Volume 2 – Growing In Power
Chapter #57 – Doctrine
Daneel woke up to the morning sun shining on his bed.
In a few minutes, he was sitting on a chair and opening the parchment that Radagast had given him yesterday.
Reading through the doctrine, Daneel’s eyebrows went up more and more until there was no place left for them to go.
The Church Of Rectitude’s doctrine was one of the strictest ideologies he had ever seen. But, he started to notice a pattern in the rules that was actually quite glaring when he observed it further.
The pattern was that the “Saint” or the person who had set up the Church was the absolute ruler. Even when entering, one had to give the oath to follow the words of the “Saint” no matter what they were. In fact, there were even details about how sacrificing oneself to the Saint would result in life long prosperity for their eternal soul and living family.
In summary, anyone who entered the Church had to abide by the word of those above and they had to abstain from any of the sins listed in the doctrine. Although this list of sins was pretty standard, the part about absolute obedience was the most worrying.
In return, each and every member was given resources to reach the peak according to their talent. As long as one didn’t waste resources, there was no limit to the requests they could put towards the Church. The Church would also happily comply because in essence, each and every member had completely signed over their freedom in exchange.
Also, members could also place requests for “reckonings”. If the information provided by them was found out to be true, then the location where the reported sin had occurred would be purged by the Priests of Reckoning.
Daneel suspected that this was what had happened with the destruction of the Dwarve’s Rum. He wondered who it had been that had chosen to give away their freedom in exchange for getting revenge.
There was no way that he would let ever let any one dictate his actions. This was the clarity that Daneel achieved on reading the doctrine fully. He had never realized the value of freedom before this point.
Although he was still restricted by the environment he was in, his actions and decisions were all his own. He would actually have to thank Radagast later for bringing this to his attention.
Meanwhile, he decided that it was time to visit his Master and find out just what arrangement he had with them.
On approaching the cabin, he was pleasantly surprised to see plumes of smoke rising from the chimney on top.
Knocking on the door, he was greeted by a smell of charred meat.
As Master Jonah opened the door, more and more gusts of black smoke exited the cabin, making a few people who were around crinkle their noses due to the unpleasant smell.
“Get in!”, he said urgently, before closing the door as soon as Daneel closed his nose with his hands and rushed forward.
The cabin was filled with the smell of charred meat. Although the fire over which the unidentifiable meat was roasting was placed below the chimney, there was no way for the smoke to go up and exit the cabin.
“Don’t blow the smoke away! It stops the damn mosquitoes!”, said Master Jonah who was turning the already burned meat over the fire.
“Aren’t you a high level mage? Why can’t you just erect a barrier around the cabin? Or just kill all the mosquitoes when they come?”, asked Daneel, still closing his nose and breathing through his mouth.
“You think I haven’t tried that?! Its too tiring to maintain a barrier of that size for a long period of time. And its too much of a waste to use trinkets for this purpose. Even the merchants use this method to drive out those pesky insects. Lets go out, this amount of smoke should be enough.”
Closing the chimney, Master Jonah touched Daneel’s shoulder making them reappear inside a forest. Daneel had no idea where it was, although the species of trees that he could see were similar to the ones outside the library.
Breathing in the fresh air, Daneel felt relieved that they were out of that cooped up room.
“Is there really no other way to keep them out? How come I never had them in the slums?”, asked Daneel.
“That’s because they are not regular mosquitoes which feed on people. These darn insects feed on materials like Ether! As you must have learnt in your classes, Ether is only one form in which energy exists in the world. Some special plants or materials also contain the energy, but Ether is the most common because it is the only material that can be found in large mines. Now, these damn insects eat away at Ether blocks that are stored. That is why you won’t see blocks of Ether anywhere outside unless they are being stimulated to release the energy.
“It costs a fortune every year to use defense trinkets or mages to safeguard the stores of Ether even in the Palace. Although this method works, the smell makes it so that not many opt to use it. Anyway kid, you didn’t come to hear me ramble on about magical mosquitoes or Ether. Ask whatever it is you came to ask”
Daneel had had a contemplative look on his face when Master Jonah had been talking about the mosquitoes. Shelving his thoughts for later, he asked the question that had been bothering him since the meeting.
“Whose side are you on?”
Hearing the question, Master Jonah let out a raucous laugh before pulling a bottle out of his trousers. It seemed that he was back to the drunken master act.
Taking a long swig and coughing, he said, “What does it matter, kid? You were dumb enough to carry out your little ‘swearing in’ ceremony out in the open where the Grand Court Mage could definitely have been watching. I happened to be keeping an eye on you, so I managed to set up a discrete counter-spy barrier. As for the Church, that’s between me and them. They are helping me out with something and asked for a favor. Its only a meeting, and I’ll make sure they don’t force you into anything.”
Daneel shuddered imagining the consequences if the Grand Court Mage had actually listened in on their ceremony. It might actually have changed the King’s view to not squash him right now.
“Thank you for that. But how the hell am I supposed to do things without someone spying on me all the time?”, he asked, exasperated. He had asked the system in the morning but had been met with the same response: to buy a tool that he had not enough points for right now. Besides, he was presently saving up points for some really attractive faction tools that he had had his eyes on since the system store had opened. Hence, he really did not want to spend points on anti-surveillance although it was a very pressing matter right now. Of course, if there was no other option, he would have to do it.
“Its me or them. You choose.”, he replied, shrugging.
It was indeed him or the others. At least, this man was acknowledged by Kellor who the system had identified as an ally. Even his instincts told him that this Master could be trusted, but only to an extent.
“All right then. Is it possible to cancel the meeting with that priest? I’ve chosen to reject them anyway. Also, do you have any way in which I can witness the making of a trinket?”, he asked expectantly.
The answer to the last question would decide his next step.
10 years. Before that, he had to do something to save the Kingdom. Assassinations of the ruling class was always accompanied by large scale loss of life of the commoners of a kingdom.
He did not want to see rivers of blood flow in the streets he had grown up in at any cost.