The word floated through his waking thoughts like a cloud on a summer day. It was just a word, no different from any other in the myriad of languages he spoke, but there was such a depth of meaning in that word. Every language had different perceptions and understanding of the word; the Njord are very family and clan centric for their survival, the Rogalian nobility perceive brotherhood as a rivalry where you are a means to an end, but in the Shariqyn culture his experience was that the concept of “brother” is rare and not said lightly.
The foundation of the culture, the seven tribes, the naming structure, where you alert someone with first their tribe affiliation such that they may know whether you are friend or foe, does not encourage brotherhood. It is why he always referred to other Shariqyn as “cousin”. For one of them to call him brother, he could feel the cultural weight of it. A brother was someone who was accepted, trusted, depended on; and in such a fractured society, you depended on your tribe to protect you, to support you. You were distrusting of certain other tribes through either war, marriage, or circumstance, and the outsider you gave no trust at all.
For him, he had no claim to tribe, no claim to even be Shariqyn. His turning from Aa’boran to the ways of Benalus, to wear the cloth, to fight for God, he was as near an outsider as could be. His people viewed him with such disdain, barring him from his homelands. Even thinking on it, though he had no connection to it, his heart ached. “Brother…” That word felt as though it were cool water running over a hot limb, bringing peace and serenity where before there was pain and ache.
He examined why he felt this way; the awareness of his connection to others had been heightened when he had at last turned to the ways of Benalus, to worship God and to work towards the uniting of Humanity. He was ordained, having spent years examining the Testimonium and the Gospels for the insights to help others. He had fought with soldier, Imperial Knights, Templars and Paladins, bled with them and so forged bonds of comraderie and brotherhood. He had lived in a society where this brotherhood was offered freely and with no deceit, for this was the way of Benalus and the mission of the Church.
The more he looked, the more he came to see, that this brotherhood he had come to rely and depend on. They were true brothers in God, and he could rely on them, but the cultural significance was not there. The distrust was not there when he spoke with others in the Throne; it tainted every interaction he had with with his cousins of Sha’ra. For one of his people, who had reviled him, to call him that, to express sorrow, regret, and acceptance, it ran against the cultural norm in the extreme. It took courage and understanding for the person to have cast aside everything to call him a brother.
His mind still struggled to come to terms with it, but he felt in his heart a serentiy, a peace that he had not felt since he had been baptised and committed himself to God. Daily he spent time to listen to the Word within his soul to guide him, and it was rarely clear. Today, he felt it was crystal clear. He felt the hand of Benalus in this. With the first link, the chain is forged, and he felt that through this connection with Sir Tu’luk, the first link was made solid. His heart told him, the Word in his soul told him that his people would come to Benalus and God, and this was the beginning of how he would help them. With that, the feeling that being called “brother” shifted from what was the end of a road long walked in blindness, to the beginning new road into the light.
Opening his eyes, Renatus brought himself out of the long time of prayer he had cloistered himself to engage in, his heart lighter, his purpose focused, his course clear. “Praise be, glory to God, Deus Vult.”