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Siege: Wake of Lights

The dark is a scary thing, giving birth to many irrational terrors that even grown men and women might find frightening. During the Siege of Arx, the terrors of the dark have often enough found physical form in Shavs or Bringers of Silence. Lives have been lost, and the people mourn and fear. As any parent might tell a child: you have to face the dark. As any one who has grieved will tell you of your loss: you need to face your grief.

The Spirit Walkers and the Faith of the Pantheon invite those in Arx to join them in doing just that. All across the city stations have been set up with small cloth balloons. Anyone that has experienced a loss in the fight against the Bringers is asked to take one of the balloons and write on it. Write the name of your lost loved one. Write their story. Write a memory you have them. At the appointed hour, the balloons will be attached to light baskets with a small red candle and tiny hot air balloons will be let aloft into the night sky to honor the lost loved ones and show Arx's defiance against the Bringers.



April 8, 2017, 6 p.m.

Hosted By

Aldwin Rowan


Gisele Juliet(RIP) Aleksei Silas Cara Valencia Artorius Sparte Dafne Calypso Calaudrin Merek Acacia Dominic(RIP) Killian(RIP) Meyneth Calista Mydas(RIP) Fortunato Khanne Joslyn Vayne Valery Aureth Ford(RIP)



Arx - Ward of the Compact - Tournament Grounds

Largesse Level


Comments and Log


I have no words to share about the event that can sum it up. The Queen came and visited us, one of the Goddesses themselves. She blessed Aureth, and I could feel my soul being called for. It was... Beautiful. I am confident now, that Rose, and so many which I know, are safe in her embrace, and it is a comfort that I can't begin to voice.


My gods -- so literally.

I came to the Wake of Lights tonight to release three lanterns, one for each of my dear ones who has been lost in this war against the Silence. I expected to cry, to feel deeply, to be moved -- and I was, for the beauty of it was profound. So many voices, rising in unified mourning, in hope and love for those lost.

And then She came.

As the lanterns rose into the sky, a figure appeared, a woman, growing taller and taller with each passing moment. She seemed almost made of shadow, and she rose, higher and higher into the sky until she was adrift with the lanterns that we had released. She spun and their flames soared into her, caught and held within her form.

And then She spoke, to her priest, Master Aureth. She placed her hand upon his chest and sent all the power of the flames she had absorbed into him.

We worshipped Her, and She came.

I felt, watching her, as though my own soul was called toward her, trying to lift free of my mortal form and join her. It was the most peculiar sensation I've ever experienced.

It was transcendent.

I will never forget it.

As evening begins to fade away across Arx, various sites have been set up where the population might gather. In each ward of the city there are shamans and Pantheon priests working together at smaller versions of this very field. In the Lowers they gather at the square outside of the Tragedy. In the Uppers they congregate near the Sewatch wall. In the Valardin ward it's at the Cairn and so on. But for the Ward of the Compact, for the largest of the gatherings, there could only be the tournament grounds.

People have been arriving all day, filing in with their previous gained linen lantern covers now painted with names or stories of the departed. They fill the stands. Around the grounds themselves stand the Shamans around ritual flames, and white-clad priests in clusters of thirteen. Everyone that comes in with one of the lanterns is set up with a small, light basket and a red candle, ready to be assembled with the aid of those organizing the event.

Aldwin is standing near the judge's booth, ressplendent in his white and gold. He leans on his staff while speaking to Neve, his guards arrayed behind him at a respectful distance. The light breeze moving through the area flutters the silk and white hair at irregular moments. Never quite consistent enough to get a good dramatic effect on.

3 Fidante House Guards, Alejandro arrive, following Calista.

Gisele has a cane of her own, and the white robes of a disciple, to go with her little balloon. She holds it awkwardly, carefully, not entirely certain or confident of this "flame near flammables" thing, nor trusting in her own strength or balance. But the lettering that covers her balloon is neatly inked, the same script that fills so many of the city's books, and the eyes that lift to the first early stars are reverent. Never is the little scholar quite so happy as when worshipping.

Rowan had spent much of the day moving between the different sites set up around the city, sitting to talk with children about what they were painting onto their lanterns, or just listening to adults as they spoke about those they had lost. Somewhere between then and now though something had gone amiss and arriving at the appointed hour he was walking with a favoring to his left side with a freshly washed look about him, his hair still damp at the roots where he's plaited it back down the center of his head. He arrives in step with Khanne, speaking quietly with her, his own lantern in hand with an elaborate arrangement of many small ink-drawn runes. He nods towards Aldwin, starting to turn his feet to approach the judge's booth.

Merek has decided to come, and has a latern that he has prepared in intricate detail, while he brushes a hand along it. He is in his full armour, with his visor lifted up, while he finds a quieter place than most have gathered around, to settle down, and continue writing on the lantern. Meeka and his Guard move with him, but remain back, with their own little lanterns and such.

Cara arrives not with one lantern, but with three -- she herself carries one while two of her retainers carry the others. Each of the lanterns has been carefully marked in ink, delicately decorated with tiny bats and tiny spiders in a lace-like pattern around the top and bottom. From a distance, it looks merely geometric. The message on each of the lanterns, though, is written in handwriting small enough to keep the details private -- save for the names. Valkieri. Pietro. Vincere.

Calaudrin arrives with his completed lantern, his imperfect writing all over the thing. Read: terrible, terrible handwriting. He glances around at the crowds, standing somewhere near other members of the guard but not necessarily right on top of them either. He's in uniform, but not wearing his helmet.

As odd as it is for him, Aleksei has swallowed down his discomfort long enough to get back into white robes to help with this particular event. His sword is probably stashed nearby. JUST IN CASE. He flitters between solemn and friendly-welcoming to those who approach his particular cluster of priests. He offers Gisele a particularly warm -- if nervous -- smile.

Dominic arrives with just two guards and his trained animal companion. He takes a moment to look around and absorb the sight of it all even though he was not really sure what was happening. He motions to his guards to follow him, which they do, and he makes his way towards the general seating. Dominic Thrax, a large man, seems content in his leather and polar bear fur cloak sitting and people-watching, hoping to catch up with the ceremony.

Aureth looks freshly washed, freshly trimmed, etc., except for the telltales of inkstains on his fingertips. Thus the paleness of his robes has been marred around the region of the sash by, uh, a couple of black fingerprints. Well, other than that he looks fine. His pale hair loose, his frown grave, he looks thoughtful.

Silas arrives with a single lantern. A very ugly, ink-blotched lantern with very little organization in any of the text -- probably slightly less homely than Calaudrin's ugly lantern due to the higher quality ink -- but containing the names of many Iron Guardsmen who had fallen before and during the siege, so he quickly ran out of space. He inclines his head in Calaudrin's direction when he beholds the rival ugly lantern. "And I thought I was being clever..."

Nightshade, a tiny black kitten, 3 Rubino and Zaffria guards, Ariadne, Penelope arrive, following Dafne.

Sparte doesn't have a light basket, but is here to support others who do. He has been fortunate, or perhaps just mourns in other ways. He mostly keeps his attention away from the center of the gathering, being a good guard and watching for trouble.

Fortunato has a lantern, delicate, but unadorned save for intentionally obscured names. He's on the periphery, still working ink onto the surface. It's crowded, that surface, gotten crowded.

