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The Chosen Path; tag: Strife
Topic Started: Sep 15 2017, 06:47 PM (157 Views)
Atara
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Kendryl had been at Fort Zephyr for nearly a season. Her body had lost some of its fat and gained a new layer of muscle. Where she could once summon only a breeze, she could now command enough wind to make a small tornado, three feet high, or summon a whip of air to trip an opponent in battle. And yet...it wasn't enough. She still lost most times she sparred. Had still humiliated herself on the obstacle course. She was still no one and nothing, just a Sigum girl with dreams of more, as her parents had said.

She'd never even entered the temple. While her home village of Ket was pious and devout, the gods had never answered her prayers. They'd let her be born without a Thayer's wings and magics, a Mesai's innate ferocity or the Kodakai's many gifts. She was born to be nothing and no one, her prayers not important enough to merit an answer.

But recently, she'd heard whispers of a new god, who was neither Mesai nor Sigum nor Thayer nor Kodakai. A god for everyone, who cared for all his followers, blessing them with strength and knowledge. A god who had chased the ternarium away, saving princes and peasants alike, instead of merely giving an elite few the strength to fight.

Where he came from, who he was, what he was...they were mysteries. Mysteries that could give her knowledge. Mysteries worth exploring, magics untapped. And maybe...maybe she would finally have a patron deity who cared enough to answer her prayers.

Her parents would be displeased, she knew. Ket kept to the old ways. But...but that didn't mean Kendryl had to. She could have something more.

She entered the temple cautiously, feeling small and insignificant as she approached Ebon's shrine, adding her own candle and a small gem she'd filled with her magic to the altar, ready to make her case and prove that, little as she might be now, she could become someone worthy of divine favor.

"Hello?" she called softly as she stepped into the light of his altar's candles.
Edited by Atara, Sep 15 2017, 07:42 PM.
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He has grown accustomed to the visitor flows that came into this strange, mass temple. Mihaul did not care for the place as much as he had his own temple back home. There he was the Head Cleric over the newly anointed patron over his world; one dedicated solely to Ebon and he had converted his own home for the purpose. Here in Zephyr, he was just one of many and only had a simple alter dedicated to his god. The statue was newer than the rest that depicted the many facets of Ebon's mortal forms and Mihaul was going to clean it. His temple area may be small to his god, but like hell he was going to let it get dirty while he was here for it.

He had stepped out to gather brushes, soap and water buckets and when he came back, he found a young woman was waiting... he rose a brow and smiled, approaching Kendryl "Greetings young lady..." the dark clad cleric spoke, moving towards her now as he came in from behind. His dark eyes looked onto her and it was nearly impossible to tell where his pupils were but he was looking to her.

Mihaul came up to stand beside her and kept that warming looking smile on his lips "And how can I help you this day?"
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Kendryl jumped at the sound of an unfamiliar voice, as a man in dark clothes approached with a kind smile and inscrutable eyes. Eyes that revealed nothing. She bowed, as she'd seen her parents do to a high priest back home, "My-my name is Kendryl."

She licked her dry lips, feeling as small and alone as she always did, "I...I...heard that Ebon was gathering worshipers. Followers. Disciples?"

The babbling spilled forth as it always did when she was nervous. She took a deep breath and straightened her clothes and tried to sound mature and confident, like an Applicant and a Mage and a Warrior, as she said, "And I was hoping to offer my services and prayers to him. But...I'm not quite sure how to start."

Did he have rituals he favored? Particular sacrifices or prayers he wanted? Meditations to engage in?

She gestured to the gem and candle she'd left, "I brought a magic stone. And a candle...I know it's not much but...I'm only an Applicant. I...don't have much. Yet."

Kendryl knew many gods favored animal sacrifices, but she'd never been fond of the blood and guts. It seemed to her a god shouldn't want to see one of his children kill another. He should want sweet-smelling herbs and well-made gifts, things of beauty and symbols of work and devotion. She didn't know what Ebon wanted. Only that he had saved them when no one else could.
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Mihaul smiled at her when she spoke her name and bowed his head. "A pleasure to meet you Kendryl." he said in an all too kindly voice. He had a rather gentle nature and was doing his best to be slow and cautious with the young sigum girl who was looking nervous enough already to be here. Mihaul's dark tail swayed at his back as he listened to her next words and tipped his head, just giving her a new smile. "I would not consider it as gathering followers. Though he is calling people to open their hearts to him. After all, a god of any nature is only as powerful as the people who choose to give him their strength yes? He could not properly keep those gates close if no one here would lend him themselves. Ebon came to our world, leaving behind his own to defend us and with that, he had to leave his followers." explained Mihaul.

