Honouring the Hallowed / Cleansing the Temple -- an improvised ritual

RancouraRancoura the Last Nightwreathed QueenCanadaMember Posts: 1,405 Transcendent
edited November 30 in Event Scrolls
Log of an improvised ritual recently performed by Rancoura and Salome within the Mae'vrai cree-Laes -- the Temple of the Hallowed (a.k.a. Auguries guildhall). Performed for dual purposes of cleansing the Temple by burning herbs and honouring the Hallowed with offerings.

***  Contains some minor NSFW content near the end  ***


[[ Salome and Rancoura's descriptions are in a comment below ]]

--------------------------

Derelict stores of spiritual implements.
Half-ruined tables and shelves of granite are strewn across the broken stone 
ground here, covered with all manners of ritualistic tools and commodities. Fine 
mounds of dust, presumably once bundles of dried herbs and other organic matter, 
are scattered across the tables, the wooden crates which once stored them long-
since disintegrated. Athames, stone basins, now-brittle bone-knives and rusted 
metal chests rest upon granite storage shelves, and within a collection of stone 
crates are stored threadbare cloth bags holding runestones and and the remnants 
of bones. The implements of shamans, wiccans, druids and other oracular 
vocations are all intermingled, and sturdy tables provide surfaces upon which to 
prepare further materials. A sigil in the shape of a small, rectangular monolith 
is on the ground. A massive spider skitters here, spinning her web.
You see exits leading northeast, east, and south.

Salome glides silently to one of the tables, pressing the hilt of her athame 
along one of the edges of the basins nearby. It makes a grating, but musical 
sound. "The temple always fills me with such peace," she remarks.

You have emoted: Rancoura sweeps easily through the chamber, paying visits to 
several shelves to retrieve a crow-feather fan and a bundle each of dried sage, 
horehound, mistletoe, hemlock and wormwood. At Salome's comment, she nods, a 
faint smile upon her lips as she retrieves the last item -- a small wooden box 
of ground ravenwood bark. "We are honoured above many, to have been found worthy 
of its shelter," she whispers, returning to Salome and passing to her the bundle 
of horehound and mistletoe, keeping the others for herself.

In smooth, silken tones, you whisper to Salome, "Which of our Hallowed shall we 
begin with, my lady?"

Salome accepts the bundles, clutching them lightly as she makes sure they are 
secured. "Let us consider the Idols, for often they are forgotten yet have the 
rapport of the Wyrd," she says as some of the spider web's in her hair glint and 
break loose into little filaments.

You have emoted: A small, but genuine smile upon her lips, Rancoura nods, 
arranging the bundles and the fan in her own arms. "An excellent choice, indeed,
" she whispers.


[[ travel ]]


Encircled by the revered Idols.
Shrouded in gloom, the feral turmoil of wyrden foliage sprawls outwards from the 
courtyard into this easterly niche, the ground soft and spongy with a thick 
blanket of mauve and virid moss and other varieties of soft ground-cover. The 
presence of a swarm of insects and small creatures is evident here, the buzzing 
of wasps and clicking of beetles heard amongst the clapping of bat wings, 
silvery spiderwebs catching the wan illumination of shadowfire sconces in every 
nook and cranny. Against the fissured stone wall, a worn, partially-crumbled 
sculpture depicts an awe-inspiring scene: entangled in a manner bespeaking an 
unbreakable unity, renditions of a hulking beetle, a giant bat, an immense, 
eight-legged spider and an enormous wasp surround the steady form of a 
gargantuan, august scorpion, the majestic insect's massive tail arching 
protectively over the idols surrounding it. A live scorpion, much smaller than 
its portrayal in stone, perches upon the rim of an offering basin held aloft 
upon a pedestal at the base of the statue, its sleek, chitin-ensconced form 
still and waiting, ever watchful as it basks in the darkness of the stone. A 
sigil in the shape of a small, rectangular monolith is on the ground. A massive 
spider skitters here, spinning her web.
You see exits leading north, south, and west.

Salome hums softly, the noise quiet but heard amongst the ticking of the insects 
wandering. The shadows surrounding her whisper soft things, sneaking their long 
fingers within the crevices of stone and ruin.

You have emoted: Rancoura's gaze trains upon the semi-ruined depiction of the 
Idols, a slender hand pressed to her breast as she offers her respects to them. 
To Salome, she whispers, "From the texts of our ancient athenaeum have I learned 
a few properties of these herbs heretofore unfamiliar to my own learnings -- 
sage was often used for purification and spiritual health; horehound, for 
restoring spiritual inspiration and clarity; mistletoe for protection and 
guardianship; hemlock for consecration; and wormwood, to dispel negativity and 
guard against harm."

In smooth, silken tones, you whisper to Salome, "Aid me, in choosing which we 
might offer to the Black Idols."

Salome glances to those herbs procured within her arms, her eyes glistening with 
something sudden and violet. Then softness about the thick, dark lashes of her 
gaze. She looks to the scorpion, then to the beetle's icon. There is pause, as 
she considers expressionless, then emits, "To blessed scorpion, we must offer 
our bounty."

