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."



Van said...

Cenhelm is a repurposed Sim, previously Avine's first husband Bernver (a.k.a. Benjamin Long). I didn't tweak his face much, and he has the same eyes, so I decided to make him Bernver's cousin. As a result, he has the same last name.

Not that I expect anyone keeps track of long dead characters who appeared exactly once. XD

Mimus said...

Well, maybe Arkon will apologize to his sister now. A person can hope.
And really, now that he's away from home, would it be noticed by his father if Arkon changes his major? Or would the university notificate the family of changes of a students corriculum?
But I have hopes for Arkon now, if he is willing to listen to his fiancee. That alone makes him better than his father already.

Van said...

Yeah, here's hoping that will occur to him. If not, his fiancee might point out that he ought to.

Given that the students are all socially adults--the previous generation were mostly married with children at their ages--the family wouldn't be notified. However, the major would show up on the documentation, including the diploma itself. But I think now that Arkon has been honest with Brother Cenhelm, things will be a little easier for him. Plus, I don't think it ever occurred to him that anyone thinks any differently about God than his father does, so maybe he'll find some interest in the subject now that it's been pointed out.

Arkon is definitely better than his father, for all that's a very low standard. He does listen to his fiancee, and generally respects her opinions. His grandparents' marriage was a hell of a lot better than his parents' and he noticed this, so he's aiming to emulate Tertius more than Felron there.

A pity he never saw much of Tertius with his siblings, though. Tertius was probably Octavius's favorite brother, and for good reason (though Primus and Secundus were also good men). If he had, Rina might have been spared his visit, or they might have had a more pleasant one in which he didn't try to make any major life decisions for her.

Ekho said...

You're missing speech marks after "Rina wouldn't suffer

After reading this I don't feel so negatively toward Arkon, though I still feel bad for Rina. She's been outed and criminalized for her actions, and the idea that she was almost forced into a nunnery is the worst. Hopefully Arkon can try and understand her side of it now, knowing how it feels to be forced into something that they have no passion for.
There has to be some kind of compromise where Arkon can pursue what he wants without feeling guilty or laying blame on anyone. I honestly don't care how their father feels about it, I mean, he's a jerk, so there.

Van said...

Ah, yeah. I did that because Arkon's dialogue continued in the next paragraph, after the picture. Some people seem to do that, and some don't. I'm not sure which is technically correct, if either is.

Oh, Arkon still owes Rina an apology, big time. Here's hoping he's decent enough to go home and think long and hard about what he did.

Well... the blame for Arkon's situation is definitely, definitely on his father (who's a total asshole--so yeah, there's no need to care how he feels about anything). But there might be a way for Arkon to study what he wants, and if not, he is the heir, so he's not going to have a career outside of that anyway.

Penelope said...

Arkon strikes me as a very gullible, very dull sort of man. It's sad that Rina has so little family left but at the same time, I think she has inadvertently managed to weed out the worst of the lot.

Van said...

Arkon is one of those people who needs constant suggestion. He does well enough when someone hands him information, but he doesn't do well speculating on his own.

Sad as it is, Rina is better off without the toxic connections.