What is the Prayer?
What is the Prayer?
Summary: Reighner asks for Greje's services.
Date: 4 ACH
Related Logs: None

A simple military Chapel, octagonal in shape and of uniform dark grey hue with slab lighting up above. Four walls of the room have four large steps along them for continuous seating in an angular stadium form, the other side of the room largely devoted to a raised platform with a plain altar of pantheatic consecration. On the Altar are figurines set in their traditional places, of the gods and goddesses, with simple sacrament incense burning in holders on each side of the line of figurines.

Hands folded behind his back, Reighner walks in, face squared, hollow, and expressionless. There's bags under his eyes. He tilts his head down as he slowly descends the stairs.

Greje lifts a hand and rests it briefly on the head of the man she's currently speaking with, leaning dangerously close to the flame to whisper to him, words of prayer and of support, moving her fingers gently through his hair in a comforting gesture before he moves away to place a hand on the altar.

Reighner stops before the stage. His eyes slowly look at each figurine. Then he looks at Greje. There's a slight narrowing of his eyes, and he seems to appraise her negatively.

Greje tips her chin upward, still shorter than Reighner, despite being on a platform, for her sitting on the low stool, one knee drawn up toward herself. She makes silent, compassionate eye contact with him, though a slightly questioning glance creeps into her serene gaze at his negative expression.

Reighner breathes in through his nose, flaring his nostrils. He steps onto the platform and quietly approaches Greje. "Excuse me," he asks in a sallow voice.

Greje inclines her head gently, standing to meet the fellow in the darkness of the chapel. "How may I help you?" she wonders, a note of sadness coloring the words, as if she fears whether she'll be able to do anything for him or not.

Reighner unconsciously stands straighter when Greje stands. "I'm not religious, so I don't know how this goes," he begins. There's an edge to his voice that's easy to discern. "My wife, she is. My family is all on Scorpia. I would like you to pray for them."

Greje takes a soft breath and nods gently, having heard a good deal of explanations of the sort today. "That's alright, you're fine," she tells him, as to his request. She steps down one step and places her free hand on Reighner's shoulder in an act of comfort. "Your wife — does follow any of the Lords?" she wonders, assuming that he doesn't, and trying not to sound judgemental as to whether she did or not. She also follows his lead in using the present tense, not wanting to push any boundaries.

"She preferred Asclepius," Reighner replies. He looks off to her side for a moment, as if gathering his strength, but then seems to fail. "Please don't touch me."

Greje withdraws her hand respectfully, moving it back to the candle she holds, "I'm sorry. Do you want to sit? I have some water… some wine, if you want some. Asclepius. Apollo's son. He shared the caduceus with Hermes, and both of them traversed the boundaries of life and death. A stick, a line, a division… with two serpents, opposites, life and death, but mirror images of one another. In the hands of the Lords who know how to wield it, the serpents of life and death effortlessly pass the boundary between the two worlds. There is no division, all is continuity, and that which is in this life is in the next, and all that is there is here with us still." It's not a standard prayer, more a theological discussion of the imagery involved, but she hopes it will be a more effective comfort than the hand on his shoulder.

Reighner remains silent. He doesn't seem affected by her words, and if anything, there is a hint of increased displeasure. His hand grips the other wrist more tightly behind his back.

Greje looks gently at Reighner, "Your wife believes in the transcendence of boundaries. Whether they be boundaries of time, of space, of emotion, of life and death. If she's still with us in this world, no matter how far apart you are, those boundaries will be crossed. If she isn't, there's still nothing to keep you separated."

Reighner asks, tightly, "How do you know what my wife believed in?"

Greje pauses. "I'm… sorry. You mentioned that your wife followed Asclepius, when she engaged in religious activities. Transcendence is one of the key teachings of Asclepian cult."

Reighner tightens his jaw, the fibers rippling along his cheek. He ponders over this factoid. Then, he exhales audibly and nods, seeming to back down. "I'm sorry, I don't see a point to this." Still a contrarian, but perhaps not as angry about it. "Please continue."

"Asclepius himself was mortal once," Greje continues, speaking slowly, but it still doesn't sound quite like a sermon, more like a lecture in a college hall. "Through death by fire his mortality was consumed and he became a god. He helped souls quietly and peacefully down to the Unseen, and he brought the dead back to life, before crossing that last boundary. Limited to eternal."

Reighner takes a deep breath and glances over Greje's shoulder. He doesn't seem very interested in the talk.

Greje isn't going to make a believer out of Reighner. Nor does she hope to. She just… was hoping that some sort of explanation would help. She stops, then, as she sees it isn't helping, and she lowers her candle a little bit, her face darkening. "Do you want me to teach you a prayer?" she asks gently.

"Let me ask you something," Reighner says, losing patience. He unfolds his arms and gestures in front of him, trying to put emphasis on his questions. "How can the gods allow this? In what infinite wisdom of theirs is it appropriate to have this trial? Are we being tested? How can humane beings do such a thing?"

"You're assuming the Lords are humane. They're not. By definition. Morality only matters within a limited time span. Extrapolate to eternity, and everything balances to sum zero. Being humane belongs to humanity. Being divine belongs to divinity. It's the fundamental divide between ourselves and them," Greje explains. "The Scriptures read that everything is fated. But what does that really mean? It certainly doesn't mean that we have no free will, as the Scriptures clearly prove that we do. It only means that Zeus and the Fates are omniscient. They don't impose their will on us, we impose our will on them. So when the Scriptures read that all is according to fate, all it means, really is: whatever happens… happens."

Reighner snorts. "That seems quite convoluted, doesn't it? If you say that divinity and humanity are unrelated, and that we are deciders of our own fates, what need is there for religion?"

"Religion teaches us the eternal truths," Greje replies. "It binds us together as a community, and gives structure to our culture and our own morality. It teaches us to make the best use of the time we have here."

"Cannot secular humanism do the same thing?" Reighner asks, coloring at the temples. "My family is dead, and I can very well accept it without religious pretense." He doesn't seem to be accepting it very well.

"I'm not sure that it could," Greje replies quietly. "Certainly it works for some people, but as a whole religion has something that secular humanism can't have. A permanence of tradition. This is the way things have worked for thousands and thousands of years. People stand up for these beliefs, because a faith in things more permanent than us drives us to do so. If all you have is the view of a great thinker from three hundred years ago… well, who's to say he wasn't wrong? it's not to say we accept the word of the Scripture blindly… well… most of us… but there are always those ready to defend the text against those who would emend it. Lively discourse and exegesis tends to err on the side of the cautious."

Reighner watches Greje evenly for a moment. "My wife, she says the same thing." He slowly looks down and asks, quietly, "What is the prayer?"

Greje nods gently, stepping forward again, quietly reading out a prayer, line by line, for him to repeat.

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