You purse your lips, deep in thought.

In smooth, silken tones, you whisper to Salome, "A combination of each, then, 
perhaps?"

Her voice faint with a hidden warmth, Furiosa Salome Nightshade, the Sublime 
Aphotia says, "I believe that would be wise, but I speak from intuition, not of 
your own studiousness."

You have emoted: The faintest sense of amusement suffuses Rancoura's ivory 
countenance, and without a word she drifts forth towards the unified sculpture. 
Freeing a few sprigs of sage, needles of hemlock and stems of wormwood, she 
places the herbs in the offering bowl at Scorpion's base, the Idol's smaller, 
live counterpart scuttling backwards in wariness at the proximity of her hand. 
Once satisfied with the herbs' arrangement, the Haruspex drifts backwards a few 
steps to allow Salome to add the horehound and mistletoe.

Salome lifts the bundles in her hand to her nose, inhaling lightly each earthy, 
loam-laden scent. She tears some of the mistletoe, careful of their thorns and 
the horehound and steps forward toward the bowl. Closest to where the live 
scorpion lingers, her hand passes slow and measured even at the temptation of 
the little creature whose tail flickers in warning. She nods, and rises, looking 
to you.

You have emoted: Rancoura approaches once more, her umbra-ensconced form passing 
close enough to Salome for her shadowed aura to briefly meld with hers, 
fluctuating with the joining. Opening the small wooden box, she scatters a pinch 
of the powdered ravenwood over the herbs, proceeding to draw a box of tinder 
from a silk pouch at her hip. As the demidivine strikes flame into the basin, 
the mingled, rich aromas of the herbs rise immediately in curlicues of thin 
smoke. The scorpion at the basin's rim releases a sibilant hiss, withdrawing 
back into the shadows of its Great Spirit and curling in on itself, the 
smouldering embers casting a dance of light upon its dark chitin.

You have emoted: Setting down the herbs and implements, Rancoura rises and lifts 
her palms to the great stone depictions of the Idols. "Spider, Wasp, Beetle, Bat 
and Scorpion -- here do we stand, embodiments of your wisdoms, in honour of you 
and all that you have given unto the Wyrd," her whisper carries in the open 
chamber, echoed from the crevices and ruined niches. "We ask that you continue 
to inspire us with patience, innovation, surety, and decisiveness; endurance, 
insight, discretion and poise; perfection, and unification of the many teachings 
you have deigned to share with we of the Heart of Darkness."

As the sweet, semi-acrid smoke blooms in grey-white whispers above the basin, 
Salome draws breath lightly, and with a lift of her hand whispers as you 
invocation passes into the faintest memories of sound against the stone. "Come 
forth, and cleanse this temple, where as old as time you've been given glory," her 
voice sways with passion, as it resounds with many other voices that all come 
from her. She bends, grasping the earth, gouging nails deep into the rich soil 
and scatters it in a circle around the basin.

You have emoted: The crowfeather fan now in hand, Rancoura draws it back and 
forth before the low burn, spreading the smoke over the pockmarked and worn 
stone of the carvings. The clicking and chittering of insects grows louder, more 
insistent, as the staccato squeaks of bats pierce the rhythm. The answer of the 
Idols given, the Haruspex draws back, half-bowed as she presses both hands to 
her chest in reverence. Straightening, she then beckons to Salome, leaving the 
smoking herbs to burn as she seeks another chamber of the Temple.


[[ travel ]]


Within the thrumming melody of Mahalla.
The air swells with a steady beat, the chittering and scuttling of numerous 
deathwatch beetles adding their staccato as the insects crawl too and fro across 
the lichen-covered ground. Stationed between two thick granite columns, an eerie 
sculpture of vaguely violet-hued stone stands upon a low platform, a strange 
aura surrounding it in pulsing fluctuations. Clearly once a carving of 
breathtaking beauty, the sculpture has been worn and weathered beyond 
recognition, leaving an empty, forlorn form behind. Still, the steady thrum 
emanates from the sculpture itself, filling the environs with the subtle, 
pounding rhythm of life, the everlasting song of the Wyrd echoed within its 
melody. At the feet of the sculpture, a shallow depression welcomes offerings, 
the dried, crushed petals of roses elegantly blanketing the hollow. A sigil in 
the shape of a small, rectangular monolith is on the ground. A massive spider 
skitters here, spinning her web.
You see exits leading north, east, and south.

Salome surges forward as she carries in her wake the stench of death, and the 
smoke, almost too sweet that follows. She pauses in step, and in her eyes 
resides a hunger rarely seen that sharpens her features as worn as the sculpture 
before them.

You have emoted: Rancoura approaches the faceless, violet-stained sculpture 
posed between the columns of the Temple, a sense of grave solemnity upon her 
visage as she gazes upon its lost beauty. "Horehound, for the Lady Mahalla and 
Her Shadowbeat," she whispers quietly. "Would you lead the reverence of Her, my 
lady?" she asks, as her gaze wanders to Salome.

