cat that seems interested in taking a little stroll after a small creature. A hushed word with the cat before it is placed upon his lap.

Turn in line: Zakhar

With a little bit of pain to stand up, Zakhar grabs at the cat just put into his lap, giving it over to Zoya with a smirk. "If we sought to pull the thread that she weaves, where would one find that?"

Zoya checks composure at hard. Zoya is successful.

Zoya is not a cat person. Or an animal person at all. She takes the cat but holds it an inch away from her body, the creature dangling from her hands.

When Zakhar asks his question, Tanith ... doesn't know what to say. "I'm ... not sure what you're asking. Can you clarify?"

Merek looks to the cat and cats that are about, smiling.

Ripley's been here still, quietly listening.

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

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

Raymesin too looks at Zakhar with some confusion. "Huh?"

Zoey's aide leans over the back of the bench, also careful not to squish any resident arachnids, and whispers something to Zoey. The lady nods, whispers a quiet farewell to those seated next to her, and slips out.

Zoey has left the a pew that probably isn't infested with baby hobo spiders but I'd still watch where I sit if I were you.

Gripping at the bridge of his nose with a closed eye for a moment, Zakhar then looks back with a renewed gaze of one that seen more death and life than all combined in the room. "I'm asking is it possible to rewrite what she weaves. Or if no one has seen the tapestry that is life?"

Raymesin looks at Zakhar with pure puzzlement. "Tapestry as is life? What tapestry? What weavin'?"

Gael rises up and off of his bench, this time altogether without Oswyn's assistance, and so the act is unsteady and liable to fail until he's wobbly but aloft. Then, with a palm pressed to his hat's base, he bows his head an inch to Oswyn. "Thank you," he tells him, and reaching out, accepts what seems to be a volunteered packet of tea from the Physician. Just as it is taken, Gael slips it beyond one of his coat's many black lips, confining it to some hidden recess. With a twirl, and another head-bow to Tanith, he ambles outside at a diminished pace after.

This seems to be where Sir Bhandn makes his departure, as he's shaking his head and getting to his feet. There's a quiet bow that he offers long-distance to Raymesin and Tanith, but the old knight has apparently had his fill of information. Or else duty calls. He collects his two swords and makes his way towards the shrine's exit.

"I think you are confused. Death doesn't weave our lives. We do," Evaristo says, looking equally confused.

"It is unwise to try to alter the work of the Gods, or think one is in a position to know better than them." Preston intones from the front pew, caution in his voice "All Death does is match soul - or weave a new - to the life. She does not set what that life will be. That is down to us, to use our gifts for good, for evil, or to squander in pursuit of petty nonsense." Preston brushes his trousers as he pushes to his feet "And a most excellent debate, First Harlequin. I am sorry Father Hamish could not be here for it."

Bhandn has left the pews off to the side.

Tanith smiles warmly to both Gael and Bhandn, nodding to them both and making sure they've had their share of treats.

"The Queen doesn't spin someone's fate," Quenia speaks up from the pews. "We're not fated to any specific future or to take any specific actions, if that's what you are asking." This is said in response to Zakhar's comment. "Skald made sure we had choice."

Gael takes a beautiful bakery box.

Gael drops a beautiful bakery box.

Gael has left the pews nearest the back.

Raymesin inclines his head to the departing people, then actually bows to Preston. It's a bow made by someone who definitely hasn't spent any time studying etiquette or polite mannerisms, but the intent shines through.

Zakhar looks over those assembled and shakes his head in a little wobble, quietly answer back, "Must be an issue with getting older then..." he trails off and turns to Zoya to take the cat back that continues to dangle and stare at her. Waving a hand as if to wipe away an invisible set of bugs, "Doncha worry yer young minds over the problems of an old codger then."

Cufre gets chocolate skull cookies with vanilla icing from a beautiful bakery box.

Cufre finally, finally takes a cookie when Raymesin next passes by her pew.

Preston bows his head in return to Raymesin and to the others before he makes his way to the Shrine's entrance, pausing to pat the shoulder of one of the Templar guards on duty, a few murmered words of parting before he steps out into the spring day.

Preston has left the pews nearest the front.

Evaristo has left the a pew that probably isn't infested with baby hobo spiders but I'd still watch where I sit if I were you.

Alena Sparks, unamused first mate, Silk, the Seafaring Spider, Midnight Sea, an Ostrian gelding leave, following Evaristo.

As the discussions wind down, Tanith waits for when the questions cease and the conversation shifts to quieter, more personal ones. "Alright, this was wonderful. I think we might do one of these again. Please, if you haven't, enjoy the cookies! And if you have any more questions, feel free to write. I'd be happy to arrange an appointment or engage via messengers."



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