(2018-03-17) Hearing the Good Word
Hearing the Good Word
Summary: In which our heroes attend a tent revival and meet the circuit Pastor who's got it well in hand.
Date: 2018-03-17
Related: None
Player Characters: Audgrim, Bea, Penny, EmmahSue (ST)

Shout Amen! Tent Revival

First of all, there are people. Just… just so many people, several hundreds milling about chatting and laughing and carrying on as they move back and forth from one tent to the next. It has all the bustle and chaos of a circus, but with far more outbursts of HALLLELUJAH and cries of AMEN in return. Several smaller tents are scattered here and there, jury-rigged and brought up to make more room. The official tents are five:

  • The Rally Tent - this is the largest, where the pastors and preachers are sharing the good word in a continuous stream of sermons that just won't quit.
  • Healing Crusade - feeling under the weather? Got a bum knee? A fatal disease? Come to the Healing Crusade, where men and women with the LORD in their hands are willing to make the attempt at healing what ails you.
  • Sit With The Lord - when you need a moment of quiet along with a couple hundred of your fellow faithful, come have a seat. This is the only quiet place in the revival, and all the noise outside makes that a dubious claim.
  • Praise Him! - music and singing and thrashing about as the Holy Spirit enters the body and speaking in tongues, let the pure and righteous energy wash through you until it pours out your mouth and your hands!
  • Be Saved My Child - the baptism font is here, water in a tub blessed by the preachers of the revival. It doesn't look like much, just a stool in front of the folding chairs, but all you need for a good baptism is the water, the will, and the watching eyes of your fellow saved, really.

O! but the crowd on this mid-afternoon on the first day of the revival is delighted to be here! They're in the company of their fellows, and if there are heathens about, they're in a proper protest spot outside the tent grounds, constrained by the very law they try so hard to use against the Faithful. Attendees are wearing WWJD bracelets in bright orange and pink and blue (as their preference and supplies allow), meeting new friends and greeting old ones. It's noisy and chaotic and everyone's a-ok with that so far. Children run willy-nilly through the space, chasing each other, chasing balls, getting the back of a hand if they smack-talk their elders, then running off to do it all over again. Who could possibly hurt them here? This is a good place.

"… an exciting morning it has been, what a blessing. But, God, it is not over yet and I pray that you would please just bless the preaching service now and use it for the purpose that you intended and help it to be a fitting devotion to you in Jesus' name I pray. Amen!" The end of the prayer booming from a loudspeaker over the Rally Tent is echoed by the folks nearby: Amen! It passes in a ripple through and around the tents: amen Amen AMen AMEn AMEN AMEN! as even those who didn't hear the prayer pick it up in a wave.

Audgrim got a flier handed to himself by a person listening to him busking the other day. He has no idea what this is, but has made his way here now and paid whatever fee if there is one, making his way through the crowd with lazy amazement, eyes wide. He soaks it all up - so many /people/. He's not been in a crowd like this before. The booming voice has him nervous and curious at once, and the echo of the Amens has him looking around, and he even murmurs one himself. Just in case. Some gods are totally real, after all.

Bea arrives, dressed the part in an all-white outfit of peasant blouse and white skirt, though there's already dirt at the knees where she's clearly stopped to dig in the dirt. She carries a large basket full of goodies, which she hands out to any who want it, offering a cheerful "Gesundheit!" in response to any blessings and amens thrown her way. Bea loves a party, and this seems like a fun one, even if there is a whole lotta god-talk. Perhaps unsurprising, she heads toward the dancing and singing, getting way into the holy moves. Or maybe just letting everyone know where the nearest patch of early blooming flowers is.

She doesn't seem to have paid much attention to the sermon being blasted, but when the Amen roars over, she gets caught up in it, throwing up her hands and wiggle-dancing toward the center of that yummy glamour-wave of emotion, as well as the call, that's flowing out of the rally tent. "AMEN! WOOOHOO!!!" She even lets out a loud, whistling ululation in the throes of her excitement.

