(This is just gonna be a small spin off rp of ‘The Crowning Moment’ starting off of The Crowning Moment - #49 by Cowlass )
The Kemonomimi arch-princess stared at the Elven queen. Nervously she waved hello. ‘Do I kotow or do I just bow?’ Her eyes didn’t waiver from looking at the enshrined spirit, the queen of the Aikkian. Her mind was fried with internal debate, how does one show respect to an enshrined spirit? What is her position on it? Do they rule or do they give advice to the government? What is the right decision, her choice here could outline how Musetszna viewed enshrined spirits for centuries? Is she even qualified to make this decision? She should ask the Brewmasters council for advice or maybe just the Shinekeeper of Musetszna? She was truly paralyzed, staring idiotically at the queen.
The Queen with several of her lifetimes of experience tired of waiting for a response after several minutes of the arch-princess staring at her as if she was a ghost. Taking a seat across from her, making herself comfortable. Well as comfortable as one could be in a land as warm as this distant land could be. “How fare you? I trust you been well.”
Ny’Hjøran gave a small spirit thanks to the spirits, that the queen walked past whatever she was supposed to do when greeting an enshrined spirit. “I won’t lie, I have been troubled.” She says, flying passes the normalized tradition of small talk.
The queen raised an eyebrow, not quite expecting such honesty from the kemonomimi. Now trapped by social norms to ask her what is wrong rather than getting to the point of their meeting. “Oh? What ail you to trouble you so much.”
“Well, I hoped you could help me with it. I have been troubled for the past months about the Akuan Conference, and far more. What is an Akuanist? We are so divided on so many issues, stories, customs and so much. We act like a culture or in some cases like a ethnic group but we are called a religion. Which we are a religion but are we a religion that has so many different ways of practicing it. Are we a religion made up of vaguely similar religions?” The arch-princess spoke freely, perhaps far too freely. Airing out what troubles her mind rather than being a reasonable ruler and simply bottling her feelings up in service of her realm.
The queen kept silent for a few moments, studying the face of the moderately panicked going through a mental crisis of faith. “Akuanist is an Akuanist.” She spoke in a flat, cold tone typical of Aikkian nobility. “Though we have similar concerns of the Akuan Conference, as does the third member of our trio.” She raised her hand to request a drink from a nearby feline servant. “Perhaps the shepherds should take a leading role in the situation.”
The Mustetine royalty gave a confused look. “What do you mean the third member of our trio? Do you mean the three big families? Also what does shepherds have to do with theological conference? As far as I am aware, they don’t have any special privileges in the conference.”
The confused look both annoyed the queen and concerned her. Has her father and grandmother not informed her of the existence of the shepherds? Not to mention slightly lacking in ability to keep up to say it politely. Of course she is talking about house Bjørn, who else had their level of influence in the religion. “Yes, we speak of house Bjørn.” She took a sip of her black tea infused with wine. “They are part of the shepherds are they not?” Perhaps the kemonomimi mind is simply muddled with her mental troubles.
Prince Ulahid steps into the conversation with two cups of hot chocolate in hand. Smile on his face which kept on his face as he looked at the Aikkian queen, though he felt the cold aura stimming from her. ‘I thought all Akuanists are always so cheerful?’ He thought to himself, taking a seat next to his wife, handing her a hot beverage. “Your royal highness, Queen Halein of Aikthudr’zhur, how are you? Did you enjoy the wedding?” He gives her a charming smile only receiving a stoic response.
“We fair well this day. The wedding is a grand display.” The Aikkian elf looked over at the princeling feline.
The prince couldn’t figure out if the queen was saying the wedding was a good thing or not by her tone alone. Giving an awkward shift in his seat. “Ah, that is good to hear then.” He takes a sip of his drink. “So, what do you think of my homeland? Save the weather of course.”
“It is different from home.” She coolly said, “I don’t venture out from Aikthudr’zhur often, the spirits here feel different as well.” She sips her wine, looking at the passing desert landscape. “They are old, as all spirits are but they speak of the sands more than the forests.”
The arch-princess shifted in her seat. “Spirits are not gentle here, they bring harsh winds but they mean well.” She held her husband’s hand under the table. The kemonomimi has felt the presence of spirits before, but an enshrined spirit? She must be as connected to the spirits as she is able to speak to her.
“Spirits who are gentle are rare and as precious as the finest jewel. During my time here, we have not felt such a kind spirit. In the capital, we only felt those who have yearned for the return of dwellings they used to inhabit.” She shakes her head, “Spirits who are not kept pleased are rarely kind to those that dare to draw near.”
The prince tried to give a smile but it became awkward, wanting to join in a conversation he spoke up. “So Bingol was not to your liking? Too much traffic I say.”
“It is as if we were visiting Kyinster, after the war.” She shakes her head in disappointment. “We speak not of traffic, but of the nature of the city.”
