Umbra 25, 228: Royal Confession

Royal Confessions
Summary: Roslin offers her first confession to her new private confessor, Priestess Luna.
OOC Date: 12 November 2013
Related: Royal and Religion
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 25, 228

Luna is speaking with an elderly woman, listening intently and nodding from time to time. Empathy shines from her visage as the elder cries during her speech. Finally, the priestess smiles and offers words of encouragement before carefully helping the woman stand and sending her on her way. “New widows are the most difficult to advise,” she notes to a nearby acolyte, although the girl does not seem to realize she is being addressed.

More difficult to advise than Princesses? Because that is the next assignment - indeed, the assignment for Priestess Luna. One does not simply become the personal confessor to a royal family member without some work being added to the pile.

She wears today something of a more adult dress for the cooler temperatures of the approaching winter - pale gold, with ochre embroidery of tiny leaves all over it. It wears more like a coat than a dress exactly, with a neck that is high in the back and dips into a V in the front without being inappropriate, buttoning down the front with buttons of polished ivory that glisten. Though the sleeves puff at the shoulder they taper to the elbow and finally to the wrist, where they are cut close. She wears a gold tiara among her crown of braids, and a gold eight-pointed star about her throat.

Approaching more boldly than would be acceptable for most nobles to a Priestess, the Princess brings her hands together in a drawn moment of respect for Luna. Yes, too bold for most women. But perfectly acceptable for a Princess.

“I have come for my weekly confession, Priestess,” Roslin says easily.

A bit bold, but certainly not disrespectful. Luna smiles warmly and presses her palms together in greeting to the familiar royal scion. “Light shine upon you, Your Highness.” her arm gestures gracefully toward one of the row of alcoves along the far wall of the Temple. Each one has a curtain, graced with the same sunset hues as the walls. “Please, follow me.”

She leads the way with nearly silent steps toward the first confession alcove, pulling the curtain back gently for Roslin. Within is naught but the cold floor and hard walls. “Kneel, child, and purge your soul of sin through lips that shall become holy. The priestess’ tone has become ritualistic, her face smoothed of any obvious emotion, as she stands in waiting.

Roslin nods her head as she slips into the alcove, in a practiced manner that is as ritualistic as the words. Though she doesn’t kneel until after the curtain has closed, when she does it is an easy and graceful movement, lifting her skirts away from her body to move herself down to the cold, hard floor. Her hands clasp lightly on her lap, and her head is bowed ever so slightly as she speaks the words she has spoken since she knew what words were.

“I kneel before the Eight as Roslin. I am now devoid of title, pride, or pretense, but full of sin. Thusly, I confess to the sins of pride, of vanity, of gluttany, of selfishness, of impure thoughts, and of wrath.”

“I am guilty of pride, Priestess, in myself beyond my position. I find myself believing that I am more knowledgable than my elders and my betters in many things, and I have not the patience to remind myself that I am but a woman and a child and am no greater than any others.”

“I am guilty of vanity, Preistess, as I cannot help but desire love and affection and admiration that I have not earned but that I believe I am due.”

“I am guilty of gluttony, Priestess, for I desire material things - gowns and shoes and gems beyond those which I already posess and which are needed.”

“I am guilty of impure thoughts, Priestess, as I have meditated so often on my future as a married woman of late that the topic cannot be avoided. I know not what to think of it, but I know that such considerations and the flushing of my cheeks and the dancing of my stomach are signs of impurity.”

“I am guilty of wrath, Priestess, because I cannot find it in my heart and soul to forgive my brother his transgressions against our family. Were I a stronger vessel I do not think I would be able to keep myself from striking him.”

“These are my sins, Priestess, bared before you and the light of the Eight that I may rid myself of this darkness.”

With so long a list, this ought to be good! Luna listens to the explanations for each sin, remaining perfectly still as she digests the information. The tiniest tug on her lips nearly has her smirking at the specifics of the ‘impure thoughts’ until she wipes it away. When the confession has been completed, on Roslin’s end, the priestess remains still with her palms pressed together.

Her response is slow and deliberate, the words carefully chosen, for this is the part involving discussion and further insight. It is the most personal and informal section of confession, before the ritualistic end, when forgiveness is granted.

“Do you understand that pride is also the cause of your vanity and some of your wrath, Roslin?”

