Markas looked up the Voudou Mamba’s location, and it seems their temple is found in a black neighbourhood, in the Meadow St.
Mark called the night before coming and arranged a meeting.
Mark goes to the location. After getting off on the street he notices strange signs. It seems that he’s entering the lands of the Circle of the Crone. Mark proceeds.
The place seems like an ordinary neighbourhood. There’s some kids and some guys, who look like they belong to some gang. Some people are eyeing Mark, he’s clearly an outsider here.
Mark knocks on the door where Mamba should be.
The house looks pretty ordinary, and within a minute a teenage boy opened the door. Behind him, some more kids could be seen, watching the newcomer.
Mark looks at the kids and smiles. “Hello, is this the place where I can find Mamba??”
“No” he shakes his head, but Mark was pretty certain this was the place, well, rather not this place, but the house inside the yard, which can be reached through this place. After all, he has visited her before.
“Can I go to the house that is inside the yard”
“10 bucks” he shoots back.
Mark takes out 10 bucks. “Here you go”, he said remembering that their sack of money is being depleted bit by bit.
The boy turns around “Alright, let’s go!” he said leading Mark through the house, into the inner yard, were the actual temple stood.
Mark goes to the temple and finds the door wide open, Mamba being inside, the only light inside is that of the candles. She’s praying at one of the altars inside. The altar is purple, there’s a box of cigars on top of it, alongside it, there was a bottle of gin and another one of white rum. Next to the bottle there’s some fish and spicy rice.
Mark makes his presence know, but doesn’t disturb the Mamba. He sits down and ways while she finishes what ever she is doing.
After several minutes, she stands up from her position. “So, Mark, what can I help you with?” she asked
“Good evening. I had few questions that I wanted to talk about” He smiles and looks around if there are any spirits in this building. “I wanted to learn from you about the spirits”
The spiritual presence here was quite strong, he could feel it, however he didn’t see a single spirit. “The spirits, they serve Loa as their loyal servants. Every spirit serves them and to know the Spirit, you must know the Loa.” she explained.
“Maybe you could teach me abou Loa then?” Mark looks with hope and interest in his eyes
“All the Loa have a sphere of life they look after, and they are the ones who can speak with the Bondye. One cannot simply learn of Loa, for to understand them, one needs to trully live with the Loa, to let them take your hand and guide you.”
Mark looks at the Mamba. Thinks for a second “How could I start this journey?”
“Firstly, you have to answer to yourself, why do you want to do it. There is no lying to the Loa” she answered quite simply.
“I yet to find my true purpose in this world and I am looking for it. But while I do that I want to learn everything I can about this world, how it works. Maybe then I will know what I must to”
“Perhaps Legba could help you. He sees all who pass through the crossroads and he alone knows the most. He could know, which Loa you should speak with” she spoke, still calmly.
“How could I speak with Legba?”
“It takes time and dedication to the Loa and to the ways of voudou. Some followers wait years until they get such a chance”
“Maybe I could start now?”
“So eager to learn?” she laughed “Tomorrow night we’ll be calling for Ghede and his guidance for Amare.”
“I will come then” Mark smiles “Are there any other beings other than Loa and spirits in this world?”
“You have much to learn.” she said “All of unnatural is either made by the Loa to serve them, or are Loa themselves, but in disguise.”
“What did Loa make?” Looks intrigued
“You will have to ask them yourself, should one day you have their approval.”
Mark holds a small talk and after it he leaves.
The yard and the temple was filled with people this time. And none of them were white. They wore colourful clothes, some of them danced, others laughed.
Mark walks to Mamba when she isn’t busy
When Mark steps into the temple, he feels the presence of two more beasts inside. One familiar – other is not.
Mark walks towards the familiar beast.
He notices Kristoferis sitting in one of the rows, he turns his head towards Mark. Next to him, another female vampire is sitting down. She too is wearing the clothes similar to the rest of the people here.
Mark sits down near Kristoferis. “Good evening” Mark extends his arm. “You might be thinking what I am doing here”
“And I imagine you’re going to be explaining yourself just about now.” he said, without moving at all.
“Yes I was” lowers his hand “I am doing research for the Dragons and I am observing the rituals of these people. I think they could help me with my research without them knowing. I promise you, I did nothing just observed and talked to few people.” Turn the other vampire “How rude of me, I am Mark”
“Marie” she responded, in a similar tone of the mamba.
“Does our faith looks like something for Dragons to research and abuse?” asked Kristoferis, clearly not happy with Mark’s response.
Nods to Marie. Looks at Kristoferis “Who said to abuse? I came here to learn, to understand it. I don’t know how strong you are attuned with spirits, but I am. I can feel that this place is no ordinary place. You may think that I don’t believe, you may think that all I want is is to abuse everything, but I am not. I want to study the world that is around me and here is a good start to do so.”
“I am very well aware of the attunement of this place, however, you’re a Dragon. And you said you’re doing this as a Dragon. And I’ve lived long enough to know, that whatever the Dragon’s can abuse for their own petty gains – they will do so. Ignoring the greater spiritual matters. So don’t speak with me as if I don’t know… that’s exactly the problem… I know far too well”
Looks down. Thinks for a second “I talked with The Mamba yesterday. She said that you can’t learn about Loa without truly understanding them. So if I were to skip the spiritual matters, I wouldn’t learn anything and all my time here would be spent for nothing, don’t you think so?”
“The Loa will only accept someone who truly believes. If you want to learn about them – you’re in a wrong place. Go to the library, they should have some books about it. True understanding requires true belief… and you are lacking in that regard.”
