Characters in this post
View character profile for: Joseph Lithwick
View character profile for: Sunder
View character profile for: Jeke Kerron
View character profile for: Belmae 'Bel' Ash
View character profile for: Chris Van Binsul
View character profile for: Saige
View character profile for: Caspian
View character profile for: Sister Octavia Stonewall
Churches Cross Paths Pt.1
Joint post with Thaen, Enderslayer and myself
The carriage wheels rattled against the cobblestoned streets of Osilon. The distant call of gulls that flew over the harbour. Seated in the plush interior were three members of the High Church of Sarnia. Chris Van Binsul sat in the rear facing seat, still pouring over the notes from the prior capture of the Tri-Lords, seated across from him was his right hand Caspian who was studying two small scorched trinkets that one of his moles had given him. Something found in the rubble of the attack on the warehouse. Symbols of two well known churches. One of the High Church of Sarnia, and the other of The Church of the Fair Lady. Seated next to him was a young woman, a heavy book in her lap, and a dark black long hood pulled over her head and covering her eyes. With each serious bump she tenses up after, feeling her body language Caspian patted the hand on her book with his free hand. “We will get you medicine once we stop.” he assured her, but his voice remained mostly monotone, cold and there was no eye contact.
Caspian cleared his throat to gain the attention of Chris. “Tell me. Do you notice anything wrong with this insignia?” he asked.
“It is burnished copper but the patina is wrong for one thing,” Chris answered, turning it over in his hand. “Those points there are not right either. It is of the older design we used decades ago.”
“Yes, like someone copied it from a book, no?”
Her eyes still fixed on the floor Octavia reached out and took the pendent from Chris. Running her fingers across the lines. “It was punched out.” She said, “Like a stamp, whoever made this was trying to fabricate a large number quickly and got the design wrong.” She pointed to a few key issues in the design. “Seems like it’s a message.” She added. “Either to signal to others who you are or the person who made them messed up for another reason.” She took the Fair Lady brohe. “This one is wrong too. The pommel on the sword is wrong.” she noted.
Before Octavia could ask any questions the carriage lurched to a stop, near a gathering crowd. The driver flagged down a man passing by, “What is the meaning of this?” he shouted to the passing man.
“Haven’t you heard? The Mother is giving a blessing.” and he rushed off.
“Did he say The Mother was here?” Octavia, “As in The Fair Lady?” She pushed up cloth that protected her eyes and nearly recoiled at the sudden influx of light against her eyes. But saw down a street a crash of people were gathering.
Caspian looked at Chris. “Do you believe we should make ourselves known? She may be a heretic under normal circumstances, however these unpredictable times she may be of some use.”
Before leaving the ship with The Mother and her handmaidens Belmae turned to Jeke and Joseph. “Our arrival was meant to be a secret, however being escorted by such an ostentatious ship was sure to draw attention. Be on your guard. The Mother’s life is your top priority. Wait a few moments then bring up the rear, watch our backs.” Jeke nodded and fixed how his sword settled, wincing at the bruises still on his chest.
The rest of the crew soon began to disembark from the ship, first among them Jeke and Joseph, accompanied by Saige. Belmae had gone on ahead with The Mother. Acting has her personal guard in the absence of Sunder.
Joseph’s symbol burned slightly, feeling something off. However he shook it off and double checked his items. “Jeke, stay sharp.” He faced the crowd before them, he couldn’t help but notice a carriage not far off, where a driver had stopped, seeing an older man stepping out from it, offering his hand to someone else within the carriage. “Great, more people to witness the envoy, more assassins to watch out for.”
"Part of the fun," Jeke said with a half smile. He too was surveying the assembly with a critical eye.
Chris exited the carriage, his eyes locked onto the figure of The Mother descending from the ship. As much as the Church of Sarnia saw her as a heretic, he had no doubt that the false symbols were created to frame her. He offered a hand to the young woman in the carriage, “Ms. Octavia, may you exit the carriage? Caspian, we have a heretic to speak with, I have a feeling our demonic target had bigger plans, so we must speak with the Mother.”
Octavia shaking took the hand offered to her, and descended from the carriage. “There is great evil in this town…” she said, rubbing her left temple, “though not demon the hate they pour forth is the same.” she said, clutching her book to her chest. “I could easily become overwhelmed here.”
Chris grunted, “Most strange, perhaps it is best you stay here, however I have a feeling whatever is here has attracted our enemy, best to kill two serpents with one sword. If this evil is as overwhelming to make you sick, the demons could be using it as a mask. So many questions and not enough answers.”
Caspian spoke up. “Chris,” he pointed to The Mother in the crowd, “she is being accompanied by a different knight than usual.” he noted. “What do you make of that, could it be an issue for us? That man…Sunder I believe it was. He’s a threat, no?”
“He is, however we are not here to cause bloodshed. If anything, we are here for a civil discussion. Someone wants us to spill blood, if we are to truly prevail, we must win a battle of the minds. Let us go greet her, do not start anything Caspian.” He spoke sternly to Caspian, emphasising his command, before turning to Octavia, “Stay by the carriage, if needed, rest within it.” He gently smiled at her.
