Freedom From "Freedom"

//Leaves of Healing

The clear notes of the Everlasting Song reach the ears from the Gardens. This is Arborlon's Temple. The center of this Mallorn on the edge of the island is a great cabinet stocked with healing herbs of all kinds, the doors of which have gold inlay script listing the names of the elven gods. A clear crystalline globe is suspended in the center of the flet, within which are the glowing golden seeds of the Mellyrn, the hope of Arborlon: for while hope lives in such seeds, the light of it may not be extinguished in the hearts of elves.//

It is evident by the few that has appeared early this morning outside of the temple that the Elear had sent word the previous few days regarding the removal of the dreaded Mark set upon the Quendi. The few elves hovering about the perimeter looked rather nervous and their hands are covered, their expressions disturbed. The atmosphere of the temple is as tranquil as ever and extremely serene; perhaps that calmed the small group of elves for a moment.

The Elear himself appeared after a brevity, though as he sees that few who had appeared; he seems a tad disappointed and yet he lets not a frown settle on his face. Maranwe is within the compound, or so he believes as nods of greeting are exchanged and he steps into the temple first to find the healer.

Annale had spent the better part of the day few days in discussion with Maranwe, pouring through the Library, and trying to find a ritual that may actually work. Elven runners had been sent to nearby villages, purchasing seemingly random supplies. The countertop near the cabinet was complete covered in a variety of herbs, statues, sticks, stones, flowers, fur, cups of water… anything they had come across that may work. This morning, Annale stood besides Maranwe, each Elfess working a mortar and pestle.

In expectation, the few whom turned up followed behind the Elear's shifting white cloak, a little hesitant and their features pale a little as they step further into the temple. Israfel himself pauses in his own steps as he approaches the silver-haired Maranwe, his ivory eyebrows lifted in withheld surprise at the presence of the Tari in the Temple, the surprise itself turning into a muddle of curiosity and worry. But as protocol dictates, he lowers himself slightly into a bow, and greets her.

Hearing the entrance of a few, Annale puts her work down, turning to greet her kin, "Mae Govannen Il'er, well met. Please, rest upon the cots, and be at ease." She gestures to the cots lining one wall of the temple with one hand while turning her gaze to the Elear, "Quel're Elear Israfel, I hope you are well this morning?" She takes little note of the expressions flitting across his face, although she does look relieved herself to see the Elear. [Annale]

"I am well. I hope you are as well, Tari." Israfel replies, a quiet etch apparent to his tone. If he was belying some notion of that surprise earlier, it has long since dissolved away and only the usual pragmatic guise remains.

The elves who have came with him readily find their way to the cots and does as they are invited to; and their faces are still throughly a mix of apprehension and worry, and one or two carried a questioning frown upon their brows on seeing the Tari appear after /such/ a long period. But there is one amongst them who put out a hand and shakes his head, the mature lined face of indicative age holding an expression of assurance to those who seems reluctant. "It is fine." The older one whispers, "She is with us. Do not worry." [Israfel]

Annale inclines her head in response to Israfel, any answer she may have given lost as she pointedly ignores the reluctance and apprehension evident among her people. She knew she had made a mistake.. a huge mistake.. Hopefully she was on the right path to atone for it. [Annale]

Maranwe turns, having finished crushing a harsh smelling mixture of herbs and flowers, "Tari, it's ready." She speaks softly, her voice causing her words to sound akin to a soft lullaby. [Annale]

Israfel undoes his cloak, draping the seemingly cumbersome material over one arm. His interest is piqued for a brief moment as the acrid scent of the mixture finds its way towards him. A glance slipped sidewards affirms that the elves whom had come are still staying upon the cots obediently, the words of the elder one perhaps lingering in their minds. The Elear's expression remains taut though, but thoughtful, and yet nothing upon his face betrays what he is thinking about the Tari's attempt to atone for her deed. [Israfel]

Maranwe's soft words echo'd in Annale's ears. ~Please Gods, let this work. There's more at play I know, but please, just let this work.~ She could only hope that a sympathetic ear heard her silent plea. "Elear, I do believe that we will require your assistance." She looks to Maranwe as she speaks, however, defering to the Healer's judgement. The Healer smiles in agreeance before turning back to the countertop and pulling out an aged sheet of parchment from the cabinet. [Annale]

