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Author Topic: Sacerdos in Aeternum  (Read 10388 times)

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Offline revanne

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Sacerdos in Aeternum
« on: March 12, 2015, 06:55:06 pm »
                                               With apologies to St Martin of Tours for any presumption

Jorian lay shackled in his cell, huddled into the dank and dirty straw. The days had blurred into a nightmare rhythm; long periods of merasha induced pain and nausea, lying thirsty and cold in his own filth until merciful oblivion almost took him. Then he would be brutally roused as he and the cell were sluiced down with buckets of cold water.

But most of all he had learned to dread what followed in this diabolical cycle. For his torturers had learnt the limits of Deryni endurance too well and once cleansed he would be wrapped in a blanket and taken, though still shackled, into the warmth of the guardroom. There, fresh water followed by a bowl of warm broth would be placed into his trembling hands, and poor weak animal that he was, he had never yet failed to drink and eat. God help him, he would even find himself mumbling words of thanks.

Left to drowse in the warmth just long enough for his stomach to digest its intake, his jaws would be forced open and the tentacles of merasha once again sent forth to crawl around his body and mind, and (who knew?) maybe even able to corrupt his very soul. Retching and sobbing he would find himself again in his cell and the horror would begin again.

He had pleaded for the grace of the Blessed Sacrament - to be allowed some time in His Presence even if he had forfeited the right to receive the precious gift of his Lord’s body. But he had been met with contemptuous refusal and the assurance that he could look for no hope of grace or salvation in this life or in the world to come.  What would be his lot, at the stake and in hell was described to him in intricate and sadistic detail.

“God’s judgement has found you out, Deryni hell-spawn”, De Nore had spat at him on that terrible day in that accursed vestry and again at his mockery of a trial. Jorian feared that he was beginning to think that it must be true, in the rare moments that he could think at all. But somewhere in his deepest heart he yet trusted that God was faithful, though he wept in despair that he himself must somehow have been found to be faithless.

Tonight though was different. Though returned to his cell with nothing to maintain human dignity or comfort and his powers disrupted by merasha yet the dose was weak enough to allow some sort of coherent thought. Not that this portended any mercy; far from it. His captors wished him the use of his faculties to taste to the full this last night of fear, for tomorrow on the feast of Martinmas, he would burn, with all the staff and students of Arx Fidei driven out to endure or enjoy the spectacle. And even in his own turmoil Jorian’s heart went out to Denis Arilan, who must be among them and whose burden it would now be to succeed where he had failed.

And yet he slept… and it seemed to him that he was in the warmth of a southern hillside sitting in his rags amongst the fragrant wild herbs -filthy, unshaven and untonsured, though blessedly unchained. There was no longer any fear in his heart only grief; grief for his failure before his God and his race, and above all for the loss of his priesthood. And it came to him that he must make an offering of that loss to God, so he stumbled to his feet that he might fall to his knees; there he gave way to his grief, bowed his head and wept.

Until the noise stopped he had not consciously been aware of the sound of hoof beats, but finally recognising the renewed silence he raised his head, only to bow again in homage. For before him in the act of dismounting was a man resplendent in the full uniform of a Rûman cavalry officer; Jorian had taken a moment for recognition to dawn but then he saw again in his mind’s eye the great Gospel book at Arx Fidei as it would be open at tomorrow’s Mass. Impossible though it had to be, this was the man whose image appeared there, St Martin himself, whose feast day Jorian was to sully with his death.

Daring another glance he saw the sundered cloak, only half of which now remained to swing from the officer’s shoulder and doubt was no longer possible.  Frozen with awe, for the beggar with whom the Saint had divided his cloak had been none other than our Lord Himself, Jorian could neither move nor speak though his whole being shuddered as he felt hands, warm human hands, touch his head.

These were the first hands to touch him with gentleness since the day of his ordination and as they repeated the action which affirmed his calling so the words resonated in his head, strong and rich. Jorian understood them in his own tongue; though in what language they were spoken he could not have told,

“Thou art a Priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek”

“Rise my son,” the voice continued, “and be vested in the robes of your office.” A strong hand reached out to grasp his, right hand to right hand in the sign of fellowship. Raised perforce to his feet, yet  still not daring to lift his eyes Jorian found that he was now fully vested in cassock and alb; more wonderfully still his body was free of dirt and his mind of merasha, his face was clean-shaven and his tonsure fully restored.

“Come, look at me, you who will one day share the altar with me.” The meaning utterly escaped Jorian but the order was plain and he raised his eyes to the other’s face to meet compassion, love and …pride?

