091 Chapel Days · Scene 9

Chapel Days

Chapel Days · Scene 9 · Seeking
The Chapel ~ Exterior ~ Upper Gardens
Early Autumn ~ Late Morning, distant clouds and breezy
Tiered gardens spilling like emerald waterfalls
Ivy wrapped brick walls supporting dark tiled roofs
Stain glassed windows obscuring the interior
Pipes of brass twisting to and fro
The voices of bird song and children intermingling joyously

ith eyes seeking questions beyond the distant cliffs and barren mountains of the scarred Face of Icarus, Maye stood before a wrought iron fence of intricate design. Though her eyes sought answers without, the questions she possessed were related to a warmth deep inside of her. With her hands folded over her bosom, it was as though she yearned to take hold of that warmth. She knew better though, nearly all life on the Face of Icarus knew the risks of opening an Ambrosial Gate. Beyond the most skilled of wizards, and Chain in her own unique way, most could not summon more Nectar from Ambrosia than their bodies could hold without destroying themselves. Though healing magic required using the recipient’s body as a vessel for making the magic more effective, healing magic was more a conjoined effort and the summoned Nectar responded to the thoughts and wills of both caster and recipient. Even then, summoning Nectar without an intention to use it was dangerous as Nectar unused could just as easily turn volatile as it could simply seep back into Ambrosia from whence it came. Learning to control Nectar without a teacher for either technological purposes or magic was to dance with death. Fortunately for Maye, Chain’s first teacher in the ways of magic was present aboard the Chapel and it was the complaints of two of her fellow nuns that reminded her.

“I understand he is a Pilgrim of Lady Atheaeldre, but you would think that title was the name of a disease with how he’s been acting about.”

“I know what you mean. The vegetation is pretty enough and receiving the gifts of Lady Athealdre is a blessing in this day, but every brick wall and crevice upon which dirt can gather seems to be becoming its own garden.”

“Bad as the plants are cropping up everywhere though, it’s the humiliation of knowing how unclean the Chapel is. If we were but more diligent in our daily cleanings, he would have been forced to keep his duties constrained to the gardens.”

“I suppose on a day like this in so barren a region it is likely he just might bury himself in one of the gardens.”

Watching the nuns pass her by lost in their gossip, Maye mused about the location of the pilgrim aloud. She was not noticed speaking aloud by the other nuns, or perhaps the flicking of her tail told them not to bother the irritable centaur. No matter the reason for Maye being left alone, she did not even give it a thought as she continued her contemplations.

“If he is in hiding then… Yes, that would be most likely.”

Having made up her mind as to where the pilgrim was most likely that day, Maye set off in search of him. It was less so a search however and more so her simply heading towards where she believed he should be. She did not have nearly enough information to go off as the pilgrim had been on the Chapel for even less time then Chain, though while Chain had been asleep for the past half-tenday the pilgrim had been awake tormenting the nuns with his propensity to start the magical growth of plants throughout the Chapel. It was not surprising that a Pilgrim of Atheaeldre would do so either. Their particular order within the Cardinal Church worshiped the Goddess Atheaeldre, the Goddess of the Great Tree and Mother of Nature, and were tasked with wandering the Face of Icarus to restore her touch to the charred world. The problem was, this particular pilgrim was vain and full of himself, and less likely to be so predictable. Maye however was prone to jumping to conclusions and once her mind was made up would require major intervention to change course. This particular day though she turned out to be fortunate, even as her good fortune enabled her bad habits.

The waterfall of tiered gardens that adorned the exterior micro plazas of the Chapel were not all cared for equally. While those nearer the mid to upper reaches of the travelling tower were very well maintained affording a beautiful view to any in the upper floors and Crow’s Nest Office at its zenith. Those gardens that drifted nearer the great bowl that held the bulk of the mechanical workings and was supported by and supported the great treads that moved the Chapel were less so tended to. They were wilder and more dangerous, even despite the small size comparatively to the parks and gardens of an actual town or city. They were a favorite spot for the children when they desired to escape their studies and duties as Daughters of the Cardinal Church due to the unkempt nature of the lower gardens allowing them to better hide themselves. Their overgrown and unkempt natural development seemed the perfect place for a Pilgrim of Atheaeldre to hide himself, and searching those gardens brought Maye to her quarry.

“Is there something I can help you with you fool.”

It took Maye a great deal of willpower not to snap at the foul-mouthed Pilgrim, but she managed to restrain herself. Her efforts were easier than they might have normally been however as she did not know him well enough to properly counter him as the particular species of human he was made it difficult to determine if he had a superiority complex or if he was simply personally that vain. It could have also been both as the fur covered, split feet, skyward long-eared, lip protecting short beaked nāti were the oldest of the races of mankind. That their unique features also allowed them to survive in literally any environment on the Face of Icarus only fed the ego of some members of the oldest race of mankind. The specimen before Maye was himself actually rather short, shorter than Chain in fact, though his stocky build assured he far outweighed the twig of a girl. His dark fur and eyes did nothing to hide his size, though it did compliment nicely the green traveler’s long coat he wore over a white shirt with leather pants and icaran boots. They were all details that Maye was for certain she would grow intimately familiar with should she get him to agree to her request and recognize the weight of the decision she had made.

Copyright © 2019 Joshua D Tarwater


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