On Ponds and Piety
On Ponds and Piety
Summary: Day and Kit float on ponds and talk of piety.
Date: January 2012 (OOC Date)
Related Logs: None in particular
Day Kittridge 
The lands around Kingsgrove
Post 280, Pre-Robert's Rebellion

It's not at all uncommon for Day to conscript a twin to assist her when there's work to be done, and today Kittridge is the lucky mark. So the hot, still afternoon finds them wandering the grove in search of medicinals to round out the stores. Not everything the septa needs grows locally or wild, but enough so that she's out to harvest what's in season every couple of weeks. Kit's job is to carry a large basket and follow along behind her. That's it. Carry and look pretty. And hand her the spade or trowel or snips when she asks.

Carrying and looking pretty is not a particularly difficult task for Kit. He whistles as he leans against a tree, watching Day dig some bit of plant out from around the base of another. The basket is held on the shaft of a spear which he carries, currently resting across the backs of his shoulders like a yoke, arms hooked absently over it. "What's that one for?" he asks, breaking off his whistling for a moment.

Day sits back on her haunches, examining the thick, many-fingered root she's finally worked free. She gives it a sniff, then says, "Impotence." She tosses it up in the air, making an arc for the basket, and flashes a grin. "Also, circulatory and heart complaints." So, you know, not just that. She stands and wipes her dirty hands on her smock, moping her brow with her sleeve. "Sweet Goddess, it's hot," she sighs, handing over her gloves and the hand trowel, as well.

Kittridge twists, swinging the basket to catch the root before his nose wrinkles. "Won't be needing much of that, then," he says, pulling a face at her. He leans back against the tree again, letting hair flop over his eyes, blocking his view of gloves and trowel for a moment. Then he spots them and twists the basket into reach again, shifting his shoulder to manuever it just below Day's hand. "Least it's roots today," he comments, "So we can stay in the shade a bit. Those reeds yesterday were a bit— much."

"Well, of course not you," Day replies, grinning again. "But not everyone in Kingsgrove is so young and strapping and virile as you." She laughs as he twists to accomodate her, dropping her tools into the basket — and pecking his cheek. "You're very dear to help me," she tells him, smiling warmly. "Thank you, Kit."

"Quite right," Kit replies with a grin, "I am singular. And you're quite welcome, lady Day," he adds, returning her smile. "What're we after next?" he asks, swinging the spear around so he can peek into the basket, "Looks like we've still got…" he squints one eye shut as he recalls, "The other root," he says, shaking his head, hair tossing about, though it's messy enough already to not make a distinguishable difference, "What was it? I've forgotten."

"Enoki," says Day. "It's a mushroom, not a root, and has no other purpose than deliciousness." She lifts her hair so the absent breeze might find the nape of her neck, closing her eyes. "But I haven't seen any, and I am all in." She glances at him mischievously. "Race you to the mill pond?" Of course, she doesn't wait for him to agree — not if it means sacrificing her head start. She's off!

"I'm in favor of deliciousness," Kit replies. Brows lift at that glance, not anticipating the challenge that follows. "Cheat!" he accuses with a laugh, racing after, and then nearly dropping the wildly-swinging basket, having to stop and swap it and spear to different hands and then pelt pond-wards, "Haven't you got a vow against cheating?" he shouts after her as he gains.

"Not a single one!" she shouts back, breathless with laughter and exertion in the heat, her skirts gathered up around her knees. She's long-legged, only a few inches shorter than Kit himself, and she runs like a leaping doe. He inevitably gains, but between her head start and the other delays he suffers, she beats him to the water's edge by seconds. Still, she's not going in fully clothed, so there's still the undressing leg of the race. She hops from foot to foot, pulling off her shoes. They've all gone swimming together before, and the co-ed version is considerably less naked than when it's just boys or just girls. Her shift stays on as she splashes into the water.

"I will have to write to the High Septon and suggest one!" Kit threatens. "Blast!" he curses as she beats him to the edge, and he skids up a second later. Basket and spear are dropped and he hops on one foot and then the other, tugging off boots and socks. He gets tangled in his shirt for a moment before adding it to the pile and sprinting into the water after her, high-stepping as the water rises until he can throw himself onto his back with a splash.

