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Just Curious
Elf
rix_scaedu
I wrote this to ysabetwordsmith's first prompt.

“Just curious,” asked the voice from the doorway, “but what are you doing?”

The priest straightened.  “This boy is possessed by an unclean spirit, giving him hallucinations.  The spirit must be driven out to save his soul and mind.  His mother was supposed to stop us being disturbed.”  The priest hadn’t turned to see who he was looking at.  The boy tied flat to the table, gagged and staring with desperate eyes at the doorway, must have been fourteen rising fifteen at most.

“I suggested to her that she might like to make a nice, soothing pot of tea.”  The newcomer chuckled, “She was amenable.  Why do you think he’s having hallucinations?”

“Because half-breed striplings do not have conversations with angels.”  The Benarian’s back was rigid.

“Who says?”

“The clergy has determined that only those with the most advanced levels of spirituality and theology are graced with angelic communications.”  The emotion behind that stiff back wasn’t indignation it was something else, but what?

The newcomer moved slightly and the floor creaked under the weight shift.  “Besides, I’m fairly sure that unclean spirits don’t exist.  Vard and a few other things, yes but not unclean spirits.  How do you intend to drive out these non-existent entities?”

“The usual means.”  The priest did something off to his side.  “Holy water, fire, blood and salt.  If you don’t believe in unclean spirits what do you believe causes mental disorders?”

“Family history, other people, trying to reconcile incompatible beliefs and being tortured.”  The newcomer made a rustling sound.  “You’re a very uncurious fellow, aren’t you?  Why is that?”

“Uncurious?  No.”  The priest went on with his preparations.  “I know what the problem is and I know what I need to do to help this boy.  My main concern at this point is to cool the holy water and heat the irons to the precise points where we will chase the unclean spirit from his mortal frame with the least amount of damage, pain and anguish to the boy himself.”

“But it’s not necessary.”

“But it is, you fool!  Do you have any idea what the temple hierarchy will do to him if I can’t save him like this?  They’ll destroy his mind and because he’s only half Benarian,” the priest turned to emphasis his point with a shaken finger that stilled as his voice dropped away, “they won’t even try to salvage anything of him.”

“Well then,” the grey and silver feathered angel flexed his wings, “perhaps we should untie the boy and discuss whether his best option is a fast horse or a few spare feathers.”

Face on the priest was a middle-aged man with a worried face who said faintly, “I think I’m going to need some of that tea.”

“Quite possibly,” agreed the angel, “and it wasn’t about theology, it was about sunsets.”

“Oh.”

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Is that a good "Ooooooh!" or a bad "Ooooooh!"?

Awwwww...

Really, why can't anyone drive out unclean spirits with warm tea and biscuits?

Yeah, that should totally work! Maybe a mildly diuretic tea...

"We put it in tea since it's always a good idea stay hydrated when expelling demons."
"And the cookies?"
"Well, Sister Miriam makes the tastiest butterscotch, and we hate to see them go to waste."

Is Sister Miriam like Piffany in Nodwick?

Quite possibly. It's a very relaxed sort of church hierarchy, one supposes.

The gods themselves line up for Piffany's cookies.

Edited at 2012-09-04 04:17 pm (UTC)

Because they'd want to stay?

Attentive angel or lucky timing?

Paying attention and asking why?

Aye. My impression so far -- possibly very wrong -- is that angels in this 'verse have no particular knowledge beyond their own senses. (Gods, dunno.) If so, that he caught this suggests that either he's paying a lot of attention, or his timing turned out very well. (Or my impression is wrong, or his god clued him in, or maybe the priest prayed for guidance and that got his god's attention, or ...)

Or dropped by to see why his young friend hadn't turned up at the usual place for a spot of sunset viewing?

A few spare feathers? I'd go with the fast horse, few things are likely to get one shot down as fast as flying around with borrowed feathers, given the Benarians' general attitude.

I'm guessing feathers not to fly with but to prove that he was talking to an angel.

Could be, but odds are good the Benarians would claim they were fake, or he must have attacked the angel, an obvious act of blasphemy... If the priest vouched for him, would they accept that?

Angel wing patterns having gotten a lot of attention in a few stories in this world, I'm guessing that angel feathers would be distinctive and hard to fake. That could be very wrong.

That said, the Benarians as we've seen them so far seem to be really dug into their "we are the best and right about everything" attitude. I suspect they'd be as likely to chase out the priest as to accept the feathers as evidence that they were wrong.

It's also my impression from some of the earlier stories that at least one of the gods and his angels is trying to thump some sense into the Benarians ...

Now that you mention it, I recall mention of the choirs of angels and their wing patterns! Hmm.

And you raise a good point which I forgot to properly acknowledge, it's more likely feathers would be intended as physical proof of divine interaction. Though the angel himself would possibly be a bit more convincing. };)

But does he want to talk to the Benarian clerical hierarchy?

Edited at 2012-09-05 08:38 am (UTC)

This, yes. I'm guessing they'd twist the conversation to fit into their beliefs ...

The Benarians do believe they are the chosen people of the gods...

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