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[Dogs in the Vineyard - IC/OOC] The Sins of Memphisto

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Posts

  • summerycleptsummeryclept Registered User
    edited December 2009
    Up, bolt-right, letting blood rush and wane from her head - no sense crying over it, won't make it go away. Time to stop crying.

    What Daddy taught her:-

    No.

    Daddy ain't here, Prudence tells herself. The teenager with a shotgun, bible, and thirst for divine righteousness tells herself: I'm a big girl now.

    What have I taught myself?

    A sin's a sin.
    Folks fighting sin and folks near sin can't be trusted. Just how it goes.
    The people of Memphisto don't need healing, and they don't want it. They want blood. I will protect myself among them.
    And always, for Lord's sake, always keep your head down!

    She grits her teeth and bears it, asks Esau where her gun is - says how it's a demon, pure and simple, and that means they might be too late.

    Prudence looks at Faith, then out the door. She will hold no grudges - the King of All Lies did that with that shovel, not this poor woman, couldn't hurt nary a hair on anyone's head. Her plan was halted once, but she's convinced it was the right thing to do. "Round 'em up," she suggests. "Obvious we can't trust nobody no more, not with devils runnin' 'round. Who knows what might come the next night? Or, heck, later today? We runnin' out of time."

    Sniffing deep, ignoring the pain in her head, ignoring Daddy - sorry, Daddy, but - she's not looking at anybody. Not Esau, not Pete, not Faith, not even herself, way deep down. "We gotta act now. We gave these people a chance. Take care of it now, or we'll all wind up dead."
    Spoiler:

  • simonwolfsimonwolf i don't care i'd rather sink -- than swipe right for bradRegistered User regular
    edited December 2009
    Spoiler:

    Pete, he's just doing what he was asked, nothing more, nothing less - he knows how to follow instructions, that ol' Pete Stars, and he'll follow them to the end of the Kingdom of Life if it'll get him some kind of salvation for the sin he was born in. Or so he used to think; after his "talk" with Esau, he's been seeing things a little differently. Starting to think, if He loves me, surely he can't love John more than that?

    Surely He can't want Unity to wind up with a murderer like John.

    When Esau comes back to his side, Pete doesn't look at him, just keeps on helping Faith. Cleaning her face with a rag that he brought over, easing her fever as best he can. He starts talking, though, in that secret language of the Mountain People, telling the Dog things he's been waiting to say since last night.

    "<You've been through a lot, Esau,>" he starts, low and soft with his words, "<You've got decisions to make, judging to do. I don't blame you for anything you'll have to do, don't envy you either. John's a murderer, from what I heard last night. He deserves what's coming to him.>"

    Unusally verbose, Pete turns his head and catches Esau's eye. Looks straight into them, his stoic face of earth and fire deadpan while his mouth, and his eyes, say something with a tenderness that a man isn't supposed to show, not when he's a real Faithful man. He opens his mouth and says, "<Just let me love Unity. Please.>

    Faith's breathing slow, while the din of the storm outside makes an eerie backdrop to everything that's said and done.

    And all the rain falls down, amen, on this cradle of sin and sand.

  • jimninjajimninja Registered User
    edited December 2009
    Lots coming down on Esau's head, right now. It seems like Prudence heard the exact opposite of what's going through his mind, and Pete's got his own opinions, and he kind of just wants to go back to sleep. But Prudence is right--time is running out. "<We'll see what happens, Brother.>" He can't promise anything to Pete right now. He stands.

    "All right then, Sister. If you're feeling able, let's do it now." Judgement Day is come early in Memphisto.

    He thinks for a minute. "Maybe we oughta hit em one by one, first. I don't wanna get ganged up on again. If we do this, we're going to do it right. Olive or John first?"

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  • summerycleptsummeryclept Registered User
    edited December 2009
    "Time ain't right fer Olive. We gotta get her when her nosy brother ain't there to fend fer 'er. Let's go to John."

  • jimninjajimninja Registered User
    edited December 2009
    Esau nods. John might yet be an ally to them, even though Esau had probably turned both him and Faith away by acquiescing to the Oatmans.

    "<Pete, can you hold down the fort?>" he says. A rhetorical--he knows Pete is capable, now. He starts to put his things back in a pile when he sees Prudence's shotgun, Old Trusty. He picks it up and hands it off to her. If it comes to that, he's not sure he's got it in him to shuffle someone off the Earth... but he's pretty sure Prudence does.

