BCH #012: Right Foot Forward
Right Foot Forward
Summary: A fairly standard taking-of-auspices turns into anything but.
Date: Feb 13, 2041
Related Logs: Of Priestlings, Heifers, and Hilarity
Karthasi Merrell Cidra Stavrian Oberlin Laskaris Alessandra Angelica Raedawn Petroski Sabien Atreus 

Cerberus' chapel's been fixed up nicely for the taking of the auspices. To each side of the room three couches have been laid out to provide extra seating, great purple woven coverlets strewn over the simple foldable mats to give them a more festive look, each woven with scenes from scripture. To either side of the altar a bronze tripod has been erected, the braziers underneath the beaten bowls making them glisten from underneath as it heats the water in each bowl, filling the chapel with a low, ruddy light. Three people have already claimed a spot on the port side couch closest to the rows of tiered seating, one weilding a lyre, one a barbiton, and one leaning forward onto the handle end of a nasty-looking hammer. They're talking amongst themselves even as two of them play a light music on their chosen instruments, and the atmosphere in the place, as yet, seems festive enough, the people gathered to witness the sights, so far, including a passel of civilians, indulging in similarly low-key conversation while they wait for things to get underway. The place is still filling up.

Merrell is dressed in her dingy green coveralls. She looks like she's been working all day, that dark hair rolled up into a messy bun thats got streaks of oil in it that show up better across her forehead and cheeks. Through the hatch, her footfalls come softly. Despite her short stature and messy appearance, her head is held high. With a slowly more glowing smile, her eyes roam the room while she takes a standing position at the back by the hatch, hands folding gently in front of her. Its obvious she thinks highly of the chapel's preperation.

Daniel slips in and immediately takes up space in a corner. Trying to be as inobtrusive of a figure as he possibly can, he is wanting to give off the vibe of casual observer, not someone who is on the ship for work.

Cidra has been a common sight in the chapel during daily rites and services, so she drifts into the place comfortably. She gets a good seat while the getting is good, choosing a seat as close to the front as she can manage. She's in her off-duties, hair hanging lank about her shoulders as if she's recently pulled it out of its duty bun.

Stavrian has just crossed the hall from the library a few steps behind Petroski, still hauling around a sizeable textbook jammed into the crook of his arm. That, he sets down way in the back where it won't be in danger of becoming someone's booster seat, and he straightens his collar and the bottom hem of his jacket as he surveys the growing crowd.

Another recent arrival, Lt. Oberlin strolls into the Chapel lazily in his off-duties at a slow pace. He could be buying groceries at the market for all his lack of trepidation or enthusiasm. He brings the back of his hand against his mouth with a slow swipe of his arm to muffle a single dry cough before edging his way down an empty (for now) pew, settling in with one swift, compact motion.

Laskaris, in turn, skulks into the chapel a few steps behind Stavrian. He lingers near the entrance a moment, finishing off a cigarette and looking at who all is here before he finally takes a seat of his own near the back corner.

Coming in after having parted company with Anton, Alessandra arrives after a quick shower and a change of clothing, her damp hair pulled into a tight bun while her clothing of choice is her blues. A quick glance has her pausing, her brow now narrowed as she looks for the person she's supposed to be attending this with.

Angelica talks quietly to herself, as she checks over the one camera on the tripod. A nice steady shot….she fingers the remote a moment in her hand, before hooking it on her belt. She then hefts up the second camera to her shoulder, scanning the room a couple times as she gets lighting levels set.

Sabien has found his way in here, his eyes sliding around to take in all the details out of morbid curiousity, nothing more. His face is etched in cynicism, as if this isn't type to normally frequent religious gatherings. He finds a seat easily enough, leaning forward to rest his elbows on his thighs just above the knee. It's the stance you take when you're expecting something to go terribly awry and you want to be witness to it.

Daniel looks over to Jesse and quirks a quick grin. "Promises to be quite a turn out," he murmurs in a near-whisper while looking around, the fact that there are this many people already a bit of a surprise. That's all he lets out of his mouth however as he's falling quiet out of respect for the observers as wells those who are preparing.

His head swiveling as he continues to study the crowd, Lasher catches sight of Alessandra. He waits to catch the woman's eyes before raising his hand in a silent wave. He too is wearing his blues, and he scowls slightly, reaching up a hand to some bit of flotsam or another off his pants leg.

Raedawn slips in from the back, evidently having found out about the event late. She's still struggling with the buttons on her duty blues jacket. Slung at her side is the kit case for her Imagic digital camera. She pauses, seeing Angelica setting up camera equipment, and moves over to speak with the newswoman. "Adjust your black level and this'll be enough light," she whispers with a smile.

