Who Ibreily, Leimna, Sygni
What Dearly beloved, we've gathered here to say our goodbyeeees~.
When Summer, 2711
Where Living Caverns, Fort Weyr

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Fort Weyr - Living Caverns
This cavern, having been created by bubbles in the volcanic flow of this extinct volcano, has a breathtaking ceiling — a vast dome that arches high above the heads of the weyrfolk that scurry around beneath it. A hollow echo can be heard from loud enough noises, and the chatterings of various firelizards are consequently multiplied into a chaotic babble. All in all, the living cavern is a loud place.
Tables are scattered around the room, apparently in no particular order. Over to one side near the kitchens, two medium sized serving tables are constantly spread with snacks, klah, and other goodies. The tables look worn, yet perfectly fitted to the atmosphere of the caverns. In the 'corners' of the cavern, smaller two and four place tables are set up for more private talks or just a less chaotic atmosphere in which to eat.

It is the end of an era, the dying sunset of an age, the sad, sad conclusion to the longest-running candidate prank that still, somehow, impossibly, despite all efforts, isn't over yet. Lo sits Th'ero's shrine, strewn with beads and flower petals and feathers and stuffed toys and bird skulls and perhaps most audaciously, a pair of boxers that reads 'JUICY' across the ass, a slow-sprawling mass limned with candles half-guttered, near enough to going out that a mere breeze may do the trick. It is fortuitous, then, that reinforcement is on its way. The procession emerges from the barracks with slow, even steps, candles held aloft in front of three cloaked, hooded figures in black, who despite disparaging heights manage to appear as a unit, moving as one across the bowl. They hum the refrain of some low, chanted song, consonants and vowels both drawn out long and somber to disguise the fact that it's a damned dirty song they're singing as though it were some kind of funeral dirge. Unyielding, the trio move into the caverns, scattering folk around them, for this time they will not allow themselves to be stopped, even if it means cramming toes under booted feet to encourage movement. "—in the viiiiilessssst waaaaay youuuuu knoooooooow." The silence at the end of the final verse is ringing, poignant, a long pause given so that the tallest figure may split from them and take lead of this ridiculous, wondrous spectacle.

"—in the viiiiilessssst waaaaay youuuuu knoooooooow.” Solemn, somber, and absolutely irreverent; it’s everything the three women disguised as the grimmest of reapers inspire and represent, breathing life into rumors, and chaos, and the hate that feels so good you love to hate them. The tallest of the three splits as if on cue, pulling from the blackest depths of robe the dishearteningly real bubbly-mash that we don’t want to talk about the origins of, but is there, making sick, wet splattering sounds as she uses it to form a ring around The Shrine of Th’ero. “Hauuuuuuuuhm.” As if this is some sacred rite; the mid-tallest and shortest figure will join her in her rendition of monk-song until the circle is complete, and Leimna will step into the bubbly circle of protection to impart words of a ridiculous nature: “We shall keep thy fires lit until thy bonny ass does disappear into the darkness and forever of between.” One of the guttered flames is blown out, pushed aside as Leia settles the candle she came with in its place and draws forth hair from the subspace of her robes. It could be Th’ero’s hair, but the likelihood of Leia getting close enough to Th’ero is, well… it doesn’t matter whose hair it is. What matters is that Leia holds it over the flame until it catches and burns with a quickness, leaving the pungent smell of burnt hair to linger even as she squeaks and drops it, fingers going to mouth around an arguably maniacal cackle. “Until the ‘morrow, Weyrleader,” is said around digits, as she awaits her cousins to complete the ritual.

It is a solemn occasion, for the trio of Devotees of the Shrine to Th'ero's Glorious Ass(ets). Exceptionally well-groomed and with hair neatly slicked back into a tidy coiff, Ibreily has on her Most Serious Face. The heel of her new, purpose-made boots probably makes a good impression on at least one toe, but Ibby's expression doesn't waver in the slightest. The finishing of their funeral dirge and starting of the low rumble of noise that is the 'hauuuuuuuuuuhm' are sung with feeling, and less actual vocal acuity than one might expect from a legit harper. Whatever. Careful not to disturb the vaguely disgusting circle of protection, Ibby steps over it, robes lifted daintily. "We won't waver in the protection to thine shrine." Ibreily speaks once Leia's managed to singe the tips of her fingers, lips pressed together between words to prevent laughter from bubbling up. It only mostly works, but she still has her Serious Face on as she draws an honest-to-Faranth Weyrleader's knot from the mysterious depths of the equally mysterious black robe. The Fort-marking thread seems to have been replaced recently, but, IT WORKS. The knot is carefully draped in a protective circle around this, the final candle before The Thing, fussily straightened until it's perfect. Still somehow managing to repress the equally maniacal cackle, Ibreily steps aside, making just enough room for Sygni, expression comically Serious.