She shrieks and makes a dive for it as he makes his big splash, sputtering and laughing as she surfaces. "Oh, sweet Goddess, that's so much better," she sighs, leaning back to float in the cool water. "I wonder what our civilization would be like if we were amphibians, like frogs, and spent half our lives in the water?" she muses. "Would all our buildings still be on land? Would we eat raw fish? Use senses other than our eyes in the murky depths?"

Kittridge sinks backwards into the water and then surfaces to float, reclining in the water, dark hair haloing out around his head. He spins slowly in the pond and laughs, "We'd probably build everything out of mud and moss and have ponds in our halls," he suggests, "And eat flies and have webbed slimey hands and feet," he says, paddling extremities against the surface of the water, fingers and toes spread.

"I'd love it if we had ponds in our halls," Day says, smiling at the blue sky. "Even without webbed digits. Floating is such a calming, lovely thing. I think it would be very difficult to be aggressive or spiteful during lordly negotiations if they were all floating in a pond."

"It'd get a bit soggy," Kit replies, "After a bit. And pruney. You'd be terribly pruney and wrinkled all the time." He grins, "But a good deal more septa-and-governess-y. I think if lords were floating in ponds during negotiations they'd probably just dunk each other and splutter a lot."

Day giggles helplessly at the image of lords splashing and dunking one another in a pond in a hall, passing a hand over her face as she catches her breath. "You're probably right." Then — "What does that mean?" She snorts. "More septa-y and governess-y?" She rights herself and splashes him, treading water. "I'm plenty septa-y and governess-y!"

"Hey!" Kit splutters as he as splashed, "You are not! Like that! That was not septa-y or governess-y at all!" He treads water as well, wiping his face and blinking his eyes before flopping onto his back once more. "In stories," he informs her in his best lecturing tone, "Septas and governesses are always old, unhappy women, with wrinkly faces and wrinkly souls who prevent anybody from ever having any fun."

Day blinks, then laughs. "Goddess! What terrible stories have people been telling you!" And just to be extra-un-septa-y, she leaps over and dunks him.

Kittridge gets dunked, though he kicks his way back up quickly enough, taking a huge, loud breath before flailing arms around to shove the septa's head under in turn.

She shrieks as she's dunked in turn — the temerity! — and comes up shaking her fist (also flailing). "You can't dunk a septa! It's fucking impious!"

"Cursing's way more fucking impious!" Kittridge laughs in reply, "You're a fake septa, I am calling bullshit!" he says, splashing her this time instead of dunking.

"Cursing is not fucking impious! I should know!" Day retorts. "All things done by me are pious. I am the pious — piousesest — MOST pious. Fuck!" She falls back with a splash, giggling madly. "Oh, alright, maybe it's a little impious," she sighs, grinning lazily. "But it's fun."

"You are not!" Kit laughs, "You are the least pious septa— or septon - sept-person, fuck it - I have ever seen!" He laughs and sends a wave her way, to splash against her as she falls back, snickering, "Thank Seven for that."

Day sputters and snickers, spitting a spout of water from her mouth. Bleh! Pondy. "Maybe we have the wrong definition of piety. Let's define piety. Not what it looks like when pruny people do it, but what it means." She turns her head, looking at him expectantly.

Kittridge pfffts as she spits water in his general direction, and then laughs, flopping backwards to float once more. "Define piety!" he says, "Now you are feeling a bit more septa-y, septa," he teases. He paddles absently so he spins slowly, and says, "I don't know. I suppose I think it means acting in as holy a fashion as possible? Being pure and perfect and booooring."

Day pffts back at him. "Let's say… that piety means 'showing reverence for and devotion to the gods.' Does that sound right?"

Kittridge floats in a circle for another moment, making a thoughtful noise, and then saying, "Alright, I guess that sounds right to me."

"I agree," says Day. "And how do we show reverence and devotion to someone?"

"Ummm," Kit replies, musing, "Weeee… are polite to them? And do whatever they ask? And give them presents!" He laughs a bit, and shakes his head in the water, "I don't know, reverence isn't exactly my strong suit."

