RP:There is Nothing Like Old Friends

From HollowWiki

This is a Devout's Guild RP.

Summary: Lanara and Valrae run into each other by divine chance. The two witches spend long over due time together and catch up. They part ways with plans to see eachother soon and with Lanara being reinstated within the guild.

Sanctum of the Divine

Nestled in between Kelay’s most popular restaurant and the town hall lies a grand cathedral-esque structure. Stone in varying shades of grey make up the four walls and foundation of the building, with silver-painted doors and white accents to match in varying spots of the building, giving a few key outdoor access points in case of emergency. Tall, vivid stained glass windows--one of each of Lithrydel’s major deities--line the two side walls of the building, serving as the Sanctum’s magnum opus. From the Light of Arkhen, to the darkness that Vakmathras calls home, each individual deity is shown in all of their glory, wielding their chosen magics or weapons, in poses befitting them all. On the inside of the Sanctum, beneath each stained glass window, lies an altar dedicated to each god, complete with candles, incense, and whatever herbs needed for worship. Caretakers of the Sanctum show no judgement, for a person is free to worship whom they wish--it’s how they do it that matters. In addition to the altars, this room also houses pews, lined down the center of the building, until it reaches a slightly raised platform with a podium. This may be used for sermons, weddings, or funerals. An elaborate door, one that opens only for those in the Devout’s Guild, seemingly leads to nowhere on the back wall behind the podium. For those in need of shelter and food, a staircase leads down into a sizeable, furnished undercroft. Here, a fully staffed kitchen is in working order, with a large dining room to accompany it, on one side of the basement, while the other holds comfortable beds, for those weary citizens of Lithrydel that neither has a home nor the money to spend on a room at an inn. All in all, the entirety of the building is under the Devout’s Guild’s protection and no quarter will be given to those that seek to harm Lithrydel’s citizens and lay waste to the realm.

Lanara walks through the main strip of Kelay with purpose, her high heels clicking against the pavement, as she cautiously checks her surroundings. The years haven’t been kind to the witch, and everywhere she looks is a potential hiding place for an attacker, every stone and branch can be wielded as a weapon, and every seemingly friendly face can quickly turn into a foe. She never should have turned her back on the Goddess, but at the time, she was so bitter and consumed with despair after losing her daughter. No. She didn’t -lose- Natianara, she had slain the girl, with a pair of shears. The blood spilled from her slit throat onto the fertile soil of Kelvar, before Lana had sealed entrance to her homeland with a bit of magic. She pauses, trying to halt her chaotic mind as quickly as she stops her feet. Lana tucks an errant strand of chestnut behind a tapered ear and finds that she is standing before a holy place; a location that she once considered another home. A place where she could worship without fear of being burned at the stake, a spot where she had many deep conversations with Khitti, and a building of peace. Is this another sign from the Goddess? Will she be accepted with open arms and allowed to return to the ranks of the Devout’s Guild? Wrapping her gray mid-length coat tightly about her slender frame, Lana takes a steadying breath and opens the door into the cathedral-like building.

Haloed in a splash of rainbowed light, Valrae stood before the altar of Selene. Bringing the thick white candle she held up to her face, the witch pursed her lips and breathed life to a small flame. It caught, flashing emerald before flickering toward the natural glow of orange on the wick. She placed the candle down before the icon of the goddess, her face upturned as she marveled at the beauty of the cathedral. The newness of the space was still a bit overwhelming to her. There were piles of paperwork and duties waiting for her in Khitti-, no her own, office. The weight of her new role felt a little crushing, especially considering the shoes she would be attempting to fill, and she took solace in the busy work of tending the altars as her mind turned over the puzzle of it all. Lanara’s entrance echoed on the stone walls. Turning, Valrae took a step forward to welcome whoever entered. Seeing Lana’s face sent a flurry of emotion across her own. “Lana!” She breathes the other witches name out, her voice nearly catching in her throat. A warm smile sprang to her lips as she crossed the cathedral, skirting the pews dotted with guild members and strangers alike as they sat in quiet prayer or contemplation. Her heels clicked loudly as she went.

