(1311-06-11) Veiled Words
Summary: After her debut, a newly-minted Adept clumsily seeks advice from a Priest of Elua.
RL Date: June 17th, 2019
Related: Love and Service: A Lesson
nicolette anse 

Temple of Elua - Marsilikos

The edges of the temple are all done in white marble with four pillars reaching up into the sky done in the style of ancient Hellene. The pillars are encircled in vines which flower in a multitude of colors during the warm seasons and are carefully tended by the temple clergy. The temple grounds itself are left wide open to the air, the ground well cared for grass and bushes and flowers are found freely throughout, kept in careful order by the attendant clergy. At the center of the temple is a massive oak tree, nestled within its roots a stone statue of the blessed Elua, as if the tree formed around the statue itself. Here at the foot of the statue of Elua people leave offerings of incense and prayer, leaving a pleasant aroma as the various offerings are burnt throughout the day.

As the day moves into the beginnings of evening the temple becomes less and less busy, people coming by to make offerings, pray, or consult the clergy slowly dwindle in number as people head off to whatever evening activities they might get up to. Still there are still a handful of people in the open air temple, and among them a handful of priests and priestesses. Among them is Anse, as always clad in blue and barefoot as he sweeps the marble walkway surrounding the gardens of the temple.

While remaining as unobtrusive as possible, a trio of white-clad Roses make their way down the center of the pillar rows. Each of the three comes in a robe rather than a dress, though there's little confusing them for the actual clergy. Their downcast eyes, veiled faces, and the white sash adorned with a white rose bow sinched about their hip betray them as members of the Night Court. One of the three leads the other two in a procession that stops between some pillars. The one in front sets his hand on one young woman's back, who heads off to a priest of Elua, and then does the same with the other, who beelines toward Anse.

Stocking-clad feet absent of shoes peek out from beneath Nicolette's robes as she nears the young man. "Good evening," she says, with a bashful smile beneath her veil. Done in the bridal style, the thing is a singular web of fabric that sweeps modestly to her shoulder. "You look well today. Do you have a moment to pray with me, and advise me?"

"Grass or.." Anse offers then hrms "probably best a bench given your adornments. I don't need to be blamed for blemishing your wools." Anse says and then motions for you to follow him towards one of the benches sitting in the shade of a tree. He takes a seat on it himself, pulling his legs up to sit cross-legged as he looks over towards you. "A full true servant of Namaah now. I'm sure there is much to talk about. Where would you like to begin?" The normally quite talkative Anse hands you the floor, just watching you with a soft smile at the corner of his mouth as he lets you take your time in whatever you want to talk about.

In pursuit, Nicolette flocks after Anse to the bench, and perches herself there. As she lowers herself, a twist gathers her robe and makes the hem fall about mid-calf rather than her ankles. With the fabric pinned into place, she idly swings her legs as she chats in a low tone with Anse. "Is it possible to love more than one person? What if it's for different reasons?" A timid smile colors her cheeks pink, and she twiddles her gloved hands in her lap. "People said that it's not uncommon to fall in love with the first person you assign with, at least for a little while. And before I assigned there was someone who I found myself thinking about so often that I'm sure I have some silly crush on them. But the two can't be more different than each other. In one, all the things I adore are opposite in the other, and that's what makes me fond of that person as well."

Anse can't help himself to smirk when you start the question but he doesn't interrupt, just listening quietly as you get your thoughts out. When you're finished he answers with a definitive "yes. You can be in love with a lot of people, and love them for all sorts of reasons. Different people might provide different things you're looking for in life, fill different roles. Obviously there are the loves you feel for family or friends or teachers or whatever that can run a gamut of reasons, but even romantically you can love several people. No one person is the same when it comes to that. Some people focus their love entirely on one person, some people spread it around, some people it burns hot like a bonfire or some small like a candle ever present. But regardless, its certainly not strange to love more than one person. Nor is it strange to have crushes, which I'm not sure you should consider silly, feelings are feelings no? And I don't think its strange that you have strong feelings for the person you assigned with. I'm glad that your first assignation went so well that you find yourself with feelings for the person, thats a much better result than what you were afraid of isn't it?"

Nicolette smiles back at Anse and tilts her head from side to side in a vague answer to Anse's last question. She lifts her shoulders and lets them fall in a less vague answer, before her hands splay out across her knees. "I wanted to ask you about the Skaldi again. If someone is- lets say he's a soldier. Should they try to love the Skaldi that they need to kill to protect us? Or… What if you really like that soldier because of their strength, conviction, and courage. But sometimes they have to get information from the Skaldi, and the way they do it is…" One of her hands lifts to brush along the side of her neck in an awkward sort of gesture as she trails off. "Should the Skaldi who are captured love their captors, too?"

Blue eyes shimmer with a flood of thoughts, and only a few pour past her pink lips. When she looks to Anse again she looks uncertain, but smiles when she nibbles on her lower lip. "There's so many things out there, and I'm a little mixed up on how to sort it all out. I thought the hard thing would be learning to love my patrons, but that might just be the easy part. Maybe it will be harder to balance those loves inside of me. You can see now why I came to you, I hope. Other than your company." Her bashful smile draws a little wider before vanishing. Now her attention hinges entirely on Anse as she awaits his wisdom.

