Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Chapter Sixty-Six

"Just tell it," I told him with a sigh.  "But I respectfully ask that you minimize the drama please.  I believe it is going to be hard enough to believe as it is."

He nodded.  "You are wise to be skeptical but it took me many years to study these things I am going to tell you.  Do not simply discount them out of hand because they frighten or disgust you."  After a moment to drink from a flask that left a reddish liquid on his lips he asked, "Do you know of the origins of your people?  The Harpers?"

"Yes and it is fresh in my mind as someone else just recently asked for the explanation."

"Ah yes.  That would be Daren Linder, the Sheriff of Tentuckia.  His file does not lead one to believe that he would have turned into the man he has become.  In truth I once suspected he'd be found dead in some barmaid's bed or on the battle field.  Something has changed the path he trod.  Was it you I wonder?"

"Why would it have been me?  I just met the man and he was as he is from the first."

Mysteriously the man said, "You have changed a great many things Leeda Harper Linder.  More things than you could ever imagine.  You have much to answer for come Judgment Day.  Pray that you are not held to account for them or for the actions of your ancestors."

The way the old man spoke made me shiver the way some of the oldest Brothers would sometimes affect me when they spoke of Him Down Below and his minions.

"Your patriarch Solomon Harper, by the time the Destruction came, was a man who was as often mad as he was sane.  His treatment of his children from his first marriages is proof of this regardless of what you might have been taught.  And how he treated some of his more beloved offspring from his later wives was just as bad.  You know these stories?"  At my nod he asked, "Do you agree with his actions?"

"I was not there.  Few stories of such ancient events are complete truth.  What my side believes happened, what your side says happened ... it is in all likelihood a combination of the two that neither side would believe in as completely as their own made up version."

He chuckled though not with humor.  "You would have driven your elders as mad as old Solomon had they lived to see who you are today.  Do you not believe in absolutes?"

"I believe in my absolutes, but not necessarily anyone else's."

"On aye, definitely driven them mad you would have.  As my Ceena and Tonya nearly drove me mad."  He shook his head sadly.  "But we are not speaking of them yet.  First I will bless you with knowledge lost - or perhaps even intentionally forgotten - by all but the oldest Priests of my father's people.  That is the origin of our people."

I briefly found it interesting he did not call them his people but did not have a chance to follow that thought as he began imparting his knowledge.

"Solomon Harper's first three children grew to adulthood on an estate bought by their father to house them.  Two of the three were eventually successfully healed of their corruptions by surgeries and medications though that in no way made their father any happier with their existence.  The third child was helped with copious amounts of medication that left him in a drugged state.  Their mothers, brilliant doctors in their own rights, experimented with many natural substances until they found a way to replace the medication that ran out after the Days of Destruction began."

Unfortunately the two mothers and all of the staff died during the Days of Destruction leaving them to, for the first time in their lives, care for themselves.  With no guiding hand but their own they threw off the confining mores of a society that had rejected them and acted as they pleased and eventually procreated together.  Then during the era of Chaos arrived in their midsts two others claiming they too were rejected children of Solomon Harper.  These younger children of Solomon Harper eventually procreated with the children of the older ones.  This group was the seed of our people.  They had to flee into the wilderness when their home was overrun by soldiers of what would one day morph into the Great Council, clearing out land so that the towns of the region could live in peace.  Their peace, but at our price."

"Our people, given no choice, retreated into the wilderness that your people came to call the Borderlands.  And that is the beginning of the true corruptions and then how new ones were visited upon us."

I felt cold with shock.  Part of me did not want to believe this man and yet another part, the analytical part that sometimes took over allowing me to make those jumps of logic, informed me that nothing the man had said could be outright denied and that I needed more facts before I could truly conclude the story's veracity or not.

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