The Bishop of Stormpoint

The Bishop of Stormpoint

((location: Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul; action continued from A Long Road))

The priest enters the cathedral narthex cautiously, dragging in his knapsack behind him. "Hello, anyone home?" he asks no one in particular. The hollow echo of his own voice is the only reply he receives. He shrugs, thinking to himself, "well, I shouldn't be surprised.... the Lady said there weren't any regular parishioners..... besides, it's not as if it were Sunday or a Feast-day."

He leaves the sack in the narthex, noting the stairways to the balcony and the bell tower. He pushes through the second set of doors into the nave. The room is filled with a dim light that filters through the stained-glass windows. He takes a moment as he is awed and saddened by the beauty and the emptiness of the place.

Idly, he draws a finger along one of the pews, and looks at a rather significant accumulation of dust. "So then, no one's been here for a while it would seem." He sighs....."looks like the Lord will have me do some manual labor in cleaning up the place before anything else...."

He smiles to see that the Bibles and hymnbooks in the pews haven't suffered decay at their neglect, and is pleased to see that each pew has pads for kneeling. As he walks further into the nave, he is caught by the artistry of the windows, and seems cheered by the Biblical stories they represent. He begins to hum to himself, Allein zu Gott in Hoehe - a merry little German chorale paraphrase of the Gloria from the Mass.

However, his mood is broken when he reaches the transepts and sees the state of the side altars to St. Peter and St. Paul. Dead flowers cover both. In his mind, he rebels against the disorder, "The Faith shall not die!" Half-angrily, he walks to the St. Paul altar and, in an almost violent move, sweeps away the dead plants. Order will prevail against chaos if he had anything to say in the matter. He makes a sign of the cross over the altar, chanting "In nomine Patri, et Fili, et Spiritu Sancti. Amen." With a calmer demeanor, he walks over to the St. Peter altar and does the same for it.

Returning to the center of the cathedral, he faces east, and finds his breath catches in his throat for a moment when he sees the golden crucifix atop the rood screen. "Ah...Jesu....Du lieber Herr....." His eyes water with emotion. He thinks to himself, "Yes, You are always here, even when others leave; You are always with us, even when we are far from home; always You are there, with Your death to cleanse us, Your resurrection to give us life....."

Were anyone there to see the priest, it would appear that he had suddenly grown in stature. His body newly strong, his spirit confident again. He moves into the chancel. On the rood screen, there are two doors besides the main opening that leads from the nave to the chancel. To the South, the door opens to the lectern.

He walks through it, and finds a large English Bible open on the lectern. Reading, he finds it is marked at the first chapter of the Gospel according to St. John. Looking out over the empty pews, he declares with a strong and steady voice, "In the beginning was the word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."

He steps out of the lectern, and walks over to the door on the North of the rood screen. From the chancel, three steps lead up to the pulpit. He climbs them, and finds that notes of some former sermon have been left there. The title reads "How shall I Sing the Lord's Song in a Foreign Land?" The priest answers the question for himself, "The way God's people always have....by faith, and not by sight......"

He exits the pulpit, and walks down the chancel to the sanctuary proper. He genuflects and crosses himself as he steps past the communion rail, chanting quietly "introbio ad altare Dei..."

The high (or main) altar has not suffered the neglect of the rest of the cathedral. Here, someone has set out fresh flowers, and there is no dust to be found. The priest notes this, thinking, "here now, someone must be looking after things....." For no good reason, he suddenly looks toward the vaulted ceiling, inspecting the rafters as best he can in the dim light. "And the structure appears sound enough....hmmm... this is a puzzlement......"

He looks in the tabernacle (the small vault on the altar used to keep the consecrated hosts that remain after Mass), and is relieved to find it empty. Then he lifts up the linen altar cloth looking for the reliquary (the hidden compartment on altars in which a saint's relic is kept). Finding it, he lifts the covering to find a small bone encased in gold and crystal. He smiles, and thinks, "now, would that be Peter's or Paul's?"

Assured that things are in fairly good order, he enters the sacistry. In this room, light comes through one frosted window. He fumbles around in the half-light, locating at last some candles and some matches. Lighting several candles, he begins to inspect the sacistry. A key ring hangs by the door, and he experiments with various keys until he has found all the vestments (the garments priests wear during formal worship), paraments (the various hangings and cloths that decorate the altar, pulpit and lectern), candles, communion ware (a very ornate gold chalice for the sacramental wine, a gold paten/plate for the celebrant's communion wafer, the ciborium - which holds the individual wafers for other communicants during the Mass - also made of gold), the thurible and incense boat, and happily, a supply of communion wafers and sacramental wine. "Hmmm.... either the Lady Samantha had this place stocked for me, or there is more going on here than meets the eye."

Wth his inspection finished, he takes one thick candle, lights it, and prays "Lord, may the light of Your rising dispel all darkness." Then he blesses it with the sign of the cross, and carries it into the sanctuary, placing it in a lamp next to the altar.

The light has faded in the cathedral as the late afternoon sun races to the western horizon. He steps back into the sacistry, and extinguishes all but one of the candles he had lighted earlier. Then he re-enters the cathedral, bringing the buring candle with him, and closing the sacistry door behind him.

He genuflects to the altar once again, crosses himself, and then heads back down the main aisle.

Gathering his knapsack from the narthex, he blows out the candle, exits the cathedral, and walks over to the rectory.

The rectory is modest in size (maybe 1900 square feet of floor space), standing two stories. Coming up to the door, he starts to reach for the knob, thinks better of it, and knocks. There is no answer. He tries the door, and finds it unlocked.

But here, the neglect of the parish is more obvious. He sets down his sack, and looks through the semi-darkness to see cobwebs, broken crates and papers scattered across the floor. He sighs. "Eh? At least the cathedral is in decent shape....." He shrugs, lights his candle rather than cursing the darkness, and begins searching for a bed......

Father Nicolaus Selnecker

Verbum Dei Manet in AEternum....... baby......


Standing just inside the Raven her bodyguards close Triana Valmont shivers. A very uncommon occurrence for one such as her. "What prey tell was that " she mutters. With a flurry of her red velvet cape she exits her club and peruses the street. Her keen vision seeing perfectly in the semi darkness. She finds the reason for her shiver. Down the street a mortal entering the cathedral. "Not just a mortal but a priest!" the word priest rolling off her tongue like a hiss. And Samantha's dragon leading the way. "Great just great." She watches the Cathedral intently as he soon appears again this time heading to the rectory. "Please I cant take anymore trouble with clergy." And in a flash she is gone off for an early evening bite.

"We all dream of the forbidden, but some of us Make those dreams come true."

