Apr 06, 2020 8:01 AM
Peaceful gods make peaceful places
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The stream burbles along in gentle zigs and zags shadowed by the leaves of the tall trees that grow along its length. Farther ahead, it joins the much larger river whose mouth is many many miles away, in the mountains somewhere. Many a town or small fishing village relies on it for its subsistence, and several of them have temples to the god Aarethil, who claims the entire length of the river as its domain.

This is one such settlement, and a particularly large and important one - it even has its own acolyte. Its temple is big and very pretty, standing elevated in the heart of the city; large clear glass windows and panes and an absence of any taller structures nearby serve to ensure it catches every day's first and last sunbeams, and that whenever the moon is visible at all it is visible from within. Fountains in many shapes and sizes decorate it, the peaceful sound of running water serving as a reminder of the god's domain and focus on purity and cleansing.

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And here is a traveler, much like any other; he looks out of place, here, with his dusty, much-patched outfit and gear selected for utility rather than aesthetics. He's at ease regardless - or rather, no more tense in his speculative examination of the temple than any other time.

He keeps his examination brief, and then goes looking for a bathhouse, or, failing that, an inn.

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And while he's looking a man in impeccably clean white robes and sandals approaches him, openly wearing a necklace from which hangs a vial of clear water around his neck.

"Greetings, traveller."

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He nods, not quite as deferentially as a priest or acolyte might expect to be addressed, bringing his hand to the vial of dust hidden in his shirt as he does so in the near-universal gesture of yes-I-too-am-carrying-a-god. "Hello."

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"Do you need any help?"

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"Not as such; I could use directions to a bathhouse, though. And maybe how to find you afterward."

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"Follow me?" he invites, gesturing.

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"Certainly." Follow follow.

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The streets are straight and neat, paved smoothly and without visible cracks. While no one else wears pure white like this priest, lighter colours are common, and the architecture reflects that of the temple.

The bathhouse is two minutes away, and is a fairly large building, relatively speaking.

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He goes to change, emerging in swim trunks in somewhat better shape than his traveling outfit, with his vial of dust plainly visible.

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"You'll be able to find me at the temple. If you don't remember the way, ask anyone, they'll give you directions."

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"All right. Thank you."

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He bows slightly and returns to the temple.

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He returns to the temple some half an hour later, much cleaner and in an outfit that looks out of place only for its darker colors, vial once again tucked away.

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The other priest is there.

"Hello again, friend. Feeling refreshed?"

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"Yes, thank you. I'm Ruel, priest of Kiraavi of roads and travel, have you heard of him?"

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"I have, yes, if not much."

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He nods. "We are fairly far from his domain, yes. But he's considering expanding out this way, and sent me to scout the area - we advise travelers about the conditions in different domains, among other things."

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"And you would like to see more of Aarethil's?" He does not ask whether Ruel knows them; they are an old enough god with a big enough domain that it would be surprising if he didn't.

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"Mmhmm. I expect to be here for a week or two, perhaps a little longer."

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"You are welcome here as long as you like. Would you like me to show you around?"

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"If I won't be keeping you from anything."

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"Not at all."

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"All right. So what should I see?"

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"Perhaps the temple is a good place to start."

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He nods.

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