REALLY IMPORTANT SIDEBAR
This is obviously going to be a somewhat controversial subject, both in-game and out-of-game, so it might go without saying that posting this is a tad risky.
Sibatti has been off-plane for a really, really long time
and a lot of things have changed, she's struggling to catch up with it all and it's safe to say her coping mechanisms aren't the healthiest. Her Mhun upbringing has been a pivotal part of her character's story, as has her various clashes and fallings-out with the Gods of Sapience (really great timing on Omei's part to show up when She did, as well).
TY to @Oonagh
for setting things in motion, and @Rasani
for being outstanding as usual.
Emperor Meltas Nehekhara's voice resonates across the land, "Seek comfort in Pain, Seek oneness in knowing we are all the same, Seek power and use it to shape the world in your image! If you wish to learn more of the Expectations of the Lady Iosyn come, ready to learn in the Congregation of thin Goddess!"
Hiale Hawa Qizzeke, Keeper of Many Names's voice resonates across the land, "Not sure I wanna learn about a Goddess from someone who can't even pronounce Her name correctly!"
(Duiran): Escelika says, "Was he also calling other Divine fat?"
Emperor Meltas Nehekhara's voice resonates across the land, "Who said I was teaching? I said join her congregation, Obviously the light not only blinds you, dearest Hawa, but it also makes you hard of hearing!"
(Duiran): Hawa says, "Uhhh... what? Hope not, for his sake!"
With a tumultuous croak, Oonagh bellows, "Seek Discipline, Seek Fealty, Seek Purpose. Blind idealism is wrought in but words. To be of the Argent Legion speaks of Action. For our Pantheon, For Sapience!"
(Duiran): Kuipari says, "Good on her fro watching her weight."
(Tells|Oonagh): In a deep, gravelly voice, you impart to Oonagh, "Argent Legion?"
(Tells|Oonagh): Oonagh's psychic whisper trails through your mind, "Yes, that of the Warlord Bamathis, Esrytesh."
Lashes of eldritch, many-hued energy coil through the air as Omei, the Imago whispers, "And if you really want to know about images, find Me and spare yourself further, ahem... pain. For sentience!"
(Duiran): Oonagh says, "Ah, Imago, a blessing to hear Your voice."
(Duiran): Kuipari says, "Ahem. Good on Her *for* watching Her weight."
(Duiran): Omei says, "What's this? Light talk about matters of Divine weight?"
(Duiran): You say, "Has the world gone mad...?"
(Duiran): Omei says, "The world has always been mad. Trust One Who hears."
(Duiran): You say, "I..."
(Duiran): Hawa says, "I wouldn't wanna live in a world that wasn't."
(Duiran): Jhura says, "The world would be rather boring without it."
(Duiran): Oonagh says, "A bit of madness, bears the most magnificent observations."
(Duiran): Omei says, "And mad shall it remain, from Midnight to Dawn and on until addled Noon, so long as I yet draw breath."
(Duiran): Hawa says, "Yay!"
(Duiran): Hawa says, "I'd shout more, but honestly, nobody wants that."
You think: What have I awoken to?
(Duiran): Omei says, "The one was very precisely put, moth Mine. You'd spoil it with more."
(Duiran): Hawa says, "Yepper! Restraint!"
(Duiran): Oonagh says, "Yeah, I did my one line....it's rare I pipe up so unless someone is being absolutely daft and droning on."
(Tells|Oonagh): In a deep, gravelly voice, you impart to Oonagh, "What's that?"
(Tells|Oonagh): Oonagh's psychic whisper trails through your mind, "Ah, the Argent Legion was created after the Chaos Wars. Warlord Bamathis given form by the Celestine for the preservation of Sapience as a whole from the Albedi deities."
(Tells|Oonagh): In a deep, gravelly voice, you impart to Oonagh, "Preservation?"
