|Stormcastle: And Other Fun Games With Cards And Dice|
by Edward Sullivan
Brother Tan gazed out the window. The scorched desert could be seen over the survival wall only from the highest windows of the Tower of Truth. This essentially meant you never saw over the wall unless you were a full brother of advanced standing. The office he was in was just high enough to have the view despite the fact he was the third most senior brother in the tower. He was only allowed access to the secret holy library because Brother Blue died five years ago and he was then too senior to deny. He had educated himself for years through collecting black market books from the city. The last five years had been miraculous though, he had advanced his education and theories more than in his previous forty. He was ready to present what he found to the world. He had already forwarded his findings to the other senior brothers. This was his moment of triumph.
There was a knock on his door. This was odd as no one ever visited him. It occurred to him that perhaps for some reason he should not answer and just let them go away. That was ridiculous of course. He was a man of faith but he was logical at his core. Omens and ill feelings did not dictate his behavior. He rose and answered his door. It was his peers and a novice that attended them. Brother White was a thin frail man, almost skeletal. He was the chamberlain and everything that happened in the towers was his purview. Brother Black was his opposite in most ways. Black was corpulent. His size was so great that every word of his speech had a tendency to sound as if it started with the letter "B." He was the spiritual head of the order. He was the final arbiter of all things which were questions of faith. Little Brother Red was the constant companion of one or both of them. Little Brother being a novice title for him was humorous, him being the biggest man anyone had ever seen in this city. He had hands the size of other men's heads. They all entered without being formally invited.
Brother Black spoke first as befitted his station. "Good Morning, Brother. The blessings of our Lord are upon you."
"Also with you, Brother Black. What can I do to help you and your companions today?"
The skeletal chamberlain's face took on an angry rigor. "You know very well why we are here, Tan. Those papers you gave us are blasphemous. You cannot allow others to see your delusions. It contradicts our whole purpose."
"I don't see that it does brother. Besides, the truth is the truth. The creator would want us to share truth if we discovered it, wouldn't he?"
The giant novice was walking around the room touching things and looking generally bored. The fat monk put his hand on Brother Tan's shoulder.
"You must understand our position. We have told all the people of the great city of Salvation that our tower is a beacon to communicate with the Almighty as he and his heavenly kingdom circles our world. Your work contradicts this."
"But our world circles the heavens. I have studied the needed math to prove it. I have even found evidence in our own archives of texts that were saved from before the fall that agree. It is the truth."
White surged forward finger pointed accusingly. "We are the truth. Our order has saved civilization. We tell Salvation and mankind what is right!"
"But we were wrong. I have seen the science to prove it. I have tracked the heavens. I have watched the stars. There are patterns which prove it. I have found pieces of information in the library that agree."
The declaration made the other brothers tense as he got to the word "wrong." They both looked apoplectic. The thin monk looked angrier if that was possible. The larger man looked upset briefly but regained his serene look quickly. He removed his hand from Tan's shoulder. He shook his head with what seemed sadness.
"Brother you have gleaned so much from so little. You have a great mind and have always been a benefit to this order. We have documents even you have not seen. Your findings are nothing new. Brother White and I have access to documents which confirm everything you have said. We have access to histories which ironically tell that this isn't even the first time this information has been withheld for the glory of the Almighty."
"But . . . we must tell everyone! It is the truth; the Creator is about the truth!"
The head monk raised his hand palm up to stop his outburst. "Brother, I love you. We all love you. This information cannot come out."
He turned toward the door. The chamberlain jutted his chin out in a reverse nod and followed. They closed the door behind them. Tan was incensed. He would leave the order. He would write his findings and distribute them. It was not to be stood for. He turned to begin packing and preparing. It was then that he realized that White was not gesturing to him in defiance. It was a facial gesture of implementation of a previous order. Little Brother Red had never left the room.
"Go with the peace of the Lord, Brother."
The big man's soft voice was the last thing he heard as the large hands crushed his throat.
micheledutcher - The relationship between religion and science is always tense, and this story plays that up beautifully. The ending was a surprise, but made sense as the only possible outcome. Good job!
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