And so it was, during her first woman’s summer, that she was named Chosen. The mother and father laid upon all their children a blessing, but only those of purest blood could be named thus. Of their brood, only two were known to have within them the divine blood of the mother or father. Quinn, raised as the daughter of Henry and Emily, was firstborn of this cycle. Exactly two years after Quinn, Dakota was born and given to Jeremy and Kelly to raise as their own. Only these, of all forty-two children born to this generation, were known to be of divine parentage.
The girls were raised together, as all Chosen before them had been. Like some of the Chosen who preceded them, Quinn and Dakota fell in love. Unlike those who preceded them, Quinn and Dakota were forbidden from this love. Because they could not conceive a child, the cult would not allow their joining.
Life is unkind on the best of days. Those with money spend it on little more than reminders that they are rich and others are not. Those without money spend it only on what they must, forever reminded that some are rich and they are not. There are very few who have experienced both lives. It is not common that someone goes from having everything to having nothing. It is even more rare for someone to choose that path
Quinn lives where they can. Usually, they lay their head at whatever Catholic shelter is nearby. The church sees to Quinn’s basic needs and help them care for other challenges that Quinn carries with them. They still can’t explain it, but whatever happens, the Church seems to have just what they need. Quinn has been alone, a veritable nomad, since they were 17.
As the cult was hidden from the world, the blossoming love of Quinn and Dakota was hidden from The Family. In the years of their youngest love, they pledged that they would forever belong to one another. They swore an eternal oath to always choose the other, whatever the cost. On many occasions, the young lovers made true on this pledge. No matter the difficulty it caused, each was true to the other.
When each was first welcomed into her womanhood, upon the first passing of their moon blood, she learned that she was promised to a child of the Father, a son of their divine patriarch from another branch of the Family. Quinn was first to be told, and was ready when Dakota came to her with the news.
The young lovers swore on that night, beneath a clear and moonless sky, that they would always choose the other, whatever the cost.
Living as she does, Quinn doesn’t have much in the way of worldly possessions. Even keeping up with current events is difficult when you have no home to call your own, and you have strong reasons to keep moving and never settle down. Because of this, Quinn will often visit public libraries to use the computer. This is how they keep up with the news and, knowing what to look for, how they stay a step or two ahead. There is too much at stake.
While browsing a forum for signs that it was time to move again, they begged God for a sign. He gave it, un-ironically, in the form of a sign. A picture of a sign, in fact, that had been bent and clawed to the point it was impossible to believe any rational explanation. Somehow, Quinn knew that picture of a sign was the sign they had asked for.
Many passings of their moon blood came and went. Quinn and Dakota were taught the roles to which they were promised. Each was prepared and educated for their fated place in the cult, as vessels for the divine to pass into the flesh. The rites were passed to them. The songs and psalms were recited nightly. Each young woman was trained, and the cult ensured each was ready to joyfully accept their burden for the Family.
After each ritual and rite, in the light of the moon, or the darkness without, each promised she would choose the other, whatever the cost.
Living in shelters and out of the back of vans is not a glamorous life. In fact, even with all the people on every street, it is an incredibly lonely life. Friendless, with no family, and able to continue on only by faith that the next shelter will have room for them and the resources to care for their greatest concern, Quinn struggles to leave their past behind them and can’t even imagine a future ahead of them.
Some people are lucky. Some people know what they’re supposed to do, who they are supposed to be. Quinn envies those people. It would be nice to know what you’re supposed to be or do, rather than being tossed about like a ship in a storm. On the other hand, there is something to be said about actually being free. It may have cost everything, but what they gained far outweighs what was paid.
Or so Quinn likes to tell themselves.
In truth, there are days they don’t think they have it in them to continue on. They have come close to quitting so many times. Only a sense of something greater on the horizon keeps them going. That, and a promise they refuse to break.
It was not Quinn’s wish to mother the children of the Family, no matter who was offered to give her a child. Even the father did not inspire in her the desire for motherhood. So, as she was taught to do, she prayed. However, she prayed not to the mother and father, but instead to any other who could hear her and would listen. She prayed to be free of the destiny the Family attributed to her. She prayed to be loosed of the bonds that held her to that fate. She prayed that the moon would stop turning in her sky.
In the blood red sky of Quinn’s darkest night, the moon stopped turning. Many months went by without the passing of moon blood, yet without child. She was kept separate from the others. With no explanation, the cult could only determine that Quinn was being saved for a greater power to make her with child, and kept her away from even the closest friend she had. Awaiting the coming of her mate and the return of her cycle, the cult kept Quinn even from Dakota, who she loved most dearly of all.
It was her first time ever being truly alone.
Strange goat-person encounter aside, Quinn feels right with Nick and Sam. There’s no way to know what is going to happen, traveling with the human anger management problem and the tech guru one-percenter. Whatever comes, Quinn is sure they can handle it with their new companions. They can remember the last time they felt this comfortable, this right, but they don’t like to think about it. Some things are better left alone in the past.
Sadly, the past does not always leave us alone.
Thankfully, it looks like Nick and Sam are going to keep moving, so the risk of settling in one place isn’t a concern yet. As long as there are odd things and monsters to chase, Quinn should be able to keep moving easily enough.
It was well beyond a year that Quinn was kept alone. She was fed, she was clothed, and she was given everything she wanted. Everything except freedom and Dakota. Of the two, she would have gladly given up her freedom forever if it meant being with Dakota. Quinn could only imagine the pain her lover was in during the time apart, and the struggle for Dakota to resist the manipulations and control of the Family, this cult that had been grooming them for fates neither wanted.
Finally, Quinn was released. She was led through the halls, to the room where she once had curled up with her lover. They had fallen asleep to the crackling of firewood, warm from the fire and from Dakota’s loving caress. The memory faded as the door of the room was opened.
There sat Dakota, beside a man Quinn did not know. Cradled in Dakota’s arms, with Dakota gazing loving down into her bright green eyes, was a baby girl.
Quinn briefly hoped that the cost had simply been too great, and that Dakota had not willingly given herself to this fate. She could tell, however, such was not the case. Dakota had given herself to this willingly.
The cost was Quinn, and the price had been paid.
Patron: St. Joan d’Arc
Quinn is a runaway. They have no idea who their parents is, nor do they understand that they have been adopted by St. Joan of Arc. They are the Oracle and Guardian of their band. They left behind a dark secret, the cult that saw Quinn as Chosen. Cults tend to want to collect on their investments, so it is only a matter of time before Quinn, the Chosen, is sought by the cult to fulfill the role the cult wishes to impose upon them.
Then there’s the fact that Quinn took something the cult wants back.