UKArchive ID: 36579Chapter 15: Inquisitor by mitch
Originally published on June 3, 2016 in Fiction

Chapter 15 of the Light-Father: The scene switches to the Great Cathedral of the Order where young Brother Kai waits upon the Grand-Abbot - the man who let loose the Redemption Virus that killed all his family and friends - who then instructs one of his most brutal Inquisitors to go to Crawcester..

Schimrian was at his computer desk when the door buzzer sounded. “Enter!” he called out and the voice-activated mechanism admitted Brother Kai who was carrying a tray with breakfast and coffee upon it. “Ah, Brother Kai, place it there. I will eat as I work. You look ill at ease, my son,” he observed with a concerned tone in his voice. “Do you wish to tell me what troubles you?”

Kai was red-faced and clasped his hands together in front of him in obvious distress. “I-I w-wanted to apologise for my indiscrete behaviour yesterday evening, Eminence.”

Schimrian gave the young Brother a warm and benevolent smile as he extended a hand so that Kai could kiss the ring of the Order. “Please, think nothing of it. Brother Simon had slandered me by telling you that I was interested in such sinful recreations but as I assured you, I hold fast to our three most sacred vows in all things for sin clouds both mind and judgement. Brother Simon placed you in an impossible position with his wicked lies and no doubt found your spiritual dilemma a source of great amusement.”

“Will he be punished?” Kai asked nervously. “I must bear some of the blame for being so naïve in such worldly matters.”

Schimrian stood up to place a hand upon the cheek of the trembling Brother. “Son, such innocence is to your credit – an innocence we will strive to preserve in our New Jerusalem. As for Brother Simon, we are nothing if we do not allow those who have sinned and wronged us to show their repentance through service to both God and Order. Thus I have now asked him to lead our Tally-men on an Inquisition into the Venetian Enclave where he will visit upon them God’s great Redemption and Revelation.”

Kai paled and swallowed nervously. “But-but they say the Enclave is highly radioactive after nuclear meltdowns…”

Schimrian’s merciless stare left the young Brother in no doubt that the Great-Abbot was a man you ridiculed and slandered at your peril. “Indeed, my son,” he said flatly. “You may go, Brother Kai, unless there is something else that troubles you?”

Kai bowed his head. “Nothing - except to ask a question of your lesson at Matins – there was a part that I did not follow.”

Schimrian reseated himself and interlocked his fingers. “Ah, I am always ready to help a Brother in matters spiritual,” he smiled warmly. “Proceed.”

“We… I mean I wondered why you were quoting so heavily from Exodus and Leviticus in the lesson.”

“Ah, yes,” Schimrian beamed. He took a Bible from his desk and opened it at a bookmarked page. “I am pleased to see you were paying attention. Now, let’s begin with Exodus: ‘Heed what I command thee this day. Behold, I am driving out from before you the Amorite, the Canaanite, the Hittite and Perizzite, the Hivite and the Jebusite. Take heed to yourself, lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land where you are going, lest it be a snare in your midst. Thus you shall destroy their altars, break their sacred pillars, and cut down their wooden images for you shall worship no other god, for your Lord God is a jealous God’

‘Thus you shall make no covenant with the inhabitants of this land when they play the harlot after their gods and invite you to do likewise and eat of their sacrifices nor shall you take of their daughters for your sons or of their sons or your daughters nor shall you offend our Lord God with molten gods
.’ In my lesson I merely tried to illustrate the Divine righteousness of our Inquisition from the Holy Scriptures laid down at the time of Moses. Do you not agree with the Words and Wisdom of our Lord God in Exodus?”

“N-no, b-but the V-virus and R-revelation,” Kai floundered, trying desperately to control his stammering. “I-I m-mean I understand why we did what we were ordained to do…”

“Ah, but still you have doubts about our interpretation of Revelation,” Schimrian nodded, steepling his fingers. “If you take the Bible as the One True Text then Exodus makes it clear that we must remove all that offends the Eye of God before He will allow us to build our New Jerusalem. The Unworthy must not be allowed to breed with the Worthy that we have gathered and nurtured for dozens of generations to yield our Blessed Number. For if we allow the Unworthy to pollute the Earth and the purified gene pool of the Order, then we will raise not the walls of Jerusalem but a vile and corrupt version of it; a new Babylon will rise and once more corrupt the world with its hellish vices.”

