Umbra 15, 228: Royal and Religion

Royal and Religion
Summary: Roslin meets her new personal confessor for the first time - a Priestess of Umbra.
OOC Date: 6 November 2013
Related: Royal Confession
Luna Roslin 
The Temple
The lengthening rays of the sun shine through the Temple windows before they are caught by the enormous central chandelier and split into every hue of the rainbow along the painted walls. There are fires going to ward off the chill of late autumn, but the space is too large to heat entirely. The clergy wear thick, wool robes and some seem to have layers on beneath.
Umbra 15, 228

Roslin is known as a staple of the Temples - she makes time visit at least once a day when there are not more pressing matters. During the threat of the siege there were often pressing matters, but now at least the Princess has been able to return to her previous visits. She kneels now before the alter in the grand Temple of Darfield, on her knees as she always is. She wears a warm dress of purple velvet with long, dagged sleeves and a plain bodice. The underdress is brocade, also purple, with a pattern of leaves and vines pressed into it. The neckline, the hem and the sleeves are all trimmed in brown lace with pearls. She wears a head-dress upon her hair - woven red fabric hemmed in pearls to give her the appearance of a red halo about her head. A gold eight-pointed star hangs around her throat. Her maids sit behind her, leaving the woman alone to pray, and two Kilgour guards stand at the door.

Luna has certainly seen the princess before and is well aware of who she is — how could anyone not be? Today, however, the priestess watches Roslin with an almost assessing sidelong gaze while tending to her duties. Standing beneath a tapestry of Umbra, she is asked by an acolyte if the piece was intended to be a likeness of the priestess herself. In fact, she is asked the same nearly every time she is seen near a drawing or painting of that goddess. The similarities are beyond surprising; they are downright eerie, particularly considering all those works of art were made long before she was even a twinkle in her parents' eyes. After sending the robed girl on her way, Luna quietly pads over to the general vicinity of the royal, awaiting acknowledgement.

Roslin likely becomes aware of Luna without raising her head or opening her eyes. One usually does hear footsteps, and become aware of a live person nearby, even without having seen them. But a Princess does not necessarily care if someone is standing there waiting - they are the ones to wait, the royals are the ones to finish their prayers first. And Roslin does just that, remaining where she is a little while longer before turning her head to see who has come. Upon noticing that it is in fact a priestess, Roslin moves to rise. She is a graceful thing, having been taught grace since she was able to lift her head. With such grace now she rises, turns, and brings her hands together for the approrpaite bow to the priestess. “Blessed,” she says by way of greeting the woman by her title. Her eyes settle on the woman. “Forgive me, but I do not believe we have been introduced.”

When Roslin refuses to interrupt her prayers, a small smile of approval curves Luna's lips. The formal greeting is returned when the princess has completed her holy business. "We have not, although I know you to be a blessedly regular attendee here, Your Highness. I am Priestess Luna, servant of the Eight." Smoothly, she motions toward a nearby bench. "Have you a few moments to spare? I have important news to share with you."

“I always have time for the Blessed,” Roslin responds smoothly, moving to sit as the Priestess has invited. Her maids attend to their own prayers nearby, for they are not needed now. After all, if one is not safe under the eyes of a Blessed Priestess, surely one has nowhere to be safe. Roslin keeps her hands clasped gently before her as they move, settling them on her lap once she is seated. She keeps her back straight and her head high the entire time. “I hope the news that you bring is good - we have had far too much ill news of late, and brighter news would be quite welcome.”

Although the priestess nods in agreement, there is a touch of mirth in those green eyes and a smirk seems to continually struggle to make itself known. "The quality of the news in the eyes of the recipient may not be readily apparent for months or even years yet, Your Highness. However, it is ordained by the Eight, which makes it right. How magnanimously we accept it is in our own hands, is it not?"

She takes a moment to study the youthful face before her, curiosity and even warmth in her gaze. "I have been assigned as Your Highness' personal spiritual advisor. This means, beyond the duties of any priestess to one of the faithful, I am now your dedicated confessor and your spiritual well-being is my concern above that of all others."

