[P] A Blessing Unto Us
#1
Guinevere’s request had come as a surprise to the young Griffith, but she had been so excited by the news. Guin believed she was expecting a child with Honrin, a man Minerva loved like a brother. Honrin had been a steady source of laughter and encouragement when she lived in the Wolfe-Denahlii camp in what felt like a lifetime ago. She had helped Honrin overcome his sickness, helping him drain his body to become a new man. Now he sat as part of the Council, where he undoubtedly belonged in her mind.

Minerva had given Guin the instructions to meet her by the steam baths at sunset. It was a sacred place that she dared to only make use of for a ritual. Guin wanted her to help bless her in the eyes of the spirits, and so Minerva had meditated on the exact shape of the ceremony until the gods and goddesses above granted her a clear vision of what to do.

As the sun began to set Minnie left her home, kissing Aldora goodbye and wandering past Howland who gave her another peculiar look as he took in the sight of her, bucket of milk in hand, dead rabbit tossed over her shoulder, and dried sage in hand. By now the guard knew better than to ask. The Spiritual Advisor simply smiled, telling him she would be with Guinevere at the steam baths, before making the journey.

It took time to get to the top of the small mountain. By the time she arrived snow had begun to fall once more, and her breath was only faintly lit up by the light from the moon. When she reached the baths she took time to fix up her appearance, adjusting her forest green cloak, ber braid, and the small antler crown upon her head. As she fiddled with the crown she smiled, remembering how Aldora had given it to her for the Hunter’s feast while they were courting. It was a perfect symbol of the pack’s wealth and fertility.


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WC: 340

OOC: Dated to mid January

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#2
OOC:: Here

It had taken an insurmountable amount of courage to approach someone else for help. Honrin hadn't known yet. She'd kept it from him, terrified of getting his hopes up only to have them dashed if she failed to carry what she thought she had to full term. She was certain he suspected something; her mate was not in the least bit stupid, and he saw things even if he didn't comment on them. But whether he'd noticed and kept it to himself to preserve her worried paranoia, or he truly didn't know, she hadn't even thought to even ask.

Guin had barely left the shop since she'd started to suspect her condition, but being overly cautious wasn't going to be enough for her this time. She needed...she needed something else. She didn't even know what that thing was until she saw Minerva walking across the Town Square. The Spiritual Advisor had most likely been going about what duties she could during the day.

And despite knowing who she sought, what she sought, actually asking for it had been....difficult. Guinevere was not overly superstitious about the heavens. She sort of believed in Fenris, mostly due to the fact that she'd now encountered two ghosts, which cemented the idea in her mind that the Casa belief of Fenris, the almighty Star, looking down upon them from the above might be just a little true. But praying? Ceremonies, rituals, blessings, or even curses? They'd never crossed her mind before.

But she'd asked, and it was no the day, and she was so nervous her stomach churned in anxiety. Walking toward the Steam baths as she'd been bid, both of her hands cupped over her abdomen protective beneath the fox furred cloak. She caught Minerva's scent on her way there, hardly old at all, and she thought she was figuratively right on the Cadet's tail.

A few minutes later, the Sworn came up to the Steam baths and saw the Spiritual Herbalist waiting for her there, a few suspicious things with her that she'd brought for this blessing of theirs. Guinevere only gave them a glance before dipping her muzzle in a way usually reserved toward one of higher rank. Due to Minerva's deeper knowledge for the festivities of the evening, Guin thought it appropriate.

The phoenix warrior paused, unsure of how to proceed. "Thank you again for doing this. So...how should we start this? Do you need me to do anything or...stand somewhere?" her ears flicked sideways, though only for a moment before they straightened to point in Minerva's direction.

WC:: 000
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#3

Minerva was not the strongest, or boldest, or even the smartest of the Cavaliers, but in moments like this, she felt herself feel content with her role in the pack. She was beginning to feel stronger, in her own way, bolder and smarter too. Although she knew she would never be as fierce a warrior as the Lune and Sola, or maybe as wise as Veri or Jace, she felt herself feeling...better since she had helped guide the spirits into the afterlife, and better yet with Guinevere reaching out to her to help with a ritual.

The Brotherhood member appeared at last, and much to her surprise Guin dipped down her head in quite a low fall. Her eyes opened wider in surprise but she did her best to recover, bowing her own body into a curtsy. “Welcome, Sworn.” She spoke, reminding Guin and herself of the rank of the potential mother to be. Teagan has been a hard mentor on Minerva, and years later Minnie remembered her manners.

