Anacrusis

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Of The Priest's True Colours

Of The Priest’s True Colours



The Ivory Miracle part 2

The Neice, now a wise adult, chose to have a break from chasing evil through the night and instead bring about the creation of the ultimate good. With a different life that she had found for herself, she thought it best to settle for a while, and learn how to love loving, as opposed to hating the hateful. And what miracle came of this decision - the creation of the ultimate good - a newborn child. Neice had now become Mother.

All was well for the Mother, the Father, and the Child in that day, though not long did it last before evil called again, and the sorceress Mother was obligated to respond with the fury of a wrathful god. And much to the Father’s dismay, she did.

“Think of the child. Our Miracle.” he said.

And she did. “And I do, and I will, forever and ever do not doubt it, yet that is why I must chase them, straight to the source. For our Miracle, and the future of our Lords final wish.”

Mulberry zipped back across the Rockies - the long highway know as the Rocky Road stretched through the dark purple desert, though under the streetlights it was quite obviously grey. She flew on her broom, scanning each and every car she happened to pass.

The last she had heard from the locals of Pier, three figures matching her description had called a taxi from earlier, and Mulberry had been searching for it since. From what she had discovered, however, the Hero had not passed through either of the next two settlements on the road to Atlantis.

So it was at this point that her heart filled with dread, and her fists clenched with rage - for by the side of the road before a great mound of earth she spotted an abandoned taxi, waiting on the rocks. She knew exactly where to look next.

***

Normonty’s eye was bound with a white bandana, and he stood greyly at his lectern. Toven was a few rows away from the front of the aisle, and was the only one in the grand hall - Rose had left, seemingly in a hurry a while back. Still, the minister spoke like he was adressing a full crowd; graceful, upright posture, one hand on his lecturn and the other waving over the non-existent mass. Toven had zoned out - as the Priest’s lecture dragged on, he couldn’t help but daydream, and his eyes were teary from yawning. He was worried about his friends, though he was certain that they were alright. They had to be. Normonty had told him so.

Though, on the occasions that Toven had payed attention to the man’s long speech, he had only heard words that encouraged fear, hatred and scepticism. Not the sort of thing he usually heard from priests, to say the least.

“My child.” Said Normonty, bringing Toven out of his daydream - whose heart skipped a beat. “Are you ready to become as I am? Are you prepared to pledge yourself, to become a vessel of not only purity, but truth? Will you aid in the fight against darkness, lies and corruption, and help to bring down the blackened heart of the world? For he is but a piece of the One’s soul. A liar. An evil magician.” He motioned for Toven to rise.” Come here boy, unto this level and stand by the lectern. Read from the holy book what I tell you too, and earn this holy stole. Help to carry out our Lord’s vision of soulular freedom and serenity!”

“Oh-k-kay.” Toven shimmied to the edge of the row before nervously walking to the front, leaving his broom propped against the side of the bench. He fidgeted with the buttons on his cuffs.

The Priest flicked through the heavy book and placed it firmly in Toven’s ivory hands once he had found the right page. The Divinum Opus - what the boy recognised as Ahbon’s holy book. He had read some of it in school, back before he had become home-schooled. It was the story of the rise and fall of Lord Luciere, spanning from the Anarchy Times up until the end of the Civil Era, ending with the Wrathing, and the Migration. What he didn’t recognise was the interior of the book - the pages seemed all wrong. It was handwritten as opposed to the majority of the other Divinum Opus copies, which were printed, and where there was usually glorious, bright illustrations, there were scribblings of sketchy-looking symbols and shadows, and trees with thousands of eyes.

The Minister pointed to a passage near the beginning of the thick volume, titled ‘To this Good Book.’

It was a summary about how good the book was, and from what Toven had read (which wasn’t much, as he was generally bad at reading, and the handwriting was just sort of bad) it was quite a convincing summary.

“Place a hand on the page, son, like this.” He made a graceful motion with his hands like he was sandwiching ham with two pieces of invisible bread. “Do this, and you will become a part of my great family forever, and will have earned your holy stole!”

