Dreams of Holy Fire

the heat grew and grew as the fire below her started. she tries to steel herself and be brave but the moment flame hits skin the pain is unbearable….

“Aaaaaaaaahhhhhh!” Xyandriel bolted up awake, drenched in sweat. Where she thought she was feeling heat now became cold as the winter wind comes through the window in her room. She’d been having the same dream every few nights and always woke the same way. No matter how she tried, though she could put things to the back of her mind when she was awake, the guilt of what she did took the opportunity to remind her in her dreams.

It was seemingly so simple at the time, Sir Lyssander brought a man to her who was requesting her healing ability. She had been having great success in not only being able to exorcise the disease from Dame Sith the previous forum, but several chiurgeries to reattach hands to 14 people. She willingly provided the blessed bandage to take care of his damaged hand. So simple to take care of. It was after that he confessed his sin of taking part in a Vecatran ritual to revenge against the church for burning his mother as a witch.

Xyandriel knew that pain all too well when her own mother turned in her sister, Irma, as a Heretic. Manifesting the abilities of a Fire Mage, she took her newfound power as a sign that she herself was a God. This is what made her recent mistake make her feel even more stupid. After one turns away from God, there is no going back from the ultimate sin of heresy. While circumstances were different the result was the same, rejecting God.

She watched her Aunt Irma burn. Both her parents didn’t want to shield the truth from her. It was difficult emotionally to see, to hear her screams echo through the lands of Woefeldt, to smell the stench of burning hair and flesh. “This is why we must remain free of sin.” her mother held her close and whispered, “Staying with God is the best way to live and the only way to be welcomed back to him when we die.”

Xyandriel would never turn from God, nor his divine plan for her. It was her mistake to even think for a moment this man could atone, no matter how intense his regret was. How could she had forgotten one of the most basic rules? It was even more important now that she seclude herself at the Monastery. She spent every waking moment reading the Testimonium not only to improve her bibliomancy, but to ensure she would know better if such an issue would happen again. She reviewed the various forms of heresy to watch out for and which could be atoned for.
As she looked through the window with the snow coming down, knelt to Pray.

“Dearest God, did I care too much to be blind to the heresy right in front of me? Is this your way to show me I was taking too much Pride in my recent successes? I do not fear death, that is not the way of the Covenant I am devoting my life to.”

“But… I don’t want to die this way. I don’t want to bring shame to the Church, my Family, my community and the people here in Stragosa. I need to continue to spread your glory and help those who sin so that Lurian can lead them to you. The moment I realised my mistake I could have kept it secret, but I confessed. Even before that I was doing everything I could to let the Inquisition know what had happened.”

Please don’t believe I would ever turn away from you and provide the Inquisitor the wisdom to know the same. I know Sir Sanguine, Sir Lyssander, Sir Renatus and Bishop Adeodatus don’t believe I have. Please also give me the strength to tell my story and not break down so that I may prove myself to the Church once more.”
“I look forward to my atonement and what I can further learn from this ordeal. All I ask is to live to carry it out. Deus vult.”

She took a few moments to change her bedsheets and nightgown and lay back down buried in the blanket knit by her Grandmother. Sleep did not come the rest of the night, the same phrase playing over again and again in her head:

Please don’t let me burn,
Please don’t let me burn,
Please don’t let me burn,
Please don’t let me burn,
Please don’t let me burn,
Please don’t let me burn,

Miracle, or Curse?

They call it the Miracle. We know what it does, and some of it’s limitations, but is there anyone who truly understands it?

My feelings on the miracle have always been mixed. If this was something God truly meant for us to have, why does its very purpose fly in the face of everything I am taught about death? I perform the healing rituals and beseech Lurian not to take a soul. While we are sad when someone passes, particularly violently as seems to be the norm here, we are also happy that Lurian has called them to God.

There was much turmoil, and no doubt been more in the past, regarding who should be brought back at this last forum, or at least the first time I’ve been part of it. Who makes the decision? What is the criteria used? Are the rules set in stone, or are they completely subjective? Much of the trouble was knowing what a person would want. I do have the ritual to ask the question, but if the ritual isn’t successful we’re left trying to figure it out. What happens if we get it wrong? Have we doomed a soul? If they die again, will God and Lurian turn them away because they wrongly thwarted Lurian’s will?

I have met a couple of people who have been brought back. I have for the first time witnessed someone coming back.They seem just as they were before, at least on the outside. I can never really know what goes on in their mind and soul.

The Miracle has been deemed a holy relic. I can’t help but note the wording given. Not Benalian Holy Relic, just holy relic. Splitting hairs maybe? The White Church being careful in case it turns out to be a curse and not a blessing? At the very least through all this, I know what my answer is to this question: Do I want to be resurrected by the Miracle?