“Well done, good and faithful servant – endure just a short time now and your victory will be complete.”

Once more the meaning utterly escaped Jorian who had seen in himself only failure and defeat, but the aura of approval and acceptance nevertheless warmed his soul, starved of any shred of hope as it had been.

“Lord,” he finally managed to gasp “grant me the courage I will need!”

“It has already been granted” the other replied “but in token receive this…”

To Jorian’s shock the saint drew his sword, every whit the accomplished soldier, while taking with his left hand the priest’s stole which had lain across his own shoulders. Not the white of ordination, nor yet the purple of penitence and death but the red which denoted a martyred saint. Behind the formality of the words Jorian sensed a joy waiting to break through when he was ready to receive it, and when St. Martin tossed the stole in the air it was with what, in other circumstances, could only have been described as a flourish.

As the strip of cloth arched in the air the Saint cleaved in two the sacred symbol of priesthood, and Jorian barely restrained his gasp of horror; he would have protested the sacrilege had he dared though it was both ill-mannered and foolish to rebuke a saint, but even had he chosen to speak, any words would have died on his lips.

For now the scene shifted and Jorian was kneeling in his ordination robes before the same man though now they were on the steps of the high altar in a simple and beautiful cathedral. And the saint was no longer clothed as a soldier but vested as a bishop. Round his neck lay the stole Jorian had seen cloven in two now whole and holy; in his hands lay another born of the same cloth save that it was embroidered at each end with the golden crown of a martyr. Again the Saint spoke:

“Your offering has been accepted, for the good of your people and of the whole church.”

Jorian watched as though spell-bound, lost in awe as the other bowed over the stole and kissed the cross embroidered at the centre before placing it around Jorian’s neck. Then he pulled Jorian to his feet with the exuberance of a young soldier and folded him in an embrace,

“Welcome, my brother! Tomorrow you will light the way for your brethren to follow so that your people may be restored. And I promise you, you will not be alone”

“Go in peace”.

When Jorian’s gloating executioners came to fetch him in the morning they were enraged to find him sleeping peacefully but dare not take their frustrations too harshly out of him lest sympathy be raised.

On the feast of St Martin in the year of our Lord 1104 Jorian’s body knew the torment of the flames, his mind lost to the poison cloud of merasha but his heart and soul were already Elsewhere.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2015, 05:30:45 am by revanne »
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God...The Word became flesh and dwelt amongst us and we have seen His glory, full of Grace and truth."
Prologue to John's Gospel

Offline revanne

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Re: Sacerdos in Aeternum
« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2015, 06:57:34 pm »
So how did Secerdos get past me?

I was writing about Duncan's ordination when Jorian started to get to me - this is what he needed me to say.

I'm looking forward to hearing the earthly story of his canonisation, Desert Rose  :)
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God...The Word became flesh and dwelt amongst us and we have seen His glory, full of Grace and truth."
Prologue to John's Gospel

Offline DesertRose

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Re: Secerdos in Aeternum
« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2015, 07:21:08 pm »
Working on it.   No promises, though.
"If having a soul means being able to feel love, loyalty, and gratitude, then animals are better off than a lot of humans."

James Herriot (James Alfred "Alfie" Wight), when a human client asked him if animals have souls.  (I don't remember in which book the story originally appeared.)

Offline Evie

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Re: Sacerdos in Aeternum
« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2015, 07:23:50 pm »
You've succeeded in making me cry.  Is that what you were going for?  ;D

If you want to change the typo, you can just click on the title of your original post. You should see a link at the top right of it that says "Modify." If you click on that link, you can make any needed changes to either the post or the title itself.  That's how I changed the title of the Deryni Action Figure thread from the Duncan Action Figure thread when I realized I was going to end up making more than one action figure.

Or if you're afraid of messing something up and want me to change it for you, just let me know.  I'd never mess up someone's post. Just ask drakensis. *rueful grin*
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Offline Aerlys

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Re: Sacerdos in Aeternum
« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2015, 10:00:30 pm »
Bravissimo!

Oh, so well done. Felt like I was reading an account of a real saint...which is just what you were aiming for, after all.

"Loss and possession, death and life are one, There falls no shadow where there shines no sun."

Hilaire Belloc

Offline revanne

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Re: Sacerdos in Aeternum
« Reply #5 on: March 13, 2015, 05:40:25 am »
You've succeeded in making me cry.  Is that what you were going for?

