Tag Archive | character: nehemiah

Faries in the Church

For flofx‘s commissioned prompt, a continuation of

“There are fairies in your church.”

Bishop Macnamilla was of an older school of thought, practically antediluvian. Most of the time, Father Nehemiah avoided conflict by avoiding the Ninth Street house where the Bishop kept his residence. The Father’s church was new, and not entirely conventional, and not near Ninth Street, and the Bishop’s body as well as his mind were old, and did not move easily.

But someone had said something, the Father was certain. The jowls on the Bishop were shaking in the way the once-fat man only did when he had been being yelled at by a parishioner who Didn’t Like Something. Probably not one of Nehemiah’s regulars. But sometimes the gossips from the other churches liked to stop in and visit.

“There are fairies.” Sometimes he could get away with just agreeing with the Bishop until he went away. “Margaret and LaKeisha are in there now. They’ve been helping Mrs. Bao with the cleaning, as it’s almost Easter time.”

“You have fairies in your church services, Father Nehemiah.”

He wasn’t going to be able to dance around this. “Better than having them standing outside the gates, glaring.”

“Do you know what happens when you allow – INVITE the fair folk into consecrated ground?” He was bellowing, or trying to. He must have been an impressive man before the long waste of age started eating him away.

“I’ve heard the stories. Mrs. Bao told me some of them. The kirkevaren told me others – and the fairies told me another set.”

“Ruin and ruination is what you get. Sin and sinners. Filth and the filthy.” The Bishop shook his head. “It leads to nothing but badness.”

“And blood?” Nehemiah drew himself up. He was tall, taller than the Bishop’s shrunken form by nearly a foot. “I know why there were no fairies in the church before, sir.”

“There are no FAIRIES in the church,” the Bishop shouted the word as if it were an obscenity, “because to allow them into out sanctified ground taints not only the ground but the entire city.”

Father Nehemiah was boggled enough by this to lose the edge of his anger, although he did remain standing straight, staring down at the top of the Bishop’s head. “You are aware, sir, that you live in the densest population of fae in the country, correct? The city is teeming with fairies.”

“The city is rotten with them. The elders did not listen to me. They were squeamish.” The older man’s voice finally dropped. “No. It was me. I was squeamish. I knew what needed to be done, and I could not do it. I failed my superiors. I killed them, Nehemiah, I killed those fairies you have heard of. I spilled their blood in the name of the city and its sanctity. I scrubbed the floors with the blood. I blessed the altars with it. But, in the end, I could not do what needed to be done.”

He didn’t have to ask, although he wished that he did. He’d already heard enough to put the rest together.

“You killed them before you buried them, you mean.” It hadn’t been meant to be another lamb under the church at all. “You blessed their deaths, instead of leaving them to roam.”

“I could have saved us all. I could have protected us all from what’s in the wind. But they look human, Nehemiah. They look human. And that was my undoing.”

Reaching out for the Congregation

For flofx‘s commissioned prompt, a continuation of

The kirkevaren was watching Mirandabelle.

It made her uncomfortable. It made her skin crawl. It made her fingers itch and her shoulders twitch. It made her want to cry.

But she went by the church every day. Every single day, after school, before work, after partying, before she went to bed. Twice some days, three times some days.

She went by because her mother had told her what had happened; because her grandmother had told her mother what had happened. She went because she’d heard the stories and, while this kirkevaren and this priest were innocent – she could see their innocence hanging over them like a halo, like an aura, like a crown – but the church itself, new and hallowed and blessed, the church was not.

She walked the edge of the fence, because the kirkevaren could not stop her from doing that, and she kissed the iron spikes, brushing her snakebite piercings against the metal and accepting the brief burn as her penance.

“Florence Carter,” she whispered to the first pike, “Benjamin Tomes,” to the third. She looked up at the kirkevaren as she said the third name, “Juliander Tempest.” Juliander had been her mother’s mother’s mother. She had died here, died when the church still hunted the fae.

The corpse-lamb stared at her at that one. Every time. Every time, with its dead blue eyes. With its protective gaze.

“My kin died here,” she told it. “My kin and my kind.”