The wave is caught and Alessandra scoots towards Anton easily, managing to maneuver around the people who are milling at the back of the room with relative ease. Once by his side she turns towards Lasher and whispers something to him, leaning close so she can be heard while not rasing her voice too much.

Stavrian ignores most everything but the altar for the first minute or two, wrapping a set of wooden prayer beads around his fingers and wrist. He mumbles under something under his breath, lifting his hand and touching a loop of the beads to his lips. His blue eyes flicker to Daniel nearby, then down. "You might want to keep back here," he murmurs, smirking. "Don't want to get blood on those nice shoes."

The three gaping doors in the fore wall of the chapel are pitch black patches in the dimly lit room. A sliver of dull brown appears out from the center one, the sliver waxing into a crescent, then a bowl, carried in Sister Karthasi's arms as she emerges from the dark, head bowed, features obscured under the fold of a hood that covers her head and wraps around her neck to drape down her back. It's always appropriate to cover ones head while offering sacrifice. Whether she says anything is unclear; if she does, it's very quiet. She comes up behind the altar at a slow, steady pace, setting the bowl up onto the altar itself, centering it and then pushing it across to the front side of the altar. The fellow to the side who'd been leaning on the hammer stands, and, in a loud voice, proclaims, "SIGE! Maintain your holy silence!" Seems like things are about to get underway. He crosses to the front of the altar from an angle, leaning the hammer up against the altar's front side such that it points up to the bowl, then crosses the rest of the way.

Merrell does her best to stay out of everyone's way. Especially the officers. She tucks herself further from the door until the number of arriving people slows to a trickle. With Greje's announcement, her attention goes fully to the front and stays there.

Petroski looks at Stavrian and then over to the front of the chapel, his face growing a bit pale. "And here I was, thinking that this was all going to be metaphorical." Oh yes, there will be a lot of moving, his shuffled steps bringing him out of range of anything that might splatter or spill. Or so he hopes.

Sitting up straight, almost to the point of straining and arching his back as his head whips around to study the entrance of Sister Karthasi with pursed lips, Oberlin's eyes stray a little bit to follow her movements with attentive curiousity.

Laskaris smirks at whatever Alessandra whispers to him. A moment later, he leans in to whisper a reply… and that's about when someone starts shouting about holy silence. Lasher speaks a moment later, though, his hushed voice not quite a whisper but still not quite audible to anyone around them. For Greje's sake, his whisper is unusually free of profanity. After he finishes, his attention is back on the front, towards Sister Karthasi as she begins the ritual.

Cidra sits, quiet and prim, as the ritual begins. Blue eyes focused entirely upon Karthasi and the fellow by the hammer stand. She doesn't exactly ignore the others in the chapel, but she draws an air of concentrated rapture about herself.

No more talking at all from Stavrian. The Sagittarian medic sets his hands on the back of the bench in front of him, watching the start of the ceremony. His blue eyes have turned to the statue of Hermes, where they stay a long while before they return to Karthasi and the man with the hammer up front.

Sabien passes a glance over the other occupants of the room, but he's drawn back to front and center by the display with the hammer and the call for holy silence. He wasn't talking to anyone in particular anyways, so not swearing during that nonexistance speech really isn't a stretch. One of his eyebrows quirks upwards as he catches bits and pieces of the conversation around him. This should be good.

One last whisper from Alessandra is all to be heard from her, the somber occasion compelling the woman to be a bit more subdued than she would be if this were a social event. She finishes the reply and then simply stands, eyes forward.

Karthasi's face still can't be quite made out but for the subtle shape of a profile glowing red in a flicker of flame now and again, otherwise shrouded in the darkness of the hood, keeping the Priest, mor importantly, from seeing anything of ill-omen in the periphery of her vision. She speaks up, though, and those who know her can at least recognize her voice, although she never speaks quite this loudly in day-to-day business. "We come to this place with purity of spirit, with integrity of intent, with correctness of right-action," she opens up the ceremony with a general blessing, "To offer good things to the Lords and Daemons who -are- forever, and to the father of Gods and Men, the Idaean, the Olympian Zeus, in whose hand hangs the scales of Fate, who knows all that has happened, and all that is happening, and all that will happen again," her voice rises and falls with a regular hymnic rhythm, "That his son, Lycaeus, the Delian, the Pythian, whose power is the Tripod of Oracles, whose delight is the resonant harmony of the Lyre, of the Bow, and of the Universe itself, whose home is by the hearth at the navel of Ge, may cast his shining beams and make manifest for our eyes the will and duty of his father and ours." Deep breath. "So say we all."

