Kiyoka, Douaga and beyond

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Kiyoka, Douaga and beyond

Postby Graybeard » October 15th, 2012, 9:19 am

[OOC: OK, new topic to continue the thread with Rose, Argus, Desiree, Tim, etc. The locale of Douaga has been mentioned previously -- hope this isn't too much of a hint as to where things might be going involving the kidnapped Brother Dalton...]

Sister Rose was up with the sun, as usual, and joined a small mob of other priests and nuns in the temple's extensive gardens for her morning prayers.

It had been a comfortable enough night, given the starkness of the cloister, but a -- lonely one. It didn't make me long to get used to waking up next to Argus, did it? she thought. Well, unfortunately, the forms had to be observed here, not to mention the fact that the beds in the cloister were barely spacious enough for one person, let alone two.

The garden was thoughtfully laid out, with numerous private niches where individual priests and nuns could find solitude. Most of these, she noticed, were already occupied by the time she went outside, primarily by young men and women who couldn't have been far beyond their ordination. She shook her head at their ability to get up and at it at such an early hour, thinking that she'd been like that once, but no more. Gettin' old, girl...

She banished that thought and prepared to settle into a niche, but before she could get started, she noticed Tim heading in her general direction. (Speaking of young, devout priests, she thought.) However, there was something odd about his gait as he approached his own niche. She decided that her prayers could wait a minute or two, and moved to intercept him.

"Is something wrong?" she asked in as low a voice as she could manage.
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Re: Kiyoka, Douaga and beyond

Postby Alberich » October 15th, 2012, 3:56 pm

"Yeah," said Tim with a slight gasp in his voice, not disrespectfully. "Bit of a scourging. That Brother Fabian's strong." Of course, he could heal himself and end the pain, but that would miss the whole point of a scourging or a smiting. And Tim tried to play these things straight.

Rose looked an obvious question at him. And he replied to that look, "Ah. Yes. There's no trouble for our mission. But better report..."

First he gave a quick account of the Tsuirakuan "disciples," and their maneuverings in the city. He thought it strange, and laughable, that they were being so surreptitious in observing a group that wasn't doing anything sneaky or suspicious. He was pretty sure they came from the Tsuirakuan board member, and didn't think it would make the slightest difference, but it sounded like something Rose ought to know. The rest of the afternoon he summed up as best he could -- the boisterous Tsuirakuan lads, the Veracian drunkards he'd hustled away -- but she was still looking that question at him.

"So, anyway, Desiree wanted to go dancing - and I had to tell her I didn't know about any dances being held today, and that we don't encourage dance halls, because of what they turn into. But the girls wanted to practice some steps from each other's countries, so I said, let's go someplace quieter. Came back here. Less public. I borrowed a pennywhistle. And they were having a good time 'til one of the Sisters came in and said it's quiet time in the cloister.

"So I went to see Father Pincus, to ask if there was another place, and he said he had a better idea - bring them to his office, and he'd rope them into storytelling, pass the time 'til everyone got tired, and there'd be no displays that could bring any embarrassment. He also got a nun for an extra witness...so it happened that way...

"Well, anyway, Desiree went first. With gusto. But the story she told wasn't for modest ears. And she wouldn't take a hint...kept going into cut-away clothes, unnatural carnal knowledge, all that sort of thing...no matter how Father Pincus looked or hinted these weren't our ways, she just kept it up. Seemed to be enjoying it. So finally it was over and we were all tired. And he held me back. And asked me if I'd instructed these foreign ladies in our mores and how to conduct themselves in polite company. Which I hadn't. My responsibility. So - I got lined up for a scourging."

Really at this point he ought to stop. He knew that Rose (and Brad) would side with an elf bully over him -- and Rose seemed to have low enough regard for him, to put his own oath of celibacy at risk so that she could break her duty of chastity. (If Argus told true.) Complaining about anything was unlikely to help him. But he was hurting enough and burning enough that his tongue got looser than usual. And there wasn't anyone else to talk to.

"Does she really not know what modesty is? Or does she just not care? When we went to that hell-hole up north, we had to adjust" -- he remembered being embarrassed by a surprise getera, and the noseless man stifling his laughs -- "Why is it these half-elves, elves too, ignore our ways, but we have to bend to theirs?" -- he remembered Eli calling his countrymen "peasants," and Drusia shoving him with a boot to his back while Brad and Rose sided with her -- "And if they can't or they won't even try...when can we get them out of our country?"

There. He'd said it. Now he'd face the consequences. He was going a little red at the thought.
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Re: Kiyoka, Douaga and beyond

Postby Graybeard » October 15th, 2012, 5:10 pm

Sister Rose heard Tim out, not without a fair measure of sympathy. Desiree's ways, she knew, could be -- challenging for those of an Orthodox, strict worldview. (Luminosita's Nethers, she had enough concerns with them herself.) Anfisa's would be similarly hard to reconcile with the Veracian way of life. She was a little surprised at the implication that Therese was part of the problem, rather than part of the solution; the red-headed woman had struck her as discreet, reserved, and sensitive to cultural nuance in a way few could manage. However, she was also in a minority in that little band.

