The Temple Shall Clothe You

The Temple Shall Clothe You
Summary: Once accepted by the Mother Superior, Castor Westmark finds his new mentor and is initiated into his new studies.
Date: 21 Jun 13
Related: Temple Logs
Alyona Castor 

Temple Chambers
Slightly vaulted ceilings continue into the common room of the Temple of Four. The common room begins the area of the Temple that serves as living quarters for the Covenant and Chosen of the Four. Before the hearth that usually has a fire within it, a small collection of tables and benches for the residents of the temple to share meals, give and take lessons, or simply take a break from the day.

Along the far wall to the west are several alcoves that serve as kitchen and several panties. And to the east a doorway to a long hallway can be spotted. Off of the hallway are the individual quarters for the Priests and Priestess and their Chosen along with the group rooms for the orphans and Acolytes.

June 20, 1329

There are times when being a Chosen means glory in battle and honorable death in the stead of a valiant healer. Storybook tales are full of these men and women, shieldarms and sharpshooters alike.

Then there are the times when it means being left behind to man the walls and babysit the acolytes. The storybooks are strangely devoid of these tales. It could be said that Alyona the Still has been in a fit, a bundle of injured pride and thwarted protectiveness, but there are few left behind that know her well enough at all to venture the judgement. It is not uncommon, after all, for Chosen to tap their toes, or spend hours at the range, or take the entire night watch on their own - and this is all Alyona has done since the Mother Superior stole away.

Tonight, however, she is not found at any of those places. Instead, she sits in the common room, sharing a decanter of wine with a steely-eyed, bent-cane wisp of a man. He is past elderly, and wears the sigil of a retired veteran upon otherwise nondescript civilian clothes. He is leaned over his almost untouched glass, dispensing fatherly advice to the placid Chosen. "…put a guard on her rooms if you need to. Why, I watched over a Father of Ravas who was so bad, I had to sleep on a cot in his room. That'd burn your ears … and your eyes, lass."

<FS3> Opposed Roll — Castor=Stealth Vs Alyona=Perception
< Castor: Great Success Alyona: Good Success
< Net Result: Castor wins - Marginal Victory

"That seems to be going around," says a voice from behind Alyona. The voice belongs to Castor, garbed in simple travelling clothes and armor, standing mere feet behind the Chosen and grinning like a wolf. Since his arrival here with the priestess, Cafell, the lad has not work any colours or markings of his House, although he has yet to don the white of the Acolytes.

"In order to make my escape from certain… ear-burning, eye-melting discourse, I came here!" Then, he bows to both Alyona and the old man. "Please forgive my intrusion — I couldn't wait to greet my dear friend, here…" he speaks mainly to the old man, whilst looking at Alyona. "And," he adds with a smirk. "Perhaps test myself against one who has eyes in the back of her head. Is the wine good?"

The Chosen actually jumps. Just a fraction of an inch, just enough that her glass of wine rattles against the table.

The old man, who watched Castor's approach over Alyona's shoulder with a laconic eye, instantly doubles over in laughter and slaps the table at her reaction. So this, then, is someone that knows the lady Chosen.

She takes a deep breath - resisting the urge to stick her tongue out at her mentor like a child - before turning to eye the interlocutor. Her nose is crinkled just a little. "You won't get any such escape around Aldrich here. He /prefers/ the company of Ravas priests." Oh, but there is a little tiny bit of a smile, a little tease. "I'm glad to see you've returned, to match the tales I've heard." She tips the glass just a little, like a salute. "The wine is fantastic, but you can't have any yet. Aldrich, this is the boy I was telling you of. Ca—Wolf, this is Aldrich, my mentor. A king of lost causes."

Wolf regards Alyona with a smirk on his face — triumph, there — for his rare success at sneaking up on her, then he turns to Aldritch and offers the man a respectful nod. "'A king of lost causes', you say?" he echoes with no small amount of rueful humour. "I think I can relate, sir — although, I would only be a 'prince' in that realm."

He glances between Aldritch and Alyona, blinking. "Your Mentor?! I'm… honoured! I don't want to intrude — Mother Superior said I should come see you, but I can return later. I'm half-tempted to suggest an archery contest here and now… since I might stand a chance at winning."

He grins with delight at the Chosen, his eyes sparkling in mirth and admiration. "It is good to see you again, Alyona."

Where Alyona is still and stolid, Aldrich is quicksilver and florid, with apples of red in his cheeks, a bright white flash of hair, and expansive, almost dramatic motions. But it is not a study in opposites. Here, there, are glimpses of ineffable similarity, like watching a child with the parent she doesn't resemble. Once spoken, there is little question that the relation is true.

"A lost cause well tended can become the most delightful secret garden. Like any battle, though, it's a matter of picking the right one." The old man winks a nod towards Alyona, who just shakes her head ruefully. When the Westmark son makes his apology and offers to retreat, Aldrich stands and makes an appeasing motion with his arms. "Not at all, son. You're the reason I came to visit, after all, at least today. Shall we?"

Aly nods silently; when she stands, it is with a small cloth-wrapped bundle in her arms. "The Mother Superior told me that you've formally requested to become an acolyte. Since you wish to study with the Chosen, there is another formality, something not under her purview." She smiles slightly, with a wicked little twist. "We will, in fact, go out to the range, but we shan't have another contest quite yet. Even if you won over me, you wouldn't beat Aldrich."