"So say we all," Cidra repeats the maxim softly but with a sort of deep fervency, blue eyes shining in the light of the chapel.

Laskaris merely shakes his head at Allie's reply, trying hard to restrain a grin. He's done talking, though, and his expression sobers as Karthasi begins to speak. When the woman finishes, Laskaris follows with a muttered "So say we all…" of his own.

Merrell's eyes close as Karthasi begins. She remains motionless with her head bowed gently towards the floor. But for the rise and fall of her breath, she looks a statue until the Sister finishes. "So say we all." Her voice is quiet, almost entirely drowned by the others.

Stavrian murmurs as Karthasi finishes, lips barely moving. "Come, blessed power, the sacrifice attend, and grant thy mystics' works a happy end." Louder then, his voice lost among the whole chorus. "So say we all."

"So say we all," Allie murmurs as well. Prayer done, she waits, keeping a keen eye on the religious observation, taking it all in like it is the first time she has seen something like this, which, of course, it is.

It is here that Lt. Oberlin makes use of his awesome cultural assimilation skills and follow along with the rest of the crowd after a quick, furtive glance over his shoulder to spy several random people and echoes a soft, "So Say We All." He brings his arms up and crosses them in front of his chest neatly.

Sabien gives a little 'huh' of surprise as if he's part amused and part intrigued. At least he hasn't nodded off, which is, in and of itself, a miracle. "So say we all." He actually echoes, because he wants to, not because he feels compelled to.

Angelicahmms as moment, as she works before she responds to Raedawn quietly. "Thats true..until they turn on the disco ball. Then I'll need to recalibrate everything a second again."

"So say we all," Raedawn whispers. And then Angelica speaks. It's perhaps a testament to Raedawn's sheltered upbringing that she actually looks to see if there is one. Nope. Just a touch annoyed, she looks back to Angelica. "I just meant that they're probably not going to change the light level during the ceremony," she whispers.

Karthasi leans forward just a little bit, again, dipping her hands into the bowl, the attentive in the room perhaps being able to hear the sound of both hands being submerged in some sort of liquid before they rise again, clasped around the handle of a curved knife, which she lifts, dripping some sort of thick purple-red liquid until a more yellowing color shines through the slick coating of rose. She holds it over the bowl until the dripping's more or less stopped, then begins to speak again. "Who will come forward into the reverence of the Lords, come and be cleansed, come and take up this hammer for the revelation of the Will of Zeus?" she asks those here assembled.

Cidra stands fluidly from her seat, though her posture is kept straight, eyes forward on the ritual as she unwinds herself. She catches Karthasi's eye and bows her head a little, in an almost demure fashion. A proper supplicant. Then steps forward. Volunteering, apparently.

Nuh-uh. Oberlin isn't moving from his seat. He appears quite content to watch Cidra jump in as the first volunteer. His head cants several degrees to the right.
From afar (to Karthasi and Cidra), Stavrian (JS) erases pose :)

The Senior Chief at the back unclasps her hands and looks to them. They're covered in grease and smudged with tried blood from scratches accumulated in the last twenty four hours. There's a heavy sigh visible but unheard before her gaze lifts back to the front to watch Cidra step forward.

Laskaris watches as the ceremony continues; he stays in his seat, however, when Karthasi asks for volunteers. Apparently, his piety has limits. He's not entirely surprised to see Cidra volunteer, however.

Angelica whispers, "oh, you never know what might happen at something like this. Best to be prepared for anything and everything…" As she scans to cover the volunteers.

Alessandra winces at the glimpse of red she manages to get from where she is, this being something she kind of expected but is still totally unprepared for at the same time. "Las…is that…" Moaning weakly, she squints her eyes mostly closed, the ritual now watched through a gaze that is now mostly-slitted closed.

Familiar with the ritual about to happen, Stavrian's quite still as Karthasi calls for the volunteer for that post. It's not a hesitant posture so much as he's just watching who will stand up. The CAG's unfamiliar to him, but his eyes track her face as she goes, taking note of it.

Oh yes, now we're getting to the good part. Knives. Hammers. The medic shifts a little bit in his seat, anticipation getting the better of him. Perhaps Sabien knows what's coming, but it's still like watching your favorite rerun on television.

Raedawn nods hesitantly. "I don't think there'll be anything /that/ bright," she murmurs, watching as the first volunteer steps forward. She shivers involuntarily. "This part always scares me," she whispers to the newswoman.