The cleric offered a silent chuckle as she admitted to wanting to open herself to him but did not know how to do it. "He does not ask much of anyone...only that you open your heart to his guidance. Just...kneel before his alter and pray to him. Ebon will hear you and offer you his power, all you have to do is ask." he told Kendryl. It was so easy and her gifts were a nice bonus for sure! "I am quiet confident that he is thankful for your offerings and accepts them like any father of his children would. Being an Applicant does not make you any less in his eyes." Mihaul spoke.

He motioned her closer to the alter and crouched down to dust of the kneeling pillow before Ebon's alter, waving her down to join him. "I will show you how to pray." he promised.
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Kendryl nodded thoughtfully. So gods required worshippers to gain strength? She supposed it made sense. Hard to imagine another reason for an all-powerful being to worry what mere mortals thought of him. She wondered how he'd gotten here the first time, before anyone even knew his name, if he needed followers to gain strength. Did he have worshippers where he came from? How he had found their world? What had he seen in it that drove him to stay? She held back her questions, that might be seen as sacrilege, "I will gladly lend Ebon such strength as I have." It sounded like what she should say...she thought. She really hadn't even been very much of one for prayer.

"I...I can do that," Kendryl agreed with another nod, as she knelt besides the Mesai priest. He seemed kind. And Ebon sounded kind as well, "Uh, hi Ebon. Do I speak out loud or...Are there...ritual hymns?" She knew some gods liked them. Epic poems and beautiful songs and praises of their greatness. And she knew what Ebon's would be. About how he had driven away the Ternarium, abandoning whatever wonderful world had birthed him to save them.

She knew what she wanted. Acceptance. And knowledge. She had questions. Kendryl always had questions...But now wasn't the time to ask. Maybe he'd give her answers once she'd proven herself worthy. Or maybe he was meant to be forever a mystery to her. She'd take any comfort and acceptance he offered all the same.
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Mihail smiled at her when she said that. "That is a kind offer of you, to give him your strength and he lovingly accepts all that you have to offer him. Ebon is benevolent and only wants to help better our world. Ridding it of the disgusting threat of the Ternarium, it is a hard task and being so new to our world, he will need all the help he can get. You see, he spent much of his stored powers just to enter our world and close the gate to prevent more of the beasts from getting here." he explained.

The mesai chuckled softly as she asked him how to pray properly. "It's alright. You can do it however you want to do it. He will here you whether you say it out loud or you say it in your head. It is what is in your heart and your intentions that he will understand." he explained, clasping his hands together and bows his head to the statue beside her, sort of showing her how to initiate the prayers. "No hymns dear, just your heart and it's desires." Mihaul added.

"He may not come to you directly, but I can do my best to answer your questions for you, just so you are aware. He is very busy still with so many prayers to hear around the world all at the same time. All you can do is offer your heart and I am sure he will give you some sort of sign." promised the cleric as he waited for her to finish her prayers.
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Kendryl nodded. She didn't know how portals between dimensions worked, had never even been entirely certain of the existence of other worlds, but ripping a hole in reality itself...Passing from one existence to another...Incredible. And apparently all but impossible, even for a god, if it was a one trip, "Once he has more power...Maybe he'll be able to go home and back again. His first worshippers probably miss him."

She knew her world needed him, to chase away the monsters and bring back peace, but who was to say the other dimension didn't have its own battles to fight? Surely he could gather enough strength for both worlds. And he probably missed his home too. Kendryl had also chosen to leave everything behind and she knew how it felt to be set on path...but wish you didn't have to go away forever.

Kendryl stared at the alter and tried to tell him all that. That she was grateful and wished to serve him...But also wanted his help, if that didn't sound too selfish...Wanted him to make her someone better. Someone worthy. She'd find a way to deserve it...somehow. But she'd never be able to prove herself if she didn't become strong enough.

"I don't need him to come. I'm sure he's very busy...If he just hears me and helps however he can...that's enough." It would be more than any other god had ever done for her before.
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Mihaul smirked a little at her comment and shrugged. "We can hope that he is here to stay with us and will not abandon us. He has already done so much for us and I cannot imagine the world going back to the way it was if he does decide to leave." he replied. "Lucky for us, as his cleric, he has promised me that he will not abandon us so there is little to fear." Mihaul told her, sounding quiet confident in the fact. His words were true to his heart and he really did believe that Ebon would never leave them.

As she made her prayers and asked for guidance from Ebon, Mihaul had not lied to her. She would feel a wash over energy and power wash over her entire body. Inside and out. It would make her nerves tingle with the surge of divine power and enfuse her with reknewed strength she perhaps, never knew she had.

The mesai cleric at her side seemed to have sensed it and smiled. "Ah yes, he has answered you and accepted you into his arms like a father does his daughter." spoke Mihaul as he rose to his feet once again and smoothed his hands over the folds of his vestments. "You can rise now if you wish, rise and embrace your new strength, gifted by Ebon himself."

