Zealot Master Diaries Pt. 1


* Zealot Master Diaries
{np} When the funeral processions were over, the nearly 70 people in attendance assembled for a meeting of the Order.
As they were mostly an exclusive group, without close contact with other clerics, there was barely any outsiders in their midst.
{np} The family of the deceased were there to fulfill their duties, and those who knew of the events that had occurred were there as well, along with those sent customarily by the lord of the area to document the passing of a Master.
{np} They stayed long enough to give their condolences before making a hasty exit and soon enough only the members of the Zealot Order remained.
The only living Zealots of the world were all gathered there.
{np} However, there was one person who was a stranger. A person who was not closely related to the order.
His name was Phrevy. A middle-aged man sent by the Inquisitor Master, Thomas Iquinostasys, to witness the proceedings as the Zealot Master's position was now vacant.
{np} Not open to outsiders and with little connection to other clergy, if it was not a meeting requiring an official appearance, it was not necessary for those like the Inquisitors to attend.
{np} Yet, during this assembly, if the next Zealot Master was selected, it would be Phrevy who would have to verify the process, report back to the Inquisitor Master and later relay the message to the proper department of the Kingdom.
{np} For generations, the Zealot Order would elect their Master and this person would make an appearance before the Inquisitor and other orders of the goddesses for approval before alerting the king. If there was no reason for adjustment the process would be complete.
{np} Since it was typical for the Order to elect a new Master before the previous one had either passed away or retired, even if the Inquisitor Phrevy formally knew little about the proceedings, there was really not much to observe. {np} But this time, the assembly had reached a standstill.
Therefore, including the dispatched Phrevy, all who were in attendance were determined that a decision must be reached.
{np} Moreover, Phrevy was selected to act as chair for the assembly, thus proving that the friction within the Order was more serious than previously thought.
{np} Although the Zealot Order did not consist of many members, they were divided and the span of the Order's history was practically the same as the two sides' lasting conflict.
{np} The Zealot Order was founded to recover the missing goddesses. However, the Order had separated into those who wished to seek out Goddess Laima first and those who wished to seek out Goddess Jurate. Both carrying their own opinions and reasoning for the matter.
{np} There were those who believed Goddess Dahlia to be of the utmost importance, but compared to the other two groups whose numbers were 30 and 40, they carried no weight and dispersed themselves amongst the others.
The end result being that their opinions on Goddess Dahlia were ignored.
{np} Although this discord went on for some time, the Zealot Order was not divided.
As a smaller order, they were aware of their precarious situation.
And, even if the search for one goddess became paramount, they did not turn a blind eye on opportunities to find others.
{np} This was because their mission was to find all the Goddesses, not to find a specific one.
What was most important was their role to support the other existing Goddesses, their Orders, and the other Clerics.
{np} Although the Zealots were not popular, because their goal was to find the missing goddesses, the other orders did not oppose them. Whether for honor's sake or out of empathy, they could do nothing but help the Zealot Order. {np} Because of this, the Zealots made their conflict known to the others in order to ensure that the matter did not make the already small order be forced to take on even more hardship.
{np} At a previous assembly, David Tal, who was from the Laima followers, rose to a seat of power and was elected the Zealot Master.
Those who served Jurate did not complain as, before this assembly, he had married Naomi, the daughter of an influential member of the Jurate followers.
{np} For a short time it seemed as though the century old conflict would dissolve thanks to the marriage and David's successful ruling of the Order.
He had gathered the Order's power and prepared them in the direction of finding Goddess Laima.
{np} When a single lead appeared, he gathered a small group of Zealots and followed in pursuit.
But the fact that the lead was fruitful is the sorrow of this story.
It was here that David Tal faced his death, as he encountered another group who were in pursuit of Goddess Laima.
{np} When David Tal passed away, the Order was stuck with heartache and further separation.
After much backlash, Naomi succeeded her husband and became Zealot Master. However, a heavy atmosphere followed as there were those who followed Laima that believed it was because of Naomi that they lost David.
{np} For many years Naomi ruled and, from pressure within the Order and due to her own personal interests to find her husband's killers, she continued their pursuit for Goddess Laima.
These matters were one and the same and did not need to be pursued separately, yet the result led to her death as she too fell victim to those with connection to her husband's death.
{np} (It would be revealed much later, but the one who played the main role behind their deaths was Evoniphon.
Yet this truth would come much later to Aliza Tal, and by then Evoniphon would have had already left this world.)
{np} It was due to this second death that today's funeral and assembly had taken place.
And the reason for the current emotional divide between those who purse Laima and those who pursue Jurate.
{np} There were extremists on one side who believed that if it wasn't for the pressure from those of the Order, Naomi Tal would not have been so reckless, and those on the other side who thought that the very marriage of David and Naomi was the problem.
{np} Of course, there were those whose opinions were not as extreme, but it was unclear in which direction the assembly would go as their feelings of grief and resentment had yet to pass.
