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The Story Of Alexis Continues! Please Comment!
Please read: http://www.librarium-online.com/foru...ad.php?t=48041 (Baptism Of Fire. Please Comment. 40k Story.) for the previous storyline if you have not already.
My thanks. Enjoy!V
‘The Convent is the door to the Emperor,
if any man or woman enter in they shall be saved and cursed.’
- The Sermons of Saint Praxedes
Vol. XII, Ch. XXVII
During the first two year’s as a Sororitas novice, struggle seemed to go deeper, and physical and mental perfection was an ever enduring goal. It had turned into a solitary war against pride, self-will and fatigue. Time in the convent belonged to the bronze bell in the Chapel which announced every duty of the tiresome days. Sister Superior Leanora had explained that the bell and its hundreds of electronic amplythiers scattered across the section, was more than a summoning to duties and devotions, it was the voice of the Emperor calling them all to do his righteous work. If, on the instant of the bell’s sounding, a Sister did not stop in mid-air, mid-voice or whatever act had been previously occupied the Sister would be committing an imperfection against the rule of obedience and would be duly punished.
Novice Sister Alexis, felt the toil of her penance’s as a still ever present ache to her flesh and a hefty wound to her spirit. The Iron gag for once braking the rule of interior silence, the lashings with the chain whip for her difficulties in pausing for the bronze bell, the humiliating penance of begging for rations when she was caught boasting and the ritual daily penance of flagellation for simply being born of sin.
The first time she witnessed a fellow novice faint during Chapel service, she had broken every rule and stared. No Sister so much as glanced at the white form that had keeled over, as her hymn book shot from her hands down between the pews. No Sister paused in citing their prayers or even appeared to notice the sprawled out figure that lay to their sides. Then Alexis saw the Sister Hospitaller in charge of the health of the congregation come down the aisle and signal to the nearest Sister who arose at once and helped carry the Sister passed 300 heads that never turned, past 300 sets of eyes that never strayed from prayer.
She trembled as she passed a chamber room latter that day and briefly witnessed in a passing glance, the same Sister who had come round in mid thrashing with the synod whip for penance of her previous loss of consciousness.
Detachment from the material world was more an ongoing struggle compared to the passing pain of the penance’s. Sister Superior Ismitta had warned them previously that before the afternoon sermon they would be expected to sever themselves from all worldly possessions that they had been able to bring this far into the Convent. All letters and photos were to be destroyed, anything worth of value would be given to the Ecclesiarchy coffers. Alexis looked at the golden brooch that had once belonged to her mother before she died. Other Sisters who had a life of poverty outside the Convent placed old trinkets and lucky charms that had some form of significance or sentimental value that only the bearer knew. When it was Alexis’ turn, she placed the brooch in the basket along with her collection of photos and letters. All in the name of the Emperor, she repeated over and over to herself hoping to ease the struggle, all in the name of the Emperor. Now she had no history, no past, no family outside of the Convent. From now on the only life she would know would be the life in the Order.
Then it came to the shaving of the Sisters heads. This had both a spiritual and a practical value. It thwarted the carrying of lice and allowed the Sisters to function better in combat training without the concern of hair getting caught or in the way. But also it was the final detachment, a detachment from all worldly appearances. The prospect did not disturb Alexis, she knew that she could now measure the remaining time of her novice life by the growth of her hair; for by the time she would take her final vows her hair would of grown to shoulder length.
Speech privileges were still forbidden during most of the duties except for the ones concerning field craft. Perhaps this freedom was to allow the formulation of team work, the passing of correct data and signals, the amenity to ask questions or simply so that Veteran Sister Superior Adelaide could mortify you in every single response.
