90. Kneeling by the Altar

He lies there day after day in the little room that Sieia made for him years ago: The massive four-poster bed with its rich silk hangings and down comforter. It’s warm and snug and private, and the shrine is beautiful. Sieia has kept it stocked with candles. Sieia and Virginia feed and care for him, […]

89. A Close-Run Thing

Consciousness returns unsteadily. Later it seems as if he was awake and lucid for long stretches, explaining complicated matters to people who wouldn’t listen. He feels that perhaps he was interrogated at some point, and that he may have had visions, none of them memorable, thank God. When he’s first truly conscious, it’s evening, and […]

87. The Patron Saint of Bastards

“Thank you, Father.” says Inglorion. There’s an awkward pause. Inglorion is waiting for Father Nate to go, and wonders if it will be necessary to dismiss him explicitly. Finally Father Nate says, “Look, Inglorion. Much of my ministry has been of a practical nature. You’re in a tough position, maybe worse than you know. I’ve […]

86. Doing God’s Work by Digging Privies

Inglorion’s kneeling there, hands clasped, when Father Nate pokes his head in the tent flap. The priest says, “I can come back later, or I can join you in prayer. Whichever you prefer.” His expression isn’t what you’d call gentle, but he seems kinder and more human than he has before. “I’m done praying, but […]

85. A Plea for Guidance

Just before daybreak, the temperature drops and a chill breeze kicks up, waking Virginia from trance. She’s shivering. Inglorion has somehow stolen both cloaks in his sleep. He’s curled up tightly, deep in trance, and she’s huddled next to him for warmth. She disentangles herself gently. He’s limp, breathing deep and slow. When he’s awake […]

84. With My Body, I Thee Worship

Once dinner has ended and they’re heading back to Inglorion’s tent, he whispers to Virginia, “Is Lucius well enough to spend the night alone? I want us to have a little honeymoon.” “Of course. What did you have in mind?” “Go fetch your cloak and I’ll show you.” She gathers her cloak, kisses Lucius goodnight, […]

83. Man and the Reason for Living

That evening, the refugee camp hosts a double-wedding. Father Nate Szyba looks cold and solemn and forbidding, and reads the rites in sepulchral tones. Aramil looks radiantly happy, and Ajax is composed and prim, with an air of quiet triumph appropriate to someone who has been wooed and won. Aramil wears the same outfit he […]

82. The 39 Articles

“My dear, I’ve got Father Nate outside. Can you talk to him? He’s asking about your faith, and I feel you should answer for yourself.” Inglorion has poked his head into their little tent, where Virginia is tending to Lucius. She emerges from the tent, wiping her hands on her apron. “Certainly. What do you […]