How do you keep the peace? What is the price for keeping the peace? And how do you know what you paid for will last? Nothing is certain, especially peace. This time the price for keeping the peace was killing a friend. I can go on and on about how it was an execution, but that does not help. It does not change it from what it really is. I had to murder someone who was doing God’s work. That was the price this time. To keep the peace, someone had to die.
But what lead to that conclusion? It was fear. It was the fear of what one side was capable of. It was the fear that they have done it before, and likely would gladly do it again. They wanted this man of God dead and there was no changing their minds. These soldiers of their liege mad their demands, and like that one man was sentenced to death. And by supper’s end, and the plunge of a sword, this man of god was dead.
My heart sank before the body hit the ground and slid off the sword. As the crowds gathered, dissension began to murmur. I knew it had to be swift counter that dissent if this was going to work. While that infant feeling of grief was swelling in my soul, I had to show strength. I had to try and have the resolve to finish what I had started. I had to quickly address that growing noise from the crowd. With quick and terse words that rumbling disdain for my actions rose. I was not proud of myself, but it was needed.
We took him to the church to prepare for a miracle. It was a miracle if this would bring lasting peace. But grief finally took complete control and I saw my work in the light. I finally see his body, lifeless, still, going cold. As soon as my rite was complete and his eyes shut, standing was impossible. I fell to the ground in pieces. My strength was sapped and so was hope.
I may have my friend back thanks to the miracle of Stragosa. But, I will always have the memory of killing him. I will carry that image of his limp body for the rest of my days. The final tally is that we are as we were when the day started. But I had to do something that I did not want to do. And that memory will be there, always. It will serve as a reminder for what this was all for: peace. Peace for all, but myself. That was the true price of peace. A little bit of myself had to go in order to secure it. A small peace, barely noticeable to most, but it is a piece of me. I don’t know how many more of those pieces are left. One day I fear, more pieces will be gone than I can live without. And that day, all of these peaces I bought will be weighed against me. And I hope it was enough.
Exterior Monologue from Adeodatus. Feel free to have overheard if you go to churches in the city.
God, my weakness has led me to sin again. Anything that wants in my head gets in. A man of sorts walked into the tavern and commanded me to attack someone. The nearest soul was a Shara gentleman – a very forgiving gentleman. To say I had zero control would be to place the blame elsewhere. I am to blame for never learning how to defend myself from such an attack on my mind.
And this is not the first time that it has happened. Many years ago, that ghost got into my mind and cause me to maim myself. And a malefic called ‘The Butcher’ tried to get me to eat myself the other night. Is it just a fact of life that there are monsters out there that can just force you to do things against your will? What options of improvement can we do to protect against such problematic sources?
I want to do my job and lead these people in these trying times. My atonement for wrath is to learn to read. The goal is that I can learn from books what is needed to ward my mind from such influence. I have been stubborn about learning to read my whole life. It was a joke to me, especially once I became a Bishop. It was something to hide behind.
I have never been ready to lead men. I have never felt my promotions were warranted. It was always a momentary need or nepotism from a noble to garner favor. Most recently as you are aware, it was because no one wanted to do the job, so I begrudgingly stepped forward. I clung to illiteracy as a bastion of where I came from; a farmstead. Not even all the priests knew how to read there. I clung to that past in hopes of being able to go back to those simpler times.
But here in Stragosa, that is not possible. Nor is it possible for mankind to get closer to you if we remain stagnant. I accept this atonement, and I will meat the challenge. Thank you for providing me with a path, and I acknowledge it is up to me to walk it.
As a child growing up hoping to be a priest my best guess is that I would travel to a neighboring country like Rogalia or the like. But my life has taken me to places I never thought possible. I have gone as for east as Shara, and as far west as the oceans of Rogalia. I have been to the northern frosts and I have been to the southern Gotha boarder as well.
Everywhere I go; someone writes a letter, dies, retires, or in some way opens a door for me to advance. I feel like I am barely keeping up with my own reputation, yet alone actually being that person. When I came to Stragosa I expected to die within a fortnight. Every Mithrihim that had come here either died, fell to evil, or just vanished. Aside from a templar Mithrihim, I am the longest Mithrihim in attendance in this four year long war. I expected that it would be my time to die.
But then something happened. Again someone left, and a void had to be filled. For two markets the Head of the Diocese of the Defiant Light, threatened to put me in charge as he went off and nearly gets killed. He even had another priest scribe down his wishes for it. I knew the man for all of a day before he was ready to hand over the symbols of authority here. By the third market, he was gone. A messenger left me his contracts and church resources. By the time the market began, the other clergy were looking at me like I new what to do.
I can’t claim to know what to do. But I do know what feels right and what feels wrong. Unceremoniously it was just decided that until someone felt I couldn’t do the job, I was it. I was a farm hand who couldn’t even remember what season to sow what seeds. But I never stopped working. I pushed myself to always move forward.
So yet again, I have to move forward. No one is really sure what that will mean, or how long I will have to do it. I will not let the people in the most watched province of the throne go without spiritual leadership. All of the Throne of God on Earth is watching this place. And somehow, this farm hand turned priest … is in charge of the soul here. Did I ask for it, I did not. Did I accept my role, yes I did.
Do I even know what I am doing?