Karthasi turns the curved blade to the side and rests it in the center of the altar, behind the bowl. Those without a good perspective might think easily enough that she's put it back in the bowl. For her part, she catches Cidra's eye as she volunteers, steps back from the altar and to the side, coming to stand behind the tripod to the starboard side of the altar, holding out her hands to take Cidra's and lower them into the warm water, pronouncing, loud enough to be heard, but not as loud as she was when speaking to the entire room, "Be cleansed of all guilt, and let the Prophet of Delphi guide your hands." As she speaks, she washes the woman's hands tenderly, cleaning them less of actual and more of metaphorical dirt, fingers running from the heels of hands to fingertips before she lifts the woman's hands from the water again, and lets them go, returning to stand at her spot behind the altar, and lifting her voice again, "Who will come forward into the reverence of the Lords, come and be cleansed, come and take up this bowl for the revelation of the Will of Zeus?" she repeats the formula with some variation.

After a moment, Stavrian pulls his hands off the back of the bench. The swinging loop of prayer beads is tucked into the wrist of his camo jacket and he stands up, his head bowing towards the altar before he edges out of the pew row. Forward goes the medic without saying anything aloud, looking up to meet Karthasi's eyes as he gets close to the ritual's epicenter.

Oberlin remains stock-still in his seat at the pew, save for a slight outward push of his legs. His arms are still clasped neatly in front of his chest as he eyes the unfolding ritual with a clinical gaze.

Cidra closes her eyes as Greje cleanses her hands, exhaling a long breath, shoulders sagging, as if she really were letting go of some guilt and allowing the metaphorical filth to be washed away. That done, she just waits. Regarding Stavrian in kind as he comes forward.

"That it is," murmurs Laskaris softly as the knife comes out, with a quick glance to the woman beside him. For his part, he seems nonplussed by what's about to happen. He's probably seen animals slaughtered before, given his origins. What's one more?

Angelica hmms, "it does?…hmm. I guess it's just another thing to me. You see lots of things after awhile…"

Okay, Las was not supposed to say yes and it's made known in how Alessandra's hands come up to cover her eyes, the last bit of her courage gone now. It is only because she doesn't want to embarrass herself or her companion that she stays put otherwise Anton would wind up with her in his lap, this getting to her more than was anticipated.

Rae watches for a long moment as another volunteer steps forward. She blinks hard, then shakes her head to clear it and looks back to Angelica. "Scares me, though. It gives me this funny feeling…" She cuts herself off. "How's your white-balance?" she asks, just for something to say.

Karthasi lifts her eyes until they're met from straight ahead by her next volunteer, stepping back again and moving, now, to the tripod to the port side of the altar, holding out her hands until Stravrian takes them to lower into the heated water and be cleansed, much in the same way, the same formula escaping the darkness enshrouding the Priest's features: "Be cleansed of all guilt, and let the Prophet of Delphi guide your hands." And she lifts his hands from the water again, and releases them, letting him go to his assigned ritual equipment. She returns to her spot behind the altar, lifting her voice along with the curved knife. "Father Idaeus, send us a favorable sign! Make these gifts holy in your eyes and vouchsafe Battlestar Cerberus and her passengers and her crew a safe putting-to-sea and a safe return-to-harbor," she says aloud, turning the knife to tuck into her belt and coming around to the front of the altar, walking toward the short corridor out between the rows of seats, letting the two volunteers prepare their roles. "Ta ta ta. Ta ta ta ta," she begins to say, quietly. Why, exactly, isn't clear, until a snowy white heifer emerges from between the rows of seats, hooves clattering on decking as it comes forward, obviously well-trained, and lets Greje reach out and take it by the horns. It wears no ropes, no leads, only a garland of flowers around its neck which dangle as she begins to lead it around to face the audience, coming around to adjust her grip, standing behind its shoulder and holding first one horn in one hand, then the other in the other as she lifts that rope of flowers and begins to gird the creature's horns with it, looping the flowers into a kind of sacrificial crown.

Oberlin blinks once. A cow. He shoots a narrow-eyed glance at the likely ill-fated creature, sniffing the air.

Karthasi takes a firm grasp on the cow's horns once they're duly adorned with flowers, her head bowed, face hidden, bent at the waist somewhat.

Angelica says, "Holy Cow…thats not something you see on a military ship everyday…see I told you anything can happen….and there goes my white balance…""

Sabien watches Stavrian approach the altar with a bit more interest, as he's one of the few that the medic has met since coming on board the ship. And then….a cow. If not for the holy silence, no doubt he'd be cussing some form of incredulation right about now. Not every day you see a hefer on a Battlestar.

