whose pierced side flowed with water and blood

POSTED: Sat Jul 12, 2014 2:54 am


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The chapel was not a new room to him. Still, he took the room in slowly. He touched the empty basin where there was water. He walked between the pews and onto the altar. He ran his fingers over the dusty pulpit and stared over the empty pews. It was a plain room, decorated only with a battered crimson carpet and a single wooden cross. Its only literature was a copy of the book -- respectable, but not enough.

It was not often used, as far as Stigmata could tell, and in sore need of cleaning. Perhaps, with the layer of grime peeled back, the coyotes of Inferni would return to this place. One scent lingered stronger than the rest -- a woman, and young -- but whoever she was, it seemed she only prayed here. Perhaps it was for the best. Had it seen more traffic, he might have hesitated.

As it was, the hybrid bent to his back and removed the rags. The bucket was only a quarter full, but it was fresh water from the stream called Styx. The hybrid dipped his rag, and set to work. The pews were first -- it would not do to drag dirt from elsewhere around the room where canines were expected to sit. At least there was no scrubbing. Stigmata needed only run the scrap of fabric over the wood. It gleamed in his wake, though he knew the look would soon fade. Perhaps he could procure polish from Maddox.

He moved along to the stoup, which required only a quick washing. Stigmata did not partake of this ritual, and found it strange. The pulpit and came next. He switched rags, dipped it into the water again, and set to wiping the book. He did so gingerly, dabbing the cover, and set it back down on the shelf only after he'd wiped its surface as well.

Some might find the work boring. Stigmata found it calming. Coyotes could use this place -- they could worship, they could speak, or they could simply enjoy silence and quiet. Spirituality was a necessary part of life, and it came in many forms. In contrast to his beliefs about species, Stigmata was more forgiving toward religion. Coyote religion was valid no matter its form -- and that this place spoke of one religion alone did not sit right with him. Even if that was his way, it was not the way of all coyotes. It was less important, of course, for coyotes to have consensus on spirituality than species.

The hybrid settled down on the raised part of the chapel's floor. He set his rag down on his bag and pulled out his other implements. With the cleaned altar, the hybrid set about placing the candleholders and candles. Light was imperative for night worship -- and day worship, even. Light came in through the window, of course, but there was a leather covering over it now, tacked down securely. Surely, it kept the room clean. Stigmata fetched out his matches and sparked one with the utmost care. Dim orange light flared in the room, small and hardly reaching to the corners -- but it was more welcoming, more comforting, than it had been moments ago.

Stigmata retrieved the skull. It was a wolf's, as many of those along the border. It was not one he'd killed -- this canine, whoever they'd been, had perished in the city. It had been long enough ago that there were only bones left. Tucked away in a corner of the building, protected from disturbance by closed door, Stigmata found the bones of an Optime in good enough form to retrieve the skull in one piece. Mostly, anyway -- the jawbone had been split in two. Perhaps that had been the death of the wolf, in the end -- broken-jawed and unable to eat, they'd barricaded themselves in hopes of healing. Stigmata liked to think they'd suffered.

He set the ivory-colored bone on the altar. It was a fitting decoration for Inferni, he knew, but it was not all he hoped to do. There were other texts to fetch besides the book, and even his own literature to write. He thought suddenly of the pamphlets in the library, and turned abruptly, leaving to cross the hall. There were several of the little booklets. Stigmata took one up, his face set grimly, and carried it back to the chapel. He set it on the appropriate shelf, and looked at it a long moment. They weren't quite hidden in the library, but neither were they front and center. Easily overlooked, it was not the same as giving the literature a place here. Stigmata wondered if someone would remove it.

He did not think Inferni an especially religious place. Few seemed to broadcast their beliefs, in any case -- the closest he'd seen was the Harosheth woman. Her symbols might not even be spiritual in nature. Stigmata had yet to speak with her about them. He'd need to now, though, and include her in his place. She was not the only one he'd need to approach -- perhaps, though, the first and the easiest. Others -- he did not think they'd be quite so receptive.

Stigmata pulled the small jar from his bag. This change -- well. It was not so easily reversed as a cleaning, a pamphlet, and a skull. He took the brush out, too. The Civilis was not an artist. He did not draw, he did not write. He did have a steady hand, however, and he knew well the simple symbol he needed to make The hybrid opened his jar one-handed, spinning the top off with his thumb. It clattered to the floor, but Stigmatastepped to the freshly washed wall. He lifted his arm and brought it down in a wide vertical slash. The wall, deep gray-brown -- perhaps tan or even cream in another era -- had a sudden red gash through it.

Stigmata was careful not to drip over the pews as he painted. He stopped to retreat several times, ensuring his lines remained straight. When he dripped on the floor once, he scrambled for the rag and wiped it before it stuck or set. The paint was Luperci-made -- natural, perhaps more dye than paint, and might need touching up -- but neither was it water to seep through the wood invisibly. Despite his lack of artistic skill, it was a good rendition. He had the tattoos on each arm for reference, after all. They were the same deep crimson as the paint, on small patches of furless skin. Though they were many times smaller than the massive red star he'd painted over much of the wall, they'd served him well.

Civilis (NPC)
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Luperci Spiritualist Chaos Star
come & drink with me

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