She's not the only one. The crowds are moving that way as well, a flow of people towards the Rally Tent accompanied by a "Pastor Bobby's going to talk!" and "Oh, get me a seat!" Some few head for other locations - the Praise Him! tent never quite goes quiet, the Sit With The Lord tent never quite goes empty - but it's clear that the preacher is the big draw, and he's getting started shortly. It's easy to move with them, harder to move against them; the energy and enthusiasm of the crowd is almost palpable. For now it's trending in flavor towards the delighted, as Bea is enjoying so thoroughly.

Audgrim might not be the smartest, but even he realizes that his appearance at this event is funny. It makes him grin as he follows the crowd, and he also does his best to blend in amongst adults - some small kids can see his true self, and that wouldn't really be good in this crowd. He spots Bea, because she's hard to miss and drifts near her. "Hey," he calls behind her, catching up. He's thankfully quite tall so can look over the heads of many, to get a look further ahead as they filter into the tent. "So many people."

Bea grins at Audgrim as he finds her, linking arms so they won't be separated, but pulling him excitedly toward the tent. "Oh sure, and that's because people are afraid, Audgrim, and this sort of thing makes them remember just how nice it is to be happy, and gives them like a light in that dark spot. And I can see I was right, and you are like a spook now, so you should pay attention, and just look close, 'cause even I can tell this is just like whistling in the dark, but still it is a little fun, and most people don't even realize it is what they are doing, so that makes it a little easier, and nicer all around, if you ask me." She chatters away, even as she gets into the tent and finds a spot along the edge of the tent, not bothering to try to find one of the coveted seats. She does try to maneuver herself and Audgrim toward the front of the tent though.

It won't take long for the Rally Tent to be standing-room only. For now, the elderly and infirm are getting the seats right up front, so that much Christian spirit remains intact. The crowds tend towards the older set, but there are plenty enough 20- and 30-somethings to pretend that the faithful aren't out of touch. Here and there, cellphones are in hand, but it's not enough to interrupt. This is a Live Event, after all.

Up 'front', which is quite a distance because this tent is v. large, there's a raised dais and a microphone. Hanging behind/above is a cross, wood festooned with Christmas lights glowing brightly. They cast odd shadows across the otherwise dimly lit space, so that attention can go to the speaker, and attention can be on someone within arm’s reach, but the room is otherwise just a mass of bodies. Hard to tell exactly how many are here.

Pastor Bobby steps up onto the dais and in front of the microphone. Audgrim and Bea can see the real him: too slender, too pale, with sallow cheeks and eyes literally alight with energy that drifts out in colored streamers. When he smiles, the edges of his teeth are just a bit pointed, and are there… too many of them? There are too many rows, shark-like. He steps forward and jumps right in: "Men and women of Jesus, welcome! Consider! Revelation 21. I am gonna preach to you today on a subject that I really don't preach very often… because it is an unpleasant subject. And, believe it or not, it is a subject that I don't really like to think about very much. Now I preach a lot of very hard sermons and I would be described by most as a hell-fire and damnation preacher because I preach HARD on sin! I beat the pulpit! I shout against what is wrong! But when it comes to hell it is a horrible thought! It is a horrible subject. It is something that we all fight against! But it is my duty as a preacher, I believe, to preach to you tonight on this subject, THE HORRORS OF HELL!"

A sharp gasp follows that vivid declaration. Several women start fanning themselves (either the tent is warm, or Pastor Bobby's enthusiasm is exciting, or both) and voices rise up in cries. "AMEN!" "YOU SPEAK IT PASTOR B!" "TELL US WHAT IT IS!"

Audgrim does glare a bit at people and elbow the way for him and Bea, so they find a good spot where they can see the pastor clearly. He isn't expecting what happens and his jaw drops as the Pastor comes into view. "Helvete," he breathes, which is his most favorite Norwegian curse, and it literally means…. Hell. He nudges Bea with a hand, just in case she isn't seeing what he's seeing, giving her a raised eyebrow in a silent question. He slouches a bit after that, trying to stay a bit hidden - he doesn't know this Pastor, after all. Even so, he's attentively listening.

