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Hayll has been in the grip of conspiracy for years, with shadowy hands pulling the strings of a puppet Queen, and attempting to ensure Hayllian dominance well into the future. The Coliseum was destroyed, and the uprising has given a voice not only to the slaves that escaped the bloodsport, but to the frustrations of the people at large. Traditionalists, hedonists, and freedom fighters collide in an effort to shape Hayll, with internecine war a looming threat.
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Author Topic: The Importance of Communion  (Read 208 times)

Description: tag: Caelissine

Offline Xenophon Lucis

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The Importance of Communion
« on: May 24, 19, 09:24:11 AM »
Senator Xenophon Lucis was in a position to know well more than he should.  He was privy to a great deal of information as a Senator of Hayll, more as the Senator—the Scion of Lucis, and more still as a veteran.  People of all stripes talked to him, and his scope had only widened when he showed himself to be sympathetic with the Uprising, and by extension, the Opus Populi.  Information was more precious than coin or pure blood in his particular situation.  The Conclave had been moved select a new High Priestess, raising one Caelissine Tatiana Augustinus-Agrippina to the lofty position.  It was not simply that this high born and quality Lady were the Priestess of the Territory Court, she now, by all appearances, led the Conclave, and that was perhaps more important.  Hayll loved her traditions, and the Conclave were the caretakers, influencers, and library of centuries of cherished ceremonies, rites, and stories.

In a way, the Conclave was the memory of Hayll, the promise of what the Territory could be, and possibly should be.  It was all philosophy, of course.  Their influence was limited but telling.  Xenophon had a deep appreciation for the Priestesshood and Hayll’s history and tradition.  The only way to foment change was to understand what was in the way, what sacred cows might lie ahead in the road in need of slaughtering or if not slaughtering, gently guiding into a new pasture.  To some extent, tradition had been their downfall.  Tradition had given them the traitor Queen.  Tradition had tied their hands.  Tradition had encouraged that Traitor Queen’s entourage to encourage depravity and corruption, something that continued to lurk in the Territory like a worm in an otherwise fresh apple.  History had proven little better.  They had become comfortable under a Queen’s rule, a fact that left them all too vulnerable to the concept of a bad Queen.

Xenophon hated the logic that declared something ought to be done a particular way only because it always had been.  Long-lived Blood seemed unable to grasp the notion of stagnation.  Change was for the short-lived, the quick hearted, for their brief lives burned bright and short.  Xenophon believed that change was necessary, even for them, especially for them.  If Hayll did not grow and adapt, they were doomed to a cycle of repeated errors, each one coming along faster than the last.  Bread and circuses, indeed.  The Senator needed to know where this High Priestess stood.  Was she a part of the old guard, or the new, or did she have another agenda altogether.  He would find out, and if he could not, he knew those that absolutely would.  He would try it his way first.  Xenophon would have preferred a battlefield.  He would have preferred blood and bone and naked steel, but that was not his lot.  His weapons were words these days, his shields were ideas, his comrades were political allies.  That he was skilled at the game did not mean he enjoyed it.

He silenced his musings when the carriage he was in came to as top at the Temple.  Xenophon had arranged an appointment with the High Priestess, not a wholly unusual request.  He was a Senator, after all, and they both served the Territory Court on the surface of things.  He stepped out of the carriage directly onto the carved stone stairs.  The temple was old and well maintained by the Conclave, one of the oldest in Draega, if he recalled correctly.  He hated the city, but if there was one place he enjoyed within its crowded tumble of structures, both permanent and not, it was the Temple District.  There were numerous places for devotions, bath houses and the like, and It was kept clean by the orders of the city guard, an extension of the Territory Court.  Here people of means could have their Offerings, their Birthrights and their communions without fear of the rabble cuasing a riot while they were vulnerable or otherwise engaged.  Where did the poor go for such services?

Elsewhere, Xenophon knew.  Elsewhere.  He climbed the steps and spoke to a young woman there, who fetched still another young Priestess to guide him into the depths of the Temple to see the High Priestess.

Offline Caelissine Agrippina

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Re: The Importance of Communion
« Reply #1 on: Jun 05, 19, 05:05:50 PM »
Locale: 194, Spring. Temple District, Draega, Hayll.

Once transformed,
in a single breath I exhale my spirit.

Lady Caelissine still had not settled into the position she had taken more time than expected to accept. It had taken two months for her to decide, which, considering all possibilities and despite being Long-Lived it had been a while for her predecessor to wait. For a time, the Priestess had warred internally, positioning thoughtfully to herself that there had to be someone else more suitable to be the High Priestess of the Conclave and Territory Court.

Indeed, often enough, the two positions were held by separate individuals. Presently, it suited the Conclave politics to unify them. Lofty seemed a lacklustre word for her rise, even if the truth of the matter was that it had been well-earned. For centuries she had given of herself to Hayll among the Priestesshood without expecting anything might come from it, seeing to the Offerings and Birthrights, tutelage, and various spiritual needs of any that came to her, often doing so for no cost at all.

She had even declined to serve in her mother's district court for centuries officially and a fear of being considered accepting of familial favouritism, but very often gave advice and services needed for free to the people of Cirta when asked. Caelissine was one of a few that spent as much time as she could in the poorer sectors when not busy at the main Temples of Draega or in far away Cirta, Faro, where her mother ruled as Queen of the forest shrouded District.

As such, while she had never directly served in a Court, Caelissine had grown up in one and learned Protocol from the knee of a Queen; the men in her family on both sides had served in the Senate longer than anyone could likely recall. It was enough to prepare her and keep the vast nervousness she felt at taking the Conclave in hand from spiralling out of control and serving as a reminder that unchecked power could serve as a corrupting influence if she wasn't cautious. Already in her short time as High Priestess, she'd turned away countless bribes from several Hundred Families nobles she'd known for centuries and influencers proclaiming that she might offer some attentiveness or support to their kin in exchange for a good word of her services. Or the story was that some family member might be perfect in service of the Conclave without needing to rise through the ranks as expected.

