PHD #113: Seeking Religious Counsel
Seeking Religious Counsel
Summary: Sister Karthasi is approached by Allie who is in need of religious advice, among other things.
Date: 19 Jun 2041 AE
Related Logs: TBA
Karthasi Alessandra 
Naval Offices
This area is set-up much like any standard office building. Cubicles have been constructed using cheap waist-high walls, their contents left neutral for whoever needs to use them. Inside each cubicle is a desk with a laptop and chair. Simple overhead lights bring dull illumination to the room except over the back wall where each one of the colonies twelve flags hangs from its own pole. Fake, potted plants dot the room and seem to be standard issue along with the water cooler and coffee machines. Off the main room are a few private offices such as that of the JAG or CAG.
Post-Holocaust Day: #113

It isn't often that Alessandra seeks counseling, especially that of a religious nature, but the events of the last month and a half has weighed heavily upon her shoulders, compelling her to look for the one person she can think of who might be able to help. The chapel was the first place she looked but the Sister isn't there, causing her to wander a bit until happening upon the offices. Sticking her head in past the hatch, she looks around only to then step through, the cubicles scanned in a manner that is almost desperate.

Karthasi is either meditating or taking a brief power nap, sitting in her desk chair with her legs crossed over one another, bared feet showing their soles to the ceiling and four fingertips on each hand resting on the edge of the desk before her as if she were preparing to play the piano, thumbtips extended toward one another, about a centimeter apart. The cubicles in the far corner of the offices, where the 'CMES' sign hangs jauntily from the ceiling, are empty, but the hatch through to Greje's tiny office is emitting a warm light, right there by the scribbled-over whiteboard where notions for sermon topics and rite schedules have been batted around by the staff. And then, accompanying the light, comes a shrill, tinny BEEP BEEP. BEEP BEEP. BEEP BEEP. A watch timer set to rouse the priest from her moment of restful thought. A breath comes deeper than the last, and she brings her hands to her lap, opening her eyes, hopefully, at first, and then with the mild disappointment that always registers when she realizes it's still the end of the world. After a few moments she picks up the watch and turns off the alarm— then— spotting someone moving around out there— "Hello?" she calls.

The beeping gets a slightly surprise from the one who is seeking out the very same person who calls out, the sound marking one who is fairly high strung, most likely. There's nothing for a minute and then Alessandra's peeking her head around the corner, wide-eyed at first only to then slowly relax a bit. "Hey, Sister. I am not interrupting you, am I? I can come back later…" Even with the offer made she doesn't seem inclined to leave and in fact looks hopeful that she won't be asked to come back later.

"Of course not, Lieutenant," Greje replies, gesturing across her desk to the ghastly orange loveseat that's right beside the inside of the hatch. "Please, come and sit down. May I make you some tea?" she goes ahead to ask, slowly unfolding her legs to get her bare feet on the floor.

Alessandra smiles at the woman and nods, her eyes half-lidding in relief, so glad she's invited to sit. "Tea sounds great, Sister. Thank you." Sitting down, Allie brushes her right hand down the front of her uniform tunic while her bandaged left is settled lightly on her lap. "I..feel horrible coming to you now after all this time when I probably should have ages ago. I do apologize. But…" Now that she's made to think about what brings her here Allie finds herself on the verge of tears again. "…I find myself under the weight of a very heavy burden, Sister. I thought I might come and speak with you."

Karthasi slides her soles onto the rough carpeting, and stands smoothly, turning to her side to pour some tea from the tall white teakettle on the bookcase into a kitchy souvenir mug. "You don't need to feel horrible coming to me, Lieutenant. Everyone carries his burden at his own pace. I'll be glad if I can help you find some peace in your heart," she looks over with a quiet smile, "Honey?" she asks. "Or maybe some sugar? You can also close the hatch if you'd feel more comfortable with some privacy."

"I feel like the pace I move in is almost snail-like in comparison to others. Like I'm always having to run and catch up…oh, a little bit of honey would be wonderful. Thank you." Allie allows for the hatch to remain open, for once not worried about keeping her feelings in private. "I'm going to get down to brass tacks about what brings me here, Sister. I find myself unable to cope with the emotions I've been inflicted with over the past month and a half. I'm not used to feeling like I'm so out of control and here I am, having to find a way to deal with this when I am woefully unprepared to." The pilot's face turns a bit red, Alessandra obviously embarrassed.