Bea listens to the pastor with surprising intensity, occasionally glancing around the room to see how the other listeners are reacting. Audgrim's nudge gets a nod and a little smile. When people start whooping and hollering again, she joins in for a moment, gotta support her fellow Lost, after all. Then, with a mischievous look and a giggle, she leans in to Audgrim and jokes, "What do you think would happen, if me with my wings and my Spring-ness, and you with your horns and your Autumness were to just show everyone how we looked for real, and pretend to be like a demon and an angel having a fight?" She's totally joking…mostly, the imagining of it setting her into a fit of giggles she tries to stifle by covering her mouth with both hands and breathing as if she's nearly hyperventilating. At least she fits in with the swooners.

"Well, we're gonna think about Revelation 21 verse eight. The Bible reads, But the fearful! and unbelieving! Of course the unbeliever will spend eternity in hell. It says, And the abominable! and murderers! and WHOREmongers! and sorcerers! and idolaters! and ALL LIARS! Well, that covers everybody!" Bobby gestures at himself, then out at the crowd in a sweeping motion. "All of us! You! and me, and you! All liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with FIRE and BRIMSTONE: which is the SECOND DEATH!"

With each passing word, the sensation of gathering emotion rises a little higher. It's like the car on a roller-coaster, inching upwards towards something… something big. The Lost can feel it coming, can sense the rising explosion. One of the women he gestured at when he called out about fire and brimstone gives a shudder, eyes wide. Her neighbors give her a bit of space, because she's trembling. Is she a liar? It must be so, because she's shaking in jittering starts and stops, and they don't want to get too close. It might be catching. The crawl of glamour rising across skin is a twist-mix: delight and fear and excitement and the edges of hysteria.

"Listen to this now! And there shall in no wise… what does that mean? He is saying, No way! There shall in no wise enter into Heaven anything that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination. Listen! Or maketh a lie! How many lies are allowed! NONE! How many of you are liars! All of us!"

Several people throughout the tent are starting to fidget now. They're creating pockets of that itchy near-hysteria, and up front, Pastor Bobby is directing it all. A sweep of hand there, a pointing finger here, and the streamers of white and gold and red always spilling upwards to the tent's fabric roof, then wisping away again, taken in with every breath of the crowd.

"I think," Audgrim murmurs to Bea, "we'd barely be noticed. They all look at him." He too is enthralled, not only by the fiery speech - but by the emotions rolling off of people. He's bathing in a wave of guilt glamour, of uncomfortable fear of being a sinner. Definitely a different sort of fear than what he's tried to gain before, and it is exciting, making his tail whip fast behind and above his head, eyes gleaming yellow and teeth shining white as he grins. He has to taste this particular brand of glamour, so he lets some of his own go just so he can soak up this new emotion.

Even Bea looks a little itchy-guilty as the Pastor talks of the liars and the whatnot. But she nods to Audgrim, agreeing, "For sure, they wouldn't notice anything. And he is a real good talker." She falls silent then, caught up in the Autumn Preacher's speechifying.

The Beast's not the only one releasing to gather, though Pastor Bobby's efforts are more deliberate. Sharp teeth gleaming, the preacher pours the energy out to the crowd, then draws it back in again, a smooth flow in and out until he and they and Audgrim and even Bea just a little, are are all proverbially breathing in sync. Glamour in, and out, and in, and out, gathering strength with each passage.

"Alla us liars, we gotta be SAVED! Let's picture, if you will, a man and he is on his death bed DYING. He has lived his life. He is an old man and he is in the hospital, picture him! And the little monitor is measuring his heart beat. It is slowin' down. He closes his eyes and slips off into death. What happens to him? What is going to happen? He is an unbeliever. He is unsaved. Well, the Bible said in Luke 16, And in hell he lift up his eyes… That's how fast that man is going to be in hell! You say, Well, is he going to stand before judgment before God? NO! He is condemned already because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten son of God!"

The car on the roller-coaster tips over the edge: the smooth flowing rush of glamour becomes a free fall as people throughout the crowds begin to scream and shake. The Holy Ghost (or at least the hysteria that mimics it close enough for no nevermind) is a staggering, vibrating presence that jumps about at random. Thrashing and nonsense words spiral out of a multitude of throats, all at once. And still Pastor Bobby up at the mic keeps shouting, louder now, drumming the beat harder: "That man breathed his last breath and in a moment, from the time it takes him to close his eyes for the last time when he opens them he is in HELL!"