    He's got his own gun at his hip, and his Book of Life, and he's heading out the door.

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  • simonwolfsimonwolf i don't care i'd rather sink -- than swipe right for bradRegistered User regular
    edited December 2009
    Spoiler:

  • jimninjajimninja Registered User
    edited December 2009
    Spoiler:

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  • summerycleptsummeryclept Registered User
    edited December 2009
    Spoiler:

    To John's they go.

    Banging on the door of his place, she's calling out, like a deputy making an arrest: "Brother John! Come on out! Watchdogs need to speak to ye."

    She nods her head at Esau. "Faith gonna be okay?" And, "Don't tell the Steward. Not yet. We need him as far from us as possible if'n we wanna get a thing done."

  • jimninjajimninja Registered User
    edited December 2009
    Spoiler:
    Spoiler:

    "She'll be all right--the King of Life'll provide, I think. How's your head?"

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  • summerycleptsummeryclept Registered User
    edited December 2009
    Spoiler:

    "Don't even ask. Ever time I think about it, it gets to fussin' and a-fightin'." She touches her scalp, wincing with just one eye. "But I can tolerate it. Get hit in it again, probably bust like a watermelon."

    Turns her head to the side and spits out into the dirt.

    "You an' me gonna hit up one a-them healin' springs in the way north after all this. Get treated and seen to all nice-like." She pictures soft pink waters and lots of steam, running in through her pores.

  • jimninjajimninja Registered User
    edited December 2009
    Spoiler:

    Esau chuckles a little at the thought of it. Feels good--the first laugh, after all this shit. "Amen to that, Sister, but I think the next town on our route might have somethin' to say about it." That thought stills his mirth quickly. Another town... another Memphisto? Or worse?

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  • summerycleptsummeryclept Registered User
    edited December 2009
    Spoiler:

    She's thinking it too. Sucks on her teeth, licks her upper lift, lets her vision drift over to random particles in the air. After a moment, she bangs again on the door, hard. "Brother John! Come on out!"

  • simonwolfsimonwolf i don't care i'd rather sink -- than swipe right for bradRegistered User regular
    edited December 2009
    Spoiler:

    The Dogs have walked through the rain for what feels like a century, caught in the rainstorm that's churning up the dirt and sand of Memphisto, turning into muddy rivers that pour down the streets and out into the unknown, beyond the limits of the town's settled territory. Finally, they made a journey that Napthali had taken all the way to the grave; the house of John L. Frazier.

    Sodden with water, speaking of physical, mortal things, they wait for Brother John to answer his door.

    Opening softly, Brother John is standing there in his work clothes, holding a cup of tea in one hand. His chest wound has been properly seen to, since you were last with him - wrapped with cotten and gauze, the edges of the dressing peeking out from under his shirt. He looks Prudence and Esau up and down, raises an eyebrow.

    "I'd say you two looked like a pair of wet dogs," he says, traced with a hint of warmth, "But I suppose that'd be a little redundant."

    He gives you a smile and walks back into his house, where the kitchen table has a plate of scrambled eggs, still steaming. Sitting down, he glances up at the pair and waits for them to come inside, make themselves comfortable. He isn't a man of many words, and this doesn't strike him as a rude thing to do; the pair of Dogs have come to speak with him, haven't they? It's their choice whether they keep speaking to him from outside, or sitting down like civilised folk.

  • summerycleptsummeryclept Registered User
    edited December 2009
    Oh, she's right behind him - it was just a matter of whether he wants to do this with or without his door knocked off the hinges.

    "We got us a problem, Brother. I think you know the itch we gotta scratch. Sister Unity and Sister Olive both got they attention on ya. Steward says you not pickin' Olive, you ain't doin' yer Faithful duties. But you got you a choice. Now, we got us a long line o' people need talkin' to, and somebody here in town," she looks back at Esau for a moment, as if to get his approval, "somebody been consortin' with demons, no doubt about it."

    Keeping hold of Ol' Trusty, but letting the barrel scrape the floor, she fixes her watch on the man before his breakfast.

    "Don't aim to stay here another night, I promise you that much. We ain't needed here 'cept to judge, y'all doin' just fine. So we's judgin'. I reckon you best stay in this morning, 'cause might blood be spilt within the hour."

