Day 72 of 100 Word Prompts: War
The field that lay before Gregory looked intimidating, to say the least. He could feel his heartbeat in his ears as he witnessed the red blanket of grass comprising every inch of the field before him. His hand shook as he gripped his cross, trying to compel the demons frequenting such places away from him and off to other, less favorable conditions.
“Lucas!” Gregory called again, hoping that he would hear some sounds signifying recognition. Any sound that would let him know his friend had survived. “Has anyone survived? I am a priest of the Lord. I mean you no harm.”
A body slid from a pile, splashing in the blood as it landed with a wet thud.
“Here!” a weak voice called. “Help me, priest.”
Gregory rushed over to find a soldier wearing the traditional blue of the Jutras clan, his king’s enemy’s color. Without hesitation, the priest reached out, hand alight with radiant energy, and touched the man on the chest. The man, who’s breath had come in hard-gained inhales, now came in relaxed sighs as a smile spread across his face.
“Thank you, priest,” the man said, “What do I owe you?”
“The Lord works through me,” Gregory replied, waving off the soldier. “If you were not meant to be healed, you would not have been. My name is Gregory L’Gange.”
“Regardless, thank you and your god for your help,” the man replied, feeling his ribs. “I fear I may not have survived the night without your magic.”
“Again, it was only the will of the Lord leading me,” Gregory said with a shrug. “I can do no great deed but by him who lives in heaven.”
“Yeah, yeah, priest,” the man said, motioning toward him. “I know all that preachy stuff. Let’s be honest here. I’ve known a great number of clerics and paladins in my time. You are not alone in assuming that your power only works because your god allows it, but try to think of the last time you attempted to heal someone, and it didn’t happen. I’m willing to bet my life on the fact that it has never happened to you-”
“I have heard stories,” Gregory protested. “The power I wield is that of my god. This is not some paltry offering, but rather my very essence devoted to a higher purpose.”
“You can keep telling yourself that, priest,” the man said, flexing his shoulders. “If that were truly the case, you wouldn’t be able to heal your enemy soldiers, and I would die a miserable death in the pile of the dead there.”
“I wouldn’t dream of allowing such things,” Gregory began as the man put his hand up to silence him.
“I’m sure you wouldn’t, but without your god, who knows where you’d be,” he replied with a shrug. “Can you honestly tell me that your god shows you any more preference over the clerics of other gods which are similar?
“Can you show me where it is written that the gods will give to mortals in ways that no mortal should ever experience? Can you show me where the Aasimar come from? Where your king comes from?”
“There is no way of knowing where the aasimar came from, only that they are carriers of the divine spark. That sacred light which we spend eons attempting to attain and always seem to fall short,” he said, gathering his robes about his legs. “There are a great many mysteries to the universe that we simply shouldn’t have the answers to. Do you expect the gods to explain the minute details of existence to mortals? Do you think that they should bend their knee to us?”
“I don’t think anyone should bend a knee to anyone. We should walk shoulder to shoulder into the end of days, never allowing anyone to judge others. There should be rules on who can judge and who is not,” the man said, scratching his head. “I mean, I have all sorts of rules, but yet you can stand there and break more than half of them with every breath you take.”
Gregory took a step back, “What do you mean?”
“I mean, channeling divine energy is a direct violation of the safe travels pact signed into law by the high councilor Ahmed Ammadar,” the man said, “Simply put, it means that if you use divine magic, you can be subject to penalty, jail, or even death depending on what it is you’ve done.”
“I am no warrior,” Gregory replied, “I will heal the sick and help the needy regardless of the consequences. That is the charge of my god and the mission of all of their followers. That is our purpose on this planet, and it’s a good thing too because, without us, hundreds would die out here on the battlefields.”
“Without you, leaders would have to figure out their problems without divine intervention. Don’t misunderstand me now,” he said waving his arms in front of him, “I appreciate all you do and have done, but I’m just saying that perhaps these leaders have spent enough time and peasant blood on pointless wars only aimed to bolster their egos more than they already are.”
“I’ll have you know that I am hoping to find my friend out here,” Gregory said. “I am not here to bolster anyone’s ego, let alone a mortal king.”
“Looking for a friend, you say? What’s he look like?” the man asked.
“About five-ten, a hundred and forty pounds, sandy blonde hair, and a scar above his right eye. Have you seen anyone like that around here?” Gregory asked.
“Not yet, but that doesn’t mean he’s not here,” the man replied. “What are the chances of him fleeing the field once the battle commenced?”
“Slim,” Gregory replied. “He has never run from a battle. Even those ill-advised to fight. He’s a stubborn man, but one of my oldest friends,” Gregory said, turning in a circle.
“And you’re sure he’s alive?” the man asked.
“Incredibly so,” Gregory replied, pulling a slightly glowing crystal from beneath his tunic, “If he were dead, this crystal would no longer glow. Though I am certain, he had been injured in some way. The light is faint, and he probably doesn’t have much time left.”