Dec 07, 2021 1:57 AM
catholic sunday prayer group in the library
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Karen is aware that you are not supposed to go places alone, even if the places are in the library and even though she got lost in here for four hours yesterday and nothing bad happened at all. 

However, while she was lost in here, she found a shrine, or a tiny chapel, or something - a very obviously Catholic tiny chapel- and she's not actually Catholic, but she's read enough and heard enough for it to be familiar, and on top of being familiar it was beautiful, not quite as beautiful as a cathedral but on some level the same sort of thing, and also it felt - safe, sort of, like the place was radiating relative okayness. There were paintings of saints with little ribbons painted under them that had the saint's name, and there was a carved wooden crucifix at the front, and someone had taped up a little prayer card with a flying saint on it and hung up a sign that said PRAY TO PASS TESTS. There were two little tables, one on either side of the crucifix, one with a saint she didn't recognize and some tools laid out on it, and one with a statue of Mary and a book with no title whose inside cover said Many of our fellow students are no longer with us. Please pray for the souls of:, and then page after page after page of names.

She doesn't know whether anybody ever gathers at the chapel, but she figures if they did it would be on Sunday morning. So right after breakfast on Sunday morning, she heads back to the library chapel, with her homework in tow in her backpack and her dinky little pocket knife in one hand, just in case the library or the chapel isn't as safe as it feels.

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Riley walks with packs of students, hewing close to strangers as he flits about. He hasn't hit his growth spurt yet- according to Dr. Walsh, it's related to overusing his potion. When he has better defenses, he can wean himself off, and save it for things like graduation. Her guess is that he'll shoot up during next year if he stops after Field Day. It's not exactly something he can count on; he might stay this short forever, like a kid that didn't quite grow up. (That's if he lives long enough that he should have grown up.) He needs to leave behind the crowd as he makes his way to the chapel. There are other religious people in the Scholomance, but not enough that he can rely on having a group to walk with. He keeps his ears pricked, eyes peeled, and fists balled in case anything looks at him funny.

It's beautiful. Nothing in the Scholomance has been beautiful, so far. It's bigger than the shrine that Dr. Walsh let him keep at the institute. There are lovingly decorated paintings, festooned with ribbons. A crucifix, which somehow hasn't been stolen or damaged or otherwise ruined by the horrors of this place. There's a book- and there's a girl. She's a welcome sight too, in context- another Catholic, or at least, someone else who believes enough to be here. That's something. He wouldn't say anything, not wanting to mar the serenity of this place, if he didn't need to make his presence known before she stabs him on instinct.

"Hey."

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"Oh! Hi. I didn't know if anybody actually came here, I found it yesterday. Although I guess it's in good enough condition that you'd expect that someone would have to be maintaining it."

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"Can't say I know who's doing the real work, but some European kids in the library told me about it. Mind if I have a look?"

Riley gestures at the book of names.

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"Yeah, go ahead."

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A couple of Tejano upperclassmen want to study in the library, so Camillo tags along with them to get to the chapel. One, who's a moderately lapsed Catholic, even walks him to the little repurposed reading room before returning to the rest of the group.

It feels weird to be here in normal clothes, but it's not like he could pack church clothes. Camillo shuffles in and closes the door quietly behind him.

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Riley reads the names. He lapses into silence as he does, forgetting that the other freshman is there. This is one of the only places in the Scholomance that allows for moments like this. Riley doesn't relish in it- it's sad, solemn, and serious- not the kind of thing that feels good. Good isn't the feeling he wants, here. What he wants is to grieve the kids who never made it. There's no room for that outside the chapel, but in here- he can just read the names and wish that he could have done something to save them.

He thanks God for the moment of peace. The Scholomance won't provide many opportunities for that- it was made by man, and 'peace' isn't the thing anyone was aiming for- but the chapel doesn't belong to the wizards who made the school, or anyone or anything else on Earth. It's a sanctuary- a word whose meaning is coming into sharp focus for Riley.

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She waves at Camillo. She's... not actually sure how much talking it's normal to do in here. Like, it could be a space where you're only supposed to be contemplative and quiet all the time? But it could also be a space that's for discussion and group prayer and Bible study stuff. It occurs to her to wonder whether there's a Bible somewhere in here, or whether you'd need to bring or find one somehow; she doesn't see one out in the open.

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Miguel wasn't expecting to find the place because he's starting to get the sense that school is not a place where things turn out well. But his parents had told him to look. It's how they'd met, the chapel.

 

And here it is, and - he doesn't have much to compare to, they haven't been to church in years, but - it's nice? There's a couple of kids there already, and a crucifix and some paintings of saints and so on, and it's, you know, good to be reminded that normal things exist, that the Scholomance isn't actually outside all the normal rules of being a human.

 

And it is good to be reminded he'll be reunited with his family in Heaven even if he can't hack this whole "school" thing, because he's definitely been lying awake thinking doomy thoughts about never seeing any of them ever again. 

 

He isn't sure if there's a prayer service or what but things go wrong every time he opens his mouth so he'll just not.

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Riley realizes that there are several more people in the room now than there were before, and gamely attempts a smile. He steps back from the book.

"Thanks," he whispers to Karen, and then louder so everyone can hear, "Hey. I'm Riley. Anyone know if there are regular services here?"

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"Nnnope. But I wouldn't, I just found the place wandering around in here yesterday and wondered if anything happened on Sunday mornings."

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Miguel notices they all seem to be freshmen except the Asian girl so if she doesn't know then no one else is going to.

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"Services before lunch on Sundays if enough people show up and someone wants to lead them," Camillo volunteers, in what's either a library loud-whisper or a church quiet-speaking, he hasn't decided. "My mom says in her day that was only, like, half the time."

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"Oh! So we're all just early, and the upperclassmen should show up later, then."

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"Hopefully. Not sure how many people to expect -- enclave drama."

Enclave drama is really all the information he's got, the Tejano seniors not being terribly forthcoming, but hopefully it just makes it sound like he's privy to insider secrets.

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Okay, she's definitely heard the word 'enclave' before around here, but she's not sure she's picked up exactly what it means. Probably this would be an awkward time to ask?

 

"So, uh... since we're all here anyway, anybody wanna do prayer requests or something? That's easy."

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"I have four younger sib-lings," Miguel says. "Maria and Daniela and Edgar and Carmen. Daniela won't be able to come to school because she needs -" he doesn't know the English word. He shrugs.

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"--I have Spanish, I don't know about anyone else but if you want to whisper..."

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Oh good. "Necesita diálisis. Un mal la atacó el año pasado y..."

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"--dialysis," he translates aloud. "A mal got her."

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Oh. It's basically the same word. He's an idiot.

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Nod.

"I have a younger brother. I want to see him here next year. What about you two?"

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"No siblings anymore. Uh - I didn't know about magic until a few days ago? So - I mostly want to pray that God protects me until I have a better idea what's going on, and that He shows me what I need to be working on in order to make it here. I guess maybe we should all pray for that."

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Camillo has a standard list he covers every morning and evening. "For God to send His angels to watch over my brothers, and open the lips of my baby brother. For patience, courage, and chastity. Against a sudden and unprepared death. For the repose of the Holy Souls in Purgatory, and the intentions of the Holy Father."

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Miguel knows some of those words. ...he's just going to pray in Spanish. It's easier to think in it.

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"--oh, how many of y'all are actually Catholic?"

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