“You seem troubled sister, why so? The liberation of Reikos is nearly complete, the Druj are scattered and defeated… Share your burdens with me, Mariamne?”
The Unconquered sighed heavily and shifted the weight of her armour across her shoulders. She glanced back and smiled wanly at Boethus before returning her gaze to the horizon. “It’s probably nothing” she demurred, but her grim face told a different story.
“Good - it would not do to share a weighty matter while we eat - it might spoil our repast!”. The wayfarer carefully spread a blanket over the crude table and begin to unpack a simple meal of bread, cheese, cold meats and wine. He decanted a little water into a hand bowl and generously offered it to the soldier first. He waited until she had washed before continuing to press his old friend.
“Now, what has your daughter done to trouble you this time?” he smiled to lighten the tone, but his tone was as sincere as his guess.
“It might not be about Sal!” Mariamne laughed despite herself. Boethus’ ability to read her mood always made her smile.
“Mariamne, if you were a hundred miles over the border with no food and no way back… you’d be worrying about your daughter.”
“I’m no different from any other mother” she protested. Despite her refusal to be drawn, Mariamne could feel she was losing the battle. Boethus always knew what to say to get her to relax and once her guard was down he would wrestle her concerns from her. Her priest said nothing… just smiled that infuriating smile that indicated that he was not going to give up until she opened up. She sighed again, and then accepted the inevitable.
“She’s… she’s… got herself caught up in the First Empress heresy. I always hoped you’d help her find Wisdom, but all she’s ever wanted to do was become an unconquered and now she’s got this crazy idea in her head that Courage is the only virtue worth having. We… we argued… but she’s passed her tests now and I can’t stop her.”
“What caused the argument?”
“She’s been going to listen to Yael - that priestess who claims she is the First Empress reborn? I tried to point out that it’s just possible that she might not have told the truth about what happened in her vision… and that’s when Sal exploded. She said if we’d all been more Courageous, Reikos would never haven fallen and Noah might still be alive. And… that’s when I lost my temper.”
“Have you tried to reason with her since?”
“Several times - I even took her to see that young priest - Nina of Cantiarch’s Hold - you know… the priest in Reikos who isn’t preaching anything crazy or heretical at the moment.”
“Pointless. She’s articulate and knows her virtues, she’s clearly got the backing of the Synod - but she isn’t convincing anyone who isn’t already convinced. The problem is the Synod - fundamentally if the Assembly of Courage are right, if the First Empress was an exemplar of Courage… then why should anyone follow a different virtue? Sure the other virtues are important - but this Golan isn’t preaching that there is only one virtue - just that there is only one important virtue. It’s not even clear it is heresy. Unless the Synod are prepared to gainsay the claim that the First Empress was devoted to Courage, then good priests like Nina are going to be helpless to stop this craze from spreading.”
“And now your daughter is caught up in it?”
“Yes! Sal is talking of founding a new chapter - to follow the Empress reborn! She’s 15! She passed her citizenship test a few years ago… and now she wants to found a chapter. It’s ridiculous.”
“She never lacked for Courage.”
“It’s a bit of bloody Wisdom she needs right now, frankly she can save her Courage for fighting the Druj.”
“I hear Golan has been summoned to Anvil - for Inquisition. If they resolve the heresy - would that help to heal the rift?”
Mariamne snorted and shook her head. “I doubt it - it’s been one mad idea after another ever since her father died. She just needs to grow up a little.”
“Would you like me to talk to her?”
Mariamne finally relaxed “Would you? With Noah gone, she won’t listen to me anymore. I wouldn’t ask but…”
“You didn’t ask.” Boethus cut her off - “I offered. Consider it done.”
When the Courage Assembly announced that the First Empress was an Exemplar of Courage, they set in motion a sequence of events that lead to the formation of a movement calling itself the Courage of the First Empress which has swept across Highguard and shows no signs of losing momentum.
You can learn about the recent developments, and why the congregations of Priests who are part of the Courage Assembly are gaining converts at the expense of their fellow priests, here → profounddecisions.co.uk/empi … /Confusion
Also included in this wind of fortune are further details of the confusion created by the Imperial Synod at the WInter Solstice, along with notes about ways this situation could be exploited, and the painful actions that may be needed if Golan and his supporters are to be opposed. As well as how the support of the Synod could change the face of The Way forever.
#idunnoboutyoubutiwould, #COURAGE!, #theempressrebornleadstheway
(Oh and for some bonus content, why not take a look at some new material on previous exemplars and paragons including profounddecisions.co.uk/empire-wiki/Kethry?)