"My help?" Israfel's features shift gently in their expression and his head cranes a little as he glances over towards the Tari and the silver-haired Healer. "What would you need me to do?" He asks now, moving to where the two are, folding his cloak a little neater upon his arm so it does not get in the way. The elves upon the cot are still quiet though they exchange a few quiet words amongst themselves, their gazes intent upon the Tari and the rest in anticipation. [Israfel]

Annale turns so that her back is to the Elves gathered on the cots, lowering her voice so that only Maranwe, who was quietly mouthing the words on the parchment to herself in preparation of the ritual, and Israfel can hear her, "The will of the Gods is fickle, and their gifts often change. One of these items, " She gestures subtly to the vast arrangement of items on the countertop, "will be the catalyst for the exorcism. We won't know which one until the Deity chooses." -If they choose at all..- She hurries on, not wanting to delay, "It will glow, or bubble, or shake, or give off its distinct scent. When that happens, a little bit of it must be placed upon each Mark to be exorcized… and it must be done quickly, before the prayer is over."

"So you mean, one of these things will indicate by themselves if it is chosen?" Israfel reiterates carefully, one eyebrow still drawn upwards to calculate the situation. "And you would need my help to keep an eye on them as well?" He asks, putting forth the question of the job she required him for. The Elear flicks a quick glance towards the silently chanting Maranwe, and again at the elves upon the cot, the sweep of that observance catching a few more worried faces peeping in through the doors of the Temple as the morning warms from the chill of that earlier dawn. [Israfel]

Maranwe looks up from her parchment, pushing one braid out of her vision so that she can look clearly at the Elear, "I won't be able to help you for I will be reading the prayer. Should the Gods bestow us their blessing, it may last seconds, or minutes. Had I performed this ritual before, we might know which item works, but I haven't, so we don't. So you and the Tari must identify the item, split it between you two and touch each Mark with it" [Annale]

A nod of affirmation concludes that Israfel has clearly understood what he has to do. His cloak is divested from his arm and left on one of the empty cots nearer to him. "It will work." He ascertains, without much an addition or a suffix of 'hopefully' to his statement. Israfel's tawny gaze dwells upon his Tari for a length of time, thoughtful once more. If there's anything that would shake her confidence, he will not utter so, but yet a small silent prayer grasps his heart within. [Israfel]

The silver-haired Priestess smiles subtly, displaying a confidence most certainly not felt by the Tari. Annale, however, had enough sense to keep her face composed, careful not to betray her private doubt. "Let's begin." Maranwe turns to face the gathered Elves, her subtle smile still playing with the corners of her mouth as she speaks softly, "Kindred, I must ask you to remain calm, and quiet. The Gods will be among us soon." With that, she turns back to the Elear and the Tari and nods, "Ready?" [Annale]

Marwane was sensible indeed to calm the gathered elves indeed for the Elear, he does feel a certain twinge of fear rising from some of them. The few who have found their way to the temple step in further, curious, each glancing at the Mark upon their own hand and wondering if this would work. And once the Healer has beckoned him, Israfel inclines his jaw lightly in a nod, affirming that he is ready to do as instructed earlier. [Israfel]

Annale merely nods, her gaze focussing on the items laid out before her. Seeing that both are ready, Maranwe begins reading from the parchment, speaking far louder than is usually customary for the Healer. The words aren't Elven, or Common, if anything they sound like a cross between an old Dwarven dialect and Ancient Elven. Maranwe's brows furrow as she continues, using her right index finger to keep her place in the wording. [Annale]

Within seconds the smells of fresh rain water permeate the room, the Mellryn seeds shine even brighter, and the sounds of the Everlasting Song fade so that the only sounds heard are the peculiar words from the Healer. Annale scans the items as quickly as she can, looking for any change. [Annale]

Maranwe's chanting turns Israfel's distraction back to attention as the strange language warbles from the Healer's lips. There is some glow coming from behind him or is that his right? Somehow it is disorienting. As much as he'd like to focus, he feels strange, not as in outcast but more of a bystander unfamiliar with anything but the superficial knowledge of such healing magic. The Elear knows fireballs and lightning storms, but not this. Quietly, he just arches one eyebrow and follows where the Tari's own sights are moving, his lips parted in self helplessness before clamping tight again into a thin line. [Israfel]

The sounds of a bubbling brook become ambient music to Maranwe's prayer. A simple wooden cup filled with water begins to bubble, seemingly the source for the sounds of a bubbling brook. Catching the movement, Annale utters, "Dwarven holy water!" half in surprise, half in relief. She reaches around Maranwe, careful not to disturb the Elfess, to grab an empty cup from the cupboard. [Annale]