‘Sister, you are a piteously unworthy child that repulses the glorious Emperor! Blessed be his name!" She would scream at you ‘You are naught but a dull-witted insect of subhuman indecency in his all seeing eyes; an indecent sloven and a deplorable licentious degenerate! Praise be to the Emperor! Compared to his image you are naught but an unconscionably reprehensible piece of human foul or a belligerent, heart-sickening patient on a ward of witless wanton wretches. Glory be to the Emperor! In all my years of service I have never found such a unit of ineffably ill-bred vermin of Sororitas novices, egregiously indecent plebeians so ineffably decadent that they are a vex to my eyes. Almighty Emperor our shield, our sword! Now you abominably fiendish trollop, you will repeat your sorrowful display of supposed physical perfection and the rest of you dreadfully uncouth, stench-emitting abominations can do the very same until you’ve all summoned a miracle of some sort of physical proficiency. Thy duty in the Emperors name!!’
Alexis wondered why the Convent had never used Sister Adelaide as a weapon, to shout and curse the enemy into submission. Everytime Sister Superior Adelaide opened her mouth and spurted her curses and orders, everything inside Alexis jumped up in revolt. Yet somehow, amid the struggle of physical and combat competence, she learned to hold back her natural human urges to shout back at the Sister Superior, to scream out in denial of her tiresome demands and to retaliate to her verbal battering. But bitterly, somehow she remained with the detached expression, the standard replies and the gestures of forced thanks after each course. All for the Emperor, all for the Emperor.
Confession was another time Alexis had to bury her emotions. Confession had to be taken each day for the rest of her religious life, and each time she entered the tribunal of penance she knew she would be leaving only to repent her sins through physical purging, prayer or whatever the ancient minds the preachers could conceive; her pride beaten, growing only bitterness rather than the virtue of humility, a virtue which Alexis had always struggled with. Yet if a Sister were not to attend daily confession then it would be announced that the Sister was a deceitful sinner, who hid her guilt in wickedness and would be rooted out to suffer a fury of penance and questioning. Often Alexis’s confessions were concerning her failures in abiding to the Holy Rule and Convent life; her faults resulting from negligence, pride, forgetfulness or rashness.
There was no escape from the community life and its creed. You slept with it, worked with it, prayed and bled with it. It was a daily routine of prayer and training combined in a seamless union. A network of hundreds of Sisters linked like a limb to the body of the Convent Sanctorum, and you were only one insignificant cell amongst it all. At times the mind of Novice Sister Alexis ceased to exist. Momentarily dead within a body that still performed the routine movements of prayer and work, like the soulless servitors.VI
‘Behold, even as the eyes of servants look unto the hand of their master,
and as the eyes of a Sister unto the hand of her Superior;
even so our eyes wait upon the glorious Emperor.’
- Farther Absolom
Alexis felt a rejuvenation of the idea of being sent out on the Missions. Sister Superior Ismitta and the Mistress of Novices Sister Monifa, gathered their flock and led them to the chapter hall for final instructions. Two and a half years of Terra standard time had passed of being a Novice, and Sister Alexis looked back over the struggle to live out the Holy Rule. Many Sisters who had joined with her that day the Order begun accepting new entrants, had left in failure, unable to stand with her now.
Now the remaining 33 Novice Sisters were soon to leave the Mother House to complete their training on the Missions, where only a few would ever return to make their final vows. It would be their final trial and hardest testimony before being sent out to service. The mother house that had cradled them in their religious life could soon be planets away for a Sister. There would no longer be the score of Superiors to watch over them and help them keep their feet on the narrow path of devotion and obedience. Even the idea of parting fellow Novices who had struggled and suffered as much as the each other was unsettling, even after the years of little converse between them due to the rule of Interior Silence, a bond made of joint hardship would now be broken.
On their final day within their founding community, the Novices lost the custody of their eyes to capture sights they may never return too with final wayward glances. The motionless files of young Novices, overshadowed by the towering professed Sororitas, the slants of dusty artificial light coming through the Chapel windows, the hush of vigils and Sisters consumed in prayer past Lights Out, the overpowering smell of sandalwood and frankincense from the burning censers that never seemed to fade from the clothing no matter how frequent it was washed; all had to be captured to last in the memories so that they may return to this hallowed place in their minds when faced with the terrors of death, torment and war.
