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Unread 31st of December, 2010, 17:50
Cadrius's Avatar
Refusing to Sow [Epic GM]

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Location: The Emerald City
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She is right, of course. The simple and unavoidable truth is that they are lucky to still be alive. Drawing breath is a miracle itself and there is little reason to believe that it will continue without outside interference. The thing out there, the shadow in the dark, that hunted them is either malicious in its desire to instill terror, or has some ulterior motives for delaying their demise. He wants to believe that they are too many for it to run rampant in their midst, tearing and rending, painting the frost with their blood, decorating the trees with their guts.

He wants to believe it, but he isn’t certain.

“Yes, we are lucky,” he says. “We always are.”

“Spare me the sermon about gratitude,” she says. Her spit is graceful in its arc, landing in the dry, curled brown leaves draped thick over the dirt. “I’m talking about life and death here.”

He sighs. “So am I.”

Her scowl shows she’s in no mood for mincing words.

The lines in his face are deeper than they used to be, casualties of carrying more than he should. The bags beneath his eyes are heavier and thickening. These days his sleep comes in fits. Each night is a mishmash of tossing on the thin bedding and lying awake listening in the dark for death to come for him and Sarra. The days have become a haze; it hardly seems that the sun has come up before it is on its way back down again. He wonders where the days go, where time goes, and how he could acquire more of it when it seems to be running out faster and faster.

“The Church will help us,” he says. “Provided we can reach them.”

“The Church?” She makes an obscene gesture. “The same Church that tried to have you killed?”

He nods.

“Why would they help us?”

“Because,” he says, “it is not about us. It is about them.”

The Church is an entity like any other, rooted in its ability to hold power and exert influence. A lord needs men to serve him, a merchant needs wares and customers, and a church needs believers. The difference is that the church, or this Church in particular, is never short of customers, never short of servants, and is always in demand. The world is a terrible place, dark and vile, full of hardships and pain. The offer of an eternal reward, of protection from that which lurks in the night, is not a difficult sale to make.

But a merchant must provide his goods to his customers, a lord must protect his people, and the church must deliver on its bargain as well. While it is difficult to demand a refund after one has died, the Church stands against abominations, things that are unclean and blasphemous to the world itself. These monsters, this plague, and the font from which it flows are their domain. They must deal with this threat, must mobilize to burn it clean at its source. If they cannot do this, if they cannot protect the innocents from this horror, then what purpose do they serve at all?

Her eyes glitter, cold in the dark. For the first time he wonders if Shade is even her real name. “What makes you think we’ll even make it there?”

His laugh is bitter as he turns his back to her and walks toward camp.