Every day. Every night. School uniform. Club clothes. Work uniform. She looked like a normal kid. She looked like a human kid. But the kirkevaren knew. The corpse-lamb had been guarding the church from fae for centuries, and it came to the work easily again this time.

“My kin died here. My grandmother’s mother. My best friend’s great-uncle. The one they called the Grey Cat. The one they called The Nose. They died ere. They weren’t buried here, no. They weren’t put under your guidance. I won’t be buried under your guidance.”

She told the lamb that every night. Every day. It was three months before she got an answer.

“I can not stop what has already been done.” It wasn’t the lamb, and she nearly bolted when she saw the new priest, Father Nehemiah, standing in the shadows. “I cannot heal the old wounds… it’s Mirandabelle, right?”

“Some people call me that,” she allowed.

“Then I will call you that. Mirandabelle, I cannot help your grandmother’s mother, save to pray for her. I can’t help those this church once failed. But miss, I am not the priest who once stood here, and this church is not the church that once stood here.”

“The hallowed ground is hallowed ground,” she spat. “The land and the blessing was there, and it’s here now.”

He shook his head. “Yes. Yes. But the land has been re-blessed, Mirandabelle, and I would like to re-consecrate our relationship with the fae again as well.”

She ran a finger over the iron posts and listened to the faint sizzle. “With iron and blood?”

“No.” He swung the gate open. “With open doors and a handshake.”

This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/299183.html. You can comment here or there.

Guarding the Church

For flofx‘s commissioned prompt, a continuation of Re-blessing the Church

Father Nehemiah wasn’t entirely comfortable in the new church.

He had been told, by the kindly woman that cleaned the building, Mrs. Bao, that most priests didn’t last long in her city (and that was how she put it: “You priests, you usually can’t make it too long in my city. Don’t worry your head about it when you find yourself having to leave.”) As such, he was determined to, as the vernacular went, hack it.

The corpse-lamb was his first challenge, although not the strongest or worst he would face. The spirit of what he was told was a kirkevaren was quite visible to the naked eye, hovering around the freshly-blessed churchyard, apparently waiting for someone to die so it had something to protect once again.

While it waited, the kirkevaren had decided to guard everything else. The pews. The baptismal. The children in the nursery on Sunday. Sometimes it inserted itself into the stained glass window patterns for a while, another lamb in the wide field of them. It was, Father Nehemiah thought, bored.

It was tied to the land, Mrs. Bao and her husband, Bao-Bao, told him; it could not go very far from it. So Father Nehemiah pondered things that the spirit could do to keep it out of trouble.

Much, he pondered, the way he did with troubled teens in other cities. Much as he was soon to find he would need to with the fairies here.

The fairies. He’d thought the kirkevaren was strange – no other church he’d ever served in had had anything similar – but the fairies, they were downright malicious.

He found the first one pretending to be a corpse, hanging itself from the iron fence posts at the front gate, eyes bugging, tongue sticking out. “This place kills us,” the thing told him.

“Now don’t you be silly,” Mrs. Bao told the thing over Nehemiah’s shoulder. “It’s a place of love and faith, and if it harms you, that’s your own silly fault.”

That one had moved on, shamed into stopping its protest, but they kept coming. They would catcall the congregation as they came for Sunday services, shout obscenities at funeral-goers and wedding guests alike. If Mrs. Bao was around, she would shoo them off with her broom, but she was not always around, and they would not listen to Father Nehemiah.

“I don’t understand,” he asked the cheerful cleaning woman. “What is it they have against our Church?”

“They have a very long memory, these creatures,” she told him, “a reborn memory, in some cases. And some just take any chance they get to complain.”

“Much like every other person I know,” he sighed. “What can I do?”

“What can you do?” she echoed back at him, with a shrug. “They are faeries. They do not follow human rules.”

“Hrrm.” Father Nehemiah had the glimmerings of an idea. He lit some incense, murmured a few prayers, and went to speak to the kirkevaren.

The next time the faries came to protest the church, the kirkevaren was there, fending them off, defending the church from their complaints. Mrs. Bao smiled at Nehemiah.

“You’ll do okay. You’ll do just fine.”

This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/289421.html. You can comment here or there.