Friday, January 15

Debate on the descent… (Original Fiction by Xan)

“What about that doorway above those rocks?” Solcloud questioned the giant and the halfling.

“Ummm, I think this way is probably better.” Beasley winked at Zander as the giant held a hand over his mouth and tried to hold in a laugh. “Yeah, I have a feeling that we should go down these stairs.” Beasley pointed to the opposite side of the large cavern where they had set off the gas trap and used the bones for their trick on Mayvn. “That doorway up there probably doesn’t go anywhere.”

“All right, little one,” Solcloud huffed. “You are, after all, used to dark places and dungeoneering.” The contempt in his tone of voice just seemed to ooze from his lips. “Dark creatures play cruel jokes on their friends, and I want it to be known I do not condone your course of action. To gag me and drag me away from our camp while Mayvn slept is just cruel. But since you will not let me go back to wake him I suppose I might as well continue on with you lot.”

“Don’t worry, he’ll be safe.” Zander comforted the paladin as they clanked down the long and dark spiral staircase. Beasley just shook his head and rolled his eyes, as the other two could not take one step without clanging or clinking.

“A man of the cloth, such as you wouldn’t play such jokes.” Solcloud scoffed. “A cleric should not give himself up to laughter. Only a fool indulges such childishness.” Solcloud gathers himself and continues, “I am sorry. I trust my words did not offend you.”

“It all is a matter of your god, my noble friend.” Zander smiles in the darkness as they continue to descend.

“Ah yes, I have heard of your order.” Solcloud switches into a ponderous tone as if to deliver a sermon as they travel. “Your order views merriment with indulgence while my order hasn’t the time for such laughable things.”

“Yes it is true. Othr was much disposed to laughter of a thunderous nature.”
“Laughter is a devilish wind! It distorts the features of the face and makes men look like monkeys.”

“HA!” Zander begins to laugh almost out of spite, but continuing to keep a humble posture. “Monkeys do not laugh, it is particular to humanoids.”

“Yes, just as chaotic choices can be.” Solcloud stopped a moment on the steps to emphasize the point.

Beasley felt uncomfortable hearing about religion at a time like this, but he did not want to get in the middle. He decided to keep going, Solcloud would have to use the torchlight Beasley was carrying to see where he placed his next footstep.
Just as Beasley had guessed, the noble knight continued down the stairway. “St. Cuthbert never laughed.” He stated with some authority.

“Can you be so sure?” Zander placed an interesting question to the man with a different faith than his own.

“There is nothing in his teachings to say that he did.” Solcloud huffed.
“There is also nothing in them to say he didn’t.” Zander took a bold step, not truly knowing the faith of this knight. Solcloud turned his head to listen to the cleric. “Why it is known to all that some gods have been known to employ comedy to embarrass and ridicule enemies of the faith. Is this not true?”

Solcloud only growled with Zander’s attempt to preach his faith.

“For example; Garl Glittergold, the Joker and god of the gnomes once collapsed the cavern of Kurtulmak, god of the kobolds, as a practical joke.” Zander drew upon his teachings of other faiths while doing missionary work to continue his point. “There are the stories of the bard cleric, Rehgan Jhurl. After ogres captured him and they plunged him into boiling water for dinner, he complained that his bath was too cold. The ogre mage reached out his hand placed it in the water and scolded himself.”

“A so called saint of Olidammara, immersed in boiling water, does not play childish tricks.” Solcloud now knew that the half-ogre was schooled enough to be a missionary of the faith but he saw no reason to back down yet. “He withholds his cries and suffers for his faith.”

“Did not Kainderhast, the great philosopher, devote his second book of lyrics to comedy as an instrument of truth?” Zander smiled at his reference to a well-known philosopher in all circles of the world.

Solcloud stumbled at the mention of the philosopher’s name. “You have read this work?”

“No, of course not.” Zander enraged by the rebuttal. “It has been lost for many centuries.”

“How do you know of this book?” Solcloud continued his retort. “A book like that was never written. I will hear no more of this…this…idle banter. Let us agree to disagree and move on shall we?”

Zander humbly bows his head, conceding to a draw. They reach the bottom of the stairs; Beasley straightens his tunic and smiles up to the both of them. “Well, that conversation sure made the travel seem swifter.”

“That it has, my little rogue.” Solcloud smiles. “It has also made me realize that education and wisdom are not always limited.” He looks to the giant and gives him a hearty slap on the back. “Well done, my friend. You are truly an educated man and an experienced missionary of your faith. I misjudged you, may St. Cuthbert…” Beasley clears his throat to signal the paladin to rethink his words.

Solcloud cleared his throat and continued. “May St. Cuthbert and Othr forgive my prejudice?”

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