Storytelling Time: Coven at Callington – Chapter 1 Part V
Mentors can be inspirational.
They guide us, share their wisdom, motivate, encourage and shape our world views. They’re people whom we look up to. People whom we admire and want to emulate.
But what happens when you disagree with your mentor? What if your mentor steers you in a direction that goes against your core beliefs?
If so, should you blindly follow your mentor that you’ve trusted in the past but whose advice now makes you cringe?
Braden is about to ask himself this question.
Have you ever had to ask yourself that question? If yes, what was your answer?
Genre: a Regency fantasy romance (c) Shereen Vedam
Chapter 1 – Part V
London, England, September 1815
His Grace hesitated, cleared his throat and then spat out, “Callington houses a coven.”
Braden’s chest clamped like a vice. Cornwall likely housed dozens of covens. What was so special about this Callington one? Why target it? Before the order came, he guessed what he’d be asked to do, and felt betrayed to his marrow by the possible reason behind it. Another warlock favor?
“Destroy that coven.”
“I beg your pardon?”
“You heard correctly.”
“I heard destroy a coven? A coven of witches?”
“Correct.” Sutton briskly strolled around the room, appearing agitated. He should be. This order was blatantly against Church policy.
While Braden digested the dire implications of being forced to carry out such an ill-conceived command, peril shadowed the room. Just as it had tailed the church guards three centuries ago when witch hunts had been the order of the day. Until disaster struck.
They were called church knights back then, before the king summarily executed the vast majority of them for crimes against their countrymen. Only a remnant was permitted to continue serving God in the much-needed fight against evil. Renamed church guards, the king issued a directive that they were never again to involve themselves with witch-warlock matters. That strict order had never been violated. Until now.
Braden’s faith in the archbishop trembled. He staggered beneath that doubt. He might as well question if the sun would rise in the east on the morrow.
Sutton had initiated him into the church guards. He was a man whom Braden trusted to safeguard his soul.
Echoes of past conversations, pages turning, ideas blossoming, faded. The walls about him shrank, hardened, roughened. The room’s familiar contours narrowed to fit his form; as if he’d been laid in a grave his size and waited for dirt to cascade over.
Setting his untouched drink on a nearby table – the vibrant amber liquid still as a corpse – Braden faced the archbishop who finally returned to stand before him. “Your Grace, church guards are forbidden to interfere in witch-warlock conflicts.”
“Must I remind you, sir,” Sutton said in a repressive tone, “that the Church is at liberty to decide on the best course for the good of Britain’s spiritual welfare without prior consultation with its guards? Remember your place. You are of a higher rank in secular life, but within the Church, you are sworn before God to follow my orders, without question.”
Stung by the reprimand, Braden winced, but this was the wrong path for the Church to take. History had proven that point. His theological teachings reinforced it. Sutton knew better. What could have brought about this change in policy? Whatever the cause, Braden had to make Sutton see sense.
“Your Grace, what if the king gets word we again target more than dark creatures of the underworld? Can we afford another Bedfordshire incident?”
“I do not need a history lesson. Besides, in this instance, we are not talking about harming innocents.”
“We hadn’t meant to harm innocents then.”
“You have your orders.” Sutton finally looked straight at him, and for a moment, Braden thought a shadow of confusion skimmed the edges of His Grace’s gaze. “Go with God, my son.” He gestured the Signum crucis.
Clear dismissal. Braden was sworn to obey. He bit on the argumentative words forming in his mouth. Swallowing his unease, he bowed. “By your command.”
Down the corridor, out the front doors and across the churchyard, acid clawed at his stomach. So, the Church was to re-engage in witch hunts. Worse, they took sides in the ancient war between witches and warlocks. Why else seek to help a warlock boy while planning to raze a coven? Braden’s loyalty to the Church turned a shade darker as he crossed the tree-lined pathway.
At the gatehouse doors, he sent Garth an ominous look that widened his footman’s eyes with obvious alarm. The talkative man prudently chose to silence his questions. Nevertheless, as Braden entered the carriage, the little man muttered, “Knew no good would come from that accursed place.”
For once, Braden agreed.
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