“No…no…” she said. “I need to be useful.” she osaid. “I wouldn’t be asked to have come here otherwise.” Octavia said. “My gift can help you save people…” she winced “so I need to be here.” Octavia figidited, knowing it was a thought she shouldn’t have. “I also would like to know if the stories of The Mother are true.”
“Very well, follow us then, as for the stories, it depends. The Mother was never associated with our church, and the name she has is simply a title given to her. I don’t see her as a heretic, only those who dare grant her such a title.” He began to approach the crowd greeting the Mother.
"And there are the others," Jeke said in a low voice to Joseph, nodding to them. "Now the real fun begins."
Jeke shrugged and scratched his beard. "Can't you see the daggers flying from their eyes?" Jeke kept looking around. "Rival religions."
Joseph grunted as the crowd of supporters for The Mother gathered tighter together. Jeke reached behind him and slid the peacekeeper off of Helios. However Joseph stopped him, placing his hand on Jeke’s, “Wait.”
Joseph narrowed his eyes onto Chris, “That’s Chris Van Binsul, he’s a radical of the Church, rather use his words than a blade. This will be a civil manner.” Chris gently pushed people to the side so he could pass alongside his companions, he approached the Mother, “A fine day, isn’t it Priestess of the Fair Lady. I wasn’t expecting to see you til the Summit.” Chris greeted the woman with a proud, yet gentle voice, “I am Chris Van Binsul, part of the Church of Sarnia, don’t worry, I come with peace, and my colleagues come with the same intent.”
The Mother gave a nod in regonisition, one hand resting against her chest, the other holding her staff. “I realise it is a great affront to your belief but I am called The Mother. The name from my life prior to being called by The Fair Lady is no longer mine.”
“I must apologise beforehand, but I sadly can’t call you that, due to religious reasoning. I do hope you understand. Is priestess acceptable for you?” Chris questioned the woman, keeping an eye on Caspian in case he showed signs of aggression.
The Mother shook her head. “I am not a priestess.” she replied. “If you have business we can discuss it without titles but it is an offence to me to be referred to as such. My name was granted to me by my goddess and I’ve worked tirelessly to uphold my gracious gift. I do not seek to offend you but that is my name.”
Chris held his tongue for a moment, “As you wish, Mother.” Surprisingly he spoke without a hint of venom, “If it what you prefer to be called as, then I shall call you as such. Where many of my colleagues are often blinded by their faith, I can see farther past the laws we created. I wish to discuss with you about a potential plot to begin a holy war between our faiths, and we suspect a certain collection of foes behind it.” He turned to Caspian, “The false symbols, if you would.”
“As you wish.” he said, handing the one he had and Octavia gave the other to Chris. Chris gently handed the papers with the fake symbols of the faiths to the guard, “We found these at an attack on a warehouse. Looks as if someone is plotting us against us. I wish to discuss more about this matter away from, public eye.” He glanced at the onlookers in the crowd, “You can take as many guards you feel is necessary for safety, in return you follow us to a private spot for discussion, and by the Goddess, I swear to you, no ill intentions will come from this discussion of ours.”
Belmae took the symbols and studied them for a moment, before taking The Mother’s free hand and placing the symbol of The Fair Lady in it.
“You said you found this in a…warehouse?” She questioned. “That doesn’t make any sense.” The Mother said. “We make these as a rite of passage into the flock. They are not made in mass, this symbol is all wrong.”
“Exactly. As I said, someone is planning on violence between us. I’m not asking for friendship, I only ask for your ears, I come to warn you of a possible threat to both of our faiths. If we don’t see it, more bloodshed will spill when it can be easily avoided.”
Once Jeke and Joseph had joined the group once again The Mother agreed. “I will go with you as long as I might bring my three protectors as well as my archivist.”
“Four.” a voice corrected from the crowd as a man in beat up armour pushed his way through the crowd.
Octavia felt the crush of this man's presence nearly stumbling into the crowd. “Is…is that…”
“Sunder.” Caspian finished her sentence, “Correct.”
“I…he…” Octavia couldn’t find the words. “It’s like a tidal wave…is he…human.”
“Undoubtable.” Caspian said, “Or something close. Perhaps an elf, or half-orc. No one is for certain he’s never been seen without his armour.”
Chris nodded, “Very well, there is a small place owned by the Sarnian Church, not too far from here. We will go there.” Joseph narrowed his eyes at Chris, noticed something small that many would fail to see, he joined Belmae’s side, whispering to her. “He’s infected by an infernal disease of some sort. I can sense it.” Chris had already turned his back, approaching the carriage once more. “Caspian, take Octavia around town, search for any signs of our suspect, meet us back at Bray’s House. Understand?”
“Understood.” Caspian said, “Am I too keep a low profile or do you wish me to inquire around town?”
Chris silently thought for a moment, “Our enemy doesn’t want to be found, so make it seem we are not seeking them.”
“Come Octavia.” Caspian said, “We’ve work to do.”
As they departed, a ragged figure watched the two churches crossing paths, a sinister giggle rising from it. It’s eyes glowed with a swirl of red, black and yellow colours. “It seems our trackers have put aside their differences. I can sense the grand winds are changing brothers. The Dark Day approaches, oh how I can’t wait to drive them mad.” The vessel of the demons chuckled as they slithered back into the darkness.