Chapter 11: The Land Without Footprints: Shadows Amongst Shadows

Posted: August 18, 2013 in Novel: The Land Without Footprints
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Book description: The Land Without Footprints: Shadows Amongst Shadows is set in the Modern Middle Ages, the age after the ages of Earth, when humans inhabit a planet where, unbeknownst to them, the moons control every action. What remains of the Earth is confined to books. In fact, many have decided to live by the rules of those books once called fiction. But no fiction or reality rules over the Mystic. He rules by only two laws: obey his desires and obey your desires. His desires are twofold: virgins and immortality. However, the desires of his subjects are as wicked as ever known. But the Dagens, a family rooted in the old ways of society, cannot give into their desires. They cannot kill just to kill, hate just to hate, destroy just to destroy. Yet if society is to become what it once was, the Dagens must destroy freedom and place chains around those who no longer wish to be chained.

11 – Bann

Rain descended through the roof’s opening. Once again the throne room was occupied by a plethora of priests.

“I am God with a human face,” Arkin said, as he pounded his fist against the throne. “Not a human with the face of God.” He let the distinction settle. “This body will not age. And it will not die.”

“You cannot live past your life,” Father Panis said, waving the notion aside. “Bodies are left out of heaven for a reason.”

Arkin pointed toward the sea of yellow cassocks. “How many of you question my immortality?”

Of the twenty priests that were present not a single one raised their hand. But their faces said a different thing, a subtler thing. Perhaps Father Ferret’s death still held down their tongues.

Father Nocum shifted the yarmulke on his head. No dye hanged to either of his eyebrows. He had the appearance of a snake if ever a snake looked human. “Mystic, we have no doubts about your immortality. None of us have ever questioned your existence in that respect.”

Father Logrip seconded the opinion: “Immortality is not as fantastic an attribute as it seems. Many immortals have shared the same fate of us mortals. In fact, one scholar once wrote that more gods had fallen from the skies than men had been born from the womb. Many smart minds agree  that  immortality  can  only  be  achieved  through  writing.  We remember Shakespeare easier than we remember the Twelve Olympian gods of the ancient Greek world.”

“Father Logrip is a master of history,” Father Tillicum said. His missing eyebrows distracted Bann, made it harder to focus on words. “A man is not wise unless he knows the past as well as the future.”

Bann noticed the fervor in the priest’s voice, how he talked as if he were a prophet. Was that an erection under his cassock? Impossible. One couldn’t achieve sexual excitement through faith alone. No testicles, no arousal.

“And what do you know of the future, Tillicum?” Intrigue soaked the Mystic’s tone.

“I know a thing will always be surpassed by another thing,” Father Tillicum said, tightening his cassock.

“And I am told that a wise man has extra holes in his brain. Let us see if that is, in fact, true, priest.” Arkin cackled like a man who’d just drunk hysterics.

Two men came from the shadows of the columns and forced Father Tillicum to his knees. In less time than it took to step, a sword was drawn.

Finally, Father Panis threw up his hands, raised his voice: “You cannot kill my priests because you dislike the answers they give.”

“But I can, you nitwit.” Down the marble stairs Arkin ran, and when he reached the bottom he ran back up, pulled a sword from behind his throne of bones, and went back down to the unevenly-colored checkered floor.

While he caught his breath, he leaned on his sword as if not to fall over. “I can, you nitwit. Open up Father Tillicum’s head so we can examine his mind.”

One guard raised his sword, swung down. Missed. The fool must’ve never been trained to be accurate, only to swing.

“A mind is immaterial,” Bann shouted, pushing past the crowd of cassocks. “We can examine that better if the priest is alive.”

“I can promise you immortality,” Father Tillicum said, staring up at the ceiling. He rose to his knees. “I can promise you the next step beyond immortality.”

“The next step?” Arkin repeated.

“This is nonsense,” Father Panis said. “One step has to be the last step.” Father Tillicum stood up, knocked aside the guards who attempted to seize him. “In Father Panis’ world the last step has been taken,” the priest agreed, brushing his cassock of dirt. “This world, however, is based on chaos and irrationality. And how can a world lacking reason be forced into a box beside logic and order. It cannot. It cannot.”

“This is nonsense.” Father Panis waved a clenched fist.

Arkin thrust his sword skyward. “I am told that a wise man has extra holes in his brain. Let us see if that is, in fact, true, Father Panis.”



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