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 Post subject: Re: Salva Nos (D12, EM)
PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2017 12:10 am 
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"I will offer my prayers later... it would be wrong for me to pray to the Fortunes and Kami in this place. Or rather, it feels wrong," she gave a bashful smile, "but... I suppose I want to see how prayer is done for Kharsis, in her place of worship."



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 Post subject: Re: Salva Nos (D12, EM)
PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2017 12:13 am 
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She nodded, "I don't know how wrong it should or shouldn't be... it's something that I wonder about myself. But I can show you the way to go about praying to Kharsis if you'd like. Even if just for educational purposes."



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 Post subject: Re: Salva Nos (D12, EM)
PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2017 12:17 am 
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Utsusemi nodded. "I would be honoured if you would teach me." She just hoped it wasn't something to be frowned upon in this place that it would be taught to those not of the faith.



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 Post subject: Re: Salva Nos (D12, EM)
PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2017 12:29 am 
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She nodded and started to lead them inside. "We believe that Kharsis is accepting of everyone. Her compassion and mercy is extended to all who seek her, no matter how much or how little. There are of course restrictions against the faith back on the mainland, but I think those have emerged from some misunderstandings on the tenets of the faith."

She led them into the main cathedral hall which was sparsely populated at this hour and lit by candles throughout the hall. She moved and sat down at a pew with Utsusemi before pulling out her rosary. "We use these much like monks do to help us focus and count the repetitions of our prayers."



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 Post subject: Re: Salva Nos (D12, EM)
PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2017 12:38 am 
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Following Bellena inside, Utsusemi was a little surprised at how quiet and peaceful the curch seemed to be. Not at all like the impression some had that any foreign 'religion' was all about savage baby-eating and human sacrifices.

"Misundersandings?" she asked, keeping her voice soft so as to not disturb the peace of the holy place. She looked at the rosary, noting how familiar it seemed to those of monks back home... and briefly wondered if Kharsis would listen to her prayers if she were to offer them.



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 Post subject: Re: Salva Nos (D12, EM)
PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2017 12:54 am 
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"The violence connected to the Battle of White Stag was anything but religious in nature... but if one were to ask what is common between Thrane and Merenae... the easiest thing to point to as a scapegoat is the religion. Violence is rarely religious in nature from my experience. Religion is often used to fuel the flames of violence, but its origin lies somewhere else. There were a few circumstantial events at the time of the battle that led to an unfortunate misunderstanding." She paused.

"And that misunderstanding led to the deaths of many people... Which is why I seek to help reduce that misunderstanding if I can. Kharsis is not a woman of war and violence; she is a goddess of compassion, mercy, and submission. She sacrificed herself so that others could be saved. Someone who mightier than any man, debased and subjected herself to cruelty to save others. I feel one can be both fully a believer in Kharsis and still honor and respect their ancestors and the Throne. There is nothing inherently antagonistic between the two systems of understanding the world." She said as she looked up to the image of Kharsis at the front of the room.



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 Post subject: Re: Salva Nos (D12, EM)
PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2017 1:14 am 
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There was a brief pained expression in Utsusemi before she looked away and towards the altar. What Bellena had said, some of it felt a little close to home, in a way... though she was no saint or saviour.

"I do not doubt that one can reconcile honouring the ancestors and the throne in service to the Lady of Mercy. But what of the Fortunes, if I may ask?" she looked back to Bellena, her face once more composed and dignified.



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 Post subject: Re: Salva Nos (D12, EM)
PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2017 1:26 am 
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Bellena shook her head in a tilted fashion showing uncertainty, "To be honest... that's an area I'm not to certain myself. We are taught that all who wish to go to 'heaven' need do so through Kharsis' Grace. Whether that 'heaven' be the same place as yomi, or tengoku, or some other plane in the Rokugani configuration I'm not sure. What I am sure of... is that people in each culture experience the divine. Ran had a meeting with the Lady Sadahako, I do not doubt that. There are many in my culture who claim connections to Kharsis. Merenae has been protected for generations by her Grace from the powers on the mainland, just as Rokugan has been protected from its enemies by its Fortunes. I know the Goddess I follow not to be one who wishes to subjugate others. She is one who seeks to persuade, invite, and grant mercy to any and all who seek her; no matter what has happened in their lives up to that point. She helps to bring hope and purpose to those who feel they have no other course, and she empowers those who are in power to act with benevolence and mercy to those beneath them. Even in our scriptures she instructs us to 'render to the Emperor that which is the Emperor's'... teaching us to be dutiful and loyal servants. I disagree with those who seek to take her words or the words of her followers and inflict pain and death on anyone... Or seem to claim that all other forms of human connection to the divine are falsehoods. I see room for these two belief systems to function in society. But I may be a small minority..."



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 Post subject: Re: Salva Nos (D12, EM)
PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2017 1:58 am 
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Utsusemi breathed deeply as she considered Bellena's words. It seemed to her, who still held to Rokugani beliefs of the Kami and Fortunes, that Kharsis could easily be interpreted as a Fortune of Mercy, or perhaps as an aspect of Lady Sun, if Kharsis had shielded Merenae from danger. Lady Sun had, in the end, suffered greatly and endured much pain, if the stories were to be believed.

There did not seem to be a reason why the two should remain separate, apart from being sullied by the machinations of honorless men. Which was sadly something that happened anywhere in the world.

