PHD #029: The Sin of Mistakes
The Sin of Mistakes
Summary: Merrell is summoned to a trio. A joyful greeting turns to something horrific.
Date: 27 Mar 2041
Related Logs: Ded Merrell
Karthasi Tisiphone Stavrian Merrell 

The chapel looks very much how it normally looks, to someone entering through the vestibule and into the chamber. Of the three hatchways leading into the three small cubicles to the fore of the space, however, one of them has been prepositioned by a wooden bowl full of water, over which one would almost by necessity step on his or her way into the small, square room. Inside, the altar block set into the fore wall has been dedicated to the sacred images of Hades and Kore, each lit by a candle. A clay figurine of a ewe rests on the front corner of the altar on Kore's side, and that of a ram on Hades' side, and four shot-glass-sized containers are lined up between the two. A short table just before the altar bears a bowl filled inside with soil, another, smaller bowl, with a smattering of uncooked barley off to one side and a blade, like a small sword, off to the other side. The hatchway is still open, inviting participants and spectators into the small space.

The Chapel hatch opens slowly, and in slips Tisiphone. Rumpled fatigues, as ever always since her crash-and-burn, though her dandelion-like scalpfuzz has been freshly shorn away. Lightly-pinked skin, the smell of sandalwood soap still drifting about her. Squeaky-clean — or perhaps more accurately, in her mind, purified. No smell of cigarettes. She's reaching for her prayer-beads as she enters, their bony click-clack muffled by her pocket.

The only visible trace of the Parnassis gunfight left on Stavrian is the healing line that cuts across his right eyebrow, no longer bandaged. His eyes have the slightly puffy squint of someone who's not sleeping much at all, hair still damp from a shower and face clean-shaven. He's in his off-duties as he slips into the chapel some minute or two after Tisiphone, carrying a rolled up piece of paper in his left hand with a string tied around it. The sight of a cubicle changed up front slows his steps into a rear bench row.

Karthasi hears a couple of sets of footfalls happen by from the storage unit underneath the starboard half of the bleachers, and, finishing putting away a few items used in sanctifying the altar for the night's events, folding them carefully in the purple cloth that protects them from any unseen miasma, she snakes around the stacks of equipment and stores that're secured thereunder and begins to make her way to the vestibule, poking her head out just in time to see Jesse's form pass from the vestibule, and Tisiphone ahead of him. She steps out and closes the storage unit behind her, a faint click the first audible sign that the priestling has joined them. "Tisiphone. Jesse," she greets them both with a placidity of being that usually hits her after a long bout of meticulously religious action. In the zone, you could say. "Welcome." Looking to Tisiphone. "Everything is prepared. Thank you for coming. Phaedra is unable to be with us, tonight." Eyes shift, then, to Jesse, and a serene smile takes her features.

You could nearly set a clock to the routine Tisiphone performs when she enters the chapel, it varies so little. Prayer beads out, the metal-tipped tassels flicking and glinting as they're wound around her left wrist, then lifted with curled fingers against her upper chest for a moment. The long stare at, then through, the altar. The click of the door brings sleet-blue eyes back to the altar; the sound of Karthasi's voice brings her head around. Where the Sister is serene, she is troubled but determined. Eyes move to Stavrian for a moment, teeth scraping once at the raw spot on her lip, then flick back. "I spoke to her," she says. "Like you asked."

Stavrian stays where he is, lingering at the back bench — and now with no small tinge of awkwardness as it becomes apparent something is going on. His blue eyes flicker to the images of Hades and Kore and then back to the two women, and he gives Karthasi a stilted nod. "Sir. I'll come back later." The piece of paper's gently folded up.

Karthasi lifts a hand, long, lithe fingers faintly arced, forefinger least, each subsequent to a slightly greater degree. "Jesse," she repeats the greeting. "Do stay," she tells him, voice gentle— an invitation, warmer than her usual official tones, not an order of any kind. "We could use an extra set of pure hands— if you're amenable. Were you close to Robin Merrell?" she asks him, the same warm, fully evolved patterns of speech, mutated from her clipped, professional Caprican.

"I wouldn't've known for days if it hadn't been for you," Tisiphone says, abruptly looking back to Stavrian. "I'm- sure she'd be grateful if you were there, Jesse." She looks up at Karthasi for a moment, and some of her uneasiness seems smoothed away when the look is returned to the medic. Invitation. What could possibly go wrong?

Stavrian's dusky skin is not the type that's prone to going pale. But at the mention of that name that's exactly what it does, color draining from his face. That's probably not the reaction anyone expected. His eyes flicker between the two women, his fingers unconsciously squeezing the paper into a crumple. "Why?"

