Tale of the Golden Hare
The necklace was her grandmother's and she remembered fondly the stories of the cunning hare who always escaped the jaws of the wolf. It was how she felt in life, trying to look after the waifs and strays who travelled down the trods and the rest of the Empire left behind.
She worried about carrying the symbol. She was not even a vate, but she didn't do it for power. She did it to help. She once had dreams about the Synod turning up with Guides to inquisite her for carrying the necklace and hid from strangers for days.
But times were changing. The Assembly of Vigilance had publicly rejected the accusations of wrongdoing against the Tangled Thorns. The Varushkan assembly had declared that they were virtuous citizens who would pass through the Labyrinth, and if they were, then so was she. They were just helping those who needed it. She could do the same with a clear conscience.
As she painted, she half-watched a quartet of travellers - Wardens by the look of them - quietly arguing about something. One of them noticed what she was painting, and nudged his companion. All four of them turned to stare. She flushed, but kept on painting until she was done.
Caron finished her work, and placed the boarhair brush back into the pot. She felt pride in her work. Not just the painting, but how she'd lived her life. A simple synod motion, had made her life suddenly have meaning.One of the Wardens stamped over - a mass of fur and leather and one glaring eye - and loomed over her. He pulled out a money pouch and gruffly demanded to know how much it would cost them to buy food, baths, and beds for the night. Caron smiled, and ushered her new guests into the common room.
A little less than a year ago, at the Spring Equinox, a Varushkan Fellowship of the Tangled Thorns was inquisited by Ula Ulanya Ulanaya of the Vigilance Assembly. Ella, Vesna Otecovna Zlata, Dušan Otecovna Zlata, Svetlana Otecovna Zlata, Domova Otecovna Zlata, and Kalini Otecovna Zlata were called to address accusations of blasphemy, idolatry, and heresy. Due to tragic circumstances, only Dušan and Svetlana were able to attend, but by all accounts their presence was sufficient to assuage some of the concerns of Ula Ulanya - and while she still attempted to have them castigated for their relationship with Papa Otec, the rest of the assembly did not agree with her.
Regardless of their complicated relationship with the eternal, Hubert Gremani still raised a statement of principle at the Autumn equinox declaring "That members of the Tangled Thorns Coven who were executed at this summit were, despite their sentence, good and virtuous Varushkans." That declaration has struck a chord with many people in Varushka. A discussion has begun in several vales, especially in Miekarova where the Tangled Thorns were largely based, and where Dušan Otecovna Zlata had served as senator.
The hare shows up in several Varushkan cautionary tales. It is quick, clever, and often brave. Some storytellers include it in their roster of virtuous animals even. Was it really appropriate for the Vigilance assembly to condemn a Varushkan band for using an animal as a symbol of their virtue? Here and there over the last few months, people in Varushka have been painting golden hairs on their signs, wearing belt buckles in the shape of the leaping hare, and maybe - if they knew the story of the Tangled Thorns - giving a moment's thought to people who are a little less well off than they are themselves.
Some Varushkans are embracing the golden hare as a symbolic animal, but there is a grumpy, defiant air about them. They argue that a Fellowship that worked hard to support the Empire is worth remembering - whatever else they were, there is little doubt they were Varushkan to the core. Perhaps there's more to it than that, but taken at face value, this represents a rising interest in the hare as one of the virtuous animals. Without guidance, however, nobody quite agrees on what it is a symbol of - and some of the suggestions are bordering towards the heretical.
The Varushkan National Assembly
The Varushkan national assembly can ignore this business of golden hares; it will prove a twelve-week wonder, and then things will probably go back to normal. Alternatively, they may issue a mandate to guide the people of Varushka with regards to the symbolic nature of the hare.
A virtuous animal
The Varushkan national assembly acknowledges that the hare is a virtuous animal, symbolising (virtue). We send (X) with 25 doses of liao to spread word of its nature to the vales of Varushka.synod mandate
If they deliver a mandate empowering a named priest to acknowledge the hare as one of the virtuous animals, they will need to nail down precisely which virtue the hare represents. The most common suggestions are Courage or Pride, but it is likely that the Storytellers will have some suggestions of their own. If this mandate is successful, the hare will officially become part of the lexicon of the virtuous animals, as a symbol of the chosen virtue.
A wicked idol
The Varushkan national assembly denounces the hare is a blasphemous idol. We send (X) with 25 doses of liao to spread word of its nature to the vales of Varushka.synod mandate
If they instead declare that the hare is nothing more than an idol associated with malign spiritual presences, then the people of the nation will be chastised for their lack of orthodoxy. All talk of adding the hare to the list of virtuous animals will end, and the hare will go back to being (at best) a representation of a prey animal, and at worst a clear sign that someone harbours potentially heretical views.
Hubert Gremani lead the Varushkan national assembly in mandating that the hare is a symbol of Ambition. Esrys later supplemented this mandate with a Statement of principle reminding the people of Varushka that "although we believe that the Hare maybe a Virtuous animal, anyone revering or worshipping the golden hare is acting idolatrously."
What is a legacy? It's planting seeds in a garden you never get to see...