06.30.2013: Snow and Ashes
Summary: The Iah family and knights say farewell to the late Lady Iah.
Date: 16 July 2013
Related: None
Elodie Gwain Ronan Tiriel Una 

Frigid Wastes — Niveus
Niveus is a small moon, the surface of which is covered entirely in ice and snow. Light is filtered through heavy gray clouds, snow falling much of the time. All visible land is of snow and ice. Though there are vast, deep oceans beneath the thick surface, from above it appears as though the entire moon is made of ice. A few formations of mountain and glacier, as well as the settlements of Niveus, break up the vast, largely empty surface. There are only a few settlements to be found here, many are buried into mountains and even glaciers. Shelter, the largest, is one of the only ones easily visible from a distance. It rises from the moon like a great mountain of stone topped by the icicle-like weather stations and homes of House Iah, the lights from within visible only in a few places, giving the appearance of bright glowing rivers that run down the sides of the great settlement.

Most of the creatures of Niveus are visible only beneath the surface in the oceans, though ice bears and a few other creatures can be seen roaming through the snow. The ice bears resemble the polar bears of ancient earth, though they are often much larger and some have pale gray fur as well as white. There are also a few packs of great wolves, though it is a rare thing indeed to see one, and a few smaller creatures which are completely unique to Niveus.

June 30th, 2013

Less than a week after the first battle of Niveus, a group left Shelter and headed out to the surface. A procession in black, led by the family Iah, made its way toward the pyre that rests in the snow. The family, followed by their Knighs and vassals, came to the spot where for generations funerals have been held on Niveus. Gathered now in a circle around the pyre, which has been built on a block of ice in a circle of smoothed snow, the group now takes their turns laying symbolic offerings on the pyre, and for those who wish also saying a few words.

Una, who will wait to take the last place, stands at the head of the pyre. Covered in a thick black fur-lined cloak, the hood currently thrown back so that snow falls onto her hair, she holds the torch that will start the fire and watches the assembled in silence.

Wearing leggings and sturdy black boots under the heavy cloak and dress that hangs straight and without adornment to the snow, Elodie stands quietly with her sister, wating for the last of the citizens and clasping something to her chest, under her cloak, her arms crossed over it. Her face shows no tears, but the gentle compassion in her eyes bestows a grateful and sympathetic look to each person as they pass.

Gwain is appropriately somber on this occasion. The knight is trudging along with the rest of the entourage, head bowed, hands clasped together. He even looks a bit gloomy, when he eventually removes his helmet to pay respects when his turn in the line comes. He bows his head at the pyre, and seems to elect for a soft prayer rather than any speeches or profound commentary. Then, once that's done, he's off to stand with everyone else.

Ronan is dressed in a dark blue velvet short houppelande trimmed in fur. Held in his hands in front of him is an archaic wooden shielf - the one that he had learned to fight. Its surface scarred by numerous knocks and gashes left behind by his mother's blade. He walks to the pyre setting it to be burned with it. He draws his dagger and runs its edge across the palm of his left hand, letting its ruby drops drip across the shield. What he says is not for anyone's ears but that of his mother, though those nearby might be able to hear them. "I swear that I will not let you down again, Mother." He sheathes the dagger and then wraps his hand in a white scarf.

Tiriel had worked in her forge for a good long while. After bringing her wife to the pyre she moved off to the side. In her hands is a beautiful chromed sword, not the kind for battle, but the kind for ornamentation. It's wrapped at the hilt with gold, crusted with jewels on the pommel and the blade itself is sheathed in what looks to be ice, clear and sparkling. She steps over and looks down at the woman as a touch of a smile comes across her face, "Thank you for believing in me and giving someone a chance to make your daughter happy. I promise to protect her and her family." She lifts the sword up, kisses it, flips it around and buries it at the feet of the woman, bringing it down hard into the ice. Her hands rest upon the pommel a moment longer before she bows, removes them, and steps away.

It's an old fashioned recurve bow, smoothly carved and strung. The first one Elodie drew when she realized that she found the weapon more graceful than any others. It felt at home in her hands, and her mother had encouraged to pursue the craft, even as she knew her daughter was more likely to follow scholarly pursuits. Elodie lays it quietly with Ronan's shield, and then steps back. It seems for her, words aren't needed, or else there are none deep enough to express how she feels. She steps back with the others of her family, her hand brushing at Ronan's shoulder briefly.

