Winds of fortune: conviction

“Reikos is no more. Our home - the cradle of our virtue - has been steeped in the noxious bile of our enemies. What grows here now is only misery and despair. The land has turned against us - those who have survived the Druj will find only death here now.”

The wild-eyed preacher stood atop the mound, his clothes ragged and torn, his hair and fingers stained with dirt. His pronouncements of doom had angered some and they have moved on quickly - but a large crowd remained - gripped by the fervent preacher’s words. Many bore physical marks of their captivity, vivid weals and scars at wrists and ankles. The Black Thorns had moved through here only days earlier driving the orcs before them and freeing the slaves from the Druj camps.

“The Druj are but one part of our destruction. Our Senate barters away the Empire to the northern orcs to buy peace from them - but the horns of war blow on every border of the Empire. We are beset on all sides. Besieged - we cannot hold. Death is come upon us. She is inexorable, the hound that pulls down the hind. Not the little death - not release into the Labyrinth. I speak of true death! Our souls themselves lost as our Empire is torn down!”

A drop of spittle ran from the preacher’s lips. His hands continued gesturing even when he stopped speaking, moving back and forth abruptly as if animated by a will of their own and seeking to underpin the threats the priest warned of.

“It is time now! Just as our souls enter the labyrinth and are reborn - so must our Empire be reborn. Reforged, the nations of humanity will come together as they did only once before. Only once have we been truly united - when SHE walked the land. When SHE led us into war. When SHE brought the Way to all humanity.”

“On the day SHE entered the Labyrinth we lost the Way. What virtue did SHE follow? Lost - lost to us - lost to the darkness of the Labyrinth. That is why we have squandered HER legacy. That is how we have fallen so low. We have forgotten the faith SHE used to carry all before her!”

“No - not lost… hidden. Hidden by cardinals and gatekeepers who could not stand the light of truth that shone from HER! Buried by the priests who could not bear to submit to HER path. They destroyed the truth! These cowards stole the Way from us. By their actions they doomed us all!”
The crowd groaned, there was no-one left now who was not swept up by the preacher’s words. Starved and beaten by the Druj, they had grown used to the hunger in their bellies - now they were reminded of the hunger in their soul.

“But the truth is reborn just like our souls! There are still priests in the Synod brave enough to speak the truth. Not all our silenced. Listen to the wind - there you will hear the truth. SHE was an exemplar of Courage!”

“Courage is what we need now. Courage to withstand our slavery beneath the Druj. Courage to turn their fear back on them. Courage to send the orcs crawling on their bellies back to their mountain holes. Courage to unite our great Empire beneath HER will.”

“I am sent to bid you to Courage for I have seen and SHE will be reborn! Long has she laboured in the Labyrinth, but now SHE prepares for her final journey into life. Now SHE prepares to lead us in war against our enemies - to unite us once more. But only if we have the Courage to follow HER.”

“We must make the Empire ready for HER! This is why SHE has not returned to us - because we are not worthy! Traitors and silver-tongued schemers have taken HER dream and twisted it into something SHE never intended. We must set it back on the right path, must have the Courage to return to HER way - and then SHE will return to lead us!”
“Our Empire must be reborn! The Way must be healed! Not seven virtues equal and the same. How can that be? A feeble lie we tell our children - a lie that suits the flatterers of every virtue in the Synod well. But if SHE was an exemplar of Courage as they finally admit - then the truth is revealed. Courage - beyond any other virtue - is what we need to follow HER through the Labyrinth. Courage above all other virtues to defeat our enemies. Only Courage will remove the fear from our hearts - only Courage can save us.”

“Courage was HER virtue. This is the truth the Synod has kept from you for centuries. That is why we have fallen. That is why you laboured under the whips of the Druj.”

“Courage was HER virtue. Set aside the others - and turn at the last to the truth. And you will be reborn, our Empress will be reborn, our Empire will be reborn.”

“Courage was HER virtue. Who now will follow another virtue when you know that the greatest human who ever walked the earth chose this for HER path?”

“Courage was HER virtue. Who among you will step forth and be reborn. Step forth and I will anoint you in HER Name - in HER virtue.”

The speaker stood, silent at the last, his hands wide, imploring the crowd to accept his words.

For a moment there was silence and then a young woman stepped forward, her eyes full of fervour to receive the priest’s blessing. And then the tide burst.


In Reikos, a visionary preacher has started spreading the word of the First Empress, Exemplar of Courage. With the Synod in agreement, he claims, it is time for the Empire to admit that Courage is the Truest Virtue and everyone should admit that the other virtues are simply less important and get to work rebuilding an Empire fit for HER to return to. You can read about this event here → … Conviction

(You might have seen this pop up briefly last night. I pulled it because I wanted to discuss some elements of it. It’s now up proper-like)


The photo is By Urmelbeauftragter (talk | contribs | Gallery) (German Wikipedia) Deutsch: Gesamtzahl meiner hochgeladenen Dateien: 866 English: Total number of my uploaded files: 866 Jürgen Heegmann (], via Wikimedia Commons


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