Triana Valmont

Clan Toreador


..."Great just great." ...

Mon dieu but someone was not happy for that thought had cut through her distractions. Samantha pauses in her walk and focuses on the thought. Well concealed to most, but a little effort from her considerable power and she has it. Triana. And she had seen Father Nicolaus no doubt. After all The Raven really was only up the street from the Cathedral. Samantha sees Triana then, outside the door of the Raven. Triana watches the Cathedralintently as the priest soon appears again this time heading to the rectory.

..."Please I cant take anymore trouble with clergy."... And in a flash the owner of the Raven is gone off for an early evening bite. Samantha shakes her head softly. She needed to warn some of her friends. She needed to warn Nicolaus first though.

She slips inside the Cathedral and drops on one knee for a moment, crossing herself in deference to a religion she once practiced. It is an action mingled of habit and a small thread of lasting faith. Her faith is in many things now and is not as focused upon the God she once worshipped. But she performs the reverence none the less.

No Father Nocolaus here though and she goes to the rectory to seek him.

A knock on the door and she cracks it open.

"Bonsoir father.." She sticks her head inside and smiles warmly. "I see Twilight got you here without too much trouble on her part. Glad to see you arrived safely."

She has already noticed the priest's look of weariness and the darting glances he has used to examine everything. So he was here but he still was on guard. Good. It would stand him in good stead. "But there is indeed something I need to tell you. About the patrons of this city. Most of them will be wary. Some will come to worship... and some will not approach you at all. Of these last, mon ami, arethose that I warn you of. I'm not effected by faith.. but some vampires are and there are indeed some of those in this city. Close friends of mine as well, but harmed by the faith in your heart none the less. Be careful, Father. They won't harm you unless provoked. But you will know them when you see them... and my suggestion is to not approach them too closely." She chuckles softly. "Enough doom and gloom, I know you're not here for a vampire hunt. I'll take my leave and let you rest."

She purposely leaves him no room for an edgwise word. She cannot take a sermon on the natures of evil and the repellant nature of faith to some of her blood. But just the same, he did deserve fair warning that he would not be looked upon kindly by all.

"Oh, and if you need me... I'm at the castle. I was thinking of having a few guards on duty in this section of the city, but if you find them required, I'd be happy to help you, mon ami. Merely send word."

She smiles once and leaves the startled priest to his settling in.

Once back on the streets, she resolves to go meet a few friends who need to be updated on Stormpoint's religious development. Triana and Rianna may want to avoid the cathedral.

"I oughtta find someone to take the pain away" ~

Grey Eye Glances

~The Lady Samantha Jeanteau Du Cheval~


Claire had wandered around the streets and alleys of the Quartier Francais for what seemed like hours before loneliness started to creep in. She stood in the center of the square near the fountain, crossed her arms, and glanced up at the ages-old clock that seemed to keep miraculously accurate time for such a relic.

'Sigh" Two a.m.? Mon Dieu, I must be getting old, I'm actually tired. The nearly 300 year old vampiress chuckles inwardly at her thoughts. Chiding herself, she pulls herself up to her full, 5'5" height, tilts her aristocratic chin upwards and smoothes out her skirts. You're not tired, chere, you're just bored. Bored, bored, bored! Oh! how she missed the Paris nightlife. The endless stream of soirees, the plays, the clubs....and of course, her dear Gavin.

Claire pushed back the hood of her cloak and ran her pale fingers through her raven tresses in frustration. She had had only mere months with her new husband before she was forced to flee Paris and the troubles that were brewing there. Thank the Gods for her dear friend Samantha, for when she returned to Rhydin and arrived at the Theatre, there was nothing but cinder and ash. A few gold coins pressed into the right hands lead her at last to Stormpoint and now here she was...alone and bored.

"I'm not effected by faith.. but some vampires are and there are indeed some of those in this city. Close friends of mine as well, but harmed by the faith in your heart none the less. Be careful, Father. They won't harm you unless provoked...."

Claire tilted her head, a furrow briefly marring her perfect brow. A familiar voice, lightly accented with french undertones, drifted into her conscience. Samantha? She listened again.

"But you will know them when you see them... and my suggestion is to not approach them too closely." Oui! It is Samantha! Claire hurries out of the square toward the sound of her voice. Through the wrought-iron gates, past the cemetary and on to the looming spires of the Cathedral. Her steps slow as she approaches the open doors and she stops momentarily to gaze appreciatively at the masterful architecture of the building. The gothic design was truly in European style and she was awed by its splendor.

Stepping inside, she waits and listens to Sam's warning. "I was thinking of having a few guards on duty in this section of the city, but if you find them required, I'd be happy to help you, mon ami. Merely send word." A smile carresses her porcelain features and she clears her throat to speak.

Now, now, mon cher amie. Are we trying to frighten le bon Pere? Turning to the priest, she blesses him with a rare, charming smile. Pere, not all of us harbor such aversions to the Church. Why, I happen to adore them.

Her voice is uncharacteristically sweet as she chats with the priest and she can feel her friends' cool gaze on her face. Her nose twitches slightly, a flaw in her features that is a telltale sign she is up to something and she glances sideways at Samantha, giving her a wink that is undetectable to any mortal being.

Extending her hand in greeting, she introduces herself to the priest. je m'appelle Claire Marie d'Etoile Vliaus. But Claire will do just fine, Pere. Have you been in Stormpoint long?

Never missing a beat her thoughts meld with those of her dear friend. Chere, I am being nice! This should prove to be a rather "interesting" distraction.

Claire d'Etoile Vliaus

Clan Ventrue

"So you think you want to live forever, cher?"


It was late.... too late. The priest didn't know the time...but he knew it was long past sunset, and that his body desperately wanted for sleep. But.... there was so much to do...

He had managed to get enough of the candles in the rectory lighted for his mortal eyes to get a good sense of the work that lay ahead of him before he could get down to his real business in this town.... which as far as he knew, was simply to be priest to whatever, if any, believers might actually inhabit the town.

He ran through a mental check-list of what he had found, although this was more a habit from his younger days in the Augustinian monastery than an act of desire - since what was foremost in his mind was a desperate need to sleep.

On the first floor of the rectory, in great disorder, as if someone had left rather hastily, were to be found the sitting/receiving room, a spacious study with a *not bad* theological library (although it made him all the more glad for the books he had hauled with him), the entry with a stairway to the second floor, a formal dinning room, and the kitchen and pantry. The pantry was, of course, empty - which meant that he would have to get to the marketplace if he were to have anything to eat after his bread, cheese, and wine were gone.

