"Gospel" (The Void)

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"Gospel" (The Void)

Post by Sokai on Wed Jul 22, 2009 1:30 am

She wore the bones of the fingers of her left hand around her neck, but did not consider it jewelry. The grim necklace was a reminder of sacrifice, the only luxury she allowed herself. When she was barely fourteen summers old, she'd cut the fingers off herself, a sacrifice for the Allgod - not to, but for.

Before she cut off her fingers, they had said she was gifted. Her parents had rejoiced at her skill in their family trade of weaving. She'd sat for hours before the loom, working her sturdy fingers to blisters and callous, turning out foot after foot of beautiful excess. Each tapestry or garment she wove was sold to rich families; merchants, nobility, even families of the throne. This was her gift, she was told; more riches to her family, more excess to the rich. This was, her mother and father said, what the Allgod had given her. What the Allgod had made her for.

Jehanne de Tisserand disagreed.

And so she cut off all four fingers, and her thumb.

-

The armor was a work of art in its austere efficiency. When the Avatar of the Ideal gave it to her, she was nearly brought to tears. It was the mingling of the whites and blacks, they way they created the same perfect in-between gray that haunted her prayers and meditations. Reven had captured the essence of the Ideal in this, her armor.

It was a modeled after the suits of plate armor from her home: broad curves made to distribute the force of a blow and send slashes sliding away; rings of blackened mail under each joint to allow smoothness of motion and grace even when encased in such armor; thick, intricate embellishments of twisted, decorative metal that distracted the eye and caught blades for the breaking. This armor had much of the same look of the armor she had worn while with the Church, crusading for the Allgod's grace. However, the differences were what made Jehanne's eyes sparkle, her breath quicken and her pulse race with a rush of fervent excitement.

The armor of The First was crafted from a recently created synthetic; so recent, in fact, the scientists of the Void had yet to name it. Harder than diamond but lighter than jet, it was a beautiful swirl of mingling white and black with a light sheen of a shimmering gray laid over the entirety of the suit. The armor was larger than the suits Jehanne was accustomed to - it stood seven feet tall, towering a foot above the crown of her head. The Avatar explained to her in his level, perfect voice that the sheen was of something called a ferrofluid, and that the large size of the armor would not inhibit her combat prowess, and that this was only the first armor, as she was thus far the first of the Ideal's champions, and there would be more. More paladins. More armors. More of the devout.

-

As her hand lay on the chopping block, she felt very little pain. Though she thought about it very often, afterwards, it never struck her as strange that she never felt pain, but that instead she felt such a heady euphoria she nearly collapsed. She was sure the saints were singing, that they were crying out hosannas above her, around her, through her. She closed her eyes as she bled, rapt with the knowledge that her 'gift', that perfidy, would be forever stripped from her, that none, now, could force her away from the path she so desperately was ready to fling herself upon.

So at fourteen summers of age, Jehanne de Tisserand was allowed to enter the covenant of the Allgod, the result of parents disgusted with her and her now useless existence. She no longer made riches for them, but only took from them, another hungry mouth. And she was clearly mad, beside; a crazed child hearing voices. Cursing the child got upon her, her mother sent her away while her father turned his back, but Jehanne went with bright eyes and a soft smile. She knew - she always knew - the truth, her truth. The Allgod had not gifted her with artistic hands, the Allgod did not gift such things. The Allgod had given her hands that worked and worked them she had, but the Allgod did not give her hands to sin with. So Jehanne cleansed the sin of her hands and cleared the way to the Allgod.

-

She sat on the great ship, a part of the greater Good, a part of the Void. She found herself pondering, as she sat meditating on the concept of the Ideal, the meaning behind the name 'Void,' both for the flagship and the Good itself. She understood, intimately, how the Avatar of the Ideal felt about space, about nothingness; it was a kind of peace there, and utter surety. It was the same kind of peace she'd felt once upon a time, knowing and believing and having full faith in the Allgod. When she was a child, it was the utter faith that the Allgod existed, that she was created for a purpose, that there was a bigger being, a One, that she could devote her life to. Now, as an adult, she knew that believing in such things was childish and for the weak; there was no invisible god in the breech, there was only endless, beautiful, solitary nothingness. That was the truth of the Void: that there was nothing, there was no one, that in the end, all are alone and make their own choices. It is the choice that makes the person, and the choice is what one must believe in.

And oh, as she sat meditating, did Jehanne believe. She believed with her heart, with her soul, with her body, from the deep ache in her left hand to the phantom tingling of her missing fingers. Her faith was still so euphoric it made colors dance behind her eyes, it make her pulse race, her knees weaken. Had she not been sitting, she would surely have collapsed. The Ideal warmed her with its simple, austere truth, with its perfection; with the knowledge that if all believed as she believed, all of existence would have this perfection so clear it made her head swim. She needed no Allgod. She needed no blind fairytale, filling the darkness for those too frightened to walk with their heads high in the Void. She had her faith, she had the Ideal. And some day soon, she would have her god - the Made-God, the Avatar realized.

-

After she cut off the fingers of her left hand, Jehanne gathered the severed digits and wrapped them in the last bit of tapestry she would ever weave. The scene had been a fantastical picture, made for a princess's bedchamber. A griffin knelt before a young girl in a dress white as snow, it's head bowed as she touched it. Scintillating auras of color pulsing from the place where the a single feather met the child's unblemished skin. The rich fabric, so lovingly and so carefully detailed was splotched with Jehanne's blood as she wrapped up her fingers and tucked them, safely, into a pouch that went on a leather thong about her neck.

After her time at the covenant, but before she rode off to war for the Allgod's grace, one of her fellow paladins asked her what was in the pouch she wore constantly. When she hesitantly showed him, he laughed with such mirth Jehanne was taken aback. It reminded him of the relic of a saint, he explained, and she was still fresh enough, young enough, to worry about blaspheming with such a soft jest. Her comrade reassured her and told her she shouldn't hide her devotion away in an old bloodstained cloth, in a thick, burlap pouch. Her fingers, he said, were a sacrifice. Her enemies should always know what she had willingly given. She should always remember what devotion cost.

By this time the fingers were little more than bone and the tapestry was falling to bits as she and her comrade unrolled the fabric. With a simple thin chain, he helped her string the old-white bones together, creating a loose necklace he slipped over her head. Touching the bones of her fingers with what was left of her hand, she had smiled.

-

Touching the bones of her fingers with what was left of her hand, many years later, Jehanne de Tisserand allowed herself a soft smile. She needed no reminder from the bones, but as ever, they only shored her resolve even stronger. Sacrifice, devotion, belief, faith. These were what had brought her here, standing on a path she now carved for herself. The Ideal warmed her with its perfect knowledge. The armor, a gift from the Avatar, protected her and encased her with the strength of the Ideal, a solid representation of her willpower, of her desire to forge her own path. To make her own God.

She was only the First Paladin of the Ideal, but very soon, there would be more.

Many more.
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Sokai
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