SCENE I – A GLADE IN THE WOODS
TONK: Did you hear that Nessa? The inquisitor takes the village hostage, and threatens to raze homes and slaughter families if we don’t retrieve the chalice. And they say that cruelty is not the way of the New God. Religion and Hypocrisy. That is a marriage that no god will tear apart.
HÜVJE: But she means well, Tonk. The Inquisitor truly believes that she acts in accordance to her faith. Her ethics.
TONK: That’s the thing with religion. Every inquisitor, their man and their boar believe their own selfish take on faith is the correct interpretation of the ineffable will of the gods.
HÜVJE: The will of God is like the sparse beam of sunlights reflecting off patches of brush in this glade. We mortals can only glimpse the Divine when it is reflected, in patches, fractured, never whole. Like the canopy of brambles obscuring the sky, our minds are limited and unable to see or comprehend heaven in its entirety. It is left to us to glean the workings of the divine from peeks and fragments of our cosmic Lord.
TONK: Sister, a fine analogy. But it is not holy sunbeams that give us hints of the working of the universe. These hints are not divine in nature. It is shadows of the hidden and unexplored rules of nature, of life and death, that hint the universal laws. Their origin is entirely natural, not from a made-up god. Reason and not faith are the key to unlocking truth.
SCENE II – UNDER A TREE. THE HANGING CORPSE OF A SOLDIER OF ASTRID JUST OUT OF REACH
TONK (excited) : Hüvje, if you can lift me up – I could reach that body. I can…….retrieve it.
HÜVJE (suspicious): Do you mean to desecrate this corpse, goblin?
TONK: Desecration. That is an expression of your faith. It is meaningless in my vocabulary. I mean to animate that corpse, if you want to know.
HÜVJE (angry): I will not permit these heinous deed. The body of a dead man will not be desecrated in my presence!
TONK (visibly annoyed): I respect your faith Sister, but don’t be arrogant to assume we all share your values. Remember that we are trying to achieve the same goals here. If you believe it is sacred, fine. It is but a tool to me. An inanimate object that I can shape and command. A resource to use on our quest.
HÜVJE (frustrated): Assume we meet other Swords of Astrid. And they see the corpse of one of their comrades, with a gaping hole in its head, walking among us. What do you think they will do? React? They will burn Chuton to the ground for heresy!
TONK (grudgingly swayed): Now you are using reason and not faith to argue. I accept your reasoning. Let us press forth.
SCENE III – RUINS OF A COTTAGE. THE PARTY FACES BEASTMEN.
Tonk steps out Hüvje’s protective spell, becoming visible to the beastman. With preternatural alacrity, the goblin breaks and runs, with one of the foes clawing at the tiny figure, opening a large gash on the goblin’s back. Tonk stops and turns, and the beastman continues chase. Without taking stock of the bleeding, he mutters under his breath, and weaves a spell. Space seems to distort around the beastman, with limbs, skin and bones exchanging places in an instant. The Division spell is as effective as it is immediate – the beastman explodes in a mist of blood, gore and bone. Nessa and Hüvje are left speechless.
TONK (paused, ragged breathing): Apologies Sister. I meant to have asked. There is no rule in desecrating the living body of a man, correct?
TONK: See Nessa? Pulverizing a poor living creature with sorcery, that has no guilt other than acting on its own instincts – God is fine with that. The church will bless you and offer a mass in your favour you. Now, taking a corpse. A slab of meat, and performing animating magic on it – no no no. Slap on your hands. Off to hell with you, heretic. I’ll let you work out the logic in that.
SCENE IV – WALKING BACK TO THE VILLAGE
The three companions, deep in thought, exhausted, covered in sweat and blood walk back in silence. No word is spoken for hours. Tonk, bleeding, ragged, struggles to keep pace. Sister Hüvje, pauses, and motions for the goblin to stop. She takes out an embroided hankerchief, and tenderly cleans the wounds Tonk suffered from the beasts. She mutters a prayer, and channels divine healing, her hands aglow with a faint golden light. Tonk and Hüvje exchange no communication, but the goblin nods gently, in acceptance of the act and the person. Hüvje nods back, and turns and walks the rest of the way, in silence as before. Nessa sighs, smiles, and leads the way home.