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post #7 of (permalink) Old 02-03-13, 02:22 AM
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Default Though it costs me everything

Though it costs me everything.

Tis grace that taught my heart to fear and grace my fears released. This thought continually works its way through the forefront of my mind as I look back on my life. Though I am old and weak now, there was a time when I was not. Once I was strong and able. Once I counted for something … a useful tool in the hands of the Emperor, a willing slave unto His own will. Once, long ago I worked my body against the great enemy, Chaos, in ways that would have even impressed the legendary space marines and would have earned even their lofty respect. Once upon a time …

What wonders I have seen in the service of my Lord, what majestic sights! Oh, I have seen the fabled Arch of Livatious, the seemingly bottomless pits of Uranius II. I, myself, have fought under the grand bridges of Illumination upon the distant world of Trasden Omega and rejoiced at the victory against the foes of the Imperium. I danced in the halls of Ice with a beautiful woman, a woman who later I loved.

I miss her now. She was at once glorious, like an angel and terrifying as a daemon in its wrathful manifestation. She was the mother of my children and the life of my very soul. I think of her often and smile at her memory. What am I now but the shell of a man who was once great. I have lived long enough to both love and hate. I have lived long enough to remember and also to see things as they really are.

In my service to the Emperor of mankind I studied in the Librarium of forbidden knowledge and in the vast and dark halls I found a book. I believe that it is the last of its kind, all others torn asunder and burned in the rising of the Emperor so long ago. How it had survived for so long I do not know. Why it was not destroyed I cannot say. This book captivated my heart and caused me to wonder upon the things that I had been taught since I was a small child.

This book brought me to despair. It brought me to doubt the Godhood of the Emperor. It made me see my shame and my sin and my selfishness. It told of wonders and miracles and martyrs. I was struck by the truth of the words upon the pages therein. There in the darkened halls I laughed and wept and sat in abject horror. I twisted with guilt and self loathing, I said, ‘What a wretch I am!’ and for the first time in my life I knew… I knew that there was a reason for my life. There was a purpose for me other than killing and waging war.

Upon the wasteland of despair I repented of my sins and swore an oath upon the book of which I had found and for this I knew that I was a marked man. I was marked for death by those of whom I had served; the Inquisition. The truth that I had found set my spirit free but it condemned my flesh. Those who I loved would be in harm’s way if I stayed. I knew that I could not defend those that I had loved from the power of the Inquisition. So I fled in the dead of night.

I wept because I knew that I could not go home. I would never see my children or wife again. Because of the new faith that coursed through my mind and soul I had to put myself as far away from my family as possible. I made contact with my family only once before I left. I explained the truth that I had found to my lovely angel. I don’t know what I expected. I had hoped that she would believe me and turn from her sin as well but in the end she betrayed me, tried to kill me. I was shattered.

No one would understand, not many could understand the idea of salvation, the truth of forgiveness and grace.

Seventy years have come and gone since the day that my mind was opened and my soul was saved. Seventy years have I prayed for the forgiveness of mankind for turning away from the true God and His sinless son. Mankind is lost to endless war and destruction because of the choices they have made. Endless world suffer and burn because they do not know nor do they wish to know of the price that has been paid to set them free.

I am too old to run anymore and I know they will come for me. The Inquisition is relentless and does not forget. They do not forgive. They do not give unmerited favor. They do not have grace. In a bygone age, when mankind was young things were not so different. Those who expressed their faith and spoke out against tyranny, believed differently than the powers of those days where slaughtered. Their families were made to suffer before the eyes of those who dared to trust in an unseen God.

I do not regret finding that book so long ago even though the faith that I have found has taken everything from me. I miss her. She was my life.

I can see them through the front window. They are coming for me. It has taken a long time for them to find me, but I always knew the time would come when I could run no longer. I open the door for them and invite them in. They are stunned by my lack of fear. ‘Do you recant and disavow?’

I bow my head and begin to pray. I am hit hard in the face and I crumble to the floor. There was a time long ago when such a strike upon my flesh would see this man dead, but now I am old. I am also not the same man that I once was, in my heart or my soul. ‘The God Emperor demands that you repent in order to save your immortal soul! Repent heretic!’ the man screamed. I smiled as I looked heavenward.

The gun was aimed at my face. I could see the bullet in the chamber and I knew that it was for me. ‘Grace be to you. Father, hold not this sin against this man or those who are with him. Into your hands I commit my soul.’

From the blood the truth is told.

1,100 words, not counting title.

A good reputation take a long time to build, but only a moment to destroy. Wow, that's deep! Check out the H.O.E.S. short story competition.
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