Marked with an X

Marked with an X
Summary: Long lost friends reunite in Laketown Temple - in much different stations in life than they parted. The chiurgeon's touch reveals sinister evidence behind a simple theological disagreement.
Date: 18 May 2013
Related: Other Temple Logs
Alyona Tylon 

Temple of the Four, Laketown
Like all temples of the Four, this one is a slightly stretched diamond in structure with lofty cathedral ceilings that let natural light shine in and illuminate this sacred place. It is accessed by a graceful archway on each of the four straight walls, emphasizing that neither direction holds prescedence over the other. Many of the craftsmen of Laketown have come together to carve, engrave, and accent this wonderous temple.

At each of the four corners of the temple are the altars of the Four. The northern corner belongs to Bornas the Mountain God crafted from hard ivory. There is an offering dish that is often filled with handfuls of earth, leaves, or seeds. Directly opposite of him in the south is the handsome and youthful statue of Ravas the Fire God carved from petrified crimson wood, and his offering bowl often contains hearth ash or bits of tinder. To Ravas's left in the western corner is the old and wise Stilltha crafted from polished blue marble; river stones and water occupy her offering bowl, including the occasional fishbone. Last, but not least, opposite of Stilltha in the east is the young Altheara chisled to life from the heart of a hard blackwood. In her bowl is held bird feathers and bones, as well as small carved flutes and chimes.

18 May 1329

With the port and being the only neutral ground around, the temple did have a way of always having someone passing through to offer up prayer or offering to one of the Guardian, or seeking a word with one of the priets or priestess. And there was always one around, perhaps several depending on the time of day. It seemed that the ever tranquil shiny new Temple Priestess was one of those frequenting the area at this hour. Tylon settled near the alter of Stilltha, perhaps seeking the wisdom and patience to fulfill her new position. If nothing else since her appointment, the usual temple politics had been calmed.

"But Sister, please, won't you please think of seeing a chiurgeon first?" The tranquility is shattered by the pleading voice of a young acolyte, warbling with puberty and a sharp note of disbelief. His voice cuts through the door nearest Stilltha's altar, and soon after the acolyte himself, trailing after a woman swaddled in a long, hooded cloak.

"Peace, child. It didn't kill me in a fortnight of walking, and it can wait until after I've paid my respects." Two smooth gray stones fall into Stilltha's offering plate, and before the altar a lady Chosen drops to her knees. She wears simple leather and chain armor, and her face is obscured in the moment of prayer by the scarves that bind back her hair. The voice is an old memory, though perhaps not as startling as the field-dressed wound that darkens her left shoulder in old blood. The acolyte freezes, caught by utter uncertainty once he notices the Mother Superior sitting there as well.

The pleading does draw Tylon's attention, her gaze settling towards the door which the sounds seem to be drifting through. With them increasing, she simply waits to see what the situation actually is. A faint eyebrow rising to hear the voice, the memories it stirs. Simply observing for a few moments, taking in the cloaked Chosen as she drops into prayer.

A faint nod goes to the acolyte, a small motion of her hand to dismiss him, gently intoning,"I will see to her, she was always a stubborn creature. But they so often are. Is that not right, Sister?" The wound perhaps of concern with how she looks at it, but Tylon was never one to get overly excited these days, everything in due time.

"It's in the job description." The Chosen replies in a characteristically laconic tone, without looking up from her ritual.

This causes the acolyte's eyes to draw even bigger circles upon his face, for who would speak to the Head Priestess in that manner? He takes the proffered escape with a thankful bob and bow. "Yes, Mother. If you need me…" And so he only escapes as far as the doorway, to be at a call in case the warrior finally collapses.

This seems unlikely. The Chosen stands and turns towards Tylon, letting her hood fall back. Older and battered, Alyona is. with an fresh bright blue bruise on one cheek and a withered old scar on the other, but a very familiar wry smile. "Because the only thing more stubborn is a priestess with her mind on the stars." She seems intent to sweep Tylon up in a hug, should she not be rebuffed, but she pauses. "Wait, did that slip of a boy call you 'Mother'?"

