Thursday, March 2, 2017

Anger - from a Paladin

You'll have to imagine the scene.

Young men and women stand chatting with each other in a training yard, the hard-packed dirt beneath their feet barely raising any dust as they move from person to person. Each holds a sword of bright, shining metal, and the way they hold these swords show they know how to use them. Their eager faces shine in anticipation of today's lesson.

Silence descends on the group as the Elder Paladin moves down the stairs. They expected him to be dressed in his silver armor, yet he is simply dressed in casual clothes. He doesn't even have his sword, though there is a dagger belted to his waist.

His once dark hair is now almost completely grey, though his face shows few lines. His dark eyes survey the children before him - yes, they are trained soldiers, but to him they are children.

"You've learned your lessons well, and are about to embark on your first great adventure. Great trials await each of you," he says, his voice quiet yet it moves among the dozen who stand there. They hear him.

"I come with a final lesson." He waves his empty hands. "This is not a lesson of the sword. You know how to use the sword, and only practice will make you better at this point." He pauses, and a great sadness shows in his eyes.

"You are all young warriors, and you all have one thing in common. You want to be the best at what you do. Yet each of you still has one enemy to overcome." He pauses. "Anger."

Some in the group looked shocked. Others are already showing signs of boredom.

"There is a power in anger. You can feel it coursing through your veins, a strength that seems greater than any you felt before.

"It is false power, in a way. Your mind is no longer in control while you rage. You feel gigantic and unstoppable.

"The power of anger is great, but it is a destructive power. There is no creation in anger. You can tear things apart, destroy them. You can feel it!" The Elder's eyes light with a glow that ignites even the most apathetic pupils. His voice now booms, seeming to rock the very walls around the courtyard. The guards on the gate look on, mesmerized. They have heard it before, but this is like the first time once again.

"In my rages," boomed the Elder's voice, "I leveled mountains." The students nod, for they heard of these battles, and some have seen the rubble on the once-high peaks.

"So if you want to destroy, rage away! Everything around you will be laid waste." The Elder's eyes soften somewhat, and his voice pitches lower, though all can still hear him clearly.

"Do this and the iron in your hands will become useless, your relationships will disintegrate. Love itself will flee from you."

Are his eyes now shining with tears? "You will become the thing you've recently sworn to fight - a monster, and that is a hard path to come back from."

"Anger is easy," he says as he raises his hand in a blessing over the new recruits. "Creation is a harder path."

"To truly defeat evil, you must first defeat it within yourselves."

The Elder turns and moves up the stairs. They watch him in silence until he disappears behind the great doors of the hall. Chatter breaks out among them once again. Most hear him, but do not understand, instead eagerly awaiting the coming battles. Only one in all the group has eyes that see the different purpose, the greater enemy - a battle that doesn't involve swords.

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