More Than Prayer

Players: Carolina, Domingo

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* Stablehands

Summary: Father Domingo Leon comes to town in search of a particular young woman

Date: April 2, 1881

It Will Take More Than Prayer

Lower Main Stables

Carolina is seated atop one of the stalls, talking quietly to a horse recently brought down from the Diamond D Ranch. Her voice holds a rich quality, the pattern pleasing. In her hands, she braids the mane, the speaking evolving into a soft singing. The horse snorts and she laughs, "It would not do to have such a horse have braids, yes? I promise to remove them so you will not be laughed at."

Domingo walks into the stables with the look of someone quite unused to this sort of surrounding. The priest glances around with his brow furrowed as he adjusts his hold on his Bible which is stuffed full of papers of various sizes. He opens up the book and peers over a couple of the loose papers before nodding confidently to himself and stepping forward. Unfortunately, he seems uncertain which of the stablehands and other occupants to talk to. Upon hearing Carolina's voice, however, he turns his brown eyes to her, watching in a curious manner.

By this time, most of the stable hands are dozing on cots in the back room and it is only Lina who stays by the horses until seeking her own bed in the depths of the night. She does not ride at night, usually staying close to the ranch, however she needed to bring this horse down. Her eyes venture a look outwards, fear gripping her as the winds pick up, sending their howls through the stalls and causes her to shiver. Carefully, she slips from atop the boards of the stall, her feet still betraying her at times and moves to hunker near the horse, feeling safe for now.

Domingo is not nearly so frightening as those winds and howling. Of course, he doesn't really need to be with them providing such excellent ambiance. He moves forward further into the stable, squinting to ensure he can see well. The priest glances into each of the stalls as he goes by, murmuring softly to himself in Spanish as he does so. "I couldn't have come by during the day, could I? Just had to fill that up with parish business. Perhaps I should return tomorrow to find this…" He pauses to glance back into his papers. "Carolina."

His voice permeates the night noises of the stables and hearing her name causes her to rise slowly, dark eyes peeking between the slats of the stalls to view a man, who although is unknown to her, his garb is very familiar. There is an overwhelming desire to fall to her knees, cross herself rapidly and whisper, "Forgive me, Father for I have sinned…" But of what she believes to be the sin is unbeknownst to her, having no recollection of any time before the incident, only after. With a bracing breath, she walks from the stall to face the man, her hands at the small of her back, fingers woven tightly. "I..I am Carolina."

Domingo jumps at the sudden sound and places a hand to his heart. "Dios mio," he murmurs to himself before a warm smile comes to his face. "Carolina… de la Vega? It is good to hear you are still singing." He nods happily to himself and then looks her over with an appraising eye. The disapproval that tends to come along with his station is not pleasant, however. It's more like he's just taking her in to ensure his remembrance. "I am new in town, I'm not sure if you've heard. I am Father Domingo Leon."

Carolina moves tentatively nearer, her own gaze open and guileless though just as evaluating. After a moment she offers a small hand, pulling the glove from her fingers, "Si..Yes. I am she whom you seek, if indeed you were searching for me." A curtsy is given, incongruous in her jeans and boots, but graceful nonetheless. "Senor Roland was beginning to tell me of your arrival when he was called away. It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance."

Domingo pushes his Bible underneath his arm and takes her hand in both of his. "Ah, yes, yes. I have been. And it is wonderful to meet you. I have heard very much about you from Padre Esteban de Uquiza. I have…" He turns through his pages quickly with his brow very furrowed. "Where is it…" Finally he finds the paper he is looking for and offers a smile. "Saint Anthony must be watching over me. I have here a letter for you. Padre Esteban heard I was to be transferred and insisted that I bring this to you." He holds out a folded up letter to her with a smile.