Karthasi brings her hands together in front of her, low in front of her stomach, palms toward one another and fingers entwined in fingers as she proceeds with a continued calmness to explain, "Since her death, Robin has been appearing to several members of Cerberus' crew. Tonight we will endeavor to call her forth and bolster her spirit, as Odysseus once did for the spirit of Tiresias and Elpenor, that we might know with what message she lingers here or how we might help her be at better rest." Simple as that, right? Necromancy, of course, has a long history in the scriptural tradition, but the actual enactment of necromantic rites is all but unheard of in the modern era. This is a priestling flying by the seat of her theological britches. But if she has no idea what she's doing, it's the last thing anyone would guess, from her warmly composed exterior. She turns her attention to Tisiphone, then. "I'm glad the message got to you, in any event," she confines herself to saying, smiling softly. No blame, no shame.

Tisiphone seems utterly convinced of the Sister's expertise in the matter, whether it's truly there or not; indeed, the more she speaks about it, the more the tension carried in the Ensign's bony shoulders seems to unravel. "You saw her too," she murmurs. Not really a question at all, from her point of view. That sudden paling and that /look/ is way too familiar.

Stavrian does his best to keep eye contact with Greje but can't quite do it. Not in small part because the world just threatened to gray out, and he has to blink a few times to get the room back in focus. His mouth opens, but nothing comes out until Tisiphone asks that question, and all his attention shifts to the Ensign instead. "I…" It's a little late to lie, isn't it. "…yeah. I did."

"You did," Greje echoes. It's sort-of a question, the last word circumflected in more of a quantification of surprise than disbelief. She recovers a moment afterward: "Then all the better that you should be with us here tonight, Jesse. That is. If you'd like to be," she appends, not intending to strong-arm him into any rites with which he might not be comfortable. Necromancy certainly isn't everyone's cup of 'yes, please,' after all.

Tisiphone's expression is close to a smile, of all things, inward-turned and a little shy. I knew it, it says. She starts to append something to the Sister's statement, then chooses to hold her words instead, eyes dropping from Stavrian's to the floor. It's the closest she can come to seeming neutral on his decision.

"…sunk below the confines of Ismenos where it mingles with the deep," Stavrian murmurs, rubbing his hand over his pallid cheek. "…and makes purgation all around with the torn entrails of sheep and the strong smell of sulphur, and with fresh herbs and the long mutterings of prayer…" He exhales and looks up, recovered as well as he will be from that little jolt. "I'll help, Sister."

Karthasi just keeps her eyes on Jesse, but gently— not staring, or piercing, or fixing with a gaze, just… there. Ready, for yes, or no, whichever it might be, the same easeful smile in store for either answer. And so it comes for the one given. "Thank you, Jesse," she tells him, then, turning to regard the hatch with the wooden bowl of water before it, she pauses a moment in regard of the boundary. "Let us cross the water to another place," she tells them, voice low. "Wrapped up in the airs and the dark mists, where Helios Phaethon will never look upon a man with the bright beams of his eyes," she invites them, "Nay, neither as he steps up into the heavens at his accustomed pace, nor when back again he turns from the heavens down toward the lands— but where a night, intact and whole, lays upon all of those who have been condemned to die."

Not something to smile about, so much. Tisiphone clears her throat very softly, and takes a deep breath. Prayer-beads rustleclick faintly as she shifts her grip on them before following the Sister over the threshhold into the smaller room.

Stavrian slides the folded paper into his pocket, the edge sticking out as though sure to be kept within easy reach. Not done with that yet. He unwraps his prayer beads from around his wrist where they nearly always live, the wooden tasslebeads click-clicking against each other. Stepping up to Tisiphone's left, he clears his throat softly, eyes down while the priestess intones. Then into the sacred space he too goes.

Karthasi steps over the water, right foot, then left foot, the same rather long step taking her across the threshold. Another step forward, to allow the other two to come in after her, then she turns back to close the hatch, leaving them all in the dim light of the two candles on the altar in the cramped space of the cubicle. "Ent' hiereia men Tisiphone Jesse te — esk'hon," she goes on, turning to regard the altar, then, lowering her voice, "And then, first, my companions, lift up the sacrifices— a ram for the Unseen Lord, and a ewe for the Bride of Death." She, meanwhile, goes before the table directly in front of the altar, lowering herself to her knees and taking up the knife to hold in both hands in front of her, between her legs, keeping her peace until the sacrifices have been taken up.

A little ominous. Unease starts creeping back into Tisiphone's expression, and her breathing deepens. In, hold for three, out. Calm, girl. Calm. She can do this. She cuts a sidelong glance to Stavrian, hesitating, before she steps forward to the small altar and picks up the ewe. She clears her throat again before looking up and across to Karthasi.