(Tells|Oonagh): Oonagh's psychic whisper trails through your mind, "It was decreed that the deitiesof Albedos were a threat directly to Sapience and our Gods, the Lord Damariel and Severn led alongside an Ankyrean against the Leviathan, and upon the end of the battle the Ankyrean was given form to become the Warlord. Around this time the Queen of Moghedu worked with myself and many others in Enorian to convert the Mountain Home to the faith of Sapience, and she stepped down as Queen to create a council of leadership in Moghedu."
(Tells|Oonagh): In a deep, gravelly voice, you impart to Oonagh, "It was decreed.... by whom?"
(Tells|Oonagh): Oonagh's psychic whisper trails through your mind, "The Celestine charged the Warlord to serve Sapience from these threats invading and damaging our Pantheon...this was decreed by the Celestine, Varian."
(Tells|Oonagh): In a deep, gravelly voice, you impart to Oonagh, "Forgive me, I'm reeling from shock after shock. It is nothing against you."
(Tells|Oonagh): Oonagh's psychic whisper trails through your mind, "I imagine much when my mentor Shachalai returns, she will face much the same in shock. It...was an incredible, volatile time in our history. There was much death, pain, emotion....you are but reliving this history by words and not experience. I cannot fathom the feelings you are facing."
(Tells|Oonagh): In a deep, gravelly voice, you impart to Oonagh, "You've just told me that my childhood home and religious heritage was upended in so few sentences..."
(Tells|Oonagh): In a deep, gravelly voice, you impart to Oonagh, "This.. this has to be wrong."
(Tells|Oonagh): Oonagh's psychic whisper trails through your mind, "I imagine there is still some turmoil in the mountain home, I was told they would handle things internally, but my main objective was to protect those who were not in the uprising that was present there. Thus my responsibility primarily was keeping the children and elderly safe during this time."
(Tells|Oonagh): Oonagh's psychic whisper trails through your mind, "If anything, they did not need to be victims of that turmoil, we have lost too many over these sorts of things."
(Tells|Oonagh): In a deep, gravelly voice, you impart to Oonagh, "Generations of culture, of ways of living, they just don't-."
(Tells|Oonagh): In a deep, gravelly voice, you impart to Oonagh, "-go away-."
(Tells|Oonagh): Oonagh's psychic whisper trails through your mind, "I imagine not, but this went on for some time....I think there will always be traditionalists but many converted, perhaps you should seek some of them out to discuss further, as one from Moghedu you might have more insight than an outsider, I am but a Grook, I would hate to label anything on assumption, I merely state what I have been informed."
(Tells|Oonagh): In a deep, gravelly voice, you impart to Oonagh, "I will. Thank you... I guess."
(Tells|Oonagh): Oonagh's psychic whisper trails through your mind, "Im sorry you have to hear all this now, my sibling Rasani might have more insight, we worked together on alot of helping the Mhun, the princess stayed in their home."
(Tells|Oonagh): In a deep, gravelly voice, you impart to Oonagh, "Rasani is a good friend of mine."
(Tells|Oonagh): Oonagh's psychic whisper trails through your mind, "As they should be, there are few souls who possess such a strength in kindness as they do."
(Tells|Rasani): Her voice laden with crackling fire, Rasani whispers warmly to you, "I am told you are... processing the changes of Moghedu.
(Tells|Rasani): In a deep, gravelly voice, you impart to Rasani, "Processing is an optimistic description."
(Tells|Rasani): Her voice laden with crackling fire, Rasani whispers warmly to you, "Would alcohol help? I... I was involved with it, from the beginning, so if you have questions... let me know."
The Burly Chest Tavern.
An icewyrm's hoard sits piled here, a small sign proclaiming it as a place for tips. A fire-blackened anvil lies here, surface emblazoned with the symbol of a dual flame. A buxom Atavian bar wench is here, draped enticingly over the counter. Taller than some mortals, a paroz statue of two figures sits here. Covered in tattoos and dath, a muscular Troll stands here. Surrounded in an aura of defilement, Knight Rasani Morrog is here. You see a sign here instructing you that WARES is the command to see what is for sale.
