T H E C H U R C H O F S T A R R Y G L O R Y
Prioress Cabot New Vegas, The Tops "The voices of Vegas - The Billy Knight Show"
Looking from behind the stage the Prioress looked at the slim figure of Billy, who slowly strolled onto the stage, wearing his trademark suit like a slick salesman, before waving into the crowd. "Welcome, Welcome, Welcome! So glad you all could make it! My, my,my...what do we have here! Hey mister, keep your hands where i can see them! Gomorrah is down the street!"
Some laughter came from the sides, as a red-faced Brahmin Baron slowly took the hands off the shoulders of what looked to be his companions for the evening.
Strolling over to his armchair, Billy Knight took a seat, as the small band still was playing near him, with the ghoul saxophonist getting more and more into short final solo. "Ay, Ay, Ay...look at that! Better check if your tongue is still in place, Jacob my rotten friend!"
The ghoul just rolled his eyes, as the crowd once more broke out into a short polite laughter. Billy used the moment to light himself a cigarette, looking rather dandy in his sharp suit, his hair slick and smooth. "So much going on in Vegas, and so little time. I wont bore you folks with politics, but y´all know if any NCR folks is around, you man notice them due to the gigantic sweat building up on their heads right now. Boyos...next time you invade, try preparing first!"
Clapping into his own joke, the Prioress narrowed her eyes, as could not help but feel more disgruntled over her appearance on this show. But there had to be a public face to be maintained."But tonight´s first guest, is someone you may have heard before. Like most people, i didnt realized when they appeared, but BAMN...suddently it was the talk of the town! The Church of Starry glory...first time i heard it i thought it was some kind of new menu item at he Ultra-Luxe, but no, its a new religion. Well, some people got worried, but i for my part, got intrigued! So, without further delay...THE PRIORESS!"
Once more, the band was fired up, as the prioress walked onto the stage, a wide, flashy smile on her lips, and a slow pace in her step. The dress was modest enough for her position, yet still fitting for the occasion, as she stept towards the host, who got up from his chair, before gently taking and kissing her hand. "My, my, my...must say, Marrying in your church may be rather hard for most men, with such reminders of lives beauties running around. Its a pleasure, Prioress!" "Oh please, Mr. Knight! Just call me Emogene!"
The prioress had little intrest in perusing anything that would seem like pompous or an agenda. She had made her plans the moment she had received the invitation, and would stick with it. She had adapted for almost 400 years now, this was just another masquerade."Well then, Emogene, lets be frank and earnest here! And i am not talking about the names i use in Boneyard and New Reno. What is your church, and why is it here in Vegas! Everyone seems to know about it, but nobody seems to know details. Help us understand your little congregation!"
Emogene smiled, as she herself would open her small cigarette case, before leaning in, allowing Billy Knight to give her fire. She leaned back in her chair, taking a moment to blow out the smoke, before answering the Question. "It is not my church, nor my congregation. I am little more then a guiding voice, offering help to the people that seek it. For this is what the Church of Starry Glory is. A helping voice for all, who seek the special something that Vegas CANT offer. Many who come to us, for we welcome everyone, no matter which walk of life, tell us about their angst, which they only felt in the city of Vegas, for even a paradise like this, can lead to melancholy for some people, who feel that life is going over them too fast. This is where our church is coming in, and which brings me such fulfillment! To allow people to slow down, and realize what beauty there is in each and every one of us, beside the glitter and glamour."
The prioress could see the sweat build up on Knights face, as he seemed for fear that this would turn into a critique of the city and with it, a critique of Mr. House. Seeing him in such a state woke a strange satisfaction in the prioress, as she watched him. "So think bad of Vegas? Blaming it for the problems these people have?"
The prioress sharked her head, before once more guiding the cigarettes to her red lips. "Not at all! Vegas is a paradise, and rightfully the greatest city in all the wasteland! Yet i do think, that our little church does provide a certain service this city needs, yes...craves! We do so gladly, and for those who cant afford it, free of charge. Nobody needs to feel lonely, for there is a greater community around us all, even if we cant see it!"
Knight nodded, before once more lifting up his cigarette. "But there is the accusation that your church is little more then another cult, like the Hubologists or...well, radiating friends of the Atom-Worshippers!"