Calista makes her way towards the table of vendors where she and her guard Alejandro pick up a couple of candles for their lanterns. Between the two of them they carry about four or maybe even five lanterns for various loved ones who have been lost. She moves through the throngs of people with an elegance and grace that is far beyond her years and though this is an event of remembrance, a touch of sadness is present in her shadowed emerald eyes.

Acacia subtly exchanges a carelessly scribbled missive with the lantern her associate had temporarily kept aloft from her. The roll of writing instruments is deftly slipped within the interior of her cloak once she strides inwards, deliberately timing her footsteps to the natural current of the crowds which are gathered. Her lantern is perhaps surprisingly devoid of writing when she takes it back, save for a number of hashmarks inked into the side. The other hand brandishes a flask which is liberally used. As she eases past Calaudrin and Silas, she murmurs quietly aside to the both of them, with just a bit of humor, "You can't use cleverness as an excuse for terrible taste."

Aldwin has joined the Judges Booth.

Calista has joined the General Seating.

"We should start coordinating our outfits too. Sir." Calaudrin comments, the corners of his mouth twitching upwards. He glances at the scrawl all over his and then at the other man's. "Did we write down the same people too?" It's a kind of grim humor, one that's disrupted by Acacia's passing. "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I happen to think they're rather impressive." 'Impressive' is probably up for debate.

Cara has joined the Field.

Merek has joined the Quiet Booth.

Merek takes his time to put some finishing touches upon his, and then he reaches down to make a small piece of artwork upon his. It looks like he is drawing what seems to be a rose upon it, "Someday," he murmurs to the lantern. He places his head to it, eyes watery a small bit, before he swallows, and receives a pat on the shoulder by Meeka. He nods aside, and then seems to ready for the event.

Gisele has a smile for Aleksei, and one for Aureth too, both picked out for that show of expressive reassurance. But it's Fortunato she makes her way towards, leaning on the cane and sighing out occasionally at the twinges which leave her favouring her side. "Did you dawdle?" is a murmur intended as (gasp) teasing.

Merek checked dexterity + artwork against difficulty 15, resulting in 14, 1 lower than the difficulty.

Dafne has joined the Field.

Gisele has joined the Field.

Fortunato has joined the Field.

Aleksei murmurs something to the other priests he's standing with before darting away, striding over to the booth that Aldwin sits at. His smile is a bit wry as he speaks to the Dominus, pulling out a stack of his own parchments that haven't been attached to lanterns yet.

Aleksei has joined the Judges Booth.

Boots, Chip, a small mouse arrive, following Valery.

Khanne walks beside Rowan when they arrive, to his right, speaking quietly with him. She carries her own lantern, names all around it, surrounded by what appears to be a painted landscape, mountains reaching towards the top of the lantern, the top of which has been given a dark wash and stars spotting the canvas. She spent the day helping to set up the various gathering stations, supplying those there with direction and materials, and like Rowan, helping the little ones of Arx as much as she could.

Fortunato looks up from the lantern, his smile slight. As usual. "Hi, Gisele." Casual, if not quite easy. A lack of much inflection over actual relaxation. "I wanted to do it here. Which you can call dawdling, if you like." His eyes shift slight to her balloon. "You're prepared, as always. Same lovely calligraphy."

Khanne checked dexterity + artwork against difficulty 15, resulting in 25, 10 higher than the difficulty.

Vayne is as usual hard to miss as he makes his way to join the small gathering of Archlectors on the scene. His tabard of office is the same gilded white as all the others; his longcoat on the other hand while quite immaculate in all other respects is black as pitch. His lantern is inked with small, precise lettering in neat rows, and he takes his seat with a smile and a quiet nod of greeting.

Silas frowns at Acacia and peers back at the lantern he held in his hands. "We're not artists but it doesn't have to be pretty for the sentiment to be a good one," he retorts with a sniff before nodding to Calaudrin. "We probably did. Next time lets meet up beforehand. But as long as we got everyone between us, I'll declare it a success."

Vayne has joined the Judges Booth.

As people begin to filter in, more and more, the priests take the time to go among them and offer words to those who look clearly grieved. For the attendees that follow the more Shamanic traditions, shamans welcome them over to firesides, inviting tales of heroics or strength of spirit and character.

Dafne arrives with her small entourage, a small figure in black cradling a lantern in her arms, her attendants carrying two more. All three lanterns are dark, with a lacework of tiny spiders and bats at the bottom, each with a name in clear large script. She crosses the field with a rustle of dark silk, heading toward Cara.

Artorius arrived in his darksteel armor, his tattered red cloaks bearing the malvici hawks most certainly have seen much of battle. His greatsword lays sheathed against his back, He most likely came to mourn lost friends during this battle, and of course remembering the memory of his wife. He carries a lantern that is very nicely done, lettering and artwork, most likely also in rememberance.

Gisele plans cane-tip in soft earth and lifts her balloon before her like a lantern. "The novices at the Mausoleum. The... ah. Some others. Who were forgotten. Or lost," she murmurs. "And no, I don't call it dawdling." Her arm lowers again-- though still held slightly out because fire-- and she lets her gaze travel over those collecting nearby. So many people. To her credit, she doesn't shrink back behind the artist. But maybe she leans a little nearer to Fortunato.

Aureth sidles over toward the judges' booth, robes flaring around his legs as he moseys up to Aldwin et al.; he drops his inky fingertips on the side of the booth with a faintly worried look pinches his brows. He says, "Big crowd."

It's almost like Cara and Dafne coordinated their lanterns -- the much taller Grayson lady greets Dafne with a quick smile and a gentle touch on the shoulder, making sure there's room for her and her lanterns in addition to her own. It takes up a bit of space on the field, with the two of them and their retainers and various burdens. "I'm glad to see you, Duchess."

Aureth has joined the Judges Booth.

Valery doesn't carry any lantern, just her basket, both mice inside and out of sight. She moves aside and stays against a wall, trying to stay as unnoticed as she can.

Rowan stops near the edge of the Judge's Booth to lean to it and greet those gathering inside. His attention then turns to survey the gathering of faces with a melancholy smile. The cause for gathering, for the event, was a sour one, but it was good to see so many, to see the peaceful work between the two beliefs, to see the populace working towards healing and coping and moving forward. Without much thought his hand reaches out to find Khanne's and squeezes it tightly.

Merek seems to be with a Priestess that walks over perhaps, and there is a small chat. He nods a bit, and shows his lantern to them, perhaps sharing tales a small bit, while he seems to be comforted by it.

Aldwin turns a smile to Rowan when the Greenmarcheris approach, and Khanne as well. "Thank you both for seeing to so much of this. It should be getting fully dark soon, if you have words you wish to say before we start. It'd be good for everyone to hear from both sides."

Dominic finds the whole affair odd, the ceremony for mourning, but acknowledges the irony of the Mourning Isles. His arms cross for a moment as he leans back. At that moment he is reminded of a small canteen he keeps in this winter coat. He reaches for the drink, unscrews the cap, and takes a swig wincing at the bitterness of the drink before passing it to his guards, both whom take a swig of their own.

Calaudrin watches after Acacia with a furrow forming to his brow. He blinks once and then looks back down at his lantern, then at Silas'. Then he sighs and rolls his shoulders helplessly. "I don't know." As for meeting up the next time, "That sounds good to me. I put that story about the time Vatario lost all his clothes at strip poker..." Hopefully there was no requirement for the memories to be serious ones. Because there's probably more non-serious ones than heartwrenchers on this thing.

