Chapter Seventeen

Now, The Priests of Tr were greatly angered. "This man was our brother," they said, "and sworn to keep our secrets. Now, he betrays us. Something must be done before he turns more of the people against us." So The High Priest called The Elders. "Our campaign against The Children of Spirit has not gone well," he announced. "We have told our people not to do business with them, not to have them in their homes, that they are possessed with demons, and evil. But the people do not listen. Their merchants are too honest, their craftsmen too skilled, and the people do not believe the tales our agents are telling."
2 One Elder rose. "Give us time, my lord," he begged, "we have but begun. It takes time to build hatred, to destroy the people's trust in someone! Be patient, my lord! My agents are skilled in these matters. How many have we brought out of favor at your wish? These Children of Spirit will be no different.
3 Soon, we will have mobs attacking their Temples. A few gold pieces here, a few there...we have men that will do anything for enough gold! These people's days are numbered."
4 "Not unless we do somethng about our other probems!" interrupted The High Priest. "One of our own has betrayed us, and his speaking is doing irreparable harm. There is no question he must be silenced. The only question is, by whom?
5 A young Elder rose. "Voice of Our God," he announced, "I know a man expert in these matters. I have used him before for other things, but he will not come cheap.....seventy-five gold, at the least."
6 "A ridiculous price!" snapped The High Priest. "Surely we could find someone cheaper than that."
7 "Perhaps," The Elder told him, "but we cannot afford to fail. If you want it done right, you must pay the price."
8 The High Priest looked around The Council. Each man nodded in agreement. The High Priest took a bag of gold from beneath his seat, counted out twenty-five pieces, and tossed what was left to The Elder. "Go!" he ordered, "Get it done. I do not want him in the marketplace another Fifth Day!"
9 "As The Voice of My God commands," The Elder replied, "that I will do." He rose quickly, departed, and made his way to a part of the city where decent people did not go. There were ill-kept houses, many drinking houses, pleasure houses, and inns where only the worst of men stayed.
10 At one of the drinking houses The Priest stopped and entered. Those inside did not seem at all surprised that a holy man walked in their midst. Several women approached him, but The Priest waved them away. He went to a huge man sitting at a back table staring into a mug of ale.
11 "Greetings, my brother from the temple," the large man snorted. "What mischief do you want me up to this time?" 12 "We need to talk in private," The Priest answered.
13 "None here hear what you are saying," the large man argued, "they are all deaf."
14 "In PRIVATE!" The Priest demanded. The big man shrugged.
15 "Oh, the well-guarded secrets of the temple!" he snorted. He rose and made his way to a door in the back of the room. He flung it open. There was an older man and a young, half-naked girl inside, kissing. "Out!" the large man roared. Without protest, the two quickly left. The large man seated himself on some cushions, and motioned for The Priest to sit.
16 "There is a young man," explained The Priest, "that comes to the marketplace every Fifth Day, and tells lies about the temple of Tr and its priests. We desire that he stops coming, permanently. We are willing to pay a considerable price for his silence."
17 "How much?" the big man asked.
18 "Fifty gold, in your hand, now, for your word the job will be done."
19 "The young man speaks The Truth," the big man said, "but for these prices I'll kill a man for telling The Truth as quickly as I'll kill him for lying! Give me the gold!"
20 The Priest tossed the bag of coins. "This had better not be light," the big man threatened.
21 "Have I ever cheated you?" The Priest asked.
22 "From the day I was born," was his answer. "Now, get out of here! You need a bath! Like all of your kind, you stink!"
23 The Priest rose, about to say something, but as he did not want his neck broken, he changed his mind. He could only hear the big man's laughter behind him as he turned and walked out the door.
24 The next Fifth Day, Gray Dove went to the marketplace and spoke, as usual. The sun was very low in the sky when finally he began his journey home. He was passing a bleak, dark alleyway, when a sudden noise made him turn. Three men were rushing at him out of the darkness, each carrying a short club! When they realized he saw them, they gave out a great cry, and rushed on.
25 Suddenly, a fire entered Gray Dove, and The Power of The Beast seized him. As the first attacker neared, he stepped aside, seized his club, brought up his knee into his manhood, and hit him behind the head with his elbow, at the same time. The man gave an agonizing cry and drove into the ground.
26 Almost in the same motion, Gray Dove spun around, catching the second huge attacker between the legs with his foot. The man gave a startled cry as he went flying through the air to land in a pile of rubbish.

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