Aramaeus has been inquiring after knowledge of Tanixalthas, with potential aspirations of joining her faithful. Having been directed to @Nisavi
, he was fortunate enough to be able to attend a sermon she conducted, and ask a few questions.
Nisavi begins the sermon by moving in a slow, predatory circle around the gathered audience, mimicing the path of a sleeping dragon in her slow, deliberate path. The first words to fall from her mouth are soft, yet commanding. "There are innumerable names that the Great Dragon, Tanixalthas, is referred to: the Sun-Drinker, She Who Hungers, the Star of Midwinter, and Sky Dreaming are but just a few. She is the first, and eldest, of the great Dragons." Each title is graced with a pointed pause for effect, and with each name falling from her lips, Nisavi turns her sharp gaze to a new face, including your own. Moving to the front of the gathering, she spreads her arms wide to mirror the spreading of a Dragon's wings. "These magnificent creatures owned the world before mortal kind had made their mark and claimed it for their own - yes, even before the Ankyreans and the Dreikathi -before even the Gods we know. She is the Sky and the Storm and wields the element of Air as Her armament against those who would oppose Her." A cruel scowl tugs on Nisavi's face, creating a darkened expression as she offers on a crackling growl, "Unfortunately, the Great Dragon has not always been the sole Mistress of the powers. She was soon recognized to be Air's heir when Her core was infused with the Sovereign's essence, and, in consuming the heart that the Maelstrom offered as a brutal tribute, did She ascend to Her rightful place."
Swinging her arms forward, Nisavi's hands clap together, the rumbling sound of thunder cracking overhead. "Upon the Dragon's ascension, She established Her order, congregation, and therein, graced us with the knowledge of Her laws." Nisavi parts her hands, one dropping to her side where the other lifts one, sole finger. "The first is a basic tenet to all, not just the Sun-Drinker, and that is of Growth. Whether it be personal or otherwise." A new digit joins her index finger, signalling the second law, then the third, and fourth. "Honor, hospitality, respect. These, too, are all laws that the Heart of Winter has bestowed upon Her following." Nisavi curls her raised hand into a fist, "Alongside Growth is that of Honesty; it is expected to be given and upheld. There is NO excuse for twisting your words into lies and contempt. With these tenets, come trust: for if the Sun-Drinker trusts you to follow through with your promises and treat your spoken words as true... then you will go far."
Nisavi brings her fist over her heart and she scans the gathering as she continues to preach from her very core, her words fervent and devout. "Sky Dreaming, much like any other Dragon, appreciates tribute and treasures, as are Her due. Homages can come in many forms, however things that are personal and have meaning are held in high esteem. Yet, buffalo are always a safe bet." A smile curves her mouth, and a shadow passes over her face, making her teeth look pointed and dangerous. "Regardless of whether your intent is genuine, any item that is taken from another through wrongdoings will be disregarded and can even earn you the Goddess' ire. She Who Hungers finds theft to be an atrocity - a crime of the highest degree. If you have not earned the treasure by besting them - dominating them - then, obviously, you did not earn it."
A crackling light begins to stem from the Draconic heart of Nisavi and it spreads across her body,claiming her as she begins to speak quickly now, her voice rising in both panic and excitement. "Do be warned for while the Great Dragon may be sentient and speak - She is by no definition 'tame.' She will consume you, whole, if She finds you annoying - or if you offer. She Who Hungers never says no to a snack, after all." The blue lightening begins to intensify, forcing you to squint as you look at Nisavi. "However, should you find yourself in Her presence, do mind your hands - the Great Dragon despises being touched. How you act may lengthen your lifespan and save you from seeing Her teeth from the inside." Sparks begin to fizzle away from Nisavi now and she throws her hands into the air as she falls to her knees, finishing with, "We are blessed to be in Her shadow!" And as Nisavi falls forward, the deafening roar of a Dragon reverberates in the air around you, abruptly ending the sermon.
Soldier Alela says, "This is a very conveniently-located shrine."
