Laneg was sitting in a small rectangular and heavily insulated room with a large pair of television screens dominating one of the long walls. There was a semicircular table arranged in front of the screens with space for four people to sit at. On one of the screens was the logo of the Salvati order and on the other was the face of a wise eyed woman in her mid fifties massaging her temples thoughtfully. There was a knock at the door and in hobbled Suvarin on her crutches and Kent trying in earnest to be so helpful to her that he was almost a hindrance. The woman on the screen opened her eyes and two brilliant sapphire blue eyes seemed to glitter at them.
Kent placed one hand just below his left shoulder and bowed respectfully towards the woman on the screen, Suvarin did the same but she made the gesture towards Laneg
“Honoured by your presence Priestess,” said Kent, “Allow me the honour of introducing you to my friend Suvarin. Suvarin allow me to introduce priestess Catherine Harking of the second order.
“Honoured to meet you priestess,” responded Suvarin
Catherine Harking surveyed the three people sitting in the conference room gravely and waited until all attention was focused on her image on the video screen before talking.
Continue reading “The Monk – Part 34”
The suburbs where Oriana and her friends lived were a relatively new addition to the city. Twenty years ago a change in the tax rate of the neighbouring state created an opportunity for energetic companies to uproot themselves and move across state lines. The city’s population swelled from 50,000 to 100,000 in just five years before the government of this state decided to raise their taxes too and stifle the economic boom taking place.
As a consequence the city has divided into two distinct architectural zones: that of the factories and sprawling suburbs that housed their workers, and those surrounding the hospital and the old city centre. The latter were old high density town houses that while small were aesthetically more pleasing to the discerning eye. The limited size of these residences did not limit the prestige and cost of living in them. It was a status symbol to live in the old suburbs and Syndi, who considered herself an artist, would never allow herself the disgrace of living in a cheaper roomier suburban house.
Syndi was poor, however, and the seemingly perpetual stipend of student allowance she received for never succeeding to complete a degree was insufficient to pay her rent. She had however two additional streams of income, neither of which included selling any of her ‘artworks’. Continue reading “The Monk – Part 33”
Jodie nervously drove the car through the back streets to the hospital, while Suvarin reclined peacefully in the passenger seat. Jodie had pleaded again with Suvarin not to go into work today, but Suvarin insisted on the grounds that it would raise too many questions. Jodie eventually proposed she would wait in the car near the hospital and Suvarin would let her know if she got sent straight home so Jodie could just pick her up and take her back again.
Suvarin agreed and fifteen minutes later she was hobbling into the hospital on her crutches and reporting to her nurses’ station on the sixth floor. The other nurses immediately mobbed her and asked what had happened.
While she was relating her prepared line of falling down a muddy ditch in the dark on her way home she noticed the unmistakable visage of Peterson walking through the ward towards the nurse’s station. What was peculiar about Peterson was that he was dressed as a policeman, right down to the badge. Unbeknownst to her he had just minutes before left Oriana’s house. Continue reading “The Monk – Part 32”
The conversation with Kent regarding the first revelation was exciting Oriana. She decided that instead of heading directly home from the library she would take a detour through the park and thus allow herself the leisure of reflection. Profound questions echoed through her mind as she walked through the forest.
“Why is there something instead of nothing? What caused the first event? Why can’t logic answer this question? Why are the laws of physics the way they are? The laws of physics never change even if our descriptions of them do: so does this mean that we can have some moral certainty too? Is this universe the creation of a demiurge? What is that which we call God? Is honesty the only way of getting closer to God? What prevents me from being honest?”
The more the thoughts tumbled through her mind the more she found herself thinking that there was something, even if her mind’s eye was too far away to ever see it clearly, there was something. Something which Kent called God, and did she, Oriana the atheist, suppose that she might have been convinced that God really existed? Albeit not like the being she had had described to her many times before but a being that existed just on the boundary of her capacity to imagine? Continue reading “The Monk – Part 31”
When Roman Laneg turned fifty four years of age both his parents had died: First his mother went, then his father followed her to the grave four weeks later. Although he had once been married and had two sons, he had not seen his ex-wife and children since his youngest son had turned eighteen three years earlier. Laneg was alone in the world without any family or meaningful connections. While he was a surgeon, and had accumulated much money, his life felt empty and joyless. Bored with watching television alone every night he set to visit his local church in the hopes of finding a meaning to his existence outside his job. Not finding it there he tried other churches, a new age group, and even a community of atheists. Yet after a year of looking for a purpose and place to belong he felt no better than how he had when he first started. His life while comfortable lacked any meaning, and he found the various ideologies of these different groups entirely insufficient to answer his need.
One night at the hospital he had just finished his shift when he saw something that he hadn’t seen before: a medical doctor and a nurse having an argument about the diagnosis of a patient. The nurse was young, she looked to be least than twenty years old yet she was the calmer one in the argument trying to make her case rationally for why the doctor should order a specific blood test. While the doctor twice her age was gesticulating and talking over her with a raised voice and flushed cheeks. Normally no nurse that young would dare contradict a doctor, much less do so with such an insistent rational manner. Seeing that this nurse was in serious danger of being disciplined Laneg decided as the most senior physician present to intervene and restore peace. Continue reading “The Monk – Part 30”
Oriana proceeded directly from Kelly’s house to the community library. Her father had been in a better mood this morning and when Paul came around to pick her up in the morning he seemed relieved that she was with him. Paul was well liked by parents across the neighbourhood, Oriana mused that this was because while most boys were of the rough and tumble variety, Paul was a reserved and generous boy who had a reputation unblemished by teenage scandals. Oriana had speculated that her father secretly wished that she would date him instead of merely friend him, yet for all of Paul’s positive traits, there was something plain about him. It was splendid of him to care so much about the poor, yet a man who cares too much for the poor runs the risk of being poor himself, or so Oriana had reasoned, and while she agreed with her reasoning, she felt agonisingly aggrieved with herself to judge him so harshly. Indeed, sometimes in her low times she speculated if perhaps she was not unwittingly making the same mistakes her mother made.
