Labora et Ora 3: Paying the Price

Hexxenacht. A time to turn your back to the door, to refuse the velvet hush of night. Yet even when warned, when argued, when pleaded they choose to walk with him. His chilling presence, like a cruel ray of moonlight, unsettled every step. His alabaster robes a draw out the long shadows weighing heavy on all our bones.

Petya watched in mute horror as he moved among those who can not see. Our heroes, our hopes, our hearts, ignorant of their hooded attendant. The fragrance of his impassive consideration hung in the air, a lullaby that clung to souls he marked for his embrace. The nightmare played out in the recesses of Petya’s mind. Ruined and broken bodies cast aside. It leaves Petya with an unbearable weight.

His approach was subdued, an owl to whom we all await. His favored, unbeknownst to them, to became his children. Ordinary folk, innocents, and warriors alike, unaware of the fate that was their sheppard. The horrors of war, of monsters and traitors, had already claimed too many lives. Petya recoiled at the thought of innocent souls sacrificed to feed such sinful perversion.

The darkness of our situation deepened, like the ceaseless nights of war. His presence grew constant, fevered, Petya knew that he would not remain idle. That he would snatch any who were too close to sinners, innocent or otherwise.

Wards against malevolent influence, to distract and save the lot of them. A decision, painful, like cutting out ones own heart. Petya searched among the ranks. Petya prayed until he saw the evils that clung to their soul, the fractured artistry of their façade. Petya weighed the sins within their hearts.

Those who had transgressed would be require much attention, he would be forced to care for his broken child as they are ferried into the abyss. It may occupy his attention long enough for God’s light to return, to warm the hearts of humanity. One can not ask forgiveness of such a task, only acceptance. If he came to collect the sinner and demanded Petya as well, there would be no protest, no bargaining, just rest.

Petya had learned in the monastery that the path of righteousness was often paved with thorns. The weight of Petya’s actions, the sin, nearly drove the will from the body, but it was a stone only Petya could carry.

The last bit of dirt fell from his shovel. All that is left for Petya is to work and pray, to seek redemption, knowing that there is no forgiveness, only acceptance. “I swear before the Archangel Lurian, bearer of the fallen, and before the Almighty Lord God, to never harm thee, to protect thy body and thy soul, from this day, until my last day.” The countless, silent graves offered absent gratitude.

Speaking the names of those he remembered Peta felt regret not knowing the letters across some of the graves. The graveyard of Runeheim was already too tragic, too large, too full. In a pleading whisper to his alabaster companion, “In the aftermath of these times, gaze upon the work that Petya’s hands have wrought and wondered who has been my guide.” Their gaze rose and landed on a pile of recent overturned earth out in the forest, a child of Lurian had been plundered.

Leave a Reply