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Captain of the Guard: Nature Lover

September 18, 2019

Reg was dead. Cedric and his men didn’t know that (although Whisper was pretty positive that he had died), his slumbering body had burned in the wagon he was passed out in. Not a pleasant way to go, even if he did die in his sleep, the way many cowards envision is the best way because they won’t have to face their demise directly.

They had his horse. Though they suspected something bad had become of Reg, they convinced themselves that he could catch up, return to the castle, or be labeled a deserter, regardless the horse was not going to be left behind. The horse was more valuable. Men could be replaced, but horses were more difficult to come by, especially good ones.

There are some that would disagree with this, but it cost the king much more to buy, breed and train a horse than it does a man.  While people will often voraciously argue that a person (generic) is more valuable than an animal, their behavior is quite different. A horse or a dog being abused or mistreated will engender more sympathy from people than a person suffering the same fate (this does not hold true for livestock, or cats although that last depended a lot on the person).  In fact quite the opposite, more often than not people expressed relief and even satisfaction over specific (not generic) people dying.

They were on their way, Alstone riding beside Cedric with an air like he belonged there. As much as he disliked the wizard’s company, it seemed to keep Vul away and Cedric always took the good with the bad. Whisper was somewhere among his eight remaining men, and the hound was trailing behind and out of the sight of the horses. Cedric did not like having the beast behind him. It made him decidedly uncomfortable, but the horses (like people) were calmer when they could not see the predator.

They had traveled a couple miles in the dark, the orange glow of the fire lighting up the sky behind them, when a young man hurtled into them. Well, not hurtle exactly, so much as lurched. The type of lurch a young man makes that is underfed and his feet are terribly sore. Not that the young Raven Woodhaven, Guardian of the Wild, Lover of the Mother and Protector of the Balance, previously known as Leslie of Peaceful Vale would admit these difficulties.

Raven was of tougher stuff. He was a man with a mission, a man whose father wanted him to be better than an Innkeeper. A father that made the mistake of having his son learn his letters and arithmetic in the hopes his son would become a barrister, clerk or an accountant.  Unfortunately, his son got his hands on a pamphlet entitled “The Hidden Truth” written by the scholar and High Priest of the Mother, Viscera BrightNoble.

So the father got his wish that his son would not be an Innkeeper, but in such a way to be even more of a disappointment.  Such has it often been with the plans and hopes of fathers for sons.  There is at least one religion founded long ago by a son of a king that had abandoned everything and everyone to find the truth of universe.

In the last moments of when Leslie was still Leslie and had not yet thrown away the crushing mantle of civilization and dedicated himself as a priest of nature and the devoted son of his mother Terra, Leslie found answers to questions that many men puzzled over for years in that pamphlet. The evil and cruelty of people was easily understood when it was obvious that civilization was a mistake that warped and twisted humanity from its innocent state of nature (Leslie, like many people, failed to realize that innocent is not synonymous with good. Innocent is having no concept right and wrong. A lion is innocent, even when he eats someone in the arena. A disease that kills millions is innocent). Leslie believed a return to a more perfect early time would save humanity and the world and the world needed saving, although how it would be better once that occurred was not clear.

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