To Audgrim: This… this is amazing. This is fear of death, fear of hell, just fear, fear for its own sake, no purpose to it. Hysteria with an edge, not yet turned to anger or relief. It's a rush that just doesn't stop, moment by moment in an ecstatic frenzy that Audgrim only barely understands, so new to the court as he is.

To Bea: This… this is so close. It's so close to the relief and delight that Bea knows, she just *knows* will happen any moment now! Downright frustrating, to see it within her grasp and not… quite… there… yet…

Audgrim is so distracted by the pastor, he barely listens to Bea. He's also a performer albeit a different kind, but he recognizes the brilliance. He takes glamour, lets it go, takes it - he's getting that glazed look on his face that Bea probably recognizes, a sort of glamour high.

His mantle reacts too. His shadow, which sometimes moves about on its own in monstrous shapes, is now slithering around the nearby people, raking up the glamour and pouring it back into the demonic beast. This is Autumn glamour at its finest. The smell of wet autumn leaves is so heavy around him, some of the humans might even sense it.

For Bea, this is a different sort of glamour than the palette-cleanser of Spring desire she's used to, but she's certainly not immune to the emotional wave that goes out. She gives a little shudder and starts to wend her way through the crowd, watching their responses with a genuine fascination as the start getting overwhelmed and speaking in tongues. It's almost the sort of hyper-fascination of someone who's stoned, an academic interest thwarted somewhat by her own glamour-muddled mind.

To Penny: This… this is amazing. This is fear of death, fear of hell, just fear, fear for its own sake, no purpose to it. Hysteria with an edge, not yet turned to anger or relief. It's a rush that just doesn't stop, moment by moment in an ecstatic frenzy that Penny knows all too well.

Penny has been here for a while, watching and observing. It's a circus like atmosphere, and she's a clown. But she's not looking the way her friends would expect. Her hair is down and brushed even, worn in more of a bob. The makeup is subdued, not gothy. She's wearing a dress. A DRESS. It's black, but is quite modest, falling past her knees. And black flats. She's almost more scary, in a Wednesday Addams as a church girl way.

This glamour, her favorite flavor, has her peaking like mad. She's trying to be subdued and quiet, but she's shaking a little, eyes closed in ecstasy.

Up front, Pastor Bobby's glowing eyes slide past Bea. His grin widens - how does a mouth manage to curve so far up at the corners - before he glances to the dazed Audgrim she's left behind. When he shouts into the microphone next, it feels like he's speaking to Audgrim alone. No doubt many people in the audience around them feel exactly the same way. "SALVATION IS WITHIN OUR GRASP. Let us pray!"

Across the room, people drop to their knees if they're able, double-over if they're seated. It happens in a wave of bodies, thrashers now on the ground in seizures, the hands of their neighbors reaching out to hold them down. The panic inspired by his words rises in a sharp spike: will there be release? The room trembles on the edge.

"Oh what a glorious day it is going to be! I can't wait to get to heaven! Man, I am *excited& about seeing Jesus! But do you know what? Almost as much as I'm excited about seein' Jesus I feel like I already know Jesus because I got the Bible right here in my heart! I mean, it is pretty much the same thing, the Word made flesh is Jesus! But, God, almost as much as I'm excited 'bout seeing Jesus, I can't wait to personally see every person that I have won to Christ. That's the one… that is what heaven is. It's not the golden streets. It's *not* the golden streets. It's not the pearly gates that I'm lookin' for. I am looking forward to putting my hand in the hand of every single person that I have won to Christ in my life and shaking their hand and looking them in the eye and knowing that Jesus and I, we are co laborers together and that person is in heaven because of my life and that my life meant something to God! That is what heaven is to me! It is going to be see Jesus and to see every person that I have won to Christ! What a glorious day that is going to be, Father. Help us to live our lives with eternity's values in view, forget the things that are seen which are temporal and think about the things that are eternal, dear God, and to love you supremely, take inventory of every part of our life. We love you and in Jesus' name I pray!"

Every single voice in the tent rises up at the same time, a blast of emotional release all together at once:

"AMEN!"

