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smackenzie: (brother peire)
Perhaps two months later, close enough to harvest time for people to start planning who can put aside their jobs to help and who can't, a young man comes to the monastery asking for an audience with the council. He's not a member of the community himself, but he's sympathetic to the heretics' desire to live their lives unmolested – and he's committed to some of their practices, although mostly in secret – and Brother Peire learns that from time to time he shows up at the monastery with news.

The next morning, after services and during the morning meeting, they find out why he's there. )

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smackenzie: (brother peire)
He doesn't know how to answer, but then she kisses him, open-mouthed and distracted, and starts to shift back and forth and back and forth, so that he's thrusting inside her almost involuntarily. She pants against his lips, her hands clenched in his sweaty curls as she moves on top of him, riding him, bringing him closer and closer to climax.

He thinks about Rainaut and feels guilty. )

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smackenzie: (brother peire)
"What do you mean he told you I'd say that?"

"I mentioned this to him first, just to get his opinion. He knows you better than anyone else. He said you'd need to be convinced, but he also thought you'd make a fine father for my baby." She pulls her hair back off her neck and flaps the resultant tail behind her to make the faintest of breezes. "I think you will too."


"Why did you talk to him at all? Isn't this, isn't this between us?"

"Well, yes, but I thought he might be able to tell me the best way to approach you." She twists her mouth in what Brother Peire assumes is frustration. "He didn't." Then she grins. "So I decided the direct approach was best. You think this is really strange, don't you."

No, I, I think it's wrong. I mean. I'm sorry, that's rude. )

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smackenzie: (brother peire)
Brother Peire prays the Gray Friars' evening service alone in the chapel, feeling at peace with himself and his God. He stands before the altar, because that's what the friars do, even though he feels a little self-conscious doing so. But no one is going to interrupt him – even Rainaut would wait for him to finish – so he loses himself in the songs and the chants and the praise and the entreaties. It's not until the very last song has ended that he realizes that while he still misses the feeling of standing with his brother friars in worship, it's at least as much missing the feeling of worshipping in a community as it is worshipping with fellow friars. And in any case, he seems to be cobbling together his own schedule of prayers. He doesn't mind waking up in the middle of the night to come here and pray the late night service, what the friars always called Vigils, as if they were standing watch until the dawn. One night he might even wake Rainaut to come with him, so he might learn some of the friars' ways, the same that he's taught Brother Peire some of the heretics' ways.

Because in some of those ways, they're not so different after all. )

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smackenzie: (brother peire)
Rainaut chuckles. "Such delicate sensibilities you still have. Our coupling has nothing to do with spiritual or bodily purity. You wash to show that your heart is sincere and that you come before God with a clean soul."

Which is something Brother Peire understands. He can even look into his soul and reassure himself that it really is pure and that he's still sincere in his faith.


His body, however, could use a bath. He isn't sure he's ready to eat anything just yet, but he's thirsty and some cold, clear water wouldn't go amiss either.

He lifts Rainaut's arm off him and slides out of bed )

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smackenzie: (brother peire)
They curl up together in the light of the rising sun, both of them still half-drunk and completely, utterly satisfied. Brother Peire can't form a coherent thought, and even if he could he doesn't have the energy to articulate it. He only wants to sleep, and to dream about his body and Rainaut's and all the pleasures they can take from and offer to each other.

When he wakes again, the sun is full on his face, hot and painfully bright. He feels sticky and sweaty. His head is throbbing, his eyes are hot and dry, his mouth dry as well and his tongue thick and slow. He thinks he might be sick.

He tries to remember what he did last night, and the sense memory of Rainaut buried inside him, stretched out on top of him, weighing him down and breathing hot desire into his mouth makes something warm and yearning stir deep inside him. But the urge has left him. He wants to wash. He wants to lie down somewhere cool and dark and go back to sleep.

He really, really wants to be sick. )

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smackenzie: (brother peire)
Rainaut leans down, wraps his arms around Brother Peire's head, and breathes "My God loves you too" across his mouth.  "And your God must love me.  We are blessed, my brother, my friar."

And for the first time since he was turned out of Montagui, Brother Peire can well believe it.


Rainaut stays there for a while, bent over Brother Peire, his hips now shifting back and forth. Brother Peire reaches around him and down to cup his ass and encourage him, although Rainaut seems to be doing just fine without help, if his moans and the pleasure rolling through Brother Peire's body are any indication.

He is out of his head and very nearly out of his body )

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smackenzie: (brother peire)
He sits on a bench watching the circle of dancers, working his way through cups of mead and hoping no one asks him to dance. And then someone does – Felise, her pregnancy just barely starting to show, pulls him to his feet and into the circle, where she tries to teach him the steps and laughs when he stumbles. But he laughs with her and doesn't mind.

She passes him on to Jaufre, of all people, and then Helis, the woman who was leading the services when Rainaut first brought him to the community. Brother Peire can only handle one pass around the circle before he begs off, too unsteady on his feet to try and dance to unfamiliar music with unfamiliar steps.

