A Matter of Faith

Faith

The capital city of the of Rynmere, here is seated the only King in Idalos.

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Kazmir Saelaris
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A Matter of Faith

Thu Jul 14, 2016 9:13 pm

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20th of Ymiden 716


T
he difference between the third province of Andaris and the lower two was the line between opulence and humility. Ancient architecture twisted and shifted from the living rock of the great mountain below, ancient bones echoing timeless adoration of god and country. Broad was the old moat, glittering in the high sun like the scales of fishes at market. A wall of water separating those of high station from the curios and indignant eyes of the low. High above the daily fray of common concern, these living gods mumbled in their ancient ivy crowned halls sitting atop their clouds and sipping at ambrosia the average man would never taste. Blessed were those who did not want, wanting were those who were blessed.

Paladin, despite the thin layer of cynical disgust that clouded his vision, could not help but admire the timeless beauty that unfolded with each new paved avenue and every high tower. Monolithic in its appearance, surely clever craftsmen would have coveted such a spectacle they had once created. Those divine halls hidden behind stout walls of granite seclusion, the crypt of royal decree was, maybe, the single most beautiful building the travel worn swordsmen had ever seen. And, perhaps, many who may have seen such equal splendor would be overwhelmed by such potent testimony to the kingdoms seat of power. Paladin though was not.

With each of the seven great towers that rose above, every one a spear piercing the heart of heaven in some belligerent defiance, each delicate fountain and well manicured garden, each drop of precious water that guarded and secured, Paladin ruminated upon the sheer cost of maintenance of such regality. The pomp, in some minds, may have whispered security of the nation into the ears the the citizenry. For what could be thought of a nation whose seat of power was unkempt or simple? But could not the same funds that kept that heaven-behind-a-moat be better used to the benefit of the people? Could not each and every family be fed, clothed and kept on such a price? The seat of power was built on the backs of the low...

Shaking his head, his wild mess woody and coppery curls came to life like dozens if tiny serpents. Paladin grew tired of the horrible beauty of the palace. Clicking his tongue against the roof of his mouth he tugged softly on the reigns of his white speckled horse, who begrudgingly tore his face away from a particularity juicy patch of clover. “Maybe,” Paladin mumbled to his silent companion, “...it is not all bad.” From his cursory explorations the people of Andaris seem content. Many fat and happy in their simple loves, adoring their daily grind and anemic ignorance. “Come Baron. We have other gods to witness...”

It was not for the bitter taste of royal decadence that Paladin had drifted this high above the city. But instead for communion with higher ideas. Turning from the bank of that dirty moat, the stone faced swordsmen lead his beast across the open roads and towards that gigantic home of worship that loomed against the back drop of the overcast Rynmerian sky. It was of strange form in his green eyes. Tall tiers tearing brilliant rents in the gray sky, thick buttresses wearing garlands of flag and flowers and gold, colorful windows shimmering in chromatic dances as they glittered in the silver sequins of a diffused sun. Massive stone guardians high above, their eyes locked upon the two dozen low stone steps that lead to the massive wooden threshold. At least the opulence here served the people.

Tying Baron's leads to a stout pole, the horse seemed to enjoy the presence of his own kind that other parishioners had left. Slowly, without hurry or fear, Paladin made the short pilgrimage towards the thick wooden doors, admiring the skilled reliefs depicting events and myths he did not know. Cabel had directed Paladin here after learning, in brevity, of the swordsmens fatigue of the Immortals. “The people of Rynmere worship men...” he said. “Seven gods, each a hero and noble. Kind gods.” Paladins evergreen eyes drifted upward as he ascended, meeting the glowering statues above the entrance of the old cathedral, before slipping silently past the giant wooden doors.

Past the threshold of heavens gate, the sight that unfolded took the breath from the foreigners lungs. Ceilings as high as the stars rose in smooth archs above, crissed and crossed by brilliant dark wooden beams far older than he could imagine possible. Massive multicolored windows, back lit by ambient sun light, told timeless tales of seven man gods that founded the kingdom on ideals of mortals. A cool breeze flowed, carrying loitering motes of dust and the sweet scent of incense, washing each new arrival in purity. But it was not the scents, nor the beauty of the eye, that brought the hairs on Paladin's neck to stand. But the singing.

From deep with the heart of the holy, words dancing off ancient stone walls like a delicate ballet, the chants of the pious and merciful bathed the swordsmen in the aura of mortal grace. With each ivory word strung on silver thread, each careful tonal shift and drawn note, the brilliance of the divine swept through Paladin's heart. And though the words themselves were not known to the swordsmans ear, the meaning was well understood. A beauty far exceeding the most ostentatious of palace, a nobility greater than the deed of any hero, a mercy more brilliant that any deserved, it was here in these ancient halls that Paladin once again was consumed by the Awe.

For a time he stood. Letting the monks words fill his ears and feed his soul. And though their gods might be different, and their philosophy irreconcilable, none could deny of simple purity of the faithful. Nor the love they had for their faith.

“Child? Are you well.”

Paladin's eyes opened quickly, jarred from his trance by the soft words of the elder man before him. “Yes. Thank you.”

The monk watched under furry gray brows as the warrior before him came to his wits, a warm welcoming half smile etched across his wizened features. “You are not from Rynmere, are you?”

“I am not.”

For a moment the monk appraised the travel worn warrior, unjudging and attentive his brilliant blue eyes carefully extracting great detail in brief moments. “You are from inland? The Eternal Empire?”

“How...” Paladin shifted nervously, his hand instinctively priming to unleash the sword at his side. “I am. How...”

The monk motioned to the sword handing at Paladin's side. “Don't fear. All are welcome in the house of the Seven.” the monk paused tentatively approaching the obvious, “Would not your Empress be less... welcoming?” Despite the question, the monks voice echoed with true concern.

“We... no longer stand eye to eye...” Paladins hand rose to his roughly shaven chin, wiping an embarrassing tear. “There is great beauty here.”

