Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2266486-The-Choice
by brom21
Rated: ASR · Short Story · Spiritual · #2266486
A priest's sacred decision will meet a volatile threat to his will.
High Priest Theron stood atop a tower of the Crown Cathedral. Below the Nimble Plains rolled with grassy hills and trees dotting the landscape. His chest rose as he took a deep breath. Today was the Day of Ordaining. Theron turned from the edge of the tower and started down the winding stairs to the cathedral hall.

One of the priests there approached Theron. “High priest, have you decided who will be your apprentice?”

“Indeed. And I have great faith he will do well.”

“When is the coronation?” said the priest.

“It will commence at midday. I must consult with King Throan to inform him of my choice. I must be on my way to meet him.”

The lower priest bowed and Theron left and walked outside the tall, wide metal double doors open enough for people to enter.

Small brown birds hopped from branch to branch, chirping and bobbing their heads. A gale from the north wafted Theron’s short grey hair and flailed his cloak. He walked up the cobblestone trail towards the castle.

He approached city square where a large, high well mouth stood in the center of another road crossing the one he was traversing. Theron whistled a hymn and soon he was at the small door next to the main gate.

Theron got out a key and unlocked the door. The wide antechamber was full of chattering, laughing royalty.

The high priest was greeted by individuals before he entered the throne room.

The king rose from his seat and smiled. “High Priest Theron! Good to see you. Let us talk privately.” King Throan approached Theron and put a hand on his shoulder and guided him to a door several yards away.

They walked through the door into a furnished, carpeted room with mirrors. Near the opposite wall, the two walked to two stuffed chairs facing each other.

“You are here to present your choice for your apprenticeship?” said King Throan.

Theron nodded. “Yes, my lord. I have selected priest Devon. He is old and wise and full of humility.”

“I agree. However, since the Day of Ordaining occurs every twenty years, I fear he may soon pass.”

Theron pursed his lips and narrowed his eyes. “Hmm…that is true. If that does happen, I will select another. Since the decision is mine, I will have to insist.”

“Very well. So be it,” said King Throan. He rose and motioned with his hand for Theron to proceed out of the room.”

“I will do the coronation at midday. I will see you at the cathedral.” Theron bowed and went his way.

Back at the cathedral, Thereon went to a golden altar and kneeled to pray. A bright being in a shining white robe appeared. “Theron, servant of God, I come to you with a message. You will encounter opposition to your choice for the next high priest. Stay faithful and do not waver.”

Theron widened his eyes and fell on his face trembling. “As you wish, great angel.”

The angel departed and Theron rose and wiped sweat from his brow. “What could this mean?”

A servant boy in a green tunic rushed inside and went to Theron. “High Priest Theron, King Throan summons you to come immediately.”

Theron frowned and pulled at his chin. “Why?”

“He did not say,” said the servant. “I have brought you a mount to speed your way.”

Theron walked out then mounted a horse and shot forth to the castle. At the small door, he dismounted then entered and the king was right before him. “Something has happened. I will tell you for anyone to hear.”

Beside the king was a man in a decedent robe with a gold hemmed cape embroidered with jewels.

“Prince Nerem, hello,” said Theron to the man next to the king.

“Prince Nerem just saved my life! I was traveling through the woods and a mad bear cornered me against a tree. I was about to disemboweled when he came and slayed the beast with his sword. I promised him anything for his deed. He wants to be the high priest apprentice.”

“But he is from another kingdom! Furthermore, the decision is mine!”

“In regard to the throne, I overrule you, Priest Theron.”

“I am the holy priest trained to be so. He knows nothing of the secrets of the Holy Word. This is sacrilege!” said Theron.

Theron recalled the angels warning and his command to stay firm.

The king fumed with a loud voice. “You will teach him or be put in the stocks!”

“This is backwards! The choice lays with the priest not the king!” said Theron.

“Backwards you say? Hmph! I do not see it as backwards. I am supreme. You will train Prince Nerem, or the dungeon awaits you!”

“I will not!”

“Guards, take him to the lower prison!”

Burly guards took Theron and dragged him down stone stairs to the cell ward and threw him against a wall of a cell and locked him in.

Theron sat against the wall and prayed. “Oh, Lord come to my aid. I have obeyed your angel to stay true to the choice You gave me. I await your word.”

The ground began to shake and vibrate. Dust and pebbles fell from the ceiling as the vibration came to a rumble and the cell door opened. Theron ran out and back up the stairs. The ground continued to quake and all the royalty were crying out and running about.

Across the hall a large piece of stone broke off and fell over the king. Theron ran to him as the quake halted.

“Theron, I was wrong. I was doing things backwards, wrong. A priest told me I would face punishment of my will persisted, but I was stubborn. I want you to take the crown as I am wifeless and childless. Goodbye righteous priest.” King Throan’s eyes closed, and he stopped breathing.

Theron teared up and stood. “So be it Lord if this is your will.”

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