September 1, 2014

In Which Arkon Is Liberated

February 2, 1187

"Ah, Arkon." Brother Cenhelm smiled as he shut the office door, but his eyes were all disappointment. Arkon forced himself off of the bench, guilty. Brother Cenhelm was a good man, and probably not a bad teacher either. Had that not been the case, hating his classes would have been so much easier. "Good to see that you actually showed up."

He hated brother Cenhelm's classes so much that he may or may not have been in the habit of simply not going. "Yes, well... my betrothed thought you might drag the administration into this if I didn't."

"Your betrothed is a smart woman, though in truth, I'm not that mean. I'm not angry with you." Somehow, that made it all worse. "I don't get it, Arkon. I've spoken with your elective professors. You're smart. You work hard, and you get good grades. I realize that no student will enjoy every class, but I have to wonder: if you dislike Theology so much, then why are you majoring in it?"

He ought to have made more of an effort to hide it. But surely he wasn't the first in this position? "My father made me."

Brother Cenhelm frowned. "Your father?"

"Yes, uh... well, he wanted my sister to become a nun, but she refused. So, in order to get the family back in God's favor, he said I had to major in Theology, because I'm going to succeed his as count and it doesn't matter what I major in anyway."

He'd hoped not to have to explain any further, but Brother Cenhelm's brow had furrowed, confused. "Back in God's favor."

"Yes, he said it might not be comparable, so he might make my next brother major in Theology too to balance it out. I asked Rina if she'd reconsider, for her own good, but--"

"For her own good?" Brother Cenhelm shook his head. "Arkon, I know that my classes are more or less nap time for you, but have you not heard anything I've said about Saint Galahad in Interpretation of God?"

Saint Who? "Uh... I don't think so, no."

"Oh, Arkon." Brother Cenhelm shook his head, wild mane of hair flopping about in a most unmonk-like fashion. "I won't go into the circumstances of Saint Galahad's life because not all of the details are fully known, but Saint Galahad subscribed to the belief that God is inherently good. And an inherently good God, he wrote, does not wish His followers to promote suffering in His name."

"Suffering?" Arkon stepped back. That had to have been an exaggeration--surely? "Rina wouldn't suffer.

"Would she?"

"There's a reason we have novitiates, you know." Brother Cenhelm's hands flew to his hips. He was a kind man, but he was not a pushover--and while he might have been patient with Arkon's lack of focus in his classes, it was damn clear he wanted him to listen now. "Arkon, I chose this life for myself because I felt called to it. And I've enjoyed it. I'd make the same choice all over again. But it's a difficult life, and it's not for everyone--and, like Saint Galahad, I do not believe that the inherently good God I serve would want anyone forced into it against their will."

"So the family isn't out of God's favor?"

"No--though, if you don't mind me saying, your father might be." No, he didn't mind.

In fact... it was almost shameful how much he didn't. Shameful, and liberating. "I... think I should attend Interpretation of God this week."