The Choice to Fight - A Sermon
Jan. 23, 2022, 8 p.m.
Arx - Ward of the Compact - Shrine of the First Choice
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Maharet has joined the pews nearest the front.
Pasquale takes up a seat near the front shortly before the sermon is due to begin. He spends a few moments shifting around until he's comfortable and then turns his attention to the altar and Giada.
Pasquale has joined the pews nearest the front.
1 Malespero Guard, Salindra, the task tracking assistant arrive, following Macario.
3 Black Fleet Reavers arrives, following Raven.
Brutus, a large regal looking rooster with ebony coloring arrives, following Bonibel.
Bonibel has joined the pews nearest the rear.
Macario makes an easy greeting of the first few people he sees once he enters the shrine. After a little small talk, before everything starts, he heads toward the pews near the front. There, he sees his brother and Maharet, so naturally he walks down the isle, greets his brother quietly, and sits on the opposite side of Maharet after greeting her as well.
Macario has joined the pews nearest the front.
There is absolutely nothing special about the decorations of the shrine. None present themselves at all, actually, and maybe the service seems more somber for it. Instead, Giada stands near the altar, waiting. As people trickle in, she gives them smiles. "Welcome. There's plenty of seating, please be comfortable."
Raven has joined the pews nearest the front.
With an aim of being unobtrusive, Caprice moves to seat herself in the nearest available pew - farther back, maybe, but surely capable of hearing still.
Raven slips in and slinks into a pew quietly, her guards remain standing at the back.
2 Sea Rover Bodyguards arrives, following Artorius.
Watcher's entrance is unobtrusive, and she flicks only a single, brief glance over the interior of the shrine before she picks out somewhere near the back to settle.
Artorius has joined the pews nearest the rear.
Artorius arrives a little late but he slips in and finds a seat near the back as well.
Alantir Valardin approaches the perimeter of the Shrine of the First Choice slowly, perhaps concerned that the sermon had already begun and the sound of his platemail would cause an interruption. Much to his relief, the grounds are relatively quiet. He finds a seat somewhere near the back of the assembled pews and removes his armet, resting the helm gently between sabatons. His attention then shifts to the lecturer, expression neutral, seemingly content to remain silent until the lesson is initiated.
Alantir has joined the pews nearest the rear.
Bonibel has left the pews nearest the rear.
Brutus, a large regal looking rooster with ebony coloring leaves, following Bonibel.
Once everyone has settled, Giada turns to the altar, placing her hands palm down and side by side at the dead centre. "Lord Skald, Father of our Freedom, be glorified among your people as we gather to reflect on the gift of Choice." Words murmured, the priestess bends at the waist; lips lightly buss the centre as her hands slide apart. She rises, turns to the Faithful, and takes a step forward.
Briar, the fleet and agile shrike, Alejandro, a gravely sober middle-aged Torean arrive, following Aconite.
Aconite steps inside quietly and heads for the rearmost pews and finds herself a spot to sit. She smiles towards Caprice before looking towards GIada at thw altar.
Aconite has joined the pews nearest the rear.
Yvette arrives in the shrine just a bit late after Giada has already started to speak. A riot of long wavy red locks are threatend to spill from the leather tong that only partly holds them back from her pretty face. She has a bow strapped to her back, a quiver of arrows at her right hip. Her clothing consists of brown hunting leathers without a piece of jewelry or silk to be found. The girl looks over the shrine and then goes to find a place to sit.
Yvette has joined the pews nearest the rear.
Caprice aims a quick smile back to Aconite, expression warming. Sending an interested glance over those others who have found seats closer to the back, she's soon focused forward again, towards the altar and Giada.
"A young man left his family's home to seek his fortune and fame, but this story isn't about that journey," begins Giada. "After years pass, a messenger arrives with a letter from his mother. His father had been set upon by bandits and succumbed to his wounds that same night, despite the best efforts of the nearest Mercies. Could he come home? The farm is in turmoil, and the wolves are at the door."
The Archlector's hands clasp behind her back as she continues the parable. "The son is left with a decision. He has a life where he is, people who depend on him for various reasons. To uproot everything would be a significant difficulty, and who knows what happens once he's there? What if the bandits come for him? For his family? Don't they have his elder sister to depend on? She's the heir... Yet, his mother, his murdered father, his childhood home, and his first education are calling for him to come back. To care. To work for their safety just as they worked for his. The entreaty is aimed at the heart of his most fundamental self."
Griz the huge wolfhound, Muninn the cocky raven arrive, following Aelgar.
Aelgar wanders in quietly and weaves a path toward Giada, nodding or lifting small waves to familiar faces as he goes.
Aelgar has joined the pews nearest the front.
Aco's dark eyes flick to the side and she smiles at the quiet shuffling in the back pews. Though the Archlector's words draw the Whisper's attention back towards the altar and her lips press into a thin line. '
The green eyes of Giada lift to the broken ceiling and the trees that form an autumn canopy over the service. Then they sweep back down and land on the gathered Faithful. Now, her voice takes on a calm, unflappable intensity, easily carrying with conviction and confidence.
"When moments of testing arise, we find ourselves at similar crossroads. I say crossroads because a decision must be made. A crisis of belief becomes the unavoidable junction between our better selves and worst nightmares; a crisis of belief ensures the moment when thoughts become concrete. But what is a 'crisis of belief'?"