"One that some take far to seriously, even when greater wisdom is right before them," comes the easy reponse from the Temple Priestess. Not seeming to find anything amise in how she is spoken to, but then rarely does she ever seem to find anything amiss outwardly. Another faint incline of her head acknowledges the acolyte.

Green eyes take in her long 'lost' friend once the hood falls away,"So it is true, luckily the Guardians have the wisdom to pair them together so see them through their stubbornness. " The hug is not rebuffed inthe least, in fact Tylon actually teps into it, eyes bright and she migth have actually launched into it had it not been for the other's injuries. The energy being shown jut causes that poor acolytes eyes to remain wide. "It is so, Mother Superior," a sheepish turn to her hands to draw attention to the silver that now exists there,"the Guardians seem to be exercising their sense of humour, or maddess if you ask some." She was not one to strive for position as some had, politic did exist within the Temple, even if not to the depths of the rest of the world. "Though it seems they made you tangle with wildcats upon your journey, I am sure they look worse for it."

It is a tight, quick hug, though the Chosen is careful to keep her bloodied shoulder back from the priestess' blue robe. The reason why is immediately obvious; a thumb-thick dart is still imbedded in the flesh, carefully trimmed and anchored in place. No wonder the acolyte was so startled. When she draws back, Alyona picks teasingly at the flaunted silver on Tylon's sleeves. "You sly fox, Ty. Mother Superior Tylie." At least she murmurs this, though still smirking; her voice is still low and soft as it ever was, and a little bit more as if to avoid drawing public attention to her teasing.

Alyona shrugs, face displaying little discomfort though the motion must pain her some. "Yes, you should see the other guy. It was a … mild disagreement." Always one to dismiss her own troubles, and stubborn at it, to boot. "Primarily about theological matters, though he did come around to my philosophy eventually." There were several philosophies to choose from, it would seem - an elegantly curved short sword at her waist, or the purple-hafted longbow strapped in it's case to her back. "Oh! If you are the Mother Superior, then, that means this is for you." From her cloak, the Chosen presents a sealed tube, waxed with a temple seal.

A shake of her head comes at the murmured teasing,"It was unexpected, Aly." Though to hear the names that none know to call her, even if they dared to these days. How things had changed with the promotion, even if she hadn't. "There are some who are still trying to figure out what occured." More so how their plans could have failed so spectacularly.

There is concern that does touch her eyes to better take in the reason for all the blood,"Mild? This is still mild?" She just shakes her head a bit,"It is good to know you were able to bring him about, though perhaps you would allow me to get a closer look to that and get a proper bandage in place." Giving a slight motion for them to retire to a better place to deal with aht, though Tylon pauses when the letter is produced, taking it up with a look at the seal,"From which did they dispatch you with it? Though I imagin what it hold can wait until after your shoulder is seen to." Ever gentle but firm about seeing to that injury!

"So you dazzled their wits and tricked them?" Alyona teases, again with a mindful eye towards the nearest acolyte and a soft murmur. Of course, she is well aware of Tylon's gentle nature - or, at least, as she was decades ago - but the old childhood game of pretending Tylon is some grand sorceress in disguise is easy to take back up.

The Chosen crinkles her nose at the attention, though she knows it is inevitable. "Proper bandage? This is a proper bandage - I even cleaned it… oh, well, a day or two ago." Though producing token resistence, she does follow Tylon's lead meekly enough. "Father Graeme gave it to me, said it contained urgent correspondence from 'the border,' but he would not tell me more than that." Stubborn she may be, but Alyona is not one to pry too deeply into time-sensitive orders.

A light laugh occurs,"I suspect I must have, or simply they see that the Guardians have willed them to see in me." Or simply she was the safer political piece to move, or more so lacked political pursuit. "I am sure, once they all figure it out, someone more…suitable will be risen. Or I suppose, they actually wished for someone who cared first about the Temple here for a time." This is murmured gently, Tylon knew well enough of how even within the Temple ranks there were those who sought power, rather then to truly serve the Guardians.

