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    Child's Eve - Roma Aeturna

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    Phill

    Posts : 90
    Join date : 2012-04-27
    Location : Atziluth

    Child's Eve - Roma Aeturna

    Post  Phill on Fri May 25, 2012 6:49 pm

    Fioleaus stepped back into the shadows after quickly snapping the masqued man’s neck. They were everywhere, but their numbers had made them careless.

    Roma Aeturna was burning.

    He had only just leapt from his window seconds before the firebombs had rolled into his wine cellars. Fioleaus was a man of action, and he knew what was coming tonight. God, he thought, murder on Child’s Eve? It was unconscionable. The Church had lost itself.

    From what he could piece together, the dissatisfied members of the Upper Hierarchy had sent these murderers to end the nobility of the Holy City. The assassins were not well trained, however, and certainly not typical. They all wore fantastically adorned masques, the kind reserved for grand balls and galas. They burned houses, raped wives, and knifed magisters with an abominable glee. Fioleaus was canny enough to realize that this was some ruse; the hand behind it wanted some excuse to sacrifice these killers later, on the altar of Justice. Cunning. The noble-spy could be cunning too.

    Avoiding the bottleneck streets of Aventine Hill, Fioleaus lept from rooftop to rooftop. He tried counting the estates that were ablaze, and took heart that the killers had not yet reached large parts of Roma yet. He dearly hoped that they would constrain themselves to only his noble class. If anyone was to die, he’d rather it not be the meek. Pulse pounding, breath visible in the cold night air, Fioleaus finally made it to a secret entrance of the catacombs. From there, he could access the Himmel. From there… Gildas. He would have a chance to survive then and make sense of this outrage.

    Exiting the catacombs after a long stealthy slog, the spy said a thankful and sincere prayer to Almighty God for his luck and protection. The dozen different churches all built on to the base of Himmel were packed. Hundreds of thousands of faithful thronged between them, giving and receiving prayers from the most pious and popular bishops, cardinals and deacons of the Engelitic Church. This was one of the most holy days of the year. Everyone here was oblivious to the arson of the noble mansions happening on the other end of the Ancient City. That’s for the best, Fioleaus concluded. These people did not need to have their Holiday despoiled by violence, least of all if the violence came from the Church. He once again screamed silently to himself, trying to understand the horrors he witnessed. He could not though. After a brief bit of costuming he slipped into the massive Child’s Eve crowds and winded his way toward the Cathedral of Petrus. Sneaking through well-used hidden passageways, Fioleaus made his way upward to the safety of Gildas’ suites.

    He silently exited the safeways behind a majestic tapestry in Gildas’ offices, hung specifically for such purposes. His shadowy exit was juxtaposed by the sounds of argument coming from deeper in the spymaster’s chambers. No! They had gotten to Gildas as well, thought Fioleaus, as he crouch-walked swiftly to the door frame. Drawing a long knife, he readied himself to open the door, but paused as he heard the snippets of fine Latin coming from within.

    “You’ve already killed my most loyal men,” said Gildas, with a defiant edge to his voice. “Men are to be loyal to power, yes, but ultimately only to themselves,” a sweet sounding woman responded. “Those dead were those who would not welcome the Morningstar. Ours is the new Order. Ours is the Light,” she continued as Fioleaus tried to make out the shuffling inside. He caught the unmistakable noise of men readying for a fight. There would be a cue-

    “My light is God,” said Gildas; Fioleaus broke the door down and stabbed the first surprised fool he saw.

    The old spymaster was not surprised. Instead, he joined the young noble in the fray. Fioleaus should have taken more care, but this was a desperate matter! Outnumbered hopelessly, he saw his slim chance of survival reflected in the dozen blades of the Venetian masque-killers. Blades met blades and necks, and the fight favored the two Churchmen for a while. All too quickly though, Fioleaus felt his legs give out. A careless trip! He lept back up only to flop on his face. His body betrayed him.

    The knife in Fioleaus lower back was visible. He struggled on the floor, crippled. Pragmatically, Gildas crashed through a break-away bookcase which concealed another safeway. Masqued men and women dashed after in pursuit. As Fioleaus lay bleeding, he suddenly realized just how cold Roma Aeturna had become since the snow started. It was a miracle, wasn’t it?

    “Ah, the illustrious Fioleaus; Noble of Aventine, Frater Succorus of numerous charities, and the loyal bloody hand of old Gildas.” The sweet woman in the peacock masque leaned over his body, careful to avoid the reach of his well-trained arms. She, like her companions, was dressed for dirty work, but Fioleaus could tell her masque and Latin were far from common. “Tonight is the quiet setting of the old Church’s sun. Tomorrow will see the dawn of a new Morning. You could have been a part of it; I know of your plans to set the Church aright.” Cold realization set into Fioleaus. The woman, his mind raced, did he know her?

    “The Church is a soft, lazy thing, and cruel. You were right, Fioleaus, it needed change. You thought, though, that it needed good men and women – believers who wanted to break the chains of indolence and bureaucracy. People of the people. Oh,” she laughed sincerely, “how wrong you were. Now, as you die, I want you to know that the Church will still be strong. Stronger than ever! You see, tonight, the Pontifex will be killed.” She crouched close to the fading spy, who was too weak to even strike at her now. “By Dreamseed,” she whispered in his ear.

    “On Child’s Day there will be tears. But the sun will yet rise and the Church will go on, now with new purpose. The strong, the powerful, the ambitious will find new traction. Wars will be waged; empires will be forged, we shall stand over others….”

    The light grew dim in Gildas’ chambers, and Fioleaus Aventine died with shaken faith. The woman with the peacock masque turned to leave with the other members of the Cult of the Morning Star, finishing, “… and it will be Good.”


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