"I am?"

Wolf blinks at the old man, eyebrows raised and mouth slightly agape. He stands mutely until Alyona explains and realisation dawns on his face. The lad nods his head toward the old man, and then to Alyona. As he steps forward to follow the two of them toward the archery range, Wolf's eyes frequently glance at Aldritch as if trying to suss the man out. He looks speculative, one eyebrow arched and half a smirk twitching at the corner of his mouth. Could this old man truly best him with the bow?

Wolf glances away, apparently not willing to find out. Just yet.

Keeping his silence for now, the lad simply waits to be instructed, once they step into the walled, open-air training yard within the Temple grounds.

Twilight has settled in, but the halls of the Temple seem a little more silent than normal. Quite strange, in fact, for the delegation that has just returned from Ellowe has set the Temple a-bustle of late. Aldrich catches one of those appraising glances and offers a playful, challenging wag of his heavy, dusty eyebrows in return. Maybe he'll get to find out regardless.

Alyona, in contrast, is content to brooding silence; carrying the bundle, she seems like a member of the procession that tends to the four statues every morning.

The archery yard is likewise silent, though clearly pre-arranged. Torches light the range, and in the center, in an echo of the nearby Temple, are four objects set in a diamond. A bastardsword, a dirk, a dagger, and a purple-fletched arrow, each driven point-down into the dirt. Alyona sets the bundle down on a barrel - perhaps the very one that Castor shot an arrow into a few weeks past - and motions to the diamond. "As an acolyte, you swear no oaths yet, and follow no creed. But to study with the Chosen, you squire to us in our holy duties."

Wolf nods to Alyona, glances at Aldritch, and steps toward the diamond — stopping a couple of feet away. He waits there, watching Alyona for her instructions.

"I understand," is all he says in reply. Gone, is the cockiness with which he walked into the training yard; now, he is calm and patient — perhaps Alyona's legendary 'stillness' is contagious? In any case, the lad is content to wait.

"Step inside," is the instruction Castor is thus given. The two Chosen, elder and younger, move apart; Aldrich disappears behind Castor's back, while Alyona takes a position beside the arrow. "A squire works for his Knight's approval and glory, but in the Temple, we work only for honor and the will of the Four Guardians. That is the burden and glory passed to us by the Chosen of the past."

Aldrich reappears beside Alyona, handing her the first content of the bundle - a long white tabard. "The Temple will clothe you." He murmurs.

"The Temple will clothe you." She repeats, holding up the tabard for Castor to take or not as he will. It looks like it may have fit her once, though since the sides have been taken out, and new fabric is newly added to to hem.

Wolf nods and unfastens his cloak, letting it fall to the ground outside the diamond formed with the four weapons on the ground. Then he steps into the centre and turns to allow Aldrich to place the tabard on him.

"By will of the Four, I accept," he murmurs firmly.

Alyona dresses him as might his own mother - or a squire herself, were their positions reversed.

Aldrich steps away again, and when he turns back, it is with a loaf of bread and a small dish of salt, oil, and peppercorns. "The Four will sustain you." He breaks the bread into two fist sized chunks.

"The Four will sustain you." Aly takes one of the pieces of bread, breaks it again and dips each piece into the salted oil. One is handed to Castor; once he accepts, she takes a bite of the bread she has held for herself.

Wolf rolls his shoulders as the tabard is placed upon him, allowing the garment to settle comfortably. Then he takes the bread and nods to Alyona.

"By the will of the Four, I accept." He follows Alyona's example and takes a bite.

The last ritual element is a torch, lit from one of the sconces above the range. It is passed from Chosen to Chosen with a mumured: "Faith will light the paths of knowledge." When it is handed to Wolf, Alyona adds: "Just as Elder Aldrich was for me, I shall be your guide and your protector. I will teach you our path, and of how to live by the Creed and the Oath. So I swear, before the Four, and my mentor, may he strike me down if I fail you."

Wolf bows forward once he has the torch in his hands (careful not to set his hair on fire), and his expression remains solemn and quietly dignified when he raises his head once more…

…for about two and a half seconds.

He flashes a grin at Alyona, wry and roguish. "By the will of the Four," he says with that smile. "I accept — you should know I'm more worried about myself than you, O' Mentor." He instantly frowns, as though catching himself speaking out of turn —

— and he swivels a little on his feet to look at Aldrich. "You… wouldn't really strike her down, would you? The Mentor of my Mentor is my… friend?"

He glances between Alyona and Aldrich with an eyebrow raised inquisitively. Just how serious are they on this 'striking down' business?

The two Chosen freeze like guilty cats when Castor speaks out of turn. You can hear a feather drop for the count of three…

And then Aldrich starts to laugh, that same knee-slapping belly laugh from earlier. "Oh, son, she hasn't managed to get herself killed in the thirty something years I've known her, I don't think you'll be /that/ much trouble. And if she does, I about reckon I'll have to take both of you, and my knees aren't much for that sort of excitement anymore."

Alyona actually laughs softly, and after that, there seems to be little chance that even she can regain the solemnity of the occasion. So, in rare form, she gives up. "I suppose /now/ we can finish that wine."

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License