Roslin may or may not be surprised with this news - but either way she accepts it with a gracious smile and a bow of her head. “The Eight are most gracious in the timliness of their gifts,” the Princess admits. “I believe I have much need for someone so dedicated to the state of my own soul - particualrly in these trying times. But moreso, there are some projects of a religious nature that I wished to undertake, and advice on these great matters would ease my concionce a great deal.” The Princess lifts her hands to the appropraite position once more to bow in Luna’s direction. “If it so shall be, then I will trust these great things to you, and seek your guidence before all great decisions.” She lifts her head, a slightly mischevious smile upon her lips. “And of course, you must come to dine with me later this week. You must become comfortable in my home, if much of your time is to be spent there.”

Gently arched brows lift at the announcement of upcoming religious projects. "Excellent. It would be a great honor to aid you in your holy endeavors." Luna lets a soft, easy laugh escape. "I shall be glad to join you for a meal, Your Highness. As to comfort, I feel such in any place where the Light is permitted to fill the halls. Have you the time to tell me the general outlines of these projects?"

Roslin nods her head. “I do. I have permission from my father the King, though all of the funding is not yet secure I do not anticipate any difficulties with it. It was a plan I had just before we felt the Laniveer would be at our gates, and I did not feel it appropriate to plan for such a thing in such a dire time. But now, days are easier, and I feel the timing is appropriate now.” She takes a moment to smooth out her skirt, pausing before speaking again. “I intend to construct a small garden and a shrine to the Eight within the wall of Darfield Castle. This is in no way an attempt to overshine our great Temple of Stormvale - no, I simply wished to bring the Light into the castle, taht the nobles and leaders of Mobrin may more easily seek solace and advice from those on high.” The redhead nods, piously. “That is why it shall be a shrine - a reminder of the Gods, not a place meant to replace a home of worship. I have elicited the skills of two Ladies of the court thus far to assit me - one well versed in the growing and tending to roses and other flowers of beauty. The other our own high healer, who shall be sure that all the space is not spent on beauty, but some on practicality as well.” She looks curiously to Luna, to see how the woman responds to this concept.

Luna purses her lips thoughtfully, saying nothing for a long moment. “Perhaps, rather than a shrine to all Eight in one location, you might intersperse veneration of each one throughout an area. It could be in the gardens, as you say you desire flowers. It could even be a separate space in another part of the grounds. However, I think doing so will more accurately reflect the intention of an homage, rather than a place of actual worship. Intentions mean much, but in this world, not half so much as appearances. We would not wish even the slightest rumor of an attempt to step on the toes of the Enlightened of this Temple, of course.”

“Of course,” Roslin agree,s lowering her head respectfully. She smirks again - not a mean-spirited smirk, but more playful. “It is just such things that I would request your guidance on. It will be so very helpful to have such a steady mind to assist with this. Yes - perhaps the garden itself shall have eight points, a small shrine to each. I do not think the people would frown too much upon the bringing of Godliness into the castle - do you?” Already, it seems, the young Priestess is being pulled into the life of a royal and all that goes with it: Public perception on simple tasks.

“If it is done well, then certainly not. The key shall be to maintain the balance between doing justice to Those Who control all and bringing attention to oneself.” Luna smiles warmly, excitement touching her gaze. “We shall work together, along with whomever else you wish to help, and create something of beauty, not gaudiness. If I am publicly known to be aiding you in this, it should quell any claims of the royal family attempting to put themselves forth as the new morality or some such nonsense.”

“I should hope our people know us better than that. We are not evil or malicious and we certainly do not wish to ever come between the people and the Gods. To each his own place in the world - that means us too.” Roslin says easily. She shifts a little on her seat. “That is another matter that ought to be discussed, Blessed. Part of my reason for starting this project is to give the good women of court something to focus their energies on - a pious, peaceful way to focus them - especially should war come again so close to us.” She seems as though she might say more on the matter, but doesn’t. “How may I put this … I do not wish any woman of foul reputation or person to take part. This will be a holy site, and those hands that touch it must be pious as well. The women I have selected thus far are good and honest women, with true hearts and souls. But as the project grows, I intend to open it up so that others may participate in some small way … peace of mind and peace of soul, you know. And yet I wonder how I may limit exposure where these other women are concerned.” No doubt there is a particular woman in mind - the Princess’ sister-in-law, her brother’s wife and the Duchess of the south. The pair were known for being intimate long before they were married, even boasting about it, before marrying in a quiet ceremony. And here, it seems, Roslin becomes a bit more of a young girl than a Princess. She looks down at her hands a little unsurely. “I am torn. For the peace of my family, sometimes I think I ought to perhaps even forgive what has transpired, though no one has done much to herald forgiveness. But on the other hand … to forgive is to accept, and there are some things that should never be accepted.”

