“How could you let him escape!?”
Soris flinched as scream echoed about the ornate dining hall of Jim Randus, a Divine who held nearly an eighth of Fetona’s wealth in his companies and stocks. He was a tall man, though not very muscled, and had eyes that made any man, no matter their size, feel fear. He was truly a man to be feared.
“Do you not realize who he was!?” Randus yelled once more. There was no one in the room to see them argue, but it would be no surprise if the other officers outside heard every word. Randus was a powerful man with a powerful voice. “I heard the reports several times over. You let him get away! Is this a lie?”
Soris made sure not to look the man in the eye. Instead, he focused on Randus’ hair. It was dyed as black as the night, a style taken up by a few warriors that took place in the Tourney, and pushed back like some sort of viper. In a way, Soris saw Sish in Randus. A taller and differently powered Sish, but him nonetheless.
“Yes, sir,” Soris replied, “But there was nothing I could to do kill-“
Soris was silenced by pain filling his face. The next thing he knew, Soris was on the ground. Radiant God above! Randus had punched him! He was much more powerful than he let on…
“You fool! You can NOT kill him! Do you not realize just WHO he is?!” Soris must have looked utterly confused for Randus simply rubbed his hair back and sat down in a nearby chair. “Forgive me for striking you, Captain Vandeel,” he said calmly, his voice housing an edge of venom, “But I was angry. You see, that boy is none other than the fifteenth Herald, the prophesized Savior from the destruction we face.”
Soris stood up immediately. “That is impossible!”
Instead of growing angry, Randus smiled. “You should have realized this as soon as he picked up that officer, Captain Vandeel.”
“But… Divines can pick up humans, too! I have seen it!”
Randus shook his head. “The most powerful Divine can lift one human body and it takes him nearly an hour to do so, so no one really worries over it. This boy, as the reports say, was using two bodies with ease. Tell me that there is an explination?”
Soris racjed his brain but found nothing to explain it. Randus was correct, then. But, this wasn’t the reason Soris had come to the Divine first. “Sir, there is something I must tell you.”
Randus grabbed a cup of wine off the dining table, most likely a leftover one. Unlike the other Divines, Randus was willing to do anything to save money, even if that meant drinking leftover wine. “And what is that, Captain Vandeel?”
Soris swallowed. It had been only a day since the disaster at the Execution Block, but Soris still felt the weight of that boy’s words. ‘None of the Nomads were ever in Fetona.’ “The boy – Sish – said that there were never any Nomads in the City. He said that they only came when they had a raid.”
Randus simply stared into his wine. Soris should have been thankful he didn’t stare at him with those eyes… “Is that so?”
“Yes,” Soris replied, then continued, “He also said that the only rebels we have captured were the two of them. W-would that mean…” Soris could continue. His throat tightened and he felt himself on the verge of tears.
Randus didn’t move. “So, you are saying we have been slaughtering our own people and they were innocent?” The Divine was unreadable, to Soris dismay. He was not afraid of many people, but Jim Randus was definitely one of them. It was a pain, but something drove Soris onward. Guilt, perhaps?
“Sir, do you think there is any truth to the boy’s words? Could we have been… killing innocent men and women?”
Randus stood and walked away, his hair and robes flowing from an open window that Soris had just noticed. Why was it not cold? “It is true, Captain Vandeel,” Randus replied slowly, his voice filled with something alarming. Sorrow.
“How do you know, sir? Surely you do not have doubts that the boy was lying?!” Soris was growing desperate. He didn’t want to be a murderer of innocents. Killing was bad enough as it was!
“Look, Captain Vandeel, I know you are a very religious man,” Randus said, “So I know you know about the Abyssal God’s recycling of souls.” The Divine turned and faced Soris with a hard look. “Do you realize what that means?”
Soris couldn’t answer. He always put on a front. Everyone thought he was a hard captain with a soft heart, a man of the Trinity Gods, and even a reliable person who anyone could come to. It was a lie. He only did what he could to keep them thinking that. In reality he was lazy and had little faith in the Gods. He sometimes doubted they existed. And so, he could not say anything.
“Look,” Randus said, his voice actually growing soft, “There is a cost to having a child in Fetona. In order for a life to be born, a life must be recycled.” Soris felt himself grow dreadful of what he now knew was to come. “The Officers were made after Fetona’s construction for two purposes: the first was to protect, and the second-“
“-was to recycle…” Soris finished. Randus nodded sadly.
“It is a sad thing, but something that must be done. If not, how would new life be brought forth?” Soris felt himself nod. He actually understood this, though it pained him to hear it. He had already lost Sarah to sickness. He couldn’t afford to lose himself to guilt. “We find those who are tainted, though, and leave peace to the innocents.”
Soris raised his head and turned to leave. “Just… please tell me I am doing the right thing, sir.” He needed someone’s approval, even a man like Jim Randus who was said to be cruel and evil by most the Commons and even feared by Divines.
When no answer was given, Soris walked from the room, despair gripping his heart.