Calista glances over her shoulder to see Dominic loitering nearby. There's a slight tilt of her head before murmuring a sweet greeting to the Thraxian Prince. "We always seem to run into one another at very busy gatherings. I pray you've been well, Prince Dominic."

Fortunato indicates one larger name in the haze of ink. "My mother," he says. "Some others. Many others. Gathered a few from the Cathedral. Made symbols where I didn't know." He says this low, near-sotto. He does the last bit of ink with faint flourish, then tucks quill away in loose cloth, still dirty. He holds the balloon with one careful hand. And if Gisele leans a bit closer to him, there's a small shift of tension to his body. For the crowd.

Rowan glances towards Khanne then back up towards Aldwin. "We can certainly do that."

Fidelia Fidante, A Lady-in-Waiting arrives, following Juliet.

Silas raises one brow at Acacia, but turns his attention to Calaudrin and smirks. "Are you kidding? Those are the -best- stories. Forgot to mention that on mine, though. Uh, I kind of write big..." He looks a tad chastened, but adds a rueful shrug. "We're plenty bright, aye?"

"I think we have more than our share of lanterns," Dafne murmurs to Cara, soft. Her kitten is nestled in the hood of her cloak, and watches the proceedings curiously. She starts to set candles in the baskets of the lanterns, her assistants helping to juggle them. She adds, "I liked the idea of this."

The sun has disappeared but some light lingers in the sky, fading, fading. The bonfires the shamans are standing around light up the field and more than a few songs can be heard rising from them. Some of the conversation from the priestly groups is lively rather than somber. Death may be a sad thing, but this is as much a celebration of life as it is a remembrance of death.

Acolytes in white tabards begin to file in, marching in a procession through one of the gates with red taper candles on gold candleholders, hands cupped to shield the flames from the movement. Thirteen groups of thirteen each carrying flames that were lit in the presence of Death's altar.

Dominic gives Calista a soft chuckle and nods, "We do, happy concidence of our job I suppose." He takes the canteen he has been sharing with the guards and drinks. Offering the drink to her, he says, "I have been busy but good busy and yourself?"

1 Nightgold Household Guards arrives, following Mydas.

Valery stays quiet against the wall. She glances to the door a couple of times, rubbing her arm, thoughtfully. She starts moving slowly back to it.

Merek takes a moment to cradle his lantern, and then with the help of the Priestess, he soon has it settled with the basket and candle and it is prepared for the release. He hums a bit to himself as he works with it.

Juliet arrives, having chosen to attend as a civilian rather than in her disciple's shroud. Carrying a painted lantern with her, a flowing script along the purple cloth of the balloon. A name inscribed, too, a little larger than the story surrounding it. She takes in the field, the flame, the people singing, speaking quietly, here and there. Offering words of encouragement, little touches. Looking to the Judge's Booth, and sketching a curtsey to the people there. Letting Fidelia take the lantern, so she can wave over to the field where Cara and Dafne and Gisele and Fortunato are. And, spotting her cousin in the stands, she offers a smile and a curtsey to Calista and her company, as well.

"At least it's semi-legible." Calaudrin comments, peering over it. "Or maybe I'm glad no one can read mine." He smirks then, falling into a polite silence when the acolytes begin to file in with their candles and flames.

Mydas steps into the tournament grounds late, rather unlike him. He doesn't move to engage anyone, instead watching silently, observing the going-ons of the much expected event.

Ford has joined the General Seating.

Aleksei has left the Judges Booth.

For a splitting instant, Acacia poses in that symbol of almost-sober respectfulness. She'd fallen perfectly silent in order to watch the procession, with breath slowly being drawn. But then those beats past and she's drinking once more, before she's whispering something aside once more.

Gisele bends a little awkwardly over her cane when Juliet is sighted. A clumsy, tentative sort of bow. Her smile is better and she sends that too, before returning to her soft conversation with Fortunato. A nod towards his balloon hints at the topic.

Calista accepts the canteen from Dominic and lifts it lightly in quiet thanks before pressing her lips to the rim and savoring the harsh twinge of alcohol that burns on the way down. "Thank you." Handing the canteen back to the Thraxian, the Duchess of Tor offers him light shrug of her shoulder. "I have been busy as well. I believe we all are these days but it warms me to see so many gathered here today." Calista inclines her head to Juliet just as Alejandro shares a murmured message. "I see. Please let him know I will be there shortly." Another look to Dominic has her appearing somewhat apologetic. "I'll be leaving my lanterns with one of my guards but I trust you will see them take flight, your highness." She rises from her seat then and smiles kindly to Dominic and then to Juliet before slipping out.

Aleksei slips away from his conversation with Aldwin, Vayne, and Aureth, looking back out at the gathering crowd. He makes his way through the gathered people and slips out onto the field.

Aleksei has joined the Field.

"As did I," Cara answers Dafne, then smiles to Juliet as she notices the Fidante lady. She bows her head in greeting, staying largely quiet in deference to the solemnity of the event. As the lanterns begin to be lit, though, she lifts her gaze to them, and the gentle proliferation of light in the darkness. When it's time for her own lanterns to be lit, she takes the flame herself on a taper, touching it to each of the lantern's candles carefully and with her own hands. Then she touches her fingers to her lips, kissing them, before passing the kiss to each of the lanterns in turn as light blossoms within them.

Calista has left the General Seating.

Khanne finishes up helping a young, sniffling lady with her lantern, trying to offer her support and comfort in her obvious time of need. Now, with Rowan's hand in her own, she stands near the Judge's Table and looks over the crowd, her own lantern set aside for the time being. She lowers her leather hood, revealing wine-red hair and begins to speak. Her voice, though projected to be heard over the field, is calm and soothing. "Thank you, all, for coming today. Those of the Faith and Shamans alike. We gather here today with unity in mind, setting aside any of our differences in culture, belief, or practice. Today, we take a moment to heal our hearts, our minds, and remember those who have sacrificed all that they were to help the Compact survive.

"We choose these lanterns for many reasons. Light itself can hold different meanings for us all, but almost universally, it is a symbol of hope. It is my hope that the souls of those who have past will see this light of hope, their names written upon the lanterns, as a remembrance, knowing they will not be forgotten, and their sacrifice not in vain." Khanne continues, eyes sweeping the grounds. "It is my hope that we as a people will take shit moment and see these lights lifted to also help raise our own spirits in these dire times." She pauses a moment then says, "I have mentioned to many that as a child, I believed the stars were our ancestors, looking down upon us, watching, guiding, guarding. May they see these lights float up towards them and help us all heal and continue to give us the strength of a people united throughout this siege."

3 Fidante House Guards, Alejandro leave, following Calista.

Merek takes a moment to light the candle on his lantern, when it is time to be lit, that is. Then he listens to Khanna while she speaks for the time being.

Juliet has joined the Field.

Artorius stood alone, looking up at the sky and shedding only a few tears. He was tough and held back the rest. He was praying for his passed Lover, Victoria. He would look then to his candle, wanting so badly to light it. Their anniversary was in a few days.

Dominic nods to Calista, bowing his head at her departure before returning his attention back to the ceremony and the laterns taking flight. He doesn't participate though, comfortable in his seating. Dominic takes another sip of the canteen once he gets it back from Calista and then again passes it back to the guards for them to drink.

Fortunato flickers a small, familiar wave almost over-shoulder at Juliet as he describes the balloon and its subject quietly to Gisele. Seems a bit more relaxed.

Ryder arrives, following Calypso.

