Thursday, January 26, 2017

Attending Church (super people)

[Part of A Family Matter.]

Enzie knew that, when it was possible, the cult operated out of disused christian churches.  They'd take down the crosses, replace the stained glass windows with their own designs, and pretty much move in without changing much.

It didn't surprise Enzie that Corv brought them to a church, the size of it did though.  Impossible to tell whether or not it had been a cathedral in it's previous life, but it certainly lived up to Ezie's associations with the word "cathedral."

Corv led Enzie through the building, to a side door, which opened into a room with more a business setting.  Chairs to wait in, a receptionist behind a desk.

"We're here to meet with Thomas, we don't have an appointment," Corv said.

"There's an opening at--"

Enzie took a look at Corv to see what had stopped the receptionist.  Her skin had taken on a green tinge, her eyes had turned an inky black that made made it seem there was nothing but void behind her eyelids, and she'd somehow managed to grow impala horns in a real hurry, even though Enzie was pretty sure those things were male-only.

The receptionist found nir voice and said, "Goddess!  You grace us with your presence."

"Why does she get to be a god?" Enzie asked.

The receptionist looked to Corv for guidance.  Corv nodded.

"When the Lady Corvida triumphed over our old god --her father-- she proved herself a more worthy deity," the receptionist told Enzie.  After a pause she added, "Also, she does not demand human sacrifice of us."

"I can see how that would be a plus," Enzie said.

"I do not particularly like being called a god or a goddess," Corv said, her form returned to normal, "but their schism with the main cult has earned respect in my eyes, and I allow them their terminology."

"If you are willing to wait a few moments, Lady Corvida" the receptionist said in a way that made clear not waiting was an option, "I will tell brother Thomas to end his current meeting."

"That will be quite sufficient," Corv said.

* * *

"Lady Corvida," Brother Thomas said with a bow, "what brings you to me?"

"First," Corv said, "let me take a moment to admit that I was wrong.  You have done a great amount of good with this organization.  I was incorrect to tell you to disband your sect."

Brother Thomas looked shocked, humbled, intensely grateful, proud, and also completely speechless. Enzie guessed that that was probably a fairly standard response to having one's god say, "You were right and I was wrong; good work," to one.

When he found his voice, or at least partially found it, Brother Thomas used it to say a breathless, "Thank you."

"As to what brings me here," Corv said. "this is Enzie.  For some months Enzie has been seeking their half sister and half niece.  It has recently come to light that Enzie's half niece is my half sister.

"I want to know everything you know about the girl."

There was a pause, Brother Thomas blinked.  Then he said, "Nothing."

"Do you have any suspicions?" Corv asked.

"We didn't even suspect she existed," Brother Thomas said.

"The loyalists are hunting her," Corv said.  "It is imperative that I locate my sister first."

"I understand," Brother Thomas said.

"The prohibition I placed upon contacting me has been lifted with regard to this matter," Corv said as she placed her team's standard business card on Brother Thomas' desk.  "I want to be informed of everything you learn as soon as you have learned it, with only concerns for personal safety and moral action constituting a valid delay.

"If I am unavailable, any member of my team, or Enzie, is an authorized proxy."

"I understand," Brother Thomas said.  "Is there anything else?"

"When you begged me for a command," Corv said, "I commanded that you do good.  You have done well in that endeavor.  Continue to do so.  Keeping my sister safe from my father's followers is of great personal importance to me, however keeping any child safe from them would be of equal objective importance."

Corv turned to leave, then sighed.  "Aster and I are romantically engaged.  I assume your church will find that fact to be of interest.  Make of that what you will, but do not bother her."

Corv walked to the door.

"So we're going now?" Enzie asked.  "And we're no closer to--"

"We came here first because Brother Thomas is my most agreeable contact," Corv said.  "He is far from my only contact.  He is extremely far from my most up to date contact, given the schism."

Instead of opening the door, Corv extended her hand forward. From it and darkness began to engulf the door.  At first it was just a small amount, and only slightly darker than the area had been, but soon there was an inky circle, as tall as the room, which completely obscured the door.

Corv stepped through.

Enzie wondered if Corv could create darkness that wasn't inky, then stepped through.

So, I didn't want Corv's demon side to have remotely the same heritage as Desdemona and I wanted that to be visibly true.

Part of that is in the eyes.

Seraphim (fiery serpent angels) have six wings and I feel like if the wings get multiplied by three then other two part things could as well (e.g. six eyes, six nostrils, six ears...)  Somewhere, way back in Desdemona's family tree, there was at least one seraph (probably fallen), the only thing she retains from that distant ancestor is her six eyes.

Corv, by contrast, has only two eyes.  I had forgotten that I gave Des black eyes too, but hers would be a matte black that in no way were evocative of ink.

Skin color is also a big deal.  I had Des be red, so for differentiation I wanted Corv to be anything but.  The pallet traditionally assigned to (Christian) demon skin is very limited.  Black was most common.  So that's all "Woo! Unfortunate implications."

Chaucer associated green, not red, with the devil.  While deuteranomaly and protanomaly are definitely things, green feels like a good contrast with Des' red.

Des has no horns at all and does have a leaf-nose-bat style nose.  Corv has large horns, and her nose doesn't change (to the point Enzie isn't even thinking about her nose as he surveys her face.)


The earthly cult of Corv's father is more or less divided into two organizations (which cooperate with each other, just not openly.)

One is secret, thus has no public face, and is free to do whatever advances the cult's aims.

The other is a religion (tax exempt) that openly operates like more or less any charitable church and, besides the fact that they have different iconography, could easily be mistaken for a Christian denomination.  This is not an accident.  Casting themselves in the image of Christianity is seen as a little, "Fuck you," to God et alia.

From the outside, and from the lower levels, it looks like a good organization that helps people and . . . stuff.

Only when you are initiated into the first of the inner circles do you start to learn the truth.

A lot of the good works are for publicity, others serve specific agendas. The end goal is for Corv's father, whose philosophy is that the weak exist to do what the strong command, to rule earth by proxy.  There's a fair amount of death and violence involved in laying the groundwork for that.

When Corv utterly failed to be that proxy, and (temporarily) killed her father, that kind of threw the leadership into chaos.

What's a high priest to do when their God just died?

Most of the church stayed loyal.  Corv's father is a kind of being that simply doesn't stay dead.  Having a dead god, thus, was only a temporary thing.

On the other hand, Corv trashed their prophecy and, by defeating her father (with some help from her friends), proved in the eyes of some that she was stronger than the God they had been following.  So by her father's own rules, she got to impose her will on him and his followers.  That her will was a hell of a lot nicer factored in a bit too.

So Brother Thomas argued that they should stop worshiping Corv's father and start worshiping Corv herself.  This led to a schism.

When Brother Thomas came to Corv with his new sect dedicated to her, she basically told him to fuck off.  He refused to disband his religion and followers, but insisted that, other than that, he was totally ready to follow her commands.  She gave him fairly generic orders to do good (feed the hungry, help the oppressed, give shelter and clothing to those who need it, protect those who cannot protect themselves, respect self-determination and consent, stop the fucking human sacrifice.)

For those outside of the inner circle, the main difference between the splinter group and the old group is that the original group was working toward something.  They focused on a coming age in which their God would rule the world via his daughter and wash away all wrongs (which meant they didn't have to.)  The splinter group, on the other hand, is just plain working.  They follow said-God's daughter who chose not to rule the world and instead commands that it be made a better place, by its inhabitants, in the here and now.

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