Luna is quiet for a time after listening to Roslin’s concerns. Eventually, she begins with a quiet statement. “There is an old adage that still holds true: ‘Fill one hand with hope and the other with sad — see which overflows first.’ Hope is very important, but only so much as it spurs a person to action.” Her gaze moves over the other supplicants at the Temple slowly as she speaks. “To forgive and to accept are entirely different. The former is not condoning the wrong behavior, but accepting that the one who committed the sin is repentant or, at the very least, is not beyond redemption. I will not say what your brother and his now-wife did was right, for it was not. However, they are now wed and so their physical union has transformed into a blessed event. Do you deny their pairing now that they have pledged everlasting devotion to one another before the Eight and mortals? If not, then you cannot claim she is so full of sin she can have no part in venerating the Light. Unless, of course, she is a non-believer.” Her tone is questioning, but expresses obvious doubt.

“I do not know what the woman believes,” Roslin explains. “I have met her but once. The very sight of her fills me with rage. Is it your belief, then, that a sacrement can undo every wrong that came before it? A sacrement that began in sin? It is a farce, all of it. And what burns my soul is that they are not sorry. He is not, I should say. He is proud of what he has done. I know nothing of the woman, but I fear to let her near good maids of the court, lest her wicked ways become more appealing to them and they too should follow. The very sight of her with me would tell the world that I have accepted her atrocities - the only reason Logen has not been sent away and this woman is not in a Maiden’s House is because of my brother’s name. Were they anyone else, it would not be accepted or forgiven.” The Princess sighs, lifting a hand to her face. “Forgive me, Blessed, for my words no longer make sense.” The royal takes a moment to compose her thoughts, lowering her hand to her lap again before speaking. “What was done was a sin. They seek no apology for it - not the family they have hurt, or the realm they have spurned. I do not want this strife in my life or in the lives of my family, but I do not know how I can make it better. I cannot forgive my brother until he seeks forgiveness for his crimes, and I cannot forgive this woman … at all. I cannot allow her near good maids of court under my hand and in my company. If such a woman is granted this consideration, why should any of the other ladies avoid following her into sin? I want peace, but I know not how to achieve it.” It seems the conversation has turned away from the building of the shrines and onto other matters.

The shrines are not nearly as important as the heart of the matter, and so Luna is all too willing to follow Roslin into the murkier depths of her turmoil. “It is not a sacriment which undoes wrongs, but the people themselves. When something cannot be undone, such as the profaning of a maiden’s bed, other amends must be made. To say otherwise would be to say forgiveness is impossible and a single action in youth is enough to damn a soul for all eternity in the eyes of the Eight. Do you believe them so cruel and unforgiving? So cold to their own children, the children they have made with specific flaws?” She sounds genuinely curious.

A few beats pass before she adds, “Of course, one must admit one has sinned before the process can begin. However, holding disdain for another lowers the soul of the one hanging onto the dark emotion as well. One can be cautious, as you are doing by disallowing the maids near an unrepentant woman of ill repute, without being hateful. Disappointed, surely, but that is not nearly the same. To come to such a point will require tireless work on your soul and your outlook, though. Are you willing to attempt it, Princess, for the sake of your kindom, your family, and your relationship with the Eight?”

“I feel as though I am being punished,” Roslin says, her hands keeping a tight grip on one-another as the pair talks. “I feel as though I am required to do what they will not. If the Eight, in their wisdom and power, cannot forgive before amendments have been made, how can I? As I have said, I do not wish for this anger but it is here, inside of me. And the more my brother boasts about how he has found love and the Gods willed him to take this woman’s decency, the angrier I become. The Gods give us trials - they do not cause us to make any choice that is not our own. It is the arrogance of it all I cannot forgive, and yet the more I have thought on the matter the more I have come to realize that if I do not do something, nothing will ever be done. Logen will never seek forgiveness. He will spend the rest of his days bragging about his sins because no one will punish him for them. Others will hear his tales and coem to believe that they too may know their maidens in such a way without consequence. And on and on … the thought of that makes forgiveness impossible. So I cannot answer your question.”