She dips her head gracefully, Furiosa Salome Nightshade, the Sublime Aphotia 
intones, "I have sung of Her song, and gazed upon Her shadow and Voice. She 
knows what I will bring."

You have emoted: Rancoura's gaze wanders to the featureless depiction of beauty 
once more as she drifts to the side, allowing Salome to freely approach. Her 
eyes close as she draws in the age-riddled scents of the Temple, the air thick 
with the presence of the Shadowbeat thrumming in the very air.

Salome moves before you, her bare feet pressing now to the earth as her wings 
flex against her spine. The gesture is somewhat warding, and yet, one of 
annunciation. The melody of nature remains cacophonous, each sound melding 
together under the beat of primal drums echoing beyond the ruins. The faeling 
lifts her athame, its misted blade glistening in the light as her feet scatter 
dried black rose petals as she steps once more. With a gentle tilt of the blade, 
she kisses it and her hand slips purposefully, cutting the centre of her lower 
lip, as she lowers the sacred utensil to her side, she tastes the coppery blood 
of her own making. She sings in a dark, soulful voice, "We beseech you to hear 
us in this hour, Harbinger of Death!" At this call, it sounds as if the whole 
glade has drawn breath, holding it as an ominous weight gathers expectantly upon 
the air. "We bear offerings unto You, who drives the rhythm of our hearts, and 
that of the Wyrd which is destruction and birth, guided by Your Song and 
Sacrifice," she chants as she pulls a stalk of horehound from the bundle in her 
other hand. Pressing it to her lips, she continues, "May your Song fill these 
ruins, in cleansing recognition of the newness we Augurs shall bring to the 
worship of Your manifold presence."

Salome descends to one knee, and places the stalk across the sculpture's near 
formless feet. Her gaze returns to you, encouraging her to approach in duty.

You have emoted: Rancoura's silent steps carry her to Salome's side, each taken 
with an unconscious loyalty to the ever-present pulse of the sacred Drums. In a 
cascade of feathers and spun adumbration, the demidivine trill falls to her 
knees, grasping the ravenwood-powder box in her palms. Opening it, she casts 
another pinch of the sacred dust of bark over the horehound, softly humming a 
dark, haunting melody that barely rises above the rhythmic, percussive pounding. 
Leaning in towards her sister in ritualism, the Haruspex delivers into Salome's 
hands the tinderbox and crowfeather fan, leaving the honour of lighting the 
offering to her.

In a brief intertwining of sisterly hands to exchange the items given, Salome 
strikes the tinderbox and lets the match fall in one motion as violet flames 
appear to burst to life, consuming the stalk and powder into ash. As the flecks 
of ash rise, the drums beat their loudest as the ticking of the deathwatch 
beetles returns almost like a raving fugue of exotic beats. The sculpture for 
one sheer moment wavers with arcane power, rippling like air in heat, revealing 
just the barest more features of the Elder Goddess - the lines of her face, the 
edges of her hair, but it quickly fades into the gathering shadows that swallow 
it up. With a slow hand, the faeling wafts the smoke towards the ground and 
across her trill companion - Only then does the rhythm of the forest return with 
vigor.

As she rises, head bowing, Furiosa Salome Nightshade, the Sublime Aphotia 
murmurs, "Our gratitude, and respect."

You have emoted: Rancoura , having tilted her head back to gaze upon the lost, 
looses a faint, suave breath from pale lips barely parted, from another 
unmistakably a sigh but from the Haruspex, not quite so. Still, her lazuline-
violet eyes betray a vague sense of longing, the ever-present shadowfires within 
them reflecting the wyrden conflagration oscillating above the scorched herbs. 
As the vision fades, Rancoura's eyes close for a moment, and then she, too, 
rises, offering a refined bow to the Lady and Her power here.

You have emoted: Rancoura dips her head to Salome in appreciation, casting one 
last reverent regard to the faceless Goddess before she makes for another 
chamber hidden within the depths of the Mae'vrai cree-Laes.


[[ travel ]]


Beneath the watchful gazes of the Dark Spirits.
A collection of flowing, phantasmal statues stand throughout this low chamber in 
no particular sense of order, each varying in size but all depicting the 
ethereal silhouette of a wyrden Dark Spirit. The depictions mere ghosts of 
mortalkind, the figures illustrated within are mostly vague mimicries of elfen 
and faeling, though other races can be barely deciphered amongst the others. The 
sculptures are hewn not of stone, but of another substance not easily 
identified; the essence of darkness itself has been hardened and shaped, living 
shadows lovingly creeping over the faceless sculptures and coiling around the 
enraptured limbs and torsos. Void of countenances, blazing red eyes gaze 
nonetheless chillingly from the sculptures' featureless visages, eternally 
watchful, eternally patient. The remnants of ancient stone plaques front each 
blackened granite pedestal upon which the timeless sculptures dance, their words 
long-ago worn away but perhaps once telling the story of their respective 
spirit's mortal life. Weathered archways lead to the east and west wings of the 
temple, whilst through the northernmost archway can be seen the massive, spread-
winged form of Crow, the Spirit's stone form looming beyond. A sigil in the 
shape of a small, rectangular monolith is on the ground. A massive spider 
skitters here, spinning her web.
You see exits leading north, east, and west.