Roslin lifts her eyes a little to the priestess, so much like the image of Umbra, and then she lowers her head again. Not quite toward teh floor, more around knee-level. It gives her quite the pious look to anyone standing above her.

“I do understand that pride makes one vain, as it may well do in my case, Priestess,” Roslin says, keeping her face low as the words spill quietly from her lips. The wrath is visible even now - that Kilgour wrath - when the topic shifts. “I do not see how my pride has caused my brother his faults. I am angry and cannot forgive, but that is not because I view myself so much better than he. It is because he has wronged.”

Luna nods once when the Princess acknowledges the first link. Yet when the anger shows and the second link is denied, her lips give in to that smirk. “Precisely. You are only partially wroth because he has indirectly wronged you. You are mostly wroth because he has wronged at all. Tell me, who are you, Roslin, child of the Eight and of no title in Their Eyes, to be angry at another for having sinned at all? Have you ambitions of making the Eight become Nine with you sitting in judgment beside the others?”

Pious though she may be, Roslin is in fact prideful and argumentative. “Is it not the place of one who is a servant to the Eight to encourage their ways and their words? My brother has sinned not against me but against all good men who kneels to the light and work to do the Gods’ wishes. I am not angry because I am their peer - I am angry because I am their servant.” The Princess lowers her head a bit more with a little sigh of exhasperation. “I would be free of this anger, for I know it is a sin. Yet while he lives and behaves with no thought or word of pennance it is for the Gods I believe and worship that I am so angry. Are we not to condemn the woman who gives her body freely to strangers? Are we not to condemn the man who dishoners his father and his vow of chivalry?”

An eyebrow arches deeply as Luna listens to the tirade. “We are certainly to condemn and punish, as necessary, but why must you be angry to do so? The worst way to punish a child is by losing one’s temper, making the child feel worthless. Better for them to see that punishment is something well-thought-out and considered, something personal to the child. Not a temper tantrum thrown by the one giving the punishment. If you are to be the adult in this scenario, you must not be angry. More to the point, Roslin, you are /not/ the adult in this scenario. You are one of the children.

“Think more on your future time as wife and mother. Think of how you will love your children unconditionally, faults and all. Now imagine one of your children beating another for breaking a rule you have previously established. Not only does that usurp your authority as the judge and executioner, as it were, but it also means you are watching one ill-equipped to exact punishment on your child mercilessly abusing him.” Luna shakes her head slowly. “Do not imagine for a moment that your blind wrath toward your brother is in any way different.”

“I do not imagine it is any different. I know it is not - I have taken no steps against my brother. You know that. What I feel for him I hold in my heart, and I do not punish him as it is not my place to do so. I wish only to be free of it.”

The Princess lowers her head again, slightly dejected. “But if it is your advice to do so, I shall focus my mind to other things and pray that this wrath leaves me.”

Luna shakes her head sharply, sending tight curls flying. “You have taken steps against him, whether or not you realize it. I have spoken with him, but even had I not, I could surmise you have struck him time and again with your sharp tongue and scathing glares. Would I be incorrect, Roslin?”

A small sigh escapes her. “It is pride which allows you to believe you have the right to be angry, happy, or anything else on behalf of the Eight. You do nothing on their behalf. You do and feel things /for/ them, certainly, but never as their emissary. Your wrath at any who sin, for the simple act of sinning, is a sign you believe you have the right to be offended on behalf of They Who have given you no authority to do so. Yes, punish and condemn the sinners, but do so out of love for them and hope they will repent, not out of disgust or anger. Until you have come to that point, I am afraid your confession for the sin of wrath cannot be accepted.”

Can a priestess even do that? Deny absolution for a confessed sin? Whether or not it is allowed, it is what Luna has just decreed. Her voice softens and the smile returns. “For all the rest, Roslin, child of the Eight, you are forgiven. The following must be done to fully cleanse the stain of sin:

“To purge your pride, you are to spend a day by Prince Tyrel’s side, asking him about matters of military tactics. You are only to ask, never to contradict or bring up a counterpoint. You may request clarification, however.

“To purge your vanity, you are to ask every person you meet over the next month to tell you something you must improve about yourself. Keep a written list and we shall discuss how to proceed if you require guidance.

“To purge your gluttony, you are to give away all but one formal gown, two dinner dresses, and two day dresses. You may retain one pair of shoes to match each gown. It is only due to expectations of your status in this world that you are allowed to keep so much. This will remain in effect for a full season.

