"This..." is the place,
the bardess accepts at last. She seems to regain some composure, and does not finish the sentence aloud. She realizes with a bit of shame that she'd been hoping to find merely a place, something abandoned, a dead place that she would have been able to pick over like a vulture.
But this place was alive, alive and well cared for. And was that not more important, to build with what was available? To build the trust that would let her be happy with entrusting this site's care, its life, to the people who already lived there, for the good of the Fellowship? Was this not the first of many such dedicated lives that the growing faith would have to absorb and exalt?
As Melinda steps over the threshold, she makes Sabrina's sign on her chest, a triangle pointing down over her heart. "Good day,"
she greets the horseman's wife. "I'm Melinda,"
she introduces herself. "And your name?"
The bardess proceeds to introduce any of the others who follow her in. When comes her inevitable offer of food or drink, she responds, "I've already sent Lukasz and the children for water,"
with hardly any hesitation. "They should be back shortly, along with the men,"
she glances towards the doorway. "Then we'll brew some coffee together, how's that?"
OOC - actions declared within. Stop me at any time if there's a problem.
Melinda initially introduces herself as a typical adept, if a very experienced one, (read: schoolteacher, midwife, healer, counselor) and only later as an artist and a keeper of traditions. This is the truth of the way she commonly interacts with the lay faithful. Melinda will, of course, use coffee time to start exchanging stories, and exchanging stories is something Melinda is very good at. She has plenty of them from her extensive travels and pilgrimages.
Coffee in Melinda's native Drania is often served with incense, and Melinda certainly breaks it out for this occasion. The bardess will do her very best to keep the conversation going for a decently long time, enough to weave the casting of a legend lore spell into her rhetoric. The last stories she hopes to tell are ones of this very place, stories of the Prophet and of her childhood, complete with details not known even to her beforehand.
At the same time she is also interested in interviewing the family that lives here to understand their life, for the Prophet herself probably lived a very similar life prior to her departure. (Do they have children? she loves children.) She is especially interested in qualities or quirks or strongly held opinions that would make them especially suitable or unsuitable as caretakers of a shrine dedicated to a Goddess of Love.
Of course she's more used to doing these things alone, or with one or two followers with her, not an entire band of people whose egos and presences might easily exceed her own in vibrance.
I anticipate also that the subject of her prime vocation will come up eventually. She has this to say about it:
"How do I get by? How do I withstand looking at myself in the mirror? For every one of us it's different," she admits. "How do -I- reconcile true love and love for sale? I happen to find it easy to appreciate what is lovable about a person, nearly any person. Easy also to find the passion to express that potential love and make it real. It's not a gift that every person has, to be able to offer true love, for sale, straight up. And there are many people who are so self-unaware that they don't know what might be lovable about themselves. I make it my mission to show them, to bring out their best."
"People pay for sex, sometimes. Most of the time," she admits. "It doesn't matter. I'm an artist. I always try to give them love. And most of the time they don't even realize that's what I'm trying to do, and that's their loss more than mine. I used to be hurt by that. Now I just take their money, no harm done. But occasionally I'll see a new spark in someone's eyes when they leave, and I feel the power of Love to inspire, and that's enough for me."
One last thing. Melinda hardly allows herself to be served at all, and insists on helping to serve the rest of the group. This is only partly her expression of spiritual dedication. The Sabrinites of the group, and anyone with a decent K: Religion or Sense Motive check, also recognize this as her way of attempting to assert symbolic leadership over this little endeavor.