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Snippet: The Comtesse calls
The Dime
wilowisp
The carriage halted in front of the church's gates. This late a night, they were closed, but by the will of the gods, they were never locked. The coachman scrambled down to unlatch them, and lead the horses through, while Dommenic tried to keep awake. Even the jostling of the carriage across the cobblestones hadn't prevented him from dozing off here and there. His ladyship was keeping his nights restless. At least the rain had let up for a while.

At the rectory, the coachman opened the door for Dommenic, who blinked back his bleary eyes and knocked firmly on the door. A small light moved about in the darkness within, and the door swung open slowly to reveal a young neophyte holding a candle, looking as exhausted as Dommenic felt.

"Good evening, little brother," Dommenic called out to the young lad. "I've come to gather Father Johnthorn on behalf of my lady, the Comtesse LaMarene."

"He's gone to summit," the boy said, opening the door wider and welcoming Dommenic in. "Most everyone has. Won't be back until Saintsday."

"The House of the Gods is empty?" Dommenic said, bewildered. Surely he would have heard if the clergy of the city had departed en masse.

"No, m'lordship," the boy said, mistaking Dommenic for someone of rank instead of merely a major domo of a true house. "There's a few still around. I can fetch Father Rickwater, if he might be able to help you."

"Father Rickwater... is he a Confessor?" Dommenic asked before the boy disappeared down the darkened hallways. In the flickering candle light, he could make out the boy shaking his head. "The Comtesse is having a passion of guilt, and wishes her Confessor to see to her this very night." Another fit of hers, which roused him from his post outside her door and sent him out into the blackest of nights. He wouldn't be surprised if Father Johnthorn had left for summit expressly to avoid another summons to the lady's side.

"There's just one Confessor in the House at the moment, m'lordship," the boy said. "I can take you to him, if that will do." The boy waited this time for Dommenic's response. He weighed the outcomes of bringing back the wrong priest and not bringing back anyone at all, and decided that he was safest from reprimand with a member of the clergy in the room. He waved the boy on, and tried desperately to keep up with the waif's anxious pace through the darkened labyrinth of the priests' quarters.

"Who is this Confessor you take me to?" Dommenic asked after it was clear it would be no quick journey. He rarely had be led this deep into the House's inner hallways, and thought that it must rival even the palace in immensity.

"Father Willrain," the boy called over his shoulder quietly.

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