(1311-05-10) Day of Kushiel: Penance
Summary: A city guard comes to the temple to do penance.
RL Date: 11/05/2019
Related: Days of the Companions

Tempel of Kushiel — Temple District

Built of stone, the façade clad in travertine marble of muted honey-colored hue, the Temple of Kushiel stands apart from the others. Heavy double doors coated with bronze, reliefs and ornaments worked into the metal showing depictions of the Companion of Punishment, open into an antechamber. Thick are the walls, and darkness is only slightly alleviated by tall candelabra filled with burning white candles marking the corners of the room. Dark curtains can be drawn in several alcoves to the side, where visitors can withdraw to speak of their guilt with one of the bronze-masked priests and priestesses. There is a definite chill that seems to decrease slightly, when stepping through the next pair of heavy bronze doors into the main room of the temple.

The Inner Sanctum is a hall of high ceiling, just high enough for the tall effigy of Kushiel in its center. A winged bronze mask covers his face and gives him an unrelenting air. With his two arms crossed before him, he holds a rod in one hand and a flail in the other. Close to the pedestal there stand two braziers where incense is burned, to open the mind and soul to Kushiel's unrelenting stare. It almost seems as if he were looking down to the whipping post before the pedestal, with the bowl of saltwater beside, to be applied after the flogging.

A bronze door to the side leads to a hallway with rooms, one of them holding the bath of purification, a pool there filled with steaming hot water emanating the faint scent of sulfur where penitents go to prepare before they will do penance inside of the inner sanctum. The hallway connects to the antechamber through a black curtain that can be pulled aside, hiding the passage at other times.

Every once in a year, there was something that pulled Jacquet towards Kushiel's Temple. Was it the Day of Kushiel, itself? With its steady flow of penants making their way to the temple? It certainly inspired an urgency. And it awakened old demons.

Demons, he would need to subdue, voices and images pushing forth through the wall he had raised to keep them at bay.

It happened. Regularly.

And so, he had come to the temple, like so many others.

The Sergeant of the City Guard was wearing the garb of the commoner he was, he had left armor and weapons at the Citadel. One cannot meet the Justice of Kushiel while still on duty. A dark cloak with a hood had the advantage of obscuring his identity. But then, on the other hand? Who would pay mind to a scarred common man in his mid forties, lost in a throng of worshippers?

When the acolyte in black robes approached, Jacquet raised his gaze to look at them, but the bronze mask made it impossible to discern whether it was a male or female who greeted him. "I have come to do penance," Jacquet grumbled in his raspy voice, and he was led off to a room to the side. The bath of purification, a formality. Nevermind the scent of sulphur, Jacquet's thoughts were already wandering, to what was to follow.

At the sign of the acolyte, he rose from the kneel in the bath, and then followed to the inner sanctum. Lifting his eyes to regard the effigy of Kushiel, as he was tied to the whipping post, bracing himself as much against what would follow, as much as he yearned for it.

The cleansing of his soul, purification through acceptance of Kushiel's justice.

"What is it that you wish to do penance for?", the dark voice of the priest inquired.

"I wronged. I failed. I lied.", Jacquet's voice came out in a raspy rumble, sounding too loud in the manner it created hollow echoes from the walls.

"I…" He tensed, wrists straining against the ring they were tied to. "I acted like a coward." This perhaps the admission that hurt most, for a Camaeline. "Please. Do as you must do. I am ready to accept Kushiel's justice."

And there, as the flogger began its harsh dance on his back, and the metal worked into the leather tore his skin open, flashes of the past started to wash over him, until they began to blur with the image of Kushiel's bronze mask that was staring down at him.

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