AWD #078: All The King's Horses
All The King's Horses
Summary: Cole falls from the ledge. Iphigenia and Phin are left with the pieces.
Date: 25/03/2013 (OOC Date)
Related Logs: A lot?
Cole Iphigenia Phin 
Chapel
The chapel is one of the few quiet places to be found on a battlestar. Even rarer still, it's one of the few places that doesn't look like it's part of a battlestar. Heavy blue curtains have been hung from the walls, obscuring the bulkheads. The lights are kept low, adding a certain mystery and gravitas to the space. The central altar is made of a pale grey wood, as are the several rows of pews which extend from it. Laid against the far right wall is a long, low table with several rows of simple white votive candles to be used as vigil lights. Centered among them is a brass plate for burnt offerings from supplicants. Several cushions rest on the floor before the table, where the faithful may kneel to offer their prayers to the Lords and Ladies of Kobol. On the left wall are several compartments which have been sectioned off for private use.
03/25/2005

Normally the temple would have a smattering of people coming and going, caught in prayer or confession or just the handful of clergy going about their day. Now, however, the temple aboard the Orion is empty save one. One individual who - according to the panicked runner who tracked down Iphigenia - has managed to frighten or chase off any that might try to be trying to use the place of worship. The runner wasn't dispatched by Cole to find the priestess, no, but yet the scared girl knew to find Sister Arden.

It's March 25th, a day that had been encroaching like a steady tide until it engulfed Aristides Cole in its swirling eddy. Now the man kneels before an intricately carved effigy to Dionysus, the wooden figurine entwined by women as he lofts a goblet up towards the ceiling. His face is smiling - mocking even - as his frozen gaze is poised toward the kneeling man who is bent in front of the depicted God.

There is the sickening sound of leather on Ari's back, a slow methodical repetition of a flail that licks at the man's tattooed skin, leaving a bloody thin trail of saliva from the cruel tongue. The wisps of leather would be enough to render the flesh, but even in the dim light a glint of added metal barbs prove to be efficient teeth to bite. He's stripped down to his waist, the stain of blood on his pants is down far enough to threaten the tops of his pockets. The hand he uses to deliver the angry blows of penance is likewise bloodied, the droplets defining the sharp edges of his muscles as they follow the course of artificial gravity. With each lash, he mourns.

There's too much going on. There are sick to visit, and people in the brig, and word is spreading like wildfire that Redux is reportedly a Cylon, and maybe there are others on board, and a shooting in the mess and - when the younger chaplain finds her, as soon as she sees the younger woman's face, a sick feeling of dread spreads from deep in her belly outward. Hurried steps, which turn into a run, has her bursting into the chapel, espying what is going on there, with the half naked man and his volatile, maddened castigations.

"Ari, stop!" She herself skids to a halt, coming down hard on her knees and holding out her hands to try and catch his, and halt his efforts. It may result in a sting from the barbs on her own skin, she's not being careful.

Tiny little pieces of wire have been braided into the leather, their jagged points like thorns on an ugly vine that bears no roses. One of the straps flicks around Iphigenia's wrist with the momentum as she grabs for Cole's hand. A half dozen little tiny barb nick at her flesh as if demanding an offering from the priestess as well.

"The bastard demands his pound of flesh," Wild, angry eyes meet Geni's, and the white of Ari's teeth are bared in a feral snarl as he wrenches his hand from hers, causing the barbs to bite deeper into his palm and her forearm alike as he pulls the flail free and flicks it with renewed zest toward his back. "And I'm going to give it to him." He doesn't even sound like Ari at this point, his voice so strained with unsurmountable grief.

For a moment she does not know what to do. Strike him? Beg? Command? She rises, moving to stand in front of the god of ecstasy's icon, keeping him from Cole's vision. "Is this what Dionysus wants, or about the guilt you feel, Aristides?" she asks, unbuttoning her officer's jacket. It's tossed to the side, as she kneels in front of him - he'll have to get up and move to be able to use that flail now in any way without knowingly hitting her too. "Do you think Magnola watches this and would take pleasure in it? That she would approve? That she would want you to do this? Do you think this is love? It's not. But I'll show you love, Captain Cole." She holds out her arms, turning them so her wrists are upward. "I take your pain. I take your penance. I, Iphigenia Arden, daughter of ancient house, accept the burden of blood of Aristides Pescador Cole. This is love. What you're doing is indulgence."