You have emoted: Rancoura weaves between the foreboding figures poised about the 
chamber, her form barely discernible in the utter gloom that surrounds you both. 
Eerily, the crimson gazes of the manifested spirits follow your every movement, 
and the air is thick with memory and no shortness of malevolence. The Haruspex 
halts in the midst of the ghostly statues, where pressed into the ground is a 
shallow depression. Casting her gaze around to the nearby sculptures, she 
descends to her knees, resting back upon folded legs with her hands gently 
folded in her lap.

Salome follows in silence, her eyes focused upon the ancient plaques resting 
upon the pedestals. As she follows you, the shadows about her grasp and reach 
for them, oddly moaning in revelations and unheard pleas with mouths gaping and 
stretching until they once return to the form of darkness. She follows suit, and 
prostrates herself upon her knees beside her counterpart as she looks to the 
eyes smouldering in the abyss. Blood still dripping from her lips reflect across 
her, illuminated her stained, pale flesh as she waits without fear.

You have emoted: Pressing a silken palm into the depression, Rancoura's breath 
comes and passes slowly, the ethereal hues of her eyes vanishing as they close. 
The blood-riddled gazes of the Spirits seemingly turn to her, drawn hungrily to 
the sense of life within the demidivine, a quality so sought after by those who 
breathe no more. Quietly, lessening the disturbance to the silent chamber and 
paying no heed to the rising sense of menace conveyed by the throng of the 
depicted dead, the Haruspex whispers, "Spirits old and new, ancient and young -- 
we cannot know the trials you have faced, nor the woes which have plagued you 
unto your deaths. Still do you hold place within our reverence, for we have 
acknowledged the great expanse of wisdom you have gained in all your years, and 
through all your sacrifices." The Night-Daughter proceeds to untie the bundle of 
hemlock, casting the needles into the depression and scattering the ground 
ravenwood bark across them, a pause in her actions allowing Salome to offer what 
she would.

Salome bows her head in reverence as she pluck mistletoe berries from their 
boughs, and as well their leaves, she crushes horehound with them and smears 
them across the depression. "You have confessed your Sorrows, you know well your 
glory, the perfection of the Wyrd is yours and ours, and ours and yours," she 
whispers, lips barely moving. "We summon your protection upon this Temple, 
mysterious though it may be, spirits we call, come and whisper your secrets, 
offer a prophecy to cleanse our way," she beseeches.

You have emoted: Rancoura strikes fire from the tinderbox to set the moist 
herbal mixture alight, an acrid smell rising as the spitting flames burn red as 
the berries themselves, the searing hues staining the darkness in scarlet and 
crimson, nigh blinding in the darkness of the enclosing chamber. The flames 
twist and coil upon themselves in unnatural whorls, patterned with the vague 
forms close-standing trees. The Haruspex's eyes narrow, and she glances briefly 
to Salome before returning her attentions to the flickering vision. Now the 
edges of the flames have blackened, carmine to coal encroaching upon the 
wavering fire-trees -- the blackness grows thicker, suffocating the crimson 
beneath, a horde of individual flame-tips curling inwards towards the core of 
the blaze until it has bled entirely black, the shadowflame turning cold as it 
melds into the surrounding darkness before extinguishing itself with nary a hiss.

Salome gravely waves the smoke with the crow handfan, her eyes slipping half-way 
closed as she searches for what may lie within the refuse of the ash. Her eyes 
move to you, as she speaks quietly, "After we are concluded."

You have emoted: Rancoura rests in silence and contemplation, also examining the 
ash remains. Glancing again to Salome, she offers a single, delicate nod, and 
rises to her feet. "We thank you, spirits, for your vigilance, your initiative, 
your perseverance and your sheer longevity," she whispers to the surrounding 
forms, their ruby gazes ever trained upon the two Augurs.

You have emoted: Rancoura drifts towards the archway returning to the centre of 
the Temple, beyond which spread the great wings of Crow. She bows her head to 
the sculpted spirits as she passes, a faint, knowing smile playing upon her lips 
now.