On the second floor were the bedrooms. Four of them.... although he couldn't imagine that he'd have many guests, or lodgers, or servants for that matter, to fill them. The only strange thing upstairs was this: when he examined the closet in the master bedroom, he found clothes. Three black cassocks, three purple cassocks, and some men's nightwear. He had shrugged it off at first, but something stuck in his mind. And as he examined the clothes more

closely, he noticed they were all his size. "What in heaven's name? All right then....someone has rather a good deal of explaining to do." By nature, he simply didn't like mysteries of a secular sort.... the theological ones he could live with, at least until the Last Day.... but the ones of this world made him somewhat cross. He headed back downstairs.

He picked up some of the various bits scattered about the floor, examining the papers as he gathered them. Were they notes? A Diary? This will have to be examined later. He takes them, with his books, to the study. He then sets to knocking down cobwebs, deciding that a good dusting and sweeping can wait for the morning. Satisfied that the first floor is habitable, he returns to the study again.

He sits a the large desk, pulls out the bread, cheese and wine, and sets to a hungry dinner. He almost forgets to give thanks before he takes his first bite, crosses himself, mumbles a quick prayer, and eats greedily.

And his eye catches a dust covered note, folded and sealed, on the desk. He reaches for it, shakes it off, and reads its address:

To any Future Priest in Stormpoint

"Hmmm....another mystery, eh?" he says with his mouth half-full. "Well, that will have to wait until morning as well."

He yawns, covers his food in waxed paper, takes one more swig from his wine bag, and grabs a devotional from his knapsack. Then, taking one candle, he sets to extinguishing the lights on the first floor. He looks at the front door before heading upstairs, thinks for a moment, and no sooner walks over to lock it when.....

His sponsor to Stormpoint, the Lady Samantha entered: "Bonsoir Father."

He began to bow and reply when she continued her welcome, "I see Twilight got you here without too much trouble....."

Again, he tried to get a word in, but she continued, and in respect to his temporal sponsor, he remained silent, questions filling his mind as he listened.....

"There is something I need to tell you......most of them will be wary..... some vampires.... harmed by the faith in your heart.... be careful..... my suggestion is to not approach them too closely....."

Of course, he wanted to discuss each word... for none of what she said made sense in his world. That there were vampires, and other creatures, in Rhydin he had come to accept. Not that they didn't make him uneasy. It was rather hard to throw off 40 some years of being taught that the undead are an offense against the God of the living by their very existence. Yet, he had discovered the truth of her words, "they won't harm you unless provoked." Still, a number of them were provoked a good deal more easily than he thought they had cause for. On the other hand, a few of them had struck him as rather sad, lost souls, looking for release. Something to which he would gladly help them, though the way was hard.... but no harder than faith for any child of the Fall.

By the time he had snapped out of his thoughts, Samantha was gone.

"Wha'? That was quick, eh?" was all he could say to the empty space where she had been. He scratched his head for a moment, and turned back to the room.

"Okay Nicolaus, you know you should get your rest, and present yourself to the good rulers of this place on the morrow....but then again, the Lady Samantha, your sponsor here, has visited - which means that courtesy is satisfied on that point for now, and you are free to set things to order here." He chuckled.... talking to himself, now there was the sure sign of a man who had been too long apart from the company of others.

And he immediately though of his days a student in Leipzig... the endless debates and discussions in small inns to all hours of the night with other students. The endless tankards of good Saxon beer.... he smiled, and then quickly frowned. But court life, as a preacher and provost at the university had not been so convivial. Endless intrigues, plots within plots, lives balanced on theological semantics....and, his exile, the nexus..... Rhydin......feh!

He shook his head, "snap out of it then. The Word remains, and the Church will stand....even though She be scattered to the ends of the earth....."

Of course, the space behind him wasn't empty. Being a mortal, he simply hadn't caught the quick interchange between Samantha and the other....much less her entrance at Samantha's exit. A light cough behind him caused him to turn, and he found himself facing a strange woman with her hand extended. "Je m'applle Claire Marie d'Etoile Vliaus. But Claire will do just fine, Pere. Have you been in Stormpoint long?"

For a brief moment, his suspicions and old prejudices warred against his vow to hospitality, and he nearly considered asking the stranger to remove herself from his residence and come back when things were in better order, and when he wasn't so tired. Then the habits of the monastery took hold of him, as he realized one of her blood would never call during the day... he made a mental note to get naps in, as he would likely get more than a few late-evening callers.....

He bows to the woman with practiced formality: "Bonsoir Madame, ou Mademoiselle? Marie. Je suis enchante du faire votre connaissance. Je m'applle Pere Nicolaus Selnecker."

With that said, he takes her hand and speaks in the language of the Church: "Pax Christi sit semper tecum." He smiles briefly, hoping that he has remembered the correct forms from his days at court, and relaxes just a bit.

"I am afraid I have only just arrived to Stormpoint. You'll please excuse the condition of the rectory" he gestures at the dusty room....."I really haven't had the time to make it presentable for company as of yet."

For a moment, he is silent. He shuffles a bit nervously, and then asks guardedly: "To what then, do I owe the pleasure of your visit, if I may ask?"

Father Nicolaus Selnecker

Verbum Dei Manet in AEternum....... baby........


Claire's finely tuned senses are alert, and perhaps as wary as her host's, as she listens to him apologize for the dust and items scattered about the room.

"I am afraid I have only just arrived to Stormpoint. You'll please excuse the condition of the rectory......I really haven't had the time to make it presentable for company as of yet."

A light wave of her hand dismisses his concerns for neatness and she can see by his posture and stance that he has relaxed a bit, but is guarded nonetheless.

Well Father Nicolaus Selnecker, may I be one of the first to welcome you. As to the purpose of my visit..... her slim shoulders rise in the briefest of shrugs.... well, I suppose there is nothing pressing at the time but I do admire the grand architecture of the Cathedral and I was curious about one thing. You see, my apartments overlook the cemetary and beyond lies your lovely Cathedral. I've stood on my balcony many nights admiring the stained glass and intricate spires but it seems as though something is missing.

Claire pauses then, looking down for a moment and toying with the clasp on her cloak. She can feel the priest's impatience with her babbling and catches bits and pieces of his thoughts. He is definitely not ready for company and is too tired from his journey to listen to incessant rambling. She decides to get to the point and take her leave before his patience wears out.

Tell me, Pere, were you hoping to have a large congregation soon? Will there be a choir? I think it would be simply splendid to hear their angelic voices drifting through the trees into le Quartier Francais, don't you agree?

With that said, she clasps her fingers together, almost as if in prayer, and smiles beguilingly at Father Nicolaus. Her smoky eyes dance as she stands there in the dusty room in all her finery and she thinks to herself "It's a good thing Joelle is not her to see me now....she would certainly give me away and my entire plan would be ruined...... she hates it when I'm so transparent!"