“Yes but… so many countless millions died,” Kai whispered. “Including my family who were Architects and respected Aldermen of Crawcester and loyal benefactors of the Order.”

Schimrian paused to take some coffee before replying. “Alas, my son, we did try to save as many of our benefactors as we could but the Royal Conclave of Architects were Unworthy in the Eyes of the Lord as their rites were satanic, their sacred pillars were those of Greed and Envy while their altars were those of Mammon – thus they had no place in our New Jerusalem. I am sorry for your loss for no doubt you considered them noble and upright people but from now until the end of your time upon this sweet Earth, my son, the Order is your family, your father and your mother.”

“Hallelujah, for the Order is of God,” Kai said but then he bowed his head in misery. “My soul fully accepts the reasons for our holy crusade, Eminence, but my heart still weeps for them.”

Schimrian paused to open his Bible at another bookmarked page. “That is nothing to be ashamed of for had you felt nothing; had you never experienced loyalty, respect or love then you would not have been deemed one of the Worthy. Now listen well, my son: Leviticus is the Will of God and his Word has guided our hands and our hearts in all our doings. Hear this:

‘You will chase your enemies, and they shall fall by the sword before you. Five of you shall chase a hundred, and a hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight; your enemies shall fall by the sword before you. For I will look on you favourably and make you fruitful, multiply you and confirm My covenant with you. You shall eat the old harvest, and clear out the old because of the new. And I will make my abode among you and my Divine soul shall not abhor you and I shall walk among you for I am your Lord God and thou art my People, my blessed and chosen ones.

As you can see from this, the Will of God could not be clearer. We are his People ordained from Genesis unto Revelation and unto the Holy Books that shall be written in the Light of Heaven.”

“Hosanna! Blessed be our Lord God,” Kai intoned. “Thank you for clearing my understanding and for strengthening my resolve.” He bowed and retreated nervously to the door, acutely aware of the cold eyes of the Great-Abbot boring into him. In the corridor, he almost collapsed and had to lean against the wall, struggling to draw breath as his heart pounded.

“Are you ill, my son?” said a deep bass voice. “Or are the cries of those undergoing Redemption below us disturbing you?”

“Father Bucheort! You startled me!” Kai gasped, straightening up and massaging his chest. “No it is not the cries of the Unworthy that vex me for blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly. I was just a little… weary, that’s all.” He gazed up at the broad bearded face of the Inquisitor and paled – the man was six and half feet tall and had powerful hands that could easily snap the slender neck of an Unworthy novice – which he was rumoured to have done so on at least three occasions. “I am fine, Father, I have not a troubled soul only a troubled constitution.”

“Hmm, then go and see our medical Brothers,” the hulking cleric rumbled with a wry smile. “Or are you saying that we should allow genetically inferior specimens to contaminate the Blessed Quota in our New Jerusalem?”

Bucheort chuckled as the young Brother paled, shook his head then retreated hastily without making eye contact. He pushed open Schimrian’s door and was mildly annoyed as the door mechanism resisted before it gave way under his immense brute strength.

Schimrian did not look up from his screens. “Your familiarity born of our long association in the Conclave is annoying – I tire of having that mechanism repaired. I also value my privacy, my concentration and my breakfast whilst I am working.”

“I apologise, Eminence,” Bucheort said after kneeling to kiss the ring on Schimrian’s hand. “But you did say it was urgent.”

“Yes, yes,” Schimrian replied impatiently, indicating a nearby chair which creaked alarmingly as Bucheort sat upon it. “Forgive me if I eat while we are talking but I have a lot to do this day. I have meetings with Abbots Camus and Michael and their Surgeon-Fathers as our Redemption rates are failing to match our Tally-men losses. As you can see from this screen, I was also working on the plans and drawings of our New Jerusalem…”

A hungry grin spread across Bucheort’s coarse features and his eyes gleamed. “To think I’ll see it come to pass. Hosanna! Blessed be all His angels and the Lamb of God!”

Schimrian tapped a second screen. “These Inquisition reports tell me that something strange is happening, my son. Since yesterday, there has been an increasing number of Unworthy being sighted in areas that we’ve Inquired of yet they were somehow overlooked. Have you an explanation for this?”

“I would not read any deep significance into the statistics, Eminence,” Bucheort shrugged. “It’s a big planet out there and we are but few in number even with our aircraft and our legions of Tally-men but we will prevail. I accept that we do miss a few Unworthy because the Tally-men often mistake them for Ferals and let them escape unhindered. They are so inflexible - a patrol was wiped out last week when they continued on a regular programmed route through three buildings that were on fire.”

