Clovius and beyond

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Graybeard
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Re: Clovius and beyond

Post by Graybeard »

The innkeeper proved as accommodating, and the rooms as comfortable, as Ebenezer had said they would be. [OOC: Letting Therese and Desiree sort out sleeping arrangements as they wish. ;) I think the others are obvious. /OOC:] On the negative side, it would be at least two days before the next caravan left for points south. Maybe that wasn't so bad, Sister Rose thought as she and Argus unpacked; a couple of nights of rest and relaxation would do the group some good, and that would also give them a little extra time to negotiate passage, not to mention make some inquiries to be sure the traders leading the caravan could be trusted.

I suspect dinner is going to be twenty different variations on roast reindeer and potatoes, Rose thought whimsically, and her guess wasn't far off. In fairness, the meat was surprisingly tender, and the vegetables (potatoes served on a leafy green that she didn't recognize) had an interesting, fragrant spice on them that must have come from somewhere to the south; brought by the traders, she guessed correctly. The wine was ... well ... a valiant effort. It did succeed in getting Rose thinking about that vineyard outside Kiyoka again. No doubt about it. That's how I want to spend the rest of my life ... with Argus. After a simple dessert of fruit, she and Argus went off to bed.

Dessert of a different kind was waiting in Tim's room, however. While the group was eating, someone had slipped a note under the room's door. It was on rough paper, and the lettering was blocky and clumsy, but the words were clear enough.

Holy Brother:

There are still those among us in Clovius who are faithful to Our Lord Luminosita. We need your help.

Matins at sunrise, beneath the clock-tower gate on the south wall. Come alone.
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Re: Clovius and beyond

Post by Alberich »

Tim did a double-take, then reread the note with a jaundiced eye.

Hello Sucker:

By your clothes you're an Orthodox priest. Obviously, then, you'll fall for anything if we just say "Luminosita."

Luminosita! Kindly walk into our trap.


Yes, that's what he'd thought it said. Hadn't Rose herself tried that trick on him once, lying about the patriarch to get him to betray Eli to an elf? That ruse had been so thin, and so far outside the mission, that he'd felt justified in refusing. This was something different.

Tim was angry enough, and distrustful enough of Rose, to want to deal with these strangers by himself. But he'd been charged by the late Father Amalric to attach himself to Rose's mission, and that mission was getting home to be debriefed, not sticking himself out in danger to be kidnapped. (The latter was Desiree's specialty, and if he ended up like Brother Dalton, with her helping to rescue him...he was quite sure he'd never hear the end of it.)

Besides, he was an officer and a priest, and he had not been vested with the power to depose Rose, increase the missionary presence in the Northern Confederacy, or get Veracia involved in a diplomatic incident that could lead to embarrassment or war. And even if the writer was on the level...it was not Tim's place to start promising support he couldn't deliver to the local Faithful. No. Rose had to know. And if the answer was "talk to them" then for certain he would not be alone - she'd be at a distance with the farsight spell, or something like, and maybe a trusty kobold hiding nearby.

He didn't hesitate. He shoved the paper in his pocket, marched straight out the door to Rose's room, and rapped on the door with his fist. This wasn't a timid tap that said, "Oh, please, if you're too busy fornicating I can hang around outside the door like some slimy pander." It was a firmer knock that said, "Church business." And if Rose asked who it was and what it was about, he might have to say it aloud. He'd start with "Brother Tim. I need to talk to you." If she asked why, it'd be "Church business," but he hoped she wouldn't. With luck he'd get her attention while she still had her clothes on -- assuming she took some kind of interval and wasn't just ripping them off like a whore in a hurry. She'd be irritated but he didn't care.

The conversation itself would be by mind speech if possible, or otherwise kept private; the letter might easily have been delivered by a servant or guest at the inn, who might overhear. He'd do what he could to avoid being spied on. But say his correspondent did overhear and canceled everything on account of Tim's actions. That was still better than saying nothing or slipping off to a secret meeting on his own authority.
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Re: Clovius and beyond

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It was a decidedly ambivalent Therese that went up to the room she was going to be sharing. She'd more or less pulled herself back together on the trip south, to the point that she felt rather sheepish about having been hand-in-hand with Desiree for much of that trip ... but, of course, her sheepishness hadn't stopped the contact from happening. And she had to admit: it felt good. Not just the pleasant sensation that one gets from physical contact with another, caring person during a difficult time. Good good.

Her pulse was just a little elevated as she opened the door, and she scolded herself for it. It's not like I've never had a lover other than Melusine before. (This was true, although her previous one, a boy she'd met while still a trainee for the Sisterhood, was ten years in the past now.) She took a deep breath, trying to figure out what she would say when they were alone together and "OH!"

Something had slipped past her notice down at the front desk ... namely that three females would be sharing the room.

"Uh, hi," she smiled weakly at Tamina.