The smile stays plastered to her finely-chiseled face.

Pere?

Claire d'Etoile Vliaus

Clan Ventrue

"So you think you want to live forever, cher?"


Inwardly, he sighed as she began to speak. As likely as not, all the prominent "citizens" of Stormpoint would be vampires of one sort or another. He smiled politely at her somewhat thinly veiled chatter. His thoughts continued..... he would certainly have to adjust his sleeping habits, as he knew only too well that his success or failure in rehabilitating the congregation that belonged to the cathedral would depend directly on the good will, or at least civil tolerance, of the "community's" leaders. If there were believers left in Stormpoint after so long without a priest, they would definitely be taking their cues from how the nobility and rich reacted to his presence. He had seen this before.... again his thoughts went back to Saxony.... always the weak and the poor waiting upon the example of the powerful and the moneyed.

Still, he was tired this night. Half exasperated, he wondered whether this lady really thought that the middle of the night was the time for light conversation with mortals, or whether she had some other motive.... but then again, for her, the middle of the night was hardly "late." His forced smile became genuinely wry as he considered his own foolishness for a moment.... always looking at the world from his own perspective, and forgetting that it was a very different sort of place for others. He sighed inwardly again, well.... God sees all, and with Him there is but one truth.... would that the priest could learn it better.....

With a start, he discovered that she had stopped speaking.

".... but it seems as though something is missing....."

He just barely avoided snorting aloud and sarcastically adding, "yes....a congregation for one thing....." but he maintained his self-control, and simply said, "Yes?" He watched her as she toyed with her clasp, drawing attention to the cool ivory skin of her neck. He smiled to himself again, remembering his youth, when a woman's neck, and the delicate slope from nape to shoulder would rivet his attention from across a crowded room. The fires of such passions in the priest had long since burned low, yet he missed his youth..... and again, found a curious pang of longing for the companions of his days at university.

Claire spoke again, "Tell me, Pere, were you hoping to have a large congregation soon? Will there be a choir? I think it would be simply splendid to hear their angelic voices drifting through the trees into le Quartier Francais, don't you agree?"

Again, the priest found himself needing to consciously resist the urge to be impolite. How dense did she take him to be? Then again, he thought as he found his good humor, judging from other priests he'd met, even he had to admit that it was as safe a bet as any to assume the typical cleric was only slightly more intelligent than a door-post. He himself had often wished he could send more than a few theological candidates back to their farms when he was provost, and that had gotten him in trouble more than once.

"Pere?"

He sighed. Looking at Claire directly, he decided that she would tell him what she was really after only when she was ready, and that there was nothing to do but answer her question honestly.

"Well, m'lady, of course I love to see the cathedral full on every holy day. But that will be as God wills.... from what I have seen so far, the cathedral seems largely abandoned, though there are some signs that someone is looking after the place. So I have no idea how many will avail themselves of the place. Lady Samantha has told me not too expect too much, and I am a bit confused as to why she invited me here at all." He shrugs. "As for a choir.... well, Dr. Luther, of blessed memory, often said that after theology, music was the noblest art given to the Church. A schola cantorum would greatly serve the cathedral and the town: educating the young in music will sharpen their minds; and the glory of the music drifting out of the cathedral may have the power to draw some who would not otherwise think to pass through the doors."

For a moment, he falls quiet, a bit embarrassed that he has spoken at such length. Then he looks up, and into her eyes with a kind of stern curiosity.

"But certainly the matter of the cathedral's choir can't be what has brought you here at this hour. Eh, m'lady?"

Father Nicolaus Selnecker, o.a.

Verbum Dei Manet in AEternum........ baby.......


"Well, m'lady, of course I love to see the cathedral full on every holy day. But that will be as God wills.... .....someone is looking after the place. So I have no idea........As for a choir.... well, Dr. Luther, of blessed memory......... music drifting out of the cathedral..........

Claire listened patiently to Father Nicolaus for what, to her, seemed like hours. She was sure when he was finished with his explanation that it would be close to dawn and she would have to rush back to her apartments. "Why do mortals speak so slowly? She begins to tap her foot, a habit she picked up from Joelle and one she detested. One slippered foot scoots over to the tapping one and rests itself atop to stop the nervous twitch.

A tiny crease begins to form between her brows as she tries to focus on something, anything, while he speaks. Her cinder gaze rests, at last, on his upper lip. Quickly becoming fascinated at the way his moustache rises and falls when he speaks, she begins to smile. The smile threatens to become a grin and she tucks one slender arm beneath the other and brings the free hand to her lips, biting her finger lightly to stifle the grin. "And who says mortals aren't interesting....?"

"But certainly the matter of the cathedral's choir can't be what has brought you here at this hour. Eh, m'lady?"

The sudden silence at the end of his question rouses Claire out of her musings and she pauses, as if in deep thought, then offers him a tight-lipped smile. Her free hand now slips around her waist to join its partner and she lowers her head, turning away from his piercing gaze. She wanders around the room for a moment, the silence hanging between them like a velvet theater curtain, then she turns to face him, her eyes bright with pent-up emotion.

"Pere, do you realize just exactly what I am? Do you really want to know why I'm here? Are you certain you want to hear the truth?"

Claire d'Etoile Vliaus

Clan Ventrue

"So you think you want to live forever, cher?"


Somehow, he had always imagined that immortality, of the temporal sort at least, would lead to patience with the world. For indeed, what need was there for hurry when one knew that day would follow upon day....or "night upon night" as the case may be, endlessly? "Ah...." he thought as he continued speaking, "but that's the rub, eh? We mortals can pursue our short course in this world by day and night, but these creatures of the night onlyhave a half-immortality..... endless in endurance, but limited by the course of the sun."

Noting Mme. Claire's growing impatience with his speech, he finished answering the question she obviously didn't care about anyway. "Eh, that will teach her to ask after what she truly does not want to know....."

Catching what he took to be efforts on her part to suppress a grin, he decided that this game had gone on long enough - both for her who worried about the dawn, and himself, who increasingly thought of sleep. There was nothing to do for it other than be direct.

"But certainly......... eh, m'lady?"

Her reaction caught the priest off guard. Rather than the cool and detached sophistication of the corrupt, she offered him a tight-lipped smile, one that almost appeared pained. She turned away, and paced through the rectory's entry idly...well, almost. The priest sensed that this was merely a pretext for avoiding his gaze. He grew uneasy as the atmosphere became charged with her emotion - what was it, anger? hunger? despair? "Thesecreatures," he thought to himself, "so much like mortals, and yet so foreign......"