    Unconsciously, she taps Ol' Trusty against the floorboards.

    "Got you a choice o' two women. Lucky you. Pick one, and if I were you, I wouldn't be pickin' no Oatman kin, they's likely to be on the other side o' this here gun if they start all that twisty-talkin'."

  • simonwolfsimonwolf i don't care i'd rather sink -- than swipe right for bradRegistered User regular
    edited December 2009
    "Unity."

    John, he doesn't even need a minute to think about the choice, doesn't make eye contact before giving his answer. Just says her name, plain and simple, then goes back to another forkful of eggs. He listens to the rain drip down on this land of milk and honey, can't help but think his own private thoughts.

    His chest hurts when he swallows, but he tries not to show it - blinks a bit more than he should, clears his throat. Wipes his mouth with his hankerchief, but covers his eyes for a brief second. When the cloth leaves, his eyes are dry again. Back to staring out into nothing.

    "Just want to marry her, start a family. Thought you two might want to perform the ceremony, before you left - appreciate it, since the Steward ain't going to do it."

    He doesn't offer you a seat; maybe he doesn't think you want one, going to be on your way soon enough. There's a few seconds of pregnant pause, as though he's waiting to say something else, or expecting the Dogs to say something in reply to his request.

    And the rain keeps on coming down.

  • jimninjajimninja Registered User
    edited December 2009
    "Brother John, the Steward ain't gonna allow it. He's set on marrying you off to his sister. I don't know what he'd do, but it wouldn't end well for you or Unity.

    "Now, look, I was in the wrong when I let Olive and the Steward bully me into marrying you to her without hearin' your side of the story. A marriage is one o' the King of Life's institutions, it oughta be holy and beloved, not forced. But John, I gotta tell you, I talked to a lotta people here yesterday..."

    Pete loves Unity. Olive loves John. The Steward will--no doubt in his mind--abuse his power if he sees John wedded to Unity instead of Olive. John may have a comfortable life here, but:

    "I don't think there's anything for you and Unity in Memphisto."

    He ain't said anything about Napthali. Truth be told, he's looking up to John a little--his unassailable stature and coolness, his assuredness.

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  • summerycleptsummeryclept Registered User
    edited December 2009
    Prudence has nothing to add. Her vision swings from Brother John back to the open door, every faint of sound a possible intruder - a ringing in her ears and head that reminds her of demons.

  • simonwolfsimonwolf i don't care i'd rather sink -- than swipe right for bradRegistered User regular
    edited December 2009
    For all his words and suggestions, there's still one deep truth that stirs within Esau - he made that promise to Olive, reconfirmed it in front of the Steward as well. Promised he would marry her and John, just the two of them and nobody else. John, he's heard from Unity, what the Dogs said and promised, back before they went and rode out. It's going to take a lot more than words coming from Esau, dripping with falsehood, to convince him to trust them.

    The Brother, he doesn't make eye contact with the Dogs still. Stares out the window, watching the grey skies and the water come down. He chews and swallows his mouthful, looks over at the Dogs and gives a light, simple shrug of his shoulders.

    "Witch is dead now," he says, "Things will get better. The rain's already back - King of Life, he'll reward this town in time for what it's done, what sacrifices we've made for it."

    Outside, John's horse whinnies, loudly, its haunches stained dark and heavy with rain water. Does it know that something is coming for Memphisto? Perhaps it's all in Prudence's head, the demons, the hate and sin.

    Maybe it's just people.

  • summerycleptsummeryclept Registered User
    edited December 2009
    "Things ain't gonna get better if the two o' you stay here. Do it at yer own peril. We tryin' to tell ya, those Steward an' Olive, they's a pair, they ain't quite so Faithful as most. Gonna come fer you two."

    A quick breath, loud and embellished.

    "But if folks don't wanna listen, they ain't gonna listen. So do what you want, Brother John. We only got advice here. You wanna marry Unity? Pretty sure me'n Brother Esau want ya to. The Oatmans'll do everything they can to make life bad for ya."

    Goodness, these people.

    "That settle it? We set to marry you an' Unity, Steward be damned? An' y'all can either run or sit here an' rot, Lord knows we tried to help? 'Cause we got other things to talk about."

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