254: The Sermon for the Lua Mater

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Dear Patrons,

We begin March with a new refresh. A time of change, renewal and initiation. This update rekindles memories of a past story long-time Patrons will be familiar with, brought into the fold of the world of the Tales of the Vanished and meshing it with a past carte-du-jour #179 now rotated out of circulation but revisited for your viewing pleasure. Step into the unhallowed halls of secret knowledge, stories, rituals and banquets. Imagine if you will for a moment, being a member of a secret club as a very special guest with a very special invitation to witness a one-of-a-kind performance. A show before the feast and a story as old as time.

Bon app├ętit!

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I. THE SERMON OF LUA MATER (2 free full color artwork, 3 full color artwork & 3 full color artworks previously published in Carte du Jour #179)

A speech before the banquet as delivered by the Seneschal:

Thank you for your continued patronage my dear guests. I'm sure many of you are still reeling from the oh-so-quite dramatic gladiatorial combat we had last night. Both fought hard and fought will defiance and skill, but alas, there can only be one victor and quite a fight it was, wasn't it? Tonight I will assure you will just be as memorable. I know that you are all hungry for tonight's main course by now but allow me if you will a little bit more of your time for me to tell a short story, before we bring out or star performers from last night.

Some of the senior members may have heard this before. I will tell the tale again for our new guests. The tale of the Angels White and Red, Light and Blood. They were friends once who fought side by side, shoulder to shoulder. One with hair of arterial crimson, the other with hair of luminous sun. They were God's most glorious champions who fought in the heavens and turned the tides of the wars of men below against the forces of Lucifer. They thrived under God's servitude as marchionesses of his virtuous light, bending the race of Men under His will, and slowly over the thousands of years, these binary sisters grew to love each other. Closer their ceaseless bond grew into an intimate love, a love that ultimately became their downfall as this bond between them grew even stronger than their love for God Himself.

But their tryst could not escape the scrutiny of their Lord and when He knew, they were punished and forced to renounce their love. That path was exile from the heavenly realm and banishment as a mortal in the realms of Man. Such is the Lord's grace, benevolent in his granting of mercy and forgiveness. One half of the pair, the Golden haired reaffirmed her vows to Him and renounced her bond to her former lover. But the other remained loyal and begged for to the other to reconsider. Why discard a love so real, so true?

But she was denied. She was turned away and abandoned. And God, in his holy judgment banished the Crimson haired, discarded her wings, and cast her down from the Heavenly Realm. For years, her love grew to hate. More so to the Luminous Haired than to God himself. The betrayal was more she could bear. From the cruel lands of Man, looking up at her former lover, still so resplendent and glorious, the Crimson-haired seethed with jealous rage. Her sacrifice was left forgotten... save for one... the fallen angel who would taken her under his leathery wing, for he knew her plight. He had walked the same path. The Adversary had given her a home and a pair of new wings. Where once a blinding halo circled her head as a crown, now grew a pair of curved horns, a symbol of strength and ultimately, a gift of renewed power and immortality.

And on the fields of war again they once shared, this time not as friends but as foes. A great battle was fought with men and mutants as their minions, and in the end, the demoness became the victor. Blood triumphed over light and God's allies fell. And in one final act so unholy that all the angels would weep at the retelling of this story, an act so momentous that their fates would be forever bound, the ultimate domination and humiliation would be performed on the Luminous Haired. Death was merely the beginning. As the Eternal Trickster decreed, the punishment for this betrayal must be an utter domination and humiliation, a spit at the face of God. The love must be complete in total unity, or body, soul as one. The Crimson-haired conquered, murdered, butchered and devoured her lover. If they cannot have their Forbidden Love, perhaps she can relish a Forbidden Feast. God's Angel, her body violated, molested, raped had been used in the most vile of ways by The Fallen's consort. The conquered beauty had been consumed so thoroughly until nothing remained save her beautiful head transformed into a grotesque trophy, a ritual that birthed the Cult of the Skull of aeons past.

And we live now in that story's shadow. It is told in many forms through enlightened circles. We know of the timeless conflicts between the Diarchy of Lucifer and Ahriman, The Eagle and the Serpent, the Bull and the Maiden. This tale is no different.

What are the lessons from this parable we can bring home with us? Contemplate on this as we move on to tonight's proceedings, a show, before the banquet. I will not give you my answer. No. The answer should come to you independently and it will, in due course. But for now, I present to you, our lady of the hour, our Lady Victor, our unexpected gift and ally to the Circle Elite, the undefeated Lua Mater once again for an encore performance and the twice-defeated Angel, humiliated in life for our enjoyment last night and once more tonight in death.

II. SKETCHES (2 black & white sketches)

Here are a pair of sketches I had planned for the CALIPHATE project.

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