When she turned to face him, he caught his breath. Her eyes were flashing with an intense energy, and her face was near savage. The Lady Samantha had warned to priest to be careful with the "citizens" of Stormpoint who were not seen by day..... but now the priest feared that he had over-stepped his place....and on his first day too.

Her voice was almost a hiss...and to his ears, he could not tell whether the passion that lay under her words was malevolent or that of a wounded animal.

"Pere, do you realize just exactly what I am? Do you really want to know why I'm here? Are you certain you want to hear the truth?"

Involuntarily, his right hand found its way inside his shirt to grasp the small silver crucifix that hung around his neck, and in the back of his mind, he simply thought "God preserve me." Then, as they stood facing each other in a silence that was deafening, the priest found the courage of his convictions. With steady voice he answered her challenge:

"Mme. I do know what you are, if by that you mean one of the undead who feed upon the blood of the living. None-the-less, I do wish to know why you have come here this night. And as for the truth," he sighed heavily, "yes, I want to hear your version of it, though I remind you that I am called to be the bearer of a rather different kind of Truth."

Again, silence. The room itself seemed to wait for the next move in this conversation that was becoming something of a complex game of chess.........

Father Nicolaus Selnecker, o.a.

Verbum Dei Manet in AEternum....... baby........


"Pere, do you realize just exactly what I am? Do you really want to know why I'm here? Are you certain you want to hear the truth?"

What was this then? Samantha stops outside the church door, listenings to the goings on within. She really hadn't meant to abandon the Father so abruptly. Now it seemed staying would have been a good idea.

"Mme. I do know what you are, if by that you mean one of the undead who feed upon the blood of the living. None-the-less, I do wish to know why you have come here this night. And as for the truth," he sighed heavily, "yes, I want to hear your version of it, though I remind you that I am called to be the bearer of a rather different kind of Truth."

And then silence. Two players judging their opponants next move. Fear and a great deal of bravery in that priest, she muses. And Claire being Claire.

She steps inside the church door immediately aware of the sanctity of this place, of the sheer beauty within. She draws herself to her full height and glances between the two of them before stepping into the light. Oh how she did love to play with shadows. It would appear that she simply melted from them.

"Now now, cherie, play nice with mon chere pere. I expect nothing less for those with my invite." Her voice, though teasing and friendly, brooks no argument from the Ventrue. She loves Claire dearly, but she will not have Father Nicolaus frightened out of the city. He could do some good here. Samantha knows that no matter what many of the vampiric citizens believe, the priest had more to teach them than they could realize. If they would turn deaf ears upon his God, then that was there decision entirely; mon dieu she herself no longer followed the religion. But to turn away faith for the sake of religion...non. Faith in God she may not have, but faith... plenty of it. Faith in love. Faith in beauty. Faith in friendship.

"My sincerest apologies for leaving so, Father. I decided that I might come back and stay for a little longer visit. Perhaps answer some questions. I'm sure Claire would be happy to answer your questions as well." She casts a glance to her friend and her stance is nearly as regal and demanding as any Ventrue's might be.

"Listen to me I have beautiful dreams I can spin you...
Dreams to linger within you...
Close your eyes and we'll ride my carousel"

~ "Storybook" The Scarlet Pimpernel

~The Lady Samantha Jeanteau Du Cheval~


"Now now, cherie, play nice with mon chere pere. I expect nothing less for those with my invite."

The sudden sound of Samantha's voice, delivered with its "I'll have none of this" tone, was enough to cause even the most stoic of creatures to start, and Claire, in her present emotional state, was no exception.

Her eyes had been locked with those of the valiant priest, a mixture of anger and hurt swirling within their cinder depths, but Samantha's stern warning was enough to break the stare and Claire turned to face her friend. The aristocratic Ventrue had always taken great care to hide her true emotions, lock them deep in the vault of her dark heart, but something within these hallowed walls had allowed her to lower her guard for the briefest of moments and when her eyes met Sam's there was a flicker of something foreign in them. Vulnerability.

She quickly lowered her gaze in deference to Samantha's position of royalty and hoped that Sam had missed the nuance of that particular emotion.

"My sincerest apologies for leaving so, Father. I decided that I might come back and stay for a little longer visit. Perhaps answer some questions. I'm sure Claire would be happy to answer your questions as well."

With centuries of practiced ease Claire regained her former composure and smiled at Samantha. Nodding, she then turned to Father Nicolaus with the same charming smile and locked her gaze onto his. Her years as a French Courtissan had given her the ability to maintain her dignity even in the most awkward of situations, and her regal posture and tilt of her chin were proof of her training at this moment. But, only one person in the room could see her eyes and she silently pleaded with him for his understanding. "Non, Pere, ca c'est pas fini.... I will return with my story soon. When the time is right. Until then, you need to know that I am no danger to you. Ca va?

Her message sent to the somewhat bewildered priest, she then speaks aloud, her voice as soft as velvet. "Oui, Pere, your questions will be answered in due time, I'm sure. There are many in this town that harbor tales that would likely give even the holiest of souls nightmares. I, however, find myself inclined to keep my secrets to myself so I will bid you adieu for now. We will meet again soon, I hope."

Turning to Samantha she gives her friend a quick embrace and pulls the hood of her cloak tightly around her face.

"Cherie, I would love to pay a call to you and Sable soon. I have yet to see your magnificent castle and from what I have heard it rivals any in Europe. I will send my card tomorrow, oui?"

Backing out, she nods to Father Nicolaus "Pere, c'etait bien un plasir. Bonne nuit"

And with a swirl of crimson wool sweeping the floor, the mysterious Ventrue slips into the shadows and makes her way through the streets of le Quartier Francais to the safety of her new home.

Claire d'Etoile Vliaus

Clan Ventrue

"So you think you want to live forever, cher?"


"Cherie, I would love to pay a call to you and Sable soon. I have yet to see your magnificent castle and from what I have heard it rivals any in Europe. I will send my card tomorrow, oui?"

"Of course ma cherie. Of course."

She had startled Claire more than intended, she realizes. The Ventrue had seemed almost off guard for that barest instant. Claire? That woman who was unflappable and forever made of ice? She remembers Claire's grand entrance into the Theatre and the haughtiness of her gaze. Since their first meeting the two had a bond... one of shared royal bearing and composure. And yet there was always a reserve about Claire that Samantha could not match. Had the Ventrue cracked in that moment?

But then Claire was her old self and she had breezed out of the rectory."My oh my... well Father, it seems that you've encountered many of my night walking friends these past days. I commend your bravery in that. We are often not the most courteous or typical visitors. Forgive our intrustions into what was surely resting time for you." She looks quickly around the rectory, noting the work he has done in this place.

