Author Topic: The Scarred Priest  (Read 1254 times)

Audric Lacroix

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The Scarred Priest
« on: February 05, 2017, 08:50:44 AM »


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Audric sat in peaceful silence in his quarters within the Palace of the Grand Master- the primary fortress of the Knights of Rhodes.  A peaceful night was rare, and a warm night was nearly unheard of.  He calmly stoked the fire and leaned back into his elegant chair, pressing a hand to his chin as he surveyed his surroundings.  He did not particularly enjoy the fact that everything surrounding him was so very lavish- it felt wrong.  Why did he relax in luxury and wealth, while so many did not?  Audric tried to rationalize it, attributing to his status as a priest and a fledgling tactician respected by the higher ranking Knights, but it never truly sat well with him. 

    With the fire poker in hand, he gently prodded the fireplace again, smiling wryly as the other elegant chair that had just recently suffered an 'accident-' broken into a few manageable pieces,  burned beautifully and provided a comfortable amount of heat.  He wanted what was necessary- nothing more.  Audric was a Knight, and a Man of God. 

    A soft sigh triggered the faintest brush of his hand against the well-treated scar across his face, drowning in the soothing noise of the crackling flame, and he found himself dreaming once more of last weeks events. 

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"Father Glenn- do you see that- just there? " 
One of the younger Knight Hospitaler spoke, from within the regiment on one of their rare excursions outside the Citadel.  It was more of an explorative venture than a militaristic one, familiarizing the newer Knights with the landscape that surrounded them.  Audric had volunteered to accompany the unit keep the Holy Spirit with them- he was often fond of praying over hidden gems of nature. It earned him the name Glenn. 

This venture was unusual further, for they departed at night. The prevailing and motivating thought behind the decision was that they must be able to navigate the surrounding land in poor weather, or light conditions. 

Encountering a small armed band was definitely not on the agenda, Audric mused to himself. They left in armor, and had brought rudimentary weapons, but he himself was not a primary combatant and nor were the fledgling knights with him.

"I see them, Jacques. Go-  Take Francis and return to the Citadel. Inform the Grand Master, a Barbary sloop has made it through near the Kalithea Bay. " Audric replied, calmly, peering through the visor of his helmet at the small ship that had run aground.  An informative, peaceful venture had taken a turn for the worst.

They could hide, or they could track them.  He chose to take himself and the eight remaining Knights, and keep track of the ten or so men that had departed the grounded vessel. Audric's reigning philosophy was that all evil required to flourish was for the good and just to do nothing, and he refused to tolerate such a notion.

The fledgling Knights of Rhodes moved in a determined manner to follow them for several hours, empowered by Audrics constant reminder of the Lord God and his Son Jesus Christ, and the hope of pending reinforcement from Knights with experience in combat.  Hope was rewarded- as hoofbeats thundered in the distance.  Jacques and Francis had returned on horseback, and had not yet spotted them.  Another of the freshly minted Knights waved his hands and yelled out to them, though his enthusiastic cheer was met with a quick demise.   

An arrow point exploded through the center of his forehead, shot true from a distance not far.  The Ottoman scouts evidently knew well enough that they were being pursued, and decided they could overpower the ill equipped Knights in short order.

---------------------

The clash lasted only minutes, but for each of the young men, those minutes seemed to be an eternity.  The Archer had managed to fell Francis, before he could approach with his steed, and the others clashed in melee combat.   The Knights prevailed, perhaps by sheer luck, but after the Archer had been eliminated by a well aimed shot by Audric, it was truly Jacques who turned the tide of battle with his hand-axe and black mare.

Audric cautiously observed his surroundings, his aura plagued by guilt.  He escorted these young men to their deaths.   Six of the ten he brought out were dead- each of them ejected from the mortal coil long before their time.  They had fought valiantly, though, and had given no quarter. 

So far as he could tell, only one man remained alive from the opposition. A young man, no older than his own knights, quivering in the cold and muck as the other three surviving Hospitalers surrounded him.  They did not understand his speech, nor did he understand theirs, but the intent of the three young Knights was clear. Doom.   

