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Author Topic: Wayward [Siegfried]  (Read 657 times)

Wayward [Siegfried]
« on: February 02, 2020, 10:02:02 AM »
Summer 846

A handful of little clouds were hovering on the light blue skies, the sun was shining brightly, announcing a warm summer day. Not too cool, albeit not too hot either. The weather suited the rather long and exhausting trip the Military Police officer had to undertake: she had to travel from the grand capital all the way to the northern district of Wall Rose, Utopia. The journey came to her as a surprise, and she even seemed a little baffled by the reason of such a long trip. She had to go to Utopia to deliver a letter to one of the local church ministers. Pitiful, truthfully. Valeria boldly questioned why the higher-ups couldn't just hand over the letter to some postman and let them do the job, yet the answer she received left a lot to be desired: it was confidential and the Military Police could not afford to let the message fall into a stranger's hands. Great. It better ought to be important, hopefully not just a list of signal flares.

Valeria herself did not know what was written in the message and she assumed that asking such a daring question would be a waste of breath. 'It was confidential, therefore not even a highly-ranked officer could know its contents!' she thought with sarcasm. Nevertheless, Valeria was in no position to complain about the matter, thus she simply decided to tuck her tail between her legs and do as she was asked.

Fortunately, she could travel on horseback which made the 'mission' a little bit easier. If anything, it was a pleasant delight for her. She always found horse riding relaxing, it tended to bring her to different thoughts. Well, at least she could forget that the reason behind her journey was to deliver a piece of paper. Though she felt aware that this trip would take longer than a single day.

She spent the journey drowning in her thoughts and enjoying the bare scenery. Just a couple of hills, sometimes dotted by a tree or two, a solitary house or a little village crossed her path once or twice. Fortunately, she soon saw the gate of Utopia getting nearer and nearer until the wall loomed directly above her head. She jumped off her horse, offering a quick salute to a group of Garrison soldiers she saw around the gate, then briskly passed into the district.

The sight of small houses closely cluttered together was quite a change from the plain wasteland in the territory of Wall Rose. She shuddered, almost feeling a little claustrophobic. Now, to where she should deliver the message? Her first idea was to simply find a church and go on from there. Yeah, that sounded appropriate.

Finding some sort of a chapel was suspiciously easy in a dense town like Utopia, even Valeria herself felt impressed by how quickly she managed to find it. It was a simple church, similar to any other she'd seen in the other districts. However, perhaps she was too stiff to appreciate the beauty of these religious buildings.

Valeria promptly curled her hand into a fist and knocked on the wooden door, albeit she got no answer. Again. Still no answer. At last, she decided to simply enter the building and face the potential consequences of disturbing some ceremony. Thus, she gripped the handle and cautiously opened the door, peeking inside. Just a deserted hall, no one to be seen around. Valeria blinked, crossing the threshold and entering the quiet building.

Her boots clicked against the floor, an echo of her steps rippled through the chapel. It almost sounded eerie, but Valeria hoped that the melody would attract someone's attention.

Re: Wayward [Siegfried]
« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2020, 05:01:56 PM »
The knocks had been distant but heard. Nonetheless Siegfried finished his mid-afternoon devotions in the small private room behind the sanctuary -- all things should be done according to the Walls' time, after all, especially devotions. He was nearly done anyhow.

"I seek only to carry out Your will. I am Your vessel, and it is in Your grace that I thrive, in Your protection that I find peace, in Your power that I find salvation. All things are done in Your mercy," he uttered to the small portable, personal brass icon of the Three Goddesses presiding over his prayerbook on the desk in front of him. He unclasped his hands and, greater clarity received, made some final quick notes on his sermon for tonight.

He heard the squeak of the church's main door and, shortly thereafter, the click of boots but no call of greeting. Not likely one of his flock. Visits from...others had become more frequent in recent months and he wondered as he rose if this would be any exception. While his superiors' interest in him seemed to be intensifying, so too did that of other government representatives and far less savory parties. All seemed aligned with the will of the Walls, however, and that was what mattered. The Great Voice continued to guide him -- that was what mattered. And it did not prompt caution now.

Siegfried brushed his hands down his cassock as he left his desk, crossing the room. His chains of office were of course resting on the altar in the sanctuary -- he liked not only for them to be passively blessed whenever possible but did not need to wear them in order to feel his responsibility, blessing, or power -- he supposed whoever was here would know who he was anyway. He entered the sanctuary via the inconspicuous left-hand side door.

Wandering cautiously -- perhaps skeptically? -- through the sunbeams cast through his windows was a tall Military Policewoman, a little younger than him, that he did not recognize. She carried herself well and her gaze was appraising. None of his contacts had warned him of anyone of this description or that he was to expect a visitor, so Siegfried relaxed into his usual open warmth to find out for himself.