“With all due respect, it is not all about you, Princess,” Luna says bluntly, looking directly at the young woman. “The Eight do forgive, but that does not mean they will withhold punishment from the sinners. If a child old enough to know better willfully breaks a precious vase, and is unrepentant, the parent will still forgive. However, the parent will also punish the child so as to make it clear the behavior is unacceptable. Often, such actions are due to the child desiring attention from the parents. If more proper methods have not worked, perhaps because another sibling outshines this one, they will resort to negative ways. Their hurt twists them so that they believe any attention is better than none, no matter the reason.”

“I know, Blessed,” Roslin says piously again, lowering her head. “I know this is not about me. And yet when I feel that I must forgive what I otherwise would not in another person, I feel wounded. My brother does not understand this.” She sighs, then, shaking her head and lifting it to face the woman seated beside her again. They are seated against the wall in a little alcove in the Temple - no one around to hear or overhear. Not even the maids. “But I am no parent, nor a God. I do not think I can forgive without some measure of justice or punishment or even humility on their part. I wish my family to be whole again … but as things stand, I do not think that I am able to make it so. For seeking to forgive would go against everything that I believe in: That what was done was wrong, that there is immeasurable shame attached to it, and that I should do everything in my power to save others from falling down this same path. It will be tempting to good people, to see them and to think that there is no wrong in following in their actions. So …. no, I do not think my heart may let this go, as much as I desire it to.”

“Your brother does not understand… could it perhaps be that you have not let him see your pain? Not your anger and frustration, but your weakness and your genuine love for him. Does he even know that you love him unconditionally? More importantly, do you? I think you must, to even consider trying to forgive him.” Luna taps her lips as she thinks, her gaze lifting to the chandelier in the center of the Temple. “Please tell me if I am mistaken, but it seems what you cannot forgive is not so much the lack of repentance for sinning as the lack of repentance for dragging your family’s good name down with him. Is that correct?”

“Perhaps,” Roslin says to the last question. “I will always love my brother for his sweetness and innocence. There are other difficulties between us. But we are Kilgours - our family is often the only trusted source we have for support and guidance. If we do not love each other, all is lost. I blame my brother for a great many things - I will not speak of them here - but he knows my feelings on the matter. He thinks very little of me, I must admit - when I tell him that I love him and would forgive him if only he would repent for what he has done, he declares that he shall never grovel before his little sister.” She nods gravely. “He knows what I ask of him for me to forgive him. He does not want my forgiveness, I think. But that is not why I speak of these matters to you - my parents are hurt by this. We have a great many matters before us, my family, and it hurts us to have division. I want that healed but … I do not think I can pay the cost of it. To forgive without justice done, or without it being wanted. So perhaps I have lain this question of mine at your feet and there is no answer for it.”

Luna smiles beatifically. “There is always an answer, dear Princess. Yet I believe it will better reveal itself with time. Let us speak of your parents. Your father thinks the world of you, you know. He loves your mother, but I believe you may be his favorite person in existence,” she offers honestly. “How do you get along with him and, separately, with your mother?”

Roslin’s brows raise in surprise. “You have spoken to him? I daresay you must have before being appointed to such a position as my personal confessor.” She smiles broadly at the thought. “My father is a strong, yet gentle man. He is of a good heart, a strong temper, and a caring nature. No girl could ask for a finer father; nor a subject a finer King. I will support him in all he does through life and death if I may.” Her smile doesn’t faulter when the conversation moves to her mother. “She and I are of a similar mind and … I do not know the word. We are much like each other, I am told. Though sometimes I think, more and more, that I have enough of father in me to make me different from her. She has the sweet and gentle soul that my sister Caillin has - that, I think, is something we do not share. But she is wise enough that such gentleness is always comforting to me, instead of concerning.”

