I am slightly closer to working out who left the rose. Or, at least, I have eliminated two potential suspects. Gwyn and Rachel denied all knowledge, though, in the process, I think I may have obligated myself to provide them with white roses at some suitable point, for example a birthday. Of course, that would require working out what the date is. According to my diary, it is the end of May, but the gods alone know what that means here.
Rachel posed me a rather unusually question. She asked me how she could get to Heaven. She is concerned that no matter what happens to her, how many times she dies; Padishar will bring her back, or send her back to Hell. Thus, her only escape is Heaven.
I’ve been asked some difficult questions, but that one stumped me. Of course, I know the standard answer that Rev. Elverson and his predecessor, the very boring and very reverend Samuel Mathers tried so hard to drill into our heads through years of church services and Sunday school. That all you need to do is believe that the Christ died for your sins, etc etc etc. Not that it ever worked. As I have said often in these pages, after a while, church, for Mother and I, became more of social obligation than anything else. When I was older, I had many an entertaining debate with Hillaire over dinner with my mother on the subject. Somehow, I did not think that Rachel was ready for a metaphysical discussion, so I gave her the short-form explanation. Of course, it was never going to be that simple, especially when she started by asking where she could find this “Jesus fellow”. Further questioning revealed that she had not really bothered with church, and when she had, rarely paid attention. I did try offering alternatives, suggesting that there were other religions with their own concept of heaven. Fortunately, she did not pursue those ideas, which is a good thing, as I am even less qualified to advise on the route to those destinations than I am the Christian one.
Instead, I lent her a rather battered New Testament that had been lurking in my travel bag for years. Stained with talc and soap, as it was, and any lettering long worn off by friction, save for the ink inscription of my name and form from when it was given to me at school, it was suitably anonymous, so that it would not arouse suspicion. I suggested that she just read the first four books and then come and talk to me. Frankly, for myself, I would have stopped there or maybe with Acts. To my mind, anything after that, especially after Saul of Tarsus stuck his oar in goes seriously off the rails. Revelations is quite entertaining though.
So, on top of my appointed tasks of finding the princesses and understanding the journal that Greyson gave me, I now seem to have acquired the task of guiding a vampire, currently glamoured as a demon, in the direction of Salvation. My old friend, the Reverend Hillaire Elverson would be mightily amused.