The monk smiled. “Would you care to walk with me?” turning, the old mans robes drew a thin eddy of dust from the smooth floors. With slow steps he did not wait for the swordsmen to follow, but instead left the option free for choosing.

Paladin could not deny. He followed the monk carefully, suddenly keenly aware of the heavy sound his feet made atop the clear lacquered floor tiles.

“Tell me Child, what do you know of Rynlism?”

“Little. It is said you worship men as gods. Adherence to seven virtues, each carried by one of the founders of your land.”

The monk did not break his pace as he looked over his shoulder. “Little indeed.” it was not an accusation that slipped from the old mans lips. Nor a harsh judgment. But instead it was sadness. “In some sense, worship may be too strong a word. The Seven are our... guides. They have shown us a way that we cherish. As a child loves their parents, we love the Seven. Their ideals codified in the Creed of Silence to show us their way.”

“I understand this.”
And indeed Paladin did. “Tell me more of your Creed.” it was obvious in his gait that Paladin began to relax. His eyes wandered the ancient monastery as he listened, hinging on every word of the holy man as a wonder eyed child.

They came to a slow stop, his gnarled hand gesturing wide towards the massive bench pew that sat under the exquisite stained portrait of Burhan. “That is quite a topic Child. But I would be happy to speak on it, to the best of my ability. The Creed of Silence is a document, handed to us by our forefathers. Its pages detail the Seven Virtues of Rynlism, as well as stories of the Sacred Seven meant to guide the reader unto a holy life.” from the folds of his massive grey-blue cloak, the monk produced a thick leather tome. As he sat on the pew, he placed the book atop his lap. Idly his fingers began to turn the pages.

“Is this Creed free to all?” Paladin asked as he sat beside the monk. The warmth of the chromatic glow behind was pleasant upon his shoulders.

“Of course. Though, with humility, we suggest that one studies both in private and under the tutelage of a monk.”


“Why?”

The monk smiled. The question was fair. “Though on the surface the Seven Virtues may seem simple, life is very rarely so. We believe that to gain the greatest understanding from the Creed of Silence, one must understand some nuance within its words. The best teachers of this nuance reside in these walls, as we monk have dedicated our lives to understanding the Seven Virtues.” the monk lovingly stroked the spine of the book.

“Tell me of these Virtues.” Paladin's tone was perhaps more demanding than he wished. His mind was hungry for the knowledge, heart withing to be filled with the acclaimed wisdom of holy men.

“Thou Shalt Discover. Rynmere, as is known, was a land found by the intrepid and curios. But discovery is not limited to the physicality of the world. Thou Shalt Discover the Creed of Silence, shalt discover the soul of yourself. The mysteries of the world all in all wait to be uncovered. “

“It is a good goal.”

“Thou Shalt be Just. Every action, every word, must be considered and weighed. Both to act in accordance of the Law, as well as promote a well being of the all. Only the most cruel and heinous crimes should be met with violence.”

Paladin nodded, “Agreed. It is a sad thing to ever have to resort to such extreme measures...”

“Indeed. But it's wisdom to know when such measures are warranted. Which brings us to, Thou shalt seek Knowledge. Some see this as relating but independent of discovery. To gather wisdom on a thing I not always to understand its being.”

Again Paladin nodded. “In my mind, perhaps the most important of all things is to Know.”

“You have the making of a monk in you,” the old man teased as his eyes drifted to the stained glass behind him. “To understand is sacred.” Pausing for a moment, the old man licked his lips “Thou shalt not Forget.”

Paladin shifted, his green eyes drifting towards the smooth stones below as his finger drifted across his blade.

Sensing the mans sudden comfortableness, the monk continued. “Thou shalt Conquer...”

“What?”

The monk repeated, “Thou shalt Conquer. It is the virtue of Warrick, our Patron of War.”

“I was a citizen of the Eternal Empire, I know conquer as a mother knows the hairs atop her child. Why?” Paladin swallowed hard as the silent cry of the Norn echoed through the great hall of the Monastery.

“To war is not to, itself be cruel. War can save lives and assure bounty. War is a sadness that is...”

“No!” Paladin stood quickly as the ghostly white raven landed were he once sat. “There is no virtue in war. No nobility in murder! The sundering of one life is to slay centuries of joy. War is cruelty by its very definition.”

“You misunderstand Child. This is why we monks wish to help others understand the Creed.”

“Do not twist words monk, there is no understanding the horror of war! It is madness of the mind, a sickness of the soul!” By now Paladin's voice began to raise, a mixture of anger and confusion ricocheting off the body of the stained window. “How could a faith so... beautiful condone such... monstrosity?”

“Child. Please calm. You are upset.”

“Tyrant!” the Norn screamed

“Yes! The awe which you so willingly shared was perverted by ideals of tyrants! To conquer is to dominate, mortals souls were never meant to submit! Our very nature is freedom!”

“Fool!” the Norn lamented.

“Domination is a strong word, but such is how we keep those we love safe from harm. Understand child, there are forces that wish harm, no?”

“Do not speak of domination!” Paladin spat, “Those are the same rationalizations used by Raskalarn and her bloody march to all consuming power! Do not tell me you worship mortals, monk! When I, as an outsider cannot see the difference between your man-gods and the monstrosities we call Immortals.”

“That is unfair,” the monks eye drifted past Paladin catching the off duty guard who's worship had been disturbed by the agitated traveler. Giving the man a soft nod, his gaze returned to the inflamed foreigner. “The Immortals manipulate and twist men to do their bidding...”

“Is that not the very function of your Creed? To control! Your cults of men are no better than the mad goals of murderous death gods. Raskalarn, Sintra, Faldrun, Chrien, Famula, Lisirra, each more cruel and monstrous than the next! Whores to their own arrogance and desires! And then your “Saint” Warrick. Part of this pantheon of horror inflicted upon mortals since the first!”

