Benedicto is standing at the Gates of Tainhelm, keeping watch and protecting the dwarves after an incident earlier in the week. A couple of people come and go with varying degrees of communication. A huge thank you to @Slyphe
for the RP and the other person who is referenced at the start of this log.The Gate of Tainhelm. (road)Stretching the length of an entire wall, a heavy grayish-white stone gate is here. The colors of gold and blue entwine about the structure, marking it as a protectorate of the City of Enorian. A lustrous tidal pool of luminous deep blue water bears a variety of colourful sea creatures, the vivid coral rising from its depths cradling a sandstone and seaglass altar. There are 7 stout Dwarven guards here. A large war turtle stands here. The Dwarven mason Baruin stands here, a look of thoughtful observation on his face. Gwenil, the Dwarven blacksmith stands here, looking coolly calm and collected. Smelling strongly of fish, Nolid, the Dwarven fisherman stands at the table with a knife in hand. The Dwarf Tohrul stands here, whistling tunelessly as he supervises. You see a single exit leading north.
Your pose is now set as:His pearlescent gaze sweeping the northern pass for intruders, Benedicto maintains a watch over the gates of Tainhelm.A stout Dwarven guard perks up at the sound of loud yelling, then chuckles to himself as he recognises the voices of Dwarven children.A rivulet of gleaming water flows in, rapidly intensifying to a whirling maelstrom before erupting into a fine mist that reveals Slyphe, the Maelstrom.Benedicto takes a knee before Slyphe, immediately showing obeisance before his Divine. "Yunva." He greets Them.Slyphe gives a soft laugh, murmuring, "Standing is an acceptable alternative. You lot do look rather entertaining curled over like that on the ground sometimes, though." Their expression is somewhat fond, despite Their words, and They gaze down at you with an amused smile tugging at Their lips. "What was it you were wondering if I had listened to, My Harbinger?"The loud sound of thunder rolls through the skies, shaking the air around you.Benedicto rises from his prostrate position with a sheepish smile. "Well, I always consider it good manners just in case You're ever feeling...whimsical." He comments in response. "Ah, it is likely nothing of any concern." He attempts to deflect away from the topic.[A large female human with elfin ears sits upon a three-eyed rojalli. Their countenance is stubborn and a hazy, husky voice whispers the words "heretical ideas" across his mind].With an expression of perfect innocence, the Maelstrom blinks Their eyes and gives the smallest of smiles."I have been known to be whimsical on occasion, that is certainly true."Shifting into abrupt motion, They circle around you with a curious expression, edging only slightly into your personal space as They move ceaselessly."What has you so... vague, My Harbinger? Change is at the core of everything. I would never expect that you remain unceasingly the same. Only that important changes are brought to light, if they ought to be. And it sounds rather as if this is one of those moments.""It might be something. It might be nothing. I have not enough evidence to be sure Yunva." Benedicto responds, albeit a touch defensively as he attempts to track Slyphe's movements. "It involves a long time friend of mine and so I do not wish to bring them trouble."["Heretical thoughts." The voice of the dusky woman echoes across his psyche in an endless repetitive loop. There is a sense of dread, not born of threat, but of the fear of disappointment. Of finding a truth that would irreparably damage one of the few personal relationships that remains to him].[Deeper still is his innate stubbornness and commitment to both his duty and his own moral compass. It will brook no transgression and refuses allowance, irrespective of who might request it. Duty is a part of his very soul and he could no more forsake it than he could tear out his own soul. It is the very core of who he is].Coming to an immediate halt in front of you, Slyphe peers down at you, concern evident in Their features. Their form settles for a time, becoming vaguely feminine as if some nurturing instinct has risen to the fore. One slender hand rises, touching briefly to your temples in a gesture just short of cupping your face. "Harbinger. Benedicto. You are unsettled. This displeases Me - not because you cannot have emotions, or inner conflict, or even doubts and hurts - but because you are as dear to Me as any mortal can be. I will not cause you strife unless you wish it. But should you need a confidante, know that I will listen, and all the depth of feeling that water carries will make it matter to Me." The unusual pause in Their shifting shape ends, and Their height and figure resumes its endless cycling as Their hand drops back to Their side.