Any other day, Laskaris would goggle at the sight of livestock on a battlestar. Today, though, not so. Can't really have a sacrifice without something to, well, sacrifice, right? His expression remains neutral as his eyes shift from Greje to the luckless heifer and back again. Then, a questioning glance to Alessandra next to him.

Merrell keeps her eyes on Greje as the woman moves, then returns them to the alter until the woman returns. With the sight of the cow, the SCPO's shoulders sigh a little as if thankful. She seems to pay no attention to anyone else in the crowd, though.

Stavrian lets Greje have his hands for the ceremonial washing, if a touch stiffly, fingers dripping as he lifts them back out of the bowl. His eyes stay down and he steps back once released, leaning down to pick up the large bowl awaiting him, palms supporting the sides. Once the priestess has the cow's hands firmly in hand he steps up next to the pale animal, lifting bowl up above its head. Clear water pours from the middle of the bowl in a steady stream, dousing the heifer's head and neck, and soaking the garland of flowers that Karthasi adorned it with.

Rae's eyes widen at the sight of the cow. "I didn't know they were going to do /that/…" she murmurs. "An actual entrail reading? On a ship?"
Angelica's outburst makes her blink, and she leans over. "Get the other camera covering it, quick. We can fix this one… where's the white card?"

Alessandra's not seeing anything. No cow. No cow-guiding chaplain. No curious look from Anton. She has effectively rendered herself sightless. Unfortunately she has no way to cover her ears now, leaving her able to hear everything from the whispers of those observing to the clomping of hooves upon floor, each sound adding to her discomfort. There's only one way around this and that's via a switching of her hands position, each one covering an ear while her eyes and face are scrunched closed, tightly. "Tell me when it's over, please," she implores Lasher, her voice trembling.

Cidra watches the heifer as it's led out. No surprise. She clearly knew what she was in for, and does not hesitate in picking up the hammer. She grunts as she hefts it. She's no pixie of a woman, but she wants to make sure she's got as strong a grip on it as she can muster. And the hammer is rather large. Made for this sort of task, it has to be. She winds it back, releasing another deep breath, and aims a blow at the cow's skull. Grunting again with the force put behind the swing. It's not a killing hit, but it's a solid square one, and it does stun the beast. The heifer's legs flail and slip out from under it as it's put into a hard, enforced slumber. That done, Cidra bows her head to the heifer. A rather thankful little nod.

Karthasi keeps her hands in place as Stavrian comes to douse the cow's head and neck, purifying the creature, and then she bears up, pulling the cow's head up just a little bit so that she can brace her arms against the force of the blow from Cidra and the cow's suddenly limp weight. The thing's hindquarters go straight down, but Greje grunts and keeps the head of the cow pulled up and back, finally letting go of one horn and taking up the knife again, waiting for Stavrian to get in position before reaching around and slicing the heifer's throat, sending out thick spurting jets of blood, hopefully mostly into the bowl.

The water bowl is empty, pulled back in time for the CAG to crack some heifer skull with that hammer. Stavrian kneels down immediately, settled back on his heels and holding out the bowl to receive its replacement water - viscous red blood. An arterial spray or two does manage to escape the careful placement, a hot spatter going across his forearms which he ignores.

Oberlin's brows knit in an asymmetrical and messy manner, watching the ritual proceed. He doesn't show any signs of shock, at the very least. His arms un-knit and fall to his sides.

Merrell doesn't even flinch. When Cid comes around with the hammer, the SCPO watches as if a project had just been completed. She closes her eyes, whispering something to herself. A silent prayer while the sacrificial heifer bleeds out.

Well, as brash as he might be, even Sabien has to sit up straighter and look a tad more respectful when the ritual gets down to the knitty and gritty of it. The smartass look on his face wipes clean into a stoic disposition as he watches the knife slice cleanly. Blood, so much of it. And that's something a medic surely has to respect. The death of something just so they can be blessed.

Angelica ooos, "Now this is the kind of stuff people love or hate to watch…animal rights people are gonna love this…I can adjust from here…" as she taps a few buttons on the remote.

Lasher doesn't so much as twitch as the heifer is stunned, then slaughtered. His only reaction, in fact, is a dark scowl directed towards the pair of whispering women behind the camera.

Cidra gets a little blood splatter on her, but it's nothing too graphic. And she doesn't seem to mind. She takes a deep breath and lets it out. Then another. Shuddering a little. No sign of revulsion from her. It's closer to ecstasy than anything else.

