105 Chapel Days · Scene 23
Chapel Days · Scene 23 · Schemes c
The Chapel ~ Interior ~ Upper Floors
Early Autumn ~ Early Evening, Distant thunder
Early Autumn ~ Early Evening, Distant thunder
Verdant’s voice rose up bidding the person who knocked to enter. Resting his chin on his laced fingers propped up by his elbows upon the desk, the bishop eyed the one who entered carefully. His cold gaze did not give away his curiosity at the sight of Maye entering the office he had been provided with. There was nothing particularly unusual about her, but the bishop had been expecting a nun and Maye’s habit was nowhere to be seen for her white shirt and red denim jacket covered her instead. Though she presented herself inappropriately for her position in the church before the bishop, she did not forget her place as she spoke.
Bowing her head respectfully, Maye only lifted it as she turned to close the door behind her. As she again faced him, her head bowed, and her eyes studied the floor beneath her hooves.
“I am curious Sister, is Mother Osprey one to allow such disrespect.”
“I do not mean to offend Your Excellency, but as I desire to become a Sa·B·er I question if I still have the right to wear the cloth.”
Falling quiet, Verdant studied the open folder atop the pile of paper on his borrowed desk. A sepia photograph of Maye in habit and veil was held in place by a paperclip to the documents within. The top sheets summarized Maye’s history both during and before her time in the Cardinal Church and scraps of paper had ben affixed with notes on her recent decision. Lifting his eyes back up, he carefully studied the plainly uncomfortable centaur maid before him.
“Tell me, your desire to become a Sa·B·er stems from your desire to educate yourself so that you might again be worthy of being a teacher does it not?”
“That is true Your Excellency, and–”
A sudden silence fell over the room as Verdant cut Maye off, his tone questioning her need to continue when not prompted. The nervousness rolling off of Maye was adding to the suffocating atmosphere that filled the tiny office and she would not, could not speak again until prompted. Verdant was not known as a kind man however and held his own silence for a long time, breaking it only once Maye could not stop herself from swishing her tail nervously to and fro.
“I do believe the ‘and’ you so unwisely added was in regards to why you have chosen now to question your lack of knowledge. What I am particularly curious about is why someone whose hatred of spirits has made them legendary within this vessel would choose to seek that truth venturing beside a heretic? Do you care to elaborate Sister? And do be concise.”
“She speaks of a dragon of Darkness yet is possessed of Her Eminence’s Light even while she joins more spirits into contract with her. Her actions seem a vulgar imitation of Her Eminence’s and I desire to know if we cannot upend the taboo of knowledge of spirits by making them kneel before Her Eminence.”
“Then you believe that spirits can be educated in the proper way of the world through Her Eminence’s Light?”
“Yes, Your Excellency.”
“Yet your report from the most recent Lucifalz mission you partook of speaks of her devouring it and promising the spirits protection from the Light with the Darkness.”
Slowly lifting her eyes as far as she dared, Maye attempted to spy the bishop’s expression as well as the contents of the papers on his desk. Her lack of response was not welcome however and Verdant had to remind her that he had allowed her to speak.
“Do you not have an answer for your actions Sister?”
“No, Your Excellency! Rather I believe the heretic foolish in contracting herself with the spirits and am sworn to retrieve that Light which has been misused. Should the heretic misuse or attempt to smother Her Eminence’s Light then it is my duty to retrieve it from her. I would rather guide her back to the proper path and learn if at least some spirits can be led to the path as well, but as I am…”
“You require power.”
Exhaling slowly, Verdant returned quiet to the room if only for a moment. When he spoke next, it was with a strangely inviting tone.
“Sister, you take your duties seriously even as you fear that you are no longer worthy of wearing the cloth. Yet you seek to be blessed by Her Eminence in that you might continue to serve her. I wonder who it is who has so shaken your faith.”
Unsure if that was supposed to an invitation to answer, Maye held her tongue. Admitting that she was not certain or that she might blame Squawk, a Pilgrim of Atheaeldre, seemed more foolish than staying quiet and made her silence easier to manage. Here decision appeared to be correct as well as Verdant continued without chastising her.
“I wonder, have you not in your travels aboard this vessel heard of the Knight Prince?”
“He is known to me Your Excellency. It is said he wields a sword of Light that yields to no foe.”
“It is a Light given to him by Her Eminence Herself.”
Maye knew that she spoke out of turn, but she could not help herself. Scripture stated that Cardinal had not descended to the Face of Icarus from Ambrosia since she bequeathed her followers with the Light of Hope to vanquish the dark god of the Foreigners from which the trees of Light derived their name; Lucifalz. Her surprise could be read as a lack of faith however and Verdant used it to mold Maye’s thoughts to his whims.
“Do you doubt Sister? It was in the very city I oversee that she descended from Ambrosia on high and all who have met the Knight Prince know he is possessed of her touch.”
“My apologies Your Excellency! I do not know why my faith is so frail. Perhaps my belief that I am no longer worthy to wear the cloth is more than my belief alone.”
“You need not keep worrying Sister. You have been blessed by Her Eminence even before the ceremony to make you a Sa·B·er.”
Again, Maye spoke out of turn, but she could not help it as Verdant’s tone became compassionate and understanding. He did not even possess a hint of irritation as he responded to her questioning tone
“Before you is a man who has seen Her Eminence’s Light pierce the Darkness that fills the heretic you seek to follow in protection of the Light. No less I am here to baptize you anew in Her Light. But like you, I too am responsible for assuring that mankind stays upon Her path. Together we can even begin the salvation of the heretic while positioning you to save the Light she holds should she fall too far. We need only help each other, and you will not only be able to overcome the greatest test of your faith yet, but you will be tasked with the most sacred of duties; to protect Her Eminence’s Light.”
Copyright © 2019 Joshua D Tarwater