∴ A Cup Overflowing ∴
You kneel before the altar, the rail before you smoothed by centuries of supplicant hands, the unforgiving flagstones pressing against your knees. Staring down at your own callused fingers, you try to clear your mind of earthly things – but to no avail.
You cannot help but replay the last duel over and over, analysing each feint and flurry, barely suppressing a smile as you recall the frantic dance, the playful balance of energies. The thing was, though, he almost had you. Were it not for a startled and scruffy parry, which sent your opponent’s blade plunging into the black dish of your guard rather than your chest, your duelling days would be over.
“The blood of Christ.”
You snap your eyes upward, reveries interrupted. The priest stands before you, patient and inscrutable, the chalice proffered in his vein-lined hand. With a nod of reverence you reach for the sacred vessel, noting the scalloped rim, the subtle petal-like segments. Confound it! Even this – the blood of Christ himself – cannot fail to remind you of the sword.
You choke back the thick, sweet wine, and pull yourself to your feet. It is not this cup that will bring you salvation. Not today. Turning on your heel, you half-run for the door, oblivious to the wide-eyed stares of queuing penitents.
You have drilling to do.