"Welcome," he called, smiling. His voice was musical and echoed across the vacant prayer circles, and he used it to great effect even now. A light chuckle. "I wasn't expecting a visitor. Forgive me for not greeting you sooner -- I was attending my private prayers." He wandered to his left and rested a hand on the polished stone dais of Sina. "Can I help you, Miss...?" « Last Edit: February 03, 2020, 05:03:13 PM by Siegfried Justica »

Re: Wayward [Siegfried]
« Reply #2 on: February 05, 2020, 07:39:10 AM »
An unfamiliar voice reached her ears. Valeria turned around and noticed a young man around the same age as her, maybe a little bit older. He welcomed her to the church with a welcoming tone, the echo of his voice bounced off the deserted building's tall walls, creating a distant, yet somewhat eerie melody. He seemed friendly, but Valeria assumed that this was the case for everyone of his kind. They needed to look approachable and altruistic so that the Church of the Walls would have more blindness followers. Furthermore, she knew better than to judge a book by its cover. Keeping her guard up would be for the better, she assumed.

The MP gave the priest a greeting salute, firmly pressing her right fist into the center of her chest, the other behind her back. A force of habit, she'd given countless of these postures. "Pardon the intrusion, sir." she spoke, her tone formal. She suspected that it would be for better if she offered the man a quick apology for just breaking into his facility unannounced, even though she likely had a good reason to do so.

"Valeria Falk of the Military Police," she introduced herself briefly. Unlike the minister's friendly voice, Valeria's tone sounded a bit firm and straightforward. It became more apparent in an echoed place like this, even Valeria herself noticed just how harsh her voice seemed. It came as a surprise, as she always tended to have such a gentle and sweet-sounding expression. Well, it only served as a proof of how the military had impacted her.

"I am here to deliver a letter from the Capital." she added. Her posture relaxed, then she reached out into one of the chest pockets of her uniform and pulled out a thick envelope. She turned the back to face the minister, so that he could read to whom it was addressed.

"As I am unfamiliar with this district's ministers, may I ask you to hand over this letter to whoever it is addressed to?" she concluded, tilting her head a little.

Re: Wayward [Siegfried]
« Reply #3 on: February 07, 2020, 08:50:57 PM »
The sunlight slid off her chestnut hair as she turned at his entry. Her tone was appropriately formal, her posture remaining stiff. Unusually green eyes were cautious, alighting on everything. She wasn't comfortable here, then. Siegfried understood -- he'd seen it often. There was no potential convert here, so the best he could hope for was someone who at least regarded him somewhat benevolently. Not difficult, if trends held true.

Then there was the salute, of course -- it pulled at a faint muscle-memory of his own and even now, after so many years, his fingers started to curl into a reciprocal fist even if his hand did not rise for the salute. Siegfried distracted himself from the urge by lightly rubbing his hands together.

"A pleasure, Miss Falk," he said and tipped his head in a semblance of a bow, suspecting that to offer his hand would make her uncomfortable. "And it's no intrusion; my doors are always open after all to whoever needs me."

He drifted closer to the held-out envelope and took it carefully, remaining three paces away from her, and peered at the addressee. 'Minister S. Justica' was written in the confident and excessive script of Minister Holloway, his primary mentor.

A carefree grin, "Ah, this is to me in fact. Thank you. Let me be the first in your mental notes of Utopia's peoples, then: I'm Minister Siegfried Justica. Unlike many, though, I don't mind being called simply Siegfried if you wish. Or Minister Justica, Minister Siegfried," a somewhat playful shrug in the hopes of lightening things, "whatever you're comfortable with."

He tucked it away for later reading. Its thickness surprised and intrigued him but it could wait. His attention returned to her.

"The Capital is a far ride -- I feel guilty having taken time out of your no doubt busy schedule for such a silly errand. Let me make it up to you. Would you care for tea?" He raised an arm in the direction of his office. "Or, if you'd rather, I was about to take my afternoon walk -- it's such a lovely day after all -- I'd be happy to help you get your bearings in town."

Re: Wayward [Siegfried]
« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2020, 12:47:42 AM »
So the letter was addressed to him: Minister Siegfried Justica. Of course she read the name of the recipient before, but she had no idea how this Minister Siegfried Justica even looked prior to her arrival to Utopia, as she had not been given any sort of physical description. Perhaps it was her own luck that she managed to stumble upon the receiver right on her first try. Truthfully, she did not think that it would be that simple, but she could only be grateful that things turned out to be that way. Of course, the thought that he was just one big liar dressed in religious robes, hungry for some military intel, actually crossed her mind - it was bound to happen, at least in the case of someone as cautious as Valeria. However, she found that possibility highly unlikely. The letter was meant to be received by him, no need to plague her mind with doubts.

His next words surprised her. Tea? Well, a moment for a quick breather wouldn't hurt, considering that she had to travel all the way from the capital to one of the faraway districts of Wall Rose. She wasn't the one to slack off and, truth be told, she wanted to deliver the letter and then flee back to Mitras. On the other hand, refusing such a kind gesture would be rather improper of her. Therefore, she chose to agree with it.

"I greatly appreciate your offer, Minister Justica." he replied with the same formal tone she'd used previously. Valeria decided to address him by his last name, another habit she had adapted from her service in the Military Police. Calling someone by their first name served as a small act of closeness, at least in her eyes. While she wouldn't budge if he proceeded to call her by 'Valeria', it would seem a little... indecent. Furthermore, hiding behind a courteous façade always seemed to work in her case, it set an invisible boundary of formality.

"I'll gladly accompany you during your afternoon walk," she continued, "we can have a cup of tea once we return."

Re: Wayward [Siegfried]
« Reply #5 on: February 15, 2020, 07:30:07 PM »
"I'm happy to hear it. Shall we?" he held an arm courteously toward the main door of the church for her to proceed first.

In truth the dance of formalities -- in which Valeria seemed adept -- held its own charm for Siegfried. He had grown up with it as a defense mechanism but now, in his current line of work, it reaped great rewards and fostered an environment he and others could thrive in, or so Minister Holloway had encouraged. This aside, Siegfried liked the structure it imposed on a world that could otherwise be so chaotic and ugly. He'd admit that it allowed him to pretend that they lived in pleasanter times -- not that he was ignorant that it was largely a facade, or a tool at best. But not all facades were toxic.

"Guide her, and open the door to a new path," encouraged the Great Voice. "It is temperance and compassion that will save."

"I typically start by heading in a northwesterly direction -- there is a clinic there I'm endeavoring to expand -- and then I make my rounds to the houses of those who are infirm. I find there are many elderly in Utopia that have come from other, more tumultuous districts, and I like to hear their stories, offer what help I can." Siegfried opened the door to the blazing sunshine and the sound of children playing in the streets lifted his spirits further. He reflected on his words and smiled at Valeria, "I'm sorry, this probably sounds like I'm laying it on a bit thick, doesn't it? I promise it's with no motive. I guess I've always been a little bit of a bleeding heart."

Re: Wayward [Siegfried]
« Reply #6 on: February 16, 2020, 05:03:48 PM »
The officer observed as he opened the front door, beckoning her to go first. Valeria tensed at first, but then she simply scurried outside. However, she immediately glanced over her shoulder and waited for the minister to catch up to her. She could not explain why, albeit she always disliked having someone directly behind her back. It always felt like a brief moment of vulnerability and if there was something she hated more than messy paperwork, then it was the feeling of powerlessness. Truthfully, if she could invest in an extra pair of eyes on the back of her head, she would do so without hesitation.

He told her about his usual route, not that she knew where all those landmarks were. However, it was good to know that there was a clinic nearby. Planning to expand it seemed like a humble gesture from his side, but she couldn't help herself but look for ulterior motives. Well, if one wanted to look up to the great Wall Goddesses and pray for their salvation, the clinic seemed like the best place. After all, people often begged the Walls to spare their loved ones when they were injured or ill. Heck, even Valeria herself prayed to Wall Sina to save her parents when they were lying on their deathbeds. Neither of them had been spared, no matter how diligently the girl had prayed. Perhaps this was one of the main reasons why Valeria was so skeptical when it came to the existence of higher beings like Wall Goddesses.

Nevertheless, she appreciated the minister's kindness and altruism to some extend. However, she was not willing to let her guard down, no matter how melodic his words were.

"In a world that's riddled with corruption, compassion is a good quality to posses." Valeria admitted, perhaps hinting a little at the sheer injustice her own regiment brimmed with.

Re: Wayward [Siegfried]
« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2020, 10:22:37 PM »
Siegfried quickly realized he'd best adjust his chivalry -- Valeria did not seem comfortable having him behind her -- and decided to walk half a pace ahead in future. As he closed the church door behind them he wondered idly whether it was the military that'd instilled that in her. Not that it mattered, ultimately. Everyone was entitled to their own foibles.

He was more concerned with the pause after he'd finished speaking -- more of the skepticism he was trying to assuage, no doubt -- and, especially, the tone in which she said, "In a world that's riddled with corruption, compassion is a good quality to possess."

A brief smile and wave to the caretaker that was trimming the bushes bordering the church steps, and Siegfried brought them to the street. Immediately beside the church was a cobbler with his door open to the fresh air, and a couple of houses farther down the street began to slope gently downward; the children he'd heard earlier were playing hoop rolling and, shortly, disappeared after it beyond the street's horizon, shrieking. Siegfried took them at a calmer pace.

"I wholeheartedly agree," he replied. "And I must say, that's comforting to hear from a member of the Military Police. I hope I don't offend when I say that it's rare." He placed his hands behind his back and glanced at her, "Was it something similar to compassion that drew you to the Military Police?" If he was honest she didn't seem the compassionate type on the surface, but he knew very well by now not to judge a book by its cover.


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