The older woman spoke, and Minerva was quick to recognize the sound of uncertainty in her tone. Pasting a smile on her own face she spoke in a soft way, “I am honored you asked me to be part of this happy time in your life Guin. Let’s start by using some sage and sacred water to cleanse your body. Is that okay?” She asked as she picked up the dried sage roll.

With the Sworn’s permission, she placed the sage down. Using a flint she sparked the sage into life, quickly she minimized the flame into a line of glowing red, the perfect burn. Smoke arose from the roll of sage as she lifted it into the air and began to move it about, first waving the smoke over her own body and then turning to do the same to Guin. “Think calming, positive thoughts. Welcome the spirits to bless us and bring new life.”

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WC: 320

OOC:

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#4
Guin's ear flicked at the pointed greeting Minerva offered in return, using her title instead of her name. The ghost of a laugh escaped her muzzle, but she thought nothing more of it as the younger woman continued speaking, thank Guinevere for considering Minerva and including her in this happy time of the carpenter's life. Briefly her thoughts were flung backward to the grief and pain she'd undergone earlier that year, discovering that she did not in fact carry with child. Perhaps she never had, but the keen sorrow was a sharp memory.

She came back to the Spiritual Herbalist asking permission to cleanse her body with sage and sacred water. Uncertainty pulled her ears backward once again, both hands cupping her abdomen, and then she nodded. "Yes," she said simply, stepping forward a little so they were closer to one another so Minerva would not have to move so far to reach Guin's position.

She watched with ghostly green eyes as Minerva lit the sage into a slow burn, first weaving the smoke about herself and then turning to duplicate the same motions around Guinevere. When asked to think calming and positive thoughts, the first which came were those of doubt. This was silly, it wouldn't do anything but make her cough from the sage smoke.

She gritted her teeth though and pushed through them, tilting her head back as she closed her eyes and took a deep breath, the scent of the sage entering her nares. She counted in her head for several seconds and then breathed out slowly, coaxing her body to relax, her heart to slow, and she pictured herself, her arms crossed, and within them, she held a tiny, helpless puppy.

Hers.

The pain of what could have been again ripped through her like a fresh wound and she swallowed a whimper. She could do nothing about the past. But she could do something about the future. And the future is what she held, the life which she now carried in her belly, which she envisioned in her mind. Healthy, alive. She clung to the vision, and she breathed, and she relaxed. And she opened herself to what else there might be. Fenris, perhaps, or some other entity she knew nothing about.

Guin welcomed them to come and see what she wrought within her belly, to come in awe and in joy. And she asked for help, silently, praying with only her thoughts for anything, everything, to help her protect this precious life and help her nurture it into this world, to hold it in her arms and cry with relief, and love.

A lump slowly grew in her throat, and her eyes moistened. She smiled ever so slightly to herself.
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#5

She took her time, gently using a hand to wave the air in the proper directions. She started by cleansing herself, bring the sage slowly around her body, and allow the smoke to soak into her fur before she turned back to Guin. It was in these moments that Minerva felt the most powerful. With her rooster crown and her ritual body paint on she looked almost wild in nature. Noone in Casa really quite understood the nature witch, in fact, she didn’t really understand herself sometimes, but at the very least everyone in Casa was slowly coming around to her different talents.

Once she was satisfied they were both clean from the negative energies of the day she reached for the knife and rabbit. Holding the rabbit up she spoke, “Goddess bless us with your energies. Let your rays soak into this ward, bringing forth life where life once was.” With a precise motion, she brought the knife to the hare. With a gentle touch, she used the exposed liquid to paint Guinevere’s stomach. Softly she mimicked the shape of the moon. “Bring forth life where life there once was.” She chanted softly nodding for Guinevere to join the chant as she guided her hands to sit on her belly.
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WC: 200+

OOC:

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#6
Guinevere breathed, and relaxed, meditation her breath as she pictured her womb, her future child, whole and healthy, letting it fill her from the toes and up until she was brimming with contentment.

After a time, Minerva considered the sage cleansing to be finished and moved away to fetch the next item. Curiously Guin lowered her head to observe, her ears flicking backward for another moment as the spiritualist brought knife to the pelt of the hair, exposing its life's blood to the elements. The scent of coppery iron was strong in her nares, and she also felt a faint flicker of hunger, though she had eaten well just a little earlier.