The Chapel is empty, save two kneeling on the floor. Janitor's stripped down to the waist, his tattooed back is splayed open by thin cuts. A small intricately carved effigy to Dionysus is sitting on top of a box, and Iphigenia is now between the viper jock and the statue. "The pain is the pleasure." Ari hisses. "Its his, its hers. ITS MINE. But. Not. YOURS." To her pledge of love, to her vow of transference, the answer she gets are Cole's bloody palms clamped onto her shoulders. The only plus side to this, is that the flail is momentarily discarded. The downside? He's literally throwing all his muscle into shoving her out of the way.

Less empty in a moment. Phin slouches his way in. In his off-duties, a generally thoughtful look about him. They aren't happy thoughts, by his expression, but they're thoughts. He's kind of up in his own head. Fortunately, there's distracting stuff going on, involving Cole and Dionysus and flaying. "Uh…" That was more audible than he'd meant it to be. It's half apologetic, though. He's surprised, and awkward at walking in on it, but not exactly shocked. "…I can come back if this is, like, a closed kind of ritual." Thumb gesture back to the door.

Iphigenia's hands, and the lower parts of her arms, are also marked and bleeding from the flail. Phin arrives to watch just in time to see her hit the deck. Shaking her head, she says, "It's only yours. It's only ever been yours." She reaches for the flail, but she's distracted by Phin's arrival, and from the look on her face, no this isn't something that should be happening. This something Very Wrong.

She might reach, but Cole is faster. He isn't reaching for the flail, but he has every intent of smacking away her grip. "Then let it be mine!" Ari's blood isn't just flowing down his back, it's pounding in his ears and cracking the whites of his eyes. He's on his feet, albeit a bit unsteadily. A step left, a stumble right. Dionysus' effigy is rudely grabbed by the head, and it's that now that Ari wields. Wild eyed, he swings it and points at Phin as if he doesn't even recognize Dolly. "Humanity. Humanity doesn't exist! The Gods are a joke. If they are real, they've left us a long time ago and just sit back and mock. Now all that is left are our mistakes, that we are doomed to relive. Histories that we forget, abandon, and leave. Only to find them again. Live them again. Repeat them again!"

Phin totally picked the best time to start going to chapel again.

Phin's eyes widen as Cole goes on. "Hey, Janitor. Hey, Sister." He tries to keep his tone even, stepping slowly toward them. Though having an effigy pointed at him makes him stop. "Ari." He tries the man's first name instead. He's very tense suddenly, but trying to act as if he isn't. Yeah, something is very, very wrong. "Yeah, man. You're right, OK? It's all a joke. It's all messed up. So why don't you just…put that down." How that will help all of that is unclear, but he tries to sound like he thinks it might. Side look at Iphigenia. Trying to silently communicate 'What the frak?'

Iphigenia gets to her feet, puts herself between Cole and Phin. She does it instantly, without question, without doubt. Her hands held out slightly at the sides, as if to block him from harming Phin, for all that he can most likely perfectly well care for himself. "I can't. I don't believe that." she says. There is still too much beauty, there is still too much love, and there's still too much in my eyes of the proof of their hand." There's the briefest backward at Phin, and then she goes back to looking to Cole. Her back stays straight, her stance certain, but her face, it just - collapses. Like Cole is not just breaking her heart, he's eating it in front of her. Even from behind, Phin can hear the breakdown and grief in her voice. "Please, Ari, please. When you do this to yourself it kills me." This isn't controlled, cold weeping. "There was nothing you could've done for her, she was sick, and if it hadn't been then and there, it would have been some other time, when the gods call a person like that."

She is coming undone, right before the pair's eyes. "You called me by her name and I keep letting you take little pieces of me because I love you and please, please stop, you don't have to love me, I've never asked you to, but please stop this." She puts her hands to her face as if she can't believe how much she's sobbing, how much she's coming apart, and with Phin there to witness it all. She's stopped talking about Magnola; for the first time she's spoken of herself, directly, using I.

"Put what down? THIS?" Ari waggles it at Phin before his arm flexes, slinging the effigy side-long at the bulkhead. The intricate wood statue cracks right in half with a sickening sound of splintering. If you get seven years of bad luck for breaking a mirror, what comes from breaking a replica of a God? "My wife is in that box." A shaking finger points to the otherwise innocuous looking box carved with bean sprouting ivy and birds. "My CHILD is in that box. I should be in that box. Instead, I'm left here to just relive my mistakes." Cole locks his gaze on the weeping Iphigenia, but there isn't a softening to his features. "Our mistakes. Mankind's mistakes. The only difference between Magnola and I, is she had the strength to end the cycle. I killed her. Now you think I'm killing you! You want to die by my hands? Should we speed up the process?" Ari takes a stalking step towards Iphigenia, knocking aside a heavy candle holder as if were a child's toy left to be toppled.