The monk remained silent. His faith was unshaken, but what did disturb him was the strangers conviction. The swordsmen spoke words that he, despite reality, considered as true as the sun was bright. A zealotry of philosophy and madness of mercy consumed him. The monk nodded softly. This child was obviously seeking something. Something which the Creed may help find. But such anger was undoing him. Perhaps, with another, the monk may have called to have the person escorted from the grounds, but he had sympathy for this foreigner. There was a brightness in the mans heart, a compassion which the monk had only ever seen in the most innocent of children. A thirst for understanding and kindness and mercy that would never be quenched. For a long moment the monk waited, carefully formulating his next words as Paladin waited, fuming.
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Faith Augustin
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A Matter of Faith

Fri Jul 15, 2016 4:25 pm

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Faith
Whilst there was no doubting that the differences between the third province in Andaris and the lower two were profound, they were something that the young girl saw from a different perspective. This place was as unattainable as any other to her, which she found to be entirely fine and just how the world was supposed to work. Those who sat in the high towers served as a reminder to those who were in Lowtown that life could, for them, be different. Each person, even the poorest, had the opportunity to live their life in such a way, to be in their place and to serve the best they could ~ and maybe if they did they would achieve, or be promoted, or grow richer. And then, their station would move. Flexibility, she considered. That was what they had, those who were born free. They had mobility, choices and options. She had none of those things, but she did not consider that in any way that was self pitying or concerned; it was how it was. Those in the high spiralling towers, in the places of richness and opulence were exactly where they were supposed to be, as was she. It was a strange kind of calm acceptance that the slave-girl had of her lot in life.

Taking her eyes and attention away from the towers and so on, the richness which was beyond most anyone's lifestyle save those few, Faith pulled her arms around herself. It was a cold and overcast trial and she could not help but shiver slightly against the chill. She was wearing, as instructed, a pair of old black trousers which were ragged and ill fitting. Her top this trial was a black vest, again old and worn. As her owner had told her to, when giving her this job, she wore her long black hair loose down her back, but tied back with a piece of cloth from the rags in the back of the undertaker's shop where she worked. This meant that both of her slave brands were readily and easily apparent to any who saw her. The one on her shoulder old and faded, stretched as she had grown for she had been branded at birth. The one on her neck, however, was much newer and was still a little red and sore around the edges. It was, at this point, trials old it seemed.

Still, she paid it no mind and the cold bothered her a lot more than the burn of the brand had. But she had a job to do here and so Faith had entered the monastary. This was a place, so Jamal had told her, that accepted the rich and the poor, so she would not need to ask permission to enter. Many places did not wish to be sullied by slaves entering them so Faith nodded her head and ensured that she did not forget this. But still, she would have to speak to someone, she knew, because she had a job to do here. There was a monk who was in conversation with another man with curly hair . Faith would not consider disturbing them so she looked around for another monk and there, in fact was one. She approached the young man and she spoke in her usual tone, a quiet and hushed one which was well suited to this palce, to libraries and undertakers. "I am sorry to disturb you, master, but I am here from Kash'deel's funeraly services. I believe I am to collect a body of a monk?" she asked and the young monk nodded "Yes, but there is not a need to call me master, child. Call me brother. Will you come with me?" he asked and Faith nodded her head "As you instruct" she said, softly.

She could hear the commotion that was beginning over where the first monk she had seen was talking to the curly haired man and as they walked towards the sept where the monk was leading her, she heard what the curly-haired man with the sword said. The meek slave girl, for such she was, was within earshot of the man and he was within earshot of her. So, to the complete stranger who was making such a fuss in this place of calm and worship, she spoke. "Master, you are wrong" she said, quietly and with a hushed tone, but edged with a steely tone to her voice. The young woman who stood there in clothes which were ragged and left her obviously cold, with two slave brands evident looked at him with piercing silver eyes which were so pale that they seemed almost white. "Famula collects the souls of the dead, and She teaches of the futility of war. She collects the souls of the dead and cares for them, be they warrior or child, elder or heretic. She symbolises service, souls and resurrection. Her teachings are that those who understand and accept their life are those who find peace in their death. There are no cults, She is far from cruel and, whilst your words are spoken in anger, for which reason I do not know, they are wrong and uninformed. You might wish to consider that your own search should be for conquest; namely conquest of your temper and tendency to lose it. You would be better learning of the specifics of which you speak, rather than shouting untruths in a place of peace, master" she said, firmly.

Faith honestly did not know what this man would do. He might strike her or kill her for her words and he would be within his rights to do so. She did not care, in truth, what he did because she would not allow someone to denegrade Famula so whilst she had breath in her lungs and movement in her lips. "Forgive me, Masters" she said to both him and the monk he was with. "I will disturb you no more" The young monk who was walking with the young slave (who he was considering was quite a feisty conundrum) nodded to them both. "This young woman is here from the undertakers for Brother Markus. She is to take the body away" he said, looking at the scrawny young thing and wondering, frankly, if she would be able to pull the cart with the body on at all.
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A Matter of Faith

Fri Jul 15, 2016 10:49 pm

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Tired eyes nestle behind gray mountains of fur, the old monk watched as the foreigner fumed in silent anger anticipating response as a fencer might ready for riposte. But the old man knew better. He had lived enough years to have dealt with such aggression many times over, and when no words were the best words, no words would be given. Instead the monk stood atop his ancient skeleton with a groan and placid smile as he allowed the swordman to reflect upon himself. The monk too would reflect as he allowed the sacred silence to fill the foreigners ears. What words would the monk use when words were given? What way could he aid the man in a greater understanding? The right words were paramount in this occasion, as the wrong may cause only greater distress to all parties.

"Master, you are wrong"

Those were most defiantly not the right words.

~Innocent!~ the Norn cried

Paladin turned as the small voice rose across his spine like steel wool, his green eyes as jade daggers ready to thrust and cut.

"Famula collects the souls of the dead, and She teaches of the futility of war. She collects the souls of the dead and cares for them, be they warrior or child, elder or heretic. She symbolizes service, souls and resurrection.”

~Tyrant!~ the Norn screeched as they circled above the waifish wight of a woman.

