Page 052: Self Control
Self Control
Summary: Lucienne is at the Sept to pray to the Maiden, and Josse hears a confession.
Date: Sat Sep 03, 288
Related Logs: TBA :P
Josse Lucienne 
Sept of the Seven, Terrick's Roost
The Sept of Terrick's Roost is not a grand spectacle but achieves its power through the feeling of community and peace within. Like any Sept, the mood is generally quiet so people might offer prayers or thoughts without interruption. Along the sides are the seven statues in life-size form of the seven Gods, each in its own particular pose familiar to anyone who knows of them. All but the statue of the Stranger have small offerings lain at their feet or candles lit. At the very head of the Sept is a large window that faces out across the water, the altar rising in front of it. Directly to its front are a few rows of pews and behind that is the standing room for the peasantry. In that area the floor is lain out with a bright seven-pointed star in representation of the Gods.
Sat Sep 03, 288

The very picture of innocence and purity, Lucienne kneels in front of the Maiden, her hands clasped together and held in front of her nose as she gazes up with eyes curious and wide to study the statue's face. Her cheeks are a little rosy, her hair is braided neatly, and her dress is immaculate, one of her softer silk garments. Between her and the sculpture is a small offering, nothing extravagant; a softly scented candle, which she is yet to light.

A sliver of afternoon light creeps into the dim sept as Josse opens the heavy back door, slipping in from the garden. The latch clicks softly as he slides it into place. His sandals make the softest of scratches on the hard floor, eyes flickering to the figure of Lucienne by the Maiden.

Lucienne continues to contemplate the Maiden, her expression hinting at some deep-seated request, a yearning for an answer. Almost as if on cue, one is provided: those little sounds that announce Josse earn a twist of her head, and a smile that's partly guilt, partly glad. She murmurs a quick thanks to her chosen God, and scootches back a little from the statue. "Septon?" Her voice, high-pitched and clear, rings throughout the quiet walls of the building, and she drops her head, abashed at having disturbed the quiet so.

Josse's steps have slowed even before Lucienne speaks his title, perhaps that sixth sense that clergy gradually develop. "Lady Lucienne." His voice is naturally soft, a slight smile quirking the right side of his mouth at the look on her face. "Don't worry. Silence is difficult terrain."

Her voice is a little quieter when next she speaks, and she lifts her head again, still on her knees. "Isn't it just. I have much I would say, too - would you be so kind as to hear my confession, Septon? The Maiden… she listens well, but I know not how to hear her reply."

"If my Lady wishes an ear, I am servant to both you and the Seven." Josse bows his head slightly, and glances at the altar of the Maiden. "Does it please you to stay here? Or would you prefer to sit somewhere more private?"

"Here at least, she might look upon me trying to mend my sins," Lucienne indicates, more comfortable in the presence of a tribute to that which she cannot see. She takes a deep breath to steel herself, and wonders, "How do I begin?"

Josse bends his knees, slowly settling down on the floor next to her. He sits back comfortably on his heels, glancing up at the chiseled face of the Maiden and then at the face of her noble visitor. "I suppose I should say 'at the beginning'." He smiles slightly, folding his hands. "But let's try this instead…tell me, what were you doing when you decided to come to the Maiden's presence?"

Lu continues to stare at the statue as Josse settles, clearly troubled. His question calls forth a blush to her cheeks, which is nothing new; as usual, she ducks her head, this time chewing down nervously upon her lower lip. "I was… indulging in my unpure thoughts, Septon. They plague me, they have for weeks, and I felt compelled to come and set my eyes upon her."

"Mmmhmmm." The sound has a faint uptone at the end. Josse briefly looks down at the foot of the altar and then back at her, tilting his head. The silence that lingers after isn't interrupted.

To her ears, it's not a silence that follows at all - Lucienne's heart is thumping in her chest, the sound more than audible to her. "There is else that troubles me too, Septon, but this feeling, this desire… it is the worst. I have prayed in my chambers every evening, but I cannot stop it. Maybe I don't wish to. Is it enough merely to be sorry for my sins, if I know in my heart I will sin again given the chance?"

"We all sin, my Lady, each and every one of us." Josse's quiet voice is lowered even further to talk to her. "The Maiden in particular bids us not to deny that we have…thoughts and desires…for denial is denying that desires too are created by the Seven. She wishes instead that we learn to resist the ones that would lead us to act in harmful ways." He pauses, letting that drift in the quiet air. "What manner of thoughts have you so troubled?"

Lucienne seems almost relieved to hear those first words, her shoulders sagging. She contemplates the advice for a long moment, before asnwering with her admission. "I desire a man, Josse, when I shouldn't," she says, barely above a whisper. "I would give myself to him, were he only to ask. I fear he may ask; no. I hope he would ask. I have granted him a kiss already."

