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Lt. (j.g.) Tahna Meru - Such A Luxury Of Stars

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I love sims with wordbuilding, with delicate and wonderful descriptions and smooth, seamless scene pacing and @Tahna Meru gives us a wonderful example here, polishing his prose and taking us into an alien world through her character's eyes without leaving out the ins and outs of what's going on in Meru's head while adding so much to keep the scene going in a wonderful example of collaborative writing. Great work Eris!


((Festival Grounds, Yarista, Palanon))


The two Bajoran women sat on the grass in the dark park, untouched by the lights of the city. It was like a bit of wilderness in the midst of the technologically advanced city. Every single pebble, every solitary blade of grass, was arranged in a perfect mimicry of the untouched natural environment—or maybe it wasn’t a mimicry at all, and this park had never been tamed by the Tyrellians. It was so serene, not even the tiny hunting griffins could disturb the peace as they chased down the violet fireflies.


Meru laughed as she teased Ena about her crush, before leaning back on her elbows, her mind a quadrant away as she seriously pondered her friend's question. What promise would she make if she were Ena? What promise would Meru have made on her cadet cruise? Work hard, get a good Ensign placement, make friends? But those were all things Ena was proving successful at already. 


Tahna: I– ::She started to answer then stopped herself, a thoughtful frown settling on her face.:: I’m not sure, Ena. I feel like you’re lightyears ahead of where I was on my cadet cruise. I mean, you’re on a flagship, and that placement has very little to do with any recommendation I gave you. 


Ico: :Quick and :incoherently::Well, but you helped or I was lucky or... more just...unlucky with all the Darime thing, and Ryan spoke for me, too, and... well if I just...


Tahna: I think if I were you, I would promise to be more sure of myself. Don’t second-guess your qualifications, your knowledge, your contributions. You deserve to be here just as much as anyone else. 


Ico: I don’t know if-… ::She paused and bit her lip. ::


Nearby, a Tyrellian couple was also preparing for the festival. They spread a blanket out on the wild grass, marking out a place for themselves in the park as it began to get crowded. Bajorans and Tyrellians alike carried lanterns, some homemade, some bought from the vendors. They set up picnic blankets and folding chairs and laid back on the grass to watch the fireflies and griffins dance overhead, the light from the little insects painting the evening sky in pinks and purples. 


But Ena wasn’t looking at this marvelous scene so much as through it, her eyes a thousand suns away even as she watched the intricate predator-prey aerial dance of the native wildlife. 


Ico:  I'll do it, I promise.


Meru withdrew a calligraphy brush and a small pot of ink from her bag. She certainly wasn’t artistically talented, but she had a steady enough hand to draw a prayer sigil on her lantern. The question remained, what blessing would she ask for herself? It was strange to be in this position, no respected Bajoran elder to offer a blessing on her behalf, to guide her in what to say. She wasn’t entirely alone, though; she had a respected friend whose advice she could ask. 


Tahna: In Kashnar, usually the matriarchs inscribe blessings for their children. I’ve never had to come up with my own before. ::She turned to her friend, twirling the brush in her fingers.:: What blessing would you ask for me?


Ico: What? Ru I-I am not a matriarch, how would I know what to write?


Tahna: You’re a respected friend, your opinion is worth just as much as my mother’s right now. 


More, actually, considering just how tense Meru’s relationship with her mother had become. 


Ico: ::blushing once more:: Hush you!


Meru smiled. Even with the sadness of remembering home, she was glad to be celebrating a Bajoran holiday on such a large scale again—actually, this celebration seemed much larger than the ones in her hometown. There’d been smaller celebrations at the Academy, of course, hosted by a local vedek, but he was from the forests of Hedrikspool, and his celebrations were entirely different, with candles in place of lanterns. Now, in her new home, it felt…right to make her own traditions again. 


Finally, Ena took Meru’s lantern.


Ico: If I were a matriarch, which I'm not, and I had to give you a blessing....


Ena took a fine brush from her own set began carefully tracing the complex Bajoran glyphs on Meru’s lantern while the older girl watched. 


Ico:...If I should give you a blessing  I would say may the land always make a path before your steps, may the wind always blow at your back, may the sun always shine warm on your face, and may the Light of the Prophets always shine on you, bringing the same warm light that you give to those around you.


Ena dotted the final glyph and returned the lantern, the dark ink drying quickly in the gentle breeze. Meru admired the lantern, and smiled at her friend. 


Tahna: You’re too kind. 


Ico: Well, I think you deserve it, after all, you're great Meru! I wouldn't be here without you.


Tahna: Hey, didn’t I just tell you to be more sure of yourself? Besides, there’s plenty I’m not great at. 


Ico: Tell me that at the end of the year, Lieutenant Tahna, when you'll be giving me orders like... Hey, look, it has begun!


A gong sounded, drawing the crowd’s attention to a small group of vermilion-robed Vedeks. They processed from the near end of the park to an altar, carrying lanterns and candles, and the park fell into a reverent silence as they watched. Meru caught her friend’s eyes with a quick smile, before turning her attention back to the procession. 


When they reached the altar, the Vedeks circled it. Each stepped forward to light one of the candles on the altar. Then, as one, they began reciting a prayer in Bajoran, their voices echoing through the park. They spoke of the Occupation, of the loneliness of leaving one’s home, of the darkness individuals often battled; and then of the light of every individual’s pagh, the power of every individual being to make the world a little bit lighter. 


Ico: Response


With one final blessing, the Vedeks dispersed throughout the crowd, lighting the lanterns of each onlooker they passed, though everyone was waiting to release their lanterns and prayers until the end. Meru turned to her friend with a small smile now as they waited in turn, the crowd now filling the silence with a hushed murmur. 


Tahna: May you bring light wherever you go, Ena. 


A traditional greeting for others during ital’mara¹ (back in Kashnar, at least). The expected response back home would be, “and may you find light wherever you roam,” but it was likely another example of how their traditions differed. The same festival could look so different on the other side of the continent (now, even on the other side of the cosmos), and that was part of its beauty. 


Ico: Response


Tahna: What else did you write on your scroll? Unless it’s too personal. 


Ico: Response


¹ Bajoran: Festival of Lights

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