Karthasi presses her lips together, enduring the ritual actions in silence, all her concentration upon its correct performance, the knife slowly finding its place in her belt, once more, so that she can use both arms to hold up the creature while the jets of blood grow more and more feeble and the bowl fills up, then, when the blood no longer shoots far enough to do more than dribble on the floor, she twists the horns in her hands, yanking at the young cow to get it to turn onto its side and partway onto its back on the floor, letting Stavrian take away the bowl and looking to Cidra to help take up the beast for transport to the altar.

In turn, Oberlin's dark green eyes roll upwards ever-so-slightly after the other people in the crowd speak. It's not immediately identifiable what he's reacting to, however. Or whom, for that matter.

Raedawn, unable to look away, winces as the heifer is hammered. It was a good blow, but the look on the pilot's face hints at repressed revulsion. She turns back to her work to cover it. "I don't know why," she whispers to Angelica, possibly a little disturbed at the glee in the woman's voice. "It's been done for centuries all over the Colonies. And are you sure the auto-balancer will compensate?" It all helps her not look at what's going up front.

Alessandra notices the heady, metallic-tang of blood in the air and she shivers, her body convulsing just about in reaction to the smell. Needing some form of distraction and some comfort as well, she turns her head and tries to bury it against Anton's shoulder, doing so difficult since she can't see where he is with her eyes closed. He's going to have to help her otherwise she's going to be left failing about since she's not going to stop until her face finds its mark.

Stavrian's lips are moving, but the sound's not even loud enough to carry to the first row of benches. Some repetitive recitation, spoken quickly and passionately under his breath, his eyes closing for the last few seconds while the blood gouts slow to trickles and then to nothing. He draws in a long breath and stands up, holding the bowl with cradled reverance. Moving backwards from Greje and the slaughtered animal, the medic brings the bowl to the altar, where it's slowly tipped. Thick red pours over the altar and gently splashes its way down in a steady waterfall, the high coppery smell stinging the air.

Cidra's lips move and she bends to help Karthasi lift the beast but, like Stavrian, sound doesn't carry far from them. Her hands touch the heifer with a sort of reverence. A respect for the sacrifice it has made for them. She grunts again as she aids the chaplain in getting the thing on its back for transport. Her nose twitches at the smell, but there's again no sign of revulsion. If is, if nothing else, also not unexpected.

Laskaris, for his own part, is — well, fascinated might not be the right word, but his attention isn't wavering. As such, he only sees Alessandra's reaction out of the corner of his eye. His head still doesn't move as he whispers out of the corner of his mouth, "Come on, lass, it's only a little blood." Being that his eyes are still locked onto the front of the room, the sound of his voice is likely the most help she's going to get.

Karthasi finally lets go of the cow's horns and grabs its forelegs, instead, as Cidra helps her get it on its back, then, once the altar's been coated a nice shade of red, the priest hefts the forequarters of the cow so that, with Cidra doing the same for the cow's hindquarters, they can take it up and set it on its back on the altar. A silent nod of thanks, and the Priest shifts to the side, with her back to the crowd and lifting the knife to the cow's midsection for the moment of truth, the reading of the cow's innards. There's a decent while of the priest hewing her way through flesh to open up the hot entrails to the room.

"Some people only like it when it comes wrapped in plastic." comes Oberlin's audible murmur, the first time he's said anything throughout the ceremony. And so far, the -only- thing. His mouth snaps shut suddenly thereafter.

"A little blood is pinkening a tissue when you knick yourself shaving," Allie whispers, her face now rested against Lasher's shoulder, having to rely on the sound of his voice as a means of homing in on her 'target'. Lifting her chin a bit, she peeks an eye open, watching him before she adds, "If it wasn't for the fact that this is a religious ceremony, I'd be using the phrase 'blood bath' to describe everything." It's all uttered so it might go unheard by most anyone else unless someone's really paying attention to her at this moment.

Stavrian sets the bowl to rest and straightens up, now waiting for the priestess to do her ultimate role in the ceremony. His uniform has more blod on it that it looked like with the bowl blocking it before, and a bit of bright red is smeared across his chin. Not a problem for him, not moving to wipe it away yet. His blue eyes return to the figure of Hermes while Greje gets her hands bloody.

Cidra steadies the heifer, silent now as she watches Karthasi. Her eyes only break to glance to the altar of Athena briefly. Head lowering a notch, in that demure manner again.

Blood doesn't really get a rise out of Lasher, but evidently rummaging around in a cow's innards is a little much. That, at last, is enough to get a reaction out of him; his mouth draws tight and he shifts a little in his seat. His attention never wavers, though. "It's tradition," he whispers back down to Aless nonetheless. "Hush. You'll be fine."