A look of surprise is etched into Lanara’s fair face, as her lips arch upward in a gleeful smile, “Val!” It had been years since the witches had seen each other, but each time they were in each other's presence, that undeniable bond seemed to flourish. Both of their heels are clicking loudly, interrupting the quietness of this sacred space, but it comes to an abrupt halt as they meet. Instantly, Lana opens her arms for a hug and pulls Valrae into a heartfelt embrace, squeezing her gently around the middle, and laughing breathlessly, “It’s been -too- long! You look amazing! How are you? What are you doing here?!” The words pour from her lush lips like rapid fire, eager to play catch up with her close friend, as they both have been through quite a bit over the past two or so years. Lana pulls back so that Val can breathe and answer her questions, and a woman sitting a pew lifts a finger to her lips as she’s being too loud. Lana sheepishly lowers her head and takes Val’s hand, giving it a squeeze, “Is there somewhere a little more private where we can go to talk?” All earlier thoughts of reuniting with the Goddess are forgotten, as her main focus is reconnecting with Valrae Baines.

Valrae falls into Lanara’s embrace easily, returning with her own affectionate squeeze, her own laugh bouncing around the open cathedral loudly. “Too long indeed!” She agrees quickly as they both pull away. “You look stunning, as always.” The witch gives the other a quick once over. “I need to know where you got that jacket.” Val squishes her nose at the woman who shushes them when she turns back around in her pew. “Hrm, how about we move to my office?” She offers, waiting a beat before turning and leading her through the doors to the inner sanctum. It was still weird to call it *her* office. “I’m working with Khitti in a transition for the guild,” She informs Lana as the walk. “Hopefully, I’m ready. It’s so good to see you though. How have you been?” She pushes open the door to her office and makes a dramatic, playful gesture for Lanara to enter. The space was filled with typical ‘Val clutter’. Miles of paperwork, crystals crowded on every surface, candles floating above desks and tables with half empty cups of lavender tea. She leads her to two comfortable high back chairs and takes a seat. “If you came to see her, she isn’t in just yet so I’m afraid you’re stuck with me.”

Lanara rolls her eyes at the compliment, but there’s a tinge of pink in her cheeks. They’ve also raised each other up and praised each other upon each meeting, which is nice because most women forget to do that with their friends. Their embrace ends and Valrae leads the way to her office, a room that used to be a familiar place that Lana frequented, back when she and Khitti were bosom buddies. Sadly, that friendship ended just over two years ago, for unknown reasons. Lana smiles and settles into one of the chairs, crossing her legs in a ladylike fashion, as she takes a long look around the room. Traces of the ex-leader remain, but it’s mostly Val’s office now, as candles, crystals, and lavender tea are in great quantity. It’s a perfect haven for the red witch and the promotion is well earned, as Val has faced a great deal of strife in her life and she never once turned her back on the Goddess. “Congratulations, Val! I think this is such a great position for you and I’m thrilled to see you settling in so nicely.”

Lanara pauses when the question is thrown on her lap, because she knows that Val isn’t expecting a traditional ‘I’m good’ as she likely wants to catch up. “I am good… Now. For a while there, I wasn’t doing so well. I turned my back on the Lord and Lady when I needed them the most, but they never left my side. Not once.” She’s growing emotional and her dark chocolate eyes are welling with tears, so she quickly blinks them back, “I had to kill my own daughter, Natianara, to save my homeland and kin. It was the only way! Sadly, I returned to the lands two years ago with a curse that threatened to consume my life. Long story short… I was bitten and turned into a werewolf.” Now, she smiles, “Tiber is the one that saved my life and although I’m still learning a lot about lycanthropy, I’m glad that I’m still around. A short while later we married and bought a house in Sage Forest, and we also formed a wolfpack; The Amber Lunation. I still run the animal sanctuary and I’ve returned to teaching dance at the Bardic College in Schezerade. So… Aside from being busy, I’ve been great!” Another pregnant pause is given and Lana drops her gaze, “The one thing that’s been missing from my life is religion, I guess you could say? I used to be a proud member of the Devout’s Guild, before my falling out with Khitti. Not that -that- was the reason I left! I didn’t feel that connection to the Goddess at the time, I was so caught up in my emotions and I guess I blamed the Goddess for how things turned out in Kelvar. But… Something made me show up here tonight! And seeing you after all this time just warms my heart! I can’t help but believe that fate intervened.” She swallows and realizes she has said quite a mouthful, “I’m sorry! That was a -lot- and I just keep rambling!” Lana chuckles, “How have -you- really been?”

