BCH #006: Burn Your Sins Away
Burn Your Sins Away
Summary: Tillman happens upon Tisiphone's religious observances in the Chapel, and conversations ensue.
Date: 2041.02.20
Related Logs: None.
Tillman Tisiphone 

--[ Chapel ]--------------------------------[ Deck 9 - Battlestar Cerberus ]--

The hatchway opens into a dimly lit corridor, stark grey walls now and again painted with some mural appropriate to the religious season, stretching from floor to ceiling and then sloping down away from the ceiling in two triangular forms that bracket off the tiered seating areas to either side. Straight ahead, in the center of an open space, stands a simple rectangular altar, the emblems of the Lords thereupon arrayed to receive sacrifice in the tall room when the altar isn't decked for some more specific use. Hestia, who is not vouchsafed her own emblem on the altar, is etched in relief on one side of the altar itself, shown tending the hearth in her usual fashion.
In the wall behind the open area are three evenly spaced hatchways which can only be opened and closed from the inside. The small cubicles behind each hatchway are each furnished with a small altar against the back wall, upon which sometimes the dark shape of a sacred object can be discerned even from the tiered seating for visiting on the sacral days. The hatches can be closed to block out profane eyes from rites they were not meant to see. The walls between each little cubicle can be retracted to create a larger space for more well-attended mysteries.


Tisiphone stands in front of the altar, her back to the Chapel entrance, head bowed. There's a very soft muttering drifting from her. Every few seconds it pauses for a dry, hollow-ish click, before recommencing.

The sound of the hatch is fairly quiet considering therest of the ship. It shuts after a few seconds and Tillman settles at the back of the room on one of the benches. His head turns gently as he looks around, eyes wandering over the inside of the chapel as if its his first time in here. An ankle crosses over the other knee, hands folded in his lap.

Woven between pale fingers is something resembling a short bead necklace. Most of them are white, but there are a few grey ones as well, and one or two black. Tisiphone's thumbing beads around and over her knuckles as she mutters. "I hear you laughing but will not listen," she finishes — it's louder, perhaps a closing statement, and her head raises. Either deep in concentration or woolgathering with the best of them, she doesn't seem to realize she's no longer alone.

Tillman looks back towards the woman at the front as she finishes. A brow rises with her last but he remains quiet. That is until something builds in his lung. It starts as a small itch. He grits against it, but eventually it needs to be taken care of. The cough isn't loud. Its dry, though, and easily audible anywhere in the room. The man looks a bit sheepish considering his blues, a nod towards Tisiphone. "Sorry about that."

Tisiphone fidgets with the string of beads for a moment, shuffling them around in search of some specific spot which she then presses lips to, before they're slipped back into her pocket. There's an odd mix of familiar habits worn down nearly to carelessness, and formal reverence, in her motions. She's in the process of drawing other items out of her pockets when the cough startles her. Turning, looking a bit like a kid who's been caught with their hand in the cookie jar, she clears her throat nervously and clasps her hands behind her back. "S-sir." After worrying a well-chewed spot on her bottom lip for a moment, she says, "I was about to burn my sins away." Well. That doesn't sound ominous at all. "You- you could join me, if you wished. Otherwise- it won't take long."

Tillman's smile warms and he shakes his head, hand lifting. "I'm not here officially. Don't need to 'Sir' me right now. Here-" He nods and unbuttons the top few fasteners on his tunic and lets the top hang off and placing him out of uniform. With her offer the man blinks as if confused but nods. When in Rome? Or would that be Kobol? "If you wouldn't mind. I'm afraid I have no idea how, though. So feel free to tell me to keep my butt seated."

Do as the back-water Sagittarons do. Perhaps. When there's no banjo music within earshot. Tisiphone's shoulders shift as her fingers fidget behind her. "I find it useful," she says, carefully neutral. "But- to each their own. It's- here." She moves over a half-step in front of the altar, providing room, though she doesn't beckon. Other items are drawn out — a tiny booklet of thoroughly dog-eared papers, an alligator clip. She still hasn't explained it all, though.

The Captain nods and rises carefully. He certainly isn't shy about approaching the altar but he has a careful reverence about him. He looks around the items arrayed in front of them but he doesn't touch. "So, help a novice?" The man keeps his voice quiet, taking her invitation seriously. His hands fold behind his back to keep from touching anything he shouldn't.

Pale eyes appraise the Captain's uniform, then his face, before skittering away to the trinkets assembled on the altar. They're kept away from the images of the Lords and Lordesses, as if not worthy of fraternizing with them. "I'll go first. If it's not for you, Sir, I understand." The tiny booklet is full of onionskin-like paper. Tisiphone tears off one piece, holding it sandwiched between thumb and forefinger. It takes a small bit of juggling, but the non-business end of the alligator clip is uncapped, revealing a stubby but ultrafine needle. She touches it to the pad of her thumb and, almost instantly, a bead of blood wells up. The paper wicks the blood away and, after another small juggle, she nabs the paper by one corner with the alligator clip.

"Think of something you have done, since your last Offering-" The word sounds official, somehow. Her words get a bit of a lilt to them. Maybe she's repeating back what someone told her. "-that you regret. Think of which Lord or Lady you have most disappointed with this action. Burn the paper in the smoke while you think of this. As the paper is gone, so is their disappointment."