Once Khanne begins speaking of believing the dead to be the stars in the sky (as a child), the flame-bearing Acolytes start dispensing aroudn the crowd. They approach everyone that holds a lantern, offering to light it for them and murmuring that it should not be released until the ceremony is ready for it.

Silas turns towards the procession and falls into silence, simply nodding back to Calaudrin in reply. He bows his head solemnly at the conclusion of Khanne's speech before he acquires a candle for himself to prepare the hastily-scribbled upon lantern. The Lord Commander lights it himself and simply waits.

Rowan has joined the Judges Booth.

Juliet accepts a taper from one of the acolytes, and lights her lamp, a warm light spreading outwards from it, before she gives thanks to the acolyte, and moves over towards Cara - Gisele getting a smile in turn for hers, and Fortunato getting an incline of her head. Still, it's the princess Cara she aims for, murmuring quietly as she comes closer.

When Khanne finishes her words, Rowan moves to step into the judge's booth. He winces a little as he climbs the steps to address the crowd, but once he was there, he draws himself up straight to survey the many faces, the many lanterns held in their hands, and the many souls and spirits they represent. He is quiet for a few long moments, just taking in the weight of it. He glances towards his own lantern and then finally lifts his head to speak.

Drums set up at different points around the tournament begin to beat out a low clack-thump clack-clack-thump, but Rowan raises the deep gravel of his voice above. "There stands an army outside our gates that hopes to break us through seige. There are agents of our enemies inside walls who hope to destablize us and shatter our morale and strike at our most vulnerable citizens. They have taken countless lives on their march and in their assault, and tonight we gather to remember them. We gather to remember their strength, their courage, and their stories. We gather to remember their lives and that we are forged of the same steel. Arx will stand. Humanity will stand."

He pauses for a moment as the cadence of the drums builds intensity, turning his eye around the stands and the grounds before speaks again, nearly a bellow though it leaves him to drop a hand to his wounded side. "Tonight we light up the sky and tell Tolamar Brand that our spirit is not one that can be broken while we draw breath. Tonight we tell Tolamar Brand that our spirits soar, that we will fight on, and that we will -not- bend to his hollow army. We tell him that our loved ones did not fall in vain because we will perservere, draw ourselves up tall, and not merely survive, but triumph and thrive!"

Dafne turns a smile to Juliet as the lady joins the field, but an Acolyte then approaches and she turns her attention back to the lanterns. Like Cara, she takes the taper herself to light the candles. There are tiny holes pierced in the fabric of her lanterns, so when the candle is lit, small points of light glimmer like stars. The candlelight casts strange shadows across her face.

Content with hanging back, Ford finds himself a seat and simply watches the lanterns and those who brought them.

Calypso arrives a little late perhaps, stepping in to the area with a quiet observation. Not yet sure of how or what to do to get involved, she reverently watches and listens as others speak their words of inspiration.

Artorius looks up with tears in his eyes as he looks to Rowan. Looking at his lantern as he mourns his deceased love. He mourns the men in his unit who fell, he mourns his friends, who have fallen. He listens carefully. Toughening up.

While Khanne's message received numerous nods and some quiet, heartfelt, murmurs, Rowan's brings a few cheers. Nervous, uncertain cheers that have people looking sheepish when they realize they don't know if that's ok. But the words have been well received it seems.

The last light has gone from the sky, leaving only the twinkle of stars in the heavens. Shadows deepen, thicken, all around the tournament grounds. One might wonder if the priests wear white to just stand out a little more.

Merek, having lit his own lantern, hoping that as a Disciple that is alright, he then readies it, standing with Meeka, his Guard, and a Priestess, waiting as he watches and listens to the people talking, then looks up into the skies.

Valery seems surprised as she's stopped before reaching the door, but, after a few words to the man that stops her, and a polite nod to Acacia, she sneaks outside.

Boots, Chip, a small mouse leave, following Valery.

Calaudrin waits quietly, listening intently to words spoken by others. When someone approaches to light his lantern, he nods in thanks and then cradles the lantern's base. He'll be quiet until it's time to release them all.

When Rowan finish, he draws back a step or two, nodding towards the Pantheon priests, clasping a hand to Aldwin's arm, then eases himself back to rejoin Khanne and to have his lantern lit, holding it up to watch as the air inside heats and expands until he's only holding the lantern to keep it from floating away too early.

Rowan has left the Judges Booth.

Sparte watches the lanterns go up into the sky, a big smile hidden behind his helmet's faceguard. "Beautiful."

Gisele shifts uncomfortably on her feet, the diffuse flicker of her lanter casting shadow and glow over the white of her robes. An uncertain look is given to Aleksei and her brow briefly rumples but nothing else is said to him. Instead, as the candle heats the air inside of the lantern, she holds it out before her, and takes a (careful, hitching) breath against the shiver of drumbeats through flesh and bone.

Khanne cheers Rowan's words after her own calmer ones are said. As he spoke, she had her own candle lit, her lantern soon glowing from within, making the names of the fallen painted around stand out amongst the brighter back drop. The darker top of her lantern looks like the actual twinkling stars as the light shines through the darkened canvas in spots left unpainted. She lifts her arm up high, holding the lantern aloft and ready, though does not quite release it just yet.

Aureth steps forward in his own turn and stands straight, inhaling a long breath. For a moment, he is quiet, as though measuring the words. His hands begin clasped tightly behind him, his chin lifted very slightly. His pale gaze scans the crowd, as the acolytes circle with the red tapers. "We stand," he says, "besieged, in the City of Arx, the City of the Queen of Endings and Beginnings." The drums continue through the cadences of his words, and he pitches them to carry, with his voice clear and strong as he builds behind them. "The once lost goddess of our Pantheon, Lady Death, Guardian of the Wheel. We stand together, against the forces aligned against us, and against Her. Those who have fallen fill our hearts, as they fill these lanterns. Death has taken these souls under her guard, under her protection. We send them to the sky to honor them, and to honor Her."

His hair gleams with the flicker of the light with the bow of his head for a moment, and he steps forward, saying, "With each death, a life has ended. A soul has returned to the waiting hands of the Goddess, who spun that soul in the first place. We join with the shamans in love and remembrance of the fallen, as we send our memories high with our hopes. Those that live on, we stand; and to Death, we send our prayers for all those that we love, for new Beginnings, and a future as bright as these candles, this starlight."

As Fortunato's lantern is lit, as the drums begin, a faint frisson of excitement straightens his shoulders and brightens his eyes. His face tilts up, toward the stars, and he seems, for a moment, unhearing or unaware of anything but the sounds of ceremony, the scatter of skylight. His brother's speech.

Acacia granted that return nod towards Valery to pair with the faint smile upon the woman's departure. With her lantern lit into that illuminated flicker, she tucks her chin rather than expose that faint tension which courses through her jaw. Another murmur is quietly bestowed aside, before she seeks out that silence to watch Aureth.

Cara finishes preparing her lanterns, though has not released them -- the three she's brought are bound together very loosely with a skein of red thread, light enough so as not to burden them on their flight into the sky, but strong enough to keep them from drifting too far apart. It also lets her hold onto them easily, in readiness to let them go when the time is right. She listens to Aureth as he speaks, very still. Waiting.

Dafne holds onto one lantern lightly; it tugs at her hands like a horse eager to be let go. She looks up to Aureth, and then bows her head, reverently, as in prayer. Possibly she is, to their once-lost goddess.

