Author Topic: Return to the Sands (Feel free to join in)  (Read 46 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Libby

  • Noble
  • World Power
  • ****
  • Posts: 890
    • View Profile
  • Your Nation: Lodja/Kaitaine
Return to the Sands (Feel free to join in)
« on: April 17, 2021, 09:45:05 PM »
It was a day that many of them had long waited for. At just after 6am Reverend Mother Erin McGregor, the leader of the Bene Gesserit faith, had arrived at the border between Chistopol and West Kaitaine, or what she would forever call the Free Theocracy of Kaitaine. She was dressed in the traditional black robes of her Sisterhood with the hood of her robe pulled up. It was clear who she was though with the four Truthsayers sticking close to her side and the gold trappings of her robes. As her vehicle stopped at the border and she got out the large assembled crowd, mostly made up of people trying to cross the border themselves, moved forward as many were keen to gain a glimpse at the head of their faith. Unlike Christianity when one Reverend Mother died another was not automatically selected, it was needed for the four senior Mothers to all agree on the new appointee based on various prophecies and traditions and before Erin there had not been a Reverend Mother for nearly two decades. Erin assessed the scene and realised there was chaos here at the border. It couldn't be allowed to continue and so she clambered awkwardly onto the bonnet of the car. One of her Truthsayers had acquired a loud hailer from the Chistopolian border team. "Hello" the loudhailer cracked and squeaked before Erin tried again, "Hello everyone" she saw the crowd gradually fall silent. "I know you are all desperate to head further South. I know you all want to live in a land where the Bene Gesserit faith is alive and well but currently that dream has to be paused. The duty of any nation is to look after and care for the people, if we tried that now we would fail, badly. The situation in Free Kaitaine would be a humanitarian crisis of our own creating if we permitted every member of the faith to come home. Here in Chistopol you are all safe, you are all secure. The government here have assured me you can practice your faith openly and happily and so I urge you to stay put. Let me and my team head South and ensure we can make the Theocracy a safe place and then when the time is right come and join. For now please....Go home." There were some small calls of protest, some pleading for her to let them come with her but there was nothing left to say. She was helped down off the car and felt slightly guilty that her slight frame had left two dents in the metal but figured there was little that she could do.

The border with Chistopol was on the Northern side a mixture of large concrete blocks, metal tank traps, barbed wire and various other obstacles running in each direction. It had been designed to prevent any Communist thrust to retake Chistopol from progressing quickly and now it was stopped the exodus South. The opposite side of the border saw a waiting trio of armoured vehicles and a neatly arranged group wearing Truthsayer uniform. Erin thanked the Chistopolians for their help as they removed the wheel bottomed chain link barrier to allow the car to cross. The car made its way over and drove around a hundred meters to where the Truthsayers were waiting. As Erin stepped out the car to take her first official steps in the Theocracy the lone voice of a Truthsayer could be heard breaking into a song and soon more and more joined in including Erin herself. She moved round greeting each of the the girls with a warm-embrace. She came face to face with Sarah McPherson the girls had been friends through the Chapterhouse systems and as they hugged Erin felt herself crying. She had packed Sarah off to war as a 18 year old girl fresh out of the Chapterhouse and in truth had never expected to come face to face with her again thinking in all honesty she was sending all of those to their death. While she knew many had not survived the wars she saw more and more familiar faces and each one reassured her that she had made the right decision. Sarah was wearing sergeant stripes now and as the crowd gathered around as the song came to an end she had enough room to step back salute her friend. "Your Holiness, Sergeant McPherson of the 1st Seitch Truthsayers requesting permission to escort you home." Those words snapped everyone back to the formalities, a small TV media crew covering the journey taking in every image.

