"Look at all these poor souls." said father Theophlius. However, even young Kevin realised there was no true pity in his eyes. He hated their enemy too much for that. The expression "pour souls" was nothing but empty rhetoric. Their opponents were marching across the streets towards the great plaza. They were chanting their hymns for the greater glory of the Emperor. They had wooden sticks, lassos, pitchforks and... guns? Who in the Emperor's name gave them guns?
"Just look at them" continued father Theophilius sitting on the top of their barricade and waving the blessed banner. "They are slaves to that wicked man, who calls himself ecclesiarch and sits on a throne covered with precious gems and silk, as if he were the Emperor! But fear them not our faith is the true one. We believe in the true work of a god: the Lectitio Divinitatus. Not some petty meaningless book written by rotting theologists. We are the cult of the martyred Jacobi, who was publicly executed for his faith and we will prevail over these savages!"
Kevin liked that priest, but there was something, he just could not understand. If they worshipped the same Emperor, why could they not just get along? But he feared to ask. In all that crowd standing behind barricades, he could be easily killed by angry mob for treachery. It was too late for questions anyway: they had an enemy, he had to be crushed. That's all Kevin needed to know. In his prayers his right hand slipped towards his pendant. He opened it and saw a well known smile.
"Your girlfriend?" asked a voice from behind.
Kevin instantly closed it and blushed "No it's my ma'."
"What a naïve boy"said the man behind him. "I like it."
"Are you even listening to me?" asked father Theophilius annoyed.
"Ad gloriam aeternam. Domine libra nos." the man continued his prayer, which calmed the old priest.
How Kevin yearned to see his parents one more time. He fled to the church because of his faith and he never regretted it, but he just could not forget them neither. He promised himself to at least write them, so that they knew he was all right, but now was too late for that. What seemed like an ordinary mass turned out to be a battle for the very existence of their church. Like many other churches, the church of Saint Jacobi was claimed by the new cult, which was spreading across the whole Imperium, the Ecclesiarchy. Father Theophilius however refused to give up, so the indoctrinated peasants who served the Ecclesiarchy came to burn it as tainted.
Then the fight began. They defended themselves mostly with pavements. Some had the bright idea to make slings out of their handkerchiefs. Cadmil, the most zealous servant was waving the banner crying "for the Saint, for the Saint!", while his opponent, who carried a banner of Saint Gregorius, known to be the first Ecclesiarch, cried "Burn the false idols, burn the false idols!" The first barricade took fire. Women ran with buckets full of water and tried to extinguish it. Axes flew through the air and bolt shots could be heard all over the plaza. Cadmil was shot. Somehow Kevin felt that the banner was his responsibility. He sneaked through the combat zone, where his friends were trying to hold off the angry mobs with nothing but their fists. He took the banner and shouted as loud as he could "Saint Jacobi flies again, Saint Jacobi flies again!", but his tiny voice was lost in the noise.
Theophilius as a priest refused to fight. He however supported his faithful where he could. His words had power, because people believed in them. He saw poor Mathias dying. He was one of the purest souls he ever met. The enemy had to pay for his death. Mathias grabbed the priest's robe with his bloody hands and whispered "Father, please I want to confess. I want to be pure, when I meet the Emperor."
The priest knew there was no time for a full confession, so he just gave Mathias an encouraging smile and said "Today you fought bravely for the Emperor my child. As so, you and your family are absolved of all sins. The Emperor protects."
"The Emperor protects." coughed Mathias and died happy, knowing where his soul was going.
The priest walked slowly on the stairs of his great church and then Shouted angrily:"Your ecclesiarch is a fat sinner! Do you know how many geese he eats during the year, while professing frugality for everyone else? He ate forty geese, while people starve on the streets! Devil truly protects him from a heart attack, this pig deserves!" The latest remark made his people laugh, while infuriated his enemies even more. Good. They deserved some of Theophilius' own anger.
The barricades were falling and people wear retreating to the church. Some of them were however too slow like Frank's sister Meila, who was dropped on the floor by an angry peasant, who was tearing her dress apart and shouting "Hold still you Jacobi bitch!"
When Frank saw this he tried to leave and kill him, but father Theophilius refused to open the church's gate. He just said sadly "I am afraid that, that's what the Ecclesiarch does to all people. He does not care about the Emperor. Only his own pleasures." He knew the end was near, so he felt he had to say something more majestic.
"My faithful children." He said while the church was starting to burn. "A hundred years ago, there was born our Saint Jacobi. During these times, all those who believed in the Emperor and Lectitio Divinitatus were persecuted. Most of the believers practised their religion in secret, for fear of the Adeptus Arbites. Saint Jacobi was among the first to profess openly what we all knew in our hearts. That the Emperor is not just a man, but a God, who cares about our souls. He was publicly humiliated and executed for that, but he sent us all a powerful message. That no army can overcome faith. With our faith we were born and with our faith we shall die. Those wicked people who follow the Ecclesiarch will not prevail, because they do not serve a god, but a mere man. One day people will see through his lies and will kill him. But this will not be our fight. Today we die together, knowing we did all we could to stop the Ecclesiarchy. The Emperor protects."
The Emperor protects.