"Walk with me," she said softly when he was done, and they found a wing of the garden that wasn't too populated with priests and nuns doing the morning prayers. They found a bench and sat to talk.

"There's one thing you need to remember, Tim," she said. "When two cultures collide, the one that temporarily makes allowances, to accommodate the other for the duration of the collision, isn't showing weakness, it's showing strength. It's showing that that culture is strong enough to accommodate the weakness of the other one, and still maintain what it holds dear, once the blustering and posturing stops. It's easy to lose sight of that: when we're dealing with the Northern Confederacy and Farrel and --" she caught herself before saying Snamish -- "Desiree's people and others like them, we are the strong ones, culturally and spiritually." (A listener might have noticed that she didn't include Tsuiraku in that list.) "Pincus may not get that. It's important that others do, who are going to be more of the future of our Church." Was that a broad enough hint?

"As for getting those three out of here," she continued, "I've been thinking about that myself. I promised some dear friends back in Kiyoka that I'd preside over their weddings, right before the Festival of Luminosita's Tears, under a month from now. I think, after we finish up here, I can get a week's leave or so, to go back there and make the arrangements so that when the weddings come, everything will be in order. We'll take them along." A smile. "I'm supposed to be helping Desiree see the world, after all."
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Re: Kiyoka, Douaga and beyond

Postby Alberich » October 15th, 2012, 5:29 pm

Tim was pleasantly surprised that he wasn't getting another tongue-lashing. He didn't think Rose's focus on "strong and weak cultures" was right -- his concern was with souls, not cultures -- but did not raise any objections. Any hint that Rose was giving about his own future in the Church went right by him.

"I promised some dear friends back in Kiyoka that I'd preside over their weddings, right before the Festival of Luminosita's Tears, under a month from now. I think, after we finish up here, I can get a week's leave or so, to go back there and make the arrangements so that when the weddings come, everything will be in order. We'll take them along. I'm supposed to be helping Desiree see the world, after all."

Tim hadn't been thinking of "those three." Therese and Anfisa hadn't done anything offensive to basic modesty. They dressed prettily, to be sure, but the dressmaker was Veracian and the clothes were in acceptable bounds. And they hadn't told any dirty stories to priests. Maybe he'd better make sure Rose knew --

"Thank you. But is there any way to help the world see less of her? Our world, I mean. And hear from her. Or get her to rein it in while she's here?" Not his most articulate, but he knew Rose had the idea. "I should say...the other girls, they weren't like that. They behave themselves. At least in public." Which was what mattered. He knew he couldn't convert these heathens to piety. He just didn't want them converting the Faithful to sensuality.
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Re: Kiyoka, Douaga and beyond

Postby Drusia » October 15th, 2012, 10:14 pm

OOC: I can't remember the sleeping arrangements, but I seem to remember a comment about small single-bed cells, so I'm going to assume that Desiree slept alone. If Anfisa decided to share a room (and leave her own empty), or if I am misremembering, then that's fine - I'll try to leave things vague. /OOC

I rise early, a bit stiff. These beds weren't made for comfort.

After getting dressed, I take a short walk around the grounds. Is... that the sound of someone being whipped? How... unpleasant.

I don't suppose there's anywhere to get a massage. Actually, I bet Anfisa could give me one. Hm. Maybe not here, though. I'm not sure where... we can't be here much longer. Can we?

I head off looking for some breakfast. Hopefully answers will follow.

-- Desiree
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Re: Kiyoka, Douaga and beyond

Postby Graybeard » October 16th, 2012, 9:19 am

"If we're here for another evening, I'll have a word," Sister Rose replied sympathetically. "As for the Tsuirakuans, I'd say ignore them. The ones who were following you almost certainly work for Kitaura, you're right about that. If I understand it correctly, he's a big shot in the Tsuirakuan security system, suspicious of everyone to the point of paranoia. He'd be having us followed, and he'd probably have someone following the followers. But he's reputedly a straight shooter and he's not going to create an international incident by having his people do anything other than keep an eye on us. We can deal with him on those terms." Although I do wish I knew more about why he's interested in Blaise and the Convergence.

Then she turned her attention to the way Tim was standing. "You want me to heal that?"

-----------

Therese too was rising early. Although she wasn't an actual priestess of the Five Great Mothers, she was still their devout worshiper, and she felt a need to perform her own morning rituals. However, she'd left most of the accoutrements of her shrine back in the safe house in Goriel. Besides, it really wouldn't do to provoke a conflict here by setting up her traveling icons in a temple devoted to another god. She decided to take a walk and say her prayers in private, discovering quickly just how much her own worship practices resembled those of the Luminositans who were praying in the garden. Maybe they weren't so different after all. Or maybe not.