Stavrian meets Tisiphone's eyes at the same time she glances at him. The look is the same, subtly so, and he turns attention back to Greje. Since she's got the ewe he goes for the ram, hefting it up with the kind of stoic silence so common to fundamentalist Sagittarians and often so hard for others to understand — that this isn't the least bit out of the ordinary.

The animals, when lifted, slosh, a little. Hollow, they are, and filled with some liquid or other. Enterprising fingers may discover a little hooked plug at the bottom of each beast, keeping the liquid inside. Greje, contented, evidently, with the choices of her companions, continues: "Ego d' aor oxy eryssamenos para merou-" she murmurs, letting the pattern of the meter turn the words into something like a song with their alternating pitches clashing with the beat, even as she acts out the action denoted by the words: 'And I then, drawing up my sharp sword along my thigh,' "Bot'rhon oryx' hosson te pygousion…" she digs the tip of the small sword into the earth filling the bowl, "Ent'ha," she draws it along in a curve facing the altar, "Kai ent'ha," and in another curve, this time facing away from the altar, etching a ditch in the packed soil that looks almost like a stylized depiction of a woman's genitals. "Amp' hautoi de k'hoen k'heomen pasin nekyessi-" she holds the blade up in a warding gesture while she reaches for the first little cup in the line from the altar, pouring it into the ditch. White liquid. Milk? Probably powdered. But it'll have to do, "Prota melikretoi," she murmurs, trading the empty cup for the one next to it, pouring that out, as well. This one takes a little more time. Honey. Scraped tirelessly from those little packets for the tea. "Metepeita de hede-i oinoi," and the third— wine. "To triton aut' hydati," and the last: water. When all of the cups are returned to the altar, she reaches into the bowl beside the large bowl, taking out a handful of the barley, "Epi d' alp'hita lauka palunon," she says as she sprinkles it onto the mix. Lifting the sword in both hands, she then recites, louder: "Tous d' epei euk'holesi litesi te et'nheia nekron ellisamen! Ta de mela labwn apedeipotomesa es bot'rhon: rhee d' haima kelainep'hes." And again, that last bit, in Colonial: "Bring forth the beasts of sacrifice, and let the black blood flow into the pit."

The longer the Sister chants, the more coiled and anticipatory Tisiphone becomes. Her attention is owl-rapt, wide pupils following the carving-out of sacred space and the libations brought forth, the nervous hitches in her breath smoothed away to a steady cadence. She steps forward at the end, her cast making her movements more awkward than she wants as she uncorks the little ewe and adds the liquid within to the larger bowl, then steps back again.

Stavrian doesn't speak that high academic stuff. When he prays it's in a poorer vernacular, one which he rarely if ever speaks around those not from his home colony. He's silent now, respectfully still until Karthasi finishes and calls for blood. The ram is efficiently cut and allowed to bleed, his hand holding back its head.

The blood falls and with the last drop, the small area falls silent. Almost too silent. At the back of the room a shadow slowly grows across the wall in the flickering light of the candles. It rises across the flat area and a form begins to materialize between it and the candle. At first, it might even be confused with a trick of the light. Perhaps it's the eyes adjusting still. But after a few long moments the form begins to take a more defined shape. Centering around the chest of her clean coveralls, Merrell slowly mists together with her hands clasped in front of her. Head bowed, her face is obscured by shadows until the woman has appeared in whole and it only takes a matter of eight or ten seconds. Once done, her chest rises and falls once as if taking in the smells of the room and ship. She's intensely still otherwise until her head lifts. Those dark eyes rise to the alter first and they wet slightly, the dancing light making it more obvious. Holding there for the briefest of seconds, she then looks to each of the others in turn. She swallows, looking incredibly touched by the whole set-up and offerings. The former snipe looks like she wants to say something but doesn't even know where to begin, overcome with emotion.

Karthasi remains on her knees before the table, holding the short sword in front of her, as Odysseus held his own sword in warding off other spirits from the drink until Tiresias came to partake of it. She remains still, herself, mouth open just as little, eyes lowered to the mixture of liquids in the ditch. Will anything happen? She doesn't know. "We devote this strength of fluid and life to the divine shade of Robin Merrell," she goes on after a moment. "If you are with us, come, drink of the offerings, be made strong, be given voice and body as if in life." No, she can't see the form coalescing from the dark vapors behind her.

This was easier to endure when it was a sudden blink of familiarity in a crowded room, snapped away as suddenly as it came. Tisiphone's goosebumps have time to scrawl up and down her spine what feels like a hundred times while Merrell's shade coalesces. It's a small eternity in ten seconds. She's frozen in wide-eyed speechlessness for the moment, throat working against a knot of emotion.

The prayers from the priestess fade into murmur sounds on the edge of Stavrian's consciousness. His blue eyes too are on the figure, his body as still as if his mind's completely forgotten that his body exists. His lips part and stay that way, an expression frozen in the moment, not even a tiny sound escaping his throat.

