Carter has been studying intently for a while, putting things together, learning what's involved in the process of Sin Eating. It doesn't even occur to him that it won't work or that it's nonsense. He's seen a lot of things work that shouldn't, and has enough exposure to the Supernatural to sift through the nonsense. One day Georgie finds Carter sitting quietly on the floor, with a bag of supplies next to him. No animals. No distractions. He's cleared a space in the apartment, gotten things ready. He's dressed in white. All white. His pants are loose yoga pants, and he has a white shirt on, just a t-shirt. You might think he was going to a karate dojo or something. All along the floor in front of him are white candles, arranged in an pentagram formation. He didn't really TELL Georgie he was doing this, but he made sure to do it when he knew Georgie would have time. He looks up. "Do you trust me?" He asks softly. "This won't be risky, or anything. But it might be uncomfortable. Do you trust me to help you? Because I'm ready. And I can."
Georgie blinks when he sees all his little brother has accomplished. In fact, it makes the suspicious changeling glance around, just in case. Supernatural attracts supernatural. He takes in the heavy symbolism for purity and he knees down on the floor opposite Carter. He nods, softening as his little brother asks if he's trusted. "Yeah, Moonchild. I trust you." He pauses a moment and takes a deep breath. "What... what do you want me to do?"
Carter takes a breath. "For now? Find your center. This will take inner strength. So find that strength. Find your core self, your best self, and hold onto it. You know how to meditate. I don't really need to teach you that. But just focus, clear your mind, find your center, and then...tell me. I've already prepared. But I'll meditate with you until you're ready. Then I'll give you an idea of what's going to happen. And then we'll perform the ritual. It's actually a very simple thing. It could be much more complicated if I wanted but as you'd expect, all that really matters is the intention." He gestures to pentagram. "Sit in the center, back facing the top of the pentagram. ... Or where the pentagram would be if I actually drew one. It's not strictly necessary. I did consider using salt on your carpet." He ponders. "But anyway, you'll be lying down for the ritual, with your head here at the top. So sit there for the moment, find your center, and we'll continue when you're ready. Okay?"
Georgie bobs his head and then goes into the bedroom to shuck the suit that he was wearing for work and makes his way out in a comfy pair of lounge pants. They're really old, but he's had them since he was sixteen.
Comfy, he makes his way carefully to the center of the pentagram and sits amid the white candles. He folds himself into an easy lotus position, hands going palms up on his knees. His fingers curl so ring and middle fingers are loosely touched by his thumbs while his pinky and pointers stay extended. He starts to breath deep and practiced, finding his place. He's quite good at meditation, practicing quite often for his forays into dreams.
The tension drains from his body, visible to Carter. Then he nods and says almost dreamily, "Okay, baby brother. We are at peace." His eyes don't open, but his attention moves to where Carter was last.
Carter puts a pillow down, a small pillow, also completely white. "Lie down. Doesn't matter if you're outside the ritual circle, just as long as your head is here, at the top." He waits for Georgie to lie down, and he annoints him with something fragrant and oily, on his forehead, and over his heart. It's a mixture, frankinsense, mixed with rose essence, maybe a little citrus. It's a sort of woodsy, pleasant scent. Sort of how you might expect a druid ritual circle to smell. "Let me explain what's going to happen."
He pauses, considering. "When someone commits an evil act, that act darkens their soul. There is a weight, a heaviness to their soul that results from it. What I'm going to do is lift that burden. Purify that taint on your soul. Imagine a man who kills accidently. He feels guilt, he feels strained, the act weighs on his heart. He may still be a better person later on in spite of it, but the weight is still there. Let's say a soldier kills, and kills, and kills. Eventually his soul will be burdened to the point that he can't remember what he used to be, can't feel guilt any longer, he is lost to it. Imagine this burden being lifted. The soul will struggle to heal from it. And if he's fortunate, he will learn to feel again, learn to feel guilt again. Your soul, when it's darkened, it's like deadened nerves. And this is reawakening them. It's going to be uncomfortable. But you shouldn't hide from the pain. You should embrace it. It means your soul is restoring itself, it means you're feeling again."
He pauses. Then puts a small square of bread on Georgie's chest, right next to his heart. "There was a moment. You took on a burden. You fell from grace. You became darker. Your soul became deadened to feeling. Your heart weighed heavier. One moment. Tell me about that moment. Go back to it. Relive it. Feel it. Feel what it was like when you stopped caring as much, when you lost part of yourself. When you became so burdened. Relive it, talk about it, and then, for a while, for about a half hour or so...You're going to dwell on it. And feel that weight. Imagine it collecting at the very center of your being, right at your heart. Focus everything there. Tell me about your sin."
Georgie listens with his eyes closed, but as Carter goes into the idea of Georgie's soul, his eyes open. Something about what Carter says troubles him deeply. His eyes, always haunted since he returned, looks simply shattered. He takes a deep breath and lets it out slowly a couple times. Finally he whispers, "What if... what if I don't have a soul anymore, Moon?"