"I can leave if you'd like to sleep. Or if you have questions I could answer those as well I suppose."

Her lips curl in a half grin. For reasons she has never pinpointed she likes this man. Arguing theology with him, arguing the nature of her soul, all had brought a respect for him that she would not give most religious leaders. Non, many had earned her scorn but even though the Father did not often agree with her, he did listen. It was more than many were willing to do.

Listen to me I have beautiful dreams I can spin you...
Dreams to linger within you...
Close your eyes and we'll ride my carousel"

~ "Storybook" The Scarlet Pimpernel

~The Lady Samantha Jeanteau Du Cheval~


As the priest spoke his words to Mme. Claire, he began to regret them. What he had taken as a challenge on her part had proved to be something far different.....yes, there was anger there, at his presumption, as much as anything, but there was also.....what? Hurt? Vulnerability? Deep pain?

He was sure she was about to say something.....honest.....when....

Through a door he did not see open, and out from the shadows, stepped the Lady Samantha. The priest almost gasped..... "So regal...." was his immediate thought. When he had encountered her before, at an inn in Rhydin, she had seemed.....so casual.....and that early encounter had influenced his sense of her too much...... sure, he had noticed that she signed her last post to him "Queen of Dominia" - but having never heard of the land, he had simply assumed it to be a duchy masquerading as a realm. Now he knew differently. By instinct, he found himself bowing, silently offering his greeting:

"Peace attend you, highness....."

But he was superfluous to the moment. The action was between the Lady Samantha and Mme. Claire. He realized, with a shock, how much these creatures had accommodated themselves to his slow mortality in conversation with him as he tried to observe how quickly they interacted with each other. He shook his head....he could only follow bits of it.....

"Now....., cherie, play nice........nothing less for those with my invite."

And with that, whatever he had seen in Mme. Claire was gone. Too sudden to be seen, it was almost as if she were replaced by another who was similar to, but not the same as, the one who was gone. In the place of vulnerability was hardness, in the place of defiance were the dull eyes of submission. In the place of the warmth of truth was......what? He didn't have the time to dwell on that, as the Lady Samantha's voice commanded his attention again...

"My sincerest apologies for leaving so, Father. I decided that I might come back and stay for a little longer visit. Perhaps answer some questions. I'm sure Claire would be happy to answer your questions as well."

Yes,...her voice commanded attention.....the priest found himself unable to resist it, yet when it was gone, he wondered.....he had never heard her use this tone before....almost as if she wanted to distract him from considering what Mme. Claire might tell..... again he shook his head, as if to clear it of....what? He honestly couldn't say......

There was some sort of quick exchange between the vampires again which he could only catch as a "something he knew not what," and before he could consider that, he found himself looking in Mme. Claire's eyes again. Her body spoke of cool reserve, but her eyes said something more.....and in his head he heard a kind of plea:

"Non, Pere, ca c'est pas fini.... I will return with my story soon. When the time is right. Until then, you need to know that I am no danger to you. Ca va?

Was he losing his mind so soon after arriving in Stormpoint? Voices in his head? No, not voices....a voice.....hers......Yet he had no time even to ponder this, as his ears now heard another voice....hers again, but with an entirely different modulation:

"Oui, Pere, your questions will be answered in due time, I'm sure. ......... I, however, find myself inclined to keep my secrets to myself so I will bid you adieu for now. We will meet again soon, I hope."

But what did she know of all his questions? Again the vampires exchanged words too rapid for him to scan. He only knew that he was next presented with Mme. Claire departing in a cool sweep:

"Pere, c'etait bien un plasir. Bonne nuit"

Trying to remember what French he had learned at court, He bowed and offered,

"Vont avec....." he began to say "Dieu" immediately thought better of it, and substituted "....paix."

But she was gone.

And there was only the Queen, his sponsor, his guardian, his.......what?

Unwilling to let him think, she addressed him directly:

"My oh my.....well, Father......forgive our intrusions......." There was a pause, as if she were examining the rectory....."I can leave......or if you have questions, I could answer those as well, I suppose......."

And, at last, quiet.....filled only by her half grin. "Lord...." he thought to himself, "do these creatures never give a man a chance to think?" Yet again that evening, or was it morning, he found his thoughts returning to his homeland. In the monastery they had cherished silence between speaking...to give the mind and heart the opportunity to weigh words and thoughts with care. But here...."feh....".....everything was a whir.

Yet he clung to the silence...all thoughts of his previous exhaustion pushed to the side as he tried to analyze what had just taken place..... and suddenly.....well, it all just seemed a bit too convenient. The Lady Samantha appearing and disappearing, to be replaced by Mme. Claire, and then, when she seemed on the verge of telling him something she held true, the Lady Samantha returns, and Mme. Claire exits.........Were they trying to keep him off balance? Now his sponsor stood before him offering to answer questions, when earlier...when his questions were well thought....she was simply in and out.

He tried to find the jumble of questions that had piled up in his mind since he had entered the town... only that afternoon..... "Eh?....." he considered, "have I been here so short a time? Seemed longer...but not even a full twenty-four hours yet....." He resorted to a focussing exercise he had learned as a novice.....retracing his steps..... and he sighed.

Then he looked up at the Queen, took a deep breath, and spoke with a precision learned from the courts in which he had dwelt.....

"I believe sleep can wait for me, your highness, if it is all the same to you.....and yes, now that you ask, I do have some questions...... 1. Who cares for the cathedral? I noticed that while the side altars have been neglected, the main altar had fresh flowers and has been kept clean....also, the sacistry is well stocked with communion supplies. Who do I have to thank for this, you, or another? 2. How long has the parish been vacant a priest?" he gestures to the rectory.... "I've been able to knock down most of the cobwebs....but obviously this residence has not seen care for some time, yes? 3. Why are the cassocks and night clothes in the master bedroom just my size? Hmmmm? 4. Are the other priests, or for that matter, bishops, present here or in the realms that share rule of this city....I have seen the uniforms of three different kingdoms here? For that matter, what are the realms, besides Dominia that rule this place? 5. Am I to be bishop of this cathedral, or am I merely a temporary fixture, and if so, to what end?"

He let out his breath. If these questions didn't get him sent back to Rhydin, they might get him some answers. He grinned slightly to himself...."Aye, but what would be the relation between your precious answers and the truth, eh?" he thought.

And then he merely stood before his sponsor....waiting to find out what this odd and long night had yet to reveal.........

Father Nicolaus Selnecker, o.a.

Verbum Dei Manet in AEternum........baby.........


"I believe sleep can wait for me, your highness, if it is all the same to you.....and yes, now that you ask, I do have some questions......"