Anse sighs and lets his gaze drift away from you and towards the statue of Elua as he thinks quietly. His response takes a minute and when he responds he still doesn't look at you right away. "Is that a real question, or a hypothetical?" Anse says before looking back to you. "Why do you want to know about the Skaldi so much? Because I can give you my honest answer if thats a real question."

"It's a real question with some details chaned around." Nicolette chews on her bottom lip and looks down at her hands. For a long time she considers them, and how her slender digits pluck and pull at the gloves of the opposite hand while she twiddles her digits together. Gradually, she lifts her brows and turns her head to look toward Anse. "When someone does the Punisher's will, it's easier for some to love them than others. Should we all try, anyway? The Skaldi reject the idea that we should Love As Thou Wilt, so does that mean we don't have to love them too? Sorry. I know these are hard questions, but I have a hard decision to make and don't want to make it lightly."

"Let me tell you this then." Anse begins slowly "before I was a priest, I was a knight of Camlach. I was born a Basilisque and raised to be a soldier. In many ways I'm just a wolf playing at being a sheep. I've fought and murdered Skaldi. And yes, I think we should love them. I think what happens between our people on the border nothing short of a tragedy. There is no reason for people to murder one another, and the thoughts of it haunt me still to this very day. I hate that that is something we've accepted as necessary because its painful. These aren't hard questions for me, but sometimes its hard for others to hear, which is why I ask. I'd rather be cut down where I stand than ever harm another person ever again, and knowing that its my fault someones brother or huband or father never came home to them still still haunts my heart. I want to love the Skaldi, I want us to love everyone, because hating one another just brings pain and suffering."

Nicolette continues to watch Anse's face as he gives his answer, and she nods once, though she still sounds uncertain. Her chest swells with her drawn and held breath, and her long lashes flutter as she exhales, slowly. The hand that played fingertips across the side of her neck moves to brush at her throat, and she stays like that for a long time. "That certainly wasn't what I had expected you to say." Slowly, the brunette chews on her bottom lip in thought, and she swings her legs idly beneath her. "And it helps me, though not in the way I thought it would. It sounds like this soldier I know needs the presence of a lamb to soften their hand. But… I don't know if I'm just saying that because I wanted to be around them anyway."

Anse smiles at you again "sometimes its easier to speak bluntly than in allegory because you might get answers you weren't expecting. I doubt you were expecting me to tell you thats a situation I have direct experience with. So if you wish to cut to it, then I'll listen to the true details, but if that answer works then so be it. As to wanting to be around them, whats wrong with that? Why can't you be around them, or whats the downside to it? Why cant you be selfish and indulge those feelings if thats what you want?"

Nicolette chews the inside of her cheek as she considers Anse in thought. Eventually, she shakes her head, and then bows it in an unspoken apology to the man. "I'm afraid I can't speak too much on it. Just that I have feelings for someone who has offered me… something. And if I accept their very generous offer, I may be privy to animosity toward the Skaldi in particular. First-hand." Her blue eyes close for a few long moments, and then open again. "Or maybe second hand. But it will be hard to ignore the things they've done, and likely will do again. But your answer did give me a lot of wisdom. I should love them for all that they are, and maybe I can help them by accepting their offer. And if not… well… It's worth a shot. But-" She pauses again. "If they don't change, have I wronged somehow? Mm… I apologize for being so cryptic." Nicolette bites the tip of her tongue, looks aside to Anse, and then flashes him a guilty smile. "I'm sure it's maddening."

Anse shrugs a little at you "not everyone is blunt like I am, nor probably should they be. Sometimes even in confession respecting the privacy of others is important." Anse ahs a curious look on his face as he watches you and you can tell hes mulling over his thoughts before saying them. "I wouldn't try and break your pact between patron and servant. Thats a special bond with its own rules both spiritual and practical. That being said, I do have to say what you're saying to me does make me worried, both for you and your patron." Anse reaches over for a moment to lightly put a hand on your shoulder "if not to me, then perhaps to your second or dowayne. Not all choices need to be rushed into, though I suppose you are seeking advice even if cryptically so you're clearly not rushing. But I also understand if that would be just as hard if not harder. At least with me you know I wont judge you." Anse pulls his hand back to fold them in his lap.

"The answers to your questions are hard, and I may not have them. You are not held responsible for things other people do if you've no means to do anything about them. You shouldn't partake in harm against someone first hand, nor be accepting of it in others. The world isn't black and white, I know, I live in it. I can have my ideals and be a pacifist but I know that its not so easy to just be like that. You can make your effort to change someone for the better, it is a noble effort, but once you wrap your heart into it it will become harder. Its easy to get lost in what you like or take from someone and ignore the parts that might be harmful. Its something you should know going in to whatever you're planning. The question isn't if you try and help someone and they wont change have you wronged, the question is if you hit that point and know they cant change, what do you do then? Its once you're enabling someone knowingly or aiding in bad behavior that its a bad thing. Its a burden you seem to be wanting to shoulder onto yourself, and something like that rarely has a simple answer."