Audgrim literally sees things, glamour high as he is. Small dark shadowy sprites that whip around in the crowd, catching motes of glamour. Little devilish critters; he swipes at some that zoom around his head, because he never knows if they're real or not. He grins over at the pastor, sharp and pointed teeth, and he makes his way right to the front now. "AMEN!" he shouts too, together with everyone else. The blast of glamour is like an almost physical force, and he reels and falls flat on his back, twitching as he stares up at the tent ceiling.

All in all, he's not that different than most in here right now.

Bea watches as people go down to their knees, then turns to simply watch the pastor, seeming entirely enraptured by his words, not so much caught up in the fear as in awe of his ability. She also joins in that loud AMEN, letting out a laugh of pure release as she says it.

Penny waves her arms around during the prayer, even as her head is bowed, eyes squeezed shut, with the occasional hop thrown in. She almost screams out that AMEN, arms flying back and up. Then she almost collapses, sighing.

The pastor steps down off the dais; there's a sheen of sweat across his pale brow, slicking back his fine dark hair. He begins a meandering course through the dimly lit room, and somehow the gleam from the Christmas-lights wound 'round the cross behind him always seems to highlight his presence. With hand to shoulder or forehead, with murmured blessing and encouragement, he leaves them in a relaxed stupor as he moves past. There's no rush; the tent is full of collapsed people just breathing, settling back into their own skins, the high brought down with as much control as it was started in the first place. Audgrim gets a solid clasp to shoulder to help him find reality again: he is not alone. When he reaches her, Bea's hand is grasped and held for a good long moment: this is truth, they are together. And towards the back, a light touch pushes hair away from Penny's face as she nigh-swoons: curving past the corner of her mouth where the teeth lay hidden.

He slips out of the tent, continuing his unhurried path through the people outside who start to clamor at the sight. They didn't feel what happened in here, so they need attention too.

Audgrim opens his eyes when the Pastor squeezes his shoulder, and he stops twitching. He squints up at the man and does indeed calm down. Sitting up, he rubs his face and then slaps himself hard, because he's still seeing little sprites. He bounces to his feet, bursting with energy that needs some sort of release. He reigns it in though, instead focusing on Penny and Bea, waving at them. "Come on, let's follow him."

As the pastor grasps her hands, she gives him a smile and a conspiratorial wink, nodding as if she understands whatever silent moment is between them. She watches as he continues with that same touch of awe. But, like Audgrim, she doesn't steep in it /too/ long, heading after the Pastor almost before Audgrim has the words out, nodding to him and picking her way through the crowd carefully.

Penny meets the pastor's gaze for a moment, barely, as he touches her. She offers the faintest of smiles, but she is speechless, at least for now. Somewhere between the high and the exhaustion, she's just all noodly. His touch gave her just enough strength to stand up. She walks over to Bea, nodding at Audgrim in agreement.

It's possible to track the Pastor through the crowds outside the Rally Tent easily enough. They part and come together around him, nobody quite willing to jostle, but certainly a few brave enough to reach out a hand. And he greets that bravery with a welcoming smile, whether man or woman or child. So his path is slow through necessity, until he finally reaches a small tent off the beaten course. "Please," he asks of the masses who keep trying to get close. "I'mma need a moment to rest in some quiet, to let the Lord God settle down in my spirit after so much outpourin'. Go on then, go visit with the Holy Spirit in the Praise Tent, go on now." Reluctantly, slowly, they disperse. The trio of Lost are left with him in front of that tent, mostly alone in a crowd of hundreds moving past.

Audgrim stalks after the Pastor like a crazy fanatic, tail whipping in erratic loops, grin remaining. He's resisting an urge to shove people away, digging his claws into his palms in impatience. When they're finally alone he doesn't at first know what to say and shifts his feet, giving himself another hard slap to shake out of this. "That," he rasps, "was…" He can't find the words, staring blankly. "I think I am seeing things again now, and feel like I can maybe fly, but I don't think I will try it. I am Audgrim, nice to meet you." He sticks a hand out.

Bea has taken the opportunity afforded by the outdoors to run off some of her energy, rushing ahead to the pastor's clear destination, and bouncing around while she waits for him to get there. When Audgrim and Penny get there too, she whispers, "He seems like a friend, just like that Lillian did, and just like…Like someone you know 'cause you just go to the same coffee shop or something, but not a good friend. And still, I think he's a real good talker, and sure got all these people pretty wound up, and that's the best I've ever seen an Autumn do, without real growly sort of spooking." She seems rather impressed with the subtlety and effectiveness of his harvesting technique. When he gets there, she just waves, "Hi! Hi there. Have we met before and forgot, or am I just making things up, because you talk too nice? Do you want some cake?" She holds out the basket she has on her arm, from which she had previously been dispensing goodies.

