In Service

Posted: 10th February 2014
by Mike Hargreaves in Advice, Religion, Story Idea
Tags: , ,

Today’s tweet inspires us to include religious service in the story for Paladins before battle – here’s a flash fiction I wrote with this in mind.

As Clark stepped past the two guards by the entrance, and through the tent flap, the sound of the drums and pipes from inside washed out over the camp. Missing the opening hymn wouldn’t have ruined the experience for him but, still he had rushed to make it, leaving his own bunk in disarray.

Taking his place a few rows from the back, he remained standing and added his voice to the chorus. The awe of the service washed over him and mixing with the excitement that came before another battle. The opportunity to serve the faith and please the almighty was something he would cherish, even unto his death. A death that he knew might follow in the day ahead. This was a time to put aside misgivings, concentrate on the edicts of the order and pray for guidance and blessings. This was a time to commune with fellow believers and to seek a moment alone with his god.

From where he stood at the rear of the tent the chaplain’s chants were audible, even over the loud and dissonant chorus of hymns. All these voices, predominantly male and mostly untrained, were raised in worship and still the undulating chant was heard by all the soldiers.

Clark knew a little of the old tongue, enough to recognise the chant called for a blessing and that it translated poorly as “May the unruly cattle fall before your servants feet.”

May the unruly cattle fall before your servants feet.

Slowly the drums fell silent and all but one of the pipes stopped playing. A simple lilting meditative piece filled the incense air around him as the voices of his fellow soldiers turned to mumbled prayer. Within the crowd a voice cried out again in the ancient language of the priests, the chaplain responded with words of praise, but otherwise the prayers continued.

His own heart was filling with strength of passion that fired up all his nerves and made his veins fill with a desire to bring about victory. To be a part of this day’s righteous action.

Now speaking to the congregation the chaplain gave a short lesson from the scrolls, and made a light comment that raised a smile. One final hymn and a responsive prayer that led into a blessing from the priests and then they were dismissed. Three hundred and forty knights, each sworn to the Order of Remembrance stood to attention before dispersing. Each one prepared to kill, or die in the attempt, for their god.