Shaking her head at the crinkling of Alyona's nose,"A proper bandage, and…no that is not, and so old even? Tsk, have you forgotten the basics? Perhaps you have taken a few bumps to the head as well," teasing as she does some mock checking for a head injury. The other news does however bring a bit of a frown,"I fear then it cannot be good new in the least. But first, a proper bandage, or at least a clean one." Setting to actually revealing the wound and all once they are settled, and as always there is that gentle chatter in distraction,"Where are you to be off to after this?" Knowing well enough that Alyona never lingered long…not here.

"I can only pray that was the case." Alyona says about the political wrangling, her voice suddenly quiet and deathly serious. Little has changed in her opinion of the Laketown old guard, and Tylon is naturally a far better choice than any of them. "I know that you will prove to them that you are suitable one."

The bandage is clean, at least, but it /is/ very much a field bandage, and the sling seems to have been constructed from one of her headscarves. Since the bleeding has long since stopped, its main use has been to secure that damnable arrow from wandering and causing more damage. "Hey, it's hard to tie one of these on yourself." Alyona sits as directed, somehow still graceful despite the awkwardness of moving her sword out of the way with her uninjured arm. The grace offsets the mock petulence in her voice. "Yes, ma'am, do your worst."

The bandage is fairly clean, considering the fact that Aly still has twigs stuck in her headscarves, sweat and dirt on her shirt, and mud on her hems. (Her boots, of course, were carefully knocked free before entering the Temple.) "I am not sure. Father Graeme told me to proceed with most haste to you, and to follow your orders."

"You know I will do my best, and do always as the Guardians guide and give me the strength for." Tylon gives a soft smile, sometimes it had seemed that they gave her barely enough strength to get through some things. But they had a purpose for keeping her amongst it all. "Besides, I do think the change has caused a few to…suddenly find a pull by the Guardians to serve else where." No doubt places where they might have a better chance of getting the positions they so covet.

The quipp does have Tylon smiling,"True, it is hard to fix it one handed, and hold the arrow to place. You always do better than most. Especially the men." It actually makes Tylon sigh, the egos of the men some days. The arrow is eyed along with the wound to figure the best course of action, to pull or push..that is always the question. Whichever is decided upon is done rather quickly, she had far to much practice at these sorts of things. Bandages quick to be pressed in and stop any renewed bleeding. Noting,"It'd probably be a good enough idea to at least stay a few days to let this heal up a bit, and perhaps refrain from any additional..disagreements?"

A slight frown does occur,"Follow my orders?" Those green eyes flicker back to the missive,"For Father Graeme to say that, it may be more than a few days that you are here. "

"And your first actions upon taking control were to execute a cull of undesirables? My, Tylie, you are more steely than I thought." Alyona takes back up teasing, perhaps because that news delights her. That might explain why she was able to get as far as praying before being accosted by the past.

She falls silent as Tylon works on her shoulder, though she shows little more reaction to the pushing out of the arrow beyond a tightness around her eyes. Early after her call to become Chosen, she had stopped remarking on pain; as a woman, she had far more to prove than the boys, and the slightest complaint was often taken as a sign of unsuitability. Now it is just another part of her stoic nature. "May I have the arrow?"

"Aye, I am at your command, Mother. Even if it means letting the violently ignorant remain so for the time being." Though she smiles, that tightness remains around her eyes for a moment as she glances out of the door to the Temple proper. One might easily surmise that the news of who she was reporting to was the only reason that Alyona agreed to the assignment. "My apprentice has recently been anointed and is ready to serve, so Father Graeme can do without me for a while." If she is curious about what is in the letter, it doesn't show; she doesn't even glance at it in Tylon's hands.

