And the Stone God Did Not Make a Sound

A standalone Solo RP bit I wrote for Ingrey in Time Under Chaos. I thought I would share it with a wider audience.
Ingrey is a Chaosian Diplomat from House Wererathe who works at the Chaos Embassy to Amber, in Mel Mason’s Time Under Chaos game, where Merlin sits on Amber’s Throne, and Mandor is his Prime Minister…

And the Stone God Did Not Make a Sound
Returning back to the residential building of the Embassy complex
after Breakfast, Ingrey Wererathe stepped into and through the rooms
of the modest suite that comprised his living space. Even after some
decades in the service of the Emperor in Diplomatic Service, his
accommodations were comfortable, but not overwhelming in opulence
compared to people of similar rank. Pieces were made of Cherry, rather
than more expensive woods such as teak. The furniture was more
functional than stylish, designed for comfort and use rather than
impressing the few that Ingrey allowed in his sanctum sanctorum.
In point of fact, if Ingrey stopped to think about it, if the likes
of Vikund Anansi or Morgan Deirdreson were, for some bizarre reason,
invited to his rooms, they would be either sorely disappointed in the
lifestyle that the Minister-Counselor lived in, or, more likely, it
would reaffirm their opinion of him as a poor civil servant without
the sense and corruption to enrich himself with his position.
Ingrey slowly divested himself completely of clothes as he moved
through his quarters with purpose, pieces of his outfit pooling in
small piles, making a bread crumb trail of his movements. Ingrey’s
destination was a small alcove like room, not much larger than a
closet. In point of fact, it used to be a closet before it was
retasked for its current purpose. Ingrey’s needs for the storage of
clothing were not quite as high as some of his counterparts and
predecessors, male and female alike.
The alcove was lit by a small mage light which Ingrey made a point
of always keeping lit, night and day. Some might use candles, or other
sources of perpetual lighting, but Ingrey liked the arcane approach.
The small yellow light, held in a sphere which dangled on an iron
chain hooked to the ceiling, illuminated a simple low kneeling bench
and a trestle table like altar. Both were made of granite. The former
was sometimes cushioned, depending on Ingrey’s feelings that
particular day.
After the encounter with Duke Uther Helgram, and her Excellency’s
decree, Ingrey felt the need to remove the trappings of comfort in an
effort to better seek guidance. Ingrey felt more comfortable, more at
peace with his God, if he delved deep inside of himself and brought
forth his true feelings of humility.
Thus, he removed the red cushion that sat on the bench and placed it
temporarily outside of the alcove. With this done and returning to
the matter at hand, Ingrey lowered his knees on the bench and faced
the altar. And so, naked, on bare stone, he was before his God, as he
should be. Masks were laid to the side, and the Inner Ingrey, as it
were, could be shown.
Upon it, on top of the crimson colored cloth that draped the granite
altar, was a single statue. Some Devotees had crude, worn images on
purpose, insisting that the quality of the statue did not truly
matter, it was the personal devotion that counted. Some, far more
affluent, had more beautiful and expensive creations. Like the
diplomat that he was, Ingrey favored a middle, moderate course.
The statue was made of obsidian, with a red garnet for an eye, and the
extended tongue was of garnet as well. The statue was in the form and
shape of Serpentor Custodes, the standing tall representation of the
Serpent, on guard and ready to strike if needed, with some of the
sinuous body pooling in black coils as the rest rose to face the
Ingrey spoke the opening Sura as he always did when he began his
prayers. He clasped his hands before him in prayer, head bowed.
“In the Name of the Serpent, the Most Gracious, the Most Wonderful.”
“I seek refuge with the Serpent, the lord of the Turning,”
“From the evil of what he has created,”
“And from the evil of the darkening sky as it comes with its darkness”
“And from the evil of those who practice poisoning upon the guiltless.”
“And from the evil of the envier when he envies.”
Ingrey paused a moment and then began his plea.