But there were a lot of things in this situation that didn’t feel quite right - namely the fact that this man had vanished his friends, that he was the only other person in the astronomically big room, that this version of the Divinum Opus was obviously some sort of strange bootleg, and that Toven, well, already had a family. He hesitated, his hand suspended in the air.

“Why the hesitation, child? Place your hand in the book.”

Toven couldn’t, he felt it poisoning him, it’s open pages deadly as cyanide. Toven’s right eye began to ache, his knees quivering, and he lowered his hand.

“N-no...I can’t.”

"What?"

“Ah! I mean- uh, s-ssss-sorry I -” Toven could barely stand, he wished he was anywhere else, he wished he could have been banished with Ink and Coda, he wished for-

Just then - a mighty crash from above, as glass rain followed from the broken circular window high above the hall’s light. A triumphant cackle acting as Mulberry’s witchly fanfare - a flex of aincient and powerful vocal cords that reverberated through the Cathedral and shook Normonty to the rotten core. She descended on her broom - which now had three seats attatched along the length of it. Glass shards bounced off of her black hat’s rim, tartan ribbons around the crown now joined with a golden buckle. She shot down the aisle and pulled to a stop by the lectern.

“Evenin’, Toven!” She said.

“G-Great Auntie!” Toven almost laughed in relief, and dashed to hug her, leaving the heavy book propped against thin air - it fluttered heavily to the ground.

Mulberry, kneeling to embrace Toven, shot the Priest a stern eye from under her hat. “Mornin’, Father.” She said.

“Good morning, Mulberry.” He said in a deep, bitter tone. He picked up the book, and quickly closed it with a woody slam.

“Toven, where’s your buddies?” Asked the Witch.

“O-Oh, w-well uh Normonty s-sort of -”

“Oh he did, did he now?” the Witch glared at Normonty, who glared back with a weak yet stubborn eye. “I nev’r thought ye’d stoop that low, Fad’er. Ye knew fine well dat she was our Hero, ye selfish bodach! Tryin’ t’convert me boy here to yer twisted beliefs, I hope ye rot in a dingy priest-hole, ye swine.”

And so Mulberry readied her next spell - from her fingertip, as her staff had been so unfortunate taken - and as she started to utter the magic words. Normonty backed off, and began to pick up speed in the opposite direction. “You damned heathen!” He called, “Boy, do not listen to her lies! I tell you, one of purity, do not listen! She tells you nothing of the truth!”

And at that, Mulberry flexed her index finger, and a rune-filled bolt of purple smoke struck the man through the chest. He collapsed to the ground in a crumple.

“Wh-what did you d-do to him?” Asked Toven after a pause.

Mulberry chuckled as the man began to contort and change shape. The pile of grey clothes gave way to a wriggling, scaly, wretched, lizard-like mass. “Ah took his insides out.”

“... Wh-what?”

“I took what he was on the inside, and projected it onto his outside for all o’ us to behold! Cool trick, ey?”

The beast turned its head around from it’s pile of clothes and shot the Witch one last disgusting look, before slithering away - one eye leaking black fluid.

Toven quietly retrieved his broom, and he and Mulberry were out of there before you could even begin to say “Jack Squatt”. Nobody wanted to stick around that church any longer.

“What about In-Ink and Coda?” Toven asked as they soared through the cold air.

“Well, d’you by chance last see dem inside a big holographic pyramid?”

“Y-Yeah.” Toven replied.

“Oh deary me…” The Witch shook her head, “don’t you worry, because I know what to do.”

-Good!- Toven though, never having a doubt in his Auntie, “Tha-that’s a relief!”

Mulberry scanned the purplish horizon, and angled the broomstick downwards. “Yes, I know just who can get yer friends back, and I think d’Hero can handle herself for the time being.”

And they quietly slipped amongst both stars and fireflies alike, soaring through the chirpy birdsong and the occasional stray needle from the pines beyond. Toven’s ears were chilly, yet did not complain as the nightly sounds serenaded him into a calm trance. “Where are we g-going?” He asked.

“To find a phonebox.”

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