All the power she had been infused with was there, but the initial surge had faded and would leave her feeling relatively normal. "Is there any questions I can still answer for you or guidance I can offer?" she asked.
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Kendryl nodded, although she didn't see why they couldn't share, when the people he came from probably needed and counted on him too. But what did she know of gods? She certainly didn't want him to LEAVE them forever. She just...didn't want his native people to suffer either. It was hard to imagine he DIDN'T have enough power for both of them. If it had been her god who'd disappeared and left her to the universe's mercies...especially a god who welcomed and protected everyone instead of just silently watching...she'd have hoped whoever they went to would share him, once their own world was safe. But it was clearly the wrong thing to say. So she didn't. She was sure there was a good reason, "I'm glad to hear it. I...wouldn't want that to happen either. The world is better now that the Ternarium are gone and people don't have to be afraid anymore. I just...don't want the people where he came from to be hurt either."

But whatever she'd said wrong...it seemed she was forgiven. Power flowed through her like a dip in a cold river, clearing her mind and burning through her veins. She smiled brightly and laughed, as she lifted a hand and the magic came so easily it was like a dream. She held it tight, as the temple was no place to test her strength...but in an instant, she saw so much she hadn't seen before. The hidden seams beneath the spells. It was power and understanding and warmth and welcome and...she all but glowed for a moment as she deliberately ignited the power in her blood. She felt...right. Whole. For just a moment.

But she was still Kendryl. She had a million questions...and she was sure they were all the wrong ones. They sounded greedy or ill-intentioned or stupid, things that this cleric with his greater understanding would laugh at for...Already she saw things she never had before and surely she had but a spark of Ebon's favor compared to one of his priests and anything she said would be wrong and stupid...And she didn't want to disappoint Ebon already, "Is there anything I need to know? Or should be asking? Any rules I need follow? Besides the obvious no other gods one..." Which she didn't mind. If her god seemed to actually already have noticed and helped her...why would she need a second?
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Mihaul smiled to Kendryl and nodded with a smile. "Our world is a much safer place though, the war is not over just yet. There are still Ternarium here in our world though the gate is closed at last. Soon, we will finish this battle by battle and reclaim our home once again. Everything is now in our favor." he promised. He knew everything was on the right path and that his home was regaining control of the situation for now. It was a good thing and progress was on the march.

Indeed the surge in her body was more than physical. It was a living, visceral thing that swam in her very soul and found nooks and crannies in every part of her being. Seeding itself and infusing her with powerful grasp on anything and everything. When she urged the power towards her control over Force, the magic of the world... even here she would feel it leap to her fingertips and was ready so easily. Like it had always been but now she could reach it faster, more efficiently.

The Mesai man shook his head. "There are no rules except the one you have just mentioned. As for the questions you should be asking, only your heart will know that. It was you who came here seeking his strength and touch. Maybe you should be looking to yourself for the reasons and you may find more answers in yourself than you realized were there to start." he retorted, sliding his hands inside the bell sleeves of his robes, looking regal and strong in a that moment.
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Kendryl was glad to hear his confidence that peace would come. True she was an Applicant and hoped the world would always have a place for its Keepers...but she also believed there could be places for them even in a world no longer ravaged by monsters. There would always be people who needed rescuing. And the Keepers would learn new ways of finding and saving them. The world wasn't running out of wildfires or hurricanes or avalanches and people needed protection from those too, even if rescue missions weren't as glamorous as a war against demonic forces.

Kendryl was sure the priest was wrong, if such a thing was possible. But maybe the rules, such as they were, were too obvious to require mentioning. Some wrongs were universal and should be avoided by decent people because it was right, not because a god said so. Surely Ebon would not accept someone wicked enough to use his gifts for cruelty. Perhaps there were no rules because they were trusted, because he had looked into their hearts and found them worthy. And believed that they could tell right from wrong on their own.

Kendryl didn't know if her heart had any great secrets. She was a thoroughly ordinary person, unlike the cleric, with no secret knowledge hidden in the shadows of her mind. Maybe that deep understanding would come to her in time...But she'd come here for thoroughly simple, ordinary reasons. She'd just wanted some god somewhere to think she was worth something. That she mattered. And she'd gotten it, "I just...don't want to let him down."
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The cleric of Ebon looked to Kendryl and smiled at her. "You will not let him down dear. Have faith in him and trust in yourself. From there you cannot go wrong. He is here for you." replied Mihaul and rested his hand upon her shoulder and gave it a light squeeze. "Why don't you come outside and show me a bit of what you feel gifted into you by Ebon. I'd be delighted to see what you can do now." he replied and chuckled softly. "Magic was something I will never be capable of but I can live vicariously through those like you, naturally skilled and gifted with the connection to this world's leylines." he responded and motioned her to follow him.