"Sergeant you may escort me home." Erin said wiping tears from her cheek as the Truthsayers mounted up on the vehicles and assmbled within the convoy. It would be a good two hour drive through a rocky landscape. Small narrow vallies gave green flashes and held small farms and homesteads, evidence of farming and then as they made their way through the hills the expanse of the desert came into view. "I am a desert creature" Erin found herself saying to no one in particular as they began the drive across the long straight road that took them to Seitch. It started as a fient white blob in the heat haze until as they got closer it got more in focus. The white upper floors and the sandstone lower down with the wall around it and poking through from the centre of the narrow streets was the fient glimpse of the Red Palace, the Corrino home that was so sacred to many of the faith. Another crowd had gathered and as Erin exited her car she saw literally every space on top of the wall had been taken over by someone, on the rooftops even more people. The green of the Truthsayers, many still carrying their rifle, the blue tunics of the Missionara, a gaggle of black robed Mothers and the bright red of the Honored Matres. Erin had previously only ever seen those uniforms worn by the young in such numbers but here the often threadbare uniforms were worn with pride by people of all ages, Erin even spotted a woman, easily in her 80's proudly wearing the Blue of the Missionara her grey hair scrapped back into a bun. Erin walked over to her and wrapped her arms around her. "Thank you" Erin said to her. Here was a woman who had served her entire life in Kaitaine, in constant danger of being discovered but had kept her vows to serve. "Thank you all" she said loudly taking the woman by the hand. "What's your name?" Erin asked as she walked towards the gates of the "Holy City."

"Margaret Campain" the old woman said as they walked.

"Margaret I'm so happy to meet you." Erin said with a smile. As they reached the gates of the city a force of around 100 Truthsayers stood blocking the path. Erin recognised from video calls Joanne McNeill. Erin stopped in front of her as McNeill called her soldiers to attention. Each of the girls had been one of the defenders of Seitch in the original siege.

"Your Holiness." Joanne saluted, "1340 days ago I gave the order to defend the city. Today I request permission to transfer command to yourself." she took from the pouch of her jacket a heavy iron key. Her uniform was patched and had clearly seen better days. Like many of the Truthsayers from Kaitaine they had never been issued a proper uniform. Many of the girls wore KDF uniform with patches cut off and new ones sewn on. Some wore mismatched camoflague but all had the sand coloured beret proudly perched on their head. The Jeboah emblem affixed on the front forged within the city in whatever metals could be found and melted down.

"Denied" Erin said much to the surprise of Joanne. "As a Truthsayer you all took an oath to defend the faith for as long as was required. You have done more than was ever thought possible but while you still have strength in your bodies I know you will carry on defending the faith and not just this city." Erin reached into her belts pouch and removed a pair of silver rank insignia, crossed rifles with a wreath around them. "Marshall McNeill I am placing you in charge of all Truthsayers and I ask permission to enter your city." she pinned them onto the now commander of the Bene Gesserit military.

"Our city" McNeill replied as she and Erin walked towards the gate which they symbolically unlocked and entered. She had been once before to Seitch. As a 15 year old she had run away and sneaked into Kaitaine and spent a week here before some Truthsayer, whose name she couldn't even remember now, had took her back to Chistopol. Erin had even spent a night hidden on the Chapterhouse island and it had been this little adventure that had made her deceased mentor, Hannah McKay, determined that Erin was destined to be a Reverend Mother. The streets of Seitch were a maze, they seemed narrower than she remembered but McNeill escorted her through the winding maze that had helped them ensure the city remained safe. Some of the buildings still bore the scars of conflict but soon the narroness opened out into a large square market place with on one side the imposing Red Palace often called the Corrino Palace.

The Corrino's were one of four Holy Families, and by the fact they were deemed the most likely bloodline to produce the Kwizach Hadrach, the saviour of humanity, they had a special place in the eyes of the faithful. It was Nathanial Corrino who stood at the foot of the steps ready to welcome the Reverend Mother. He was flanked by Jamie Atreides who had been given permission to cross the border an hour earlier to be part of this ceremony along with a representative of each of the other Holy Houses. Byrce Harkkonen stood on the other side and he was keen to speak with Erin but knew the Corrino boy should be given the first chance, his families status and the fact he'd fought to free the city gave him that right. Achilles Fremen completed the line up. Nathanial stepped forward and as was tradition among meeting high status individuals from those outside the Sisterhood spat on the ground between them. It was a habit that may disgust many but it was a sign of respect among the desert people, a sign you are willing to give up precious water just because you had meet them. Erin smiled at the gesture and spat herself before greeting each of the four representatives. Above the Palace the empty flag-pole saw a lone piper underneath and the flag of the Theocracy was raised.

"We've a government to make." Erin said to the four noble children. "But first I suppose we had better take some pictures and I want to meet some of the people." The crowd had gathered as Erin, Nathanial, Jamie, Bryce and Achilles posed for photos before the crowd mingled. Already some Truthsayers had moved away and the make shift bars had begun to fill as Spiced Beer, Whiskey and music began to flow.