Valrae sits across from Lanara on an elaborate settee. It was upholstered in a crushed velvet the color of violets with a high arching back shaped as a delicately fashioned unicorn made from ashwood. She’d purchased it from a carpenter in Cenril and paid a pretty penny for the artwork that he’d been able to create. Crossing her legs at the knees, she brushes at invisible dust on her long skirt. The witch was wearing a simple and modest cotton chainse under a pale yellow kirtle. “Thank you!” She chirps, the apples of her cheeks blooming pink. She waits patiently when a quiet pause settles around them, comfortable in the way that only old friends can be in a sudden and prolonged silence. But as Lana speaks, the witch finds herself leaning in, reaching out to offer her a hand of comfort as her wide, dark eyes fill with shared sorrow. It pained her to hear of the trauma that Lanara had been through. And guilt that she’d not been there, or been closer, sat beside her grief like an unwelcome and lingering guest. Valrae was careful not to interrupt, only nodding as she took in the information and her lips bowed further into a frown. Absently, Valrae waves a hand without taking her eyes off of her friend. Behind her, the short cabinet that she’d dedicated for tea comes alive. Animated with dancing, rose petal thin china the tea set floats along in a hurried way as if moved by invisible hands. It sets about busily preparing fresh tea as the women spoke. Val laughs when Lana apologizes, this time waving her hand at her friend. “Oh, you know I could listen to you for hours. I’ve missed you,” She replies honestly, leaning back again. “Whatever brought you here, I’m thankful for it.” A slightly tarnished tray of silver floats between them, settling with a small rattle of porcelain as it rests on the short table. There was a fresh pot of hot water for the tea, two bone white cups, an array of tea blends to choose from as well as a sugar bowl, cream and a delicate jar of golden honey. Valrae helps herself to lavender, per usual, with a dash of honey. It was her turn to pause now, the office filled only with the sounds of her small silver spoon rattling along the teacup as she stirred in her honey. “I’ve been… Well.” Her emerald gaze moves back to Lanara, her lips tilting into a wry smile. “My son is growing like a weed. Cenril is… I’ve announced my return in the papers. I’ll be running for Mayor.” She takes a long drink of her tea then. “Other than that, things have been good. Steady. If… If you wanted to rejoin the guild, I’m sure you know I’d love to have you.”

Lanara shrugs out of her coat and neatly folds it upon her lap, where it rests. She wears a knee-length black dress with a chunky silver belt around the middle. It’s a touch fancy for merely going for a walk but the socialite never misses an opportunity to dress her best. It takes her a moment to catch her breath after such a lengthy speech but she’s grateful for the comfort that Valrae provides and gives her hand a gentle squeeze. Although they had been apart for quite some time, it always feels like Yule when she sets her sights on the beautiful blonde. It’s been said that best friends can go many years without speaking and they simply pick up where they left off when they see each other again. Valrae Ivy Baines is the one person in the realm that Lanara feels such a kinship with and despite the heaviness of their conversation, she cannot help but smile. There’s never any judgment on either of their parts and Lana’s eyes briefly shine with tears because she never feels that she has to glaze over parts about her past with Val. Friendship’s at this level are incredibly rare! The unicorn chair is ogled with admiration for a long moment, but she cannot possibly bring any more animal-themed items into her new home. That very well could be grounds for divorce as she’s always bringing home a stray animal or animal related item. As the cabinet comes to life and prepares tea for the women, Lana’s eyes slightly widen in glee at the magic of it all. She really should have certain enchantments put into her home, but Tiber happens to be a bit touchy around material objects coming to life. Plus, she’s a bit of a prankster and she’d have too much fun messing with him! It’s now Lana’s turn to listen and she prepares her tea in a similar fashion to Val’s, except she opts for sugar rather than honey. The twinkling of the spoon circling in the mug is all that interrupts her friend's words, but once Val is finished, she will find that Lana is still smiling. “I’m glad that you are doing well. You deserve the best after all that you’ve been through… And, you’re running for Mayor?! That’s wonderful news! If there’s anything that I can do, please, don’t hesitate to ask.” It’s obvious that she’ll be voting for Valrae, but she’s wondering what’s to become of Uma. “Are you prepared to go toe to toe with Uma?” She lifts the mug to her lips to take a tentative sip and she pauses after swallowing and savoring the familiar flavor on her tongue. “I’d really like to rejoin the guild. I think it’s meant to be.” Even being in the office she finds herself containing a peace that she hasn’t known in weeks.

