A/N: Hi all,
It's been a long while since I wrote any sort of fiction, so I appreciate any constructive feedback you have to give. I love Priest. I know it didn't get the rave reviews, but hey, I'm a fan of the under dog :)
This story is written from the point of view of both Priestess and Priest, and explores their thoughts and emotions. I'm also a huge PriestxPriestess fan, so you'll be seeing elements of this come through too.
Thanks, and enjoy.
Disclaimer: I claim no ownership to Priest, it's characters or storyline.
I may have been a Priestess, but I don't think I was ever a good one. I loved God, I believed in him and the path he had led me down. Yet, I struggled to accept the teachings of the Clergy.
"To go against the Church is to go against God."
This vow was drummed into me from the day I was brought into the Church. I was taught that my gifts and everything I was, was given to me because of the Church. But deep in my heart, I knew they were wrong. Nothing but God gave me this power. Nothing but God made me who I was.
And yet, the Clergy's conditioning ran too deep, ran too strong. Our vows to remain celibate had never been a problem. I'd been brought into the Church as a young girl, my gifts discovered early. I had heard of love, of passion, but these things were transient. Having never experienced them I never paid much thought to them. Not until the day they brought him into the fold a year after I came here.
Out of all of us, he had sacrificed the most. He was barely 20 when the Clergy had discovered him. A boy already a man with God given gifts... and he had to leave behind a wife, and a new born child. So much to sacrifice for the safety of mankind. A badge of honour that the Clergy lauded. Looking at his eyes as he looked upon us, I wept inside. Here was a man who truly knew what it was to release all worldly thoughts, all physical attachments for his God... but in his eyes I saw nothing but pain.
I felt a gentle spark blossom within me. What was it like to be in love? To be loved and then to have to let it go? Who was this woman he had left behind? That he'd had a child with her meant she was someone special indeed. All these thoughts raced through my mind, and in that moment I realised that he meant something to me. I wanted to know everything about him. It was an almost gut wrenching need. The conditioning held, and I reminded myself that as a warrior for God, these thoughts were unseemly. Bowing my head I prayed for forgiveness. Yet I knew deep inside, I wouldn't let go of this feeling.
While he was new to the order, he also displayed an uncanny knack for picking things up quickly. His desire to learn and the endless hours of training he put himself through had him quickly climbing up the ranks. I later asked him how he did it, and his only response was "I needed to. To try to forget them."
One day I walked onto the training field to find him there, now a member of our training group.
He was introduced to us as "Z0156" or, simply "Z."
His citizen ID. Names held no meaning. They were a reminder of our former lives so we were referred to by our IDs. My name had once been Mary, so "M" had been easy enough to accept. No questions were asked, no remonstrations that we, after having spent a year training to get where we were, while he, after only a few months was now joining us. You don't question the Clergy, their rule was law. In him at least they had gotten something right. He knew how to kill; it came to him as naturally as breathing.
Watching him was like watching a dark angel. A sanctioned violence released onto this world whose sole purpose was to vanquish the evil that walked God's earth. He was poetry, he was brutality. He was savagery and I think he held us all in his thrall. He was the motivation we all needed to take that final step into Priesthood and truly become the weapons the Clergy wanted us to be.
Our training became our life. We lived for the thrill of pitting ourselves against each other, and our then, imaginary foes. On the training ground, we were simply creatures working in an almost supernatural unity to kill, maim and destroy. I don't know at what point Z and I became partners. He'd developed a natural affinity with one of the other Priests. A man near his own age with eyes that were a winter blue and a fierceness in his every action, every word. His passion for the hunt was a thing he derived pleasure from. I don't think many of us felt that way, but the two connected and became brothers. It was strange that, I being one of the few female Priests, they included me in their circle.
We began to fight together. Becoming extensions of the other, all thinking with one mind. Each fighting while being totally aware of where the others were and what was needed to accomplish our common goal. To say we watched out for each other was a given, you did that for all your fellow Priests... but for the three of us, it was more. We trusted each other completely... and in the deep quiet of the night, we would whisper about the past and the things we had left behind.
When they sent us out to fight the vampires we would need this trust, this strength to tide us through the worst of it. As weak as I know it was, I wouldn't have survived the horrors we witnessed (and participated in) if it hadn't been for their strength. Of all the atrocities, the most difficult was always that of the death of a Priest or Priestess.
Losing a fellow Priest was never easy. Having trained and fought together, the death of a comrade meant having to deal with emotions. Feelings that you couldn't express. No. The Priests were supposed to be strong, bastions against the vampire menace. Seeing one weep wouldn't have suited the image of strength the Clergy wanted to present.
We all dealt with our grief in different ways. Some would take to their quarters, lock the doors and let the tears flow. Others threw themselves into training, pushing themselves beyond the pain of endurance. Some lost themselves in the violence of the hunt. Killing more and more vampires until they'd drowned their sorrow and anger in a tide of blood. Then, there were those who let their hearts turn cold. Who chalked each death down to "the Will of God" as the Clergy wished us to believe. These thoughts I could never accept. Weren't we human? Weren't we God's creatures as much as the next? We deserved more than the emptiness of a few prayers, and then forgetfulness.
I took comfort around being with the others. Not quite friends, but, brothers and sisters who had all seen things, done things, things that the general populace could never fathom or believe. In them I found the peace I desperately craved. With my two brothers I spoke of my fear, my loathing and of my grief. Such action was forbidden, but we each dealt with the horror in our own ways. They understood this was mine.
As for my feelings for him?
Softly softly, they grew. A look, a touch, a quiet word. Innocent in nature but meaning so much to me because he never, ever looked, or touched or spoke to the others the way he did with me. I knew he cared for me, but as a sister. With him it could never be more. He'd devoted himself totally to the Church, but in the few (oh so few) lapses that he did have, he spoke only of his wife Shannon, and his daughter Lucy. I began to almost hate them, because they held a place in his heart that I never could. Almost. As much as I envied them, I also loved them for giving him what few moments of happiness he had had. As much as I needed his love, I knew our vows held us, and the war against the vampires was endless.
The skirmish to try and kill the Vampire Queen at the Sola Mira Hive changed everything. It turned the tide of the fight against the vampires, and we lost brothers and sisters in the trap that had been set for us by the vampires. For Z it was especially hard, because he had lost our closest friend. Trying desperately to save him, only to have him ripped away by the vampires into the blackness of the hive. It was the only time I had seen him openly grieve, but when it came time for the final assault against the hive, he was purely the Priest. Purely a weapon and utterly inhuman in his killing. That bleak night I almost feared him. Even though I knew to the depths of my soul how kind a heart he had, something had broken in him.
He never came to me afterwards, and as much as I searched through the rows of injured and dying, I couldn't find him. I later saw him in the rank and file while we were presented to the cities. Returning heroes, saviours of mankind. Oh how the Clergy lapped up the peoples' adoration. Staring blindly at the cheering crowds, all I could see was the darkness, the blood, the snapping of teeth and the endless wave of monsters I needed to kill. So lost was I in this nightmare world, I finally woke to the realisation that we were being disbanded. Forbidden to meet each other and our warrior status removed.
Expected to re-join an alien world that I no longer knew, I finally cracked. In that moment, I wondered if I'd ever see him again.