PHD #358: Purpose Through Faith
Purpose Through Faith
Summary: Cidra and Solstice speak together of their faiths. They find comfort in familiar company.
Date: 19 Feb 2042 AE
Related Logs: TBD
Cidra Solstice 
Really long!
Post-Holocaust Day: #358

Condition 2, and there are a few more faces in the chapel than there were when the ship was quieter. The continual attacks by the Cylons have made some turn more closely to the gods. Cidra is a familiar face here, and is again kneeling at the altars. In her flight gear, though that is likely just a matter of preparation as much as anything else. She has the un-mussed look of one who hasn't been in the cockpit for at least a few hours. She's knelt at the altar to the goddess Athena, murmuring soft under her breath, her olive wood prayer beads twined around the slim fingers of her left hand.

One of the newer bodies to enter the chapel is that of the small form of the ECO, Solstice. The Sagittaron pauses, placing her hands together as she bows her head. She whispers softly and then touches her hand to her chest before she moves forwards amongst all those praying. She looks to them on her way to pray to Demeter and catches the sight of the CAG. Slowing, the Lieutenant hesitates and then drawing up near her, she whispers, "Sir.." She gazes down at the woman, rubbing the space on her wrist in the absence of her Soma braid.

Cidra's wrists are bare, for her part. She prays only with her beads, well-worn olive wood strung with a single small charm: a crudely-carved owl. "Ah. Solstice." She's never used the ECO's given name before, but she does it with no sense of hesitation here. "I come seeking wisdom tonight, and courage in righteous battle. Such are my prayers to the Wise Lady, to whom I am Devoted. It is not always enough, but it comforts my heart to seek such, and I believe She listens. She does not always answer, but She listens."

As the CAG speaks, her cool gaze moves about the room. The calculating ECO gives in to the emotions here, gives in to hopes and wishes - to prayer and faith. Slowly she lowers to her knees beside Cidra and she bows her head. She speaks in her thickly accented Sagittaron. An opening prayer to the goddess. "Though Athena is not my patron goddess, as you say she is Wise. It does not hurt to pray to her. Especially now." She gazes towards Demeter's altar, yet remains. "Whether your get answers or not. Speaking to those above us relieves stress and weight from our daily experiences…there is no greater thing then to commune." She says in a very hushed and respectful tone.

"Are you devoted to one of the Lords or Ladies in particular?" Cidra asks soft. "My prayers are to many in the pantheon. Artemis for her courage, Hestia to keep the hearths strong, the great hearth that is this ship. Hermes for speed, Apollo for valor. And Ares, too. I have never been of great comfort with the Lord of War, I shall admit. He revels in violence and the heat of battle, which I shrink from. And yet, we live in the age of Ares, Solstice Vasco. And I pray very hard he is on our side, as much as my Wise Lady."

"I follow many.." she admits and nods, agreeing with Toast as her gaze then drifts to Demeter. "Demeter has always been my patron.." She says softly, "The lady of secrets. There is much we do not know and I hope that she might reveal them to us. I pray to her to show us the way. And it never hurts to hope for more supplies to ease on the rations." But she looks over the different symbols that name the Lord's. "The Lord of War is one of an unstoppable rage and power. To commune with him is to have the want to kill and conquer…..we wish to survive. He is very much needed now as you say. Unfortunately so."

"Ares patron bird is the vulture. Athena the owl. I…I fly a Raptor. Sharp eyes, heavy wings, not so swift as a bird of prey but with talons to grasp friends and scar foes. I have always wanted to believe I played the owl…" Cidra's thumb brushes the little charm on her beads again, pausing on it and just holding them. "It is a naive thought I am too old to hold onto anymore, really. And yet I still do. I admit to it. In my younger days, as most in the Wing know, I thought I would become a priestess to her. Swear as a Sister into the order of the Goddess Athena on Gemenon."

Turning her head to look over the CAG, Solstice's gaze softens and she then adds, "It is not so naive, sir." She remains formal despite it all. "You keep watch over your flock within that Raptor..and you are very wise if I might say so." She says and then looks towards the altar as she listens further, her head bowing. Solstice brushes a hand over her barren wrist and comments, "To be a Sister, that is a great honour. That fact that is what you wished to do is within your heart. The Lady sees that." She says, casting her gaze upon Cidra. "Though it may have not be formally so…she knows your heart more than you yourself know. She guides you, of that I think I can be certain of."

Cidra, for her part, seems more relaxed here than she generally is in other off-duty areas. Solemn, but there's a sort of calmness about it. A soft snort at the 'wise' bit. "I put up a good front. But I am no Athena, hard as I might try. I do try to open my heart to Her guidance, though my eyes are not always as clear as Hers." As for the honor, she exhales in a way that sounds a sigh. "It is one sort of duty. And it was…where I came from. My parents were sworn in the services of the Lords and Ladies. My mother was a priestess of Hera. She kept a large temple in the city of Shinkirsei, where I was born and bred. My father was a brother of Asclepius, Lord of Healing."