Robin looks to both Stavrian and Tis while her expression softens even more. Her jaw trembles a bit as her hand lifts from her heart, fingers waggling slightly. She stops and starts to say something but has a hard time, nary a whisper coming out. Finally, "Thank you. All of you." The woman takes a hard swallow and a step forward. "I..please don't be frightened. I'm sorry if I scared ya'll before." That Tauran accent comes back so easy and naturally, her voice carrying deep concern.

Karthasi keeps her posture through the continued silence, settling in for the long haul, keeping the sword aloft in the upright posture of warding over the cut ditch. The voice, however, shakes her from her resolve, and she twists her back, staying on her knees but turning swiftly to look, letting the sword drop to one side and rest atop one of her thighs. Her guard down, the warding blade dropped from its position in a moment of surprise, the coaxing scent of the mingling liquids in the ditch call out into the dark, and the dark almost immediately begins to coagulate into a clustering throng of souls, mouths open in silent screams, rushing for the lifegiving liquid, useless mists of hands stretched out in vain. Duly terrified, Greje whips back around, resuming her posture, clutching the sword upright in shaking hands, chest shuddering in a breath that barely comes and goes while the souls blend out back into the shadows. Except for one, of course. "Robin," she whispers, no longer looking, but keeping her eyes straight ahead. And suddenly can't think of a single thing to say. Guh. All those carefully planned questions having fled straight out of her skull. Maybe one of Tisiphone or Jesse will be able to think of something coherent.

Krit-t-tch; the sound of bone beads grinding against eachother as they're held tighter and tighter against the sight of those roiling spirits. As Karthasi snaps the sword back up, and all but Robin melt back away to nothingness, there's a sound in the back of Tisiphone's throat somewhere between a swallow and a gasp. Slowly, she forces her hands to relax, reminds herself to stop chewing away her bottom lip. "Dammit, Robin." Blurted out on a breathless gulp. "You're supposed to be kicking back in Elysium for us, already."

It's only the women's voices that call the ghost by first name. Stavrian's shoulders move as he breathes silent little sips of air, corners of his eyes subtly tensed enough to bring out some very premature wrinkles there and between his brows. His voice sounds gravelly when he speaks, as if trying to crack from having frozen over. "Or is Elysium too crowded now."

Robin's concern slowly melts away at hearing Tisi's blurted words. That so-familiar smile risses to her cheeks. "Well Tis, I'd love to but there's a line and other complications. So I decided I'd look in on you." She winks to the Ensign and steps forward a little more to move towards the alter. With Stavrian's remark, her face becomes a little more serious, the joy fading to something a little more uncomfortable. "Its..Crowded. Unbelievably." There's a lot she doesn't say just yet, though. Coming up slowly to the alter, she kneels beside Greje and looks to the Priestling. "Thank you, Sister. This is more than I ever expected. I wish I had something I could do to repay you." She holds the look for a moment before reaching up to take the bowl in both hands. Those eyes close once more as she takes in the smell. She tilts the bowl to her lips and carefully begins to drink from it. Shoulders slump a bit as she does, the woman seeming to relish the concoction as her whole body relaxes.

Karthasi keeps facing ahead, though her eyes flit to the countenance at her side when Robin comes to kneel by her. "You… already have, believe me," she replies, stiff-voiced, concentrating on holding the sword in place until Robin's taken the offering— then, slowly lowering it, eyeing the shadows suspiciously the meanwhile. The potion having been consumed, however, the ritual space has lost much of its appeal, and the four are left in peace. Actual, physical evidence of scriptural events? Hard and fast data to add to the collection? It's a Caprican Academic's wet dream. As her wits come back to her, she remembers to ask the most (to her) pressing question. "Is there any way that we can help you, from this side, Robin? And all the others who've had to be left unburied and without rites?" she asks, almost imploring, brows furrowed lightly, hanging on a hope.

Fifty billion souls, give or take, in the Twelve Colonies. The Styx must resemble a cattle-ford, threshed to muddy slop by the passage of so many souls. Tisiphone holds her silence, slipping another quick glance to Stavrian before pulling her gaze back to the Sister and the shade, awaiting the answer.

Jesse Stavrian, death of the party. That grim comment given, he falls dutifully silent. Dutifully but not peacefully; to say he's relaxed would be a major mistake. Tension's threaded all through his back and shoulders and there's not even an illusion of a smile. The priestess is let do her duty while he, uncharacteristically, starts chewing on his thumbnail.

