Aug. 3rd, 2012

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She welcomed each of them into the small stone chapel. She had expected the Shadows to look more nervous.

She drew calm and peace around herself like a blanket; she would be needing it. She turned around and looked out at the half-dozen Damned assembled.

"So Sayeth the Monachus: As God is king of all the Universe, so is the Prince in his Domain. He rules by God's obeyance, and it is only God who gives that authority. But in giving, he also takes. The Prince is no God: he follows the laws set forth by Longinous and the Traditions. He is both a Prince and a Slave. He is first amongst the damned, and his word is law. He is a slave to the laws of God. Woe betide the Prince who breaks those Laws, for while we are all Damned, he who breaks the laws and claims the power of Prince will fall, his blood to be turned to dust in God's eyes.

"This is the word of the First Student and the wisest of the Damned. Amen.

"You might wonder why I choose to read these words of the Monachus tonight in Providence, where Prince Carver has held Praxis for over a year."

"I read them because tonight is Saint Delilah's Night. Tonight is a night to remember what it is like to have a Prince that will not act as the Monachus teaches.

"Harmon Scofield was infamous. Hundreds and hundreds of years ago, as a young neonate on another continent, I heard stories of him. I heard of how many Kindred fell to ash under his saber, of the Carthian Brother he cut in two pieces with one blow. Even before he was Prince, he was more terrifying than any Hound. Harman Scofield, it was told, had killed werewolves--plural--by himself.

"As Prince, he began a campaign of hate against the Lancea Sanctum, threatening the very practice of Mass, and even the mere mention of the Testaments or our Divine Purpose.

"And no one would challenge him. For decades, none in the City of Carcosa dared. And then a Miracle happened; the priest Delilah came to that City and established the Monastery of Saint Rose.

"But to the dread Prince Scofield, this was insolence. How dare she preach the Word of Longinus! How dare other vampires listen! How dare they choose to believe that God has a Divine Purpose for the Damned! Who was Delilah to inspire them to purposeful existences, if they so choose it, when Prince Scofield was capable of the slaying of werewolves?

"And so, the dread Prince Scofield declared that all followers of the Church of Longinus had one night to leave Carcosa, and that the Monastery of Saint Rose would be burned to the ground. And it was then that Delilah was called to Martyrdom.

"Instead of fleeing Carcosa, Delilah went to the home of the dread Prince. Yes, she went to his very Haven! And there, she challenged him with those same words of the Monachus which all of you heard earlier.

"And as the dread Prince raised his arm and struck her down, Delilah called down the Wrath of Ammoniel and both of them burned.

"The nights we live in now are different from those in many ways, but remember well that such Princes exist even now, even though we in Providence experience quite the opposite situation.

"Tonight is Saint Delilah's Night. And because of the lesson of her Martyrdom, I take a moment to show appreciation for my Prince, Julius Carver, who supports and aids our Holy Church here in this City." She looked at the Daeva in question, acknowledging his unmasked surprise, and wondered to herself what that other emotion hiding behind it was.

She bowed her head for a moment to compose herself and be sure that her face would not show her curiosity.

"Mass will now be observed."

"In Duty to His will and our Purpose, we are Sanctified. We serve God with our Blood until our final Death." She held up the cup of human blood. "As the Blood of Christ awakened Longinus to his evil and his Purpose, may this blood strengthen us as we strive to keep the herd off the path to Damnation.”

"Come, drink, and know your Purpose."

And each of them came up to drink, most with faces full of resolve and eyes full of Purpose. Her Prince came at the end of the line with an unreadable expression. When he took the cup from her hands to drink, he did it with uncharacteristic gentleness.

She quickly downed all the blood left in the cup and put it down. She tried not to let any of them see the depth of the breath she took before she spoke again.

"This next is one of the sacred Ritae of the Longinian Church. Only those who are part of the Church may participate in it, though laymen of the Faith may remain to observe if they wish. If there are any here who would be anointed the Church, let that creature step forward.”

She put the cup aside, turned, and then let them all become able to see the large bowl that with sides cut out to look like flames.

And then she revealed the six silvered pitchers of oil one by one from seemingly nowhere until there are 6 pitchers.

"I have called the Faithful here tonight so that any who have developed great conviction of Faith may test themselves with the Anointing by Fire."

She thought of Faithful Lords, those Damned with Fortitude and Will, and poured the cedar oil from the first pitcher into the bowl.

"As we come together in Purpose this Saint Delilah's Night, we pray that our faces shall be writ with proof of faith in our Divine Purpose." She thought of Faithful Savages who were Damned of Beast and Earth, and poured the myrrh oil from the second pitcher into the bowl.

"We pray that our devotion strengthens us in the face of our enemies." She thought of Faithful Haunts, the Damned of Horror and Darkness, and poured the cinnamon oil from the third pitcher into the bowl.

"Around this Fire tonight, we prove that our faith is so strong it becomes as armor." She thought of Faithful Shadows who were Damned of Sight and Swiftness, and poured rosemary oil from the fourth pitcher into the bowl.

"Tonight each of we Brothers and Sisters here have a way to prove our faith in a trial by fire." She thought of Faithful Succubi, Damned of Sin and Countenance, and poured rose oil from the fifth pitcher into the bowl.

"Around this Fire tonight, we become more than the sum of our parts as we are unified in out Faith and our Purpose as Damned creatures." She thought of the Church of Longinus, the entire body of Faithful which was far more than the sum of its parts, and upended the last pitcher of citrus oil into the bowl.

Around this Fire tonight we are the Grandeur; We are Sanctified!"

Steeling herself against the Beast, she revealed a piece of flint in her hand with a flourish, and struck it on the side of the bowl.

As she called the Faithful who would be tested to come forward, a kind of peace came to her.

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kaoniki

August 2012

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