[The essence that resides within him - Slyphe's essence - responds and rises up to meet the contact. The resonance of the joining begins to suffuse him with a calming warmth].Benedicto's eyes flutter closed at the contact and he smiles sadly. "You do not cause me strife, Yunva. It is worry. Worry for a friend and a deeper concern that, instinctively, I already know the truth and that I need to confirm it for myself." He sighs and his eyes open, his pearlescent orbs fixing upon Slyphe. "Should the truth I fear be confirmed then I must report it to You or one of Your siblings." He declares, both his expression and his voice growing firmer."Very well then." Slyphe nods Their head firmly in agreement, once only. "Do whatever it is you feel you must, and if you must speak to Me of it, then I will save My concern for then." The deep sea green of Their eyes seems to have endless depths, entirely mesmerising to dare to look into. "Do not let it eat at you, My Harbinger. Your responsibility to others is a trap for you at times, and I have seen its jaws reaching to consume you. I will not allow it, if only you stay on guard against it."Benedicto accepts the mild chastisement with a gentle nod of acknowledgement, unable to argue the truth inherent in Slyphe's statement. "As You say Yunva."[He acknowledges the fault and a myriad images flit across his mind's eye providing numerous examples when others were put ahead of himself to his own detriment. A small, stubborn part of him treats his often selfless behavior with a degree of pride and yet the wider part of his psyche recognizes that for every noble sacrifice, it could also be considered an act of hubris that sometimes results in far worse consequences].Their voice comes in a drifting whisper, though Their mouth remains still. "Selflessness is such a curious trait. In order to exhibit it in its purest form, you must disregard yourself to some extent, and in doing so, deny that you might also be someone deserving of it. And in doing so, you cast a judgement on yourself, an implicit understanding that you are somehow less than others. And yet, also somehow more. It is a strange thing. I cannot understand the desire to embrace it. I am more. I do not exist in a vacuum that disappears without mortals. And yet it is not selflessness that motivates Me when I do things for My followers, or for others who manage to please Me despite their poor choice of homes. It is far, far more complex than that."Benedicto clears his throat, the words clearly resonating with him in a way that makes him feel visibly uncomfortable as he shifts his weight awkwardly. "Your words are...incredibly insightful Yunva." He compliments Slyphe, glancing away. "As a Templar I am taught to believe that to sacrifice yourself for another is one of the most noble deeds that you can do. The Templar and Paladin histories are filled with heroic stories of Knights who sacrificed themselves for one cause or another."Slyphe tilts Their head to one side, considering your words with a somewhat unfocussed expression. "I expect it must resonate to something in your mortality, something I simply cannot perceive. The inevitability of an inconstant forever as seen from Our eyes..." They shake Their head, dismissing the line of speech. "It is as it is, and I do not expect that tendency to change in mortals, regardless of the logic behind it." Lifting Their hands, They idly rub one hand across the other, Their eyes still intent on watching you despite the motion."Perhaps there is an arrogance in it. Some small conceited aspect that wants to be remembered for our nobility and create a lasting legacy." Benedicto sighs, seemingly shaken by Slyphe's observations, the light of doubt in his eyes a confirmation of his uncertain expression. "I would hope that, at my core, I act as I do because I feel that my actions create the possibilities for a stronger future. Self-sacrifice need not always end in demise and to my sacrifice itself mind, runs counter to the inherent mortal drive towards selfishness. Which in itself leads to Avarice and the embrace of Corruption."In a troubled tone, you say, "Though if it were a choice between me sacrificing myself for an invalid, an old man who, naturally, would be at the entrance to the Underkings Hall, would my sacrifice in such a circumstance leave the Templar, the Beacon and the realm better off without my strength?"[He already knows the answer to that question. The cold logic is irrefutable and a small worm of doubt enters into the core of his soul. "Of course not." Comes the egocentric response, accompanied by a sickly feeling of revulsion, born upon jade-tinged wings as it runs contrary to his noble aspirations and sense of righteousness. His belief and desire to be seen as a hero by his own moral measurements].Mouth curving into the faintest of smiles, the Maelstrom states clearly, "There would be some calculation in your head, of that I am certain. Weighing the wisdom that might be lost, the inevitability of others rising to take your place. I am inclined to think that I would disagree with your eventual choice, because your sense of duty is a part of who you are, and to an extent it makes you somewhat predictable. It need not be a bad thing, it is simply something that I cannot entirely grasp." They seem content to remain entirely still, Their pose reminiscent of a statue as They remain entirely focused on you.