Sygni plays her part to the mark. Neck-muscles may tense with the effort, but she doesn't even allow herself a smile, not for the low-droned 'hauhm' that she joins in, not for Leimna's burnt digits, and certainly not for Ibreily's contribution of a suspiciously fresh-woven Weyrleader's knot. Instead, she tilts her chin high, observing the last tributes with an executioner's air, sober as sober can be. The shortest of them moves only when Ibreily retreats, stepping forwards to slide her candle into the place of another burning low. Next to it is placed a clear flask, glass etched with an artfully rugged skull and crossbones, the latter draped with a carved rendition of the heavy fur mantle Leimna has taken great pains to wear in recent weeks despite increasingly warming weather. The flask itself is filled with a liquid so dark a brown that it can only be Black Damnation, but she is not done. Manicured fingers raise to snap sharply in the air, and from some depths of the caverns scatters a pair of ragamuffin children, giggling faintly as they scramble forth to deposit a black-wrapped rectangular package at Sygni's feet. They are bowed to by the cloaked figure, and they bow in return, accepting a mark each before they streak off into the depths of anonymity from whence they came, leaving Sygni to her work. From her corded belt is drawn a folded wooden stand, stained dark and hinged at its center so that it splays wide as she sets it just behind Th'ero's portrait, arranging it with the careful diligence of one wanting to do this just once, and get it right the first time. Finally satisfied, she returns to her parcel, speaking quiet words as though in recitation as strings are popped, black fabric shifted, artfully draped so that the thin object can be lifted, rested, regarded most solemnly. "We will be ever-diligent keepers of the undying flame, for now, for ever, for always. May the light that doth shine out thine ass glow always, even upon your passing. May inspiration be sought and given by twin moons even when thine twin moons may no longer provide their glorious light, and may it guide the way for future generations. Let this be our final offering as candidates for thine and thy glorious weyr." Leimna has brought fire, Ibreily the implication of wings and air, and Sygni, water, only one element left missing… Earth, in the form of pigments pressed to canvas that is revealed with a flourish of black cloth and a hasty backwards step, and LO: it was Th'ero's ass(ets), rendered large enough to be double-take worthy from anywhere across the caverns, an oil painting rendered artfully dark in the way of old masters, and it was good.

Leimna reapplies her best Serious Face to match Ibby’s and Syg’s as the women impart their own gifts, bowing in tandem with Sygni when The Final Piece is delivered and then standing by like a devout sentry as the hooded blonde reveals such a beautiful ass(et) to complement the shrine. Fingers come free from her mouth only once the placement is complete, so that she can bring them to her forehead in a mock salute that lasts entirely too long while she begins the verses of another funeral dirge. Actually just the same one. And it’s no less dirty. Once the sing-song about getting defiled in the vilest way you know it is complete, Leia allows herself to go to her knees on the floor and bows until her forehead becomes acquainted with the ground, arms held out straight before her as she exaggerates the motion time and again. WE ARE NOT WORTHY, THINE ASS(ETS) ART DIVINE. WE ARE BUT WORMS, AND THOU ART ETERNITY IN THE MAKING. NEVER BEFORE HAVE WE HELD SUCH PERFECTION AS THEE PERFECTLY SHAPED MOUNDS WHICH DO GIVE US ENVY AND MAKE OUR LADY KNICKERS DISAPPEAR is what every motion seems to say, until she completes the worship, rises, and bows low to the rendering of Th’ero’s finest body part. “Clear skies and tight leathers, Weyrleader. Tight leathers.”

Ibreily manages an At Attention with entirely more poise and properness than she ever has at any sort of formal gathering not based entirely on their whimsy: shoulders back, chin level, hands clasped behind her back. This is, obviously, entirely more important on a level that none of that nonsense can manage. She doesn't even crack that threat of a smile as the 'brats appear, summoned, from the Depths. The artfully-placed portrait's unveiling does manage to crack the facade, but the devilish cackle of glee is cut off behind twitching lips and a too-serious salute to match Leia's. BEHOLD. And it was good, and firm, and high-quality, as it should be. Only the best to dedicate to their cause. And only the best singing, next, which isn't. Isn't exactly her strong suit, but Ibreily keeps her voice low, comically low notes and Extremely Pained Faces as they run though their hymn one last time. Daintily arranging her robes, then, Ibby takes a knee, careful not to wrinkle or otherwise SABOTAGE THE IMPORTANCE OF THE THING. Then both knees, leaning all the way forwards in a bow with a degree of solemnity that can only mean a high level of sarcasm. Or maybe it's just more of the same gleeful irreverence to their cause, which IS THE SAME THING AS ABSOLUTE DEVOTION, FIGHT HER. “Sound stitching,” For the tight-ass leathers, y'see. “And eternal black damnation, Weyrleader.” For the headache caused by troublesome candidates. And Ibreily bows again, over-the-top.

The seriousness, the attention to detail, is comical at best, terrifying at worst. Sygni moves when Ibreily does, pose going rigid, eyes parked at a distant spot on the wall, hand pressed to brow in a perfect salute. She's really only a shade better than Ibby at the singing, but it's the droning quality that counts, the sheer ridiculousness of the thing, and that she can manage in spades. That and irreverence and horribleness and any other possible phrase that could be used to define 'they are probably insane, but at least they are dedicated to their insanity' in regards to the now three women that are on their knees, arms out, to complete this last dedication as candidates to their shrine. Any true god would be honored by the display; somewhere in the world, Th'ero is probably twitching, and has no idea why. This idea must occur to Sygni, for her mouth is finally twisted in an irrepressible grin when finally she rises, drawing her cousins with her. "And the supplest of hides, Weyrleader. May they cup your posterior comfortably and soundly." And yes, tightly. There is a moment of silence, or perhaps a moment of recomposure, and then a sharp, satisfied exhale that sounds much more human than devotee. It's accompanied by a flicker of blue eyes and a flash of teeth from beneath her hood, Sygni beaming great big as she moves to tuck both elbows around Leimna's and Ibreily's and steer them back the way they came with a deviously breathed, "Now. Let's go cause some mischief."

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