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Rii had taken some time to herself away from the boisterous hatchlings. They were growing quickly and soon they would be a year old. Well, her clutch would be yearlings, AuSurath she still wasn't sure of his age, and Rii had noticed how he did not grow an inch while living with her. It was almost as if he wasn't aging at all. She wondered if he would stay tiny since her other hatchlings had all more than quadrupled their hatchling size and weight. Soon, if it wasn't already, it would be dangerous for Au to play rough with his siblings.
There was more than her hatchlings to worry about though. Her work as a healer and smith were strenuous and sometimes nerve wracking. Especially when she was helping the other healers when sickness showed its ugly face in the tribe. Rii was paranoid that her children would get sick from her working in the healing area. She always bathed right after coming from the quarantine space.
Things were so busy that she hadn't taken any time for herself for nearly a whole month now. Even though it was the end of fall and beginning of winter Rii decided to go out and brave the chilly air.
Ever since her king had educated the woman about the gods and their particular areas of expertise, Rii had wondered if they were real and whether they had played a role in her life without her knowing. She already believed in the supernatural, so suspicion on whether gods existed at all was an easy jump for her to make. Rii had decided upon the goddess Shiningwater to evoke in prayer despite the many other gods she could have chosen from. Mostly it was because Shinignwater was the goddess of emotion, and that she was female, which made Rii most comfortable praying to. She figured that a female god who worked with emotion would understand most everything that Rii does since a lot of what she does comes from what she is feeling in her heart. There was also her rising suspicion that she could understand the emotions of others sometimes. The one time with Rhune had brought that to her attention, but since then Rii had looked back on her life and wondered if maybe she was also sensing Mairii's emotions despite the child being a skull. Rii believed that her ghost still lurked around the skull, perhaps chained to it for whatever reason, and that she could understand Mairii in many different situations. It was the reason she kept the skull with her everywhere. Now that she was hunting near the area where Shiningwaters temple was, Rii had a chance to show Mairii a divine place. A place that might help Mairii to be at peace.
Of course this was all in Rii's imagination. Perhaps she really did feel emotions from the skull, dreams of a time past tat were attached the the inanimate object and not actually Mairii herself. Maybe it was only Rii's mind that might be fixed after visiting the temple. Fixed in a way so that she understood that Mairii was long gone, or that with this visit the dragon child ghost stuck in a skull might rest in peace and pass on. Either way the visit would be either good or bad for Rii who was clutching at the scraps of faith she held in her chest.
Her hunt had been a good one. A nice large bison was hanging limply from the womans jaws as she walked slowly to the run down temple. It seems as though this one was an older place, forgotten by the dragons who had once lived here when they had to leave for whatever reasons. Rii felt a shiver run down her back as she spied the ivy and mosses growing up the stone pillars. a few cracks in the beautiful marble floor had grass growing between them as the snake-like female entered the holy place. She paused there in the entrance to look around for an offering table or area where she might give her bison to the temple and its goddess.
To the far right was a clear area with more intact marble flooring that didn't look that badly. It was dusty, but wit a little cleaning and some patchwork in the roof Rii could see it being usable once more. There was a large stone stair-like place with small holes in the top of it. The holes lined up in neat rows pocketing the stone table. Rii didn't know it, but the holes had once held numerous candles to light after giving a prayer. They no longer had any candles left, but bits of ancient dried wax was still noticeable in some of the dusty holes. A nice window let in plenty of light on the other end of this room to the right of Rii.
Looking to the left now Rii spots what she had originally thought was a mound of rocks. However upon closer inspection she can see the outline of a dragon figure in the stones. Is that the alter? Or maybe the place to give offerings? she wondered quietly not saying the words outside of her head. The sculpture could use a bit of fixing, something that Rii often enjoyed doing making sculptures, but she didn't dare touch it not knowing how a goddess might react. She did however walk over to it and dust the lichens, mosses, and dirt away from the sculpture allowing it to be fully seen once again. Then she headed to the back of the temple where a great big window larger than Rii stood in all of its broken glory. The left of the wall behind it was crumpled either from weathering and erosion or from some old clash. Maybe a dragon or something else knocked it over, but either way Rii thought that the scene was still very ethereal and pretty. She placed her bison down just after dusting off the solid marble floor then sighed before looking up at the decaying stone roof. Rii felt bad for some reason, and again didn't know why.
Placing Mairii's skull on the stone table to watch Rii, the blue dragon then bowed her head in silent prayer. The sun glittered through the broken roof casting bits of light on her blue scales and fur which in turn reflected a bright metallic green.