Who was this little thing? A child, or nearly there, with a soft/firm voice driven by conviction and manner. Her boldness astounding, considering few would have gull to approach any warrior so driven by anger. More noble purpose was found within her no doubt. Or maybe not. Regardless, her own estimation of, who was no doubt her lady, was flawed from the outset as the question for right remained unanswered. Despite his urge to interrupt Paladin simply listened to the waif, collecting her words as her god collected souls.

“Her teachings are that those who understand and accept their life are those who find peace in their death. There are no cults, She is far from cruel and,”

~Fool!~ The Norn bickered amongst itself as it swept low and dove once through the waif's belly and then again through her skull.

His anger beginning to drain, Paladin became a statue in his own mind, hanging off the child's word and already forming rebuttal. Life and death, despite what some may believe, were not opposites. Death was the negation of life, a mathematical inevitability which should never be welcome. If to be peaceful in death, why not self destruct? Surely the peace of death was more preferable than the chaos of life! And, in either circumstance of negation or reversal, surely death was cruel. If not to the dead and dyeing than to those that survived. Mothers, father, husbands wives and children. No. Death is cruel.

“...whilst your words are spoken in anger, for which reason I do not know, they are wrong and uninformed. You might wish to consider that your own search should be for conquest; namely conquest of your temper and tendency to lose it. You would be better learning of the specifics of which you speak, rather than shouting untruths in a place of peace, master"

Finally the ghost Norn landed atop the girls head, its silver beak tapping once atop her forehead. ~Fool...~ the Norn mumbled before taking wing again..

Untruths! How dare she speak of truth when she seeds insidious slanders against sanctity of common decency. The waif witch would know truth even if....

~Calm!~ Paladin winced. ~Learn.~

"Forgive me, Masters I will disturb you no more"


The monk's eyes widened as he watched the girls speech turn tight knots of raw nerves in the foreigners shoulders. Her boldness, though warranted, was the last thing needed in such tender discussions of matters of faith. A softer hand was required, if only to smooth a transition of knowledge from one party to the next. This is not to say the old monk excused such... belligerence on behalf of the swordsman, but instead understood from where his anger might arise. “Child I thank you for...

“As you wish, my lady.” Paladin interrupted. All at once the fires drained from his face, leaving behind smooth cool hearth stones in their place. With a soft bow at his waist Paladin ruminated upon his actions.

"This young woman is here from the undertakers for Brother Markus. She is to take the body away"

“Oh?” the old monk chirped before giving the pale young woman another once over. Perhaps the monk had walked too softly, the girls words obviously being more needed than thought. “I see. Permit me one moment my child,” the older monk said to the girl with a soft bow, “and we shall retrieve poor Brother Markus.” though the old man wished to be clear of this sad business as quickly as possible, his responsibility was first to his parishioners then temple business. “Regardless of faith, the young woman is right. One must speak with greater knowledge before making such challenging declarations.”

'Not if ones challenge is based upon not specifics, but a deeper denial of more fundamental assertions.' “You are correct, I have spoken in anger and permitted temper to best Reason.” Turning his head from the waif, the warrior rubbed a gloved hand across his short rounded jaw, the days old fur making a scratching sound as he did. “My apologies monk, I have defamed my self.” Paladin turned as his head to see the source of his thorough scolding once more. Whether she was Innocent or Fool, Paladin was undecided. Either way she possessed knowledge greater than he of his enemies, a knowledge which he would wish to attain. Returning his attention to the monk, Paladin adjusted his graying green tunic, “Of course you have given me much to meditate upon monk. I thank you.” his voice had changed in that brief moment. Force and fire supplanted by softness and yielding.

The monk smiled warmly, his own apprehension leaving as he watched the foreigner fidgit with his shirt. “It is why I am here... take this.” the scholar and holy man handed his old tome to the traveler, softly pushing it into his chest. “The Creed can give a great deal of insight. And even if you do not ever fully trust in it's verse, perhaps it may still give you some direction or solace?”

Without argument Paladin took the book, the Norn cawing loud as he did. Paladin watched the triad on take wing above, quite obviously angered by the imposition of false faiths. None the less, Pala suggested to learn, and that is what Paladin intended to do.

“Brother, let us see to our departed.” the older man lifted his hand waving his younger colleague and the worshiper of Famula to follow. “And you child.”

“Thank you.” Paladin whispered. Slipping the book under his arm the swordsman watched as the small party disappeared from his side, his attention not on the monks, but instead the waif girl that would follow them. A worshiper of Famula... perhaps that bleak death god was not among the most malicious of her siblings, but still acted upon rights she did not have. Who was she to determine who was to be collected, and by what purpose does she collect? Why? What good would it serve to take irrespective of value? And, though she may not claim responsibility for the killing blow, it was still by her inaction that those perished. Those with power are responsible for those without. That is why Famula would die with her siblings. Though, maybe, Paladin would spare her death for last. She needed to collect her siblings after all...

~Patience.~


“I know...” the warrior mumbled as he turned slowly towards the massive wooden doors, unready to leave the distant beauty of the chanting monks. With a few careful steps he rid the Monastery of his presence.

Inhaling as he left the house of the Seven, Paladin nearly smiled as the cool air of the cloudy day filled his lungs. The moisture had drained from the air, to some small degree, leaving behind a cool and crisp sensation on his face. Trotting down the steps he approached his bored horse. Baron hardly responded as Paladin began to shift about the small burden of satchels, sundries, and supplies. Taking a thin blanket from the saddle bag he folded it twice on itself then padded the saddle, making the firmness more welcoming to a ladies bottom. It was the least he could do, considering.

Whether the girl was correct about her god or not, and she was not, Paladin had offended her and defamed his self. An act of penance would be adequate, a small way to ease the thin woman's burden if only for a time. And maybe, should she forgive, Paladin hoped he could learn more of the lessons she had to teach. If only to gather information on his enemy, so be it. Perhaps the girl may have more to offer. Absolute certainty in any proposition was a Fool's assertion, even a proposition which was as fundamental as destruction of Tyrants. He would make room for her Reason in so long as it was sound.

