(1311-01-18) Three Offerings
Summary: Before leaving for Siovale, Helene meets Eneas in the Temple of Elua
RL Date: Jan 18, 2019
Related: None
helene eneas 

The Temple of Elua

It has been over a fortnight since they returned, and while things have not perhaps been easy, they have passed well enough. For her part, the Verreuil has been trying well to keep from being party to any re-injuring of Eneas, though of course, he may have had other thoughts. Yet, there was work to do, and preparations to be made for her upcoming pilgrimage to her Baronie on the 21st, and so, as is her wont, she has thrown herself into it with gusto. Perhaps she has not been seen quite as much around the city as usual, but after the adventure they had, who could blame her for craving quiet and privacy.
On the 17th, a full four days before Helene was scheduled to leave though, a note arrives from Helene for Eneas in the early evening. The message is simple. My father has passed away. I leave tomorrow morning. I am going to the Temple of Elua tonight."
When he arrives, it is Jean-Marc who greets him and directs him to where Helene sits, barefoot in the snow, looking through flowers she has laid out on piece of fabric before her, her fingers running over stems and then petals, inspecting each in turn. Her shoulders are bare too against the slowly falling snow, wearing the dress he first saw her in during their first dinner together.

Whiplash. That is what the Winter of 1310/1311 will be remembered by Eneas, will it not. Delight and Sorrow. Triumph and Loss. Laughter and Grieving Silence. All intertwined in such few days, such few hours apart, really.

When he makes it to the Temple, Eneas offers to clasp Jean-Marc's arm in the usual style most soldiers and warriors do in greeting, offering him quiet thanks when he point out which way the heiress is to be found. He does stop a few half-dozen steps away from her and the statue, to bend down to undo his own boots, to slip them off, before he approaches barefoot as well.

He does not shed his cloak, yet, perhaps figuring they might have need for it in a few, as watches her kneel there in that dress that had her shivering even in the carriage. "Helene…", he speaks her name when he is a few steps behind and to the side of her. Quietly, just barely over a whisper, but surely he is close enough that she can hear him, and when he has taken the last four or so steps to be beside her, he does seek to place a warm, bare hand on her shoulder, before going down on one knee himself, beside her, watching her, studying her.

His wound has been healing well enough, despite his efforts to sabotage it, both by swordplay and other activities, the discoloration around the puncture slowly fading, though it is still covered by a bandage and turning his head too fast will have him hiss or stiffen his muscles in reaction to the pain still limiting him

Helene for her part akcnowledges the presence more readily than she has other times when focused on her work, and as he approaches, he can see her head shift and turn towards him, though her eyes remain onthe flowers. The skin under his hand is chilled through, but she does not seem to be bothered by the cold, or perhaps, a part of her feels she deserves it, a small punishment for all that has traspired. er hand rises to rest on his, and when he lowers himself beside her, she turns her head to place a kiss on his hand, her neck moving with a fluidity and flexibility that his does not currently.

She is not crying. She has not gone into shock, or forgotten herself as she did when she first learned of her father's injuries. No, in death, her reaction is somewhat eles altogether. She is calm and poised, her green eyes full of compassion, with only an undercurrent of sadness and loss. She will grieve, of course, but the loss is too new, too fresh. It has not sunk in yet. And how fortunate that that is so, as it will make her long journey to the pace of her birth all that much easier.

Her voice is gentle, soft enough that only he would hear as she tells him, "Thank you for coming. I wanted… I meant…" She takes a breath, her eyes turning upwards to the open air for a moment to collect her thoughts before she continues, "I meant to do this before I left, but now there is little time left. I want to make an offering to Elua. Three, perhaps. I've been choosing the best flowers." And sure enough he can see that the blooms have been seperated into two piles, the best and brightest pulled to one side.

Eneas knows too well the impulse to substitute one emotion, one sensation for another, and perhaps he does recognize it in the way she kneels there in the slowly accumulating snow. His hand keeps covering her shoulder, even as she kisses it, then starts to speak, to explain, and Eneas sighs a little. His eyes to flitter breifly to the pile of flowers, suely kept fresh in the chill and he suspects must have been grown in the solarium, for surely otherwise it would have been too cold for them already.