Una's face tightens as the procession moves on. As Tiriel presents her offering, her expression shifts from tightly controlled pain to stone. She is keeping the tears back, but her eyes are red from far more than the smoke of her torch. When each of her family members is finished she steps forward, handing her torch briefly to a servant so that she can use both hands to pull out her own offering. A box is pulled from her cloak as she steps forward, and from within she pulls out a jewelled headdress with silver wings on the side. Her wedding headdress. Like Elodie, she says nothing as she presents her gift, laying it to the side of her mother's head before she puts the box back into her cloak and steps back. When she is back in her place, she pulls a tablet out, and speaks for the first time. "Our friend Lorelei Quelton of Arborren has written us a poem for this day, in remembrance." While behind her the servants use her torch to light one for each of the family members, she reads.

"The first breath, cutting and cold.
Empty sky, filled with posibilites
The future, jarringly clear
The wind a life band to the very heart of this satellite
Encassing a truth, so passionate
The warmth of her family
of her people."

The muscles in Ronan's jaw tenses. His eyes never leaving the form of his mother's form. He feels as if he is frozen, not from the dangerous and deadly cold of Niveus but from the emptiness inside him. The youngest of the woman's children, and possibly the most emotional of all of them, is still and quiet. He blinks slightly as Elodie puts her hand on his shoulder, but that is his only numbed response.

Tiriel walked around and now stands behind Una. Her own hand reaches out, resting lightly on her wife's hip as she places herself in close behind her. Her eyes stay on the pyre, no tears and a stealy gaze.

Always being a caretaker, and spending her life learning how to comfort others in dire conditions, Elodie draws on that training to keep herself looking after her family. The hand on Ronan's shoulder is brief, and she moves past to take her place on the other side of Una, pausing to lay a hand on her forearm for a brief squeeze, and a nod to Tiriel. She turns and faces the pyre, hands clasped in front of her.

When the poem is finished, Una closes her eyes for a moment and just concentrates on the comfort being offered. She allows herself only a few seconds of this before nodding to Tiriel, then Elodie, and taking her torch from the servant. As a torch is passed out to each family member she steps forward, touching hers to the base of the pyre until it catches.

Gwain's head remains bowed when the fire starts, a small nod of his head when poetry is read. That seems to be an appropriate thing to nod to, so he does so. But only a little. There is a glance or two over at the Iah family, but for the most part he keeps quiet and looks impassive with the rest of the knights.

Elodie takes her torch from the servant, waiting for Una to start the fire first. Then she walks forward, with measured steps, to the side, waiting for Ronan. When he is ready, she nestles her torch down into the tinder to catch, then remains where she stands, her eyes on the flames as the flicker highter in front of her.

Ronan takes a few steps forward once Una has began the blaze. There is a dropped trail of blood from his hand, which he cut too deeply for the intended purpose. Problem with dealing with such cold temperatures, the tactile sense is often numbed. If it was possible for his already almost white skin to pale further, it has. He lowers the flame of his torch to another part of the kindling. Like many aspects of his life, Ronan stands mostly apart from his sisters.

Tiriel takes her torch and steps up with her wife. She lifts the torch up into the air and then brings it down to settle nearby Una's and at the base of the sword she buried. She watches the flames a good bit, seeing the pyre catch and begin to burn. She breathes in deep and lets out a bit of a shuddering breath as she looks up into the sky, watching the snow come down and meet the flames.

Silence follows the lighting of the torches, and for awhile there is no sound other than the crackling of flames.

Some time later, Una finally looks down to the snow and sees the darkened drops, almost covered now by fresh now. She looks from the trail to her brother, then steps over to Elodie, taking her hand and gesturing to Ronan's paling face. She steps back then, taking Tiriel's hand, and turns to give thanks to those who have come with them.

Elodie gives a nod to Una that she's already noticed. She will let Ronan stand on his own while they are still in the public eyes. However, she will not leave until he does, and she will walk as closely with him as he will allow, monitoring whether or not he seems to in danger of collapse, something she won't allow to happen until they are in family quarters once more.

Ronan continues to stand at the edge of the pyre, facing the blaze, until it is time that he must leave. By this point, his hand has stopped bleeding with the exception of the occassional drop, though the scarf, loosely wrapped around his hand, is soaked and probably will be frozen solid by the time he returns to Shelter.

Tiriel draws in another deep breath and reaches down to take Una's hand in hers. She gives a tiny bit of a tug and nods to the other woman. "Let us go home."

Una takes just long enough to place a hand on she shoulder of each knight and Vassal as they pass. Then she nods to Tiriel and leads the procession back to Shelter.

Gwain falls in step along with the rest of the knights, a small bob of the head at Una's gesture of acknowledgement. He spares one glance back, then moves on ahead.

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