All of them had been politely, briskly, and occasionally bluntly turned away. She made plain that the Office of the Lady Augustinus-Agrippina was not that sort of place where one could make gains for funds or patronage. Yet, Caelissine had been careful not to alienate every ranking member of the Priestesshood still serving by making replacements. She'd hoped to make herself known as neither a supporter of the old guard nor exactly so much the new, though was more than interested in the ideals of each and every viewpoint of those considered peers serving in the Territory Court, as well as those that would never have set foot at the nicer Temples in the District.

It was a divide that she'd hoped to change, but knew such a goal was impossible. Most of those her parents called friend and family would never have set a golden sandaled toe near even those middle ordinary Hayllian Blood, who actually needed to work for a living. A wry smile lifted her lips. It was said that she might well have been the first truly spiritual High Priestess of the Territory Court or Conclave in living memory, but Caelissine didn't prefer to think that way as there were plenty of people that were deceptively private in their veneration of Mother Night and Blood Law.

One matter she had decided, was that Draega to begin with needed more Temples for the common people that were plentifully accessible. It would serve as her first real project. All of the Blood should be able to be served by a Priestess (or the rare Priest) without fear, pain, or embarrassment, which was part of the reason that the Conclave needed to become more political, but in such a fashion as it had been thus far, so as not to cause great waves of unpleasant change, but positive growth. The balance would be a hard one.

In her view, none should be judged but loved as best one could, so long as the Law was followed first and foremost. Indeed, for now, those that could not be seen at the Temple went elsewhere, and like a good Priestess, she followed them through mud, muck, and worse before making her way back to her post. Today had required the replacement of a set of robes getting to a group of children needing Birthrights that were tended to at one of the poorer orphanages in the city.

Some had never experienced a Communion at all before she tended to them and yet, due to her new workload, Caelissine wasn't sure if she'd be able to keep up the travelling and had considered taking an apprentice to assist her efforts especially for those that had less. Unlike those with positive political aspirations gained through long centuries of service, hers had arisen due to a vast need for healing cracks in her chalice some years distant, now, and the resulting time spent within a culture different from her own. She carefully made a note, deciding that instead of discarding, the once beautiful robes could be recycled into quite a few children's items and given the quality fabric, it would be unlikely the question might be asked what they once were. At least then, nothing would go to waste.

In finishing arranging her desk and putting away a few books on a nearby shelf, Caelissine reminded herself to carve out specific time for family. While she'd spoken to her mother and cousins, she hadn't had a real conversation with her sister in ages beyond talking about the weather or this or that gala. Of course, it figured that such a thought brought Jupiter to mind. It had taken nearly half a year for her to tolerate nearly any kind of casual touch, not to speak of intimacy after that troublesome attack just before the winter of 191, and before the year turned again. Two years had passed since then, and perhaps she could lay the consequences for her appointment in very minor part due to throwing herself with greater depth into the Priestesshood afterward.

Almost, she had said a set of certain words to him at the time, before being interrupted. Caelissine could remember it sometimes better than her own reflection, and whether she'd erred by saying nothing, thinking that she was giving Prince Cinerus time to know her. Her pulse had begun to race hard even considering the sound of his name. Another consequence was being now overly sensitive to touch, but as a result, her connection to her Caste and everything about being a Priestess had deepened thanks to the same discipline that had kept her without choosing to entertain other lovers, even if she hadn't said the words.

I adore ...

Just then, Caelissine considered that perhaps actions meant more. It had been a week since she'd seen the Warlord Prince, and he was part of the reason she'd decided to accept the position as offered all those months ago, that perhaps she rather than offering mere words to Hayllian betterment, she could finally help do something on a grander scale. The soft, muted ringing of a timepiece told her that Prince Xenophon Lucis would be arriving within the next hour. She puzzled over how much she could recall about the Prince, whether as part of the Territory Court and a fellow Senator that Prince Lucis was known to Jupiter, and made a mental note to ask his opinion. She sneered at the thought of her vile elder brother suddenly and hoped that Prince Lucis was not of that sort nor crowd, for his sake as well as her own.

Now, she waited for the time of her appointment to approach while finishing a few tasks, note taking, rearranging calendar dates, reading through the public notes of the last five High Priestesses. Each one had hopes and dreams they'd wanted for Hayll, but each one had set such things aside. Traditions of Hayll were still important as was the collective memory of the past viewed through various biased interpretations as well as the neutral, Caelissine surmised as part and parcel of her readings, but so too was some change when focused in reasonable and clever directions. She would have to do her very best not to push aside the fairest of her ideals.

A knock at the door pulled Caelissine out of her musings, which appeared to be a lower order Priestess, but no less for her service, she immediately thought due to having once been in those same shoes. Humility would continue to be the order of her days, and grace its paired lover.

"Prince Lucis has arrived to see you, High Priestess," the young woman remarked while already having been aware that some kind of refreshment was required as there had been very little Caelissine had chosen to change save for her own subtle personal preferences. Both a carafe of wine and one of water were placed upon a side table with a small tray of fresh bread, a small sample of fruit, cheeses and paper-thin meat slices.

"Please, send him in, and then see to it that you take your own respite." Caelissine remarked, rising to her feet and smoothing soft green robes, while her midnight hair was left free of ornamentation. She called in her Jewels - one ring, and one necklace in an understated gold, though neither Jewel was cut and only held together by Craft.