Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Chapter 10: Confession

        Father Achilleos came in with Caden's lunch. Caden smiled. "Thanks for visiting me."

        "I hear you've been getting several visitors."
        "Yeah, Rilyn came by this morning, and Su visited last night."
        "Rilyn's a good kid, and likes you a lot. Be careful." Father Achilleos scratched his beard. "And Su seems quite beholden to you."
        "What do you mean?"
        "The way she shows up when you need her, then disappears again."
        "What would have happened to her?"
        "When she was on the tower?"
        "Yes," Caden said.
        "The goddess would have judged her, based on her life. If she was truly good, then she would have been set free. If her soul was tainted, then the goddess would have taken her to the world after."
        "So did I do anything standing beside her?"
        "Of course you did. Having another willing to take your punishment says a lot to the goddess. I don't know what her fate would have been, but you just may have saved her life."
        Caden took the bowl of fish broth Father Achilleos brought in. He broke pieces of bread and dropped them into the bowl. He watched them swirl around and soak up the broth.
        "Rilyn thought there was something bothering you. Can you talk to me about it?"
        "Can it be in confession?"
        "Have you ever given a confession?"
        "No." Caden shook his head.
        "Then I think now would be a good time."
        Father Achilleos sat at the foot of Caden's bed. Caden talked about everything since the party. His guilt over the children he couldn't save. How he blamed himself for not stopping Father Coteson sooner, and that it was his fault Keilee was taken. He focused on details that he left out before.
        "How does this Dark Shroud you mention make you feel?"
        "I know the goddess speaks against killing, but every time I see one of them, that's the only thing I can think of."
        "Is this what's truly bothering you?"
        "Was it wrong of me to kill Father Coteson?" Caden looked at Father Achilleos. "It didn't stop the Dragon Queen from returning."
        Father Achilleos took Caden's hand. He held as he looked into Caden's eyes. "Pray to the goddess for guidence." He removed his hand. Caden looked down. He had a black ten pointed star on his palm. The star turned in place. Five points rotated to the left, and the opposite five rotated to the right. "When this mark fades, you'll have your answer."