Suvarin returned with a stretcher with two harnesses that looked remarkably like vests. She was out of her uniform and now dressed in jeans, thick boots, and warm hooded jacket. She looked remarkably unremarkable now; just like a typical young woman one might see on a cold night outside on main street. Oriana shivered for reasons she could not identify, there was something disturbing about how differently Suvarin looked now that she was wearing different clothes. Kent and Suvarin demonstrated the stretcher by putting it on Kent and Kelly first. Paul climbed onto it and was quickly blind folded by Suvarin. Kelly and Oriana were when blind folded. Suvarin and Kent gave the three blind youths the instructions they needed to start walking down one of the tunnels. Kent was in the lead, while Suvarin positioned herself behind Kelly with Oriana at the rear holding onto her backpack. Slowly at first, they moved down into the tunnels, gradually the walkers got used to being blind folded and the pace picked up. Oriana tried to keep track of which direction and how far they had gone but within minutes she gave up as it was obvious they were inside some colossal labyrinth. They just had to put their trust in Kent and Suvarin to keep them safe on their subterranean journey.
Kelly grew tired and Oriana took over helping to carry Paul for a while. Suvarin appeared to know Kent somewhat and was asking him about his writing.
“Writing?” asked Kelly, “What does Kent write?”
“Druids as part of their study need to write a series of parables that highlight key values of our faith in a way that is accessible to other people,” explained Suvarin.
Kelly chuckled, “Oh, so that’s why he told us that strange story about the boy being eaten by dogs on the way here!” Continue reading “The Monk – Part 14”
The man’s face betrayed no emotion, “I see. Well, then I suppose you did the right thing in bringing them here where they would be safe. However, we will have to make special arrangements for their passage out of here. Do you know who the Tyranni are?”
“Nix and Peterson,” Kent answered. Oriana thought she noticed a particular stress on Peterson’s name.
“Ahh, I see. They must have travelled from interstate to be here in this city then.”
“That’s true,” cut in Paul, “I have a photo of their number plate. They came from interstate.”
“I am sorry, my name is Laneg. How do you do, young man?”
“Well, I’m Paul and my knee is badly hurt.”
Instantly Laneg’s expression changed from neutrality to deep concern. “Oh dear, did the Tyranni injure you?”
Paul nodded affirmatively.
“Well then,” Laneg turned to the young women next to him, “Suvarin, could you please take a look at Paul’s leg? See if he is well enough to walk on it.” Continue reading “The Monk – Part 12”
“Are they up to anything illegal?” asked Oriana.
“Illegal yes, immoral no,” said Kent plainly.
“Ahh, yes, you live a life straddled uncomfortably between those two things.”
“Between chaos and order, yes, I suppose I do. But who says that I am uncomfortable? It’s actually kind of fun when looked at from the right perspective.”
Kelly nodded enthusiastically with this statement, “I get it, I wouldn’t do anything that hurt anyone else, but I don’t really care about the law either.”
“Kelly!” gasped Oriana, “You don’t really mean that!”
“Yes I do, why should I follow the law?”
“Because, well, that’s what you’re supposed to do,” replied Oriana sounding far less confident than she thought she ought to be.
“Well, I suppose I should in case I get caught by the police or something, but I wouldn’t hurt anyone or their things. Really, when you think about it, a law is simply the opinion of a group of old men.”
“With guns,” added Paul. Continue reading “The Monk – Part 11”
Oriana and Kelly looked at Paul with a mixture of surprise and sadness, neither of them had known this about Paul. Kent reached out and put a comforting hand on Paul’s shoulder.
“I’m sorry Paul, you clearly care about her a great deal. It sounds like she doesn’t think she’s worth praying for herself to get better though.”
Paul shook his head, “Nope. She doesn’t think it matters if she dies of cancer.”
“Wow,” said Oriana, “I hadn’t thought of it like that, I thought that prayers had to be directed to god or something. I didn’t think you could just pray for yourself.”
“Oh, having some gods to pray about certainly helps with prayer too,” remarked Kent.
Kelly sniggered, “What, do you believe in gods?”
“Of course I do,” answered Kent calmly.
Kelly laughed at this, “But gods aren’t real, they’re just myth.”
“I agree with that too,” answered Kent with a trace of a smile. Continue reading “The Monk – Part 10”
“So joining this cult, the Aeshir? Well, did that give your life meaning?” asked Kelly.
Kent shook his head, “No. Well, not at first. By the time I completed my seasoning I was actually miserable and quite depressed about my life and the state of the world. I was ready to quit then, give up on my inheritance and just try to go back to being ignorant about my life again.”
“What does seasoning mean?” asked Paul.
“Seasoning? That’s the term we use for the initiation period. You need to pass a test to join, then spend one season in a monastery, swear an oath, and presto you’re part of the Aeshir. You can choose to stay more than one season if you like, but if you want to get your inheritance then you have to join one of the religious orders. There are five to choose from. I chose to join the druids as the membership challenges appeared the least odious to me.”
“Oh, so did becoming a druid give you a sense of meaning to your life?” interjected Kelly.
Continue reading “The Monk – Part 9”
Readers of my story “The Monk” might have noticed recently that the story line has moved into the next phase of development. Key parts of the background for the story are being revealed. This is a bit of a new genre because most stories about religion tend to be about existing religions, while for this story I am inventing two entirely new religions that exist in opposition to each other. The clerics of the two faiths are battling with each other and soon there will be a war of words developing as the two faiths battle for the hearts, minds, and souls of the characters.
Fans of the Star Wars franchise will point out that the Jedi and the Sith reflect two opposing religions. However, in no part of the movie franchise do the Jedi and Sith battle out their differences in a debate or dialectical struggle. They just fight violently with each other immediately on contact. This battle of goodies and baddies was enough for me as a child, but as an adult I find myself disturbed by the mindlessness of their constant warfare. The imperial and the republican forces may well represent the globalist and nationalist political forces that have existed throughout human history, but because the movies never delve into depth about the ideology driving the two factions one cannot easily distinguish the two. Luke Skywalker never once shows any remorse for the people he murders throughout the series with the exception of his own father. We never learn about Luke’s thought process, and it’s bothered me whether or not he is actually a good person. Continue reading “Writer’s Diary: Religious Sci-fi?”
Kent produced a flashlight and guided Oriana about fifty metres up the pipe. Here it opened up to a small chamber. Kent passed the flashlight to her and then climbed up a ladder opening to a manhole at the top. Oriana followed him up and found herself in a stone chamber about 5 by 10 metres in size. There was a small rectangular sky light in the roof providing some natural light. Kent touched a switch on the wall and a series of LED lights came on fully illuminating the room. He offered Oriana his hand and helped her to her feet inside the chamber.
The chamber had four stone pillars that created two arches across the narrow section of chamber, with the skylight in between. The space was thus divided into six sections of roughly equal size. Starting from one corner and working clockwise was a queen sized mattress lying on pallets. The next segment held a fridge, an electrical switchboard, inverter, and a bank of car batteries. Next to this was a kitchen and pantry area consisting of a work bench, sink, and gas burner with a methane cylinder. Opposite this was a shower and a toilet. Then next to this was what looked like some kind pyramid of sculptures set up on ascendingly narrower shelves. There was some kind of decorative gym mat on the floor here. In the final segment was the manhole they entered into. There was a pulley on the roof for raising heavy loads, and a book shelf stuffed with books on one wall. In the center of the room was a small work table with a stool and an armchair. This table was directly below the skylight. Several paintings of buildings, landscapes, and scenes of people hung on the walls. Continue reading “The Monk – Part 3”