History Lesson: The Birth of the Daughter of Sunlight

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Below is a bit of a history lesson and as such it is not written from the viewpoint of the protagonist know as The Child of Venus

The Month of Ara, Sixteen Seventy-Four,

The first of Ara dawned bright and brisk, as it had done so many years ago. Few are caught unawares by Ara, for those who are the incessant wailing of the Mourners of Ara alerts them quite quickly. The month of Ara is a month founded several centuries ago commemorating the Hallow Ara, the Flame of Peace, Divine. Through her intervention the Bright Shining, the holy army of the Shining Lord’s church, and the Pagri set aside their arms and were able to strike a treaty.

It is said that Ara was so saddened by the violence and death that she sat in prayer for weeks, taking neither food nor drink. Her spirit burned and she wept for the fallen, soldiers and tribesmen alike. Even as she prayed the battle lines drew nearer.

As the story goes the Shining Lord visited Ara that night just before sunset and he gave her a gift. “I shall give you the tools for what you seek but, You, and you alone, shall be the answer to your prayers.” Were the only words he spoke. On the many feathered wings did his servitors descend upon the young woman as the Lord of Light disappeared. These beings of shimmering bronze whirled about her, a maelstrom of metal and feathers.

When they dispersed she was left alone with armour of gleaming gold. Though it had no helmet, the suit of armour was perfectly molded to her shape A thin, delicate chain collared her throat, a burning ruby set in the middle. The sounds of battle could be heard outside of the small convent and she didn’t hesitate. Faster than any man, and weaponless, she charged out into the fray.

Her mouse brown hair was transformed and burned with the Shining Lord’s dawn light as she raced into the horde. A sword swung toward her, intent on taking her head from her shoulders and had it not been for the divine might of the Lord of Light story would have ended. A shaft of dying sunlight burst into life in her hand and she parried the blade. She fought with the combined knowledge of all the faithful. In that instant she was not woman, she was as sexless as the blade she bore. And she bore it well. Cutting a brilliant swath between the two armies, both sides sounded the retreat. These were hardened military men being shown up by a woman. A ferocity unknown to the army of the Bright Shining.

At the sun’s dawning Ara was met with the leaders of the two armies. The Pagri Chieftan and three Prelates. Both fearful of this luminescent woman and what new side she fought on. A treaty was brokered under the cruel gaze of the Shining Lord and his new avatar. The Daughter of Sunlight.

The Pagri would stop worshiping their infernal Star Gods, the main point of contention, and would in turn hand over all Children of the Starry Heavens in their ranks to the church, in perpetuity. With the sole exception being the Son’s of Mars. It was a kindness Ara insisted upon. That the Pagri might have need to protect themselves, it was the one thing she asked for.

In return they would be allowed to worship their Pantheon of a Thousand Spirits. A host of nature spirits the tribes had worshiped for centuries. The Prelates allowed this because the Shining Lord had given man dominion over land, sea, and sky. Their tribal worship was not, in the eyes of the church, blasphemous. They were, in fact, worshiping the Lord of Light. Just in a number of his many and varied disguises.

The Shining Lord blessed that treaty. A treaty he, himself, created. For her help in bringing it to fruition Ara was named The Daughter of Sunlight. Honor bound never to bear children but, to ever be the bearer of peace.

It was a joyous occasion and the revelry that followed will live on in infamy. For the Daughter of the Sun saw only one bright dawning. As the parties wore on late into the evening Ara retired to the convent that was her home. She doffed her armour and found her bed, sinking into the familiar scents and sensations of her solitary cell.

So truly did she sleep that she did not hear her door open, for she had forgotten to slide the bar home, nor did she hear the rustle of clothing as someone slipped inside. As darkness descends so does the Shining Lord flee. During the cold night the Lord of Light turns his face away from his people. It is during that time that evil seeps into the world.

Ara was murdered, in cold blood, as she slept. She was found by a group of her sisters, a jeweled dagger ruthlessly thrust into her chest. It didn’t take long for the blade to be identified as the knife of the Pagri chieftain. A Son of Mars.