The bowl drained, Merrell tilts her head back and sighs. "Oh, Lords and Ladies, that was -amazing-." Her eyes open with a heavy intake of air and a slow exhale a deeper color reaches her face as if she were back on this plane and had never left. Her eyes glow towards the ceiling as if she had just taken a bowl of water after an eternity in the desert. Wetting her lips to get any more leftover, she sets the bowl back on the alter and shivers. "Sister, I don't know what that was but I think it might have been illegal," she murmurs, head tilting towards the Priestling before she rises to her feet again. She takes a few moments to compose herself with the question, too, rolling her hands together. "They're warm," she whispers in amazement. "I can't believe it." She becomes more serious though as her attention falls to Greje. "Ah..Well, I don't know. Everyone is stuck on the banks waiting. Its crazy. The Gods are-" She clears her throat, a smile flickering as she gets another quick taste before looking to Tisi and Stavrian. "They are working. But its slow moving. Only those who had rites given just before have been given passage. But we have no way to pay Charon to hasten the process. Fifty billion souls? And hardly but anyone left to bring us a fare upon their own death?" She shakes her head sadly. "I don't think there's much that can be done. Make offerings? Prayer? We get those. Gods how we cherish those." Her eyes well a bit as she looks to Tisi in particular with the last.

Must. Not. Poke. Robin. That's the message Greje's brain is sending to the rest of her person. But her hand seems to have discovered its own sense of scientific inquiry, and, laying the sword across her lap, she holds out the hand closest to Robin toward the woman, not touching her, but offering it out in a desire to feel the professed warmth of the hand if said hand is placed in her own. "How did you get back here?" she continues wondering, then, eyes widening just a little bit. "W- Have you… seen? Them?" the question's coming out of her like a pulled tooth. Maybe a strange hesitance on the part of a priest to ask such a question.

"We could melt the entire Cerberus down for oboli and I bet we'd still come up short…" Tisiphone trails off and meets Robin's eyes for a moment, searchingly, then tangles her fingers together, staring down hard at them. She starts rubbing her thumb against the obsidian pendant, the movement making the tassels flick restlessly. "I'm glad you liked it," she adds at length. Very quiet, a little wet-sounding. "I hoped you would."

Stavrian is still quite silent as the others talk to the spirit. It's around where Merrell mentions all those souls crowded on the riverbanks that he breaks eye contact with her and looks away. His fist curls in front of his mouth and flattens his lips, teeth pressed together so hard it makes the muscles at the corners of his jaw bunch.

Robin's eyes fall to the offered hand. With a grace found only in death, the apparition's hand reaches out and plaes her warm palm into Greje's own. A gentle squeeze is given. "Please, Sister. Stand. Or let's sit together? I feel weird not kneeling with you and.." She gives a little shrug, though the last question strikes her oddly. Those glassed eyes close as she shakes her head. "No. The rumor going around is that when your decision has been made, you're called forth. But? There are still some mysteries in death." She then looks to Tisi and extends her other hand to the Ensign. "I don't go anywhere without it. We have each other up there but to receive something from a loved one who is still here? It means so much more than I could possibly convey. We can hear your prayers. Those heartfelt ones that come from someplace deep in the heart? Its like we're right there to hear them." Those dark eyes then turn onto Stavrian with some concern.

That palm on her palm strikes the priestling like a jolt of electricity running up to her shoulder, and she wonders at it for a moment before, setting the sword beside the bowl, she acquiesces to Robin's request, getting one foot under her, and, free hand on her raised knee, she rises to her feet, only letting go of Robin's hand when the other one's securely with Tisiphone, as if one or the other one of them ought to be making sure she doesn't slip away again. She nods her head wordlessly at the answer, seeming, on the whole, content to leave that mystery alone. While Robin and Tisiphone are speaking of prayers shared between them, she looks aside, herself, as if seeing something private that she probably shouldn't. She turns her eyes to Jesse — but is that any less private? She doesn't ask anything further, herself, for the moment, looking to the medic with a quiet look of support.

There's the tiniest shake of Tisiphone's head when Robin offers her hand out to her, followed by a half-pleading, half-apologetic look through wet eyelashes. No touching. Please. White knuckles knitted up against eachother. She only looks a moment at Stavrian, tearing again at her bottom lip, before starting to say "He's got a-" and abruptly reining herself in to awkward silence. A quick shake of her head. Scratch that.

Stavrian doesn't move when the two women are summoned up by Robin's hands. His blue eyes go back to the apparition made solid, rather than Tisiphone or Greje, dry and pained. "Why /you/?" His voice comes from total silence not a second ago, a raw bitterness in it that he probably hadn't intended at all. He hadn't intended to say /anything/, much less let words start snowballing over a sacred ritual, but once the failsafe's off, it's off. "You hear prayers and /you/ come back…what are the rest of us doing so wrong? Do the gods think we don't love the people we lost as much as people loved you?"