[[ travel ]]


Before the dark majesty of Brother Crow.
The southern reaches of the temple are dominated by the cracked and age-worn 
depiction of Crow in weathered granite, the statue nigh rivalling the lofty 
columns that surround it. Four great wings span over twenty feet, flared 
outwards as the Great Spirit caws in triumph, His single eye a still-glittering, 
cracked ruby that fixates on His surroundings with a keen watchfulness. One of 
His thick-taloned feet crushes the pile of stone-carved bones and stag antlers 
strewn beneath Him, the other gripping the edge of a large trough inviting 
offerings beneath the statue. Scattered across the dirt and broken stone are 
countless, oily stygian feathers and chunks of carrion left by the crows which 
roost here in the vine-covered half-roof, their gleeful caws filling the air as 
one of the birds occasionally swoops down to perch upon the statue of its 
collective spirit to affectionately rub its beak against the stone. Behind the 
statue, an archway leads to an enclosed section of the temple, shrouded in 
darkness as shadowy figures flit beyond the threshold. A sigil in the shape of a 
small, rectangular monolith is on the ground. A massive spider skitters here, 
spinning her web.
You see exits leading north, east, south, and west.

As the two round the giant, spread-winged statue of the Great Spirit, you 
whisper to Salome, "Another Whom you know so well, my Lady Arcum. The honour 
shall most certainly be yours, in reverence of Mighty Crow."

Her gaze slipping to the crows that perch upon the statue of the Spirit's 
likeness, Furiosa Salome Nightshade, the Sublime Aphotia says, "One may know, 
but never know fully, that is his beauty."

Salome bends to scoop up the loose feathers that rest upon the ground, mixed 
with dried leaves and worn bones. She plants her feet, and casts a commanding 
gaze at the roosting creatures hidden in the vines. She speaks in the tongue of 
crow, which sounds more like a mix of rasps and clicks, harshly grating at her 
throat. She snaps her wings open, and almost appears to puff up as she raises 
her fingers, and jabs them to those of the murder residing here. They stop their 
chattering, and appear to take notice, their mocking caws ending with a low 
croak of submission. They begin to dive to the ground, to clean the carrion and 
bones littered around, and then, circling drop them into the trough. Little by 
little, a strange, twisted nest forms, with a hissing click, she steps forward, 
waving her wings in a looming dance, before coiling them around her. The murder 
of crows all begin to caw loudly, as they land before the statue in oddly neat 
lines.

Her voice recovering in composure, stepping through the gathering of crows, 
Furiosa Salome Nightshade, the Sublime Aphotia says, "Mighty Crow, Glorious, and 
Seeing-of-All. Father of the Murder, Keeper of Food, Seeder of Harvests, Reaper 
of the Weak. We gather, to build a nest in your honour, so that your kind may 
continue to dwell within our Temple." She drops the bones and leaves across the 
old, carrion-spiked trough, arranging them as she sprinkles mistletoe and 
horehound upon the top. "Under your Eye, we prosper in perfection, come, and 
cleanse us in blood."

Salome crackles with a variety of sounds, then a resounding caw, as if in 
translation. The crows chorus in response, their beaks click-clicking as they 
hop from side to side. The faeling closes her wings, and nods to you curtly.

You have emoted: Rancoura stands in silent observation as the corvids flit about 
their affairs, a note of appreciation upon her visage as the ramshackle nest 
takes form, and as Salome's prayer is spoken. At Salome's invitation, the 
ephemerally-winged trill approaches the offering trough, easily plucking a few 
spun-shadow feathers from her own wings. The insubstantial plumes barely hold 
their nebulous form as she places them in the nest, opening the wooden box once 
more and peppering the crushed bark across the entire makeshift construction. As 
she carefully steps back, mindful of the grounded crows surrounding her, one of 
the small birds flutters up to her shoulder with a greeting peal of laughter. 
Gently stroking the crow's side with a finger, the Haruspex gazes up at the 
towering form of its Father, her whisper elevated to be heard over the 
boisterous birds. "Mighty Crow, you are honoured, for beneath your wing have we 
learned to conquer our Black Sorrow, to invoke our False Memory, to control our 
Blood Thirst and to embrace our Dark Spirit. Your children are ever in your debt,
 for beneath you have so many of us grown from fledgling to soaring masterpiece, 
and the Wyrd flourishes ever the more vigorously for it."

You have emoted: With that, Rancoura once more bends elegantly at the waist 
towards the Great Spirit's depiction, causing the crow to caw as it regains its 
balance. Directing a faint smile towards Salome, she then sweeps her gaze over 
the raucous birds, and speaks a brief version of their tongue herself -- a 
simple phrase of gratitude, enunciated with a smoother tone. As she turns to 
depart, the crow upon her shoulder caws in perplexity, soon launching itself 
away once it is clear that the demidivine intends to part with its kin.


[[ travel ]]


Before the regal beauty of Mother Night.
Revelling darkness is most at home in the northern stretch of the temple, 
rippling mists of shadow eagerly ensconcing the wing. Enveloped lovingly within 
the mists is a sculpture of unrivalled beauty - the spirit of Mother Night 
Herself is captured within the pure, onyx-like granite from which Her likeness 
has been coaxed, the surface of the stone miraculously smooth despite its 
obvious age. The Great Spirit's features are austere, but hauntingly beautiful; 
depicted as a youthful woman, Her eyes are darker than the stone itself, 
fathomless orbs of immense power only fractionally captured within the 
sculptor's visualization. The statue's arms are outstretched, invitingly, coils 
of darkness curling enthrallingly out from them in spite of the tangible, 
chilled aura that surrounds the Dark Mother, Her terrible power surrounding the 
sculpture as rivulets of coalesced umbration flow from small cracks in its 
surface. An elegant, oval bowl rests at the statue's base, set upon clawed feet 
and awaiting offerings to the Eternal Mother whilst Her gaze follows any who 
pass, Her stare unwavering and keen. A sigil in the shape of a small, 
rectangular monolith is on the ground. A massive spider skitters here, spinning 
her web.
You see exits leading north, east, south, and west.