A brow arches at the snort and Solstice looks over her. "We are our own worst enemies…" She breathes and attempts a break at her ingrained protocol. "Cidra." She lets out a long breath, as if that was a hard thing to do. "Those loyal to their chosen patrons are noted and known by the Lords and Ladies. You are marked, Cidra." She brushes a hand to her throat and bows her head once more, silently praying without a word.

"I try to serve Her still in my manner. When I was a younger officer I thought Athena's mission exemplified in the Navy…" There is something in Cidra's tone that suggests she perhaps doubts that now. But it's not a subject her pursues. "We are all of us marked, even those who do not know it. Queenie…that is, Lieutenant McQueen. He says the gods are all around us, in all we do, inside and out of chapel. In many ways his views are…broader than would ever be allowed on Gemenon. But I think there is a truth in that. There are omens everywhere, even if we do not always see them, and I do believe we survived for a reason. Even if I cannot see that reason some days."

At the mention of the gods being everywhere, she nods, "He is right." Intones the ECO. Solstice gazes upward. "They created us…how could they not be?" She asks the CAG. "They are part of us and will always be. When we do things, they are working through us. We make decisions and it is their influences that sway us in directions - whether we know it or not. It is through us that they live." She says, her belief in it complete by the conviction in her voice. The usually cold and distant Shakes actually has emotion painting her words and it shows in her gaze.

"The fundamental Scriptures teach us that if we open ourselves up to being instruments of the gods, to follow their path, that we shall be rewarded," Cidra says. "And if we stray…we are doomed to terrible things in our lives. Such was our creation of the Cylons, those of our fathers and mothers. They sought to make life from nothing, to set themselves above the gods, and their abominations turned upon them." She shudders. "And then returned a generation later to bring fire upon us all…"

"But not all was lost." Solstice is clinging to hope, to the belief there is a reason. "We are here because we are needed to be. We were punished and are being dogged still for it. But we still exist…nto all of us and much was lost. But many were spared." She offers the CAG, drawing her hand from her collarbone to rest on her leg. "We will survive. I have full belief in that. And we all play our parts…even those that do not believe." She says softly. "it is our job to show them, to make that link with the Gods again for the lost."

"There must be a reason we survived…" Cidra murmurs it more like someone trying very hard to find that reason than one who firmly believes it. "As to the last, I try not to preach to those who do not wish to hear it. I am of Gemenon, and there are many Outsiders who do not take the time to…understand the Fundamental faiths. When I first left my home colony, I met many in the Navy who looked down their noses at me as a 'Gemenese Scripture-thumper.' To impress my own beliefs on others is no different than such. I believe the gods shall reveal themselves to us all sooner or later, whether one wishes to see them or not. I let Them do their own work, and seek them in my own heart as I can."

"To lead is not to force, it is to guide when you can. It need not be through scripture either, but by practice of your everyday life. Lead by example." She is of a Fleet family, things like this are drilled into her from day one. "If you can lead by example, you impress upon others your values and beliefs without being forceful. They will WISH to know because they wish to know you. That is how they work through us." She says, a faint smile showing. "That is how the God's reconnect with those lost. It is through their loyal followers." She nods faintly.

"I have enough difficulty leading myself most days," Cidra says, soft and wry. "You are of Sagittaron, yes?" The question is gently probing, though there is real curiosity behind it. "I know little of the Sagittaron faiths. And the more I learn, the more I realize I do not know."

Her reply is a nod of her head and it seems possibly that even as Solstice is prideful of it, she has seen opposition to her home colony. "Most a deeply devout because they seek help from the Gods for everything." She intones. "I grew up in a Fleet family, we are a little more liberal than most. But when the colony itself is dependent on faith to work…then makes your prayers even more important." she explains. "Every day was lived for and through the Lord's." She explains.

"I have had few Sagittaron officers," Cidra says. "Like Gemenon, it is not a place that seems to draw many to the Fleet. Though the ones I have served with, I have liked very much." Is there a note of sadness in her voice? Perhaps. She turns from the altar of Athena to the one dedicated to Hermes, murmuring beneath her breath in some language that definitely isn't Colonial Standard. Old Gemenese, if one knows about such things.

"No, you are right. Not many make it to the Fleet. It was more of a long standing tradition in my family. It is our duty and honor to continue to serve." She says and then falls silent to allow Cidra her moments of prayer. Solstice looks forward again, her head bowing slightly but she does not tear her gaze away from the symbols of the Lords. Though she speaks not, there is a determined look to her brown eyes. As if deeply invested in her thoughts and their outward projection.

"Hermes, sweet swift Lord, bear the souls of those lost to the ferries of Charon, that they may be bourne across the eternal rivers, to whatever fates away them," Cidra prays soft, in Standard to finish it. "I pray to Hermes more these days than I would like, Solstice. For his wings carry swift the souls of the underworld, even as they carry messages and tidings. I pray we shall not need his services overmuch in the days to come."

