Quiet footsteps follow the Exarch out of her keep and to the collection of shrines nestled deep within town. It's quiet, the storms over Folset finally broken, and with the late hour, the walkway is dim. Her people have retired for the evening, leaving her awake, restless, and alone. Ciyera comes to halt before the shrine to Vassas... and she sighs, dragging a hand over her face as she looks to the things left there- a few books, an hourglass, prayers written on little blue-tinted sheets. A couple candles sit beside the small pool, and a dish of incense- all unlit. It's been a while since she dared pray- mostly, fearful of what any god would think if she came to them. Yet every time she gives in and comes back around, it's to the Balancekeeper. Maybe she just doesn't know what else to do. What else would make sense. The woman waves a hand and a couple of the candles light, the incense begins to smolder, casting a feeble starscape reflection in the water nearby.
"... I.. apologize that I don't know how.. people usually start things like this.." How many decades has it been since she prayed? The woman hesitates and thinks to herself that she should just walk away. But despite her doubts, Ciyera remains rooted before the shrine, knowing full well that she is a force of destruction and that, without a calm, rational anchor, it is all too easy to go too far. Rubbing the back of her neck with a gloved hand, she sighs, and bows her head. "... I know it's been a while... and... I know you're probably not even listening, either. ... of the gods you're easily one of the busiest, and the most profound and... I understand if I'm just talking to myself like any old lunatic.." She pulls Vassas' Compromise from her robe pocket, running her thumb over its face and, with the presence of the books left at the shrine, the sands in the hourglass begin to turn. "It's been a good run."
"We've... been making headway," Ciy mutters. "I can't believe only a few septs and... helped take down three of these infernal pillars... I've heard from the saints around that the heavens are returning.. that whatever we're doing, it's helping, it's worth a damn.." She watches the sand go, then turn over and start running again. "All of time and all of order... sitting out there among the stars.. my friends always told me I was silly to follow you.- back... back in the old world... and I told them... that as crazy as the world is, as grim and chaotic... that as long as at least someone up there knows what's going on, that if you know what's going on, then that was enough for me. I was alright with that." A long pause passes, the woman falling silent as she glances away from the shrine and the amulet, with a note of shame. ".. And even if you're not listening, I suppose,... you being who you are, you still know... that I left that path behind.. left you behind, for a while. Lost faith, couldn't take it."
Her eye lifts, roams about, then settles on the shrine once again, on Vassas' crest carved into the marble. "I couldn't wrap my head around how... could your order and plan allow for so much chaos. Couldn't come to terms that it might have been some kind of destiny,- the people I buried, the friends I lost, the faces I've missed. They're all gone now, and for whatever reason, I'm still here... and I don't know why. Protecting those left." The woman's hand closes around the amulet. "Buying them time. ...That's all these battles are, aren't they. That's all a battle ever is.- buying time for things to go right. Make enough time for a miracle to happen. ..."
"... I suppose it just frustrates me..."
"... Because no matter how much time we fight for, no matter how much I sacrifice, how much I watch my friends sacrifice, it's not enough, is it... because you and the things we fight, you all operate on such a higher scale than us. We must look like flecks of ash on the wind, feebly trying to pull together a dust-storm to cover a valiant escape of a whole civilization from the madness... Will it ever be enough? It seems no matter how many times we fight her, the chaos she sows, she keeps coming back... Is it just a mantle to be passed from generation to generation? ...I would do... anything to help make a world where my children don't get caught in this same cycle of battling her..."
"... Beyond that, I don't know what I'm asking for. ... just praying it's enough, I guess..."
Another long silence passes. The more Ciyera lingers out here, the more of an idiot she feels herself to be. She tucks the amulet away with a note of frustration.. Really, Ciy.. He wouldn't answer. Not really. Big busy god, important things to do- and when he does have the time to respond to mortals, it's only to his most devoted. Joan and Perise come to mind immediately and she envies the amount of trust they seem to be able to place in Vassas... any of the trust people can place in their gods. What's wrong with her that she can't bring herself to just believe in something? ... She doesn't believe in the divines.. she believes in Perise, in Mikael, in Sigal... in the other great people she has known that she has watched mold the world as they please... But never divines... too distant, too apathetic... impersonal. Far and away and beyond her tiny understanding, right? So what place does she, who hasn't paid mind to Vassas in almost two decades, have asking anything of the Balancekeeper. What right does she have expecting anything? There is no god from whom she has any place seeking refuge... her shoulders fall and she starts to turn away from the shrine.
"I know I can't begin to understand what you do... I've never led a regimented faith... ...And I know I'm probably still just... talking to myself like any old lunatic, but... if you pay any mind... even in my doubt, I have never stopped trying to uphold your order... if I'm to fight to protect your people until the day time finally runs out, so be it... I trust you, even if I don't know what you plan, or what you're doing..."
...And as dawn falls upon the town, the candles and incense have smoldered out, and the woman cleaned the shrine of any soot or ash left behind... leaving it pristine, tidy, and orderly in the name and manner of her first and still, only, god.
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