Thursday, October 4, 2018

“The Prayer of the Wicked” - A Tale of Heroes - Scene 65: Antonerri

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Antonerri picked up a small reed from the cup by the candles. His arm was sore and stiff from the bruising he’d received at the dark market inn. He held the reed in the flame of a candle until it caught a small tongue of its own fire. Then he slowly, painfully, used it to light more candles for his own prayers.

The sanctuary of the cathedral was dark, punctuated only by occasional colorful outbursts of lightning coming in through the stained glass from the storm cascading outside. The room smelled of incense and heating fires. The warm glow of the candles in the rack surrounded him as he knelt down before them.

He bowed his head.

But no words came.

His heart was filled with emptiness. He knelt as an offering, but had nothing to offer his Creator, nothing to give. Only failure.

He heard footsteps behind him, but didn’t look up or turn. He heard the rustling of robes as Brother Mathazar also lit a few candles and knelt down beside him.

After a few moments of silence, Brother Mathazar spoke. “We’ve moved the children you rescued safely to our orphanage. Are you well? You took quite a beating.”

Antonerri kept his head bowed in silence.

“But I suspect,” Brother Mathazar continued, “That the beating you have taken has been much deeper than what happened yesterday.”

Antonerri breathed deeply but still kept his gaze on the candles. “And DeFrantis? Is there any word?”

The brother shook his head, and looked at Antonerri. “They say that confession is good for the soul...”

At that, Antonerri tensed, and stared intensely at the monk. His eyes narrowed, and he hissed with menace, “The last time I was told to confess, to purify my soul, the powers of light were not so cleansing.”

Brother Mathazar turned and sat on the steps of the altar. “I don’t know what you’ve been through, or what you may have done. I don’t claim to have any answers, either. I’m just offering a chance for you to unburden.”

Antonerri looked him over, then returned his eyes to the candles. “I am unworthy. But I don’t understand it. I have been cast from the church, and my own powers have left me,” He took a breath, “And I have no idea why. My greatest sin is to defend the weak, to fight for those that can’t fight for themselves. Isn’t that what we’re supposed to do?”

The brother nodded.

Antonerri continued, “So what great sin am I guilty of? Why has the Creator abandoned me?” The rain blew on the windows as he fell silent again.

“Has He?”

Antonerri glared at him again, with a quizzical brow.

“I don’t know, but it seems to me that he’s still using you to help the weak. You have saved three children from the depths of misery. You have three friends who value you enough to save you, and it looks like there is at least one other that needs your strength now. I wonder how they all feel about your ‘worthiness’.” He reached out and grasped Antonerri’s shoulder and patted it in reassurance. Then he pressed on it to support himself as he stood.  “I’ll bet they lean on you, too.”

He stepped away from the altar. “I’ll leave you to your prayers.”


This continues the story of the heroes in Wynne, in Twynne Rivers, in the world of The Hero's Tale, Family Friendly RPGs. Here's more info on The Hero's Tale, and family friendly RPGing.

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