"Sister, you need to call a medic," is the only thing Phin says to Iphigenia, after watching all that. He tenses another notch when Cole breaks the statue to splinters. But he's less concerned about the possible curses for damaging holy items than by Cole's talk of death. And killing. "Janitor, get away from her." And he will try and push past Iphigenia, to move forward and try and grab Cole's arm. Which may not be wise, given how the man is knocking around heavy objects.

"Lieutenant," Iphigenia tries to ward Phin off, "Please step back." The medics - and possibly the MPs - may be called soon enough, but as Cole gets close enough her hand moves, swift, and grabs the side of his face. Fighting through her own shattered senses, she makes him look at her, and speaks in a low, tense tone. "If you're going to do it, you're going to do it with your own two hands, and you're going to learn what it really means to have killed someone for love of you. There was no bravery in what she did, only madness." She lifts her chin, she bares her throat, she and she watches him as she does so. "I told you I was yours." Apparently that means he can kill her if he wants. Iphigenia and her ridiculous faith. Unwavering submission. She's stopped crying. She's calm. She's serene, even. Truly so, and not just the veneer she offers to those around her.

Cole is staring down at Phin's hand on his arm before his gaze is swept away by Iphigenia's palm. Ari's own hands flex into fists at his side, and uncurl a moment later only to ball once more. Over and over. As if he's making up his mind whether to take the open invitation. "You'd like that, wouldn't you. You want to be just like her. You want my dead children in your womb, too? You want to carry little lifeless bodies inside of you? Give birth to creatures who never even get to take their first breath? THIS is what the Gods do." He wrenches away from Phin, spinning on his bare heel. Instead of taking his aggression out on the Sister, he instead finds various objects in the temple to take out his aggression on.

Phin is caught off guard enough to be warded aside by Iphigenia. He freezes. Reluctant to leave the priestess with Cole in this state. But, when Janitor starts breaking objects in the temple instead of her, he does take a step back. And look hastily around for a call box. He figures it's time to phone up those MPs.

Iphigenia nods to Phin. Go, get them. She looks back at Cole, her response swift, even as she wipes her eyes clear. "No, Aristides. You want me to be just like her. You never see me at all. You never have." She doesn't stop him. Maybe she's too tired. Maybe she thinks if he can so easily destroy what's dear to her…if he can do all this, what thought, much less emotion, does he give her at all?

A few more things items are bandied about. A chair here, a steel bowl there. Then the man himself topples. It's more like a crumple, the way his knees give out in front of the little box. Dionysus is gone, shattered against the bulkhead in so many pieces, now all that remains is the wooden urn. "I don't need to see you, to know you'd leave me too. History. History repeats itself." Bloodied hands lift to obstruct his face, wide palms and splay of fingers hiding his pain and misery, his anger, and more importantly his tears.

Phin dashes to call up the military police. Disturbance in the chapel. Medic also needed. He can't seem to figure out what Cole might be amped up on, but he assumes it's something, so he gives a general description of the man's behavior they can make guesses off of.

And now they only have a few minutes before they come. It's important that Cole not run. Iphigenia knows this. She walks over to Cole, but she doesn't touch him. Just stands over him, looming as she waits for them to come, hands and wrists bleeding. She tells him the truth. "No, I won't. Not of my own choice. Because I'm stronger than her in many, many ways." There's a sudden blink. "And that scares the shit out of you. Everything you thought you couldn't have, and you're too frightened to take it." She keeps him talking, or tries to, until the MPs come. Her eyes flick briefly toward Phin, and then back to Cole. "I am not Magpie. I don't want to be Magpie. I am another creature entirely, and I am made of stronger stuff than that beautiful, tragic woman." And then they're here, and she belays them only long enough to bend close and touch his hair with her hand, as if she was giving a benediction. "If I die tomorrow, I will not regret. But I think you will. And only you can decide if the pain of regret isn't worse than the pain of loss." Her hand is moved away, slowly.

"I can't regret. I just…repeat." Come the last words from Aristides, his hand dropping to the little box. With the blood on his fingers as paint on a brush, he draws a symbol on top of the carved wood. As he's questioned shortly by the MPs, the man says nothing. He just offers his hands above his head with wrists press together. Janitor becomes a jailbird.

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