You see exits leading northeast (open pine door) and down (closed pine door).
Rasani bows her head to you, looking far less dressed up than perhaps last they saw each other. "Forgive me, I'm somewhat retired from... well, everything but knighthood and barkeeping at this point. ...And forging."
You have emoted: "I got lost...." Looking very much the disheveled traveler, a cloaked figure enters the tavern, striding through the door in a heavy stride and thoroughly concealed by a dark cloak, flecked with detritus from a quagmire. She pauses, straightening up, and lets her gaze fall over the contents of the room.
You deftly lower the hood of a dusky cloak with lambent beryl whorls, revealing your identity.
Rasani rubs her neck with the hand of what appears to be a gauntlet affixed to one arm. There is no other armor on her. "I... the tavern moved, while you all were away. My fault."
You have emoted: Underneath the hood, Sibatti is mostly unaffected by the boggy bits clinging to her legs and cloak. She sweeps her hair out, freeing it, her ears perking up as she meets Rasani's gaze. "That makes sense. Good to know I haven't gone completely crazy..."
Rasani smiles. "Sit, yeah? I still sell your mead here, if you'd like some. And I... I have something to show you."
You have emoted: Sibatti moves to sit, leaving a serrated dhurive of smoky damascus on the bar in front of her lengthwise.
Rasani gives a knuckle-marked tankard to you.
You have emoted: Sibatti accepts the tankard and raises it to her lips in one fluid motion, instantly downing its contents in several loud gulps.
You have emoted: "It's so sweet," Sibatti remarks, lowering the container. "I haven't had anything like this in a ... very long time. Forgot that it can taste good."
Rasani swallows thickly. "Oh dear." She sits down near you, drumming her gauntlet against the table. "It... started when a Mhun man I'd never met sought me out here, at my tavern." She stares at the fire, sighing. "He brought to me a book but... perhaps you don't want to hear about this now. How do you feel?"
Knight Rasani Morrog says, "I'll get you some food soon."
Knight Rasani Morrog says, "You like heat in your food?"
You have emoted: Sibatti glances sidelong at the fire, as if just now noticing it. "The only way I eat most things," she answers Rasani. She glances back at the tankard in hand, contemplating another drink. "Nothing could surprise me at this juncture, Rasani... just lay it on me."
Rasani buys a bowl of cheesy, boar and zhikta pepper chili.
Rasani gives a bowl of cheesy, boar and zhikta pepper chili to you.
Rasani comes back with a couple of steaming bowls of chili. "This Mhun died delivering to me the words of Orc laborers from Moghedu. This is how I got involved." She holds up the book. "This book. Most people have never read it, because the politicians of Enorian kept me from releasing it."
You have emoted: Sibatti sets the tankard down at the bar, cradling the bowl carefully in one hand and taking up a spoon with the other. A wistful sort of half-smile briefly bests her gloomy composure. "This looks great," she mentions. "Never occurred to me to use dairy this way, hmm..." Both ears flick in Rasani's direction, listening as she takes a large bite.
Rasani smiles at the compliment. "Thank you. I'm quite proud of it." She taps the book. "If you'd like, you can read it here, or I can make you a copy. It was as it always is, a corrupt priesthood and royalty that was unwilling to stand up to it."
Lokhani dur Naya enters from the northeast, a storm in her step. She halts abruptly once she spies Rasani and you, lingering uncertainly in the entrance.
Rasani blinks, gesturing. "Come in, all are welcome."
You have emoted: The book becomes an immediate fixation of Sibatti's - though she continues voraciously devouring the chili meanwhile. "You've met my daughter," she posits dryly, a question without intonation. She doesn't tear her gaze away from the tome.
Knight Rasani Morrog says, "Oh, uh, I don't know if I had. Hello, miss."
Rasani gives a plain leather-bound tome to you.
Knight Rasani Morrog says, "That, of course, stays with me once you are done."
