The Parable of the Conscript

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Anthology of St. Tobias the Immutable, chapter 5;

The Parable of the Conscript

5 A distant King went into his dominion, and wandered among his people. 2 Out of the masses, he picked a boy, young, and strong in faith. 3 Looking into his eyes, the monarch spoke unto him, “Come my child, your people are in need of a protector. 4 I will grant you great boons and talents, so you will have the strength to defy your foes. 5 Do not fear as you spill blood in my name, for I will pardon you of your crimes, and show you the way to paradise.” 6 The boy put himself in the arms of his king, and allowed himself into the role that was chosen for him, despite the weight on his chest.

7 The King put the boy in the care of the greatest sages and masters, who trained him in all the arts of war and creed. 8 As the boy grew, he was granted the strength to wrestle serpents that could snuff out the sun and the speed to always run in silence, for he outpaced the sound of his own strides. 9 When the king saw that the boy’s strength was too great for even his own body, he bathed him in the waters of the styx, so that no harm could come to him except by his eyes, ears, and mouth. 10 As years passed, boy became man in mind, body, and spirit, loving both his Lord and the thrill of battle.

11 Now the time would come where the Kingdom was under siege by a vast and distant power, so the King called upon his conscripted warrior, 12 “Where there was once a boy, there is now a man! 13 You are ready, but remember this. 14 Up to this point, you have spilled only the blood of Beasts, but soon you will be made a slayer of Men. 15 When you spill the blood of your fellow Man, wash it from every part of yourself; Do not allow any to seep deeper than your flesh, for if you do, you will be unfit for Paradise.” 16 The man thanked his master, donned his finest armor, and collected all weapons he had mastered. He then set out to fight for his people.

17 The man rendered hundreds of heads from hundreds of bodies, and saved seven fold more lives than he took. 18 After one war ended many would follow, but the man was always certain to wash the blood from his skin, and never allow it to flow deep. 19 But the man had a great love of battle, and a greater love for his king that fostered unceasing hatred for his lord’s enemies. 20 Thus, the laughter of madness that he was born to destroy echoed through his ears, into the depths of his head, and little by little blood dripped past his skin. 21 He now found no mercy for those who defied his king, and reveled in the suffering of those who threatened his people.

22 So when the time came that the Warrior met the end that all who live by the sword are promised, he approached the gates of Paradise and found them closed. 23 Despite his vast strength, he could not so much as shift the gate, and his blows could only barely cause the metal to ring. 24 He cried out, “My King! My King! Did I not perform great deeds and bring down foes in your name? Did I not protect the weak and innocent? You promised to pardon my crimes as I spilled blood in your name, so why do I find the gates closed unto me?”

25 The voice of the King echoed over the walls in reply, “As I promised, I pardoned you of all your crimes, but forgiving a defiler will not erase their vandalism. 26 The blood you spilled seeped too deep for it to be cleansed. So although I find you guilty of no transgression, any who are unclean cannot enter paradise. 27 Depart from Me, Oh Bloodsoaked one, you have no place among us.”

28 The warrior collapsed to his knees, and struck the ground, shaking the earth. 29 When he looked again at his hands, he now noticed the stains left by his fellow man. 30 He ran to a nearby pool, weeping as he went. 31 He cleansed himself for days on end, but he soon saw that the taint went deeper than flesh or bone.

32 As he rose from the waters, now many folds deeper with his tears, he looked towards the tops of those vast walls. 33 He saw the people he had once shielded, now in mourning silence as they gazed towards him. 34 The Warrior now picked up his weapons, and donned his armor again. 35 From then on, he would wander the outer darkness, slaying the enemies of his old Master as he had always done, in an unending war with no rest and no joy.

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