Calypso seems to catch the drift of it and steps forward on to the field. She illuminates her own lantern as she listens, holding it and watching its flickering light as she reflects on the 2000 lost at Giants Fall. And the other 5000 lost at Pridehall. Those lost at the gate, in her own army, in the armies of her fellow commanders. So many lost already. But her steeled resolve leaves her expression in only a somber quiet. Aureth's words seem to hold a weight with her, nodding at his words in particular.

Calypso has joined the Field.

Silas has joined the Field.

It is as Aureth speaks of candles and starlight that the first lanterns get released by the priests that had them. Thirteen lanterns, puns in honor of Death inked on their surface, get released at the same time from the center of the field. Into the dark sky they drift languidly, rising slowly from the upstretched hands of the priests that have been holding them.{N

Rowan holds his lantern higher, a single finger curled through the bracing holding the candle, while his attention rests on Aureth. After a few moments he tips is head in a quiet reverence, a moment of reflection. The first lanterns rising to the air, those thirteen, are what ultimately draw his attention away and upward, watching them drift and dance on the night breezes.

Gisele's eyes shine as they lift to Aureth, her heart in them. Devotion and belief, strong as bedrock, is there in her regard. She had listened to the shamans but now, listening to Death's priest, she gleams like the little lanterns do and finally seems to find no difficulty in holding hers out, ready for release. But first she tracks the lift of the thirteen while under her breath, a prayer is spoken in murmur.

1 Nightgold Household Guards leaves, following Mydas.

Merek waits until the call to release them is mentioned, for now, watching the pun lanterns rise up into the sky.

With a soft exhalation of breath, Cara lets her fingers untangle from the red thread holding her lanterns, and watches as unbound they begin to float into the sky -- still together, but free of earthly bonds, ready to ascend.

Silas moves to get a better view of the rest of the lanterns, as well to ensure the trajectory of his own wasn't interfered with. Still listening, with the lantern in hand. His eyes follow the lanterns which are released and his expression is unreadably neutral. He raises his lantern in preparation for its release.

The breeze catches the first released lanterns in the air and sends them swaying as they rise. Aldwin waits for the lanterns to reach the top of the stands in height before he ambles with his staff towards the edge of the Judge's booth. "Let us all join together, as one voice, as one people, and show our dedication to life. Please, release your lanterns now."

Valencia arrives just in time to see the lanterns start to take flight.

Merek lets loose his lantern, and allows it to float upwards. He watches it, and waves a small bit, smiling sadly. He then seems to watch for now, deep in pensive thought and sadness.

Fortunato raises his lantern high as his hands will reach, then releases it into the night. "To new beginnings," he murmurs after it. "Bright, new futures. Life."

Khanne watches those first thirteen lanterns rise up into the sky, smiling softly as they do. She holds tight still to her own lantern, wiating for the right moment. Leaning closer to Rowan to murmur something quietly for a moment, her attention lifts once more, then looks to Aldwin as he speaks. She gives a nod, letting her lantern free, the heat from the candle lifting it up slowly, into the sky. As it rises, slow tears slip from her eyes and down her cheeks, her heart overflowing with emotion and remembrance, but also with hope and the beauty as the sky is suddenly filled with lanterns lit and released all over the city.

Dafne keeps her fingertips on her lantern as the others are released, rising to her tiptoes to keep it in touch. She finally lets it go as her attendants release her other two, and tilts her head back, face lit with the glow of the lanterns as she watches the memories of those lost fly free.

Joslyn arrives as the lanterns are released, watching it all with a solemn silence, holding her side as she moves to get a better view

Artorius kept his hands on his lantern a small moment, whispering an "I love you Victoria. I pray your peace remains eternal." He would release his lantern, watching it escape into the night sky with a tear being shed.

As the lanterns rise into the sky, Ford takes in a deep breath and pulls his flask from his coat. He takes a single sip, then raises it to the lanterns, then pours the rest of is out on the ground. This one's for all my homies who didn't make it back, yo. Much love.

Gisele's lips continue to move in near soundless prayer as she lifts her arms and lets her fingers loosen on the strings that keep her lantern captured. The string slips free and her offering rises, a slow arcing drift in pursuit of Fortunato's. "Remembering," she whispers, an addendum to the artist's own wish.

The lanterns are being released and for all that Calaudrin was making funny remarks earlier, he seems more somber now. He looks down at the lantern in his hands and appears moved, if only for a second. Then the masks slips into place once again and he lets his go, watching it float up away into the sky.

A woman walks through the gathered crowd. With each step, she grows taller, taller still, larger than life. She wears a gown of cobwebs, pale against already pale skin. Her hair flows back behind her, twists and twirls, gathers into a whorl of shadow, disperses into reaching tendrils, reforms again. She is here, but she is not here -- transparent, she shimmers against the night air.

Rowan looks to Aldwin when he signals the release, and lets his go to join those rising not only here, but all over the city. He watches it for a few moments, mouthing faint words after it's departure until it becomes another undistinguishable light in the sky amonst the others, and then turns his attention down to curl his arm close around Khanne's shoulder. He thumbs at the tear on her cheek and presses a kiss to her temple, murmuring some quiet word in return as his other arm joins the first wrapped around her.

Calypso lifts her lantern upwards and lets it go, watching it rise in the sky. As she watches her lantern drift up with the others the only word she says is "Thank you."

Acacia maintains her grip upon the lantern, hindering it from its ascension until more of the others surrounding her are released. It's only with reluctance that she finally peels her digits away from it, watching it upon its eventual liberation and then drinking immediately after. It's only when it might have become so lost within the numbers that it might not be able to be picked out, that she expels that held breath.

Juliet puts a hand on Cara's wrist, and lets go of the lantern in her hand, watching it rise. Her attention mostly caught on it, as she lets tears stream down her face. She almost misses the sight of the woman. Blinking, bowing her head. Gesturing for Dafne and Cara to look as well.

Silas looks up a the darkened sky with a wan smile and opens his hands. The lantern proceeds to drift away, into the inky expanse above. "'Mercy bids thee go," he murmurs. His gaze lingers on the lantern for a few long moments as others join it on its journey, then he turns and salutes to his guardsmen: Calaudrin, Merek, and Sparte. "I must now be off. Be well, everyone."

Valencia blinks a moment and steps back.

Merek looks to the side, and that's when he sees the woman that is coming through, transparent. He makes a small sound, and so do his retainers. He then lowers his knees a bit to the ground, in reverence knelt, as he watches, gaze switching between the sky and then the woman.

Aldwin is distracted by the thounands of lanterns rising into the air - a sight that must look amazing when viewed from the distance. So he does not notice the otherworldly visitor at first. But when she has grown too tall to miss? That's when the Dominus turns to face the woman in the cobweb gown and... stares.

Dominic stands up as his gaze comes down from the latern to the woman walking through the crowd in the field. He inhales deeply and stares.

Cara catches sight of the woman and her eyes widen -- and then, unbidden, she kneels, saying on a shaken breath, "The Queen--"

Aleksei has no lantern of his own -- he has been helping others -- but his gaze lifts with the others to watch them rise. Until, of course, that shimmering, semi-transparent woman appears in the crowd. He swallows. There's a particular sort of recognition in his eyes as he holds his breath a moment.

Amidst murmurs between she and Rowan, Khanne notices the pale, almost transparent figure rising through the crowd, taller, and taller. Her misty-grey eyes open wide and she steps just a touch closer to Rowan, lips parting in a bit of awed surprise.

