He was on his knees.
Barez Damask wasn't a religious man but it made sense to come to the temple from time to time. It made sense to show his face, to confirm that yes, he really was an upstanding member of society.
In Escova, Religion was important. It towered over the lives of the people like a harsh mistress, demanding both obedience and commitment. To shun the temples was seen as bad form—inexcusable really. No one worth their salt could ignore the considerable influence of religious life on every other aspect life.
Which was, again, why it made sense to show up.
He muttered out a few prayers, already counting down the seconds until it was appropriate to get up and leave. Pulling his double-fist closer, he opened his eyes to glance at the sharp-featured statue rising over him. Tristella the Martyr. Mistress of the Magic. If anyone was worth worshipping, it was her. Barez, like most Escovans, knew her story. Cast over a cliff not far from where he now 'prayed', her death had unleashed magic into the world. She was the Patron Saint of Magic. Just another thing that made sense.
When he was done, he pushed himself to his feet and reached out to touch the statue's stone toes in front of him. Reverence—especially a show of reverence—was valued. Bringing his fingertips to his lips, he planted a quick kiss and turned.
Now he could leave.
As he walked towards the exit, a novice stepped forward to block his path. “Will you not see a Priest, Worshipper?”
It was standard practise, really; to see a priest after daily devotions. Just a quick one-on-one to gauge the spiritual standing of a worshipper. Priests were meant to be consultants and confidants. Spiritual guides that would lead from sin to virture.
Barez looked at the novice for a few seconds longer than was absolutely necessary. The man seemed small, nervous even. Clearly the fact Barez was still in his leather and plate Battlemage's uniform hadn't gone unnoticed.
A smile touched the novice's face. He extended a hand to the left, pointing out a dozen small alcoves with benches open to the sea. “Pryyo bless you.”
A handful of seconds later, Barez found himself sitting on a stone bench, his fingers wrapped around the lip of the seat and his eyes studying the open sea in front of him.
William’s head jerked up – he had fallen asleep. His eyes darted to any nearby faces, but no one appeared to notice.
“Priest.” A young novice dipped his head as he passed.
William mimicked the gesture and ran his fingers over the corners of his mouth to check for drool. All those years ago when he’d first entered the priesthood, meditation had brought such clarity and reflection – now more often than not it brought a nap. At least he could do it without snoring, which was more than he could say about his brother. He glanced to his side to make sure Dylan wasn’t catching flies with his open mouth, but the bench beside William was cold and empty.
His lips pressed into a thin line. It was like watching after a child (though he was inclined never to have children of his own to compare the experience to). Mostly it wasn’t fair – Dylan should be forced to endure this shit, too.
Rising to his feet like a man twice his age, William began the dull task of moving from pew to pew. His face was frozen into a mask of understanding, while all his insides were screaming with the effort of not punching these pathetic excuses for human beings right in their pathetic faces. Like a dog dreaming of chasing rabbits, his fists dreamed of flying punches, and his fingers twitched at his side.
“May Pyrro look fondly down upon you, son,” he said benignly. He looked into Barez’s face, without really looking at all. William was already counting the seconds until they were done.