Paladins gloved hand patted against the horses deep brown, nearly black, fur. It almost seemed the darkness was swallowing the hundreds of off white speckles along the beasts haunch and back. Untying Baron he lead the animal to the foot of the monastery once more. He would wait as long as needed.
OOC
I took the liberty of assuming Faith would have followed the monk at his order. Also, I hope the many colors of dialogue didn't get over bearing. I'm still trying to figure out the best way of concisely displaying the Norn and Pala's communication with Paladin, as well as display his 'line of thought' reasoning. This characters noggin is pretty hectic, heh. I hope everything came together... nominally.
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Faith Augustin
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A Matter of Faith

Sat Jul 16, 2016 3:48 pm

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Faith
The elder monk spoke to her and said that he would be a moment. Faith bowed in return and spoke in her quiet, hushed tone. Now that she was no longer defending Famula, she reverted to her usual meekness, also. Silver eyes lowered to the ground, she spoke "As you wish, master" and she waited quietly, unassumingly. The young monk with her spoke to her, just above a whisper itself, but enough that the older monk and his curly-haired companion could hear. "Your newest slave brand looks still painful. Can we help you with it, ease the pain?" he asked and Faith shook her head "Thank you ma... brother, but I am not permitted to accept such. I am grateful for the offer though" she replied. The young monk bit back a sigh but said nothing. His views were, after all, his own to have.

Then, the older monk finished speaking, gave a book to the curly haired man and motioned that they should all go. It was a great blessing, Faith considered, to be given a book; to know, to begin to know anything was better than ignorance in her eyes and she regretted the fact that she was not permitted to learn other than that which her owner allowed. But she walked behind the two priests, bowing to the curly-haired angry man and she went to find the body itself. She was led through to where the monks lived and ate, to a quiet room, a private temple she supposed, or prayer room. Certainly, the place felt tranquil. And there, the body of the monk himself. Faith looked at the two monks and asked permission, then moved and began to ready the body. She treated him with respect so deep it was reverent and after a few moments, during which she applied balm and salve to his eyes, hands and feet, she explained to them what would happen. The cart for transporting him was prepared, and she would bring it here, place him in it and then pull him back to the funeral home. The monks, both of them, expressed their concern for her in this, it was not a short journey and she did not seem to be strong enough (although neither of them said that outright) but Faith firmly shook her head. That she was to accept no help from the monks was something that she had been instructed most clearly, she explained. It was her job, her duty and her privilege to tend to this monk now that he had entered Famula's lantern.

And in the end, what could they do? So, as Paladin waited outside, it was not a full break later that the young girl came around the corner, pulling a cart. It was a wooden cart that would normally be pulled by a horse or such animal. It was closed on all four sides and had a heavy wooden lid, hiding the contents of the cart. Faith stood between the two handles, pulling it slowly and carefully. There was a harness-like tie around her waist which meant that she was secured to the cart and she walked with apparently careful steps. In truth, she was pacing herself because she knew that if she pushed herself too hard here at the beginning, she would not be able to make it back to the funeral home. But equally, she knew that she could do what Jamal had instructed, it would maybe take her a while because she would have to rest. Jamal would be in no doubt that she would do this as quickly and efficiently as possible, as she would, but sometimes, Faith knew, slow and steady won the race.

As she stepped around the corner, she looked up and saw the man with curly hair from the monastary and she wondered, briefly, what he was still doing here. She hoped he didn't intend on causing trouble because simply she could not afford the energy. However, it would be what it was and the young girl smiled and bowed her head to him. She did not speak but she smiled; it would not be appropriate for her to approach him and speak to him after all, not ever and certainly not after having.. well, she supposed she had told him off. But she knew that Jamal would approve of her actions there, because service to Famula was the most important thing of all and transcended the usual rules. So, already starting to feel the pull in her back and shoulders, Faith just kept walking.
word count: 767
"Every evil has its good, and every ill an antidote."

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A Matter of Faith

Sat Jul 16, 2016 5:50 pm

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I
t was said, by a once great man, that a life of service was a life of greatness. And perhaps that long dead philosopher was in fact correct. But service to what? To state, as Rethtrakirisk of Isilorn once postulated? To gods, who sit in their halls scheming in arrogance? To ones mother and father, who live lives half lived by extension of their progeny? To ones master, who may change hands like the passing of silver? To an idea, which oft perverted and impotent? No. No a life of service is a good one, but not in service to any one thing. All things. All things served and loved and cherished. This is greatness.

'Who do these monks serve?' Paladin thought as he studied the cold stone statues and flying buttresses of the holy land before him. Dead men and an easy life. For if they had true love for the common mortal how could they show it when locked inside their stone crypts? 'Till the land!' Paladin scoffed. 'Ease the burden of the people and free their minds to take wing above the clouds.' Not to preach of faith, of duty, of rigid edicts and subtle tyrannies. But to preach a single word. ~Mercy?~

“Mercy.” the mad mumbled, measuring each syllable with grains of sand. Some would say it was not his place to questions others' ideas. To challenge others' beliefs and gods and philosophies. But when the assertion was put forth, Paladin had but one answer. 'Why?' Who's place is what, and where? Who has Power to so rigidly control and affirm arbitrary codes of nature? Perhaps the long dead fathers of the Immortals, if indeed they were the creators. But even still, should not a child challenge a parent if a parent is incorrect? Perhaps Pala, if she dared claim such foolishness. ~No.~ The Lady of White Fires was not a Tyrant.

The swordsman shifted as the horse beside him pushed softly, making his dry calf tall riding boots creak in anger. Baron wished to move. To do as his kind did. Turning to his ward, Paladin eyed the beast for a moment, staring into the animals big obsidian eyes. All at once the man dropped the thin leather reins then carefully began to remove the hard metal bit from the poor creatures mouth. With one hand he loosened the creatures harness, as the the other firmly rubbed Barons neck. And though the saddle remained tight, the creature was now free. Free to do what his Reason demanded and Will begged. Free to join his wild brothers and sisters in their play and love. Free to bare spindly legged children on sunny wind swept plains, and drink deeply of wild pools lit by the infinite richness of a midnight sky.