Robin looks to Tisiphone as she shakes her head. There's a touch of sadness to her but she gives a small nod. "I understand, Tis. When you're ready. If you ever want to," she whispers. Hands return to her side, then and she looks to Stavrian. The woman is about to say something when he speaks up. The expression that crosses her isn't some much hurt as it is mild shame. Her eyes look away. "I'm not the only one that hears prayers, sir. We all do. Truth be told, I don't think I was nearly as loved as the vast majority of people up there. I've never had any family that cared. Just friends. I think if your loved ones could be here, they would. I wasn't sent by anyone so I'm not some special case. I just learned something I wanted to try because ya'll are all I had when it went and you're all in one place. I can't be with any family up there and its pretty lonely." Its a painful admission that she gives up quietly, eyes looking back to the alter at this point.

Karthasi draws her free arm low across her chest, listening to Jesse's complaints with only a sorrowful sort of look. She straightens, then, again, as something Robin says catches her ear. "You learned something? What was it? Did you learn it here, or… afterward?" she wonders euphemistically. "And is it proper for your path to be learned and taught?" Her mind reels with the various rules of who-can-teach-which-mysteries-to-whom. There may be a more emotional concern behind the questions… a curiosity about whether Robin could teach her secrets to others on that side, and help them over to see the people who need to say goodbye to them… or. Well. She could just be curious as to matters of dogma. It's hardly beyond a Caprican to be that academic about these things, is it?

Tisiphone swallows hard, looking back down to her hands in a tangle of sadness and guilt. She utters something short in Sagittaran, the quick syllables sounding like an I'm sorry. She seems short on questions, herself, the others hanging in the still air weightier than, or identical to, what she might ask.

Shut up, Jesse, shut up, shut up. Stavrian's mind is catching up to his own words, and while it does nothing to calm him down it does, thankfully, shut him the frak up. Or rather, his teeth find his finger instead, the rest of his hand shielding his mouth as he bites down until it hurts. He paces a few steps away from the group, shoulders risen halfway to his ears and eyes pinned on the spirit.

Robin keeps her eyes on the alter, her eyes focused on a candle. "I learned it there. It wouldn't make much sense here, though. Its not so much a teachable art, though. I'm not entirely sure its something I should be doing, either, but I can't sit there. Not when I can come back and try to help or see friends. I don't want to be dead. There's nothing for me in Elysium." He looks to the three again, settling on Stavrian at the end. "I- I'm sorry, sir. I wish I could do somethin' but I'm not in any real position. I'm just a nobody in the grand scheme. Can I- Do you want me to try to find someone? Pass something along? Any of you?" She looks around almost in desperation. Maybe this was a huge mistake. Merrell takes a step away from the group towards the wall.

Karthasi lowers her chin a little bit, cushioning her words, "If it is hosios for me to say so, you have a home here for as long as your feet can find a path. Xenoi amen," she utters the blessing of hospitality to the dead woman. "And… I'm certain that if you've a willingness to play messenger, there will be no lack of messages to those waiting on the shore," she goes on, looking to Jesse, just there, quiet-eyed, before something spoken earlier sparks something in her eyes and she looks back to Robin. "You mentioned… the possibility of those still alive carrying fare along for those who've been lost. The practice was never drafted into canon. In your experience, it -is- efficacious?" she just wants to have made clear.

"Trees that reach up to forever. Moss to sink your feet down into like a featherbed. Sunshine through the clouds, the smell of the ocean. There's everything for you in Elysium, Robin." Tisiphone has a very clear picture of it all, it seems, as she reasons it out in soft and steady words. She stops there; something Karthasi asks pulls her gaze up from her prayer-beads.

Stavrian is back to silence again. He catches the look from Greje and looks down, folding his arms. Emotion shuttered away as heavy-handed as a portcullis slamming down, he mirrors her sentiment under his breath. "Xenoi amen." His eyes flicker to where Robin's feet would be, listening without staring anymore.

Robin looks to Greje than, keeping her distance from the group for the moment. She's still unsure and its plain on her face. But regardless, "Thank you, Sister. That means so much." The appreciation in her voice couldn't be faked. Her eyes turn to Tisi, then. "I know. But..I need people. It all sounds lovely and amazing, but everyone has people to see. A lot has been reconciled in death so quite a few families have been put back together. Sitting alone, even in beautiful weather? Tis, there's a reason I never took leave in eighteen years." She then looks back to Greje. "Yeah. Bringing fare." She sighs, swallowing afterwards. "Its a rumor that perpetuates. But nobody has tried it or been able to. Obviously the Lords and Ladies aren't going to sit around doing a Q an' A with us so nobody knows for sure. Well, maybe they did and its still just rumors. But it isn't like they expect anyone to pass it along. But if it worked? Gods, if it worked.." Merrell trails off and drops her eyes.