A laugh comes as Tylon shakes her head,"Who was I to deny their requests to travel and transfer? Especially if they were feeling the call of the Guardians to serve otherwise." Giving a grin, she was wise enough to it all, even if she did not active play as some of them did, she did truly serve.

There is care in how Tylon works, a quickness to matters that cause pain like getting the arrow pushed through. Tenderness in applying the right amount of preassure, but no more. And the ever deftness of her fingers…It was her calling for a reason. "Of course, how many is your collection up to now?" Half serious, half teasing in the question as the bloodied arrow is offered over.

"Ah, but sometimes, they are left with the hope that they might finally coe to know wisdom….Or so I must pray that they find it." Working to get a bandage properly on the wound after a small slather of salve to aid in keeping away infection. Able to use both hand, the bandage is more secure and proper in from. "I am sure you know the drill, and I won't need to chase you up about getting that changed," a smile given to her friend before Tylon does finally take up the missive and breaks the seal to read what was sent on with such words. It does not take long for a frown to form and worse, a hiss actually comes from the usually clam and tranquil priestess. Only noting as a hand clenches a bit,"Yes, Aly…you'll be staying for…a bit." Tylon's eyes continuing to fly over what all is written.

"Only twenty that have touched my flesh." Alyona says, her smile just crooked enough that one unfamiliar with her wouldn't know if she was in jest or not. Twenty is certainly self-deprecating, at least. Still, the arrow gets turned over and over in her free hand, and she runs her thumb over the arrowhead though it is still slick with her own blood. She nods absentmindedly at Tylon's instructions; though she breathes freer and rotates her shoulder once when the bandage is finished, she does not seem to have the compulsion to doublecheck the Healer's work like some other Chosen. The years have not abrogated trust. "This fletcher is not familiar to me, and very few make bodkin points where I took the wound. Ah, I do wish he had not gotten away from me—"

Alyona looks up sharply when Tylon hisses, though her eyes only stay on the priestess for a second. She half stands, scanning the room, with the arrow in question quickly turned around as if she intends to stab someone with it. Then Tylon speaks again a few seconds later, and she settles back onto her seat like a cat unwilling to admit she had been startled. "How bad is the news?"

"Only?" An eyebrow rises a little, even as Tylon teases,"Their aim must be poor indeed, all those disagreements and only 20." Tsking lightly within the minor joking of it. She knew well enough whee the life of a Chosen could lead, and certainly for her friend who traveled so far and wide. Watching a bit as the shouulder is moved and tested out, knowing well enough how her work would hold, but also checking for any hint of something that hadn't been seen before with the injury. A habbit that is more second nature than anything.

But the letter does soon have Tylon's attention, and bring about that poor reaction. Alyona's question is answered with a question at first,"Have you heard of the fire we had here a few weeks back? Tavern burnt down." A slight breathe is drawn,"It was an act taken up by the follower's of the Fifth, seeking to sacrifice all within to him with their actions. Most were rescued, but some were lost. It seems….that may be just the tip of their plans." Giving the parchment a faint wave in her hand,"There are signs that there were…are…other targets here in Laketown, with the port and being neutral ground between the kingdoms, we offer many oppurtunitties that can be taken advantage of. You will be needed to help keep watch, and to see if we can discover the truth to this all, and if need be, prevent the fanatics from being successfull." A blink occers as if recalling a comment, and eyes drifting back to the newly bandaged wound,"He wasn't trying to keep you from getting here was he?"

Alyona draws in a quiet breath, and her nostrils flare like an angered horse's as Tylon explains. "I had not heard. They have grown bold." Her voice takes on that quiet stillness. Other Chosen rattled bucklers or stomped their feet, but Alyona whispers. "Then yes, I will not leave." She narrows her eyes as if she is about to ask a more direct question, but is drawn off by Tylon's last question. In response, she turns back to the arrow. Now that she can use her left hand a little, she uses her belt knife to pry the arrowhead off of the remaining shaft. This gets tumbled over in her hand with frowning scrutiny, then the arrow shaft again. "Ah."

