(this is a direct continuation from the conversation started at the end of part 15)
“The fox in the field will run, the fox in the forest will hide, but the fox in a cage will fight,” said Suvarin repeating the Aeshiric idiom.
Kent was confused, “What do you mean?”
“I mean, for now the Tyranni see an option to beat us that is non-violent, so they will most likely take it – just as a fox will run or hide if it has those options. So long as they think they are getting somewhere in their attempts to turn the three growkons* against us they will not carry out any acts of violence. However, if those three growkons succeed in protecting themselves against the Tyranni’s rhetoric, they will escalate to violence because they can’t risk them becoming spiritual or joining the Aeshir; despite the harm that video recording might do to them.”
“I see what you’re getting at now,” Kent sighed deeply, “Since the Tyranni have been humiliated by me, and are intolerant of being humiliated even though they will happily dish it out to other people, they are unlikely to just let this go, so violence might be needed by us to get them to leave.”
Suvarin shook her head, “No. I know what they’re like, it will come to violence sooner or later, it isn’t a possibility; it is a certainty.”
“No, no, Suva, wait and see, I was able to avoid violence before at the brick kiln; I can find a way to avoid it again.”
This time is was Suvarin’s turn to let out an exasperated breath, “Kent, this pacifism of yours will get people killed.”
“Oh, that’s grand contradiction, Suva: violence will kill people, but non-violence will kill them too. I wasn’t expecting such an endorsement of violence from you when you’ve sworn obedience to the Salvati code which explicitly forbids violence.”
“We’re not sworn against violence out of pacifism, it is about having the right frame of mind for our work. A healer who also wounds cannot be properly focussed on where his duty lies. It is not enough to love health, one needs to hate the injury,” said Suvarin sharply.
“So you’re pacifist but not into pacifism?”
“No, we’re courageous. We voluntarily gave up our right to carry arms to protect ourselves so as to be better at what we do. Honestly, if I didn’t take my oath to the order so seriously I would have the gun my father gave me with me now.”
“Let me guess, you want me to carry a gun instead so I can do the violence for your behalf?”
“No, not at all. However, I do wish you had the courage to ask yourself why you’re so squeamish about the use of violence. Generally men are pacifist not out of reason, but out of a failure to respect themselves fully. Instead they make up an excuse for their cowardice and call it enlightenment.”
Kent looked at Suvarin coldly, “As I recall, you started this conversation by saying you are afraid, remember that’s your feeling and your responsibility to deal with.”
Kent got up from the bed and started getting changed, “I would love to debate you all day, but I have work to do.”
Suvarin got up and hugged Kent, “I am sorry. I can’t make any demands of you. That was wrong of me to do, and you’re also right that I am scared and it is my responsibility to look out for myself.”
Kent looked uncomfortably speechless after such a sincere apology. Suvarin noticed and quickly added, “Get yourself washed up, and I will have breakfast ready for you when you’re done.”
Not far away in a café Peterson and Nix were collecting their orders from the counter. Although the barista was not taking particularly long Peterson gave him a hassling to hurry up. The man slipped and spilled scolding hot water onto the back of his hand. He winced with pain much to Peterson’s satisfaction. He collected his coffee without thanking him and made his way to the farthest corner of the café where two women were sitting with their drinks ready.
The two women appeared at ease with each other but they could not have appeared more different. The first woman was in her late twenties, was overweight, with purple tangles of hair draped over an under layer of slimy black hair. She wore a bright pink vest, fingerless leather gloves, half a dozen piercings over various regions of her face, tattoos along one arm and studded leather straps along the other. She had a short leather skirt with her two thick legs erupting out of it. Her legs were contained within fishnet stockings and ended in knee high laced boots. The second woman also looked like she was in her late twenties, but in actual fact she was in her early forties. She was smartly dressed in a black blazer over a neat white blouse with blue pinstripes. Her scarlet hair was neatly wrapped up in a bun and her makeup applied with a stunning affect so very few would suspect she was indeed over thirty. No piercings, nor tattoos, but excellently set false nails made her hands objects of admiration. She wore modest stockings and that ended in blue high heels.
Nothing about these two women suggested outwardly that they would have anything in common with each other, even the way they sat differed: the purple haired woman slouched into the corner of the cubicle slurping her milkshake, while the scarlet haired woman sat upright with perfect, yet rigid, posture sipping from her cup of tea. How these two women came to be so near to each other turned several heads from nearby tables, but the purple haired woman glared at them malevolently if she caught them looking in their direction.
Peterson and Nix arrived and sat opposite the two women.
“You get more with a kind word and a gun, than just a kind word,” announced Peterson with a sinister curl in one of his cheeks.
“A life lived in chastity is a life lived in misery,” snarled the purple haired woman.
“An honest man never prospers,” explained Nix almost philosophically.
“Hard work is a sucker’s work,” intoned the scarlet haired woman in a posh accent.
* (editor’s note: the noun ‘growkon’ refers to people who are largely ignorant of spiritual affairs, in this case Kent is referring to Oriana, Kylie, and Paul)