And so it came to be that the Sons of Mars must pay a terrible price for the death of Ara. The Sons of Mars were hunted to every man, woman, and child; All people who bore the seal of Iron Banded Mars paid the price. The hunt lasted barely a fortnight. And that fortnight was soon became known as the month of Ara. A handful of years later Ara’s convent became known as the Mourners of Ara. Believing that Ara was blessed by the Shining Lord they believe she was Hallowed. They were soon seen as spiritual cult and were later sanctioned by the church. Each Mourner pledges an oath of chastity as they are spiritually wed to Ara.

Hallow: A Hallow is similar to a Catholic Saint.

Fortnight: A fortnight is a unit of time equal to 14 days

Kindness In The Most Unlikely Of Places

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Abbess Heren Almere, Yarile, Athurna Abbey

The Thirtieth of Ivaris, Sixteen Seventy-Four,

Priestess Vora,

As I sit down to write this the Shining Lord, The Lord of Life and Light, hangs but an hour past his zenith. Apex prayers have been sung and our Lord Prelate’s sermon has been spoken. The Prelate spoke highly of his time in your humble chapel, Sister. It was a glowing review and I do believe his written report will find it’s way to the Grand Registrar quite quickly. With any luck you may have the funds for another dormitory by midwinter. Oh do not complain my dear, you know how things are. The wheels of the church are slow to start, yet once they have momentum they turn for quite a time.

Now I am writing to you for I had, naively it seems, expected a missive outlining the Prelate’s visit. Oh how simple of mind was I to assume you would write to me a letter detailing the experience. It isn’t as if I helped you. Rushing to pen a letter so you might be forwarned of his plans to visit your small chapel unannounced. Nor did I inform you of his predilections to bring forth pain to the guilded whores of the distant stars. Due in part to the lack of help I have heaped upon you I understand your disdain to send me any such missive.

Now all I can ask is if you did have young Madra do such a thing? Truly did she poison the harlot with the herb so grey? If you have set her such a task then you, my student, have a cold and iron banded heart. It seems you have more in common with the Sons of Mars than you do the Daughter of Sunlight. To murder a babe in the womb. Shame on you my sister and friend! It almost sickens me to call you such.

For the want of a mother to bear her child to term, to wish and dream of rearing the young thing. That is the dream of every mother. No matter her sex or religion how could you shatter that wish? How have you grown so cold? Have you already, in your too few years, forgotten your own mother and her wishes for you? Have you forgotten the softness and sweet scent of flowers?

You have lost some kindness in your zealous quest: A larger chapel, soon to be a Cathedral as you once told me. Trod with an iron boot upon the golden children of heaven. Hollow bones that break with careless force. You sound like the Prelate. Is this what you truly have become? Is this what your order brings? A raging inferno of hate? You seem to have forgotten the first value of your order. Pity. Pity for the common man. Pity for the cold born children of the stars. Pity is no dirty word. Pity is sorrow and compassion of the suffering of others. Moving to comfort and shield. You much remember this Heida.

I fear for the charges given into your keeping. While the Children of Venus are prostitutes upon the streets those within your tabernacle require sanctuary. Not tyranny. Your order is one of the few ways these people can live. The walls of your chapel grant them safety. If they were elsewhere they could turn to thievery, or worse, be taken in by a pimp. I rebuke you Hieda my friend. Return to your book of cants and remember your place.

You are a woman of the Order of Pity and Piety, a Priestess of The Shining Lord. You are not a man, you are not a priest or Prelate. This viciousness is not for you to know. Cleanse it from your heart before it consumes you and you are consigned to the flame. Dear, you must remove it before it rots your heart from the core. Through your acts, caring for these randy devils shows your piety. Yes they are vapid and pretty things to look at but you are not in the business of money gathering. You haven given your oaths, need I call them in question?