Jacques dismounted his mare and gripped his axe tightly, marching over to the wounded Ottoman, and resolutely raised it over his head. "For my brother, and for my friends. You cr- "  Mid sentence, and mid swing, Audric bellowed loud enough to suprise him.   "No!  That is not who we are!"   Jacques turned in disbeleif, glaring at Audric " You would spare him?  After this- after we bathe in the blood of our brothers? "

"You would kill a man who cannot fight you?  " Audric removed his helmet, to fully convey his disdain with a grimace.

"Yes," Replied Jacques tersely, turning from the Chaplain and raising the axe to terminate his foe once more. 

Audric moved, faster than he ever had before, and the blood stained steel sword was raised above his head as he slid upon his knee's to land himself between Jacques and the terrified Ottoman.  He had been fast enough, and his sword had blocked the haft of the axe, but at great price.  The glistening blade was buried, at an angle, a half inch into his face.   

Blood glistened down the steel, but Audric did not flinch or yell.  He spoke, calm and cool, murmuring only... " That is not who we are. That is not who you are.  Do not forget yourself.  "   ...before he fell to the side, sword, axe, and body clattering noisily into the dirt.

Audric Lacroix

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Re: The Scarred Priest
« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2017, 08:14:24 PM »
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The crackling of the flames finally released him from his dreaming, in time for him to be roused by a loud knock upon his chamber door.  A drowsy, subdued greeting from Audric,   " Yes?  Please, come in.  "

A small statured figure, clad in the typical red and white of the Knights, emerged from the slowly opening door. It was none other than Jacques, the man who marred him.  Subconsciously Audric raised his hand and brushed at the healing scar across his face, allowing himself his typical kind smile, despite the searing pain.  The poor lad before him looked contrite and remorseful, bowing his head in absolute shame. 

"Father Glenn..  I..  ah..   I am sorry, again.  The Grand Master requests your presence, on the terrace.  He is walking the wall, and wishes.. to hear your report directly.  "

Audric mused, quietly, stoking the broken pieces of the chair in the campfire once more.  Jacques looked on with a quiet bit of surprise, stuttering and letting the words fall haphazardly from his mouth. .  "Is that your other chair?  Wh- why?   " 

A calm, cool response... " Yes, it is.  I did not need three.  I need warmth over pointless luxury.  "   

The other Knight shook his head faintly, and stammered again, pointing to the door.  " .. Grand Master..  uh..   wall, yeah.  Hm.  "   He rubbed his head and headed back out the door.   Audric allowed himself the time to laugh, and gather his helmet, sword and shield. 


-------------

 "Grand Master?"  Audric murmured, as he ascended the final set of stairs to meet with the esteemed man.  The great Knight turned to observe him, as he took his final approach, the pair bowing in unison to one another. 

"Father Lacroix. How good to see you.  .   I wanted to speak with you about the skirmish you engaged in, the prior week.  An incredible feat, a blessing of the Lord, that any of you survived.  "  The grizzled old man ran a hand through his hair, shaking his head.  " It still yet pains me that our brothers did not return, and that you were so greviously wounded. An Ottoman must have gotten very close.   You have a skilled defense if I remember correctly. " The Grand Master eyed him skeptically. . .

. . . And Audric did not budge.  A single nod, " Yes, Grand Master. It was a lucky strike, one that I will not allow to happen again. "   The first, and only lie the Knight ever told.

"He caught you with your helmet off, did he? "

" .. A chance encounter. "  He nods, again.

The old Grand Master knew better and responded with a faint chuckle.  " The Lord willed it to be so, and who are we to question God?  " 

Audric was just about to speak, until he heard something in the far off distance- and he was not the only one.  Many of the Sentries and watchmen glanced out to the water, and one of them bellowed his last breath, a warning cut short.

"CANNON FI-- "   A spray of blood, and rock, was all that remained of the Knight of Rhodes.  Bells rang across the Citadel, and men moved quickly into action.  A sea of red and white responding to the late night attack.   

