NOT TO BE OUTMARTYRED
“And what of the monk Baelwich?” the boy asked.
Alternaeus smiled gently as he moved objects about the table to his satisfaction. To his apprentice he seemed harried in his manner, but also utterly engrossed and happy at his task.
“Baelwich it is hard not to love. He is fearless, and smart, and cunning, and even wise. He is one of the old monks, the ancient kind of monk,” the Wizard replied. “No matter what the high nobles and the rudely ambitious think of him I count him as one of my most trusted friends. Perhaps even, a kind of brother.”
“But he is still considered a young man, is he not? Surely he may even be younger than you. How is it then that you call him ancient?” The boy seemed genuinely confused by the Wizard’s response, or openly curious as to his true meaning. Or both.
Alternaeus halted at this labors for a moment, raised his eyebrows at the question, and looked directly at his apprentice.
“You mistake my meaning boy. He is an ‘ancient kind of monk,’ not in his mortal years but in his immortal nature. He is very much like the Apostles of old in that he fears no power on or in the Earth. His only concern is God and what is Just and Right. Such men are easy for me to befriend, and once befriended, easy to maintain in my heart. Ignorant men may call my efforts fernal-craft and sorcery, but they understand me not at all. For when it comes to what is truly essential in this world, indeed in any world, of all men there is in me no sorcery at all. Only an enchantment with the Truth.”
The boy considered the remark with some seriousness. Alternaeus returned to his labors and worked until his personal expectations were met and his meticulous arrangements fully completed. When the boy saw that the labor of the Wizard seemed finally finished he risked another inquiry.
“What then of the priest Plontius? Is he also your friend?”
Alternaeus looked at the boy somewhat skeptically and scoffed.
“As long as monks and priests are willing to martyr themselves for God, for the Right, and for the innocent then they are the most courageous and admirable of all men, and have my utmost admiration and respect. Such is Baelwich.
Yet monks and priests who watch other men struggle with wrong and will neither physically fight that injustice, nor risk the martyring of themselves to prevent such evils have neither my Earthly esteem nor the friendship of my soul.”
The boy nodded twice thoughtfully at the reply but continued to stare at the Wizard as if he still wished a more direct answer to his questions.
Seeing this Alternaeus said, “To be blunt boy, and to be brutal to your brutishness, I think little and less of the small priest Plontius. He is no friend of mine, and often I wonder if he is even a man at all.”
From the tales of Alternaeus the Wizard