Carter ponders. "Your heart, your essence, your mind, your higher self." He pauses. "Don't get stuck on terminology. There's a darkness that you take on when you commit evil acts. And we're going to focus that darkness, and bring it out." He takes a breath. "Hold onto your strength. You aren't your darkness. You're much more than that. So tell me about what happened. Don't hold back. Tell me the last time you felt yourself deadening to the world, caring less, taking on more darkness."
Georgie breathes deep, holding onto his center, letting Carter's words soothe him. He nods as his eyes flutter closed. He's quiet for a moment, preparing mentally to go back to a place he doesn't like. It was the first time he showed the world the monster he has become. "When... when I came back, I was there. My... my doppleganger. I... I could barely speak. My mind was a wreck and I was seeing... weird. He just mocked me. He said how much better he was at my life than I am. He said I should just go and hide and let him make you and Mom and Dad and the rest of the family proud. He said that I was just a broken sell-out that gave up everything that I believed in. He said that I was just a monster and had no place: that even -he- was a better alternative than the pathetic creature I chose to become."
The Darkling heaves a sigh and chokes a bit as he admits, "I jumped on him and looked... I looked into my own eyes while I strangled myself. He didn't even fight back, just glared at me in triumph. Like I was proving him right and just choking the last of what was left of myself out of existence.
"But I didn't care. I ate the magic binding it. I consumed that piece of me that animated it. I killed it and I ate it and I was glad. My anger... my god that anger... the bits of it that were left... some seashells and sea weed and branches... I crushed them. Set them on fire."
His chest and shoulders hitch where he's laying, fighting to control his voice. "That's when I knew that I was... broken. I didn't feel anything. I... killed a piece of me... ate it... and didn't feel anything other than... anger. Because it was right."
Carter pauses. "Relive it. Focus on it. Don't talk for a while, just put yourself back there. Give yourself another chance to feel something other than anger. I want you to give yourself another chance to feel guilt over having done something so dark." He pauses. "Give it about a half hour of living with it. Feel the darkness of that act in your heart. Focus it there." He takes a breath. "Don't worry about how long it takes. It might be about a half hour or an hour maybe. When you're ready to let it go, I'll know. Keep your eyes closed." He says softly, at the end. "Just be in that moment a while."
Georgie bobs his head. He lays there, steadily breathing for a long moment. Then his head starts to shake slowly as his mind tries to comply with his brother's instructions. He goes to that night on the beach right here in Fallcoast. He remembers so clearly how much everything hurt from being ejected from the thorns.
He goes to anger fast, his face reddening and his fists clenching. He screws his eyes shut tight. His breathing comes in shallow gasps. Carter's words echo in his mind though and the anger shifts. It's slow but the hands unclench and tears begin to leak salty tears and a ragged sob tears from his chest. He cries out, "It was a piece of me," broken and so full of hurt. He pounds his hands on the floor and his back arches as a few more silent sobs wrack his body as the weight of what he's done wracks his being.
It hurts. It's uncomfortable. But in time, Carter reaches for that piece of bread, which has turned black--not that Georgie can see that--and pops it into his mouth, swallowing it. Georgie feels guilt, and anger, and all those things about the sin that took place. But suddenly, it's like it happened to someone else. The weight is just lifted, and there isn't that same emotional investment in that moment. It happened, sure, but it doesn't feel like Georgie did it. He feels lighter from the weight being lifted, and there's a triumphant feeling that wells up as Georgie's Self, his Soul, his Heart...whatever you wanna call it, it starts to heal from that weight, and almost certainly there are tears, and almost certainly there is guilt for other sins immediately. He's become, all at once, a better person. And a better person, a kinder person, is more subject to guilt and pain and sorrow. He may not feel that sin anymore, but he's surely done other things that he hasn't felt guilty about, and now suddenly he does. It feels raw, ragged, like breathing through burning, bleeding lungs or pushing yourself through exhaustion and running in spite of your body screaming. Except this isn't a physical sensation, this is Georgie's soul. His self. His heart. Old feelings reawakened, it leaves him feeling raw.
Carter stands, and moves to the couch, swallowing for a moment, before pulling his knees up, encircling them with his arms. In a moment, there are tears flowing down his face. If the weight of that sin left Georgie...Where did it go?
Careful of the candles, Georgie turns onto his stomach and curls into a protective ball. The potency of the ritual leaves him a raw, sobbing, weeping mess. He's held that in for so long, carried it for so long, he has nothing but tears for long minutes. Then it seeps into his mind that he isn't alone and he has things he must do and tend. First and foremost, his baby brother. He lifts his head and then lifts off the floor to blow out the candles. Each puff of air and wisp of smoke as the white candle is extinguished, cements a little piece of him back in place, finding that small bit of closure.
He slips onto the couch then and wraps his brother up in his tight embrace. It doesn't take a psychologist to see where that burden laid itself to rest. He gathers Carter in his arms, much like he did when they were far younger, and he rocks his brother and just sings the little songs he used to sing when Carter was first figuring out how awful most people truly were. He might not have a fancy ritual, but then his brother doesn't need that. He feels. Carter just needs someone to be there and that is something Georgie can do well.