Oh but this was indeed a surprise. He was tired. Oh so tired. She could see the weariness in the way he held stood, in the dulling of his eyes. But yet he still wanted his curiosity quenched! She had left him in a desert without water, she supposed, leaving him wtih so little information. So she will answer as best she can. No deception or glossing of her words, for there is no need. The Father already has his suspicions of her, this she knows. She has relaxed once more into a more casual pose, the one she usually uses with Claire, with all her friends for that matter.

"1. Who cares for the cathedral? I noticed that while the side altars have been neglected, the main altar had fresh flowers and has been kept clean....also, the sacistry is well stocked with communion supplies. Who do I have to thank for this, you, or another?"

This news is a bit of a shock. She herself placed no one in charge of this place. The cathedral, she knew, was one of the oldest buildings in Stormpoint but it had been abandoned for years. She forgets for a moment that her thoughts are not his to share and that she must voice them. Too much time around vampire kind was getting to her and she disliked that.

"I wish I could answer that myself, Pere... but I haven't seen to that matter, nor has my husband by my knowledge. Ogrek...doubtful. I venture to suggest that you may have some parishoners after all." She frowns. A mystery indeed. Not that stocking the church and caring for some of it could be deemed punishable by any standard. Au Contraire, she was rather pleased. Religion may not be her calling but if others felt need for it then she would most definitly support them. "I can ask around if you like but I really don't know..."

"How long has the parish been vacant a priest?" he gestures to the rectory.... "I've been able to knock down most of the cobwebs....but obviously this residence has not seen care for some time, yes?"

"Stormpoint itself is an old city... it was here before I took control of Dominia a few years ago. It's grown in that time but from what I know the cathedral was one of the first building erected here." She pauses to run her hand over some of the furniture, smiling at the age and use the chairs and tables have recieved. Furniture with a past, her sire might say. "I would say it has stood for nearly a century... the parish has been vacant a priest, as you say, probably for the last fifty or so. The last ruler of these lands was... not the most religious person. But that's officialy. I've heard some scattered rumors that a small congregation still existed for quite some time. Twenty years, is my best answer for how long this place has been in disuse."

And still there were questions. She cannot help but smile at him. This man so exhausted and confused and suspicious, still intent on learning what there is to learn.

"Why are the cassocks and night clothes in the master bedroom just my size? Hmmmm?"At this she clears her throat slightly embarrassed. She stares at a cnadle flame for a long moment, a secret smile working its way across her lips only to dissapear. There remains a glimmer of amusement in her eyes.

"That, however, *was* my doing. When I heard you had accepted the appointment I took a guess and had a few clothes made for you." She looks at him and grins sheepishly, very much not the queen for that instant. "Glad they fit."

"Are the other priests, or for that matter, bishops, present here or in the realms that share rule of this city....I have seen the uniforms of three different kingdoms here? For that matter, what are the realms, besides Dominia that rule this place?"

"Three regents rule this city, Pere. Myself, my husband the Lord Sable Cheval of Darkendale, and Ogrek the..well...Ogrek from Ogrekvania. The people in this city are travelers and inhabitants of those three lands. As far as I know you are the only priest, or bishop, here."

" Am I to be bishop of this cathedral, or am I merely a temporary fixture, and if so, to what end?"

This shocks her ever so slightly. She realises that her disappearances and mysterys and the lack of knowledge she gave him have led to suspicion.

"To what end, Pere?" To the end that I hope indeed you stay. If you would like to be Bishop than you will have whatever you need to do so.. I think Stormpoint needs you, Father. I may not enter the cathedral to worship, but even then I count you as friend. My motives to your appointment were that I saw a priest without a parish and a parish, albeit small, without a priest. Nothing dark or sinister, I assure you." She shrugs lightly. "My answers to you will always be truth." ah yes he had been thinking that, she realizes as the flicker of shock passes over his face. "But I can give you only what I know. For all that I seem mysterious to you...never doubt that I do not hold anything back to those I trust. And you have given me no reason to distrust you."

And now this night has drawn to a close. She can sense the dawn coming and though she would be safe enough from it, she does not feel like daring the sun today. And Father Nicolaus was tired in both body and mind. He'd been bombarded with information this night. Something within tells her to let him think it all over.

"I'll be taking my leave, Pere. If you need my council or ..." a smirk on those lips "even a visit, merely send a message with one of the guards. They'll be wandering this area of the city at most hours. Au revoir for now, Pere."

"Listen to me I have beautiful dreams I can spin you...
Dreams to linger within you...
Close your eyes and we'll ride my carousel"

~ "Storybook" The Scarlet Pimpernel

~The Lady Samantha Jeanteau Du Cheval~


He waited before the Queen, wondering just what sort of reply, if any, she would grant him. And again, the dull ache of weariness flooded his body. His mind skipped from thought to thought in the way a drunkard lurches from side to side when walking down the road. All discipline of will gone, all the priest could do was passively receive the information, and hopefully store it in his memory for later consideration. There would be no more analysis this night.

Then he noticed her relax. The change was a kind of graceful wave. There she was standing with her full regal bearing, and then she became casual, even friendly. No more mystery. Almost....."human?" .... he thought. Here was the woman he remembered meeting.....what was it....weeks?.....months? ago at an inn of Rhydin. Then he thought of the "Endless Mile." He had wandered in there one night simply because the name of the place described how he felt..... Then he remembered the "Lady Doctor" - Sabo.....another human lost in Rhydin. He wondered what had happened to her....she had not seemed to be adjusting to this strange land.

The Lady Samantha's words brought him back.....

"I wish I could answer that.......I venture to suggest that you may have some parishioners after all.....I can ask around.....I really don't know....."

He noted the slight frown that she allowed him to see as she answered the first question. "So, this mystery will remain one for now...." He thought. And somehow it cheered him to think that not even his sponsor knew all that went on here.

She addressed his second question:

"Stormpoint is an old city......Twenty years, is my best answer for how long this place has been in disuse."

He noticed that she smiled at him....somewhat wryly, he thought. But he let it pass....there were still more questions.....

"...I had a few clothes made for you....glad they fit."

Yes, he was tired...yet this answer set the slow wheels of his mind in motion again....and he almost objected, "But why on earth did you have them put in the bedroom without having anyone bother to clean things up a bit?" Of course, even he, and even at this hour, knew that such a question to his social better would be plain impertinent. So, he kept his peace...and she began to hurry her answers a bit. He wondered, was this out of kindness for him....or......the dawn? He had no idea of what time it was, but suspected that the creatures of the night would have a feel for such things. So, he maintained a respectful silence.

"The regents rule this city.....Myself.....Lord Sable....Ogrek.....you are the only priest...."