She presents the part of the shaft that had been inside the sleeve of the arrowhead. In it is incised a crisp 'X.'

The nod that comes from Tylon is faint, having expected her friend to react in such a fashion. It was the quiet ones you always had to keep a careful eye on after all. "They have….and it is worse yet," drawing a breathe before explaining,"the tournament the week past down in WOlveshire. It did not..end well. I had left already to return, but what is known is that the Princess Heir of Taniford was found dead, decapitated….there is rumor that a note was with her claiming it the work of such followers as well. Ther eis other rumor it is more political. But if.." the paper is waved slightly again,"They have indeed grown bold and if…here is where they stage and work from. We must see it ended." There is a faint sigh,"I know there is always a place for the Fifth,"after all, a good prank now and again was alright," even though we do not acknowledge him only, but those who go to such extremes, it is madness and must be stopped."

Fingers fold the parchment back up,"I will put together what I know already, and think upon this more…." Leaning a bit to look at the sleeve presented and a breathe is taken,"It does seem we are perhaps already steps behind. And you even luckier than we thought. I will see watches posted. For now, you should get some food and rest, allow sleep to guide ideas and we can plan the best path in the morning." A faint flicker of a smile,"Over tea, as we used to." Even if back then it was more plots about boys or finding the right cloth for bandages.

The rest of the news is taken with the same silent, impassive mein; a slight widening of her eyes at the news of the murder, a flicker of her brows here and there, that all speaks volumes. What is not spoken, of course, is that she had been in Wolveshire the past week as well, though certainly that is in her mental calculations as well. Finally, she takes in a deep breath and pockets the arrowhead as she stands. "The best way to find an enemy who outpaces you is through superior knowledge. This is certainly why Father Graeme was content to only have the child protecting him, and why I am here." She smiles suddenly, and claps her good hand on Tylon's shoulder. "Your guidance is already wise, Tylie. But if you find anything at all I can muse over before tea, please send it to me." The only question is, of course, whether she is going to follow orders and rest, or slip the watch and prowl the town.

It was bad enough to have been thrust into such a position, but now she had the worst of problems dumped into her lap. Good thing Tylon served the Guardian of calmness and patience! "It would seem so, content to know the danger would be following you, rather than looking to him." Eyes flickering towards that wound again, danger had tried to strike. "It does seem best to look over everything with this new perspective, to find the wisdom and knowledge that is already had. " Tylon inclines her head,"I will be certain to. There are a few reports over the basics of the tavern fire, I am afraid there wasn't much to gleam from that though. But do get some rest, and ah…Father Byron is yet a terror in the kitchen, I beleive some of his rolls might yet be left if you wanted to grab a couple.'

"Ah, Father Byron's baking. One of the few things I missed about this place. Graeme wouldn't know how to boil water if it wasn't a part of making salve." Alyona's smile turns impish for a moment. She squeezes Tylon's shoulder, then pats her own newly bandaged one in a half-salute. "Thank you. I'll sleep much better now that I can actually lay on this. And I promise I'll get it cleaned again first thing tomorrow." The bow that she offers the Mother Superior is ostentatious, more suited for a courtier - and certainly more teasing as before. But she straightens, her expression is serious. "Don't worry overmuch. We will get to the bottom of this. Good night and Stilltha's dreams, Mother."

"It is a thing to miss, and I am certain he has become even more a terror in the kitchen ince you came by last." The shoulder squeeze has Tylon smiling,"Just don't go challenging any of the arrogant acolytes who think to become Chosen just yet, I fear their poor egos would never quite recover from being put in their place by an injured woman," lightly teasing, even if they both know the truth of it. The young pups just never knew how to respect wisdom and experience. Or women. Tylon inclines her head in return, but soon slips and gives her old friend a hug as well. "I do not think Stilltha's calm permits me to worry as I should, most days. And I know we shall reach the bottom of this all, Sister. Rest well and may the Guardians watch over you."

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