The Lambs

The dreadfully dark and monstrous cathedral rose from a city that was as curiously devoid of color as it was the vibrancy of life. The shadowy metropolis resembled the Fanolanian capital of Avondace in the general sense of how it was designed and built, and yet it had none of the glittery grandeur that the human and elven city was so well known for. This appeared to be a nightmare rendition of Avondace and the terrifying edifice that stood as its cathedral cast a pallor over the entire scene.

To say that there was no color at all wasn’t exactly true. There was a procession of people wearing bright red hooded robes making their way solemnly and in perfect step two by two down the great boulevard that wound through the city and led to the hulking cathedral. They were led in their march by a figure whose robe was red and white, and the hood had a larger cowl. All of the figures had masks made of purest white alabaster that covered their faces completely, but the figure in the lead had a somewhat more ornate mask with more detail carved into it. This individual, and all but two of the others in the procession, walked with their red-gloved hands clasped in front of them in the semblance of prayer. The other two gingerly carried what seemed to be bundles wrapped in white silk close to their chests.

The procession made it way through the dark and eerily empty city until it arrived at the cathedral steps. The person in the lead held aloft their hands and the great doors swung open, allowing the parade to continue without pause into the interior of this foreboding monument. When the last participant had entered the doors swung shut and candles began to flicker to life in the hidden recesses of this dismal place.

The participants began to systematically fill the room and in steady lines arranged themselves at the pews of this dreadful sanctuary. The lead character in the red and white robe continued to the front of this chamber to where a great stone and marble altar stood. Raising his hands in prayerful supplication to the idol in the form of a pile of bones topped with an archbishop’s mitre that hung on the furthermost wall, the figure began to chant. This chant was echoed in parts by the assembled red-robed congregants. The flickering candles did not pierce the gloom of this evil ceremony, and a palpable cloud of sinister intent began to fill the entire room.

The leader turned from the altar and cued one of those with the white silk-wrapped bundles to approach. Doing so, the hooded underling held the bundle out to the leader. The overseer folded their hands in prayer, and then reached out and deftly unwrapped the bundle. The silk fell away, revealing an infant child just beginning to wake from a deep slumber.

Holding their hands high in the air, the red and white robed leader of this abysmal ceremony said in a somewhat high-pitched voice that sounded more hollow than it did substantive, “Let us give thanks for these lambs.”

The gathered attendees raised their hands as well, and said in unison, “Praise be to the ascending god!”