“Worry not - we have legions from which to replace them. They are a blunt tool but they have proved most effective until now,” Schimrian nodded, turning to bring up a map of the Middle Cities on one of the screens. “After Sixth Hour, I am discussing a change of policy with the Abbots which will include the extermination of the Ferals. The Great Computer suggests that random mutations may allow them to breed.”

“Impossible!” Bucheort exploded. “The genetic damage to their testes and ovaries is most profound. The fact that they survive despite major genetic damage is irrelevant as they will all die out. We would have to commit more years to achieve this…”

“Enough,” Schimrian interrupted, raising a slim forefinger. “Please don’t question my decision on this, old friend.”

“As you wish,” Bucheort conceded reluctantly. “We Fathers await your wisdom but we may have to sweep the entire planet many times over to achieve this task as they often live in remote areas and cannot be distinguished from the beasts.”

“Be that as it may, we will prevail,” Schimrian reiterated, pointing to his third and final screen where a red dot was flashing on a map. “This is the reason I called you here. Yesterday, the Great Computer detected a peculiar electro-magnetic anomaly on the western edge of Crawcester via our surviving satellites. I believe that this is an area you are familiar with so I would like you to personally investigate the anomaly but do it discretely until we can determine what we are dealing with here.”

“How did we miss this? We monitor those satellites constantly, Eminence, and we did not detect any unusual readings.”

“Do not take this to heart, Father. With all the storms and failing nuclear facilities across the globe, it is not surprising that your systems and technicians missed this brief signal. However, the Great Computer has sophisticated software and circuitry designed to look for anything unusual such as off-band radio signals and events like this that are evidently unnatural.”

“So the Great Computer found it,” Bucheort muttered, shaking his shaggy head. “Can you magnify that map, Eminence? We need to see exactly where this event occurred.”

Schimrian dabbed delicately at his lips with a napkin before complying. His eyes widened as he saw the map of the rail-yard appear on the screen with a flashing red dot indicating the event location. “It looks like it happened on open ground in a place I know well – we Inquired of a Mother in that very building next to this event!” he exclaimed, pointing to the offices.

“Could be a lightning strike,” Bucheort suggested, peering at the screen. “There are thunderstorms on and off all year round in the Middles Cities and ceaseless flooding in places.”

“Not so,” Schimrian said sharply. “We were hunting the most skilled and powerful of all the Mothers to bring her to Inquisition. We discovered her lair and defeated her craft with our counter-measures but she was a most formidable opponent.”

“I have contended with a coven of these witches, Eminence,” Bucheort said with profound respect. “I know first-hand that they possess considerable arcane skills.”

“Indeed they do. She killed eight Tally-men, five Brothers and two Fathers before we defeated her,” Schimrian said, adding some sugar to his coffee. “We Inquired of her all night but not once did she seek Salvation nor did she require baptism nor did she require us to read her the last rites and pray for her soul - which we offered to do with all the resolve and faith in our hearts.”

“It must have been a most trying ordeal for you,” Bucheort said sympathetically. “To lose so many of the Order to one ancient woman steeped in the arcane must have grieved you greatly.”

“It did, my friend, but only a handful of Mothers remain and I am convinced they are watching us from amongst the rainswept hills and forests but they matter not - they are now too few to frustrate our plans as they have done in the past.”

“They have been a thorn in our side for centuries, Eminence,” Bucheort nodded thoughtfully. “But even a handful could cause great mischief as their numbers were never great to begin with.”

Schimrian savoured a mouthful of coffee before he spoke again. “Now you understand why I want you to go there,” he said. “You lived close to these yards as a child did you not?”

“Yes, my younger sister, Edith, married one of the scientists, Edric Olafson, in the Exodus facilities in Crawcester. He was one of those trying to develop that vaccine and her children may have been vaccinated. When we searched their home there was no sign of the children but they were weak and had only two and four years at the time so it’s unlikely that they survived the storms, the dogs and the rats with both parents dead – the boy was this sad little cripple as I recall.”

“What of the Tally-men patrols in the area?”

“The city is covered by thirty regular patrols that all overlap but we cannot spare any Fathers to supervise them. One unit of five regularly patrols the rail-yard to look for any Unworthy seeking transportation but their control systems have not relayed anything unusual apart from there being a little less rain than usual.”