The Grand Master, perhaps the strongest willed and boldest of them, did not budge.  Cannon balls impacted the walls at a great frequency, as more and more ships emerged from the distance.  The old man dragged out an old spyglass, and peered across the water.   It clattered roughly to the ground, and he raised his sword.  "  RETURN FIRE!  ALL CANNONS, FIVE UP-  " 

A hurried chattering, and the men scrambled- loading the cannons with an urgent efficiency.   The retorts were deafening, sending metal towards their foes.   Many missed, but just as many found their mark with little to no avail.    As they fired, more and more ships emerged, as only a few remained broadside to engage the citadel.   An entire Armada had emerged by then, a hundred ships and a hundred more, in the dead of night, laying siege upon the fabled fortress. 

The chaos was unmeasured, and Audric stood by the Grand Master, paralyzed with fear.   Fog, an unnatural fog, clouded the battlement that obscured their view from the enemy, and seemed to cling to Father Glenn.   It, in turn, provided him magic that was otherwise beyond him.  A swiftly murmured prayer, and the entropic shield enveloped him as he stood between the Grand Master and the cannonball that sought to kill them both.

Metal found its mark true, seemingly hitting Audric directly, but the magic the mist bought combined with the sheer will of the Priest, the cannonball struck what should have been, and veered to the side, off of his shield and into stone far into the distance.

The fog cleared, in that instant, and Audric was gone. . .yet the Grand Master remained.

The Citadel fell, as was predetermined by the insurmountable enemy, and history continued on as usual, just without the young Father Glenn. . . 

The Siege of Rhodes continued on, and Audric was forgotten amongst the whispers of time as the mist left, carrying him in tow. 

Audric Lacroix

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Re: The Scarred Priest
« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2017, 09:53:29 PM »
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3/14/772
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[This page appears to have been removed.]
« Last Edit: October 12, 2017, 05:29:05 PM by Audric Lacroix »

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Re: The Scarred Priest
« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2017, 01:03:02 PM »

He sat down, crossing his legs and taking the quill and parchment he'd spent the night tutoring Anya with, sketching a rough semblance of her. The picture was slid into his heavy bound journal, and the grizzled old Knight leaned back to recall the events of the day.

Quote
Audric breached the doors of the wicked Alhoons fortress, met by a company of heavily armed Battle Horrors. He had fought many battles back on Earth, but never had he endured the hardship and struggle he encountered here: No room for error, overwhelming odds, no fear.

The legion of steel engaged in beautiful, terrible dance, and the Crusader burst through their ranks in a shower of splintered metal and magical orbs.

No hesitation, he recalled, despite the horror upon witnessing the master of the lair. A normal man, even those normally strong of heart, from his world would have curled and wept at merely the sight of the beast. . .

It was different, for Father Glenn: The first many weeks of his arrival were spent cowering from every noise and whisper. The choice presented was clear, adapt or die.

Still he could sense and feel the wretch envelope his helmet with that ugly maw, and clearer still was the memory of slamming his head into it hard enough to crumple it like a wet rag.

Audric placed his foot on the mangled body, and recited aloud.

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”

Those cobalt orbs flickered back to life, with a thoughtful murmur from his bedroll, Audric observed Anya as she rested peacefully. Hands gripped the journal, and quill came to parchment.

____
April 2nd, 772 (AD?) Time is strange here. Almost relative.
____

Why did this take so long to happen? Where was my might and courage? You disarm me, priestess, and I would be a liar and a sham if I did not admit I enjoy every moment of it. As a senior Knight and soldier, I am very rarely surprised or. . .Vulnerable, but I was trained to destroy the enemies of the Lord and protect his flock. I could conquer the world, and none of that experience would have prepared me adequately to meet you.

I was more afraid of speaking to you without blushing, or being shy: A child, than I was when that calamari calamity tried to claim my head as his own.