"Three offerings?", Eneas wonders, perhaps not quite sure of the significance of the number, or the relation to the death. Then again, if she wanted to give it before she learnt of it, then there seems to be something else going on there. Still, Eneas finally turns, leaning in to place a soft kiss on the cheek of hers that is closed to him, before he whispers. "Elua will not mind flowers that have flaws, my lovely Helene. He will cheerish them more for them, perhaps, even. They are what makes them memorable. He will not, however, appreciate it if I let you freeze through and solid, would he?", he suggests, and then does start to undo his cloak, to at least try to wrap the heave woolen thing over her shoulders. It will do nothing to protect her feet, or her knees and the soaked through dress she wears by now, surely, but it is still warm from his own body and the ride here.

"I came as I am because that is who I am before Elua," Helene answers, but she also does not refuse the cloak, and he can see a shudder finally creep through her spine as the warm of it encompasses her small form. She leans in to his warmth, arms rising up around his side, and head nuzzling into his one good shoulder as she explains, "I meant there to be two. An offering of thanks for what we have found together, and one for you and Gwen, and the journey you have taken, and love found there too. Now there is a third, for my father."

She takes a deep breath and continues, "I am leaving first thing. Maman said they want to have the funeral before the 24th, and the investiture by the 29th, but I… I cannot say how long I will be gone for."

Eneas can't say much to that, can he? Sure, he could argue that a winter coat would not have made Elua not recognize her, but a part of him does understand the symbolism. When she explains about the three flowers and the offerings they are meant to thank for, he does seem to be taken aback almost for a moment, studying the woman beside him.

In the end he leans in once more, into her nuzzling, into her leaning form, and he kisses her again, wherever he can reach, really, be it cheek, forehead of her closed eye in said nuzzling, before he whispers. "You are kind.", he tells her, before he cannot help but to chuckle faintly when she goes through the minutae once more, focuses on them, rather than letting them go. "I will let the two sell-swords know…", he tells her. Apparently their talk still stands, and he plans to have her security be bolstered by the very two that they traveled with on the road. "…to make ready to ride at first light. As how long? You will let me know when you know. Take the time you need.". A pause. "Baroness.". Perhaps, at other times, it would be a tease to get a rise out of her, but his tone is gentle, meaninful, rather than quipping or mocking. A reminder of the change that happened, and the duties he knows she will have to take care of first.

When he mentions the mercenaries? She simply nods. She is not going to fight him over her security for the journey, and she had asked for his help beside. There is a gratitude in her expression though that he has chosen the men who already know her, and whom Jean-Marc knows and have likely earned the elder man's trust, at least in part. As he kisses she leans in, her eyes closing, her body hungry for the gentle affection, and when he speaks? Her answer is simply, "Thank you Eneas."

The remark calling her a Baroness though? Oh to that she shakes her head, "no, not yet. I will leave here a Lady, and return a Baroness, but not yet Eneas. Please not yet." There is a soft pleading in her voice. She is not ready to take that mantle, not until her father has been seen, and laid in the ground; not until the weight of the change is felt and understood. She too knows that some things will change, and holds him slightly tighter, but he also entered this knowing that this would happen; that one day she would become a Baronesse, even if that day has arrived sooner than either antipated.

She holds him there a little longer, breathing deeply of his scent before letting go at last, and leaning back to sit down on her heels, and reach for the blooms. She takes a deep burgundy calla lily and holds it up, telling Eneas, "I thought this one, for my father."

Eneas knew they talked about it, and in the aftermath of their adventure, he would be more adamant to bolster her security. They are still not sure how extensive that operation was they disturbed, and while Eneas does not believe they would be risking the additional attention that would draw to them, some men are drawn to revenge over practicality.

With her hugging him tighter, Eneas wraps his arms around her, side-ways as it still might be. Her pleading, her denial that she holds the title yet? Eneas sighs, and he leans in to press his head against hers, even if that might cause the injury pain. "You always were, Helene. Felt responsibility for your people, long before I even met you. The title might change, but your essence won't.", he argues instead. Take on the mantle? Yes, she can pretend it won't happen until the 29th, but he tries to paint a different picture, one of continuity. That the more things change, they will stay the same, at least in this.