“To purge your impure thoughts…” Luna cannot help but crack a smirk again, very nearly giving in to laughter. After a moment, she continues. “You are to study with a healer to learn about the body cycles of the elderly. You are permitted to see drawings, as needed for your study.

“Do you understand your penance, Roslin?”

That temper. Oh, that temper.

“My brother may speak against me, madame, but that does not make me the villian and he the victim. I have kept to myself such things as he has spoken to me that he uses to incite my anger - and yet, I am wrong!” She huffs in a red-cheeked fury, turning her eyes to the ground as she listens to her penance.

Everyone in the temple can likely hear her heart break when she is told she must give away her dresses. Her mother, likely, will not ascent to that - dresses are expensive items after all - but Roslin lowers her head a bit more, vowing to find a way to meet all needs.

She listens and then, at last, she nods gently. “I do understand, and I shall go forth and seek to bring pleasure to the Gods with my actions, and to purge the darkness in my heart with the Light of the Eight.”

Then, at last, she raises her head.

“Did I say he is without sin? Foolish me, I thought this confession was about /your/ sins, child.” Luna gives the girl a hard, unyielding look before setting her hands upon the princess’ head. “You are cleansed, heart and soul, Roslin, child of the Eight. Arise.”

Roslin rises as gracefully as she lowered herself, in a rustling of expensive skirts and satins that will no doubt end up in someone else’s hands. Somehow. She lifts her eyes to the Priestess. “I beg your forgiveness, Priestess,” Roslin says in a tone that has little modesty to it. “But I cannot believe that the Gods would have us forgive and forget the transgressions of others. If we did, there would be no morality left in the Kingdom. Babes without fathers, women without husbands, men in a perpetual state of drunkenness and laziness. A nation of thieves and murderers we would be.” Confession is over, but Theology is still in session. At least for the moment. But then Roslin lowers her head again respectfully.

“You are to leave for Jadda soon, then?”

“I said nothing of forgetting transgressions. In fact, I specifically said they must be punished. What I speak of is carrying anger in your heart on behalf of immortals. Be angry that you were wrong, then move on. Be angry that a handmaid of yours was soiled and is suddenly a mother with no husband, although your anger should be directed toward her as well. And then again, move on. Anger is meant to be temporary, not a fixture of life.” Luna shakes her head. “I know well the famed Kilgour reputation. You are battling generations of habit, but that does not absolve you from the fight. Perhaps overcoming that side of you is the very reason the Eight placed you in this world at all. Would you fail them so utterly without truly attempting to understand and defeat this weakness?”

In response to the question about Jadda, she nods. “Very soon.”

“I do not wish to fail them, Priestess. Above all else I do hope you know that I intend only to please them.” Roslin says, finally, at long last, chastized. She folds her hands in front of her but does not back away - she has risen now, she is Princess Kilgour again. And backing away now does not befit a Princess nor a Kilgour.

“Do you think that you shall meet the crown Prince of Jadda, while you are there?”

Luna dips her head once in recognition of the sincerity of Roslin’s words. She holds back the curtain, gesturing for Roslin to step out of the confessional alcove. “If the initial meeting goes well, I believe we shall. I fully intend to thoroughly assess him for you.” That smirk returns, followed by a wink. “You shall not be a blindsided bride.”

“I … would thank you for that, Priestess,” Roslin says, her forefingers on each hand twisting against each other as she holds her hands before her. “Only if you do not think it is terribly untoward of me to ask you to … well, spy on this Prince on my behalf. But then I daresay you shall know by the time you leave if I am to be a Jaddan Princess or not, so you will know what to consider of him. And, if possible … could you perhaps determine if he does in fact keep a …. harem, as you have said?” She asks, her cheeks flush a bit brightly again. “And what the women of court are wearing? Particularly their queen or any sisters the prince may have, if you have such an opportunity.”

The priestess’ smile grows by leaps and bounds. “My dear Princess, if I have my way, you shall know his favorite color and how he takes his morning beverage by the time I am finished. Now go on, you have much to do and I have yet to pack.” Although what someone with exactly one type of outfit needs to pack is a mystery.

“Thank you, Priestess. Safe travels, and please - do watch over my father as much as you can.” Roslin brings her hands together in a bow and lowers herself in Luna’s direction before turning to leave the confessional, where her maids and guard wait to pick up their watch of her and escort the Princess to the door.

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