I almost feel bad for that Acolyte: bashful thing. Never had I stopped to consider how others might perceive my words, but alas you spoke a resounding truth...

'No one else speaks with your passion and feeling.'

That, I think, is because they are afraid to present whom and what they are deep within. I hope that I can take that fear from you, and give you the hope and confidence you have given me.

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Re: The Scarred Priest
« Reply #4 on: June 26, 2017, 09:39:36 PM »

"Forgive me Father, for I have sinned."

   Father Lacroix knelt before the fireplace within the plain, yet cozy lodge of the Wayfarer Kinship.   His sword lay resting peacefully within its scabbard before him, with a bloody rag discarded unceremoniously next to it, the grim result of laborious cleaning. The Crimson Knight released the Catholic Rosary and placed his hands on the flat of the scabbard, murmuring his confession to the only one in the realm ordained to hear it. . . himself.

   "I have taken my sacred sword, fashioned in the image of the Holy Durandal, and spilled the blood of man.  I have acted in the defense of life, and struck down the enemies of light. I have sent their souls through Time and Mist to be judged before your almighty gaze, in the final hopes that thay may seek some final confession and redeem themselves before thee.   When the end comes- should they nay repent, may you welcome them without malice, unto the eternal flame of hell.  Forgive me Father, for I have sinned."

   He stood, at the end of his confession, and clutched the blade with both hands- freeing it from its ornate scabbard with the telltale metallic hiss.  A long, thoughtful, almost remorseful pause as he observed the immaculate dwarven-forged steel, and he would sheathe it with a heavy thunk.   

   "There is work to be done. . .  "

   Audric turned, his blood red cloak billowing neigh menacingly and basking in the glow of the fire. 

Audric Lacroix

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Re: The Scarred Priest
« Reply #5 on: October 12, 2017, 05:48:37 PM »

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10/12/772
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I had a theological conversation with the rather passionate Herald of ours, Iridni.  I used to question her stability, seeing her as irrational and unreasonably angry at things we cannot change, but I have noticed that she has changed tremendously.   No doubt the strain of the world can have a significant effect on the spirit- but she seems to have no outward diminishment of her hope or passion. 

The Kinship is blessed to have her. 

She did, however, say one thing that concerned me- something I have brooded over for sometime.  Months now. 


'I like this side of you, Audric.  You should show it more.' 

That would be nice- a place and a position where I could be nothing but genuine and feeling.  That is not what God has provided for me, or the place he has created for me here.  I carry upon my shoulders the weight of not just one world, but two or three.  If I were to be so unfiltered and free, unrestrained- I would be unable to accept the things I can now, to observe things impartially and with-hold action.     I would right every wrong, oppose every injustice, and the fragile peace and order we have obtained would come crashing down.

My hands must remain tied...   

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A bible verse is carefully scribed in an elegant cursive
Take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray in the Spirit at all times, with every kind of prayer and petition. To this end, stay alert with all perseverance in your prayers for all the saints.
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For if the bonds that held fell to the wayside, I would raise this sword, this mighty Durandal and act as Michael- to bring unbridled might and divine fury to exert the wrath of God over those who have sinned.   For now, I wait, and I pray, and opt for peace... 





This does not make me callous, or heartless.  I love each and every one of you.   
-Father Audric Lacroix, Chaplain of the Lord God and the Holy Trinity, Trustee of the Wayfarer Kinship



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A large, cursive style V is written on the bottom page.
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V
« Last Edit: October 12, 2017, 05:52:17 PM by Audric Lacroix »

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Re: The Scarred Priest
« Reply #6 on: October 13, 2017, 07:10:42 PM »

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10/13/772
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O Lord,

'In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace'.


Forgive me for the thoughts and anger I bear within me, and continue to imbue me with the strength and fortitude to ward off the hatred I bear for those that live in sin and revel in the forces of evil.

Forgive me for grasping the hilt of Durandal, and splitting cretins from the mortal coil of the just and righteous.