As for the flower she selected? Well, Eneas would have to admit his knowledge of the symbolism of the flowers picked is limited, though he does peer at it when she lifts it, before he glances at the ones she has sorted into the 'good pile'. "Why that one, then?", he wonders. He never met her father, only heard of him through her tales and the heroism that was related by the rumour, after all. Does he know it is a dangerous question? That it might break whatever dam she build around the grief she might hold back? Perhaps, he does, and yet he seems to think it important to not avoid the good memories.

"I have always felt a duty to my people. Father instilled that in me. It will be… it will be more of the same," she acknowledges, "But there is something symbollic about it, something… final." It is not the work that is daunting, she has done much of it for years already, and knows her duties well. They have always come first. It is what it means to her, personally, and for her family.

Her finger run over the smooth petals for a moment, her reyes considering the offering. "It is strong. Calla lilies are in season in the middle of winter, and elegant, and the colour… It reminds me of him," Helene answers simply at last. "He is.. was," she corrects herself, "Always that. And capable. I… I am sorry you will never have a chance to meet him."

Eneas nods lightly at her words, at the finality of it. "Symbols are important.", he relents. Surely he has been irreverent of many of them, but even he adherese to some of them. Like that he steps barefoot before the statue of Elua. "Very well, Lady Verreuil.", he offers her without further argument, not insisting to preempt it before she is ready, before the ceremonies have passed.

As she explains her choice, Eneas listens, watching her caress the plant. "Then it is a fitting choice.", he reassures, before turning to once more kiss her, lightly. "So am I. Even though I am sure he would not have liked me much. Or at least, would not have shown if he did.", he claims, smiling faintly, though he soon turns to the pile of flowers, and he picks up the little spikes of red of a Scarlet Sage, to hold before her, tilting his head. "Perhaps that one for you and me?", he suggests.

Helene nods as he calls her Lady instead, and reaches up to place a soft kiss on his cheek, rising just off her heels to do so. That he normally has close to nine or ten inches on her matters slightly less when they are kneeling this. When he picks up the herb, Helene considers it ,green eyes running over the small cascading petals of the flower over the fragrant herbs and asks, "Why that one?" Her voice is open, her curiosity apparent. No, she does not regret his choice, or think it unsuitable, but simply wants to know why he considers it such.

Her hand reaches out lastly for a pale yellow chrysanthemum, a symbol of both love and sorrow, and often grief. The flower is almost perfect, only slghtly oval rather than perfectly circular where certain petals have opened more fully than the others. She had set it aside from the others already. She does not explain, merely holds it cupped in her hands to give him after he has exlained the sage.

It surely helps that he is slightly titlted to her side, further mitigating the advantage in height that remains that is not present in those long legs of his, accepting the kiss. Her question why that flowe, he has to chuckle a little. "Because I know they bloom through the year. At least further south in the Unitas, they do.", he points out, turning the flower enough to show the point of the spike. "…because they forge ever forward, ever higher. And it is a Sage, though not doused in contemplatative blue or enlightened white in its wisdom, as the other ones. Colored red in passion, and blood. Like Elua was formed.", he explains.

When she offers the chrysantheum, however, Eneas's smile fades a little bit. It is not as keenly a pain as it was those weeks ago, but it is still there. And he turns to kiss her in turn, nodding. "Yes. Thank you.".

His explanation? It earns a smile. His speaking of passion? It earns him a slight flushing of her cheeks as she nods. Passion surely brought them together, or brought them back at least at the start, even if more grew from that. And when he simply offers gratitude, she nods gently, offering understanding as best she can.

Helene takes his hands though and rises gracefully to her feet. The gown is damp at the knees, but the fabric under her knees and the flowers protected most of it from the muck. She reaches out to help him up as well, so they can take their offerings to the feet of Elua. Helene is quiet throughout those short few, her fingers running over the stem of the lily she bears first. She kneels silently before the feet of Elua, and the small collection of flowers that have been offered already this day, and lays the lily on top, her mouth moving with a softly whispered prayer. She pauses afterwards, her hand running over the velvet petals one last time before she rises to her feet and steps back, squaring her shoulders and taking a deep breath of the winter air.