Baron did not move. The horse simply eyed the swordsmen, remembering the warm waters of his baths.

“Why do you serve me?”

For a moment Paladin let the creatures Reason fly unbridled, hoping silently the animal would understand. But, as precious bits passed by, it was obvious the animal did not. Or would not. Or could not? Pushing his face against the beasts own, Paladin enjoyed the glossy fuzz and repulsive musk as he cooed supplications. Tiny trivialities. No words could undo the horror inflicted upon the animal, no thoughts shatter the irons of his bindings. It was such a cruel thing. Born of another Will and raised under Tyrants hands. Paladin would give anything for the beast to be free. He would give everything. For just one life, one mortal freed from the bonds that crush them so.

“Fool!” the Norn cried.

Broken from his thoughts, Paladin's confused eyes shot to the bird above. The sun had moved nearly a full break. At the second mournful cry of the Norn, Paladin followed their eyes to the those of the young thing that had chastised him not long ago. Despite the distance, he could see them. Like silver. Like polished silver mirrors. What manner of mortal was she? Human? Paladin had been told the Eidisi have similar eyes, though he had never met one. Their flesh was different though. Perhaps she was a half breed? For a long moment the swordsman continued to watch as the waif, bound to her burden like some pack animal, struggled with her load.

Perhaps what he was to do was wrong. “Waif...” the mad man mumbled as he stepped away from Baron and began the short stride towards the young woman, the horse following with slow clicks of looses iron shoes. Waving his hand Paladin squeezed a warm smile from his stony expression before a shallow informal bow. “Greetings.” the man began, uncertain of how to formulate his thoughts. “I... I must apologize to you. I was not performing to the standards which I hold myself to.” in stark contrast to the hot iron tones the swordsman had argued with, his voice now was soft. Supple. Like a flower that held a bee, it yielded only whispers of the same stinger he had once spoken with. “And for, I wish to apologize. An act of humble contrition and penance.” his words, far longer than was common, might sound strange to the ears of Rynmere. Betraying an almost staggered yet rigidly formal manner, like the words one might read from a book a century out of date. “Please, allow me to escort you, I will bare your burden for a time.” The tight glove on Paladin's had creaked as he waved towards Baron's newly padded saddle.

Gingerly, almost as a hart aware of a hunter, Paladin approached the woman and her wooden cart. “It would honor me greatly. Please.”

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"Paladin." "Norn." ~Pala~
word count: 965
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Faith Augustin
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A Matter of Faith

Sun Jul 17, 2016 1:54 pm

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Faith
Had he spoken to her about the philsopher and his words on a life of service, Faith would have told Paladin exactly what she thought, what she believed and why it was so very important to her. And the notion that one could serve everything would be dismissed as a nonsense, for so many things existed in direct opposition to each other. To be in servitude to all people meant being in servitude to both slave and master, and how did one achieve that? But they did not have the conversation although it seemed that, across the monastary the two minds were thinking about similar topics, but in very different ways.

But then, Faith was sure that they thought of service differently too. As a slave, she knew her place, her role. It did not mean that she did not question for she did. It did not meant that she had nothing to give to society, for she did. Why people did not see or realise that was something that the young woman found strange to her way of thinking. Because what they did not seem to understand was that she was content, she did not disagree with her place, or any such thing. She and Jamal discussed this on a number of occcassions, considering what people thought they saw when the saw her, and how it was different from who she actually was. They saw a pack horse, broken and trained and Faith did not believe that this was what she was - she believed that she made choices; of course this was a particularly clever aspect of her training, keeping her content with her lot in life and determined to be the best slave that she could be was an almost genius-like twist. Whether the fact that it kept her content meant that it was cruelty or mercy was very much up for discussion.

But, she tended to the dead monk as much as she could in the monastary, whispering the prayers to Famula into his ears. "Eyes closed, Famula is a mercy against the blight, no more tormented by heinous sight. Sleep safe and warm and do not fear, final rest with Famula is near." she whispered as she anointed his eyes. Then, his mouth "Speak no more of pain or death, closed lips have drawn their final breath. Rest now, soul, and do not fear, final rest with Famula is near" As she anointed the monk's chest, over his heart, Faith leant forward and whispered to him the final prayer for this stage "Heart stopped and still, no more to beat, your soul flies, blessed Famula to meet. Let go your life, and do not fear, final rest with Famula is here" she whispered and then she had wrapped him, carefully, in a shroud so that he might be transported. The monks helped her carry him to the cart and she left, thanking the monks for their kindness.

As she rounded the corner, though, and smiled to the angry man with curly hair, he called her. Or at least, she thought it was her. Waif he called and she stopped, silver-grey eyes watching him as he walked over to her. And then he apologised? She shook her head "There is nothing to apologise for, master" she said in her usual hushed tone. He continued, however, and she frowned slightly as she listened to his words. He was apologising for the way he had behaved, which he had no need to apologise for in her eyes. His tone was soft and even a little bit gentle, but Faith shook her head "Master, you have no need to apologise to me. You did not shout at me, you shouted at the monk and I am not worthy of your apology"

He seemed to be completely set on this course of action though, and Faith was left in a conundrum. "I am afraid that I have been given clear orders. I must pull this cart and can accept no help" she said, softly "I am very sorry, master, but my owner has instructed me very clearly" there had to be a compromise, she considered and she smiled at him hopefully "But your company on the way there would be most welcome, would help me to complete my task more effectively, I am sure. It would shorten the journey and lighten the load" she explained and waited to see if he would walk with her. She thought he probably didn't have people saying no to him often, but she had been given explicit instructions, and she would not disobey them.
word count: 774
"Every evil has its good, and every ill an antidote."

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Kazmir Saelaris
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A Matter of Faith

Sun Jul 17, 2016 6:21 pm

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"
M
aster, you have no need to apologize to me. You did not shout at me, you shouted at the monk and I am not worthy of your apology."