Soldier Alela says, "Whoever put this here was a genius."
Nisavi of Kemau says, "Sky Dreaming's dominion is considered to be the whole of Sapience, earned in Her triumph against the inferior Yudhishthira."
Nisavi of Kemau says, "As such, Her shrines dot much of the continent."
Shadus Cymri Mistmourn says to Nisavi, "How large is Her Hoard, Talon? Does anyone know?"
Content to wait while the rest of the gathering expresses their thanks, Aramaeus stands to one side with his hands clasped loosely behind his back, studying Nisavi intently. At the mention of the shrines, he nods, eyes narrowing slightly for a beat. "I have seen many of them around, yes."
Mileta Tae'Daenir says, in a feral tongue, "I do recall that day..."
Bearing her teeth in a wide, albeit sinister smile, Nisavi of Kemau says, "And any that would contest Her shrines must deal with me as Her Talon."
Soldier Alela says, "Neato."
Nisavi adjusts her gaze over towards Cymri, her maw shutting as she addresses the question: "Vast. It is on display for any to see within Her Lair upon Asper."
Aramaeus tilts his head to one side in an inquisitive gesture, indicating Nisavi with a languid roll of a gloved hand. "What is the significance of the position of Talon? One can infer a certain punitive or combative role, at least."
Nisavi pivots on her heel next, craning her head to address your statement. "Aye," she affirms, granting you a nod. "Such a testament to She and serve as a reminder that Draconic Law applies to all of Sapience, even for those who are ignorant to it."
Continuing, Nisavi of Kemau says, "The Talon must hone themselves continually through the fires of combat. Death is expected. If one is not feared by the masses of Sapience, one will not even be considered for the role. With the Heir of the Dragon absent, I am the de facto head of the Dragon-kin in his absence."
Aramaeus dips his head in acknowledgement of the explanation. "Duly noted. Do you prefer to be addressed as Talon?"
Nisavi nods her head in affirmation towards you. "I have earned my own share of titles, but I still prefer mine own name -- but if I was to be addressed with one, Talon is the one I hold above all others."
Their eyes shifting brightly, Shadus Cymri Mistmourn says to Nisavi, "And for the morsels that are shepherd with the hope of rising to the skies, Talon. For they are not Dragon-kin yet."
Nisavi nods once more towards Cymri in agreement. "Aye, for the morsels that ever aspire to join our ranks and walk the path of ascension."
Absently running the edge of a leather-clad thumb across the hem of his sleeve, Aramaeus's eyes flick across those present, his expression neutral. "If you prefer your name, then that is what I shall use. Are there many ranks and roles within the Sun-Drinker's faithful?"
Cymri calmly flickers in several whorls of shadow as they stands aside Nisavi with arms clasped behind their back where they regard you.
Nisavi clicks her tongue thoughtfully at this line of questioning, her sole eye drifting upwards as the diminutive woman maintains her silence before finally answering: "There are the Morsels, those of the Congregation. Those of the Dragon-kin are the Order proper, and they are those that have received a heart from the Kin-Mother. At the higher echelons of our leadership, there is the Heir, the Talon, and the Devourer of Morsels who is meant to guide them on their way towards becoming Dragon-kin."
A faint line appears upon Aramaeus's brow, creasing the otherwise smooth skin as he considers this at some length. "A missing Heir, and a lack of a Devourer for a significant portion of time.
Is this because the Dragon sleeps?" Another beat, and he asks, faintly skeptically, "When you say that they have received a heart, is it in the form of a ceremonial rite, or something more substantial?"
Nisavi affirms your inquiry with yet another nod. "Her slumber is deep for now as She prepares for a task that will go unmentioned to those outside of the Kin. She will stir when She is ready, or
hungry." The woman rolls her shoulders in a shrug at this, her membranous wings shifting as she does. "It is a deep act, where She will kill a hatchling of Hers and offer up its heart to one of us, imbuing it in ourselves to remove our mortal weakness."