Josse nods slightly, his eyes flickering downward. Though the breaking of eye contact doesn't seem awkward on his part, more respectful of the lady than anything. "If no man and woman ever desired each other, none of us would exist to be contemplating it today," he says, matter of factly. "Is this a man that…gives you the proper respect of a right courtship, my Lady?"

Lucienne clears her throat gently. She shifts her eyes pointedly to Josse, and the down to her hands clasped in front of her. It seems a difficult question for her to answer, but in the end, she bobs her head, just the once, to nod.

"Mm." Josse processes that with a soft sound in his throat. After a few moments he looks back at her profile. "Tell me, my Lady. What whispers from the Maiden do you hope to hear? Is it guidance? Chastisement? Forgiveness?"

Guidance. Chastisement. Forgiveness. These concepts sit with Lucienne for awhile, and draw from her a pensive frown. "I suppose," she says, not sounding at all confident, "That it is forgiveness I seek? And guidance, if there was a path most right that she could show to me."

Josse nods twice, slowly. "And have you brought to light everything you feel should be bared in your heart? Some things I know are difficult to say even when no-one hears…but you can unburden yourself here. As much as you feel you may need."

"I… do think so, yes." Again, Lucienne doesn't quite sound confident, her voice a little shakey. And so, she rolls off for her conscience's sake, "I have lusted after a man that is not my husband, and may never be, and I have granted him a kiss to my lips… thrice. I have sullied my virtue, and I would do it again, and for that I can only beg the Maiden's forgiveness. And… and her guidance, on how I might free myself from these desires."

"This must be difficult for you," Josse replies, not unkindly. "And I must make it a little more so, my Lady. Tell me…why do you believe the Maiden would have women keep themselves pure, in the face of desires? Why create this struggle?"

Luci winces, then blinks her eyes wide at the Septon beside her. His question has obviously caught her unawares, and it takes her some time to formulate a reply. "It… it is a way to illustrate our strength, and our faith, our integrity. Our self-control. I have never before felt it a struggle though, Septon."

"If it weren't, you wouldn't be here," Josse points out gently. "You aren't the first, nor will you be the last, Lady Lucienne. But very few who come here have had an answer to that question, and it's an important one." His hand makes a small gesture as he talks. "Self-control. Why might it be so critical for a woman to have that?"

"There are things that cannot be undone, once they are," she says, in a rather disappointed way. "And besides that, if we don't have control over even ourselves… I have seen what comes of that." Lucienne looks back down to her hands, each squeezing the other tight. "I know the path I must follow. I know to act on my lust is wrong. I just need to find the will to do what's right."

"How do you resist other things that you know are wrong?" Josse asks her. "Or at least, that aren't right in the time they occur to you?"

Lucienne's brows lift, and she curves the smallest of smiles. "I can honestly say, I have never felt a tug to do something that is wrong this strongly. Lust is… something else, is it not? It rallies the body to mutiny against the mind. But to answer your question, I suppose - distraction. Contemplation. Forethought."

Josse smiles a little, himself. "It is something else, but…do we run before we crawl? Read words before we know our letters, one by one? Every moment of our lives prepares us for today, my Lady. Can you think of no moment before when you haven't had the chance for forethought? A moment of anger, of high emotion?"

Another blush creeps into Lucienne's cheeks, and she nods. "We do not, this is true. Often, for instance, I will hold my tongue for self-preservation. Or for propriety. Or for the sake of another. I am able to keep a cool head in anger by virtue of practice, I suppose?"

Josse nods, absently scratching the side of his neck. "All good reasons, my Lady. We understand consequence, all of us…some of us respond only when that consequence is for ourselves. Some respond only when it affects another. And some — the most balanced — can recognize both. We can understand, even in our most shivering times of weakness, that what we do can impact the people we hold dearest. Sometimes that can help. Not guilting yourself, understand this…but celebrating the strength in knowing we've sacrified a temporary pleasure for the good of those we treasure."

Lucienne unclaps her hands, finally, clutching them to her stomach instead as she listens to Josse's words. "For the good of those we treasure," she murmurs after him, nodding slowly. "I think you might have touched something there, dear Septon. Thankyou."

Josse's head bows slightly, his eyes turning down with a self-conscious smile. "This is the Maiden's way, my Lady, please. It's Her to be thanked." He looks back up at her eyes. "I can only pray this is the seed to plant the strength you need. Not only for this but for many, many times as you grow and change."

"Ah, but without someone so wise to interpret for me," responds Lucienne admiringly. "I will endeavour to remember Her words, now and always, that I might remember myself in the face of such… emotion. Would you help me light my candle for Her?"

"I will be glad to lead the blessing over it," Josse says, nodding towards the candle. "But the flame should come from your heart and your hands. Light it, Lady Lucienne. This is yours to kindle."

There's a slight pause on Lucienne's part, as she contemplates the candle. "You're right," she says, her eyes closing briefly before she lights the candle. A deep breath follows, its expulsion almost threatening the flame, and she readies to listen to the blessings.