"I don't think that there's anything to be worried about, though I do appreciate your concern. Nothing I've seen lead me to believe that they have or would violate Elua's precept, but I'm asking for my own benefit because… well… I don't quite understand how all of it should apply to the people that clash with the Skaldi to defend Terre d'Ange. You say that you've set your arms aside, but there are many who don't, and I don't think that is wrong." Nicolette steeples her fingers in her lap and looks down at them while murmuring a quiet, thoughtful sound. Her hand slips up from her lap and presses to her cheek in a slow, thoughtless caress. "Is it? It's a lot to unpack, but I know that the Punisher hurts us out of love. Perhaps with the Skaldi its the same way. Ah… I know that Camael surely loved his d'Angelines, which is why he protected them." After she finishes speaking, she looks to Anse as if he might be able to help her sort her thoughts.

Anse smiles a bit of a relieved looking smile at you "ok, good. I don't want you to be in a bad situation, so I'm glad there is nothing to worry about." Anse laughs a little and sighs "ah, these are questions I've grappled with for years myself. I'm still not sure yet if they have answers. I know I personally feel like I have done terrible things and been a terrible person, that i've comitted sins that I feel like Kushiel can't even wash away." He gives you an apologetic look "I feel like I might just be muddling your thoughts more, but truth be told sometimes things are murky. I am sorry if you expected easy answers from me and I dont have them." Anse leans back a little, placing his hands on either side of himself so he can lean comfortably. "Kushiel loves all those he punished right? Thats why he followed Elua out of heaven. He saw the boundless love Elua had for the world and realized that he also had a deep love even with a task that feels like there is no love at all. And Camael loved as well, he wanted to protect us and protect Elua and who am I to question his judgment? I think that we should try and love the Skaldi. The closer we are to them the harder it is, but they aren't all violent. Violence is a thing thats taught just like love. We were all raised with love, we have Elua's lessons from a young life, so we love. The Skaldi don't have that. But thats not to say that they can't learn love. I can't judge those who feel the need to be on the border. I can hate that they have to exist, but I cannot judge the people who want to protect others. Truthfully fixing the wound between our two people will be a long and hard process over generations that will be slow. So in the here and now? If someone is doing it out of the love for their people, as protectors, as someone who wants to be noble and help others be safe, then I can't judge them. I do judge those with hate in their heart and a desire to do violence. Not every soldier enjoys doing violence, for many its a thing that has to be done not a thing they want to do. Its when you switch from having to fight to wanting to fight that thats the problem." Anse gives you a little grin "any clearer, or just as confusing?"

"A little, yes." Nicolette's eyes shine with warmth as she peeks at Anse through the thin film of her veil. "There are still some more things I wonder, but I think I have enough now to sort out my feelings on the matter. And, more importantly, to move forward in a way that stays true to Elua's precept." The young woman stretches her feet out before her and wiggles her toes. Only the outline can be seen beneath the opaque stockings. "Next time I'm going to come without stockings, and we can chat on the grass. And hopefully next time I have a more fun subject than this one. Thank you for putting up with my troublesome questions, Anse." Leaning into his side, the young Adept loops her arms around his torso and squeezes tight.

Anse returns your hug by wrapping an arm around you and squeezing back "truthfully I like your questions. I always enjoy when I get to speak with you. You can come to me with any subject you wish, this one again if you want. Personally I'm happy you've taken your next step forward in life, there are only so many excuses I can make to come to the night court without coin coming with me. We didn't even speak of your debut!" Anse says with a laugh "so there is still plenty to talk about."

Nicolette goes wide eyed and makes a face. With her tongue half sticking out, she presses a hand to her breastbone. It lasts just a moment before she's all smiles again, bashful as they are. "Oh, goodness. My debut. That was so embarrassing. Another subject for another time. If I can, I'll bring the dress that I wore to the debut when it's finished being repaired. Or what's left of it anyway. You can see how… scandalous it was. I had my stockings on, but I felt naked all the same." Gingerly, Nicolette rises to her feet and stands before Anse. "I'll try to come by as often as I can."

Anse unfolds his legs and rises once you do, offering you another warm smile "I imagine your version of scandalous and mine are a bit different, but I'm interested all the same. I look forward to next time, and truthfully I mean it, I'm here any time you want to talk, and about anything, fun or not." He offers you a more playful grin "I can show you the scandalous clothing under my robes in return. Pants and a shirt, short sleeves and everything, might as well be naked myself. But, until then, I happily look forward to our next meeting."

Eyes alight with humor, Nicolette inclines her head to Anse when he makes the offer. "Not too scandalous, I hope. It would be a terrible shame if the chaperons refused to let me come back because a priest of Elua exposed too much of himself." Her tone lilts with a playful air, and after she finishes she grins from ear to ear. "Take care of yourself, Anse." Raising a hand, Nicolette flutters her fingers in a wave and then heads off to rejoin her companions. By now the two are chatting with each other by one of the pillars.

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