“Ah, I understand now.” The prince did not understand any of it. Figuring it was some Akuan thing, the city probably just didn’t have enough parks to the Queen’s liking. His understanding of an enshrined spirit was limited to understanding that it was a way for monarchs to have power over Akuanists in religious matters. Akuanists are fickle creatures, treating everything as almost religious in nature down to baking bread. They give respect to some tiny wooden arch they kept on a shelf before the day of work began.
The Mustetine however, knew full well that an enshrine spirit was far more just a title. It was an infusion of the spirit of the queen and the spirit themself. The body was just a structure, a house for the two. The queen’s spirit is in charge, but the spirit of the Eastern winds swell around her, advising her in quiet ways. Shift in the wind here, leaf blow there and shuffle in the trees over yonder. Spirits work in ways beyond words but with actions, no matter how small or big. Words are fickle things for spirits. According to the stories of old, the spirits speak in stories and legends. Some older Akuanists, in particular elves, have kept true to it as part of Nys’tat’en. Speaking longly in stories to express their point or discuss things. “Do you believe you will have time to visit the nature preserve outside of the capital?”
"We fear not, the throne calls for me and there is much work to be done for the conference. We will be departing after the arrangements.” The Aikkian elf held a calm tone about them.
“Might I ask a question?” The Princeling sipped his drink.
“You may ask.”
“Why are you referring to yourself as we?” The princeling felt his arm being punched by his wife. Turning his head to get a good look at his extremely upset wife. Quickly turning his head over to the Queen, “Forgive me if it was a rude question. I am ignorant of Aikkian customs.”
The queen stared into the feline’s eyes. Watching him squirm for a moment as his wife spoke up in his defense. “My apologies for my husband, he is unaware of the enshrined.”
“It is understandable, we shouldn’t be upset by those without wisdom or knowledge as it is written.” The Aikkian spoke in a steady tone. “We are of two spirits, bound in a single vessel.”
“Ah, that explains it. Again, I apologize deeply if I seemed rude.” The Feline wanted to assure that his apology came across well, mostly so his wife wouldn’t be so upset at him. He never saw her so upset, she was more upset than the time he decided to take a rock from a shrine outside the capital. She never actually punched his arm though, she just expressed her displeasure with her words and turned the car around so he could place it back in the particular spot.
“All is well, young one.” The Aikkian queen spoke calmly.
The prince wanted to say he was not young, however he held his tone. Given this is an elf we are talking about, and not a Norgsveltian one. One of those elves from Novaris, who knows how old she actually is. He was not socially unaware enough to ask her age either. “Might I ask another question then?”
“You may ask us another question.”
“If I may, I understand the Akuan conference is exclusively for Akuanists, however I would like to be allowed access into the conference to support my wife. I promise not to get in the way or give any speeches but I simply would like to be able to give my wife support during the event.” The prince held his wife’s hand, rubbing his thumb against the top of his hand.
His wife held her tongue, she wanted him to be with him in that building. Speaking in front of a crowd never was her strong suit, even more so when it was in front of people she knew not only disagreed with her but would actively voiced their disagreements to her directly. Such was the way of the Akuanist, to argue, to disagree but ultimately come together regardless of the situation. What some would call a schism, the Akuanists would simply just call differences in opinion and move on.
“No, the conference is by Akuanists and for Akuanism. There is simply no room for suggestions of favoritism of other faiths in our conference. Even if it is for support of one of their others. Less we risk tainting the conference purpose.” The queen didn’t flinch in her refusal of him, despite the sad look of the arch-princess as she spoke. The prince gave a sad look as well, despite his attempt to look strong in the endeavor.
“I suppose that is fair, my wife is strong and I am confident she will prove victorious in the debates.” He gave a smile, looking at his wife.
The Aikkian raised an eyebrow, the first expression she actually gave during this whole discussion. “The conference is not about winning or who is right. It is about getting to the most correct version of the truth.”
“And my wife has the most correct truth there is.” He beams with pride at his wife, who seems embarrassed about it all, her face becoming flushed with red.
The queen held her tongue, “If you believe so, the conference will judge her words.” She kept silent, waiting to see if the Packilvanian would speak again. Instead an awkward silence fell onto the table. “Your wife and I were in the middle of a sensitive discussion, I don’t wa-” She was cut off by the prince.
“Oh, my apologies, I will take my leave.” Wanting nothing more than to get out of the discussion. All this talk about religion that he doesn’t share, not to mention just how awkward it has been. He quickly leaves the table, heading over to another train car to find someone to speak with while his wife is busy with Akuanist matters, or was it state? He didn’t wait long enough to find out.
The two other royals watched him leave so quickly. The arch-princess gave a sign, “My apologies on his behalf, he is a bit shy and awkward at times. Even more so when it comes to religious matters that are not Paxism.”
“I was simply telling him that we were arranging a meeting when we came to a stop. I already arranged a video call with our third member, and I would like him not to hear the name of them to save face.” The elven woman stared at the strange feline leaving so strangely.