"No, no! That's very good!" says Day, smiling and turning her head to watch him floating nearby. "We do things that please them, in other words. So! You're a knight. What do you think pleases the Warrior?"

"Courage!" Kit answers that question easily enough, though his tone is a bit flip, "Courage and honor, fighting and dying well and honorably, all of that."

"Absolutely — I quite agree," says Day, smiling. "Would you agree that to please the Smith, then, we should be clever and creative and use our talents?"

"Sounds about right," Kit says, "Making things, repairing things, creating stuff, all that."

"And for the Father, we try to be just, and for the Mother, compassionate," Day goes on. She shuts her eyes, floating with the sun on her face. "So, then, would it make sense to say that any person who lives their lives thus pleases the Seven? And is thus, by the definition we agreed on at the start, pious?"

"I suppose so," Kit agrees, "Though it seems like there's… degrees of piety, maybe?" he suggests, "You can be pious, but other folks can be more pious or less pious."

Day nods, letting her arms drift out to the sides as she floats. "Of course. But where, now, in the definition of piety, is being pruny and unpleasant? Which god does that please?"

Kit laughs, "Well, easier to be pious when you're pruny and unpleasant, isn't it? Less temptation to be fun. And so few fun things are pious, seems like."

He gets splashed again for that. "Silly boy, you're not paying attention! Name a fun thing that's impious."

"Cursing," Kit replies, "Drinking, picking up girls, teasing Brynnner," he ticks off, "None of those things are pious. None of them are things you'd do if you were trying to show reverence and respect to somebody."

"Cursing can be clever," responds Day. "Cleverness pleases the Smith. So does appreciating something well crafted, like good beer. Romance pleases the Maid…" She smirks. "Teasing poor Brynner might indeed be impious. I suppose it depends."

"So as long as they're creative curses and the beer is quality and I tease poor Brynner in entertaining and ultimately educational ways, I'm basically a septon?" Kit replies, grinning at this thesis.

"Pfah!" laughs Day, grinning back. "I'd say you're basically pleasing the gods, which is basically pious. There's a bit more to being a septon than piety."

"And THIS is where the wrinkles and unpleasantness come into it!" Kit crows, "See?"

"I'm going to take offense, soon, at your determination to consider me wrinkled and unpleasant!" sniffs Day, sloshing water in his direction. "I'm talking about education and specialization, and vows. Like being a knight is more than knowing to stick the pointy end in the other man."

"The whole point of the conversation," Kit reminds her, "Is that I said you must be a fake septa because you're not wrinkly or unpleasant. You're much too pretty and are therefore conning us all. What are your vows, then?" he asks, "If they don't mind about cursing, or cheating at races?"

Day blushes. She had rather lost track of that point. Still, she smiles, lowering her lashes. "There's a lot of highfalutin language that goes with, but essentially it's to love and seek always to better-know the Seven, which includes a vow of celibacy; to love and seek always to better-serve Their children. Different orders throw their own spin on it — the Silent Sisters wear their veils and stop speaking, the Begging Brothers renounce possessions and wealth. But that's the gist. I'm dedicated to the Crone, specifically, and She's…" Day tries to frame the idea with her hands, looking for words to express something rather beyond them. "She's wisdom, intuition, and the essence of all things woman — the sacred feminine. She's been the Maid and the Mother both, in Her time. So, in a way, the Crone is a triune goddess, three-in-one. So… much of what I try to create in my life is an expression of that."

"And why's that?" Kit asks, "Do you think? Why do you have to wear veils and be celibate and take vows and things. Isn't the whole idea that we should all be loving people and seeking to better know the Seven and help each other and things?"

"I'm not sure why the Silent Sisters wear veils, to be honest. It likely has something to do with secrets and mystery and other things Sacred to the stranger. The vow of celibacy is to that the Seven remain foremost in our lives," Day says. "It's hard to keep the Seven in proper perspective when you have a duty to a husband and children."

"So why do the Seven want us to marry and have children, then?" Kit asks, "If doing that puts us further from them? Shouldn't we all be encouraged to avoid marriage, then? Are whores more pious than wives?" He makes a vaguely skeptical sort of noise.