Raising an eyebrow, Emogene looked right into Knights eyes, before smiling. "Do i look like the kind of woman who would worship radiation? Or follow an crazed man called Dick? No, we are not a cult! Our church is open for everyone to come and go, and we dont demand any oaths of secrecy. Nor do we claim some devine truth as our birthright. All we do, is share the ideas and devotion of starry glory...the idea that there is something great out there, and that it loves us!"
Knight blew out some smoke, before he tilted his head to the side, the fear of criticism on the system seemingly gone. "Well, it would be hard to believe for me, that a crazed cultist would get onto a stage like that, and...well, look as charming as you do, Emogene.." "GET A ROOM, BILLY!"
The rough voice of the ghoul Saxophonist, broke the silence and it was followed by a long laughter of the crowd. "You are a charming man yourself, Mr. Knight! But you are just as welcome as anyone else, to visit our church in western Vegas. We do have plans to expand, but have yet to find a fitting building for it. Real estate is sinfully expensive in Vegas.."
To close the door back to her changing room, had been more then welcome, after the endless chatter of Billy Knight, who soon after the start had drifted into bad jokes and puns, what seemed to be his common form of entertainment. Still, she was quite sure, that the unenlightened had bought her tale and story. Sitting down in front of the mirror, she took a moment to look at her reflection. Closing her eyes, she could hear the squealing of the thing her father had turned into, which now was hidden away, deep below the church...
T H E C U L T O F U G - Q U A L T O T H
Few knew, that the city above, was just a small part of the true extend of the holy city. Below it, had been a true, apocalyptic sprawl of tunnels, chambers and halls, so extensive, that to this day, even the massive excavations and works of the cult, had only opened a fraction of them to be put to use for the Cult. Some where used for storage, to house slaves or as dungeons for sacrifices and prisoners, yet the most feared of them all, where the breeding pits, where the Cult had been experimenting with radiation, chemicals and the miasma. Death had been ripe, yet the prophet had made sure that his devoted flesh-crafters never lacked equipment, beast and slaves to experiment on.
The greatest success had been the giant Mole-Rat, able to carry a man on its back, forming the mount of choice for the cults cavalry. So far, it had been the only creature they had success at breeding in masses, yet the hopes were high for other monstrosities to soon support the war effort...
Thousands of steps, the prophet was carried on his palanquin, deeper and deeper into the pits, surrounded by the heavy boots of his personal guard, the iron masked deathless guardians, dark green skinned super mutants, fanatical in their faith and fearsome in battle. At each time, ten of them where around him, armed with heavy rifles, an axe attached to the barrel. Slave, Master and sometimes even beast, quickly fell on their knee, as soon as they saw the palanquin and guardians approch, as the carriers and guardians carelessly stomped over everything in their path. The Prophet remained silent in his seat, his legs crossed and his hands resting on the black book in his hands. Even now, it was whispering at him, confirming his choices and pushing him to greater deeds. "It will be done...all has been to your design! I can see it clear, i can see the path! Fools, vermin, insects...they are mere tools, tools for your deed!"
A cold shiver ran down the prophets back, as he threw his head backwards, before breaking out in a loud laughter, roaring and pressing the book closer to his chest, before suddently turning around. "THIS ONE...I WANT HIS HEAD NOW!"
The slave let out a panicked scream, as two of the prophets deathless took hold of him, begging for mercy as he soiled his pants. The blind prophet grinned satisfied as he heard the sound of flesh been torn, before waving off in the direction of the sound. "Give me his head...NOW GIVE IT TO ME! I WANT TO HEAR ITS SECRETS! IT SHALL TELL ME WHERE THEY HIDE IT! NOW NOW NOW!"
For the rest of the step, the prophet would clutch both the book, and the bloodied head against his chest. Then clarity once more came over him, like a wave approching a beach, and with a disgruntled groan, he tossed the head from his palanquin, before rubbing his bloodied hand off on his robe. Insanity was as light as a feather, yet a clear mind weight more on him, then the whole city above.