Erecting from his bow Paladin's square shoulders where like a great stone wall. A bastion of fortitude set upon precarious cliffs over white water oceans. Torrential rains and tempest winds beating and bending but never breaking the worn mosaic of stone. Though he was not a tall, only a head higher than the raven haired girl before him, the height of his gait touched the clouds. It was a soldiers bearing, a warriors manner. Soft steps and powerful presence the air of command hanging like potent incenses or the musk of a beast. An fortress that, in the past, men lived or died by. And, perhaps out of habit or some fools Reason of necessity, it was a presence that Paladin had never purged.

“I see...” the swordsman turned carefully and began a short march to his horses side. In brief he worked at refastening Baron's tack and returning the beast to Tyranny it preferred.

"I am afraid that I have been given clear orders. I must pull this cart and can accept no help" her voice was like feathers to Paladin."I am very sorry, master, but my owner has instructed me very clearly. But your company on the way there would be most welcome, would help me to complete my task more effectively, I am sure. It would shorten the journey and lighten the load."

Turning his attention to his beast, the foreigner eyed the woman once more, measuring her face with the precision of an alchemist. It would be unlikely she would yield to his request, which was well within her right. But was it her Will that bound her to her burden, or the Will of this 'Master'? Paladin nearly spat at the thought. The word echoing in his mind like a sliver of glass in ones eyes. 'Master'. “You injure me.” he said without passion. “Though I know it is not your intent. An act of penance is not for the creditor, but a credit for the debtor. It is not by what I owe you, but instead myself.” In that moment and impish notion passed the swordsman's thoughts. “But if you are intent on submitting to the Will of your... 'Master', I will submit to yours.”

With a click of his tongue, Paladin and Baron joined the girl by her side. She was branded. In his prior rage he had not seen it, though he did now. His stomach churned. Cassiopeia wished to sing. Cleave the head of the Tyrant from his shoulders and bath in the glory of his slaughter. And by the power of Pala the Tyrant would know submission to a Will far greater than his own. He would know the face of his girls goddess, and no doubt his own. A beautiful reunion! Oh blessed be the child birthed unto his whore mother by righteous hands! Damn blighted abomination! Carved from the land as a surgeon carves the cancer from dyeing flesh. Oh yes... the Master would be mastered... in time. Paladin removed his hand from Cassiopeia's hip, the blade staying its sting for the time being.

“Though please. Do not call me “Master” again. Paladin. Now in your service for your honor.” As any good servant, Paladin waited for the girl to begin the march to what ever hole her Tyrant of choice contained her. What ever sunless oubliette she was forced to dwell.

It was a Fools quest in his mind. A foolishness the knight knave would gladly accept. Though she may not yet know, could not yet understand, she would one day be pulled from the darkness of her fate to face the White Fire of the sun. And by the son she would know, one day, she was the slave only to Power. Innocent or Fool, or some chimera of the both, Paladin had a new quest. And come what may his own death or destruction, this child would be free. ~Save the Innocent.~

“Let us start on our quest?” Paladin said cheerfully.


OOC Comment: Seems I broke spoilers somehow. *shrugs* The original OCC comment here was:

Master of puppets I’m pulling your strings - Twisting your mind and smashing your dreams - Blinded by me, you can’t see a thing - Just call my name, ‘cause I’ll hear you scream - Master - Master
:P


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"Paladin." "Norn." ~Pala~
word count: 762
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Faith Augustin
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A Matter of Faith

Sun Jul 17, 2016 6:56 pm

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Faith
The man who stood in front of her seemed to be almost carved out of stone, Faith thought to herself. Like he had stood there in that spot and nothing would move him. No. It was more than that, she thought to herself as he lifted his upper body from the bow he made, it was like nothing could move him. She almost idly wondered what would try, what would dare. He was not actually that much taller than her, but she stood and looked up at him and Faith felt small ~ like he towered over her in stature.

He spoke only two words, explaining his understanding and then he turned on his heel. Faith, behind him, frowned as she watched him do so. She had offended him she was sure, and she did not wish to offend him, or anyone. He turned and attended to his horse and Faith wondered whether he did that because he was done with her, with speaking to her or because the horse was more important. She found herself hoping that he was not done with her, because she did not wish to leave it that she had offended anyone. And then, he spoke again.

"You injure me"

At his words, simple and clear and outright, Faith cringed slightly, she could not help but do so. "It is not my wish to do so, master, I am sorry" she said, her usually quiet voice even quieter than usual. She would have stepped forward to speak to him and look in his eyes, but she thought that he wanted her to remain where she was, she did not quite dare to move. "I understand, master, I do. That you feel that you have a debt. But if you do it is to my owner, not me. In the same way that, if he owed you a debt, he would not repay it to your horse or it's saddle" she realised that she sounded a little more intense than she had meant to, desperate for him to understand her reasoning. She was not being difficult, but... "You can not owe me a debt, I can not own anything. I am not anything." she explained. She was not intent on submitting to the will of her master, she wanted to say to him, she was his property, his chattel. As bound and harnessed as the horse he led, and probably worth less to her owner than the horse was to him.

His eyes moved down to her brand and Faith felt herself start to blush, like she didn't want him to see it. Especially not the one that was so very new. Her cheeks flamed red, but she lifted her eyes to look at him, not prepared to drop her gaze. It was what it was and she was who she was. She had kept her tongue but then she spoke, at his look and his hand dropping to his sword "It is not that I am intent on submitting to his will. I am his property. I have been a slave since I was born, this... this is the new one, but this" she turned, showing her bare shoulder where the brand was much more faded, paler and stretched "That was given to me at birth." If he did not know what that meant, well, that was how it was, but she had not ever known anything other than what she knew and she did not understand how he could not see that.

He did not wish to be called master? She nodded her head "Paladin. As you wish" she said, quietly. She started to walk forward, slowly and carefully pulling the cart with her and she was quiet for a few moments. Then, she spoke again and her voice showed the trepidation that she felt, the uncertainty of what she was about to say "You seem angry at my brand. Please, I don't want to be responsible for bringing trouble to my owner's door" she said and she tried not to sound afraid, but she was. Because if he went tromping around in there and hitting people or shouting or whatever he was thinking to do, then he would end up making Jamal angry and, without doubt, the one who would suffer for that was her. She did not mind that this was true, because it was right and fair, but she did not wish to upset Jamal and this man seemed likely to do just that.
word count: 757
"Every evil has its good, and every ill an antidote."