Merrell takes a small step forward from her place at the back, trying to get a view between the heads up front. Hands still clasp in front of her but they squeeze on and off in anticipation.

Anybody reminded of the movie where the Spacefighter gets stranded out in the middle of an ice field and his body has to cut open the stomach of their only mount so he can be stuffed in the warm entrails and thus survive the night? Yeah, no doubt that's where Sabien's mind is going, in order to endure such a display. Even in the name of the Gods, this is graphic.

Karthasi gets through the flesh, leaving cuts clean enough to let anyone inspecting the work closely know this isn't her first time around a cow's guts. Her hands slip easily inside, and, moments later, when those who might expect her to withdraw her hands with a nice red bit of flesh… well… nothing. The priestling's cheeks begin to flush a deep red, her heart to race a little as she lives out a recurring nightmare from Seminary. Standing at the altar, the eyes of all her professors boring holes straight into her back. Where's the liver, Greje? Where's the liver?

"Uh-huh," is what Alessandra grunts, that being tough for her to get out thanks to the wave of wooziness that hits. Thankfully the smell of blood has been replaced by that of Anton's uniform, the warm-washed scent soothing as is his company, those being two of the few things that distracts her from being ill.

Oberlin's face is painted with a slight smirk? Yes, it's a smirk blooming upon his face as he gives Lasher and Alessandra a sidelong glance.

Stepping into the chapel, Atreus eases the door closed softly. Once it is closed, he makes his way very quietly around to a place where he can watch the proceedings. Once he has found a suitable spot, he settles in, hands clasped behind his back. It takes about that long for him to realize that the cow on the alter is not only dead, but Katharsi is… at least wrist and maybe elbow deep in guts. A city man, he cannot help blanching a bit, though he resolutely keeps his gaze focused on the cerimony.

Cidra's blue eyes narrow a bit as she watches Karthasi work the cow. She regards the chaplain with a gaze that, though still that of a respectful, demure supplicant, is also rather expectant now.

Stavrian's attention turns from Hermes back to Karthasi now, waiting for what he knows should happen next in this ritual. If the smell or sight bothers him he keeps it well in check; he's a medic, he probably sees humans with this much blood on a weekly basis. He glances across the way at the CAG, letting a smidge of curiosity show in his blue eyes at the woman who came up to volunteer, then he looks back at Greje. Poor Greje.

Karthasi takes shallow breaths in the darkness of her hood, praying silently for patience from panic and clearing her mind. "Apollo guide my hands," she finally whispers aloud, just loud enough for her assistants to possibly hear a twinge of anxiety in the words. And then she stops feelign about, all of a sudden, swallows, once, and pulls one red-stained arm out to drag the knife inside and pull out… something. Red, and, for those familiar with bovine anatomy, maybe a little on the biggish side for a liver. Those closest to her can make out its ill-formed shape, including something which, through the blood, looks dark and stringy, like black, fibrous hairs all clumped together with beads of gore. The priestling's hands shake just a little as she sees what felt so… wrong… in situ, but she takes it up and goes to put it in the tripod of hot water, to clean it off and get a good look at the thing, the light from the brazier illuminating her shadow-hidden face to reveal a look of something like horror as she rinses off the blood.

Sabien silently cheers the priest on, which is morbid in and of itself. Go Greje. Find that eternal organ. He even looks like he looks a little relieved when she finally pulls it out and goes to clean it off. It's like waiting during the commercial break right after getting served up one helluva cliff hanger.

Merrell seems frozen in the back of the room, eyes locked on Greje. Her hands wring a bit as the minutes go by and then a short sigh of relief as the Priestling produces the..liver? The Chief peeks side to side almost imperceptibly but settles back on the Sister's face. Seeing the woman's reaction, Robin's dusky color fades a touch.

Cidra catches Stavrian's eye when he glances her way, curious about him as well, though it's a mild curiosity. Her concentration is generally focused on Greje and her bovine quest. When the…thing is pulled out, her expression contorts for a moment. The first sign of disgust she's shown all through this bloody process. Surprise on her face as well. That was…not what she was expecting.

Stavrian's brows twitch together. Subtly, just enough to bring out faint lines between them. His chin lifts and head tilts very slightly to the right, trying to get a better glimpse at Greje's findings without looking like he is. Which just narrows his eyes further.

The tension in the air is nearly palpable, though it might simply be Atreus' own that he feels. It takes a measure of will not to look around to see how others are taking this event. When the Priestling brings up the gory bundle, he swallows heavily. Shifting a bit, he watches the woman carry the… whatever it is… to a basin where the blood is washed away. Out of his element, he has no idea whether it looks the way it should look. It is the expression on the Priestling's face that clues him into the fact that something is terribly wrong with this picture.