Karthasi picks up a jolly-looking plastic bear with a red conical hat on his head, and, flipping it upside-down, squirts a little dollop of honey from the top of the thing. Moments later, she's tickling the insides of the porcelain with a delicate little silver teaspoon and picking the whole thing up, shuffling around the side of her desk and settling on the front corner of it to hand off the tea to the woman on the couch. "Emotions are internal, my child," she refers to the woman with that theological title, testing it out. "The only ones inflicting them upon us are ourselves. Do you feel unable to control external circumstances, or your own reactions to them?" she goes on to ask.

The tea is taken as Allie gives a small, quick smile of appreciation, the mug's contents inhaled before the first sip is consumed. As she does this she is also listening to Greje, her expression changing from sheepish to thoughtful in a span of mere seconds. "I think it isn't so much that I am unable to control my emotions but that I am in too much control so when I finally am able to release them it scares me." Another sip is taken in, relished, before she sets the drinking vessel upon her knee, the warmth allowed to seep into the flesh of her palm and fingers when they're curled around the ceramic. "I don't know if this is making any sense. I kind of feel like I might be talking out of my backside," she confesses, returning to acting as sheepish as she looks.

"Hm," Greje gives a soft noise in response to Alessandra's confession of bullshittery. But she doesn't sound irritated. She only crosses one leg over the other, planting her hands on the desk edge on both sides of her and drawing up into a frail-looking perch. "It can be hard to talk about these things, can't it? Why don't you give me a concrete example? They're easier to talk about than generalities. We can move to generalities from there."

An example? Allie flounders as not one but several leap to the front of her head, all tripping over the other possible examples as they try to leap out of her mouth which results in a brief bout of tongue-tied. It first manifests in a bit of random stuttering before she clamps her mouth shut, Allie's face shifting through several different shades of pink before turning to a lovely, ruddy shade of crimson. "Well…uhm, how about the fact that I fell in love with someone only to be too scared to confess my feelings towards them until it's too late?" It's a struggle to get that much out, Allie obviously needing guidance in talking about herself, a subject that's so alien to her that it's almost physically painful to dive into.

Karthasi looks toward the hatch briefly in a silent offer to close the door once again, eyes returning to Alessandra and lips drawing together, brows furrowing in a moment of sympathy. "It's a difficult situation in which to find the blessings of the laughter-loving goddess. Even she was wounded on the war-resounding fields of windy Troy, and fled to her home in heaven, bleeding as she went. It's… hard to tell who will still be with us a week from now. A month from now. But still she stings us, doesn't she? And makes us recognize her divinity through our pain."

Alessandra catches Greje's glance towards the door, getting the meaning of it which she politely refuses with the shake of her head. "No sense in hiding behind closed doors, Sister. That's what got me where I am now, even if the closed doors were only proverbial ones." Taking another sip, she leaves her mug to rest on her right thigh once the warm, sweet drink is swallowed, palm over the mouth of it so the steam can tickle and sting the flesh. "It is very difficult, yes. But it isn't the only thing I find myself having difficulties with. Relationships of all kinds are near impossible for me save a few rare instances where I feel like I can let people past my defenses." Allie's left hand is raised from her lap and three fingers are held up, that being the count of how many people she trusts on that level. "Although I think that number's growing. Too slowly." She pauses. "Even my relationship with the Lords is strained."

"Some people are slow to let people in. Others let people get to the heart of them readily," Greje points out. "There are drawbacks and benefits to both mindsets— neither is wrong, though certainly an extreme in either direction is unhealthy. If you have people you trust— three— seems like a good number, to me," she puts out there, shrugging her shoulders up a little bit. "I don't think it means there's anything wrong with you. I'm sure you regret not letting… him or her…" she's not judgy, "closer to you when there was time. But you can't expect yourself to have acted otherwise than your own way. That's not fair on you," she points out, a subtle note of csaring behind her cool Caprican accent. "Do you wish to be reconciled with the Lords?" she goes on to ask. She can help with that, after all.