You have emoted: As the grand, haunting depiction of the Mother of Darkness 
rises in view, Rancoura's steps slow, and she draws a curved, jagged athame cut 
of blackened crystal from the folds of her robes. Balancing the ritual blade and 
the last herbs in her grasp, the Night-daughter approaches the Mother's likeness 
with veneration exemplified, her gaze lowered as she comes to stand before the 
Great Spirit.

Salome exhales a silent sigh, the silver-white of her hair glistening as it 
cascades against bowed cheeks. Her expression is serene, and almost appears to 
bring colour to such pale cheeks, the rosiness of summer returning to the 
daughter of Night's very form at the mere view of such an icon. The shadows 
about her soften, bleeding into a starless, but glossy intensity fading into 
blue-black about the faeling's form. She too draws her stained athame, and slips 
an arm in you own, as their steps are as one, the last strands of herbs resting 
in between her thing, spidery fingers.

You have emoted: Rancoura's form flows to the ground as she descends before the 
offering bowl, the weight of the Dark Mother's gaze upon her Daughters tangible, 
shadow growing heavier as the Great Fae's attention is drawn. Solemnly, with a 
deliberate slowness and care, the Haruspex presses the last of the sage into the 
stone vessel, upending the wooden box and casting the last of the ravenwood dust 
within before setting the box aside. Raising her enthralling gaze at last to the 
face of Mother Night, the demidivine slowly shrugs one shoulder, allowing her 
diaphanous robes to slip from it. With meticulous fingers, she slides the robes 
from her other shoulder as well, allowing the garment to fall until her breasts 
are bared, their generous curves pale in the darkness as snow beneath a wintry 
eventide. Drawing a long, deep breath, Rancoura draws the tip of her athame 
slowly along the inside curve of one breast, the thin crimson stroke left in its 
wake soon filling with pearls of garnet, a shock of contrast against the ivory 
of her flesh.

You have emoted: With a ritual cadence, Rancoura lays her shadowcrystal blade to 
the side, tracing one finger over the crimson blood at the contour of her breast,
 and then another, until both are smeared with the life-fluid. Wordlessly, she 
runs the fingertips along the inside of the offering bowl, marking it with her 
sacrifice. Deliberately does she raise her gaze again to that of the Mother of 
Darkness, the latter's depthless orbs utterly black and inscrutable, eternally 
observant of all that passes within her realm.

Linked at the hip with her sister in Night, Salome observes all that unfolds 
with dark, colourless eyes, the sanguine crimson and flesh reflecting in the 
glint of them. The shadows about her withdraw, like crests of silk, to reveal 
her skyclad frame, etched in willowy, svelte lines as she is now free to the 
open air. Many scars are revealed across such naked flesh, some knit in the 
shades of bleached bones, others wroth and angry pale red - forming patterns of 
mesmerising symbols in honour of the Dark Mother across her collarbone, her 
muscled forearms, even along the dips of her slightly broad shoulders. At the 
centre of her chest, she traces pale fingers upon her breast bone where deep set 
shadows lie in a path, that moves across above her left breast. Clawed fingers 
grasp one of the shadows residing there, like string - it struggles to remain 
close to the faeling's bosom, yet the more the thread is drawn, the more Salome 
appears to strain. A flicker of pain lingers in her face, as she bestows it a 
kiss from her still bloody lips and drifts the wisp to the edge of the bloodied 
basin, as the rapture across her visage remains, gazing to the icon.

Salome turns over her fingers and from her clenched fist, she drops the last of 
the mistletoe and horehound. As it melds with her Coven-sister's viscera, her 
eyes glow with a bright blaze of shadowfire, stirring the cold shadows that are 
her aura about her. Frost crawls upwards across the statue of the Great Spirit, 
blooming like flecks of lace upon glass panes.

You have emoted: Rancoura presses her hand against the side of the bowl, its 
surface not bereft of the blooming frost-crystals, rendering it cold to the 
touch, as if exposed to a Roarkian chill. Gazing to Salome, she silently 
beseeches her to do the same, her breath drawn slowly, causing her breasts to 
slowly rise and fall. Tendrils have been formed in fluid carmine as the remnant 
beads of blood travel down along her skin, leaving traces not unlike the path of 
fingertips along the sensuous flesh, its indigo underhues darkening it -- 
unmarred save for the blood-tracks and the faint symbol of a seven-pointed star 
staining her chest just below the hollow of her throat.