Day shakes her head. "The Seven don't want everyone to be focused entirely on them. They want most people simply to live their lives — piously," she grins, "and fall in love and get married and people the world. As for whores and wives, I don't think either designation signifies, by itself. There are pious whores. There are impious wives. There are pious men named Bob, and impious men named Bob. It matters about the same."

"But you're not focused entirely on them," Kit points out, "Most septas and septons aren't. They heal people, and teach people, and counsel people. They're meant to keep the Seven in mind when they do it, sure, but doesn't that work distract them sometimes, the same as any other job distracts people from the Seven sometimes?"

"Primarily, then, if not entirely," says Day, a dimple appearing at the corner of her mouth as she smirks. "You are quite the Stranger's advocate. Life itself, and everything in it, can be a distraction from the Seven. Or it can be an expression of them. Marriage and family are unique in that… it's easy to put them first. Before everything. We're spared that conundrum."

"So marriage and family can't be an expression of the Seven?" Kit returns, making a frowny face and accompanying noise in the back of his throat, "That doesn't sound right. The Seven want us to show love and compassion, right, and be selfless and things? And who's more selfless than a spouse or a parent? Can't that bring out the best in people, make them the best examples of the Seven?"

"I didn't say that," responds Day, gently. "Of course they can. Love and family do much to bring out the best in people — there are the Mother and the Father, after all. All I said was septons and septas don't get married — not because it's wrong, or celibacy is better… just because our priorities have to be different."

"But you said your priorities are to love people and better know the Seven," Kit replies, "How can you do that more effectively than by being your best self, which might be through love and family rather than cutting yourself off? Isn't each septa or septon different, just like other people? Might not some of them be better served by different lifestyles than others?"

"I don't feel as though I'm cutting myself off," says Day, shaking her head. "No one person can be all things, Kit. There comes a time we all have to choose, and sacrifice one path to gain another. When a path splits, you can't travel both."

"You can travel neither," retorts Kit, "Make your own path between them instead. Always an option."

Day laughs, smiling wide for that. "Yes. Yes, you can. And some do. But that path is still taken at the expense of the other two."

"Unless it's a path that winds between the best bits of both the other two," Kit says, "Then it's not really at the expense of the other two. Best of both worlds, instead. Or paths. Whatever."

"A path that winds is twice as long," Day counters, gamely torturing the metaphor further. "Not all of us have that kind of time."

"Is that so? What're you in such a rush to get to, lady Day?" Kit asks, laughing, "You have somewhere else to be?"

"Of course I do. I'm wildly popular and quite in demand," Day replies airily. Shaking her head, she says more seriously, though still smiling, "I'm in no rush. But we all have a finite amount of time on this mortal coil."

"Well, we all know that," Kit scoffs in reply, "Of course you are." He grins a bit and then pfffts, "We've got plenty of time!"

Day rights herself, breathing a sigh, a faintly melancholy note shaping her smile. She places a kiss on Kit's forehead. "I hope you always think so, Kit," she says. Then, holding out her hand for his inspection, "Look! Pruny. I should probably dry off before I become unpleasant, as well."

Kit tips his chin up slightly as Day kisses his forehead, and smiles, and then sits up, letting his feet sink beneath him again as he inspects her hands. He takes them in his, turning them over beneath narrowed eyes, and then lifts one to press a kiss to her knuckles. "Please do. I couldn't bear it if you became unpleasant. I'd be terribly disappointed."

She blushes at the hand kissing, cheeks and ears turning delicate pink. "Flirt," she accuses him, mirthfully. "You are absolute proof against unpleasantness, my lord. You could turn the sourest shrew sweet, I'm sure."

"And you are far from a sour shrew," Kit grins, "What may I turn you?" He releases her hand after a moment, with a laugh, and flops back into the water. "I'm going to float a bit longer. You want I should carry your basket back when I come?"

"Yes, please," Day says, smiling and shaking her head at the incorrigible young Ser. "I'll see you back at the house." And she paddles for shore.

"See you later!" Kit calls, waving before backstroking in the opposite direction.