[AW+] Old Worry

The room was still; hospital quiet. Harlan stared at the ceiling from an unmade bed, watching as the dust floated idly by the cracks in the window. It caught the light just so, like fresh fallen snow. A childish thought to reach out and grasp with curious hands at the little floaters was pushed back by uncertainty. He dared not break this stillness -- this untouched and unfamiliar place with walls of darkened, dingy stone.

The first night had been mostly sleepless, plagued with vague and frightening dreams. Every time Harlan awoke, he found himself startled with the emptiness that surrounded. Though he was no stranger to long bouts of silence, for the Commander had never been one for any conversation that was not painfully brief, Harlan could not remember the last time he'd been alone. It was a strange feeling, one that wasn't as liberating as he'd once entertained it to be. He had no regret though, for Harlan was certain that his father would receive the care he needed here.

In time, Harlan knew he would grow used to the change. The Commander on the other hand... an old dog of old worry, Harlan was not so sure. This was for the best though.

Rising from his bed, Harlan stoked the faded coals of the previous night's dead fire and found them unwilling to be revived. He dressed himself in humble furs to shield himself from the bitter cold outside and left the humble hovel behind. 

There was still much to explore here in this new land -- so much that he had yet to see. However, Harlan found himself nervous to venture far. At least for now, he thought to gather his bearing and explore Fort Louisbourg and the rocky coastline to its south. He thought of the priest, and of the goddess Nin, then.

The priest had promised her protection. The coast was only a short walk away.

He scaled down the rocks carefully and sunk paws into the cold sand below. He realized he did not know how to pray, but he supplicated himself before the water's edge and silently asked for his father's healing.

(364) | NPCs: ---
OOC text here.
Priest III Prompt: Guide an aspiring priest into the priesthood. Have them shadow you throughout your ritual practices and prayers.

freedom is a delusion granted to the weak by the strong

The sea became a regular haunt for the aging priest, naturally. Such a vast expanse hadn't existed in his landlocked homelands, and he supposed the closeness to the ocean was one of the few advantages to the New Kingdom. Where the faithless majority failed him, Nín had been steadfast, providing other ways for him to see Her power.

Even those that did not heed Her word rightfully respected the sea, after all. It was far too large and reckless a foe to overcome.

Rand had been keeping an eye on the boy. The father, less so, because he seemed old and stubborn — not at all malleable or impressionable as Harlan was. It somewhat surprised him, then, to see the youth heading for the Swords Coast, and the Lorn man saw no reason not to follow.

For a time, he merely watched from a distance, the high collar of his robe gently swaying from the sea breeze. Until now, he had revealed very little about his Lady to this potential, and yet he was knelt down in the sand, just beside the ebbing tide, paying reverence to a Goddess he barely knew.

She, at least, would have known him very well. She knew each and every person Her waters flowed through.

The dog approached quietly, as to not frighten him, and he rose his voice above the waves.

"Did She lead you out here?"

yes i am a confirmed thread thief
[Image: bEX1qz7.png]
Quote:[size=small]Priest I Prompt: Learn about one of the Clans' gods from a past-member of Old Caledonia; if an old Caledonian yourself, teach![/size]

Knees planted firmly in the sand, pleading hands stretched into the frigid abyss beyond. The cold chilled Harlan to the bone, causing him to wince with discomfort, however, the gentle lapping of the water against eager fingertips lulled Harlan into a strange sense of ease. His heart stilled as he cast his burdens out to sea.

Harlan hardly noticed the priest's approach until he loomed over him. Harlan looked up. "I --" he murmured, still uncertain. Had the Goddess Herself willed him here? Truly, Harlan did not know if the thought had been his own, or had been planted in his head. However, he could not deny the curiosity that drew him to the sea -- nor could he deny the hope that he so desperately clung to. "I believe so," he answered then, if only because he wanted Her to.

He pulled his hands from the frigid waters and straightened himself to sit upright, though he did not rise from his knees. "I thought I might come here to pray," he explained. "But I realize now that... I'm not sure how." He cast a glance away, feeling embarrassment rise in his chest over his ignorance. There was so little he knew -- and so much he wished to learn.

"Will you show me?" Harlan asked hesitantly. "Will you show me how to pray?"

(223) | NPCs: ---
OOC text here.
Priest III Prompt: Guide an aspiring priest into the priesthood. Have them shadow you throughout your ritual practices and prayers.

freedom is a delusion granted to the weak by the strong

Harlan was uncertain, not sure if he felt Her pull or not — but to Rand, it was obvious. There was no denying or misidentifying it. He was seasoned enough in his piousness to recognize Her hand tugging at the heart of another.

The boy looked up to him with those large doe eyes, asking for guidance, for wisdom. Rand smiled down at him, the gesture, surprisingly, almost something of a kind nature, and his willowy paw came to rest on the youth's shoulder.

"Of course."

Lifting the edges of his robe, he came to kneel beside the commoner, settling into the cold sand as his fiery gaze lingered on the sea. "The Lady is working through your father," he said, for he knew he sensed doubt. It was natural, this fear of death, and yet Rand had come to terms with it. It was a simple thing for him to do, as an outsider to the depths of Harlan's pain.

"Whatever Her will, it shall be done — and it shall be for the greater good, always." He gave a solemn nod, agreeing with himself, before he extended a hand to the approaching wave, weak though it was.

"First you must recognize Her power, Her sovereignty over all things," he explained, his body rising with a deep breath before he spoke the timeworn invocation:

"Caro den i innas lín."

Letting it linger in the air, his foreign tongue was swept away by the waves before he elaborated.

"'Thy will be done.' It is an ancient prayer from my people."

He looked to Harlan expectantly, ensuring the rite was properly repeated by him before they continued.

[Image: bEX1qz7.png]
Quote:Priest I Prompt: Learn about one of the Clans' gods from a past-member of Old Caledonia; if an old Caledonian yourself, teach!

It was a simple, affirming touch; an unfamiliar and paternal sort of softness. Yet, the hand that had come to rest upon Harlan's shoulder gave him brief pause. Displays such as these were not the Commander's way. An involuntary tension briefly seized Harlan, tightening the muscles in his shoulder under the elder priest's grip before slowly melting away with a glance of bemused surprise. This silent sort of assurance, though he'd so actively sought it from the stern and misanthropic Commander, Harlan could not deny how strange it felt to be on the receiving end for once. 

He held it close.

Listening intently, Harlan clung to every word with a desperate fervor. In all the chaos, he wanted (or rather, needed) to believe there was some sort of divine plan. That this hardship had been ordained by some higher authority, and that there was reason to the madness. Nin and Her priest offered just that. It was Nin's will that the Commander fall ill, for there would have been no other way to open Harlan's heart to service. For what it was worth, it made sense. A sword was only sharpened against the stone after all.

The greater good. All of this had purpose. Chaos of the universe be damned. 

Harlan nodded, willing to acknowledge Her dominion. It it was Her will to make him Her servant, so be it. 

Invited to partake in an invocation both ancient and true, Harlan was eager to comply. "Caro-- Caro den i i-innas lín," he stammered, tasting these strange and foreign words on his tongue. Her will be done. Surely, there had to be more to it than this -- and Harlan's eager expression spoke to his willingness to learn more from the enigmatic Rand Coara.


(300) | NPCs: ---
OOC text here.

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