A little speculation after our latest Krevbornan adventure.
The fey warrior settled himself in the basement, his gangly limbs askance as he tucked his lanky form into an impossibly small space. He regarded two tufted dolls he set up facing him, both arranged in makeshift toy beds.
“I feel the need to explain,” he said apologetically, “and now, while you are sleeping, seems the best time.” He reached out and adjusted the blankets on the Luka doll and the Tristan doll. “So, you just continue on with whatever dreams you’re having as the moon rides high, and I will tell you about the church.”
He settled further. “You see the church as a force of good, a bulwark against the darkness, and a force for justice in a corrupt world.” Kylic shrugged. “That’s not entirely false. On a good day, that’s the most true part of your church. It is easiest to see the church that way from within, acting as its agent, given orders that make sense to you. I suspect you’ve been lucky so far, not entrusted with its truly filthy work and its darkest secrets.” His lip curled in something like a smile. “For the greater good. Of course.”
Kylic gazed out the narrow basement window far above. “For the others among us, those who are not like everyone else, the church can have a worrying focus on purity. Purity means a thing unmixed with anything else. And as you know, we are all mixed, one way or another. We are all vulnerable to cries for purity.” He sighed. “And the church I have seen has tipped over, my friends. It was created to provide a structure to organize human response to the cosmic. However, without steady access to the cosmic it purports to serve, that structure does what any human organization does; it draws power in to itself and curbs threats to its ongoing success.”
He returned his attention to the dolls. “As you have seen, the church viewed an agent of the cosmic as both a threat to its ongoing success, and an asset to be leveraged to the church’s advantage.” He paused. “Let’s look at that again. The church, founded to serve the cosmic with human worship, tried to enslave an angel to do the bidding of the human organization.” He shook his head. “That is a profound disconnect. A burning symbol of the greed of a human organization that has lost its purpose and now exists for self preservation and the promotion of its power above all else.”
Kylic cocked his head to the side. “Maybe Artem was operating as a rogue against church orders. Maybe there was an impassioned discussion and he was allowed to go out on a limb in his mission but there were significant factions that disagreed with his actions. Maybe he didn’t tell any of his superiors and took it upon himself to act. Or, maybe, as a loyal agent of the church, he was doing as he was told as the church hierarchy decided to capture an angel and force it to serve as a slave to the church.”
He shrugged. “Best case scenario he acted alone and without sanction as an extremest. However, there is a survivor. A survivor who saw agents and allies of the Order of St. Othric stand against agents of the church, their own superiors, to further the interests of a hostile alien.” Kylic paused. “At my most generous I cannot see how that does not send the wheels of speculation and contingency planning groaning into action. The church need no longer speculate about the Othric celebrity allegiance; confronted with a choice between an embittered and murderous angel and agents of the church, they chose the angel. They sided against the church.”
Kylic shook his head. “Either I overestimate the insecurity and greed of the church, or we have incurred a grave risk. Organizations like the church can ill afford traitors, or symbols for traitors. If word got out that the church tried to enslave an angel and failed due to the actions of scions of St. Othric, what position does that put them in? You can put a positive spin on it, but you have taken no action to alter the facts, and when the narrative gets out it can be used to drive a wedge between the church and the fledgling order.”
Kylic gazed at the unresponsive dolls, intent. “You may not have seen a heretical split before. I have. It is ugly, it is brutal, it is personal and threatens the legitimacy of the loser. You have unwittingly made the Order of St. Othric a threat to the church.” He leaned back. “The eyewitness account will prove the Order has a closer connection with the cosmic, a relatively clean slate for drawing divine favor, and has brooked the will of the greedy and corrupt church hierarchy.”
He paused. “Or maybe you are right. Maybe the church loves you for dealing with the threat. They don’t mind that you stood against the church leader you answered to. They count it a minor loss that their effort to enslave an angry, vengeful angel failed due to your efforts.”
His smile was spare and feral. “Good luck with that,” he whispered, and he blew the lamplight out.