She was about to settle into her own prayer niche when she noticed Desiree, also out for an early morning walk ... and her prayers were put on the back burner for a moment. "Good morning. Did you sleep well?" she asked with uncharacteristic shyness as the priestess of Anilis drew near. The sunlight was still at the reduced levels of dawn, but it more than sufficed to reveal a slight blush to her cheeks.
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Re: Kiyoka, Douaga and beyond

Postby Alberich » October 16th, 2012, 10:58 am

Tim shook his head. "That would defeat the point," he said. "I'll be all right for the hearing."

He'd heal himself if he had to - but the pain had already dulled somewhat, as pain will. His hidden skin wouldn't look too pretty for a while, but that was simply part of life. He gave Rose a look that asked if that was all -- and if it was, he meant to perform his morning devotions in the usual way.
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Re: Kiyoka, Douaga and beyond

Postby Graybeard » October 16th, 2012, 12:55 pm

Sister Rose shook her own head in reply. "As you wish." But her own thoughts on the matter were ambivalent, to put it mildly. There was a faction within the Orthodox Church [OOC: based on real life -- I live near one of the main centers of this practice -- /OOC] that took the mortification of the flesh to altogether excessive extremes, or so she thought. Surely Tim couldn't be heading in that direction, could he? Well, it was really none of her business, and she didn't pursue the subject.

"Let's do our prayers, then," she said, and prepared to do exactly that. However, she once again noticed something that caught her attention: hatchet-faced Father Amalric was also coming into the garden to pray. He glanced at the two with a facial expression that might have fit on the face of a great beast of prey stalking its next victim, but passed wordlessly by on the way to his own niche.

As if I'm going to be able to concentrate on the rites after that... Rose thought.
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Re: Kiyoka, Douaga and beyond

Postby Alberich » October 16th, 2012, 7:08 pm

Tim completed his devotions. The lingering pain was at first a distraction, but soon merged into his prayer as a part of it, as part of his resolution to live better in the future. He was by no means a flagellant, but he knew the pain, both when the blows were delivered and afterwards, had a purpose, even when it was inflicted on him. Without false modesty or exaggeration, he knew he was good enough to heal himself even during a scourging, and feel precious little pain from the whole ordeal - but then his soul would not be purged, and he would not have been honest with the confessor.

He rose, refreshed, and resolved to do his duties. And as he took the long route out of the garden, admiring it, he saw the three young ladies -- for Anfisa had just joined the others. Here was a chance to test his resolve. Rose had promised to spare him the embarrassment and talk to Desiree herself if they were staying longer. But what about the hearing itself? If she really didn't know - there was a breeding-ground for trouble, and this time it might sweep in Rose.

So, mustering his nerve, he approached the three of them. "Ah. Ladies. A moment. Please." He spoke softly. "Abooout...being here. This temple. The hearing. Veracia. Anywhere. Our customs, our ways, how we are -- " Steel yourself, man. You're a priest and you're in your own country!

The words gushed out a little faster. "What I'm trying to say is - it's very, very bad manners here to talk forward. Forwardly. About...conjugal acts, things like that. In detail. Espeeeecially when it's - strange. Like women and women. Or beasts. Where you're from, it's maybe polite. Here it it's not polite. Especially in polite company. Like priests and all. And also in public." He spread his hands. "Don't. Modesty matters here - like in dress and also in talk - so we cover our speech the way we cover our bodies. I'm sorry I didn't tell you before." It was easy to see he was embarrassed only about his own failure, and not about his country's ways, for which he would make no apologies at all.

"Anyway, I've been punished for it. Please don't. At the hearing. If it comes up. Just don't. Also after that. Better for everyone - and Rose included."

He was ready to go - but he wouldn't turn his back 'til he saw if they had something to say. All right, so he was a little tongue-tied. But he'd said it.

Anfisa was good at keeping a straight face, but Desiree could tell there was laughter underneath.
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Re: Kiyoka, Douaga and beyond

Postby Graybeard » October 16th, 2012, 11:34 pm

Now alone, Sister Rose decided on a little subterfuge.

Using her prayers for cover, she put up her Empathy spell, then arose and headed in the direction she'd seen Father Amalric heading. There were a few priests and nuns along the way whose emotional state she could have probed superficially with the spell, but she didn't bother; ability to cast the thing, in her view, did not give her a blanket license to snoop. Soon enough she found where the hatchet-faced priest from Gervasiel was kneeling, apparently deep in a meditative state.

Wow.

She continued quietly on her way, very much of two minds on what she'd learned. The good news was that contrary to her expectations, the man didn't seem to feel inclined to hate the group that he would be questioning. The bad news ...

He knows something about the Blaise business, something more than I do. Something I very much wish I knew too ... I think. And something that he's terrified about having come to light.

She was still trying to sort out the weirdly conflicting mass of feelings she'd picked up from Amalric as she went back into the cloister to wake Argus.
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