Gisele loses her grip on that cane. In lieu of, her hands swing out, one to Aleksei's arm, the other to Fortunato's. Holding herself between them, her knees are allowed to go watery-- and then their strength is used to help ease her to the ground where she can kneel, a penitent before the divine. "O Lady..."

Rowan looks up from his quiet words with Khanne to stare out towards the unearthly woman moving through the crowd, eyes wide, attention rapt with wonder.

Dafne turns, her eyes, damp with a sheen of tears, wide. She stares for a long moment, the brightness of wonder warring with the shadow of sorrow on her face. She, too, falls to her knees, head bowed to the woman in the cobweb gown--although she still peeks up through her eyelashes. The kitten-in-her-hood does stare, eyes huge.

Silas does finally notice the woman, but only after everyone else responds to her. He just looks alarmed and confused.

Ford narrows his eyes, he only had a sip from his flask, but he was almost certain that woman got larger the more she walked. Her sense of fashion was pretty future though. Props for that.

Calypso instinctively moves her hand to the hilt of her sword as she watches the cobwebbed woman walk through the field. Another moment passes and instead of pulling her blade, she kneels, recognizing the figure by iconography alone. It is the whispers she hears around her that confirms the others are of the same mind.

"There's a giant woman dressed in cobwebs." Calaudrin announces to... anyone near him? He glances at Merek and Sparte and then at Silas as he's making to depart. He's a bit too surprised to do anything else.

"Yes," Fortunato says after Gisele, echoes, and then lowers his eyes. He catches a glimpse of cobweb and shadow, blinks, and then fixes. The excitement to his mien intensifies. As Gisele's hand clasps his arm, he reaches across himself to clasp hand over her hand. He helps ease her down. He kneels as well, but his head stays upraised.

Joslyn just gapes for a few moments before she realizes that everybody around her is kneeling. It takes a moment for her surprise to manifest into awe, finally she takes a knee.

Artorius knelt before the translucent figure, lowering his head especially after hearing whispers and murmurs around him.

You feel something stir within you -- something you have not, perhaps, ever been conscious of, but something you feel has always been there, on the inside. You feel it pulling, straining past your skin, reaching out toward the woman in her gown of cobwebs, as she rises up into the air, just above the heads of the crowd. Oh, how it yearns for her. But it is trapped. Bound up with flesh.

Artorius looks to the woman, his eyes a little wide.

Aureth's features light with a boyish smile, pale eyes brilliant. It's a little ridiculous. He is often a little ridiculous. His breath huffs past his teeth, and he starts forward; one pace, two paces, three. "Queen of Endings and Beginnings," he says. He rises onto his toes, his balance shifted forward towards her, his palms spread and lifted upward. "We're here for you. Kind of a work in progress--"

It isn't until such a great many others have kneeled before the figure that Acacia hesitantly lowers herself down into a balanced crouch. It's an unsteady, graceless movement, one that ill-conceals that wideness of her eyes or that blank, befuddled expression written upon her features. She mumbles something incoherent and low, brows creasing steadily when she knots that fist against the leather of her corset and shunts out that harsher breath.

Aldwin has not knelt. Now he leaves the judge's booth, making his slow, processional way, towards the field. "The Queen of Endings! Death!" For those who may be confused on what has just happened. Once on the grounds he takes to his knees, "It is in Her city that we reside, and it is Her enemy outside our walls. An Enemy we stand united against."

Merek reaches up to his neck and rubs it, remaining knelt in the presence of the divine. "The Queen," he murmurs to himself quietly, while he feels that pull. His gaze waters a bit, and he seems to be deep in his reverence, afraid to speak much. He shivers, as though wanting to follow her, but wanting to remain, the conflict on his face obvious, at the stirring.

Calaudrin's right hand covers his heart and he watches awestruck as the woman rises above the crowd. Finally, after all of this he kneels down onto one knee.

Vayne watches the rise of all the lanterns contemplatively, his already lost amongst them all. There's a faint smile on his lips as he notices the transparent shadow take form and grow, and he quickly comes to a conclusion about its origin and he leaves the booth to kneel reverently. He hisses with a sharp intake of breath as his soul is literally agitated by proximity to the Goddess.

Silas checked composure against difficulty 15, resulting in 12, 3 lower than the difficulty.

Khanne trembles, as if a shudder rolls through her body. Her brow furrows at the sensation building within. Taking a deep breath, she holds it, eyes watching the woman floating above them all with an intensely curious focus, though she trembles again, one hand rubbing at her opposite arm.

Valencia grimaces slightly and steps back again, dark eyes not looking very happy at the moment. She glances to those around her, some kneeling, most in awe. The little fox tightens her jaw, dark eyes guarded.

Juliet kneels aside duchess and princess. Though she, too, keeps the dark jade of her gaze on the apparition, lips moving in murmured prayer

Aleksei catches at Gisele's other arm, holding her steady as she lowers to her knees. And then his hand is clutching at his chest. He draws in a ragged, unsteady breath, as if he's trying to keep something pressed inside of him. Finally, he, too, kneels.

Rowan eventually shakes out of his startled surprised stupor. It wasn't one of the Old Gods, but a god is a god none the less. He slips his arms from Khanne to rub at his chest, at the pulling sensation, as he carefully works his way down to one knee with a grunt and a hold at his side again with a nod.

Silas frowns now. Things pulling out from inside him doesn't really jive with him. Instead of sticking around and kneeling in deference, the Lord Commander simply bows and takes his leave of the grounds, not intent on sticking around to see what happens.

Gisele's tears overflow. It makes a shattered dance of the grounds, the goddess, the lanterns which frame her against the nightsky. The hand that had gripped Aleksei's arm clutches against her side-- that healing wound, an easy avenue for vitality to escape through-- but even through the pain of it, enough to make her sway on her knees, her smile is beatific.

Silas has left the Field.

Dash the Guard Corgi, 3 Iron Guardsmen leave, following Silas.

Calypso looks to the Dominus when he speaks. She nods her agreement in his words. "Your enemy will be defeated, my Queen. Oblivion will not take us." She says in solidarity with Aldwin's words, a steeled determination in her voice, though she remaind kneeled.

Dominic watches as he stands from the general seating. Unsure of what to do or say. His wide eyes are fix on the Queen of Endings Death. The Thrax's jaw tighten and his teeth grind. Dominic attempts to fight the pull, using his spear for support.

Dafne looks up, her face upturned toward the goddess as it was upturned toward the light of the lanterns, earlier. "My Queen," she whispers, and the way she breathes those two words has the sound of a prayer.

Khanne finally notices everyone around her taking to their knees. She whispers to Rowan who then lowers himself as well. Almost at a scramble, Khanne awkwardly slips down to kneel on the ground, furtively glancing around before bowing her head.

Fortunato grips Gisele's wrist harder. His hands both draw into a clench, then relax. Half-relax. No miracles here. He draws in a deep breath and holds it, watching the Queen with fixed eyes. Fixed save for a swift saccaded look toward his brother.

From her knealt position, Joslyn cannot remove her eyes from the queeen. She says no words, and merely stares, studying and taking in the sight of her.

Ford lost his breath it seems, as whatever it was that was inside him is pulling to get out. He sets his hands to the bench in front of him, unconsciously standing nearly the same time Dominic does. His jaw is set tight, he's not in the mood for things being pulled out of him, at least not today.