Mihaul would lead the young Sigum woman outside the temple, and out into the beautiful gardens that surrounded the temple. Great oaks mingled with delightful maple trees and orange trees. Exotic flowers from all points of the world were planted in natural designs that livened the place up and made everything so...peaceful. Mihaul took Kendryl to a nice, secluded section of the gardens and motioned into the open field of tall grass and ragweed. "This area needs to be tended to anyway...I am sure that a little damage to it would only make it easier to clean away." the Mesai promised.
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Kendryl gave Mihaul a tentative smile. Of course she would show him. He was the cleric of her new god, who had told her what to do. She nodded, but explained, "I'm not Thayer. They're born connected. Sigum like me have to work hard and study to learn. But it's worth it. Are you psionic? Maybe Ebon can give you the gift, if you want it and don't have it...I don't really know how it works but you're one of his most trusted servants, aren't you? I know it's not the same as magic...But psionics is pretty cool too and if I were Mesai, I'd definitely want to learn them." She didn't know if it would be rude or presumptive of him to ask...but surely it was worth a try. Ebon didn't seem capricious the way some gods did. And he'd somehow known exactly what she wanted. Or maybe he gave the same thing to everyone. She was grateful either way.

She followed him outside, breathing in deeply of the garden's richly scented air. Until they were alone in an area that was untended and empty of everything but weeds to be cleared and planted over. She smiled and called the magic to her, reveling in how much easier it was now that Ebon had shown her the way. She shaped the air into a scythe, using it to clear broad circles around her, careful to leave Mihaul out of the crossfire. Next came tornadoes, to rip up the remnants by their roots and dig new furrows in the earth. She all but laughed, as she sent a small sea of fire out to burn away the debris, leaving ash to fertilize the soil and help the new plants grow. Magic had always been wonderful...but never before had it been like this.

She wondered...She called the air back to her, shaping it into a gentler pressure, until she hovered just a few feet above the ground. She was flying! She couldn't hold back her joyful, awed laugh any longer. She whispered, "Thank you, Ebon."

"Do you want me to try lifting you too?" she asked Mihaul, "Or are there any other gardens you need cleared?"
Edited by Atara, Oct 8 2017, 01:00 AM.
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Mihaul smiled at her when she asked if he was a psion and if not, maybe Ebon would gift him with the skill. "Ah, no. I was never born with it in me and it's nothing I have asked for from him. I am very pleased with the other gifts that he has given me and would not ask for anything more." he replied, tipping his head respectfully to the Sigum girl. Magic never did come easily to her kind, not with out special blessings on their side and Ebon had definitely provided it for his followers.

The cleric watched her work several forms of magic, seamlessly moving between them with ease. One she was done and the lot was nothing but prepared for new life, he applauded her. "Good work dear! Why, the gardeners could come in today and present this place with new life. I'm proud for you and can feel Ebon smiling down on you." he told Kendryl.

Of course, when she lifted herself off the ground with a cushion of air, he couldn't help but chuckle a little. "You are a fast learner and very creative young one...and no need to lift me, I think I prefer my feet on the ground but thank you for the offer." he replied and gave her a pleased smile none the less. "Thank you for your help here but there is nothing else you can do here for me. Please, do as you wish and enjoy his blessings today. Any time you need me, you may come seek me here in the temples." he said and tipped his head to Kendryl, excusing her from any more duties here at the temple.
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Kendryl grinned back as she gently lowered herself to the ground, utterly delighted by it all. This was so cool! "I understand. This...this is all I really want. I'm not a fighter or anything like that so...It's the best gift I can ask for. And I'll find a way to repay it. Even if all he wants is faith, if there's ever more to be done...I'll do it." Because Kendryl wouldn't be one of those people who took and took and took without giving back, "What did he give you?"

She didn't know what Ebon's powers included. He was different than other gods, with their limited domains and racial loyalties and deep ties to the rest of the pantheon. In addition to the fact that he helped all, not merely those who were already great heroes or had untapped potential. She followed Mihaul back away from the garden, running her fingers through the rich dirt, "I'd...like to come back to see what they plant here, if that's allowed."

Kendryl had never made anything with her magic before. But she was glad she had. She might want to be a Keeper...but she didn't want her whole life to be violence and destruction. Perhaps it made her a bad warrior and a poor Applicant, but...it seemed very sad to leave nothing but death behind, even if those deaths saved other lives, as the weeds' death would make way for the new flowers to come, "And thank you. I fear I may need more guidance than most, but am grateful for blessings and wisdom both."

If she was ever to break herself and remake herself into the warrior she dreamed of, she might very well need some divine intervention.
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