To Senorita Carolina de la Vega:

It is my wish that this letter finds you in good health, and happy in Christ our Savior. The priest that carries this letter is named Leon Domingo. He has been tasked to check on the vacant church in Cimarron. I had hoped you could make his task easier, and perhaps provide him shelter for a few nights. I have not met the man personally, but I have it on good account he is a man of the church, and a man of God. Padre Cordovan sends his warmest regards and Sister Cheyenna wants me to remind you to keep up your singing. She was very fond of that the last time she saw you. I look forward to your next letter, until then.

Yours in Christ.

Padre Estaban de Uquiza

la Escuela del Corazn Sagrado

Carolina's eyes alight with happiness, settling on the letter, the expression on her face beatific. There remains an untouched beauty about her, simple things bringing her joy. As the paper is unfurled, she begins to read the missive, the letter's impressions flit across her face; a gentle laughter, a catch of her breath, her lower lip brought between teeth in consternation and lastly a hand raised to wipe away tears. Gratefully she lifts her gaze with a soft, though warm, "Gracias, Padre."

Domingo nods with the warm smile of contentment. "Por su puesto, hija," he responds to her with a slight bow gesture. "I heard your singing. You have a heavenly voice." For a moment, he takes on a mock sterness and says, "And I expect to see you in the choir if you are not already. God's gifts are not to be wasted." He nods very confidently at this and then heaves a sigh. "I am happy I found you. It is… strange to walk into a town not knowing anybody. I hope that I will be able to bring others happiness as I seem to have brought you."

Carolina's eyes shadow briefly, darkness always ready and waiting in the wings of her memory and then it is gone, "It has been a long time since someone has come to stay and worship in this town. I will, of course be in the congregation." Again, her eyes slip towards the darkness outside and even though she does not move, one can sense a cowering from the blackness without as if the gloom is a living thing ready to usurp the young woman's hard won confidence from her.

"Child, you seem frightened," Domingo says softly with a sad look on his face. "God will provide for his children and I know you to be one of them. The faithful will spend eternity with God." He offers a comforting smile and then lets out a soft chuckle. "And perhaps we can change how long people worship. It is right for humans to supplicate themselves to God. Faith is natural. Perhaps between the two of us, we can bring ourselves closer to where we belong."

The Father's soothing voice brings her back to the comfort of the stables until Carolina focuses solely on his voice, berating herself for succumbing to the unknown fears outside these walls, "The town needs your wisdom, Padre. May you find many hearts welcoming to your message." A snort from the stall reminds her of her mission and she turns, her hand reaching to press to the horse's snout, "This is yours for the duration of your time with us. His name is Oracion."

Domingo says softly with a faint cross gesture, "God willing, I will. Y gracias, mi hija." He smiles warmly at her now and moves forward after her a step to place a hand on her shoulder with a comforting weight. "If you need to speak to me of anything, let me know. No man is an island. We all need someone to talk to and anything you say to me in confidence will stay as such." He then removes his hand and looks to the horse. "Ah… He seems a fine horse. And a good name. Oracion."

At the touch of his hand, albeit in comfort, her entire body stills, ready to take flight from him. Carolina wills herself to stay silent, only the fearful beating of her heart, the blood pulsing in her veins preventing her from cowering from him. She takes a cleansing breath once his hand is gone and follows silently, "He is a wonderful mount. I hope you will be pleased."

Domingo takes very serious note of Carolina's reaction and his brow furrow deeply. He shakes his head for a moment but quickly recovers with a comforting smile for her. "I am sure that I will be. I know little of horses, but that should only help." He reaches for the horse to stroke his hand against it's face. "Do you work with horses all of the time then?"

Carolina nods silently, thankful for the concern to be off of her for the moment. "It is my joy and the reason Senor Roland hired me. To tend to his horses." Her hand reaches to gently caress Oracion's jowl.

Domingo nods at this with his eyes kept on the horse. "Senor Roland. I do not believe I have met him." A note of curiosity comes to his voice as he asks, "What kind of man is Senor Roland? Is he a good, God-fearing man or will I have to work to convert him."