Ah, matters of the heart, they are so quick to cut into one's very soul, this being no exception if Alessandra's suddenly teary and pained expression is any indication. Thankfully Greje gives her an out, something else to grab onto and think about instead of the numerous ways she's dysfunctional. Shunting the topic of love aside after giving the Sister a single nod to let her know she understands, Allie manages a small smile when she's asked if she wishes to make amends with the Gods. "I do, Sister," she says sincerely and without any of the hesitation she showed when answering her previous questions. "That is if they'll let me do so. Outside of attending the reading of the cow's…you know. It's liver and all that…" The memory of the reading causes her to pale, it still a very vivid and gore-ridden memory even after everything that has transpired since then, "…and a few visits to the Chapel, I really haven't done anything religious since I was a girl."

Karthasi lifts two fingers to the her lips in a silent gesture of expiation when the bad omen is mentioned. Then, reaching aside, she plucks a tissue from a box on her desk, holding it over to Alessandra. "Alright. We can work on that," she assures her gently. "Whom did you worship as a youth? Or whose call have you heard, bringing you back to the chapel?"

Alessandra accepts the tissue. "Thank you, Sister." The paper item is drawn over her face, drying what dampness had been left when the errant tears trickled down her cheeks, then it's used to wipe at her nose which has decided to run, Lucky at least having enough presence of mind to do it in that order instead of in reverse which would have left quite a disgusting mess to have to be wiped up. "I really remember being drawn to Ares," she murmurs while watching herself crumple up the tissue, that ball of damp paper then pushed carefully into a pants pocket since she's using her left hand to do so. "Maybe he appealed to the military brat in me or something. I don't know." There are a lot she can throw into the mix but she knows it'd just complicate everything if she were to try so which is the last thing she needs to do.

"Okay," Greje nods her head quietly, "You know, it's…" she smiles just a little bit, "It's not as though this is your final answer, Lieutenant. If you change your mind, later, and decide another path is right for you… well, that'll be fine. We'll explore. We want to find what will make you happy," she assures the woman. "Ares is… decidedly ascendant in the world, right now. And you and he have both been untimely stung by the Laughing Goddess," she goes on to point out. "Perhaps you will find your peace in that, that even a god as strong as Ares can fall prey to the pains of Aphrodite."

"I think my happiness has become moot temporarily, Sister. What I am in need of is peace of mind. A way to lessen the burden I find myself struggling under the weight under." Fingers twitch, causing the mug beneath them to tilt which, in turn, causes some of the tea to slosh over its edge and spill onto her pants. The temperature is not hot so she's not at risk of being scalded but it still gains her attention, Allie's head bowing slightly so she can watch the dark color of the material deepen as it grows wet. "Knowing that he too was tormented by Aphrodite is indeed some kind of comfort, Sister. But it's not enough, no offense. Maybe it's selfish of me but I need more. A sign that it's going to be alright. Something." Swallowing hard, she hurries to gulp down some more of the warm drink, needing it to rid her throat of the lump that is growing within it.

"I can't give you that, Lieutenant," Greje replies. "Your peace of mind will have to come from you. Ares is not going to come down here and take away all of your sorrows. But Ares -can- make you strong. Steel your body and your soul against the world, and give you the mettle to bear up where you thought you were unable to before," she goes on to explain, voice attaining a certain level of steel, itself, as she slides into the mindset of the Lord of the Warcry. "I was anointed to Ares by the Sons of Enyalios on Scorpia. Have you ever heard of that sanctuary?"

That doesn't surprise Allie, it being something she heard before when it comes to peace and happiness. She probably knew that is what Greje would say before she made her request but it is a reminder she needed. "I know. I…just…I know." The last of the tea is sipped, it getting sweeter the further down she gets until the last dredges of honey are found. That's what she relishes, the golden sweet gift that settled at the bottle of her mug left to linger on her tongue. Such bliss. "Hmmm. That was so good. Thank you." She holds the now-empty vessel to Greje, allowing the priestest to do with it as she wishes. "I've never made it to Scorpia, Sister. I have spent my entire life on Picon until I graduated flight school and was assigned to the Acacia."