For some reason, this saddened him, and his old loneliness washed over him. No other priests....no one with which to discuss fine points of theology.....no brother, who knew the joys and pains of this calling, with which to share the occasional drink..... he sighed....

Her next answer caught him off-guard....

".....If you would like to be Bishop......" Would like? For some reason, he found himself annoyed. What fool would "like" to be Bishop!? Sure, he had known poseurs at court who lusted after what power they thought the office had...but they knew nothing. To be bishop...to have a sacred responsibility for not one parish, but for all the believers of the diocese....to maintain good order, right preaching.... it was a calling that made for an early grave. Yet the Church needed those who could and would to exercise such oversight. No, it was not a matter of "like" - it was a matter of God's provision for the bene esse of His Church. Calming down a bit, he realized that the Lady Samantha had like meant no slight....but was just unfamiliar with Church usages.....

"....nothing dark or sinister.....My answers....always....truth.....never doubt.....you have given me no reason to distrust you......"

He blushed. Too long in the courts at home, he had been too suspicious with this regent from mere habit. He regretted his fault, and felt an immediate need to apologize..... especially since he had not mentioned the letter he had found, though he had not yet opened it..... He found himself ready to speak when she stopped him.

"I'll be taking my leave......Au revoir for now, Pere....."

He bowed at the figure which turned away from him, and spoke his blessing to empty space....

"Pax sit semper tecum, Regina meum...."

The door to the rectory stood open to the dark morning that still gave no hint of the dawn. As the priest looked out on the city, all life there seemed to have ceased. There were no sounds his ears could find, only the dark silence of the pre-dawn. He felt every last ounce of energy drain from him. He had no thoughts. His body simply went to automatic pilot as he closed the door, locked it, and dragged himself upstairs.

He dressed himself for sleep, not even taking time to admire the fine fabric of the nightclothes which had been made for him. He kneeled at the prie Dieu before a crucifix that hung in the bedroom, said a rather perfunctory Pater Noster and Gloria Patri and crawled into bed. As the fine mattress and linens enfolded him in a gentle embrace, he snuffed his candle, and as soon as his head hit the down pillow, was asleep.

He had no dreams.

Father Nicolaus Selnecker, o.a.

Verbum Dei Manet in AEternum..... baby.......


Father Nicolaus (or "Bishop Selnecker", as he was trying to think of himself, now that he knew he was the only "catholic" Christian priest in the area) awoke with a start on his second day in Stormpoint.

He suffered that odd disorientation that comes from sleeping too well. When he looked about the room, he initially didn't have the faintest idea where he was, or what day it was for that matter. However, with a moment's concentration, the previous day and night came back to him. This was Stormpoint, he was in the master bedroom of the rectory, and he was the priest to the Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul.

However, habit quickly overcame thought. He immediately rose from the bed, which was a tad "too comfortable" for his taste, wandered to the prie Dieu, and recited the Morning Office. His prayers said, he rose, walked to west wall of the room, pulled aside the curtains at the window and looked out. "What the devil time is it? Have I slept away half the day?" he thought to himself with a little guilt. But, by observing the shadows, he reassured himself that his discipline was not entirely lost - as it only seemed to be mid-morning. He made a mental note to get some clocks, with alarms, in the rectory. After all, someone had to keep the canonical hours........

The next order of business was to splash some water on himself to chase the stink away. He plodded to the bathroom, briefly fiddled with the appliances on the sink (indoor plumbing was still a bit of an innovation to him), and soon had a pool of cold water with which to play. The water did the trick, tightening his skin and alarming his nerves enough to make him alert. He looked about the room, and noted with interest that fresh towels had been laid out. Sniffing about, he decided that a full bath could wait (that standards of his homeland being rather low in the cleaniness department), but wished that circumstances had allowed him to bring some eau de toilettes along. But as he had examined the room, he saw it was notably cleaner in appearance compared to the place he had seen when he arrived. He shrugged, filing this fact for later thought, and dried himself off.

Then it was back to the bedroom. He opened the closet and looked at the cassocks that hung there. Now was the time for a decision. On the one hand, he was "bishop" by default, and had the right to wear the purple. On the other hand, Christ rather disapproved of a person elevating himself without a call from the community of believers. So he settled on the black for now.

Then it was downstairs. His nose wrinkled as he reached the foot of the stairway. "What's this? Coffee?" he wondered. Not only was he mystified to smell freshly brewed coffee, which had only just hit his homeland before the nexus took him, but which he had learned to love in a year's time; he also noticed that the downstairs appeared freshly cleaned as well. "Someone's been busy while I was sleeping....." he considered to himself.

"Hello? Anyone here?" he asked tentatively. But there was no answer.

He followed the smell of the coffee to the kitchen, and was delighted not only to find a pot of the wondrous brew on the stove, but a plate of pastries and a pitcher of what looked to be orange juice as well. "Hmmmm....here's a treat now....." he thought as he smacked his lips, suddenly realizing he was hungry.

Saying grace quickly, he poured himself a glass of juice, and drank it between devouring two of the pastries. The rest could wait. Then he poured himself a cup of the coffee, and tested it. He frowned. Well, it wasn't the French roast he sometimes got at court back home, but it was passable..... strong, with a hint of sweetness. He decided that it needed no "doctoring" with either cream or sugar, and headed to the study, cup in hand.

As he passed the entryway to the rectory, he unlocked the door, in case there would be daytime visitors.

Then, in the study, he noticed that someone had unpacked the books from his knapsack - leaving them on the desk for him to shelve himself. The wine, cheese and bread had obviously been taken off to the pantry or otherwise disposed of. He sat at the desk, leaned back, and reflected for a minute. Then, taking a good gulp of the coffee, he found a pen and paper and began to write.

Things to do:

1. Clean Cathedral
2. Supply pantry
3. Purchase clocks
4. Read note
5. Find those who have supplied cathedral
6. Find those who have cleaned rectory
7. Establish schedule

Then he paused. "What else?" he asked himself. Looking at the list again, he decided that it was more than enough to keep him busy for now.

He went back to the kitchen for another cup of coffee, and returned to the study. Before anything else, it was time to study Scripture. For years, he a had spent a least an hour each morning reading one commentary or another on a book of the Bible, and he wasn't about to stop. He stood, and examined the study's library. He saw some promising volumes by Irenaeus, Chysostom and Bonaventure, but nothing that jumped out at him. So, returning to the desk, he looked through his books for Luther's Lectures on Genesis, found the volume he had been reading, sat and lost himself in study.

Father Nicolaus Selnecker, o.a.

Verbum Dei Manet in AEternum..... baby.......


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