"You have given me much to think on, my friend, but... from what I understand, I do not see the harm in giving prayers to a compassionate and merciful divine, and if it guides people to live with virtue and grace, then... I do not think it could be wrong." She gave a gentle smile. "'Be more concerned with good actions than great ones', as my birth family says."



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 Post subject: Re: Salva Nos (D12, EM)
PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2017 2:13 am 
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She nodded, "While individually that might be so... for someone like me the added element of public appearance is something I must always consider. If my insistence on pridefully flaunting my own faith leads to pain and suffering for others, I feel that is not in compliance with what Kharsis would want for us. She sacrificed every shred of pride she had to do what was needed to save others. I feel that the best form of worship of any deity is not merely in paying homage or giving offerings; those are important, yes... but the true form of worship is to do what that being would do if they were there. I know that she knows my heart... even if my prayers are only located in the secret recesses of my soul, as long as they are combined with my actions to save others... that is enough. That is pleasing to Her."

She smiled softly, "Sorry to wax philosophical... sometimes this brain up here gets going and doesn't know when or how to stop."



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 Post subject: Re: Salva Nos (D12, EM)
PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2017 2:18 am 
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Laughing softly, it was now Utsusemi who placed a hand on Bellena's shoulder. "No, there's no need to apologize, I've found myself in many similar thoughts lately in my time here... well, not exactly like what you just said, but similar. I suppose it is the work on the temple that has left me more contemplative than I usually am."

"... What sort of offerings are customary for Kharsis?"


Last edited by Agasha Utsusemi on Wed Dec 13, 2017 2:38 am, edited 1 time in total.


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 Post subject: Re: Salva Nos (D12, EM)
PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2017 2:36 am 
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Bellena looked up, "There are several rituals that are performed in churches. They are called 'sacraments'. There are three sacraments that are most common. The first one all believers receive is called 'baptism'. It is where a portion of the head is washed with sacred water to ritually cleanse the child or convert from sin. It is meant to symbolize a rebirth from the ways of sin and error into a life of devotion to mercy and goodness. Another primary sacrament is the taking of 'communion', as it is called. During this ritual individuals take a piece of bread or a wafer and eat it, as well as a sip of wine. It symbolically represents the individual's willingness to accept the sacrifice of Kharsis on their behalf and purify themselves of sin if at any point after their baptism they transgress the way of goodness. It helps the individual to frequently remember the sacrifice of Kharsis and its importance in their life. This is supplemented by a sacrament known as 'confession' where an individual speaks to a priest and confesses their sins as if the priest was Kharsis herself. Through this, a prescribed amount of prayers and supplications, and a correction of their errant ways one may gain absolution for their sins and grow closer to Kharsis once again."



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 Post subject: Re: Salva Nos (D12, EM)
PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2017 2:43 am 
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It sounded a little strange to her, but she also had to remind herself that all the various traditions and rites in the Empire probably seemed strange to outsiders.

"I see..." a small part of her felt a little disheartened, but she forced herself to stay hopeful. "... but is it customary to give gifts or offerings to the goddess? In Rokugan, rice and other offerings are placed before the family altar for the ancestors, as it is also done in temples and shrines. Sometimes, people may leave gifts for the Fortunes or kami as appeasement or a sign of their gratitude."



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 Post subject: Re: Salva Nos (D12, EM)
PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2017 2:48 am 
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Bellena tilted her head, "The offerings given are usually in coin to the church to help maintain its upkeep and take care of the poor and needy. Rather than seek offerings for herself, the deity wishes to have us show our gratitude to her by serving and caring for others as she has done. It is through those deeds of kindness and mercy that we show that we truly love her and are grateful for her. Many of the different Fortunes require different forms of offerings, Kharsis asks for this in lieu of material goods."



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 Post subject: Re: Salva Nos (D12, EM)
PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2017 3:01 am 
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Utsusemi nodded, not wishing to press the questioning further as she was beginning to feel a little foolish for not having had the foresight to think that it might be different for the faith of Kharsis. But she wasn't quite sure what to do with the painting now. Perhaps it will come to me in time...

"... Maybe I will see if I can help out a little later," she murmured, "but please, don't let me interrupt your prayers."



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 Post subject: Re: Salva Nos (D12, EM)
PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2017 3:02 am 
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"Help?" She asked with an interested look.



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 Post subject: Re: Salva Nos (D12, EM)
PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2017 3:05 am 
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"Mm," she hesitated slightly. "... I don't know, I already feel a little restless being one of the few staying behind. Maybe I will make myself useful and spare some time to those who need help?"

"... It might sound a little weird, but I recieved such a strange letter from my brother-in-law yesterday, and it has made me think a little more that I might not have been acting completely to the ideals of the Doji; that I should try to be more concerned with doing good."



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 Post subject: Re: Salva Nos (D12, EM)
PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2017 3:07 am 
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"Every bit of light that is brought into the world is welcome." Bellena said with a smile. "You have a great many talents that can bring much good. I can introduce you to anyone that you would need here."



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 Post subject: Re: Salva Nos (D12, EM)
PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2017 3:14 am 
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"Now I'm not so certain about that," she chuckled. "Unless you too are of the belief that art, tea, and music can do good. Then I might mistake you for a Crane in disguise."



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 Post subject: Re: Salva Nos (D12, EM)
PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2017 3:18 am 
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"Are not art, tea, and music good?" She asked. "Does one not feel moved and connected with something greater than themselves through art or music? Does not one feel the tranquility and peace of the divine through proper tea ceremony? If there is anything of good report... we too seek after these gifts."



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