Going out is always fun. I had a very entertaining encounter with a local cleric, a guy somewhat in the same business as Mr. Collins.
So I went to a temple here in the city, people refer to it as a church. There I was observed with some unease which I enjoyed immensely. Then the cleric asked me rather politely to leave or explain my appearance. I had no idea what he was talking about but asked instead if he knew anything about a magic portal. He didn’t. I had a proper look around and found images, paintings and sculptures of an almost naked human nailed to a cross. Had I known before I would have come much sooner! So I asked the cleric about this guy. And here’s what happened next (and I’m rather proud that I can remember it almost word for word):
“That’s our saviour Jesus, of course”, the cleric said. By the way, it was pretty obvious that the clergyman could not wield any form of magic. Clerics in this world are truly powerless, believe me.
Anyway, this saviour-guy. I wanted to know what happened to him and was told his story. That he died, was killed in fact, in order to save me. Of course I didn’t believe that and got a bit angry with the man.
“No”, he insisted, “I’m telling you, he died for you.” He appeared to be quite fearless of me, I have to give him that.
“Why would he do that?”, I asked incredulously. “That would have been rather stupid of him, right? If he sacrificed himself for me, I’d like to know why. I didn’t even know him!”
“Well, he did not do it exclusively for you.”
“Ha! I knew it! So what’s all the fuss about?”
“He gave his life for all of us. So that we are cleansed of our sins and our souls shall be redeemed.”
My blood started boiling, I was getting very angry and I told the clergyman so in no uncertain terms.
“Now listen, you Collins: no orc with some self-respect would ever allow someone else to seek forgiveness for his own sins. Why would cross-guy do that?”
“So that you are forgiven.”
I had to restrain myself by then and counted to ten (more or less). Slightly more calm, I answered him. “Why should I be interested in that? What’s in it for me, being redeemed? Will my wives have fewer offspring?” I would have put up with a lot to gain that effect to be honest.
That obviously confused the man for a moment.
“No, my dear. Your soul will be saved when you find forgiveness.” He sounded rather patroniszing by then and had completely lost me. But, being a terrifying orc, I could not leave without making my point as well.
“So, correct me, if I’m wrong. Somewhere in this world is a man who had himself be slaughtered so that I may appear to be a nice guy?”
“More or less, yes. Perhaps in a more metaphysical…”
“Is he completely out of his mind? How shall I explain that to my family? Do you have any idea what my tribe usually does to “nice guys”? I would not wish that for my worst enemies. So, you go and tell this guy that I don’t want him to do that. I mean, you can, right? You said, he returned after the slaughter so he is still around, correct? Cool move, by the way. Tell him, I like my sins. They were hard work. How could I ever face my comrades again if they heard about a human taking away my sins? And where did he take them anyway?” By then I was truly terrified that I didn’t even look evil anymore.
“Your sins have been washed off.”
“I knew it! This bloody human habit of bathing! I shouldn’t have trusted that she-human.”
“So, you’d rather remain a sinner?”
“Of course, man. So, for me, that guy needs not to run about with that cross on his back.”
“I’m afraid it’s too late for that. It already happened. About two thousand years ago.”
A terrible headache was imminent. For both of us. But for very different reasons.
“So all my atrocities have been in vain?”
“I’m afraid so. You should celebrate and rejoice.”
I put my arm around his shoulder then which finally seeemd to scare him a bit and pushed him out of the church. We moved towards St. James’ Park.
“All right. Now listen. We go for a walk and you tell me a bit more about the nails and the cross. And then we gonna try that on you. And afterwards I’m gonna celebrate and rejoice. How does that sound to you?”
“But my dear son, you must not sin against the commandments of our Lord.”
I almost had a heart attack. I’m not the youngest anymore, you know.
“Son? Our lord? Are you completely mad? I mean, look at us! I am a pure-blooded orc. How could you possibly be my father? Honestly, I don’t understand you humans. You have absolutely no sense of survival. You know what? I pity you. And I’ll spare you. For now. Go back to your cross-guy and pray that you’ll never have to face another creature from my world. You’ll find them less… forgiving.”
And so I left him. I cannot say that I have completely recovered from the utter shock he gave me with this whole business of redemption. But when I look around me I see all these humans sinning constantly and with great pleasure. So I came to the conclusion that the clergyman was simply delusional. A true Collins.
I might go back though. She-human has a hammer and some nails. Hehe.