Luna snorts softly, but her lips quirk into an amused smirk. “At length, but before? Why would I do that? The Enlightened of this Temple assigned me to your welfare. I simply spoke to your father to inform him of the matter.” As though it were perfectly reasonable to give orders to a reigning monarch. “He was bemused at my insistence that his wishes with regards to religious matters were only that, not orders. I suppose other clergy never dared make the distinction, which makes me wonder about the state of our Faith.” Shaking her head, she brings herself back to the current discussion. “I look forward to meeting the Queen, if the Eight so will it. I certainly see much of your father in you. You are strongly opinionated and fiercely loyal to your beliefs… and your family. What of your other siblings? How is your relationship with them?”

“I think the clergy has little to fear from my Father. He has far too much respect to ever presume too far.” The redhead nods; a general sign, it seems, of her indicating specific agreement to a statement. “Mother is well-along with child, I do not know that she sees many people beyond the family at this time now. But soon, I am sure.” Rosling reaches forward, peeling off her gloves to reveal slender, pale hands beneath. She wiggles her fingers, stretching her hands a moment. “My siblings … Mikhail is young yet, but he seems as though he shall be an interesting boy to watch. He is loving, and loyal, and witty but he still has much to learn about the world. Caillin…” The Princess lifts her eyes to the ceiling in thought. “Caillin is a sweet soul and a gentle spirit. She has made her mistakes but she meant no harm by them and has been sorely sorry in the past. She and I could not be more different, but I love her as one loves a fragile sculpture of glass that may chip or break at the slightest provocation, but when whole and protected it is a source of great beauty and wonder. She has a spirit that can love as I do not, and shall never have.”

“He has respect for those who respect themselves, I believe,” Luna replies in response to talk of the king. She nods to the rest, her head canting with interest at talk of the other princess. “She sounds as though she is very childlike in her innocence. Is that accurate?”

“Not so much as I am, I should hope - she is a woman married now, with a child soon to be her own. But … yes, there is something of a childlike sweetness to her. As I told her husband when they were first married - she will love stronger than any creature alive, she will hurt more than any creature alive, and she will anger more than any creature alive. She is a being of emotions, my dear sister. There is no intention of harm anywhere in her mind, heart, or soul.” Roslin nods at that, smoothing out her skirts. She doesn’t shift any more - it seems to ahve been a momentary discomfort, but now the woman has fallen back to her royal training - the ability to sit and entertain for hours.

Luna chuckles and shakes her head. “The loss of physical innocence is rarely connected to the loss of emotional innocence. Having a child does not make one more cunning or suspicious of others, for example.” An interested smile is turned on the young woman beside her. “Now you, on the other hand, strike me as one too well-grounded for such flights of fancy. I am glad you are perceptive enough to understand that knowledge comes with a price. Ignorance is bliss, as they say. Yet, if I am to be honest, I would rather be only mildly happy and have a good amount of knowledge. What of you?”

“Were I given the choice,” Roslin says, her young head held high and proud. “I would be miserable and brilliant. With knowledge, I may always find a way to make myself useful. I am the youngest sister in a large family - there is very little use in that, unless I make it for myself. I know there is a price to this and I am ever so happy to pay it. It means that I shall not find myself shuttled off to some Lord to be his wife without knowing why.” The Princess seems to just ooze with confidence. “With knowledge I am able to better serve the Gods, my King and Prince, my family and my realm. Who could ask for more than that, I wonder?”

“Ah, but that is to request omniscience,” Luna replies with a small grin. “There are things which should not be known, not to protect you so much as to protect the privacy of the subject of the knowledge.” She very nearly laughs, mirth dancing in her eyes. “Perhaps you can pray for mild misery in exchange for great, but not complete, knowledge.”

The Princess shakes her head. “I should never presume to know what should not be known,” she explains, once more bowing her head obediently. “But I would know enough, more than others, to make myself worth while.” At that, the woman raises her eyes to a Kilgour guard at the door, who nods - it is a sign that Roslin apparently understands. “Forgive me, Blessed. I must return to the castle. We shall talk again soon, yes? I think I have not yet made a proper confession.” She smiles, moving to rise and bow to teh woman.

Luna rises as well, returning the holy gesture. “Of course. Tend to your duties and we will speak again soon. It was a pleasure truly meeting you, Your Highness.” The warmth shows in her voice as much as her smile.

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