If you must set them to work then do as I said so many moons ago, there are women by the score who are barren. Why not open the wombs of these cursed venus-born to act as a living vessel. It is the Lord’s way my dear. Have them mend and launder clothes. I know that is how other chapels augment their stipend.

I am not surprised to hear that your chapel has flourished in Jarrow and the local orphanages are fit to bursting. I daresay that you will have to use your own funds to build another orphanage before too long. Then where would you be? More children to care for and without your new dormitory. Do not think that separating the Children of Venus along gender lines would waylay their lascivious libido. They are worse than cats. A single word or gesture could send them into heat, the poor dears. You would quite likely find yourself with two orgies every night, and, as you well know, Children of Venus can go until the wee hours of the morning.

By love and fire of The Shining Lord,
Abbess Heren Almere.

 

Yarile — Yar -Ill. Yarile is a large city near Opris.

Athurna — Au-thurn-a. The name of the abby that Abbess Almere runs.

Almere — Al-meh-ray

Silken Apologies, Velvet Promises

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The Twenty-Nineth of Ivaris, Sixteen Seventy-Four

I received a package today, it was quite a surprise to see the seal. The young man who delivered it was dressed in royal livery. It seems that I must brush up on heraldry if I am shocked to see Evandrus’ seal on a package bore by a liveried servant. If I cannot identify the livery of the Crown Prince at a glance then I am failing at my duty. Any child could identify such arms, I can only blame it upon fatigue and surprise.

The servant boy refused to release the package into Tam’s care, something about special orders I can only assume. I was just breakfasting in the conservatory when Tam informed me of the boy. I really must buy a book of heraldry for Tam as well; So that he might announce such persons. The boy was shown in to see me, he was barely shy of twelve. Though his request was harsh and I shall write to Evandrus of it, I can only assume he had orders to insure my identity. He insisted that I produce the seal of Venus that was upon my body. As my seal is in a publicly acceptable place I had no qualms, when out and about people ask to see it or gawk at it anyway. I merely pulled the collar of my shirt down low enough and showed the golden mark upon my clavicle. The boy seemed to physically relax at that, wiping the sweat from his brow and then asking me the most queer question: “What is the stone that rests in an iron band?”

In truth I was quite confused, as I am sure any would be when one is expected to participate in subterfuge. It was quite foolish subterfuge to be honest, if Evandrus had wished privacy it would have done him well to to send a liveried servant to deliver the package. Is it that he wished to play a game, a vapid game of courtly graces. Such games are not suited for distant estates devoid of courtiers and politics. My answer was a simple one. Though in my opinion it did not lack for wit and charm. “While some might believe that Coral or Carnelian bright, rests in an iron band. In truth, the only mineral that rests in an iron band is iron itself.”

Truly I thought myself clever to have thought of that quick twist to the question, I was quite astonished that that was the correct answer. It appears that the prince has come to know me quite well in the scant few letters we have exchanged. So well in fact that he assumed I would respond to such a question in the most flippant way possible while still answering to the spirit of the question. With a wave of my hand I dismissed the courier, quick to take up a knife and open the package.Tam quickly saw the liveried servant to the kitchens while I set about the package. It was quite large, wrapped in brown paper and twine.

It was a shock when I finally divested the package of paper and twine. Inside was fabric, yards of it. It was as if someone had woven sapphires into cloth. It was beyond beautiful. Silks and velvets, easily worth a few hundred pounds. I could have my bed curtains as sapphire silk and velvet bedspreads. With enough left over, I’m sure, to have silk pillows and upholster a chair. Probably my bergère, oh, or maybe the chaise in the day room. So very many possiblities.

I can only draw the conclusion that this is an apology of sorts. Does he truly think that money can buy my affections? Does he think we lack for money? We do not boast the overflowing coffers of the crown but I have wanted for nothing that money can buy. My self-hate about my anger is gone. It has been replaced with rage. If Evandrus believes that money and trinkets can placate me.

An apology without words, a hollow apology.