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Confessor #1
© 2022 James LaFond
Conductor Wyethstone removed his helmet with its Seth-scale pennons, brass cheek guards and coif of brass scale and submitted to the retinal scan. This quite irritated his right eye, which had ever been ultrasensitive to light direct, ambient or oblique, ever since he was cleaved over the right brow by a Sathur war ax on the Juthegeran field where he earned his elevation, due not only to his heroism, but to the death of three of his superiors. The pain spiked in his right eye, his ear now inwardly ringing, his vision impaired on the right periphery.
The voice of the Confessor then spoke in its serene baritone, “Replace your helmet. It may be required upon your confession.”
So the heretic has been here and has sought an audience with the Presence of Piety?
“Conductor Wyethstone, welcome back to Confession. Peace be upon the cold altars of our sister nodes.”
“Peace be upon them,” intoned the Conductor by way of refrain in the absence of a choir.
A sense of urgency upon him, he cut to the matter of the chase, “Benevolent Confessor, since my last confession I have used three women uncleanly—women already unclean—not soiling the virtuous, have put to death six villages, three towns and a city, re-killed the dead consigned to an overcrowded necropolis, sunk 12 ships of concession, have trodden the Sathur into the earth at every possible step of the boot, have sought out and eradicated innumerable Sethian lairs, putting to death those feeder humans held captive there, and have uttered wrathfully when unnecessary in three instances of impiety.”
The Confessor’s voice was grave, “That which feeds rampant Seth starves Foundation. That which hosts feral Sathur shuns humanity. That which tolerates weakness among Mankind welcomes his demise. Impiety brings its own hard punishment in the form of separation from the Peace of Foundation. Atone according to your better nature.”
“Omniscient Confessor, a potent heretic, for whom there is not a name, a man of Ais, black of hair and heart, less pale than he should be through seeking the sun, armed with a Star-Forged Aor and a device of disruption, made a raid upon Yuggra Sag, City of the Self-Mutilants, where resignation reigns in congress with the Lesser Ones. The Ravenkin say he piloted an air skiff from that cold candle of resignation to this, this Confessional, your holy place. I hunt his head!” declared Conductor Wyethstone, as he took to one armored knee, the steel knee cap creaking on the star-forged floor as his brass-scaled skirt tinkled upon the same and his shoulder plates of bronze creaked against their leather harness.
The nimbus of probing light which had examined his eyes faded and scattered into the many-faceted aspects of the Confessional, an inward facing jewel of rainbow iridescence, as the form of the Confessor took shape before and above him, from whence its all-knowing voice had so recently emanated from every point of the chamber except for the open portal through which he had walked so demandingly.
The awesome power in the presence of which he now knelt awed and imposed upon him so that he feared to meet the mighty gaze. A Confessor had never before, in five previous confessions, taken tangible form. A shadow now blackened the floor before him, indicating that the Confessor had taken opaque form—and he shivered.
Do not piss! You are an Agent of Foundation, a Conductor of its Holy Doctrine!
And yet he trembled.
“Conductor Wyethstone, rise and behold this Manifestation of Foundation.”
Wyethstone gathered his substantial courage and rose, sweat dripping out coldly from beneath his yellow hair to run in rivulets beneath his silks, his cottons, his leathers, his mail and his harness.
His chin quavered, but his narrow eyes beheld without flinching that which few humans of any sort had seen. Before him floated—or perhaps reposed in a reverent cocoon of force—a black field of force, through which no light might pass. Within this sphere of pure force contorted a face of sorts, a face of bound lightning dressed in a purple nimbus, pierced with two blue “eyes” one might call them, and a pink “mouth” set lowly between them. The form of the face was masculine, as was the voice and the eyes. But the pink mouth was incongruantly feminine, set within a lantern jaw of light.
“Conductor Wyethstone, all confessions are confidential, as was yours. What do you, in the name of Foundation, ask of this Manifestation?”
“I seek knowledge of the heretic, whom I believe to have intruded here.”
The voice was deeper and more resonant, “All, who confess, intrude, and their confessions are sacrosanct.”
The sustaining zeal of the fanatic buoyed him as his voice cracked, “I seek not his confession, but his declaration and his presence, which might possibly construe as a threat to Foundation.”
The field of force contorted like a thousand theosophic minds debating a point of reverence, the mouth growing pinker and more expressive, the blue eyes raging more balefully blue and boring through his soul, “He is Phane, a Heretic of Ais, seeking truth beyond the Doctrine of Foundation.”
“Blasphemy!” he frothed as his trembling muscles jingled his brass scale shirt and skirt.
The effortlessly suspended face of the Confessor softened and the resonant voice said, “His plea of seeking was granted, and accompanied by an Avatar of Confession, his Induction has commenced.”
His soul shook within, “Induction?”
The face contorted into a swirl of flowery contrast, “Induction as a Geist, not a Conductor, Paladin, Priest, Deacon or Monk, simply as an unsecured visitor, liable to extinguishment as a condition of Conduction—a Seeker, a Fool. He has been entertained and absorbed. The archive of his Induction is available as an audio transcript, open to rightfully ordained Agents of Foundation, of which you are manifestly, and yes, foremostly, one.”
The face went acid and long like that of a sleeping man with lax extended mouth of pink and drooping eyes of blue. The void of light-containing force seemed to hang like the long stone face of some ancient carven deity before him, as if bowing to him. His lack of piety and his forceful insistence washed back into his mind like a tide of ever-staining shame and he went to both knees, hands upon his unbelted sword and scabbard, in prayerful observance, “Forgive me, Confessor, for my arrogance, for questioning your omnipotence.”
“There is not to forgive,” breathed the sleeping visage under its purple nimbus of crowning energy, “Atonement lives. Stand according to your belligerent station and receive the report of induction as observed by our Aspect of Epitheoetics.”
Energized, validated, galvanized and invigorated, Conductor Wyethstone stood at Attention Severe, sword held before his heart, the pommel weighted with the Stone of Leaden Decision, the crosspiece etched with the Acts of Ascension, the black scabbard stitched red in the Trials of Perdition, and he prayed to the Spirit of Foundation for the cunning to digest the revelation, the wisdom to balance his options and the strength to enforce his decision.
Seth are indigenous, post-human species of intelligent life, which prey upon humanity in the form of vampirism and brain eating, detesting the consumption of mechanical flesh, which many-typed beings view mankind as an invasive species in need of eradication. By wearing Sathurhide and Sethhide equipage and trophies, a Conductor of Foundation, or the humble paladins from whose ranks they are drawn, demonstrate a commitment to the orderly propagation of the human species.
The Curtain Undrawn
menthol rampage
the combat space
the greatest lie ever sold
on combat
the sunset saga complete
when you're food
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