Disgruntled, the Prophet longed for the easiness of the madness, as he glared at his surrounding, blind, yet taking in the sounds around him. Corridor after corridor were passed, as the short snips of sounds came from them, then faded as the openings passed them, as the smell of blood, shit and decay lay in the air, heavier then at any other place in the holy city. Slavers tugged chains of giant beasts, while cages where pushed and whips were cracked. Somewhere, a deathscream of something huge filled the silence, before a louder roar filled the air, broken by a long human scream. The prophet let out a sigh, as he covered his nose, the holy book still in his hands. Then finally, they stopped, and the prophet rose from his seat. Used to the movement, he easily stepped down, a waiting back of a slave already allowing him to lower himself, as his other foot found a back to pass onto, before another allowed him to reach clear fooding. Raising his arm, he felt the strong grip of one of his deathless, as he was guided forward. By now, they had to be miles below the earth, as the monolith seemed so far and so small, that the prophet felt a cold shiver of fear down his spine, as he broke free from his guiding guards.
The sniffling great-master of the pits ran around the prophet like a cornered rat, squealing out compliments and excuses alike. "We...we work like madmen! Yes..yes...but there is only so much we can do with the materials we have! We need more equipment! Better laboratories! More scientists...more...
The prophet had outpaced him by now, as the heavy steps of the great-master had a hard time to follow, seemingly troubled to press himself against the close walls, that the prophet could feel around him. The hallway was narrow, yet their goal lay right ahead. "Show it to me! Show me what the secrets of the old world allowed us to creat! Show the warrior you have promised me."
A heavy door was opened, as futher people fell on their knees. Yet the prophet could feel the thing in front of him. He could feel the wild soul, unbroken and...
Useless.. "A great success already! To form such a specimen from our limited tools! His body is strong, stronger even then the Super Mutants that already serve in your army, blessed prophet! Yet, they lack...well, we cant wake him, but that does not mean he is not alive!"
The prophet could feel the fear in the grand-master, yet it was not uncalled for. Stepping towards the thing, the prophet almost fell over something, yet he could not care less, as he placed his hand on the creature. The skin was as thick as leather, and felt warm below his touch. "Be careful prophet! It could wake any moment now." "No, it wont wake! It will never wake...THIS THING HAS NO SOUL INSDIE IT! NO SPARK OF LIFE! IT IS AS GOOD TO ME AS A STATURE.."
The prophet felt his anger raise, as his nails digged into the book at his chest. "You promised me, when i brought you the FEV from Vault 87, that you would make me an army of Super Mutants..WHERE IS MY ARMY, YOU WORM?"
It was the muffled whimper of the grand-master, that made the prophet seal his fate. Screaming, he could smell the flesh burn and heat near him, before grand master faded from this world. The silence remained, and the blind prophet slowly placed his hand back on the mutant. His face was deformed, even for such a beast, as his chest lifted up and down, and he took breath, yet never would open his eyes, nor form a thought in his useless brain. "Who is the most senior of you lot.."
The prophet spoke into the room, with only the fire of the corpes of the old grand master bringing some noise, to the dry silence of the clicking and flicking of machinery. "That would be me, holy prophet.
A shivering voice, just as weak and confused as the old one, yet the death of the former grand-master had sated the prophets anger for no. "What is your name?"
The question seemed to have taken the scientist by surprise, as he needed a moment to answer. "Lesko Weston, holy prophet! Most faithful, and always loyal to the cult!
The prophet nodded, as his fingers moved over the maw. Sharp teeth had formed in it. "Tell me, what do we need to created Super Mutants that are ALIVE when they have turned?"
Where a nose should have been, was just a snort, and the light breath was cold as ice. "Holy prophet, the samples we work with a highly irradiated! The FEV has been deluded and mishandled for almost 200 years by super-mutants themselves! We can only create super mutants with a clearer FEV sample...and non-irradiated hosts! I am sorry, holy prophet but this is the truth!"
The sudden backbone pleased the prophet, as he slowly walked away from the creature, past the stuttering Weston and back to his guard. "We shall see to it then! This project is halted for now...see to it that the labor on it is used on other projects, grand master.."
Weston Lesko would need a whole five minutes, until he realized, that he had been promoted...