Accepting this without so much as a flicker of shock, Aramaeus's gaze travels upwards, contemplating the sky for a quiet moment. "That seems sensible, assuming the hatchling in question is of lesser potential than the follower the Sun-Drinker gifts the heart to." The fingers of his right hand move in a slow, rippling motion as he thinks, eventually returning his gaze to Nisavi. "What does having the heart accomplish, for you? How does one go about joining the Kin?"
"Having the heart sets one upon the path towards ascension," Nisavi replies, though her pause and reluctant expression afterwards begets some hesitancy to speak further on the subject. Indeed, she seems eager to answer the next question. "One demonstrates their worth as a morsel to Sky Dreaming or one of the Maw, our leaders, and they may join the ranks of the Kin. Presently, we have one without a heart that I brought into the fold. With any luck, she will be deemed worthy by Sky Dreaming and given a heart to take her rightful place among the Kin."
Elaborating, Nisavi of Kemau says, "Generally, one goes from morsel to Kin with an offering of tribute. The more personal or perceived value it has to its offerer, the more it has to Her."
Aramaeus's eyes sharpen upon Nisavi at the momentary reluctance, his scrutiny intensifying for a time. He does not pursue the topic, however, instead asking, voice level and polite "I see. That seems logical enough, so far. And as for the Morsels? How does one become a member of their ranks?"
"One simply elects to join the Congregation itself," Nisavi answers, the corners of her lips turning upwards in a briefly lived smile. "Membership is open to all who would follow Her law and walk proudly under Her shadow."
Aramaeus's brows arch in mild surprise, a few tresses of his glossy, black hair shifting as he tilts his head, curious. "Truly? I had not expect it to be so simple, though I suppose that it would be best to have a larger pool to draw from, so that the more worthy rise to join the Kin." Tapping a finger on his thigh, he purses his lips into a thin line, then nods decisively. "Very well. I had little in the way of reservations to begin with, but you have succinctly answered what qualms I may have had." Straightening, he looks Nisavi directly in the eyes, his own blue ones calm and serious, and states, "I would like to request to join the Morsels, if you would permit it, Nisavi."
"I have no objections at all," Nisavi says with tempered enthusiasm, her previous smile returning albeit with the semblance of one baring their teeth at prey. "I shall extend an invitation to you then, new morsel. I welcome you formally to the ranks of those who have taken the first steps towards ascension."
Aramaeus answers Nisavi's smile with one of his own, mirroring the faintly predatory aspect, albeit without quite the same degree of teeth. Formally, he places his left arm across his abdomen and bends at the waist in a fluid motion, extending his right in a flowing gesture as he intones, "I thank you, Nisavi. I appreciate this opportunity, and will not put it to waste, this I assure you."
Nisavi of Kemau says, "Excellent. I am sure that I will not be disappointed. Walk ever in Her shadow, and embody Her laws."
Cymri echoes her sentiment, and nods in an echo of mutual reflection of welcome. "Welcome my morsel-kin," she says to you.
Nebula grins at you, nodding at Cymri and Nisavi in agreement. "Aye, welcome. I think you'll find yourself right at home."
Aramaeus straightens from his bow, offering a fainter, more cordial smile as hedoes so. "I shall do so." Attention flicking to Cymri, and then to Nebula, he inclines his head in a courteous gesture and says, "My thanks. I look forward to proving my worth, and learning more of Her ways."
Nisavi of Kemau says, "Excellent. Barring any other questions, I must temporarily retire to my lair."
Aramaeus gives a brief shake of his head, gesturing outward with splayed fingers. "Please, do not let me keep you, Nisavi. I appreciate your time, and the knowledge you have granted me. Do take care."
Cymri takes a half-step back with a lift of their staff, and a nod to Nisavi. "Farewell for now," they say.
Nisavi dips her head politely towards you and those assembled. "Allow me to express my thanks once again for those of you who attended. Kin, morsel, and outsider alike are all welcome to hear of Her ways."