Forgive me, O Lord, for I sin in my desire to destroy them.   Your Son sacrificed himself so that my soul may be pure when I cross through the pearly gates, yet I know firm and true we should live peaceful lives. .  but how may I have peace, when there is such great evil, an entire legion of Lucifers army?  Will the only peace I e'er have be forged through the blood and deaths of the wicked? 

Guide me, O Lord-  Guide me.

-Father Lacroix, Trustee.d

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Re: The Scarred Priest
« Reply #7 on: October 27, 2017, 09:05:41 PM »



10/27/772
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I spoke a prayer in the midst of battle and the woman that traveled with us remarked that she had ne'er heard such a prayer.  I mentioned that most men of God, most ordained fathers of the church were peaceful men, soley bent on cultivating the herd and tending to the spirits of the faithful.  I do not have that luxury.

-We- do not have that luxury.  We the Knights Hospitaler- the Knights of Rhodes-  fight to protect the holiest sites of the Lord God and his son, Jesus Christ.  We do not have the luxury of peace and happiness- we are men forged from the fires of battle, and endure tests of faith and loyalty that would crush the souls and spirits of the strongest non-beleiver. 

Even the faithful lose their way- See the Lady Emma in her great ruin, or that foolhardy bastard Franz who must have succumbed to his reckless abandon. .

That is why those of us fluent with the love of the Lord exist amongst the militants- Why we the Chaplains are so important, is simple, really..

Those who bathe in the blood of others regularly are bound to experience a crisis of faith, yet 'tis my job, the job of every ordained soldier-priest to remind them what they fight for. We restore hope to the swords of God, and remind them what they fight for. Each chaplain embodies Michael, the leader of the Lords Angels, the holy army whose sole duty is to repel satan and his evil forces. 


I am a Priest.

I am a lover. 


However, in the end, I am a warrior.  I am the Sword of God, the beacon in the darkness, and I will prevail.


I walk through the shadow of the valley of death. . . 



And I know no fear.
« Last Edit: August 28, 2018, 08:54:01 PM by Audric Lacroix »

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Re: The Scarred Priest
« Reply #8 on: February 01, 2018, 08:34:57 AM »
How things have changed.... I have since been demoted as Trustee,  following my failed gambit to lure and trap the Vicomte de Roquefort.

I was contacted by those known to be my enemy, and agreed to listen in the hopes it would bring about some good.

I was wrong. They mistook diplomacy for weakness, and weakness they found,  only not in I.

Lexington. How quickly and efficiently they broke him,  and in truth,  I pity him. Even as he betrays,  ambushes, and conspires to slay, I yet pity him.  May God have mercy on his soul,  if it is right for him to do so. 

It is because of you,  that I am stronger than I ever knew.  You should have believed in me,  instead of a lying, whimpering dog who was readied for the gallows.

You did this to yourself.



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Re: The Scarred Priest
« Reply #9 on: February 15, 2018, 08:17:22 PM »

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Why? Why are people like this? What sort of madness has those about me succumbed to?


The tolerance of evil and hatred is absolutely astounding to me. We had no magic in my world, no monstrous creatures or walking dead, but what we did have was a significant intolerance for evil. Those that broached heresy and blasphemed the Heavenly Father, those that took lives long before their natural time, and those that preyed on they whoim were weaker all had a special circle of hell reserved for each of them.

I do not tolerate inaction, I do not tolerate indifference, and I will never tolerate the sacrilege that has become prevalent amongst the common folk. So many are ignorant of the common folk, the suffering and the pain that the very fabric of this world thrives on...

Not I.  I shall find those that lurk in darkness, hatred, evil and sin. . . and I shall light them up with the glory of the Heavenly Father, for I am his Archangel. I am a fighter, a crusader, and a sword of light amongst the darkness. Should I fall, I shall always rise again, and crusade anew.