"… There won't be… there won't be any harm in trying, in any case," Greje tries to tic the corner of her mouth upward in an effort toward a smile. "We're all still mortal, here, Robin. You've attained that portion of divinity which is eternity. Time will… slip away, and we'll be with you. Be it in five days or fifty years, you won't be alone long, in the great scheme," she tries to offer comfort to the dead woman, such as she can.

It all sounds lovely and amazing, but… It's somewhere around there that Tisiphone frowns, looking for just a moment like she wants to argue. The troubled defensiveness is shuttered away with an effort — and a wince, as she untangles and retangles her fingers together into less of a death-clutch, setting the prayer beads clatterclicking against themselves.

"How do we do it." Stavrian's voice, control shackled onto it to the point where it's almost toneless. His head's still turned towards Robin, but nobody in the room gets the benefit of seeing his eyes. "How do we bring their fare?"

Merrell nods. "I think if it were successful, it would do more than I can express. A single extra fare for a loved one." The ex-snipe keeps her eyes on the floor. But the last words from Greje don't seem to help much. "To be honest, that's something for you all, Sister. Time will slip away, but you will be able to see your families again." She adopts an almost awkward smile as her gaze lifts to the three again. "Its beautiful. Seeing all these people? All the anger and resent in life that seems almost forgotten in relief with people being reunited? Gods. Ever go to a spaceport and watch people reunite? The ones that are just so relieved to see each other? You all have so much to look forward to. At the end of the day, though, I would rather be here until then." There's so much honest effort behind those words and in her eyes that she looks like she might explode if she tried to be more emphatic about it all. Like she'd almost cry to make it more plain. Indeed, the emotion in her voice seems like she might almost. But Stav's words pull her attention and she looks between him and Greje. "I- I don't know for sure. I imagine you would have to have the fare on you when you died or were given your rites before burial. Sister?"

Karthasi clears her throat as she's put on the spot, but she straightens and nods her head, "Yes, well— it's not… an actual ritual. It's only been speculated among some who have lost loved ones in space or at sea that… if they carry the coin with them… usually, pierced on a necklace or similar… through their days, they'll be able to bring it along with them to the other side, and give it to the person they've been carrying it for." She lifts a hand to scratch at the side of her neck, suddenly, the fierceness of the scratch leaving red lines appearing. "Um. I could… try doing more research into the phenomenon, but I'm not sure how many of the texts I have with me touch upon it. As I said, it's a non-canonical expression." She takes refuge here, her brain running through the catalog of texts, making a mental list of ones to check, the safe assorting of data keeping her from dwelling on the heart-rending situation of the lost Robin.

"Don't take from me what I am slowly learning," Tisiphone says, to a spot between Robin and the altar. "I'm sure you have gone astray if you are moved to homesickness for anything in this dimension." Sadness and quiet determination are mingled, the rhythm of the words sounding as if she was quoting someone else.

Stavrian doesn't really seem to hear Greje, his eyes now dragging up until they're looking Robin in the face. Gone is all that anger of a few minutes ago, or at least suppressed, replaced with something that's hard to put a finger on. "You mean if we…" Much quieter now, his voice. "…have our rites. Carry enough coins. And then we die. We can pay for them? For one?"

Robin listens to Greje and simple nods at the end. "It could be worth looking at. Its on everyone's mind and there could be some truth to it. The problem is that nobody would ever know if it worked unless there was a way to confirm it.." She trails. Her attention moves to Stavrian then, but she avoids his eyes. Those words still ring in her ears. "It could work, sir. I don't know for sure. Remember I'm not anyone special. I can't say for sure. But why wouldn't it? If you want it bad enough? Some people have things that were on them when they died that meant so much to them. Pendants. Rings. I still have my dogtags." She puts a finger into her collar and lifts the metal to show them. Her voice is quiet, though. Subdued. She's not the jovial woman who appeared. There's more unease as she looks to Tisiphone. "Please, Tis. I'm not here to take anything.. Please don't think I would try to do that to you. You believe. You know. There's nothing someone like you could fear or doubt about the afterlife. Any of you, in fact." Her head turns to look at the others, nearly pleading. She's lost as to how they all feel about this, obviously.

Karthasi looks down to the hand at her midsection as Robin includes her in the list of those of unshakable faith. Yes. Indeed. Eyes shift to Jesse, then, "We can try it, Jesse. That's all we can do," she offers him, somber. A moment of quiet, then, lifting up her chin, "Robin—" she begins, "Can you tell whether there are people… still… coming?" she tries to phrase that in the most delicate way possible. "From… colonies? From other ships?" Cerberus has lost several, after all, and, in a moment of cleverness perhaps in tribute to the Man Of Many Twists And Turns who first performed this rite, she thinks to at least endeavor to use this unique link to a shared afterlife to pinpoint other groups of survivors.