Valrae considers Lanara’s question carefully, her lips pursing slightly in thought. “Uma never wanted her position,” She answers at a length. “She took over when… When Fitz was murdered. She did the best she could,” Because the witch truly believed that, there was an earnestness in her voice that couldn’t be feigned. “You know, we’ve been close over the years. She’s a single mom, like me, and she’s always regretted the time she’s had to miss with her son. I think she’s regretted a lot of things that came with her position.” Without saying it, she thought Lana might guess that she meant the dealing that had to be done with Hudson. No one truly operated in Cenril without his approval now. And while he could be a kind man, he was also a criminal and a sort of king in his own right. He made hard, sometimes wicked decisions to protect himself and the empire he built. Uma had always known her place in it. Only time would tell if Valrae herself would walk that line or forge her own path, free of the shadow that the office of Cenril was cast in. “She’s been quiet. I think she knows, wants even, her time to come to an end.” She punctuates this with a slow roll of her shoulders. “I hope we remain close afterwards, no matter the outcome.” With Lana’s offer of support, Valrae smiles widely. “You’re so kind.” And then she was feeling her own sense of profound friendship. Her own thoughts ran parallel to the other witch, the knowledge that she sat across from another woman who had been tested and put through the slings and arrows that came with being a passionate, bold witch that wasn’t always welcome in the world. The kind of friend who was as steady as the moons that hung in the sky, even if there were times you couldn’t always see them. “I think it is too.” She responds easily, as the subject moves back toward the guild. “We’ve always made wonderful magic together. It will be a comfort to me knowing you’re a part of whatever future we build here.”

Lanara sips her tea as Valrae speaks about Uma’s desire to vacate her position in Cenril. It’s not a role to be taken lightly as it takes a lot of time away from family and friends, and sometimes tough decisions have to be made. She doesn’t mention anything about Hudson but he does cross her mind as he made all the evidence disappear after she robbed a security deposit box from the bank with two friends. There is a hint of worry in her gaze though, because she doesn’t want Val to have to face anyone that would oppose her rise to power. Witches are widely accepted in Cenril, but there still lurks those with bitter hearts that are fearful of women wielding magic. Both of them have been at the hands of hunters and it’s always a concern when one of their kind is in the spotlight. “I have no doubts that you will excel as a Mayor! You are intelligent, witty, kind, compassionate, and you have no qualms about doing what needs to be done. Decisions that others wouldn’t feel comfortable making? I -know- that you can make them and you will do so with ease.” She rests her teacup on the small plate and nods, “I’m sure Uma and you will be friends after the election.” Their talk again veers to the subject of rejoining the guild and Lana finds that she would be honored to be a part of future projects and their magic blends so well, “We have and we will work our magic together again, soon, I hope!” She pauses, “If there’s ever anything that I can help you with, regarding a spiritual nature, please know that I will gladly help.” Dark eyes shift to glance around the room and she senses the serenity of the building, “I cannot wait to see what you have planned for the future.”

Valrae struggles to keep her emotions from ruining her makeup as Lanara speaks. She was moved though, and her dark eyes brim with unshed tears of gratitude. “Oh, Lana!” She says, a blush coloring her cheeks. She felt genuinely seen at this moment. It was true enough that she rarely felt about herself any of the things Lanara had said about her, truer still that most of the time she felt as if she were only pretending to be confident and capable. It was more than validating that one of her closest friends would see those qualities she strived for and think of laying them at her feet like priceless gifts. “I hope that’s true, for Cenril’s sake.” The moment spins around them for a heartbeat, quiet and profound. Valrae takes a long drink of her tea. “Actually, I’d love to.” She replies as Lanara mentions magic. “Maybe something light, or on a holiday. It feels like an eternity has passed that I’ve done magic for anything other than something life threatening. I don’t want to forget the beauty in it, in using it only because it’s necessary.” The next look she passes to Lana is one of knowing, she was certain if anyone could understand that feeling it would be her. “And if there is anything I could do for you? You know I’m here. Well, between here and Xalious and Cenril, anway. But I always have time for you.” And as Lanara looks around, Val similarly takes in the room. She hoped with time it would feel like her own. There was a sense of knowing that it would, especially with Lanara here now. “Well, whatever it is the future holds, just know there is always room for you and your own plans,” She adds with a grin.