Penny is, as the kids say these days, legit shook. Buzzing from the glamour, subdued from the fiery sermon, amazed at the man's harvesting style. She softly says, "Hi. I'm Penny." And that's pretty much it.

"Brother Audgrim, it is a pure pleasure." Pastor Bobby accepts that handshake, pumping it firmly in return. "Miss Penny, Miss Bea," he adds to the ladies with a respectful sort of nod. "Please, come on in and sit awhile, we can all enjoy them cakes." Did Bea give her name? Clearly they've met then, he used it easily enough. He slips inside, clearly fully expecting them to trail along like little duckies.

Inside, the tent is sparse: a cot, a folding table, a handful of chairs set around it. There's a cross hanging on the fabric wall, and a couple of oil lamps that aren't needed in the dim light through the walls, not at this time of day. "You never been touched by the Holy Spirit before, Brother Audgrim?" Close now, in the enclosed space, the mantle seeps in around the edges of notice. Not for the pastor are there leaves or skittering shadows. Rather there's the heat of the day easing just a hair cooler, subtle and barely there; the way the light always seems to pick out the edge of his teeth when a body glances his way, serrated jagged sharp; the unease of knowing that breathing in means breathing in the colors that drift from his eyes, smoky glamour getting everywhere and how to avoid it without stopping breath entire.

He grins at the lot of them as he settles into a chair, and even that carries an edge. It's the sort of grin that hints at traps, at dangers you know are coming but walk towards anyway. "I'm in circuit, Miss Bea," he adds to her almost gently. Like this is maybe not the first time he's said so. "We met last time I was through."

The handshake gives Audgrim further grips on reality; the Pastor is real and not a figment of his imagination and this isn't some odd dream. He relaxes and nods, grinning widely as he joins the Pastor in the tent, finding somewhere the crouch down. "Bea always has cake," he says, in case it wasn't obvious. "And no… I don't remember church from before." He frowns, having only vague recollection of a life before Faerie on any given day. He waves a hand, dismissing it - instead he gestures at Penny and Bea both, leaving the room for them.

Bea follows along, busying herself with producing the cakes and doling out pieces as everyone gets settled. She nods and ohs, looking a little relieved, but also a touch confused. "Oh, well, I am sorry, but I guess I forgot about you a little, which has happened a lot, since things are pretty weird around here, and our memories are hiding and all that, but still, it is nice to see you again, and I am betting you got way better at all that spooking church talk since the last time you were here, since for sure I would remember it, even if I forgot most everything else lately." Cake is inserted into mouth after everyone else has a piece, and that shuts Bea up for a little while at least.

"Last time you were here, was it around seven years ago?" Penny takes a piece of cake with murmured thanks, but still isn't too close to her usual more manic self. She rocks a little from side to side, then stops when she realizes it. The cake rests in her hands, uneaten.

That grin, all angler-fish charm with the teeth lurking behind, twists wry. "I don't pay so much attention to the years these days," Pastor Bobby answers with a loose shrug. "But maybe so, seven? eight?" He tears a piece of cake free, and it snags just a little in the doing, as if the bread doesn't really want to come free. That's silly. Personifying cake is silly. There's nothing frightening about him. Just look at the pleasure writ plain across his face. "Y'all planning to stick around for the rest of the revival? Miss Bea, there's gonna be a rock band in the Praise Tent later on in the evenin', gets the kids all jumpin' up and down. And Sister Penny, Brother Audgrim, they'll bring out the snakes in the wee hours, if you'd like to come by, see the Holy Spirit protect the faithful." He pops that cake into his mouth. "If they're faithful enough to d'serve protecting, that is."

Audgrim eats cake ravenously, and with little interest in being delicate about, stuffing his face. He licks his lips slowly and his tail stops moving as he gets the offer of staying around. "I will stay," he decides, not having to think too long on it, grinning widely with food on his teeth. "Maybe Penny and I can help with something."