There appears to be a unified murmur of approval amongst the Elves on the cots and those who have appeared out of their own accord as the morning descends into early noon. The Elear himself takes a few steps back and with a rather fluid motion, curls fingers around a cup from the cupboard nearer to him, the receptacle handed to Annale quietly. Not a word is exchanged and he stays where he is, hands folded away behind his back. Again, his expression wavers between curiosity and vulnerability as he glances at the bubbling wooden cup; the look brief and then Israfel retreats back to his composed state. [Israfel]

Annale's hand stops mid-reach, surprised at how quickly Israfel had gotten the cup. Sparing a brief look of curiosity at Israfel, she reaches for the happily bubbling cup of water and empties half into the other cup. Her hand trembles slightly as she pours, but she manages to finish her task without spilling. Returning the cup to Israfel, Annale glances down at Maranwe's parchment, glad to see that the Healer is just approaching the half-way point on the page. [Annale]

The Elear reaches for the half-filled cup that Annale returns to him, and with slight passivity, holds it in a supine manner. He spares a minute glance at the contents of the cup, and something akin to warmth creeps through his hand. Was that imagined? He blinks just once and then slips one look at his Tari. When is the juncture where by this antidote is to be applied to the hands? Surely now? He does not ask though and merely raised up the cup towards Annale with sufficient grace to not let it wobble, a tawny-eyed look flung in indication towards the waiting Elves. [Israfel]

Annale inclines her head in agreement, moving to the closest Elf to show Israfel all he needs to do. Dabbling her fingers in the gently bubbling water, she dribbles water on the Elf's Mark. A gasp escapes from the Elf's lips, "It's warm…Praise the Gods!" The water droplets, upon hitting the Mark, seem to absorb the blue aura, fizzing until all water and aura are completely gone. Annale forces a smile to her face and sets about sprinkling water on other Marks, her eyes subdued.

Once shown, the Elear himself too douses his fingertips with the still-warm water and proceeds to the Elves who were not upon the cots and are lined against the pillars and walls of the temple. They witness the miracle happening to their kin upon the cots, and very eagerly come forth, holding out their Marked hands to Israfel. Each hand is expeditiously sprinkled with water; the Marks vanishing one by one, the hated blue aura swallowed and conquered. [Israfel]

Something pushes against Israfel's white-clad knee, and he glances down fleetingly, fingers still dancing upon another hand thrust out towards him for the cure. A young elf child, a little girl. Her hand still gleams blue, Marked as it is and she runs towards the Tari, Marked hand outstretched, her face glowing in anticipation at Annale. [Israfel]

Annale makes quick work of the Elves gathered on the cots, many holding their hand up afterwards as though seeing it for the first time. Only the Healer's strong words and the obvious presence of some God keep many of the Elves from gleeful celebration right there in the Temple. Annale, however, remains subdued, as though she didn't feel the warmth in the water, the comforting presence of a God.

Finishing with the last Elf of the cot, Annale turns to see a young elf eagerly approaching her, hand outstretched. A wash of emotions flicker through her amber eyes - pain, regret, disappointment, failure - for even children bore the curse she brought upon them. She manages to compose her features again and kneels down, sprinkling the water on the child's Mark, her forced smile changing into something more genuine as the now-familiar fizzing sound emanates and the aura dissipates. [Annale]

Israfel flecks watery fingers over one of the last Elves still standing there, waiting eagerly to be relieved of the Mark and his head leans back barely, golden eyes sweeping to take note of where the little girl went. The child appears to have taken towards the Tari, and with a gasp of pure delight raises up her now unMarked hand towards the crowd of citizens that have suddenly manifested at the doors of the Temple. A child would not know that she has to keep quiet in such a sanctuary, her joy at being cured overrides any sensible sense perhaps drilled into her at such a young age. And without even thinking, the child throws her small arms around the Tari; her short height sufficient only to hug Annale's leg in content. The expression on his Tari's face does not go unaware though; as the Elear takes note wordlessly. Perhaps he will ask her later. [Israfel]

Annale can only think to pat the child's head softly, her eyes closing. Maranwe, speaking the last words of the prayer, looks about the room, seeing joy, happiness, elation, and freedom evident upon the faces of the Elves gathered there. "May I suggest a day of celebration at the Fox and Fiddle?" she suggest in her usual soft, musical voice. Realizing the ritual is over, the tide of excitement spills over and the buoyant chatter of the Elves fills the room as many head to the Fox and Fiddle to bask in their Freedom. [Annale]

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