Alexis’s eyes wandered around the processional order of Novices, her silent companions. She looked at the stern faces of the young disciples, each with their hidden hopes and anxieties of where the Council of Superiors had allocated them. No one showed signs of emotion of uneasiness or grief for departing the Mother House. No one stood slacking or an inch out of line. None ushered any sounds or signs of life if it were not for the automaton eyes. Each Novice stood with eager preparation, a burning flame inside them all just starting to ignite their completeness of body, mind and spirit. Their discipline showed so confidently, without stress or strain, Alexis could not help but swell up in self-satisfaction. It reminded her of the Litany of Suffrages cited by Saint Aspira after she liberated a hundred worlds with the force of only a few thousand warriors:
‘My Convent has for years opened their arms unto sacrifice under the name of our holy Emperor, striving against the darkness of Chaos, heretics and mutants. Many have fallen but look upon us now and you shall see the many survivors. Although our wounds are deep and constant, our bodies mutilated, bodies that before, you once considered beautiful; our strength grows through those scars and faith flows through our blood. The Emperor is in need soldier, and we will answer his cry. Remember that we are the dancers on the battlefield. We are the things that watch you from the shadows. We are the hands of death, blessed with light. Our faces foreordain doom for none are safe from our burning flames. We are the warriors from within the shrouded and if we fall, we shall live on for WE ARE ADEPTUS SORORITAS! WE ARE LIVING, FIGHTING FAITH! AND FAITH WILL NEVER DIE!’
Alexis thought of her visit to Sister Sroda, the Vestiare, as she awaited her instruction papers and her turn to speak to Mistress Monifa. She had gone there with all her possessions to be packed ready for her leave; her Book Of Common Prayer, combat training uniform, a copper pendant of the symbol of the Order of Our Martyred Lady, a small wooden rosary in a cloth pouch, a dataslate with details of identification and a work bag containing sowing kit, work knife, ink, quill and paper. She had never been inside the crypt like workroom before where the old Sister, with the one eye, had spent the half century of her cloistered life mending and altering the alb’s of postulants and novices and packing items in cloth bags for Sisters due to leave on Mission. During the time of her visit, speech was allowed and Sister Sroda spoke of the community, her vocation and her duties as she sew the bag with years of practice. At one point her sole cyclopean eye stared at her, Sister Sroda leaned forward and said ‘We don’t need any more saints here, but rather plenty more strong arms for scrubbing and fighting…’
‘If I honour myself,
My honour is nothing.
If I honour the Emperor
I will be privileged.’
- Confessor Porphyrius
Alexis’s thoughts were disrupted by Sister Superior Ismitta signing the insignia of the Imperial Eagle over her and suggesting she was now to enter the side room where Mistress Monifa awaited. Alexis entered and bowed in reverence to the Mistress then arose to be seated by the desk. The Mistress whom had rarely be seen until now was adorned in a cloak that covered much her face and body. By her breadth and shape the Mistress wore the Sororitas power armour under the garment, which made her appear as an intimidating form that sat at the other end of the desk, a sharp emotionless look in her piercing eyes, the only part of her face not hidden.
‘Sister,’ she begun ‘the Counsel of Superiors have watched your progression and we have now deemed it fit for you to serve out your final days of a Sororitas Novice in the service of the Ashen Athame Asylum for the seriously mentally disturbed on Loiryan in the western fringes of the Ultima Segmentium. You will commence your studies with the Commandery of Sisters of the Order of Our Martyred Lady there, in junction with the Sisters Hospitaller of the Order of Serenity.’
A Hospitaller mission? More concerning, one that that dose not deal with the sick or wounded but the deranged minds of mumbling psychotics and manic’s? The Mistress handed her the necessary passes and instruction papers. Alexis took them, looking down at them, feeling all her hidden hopes of being part of the Order Militant flee from her. Her previous feeling’s of rejuvenation, crushed.