« Last Edit: July 26, 2018, 08:48:19 PM by Audric Lacroix »

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Re: The Scarred Priest
« Reply #10 on: June 06, 2018, 09:39:25 PM »
Date: Unknown

I was imprisoned within the mist, which is a prison in itself, for a period of several months.  I have endured, I have suffered, and I have survived.  The Son of the Lord walked with me every step, and I did not lose hope. I am, however, very weary. God be with us all, if it is right for him to do so.
----------------------------------------------------
Mist, Mist, Satan's Mist,
Trapping souls in eternal risk,

Wake, wake, from the haze
Rise to set the world alight.

Night, Night, misted night
Terror, and endless fright
Bane, bane rage untamed,
The mist dwells, in ancient frame

But no more,
With a fearsome roar,
Evil will fall,

The fiercest black wings humbled,
Evil will fall.

Day, Day shall arise,
Vengance forever silenced,
Vanquish the fools that cannot see,

The mist shall bow to the sun.



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« Last Edit: June 06, 2018, 10:18:15 PM by Audric Lacroix »

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Re: The Scarred Priest
« Reply #11 on: July 26, 2018, 08:47:59 PM »


I cannot begin to describe the feelings that consume me, these days. My heart is plagued with frustrations with friends and allies, burdened by the resurgence of enemies thought vanquished, and made a fool of by a cheap sham.  I, briefly, held some modicum of control over this chaotic spiral.  The pieces were mine to move on the lanceboard- and now the board itself has fractured into an infinite smattering of smaller, identical boards. Not enough hands- not enough peices.

There is a reawakening of another feeling I thought was lost to me.  Fear. 

Not fear of my enemies. I will meet each, and every one of them on the field of battle and I will either be victorious- or they will no longer be my problem.

Fear of the future.  Fear of not being in control.  Fear of being alone.

Where are you, Anya?

I must not lose control. 

God help me, if it is right for him to do so.



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Re: The Scarred Priest
« Reply #12 on: August 28, 2018, 08:52:46 PM »
Quote
August 26th 773, 1523 AD

The LORD is a God who avenges. O' God who avenges, shine forth | Judgment will again be founded on righteousness, and all upright in heart will follow it.

I feel an extreme measure of guilt for what has come to pass, as I always have.  I remember the days of yore, where I would pray for those my men- nay the LORD's men- had slain, alongside our own fallen.  Every sentient life is sacred, even if we are forced to take them in defense of HIS name, or our very own lives, ne'er shall we take pleasure from such.  In the end, I am a Soldier, and I must do what is natural for a Soldier, a Knight of the LORD.  I must protect the people whom cannot protect themselves. By strength of heart and steel, I will endure for them, as Christ endured for me. 

Father, forgive me, for I have sinned.

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Re: The Scarred Priest
« Reply #13 on: August 30, 2018, 02:55:50 PM »
Quote
August 30 733, 1523 AD

Like a muddied spring or a polluted fountain is a righteous man who gives way before the wicked.

The natural progression has begun, now that I have moved the Knight forward on the lance-board. The forces of the wicked have seen and begun to organize their armies, and I can only pray that the shield of the LORD combined with I, his conduit, can survive the assault.  I have many to thank, and much to be thankful for, because my advantage is minimal at best.

There is blood in the water. . . . . . and the sharks are coming.

But in the name of the LORD I shall. . .
Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil


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Re: The Scarred Priest
« Reply #14 on: September 13, 2018, 08:10:23 PM »

Quote
September 13th, 1523 AD.

Be of sober spirit, be on the alert Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour

I can see the pawns moving. The tales spun to me are long and complicated, but as the devil has his army, I have with me the LORD. 

Hail to the King, to the Heavenly Father and his son Jesus Christ, for only the righteous can withstand the coming storm.


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Re: The Scarred Priest
« Reply #15 on: September 24, 2018, 12:03:17 AM »

Quote
My wounds are greater,deeper than I could have ever imagined. There is a great war to be fought, yet when I look to my left to my or right.... I am standing alone. Lord help me if it right for him to do so, or I march forward alone. Can I truly best these scars of time?
« Last Edit: September 24, 2018, 12:05:11 AM by Audric Lacroix »