Solstice's eyes close at the prayer spoke aloud and she whispers in tandem a few of her own reaching words. She presses her folded hands to her forehead and releases a long breath before looking back to Cidra. "There will be need…still." She says regretfully. "But know those that are carried away did so because they wanted to. It is either fight and stand or run and be chased forever. What we are doing is the only way." She keeps her voice low. "It is the knowledge that what lays for us beyond is the greatest journey to come. We do not end after this life. If you believe that, you hold this life precious but know that the Gods await you when the time comes. We must pray the Gods accept all of those who pass, no matter what they believe. Those who remain now, fight for all of us. We are no longer colonies, Cidra. We are a people and whole. We must care for each other in this life and the next."

"Fly and fight and die…" Cidra murmurs. There is a hint of wryness in her tone, and sadness, but there's pride mixed in with it, too. "Such has become the motto for the Fighting Fourteenth. It started as something said in bitterness after Warday. This ship launched with over three-hundred pilots, Solstice. Fifteen squadrons strong. It was a plumb assignment, the newest Mercury-class of the Navy's line. We lost nearly half our personnel when the Cylons attacked us over Picon. One hundred and forty seven good men and women…gone to oblivion in an instant…we paid in blood. And have not stopped paying. But we have defended this ship, and each other, and we fight and fly and die so humanity might go on. And we embrace it. It is a grim prayer, but it serves us."

"That is what is expected of us now. That is why we live and you are right, grim as it is. I believe it is what the Gods wish us to do. There was a reason I was on Tauron. I was able to save my brother and Priest. I was able to jam the signals that got us away from the raiders and into the Black Country. I was where I was supposed to be. I am not as well." She says and then looks carefully over Cidra. She recognized the heaviness and weary way that the CAG expressed herself. "If I might ask… you feel this is where you belong?"

"Yes, I do," Cidra replies, tone very quiet, but it does sound like she means it. "The only place I have felt I truly belonged, for many years, was in the cockpit. And if this ship and these people are to be where I meet my end…well, the gods will not have granted me a poor one." She turns from the altar, cloudy blue eyes regarding the younger woman. "I never felt my path was truly to the Sisterhood. But I admired the bonds shared between the sworn priestesses of Athena. They lived together, studied together, shared each other's struggles and studies and works in shared service. Such I have always felt among my fellow pilots. We are brothers and sisters in flight, forged in blood and shared service. And that is something in which I am most proud to be, whatever else the Colonial Navy might be. Whatever else humanity might have done. There is good works to be had in that."

"There is always light within the dark. For without darkness light would not exist and likewise." She says with a faint smile, studying Cidra's gaze as she offers a gentle smile - warmth from the ECO. Solstice reaches out her hand to the woman. "It is your deep devotion and faith which makes you perfect for the role you are in. This is where you are meant to be. You are the substance that holds those pilots together. I have seen it at work. I know I don't talk or socialize with many, but I watch. I see the way they respond to you. It will be you that saves many. It is not pressure it is truth. I think that is what I see the most, why I am willing to do anything you ask without question." She nods her head and looks back at the altar. "You are being lead by the Gods and you are allowed to feel uncertainty. We are not perfect and are never meant to be. But doubt, doubt will help you find answers as you question. You must look within. That is where the gods have given you strength and no matter the number that pass. If we lose sight of a purpose…then it will be for nothing."

Cidra clasps Solstice's hand firmly. "I feel I am ill-made for the tasks we are driven toward. But I try, and I pray that I may do better tomorrow than I did yesterday, and bear through today as well as I can. Such is the most any of us can do. And I pray I bluff well. I hope I do not disappoint." She offers the faintest of rueful smiles to the ECO.

Curling her fingers around Cidra's hand, she bows her head. There is comfort in familiar belief and a common purpose. The comment given at the end actually delivers a gentle laugh from the otherwise icy ECO. Solstice nods her head. "If you are bluffing it, then someone is helping you because you succeed, Cidra." She muses and then stills to a softness. "You are not alone…that should give you strength. Know that when you find questions, I would be glad to speak with you." She intones, giving the woman's hand a squeeze before releasing it. Solstice then starts to rise. "I must go pray to Demeter, she has kept me safe along with my brother. Even if certain gods are needed more than others during these times. She has always been my patron."

"Athena wins battle not through brute force, but through strategy. And tricks," Cidra says dryly. "She helps me put up a good pretense of knowing what the hells I am doing. Such is half the battle." She unwinds her fingers from those of the ECO, inclining her head as the woman moves off. And then she clears her throat and recites, alto voice deep and resonate and they take up the hymns, "Tell how She, Demeter gave cities pleasing ordinances; better to tell how She was the first to cut straw and holy sheaves of corn-ears. Demeter first turned the earth with the curved plough; she first gave corn and crops to bless the land; she first gave laws; all things are Her gift." Devotee to Athena or no, she seems to remember some of the Scriptures of the Goddess of the Harvest.

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