But he's enjoying himself, something he attributes to the general festival feeling and the newfound peace he's made with his circumstances. The fact that he's had what for him is a lot of mead, and that at some point in the near future he'll go off with Rainaut to laugh and touch and moan, and that he's proud of his work in the copy room, might also be contributing factors.

As if Brother Peire's thoughts have conjured him )

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smackenzie: (brother peire)
Of all the things in the heretic community, the one thing that Brother Peire can always understand is his work in the copy room. After a week it doesn't even matter to him what he's copying, as long as he has the comforting smell of ink and the familiar weight of a pen in his hand and the texture of parchment or vellum under his fingers. He scores guidelines for the letters and marks out margins and spaces for the illustrated capitals, if there are any, and the first time he makes a mistake he internally asks God for forgiveness, and then cuts a little piece of scrap parchment, glues it over the misspelled word, and continues on.

It helps that he hasn't been asked to copy any blatantly heretical texts )

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smackenzie: (faye)
"Come back to the cell, Piere. Come back to bed. This is only causing you pain."

"I don't belong here, Rainaut.  I don't.  I'm sorry.  I'm trying to fit in, I promise I am, but I don't think I can do it.  I don't fit.  And God can't hear me."  He looks up, past the altar, at the round window and its center pane of glass, the yellow circle no doubt meant to represent the sun and the light of God's love.  He misses his sun pendant.  He misses his brother friars.  He misses knowing his place in the world, knowing that he's where he's meant to be, where God wants him to be, doing what God wants him to be doing.  He misses feeling at home.  He misses being home.

His eyes are wet.  His head drops and he covers his face with his hands. )

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smackenzie: (faye)
"You were a friar, were you not?" one of the men asks Brother Peire, and to Rainaut he adds "Show him the copy room."

The copy room is at the end of the long hall. There are only three desks, placed to catch as much light as possible.


"There should be someone here," Rainaut comments, sounding a little confused. "In any case, this is the copy room. Copyists work as long as there's sun, although in the winter they resort to candles. We have a library, as you saw, but a lot of the scrolls and manuscripts there are in bad shape – some of them were left by the monks, who probably thought they were a touch too blasphemous to take when the community disbanded. So we copy them more legibly. We also have a few books of scripture, and yes, before you ask, you'll consider it heretical scripture, and we want to copy those to help seed other communities like ours in other places." He gestures to the only desk that looks as if someone is working at it. There are pens and open pots of ink and sheets of parchment, and on a table next to the desk is an open book which is apparently the manuscript being copied. "How similar was the copy room at the friary?"

It was next to the library, Brother Peire says. )

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smackenzie: (faye)
And the first thing to do is to learn exactly what home entails – the buildings, the gardens, the livestock, the industries and residences and holy places. What people do, where they do it. He hopes he'll find at least one thing he recognizes, one familiar thing, that can remind him of the friary without the attendant empty feeling of a place he'll never see again.

They walk out the gate and turn around so that they're facing the wall and the former monastery behind it.  "If we were to walk along the wall that way" - Rainaut points off to the right - "eventually it would turn into a low rock wall and we'd be at the fields - wheat for us, grass for the sheep.  We can walk out there if you want.  But say you've just arrived and you want to announce your presence and there's no one at the gate."  He gestures to the wooden doors, which are open.  "You can just walk in and keep going until you see someone, or you ring the bell."  He goes through the doorway, gesturing for Brother Peire to follow, and takes the rope hanging from the bell just inside the gate.

I don't think I need to ring it, he says. )

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smackenzie: (faye)
Brother Peire doesn’t dream this time, and he doesn’t wake until Rainaut is shaking his shoulder and telling him to get up, it’s time for the dawn service and then the beginning of their day.

Rainaut opens the window so he can push the shutter open as well, so light can get into the room. The sun is still rising so there isn't much light, but it's enough for Brother Peire to see that there's a basin of water on the stool and now that he's opened the window, Rainaut can splash water on his face and wipe it off with the hem of his shirt.

Brother Peire could probably say a lot of things, but what comes out of his mouth is "You don't have a towel?" And Rainaut laughs.

Good morning to you too, friar, he says, grinning. )

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smackenzie: (faye)
They walk around the building and into a large cloister with a well in the center. There are people walking around the covered colonnade. Brother Peire tries to ignore them, but he can hear their murmuring as he and Rainaut pass.

"They're very curious about you," Rainaut explains under his breath.  "We haven't had a friar come to us voluntarily, and I think everyone knows you don't really want to be here."

It would be rude and ungrateful for Brother Peire to agree - he's about to accept fairly personal hospitality from Rainaut, more so than if he was about to be shown a guest room, and these people have fed him and are no doubt expecting to find him something to do tomorrow, and it isn't really their fault that he's not here by choice and given any other option, he would take it - but he nods anyway.  Less rude, perhaps, if he doesn't say anything.