The pads of her fingertips tracing along the edge of the bowl, Salome nods in 
acknowledgment with a svelte dip of her head, her silver locks spilling across 
her pale shoulders. She feathers her fingers along the opposite side of the 
bowl, the cold of it equally numbing to the touch and the senses at first. But 
past the cold, the passionate heat of summer, and the melting ice, forming to 
dew - lingering like a mere distant thought of ages past. Her lashes flutter 
downwards in concentration, pressed at the side of you unwavering composure.

You have emoted: With the two Augurs and Daughters of Night joined, both in 
corporeal proximity and intention, their darkness interwoven, an energy swells 
within the chamber. As Salome lowers her eyes, Rancoura raises hers, affixed to 
the idol looming above in sacred awe. As the frost overtakes the stoic, terribly 
beautiful countenance of Mother Night, her visage seems to shift -- head 
lowering to gaze more closely upon those who swear by her name, even as the 
sculpture seems to grow taller, limned in utter shade. A crackle of black 
lighting suddenly spears through the air above the Spirit -- and an eerie, 
feminine laughter cleaves the silence as the offerings burst into shadowflame, 
the dancing darkness mirroring the flares in both Daughters' eyes. A strange, 
alien scent rises from the bowl as the not-burning herbs are consumed by the raw,
 primal energies of Wyrd and shadow -- dark, seductive, and utterly unknowable.

Salome's eyes slip open as the sable lighting ensnares the contents of the bowl 
within, there are at least, for a moment tears of adoration in her eyes, 
glossing the waterline of her sight. But the expression appears no more than a 
shade, or a mirror of what may have been. Her full mouth lifts with quiet joy at 
the acceptance of the offering, but does not reach or unravel from her 
companion's embrace. Instead, the faeling bows her head to allow the tranquil 
silence to consume her in a meditative prayer of gratitude before the idol and 
sacred mark of the Dark Mother.

You have emoted: No words needing to be spoken, Rancoura looks on in silence as 
the offerings are slowly dissolved within the ravenous shadowfires, hand resting 
upon the keen crystalline blade on the ground beside her. Soon, the bowl is 
vacant, its contents having been vanquished, and the black flames fade into 
nothing like wisps of smoke in a meandering breeze. The heavy presence within 
the chamber subsides, the Mother having accepted the offering withdrawing her 
attentions from those who invoked it, though some sense of her remains, frost-
crystals still adorning her likeness. The deed done, the Haruspex's silken lips 
move in silent prayer and gratitude, and she moves to rise, slipping the robes 
over her shoulders once more and tucking the athame safely away in the folds of 
the diaphanous cloth.

Salome remains upon the ground for a moment as you withdraws to stand, her 
muscular form rises unashamed, her breath slow and unhurried as the shadows 
return to her as if they had been merely awaiting the acceptance of Mother Night.
 Each pools about her, concealing all that once was bare and weaves protectively 
through her form. She crosses her forearms, athame clutched still in one hand as 
she glides into the mists aside the sculpture.

You have emoted: Rancoura's hands clasp before her as she continues gazing upon 
the frost-swathed manifestation, having risen and grown meditative in her 
contemplation. Her attention is drawn away only by Salome's movements, watching 
the shade-enveloped faeling with some thoughtfulness. "So shall our Hallowed 
ever be honoured, within the walls of this Temple and without," she whispers, 
her voice feathering through the air in the otherwise silence. "It is an honour 
to delve into such rites with you, Lady Arcum."

Furiosa Salome Nightshade, the Sublime Aphotia rasps, "Until it is time to do so 
once more, Lady Haruspex."

Salome bows her head simply, and takes one swirling, almost blurry step as if 
pivoting. Instead her presence merely dissolves into a cold, glacial collections 
of shadow that disperse from whence they came. The only memory of her lingering 
is the perfume of dying roses that she leaves, and the cold bite of an unmelting,
 eternal snow.

As Salome leaves to the south, the shadows shift and writhe in mute protest.

Tonight amidst the mountaintops
And endless starless night
Singing how the wind was lost
Before an earthly flight

Comments

  • RancouraRancoura the Last Nightwreathed Queen CanadaMember Posts: 1,405 Transcendent
    edited November 30
    [[ Salome's description ]]