However, there was now a new man in her life; Kent, and this man was in some ways similar to Paul. He was reserved, gentle, and exuded no malice at all in his manners, just like Paul. However, while Paul had a naïve confidence in the good nature of his fellow man, Kent was a troubled man who seemed suspicious and wary of everyone he encountered. Justifiably so since these Tyranni have appeared on the scene, but nonetheless, whereas Paul was naturally inclined to believe whatever someone might tell him, Kent was the opposite. Kent had in some ways the character of a bad dinner guest: constantly questioning and cross-examining others. He might even come across as arrogant to the eyes of someone who doesn’t know him well enough, but Oriana had by this time concluded that he was not in fact arrogant, but precocious and confident in his intellectual abilities. Perhaps too confident in them, although she didn’t feel ready as yet to make that judgement of Kent. Continue reading “The Monk – Part 29”
Paul typically wore jeans and jumpers whenever he was out in public, however, today he felt his lunch date, if that was what it was, with Deaspara required something a little more formal. He was dressed in a white shirt with a red tie and a pair of his father’s pants, which were noticeably too short for him. He arrived at the restaurant, and was guided to a table for two and commenced waiting for his date to arrive. Although, he wasn’t entirely sure if it was a date, he was sure he had seen a wedding ring on her left hand, but was it perhaps on her right hand and he had gotten confused? He would definitely check today, and besides, even if it isn’t a date, the soup van desperately needed some more money to pay for the food. The demand for food from the homeless only grew bigger each year; it was already beyond what the small parish could comfortably afford.
Deaspara was watching him from the balcony of a neighbouring building with the single minded focus of a bird of prey. Syndi was not far from her cigarette in her left hand, and a beer in her right.
“Awww, the boy has dressed up for our little lunch date! I forgot how sweet these innocent young lambs can be,” snickered Deaspara.
Syndi burped loudly before responding, “You reckon you can break his faith in god? Telling him how scared you are of god probably didn’t get far with him last night.” Continue reading “The Monk – Part 28”
Oriana rapped on Kelly’s door, flanked by Paul. Kelly opened it up it up almost immediately, but instead of her usual boisterous greeting she placed a finger over her lips and motioned for her friends to come in quietly. Moments later the trio were sitting in the back room overlooking the backyard.
“Well?” Started Oriana, “what happened? Where’s Kent and Suvarin?”
“Kent helped to drop Suvarin off this morning and then left right away. He figured that you guys would want to come over and he didn’t want to put all five of us in the one location to tempt the Tyranni into killing us all. He said he had work this morning too, and besides, I think it would have made my mother more suspicious.”
“What does your mother think of Suvarin being here?” Asked Paul.
“The story I have told her is that I was at a party with Suvarin and she got so drunk that she fell down a slope into the mud and almost drowned.”
“How is Suvarin?” Asked Oriana.
“She went back to sleep, she’s in my room completely out of it.”
“So what happened last night?” Continue reading “The Monk – Part 27”
The door to the cabin opened unexpectedly, Kelly flinched, but it was only Kent returning. He was carrying a large backpack with him. He took out a pillow and carefully placed it underneath Suvarin’s head. She stirred and tried to speak. Kelly noticed there were a couple of sleeping bags inside the bag too, along with what must be some of Suvarin’s clothes.
“It’s ok Suva, you’re going to be ok, you’re safe now just rest.”
Suvarin wasn’t ready to lose consciousness, “the blood!” she cried out.
“I delivered it to Laneg, he is treating the knight now.”
“The knight! Will he be ok? I only got two units of blood!”
“Laneg said he would make it, he will just take much longer to recover. Relax, you did really well. You saved his life.”
Suvarin slumped back down into her pillow, “Tell Laneg that my brother has O negative blood, he is training to be a knight, maybe he can donate some?”
Kent gently soothed her, “Laneg has everything under control. He’s an excellent surgeon, one of the best. You just focus on yourself, you need to rest up and get better.”
Suvarin’s face contorted to one of fear mingled with sadness, “Kent, I feel so cold, I am weak, I don’t know if I will get through the night.” Continue reading “The Monk – Part 26”
The tunnel was old, in fact is was so old that the bricks felt like sponge underneath Kelly’s touch. Decades of exposure to moisture had seeped through the bricks and rotted them through. The water lapped at their knees and if it the tunnels hadn’t been so narrow the current would have easily washed them away. Their progress was slow but morale picked up when Kent announced that he could get a clear signal from Suvarin’s phone.
“Just up this way, Kelly!” exclaimed Kent.
Kelly’s legs were going numb as the water sucked the warmth out of them. The air was stale, thick with enough moisture that it was becoming difficult to breathe. Kelly started to wonder if maybe there wasn’t enough oxygen this far underground and if she might faint? Kelly had started out this adventure believing it to be fun, but the rising waters were filling her heart with fear now. At last the tunnel opened up into a large rectangle concrete tunnel with a trough running down the middle.
“According to the tracker, she’s located just down this tunnel.” Continue reading “The Monk – Part 25”