The Captain watches her movements carefully. He seems a bit surprised at the blood but doesn't shy away. All the attention seems focused on her movements and what she's saying and explaining. When she finishes, a reflective expression befalls him and he looks to the paper. "Sounds like something worth trying." He mimics her own movements as best he can, trying to take it slow so he isn't dropping anything. The pin takes a few winced attempts to get through the calloused fingertips but with persistence comes success in this matter. He swipes a drop of blood onto the paper and holds it between the clips as she is. "Alright. And just think of a sin." A few slow nods of his head as he looks to a candle.

"It can be small," Tisiphone adds in scarcely more than a murmur. "Thinking an unkind thing. Leaving garbage for someone else to pick up. Or it can be more. Some-" She sounds deliberately neutral again, as if she's trying to keep her own personal opinions out of it. "-would believe larger sins should be taken to the Chaplain. I believe it depends on your relationship with the Lords and Ladies." With that, she falls silent, pale eyes on the flickering altar candle and the small, bloodied strip of paper held in her own alligator clip. The paper turns to ash almost instantly when it's touched to the flame, with the usual sweetish scent of burning paper, the bloodied spot taking only a moment longer to burn. When she's done, she takes a long, deep breath and lets it out with a sigh, looking to the other sharing altar space with her.

Tillman stares at the candle, thinking about whatever sin it was he's considering. Her words find him and he catches himself glancing to Tisiphone as she mentions going to the Sister for larger sins. He looks down to the alter briefly before looking to the candle again. Letting her go first, the paper touches to the flame and burns with the same quickness. There's no smile. No sigh of relief. When the flame finishes he just looks at the clip. Eyes travel back to the woman beside him. "I imagine that does not absolve sins, but only helps someone to feel better about them? Gain forgiveness in the eyes of others? Or only the Lords?" He keeps his voice low and reverent. Its a genuine question.

There's another look of appraisal given to the Captain. Tisiphone is weighing her answer carefully. "That's hard to answer," she says at length. Stating the obvious. She doesn't make any movement to clean the curls of fragile paper-ash off the altar, leaving them there while she starts returning the other ritual items to her pockets. "The Lords and Ladies, versus the laws of Man. It's messy." There's an understatement. "As for me…" She hesitates, giving her lip another gnaw before continuing. "A godless criminal could not burn a scrap of paper in Chapel and expect to be pardoned. That's all he'd be doing — burning a scrap of paper and claiming it somehow makes him free. It's easier to enforce the laws of Man than try to figure out if the Lords and Ladies have truly forgiven someone."

The TACCO remains quiet at the altar, taking her words under a guarded expression. His eyes still remain focused on the paper, though. A hand absently offers her the small clip. "So in your view it depends on the person. They have to have the real remorse for what they have done, otherwise they are just going through the motions. Is that right?" He finally looks back to her, still facing the altar, though. "Do you, personally, believe that someone has to be religious for something like this? Or is it more than that? Do they need to know the reasons why they do this ritual?" It might say something about him, or it might not depending on what she thinks of him. But the questions is clearly directed towards her own opinions.

Food for thought. An entire galley-sized smorgasbord for thought, from how seriously Tisiphone seems to be thinking about it — and how long it takes her to start offering her theories back to the Captain. "There's nothing that can be done for someone who has no remorse. I- well. In my opinion, there's nothing that should be done for someone with no remorse." She reaches out to the altar, dabs a finger into one curl of ash, then rubs the finger clean against the the edge of her cuff's lining. It could have been an absent, fidgety gesture — she doesn't seem to give any further mind to her cuff, or the ash left on the altar. "I'm… not sure I should be answering the rest, Sir. I grew up in a very devout home. But…" Since it was asked, she risks it: "I believe if someone doesn't know any better — if they grew up in a godless home, and they haven't deliberately chosen to turn their back to the Lords and Ladies — that it's possible. That there's a difference between ignoring, and just not knowing how to listen."

Hands fold neatly behind his back as he listens, head canted a bit forward as he listens to her. His face has more or less turned to an inscrutible mask that looks to have a lot of practice. At the end though, his eyes turn back towards the altar with a soft "Hmm." Those aged blue-green eyes focus on the curled bits of ashen paper, Tillman still holding his thoughts to himself. He finally takes a long, thoughtful sigh and looks back to her. "Thank you for the lesson, Miss. I'm sorry to have interrupted your devotions. But it was all appreciated and I mean that sincerely." The nameless Captain seems genuine about it, as well, dipping his head a touch more before taking a step back from the alter.

There's a bit more colour to Tisiphone's usual pallor, all of a sudden — she shakes her head and suddenly finds her boot-tips a fascinating place, the way she stares at them. "I, I'm." Speak, girl. "Thank you, Sir. If the Offering helped, I'm very happy to have been here." Very genuine, that — she looks up and even musters a bit of a smile. "Lords and Ladies keep you, Sir. I should be going, too." A last glance is given to the altar, eyes skipping from figure to figure, before she takes a deliberate step back and turns away from it.

The man offers her an easy smile as he watches her find those boots. "We'll see." He pauses a beat. "Go with the Gods, Miss." With those quiet words, he turns and heads for the hatch with his eyes to the floor in front of him - deep in thought.

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