Dictus Lege Dei

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Dictus Lege Dei

Post  Seth Ruggeri on Fri Apr 16, 2010 11:00 pm

The sticky blood stained deeply into the white shirt he wore as he came before his father's congregation. They all were scared; timid creatures huddled together in what was left of their hideaway. By now, the moon shone down coldly, contrasting with the hot summer air and smoldering fires that filled the once streets of Little Bethlehem.

As he stood before them in his father's place behind the cracked pine podium, he smiled. He knew them all. He'd known them before his father had his vision. He could remember that one of the newest converts, Bo Johnson, had been the owner of a general store in town. He could remember how haughty he had been before. And now look at him.

He was at his feet, fit only for such.

Just as his drunkard father was fit only to feed worms.

"Hello, brothers and sisters!" he cried loudly, startling them. Each of them gave a small involuntary jump at the blood-stained youth's salutation. "Our time is finally at hand!"

Nothing. No cheers, no cries of joy. Not even wailing or gnashing of teeth. Just the deadly black void of silence from a crowd of some twenty-odd empty faces. He stood in mirrored silence, the thin smile still on his face as he watched and waited.

After a length of time, someone finally plucked up the courage to speak.

"Sir....? Where is the Prophet?"

At that, the smile left. In the vacuum it left rushed a cold stare from two chips of ice set in the young man's eye sockets. In an instant, those two eyes snapped to the speaker.

It had been the town's former sheriff, Jack Levi. He was a rough-hewn man with a face like a granite statue, rough-handed and dark eyed. He had been his father's first convert, and possibly his greatest believer. He moved to the front of the group, now standing before the platform and podium.

"Jeremiah," Jack began. "Where is your daddy?"

Jeremiah's face shifted again, this time letting a cool smile appear. Icy hate seethed beneath his skin as he spoke. "The prophet," he said, careful to play down the title, "Is dead."

Whispers and glances spread through the congregation like fire. Since his conversion, Jack had went from a no-nonsense lawman to a humble servant of higher powers. Something had changed about his stance now, though. He'd instantly went from timid to silently defiant. "How did he die, son?" he asked after the quiet commotion died down. All eyes were now on blood-stained Jeremiah.

And he was ready.

"A demon took him..." he said as he stared directly at Jack. "And I had to kill him to save his soul."

The congregation is in a panic. Concerned glances and whispers are traded amongst the masses as uncertainty and fear spread at a rampant pace. Jeremiah stands silent, his piercing dagger-like gaze remaining fixated upon his bemused flock. Jack Levi slowly makes his way to the front of the room, gait lacking any form of confidence. He stands before Jeremiah, his eyes not quite bold enough to maintain a glance with the bloodstained youth’s. Jack clears his throat, and in a timid voice queries, “Jeremiah, what do you mean a demon took your daddy? You’re not making in sense son.” The crowd waits in silence for an answer from the youth.

From the back of the room, a voice shatters the tense silence.

“Mr. Levi, that’s a rather brazen move on your part sir. What pray tell, gives you the right to question the divine will of our leader?”

The congregation turns to the owner of the voice, a tall, lithe figure of a man seated against the back wall. The man rises to his feet, his slick black loafers gingerly pressing against the floor as he stands. He takes off a pair of oval spectacles and begins to gently rub them against his pristine, white cotton shirt. As he adorns his glasses once more, he walks forward towards Jack Levi. The hushed throng step aside as the man makes his way up the aisle, parting down the middle like the Red Sea of old. The man stops a few feet from the now mouse like figure of Jack Levi, a toothy smile, like row upon row of knives across his face all the while.

“Mr. Levi, it is in your best interest not to pry into matters beyond your comprehension. If master Jeremiah says that a demon possessed his father, then who are we to doubt his word? It’s not hard to believe that a tainted, hell wrought soul could have found its way into the earthly vessel of our former leader. The old master was quite fraught with illness so even he would have found it difficult to fight against the cunning wiles of one of the Dark Lord’s spawn. We should be thankful that Master Jeremiah was there to stop the demon from spreading it’s vile machinations amongst our people. That would have been quite a terrible tragedy indeed, wouldn’t it Jack?”

Jack Levi swallows hard before stammering a reply. “Ye…yee…yes it w…wo…would have.”

“I’m glad we agree Jack. Now, I believe you owe our gracious host an apology.”

