100 Chapel Days · Scene 18


Chapel Days

Chapel Days · Scene 18 · Guests a
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he ceremony in which a prospective Sa·B·er was blessed with Cardinal’s Light was typically performed by a pair of priests or priestesses and the nuns of the Chapel could not perform the Cleansing Ceremony. To that end, Maye and Squawk had to bide their time as Mother Osprey sent for a priest to rendezvous with the Chapel. The request was unusual on many grounds and completely turned tradition on its head. Typically, the Cleansing Ceremony was performed on those prospects who had been infected and managed to retain their humanity having traveled from one settlement to another as a means of proving they deserved saving. As the Chapel was not a settlement and neither Maye nor Squawk had been infected by a Foreigner beast capable of inflicting the transformative effects onto them, there was no precedent for the request. As for infecting Maye and Squawk, that problem was much more simply solved.

The cause for Chain’s five-day slumber was due to her rushing to save Squawk from a member of the believed extinct Foreigners and a Lucifalz that she aided the Chapel in ridding the world of. The Foreigner whom she did battle with along with the Mouser Brothers had deigned to prove his claims of being a Foreigner and had spilt his own copper blue blood. Unknown to Chain, as much of that blood as could be collected was gathered up by the nuns tasked with retrieving the Light of the Lucifalz and experimented upon to prove the validity of the Foreigner’s claim. The tests were unquestionably conclusive that the Foreigner was both what he claimed to be and also capable of infecting most life with the monstrous transformation affiliated with Foreigner beasts and parasites. It was the availability of this blood that led to Maye making her decision to become a Sa·B·er and learn the truth of the world for herself alongside Chain. That very same blood would also be used to infect Maye and Squawk in a unique ceremony that would make them both Sa·B·ers of their own volition. Such an unprecedented experiment though would likely not have been sanctioned by the upper echelons of the Cardinal Church and who Mother Osprey could have called upon became the topic of much gossip among the nuns.
The Chapel ~ Exterior ~ Airship platform
Early Autumn ~ Midafternoon, Partly Cloudy and breezy
From below the upper floors a ship’s dock jutted out 
A dock suspended over air could only be for a ship that sailed the skies
Awaiting the vessel that descended from the clouds the Chapel stood unmoving
Contrasting the Chapel’s stillness the nuns prepared for their guests
Among them three Sa·B·ers all expecting the same man

The dock jutting out of the mid-levels of the Chapel was barely more than an impressive half arch of metal scaffolding topped with sheets of brass to serve as a safe foothold. Before Squawk’s arrival aboard the Chapel it was the vessels most lifeless feature, though even it now was home to stray tufts of grass, ivy, and small flowers. The vegetation fortunately was no hindrance to the dock’s purpose, though the lack of use it saw meant the nuns were not as efficient in its preparation as they should have been. Fortunately, Finch piloting her Dolmen that she had brought up to the dock by an internal Dolmen elevator was more than knowledgeable about how to receive the airship motioning to it above with Dolmen sized marshalling wands.

Watching the sky alongside the Mouser Brothers and Mother Osprey, Chain and Drop waited for the vessel to emerge from the clouds above. What descended was an abomination of aviation design that could never have flown without the technology of an Artificial Gate Generator to provide magical lift. The vessel appeared to be a collection of four mismatched ironclads held together by a mess of catwalks, sails, and rigging. The largest of the segments rested directly on top of the center segment which it dwarfed while the outer segments were parallel to the center hull giving the whole ship the look of a malformed trimaran. That it was in the air at all even with an Artificial Gate Generator seemed a miracle and Chain and Drop marveled at the feat of human engineering.

“Look at it! Look at it! It’s amazing!”

“If you think that’s amazing Chainmaid, it might interest you to know that until but a few decades ago when the salvage company the Junk Birds started researching ancient flying machines that airships were considered taboo by the Cardinal Church.”

“Really

Chain turned her shimmering eyes onto Lute who seemed to be familiar with the history of airships and airship travel. Smiling warmly, Lute was grateful to share his knowledge with Chain who gobbled it up like candy while they waited for the airship to land. It did not so much land though as it positioned itself alongside the dock. As the nuns and Finch worked with the airship crew to moor the vessel, movement was taking place aboard the airship as members of numerous parties all moved to the hull that would soon be connected by bridge to the Chapel. Watching the people moving from one hull to another, Lute furrowed his brow thoughtfully.

“That explains a bit.”

“What? Is something wrong?”

Chain turned her eyes onto Lute who still scoured the patrons of the airship. Despite his furrowed brow, his brother, Pan, did not seem surprised and Lute resolved that the situation was agreed upon prior.

“It’s nothing Chainmaid. But now I understand why a mismatched dual hull that was converted into a trimaran was the vessel of choice; we seem to have three different parties here for their own ends. It would seem that the Head Mother is playing politics.”

A frown crossed Lute’s face as he made the observation known to Chain, and even the normally icy Pan frowned at the situation. Chain was not sure what type of politics could so bother the Mouser Brothers but grew more and more curious as they both remained silent. Following their lead, Chain turned her gaze onto the airship and waited for the Chapel’s guests to disembark. When at last they did begin to leave the airship by a bridge that was barely more than an over glorified gangplank, Chain gained no further insight. She was ignorant to the world for the most part and the men dressed importantly in finery meant little to her. The second group composed of men who appeared to be priests of a religion other than that preached by the Cardinal Church were a curiosity to Chain, less so for the people who could only be called heretics being seemingly invited, but for the magic that sealed fast their eyes. But they did not hold her attention long as a group of men and women in black cassocks emerged last from the vessel and were the first to be greeted by Mother Osprey. Most notably, a wiry icaran man of pale complexion and short dark hair. His beady eyes were hidden behind his round glasses that made his long face more aesthetically balanced. It was less his face that made him stand out though from the other priests as it was that he was the tallest of the group and was dressed in a white garment that seamlessly blended a fitted long coat with the motif of a cassock. Despite wearing the tri-cross of the Cardinal Church around his neck like the others he was obviously someone more important than a priest and Chain new it. He was also upsettingly familiar and Chain’s boring stare as she tried to piece together her memories was responded to by the man turning his gaze onto her. Seeing her standing with the Mouser Brothers brought a smile to his face and Chain new immediately who it was that she was looking at. Bishop Verdant Yewroot, the man who had arranged her imprisonment and torture at the hand of the Cardinal Church.
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Copyright © 2019 Joshua D Tarwater

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