Lanara didn’t mean to make Valrae emotional but she couldn’t help but speak the truth. Some women are often jealous of each other and cannot help but be catty; but a good woman cares deeply about the success of another and will do whatever in their power to be sure to lift up another. Lana strives to be that for all her friends and she feels that they share the same sentiment, in turn. “I love high holidays!” She’s easily excited and notorious for throwing big bashes during the seasons, but in reality she likes nothing more than being festive with a small group of likeminded people. “I’ll be sure to send you an invitation this Yule! Usually, Taly hosts up in Frostmaw, but no one really likes climbing a mountain and risking frostbite. We always bless the log and work a little magic. But my -favorite- day is definitely Samhain.” There’s nothing more spiritual than a dim supper and communicating with the spirits of lost loved ones, plus Lana enjoys handing out treats to the little ones that don’t really understand the holiday but are excited just to dress up and have a night out with their friends. “I can’t believe we’ve never spent a holiday together. We must! I will make it a point to seek you out when the next high holiday rolls around.” She smiles and finishes the remainder of her tea, “I know that you would always help me, if I’m in need. You’re one of the few I know that I could come to and I appreciate it more than you know.” Lana’s always had issues with trust and vulnerability and only lets a few people into her inner circle, but Valrae easily tore down those walls and wound her way in from their very first meeting. “I’m so glad that I stopped in! Thank you for the tea and for making time to sit with me and catch up. It’s been far too long.”

Valrae grins when Lanara mentions Yule. It had become her favorite holiday since it also became the night her son was born. It also helped that Lana was known for her beautiful and lively parties. “I’d love that!” And when she mentions Talyara, Val’s eyes light up. She hadn't seen her in ages. “Oh, Taly! I’ve been meaning to ask how she is?” She nods when Lana expresses her surprise that they’d never actually managed to spend a holiday together, agreeing that it was something they would need to remedy soon. “I’d love that! I think Mabon is my favorite,” She admits a little sheepishly, knowing it was an unlikely pick. “Something about the turning of the seasons always makes me so nostalgic.” As the other witch thanks her for the tea, Valrae stands and brushes at her skirts. “Any time! I really and truly mean that, I don’t think I can survive going so long between seeing you. My spirit won’t take it.” There was a touch of playful dramatics in her tone, but she did mean it all the same. Lanara was one of those special friends that always managed to leave a person feeling just a little lighter and a little more hopeful. “Perhaps I could stop by and catch up with you and your sister soon? I miss her terribly.”

Lanara beams with pride when she speaks about her little sister, “She’s doing wonderful! Recently, she’s gotten engaged to this warrior gentleman, and they share a home up in Frostmaw. His name’s Krice. Perhaps you know of him?” The silver haired enigma was fairly famous in the north for all of his work protecting the area. “Taly works at the clinic, up there, and sometimes she helps me at the sanctuary. I’m sure she would -love- to catch up!” Lanara neatly dabs at her lips with a napkin before she unfolds her coat and slips it on. “We need to spend more time together. I completely agree! My spirit cannot handle it, either. It feels separation anxiety.” She chuckles but she is sincere when she states that they need to spend more time in each other's presence. In these lands, their kind are few and far between. Lana enjoys the energy that is emitted from Val and each time they meet, she feels lighter and happier. “I’m going to stop by so often that I shall wear out my welcome!” She pulls her friend in for a warm hug and clings to her frame for a moment, “Thank you for welcoming me back into the guild.” There’s moisture in her eyes as she pulls back from the embrace, but her expression is one of happiness.

Valrae gasps as Lana tells her of Talyara’s engagement to Krice. “Oh my goddess!” She chirps happily, “That is so exciting!! I should send her a gift!!” She practically squeals. “Who hasn’t heard of him!” She adds, laughing. It was true enough, Krice was well known for his heroics around the land. She didn’t know him well, but was happy all the same that Taly had found a partner in him. Then she is laughing again, because Lana could never well out her welcome and they both know it. As they share a final parting hug, Val can feel her own eyes growing misty. It was always hard to say goodbye to a friend, no matter how brief the parting might be. Though, in these lands it was never safe to guess. “Thank you,” She replies quickly, “For everything. We’re stronger together and it always feels blessed when you’re around.” As she finally pulls away she clasps her hands neatly in front of her. “Merry part, until we meet again.”