-------------

Sister Rose was, in fact, still fully dressed when the knock came on the door, and was completing the minimal set of evening prayers that she still found appropriate. Argus was getting used to it by now, and had already climbed into bed with a yawn. She found that reassuring. I don't think we're going to have any trouble with differing religious views ... particularly since ...

The knock interrupted both her prayers and her musing on the future. "A moment," she said, heading for the door, but before she opened it, she put up the Empathy. As far as she knew, everyone in the party had turned in, so this was probably someone from the inn. A money problem? Surely there wouldn't be any issues with her and Argus in the same room; as far as anyone in Clovius was concerned, they were well and truly married. Some kind of trouble involving Ebenezer, perish the thought? Someone from the caravan?

Oh.

"All right, Tim, what's going on?" she said as she opened the door, hoping her voice had just the right mixture of annoyance and sympathy.
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Drusia
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Re: Clovius and beyond

Post by Drusia »

It's so nice to have a proper inn room again. I'm a little sad that I won't have one to myself, but both Therese and Tamina are good company.

"OH!"
"Uh, hi," she smiled weakly at Tamina.


I slip past Therese and Tamina and walk over to the bed. "Do either of you have plans for dinner?" I ask as I lay out a few things from my bag. All my nice clothes are rumpled, but at least they aren't dusty. I should probably have a bath before I change to get the dirt out of my hair. Then again, this town doesn't exactly look like it has bath houses. There is a water pitcher in the room. We're probably supposed to use a cloth and wash with that.

I start to slip out of my dress when I remember where I am. I turn back towards Therese since she's still near the doorway. "Could you close that? I don't want to upset the locals." I wait, smiling at her patiently. Once she closes the door, I can get on with my sad excuse for a bath.

-- Desiree

OOC: Since Therese has seen her naked before, Desiree isn't going to be particularly shy about this. She just doesn't want to tick of the natives if they think she's got a fiancee to meet.
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Re: Clovius and beyond

Post by Jack Rothwell »

Tamina had greeted the tall redhead with her usual cheerfulness, then busied herself unpacking her somewhat meagre possessions until Desiree had asked an important question.

"Do either of you have plans for dinner?"

"Oh!" She exclaimed. "Could go find a fish place! Well... maybe not... kinda high up for fishing... unless... there's mountain fish round here?"

The kobold had politely turned her head while the half-elf was getting undressed. It wasn't that her kind were particularly squeamish about nudity; living in a tropical climate enforced a rather breezy dress-code after all. It was more of a cultural thing she'd picked up from the humans and, besides, it was more entertaining to watch the lust/love struck human in the room's reaction at the Priestess' disrobing.

If things happened to take a romantic turn, well... hunting for fish was something that could be enjoyed both in a group and as a solo activity.
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Re: Clovius and beyond

Post by Alberich »

The corridor was empty, so Tim felt safe in slipping the note to Rose surreptitiously. He said aloud, "Good evening." With the mind speech he thought to her --

Someone sneaked this under my door while we were at supper. Maybe a servant or guest at this inn. To me it feels like a trap. But it's Church business whether it is or not. We ought to talk about it.
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Re: Clovius and beyond

Post by Graybeard »

[OOC: Uh, I thought the group already had dinner at the inn, consisting of reindeer and potatoes ... but maybe it was just Argus and Rose that did that, and optionally also Tim. No big deal. So to continue:]

Therese gulped audibly as Desiree peeled out of her clothes. By the Five Great Mothers, she's beautiful. "Uh, dinner would be just fine," she finally got out. "Let me just -- clean up a little too."

She kept her own clothes on while she cast the Hygiene spell she'd learned on the trip. This was just as well; her apparel was starting to get a little ... moist ... in some places.

----------

Sister Rose frowned as she studied the note. "I think it's legitimate," she eventually said aloud; mind-speech seemed unnecessary in this setting (not to mention that there were nuances to convey, and observe, that could only be addressed orally). "This is an agricultural community, and there will be more regular people up at sunrise than bad guys. If they were calling you to a secretive session of Last Prayers tonight, I'd be nervous about it, but not Matins."

She handed the note back to Tim, but not before she thought of something else. "If you do go, of course we'll keep an eye on proceedings from a distance. But one other thing. Given how close we are to the old dwarven lands, I think there's a fair chance that their core beliefs, and maybe their rites, will be close to the Luminositan Scientists ... and you probably know that that's the one minor denomination in the church that Jer-- the Patriarch and those around him are most concerned about."

For good reason, because they are also the one that gets closest to what I am now recognizing as likely a decidedly uncomfortable truth.
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Alberich
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Re: Clovius and beyond

Post by Alberich »

"Well then," said Tim, closing the door if it wasn't closed already. "I ought to go and see what it is in the morning, but I'd be better informed if you'd take some time tonight to tell me about these Luminositan Scientists, and what they believe, and what it has to do with dwarves, and why the Patriarch is so concerned." The only thing he knew about them was that they'd provided the "truth detector" at Amalric's inquiry.