Her muzzle only wrinkled a little as Minnie approached her and used the garish red paint to bring into sight a moon upon her belly. The sensation was warm and slightly sticky, though gradually the substance cooled and clung to her pelt like sludge.

Minerva wanted participation, however, and gave a nod to the phoenix warrior to say the chant with her. Guin lifted her hands to hover above her stomach, and though they trembled for the first dozen seconds the tremors quickly smoother and steadied as she grew more confident. "Bring forth life where life there once was." she copied, keeping pace with Minnie as she too chanted along. The painted lines through her fur seemed to tingle, but she couldn't tell if that was simply the temperature cooling it or something else.
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#7

Minerva knew she wasn’t normal. She knew others looked at her rituals and practices with a side-eye, but as Guinevere followed her lead it helped her relax. In the realm of the spirits, Minnie was the leader for Casa. It brought her great pride and joy to help the members of Casa with such things. It was a way she could help. It was a way for her to use her talents.

“Bring forth life where life there once was.” She continued, her hands moving to rest on Guin’s wrists, helping her to stay steady. She closed her eyes as she spoke again and again. Willing and wishing with all her might for Guinevere and Honrin to experience the joy of new life. She thought about how she had helped bring life forward for Cedric, two beautiful girls that were growing stronger every day. She prayed to the spirits of nature to do the same here and now.

When some time had passed she gently let go of Guin’s wrists. Reaching for the pail she smiled softly. “Milk,” She explained, “To represent motherhood.” With gentle paws, she scooped the milk into her hands and rubbed it softly into the other woman’s fur. It took time. She could have simply dunked the milk over the warrior’s head, it would have been faster, but for a ceremony about motherhood and positivity, she assumed Guin would not be so positive about the experience of cold milk flooding over her head and getting in her nose. So far the older woman had been calm and happy to follow along with the ritual but Minerva did not push her luck.

Looking up with turquoise eyes Minerva began a new chant, “Let the milk flow, to feed life we sow.” Continuing to wash Guinevere in the milk she repeated, encouraging the hopeful mother to be to join. “Let the milk flow, to feed the life we sow.”





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WC: 320

OOC:

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#8
As though Minerva were able to sense the momentary hesitation and turmoil, the spiritualist's hands came to rest on Guinevere's wrists, anchoring her to the here and now and grounding her chaotic thoughts into one single focus; the flat plane of her stomach where she oh so wished to be given the second chance for life. The phoenix warrior let her words grow steadier, firmer, and the tremor in her hands stilled into nothingness as she prayed and willed for her desire to be so.

Having gotten the chance at motherhood torn from her once already, she wanted to so badly this time. And it would be so, she would batter her will against Fenris's gates if necessary, she would not be denied a second time.

Guinevere's spine subtly straightened in confidence, certainty filling her being of confidence, and when Minerva broke away from her to retrieve the next item, it took her a moment to open her eyes and observe the pail the witch woman carried. Milk, to signify the birth of new life and motherhood. Minnie cupped the liquid between her hands and approached Guin to soak the milk into the Sworn's fur wherever the blood hadn't been placed prior, effective bathing her in the white subtance.

With this new step came another chant, and Guinevere's ears shifted forward to better listen and memorize the lines so that when Minerva inevitably invited her to join in she was capable of doing so.

"Let the milk flow, to feed life we sow," she murmured, keeping her hands hovered above her abdomen but without touching her milk or blood-drenched hide. All of her hope, her will, her certainty, she closed her eyes and imagined pushed all of it down her body, through her arms and into her hands, coalescing in a ball between the palms of her hands just beneath the skin of her belly where a pup would sit. "Let the milk flow, to feed life we sow," she chanted, keeping herself in time with Minerva's steady beat. "Let the milk flow, to feed life we sow,"

There was nothing there, she knew that logically there wasn't anything sitting within her stomach except the organs and blood she used to live, the meat of another creature to sustain her. And yet she could not shake the sensation of a tiny fluttering heartbeat between her palms, a psuedo sensation of life that made her heart skip a beat with renewed hope. Ethereal as it might have been, it made her lips crease with a smile, even as she continued chanting with the Witch woman.
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