Oberlin's lips are pursed further as he offers up a weighty nod from his pew, like a sports fan observing a game-winning score. That's one cow that's not making the finals.

Color Laskaris surprised, as well. Like most of the others, he too notices the priestling's ashen expression, and he tries to crane his head to get a better look at what's causing the sudden unrest. He's far enough out that he doesn't get more than a distant glimpse, though, and he's seen enough innards to know something isn't quite right — as if Greje's reaction didn't advertise the fact already. Flinty eyes flick from side to side in confusion, as he looks around to see the reactions of the others.

Karthasi tames her horrified expression, drawing her lips into a tight line. Yeah, that's no good. She didn't have to go to seven years of school to know that -that's- no good. But still, the silence in the room is becoming oppressive, and so she turns around, and lifts her voice, not to keep anyone waiting longer than they need to. This, of course, is the part where she announces that the omens are favorable and that Fate's blessing is upon this journey. "The omens…" she begins, then, promptly, "Are unfavorable." What? The omens are -always- favorable. That's how these things are supposed to work, anyhow. "We will offer the firstfruits of this feast to Zeus and all those Gods and Daimons who call Olympus home, and all those who dwell in Erebus, and all those in the Firmament. We will… reconvene at a time to be announced, in order to expiate this omen and beg fair travel." Damage control, go. "Be blessed. Walk with the Lords. And pray for Cerberus," she gives the faithful her only available suggestions for the time being.

Wait, what? Stavrian stands there motionless even after Karthasi's done speaking, as if his neck were suddenly paralyzed. He can even feel it - hairs standing up on the back of his neck and a cold pit in his stomach. His eyes subtly flicker to Hermes again, silent statue that it is, and then back to Greje. Then up, at the ceiling and the walls, as though the gods might have written the reason for this in some luminescent scrawled message. Of course, no such luck.

Wait…what? Even with her ears covered she manages to catch some of that and Allie turns to look forward, her hands falling to her lap like lead weights, her arms no longer able to hold them up to either side of her head. Blanching, she watches the lady preacher and those who watched the entire ceremony, her expression growing more and more concerned with each face she observes. "Gods." Finding her lower lip with her teeth, she pulls it back against them with a quick grimace, the flesh turning white and then red as it's bitten.

Oh crap. Wait, does crap count as a swear word? And does it only count if you say it out loud or if you think it. Because according to the way Sabien's features shift, he's thinking of things a whole lot more flavored then Crap. He may not be the most devote man in the Colonies, but he knows a gut sinking moment when he's faced with one. His head droops and his hands pull down over his face.

Merrell watches, trying to maintain her passive expression but it fails. A hand lifts to her lips, smudging grease across her chin with a small gasp of air. She swallows hard. With the slow drop of her hand, the color seems to have faded more. With a tentative step backwards, another quick words are mouthed and she moves closer to the hatch as she checks her watch nervously.

Cue Oberlin's second vocalization. He clears his throat, dryly and then covers his mouth in a modest gesture. His eyes widen ever-so-slightly.

Atreus says, "Huh." Hardly a vocalization, for the man keeps his voice low, quiet. Arms lift to cross over his chest. Although concern slips uneasily though his glance, he nods with respect to Karthasi, then gives the cow an uneasy glance, before turning on his heel and heading to the hatch. Merrell is given a quick nod, as her backwards step brought her nearer the man. Without hesitation, he opens the hatch, then turns to stand beside the opening."

Cidra's eyes widen. Another deep breath is taken, but there's no exultation in it this time. She swallows hard, a look of unease flickering across her features. "Athena help us…" she murmurs, in an undertone, a prayer for her own benefit rather than the chapel at large. She stares at Greje for a moment, then steps back, features pale as she goes.

Karthasi sets her jaw against the sounds of shock and disapprobation coming from the crowd. She leaves the liver where it is, going back to her post before the altar and taking up her knife again, digging her hands back inside to continue disembowelling the animal and seeing what other secrets it might be hiding before she apportions out the offerings for the Gods. Determined to see this through. Even if that determination on her face is hidden in shade, it's effortlessly conveyed in the strong, certain motions of her arms.

It's then that Stavrian notices the blood on his hands and arms for the first time. It holds his attention for longer than it perhaps should. Then, silent breath taken in, he sits down on the first row of benches, near the wall-side arm rather than the aisle where people will be making their way out.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License