The Zealot, who requested from Inquisitor Phrevy to speak first, stepped forward.
{np} [I believe that the Zealot who has served our order the longest and who carries with them years of experience should be our next Master.]
The person who fit these conditions was a follower of Laima.
Another Zealot requested permission to speak and offered another opinion.
{np} [Someone with experience is fine, but a Zealot who is strong and well disciplined would be better. I say this as it would be improper to overlook one who has the skill needed to be the next Master.] {np} This person was from a follower of Jurate. Although it seemed as though neither side had a person they wanted to recommend to speak, a third person requested.
{np} [In all our years, we have yet to face a situation where two of our leaders have died and we have not selected another to lead. In this unprecedented moment, I would like to recommend that we consider another approach, different from history, when selecting the next head of the Order.]
{np} Here the question of what may that be was raised.
Already prepared, the speaker calmly answered.
[Our Order has set our sights on the task of finding the missing goddesses, but we have yet to succeed. I believe this to be because our Order is too independent and is, without proper reason, filled with pride.]
{np} The assembly erupted with cries about other clerics being complacent with the current situation and lazy in comparison.
But after Inquisitor Phrevy quieted them down, the speaker continued.
{np} [What you are saying is not wrong. However, receiving even the smallest bit of help from them and the goddesses that they follow would not be bad.] With that said, the speaker continued with a counterargument.
{np} [In truth, we have not received an answer from the other goddesses about the whereabouts of Goddess Laima. There are various reasons for this but one, in particular, is that we as humans do not know the whole story. However, we should still be proud of ourselves for the handwork it takes to ask such questions.
{np} The other clerics have accepted the work of the goddesses, but it is all of us who feel hurt at their absence. This is why I think it would be acceptable for us to put our faith in the Oracle Master at this time. Is it not possible that in this time of crisis the goddess will show us the way?]
{np} An other Zealot addressed the question.
[The goddess knows what is best for us but She will not intervene with our choices. If this was not the case, the goddess would make it known to us who amongst the royals would be the best King.
{np} Or better yet, we wouldn't even need a royal family. Finding who amongst us should be king would be a simple task. Just have the goddess provide us with the proper ruler. At this point, why not have the goddess simply sit on the throne Herself and rule?
{np} Then we will not even have to worry about the monarch. You have studied our theology. Are you saying that you are unaware of the flaws in this thinking?]
{np} [That is correct, however, 200 years ago King Enael was nominated through the Oracle. The king before, King Olukel was the first to step down from the throne due to intervention by the goddess. There are times when these means are necessary.
{np} The goddesses from our faith and theology take deep consideration for human will, but this does not mean They will stop it. Let us ask. Let us seek out the Oracle. If we do not receive an answer, we will simply return here.
{np} It will take time, but nothing else. If the divine goddess breaks from tradition and intervenes, I doubt that anyone here of the Zealot Order will object to Her decision.]
{np} Inquisitor Phrevy, whose role was to judge the decisions of the assembly, examined those before him.
It seemed no one disagreed. Either they all concurred or there were only a few who didn't.
It was at this time that another person requested the floor.
{np} It was a young woman who had just come of age.
Aliza Tal, whose mother was the Zealot Master who passed away, and whose father was the Master who passed away the time before, spoke.
{np} [I agree that we should speak with the Oracle. But I have one request. I would like us to ask the Oracle, not who should be the next master, but if I, Aliza Tal, would be fit for the role.
{np} My brothers and sisters, you have suggested we select one who has years of experience and is well disciplined in our teachings. Although I do not have such qualifications I would like to know.
{np} If it is I who is meant to continue my parent's, the previous Master's, dream of unity within the order and recovery of the goddesses.
{np} If the prophecy is for me, I will be able to fulfill our goals as I have learned the teachings and thoughts of both sides and within me is the blood of our Order.
{np} If my brothers and sisters agree with seeking the Oracle along with my request, and if I receive the goddess' blessing, I will follow the guidance of the prophecy.]
{np} The members of the Order nosily spoke amongst themselves.
After their talks had cooled, a few rose from their seats and whispered into the ear of the moderator, Inquisitor Phrevy.
After listening to the opinions of these representatives of the Order, Inquisitor Phrevy began to speak.
{np} [All are in agreement to speak with the Goddess through the Oracle Master. The question to be asked will be about the role of Aliza Tal. If there are any Zealots who oppose this decision, speak now.]
He waited, but there was no one who objected.
{np} [Good. Then the plan is in motion. If Aliza Tal rejects the prophecy, or the prophecy given does not pertain to her, the task of choosing the next nominee is once again the responsibility of the Zealot Order and we will return to this place again to discuss the matter.
{np} We will now bring this assembly to a close and return after receiving the prophecy.] Three days later the Order, to the surprise of the other clerics, received their message through the Oracle Master. {np} The result revealed that Aliza Tal was to become the Zealot Master.
The path ahead for this young Master could be one of honor or one of unbearable hardship.


Story of Zealot Master Aliza Tal. Right-click to read.


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