It made me cry. When I read the priesting of Arilan I really struggled that Denis got a miracle to save him when Jorian didn't - to be fair to Denis he did too. I'm happy enough to accept the miracle at face value and it fits as such within KK's universe though of course there are other possibilities but it raises real questions for me. I'm beginning to wonder though if it is the horror of Jorian's death and the fact that he so clearly was not evil that begins a change in the thinking of the young human ordinands and therefore future clergy present. KK hints as much in TPoA and it would explain why the acceptance of Deryni clergy happens relatively quickly after the generation of Loris and co are out of the way. "The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church".

Perhaps Jorian will let me get on with writing about Duncan's ordination now

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God...The Word became flesh and dwelt amongst us and we have seen His glory, full of Grace and truth."
Prologue to John's Gospel

Offline revanne

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Re: Sacerdos in Aeternum
« Reply #6 on: March 13, 2015, 05:53:02 am »
Bravissimo!

Oh, so well done. Felt like I was reading an account of a real saint...which is just what you were aiming for, after all.

Thank you - I take that as a huge compliment
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God...The Word became flesh and dwelt amongst us and we have seen His glory, full of Grace and truth."
Prologue to John's Gospel

Offline DesertRose

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Re: Sacerdos in Aeternum
« Reply #7 on: March 13, 2015, 10:04:51 am »
Revanne, this was beautifully written.  Like Evie, it made me want to cry.  I always did have a lot of sympathy for Jorian and his plight.

And now of course, he and Denis (and presently, John Nivard) are telling me all about it.  :)
"If having a soul means being able to feel love, loyalty, and gratitude, then animals are better off than a lot of humans."

James Herriot (James Alfred "Alfie" Wight), when a human client asked him if animals have souls.  (I don't remember in which book the story originally appeared.)

Offline Jerusha

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Re: Sacerdos in Aeternum
« Reply #8 on: March 13, 2015, 02:41:45 pm »
I am very glad Jorian interrupted you - the result was a powerful and wonderful story.  Although Jorian's death may have served the greater good of acceptance of Deryni clergy, I always regretted that he had to die and in such a horrible way.

You may now return to Duncan's story - we'll be waiting impatiently.   ;D
From ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggity beasties and things that go bump in the night...good Lord deliver us!

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Offline Evie

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Re: Sacerdos in Aeternum
« Reply #9 on: March 13, 2015, 02:45:17 pm »
Revanne, this was beautifully written.  Like Evie, it made me want to cry. 

Awww, I'm sorry I make you want to cry, DR!  Am I that harsh of a line editor?   ;) ;D
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Offline revanne

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Re: Sacerdos in Aeternum
« Reply #10 on: March 13, 2015, 03:05:47 pm »
 ::)
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God...The Word became flesh and dwelt amongst us and we have seen His glory, full of Grace and truth."
Prologue to John's Gospel

Offline Laurna

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Re: Sacerdos in Aeternum
« Reply #11 on: March 13, 2015, 03:38:39 pm »
 :'( Tears, sniff, tears  :'(

You touched my heart, Revanne.

Such horrors in this world should never exist, but I am gladdened that Jorian found peace.

Offline DesertRose

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Re: Sacerdos in Aeternum
« Reply #12 on: March 13, 2015, 04:15:23 pm »
@Evie :P

You know what I meant.  I'm tired.  I keep staying up until stupid o'clock writing about Denis and John.  :P
"If having a soul means being able to feel love, loyalty, and gratitude, then animals are better off than a lot of humans."

James Herriot (James Alfred "Alfie" Wight), when a human client asked him if animals have souls.  (I don't remember in which book the story originally appeared.)

Offline Evie

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Re: Sacerdos in Aeternum
« Reply #13 on: March 13, 2015, 04:18:28 pm »
And how are Denis and John this fine day? Tell them I said hello. It's just as well they're talking to you, since I've been too busy catching up with work stuff from home today for any of my voices to talk to me.   :'(
"In necessariis unitas, in non-necessariis libertas, in utrisque caritas."

--WARNING!!!--
I have a vocabulary in excess of 75,000 words, and I'm not afraid to use it!

Offline revanne

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Re: Sacerdos in Aeternum
« Reply #14 on: March 14, 2015, 05:39:08 am »
Actually I have Aerlys to thank for this - as soon as she said that Jorian's feast day would be the day of his execution and therefore shared with St. Martin, St. Martin came walking into my head cutting his stole in half to share with Jorian.

Now Hugh de Berry is in my head!

Reverend Fathers in your day priests may not have had to write annual reports but they do in mine!
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God...The Word became flesh and dwelt amongst us and we have seen His glory, full of Grace and truth."
Prologue to John's Gospel

 

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