“My Lord.” Ingrey said, “I know not if the course I have taken is
the correct one. I have done what I must do as a Diplomat in the
service of his Majesty, but I do not know if my service to You strikes
the correct chord within my heart as well. Do you wish that I aid the
Duke Helgram, rather than hinder him, in his goal to destroy the
Patterns? Or does his mission displease You? Guide my hand, as it is
in the service of You, as I have done all of these years. I ask you as
a loyal servant to show me the path that I must take. I will walk it
for You, and with You, and my efforts shall reflect Your glory.”
“And of my mentor, my superior, Paloma Baccaran. She is a loyal
daughter of the Church even if, to my knowledge, she does not have the
secret, inner relationship with You that I am privileged to have.
Help me, if it is your Will, to place her upon the Throne of Amber, to
be a fine Chaosian Queen for a King who is lacking in so many ways.
Help me help her bring the wisdom that you impart, to all of Amber,
both in the outer and the inner world.”
Ingrey then closed his eyes, and opened his mind. It was a technique
he had learned many years ago, ever since those series of waking
dreams as a youth brought him to the attention of those in his House
who showed their devotion to the Serpent in manners above and beyond
the pieties of attending Church services. In his mind’s inner eye,
the room’s details were as rich as those in real life. It was a useful
thing, to have a shrine which was memorized so perfectly, that it was
as visible to Ingrey with his eyes closed as it was with them open.
In his mind’s eye, though, the Serpent’s obsidian beauty and form was
animate, liquid, alive, and aware. Ingrey felt the press of the gaze
of the garnet eye upon him and he felt the attunement that he felt to
the Serpent. It was personal and ineffable. With this attention upon
him in his mind, Ingrey repeated the plea and prayer he had just
addressed the stone statue, this time willing his mind to send the
words to the real Serpent who was represented as animate stone in his
mental vision, and was stone in the real alcove in which he knelt.
Even if he only imagined and conjured the sensation within himself,
the intense gaze of the mental construct of the Serpent washed over
him like a high tide upon a shore. The form did not answer, of
course, it would be impious for even a devotee of the Serpent in this
gnostic and esoteric fashion to imagine that any direct response would
come here.
And then Ingrey faithfully began to speak, both in mind and word, the
closing Sura.
“In the name of the Serpent, the most Beneficient, the most Merciful.”
“I seek refuge with the Serpent, the Lord of the Thari”
“The King of the Thari”
“The God of the Thari”
“From the Malice of the Abyss which whispers in the hearts of the Thari
which withdraws from its whisperings after one remembers the Serpent.”
“Those who whisper evil in the breast of the Thari”
“Demons and all beings.”
With his prayer done, Ingrey slowly closed his mind again, opening his
eyes even as he closed his mental one. The familiar confines of the
room returned, the form of the Serpent returned to stone. Ingrey
bowed his head one more time, rose, and exited the alcove to retrieve
his clothes. Dressed, he walked over to a side table where a letter
box held some pieces of correspondence. One caught his eye. He
opened it quickly and easily with a gleaming silver letter opener with
an ivory handle. The envelope contained a letter in a neat script and
he recognized it. His mercantile Factor in the Courts, with news.
Picking it up in two fingers, Ingrey dangled the parchment before his
eyes and read the note. A rare, slight smile came across his lips.
With the latest portion taken from his most recent pay packet, his
invested funds in Chaos were at last nearly enough that he would be
able to now meet a bride price from even the likes of House Corrino.
His austerity was finally bearing fruit. And if the Serpent were
merciful and showed favor upon his devotee, he would one day have a
marriage union, as was right and proper.
Still, if he truly followed Paloma’s decree now as part of her plans
to use him to sway the daughter of Mandor to her cause, he was going
to miss his Favorite, and no one to succeed her in his thoughts. No
one at all that might disturb the propriety of Mandorsdottir. Ingrey
frowned and pushed away the thought.
Ingrey placed the letter in another box, currently empty, to remind
himself to write an answer.
And then Ingrey left his personal quarters, making a mental note to
attend the official Church service on the morrow, and returned to his