“What is true belief? Maybe you could explain? And please don’t say that I am a dragon and I won’t understand”
“True belief is not something one can explain. That’s why it’s belief, isn’t it? Regardless, your descent down into the church will show if you have the potential for true belief…”
“So till then, can I go to these meetings? If I am capable of true belief and you would just kick me out of here, wouldn’t that be unfair to me? And I promise, if I am not capable of true belief I will never show my face here again, is that a good deal for you?”
“It’s not me who you should be worried about…” he said, vaguely.
Mark looks confused “What do you mean?”
“You’re messing with forces you can’t even comprehend, in a desperate attempt to understand them, Dragon. I can ignore the fact that you’re a Dragon, but it will be your own undoing. Not everything can be explained… not everything needs to, that’s the greatest failure of Amir… that’s the greatest failure of you.”
“Yes ,maybe not everything may be explained, maybe not everything needs to be explained, but there is this fire thirst for it. Maybe we don’t always can explain everything, but we try, we believe we can. Maybe we don’t share your beliefs, but we have our own. We follow our beliefs as you do your own, even if they differ”
“And that is why you will fail and the Loa will claim you. Don’t think that I didn’t warn you when you’ll be dying.”
“Thank you for your warning, but I don’t think that I will grow if I don’t try and learn from my mistakes” Mark smiles
After he said so, there was a corpse brought into the temple, It was placed before the altars. The drums started sounding from the back. Mamba began a song, asking for Legba to let Ghede pass to this world. Others starting dancing to the music and to the song. Now it was obvious why the benches are spaced out so far – everyone needed space to dance. Kristoferis was moving with great strength, power rolling off of him in small waves.
Mark looks at Marie, who’s dancing as well, her clothes leaving little to the imagination. But her wild dance, doesn’t look like something a simple man could do. It was bestial. Mark doesn’t want to ruin the ritual by not know what to do, so he walks to the edge of the room and observes the ritual.
The song turns to a song calling Ghede, the dance turn even faster, with some of the people laughing cruelly, one of the dancers, the boy, whom Mark gave money, jumps towards one of the altars, grabbing the long top hat upon it and a cigar out of the box.
The people here become ecstatic, praising the coming of Papa Ghede. The boy approaches the corpse and takes his hand, showing that he’s going to lead him to the afterlife. After which the boy falls to the ground, still clutching the hand of the corpse.
He wakes, within seconds, a little bit different, the cigar still smoldering in his mouth, he places the hat back on the altar, as well as the cigar, coughing as he does not smoke.
With that the ritual turns into a celebration, some of the people rush outside, when Mark glances that way he notices that there’s tables with food prepared. These vodouisants were celebrating the child’s death and his acceptance by Ghede.
Mark looks at Kristoferis, who’s now going with the crowd outside. Mark follows the crowd and he was looking for any spiritual activity during the whole ritual. Something strange happened to the boy, but even Mark couldn’t explain what it was exactly. At the moment, there were some weak yellow and black motes flying out of the temple, visible to his eye only.
People are eating, dancing, celebrating, the sound of drums can still be heard.
Mark approaches the Mamba.”How are you, Mark?” she asked with a smile on her face.
“It was like nothing I have ever seen. What were those motes that left the temple?”
“Huh? What motes?” she asked
“Maybe I saw something… It’s my first time in these kind of things I was a bit nervous”
“When is the next ritual?”
“What did you learn of this one?” she asked.
“It was something that I have never seen before”
“and what have you learned?” asked a voice from behind. It was Marie.
“I presume one of the Loa is responsible for death and it’s inhabitance. Truly not a power to mess with”
“Oh, of course. Among the Loa there’s quite a few who concern themselves with death and the passage between worlds. After all, we worship the death. There’s plenty of good one’s too. But those don’t really come aid one’s like us.” she said, with a little bit sadder tone in the end, disregarding the presence of the mamba completely.
“You don’t like what you are?” Mark looks surprised
“I don’t like that only some of the Loa will speak with me now. However, that means I can serve them better… but I do miss some of the kinder Loa.” she said, the mamba listening carefully.
Mark looks at Mamba “Oh right, this is Marie, but I guess you already know that” makes uncomfortable hand gestures “I was really surprised to see her here. Could I talk with you a bit later, I really need to talk to Marie in private”
She nods “Of course. Marie could teach you even more than I could” she said before turning around to join the celebration.
Mark waits till mamba leaves “What does she mean by that?”
“My full name is Marie Thérèse Alourdes Macena Champagne Lovinski “ she said, as if that should explain something.
“My full name is Markas Lenindzeris, nice to meet you… again” smiles
“So you’re interested in vodou, but you haven’t done any reading on it?” after she said so, he remembered a vague reference to her being a mamba, quite known among the mortals.
“Oh I remember… You were mamba”
“I am, just that not all of the Loa respond to my calls anymore.”
“Maybe they just can’t, they have their own duties and maybe they aren’t allowed by other Loa to communicate”
“They do not answer to creatures of death and darkness, it is that simple.”
“I guess it’s pointless for me to ask to teach me about voudoun” Mark loos a bit sad
“Pointless – no. But you’ll have to get Kristoferis approval first. And then we’ll see how you can start stepping into the Circle” she said.
“I see. I will talk to him about that after the meeting in the church, he said that will go to the catacombs”
“You’re already up for passing the trial? Good luck” she said with a smile on her face.
“The more times I hear it, the less I want to go there” pauses “I guess you won’t tell me what awaits there or what kind of trial that is?”
“I won’t. But if you have what it takes – you’ll pass.” she answered simply.
“And what happens if I” pause “don’t?”
“And now you’re asking me about the trial. It’s the leap of faith you’ll have to make for yourself.”
“Sorry, I am just very curious person”
She looks at him, and it looks like as if she’s looking into his own soul.
Mark looks a bit creeped out. “I will be leaving now, have a good evening”
She nods watching as he leaves.