The apparition rises higher and higher into the air, and as she rises, she twirls, palms outspread, eyes closed. She gathers the flames from the lanterns, draws them into herself, in a spiral that streaks the dark horizon with light. The skirts of her gown twirl around her; tiny, beady black spiders fall like raindrops from silken threads, but these, too, are only apparitions, vanishing upon contact.

Cara checked composure against difficulty 15, resulting in 24, 9 higher than the difficulty.

Calaudrin checked composure against difficulty 15, resulting in 17, 2 higher than the difficulty.

Merek checked composure against difficulty 15, resulting in 14, 1 lower than the difficulty.

Cara lets out a soft gasp and straightens upward, though still kneeling, as if being tugged upward toward the Queen in the air. When the spider apparitions start to drop on the crowd, she doesn't turn away, keeping her face turned toward the goddess above.

Acacia checked composure against difficulty 15, resulting in 8, 7 lower than the difficulty.

Aldwin checked composure against difficulty 15, resulting in 13, 2 lower than the difficulty.

Khanne checked composure against difficulty 15, resulting in 22, 7 higher than the difficulty.

Joslyn checked composure against difficulty 15, resulting in 5, 10 lower than the difficulty.

Valencia checked composure against difficulty 15, resulting in 29, 14 higher than the difficulty.

Dominic checked composure against difficulty 15, resulting in 11, 4 lower than the difficulty.

Rowan checked composure against difficulty 15, resulting in 22, 7 higher than the difficulty.

Calypso checked composure against difficulty 15, resulting in 8, 7 lower than the difficulty.

Merek does not seem to mind the spiders, but the motions, the flames drawing into the Queen. Something inside of him breaks, and he just starts to sob, tears falling from his gaze. As though something in his mind has been confirmed, or assured. He swallows thickly, "...R-Rose," he whispers, perhaps a call to someone long dead, then he's murmuring other names. He's completely torn.

Head tilted back, Aldwin, tips his head back and stares at the falling spiders. Somehow they have transmuted from aparations to rain drops. That has to be why there's glistening on his cheeks until Death takes all the flames.

Artorius checked composure against difficulty 15, resulting in 6, 9 lower than the difficulty.

Aureth checked composure against difficulty 15, resulting in 22, 7 higher than the difficulty.

Ford checked composure against difficulty 15, resulting in 27, 12 higher than the difficulty.

Aleksei checked composure against difficulty 15, resulting in 10, 5 lower than the difficulty.

Juliet checked composure against difficulty 15, resulting in 39, 24 higher than the difficulty.

Dafne checked composure against difficulty 15, resulting in 16, 1 higher than the difficulty.

While Calaudrin doesn't panic when the fire spinning or the spider /dropping/ starts... he is not exactly impressed when he thinks the things are landing on them. With an aggravated hand, he begins to slap them away from his face. The man is only mildly mollified when they turn out to not be real.

Acacia had kept that kneeling position for an instant or two, transfixed upwards up until the moment when the spiders begin to fall. Invisible as they may have been, her features blanched, breath escaping her in something that was little more than a wheeze. Others with the same effect might be able to handle it, but her jaw trembles when she grips at the ground for steadiness. It's hardly half a breath later when she pivots and half-stumbles, and flees.

An Unremarkable Associate leaves, following Acacia.

"The gods," Gisele breathes, "the gods are with us, they stand with the Compact, they stand with Arvum, oh praise, oh bless." She turns her face up too the sworl of fire in the sky, to the spiders that fall, like a desert-born wanderer lifting to the rain. The little scholar seems oblivious of her swaying, the way she rocks between Aleksei and Fortunato, the way she must look, lost in this religious fervor.

Rowan feels blindly for Khanne's hand, gripping it tightly as he stares up and does little more than bear awed witness to the swirl of the lanterns and memories they hold, unflinching from the spidery visions raining over them but far from unphazed.

Dafne gasps at the spiders, but it sounds more like delight than fear. She's always been a bit odd. She stretches out her arms to gather up spiders, but instead they vanish, and her eyes follow that spiral of flame against the darkness.

Joslyn breaks down as she watches everything, the magesty and horror of it all. Tears flow freely from her eyes and she buries her face in her hands as sobs begin to rock her body, just completely overwhelmed with everything in that moment.

Juliet quirks her lips, too, into a beatific smile, watching the display - idly tossing a glance to the side, to Dafne, brushing her fingers towards that of the duchess. But she's wept her tears, and now - now she takes in the splendour of divinity and the miracle before her.

Death stands in mid-air, illuminated by the light of all those stolen flames. The flames gather in her palms, spiral up her arms and around her neck, and crown her hair. She steps down again, floating through the air to stand before Aureth. "My priest," she says, and her voice is like a rush of cold, swift wind.

Sparte watches on in awe. This just isn't what he expected to see today, on any level. It has his full attention.

Calypso flinches a little as the transparent spiders descend from the sky. She remains knelt in awe as she watches the spectical. The swirling flames of the lanterns encircling her. When she speaks to Aureth, Calypso's gaze turns then to the priest.

Fortunato is lost enough in the whorl and shift of flame to lose clutch and tension, the spiders hardly registered as spiders. His eyes follow her as she stands before Aureth, tracing the catch and spiral of fire. But then he notices Aureth properly, hears the Queen's words, and his posture tightens forward.

Sparte checked composure against difficulty 15, resulting in 5, 10 lower than the difficulty.

Artorius seemed to tense as the spiders fell, but returned his attention to the Queen and Aureth

Khanne lifts her head once more when she catches the sight of baby spiders raining down from above in her peripheral vision. It takes her a moment and a few blinks to realize they are just apparitions, and when she does, she takes a deep, slow breath, calming her own racing heart, now watching Death and the lanterns floating away beyond.

Artorius seemed to tense as the spiders fell, but returned his attention to the Queen and Aureth's interaction. His head tilted.

Merek at this point is a mess of tears upon his face, while he watches the conversation between Aureth and the Queen. There's a question on his lips, as if he wishes he could shout it out. He even reaches out, then withdraws. He dare not to interrupt, instead prostrating himself and just watching.

Valencia stands stock-still, delicate hands at her her side, watching silently. As the apparition rises, fire swirls and the spiders fall, she does not move, her face still as a china doll's. As Death speaks, she only seems to become more still and watchful.

Vayne watches the twirl, the flow of the flames, and even the rain of spiders with awe and no small amount of delight, and then perhaps even a degree of envy as Death descends to face Aureth.

Aureth is still smiling with a pure shade of joy. He grins like delight; he grins like vindication, which is really that most vicious shade of delight. "My Queen," he says, and he sketches a deep bow to her only to straighten again, looking into her face. Certainty writ up his spine, he says, "These are your people; this is your City; we will defend it, and defend you." He breathes deep, lashes fanning agains this cheeks, and then opens his gaze wide again. His lips move as though testing more words. Most of them are stupid. That is inevitable. He says, "That's a hot look on you."

Aleksei drags in his breath unsteadily, his gaze dropping to look at Aureth when he's addressed. And he can't help it: he has to shove his fist against his mouth to catch the laugh that tries to escape him at his words.

There in the field, among the hushed and watchful, Gisele's laughter is sudden and sweet and thick in her throat from tears-- and every bit as reverent as her praying had been. She'll have to remember to blush and stutter about that later.

Valencia checked composure against difficulty 15, resulting in 32, 17 higher than the difficulty.

