Thursday, July 9, 2015

Friday Snippet - The Wisdom of an Old Priest

Rain. Sigh.  More rain.  Deeper sigh.  We're so saturated, even a small rain sits on top of the earth.

This snippet is a conversation between Anabelle and a wise old priest.  They are discussing why the archbishop replaced him with a younger man.  First draft, please don't quote or re-post.


“Father Ollister!” Anabelle said, and crossed to the old priest’s side, hands outstretched.

“My dear Anabelle, it is very good to see you!  Are you feeling better since the last time we spoke?”

Father Ollister, tall and thin, back stooped with age but grip still firm and powerful, looked at her with a gentle but penetrating gaze.

Anabelle’s own gaze wavered and fell before his.

“I see,” Father Ollister said.  “Please, my dear, come into my office and we will talk over old times, shall we?”

Anabelle let the priest lead her into the warren of offices in back of the main sanctuary.  She noted that Barrington watched them leave.  The office Father Ollister led her to was not the one to which she had so often been.  This office, much smaller and crammed with the old priest’s belongings, did not seem to fit him.  Anabelle paused in dismay.

“This is rather outrageous, Father,” she said impulsively.  “The least he could have done was left you your office.”

Father Ollister moved some books from off a chair and motioned her to be seated.

“It is his right to have the office.  Archbishop Leydon appointed him as my successor.”

The old priest lowered himself into his desk chair, nearly upsetting a stack of what looked like liturgical pamphlets.

“But you’re hardly old enough to retire, Father!”

Father Ollister smiled at her.  “And you are a wonderful girl for saying so, but I am getting older.  The archbishop felt that this parish needed a younger man.  I am –semi-retired, shall we say?”

“Is this because you are an Earthwitcher?” Anabelle said.  “If it is, please say so.  We have representation before the king now, you know.   Sir Samuel Webasto.  Intolerance of any kind towards the Witchers is frowned upon.”

Father Ollister shook his head at her.  “While it is a pleasure to have a forward-thinking king, being an Earthwitcher has neither hurt nor helped my career as a priest.  If the archbishop had been intolerant, I would never have been appointed to this parish in the first place.  No, my dear, if the archbishop sees fit to replace me, it is only for the reason he states.”

“Then why not leave,” she said   “As an Earthwitcher, you would be welcomed and treated with respect at many establishments that have need of your talent.”

He sighed and leaned back in his chair until it creaked alarmingly.  “I love being a priest.  I love being an Earthwitcher.  I love being a priest more.  As pleasant as it is to encourage life to grow from the ground, being an Earthwitcher cannot save my soul, Anabelle, nor help save the souls of others.”

And he could not have said anything more unanswerable.

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