Eneas did not even mean to make her flush. For shame. Though when it has the effect he cannot help but to smile a little triumphantly for a moment. "You are…passionate about many things.", he explains further, perhaps cueing her in that he meant it differently originally, but does not mind the memory of such. "You argue with passion. You care with passion. You even break promises with passion.". Yes, he had to bring up that sneaking into the fight at least one more time. "Wise, one moment, as the proverbial Sage. Dangerously stupid the next.". And yet, it does not sound like he is really scolding her for it.

When she rises, and urges him up, he does lift himself as well, only grimacing faintly. Surely those knees are not getting any younger either. Ahem. He lets her offer her lily first, just watching, and when she steps back, he runs one hand over her shoulders, her neck in a light caress, before he goes to settle at the feet as well, placing the yellow flower. Eyes close briefly, lips moving only for a few words, before he rises up to a standing kneeling position so he may bend far enough to place a kiss on the stone-feet of the statue.

The gentle scolding? It only ever earned him a smirk before their offerings began. She leans in to the gentle brushing of his hand almost instinctually, her body moving of its own accord towards his warmth and touch. She stays back, watching as he makes the offering of a yellow flower and kisses the feet of the statue, allowing him space, and the moment to linger as needed. It is only when she is certain that she kneels once more, this time beside him, and reaches for his hand with hers, already holding the scarlet sage within it.

She looks upwards at the kind visage that looks down upon them and says softly, her prayer now for him to hear, "And this is in thanks, blessed Elua, for the gifts that you have given. I did not expect this, but I am grateful."

Eneas offers his prayers, short as it may be, but after the kiss, her does only linger for a moment in contemplation, in peering up at the statue, before he turns to look for her, to reach for her, and when she kneels beside him, he smiles. A hint of sadness, yes, but her words only make his lips curve further, as their hands clasp, he seeks to cover her hands both to warm them up a little and because, well, he has the bigger hands.

Helene lets his hands linger on her, holding her own around the tender bloom. She leans towards him, her lips rising up to meet his tenderly as she pulls her hands away, well one hand away at least, his still on it, and the bloom still held. If he will let her, her lips part to his to deepen the kiss, her tongue reaching forward to move slowly against his own. As they kiss she lets the bloom go from their joint hands to rest on the others, this final offering one of both the flower and their intimacy.

A deeper sigh taken from Eneas, as he seems to not come up with any meaninful words, for once. At least none that simple would echo what the green-eyed one beside him had just said. "Blessed Elua.", he murmurs instead, only to feel her shift beside him.

When she moves to kiss him, to deepen the kiss, there is no drawing back, lips to part to accept that probing spire of red that so mimics the flower he suggested. Ahem. Leaning down against her, Eneas draws in another deep breath through his nose and when the flower is left to fall, completing their offering of it, his one hand lifts to slip under his cloak that she wears, to gently tug her closer by her waist, just so she can press closer to him, that he can share his warmth a little better with her, even as they share the gentleness, offer a display of their love to Elua to see.

She lets herself be drawn closer, and then tugs the cloak, his cloak tighter around both of them, letting it drape over his shoulders as well. Her hands rise around his neck, brushing over and past the bandage he still wears to drawn him closer still, perhaps even raise herself up slightly off the ground. It does not take long though for even the gentle kisses to leave Helene breathless though, and finally she withdraws, resting her forehead against him instead as she draw a few long, cooling breaths to still her body in this Temple.

She lets herself relax lower against the ground, still pressed against him though, and he can feel her cheeks move, her breath against his neck and jaw as she whispers, "Thank you for coming with me tonight."

The closer she comes, the tighter his arm snakes around her waist, holding her closer. Eneas does not seek, once more, to inflame her, the touches almost chaste, certainly compared to what they usually strive to do to each other. The touch of her hand over his bandage only makes his breath hitch for a moment, the pain of the touch light, though when she finally breaks the kiss, Eneas draws in deep breaths as well. Surely by now they have half turned, to face each other, rather then the statue, and he shakes his head against hers lightly, grimacing faintly at the pain _that_ causes. "Of course, Helene. I…would offer to go back home with you, but…". Well, he knows that would complicate things. And take away space for her and her family to grieve. "I'll be here when you return…".

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