Saturday, July 5, 2014

Dark Redemption chapter 54: Wolf in the Fold

Beneath the gleaming skyscrapers and picturesque facade of the City of Redemption lies another city; a community of dark and ancient magic populated by creatures of the night. Dark Redemption is a shared-world novel based on an online role-playing game by James Crowther.

Strephon Mackenzie, a semi-immortal half-fae has been tasked by the Faerie Queen with the mission of investigating a renegade faerie lord named Melchior who has established himself in the city.  He has come to visit Lydia Palmer, the wife of the local vicar, who is active in the witching community.

“Pastor Shepherd?”  Strephon tried to place the name. “I don’t believe I know him.”

“He used to be pastor of St. Matthias, the Methodist church over on Eighth Street,” the vicar’s wife replied.  “He was involved in a wolf attack several years ago.”

“Ah yes.”  Now Strephon remembered reading about it..  The man had the misfortune to lead his church’s youth group on a camping trip on a weekend when the moon was full, and was attacked by wolves.  At great personal risk, he held off the pack with an aluminum tent pole so that his charges could get to the safety of the church’s van. The youths escaped unharmed, but Pastor Shepherd was badly mauled.  “What happened to him, anyway?”

“He was laid up in hospital for a couple weeks.  Arthur visited him once.  He said he had changed; that he was graver, more introspective than before.  Of course, considering how close he came to death, that is hardly surprising.”

“And he had become a werewolf?”

Lydia did not answer directly.  “The trouble did not begin until after he was released and went back to his congregation.  He spent a couple weeks in seclusion, and then suddenly came out all bursting with enthusiasm, as energetic as ever.  But Arthur said there was something not quite natural about his new lease on life; something not canny.  His theology began to show hints of disturbing heresies – even for a Methodist.  That is what Arthur said, mind you.”

“Of course.”

“I think it was when he tried to replace the bread of the Holy Eucharist with actual meat – cooked meat, of course, but still – that his parishioners complained to their bishop.  The church had him quietly removed from the congregation.”

“And where did they place this renegade Methodist?”

“Oh, he’s still in town.  He started his own mission on Foxglove Avenue; sort of a combination soup kitchen and flophouse with worship services twice a week.  I’ve heard it said that he particularly ministers to the lone wolves, itinerants without a pack of their own.  I did NOT hear that from Arthur.”

“I imagine not.”  Strephon thoughtfully munched on a biscuit.  “I have been out of touch far too long.  I should be more aware of what is going on in my own city.  You’re right.  I might do well to look up this Reverend Shepherd.”

“I’ll get the address of his mission for you,” Lydia said gathering up the tea dishes.  As she did so, her husband came out of his study.

“Ah, leaving so soon, Strephon?  Pity we couldn’t chat a bit more.  Say, would you like me to offer a prayer this Sunday for your Mother?”

“My Mother?”  The question came as a shock.

“For her birthday.”

He had forgotten that taradiddle.  “Oh no.  That won’t be necessary,” he said a bit too quickly.  Holy symbols, he knew, were anathema to the Fair Folk; he wasn’t sure if a clergyman’s blessing was something his Mother would appreciate.  The troubled and puzzled look the Vicar gave him made Strephon feel guilty, so he added, “But my cousin Devon has been going through a particularly stressful time lately.  I’m sure he would appreciate your concern.”

NEXT:  Soap and Opera

No comments: