7. Sebastian

February 16, 2007

Faithful Book One Chapter 7Templar Faithful Paul Sebastian xiDuang listened intensely to the barrage of com-traffic filtering through his pai. The reports clogging the secured SPR bands painted a darkening and dangerous picture for his fellow Templar marshaled outside The Parliamentary.

Demonstrators overflowed the grounds leading up to the world government building. Word spread swiftly that the vote by the Assembly inside was in jeopardy. Broadcasting on huge holo-projectors along the colonnade, the media seized on emerging deliberations between House and Guild-members speedily unraveling the done deal for new labor rights reform. Their patience taxed and the hope they enjoyed mere hours earlier now faded, the mob’s resolve to gather and fast peacefully began to crack.

Rival House beta and House iota clan-citizens scuffled and were forcibly removed. Among zeta and xi alliances the Faithful swept in and separated agitators before their shouting match escalated into violence.

Only the reasoned appeals of omegaMarat Seneca kept the greater number calm and focused. Staging a steady stream of entertainers and other celebrity orators, she distracted her increasingly restless supporters away from the media’s morose parliamentary play-by-play.

The dispatch staccato ringing his ears paused long enough for Paul Sebastian to divert his attention to his immediate surroundings.

XiDuang stood sentinel inside a narrow architectural vault, the only thing between the entrance to the cavity and the outside world. Across the dark confine, his partner Michael Constantine tauValez huddled by a view-port. The opening spied through the dome suspended many meters above The Parliamentary’s Assembly Congress. To the boy’s right, meta-terrestrial The Archangel perched impossibly but easily on a narrow guardrail, as perfectly balanced and content as a leopard-hawk on tension-wire. The huge black velvet wings leisurely folded against the Divinity’s broad muscled back, stretching nearly to the floor. Hunched over the view-port, His faintly glowing gray eyes danced, captivated by the political spectacle below.

Paul Sebastian winced unconsciously. The sight before him registered immediate inarticulate emotions. All he saw was an abominable alien divinity, offensively with a man’s body and a woman’s mocha skin, and an unmanly-blond Faithful brother, recently commissioned, and bent on pushing his buttons.

The vault’s acoustics added to Sebastian’s ill mood, Voices of delegates in congress below resonated as if listening devices were hidden throughout the assembly. With a tilt of the head to any angle, the hushed whispers and booming arguments in Parliamentary bounced from one side of Sebastian’s skull to the other. The phenomenon certainly explained why Faith had the vault—a spy post—sealed long ago.

The Archangel gravitated to such acoustic anomalies. He spent hours eavesdropping on the incoherent overlapping conversations of bathers and worshippers at Acropolian Thermae and Mosque Magna. The satisfaction the Divinity gained from such experiences eluded xiDuang. Accompanying the meta-terrestrial day in and day out, it took all Sebastian’s much earned discipline to endure.

Under other circumstances, Paul Sebastian would be outside now, patrolling the mob alongside his Templar brethren.

He longed to return to the familiar comfort of the Garrison Company to whom he was customarily assigned. He blamed his present duties on the lingering disgrace he suffered in Bladesport and the near fatal injury to a fellow athlete out of turn.

Shadowing a Divinity-in-exile, hidden away from soldiering among the common folk–Paul Sebastian yearned to regain face performing any other duty. But, too disciplined by Templar training, too defined by obedience to Faith, and too honor-bound to House xi, the uniform wore Paul Sebastian, whether than Sebastian wearing it.

The Archangel reared up its head suddenly.

As if struck by a new and unexpected awareness, He looked over his shoulder at Paul Sebastian. The Divinity’s gaze pierced the Templar in a way that made xiDuang feel rudely exposed. Inexplicably he sensed the meta-terrestrial knew his thoughts in that very moment: his frustration with his current assignment and his contempt for the meta-terrestrial and Michael Constantine.

Inwardly, he shivered.

It was widely believed that the meta-terrestrials of the Celestial Collective could read minds. However, the Divinity exhibited nothing to suggest He could actually extract the precise thought-patterns of another. XiDuang dismissed the belief as common folklore.

Paul Sebastian observed The Archangel demonstrate sensitivity to emotional states. By some extraordinary sensory empathy, He could perceive bio-rhythmic and neuro-metric changes over great distances and with amazing accuracy, although not always understanding them. When eavesdropping on conversations at the baths or temple, He relished pressing his Templar detail into explaining the context of his perceptions, much like a foreign speaker learning the local tongue.

Extrasensory sensitivity belonged to the feminine sex. Not even the most gifted of Aideenan women shared the ability Sebastian observed in The Archangel. To Sebastian, it made His obvious maleness that more unnatural and unseemly. He loathed His company. Each day in His presence made Sebastian feel more and more sullied.

As that rationale too flitted across Sebastian’s thoughts, it seemed also to register in The Archangel’s glare.

And Paul Sebastian couldn’t be more humiliated. He was caught betraying the uniform’s dignity, being less than the perfect Knight Templar.

He was mortified.



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