You say, "He is…" her silence holds much more than she is willing to allow. After a moment she continues, "He is the Sheriff of this town. He is…kind and protective and promises no harm will come to me."

Domingo listens to this with his brow deeply furrowed. "That is a difficult promise to make. I hope that he treats you well, Carolina. I should hate to think that one of God's faithful is being mistreated for any reason." He then shakes his head a bit and says half to himself, "Though I doubt he will be the biggest obstacle in this town. I have heard there is a house for… Soiled Doves?"

You say, "Senor Roland does not make promises he will not keep, Padre." And there is almost an impassioned confidence in the statement before answering the secondary, "Yes. I only have heard tell of the name, not those who reside within. The Cimarron Rose."

Domingo's eyebrows raise slightly at Carolina's insistence and he nods to her with an only slightly skeptical look on his face. "And God will provide." He then moves on to the next part and shakes his head with a sigh. "I am glad you know little. It is not a place for those pure of mind to be. That… sort of activity is a sin and a terrible one at that. Worse than drunkenness by far. And it is a sin for all parties involved, including those who allow such things to happen."

Carolina's dark gaze returns to the Father, a gentle tilt of her head noting her interest. "There is no love between them, yes?"

Domingo furrows his brow very slightly at Carolina as he attempts to get his fire and brimstoning properly locked away. "No love between them? You mean whether there is love in the Cimarron Rose?"

Carolina's voice just patters on, "Well, perhaps the love of money and the brief enjoyment of losing it."

Domingo chuckles softly at Carolina and nods at her, "You are right there. And love of self as well. Pride that corrupts the minds of those who go in. It is tragic. I only hope I'm able to help there." His brow furrows deeply and he shakes his head. "Though I will not go into such a den of sin."

Carolina's brow lifts elegantly as she replies, "I would hope not. Even though Jesus went to the merchants to clear them from the temple, I believe it would not do to have rumor of the new padre found in the soiled doves abode."

Domingo lets out a full, rich laugh at this and chuckles to himself. "Perhaps it would be more appropriate if I were to throw some tables over. Maybe toss someone through a window. Could be a good effect." He shakes his head and asks jokingly, "Isn't that how things are handled out here? Walk into a town, break a window, and everyone will listen to you?"

Carolina crosses herself unconsciously, "Madre de Dios, do not let the Sheriff hear that."

Domingo shakes his head and says in a more serious voice, "I would not, of course. Indeed, that passage of the Bible is interesting. It reminds us that although Jesus was all God, he was also all man. But I will not be causing trouble of that kind." He chuckles and shakes his head, gesturing to his arms. "I don't know that I'd be able to throw someone through a window."

Carolina looks at him with a critical eye. "Chopping wood for the fire will help, no doubt. There will be plenty here in the way of physical activity to allow you to do just that should it ever need to happen." Her smile is slow and teasing.

"Jesus was a carpenter," Domingo responds with a very amused grin on his face. "And I do intend to help this town as well as I can beyond my preaching. It doesn't do for a priest to hold himself apart from his community." He gives a clearly joking smile and adds, "And who can say. Perhaps I will need to."

"Nothing would surprise me here." A yawn catches her unwares and she claps her hand over her mouth. "I think…I should sleep." Since the incident, her body gives her just a few minutes to find comfort before it betrays her.

Domingo shakes his head and responds, "Me neither. It is truly a-." He then stops suddenly and places a hand over his own mouth to cover a yawn. "I probably should as well it seems. Do you require an escort somewhere?"

"The town is lit in the night to where I need to go. And I will rush there. May you sleep well, Padre and we shall speak on the morrow and I will introduce you to Senor Roland." Quickly, she moves forward, lifting the back of his hand to her brow, a curtsy and then she moves swiftly from the stables.

Domingo smiles warmly and gesticulates a cross in front of her. "God bless and keep you." He then smiles and waves to her before turning to his horse.


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