    She is a nimble shadowcaster faeling blood demigoddess changeling and is utterly 
    blackened by twisting, undying shadows that bleed a cloying, mesmerizing scent 
    of wyrden flora and fungi, laced with the underlying aroma of old death. 
    Unsoftened by such is the additional undercurrent of funerary headiness of dried 
    roses and hemlock balm that overwhelms and intimidates the senses. Visions of 
    moonless nights dancing in blurry frames of faceless bodies wander through the 
    shadows somewhere between past, present, and future. Her figure cuts a looming 
    shadow, taller than an elfen and belied with more grace than the common slaugh, 
    redcap, or korrigan. Divergent tendrils of shadow curl and caress about her bone-
    white flesh which is drawn taut across zaftig, brutally refined features. While 
    each is finer than the last, it is the marbled sense of frozen untouched beauty 
    that truly epitomize the more savage visage of comeliness in her pupil-less 
    melanoid eyes. And those colourless eyes hold not even the twinkling light of 
    wayward stars, beneath shapely silver brows. Her hair is now but a cloud of 
    sterling viper-like locks streaked with the stygian shadows that pulse down her 
    skin, moving in and out in an eternal dance that is both ceaseless and haunting. 
    A small clutch of infant widow spiders crawl all along her form, spinning 
    filaments of prismatic webs. Wings as wide as those in crowform manifest with 
    spears of razor feathers sprout from her supine back in a violent burst of the 
    same milky silver of her hair. Each of those predator's wings house a dozen 
    clutches of dewey webs and white orb-weaver spiders that crawl and manifest 
    along her skin to form new strands even as she takes flight. Grand enough to 
    blot out the sun, her wingspan rivals some of the oldest of the Murder, her 
    silhouette when revealed from shadow dark enough to blot out the sun. Her face 
    is painted with dried blood, in the shape of wings spread wide. Ritual scarring 
    pulsing with mauve shadowflame course about her forearms, their turbid patterns 
    like splatters of ink punctured deep upon the flesh.
    Voluminous waves frame her face in a crystallised mane of pure white, uncombed 
    and wild as the aslaran of the plains so oft are seen wearing theirs. Silver 
    tendrils snake throughout the feather-soft strands and petite snow blossoms peek 
    from within, their cold diamond centres reflecting fractal patterns upon the 
    velvety, alabaster petals that resemble wintry stars.
    She is wearing:
    an infested diadem of living briar chittering with beetles and spiders alike 
    atop her head
    an ebon Night cameo warping with loving coils of shadow tendrils
    a bracelet of woven thornbeast tendrils wrapped possessively about her left 
    wrist and middle finger
    Wyrden Prayer Beads of the Lady of the Thorns dangling haphazardly along her 
    collarbone
    a delicate forestal cloak of frayed silk bleeding into the aura of tortured 
    shadows around her
    a living medal of thorned roses blossoming with new stygian petals at her 
    sternum
    the Fingerblade of dha'Wyrden-cree digging into her razored obsidian nails.


    [[ Rancoura's description ]]

    She is a feathered trill nightwreathed demigoddess and is a demidivine of svelte 
    grace, guised with shadowy beauty as a nigh embodiment of the reigning darkness 
    itself, its ethereality reflected within every fluid movement. Skin paler and 
    more perfect than fresh-fallen snow is brushed with vague indigo hues, eternally 
    swathed in shadow and denying any attempt of the light to brush it. She stands 
    half again taller than her mortal kin and with perfect poise, her countenance 
    beautiful in its feminine refinement, surveying all with cool regard. The inky 
    blackness of immense, ephemeral wings cascade down her back in a fall of 
    otherworldly feathers, flowing ethereally about her form like an insubstantial, 
    adumbral cloak shifting in the slightest breath of air. Silken, atrous plumage 
    flows from the crest of her head as coalesced shadow; yet the ends move 
    sinuously through the air, as though searching for something unseen within her 
    aura, and bestowing upon her a vaguely unsettling, phantasmal air. Her 
    aesthetically stoic countenance is beset with striking eyes fluctuating betwixt 
    lazuline and violet hues, which while beautiful serve to enhance the frosted 
    nature of her mien. A wintry shadowfire flickers entrancingly within their 
    depths, intimating the traces of divine power within this daughter of Night's 
    being. Her skin shimmers faintly from a thin application of oil and smells 
    faintly of dragon's blood, deep and exotic.
    She is wearing:
    a phantasmal shroud of shadows woven about her neck
    an elegant, fragile bracelet of threaded black crystal
    a glittering, arm-wrapping spiral bracelet of stygian crystal
    an aura of shadow surrounding her eyes
    a black silk pouch adorned with curling silver filigree vines looped upon the 
    silver belt resting upon her hips
    a silver-engraved black crystal ring of the Silent
    a hallowed brooch of the Silent
    a thin, delicate silver belt of the night
    a translucent mark of the Silent One clasped to her silver belt
    sensually elegant robes of a Night daughter
    a blessed pendant of the Hallowed Dark resting against her breast
    an ebon necklace bound with a shadowfire gem
    a full-finger ring of woven, aphotic crystal threads
    a feather-strung stygian satchel sewn of brushed spidersilk
    the Fingerblade of dha'Wyrden-cree bound to the slender ring finger of her left 
    hand
    a silver torc.


    Tonight amidst the mountaintops
    And endless starless night
    Singing how the wind was lost
    Before an earthly flight

  • DysDys Member Posts: 558 Expert
    Improvised? Wow, amazing!
  • KalaneyaKalaneya Member Posts: 294 Gifted
    YOU GUYS ARE AMAAAZING
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