Eryidith pulled her veil closer around her bowed head. Even though she was traveling in the palanquin, it’s cloth was translucent, much like the rest of the holy priestess material that was used in the order. It showed shadows and forms when against light, but never any details. So her bowed and seat form would be seen by those curious eyes among the common folk. The veil over her head and the dress wrapped around her were made of similar cloth, so to look at the shadow of her inside the palanquin must give a sense of ethereal purity. It really was rather frivolous, but her appearance was to be kept in the image of a bride of the Gods, always. She must look between the realms of the divine and the mundane at all times. Even when traveling.
When she had first become a priestess of the Codex she had loathed going out in public. Oh, certainly it gave an air of mystery around the Brides of the Gods, the priestesses who preformed rites and blessings, to hardly ever go outside the safety of their pantheons and temples and conclaves. But in all actuality there were so many restrictions to how one had to conduct oneself, down to the way one was seated inside a veiled palanquin, that it was not only tedious but taxing on the body. All she wanted to do was lift her head and rub her neck, maybe shift to a different position to keep her legs from falling asleep. Even as a noble and growing up under a mother who expected her child to follow the decorum of an adult’s way of presenting oneself, Eryidith had a little more freedom and comfort.
But this was what she had chosen. To take to the ways of honoring the Codex and its rites, or marry a pungent paunchy man in his sixtieth year just so her mother could go on more useless shopping trips, and tell her friends her daughter was of highest noble standing than even her great grandmother before her. Eryidith had vowed she would not end up wasting her life away, miserable and poisonous as her mother. And she had done herself proud, running to the Temple of the Codex and taking the veil of a Bride. Though, of course, there were far more years of work, study and ceremonies to be taken in order to be cemented in the order as a Consort. Then from there to become an esteemed Matron.
But it was rather satisfying to have goals to work towards, even if there was immense and tedious rules on appearance and decorum. It had a structure to it though, a predictability and security that she enjoyed. Arriving at their destination, the palanquin with its four stately Holy Guards holding it up, slowly set to the ground. The curtain of the canopy was pulled to one side and a hand offered to her. Taking the hand, she slipped out of the gilded and snowy curtains of the palanquin.
Standing, she raised her head high. Releasing the offered hand of her Holy Guard, Eryidith pressed her slender hands to the loosely wrapped cloth of her dress covering. To call it clothing would be generous. Against any light, the shadow of her bare form could be seen, though it merely gave the illusion of nakedness, even if she really was naked beneath it. A Bride’s body was always to be bare before the eyes of the Divinities, in her most natural form. She should never hide from them, though no mundane should ever seen her in her full bare form less they be struck down by some disastrous misfortune. A rather satisfying appearance, tempting and yet out of reach, that was protected by the highest of authorities, the Divinities themselves.
The soft flow of the translucent ethereal cloth around her was held in place by a system of delicate silver chains and clasps. They clasped at both shoulders, covering her chest but meeting in a dangerous slope between her breasts. The delicate silver chains wound around her waist only to be laid loosely on her hips. Bare arms decorated with a few bracelets and silver arm bands. Her feet were decorated only with more of the graceful chains around her ankles, the light music of them drifting slowly in the air every time she took a step. It gave the light and free feeling of being naked, without ever giving away any secrets of the details of her body. Rather thrilling, and a bit scandalous when compared to the modest heavy clothing of the average woman.
There were no gems or jewels, but only the chaste silver chains, symbols of her promise to bind together the mundane and the divine. But she didn’t need the heavy wealth of riches. The translucent cloth that wrapped around her and flowed about her as she walked down the palace halls gave her an otherworldly beauty of something ethereal and pure, as if made by light, air and mist. It also had a particularly stunning effect when the sunlight filtered through the high windows and stained glass of temples and noble estates.
She had hear some of the new Dragon King’s speech. War and revenge were not things she delighted in. It was all chaos and darkness and fury. But there were gods who ruled over such things, and she was Bride to them as well as to those of order and light and peace. She would give this new king his blessings as her unbiased order commanded, even if it was a bit begrudgingly in her own biased heart.
Ethereal Eryidith was led to the throne hall, the torchlight glazing over her graceful and fluid form as if she were a shining example of one of its many ghosts and spirits. Once inside the grand hall, she slipped into an effortless and almost weightless bow before the Fourth Crowned Dragon King Rygar Tolen.
Lifting her veil from her head, letting the long cloth settle around her shoulders, she raised her face to the young war-driven king. A moonlit complexion, perfect and healthy, framed by long dark hair that shone with hints of gold that curved over her shoulders and down her back. Her round eyes were as green as the leaves of pond lilies, framed in dark honeyed lashes, but their depths spoke of her distant disapproval of his speech. Her features were glazed in the familiar distant serenity of any Bride, her arching brows demurely relaxed though threatening a bloodline of haughty aristocrats. The perfect bow of her full mouth painted as red as a pomegranate’s glistening seeds was set in a benign manner to mask any and all personal feelings and opinions. A beautiful Bride of the Codex. And she was fearlessly examining the new Dragon King, her own guards off to the side with heads bowed as they stayed on one knee, to intimidated by his presences to dare relax.
Eryidith gazed at him a moment, those green eyes sharp and inquisitive, starting from the booted feet the ruler, then raking upwards like caressing hands and fine fingers, unafraid of any Dragon’s bite. He was a tall and powerful man, the air about him like the heat of the terrifying beast his title was named for. She wouldn’t be surprised if he could break a man in half with his bare hands for all the raw strength and chaos he exuded. Touch by the Gods of War, this young monarch, he and his blazing fire-lit eyes.
She raised up from the floor, a pure light in the dark onyx grand hall, before any of the others in her party did. They could wait for the word of the Dragon King. She would not. Head held high, she dropped the veil that had been over head head lower, releasing it with one hand, so the other could pull it to the side and drop it at her holy guards’ feet. They were still kneeling, so it was no trouble at all to take up the veil. Freeing, it was, to not be bound by the mundane rules of courts and nobles. The Codex was the pure rites and ways of the gods and goddesses. A Bride of its order was above such formalities, though always chained to the conduct and restrictions of her temple. Any slight or offense was paid by the personal hand of the accused. It was enough of a threat to keep all of the order in line.
And Eryidith was the hight of all the Brides of her Temple. She had never overstepped any bounds nor caused any scandal. She was a prime example of the Temple of the Codex’s newest priestesses. “Your Grandest of Majesties,” her voice lifted like the softest of music, enchantingly smooth and sweet, “The Temple of the Codex has heard your request and sent me to preform the blessings and rites of the Divinities.”
No name was offered. She was just another Bride of the Codex. Her three days of blessings the monarch in his throne room would be long, and most who went through the blessing rites did not care much for the interruption of their daily life to ask for their holy jailor’s name. Long ago she had stopped giving her name. It made everything far quicker to simply skip over formalities and just get on with the rites. She was nothing if not efficient. Perhaps that was why the nobles enjoyed her giving the rites more than that of her Sisters who lovingly elaborated on the already lengthy process.
Such pretty words for someone who smiled serenely, yet who’s eyes blazed with disregard and distaste. Such scolding eyes, yet she was as sweet as spring, enough so that her trembling guards relaxed in the sound of her voice and lifted their faces to her. Hands folded over one another before her waist, she smiled her cool water smile, and tipped her head slightly to the side. “The great fortunes you shall bring your kingdom and the people will be alighted in the divine graces of the gods and goddesses, I am sure,” she lifted one hand up, every finger held together, palm up as she gestured around the room, “Shall my holy guards take to the four corners of the room and light the incense to begin?”
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