Whether she was waiting for permission or simply recovering from a start, Lokhani dur Naya paces over to the bar to stand at your shoulder, glaring at the other Mhun woman but saying nothing for the moment. "Loki," she shoots over to Rasani, her glare not softening. She reaches for her mother's tankard and throws one back.
You dig into the bowl of chili, the act mixing the sour cream and cheese deeper into the dish. The zhikta pepper waters the eyes but sour cream soothes the tongue, allowing you to enjoy the tender boar belly and the perfectly cooked beans.
Rasani clears her throat, clearly not knowing what to say to that, with no teenage children of her own yet. "You, uh, are furious about something, clearly. Maybe a drink or smoke to calm your nerves?"
You have emoted: "She, of course, inherited all of my charms and none of her father's." Setting the bowl in the spot previously occupied by her drink, Sibatti accepts the book with a concentrated frown, examining its cover front to back, palms smoothing over its surface.
"Not funny," Lokhani dur Naya snaps back, returning the tankard. She flicks her eyes back to Rasani, and - much more sweetly, now - answers, "I'd love either. Both, if you have it."
You say, "Written by an Orc, you said?"
Rasani looks at you. "Dictated from an orc to the Mhun who delivered it to me. He was assassinated outsider Esterport."
Rasani nods at Loki. "I'll get you something strong in both. I've got a blend I make with myrrh that I think you'll enjoy."
You have emoted: "What would an Orc have business with the affairs of Moghedu....?" Sibatti wonders aloud, cracking open the book to its initial few pages. "Myrrh still the preferred drug of choice for ... Omei?" she asks, this time directly to Rasani.
Rasani grunts. "I am Ethne's, I simply..." She sighs. "I made friends with a piece of Omei. Were I not a Knight, perhaps I would be Hers, but my connection to Her is... just a friend." She pours a drink and slides it to Loki, a sweet cinnamon smelling ale. She sits to roll a thick cigar of myrrh and scitnililly, offering "The business was Mhun invited Orcs and Ogres and Trolls all back, but were never treated like civilians. Not even a lower caste. They wanted the right to worship their Gods in Moghedu, or to be involved with caste matters and politics. When they tried to strike, they were thrown in jail by the Priests."
Knight Rasani Morrog says, "The Queen knew it was wrong, and in fact I hid her and her daughter in the house of... a dear, dear friend while the matters were resolved. Some wanted to change to our Gods and do away with the royal family. Have an elected leadership, and the others wanted to keep on the current path."
Lokhani dur Naya gladly accepts both offerings, giving you a curious glance before placing the cigar between her lips and leaning forward towards Rasani for a light.
Rasani raises a brow, but obliges. The thumb of her gauntlet presses against the tip of the cigar and it ignites, the lumeinite chainmail beneath the platemail shifting in hues.
You have emoted: Sibatti leafs through the pages, her ears positioned to listen to Rasani but her eyes clearly absorbed in the reading. "And why did the politicians of Enorian censor this knowledge?" she queries.
The end of the cigar flares to life, and Lokhani dur Naya leans back comfortably with an elbow resting on the bar. "Nice trick," she chirps.
Knight Rasani Morrog says, "Because the concern was that folks would use it as an excuse to simply slaughter the Mhun people, rather then allow us to convert them. It is not perfect. Not at all, but it is a choice the Mhun people got to make on their own, together. We simply preached. Never forced."
Rasani chuckles at Loki. "Yes, well, I'd teach it to you but it involves losing an arm."
You have emoted: As Sibatti continues reading, her brow nudges deeper and deeper into her frown. The page turns become hurried and impatient. "Well, there's --- there's never full consensus in any body of people. It--" Her voice trails off and she holds the book at arm's length, squinting her eyes suddenly.
Cigar smoke trails lazily around Lokhani dur Naya's head, unapolgetic in her enjoyment of what she clearly considers the finer things in life.
Rasani holds her hand out for the book. "No no, there never is. Especially not with Mhun, if I've learned anything. And I thought Trolls could argue."
You have emoted: "Generational disputes happen," Sibatti speaks as if debating against some unnamed foe. "This is ... wait, so what happened after this?"