Ford scrunches his face a bit, the spider rain and swirling lanterns didn't phase him. But Aureth is graced with the opportunity to speak to a God face to face... and he says she's hot? Ford's hands tighten on the bench a bit. Please don't smite us.

Valencia manages not to facepalm at some of Aureth's less that well conceived comments.

A sudden giggle interrupts Dafne's solemnity. The duchess claps a hand over her mouth, and watches, face brilliant bright.

Joslyn might have appreciated the joke if she wasn't still fighting back tears. She's only just then beginning to regain her composure

Fortunato does not laugh. He watches with killjoy intensity.

Whisper the Snowy Owl, Frostbite the Wolf arrive, following Killian.

Calaudrin starts to laugh before slowly holding his hand against his mouth.

Calypso's thin-lipped stoic expression is at risk of breaking in to a smile at Aureth's words. But she remains composed none the less.

Never before has any man in Arx had so many wingmen as Aureth does now. Aldwin just watches this all play out.

Death laughs, but even her laugh is like the chill of a winter night. She presses her palm against Aureth's heart, and the flames that found their way to her hair are sent spinning back through her arm, back through her palm, are channeled and are thrust into Aureth with a force that drives him to his knees. Against the perfect dark -- in the absence of the light of any lantern -- he shines like a beacon, firelit.

Rowan passes a hand over his beard and mouth, and leaves it clapped there to hold in what might have been a roughly barked laugh for the supreme eloquence from Death's priest.

Merek looks over to Aureth as Death puts a hand to him. He lowers his sobbing head, and offers a small chuckle at the whole transaction, then he seems to be in reverant prayer. His hands move through the dirt of the ground, while he listens and watches, curiosity on his face.

Gisele's hands find Aleksei and Fortunato again. However much her heart might soar right now, the devout-- the fanatic-- proven correct in their beliefs, that is Aureth there. Glowing like a lantern himself. She clings to her friends and appears to forget, momentarily, how important it is to breathe.

Aureth kneels before Death with the force of his fall a crack to his knees, his breath lost to him in a gust. The brilliance of power shines through him, through his fair skin and bright hair and pale eyes. He could be a candleflame himself, pale and gold and clear in the dark. He is stunned -- mercifully -- silent, but for the voice-broken huff of a wordless cry.

Calaudrin pulls back when Aureth is turned into a glowing man beacon. His eyes are giant and wide as he watches the man forced to his knees by Death.

Vayne's amused expression at Aureth's 'a hot look' comment fades utterly when Death literally channels flame into him. He watches intensely, riveted.

Khanne blinks, staring at Aureth at his words, with a bit of a horrified expression. She almost relaxes when she hears Death laugh, almost... until flames rush down the Goddess' arm and into Aureth, knocking him to his knees, making him now glow. Jaw dropping... what the... etched upon her features.

Fortunato pulls Gisele's hand from his arm. An unconscious gesture, one of those movements elided as soon as it's performed. He doesn't stand, he couldn't stand, but he creeps forward across the field, his attention never leaving Aureth.

When Aleksei watches Aureth go down, his laugh fades. His gaze lifts nervously to Death, and then he rises to his feet to stride over to his friend. Glowing beacon or not, he might need a -- hand up. But he does offer the goddess -- you know, a smile. It's a bit tense and frayed around the edges.

The two guards catch Dominic's shoulder, urging him to leave. To them, pulling away from the whole thing as he is escorted away to the Thrax ward.

Dominic has left the General Seating.

Warpig have been dismissed.

2 Thrax Guards have been dismissed.

Ford has left the General Seating.

Killian arrives, late, something that will little surprise those who know him well. As he approaches, his look switches often between confusion and general bewilderment, his steps slowing as he moves towards the spectacle and eyes the goings on dubiously.

Dafne continues to watch, rapt. Her hands clasp together at her breast.

Cara covers her mouth with her hands, unknowingly, when she sees Death stuff Aureth full of -- something. For all of her otherwise seeming composure, her eyes are as wide as silver coins.

"Priest of the Beginning and End," Death says, "I give to you the command of the Dead. Call them, and they will fight." The light gathered into Aureth does not disperse, but finds its way so deep within him, it can no longer be seen. And then, the night is dark, and the goddess is gone.

Your soul ceases its restless stirring. You feel a warmth within you that is nurturing, even against the cold Death left behind.

Juliet watches, too, eyes wide and gleaming, possibly reflecting the light of goddess and priest. Letting out a relieved sigh.

Calaudrin stares out at Aureth before he clamps his gaping mouth shut. He looks around, gulps and hastily gets to his feet after death departs. Then like some others, he exits the area as quickly as possible.

Aureth kneels there for a moment of wide-eyed, breathless stillness. His hand presses over his heart. His eyes blink, repeatedly. His lips move like he would shape more words, but nothing comes out.

Calypso looks to Aureth as she hears the words of Death, watching for his reaction as a new ally to the compact is given.

Aleksei finally closes that final distance between him and Aureth once Death disappears. His hand settles on his friend's shoulder, brow furrowed as he murmurs something to him. He offers him a hand up if he wants it.

Gisele has been abandoned! She doesn't notice, at first. But then, with Death's departure, she finds herself able to scrabble for her cane, to lever herself up and begin stumping-- the most determined of walking wounded-- towards the dais.

Merek can't really question a Goddess making a man a necromancer. So he just watches Aureth, and looks to the man with a small nod of respect in his direction. "... To Death and her Priest," he states quietly, then reaches to find his flask, and drinks from it, wiping his lips, and inclining in deep respect. In the warmth that is comfirting, he shivers a bit.

Rowan exhales a long breath as he lowers his hand, and lets his weight fall back to sit on his ass for a moment, draped against his raised knee, and just looks out over the gathered and digest what the fuck just happened with an increasingly widening wolfish grin.

With Death gone, Aldwin rises. "No better sign can be given that the gods are with us and our cause. This is the power we have, united, together," he declares.

Fortunato drops, a half-collapse, takes a deep breath, then scrambles to his feet, rushing to Aureth.

Joslyn wipes at her eyes, even with Death departed, she seems to lack the will to stand in that moment, just remaining, at least for now, where she had taken knee.

Aureth's next breath breaks on a voiceless laugh. He reaches up to grip Aleksei by the arm, fingers closing in a tight clasp, and whispers something to him.

Aleksei checked composure against difficulty 10, resulting in 8, 2 lower than the difficulty.

Gisele goes not to Aureth but to Aldwin. And with the Dominus still emceeing this formal occasion, she doesn't throw herself at the man. She just. Fidgets off to the side, eyes wide and wild and still glistening summer-bright with latecome tears. Aldwin's final declaration leads to a murmur, a wordless sort of 'amen'.

Cara rises to her feet awkwardly, then extends a hand toward Juliet and Dafne both, to help them stand. Her voice is raspy when she says, "The gods' mercy is with us -- by the heavens, I'd never thought to see such a sight in my life."

Aleksei snorfles aloud at whatever Aureth whispers back to him, helping to hoist him to his feet. And then he looks over to Fortunato rushing over, a smile playing on his lips.

Khanne stays on her knees, blinking for some time. Her eyes water, then clear, then water again as if she may cry, but, she does not. She looks to Rowan, then over to where Aldwin stands and suddenly, she laughs. She laughs loud and hard, clamping her hand over her mouth until she too flops onto her rear, shaking her head as she tries to silence the laughter.

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