Karthasi uncrosses her legs, getting her bare feet on the floor, toes bending up with the impact as she balances there, getting the mug in her hands. "Of course, you're welcome," she tells her. "Okay. Well, I'm going to set you some of the early tasks I had to perform while qualifying for my anointing. We'll see how it goes, okay? What I want you to do is to divide your schedule in half, with your duty hours in the middle of one twelve-hour period— we'll call that 'day,' The other half, we'll call 'night.' It's hard to make use of the sun, out here in space, after all. For the next week, I want you to perform a simple daylight fast. You can drink all the water you want… but you can only eat during the nighttime, as defined by your schedule. Before your shift, when you wake up, or after you come off duty, when you find yourself hungry… find someplace quiet to sit and consider the hardships of war. Either in the chapel, or… wherever you find comfortable. If you'd like me to print you off some prayers to memorize, I can."

Alessandra grew up in a disciplined home, that being pretty much part and parcel when one grows up with a military officer for a father, but even then this catches her off guard and she finds herself wanting to balk at first. The indecision turns her stomach, however and strengthens her resolve, making her quick to accept this assignment. "Of course, Sister. And yes, please. Some prayers would be very welcomed as I have forgotten all the ones which I was taught as a child." An afterthought takes hold as soon as she accepts Greje's offer of the printout and a question is quickly issued. "Sister, I noticed something…A lot of people hold beads or something while in the Chapel. What are they? Should I get some for myself?" She is quick to try and do what is needed to set herself right in the eyes of the Lords, it seems.

"Prayer beads?" Greje asks, less because she's not sure and more to give her a moment to consider the answer. "Technically those are used to keep track of prayers within prayer cycles. When you… recite a prayer over and over again in order to induce a meditative state through the repetitive thought processes or associated motions. Many people simply hold them as signs of devotion, however, or because they were passed down through their family, or given to them as a child," she goes on to explain. "If prayer meditation is something you're interested in, I can find you a set of beads to use," she does offer.

" that what those are called? Yeah, I think that's what I saw. Jesse has a set, if I recall correctly." Of course this is yet another request that Allie can make of Greje but this is one she doesn't take her up on just yet, the offer to find some her refused for now. "I think I'm alright for now, Sister. Not ready for that level of devotion, yet. If I get past this next week I'll let you know and we can go from there, maybe?" Despite her refusal of the beads she seems to need something to fidget with, the Lieutenant's hands twitching off and on, a purging of nervous energy that is only partially successful.

"You can also make your own, if you'd like," Greje notes, seeming to notice the fidgeting. "Find a length of rope or cord and tie a series of knots in it. It helps bind your own energy into the object, that you can feel it when you hold it. Yes. See how this week goes. I'll schedule you for an appointment next week and we can discuss your progress. Of course, if you need me before then, stop in anytime, alright?" A pause. "I'll find for you some prayers and someone will bring them by your berths for you later today."

Emotions are a very tricky thing and now Allie finds herself in tears again, this time out of gratitude for how the priestest is so willing to help her. Standing, she does the only thing she can think of doing to show Greje how much she appreciates her aid which means she's going to get hugged if she doesn't stop Allie. "I can not begin to tell you thank you enough. I…I truly appreciate this." She steps back and nods, her face red again regardless of if she's allowed to embrace the lady or not. "Sorry."

Karthasi stiffens a little at the first approach, but gets the balls of her feet on the floor and lifts her arms to gather the woman in a frail, spindly hug. "It's… it's alright. I'm here to serve you. I only hope you find the peace you're looking for."

Alessandra nods and smiles. "Thanks. Me too, Sister. Me too. But hey, look. I've taken up enough of your time so I'm going to skeedaddle on out of here. Got some more details I need to attend to. Will let you know how this week has gone." Backing out towards the hatch, Allie bows her head just as her hip finds the arm of the loveseat, getting her to turn around comically when she feels it against her person. "Oh…" she intones before turning back, giving the clergywoman a bashful grin. "Do take care, Greje."

"And yourself, Alessandra," Greje answers, taking the liberty with the Lieutenant's first name once she's shown comfort with that level of familiarity. "Good luck, and you know where to find me."

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