If the theology lesson left Rose too little time (or out of the mood) to fornicate and still get up in the morning to provide overwatch, that would be fine with Tim.
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Re: Clovius and beyond

Post by Graybeard »

"I ought to go and see what it is in the morning, but I'd be better informed if you'd take some time tonight to tell me about these Luminositan Scientists, and what they believe, and what it has to do with dwarves, and why the Patriarch is so concerned."

Sister Rose pursed her lips, thinking. "I don't know all that much about them. They're relatively common in the north, although we ran into one of their temples in a small town in south central Veracia earlier." She glanced over at Argus, now asleep and snoring gently; the trip had apparently been harder on him than she'd suspected. I hope he's all right. "Argus and I helped put out a fire there as we were passing through -- well, really, Argus did, with some of his earth magic, they didn't let me do much on it." A fact that still annoys me, as I think about it ... but it's in the past.

"Theologically," she continued, "their main disagreement with the Orthodox Church is in seeking natural, one might say mechanical, explanations for many things, rather than seeing them as either manifestations of Luminosita's Will or divinely inspired magic. Oh, they still believe in Luminosita's Will!" she hurried to clarify. "They just think that He exerts Himself through natural means to bring things about. That isn't particularly controversial, except with the more conservative elements of the church." Which may include you. "What got them crosswise with the main temple, not so much Jeramel --" who is too busy counting his money to worry about such things -- "as some of the people around him, is that there are a few facets of doctrine involving the church itself that they also think have a more mechanical component than Orthodox, or for that matter Reformed, doctrine asserts. The big one is something associated with the Festival of Departure." She looked up toward Tim's face, to see what kind of reaction this phrase was causing in him; there'd been a Festival only a few weeks earlier, the first one in several years, and some of what happened at the Festivals could be a little ... embarrassing.

[OOC: I assume that Tim would know at least a little about the Festival of Departure, which was something that Viking-Sensei conjured up way back at the beginning of the game, when he and I were jointly setting up encounters. If Tim has forgotten :roll: , a summary can be found here.]
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Re: Clovius and beyond

Post by Alberich »

"Theologically, their main disagreement with the Orthodox Church is in seeking natural, one might say mechanical, explanations for many things, rather than seeing them as either manifestations of Luminosita's Will or divinely inspired magic. Oh, they still believe in Luminosita's Will! They just think that He exerts Himself through natural means to bring things about. That isn't particularly controversial, except with the more conservative elements of the church."

Tim suspected that he wasn't getting the full story here. At his level such things made no difference - it was enough to be grateful to the Good Lord for creating the world, without inquiring into his toolbox, and the same with the other miracles he'd performed through the ages. Worrying too much about that was the way to sinful hubris -- to thinking that you yourself could fathom out all the secrets of the Faith, or the true meanings of the mystic passages in the scriptures -- and from there you could slip into heresy. Better leave that stuff to the Cardinals and Church Advocates, and concentrate on what really mattered. Like paying more attention to your vows and loyalties than Rose did.

"What got them crosswise with the main temple, not so much Jeramel as some of the people around him, is that there are a few facets of doctrine involving the church itself that they also think have a more mechanical component than Orthodox, or for that matter Reformed, doctrine asserts. The big one is something associated with the Festival of Departure."

"Which facets?" he asked. "And what's this 'big one' all about?"

Tim wasn't especially disturbed by the Festival, though it was just as well they held it more rarely than the other Church feasts and festivals. These were a part of life, a good way to keep the year from getting monotonous. People enjoyed the different celebrations, the costumes, the Holy Dramas,* the bonfires, the decorations, and so on. In a town like Umbertiel the extra license at Departure wasn't that frightening because what really kept people in line from day to day was their neighbors. If someone got drunk and groped a girl, her husband or brothers would let that fellow know what they thought about it, in an actions-speak-louder-than-words kind of way, and priestly smitings would be redundant at that point. The same went for most other day-to-day crime. And whatever you did on a festival day, you could be sure, everybody would know it the next day when the festival was over.

Of course, a few people saved up and went to the big city for a more riotous time, but even there there were limits, far stricter than other religious festivals in times and places Tim did not know...

[OOC: Feel free to recall your favorite NSFW Mardi Gras/Rio Carnival memory here.]

...but anyway, what he hoped was that Rose would be less vague about "aspects" and "interpretations" and tell him enough that he'd know what topics were best avoided to avoid an argument he didn't need. From his own point of view the important part was not promising material aid from Veracia itself - no one in this mission had any authority to do so - but if he was the first Veracian priest they'd seen in a while, staying out of theological disputes seemed like a good idea.

________________________
*Veracian equivalent of the Oberammergau Passion Play.
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