"If you want it bad enough? Robin-?" Tisiphone's quiet determination is suddenly replaced with agitation, a twinge of something akin to franticness leaking through as she slices a look from Robin to Karthasi and back again. "Are you trying to talk us down to the Styx with you? Listen to what you're saying. To what /he's/ saying. Love of the- Tell me how in Hades I shouldn't expect to find him cold in the morning with his baby girl's obolos around his neck, huh? Or half the frakking ship? What the- seriously, what the /frak/?" Coiled like an overwound spring by the end of her words, somewhere between scared and sick.

Stavrian's eyes shift between Robin and Greje, the former as she details and the latter as she confirms. "Really?" His quiet voice almost has no sound, as suddenly infused with a terrible kind of hope that it is. His attention fixes on Tisiphone and he unfolds his arms. "Tisiphone, even the Sister says to try. It may only be one, but even one…"

Robin furrows her brow and shakes her head a bit as she looks to the floor again. She takes a long breath with the movement and hangs a hand from the back of her neck. "Guys. I don't have much longer. I- I'm losing my focus." She then looks up to Greje with her hand still emplaced. "Ah, no. No idea. Too many people are still reuniting. There's no way but I can ask around." She makes a face and closes her eyes tightly. The woman opens her eyes though in time to her Tisi's words. They thunder across her face and her eyes open like saucers, the horror of it suddenly blanketing her in a sheet of white as if she still had a beating heart. Both hands fly to cover her mouth and she looks to Stavrian while she backs as far away into a corner as she can. "No. No! Oh my Gods! This was a huge mistake!! Oh Gods, I'm so sorry! That's not what I meant! Ignore what I've said!" She doesn't even heard the words from Stavrian. The terror in her eyes is -very- real and she's too focused on what she may have caused. At least it is until she starts to fade. "Stavrian, please don-" is all she really manages to get out before her voice voices to nothing, eyes flicking around the three of them.

The corners of Greje's mouth and eyes twist in a pained look to watch the fear in Robin, a rare breach of something deeper than aloofness or calm in her features: "I hope to see you soon, Robin. Thank you for coming. And yes, if you can— do ask." She turns her attention back to Jesse. "I said we can try. There aren't any promises, Jesse," she goes on, gentle. "I wish there were. Only know, as Robin's told us, your family is together. And that, having attained forever… as I said, to -eternity,- the difference between five days and fifty years is as between one droplet of water and two. But here— that's all the difference in the world. By all means, carry coins for those you love. I know that I will, from this day. But if you abandon the people who are still here, who still need you, then— that's going to be part of your forever, as well. Better to die well, and complete your soul with integrity," she posits the thesis.

Between Robin's and Karthasi's words, Tisiphone's eyes end up as wide as the shade's, pupils swallowing the iris until only a sliver of grey remains. "What?! What would anyone here weigh against-" The reasoned academia isn't helping; the stare slashes back to Stavrian. "This is- this is wrong, this is all frakked up. Don't even /think/ about doing it, Jesse." A pointless statement, that; he already /is/ thinking about it, obviously. Her stare flicks from the medic's face, to hands, to where his sidearm would be, then back.

Hope dangled in his face, hope ripped away. The only one in the room that gets to see the tiny flash of pleading in Stavrian's blue eyes is Robin. "Wait, don't go…" In his mind he said that aloud but really, his lips just move. He looks down, still as a statue for a few moments after the ghost's gone. His hands then slide into his pockets and he lifts his head, still watching the spot where she appeared. Neither Greje nor Tisiphone's words spark any particular reaction, mask back in place. Just pensive.

Robin locks eyes with Greje, eyes still wide. She shakes her head frantically, emphatically. The tears can already be seen streaking over her cheeks. There's a glance to Tisiphone and back to Stavrian. The deathly concern and horror still stays in her eyes as he speaks to her. Its barely a few seconds before she vanishes into the air again, the shadow not even lingering.

Karthasi doesn't even see Robin fade away entirely, so keen is she on words to fall on deaf ears. When she looks back, the woman's gone, but she gives the space where she was a grateful little smile before stepping straight through the spot itself, turning the boltwheel and opening the hatch again, letting the light from the main room of the chapel slice through the gloom, taking a deep breath of the 'fresh' air.

"Mother of the gods." Tisiphone turns to follow Karthasi's passage to the hatch, scrubbing numbly at the back of her head with her hand, blinking like an owl against the sudden slice of bright light.

Stavrian stands there, arms folded and straight-backed, watching the floor. As Karthasi steps through the circle and towards the hatch, his eyes lift once she's past him, fixing on the statues of the gods. One after the other, his mouth in a thinned line. Then he turns away from them and starts for the hatch himself, without a word.

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