I don't know if you can hear me, or whether I'm praying right at all. I am totally ignorant of gods ceremonies and all of that. Umm... I'm also sorry if this prayer is bothering you, like if you're busy or something. I just.. I don't know.. Rii what are you doing being an idiot... Rii chastised herself for totally messing up the prayer shaking her blue ruff as she did so. She had no idea what to say, even though everything she was saying was in her head so far.
Now that I'm here I don't really know what I came here for. I guess just to ask that my family stay healthy and happy, and my tribe stays safe. Maybe help Rhune come out of his shell a little more, and... Rii paused not sure if she wanted to voice the next bit out loud. ..and maybe make my king notice me more. I like him a lot, and while I've been with many males he's the only one I've been able to really connect with and enjoy being around. I don't know... if you can help with that really. Rii sighed finishing the prayer only because she felt like giving up. Was there really a goddess here or elsewhere looking down on her? Rii then looked to Mairii and felt confusion rolling off of the skull in great waves, but Rii wasn't totally sure what her sister was confused about.
Things had gotten better.
Her visit with the Nightwings had been interesting, and had certainly helped her reconnect with that tribe. Then Arkhor visiting her and taking her to the Seawings under disguise, that was good as well. The disconnection she'd been feeling had gone away somewhat. She'd seen her former tribe and tribemates, and gotten to visit the Nightwings and learn a bit about them and reconnect there.
But her visits had also revealed something her disconnection had hidden, and she was ashamed to admit that she'd been ignorant of it.
The extinction of the Earthwings. Humans.
She'd had run-ins with them, and apparently the large dragons had been overpowered by the new weapons and technology, of which Shine was unfamiliar.
And that was a painful realization. Her occasional visits to the shrines in her honor had grown more frequent recently, and she hadn't noticed any drop in offerings, which made her all the more guilty. She'd been disconnected and wallowing in the fact that she'd been disconnected (leading to a horrible downward spiral that hadn't gotten better) and it had lead her to be neglectful of the shrines and their offerings. The dragons of Pyyria still believed in her, when she'd all but ignored them. It was a painful feeling.
And one she vowed to make up for.
Her trip to the territories concluded with the Earthwings. She pulled herself up from the shoreline, water dripping onto the sand, and she flapped her wings a few times to dry off a bit. Cory followed her up, the small black creature mewling irritably at the wind she created, and gave her a green-eyed glare that Shine only snorted at and shook her head. "You're too uptight." She scolded, flicking her tail at him, earning another hiss as she continued forward. However, within seconds there was the familiar gait of her companion not far behind her.
She shook her head. He wouldn't leave her. She had faith in that.
The shrine was disheveled. She could see that from here. The open-aired building, with nothing but pillars to support the great stone roof-was largely covered in Ivy, and cracking in places where the plant life refused to be overtaken by hard stone. It had been pretty once, and clearly not used for a while.
Well, up until now.
Shine balked slightly at the sight of another dragoness at the shrine. She wasn't used to arriving at the same time as another, and nearly turned to leave.
Until she caught the dragoness' head dipped in what could only be prayer, her mouth moving to form words Shine could only barely pick up. Wary of her glowing stripes that had a tendency to give her away as a Goddess and not a Mortal, she crept closer to listen.
A soft smile slowly spread over her face. A worried family member, mother possibly, though she wasn't certain, asking for help. And...and she had an interest in another. The tribe leader.
Well, Shine could only relate too well to loving a leader, and she smiled softly, slowly approaching the shrine until she settle just on the edge of the dragoness' vision. She didn't want to startle her, but she also didn't want to intrude she waited until she was certainly finished with her prayer before speaking, looking down as Cory plunked down by her feet. "I can only understand troubles with Love too well." She shook her head as she nudged her catfish, named in honor of her missing mate.
IC: Rii stiffened a bit as she noticed something move at the edge of her vision. She allowed her eyes to flicker towards the movement only to see that it was a pretty bluish dragon with odd markings. Some of her markings, the stripes in particular glowed, catching Rii's eyes for a moment before she closed them to stop staring. She remained stiff and suspicious though, a remnant of her life as a rogue having to always be on alert for danger. However due to the place they were in Rii decided to trust this female for a moment not to attack with her eyes closed.
While her eyes were closed Rii attempted to think of another prayer but couldn't come up with anything. She sighed, her tongue slipping out tasting the air, then opened her blue gem-like gaze to look at the shrine. Hunger started in her stomach at the smell of the bison and the oddly fresh smell of fish. Confused momentarily, Rii wondered why she was smelling fish when the river was near but not right next to the shrine itself.
The other dragons voice, distinctly feminine, then sounded and Rii twitched her head to look in the direction of the other women. She couldn't recall seeing anyone but Adair's scales glow like this female. However his glowed a bright yellow light whereas hers were more like a light blue. She wondered for a moment if this stranger had any lightwing blood.