["Predictable" -- the word shakes him, even as he assesses its true meaning, he fears the negative connotations that such a word confers. Easily planned against, boring and unimaginative. His mind recoils and it takes a mustering of his willpower to override his desire to skulk away to his darkest recesses of his consciousness to gnaw self-pityingly upon the critique without consideration for the positives. Predictable could also be dependable, steadfast and secure. It need not be entirely something to be upset over]."As You say Yunva, I am as I am. Your Sister tried to turn me into everything that I am not. It made me Her Monster." Benedicto's lip curls in revulsion at the memory and he almost spits as if to clear his mouth of a sour taste. "She frequently enjoys reminding me of it."Sensing your distress, Slyphe presses Their palm to one of your cheek's this time, deliberately drawing on Their essence within you to soothe the concern. The clean scent of the sea emanates from Their hand, the aroma causing you to inhale deeply and focus on the moment. "You are indeed yourself, Benedicto. What was done may not be forgotten, but its significance can be lessened with time and persistence. Predictability is simply a pattern, and it can be used for good or ill, much as chaos has its uses. The fault does not lie in you, whether predictability is one of your traits or not."[The touch is a salve to his troubled mind as Slyphe's essence rises up once more, calming him and stilling the choppy waters of his thoughts].Benedicto offers a bemused smile. "I have a tendency to run away with things as well. I overthink and tend to draw negative inferences about myself before all else." His tone is as apologetic as the look he gives Slyphe.
"It is all simply a part of My Harbinger. The ocean's depths swirl within you, whipping up both good and bad and making a maelstrom of them when the seas are unsettled. Does it not seem perfectly suited, Benedicto? Does it not seem... fitting?"
Their soft voice murmurs all around you again, despite the Maelstrom remaining visibly unspeaking. A pleased smile graces Their lips, and the unexpected vision of a whirlpool that repeats endlessly in Their eyes seems to call to you, pulling at something inside you. The violent, twisting motion of the inner maelstrom is almost overwhelming as you connect the feeling to the uncertainties that creep in the edge of your mind.
[His thoughts unravel, drawn into that rushing, spiralling lure that exists deep within Their gaze. It overrides his mind at a conscious level and, as such, he does nothing but float along like a piece of driftwood in a storm, riding the waves, subject to the very whims of the ocean that it must call its master as it is tossed hither and thither].
Benedicto continues to stare into Slyphe's eyes with what borders on a slack-jawed expression, unconsciously leaning forward as if drawn there by some unseen force.
Allowing you to remain transfixed for what must surely be an eternity, Slyphe finally closes Their eyes, the tempest within disappearing and allowing you to think freely again. Their smile is calm, encouraging, and Their stance suggests They are willing to wait as long as need be for you to regain your composure.
Benedicto draws a ragged breath as he comes back to himself which is then followed by a deeper filling of his lungs. He frowns in a state of befuddlement but eventually a small smile creeps across his lips and a light of understanding dawns within his pearl-white eyes. "I see." He nods towards Slyphe.
[And see he does, that brief and yet eternity-filled moment still lingers within his mind, a picture of clarity perfectly formed and glimpsed as though through the clear window of a high tower. It begins to fade, until the window itself becomes opaque and all drifts into foggy recollection to become more a sensation, a remembered feeling of knowing and contentedness, rather than a retained knowledge].
Slyphe gives a slight nod, Their features set into an expression of serene contentment. Folding Their hands together behind Their back, They retain Their smile as They watch your chain of reactions, and as the moment settles into normalcy, Their form begins to fade away slowly. "Have I set your mind at ease for now, My Harbinger? Will this allow you to remain in the eye of the storm while you handle what must be handled?"
"I will always strive to be what You require of me, Yunva." Benedicto responds fervently, bowing his head in farewell. "I will be the calm at the centre of the storm until I must become the storm itself for You." He raises a webbed hand which he places above his heart, fingers splayed wide as he presses his palm to the material of his layered, midnight-blue surcoat.
"And that is why you are My Harbinger, Benedicto."
Benedicto smiles and nods, resuming his watch upon the northern road even as the Divine fades from view and dissipates.