No. Without question, without hesitation, no,

If I die, the it was because Lurian has made it so. I will not stray from God’s will. I have to hold myself up as an example, as my father and mother instilled in me, in being as faithful and pious as possible.

To that end, I have proposed to the city that the Lurehim be the keepers of the last will and testaments of the citizenry of Stragosa. All information will be private and consist of two documents being what to do with the worldly possessions they leave behind, and what their wishes regarding the Miracle will be. Hopefully we never have to agonize over this again.

Dear Mutter und Vater

I hope all is well at home. I am sorry it has taken me so long to write, but such is the nature of living and serving the Church in Stragosa. I don’t know if news has reached you, but I have been promoted to Mother Superior. I never imagined it would happen so fast, but with all I have to do here as the only healing Lurehim here I am constantly in need.

I know there is the Paladin Brother Aretaeus who follows the Lurehim covenant of non-violence, but he is more devoted to his holy calling as a Paladin. This is understandable and I do not fault him for it, but there are many times I feel overwhelmed having to shoulder the healing for those of Faith. He is also not able to read or write so I am unable to have him help in at least inscribing bandages. I have at least been able to create a central area at the Tavern during forum since my ability to get around is not as good as others. As you say Vater, don’t while about it, find a solution.

I am doing God’s work, doing my best to keep people from having to go to a Mage or apothecary, but at least a few times at the last forum I attempted to perform the ritual for removal of disease and it did not succeed. I know it is difficult at this time and the odds were against me but I still felt like I was failing them, that my faith and passion in appealing to the Archangel and God just wasn’t strong enough. I don’t want to think that its them who truly do not believe. There is at least hope on the horizon. Several of the Priests here are working on the sanctifications for the city, including myself. We have a lot of work ahead of us, but this will only strengthen the Diocese. I was or course raised to never not work hard.

I’ve also been assigned a Church in the Library district as the behest of House Trackt and there will be some expansion to house some of the Sanguine here. Sir Lysander of the While Lions is also here who is from our town and he has been providing me great advice, counsel and providing hope when I am trying these advanced rituals. I just feel like I get so close, then I am at a loss at to what goes wrong.

Every night I pray for strength so shoulder this burden. I remind myself that this is my calling and I never expected it to be easy. Doing this back at home would be a challenge, but I guess I had thought there would at least be one other Lurehim here. There was but they have all moved on from Stragosa, leaving me to stand alone. I won’t give up on my Holy Mission, never worry about that. What I worry about is what would happen if something should happen to me?

I hope both of you are healthy and happy. Please do let me know how things are at home. I know it may take some time to get to me, but I don’t want to lose touch.

Love and blessings of God,
deine liebende Tochter,

The next step, the long step

Mother Superior.

As I write those two words, I still can’t believe they are in reference to me. Mitzi the farm girl. Mitzi the hobbler. I never would have dreamed it would happen so soon. I am not going to get too caught up in my pride, but even Mum said a little bit of pride is not bad, especially if it is something you worked hard for and earned.

I came to Stragosa to heal and now I am needed more than ever. I learned much from Bishop Carsten but I know God needs him elsewhere to deal with his grief. Even all these years of watching Mum be a vessel for healing and seeing the rituals, performing them feels so different.

I felt so helpless this last forum, that I was letting everyone down who had come to me for healing but there were rituals I was unable to perform. I have always been afraid to try rituals above my rank, but things became necessary if anyone had a chance of survival. Thank Lurian that he chose not yet to take the two people I treated to heaven.

I did my best with what I can do, and my leeches have never failed me since I gathered my own. Even the smallest creature can do great things. Am I a small creature? I suppose I am in the grand scheme of things it is true. I still have the visions that guided my path to where I am today. I have my injuries as a reminder of what I went through to get to them. Every day my faith is tested, as it should be.

For now, I have a church to tend to. A representative from House Trackt asked that I tend to the one they have built in the Library district. They wanted someone from home and that of course is me. I did make it clear this will not mean I am a House Priest. I must be a healer of all people. While we do have a Bishop of Lurian here, he is also a Paladin and is needed elsewhere. I have a rather large community to serve and the less people rely on one of those mages, the better.

And speaking of Mages, it turns out a new Prosecutor for the inquisition, is not only one of them, but a cursed Fire Mage. Memories came back to me of what my Aunt did that almost destroyed my family once her fire powers corrupted her beyond repair. I can only hope I am past any age where those kinds of powers might manifest in me. I am a woman of God, not of whatever or whomever those powers come from. I don’t know what I would do if it ever happened, as it is something I always fear.

God has a plan for me and I am following it to the best of my capability