Then Rii spotted the catfish on the ground. A funny look crossed her face as she looked at the catfish for a moment then remembered to answer the other women.
You have had experience loving another? Rii first asked then realized how personal the question was. You don't have to answer that. I'm being rude asking such a thing without even being acquainted. She shook her head slowly then gazed back up at Shiningwater. Then she gave a little respectful bow, one that she used for anyone new to her.
My name is Rii, it is a pleasure to meet you. She offered her name then straightened out of the bow to look at the catfish again. Slowly Rii grabbed Mairii off of the stone table and hid her before also grabbing her bison. Rii still didn't know where to leave her catch in the shrine as an offering.
Shine smiled slightly at the dragoness. That was considerate of her to be aware of that. But, after a few years to deal with it, it was something she'd more or less come to terms with. "It's nothing." She paused, trying to decide which question to answer first. After a moment, she went with the first one. She wouldn't lie to this dragoness as she had to others about her identity. And she wanted to postpone that for a little bit. "It's not all that complicated of a story, really. A mostly happy one as well." She smiled, drawing a few circles in the earth with a claw. "I was still healer when I met him, he was a tracker. Things just sort of...happened. I don't know exactly when or how things came about and worked out, but at some point they did. We just grew closer together." She smiled softly at the memories. "He was appointed deputy at some point. Then our queen at the time she...well, she just...disappeared. I don't know how, no one does. She was on a hunting trip and never came back. He became King, and I his Queen for a few years." She gave her catfish another smile. "Then....well, then the same thing happened to him. Went out and didn't come back." She sighed heavily. "I like to think he'll come back, it doesn't hurt to hope, but...I guess the other part of me knows he's not." She shook herself after a few minutes of silence. "But that's enough ramblings from an old Dragoness. You asked me my name." She smiled at the other, kindly. "I'm Shiningwater, please, call me Shine." She dipped her head respectfully to the other, mimicking her movements. "Pleasure to meet you, Rii."
The long dragons heart ached for the women whom she still didn't even know the name of. Her story was sad, but Rii could see and feel the love Shiningwater had for the male she spoke about. The stranger still loved him despite the male not being around. Then Rii also felt the lack of emotion as Shine got to the part of her story where the male had disappeared and never come back. Then the story was abruptly over causing Rii to blink in surprise when Shiningwater changed the topic to her name.
Her name.. is Shiningwater? the goddess? b..but..Rii was even more surprised by the name she gave, but then the surprise quickly wore off as she thought about it. No she must be named after the goddess, what am I thinking. Rii blinked and gave Shine a warm smile.
No no. I'm humbled to meet someone who is so open with their heart. Rii commented back after Shine's greeting. Her eyes flicked to the catfish again hungrily then to her bison.
I asked about love before because I feel like I have not known the real kind of love. I just... wanted to know what it felt like. and for some odd reason Rii almost could imagine that she had felt real love radiating off of Shiningwater when the women had been engrossed in the memories of her mate. However the slender she dragon couldn't know if that feeling was real or not.
Ummm.. Do you perhaps know where I put this? Rii held up the bison then looked to the shrine curiously.
And especially about such a tender subject. It was almost like back when she was still a healer and leader, and watching hatchlings grow up. She smiled softly at the memory before responding to the other's query about love. "It's hard to describe, and I wouldn't want to make you feel it. It's better genuine." She could, in theory, influence Rii's emotions and show her, but that felt invasive. No, love was emotion Shine refused to tamper with. "But..." She paused, thinking, before finally coming up with something suitable. "If you're not sure if you're in love or not, you're not in love." She smiled. Yea, that was a good way to put it.
She then looked back at the shrine and sighed. "Most other's I've been to lately have been in the center, just before the pedestal. Leave room for the smaller offerings, like stones and flowers and the like." She stood and stepped forward, looking the shrine over sadly. "Unfortunately, it's hard to see where that is on this one." She reared up, using her small wings and long tail for balance, and started to gingerly pull away a few of the more choking creepers and vines, sighing to herself. "It used to be so...clean. Before the humans invaded." She dropped back to her haunches to yank on a stubborn vine harder. The Earthwing Shrine was always more natural than the others, and Shine loved that about it, but this had gone from careful planting to disarray and disuse. It was...saddening...
She shook her head again after freeing the thick vine. Maybe in time it would look nice again.
As an afterthought, she looked over her shoulder, noting the other's hungry look at Cory. "You can have some." She jerked her head at the bison. "I don't mind." Shine didn't need it, not anymore. She liked food, tasted good, but it wasn't a necessity any more. Nonetheless, the other needed it more, if she was hungry.