He stands up again, and paces about a little. "Big problem with memory in this town. Have you forgot the last 7 years?"

Penny eats cake, still quiet, marinating in glamour. One can see the spiraling of dead leaves, and perhaps even hear the faint tinkling of a circus calliope. "Snake handlin, huh? Sounds interestin. I think I've heard of that kinda thing before."

"Do we eat the snakes?" Audgrim asks, not sure what else you'd do.

Penny shakes her head. "You hold the snakes, and let the snakes, um snake. And if the Holy Spirit is with you, you don't get bit."

"I can see as how you'd be helpful," the good pastor agrees most agreeably. "Can't go wrong with a little jumping out of shadows," he nods to Audgrim. "Or smles in the dark," that to Penny, "When it comes time for the snakes." Bobby settles back in his chair, legs outstretched and crossed at the ankle, hand folded on his stomach. The leak of light from beneath mostly-closed eyes is little more than a wisp while he murmurs, "The way that long lean body curls 'round shoulders and neck, squeezin' so you're not quite sure it won't strangle." Is he still watching Penny and Audgrim as he speaks? It's hard to tell for sure. "And the crowd is getting hotter and hotter, wonderin' if it's going to bite down, half of them wanting to see it, half of them scared to death they'll see someone die right there in front of'em, and the one with the snake the most nervous at all 'cuz he knows we try to get the poison out ahead of time, but never quite sure we got all of it, so he's walking that knife's edge." Is it getting warm in here? It feels like it's getting a little warm in here. "If he's faithful enough, he won't get bit. If he gets bit, if he's faithful enough, he won't die. But is he faithful enough? He's gotta be asking hisself that." Most men, um. They don't sound that pleased without some alone time first.

Bea just watches the Autumn trio quietly for once, eating her cake and watching the Pastor. After a bit, she can't help but ask, "Do you really believe in all that god stuff? I mean, since…like…Even the Man in the woods would probably would say he is a god, but still, he is just a Gentry, and pretty rude. Or is it just like…umm…A trick, since so many people do like god, who haven't seen any Gentry?"

Audgrim finds himself mesmerized by the description. He squirms a bit and crosses his arms over his chest, tipping his head down to thoughtfully consider the Pastor. "I can play," he offers. "The violin. At the snake handling." He grins at the prospect, because if he plays it right his Nightsinger abilities is going to add to the whole thing. He glances at Bea and nods to her questions - they're reasonable.

Audgrim almost jumps when his phone chirps - he checks it and says, apologetically; "I have to go - but I will be back later, to help." And he sweeps out with little ceremony.

Penny wipes her brow. She's feeling a touch warmer, though it is difficult to tell if it is because of the heat emanating from the pastor, or from his description of the event. "Whew. Well. Oh, by the way, this cake is delicious, Bea." And she eats more cake.

He doesn't open his eyes; the gold and red and white smoke fades away as they close further. Pastor Bobby smiles slightly at Bea's oh-so-reasonable questions, but all he murmurs in return is: "I'mma get a little nap in before I gotta preach the Good Word again, ladies. And it just ain't right, you being in here without a gentleman for company. Not respectful of your good names. You stick around for the rest of the revival, we'll see each other later." Was that a promise? That sounded like a promise.

Bea sighs and stands, looking mildly irritated at Bobby, though that doesn't stop her from leaving him the rest of that cake. "Okay then, have a good nap. It was nice to meet you…again." She looks to Penny with a shrug, and heads for the exit.

Penny finishes her cake. "Sure, I'm glad that you're protectin our good names," she says with a returned shrug to Bea. "Take care." And she heads to the exit with Bea, full of questions.

Outside there are a handful of young women watching with hopeful eyes and fluttering lashes when the tent flap opens. All of them are visibly disappointed when Bea and Penny come out instead of the pastor, and at least one of them glares bloody murder at the two women.

Penny catches that bloody murder glare, and smiles back sweetly. "Bless your heart. Oh, the pastor's tired and needs to take a nap, so he won't be seein anyone right now," she says, loud enough for the women to hear. Hmm, why is he tired? Let them ponder the mystery. "Bea, wanna get some Frugal's?"

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