It's ok, Rainaut says reassuringly. )

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smackenzie: (faye)
Rainaut walks over and takes the friar’s arm.  Brother Peire walks with him down the road and away from Montagui and the Gray Friars because what other choice does he have?  His whole life has just been taken away from him, and for better or ill, Rainaut is the only friend he has.

The sun is low in the sky although it's not yet dusk, and back in the friary the friars are no doubt finishing up their work from the afternoon and preparing for dinner. Brother Peire guesses they might be talking about him, but he can't guess what they might be saying. He hopes at least some of them don't believe that he could genuinely entertain heretical thoughts, that the abbot was misguided in suggesting he would seriously consider apostasy. Brother Gueri knows him, does he not? They've been visiting Sers Aelinor and praying with her for weeks now, and how could Brother Peire do that if he was going to deny everything that the friars had taught him? How could he visit with an old lady and lead the afternoon service for her, if he didn't believe in it?

It will be good to sleep in a bed again, Rainaut says as they walk. )

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smackenzie: (faye)
And so the days continue for Brother Peire on more or less the same schedule - work, prayer, study.  Visiting Sers Aelinor with Brother Gueri, visiting the prison to talk to Rainaut.  Brother Hernaudin convinces him to come talk to the boys in the friary school, because he's spent time with a heretic and they seem to think he has something interesting to share with them.  They ask him questions about Rainaut - what does he look like? Can you see his apostasy on his face? Is the inquisitor torturing him very badly? Is he going to recant? Did he give the inquisitor the names of his heretic friends? - which he tries to answer as best he can, without admitting anything suspicious about himself or his growing friendship and affection for a man whose company he enjoys even though he knows he probably shouldn't.

He can confess his worry about the state of Rainaut's soul )

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smackenzie: (faye)
It takes another two days for the inquisitor to arrive, and when Brother Peire shows up at the prison for his daily visit, the guards tell him that the prisoner is being questioned and the inquisitor doesn't want to be interrupted for any reason whatsoever.

Brother Peire doesn't know what to say to that – he's been instructed not to get in the inquisitor's way, and in any case Rainaut is in the mayor's prison and the Gray Friars don't have that much authority here. It doesn't matter that Brother Peire is allowed to see Rainaut on the mayor's orders. The inquisitor wants privacy, so that's what he gets.

You're back early, Brother Gueri comments )

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smackenzie: (faye)
But it doesn't take very long for Brother Peire to realize that Rainaut won't be swayed - not by charity, not by kindness, and certainly not by Brother Peire's earnestness, which Rainaut seems to find funny.

"You really are here just to talk to me," he says on the fifth day of his imprisonment, after Brother Peire has just spent a good twenty minutes trying to explain why women priests run counter to the laws of God and nature.  "You have no agenda and no ulterior motive."

"Why do you think I would?" Brother Peire answers, confused.  He isn't here for politics.  He's just trying to help.

"Because I think your abbot and your order are trying to soften me up before the inquisitor gets here, because you want the credit for getting me to recant."

But we do want you to recant. )

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smackenzie: (faye)
It's dark in the cellar, but Brother Aimeric has left the door open behind him so there's a little light. Brother Peire wishes he had some candles so he could see the heretic more clearly, because right now the man is little more than a shadow sitting cross-legged on the cellar floor.

"Good morning," Brother Peire says, a little hesitantly. "I've brought you some breakfast."


"That's kind of you," the heretic says flatly.  "Free food before you throw me in prison and charge me for inedible meals."

"We would never do that."

"No, of course not, you're good men."  His voice is sarcastic.  Brother Peire is a little taken aback.

We are, he wants to say.  We are good men.  But he doesn't think that saying so would help the conversation any.

His eyes are adjusting to the darkness of the cellar )

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smackenzie: (faye)
"My apologies, Brother." Brother Gueri pats him on the arm. "Next time you lead the service. Keep your eyes on me and that way you won't be so distracted."

So the next day, when they arrive at Sers Aelinor's house, after the now-traditional offering of wine and equally traditional polite refusal, Brother Peire leads both her and Brother Gueri in worship.  He knows this is really the abbot's role, but the abbot has a great many things to do and besides, the old lady specifically requested the two friars, not the abbot. (One or two of the more speculative and gossipy brothers suggest that the old lady's merchant son requested the afternoon service because he knows it's the abbot's job to lead the worship services, and he wants the abbot to minister to his mother personally because it will show how much power the merchant has. This is considered a bit uncharitable an explanation by most of the friars.)  Brother Peire is comfortable with the service - and this time he keeps his place - and as it goes on, he becomes more and more comfortable leading it.  By the end of the last hymn and the final words of gratitude and praise, he’s starting to wonder if he might someday be ready to strike out on his own, to travel the world (or at least this part of it) as a wandering friar.

St Austor was not himself much of a wandering mendicant )

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total words: 5521

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