Levi turns to Jeremiah once more, dropping to his knees in repentance before the youth. “Forgive me Master Jeremiah. I don’t know what came over me. I assure you that my loyalty is yours and yours alone sir.”

The tall man pulls Jack Levi to his feet by the collar of his shirt. With the same nightmarish grin still adorning his face, the man speaks to Levi once more.

“I’m glad to see you’ve come to realize the error of your ways Jack. Now if you would be so kind as to take a seat, we can resume our meeting. Can you do that for me Jack?”

“Yessir Dr. Schuyler.”

Without another word, Jack Levi quickly works his way back into the huddled mass of people behind Schuyler. The crowd remains silent, awaiting the next proclamation from their new leader. Schuyler takes a seat near the podium his eyes surveying the congregation all the while. Jeremiah turns to the doctor for a moment and offers his thanks.

“Thank you for your assistance Clay.”

Dr. Schuyler gives a half-bow in his seat. “The pleasure was all mine Master Jeremiah.”

Before Jeremiah is able to address his flock, a man bursts through the entrance of the room. The man, known to the rest of his associates as Garrett Kirkan, rushes into the room and stands before the podium. With a sense of great urgency in his voice, Garrett finally speaks.

“I’m sorry to interrupt young master, but I come bearing news. We’ve discovered a small group of survivors in Little Bethlehem, a man, a young woman carrying a baby. The three of them are near the remains of the town inn. We’ve also recently spotted another person, the Italian who came into town a few days ago, at the edge of town. What do you want us to do about them sir?”

Jeremiah turns to Schuyler once more. “Clay, I believe the time has finally come. Our long awaited vessel may very well be amongst this group of survivors.”

A wicked smile returns once more to Schuyler’s face. “How fortuitous for us Master Jeremiah.”

Jeremiah returns his attention to the congregation. “Brothers and sisters, the almighty one has graced us with his charity once more today. In the wake of his anger, he has provided us with that which we have sought for so long, a new vessel for his triumphant return. We must see to it that no harm befalls the sacred vessel born of his divine fire!”

The masses that were once seated now rise to their feet with newfound vigor. A question rises from several men amongst the crowd. “What should we do about the foreigner Master Jeremiah?”

At this query, Schuyler rise to his feet once again. “Forgive my interruption Master Jeremiah, but might I make a request regarding that one?”

Jeremiah nods in confirmation. “You may.”

“Thank you sir. As with the sacred vessel, I want to ensure that the Italian remains out of harms way for the time being. All of you are to keep watch over them for now. When the time is right and we have been able to identify the vessel amongst the group, we shall proceed with the hallowed rites. You have your orders ladies and gentlemen, now go forth and carry out the will of or divine master.”

The congregation makes their way out of the building scurrying about in a mad dash to find their targets. In a few minutes, the room is nearly empty, with only the doctor and the bloodstained youth in attendance. Schuyler takes seat across from Jeremiah and props his feet on against the base of the podium.

“I must apologize for earlier Master Jeremiah. I didn’t mean to draw attention away from your triumphant rise to power earlier. I felt it in our best interest to not rouse any unnecessary suspicion from the chattel.”

“You needn’t worry about that Clay. Now tell me, how goes the operation over in the mines?”

“The device was secured at your request. The group that we sent with Pearse’s raiding party has intercepted a telegram to his men insisting on backup in Santa Anna as well as the security of the cannon. I instructed them to deliver the message regarding Pearse’s request for reinforcements, in addition to sending word to some of our other chattel about securing the cannon. Hopefully, that will buy us enough time to relocate the device elsewhere without raising his suspicions."

“Excellent work as always Clay. The power held within that weapon is amazing. In the blink of an eye it reduced all of Little Bethlehem to a smoldering field of ash. A veritable hell on earth one might say.”

Jeremiah gives a stifled chuckle.

“The reminds of a line from an old book that father used to read to me when I was little. ‘The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven.’ Tell me Clay, what do think will happen? Will mankind be rewarded with the eternal pleasures of Heaven, or will they lament and despair in the fires of Hell?

With a familiar smile, the doctor gives his reply.

“In truth, I don’t particularly mind either Master Jeremiah. As long as there’s a ready supply of fresh corpses to bed my operating table, I’m as delighted as humanly possible.”

"Four Gods wait on the windowsill
Where once eight Gods did war and will
And if the Gods themselves may die
What does that say for you and I?"
Seth Ruggeri
Phantom of the Badlands

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Join date : 2010-01-22

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