Once, many years ago, the ruins the Skull Monolith resided in, had been a city of hope. A young, yet proud republic had been formed, displaying the lone tree as their symbol and taking it up as their name. The lone tree Republic had rallied farmers and settlers alike and when the Cult came, they had taken up arms in defense of their home. They fought the good fight, yet in the end, the city was sacked in a slaughter, that had been made legend by the monument build in its memory. The Skull Monolith was a gigantic pile of pale bones, bound and glued together. In its shade, the river still ran, yet it was heavy with slag and polution as the tress had long cut, to provide material for forges, barracks and other buildings. Few of the slaves in the city of the Skull Monolith were of the old population, who had survived the slaughter, as the majority had been brought here, into one of the few other places of industry, the cult held outside of the holy city. It was a crude imitation to the factories and forges in the north, yet it still provided the slavers and warbands of the south with weapons, armor and ammunition.
Hank was licking his lips, as he tugged the leash of the slave girl, forcing it to walk with him, as he made his way through the workshop. "Good news, you lazy bastards! You are all sold...well, except of you, my darling! Aint no way i am gonna let go of you!"
His eyes roamed over the body of the red haired beauty, who still struggled against the tug of his leash. He would enjoy breaking her in, before most likely selling her later, when she got to timid for his taste. Hank loved himself some girls with fight in them. The sack of caps on his belt felt heavy, as he made his way out of the workshop, the crying and sobbing of the slaves soon interrupted by screams and whips. "See girl? Lot easier with me. Gonna take care of you good! Yeah, really..really good!"
His grin grew, as the girl spat in his direction, yet Hank laughed, before smashing the back of his hand against her face. "Some delicious fight you have in you...i like that! Dont lose it to fast, or i may make you regret it."
Tugging her back on her feet, Hank, crossed the busy streets, with Warriors, slaves and cultists going their way, light being provided by crude electronic lamps. A few stands offered their wares, yet above all was the chatter and chanting of the priests near the Monolith. Hank had to admit, it was an impressive sight, even though he cared little about the cults religion. All he cared for at the moment, was to get back to his boat with the red haired girl on his leash. "You have name?"
Hank grunted, as he stepped through some mud, past a bleeding corpse of a slave, with two dogs ripping pieces of flesh from his corpse. The girl did not answer, yet kept glaring at him with eyes of pure hate. "Fine, i am gonna give you one later! Who knows, maybe i tattoo it onto your forehead, that you dont forget it!"
A dark laughter escaped the slavers lips, as he gave the leash another pull. Passing a line of slaves, that had to constantly push the wheel of a primitive mill, under the watchful eye of two cult warriors, who took turns on lashing the slaves. Far away, a rifles was fired, as drunken laughter filled the night. Another normal night in the town, that both cultist and normal scum frequented. Hank stopped for a moment, to light himself a cigarette, before turning to his slave. "Lets play a little game you trash...left cheek or right cheek?"
Walking closer, he took hold of the girls face, grinning down on her, as he struggled, while he moved the glowing cigarette in front of her. "Shhhhh...just a little burn! Aint the worst thing that will happen to.."
There was no sound when Hank flew through the air, and the light was all around him. Night turned into day, as everything seemed muffled around him. Like a sack of flour, he was tossed around, by hot waves of air, as he could not even feel the pain. Another flash of fire stripped half his cloths form him, as for a second, he could see a Warrior fire into the sky, before a lance of light hit him, and turned him into ash in an instant. Then, he could feel the ground rumbeling below him, as he slowly turned his head and saw it. The Skull Monolith was burning!
Crawling, the Slaver wanted to get away, yet there was no escape, as the gigantic pile of burning bones, collapsed under its own weight, thousands of skulls falling down onto the people below. For just a second, Hank could feel the irony of the late revenge, the old people of the Lone-tree republic, could now rain down onto the cult that had destroyed their home...then the World around Hank turned dark.
It was day, when Hank woke up. Not for a second, he believed to be dead, as many other fools would. The air was heavy with fire and ash, and where ever he looked, he could spot corpses. Yet her had surived, and he would not spend a second longer at this place. It was then, when he noticed that he was stuck, half burried below skulls and debris, yet nothing he could not remove in time. The sharp pressure against his side even told him that he still had his caps. Taking a deep breath, the slaver began to push, trying to free the buried part of his body, yet then, he also noticed the shadow falling onto him. Looking up, he could not make out the face as the light of the sun blended him, yet he could see the red hair...and the glitter of the knife in her hand"Lets play a game, shall we? Left or right cheek.."