Knight Rasani Morrog says, "The children of Moghedu came to Enorian. The Princess and her friend...or body guard? They came to Enorian to follow our Gods lead by her. The disagreed with what was happening in the city. Some time after we welcomed them, unwilling to leave children with no home, the Queen came to Enorian. Unrest was everywhere and, well... there was worry that she'd be slain I suspect. She knew it was wrong but... you know how the Priesthood is.""
Rasani smiles, awkward, at Loki. "Like the smoke?"
Lokhani dur Naya smiles at Rasani in answer, her exhalations forming small rings through perfectly pursed lips.
You have emoted: Having reached the end of the testament, Sibatti shuts the book with a soft 'clop'. "I don't," she says to Rasani, holding the book back out to her.
You give a plain leather-bound tome to Rasani.
Rasani releases a low breath. "Right, well, that's what happened. There are still people who want to worship the Albedi, but... they voted on it, I'm told. The crown is no more, gifted to me and, in turn, gifted to Enorian. It's all democratic."
Knight Rasani Morrog says, "I, uh, if you wanna hit me I suppose you can. People do that a lot lately."
You have emoted: "Why would I want to hit you?" Sibatti asks.
Knight Rasani Morrog says, "'cause this... all this started because of this missive. Well, and my...inability to drop the matter. I was worried the warlord would slaughter all the Albedi worshippers, and did not want to see harm come to the Mhun."
"So what?" Lokhani dur Naya interjects, ashing her cigar into a dish and scowling. "Am I gonna have to change my name now, or something? By the f****' Mhunna...."
Knight Rasani Morrog says, "No, no. It's..."
Rasani stands up. "Look, I don't like this, but it kept them all from being killed like the Atav."
You have emoted: Lokhani's outburst momentarily distracts Sibatti, glancing between her daughter and Rasani. "Hold on. People are just ... committing genocide, like it was breakfast? Is that what you're saying?"
Knight Rasani Morrog says, "-Nothing- sits right about forcing the change of faith, but the Mhun had the choice of changing or moving to Albedos where they could worship freely without the threat of the warlord looming and..."
Rasani runs a hand through her hair. "No. They kill those unwilling to abandon worship of the Albedi. It has been small numbers so far but... none of it sits well with me."
You say, "Because of something a f****** -God- said? Like they're totally infallible and unbiased, you know."
Knight Rasani Morrog says, "Because Varian came from the heavens themselves and commanded it."
Knight Rasani Morrog says, "And at the end of the day, I cared about saving lives."
You have emoted: The tankard trembles as Sibatti slams a fist into the top of the bar. "-That- guy? He's one of many just like him. He has an agenda, just like the rest of them."
Rasani grunts. "I'm -aware- Sibatti. Believe me."
Knight Rasani Morrog says, "But I am a mortal and can do nothing about it but try to keep people alive."
You have emoted: "The Mhun have been worshiping their own gods for hundreds of years." Sibatti leans back in her barstool, both of her hands gripping the edge of the bar with arms straight - some sort of stressful reaction in physical form, perhaps. "No one had a problem with it until suddenly they did. And you can't... stand there and tell me it was for the best. Homogenizing all of these races into... into God-washed versions of themselves. It's enough to make me -sick-."
Rasani shakes her head. "I'm not saying it's for the best, I'm saying it's the best -we- could do. That doesn't mean it's good enough!" She snaps, before shaking her head. "No, no I'm sorry. I shouldn't... you've just come back and to all this mess... I'm sorry I couldn't do better. But I tried. I really did."
Formerly the more incensed of the two, Lokhani dur Naya now appears to be tame in comparison to the rising flare of anger coming from you. The look the younger Mhun gives her is worrisome - a healthy mix of fear and worry.
Knight Rasani Morrog says, "I... it's not right. It wasn't when my sister tried to ban the worship of them in Enorian before the... riots and it isn't right now, but I had to try and keep people alive, keep people safe. I did what I could."
