“Are you ready?” he murmured.
Beth nodded. In truth, however, she didn’t know whether she was or not.
Lucius led her into the hall, silently shutting the door behind them. He walked down the centre aisle with her at his side, focused while she looked around at the walls and the ceiling. Everything was so carefully painted and decorated, she realised. She could see not one mistake in the painting—not from where she was stood anyway.
As the two of them neared the other end of the hall, Beth realised that what she had seen had, indeed, been an altar. This was a place of worship. She turned to Lucius, her mouth open to ask him what god it was they worshipped, but he lifted a finger to his lips, signalling her to remain silent. She did as he wished, closing her mouth.
When they reached the altar, Lucius released her hand and slid to his knees, leaving Beth unsure of what to do. Before she could gather her senses, however, he was rising again, his head bowed. He once again signalled her to be silent as he led her to the right and into a side room, shutting the door again.
“This is our chapel,” Lucius murmured.
“You’re religious?” Beth asked. This was something she definitely hadn’t expected, but she couldn’t explain why it surprised her so.
“Not in the same way that you mean in the mortal world. A mortal religion believes in a deity – or deities – of whom you have no proof. The deities that we worship here are ones that we know; they are the Powers that choose the Fatechildren; the beings that create and destroy worlds; those that control even Fate and Destiny. There are twenty-three of them.”
“Twenty-three?” she asked, surprised there were so many. “That’s a lot.”
“As opposed to what? Hinduism – one of the most common earthly religions – has thirty-three million deities.” Beth saw his point. “Besides, usually you worship one, or a few, that has a personal meaning to you. Despair and Grief are quite common, as saddening as it is.”
Beth herself had never held a religion, not since she was very young. She’d been encouraged into it by her friends’ parents. Whenever she’d spend the Saturday night there, they’d take her to Church on the Sunday morning. When she’d reached her pre-teen years, it had no longer been something that interested her much.
“Why are we in here?” Beth asked, looking around the relatively small room they were in.
Lucius walked over to one of the many cupboards that lined the walls, opening it.
“This is where we store memories,” he answered quietly, taking a small vial from a shelf in the cupboard. It glowed slightly and something seemed to be swirling around inside.
“Whose memory is that?” Beth asked quietly.
“He’s long dead now. He wanted to forget the sight of all of his best friends dying in battle,” Lucius replied.
“Reasonable enough,” she murmured.
“Agreed,” he said, putting it back in the cupboard.
He opened another door that led them further into chapel. Inside here, there was a chair in the centre of the small room and not much else. A font sat beside the chair, glinting dimly like marble. It was empty at the moment but it obviously held some sort of fluid when it served its purpose.