“Hmm, there are signs that the rain-belts are losing intensity as the arid zones are moving north out of Africa.”

“Some of our meteorologists disagree, Eminence. The rain belts have been stable for six years but they are destabilising as the convection cells move yet more energy northwards - we are seeing near boiling temperatures in the Equatorial deserts.”

“I understand the latest computer models predict that the steady rain on the southern edge of the rain-belt will be replaced by intense storms before the belt extends south again – extinguishing those forest fires in southern Europe and the Americas. Some days you can see a lot of that ash in the rainwater…”

“Yes, Eminence,” Bucheort prompted. “Please forgive my presumption but you seem distracted for some reason.”

Schimrian was staring at the map. “It’s that night we Inquired of Mother Moss, my son. My memory remains strangely vague but it cannot be down to exhaustion from our struggle with that Harlot of the Devil,” he sighed. “I cannot remember the Inquisition clearly. I recall laying her on her side and personally striking her head from her shoulders but she was looking at me as I raised the blade above my head. Bless me not, she said. For thou art a spawn of the Devil and thou shalt spawn the Devil anew.”

“The witches do like their curses,” Bucheort observed dryly.

“It was her eyes, my friend,” Schimrian murmured. “For some reason I cannot fathom, I placed her head in a tin and set it upon the tracks of a railway siding then I spoke to a railway wagon,” he laughed incredulously. “Only I cannot recall what I said.”

“She must have bewitched you before she died but for what purpose would she have you place her head in a tin?”

“When Mothers are involved, anything is possible,” Schimrian said darkly and shook his head. “When I think back upon it – no matter how hard I try, I cannot remember the details.”

Bucheort sat upright on observing the consternation on the Great-Abbot’s face. “I would not vex yourself unduly, Eminence,” he cautioned. “They can deceive the senses I am told but it is likely that the battle and the Inquisition left you weary and given their powers, it is not unnatural for you to be cautious and seek to separate her head from her body.”

“Perhaps so but I feel I was manipulated - to what end I know not. I left there with a sense of unfinished business so she may have been protecting something…”

“Or someone,” Bucheort suggested, studying the map on the screen. “There may be Unworthy concealed from our Tally-men in that rail-yard. I know it well from my youth – a prefect hiding-place with a foundry, repair-shops and sheds where they worked on the rolling-stock. I visited the yard with my…”

“Spare me the nostalgia,” Schimrian interrupted. “I do not like being manipulated. That spell must have overwhelmed me because I have not thought about that night until now when this anomaly appeared - she was the most powerful of the Mothers after all.”

“Do you think the remaining Mothers are close to Crawcester?” Bucheort suggested, pointing at the flashing red dot. “If so, then this anomaly may be significant and down to them.”

“Azrael thinks so.”

“Who thinks so?”

“Father Ishrael,” Schimrian amended quickly. “The brightest of our analysts. He recommended that we investigate the anomaly and I think he was right to bring it to my attention.”

“Yes, he was,” Bucheort agreed, getting up. “If I am to look for Unworthy in the area and for any presence of the Mothers, I need to go prepared with counter-measures and my elite team of Brothers – we have no other Fathers available right now.”

“I’m sure you and your Brothers will suffice, old friend. I would like you to take Brother Kai with you - he needs to have his Faith put to the test in an Inquisition.”

“What?” Bucheort said incredulously. “That snivelling little rabbit I found cowering in the corridor? He’d soil his robes thrice over if a Mother ever pointed her black staff at him.”

“Doubt gnaws at his young heart,” Schimrian agreed. “He lost his family to Revelation so if his Faith is found wanting…”

“…then I’ll Redeem him personally, Eminence.”

© mitch (pdemitchell on OLD UKA)
UKArchive ID: 36579
Archived comments for Chapter 15: Inquisitor
Mikeverdi on 07-06-2016
Chapter 15: Inquisitor
Bugger,this is getting another side to the story. I'm fascinated to be honest. My normal reading is action/adventure. Not so much difference, just on a different planet. HaHa!

Author's Reply:
Hi Mike, hope you are reviving from another chemo tribulation. I have had so many friends go through this awful crap so thank you for sticking with the story - I seem to be attracting a lot of interest via Facebook but I can't seem to get them to move others onto the site or post themselves. As for the story, it has some more individual children's tales to tell before it really kicks robed ass... so hang in there! I am proud of Schimrian as a villain but Pious is an even bigger monster with another even bigger monster to beat him to come! Mitch