‘The prospect of joining the Order Militant after your final vows is not lost, my child…’ Alexis was faltered by the words of the cloaked figure. Were my emotions that clear to read? Had the Mistress seen my hidden desires so clearly? ‘There is a purpose, a significance to each designated Mission that we choose for each sole Novice. Each has been set to aid the Sister in overcoming their faults or to strengthen their weak virtues. Those who stumble with obedience have been issued disciplinary missions, such as patrol corps, watch guards and sent to outposts. Those who lack charity have been issued missions with the Sisters Hospitaller in healing the sick, the Schola Progenium and the hostels. Those who are in doubt will be cast away with the Missionarus Galaxia and the Frateris Clergy. Those who fail in the arts of combat are to be assigned with the Frateris Militia. Others will be reserved to the Order Famulous, Orders Dialogus or to the vast vocations of cooks, scullery maids, scribes and clerics all depending on their failures and strengths. But for those like yourself whom have been found lacking in humility and stubborn in pride will be sent to aid the service of the Asylums or the lowly affairs of the waste collectors, the laundry maids and the cleaners and acolytes of the Convents until your work there is done.’
The words of the Mistress did not ease her broken wishes, nor were they meant too. Alexis struggled with the idea of how service in a madhouse would be of any benefit to her if she were to pursue into the Order Militant. But duty called and she would follow.
That evening after final prayer, the Novices who would be travelling off world were taken to the ports, amongst the thousands of other Novices of the other communities of the Convent Sanctorum, and the mass of preachers, missionaries, scribes and acolytes. They were amongst incoming pilgrims and outbound Confessors. Amongst noblemen and the poor. Amongst chained and gagged heretics taken into inquisition, and the divine light of the hallow figures of righteousness. It was Alexis’s first sight of the world outside the Mother House after years of confinement. She felt the first rush of wind in three Terra standard years as the old vague memories of fleetships and the bustle of machines, servitors and engineers came back into reality. The overpowering smell of incense and engine fuel, the thousands and thousands of lights of the Covenant Sanctorum that stretched up to the heavens and far into the horizon. For the first time ever, Alexis began to truly acknowledge the vast size of the Ecclesiarchy and its mass collection of servants of all Orders and description. The vast collection of human souls united in divine purpose to the Emperor.
And what will become of my mortal soul? What services will I do for my God? Alexis wished that she too had the powers of divination that the psykers caressed their minds in rhythmic prophases. The anticipation of what lay beyond left Alexis in excitement and despair. One thing however was certain, no matter where she submitted her services she would come face to face to the carrion waste lands, the filth of Chaos and the corruption of mortal men, for in these times there is only war.
The Mother House sung the departure of all the Novices, drowning out the noise of the roaring engines. As Alexis entered her transport freight she heard the last words of her old community‘…Out of the depths I cry to thee, O Emperor. I called mine own ways to remembrance and turned my feet unto thy testimonies…’
Last edited by Sister_mel; October 15th, 2005 at 20:43.
Very good, though I had just one issue with part of the story.
Sisters of Battle shaving their heads is something I always associated with the Repentia and was thus a mark of shame along with being stripped of the armour.
Would be nice if you explained this, though other than that your story is excellent.
Its in the story:Originally Posted by Deadly Nightshade
"...This had both a spiritual and a practical value. It thwarted the carrying of lice and allowed the Sisters to function better in combat training without the concern of hair getting caught or in the way. But also it was the final detachment, a detachment from all worldly appearances. ... by the time she would take her final vows her hair would of grown to shoulder length."
It explains why all Sisters have shoulder length hair and is fluff rooted from medevil nuns.
I think the story so far is great,keep it up and hurry my brain wants to know more!
Sooo will the adventures of my namesake become something of a regular feature? It's nice to see something other than a Space Marine detailed in this fashion and SoBs have always interested me.
I still hate Twiglets!
Another excellent part. I look forward to reading more
Finished reading. I quite like the realism your story conveys, and would enjoy seeing more of it.
As a side note (I know you'll probably *****-slap me just for suggesting that), you might do well to post it over Imperial Literature, since their focal subject is 40k/FB fiction.
PS. Do I smell... a possible renegade Sister?
If you want this to be published by the BL, I'd seriously recommend you stop posting it. They will not take anything that is availible, in whole or in part, anywhere else for free.
"It fits like clothes made out of wasps!"
Inkie, how stupid do you think I am? I aleady checked that out. I've been talking to Matt Farrar via the BL Forum, got the details on posting on the BL forum and other sites and how to ensure the safety of my work.