~ Rharne HQ
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Kazmir Saelaris
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A Matter of Faith

Mon Jul 18, 2016 2:36 pm

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"I
understand, master, I do. That you feel that you have a debt. But if you do it is to my owner, not me. In the same way that, if he owed you a debt, he would not repay it to your horse or it's saddle"

'He would not?' Paladin mused. For a moment he thought to lob and argument at the girl, but decided it best to let her assertion be. Though, the thought did cross is mind, why would he not pay to Baron? The beast, as a ward of Paladin, was thereby an extension of his self. A part of this great white fire whole. And, just as a tax man acts as extension of a tyrant king, so did could Baron act as extension of Paladin. To pay Baron, Paladin's own companion, would thus be to pay debt to Paladin... granted forms of payment would differ greatly. Where as the man would take coin or property, Baron would take brushing and baths. In this scenario, Baron would never leave the stable, growing content, fat, and happy.

"You can not owe me a debt, I can not own anything. I am not anything."

With the girls continued foolishness, Paladin could not help but offer a dry and dark chuckle. It was not out of cruelty or malice, but gallows humor. The err in Reason was a simple one, though often made it was infrequently considered. The simple ability to render the self as an entity was the strongest evidence to the contrary of nothingness. And though maths was not Paladin's forte, he knew that a value of one could not be a value of zero. 'The philosophy lesson would wait,' Paladin thought even as he made a note of the girls claim.

She blushed. Why did she blush? Surely she was not embarrassed. After all, she was nothing, by what reason would nothing be embarrassed? Perhaps she was ashamed? But why? Ashamed for her master? For surely nothing can not be shamed! Perhaps even still, she blushed at the of showing skin to a stranger? But again, for why. Nothing cannot even consider human desires of flesh or vice. Paladin listened intently as the waif lobbed further excuses of her self... she was very poor at being nothing.

"You seem angry at my brand. Please, I don't want to be responsible for bringing trouble to my owner's door"

It was strange to Paladin. The fear in the girls voice as she, unknowingly, begged for her master's life.

Licking his dry lips, the swordsman tore his eyes away from the waifish wight. Lightly caressing the pummel of his sword with his left thumb, Paladin gave a false grin. “Don't fret. Cassiopeia rarely sings. Oft hums.” His gaze falling to the blade, stone immediately became sand, eons of deep time reducing mountains to soft white beaches. Then once again the bastion erected. “Tell me child. Is it of your... Master that you draw your dedication to the Immortal so?” Hardly more than thirty steps and Paladin began to plow the fields. Preparations had to be made before fruit was yielded. Seeds planted. Saplings watered. Fertilized by... “Maybe, on our trek, you may tell me more of your Lady? Such purity of dedication is...” the swordsman paused as his eyes drifted from Casiopeia's hips and towards the face of the mirror eyed girl, “...inspiring. Perhaps you and your Master may educate me in your way. Aid me in understanding the world as you do.” 'And gift me the arrows to slay the abominations that plague you so.' “I would be indebted then to you and your Master for the knowledge bequeathed.” The creaking of the wagon wheel accented Paladin's words.
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"Paladin." "Norn." ~Pala~
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Faith Augustin
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A Matter of Faith

Tue Jul 19, 2016 6:32 pm

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Faith
He chuckled, when she spoke to him what was her truth and Faith felt an inappropriate flash of anger, or irritation. What did he know? He stood, a free man, owning a horse, wearing clothes and making choices and he chuckled like he knew. Like he knew what she was or who she was. It was something that she and Jamal had spoken of before, people who would see her as able to make choices like them, people who would see her as foolish, as weak. People who did not understand the reality of her life, did not and could not make judgements on it; and yet they did. Faith had no doubt that there was a lot to be learnt from this man, did not doubt that he was completely entitled to make every choice he did, but she did not understand why he thought he had the right to say that she was something other than what her owner told her she was. Everything she was, she was in service to Famula and Jamal and everything she had was what Jamal granted her.

His eyes on her body, his examination of her brands discomforted her and she knew that it should not, that they should be things of pride, but this man had already shown himself as being one of those who would cause trouble for Jamal, bring danger to his door. And then he spoke again, telling her that Cassiopeia rarely sung but often hummed. What did that mean? She did not know, but she knew that this was not feeling right. She had a duty to Jamal, and that duty was clear to her. Her life was inconsequential in relation to his; inconsequential to all free men and women, but especially to his. So, she stopped. She stopped walking and she put down the cart.

"I was born into slavery." she said, her soft voice gentle as she looked at him. "I was trained in Athart by four masters. They, and the other slaves, were the only people I ever saw. My owner bought me and brought me here an arc and twelve trials ago. I was allowed out of the shop to meet others twelve trials ago." she said, softly. Her gaze did not drop from his as she spoke, trying to explain to him. "I do not really understand a lot of things, I know only what life I have had. I don't really know why you laugh at what is true to me, or feel like you must put your hand on your sword, but my owner has told me that there are those who believe that slaves should be free. Who believe that I have the right to make choices"

She looked at him and breathed in, nervously. "If that is what you believe, then believe me when I tell you that I would rather die than have you cause trouble for my owner. So, if you are angry and wish to exact vengence because you believe that I should be allowed to make choices and they happen, then I choose that you exact it on me and kill me now, rather than harm him" She was quite serious when she spoke "Because if you believe that I am a slave and not able to make choices, then by your own words you owe my owner a debt. If you believe that I should be free and allowed to make choices, then treat me as you would have me be, and kill me"

It seemed that she was rather loyal to her owner, if nothing else.


.
word count: 606
"Every evil has its good, and every ill an antidote."

~ Rharne HQ
Dust Quarter Satellite Clinic ~ Order of the Adunih~Soup Kitchen & Community Center
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