"I have to say, I really do have no idea. All I can tell is that the Saint finds it offensive and would be gladdened to see it destroyed. Not that there seems to be the remotest chance of our little group succeeding in that regard. If you feel so inclined as to share that information, though, we're quite at your disposal to do with as you wish."
The mask formed a smile. "We are at the heart of the church, and I use the word 'heart' in more senses than you will understand or know. it is here of course, that all the important decisions are made." The Tyrant proceeded to sit upon his throne once more, taking the homunculus back in hands and examining it absent-mindedly. "The vicar's very chambers are above us. Many, many feet above us, but directly above us all the same. As below, so above."
"This particular structure is a very old one. I remember when it was still so small and new. In many ways the city grew around it. As, of course, did the church. This place serves many purposes, among them, as you have seen, is the production of my children."
"The blood is the life."
"Apparently so. But what were you saying about the Carnival of Hope? After all, you're not our target, really, are you? Not at the present, anyhow. You called their product 'foul demons'. So they are. I take it then, that we'd be rendering you a service in destroying them, even as we served the Saint. I don't like to ingratiate both you and the Saint, but if that's what's required to destroy the depraved, so be it."
Of course they'd be doing the Law a service by destroying demons. It would take - why - a Cuthbertine level of ignorance not to know that the Horned Society despised demons almost as much as the Church.
After the longest of pauses, Oreil finally braved submerging her hands back into the blood in order to right herself. The feeling of disgust was so cutting that she both writhed in her own skin, and found her earlier burning confidence now completely absent.
"...to destroy... the depraved..." She whispered the words back to herself, head fixed down ward in shame. "...Saint, please strike me down... I can't even touch him..."
Weapon sloshing uselessly through the red mess at her feet, not even looking at her target now, Oriel began to simply drag herself towards the Tyrant again. It was like watching a person knowingly about to walk from the peak of a cliff... The infrastructure of faith, the very validity of the priests of the Cuthbertine faith didn't apply at all. What mattered was the theology she lived by. The theology she had given up everything to pursue. The ideals that she wasn't going to instantly drop, just because they were too damn weak to keep fighting.
"...I'll... I'll never stop... our failure can't b-be... unpunished... not like this..."
The Tyrant's mask remained impassive. "We serve the same master. All who live do, Ramirez. There are, in this world, two sorts of people; those who serve the Law knowingly and willingly, and those who do so in ignorance. Blessed are the former, for they shall find glory within the Kingdom."
The mask twisted into a smile. "As below, so above. I am the Tyrant, the executor of His will and the shepherd of His flock. You have each spent the entirety of your lives rendering service unto me, and you shall continue to do so until you die and, quite possibly, beyond that point as well. Gloria, gloria, alleluia."
Mask scowling, now, the Tyrant turned his head towards Theresa. "Honestly, young lady, you are beautiful and, assuming you live long enough, may one day become a duchess. You ought to learn some manners." Without a word or a motion, Theresa was released from her bindings and fell to her hands and knees, coughing and gasping and growling some very unSaintly things under her breath. Smiling, now, the Tyrant rose and spread his arms. "If there is nothing else, my friends, you should be on your way. This has been a most enjoyable conversation, and I would offer you life everlasting, but I know that you would not accept my gracious gift. In lieu of the life eternal, I offer you instead a bit of advice; the Carnival has friends in high places, and if you wish to do your job well, and to please your apparent masters, I suggest you weed him out and bring him to answer for his crimes."
The Tyrant had not seen fit to acknowledge Oreil the entire time, although as she moved through the liquid, she suddenly found it solidifying into adamantine about her feet. Evidently she wasn't worth yelling at.
Struggling against the sudden resistance at her feet, Oriel's teeth began to chatter with utter frustration and rage. Through her drive had wained for a moment, simply being forced to listen to this -thing- continue to mock them made her heart convulse with self-hatred. A hatred towards this inhuman shape. A hatred towards every little ounce of dirty sin that clung to the lot of them... She would have thrown her sword at the Tyrant and left herself defenseless, if it were not, with the ultimate irony, chained to her wrists.
"...Blessed?... A shepard?" She scowled, baring her teeth again now. Perhaps it was childish or reckless for the other's sakes, but if yelling was all she could do, by the Saint, Oreil was going to do it. "If you pick up a weapon, and think you deserve any more than death, I'll kill you! I run you right through, you hear? We are all sinners here, and the saint will give us what we deserve, for certain. Every damn one of us. What useless servant would only follow a master under the promise of everlasting life? I spit on the idea, and I spit on every one of your foul mindless charges!"
The mask smiled. "Lady Gaudet, where does the Saint send sinners to be punished? To whom does your precious god entrust their deserved torment?"
The smiled widened.
"Punishment was His creation. Retribution is the basis of all law. As below, so above and beyond."
The Tyrant rose and stretched his arms wide. "The Day of Judgment is coming, the time of the Kingdom is nigh. Everyone shall get exactly what they deserve. This He has shewn me, this He has promised me."
"For the Law exalts those who exalt themselves. Gloria, gloria, alleluia."
Was... -it- trying to say the great enemy had become the ultimate sinner by choice?... Oreil scoffed at the comments audiably, but couldn't find a rebuke. Surely, the masked thing was filled with falsehood, but...
What kind of hypocrite would she be, if these poor fools were also unknowingly under the guidence of the Saint? Was there a differance between a person who commits sin in his name knowingly or unknowingly? Was there a differance between those who kill or die in his name? He was the Saint. He knew the value of men. And like she said, they were all sinners on differant levels.
"...Judgement?... Those who exalt themselves?..." The words mulled in her mouth, and caused her to sternly glance back toward her team mates. Some of them seemed so close to doing just that without the monster's help.
A vindictive realisation gleamed, and her head shot back to the opponent with zeal.
"...For a creature that accepts no judgement yourself, those are twisted words. But possibily not even as false as you conceive." Her blade slammed into the solidified crimson floor, and imbedded itself upright. Her voice was ultimately hoarse, bitter and spiteful. "I will massacre the carnival of which you speak... because I destroy sources of sin in his name. His name. When he decides that it is your time, or mine, I will meet that moment with a happiness like no other."
"You will do His will because you have no choice in the matter." The Tyrant said with an audible smile. "Before the Law, even the ignorant bow down."
Then Delilah was there, behind the group. They hadn't heard her approach. "Delilah shall escort you out and point you back on track. The Law be with you."
Delilah said nothing on the way out, simply humming happily to herself. Theresa, like the rest of the group, also said nothing. When they had left the Horned Society's lair, Delilah explained to Theresa where to go to find herself back on the map. Theresa led the group along in silence for a while before feeling secure enough to talk.
"...Is-is everyone okay? Shit..."
Oreil was looking pretty humiliated, having redressed herself in full shawl and harbouring her weapon meekly. At least if they had come back with injuries it would have look like they put up a fight, at least...
"...Perfectly fine... My lady." The sweet, soft tone had returned in earnest, despite her upset expression. The weirdest thing was the fact that the tall woman's voice had gone back to being totally devoid of judgement, too. "If you are laboured I would be honoured to carry your equipment. That goes for anyone."