"Whether existential, material, or personal, a crisis of belief is a turning point in which we must -choose- what we ultimately hold to be true."
Raven listens attentively though she does fish out a flask, gaze never leaving Gianna as the Archlector speaks.
Tehom's Archlector keeps to her position before the altar of the First Choice, but her gaze is so raptly focused on the Faithful in attendance that it might make up for not walking the pews.
"Today, we are faced with enemies bent on destroying the Compact and enslaving everyone in their path. These servants of the Abyss work tirelessly for the good of their Masters, for they themselves are slaves and ignorant of their own plight. In the name of Skald's Reflection, they defile sacred spaces, steal from our shared heritage, anihilate innocents in the streets, and occupy lands that do not belong to them. These streets must choose whether to fight or die. There is no right and good thing that comes without cost; it's time, tears, blood, sweat, life."
"And these streets do not bow. Aware of the cost, we place our trust in the knowledge that the reward is so great that any price is worth it. When the Compact comes together under a united cause, we are preserving not just ourselves but Aion's dreams. Through example, we are investing in our people. We are championing freedom. We are laying everything on the line, ready to leap into the gap."
Claude makes an unassuming entrance, eyes and head cast down as he scoots towards a pew hoping not to block anyone's sight lines. Sitting down he looks to the front while his hands absently wrestle with each other trying to pick off layers of dried paint.
Claude has joined the pews nearest the rear.
Yvette looks over to Aconite, having a gentle smile for her, but she doesn't seem to know the woman. Still she seems friendly. She looks to Giade as she speaks. "Always a choice if to fight or not. I might come to the battle with my bow." She says, but doesn't sound fully sure of such. She then looks back to Artorius. "Very good to see meet you. We are a small house, bent the knee only about six years ago when I was thirteen, but we follow Halfshav. You probably have heard of them?" She asks. The redhead then looks over to Cloud as he joins their booht, having a smile for him. "Did you just get done painting?"
Watcher sits silently, arms crossed, almost-but-not-quite slumped in her seat. There are no smiles from her, and no nods to any point mentioned, but she's watching Giada with an intensity that might be able to bore holes in the back wall of the shrine.
Raven's gaze flicks around the shrine, alert just in case anyone starts looking peckish. The rest of the time she keeps her gaze on Giada
Raven checks 'recovery check' at normal. Raven is successful.
Macario has left the pews nearest the front.
1 Malespero Guard, Salindra, the task tracking assistant leave, following Macario.
The rhythm of Giada's words continue, slowing here or there to add emphasis, using cadence to accentuate a point or resonance to add a more carrying power to an important word. "In the writings of Sister Reber, we find this eternally true meditation: 'When we stand up for what we believe in, for what's right, there is always a chance that we risk the very things we fight for: our safety, our lives, our freedom. But if we stand down, the risk is definite.'"
"And so we choose. Before us lies the demands of Choice, and we cannot remain silent. When life holds us captive and asks its ineffable questions, there is no reality devoid of those decisions. We choose. Blinded to the future and lied to by the past, we choose. With fear in our stomach and desperate hope in our hearts, we choose. With sobriety of thought, we choose; with stiffened lips, we choose." And here, in stark contrast to the intensity of the rest of the sermon, her voice suddenly drops to a hush and imbues her last words with an intimate call aimed at every gathered heart:"
"We choose to fight."
Yvette is sitting in the rear booth with her slender lhands resting upon her leather covered lap. She looks over to Giade, peeks away for a moment and murmurs something softly. She might be talking a /little/ more than she really should be. She looks over to Watcher with brief curious interest before her attention retunrs to Giade, especially as the woman's voice suddenly drops. She then falls silent, straightens her slender shoulders and even touches the quiver at her right side, almost if she feels personally called to fight.
Artorius is overheard praising Giada.
Yvette is overheard praising Giada: Wonderful Sermon!
Artorius's voice lifts from the back with a good solid 'Huzzah!' for the Archlector's choice to end on 'We Choose To Fight.'
In the aftermath of Artorius' huzzah Pasquale adds "Well said."
Sermon concluded, Giada's head bows and her hands raise in benediction. "Father Skald, Gifter of Choice, your sacrifices allow us to be here today, heirs to a rich heritage of those who fight against slavery. Bless the Compact. Bless those who fight on the fields, who fight on their knees in the shrines, who fight with a needle in their hand and medicine in the other, who fight through donations. Bless us, Father of us all. We choose today in your name."
That accomplished, she looks to the Faithful. "Sermon's over now." She grins. "Thank you all for coming."
Raven bows her head respectfully to Giada, "Thank you for the words of inspiration, Archlector."
Aconite chuckles quietly at Yvette. She nods her head to the Archlector's words and the conclusion of the sermon.
Giada's expression actually softens a little at Raven's words. "Thank you for hearing them," she replies, just as seriously.
Alantir rises to his feet and exits the shrine as quietly and politely as he had entered. Now, it seemed, was the time for reflection.
Alantir has left the pews nearest the rear.
Watcher's lips thin. She continues to say nothing, however, and only at the announcement that the sermon is over does she finally look away from Giada to study those sitting closer.
Raven smiles warmly and assures, "My pleasure and privledge."
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