You have emoted: "This is why you can't force people to live a certain way." Rasani's words appear to be falling on Sibatti's deaf ears. "Not everyone belongs together. Everyone sacrifices and no one is happy about it."
Rasani grunts. "Moghedu seems happy." She holds up the book. "The people who moved there, who do their hard labor are now citizens, right and proper. Caste is no longer something they worry about. This... ultimatum was not good, but not everything that came from it was bad."
You have emoted: The stool is finally tipped to the point of embracing physics, suddenly dropping out from under Sibatti, who stumbles to a quick recovery on two feet. Her tail snaps behind her like a whip, a punctuation mark for a sentence unspoken.
Rasani runs over to offer a hand, but you is already on her feet. Her hand curls upon itself. Retracts.
"And of the pantheon?" Lokhani dur Naya asks, sipping the cinnamon drink as if just remembering it.
Knight Rasani Morrog says, "The Albedi? They are worshipped still, in Albedos. Gods keep the secrets they always have."
Knight Rasani Morrog says, "One of them that even Albedi worshippers did not worship, the Leviathan, was slain."
You have emoted: Sibatti bends to upright the stool, setting it back in its rightful place, but opts to remain standing. She takes up the tankard again, holding it to her chest possessively between sips. "The pantheon," she reiterates firmly. "And this... Argent something-or-other? Are you saying they're going to come banging down my door to destroy my shrine to Mheribus and all the rest?"
Rasani takes a deep breath, releasing it. "Sibatti, I don't know. I really don't. He's ruthless in a way I cannot be, and I do not like nor trust Him, and if it came to it, you should know I would lose my other arm attempting to defend you, gladly, but if you must continue your worship, they only way you could safely do so is in secret."
You have emoted: "This is b*******," Sibatti snorts.
Lokhani dur Naya says, "Mom..."
Knight Rasani Morrog says, "I don't know what you think I can do about it. I did what I had to to save lives."
You have emoted: Sibatti seizes her dhurive from the bar in a swift, angry motion before swiveling to down the rest of the tankard's contents.
Knight Rasani Morrog says, "I would've died defending them, even if every single Mhun told me they wouldn't convert. My sword and shield were not dependent upon that."
You calmly lift a serrated dhurive of dark damascus into both hands, writhing phantasms of the Nightmare trailing like smoke from its blades.
You have emoted: "This isn't you, Rasani...." Sibatti is slow to words after gulping the rest of the mead down, and she pauses to wipe her mouth with the back of a clawed hand. "This entire world is insane, just like Lin said it was. I thought she was being dramatic, but no.."
You say, "Maybe I should have never come back."
Rasani frowns, shaking her head. "I wish you'd been here. Not many of... not many of the people I look to for guidance were. I did the best I could and I am sincerely sorry it was not enough."
You have emoted: "I'm here now..." Bitter humor laps at the edges of Sibatti's words. "And here I thought nothing could ever get me fired up." Her gloved grip around the dhurive tightens, twisting the warped wood in place. "I don't suppose you would be willing to scribe me a copy of that."
Rasani nods. "I can, though I am curious as to why." She looks at the book. "It's not exactly a glowing testimonial."
"Mom," Lokhani dur Naya says again, this time with singular, heavy emphasis on the word.
Knight Rasani Morrog says, "Evidence of what, corruption within the leadership?"
You have emoted: Sibatti glares at no one or nothing in particular, exhaling loudly through her nose in a huff. "I don't know! Something! I need to go destroy something --- Loki, we're -leaving-."
Rasani sighs. "I'll make a copy, but we're speaking on this again before you get it. I don't want you getting yourself hurt."
"But--" Lokhani dur Naya barely makes it to her mother's side in time, linking her arm with Sibatti's seconds before the mists take them.
You say, in Mhun, "Mheribus."
You raise your lantern as a ghostly fog creeps in, its light illuminating the thick cloud. With a slow, careful sway of the beacon, the fog melds with your surroundings and disperses shortly afterward to reveal a different environ.