The Will of Theus
by Dana DeVries

   Cardinal Verdugo gazed out the window at the shipyards below. Men bustled about on the mundane tasks designed to create a ship from wood and canvas. He shook his head at their incomprehension of the more pressing spiritual matters as he absently ran his finger over his amethyst ring, symbol of his position in the church, pondering how to ensure that these...tradesmen remembered the proper place of all things. Perhaps requiring the shipyards to observe prayers upon the ringing of the bells? It was said the Crescents interrupted any activity to bow to their blasphemous idols twelve times a day. While it would be heretical to follow the practices of those infidels, it did have possibilities...

   A firm knock upon the door intruded upon his thoughts and he turned from the brilliant scene beyond the window. "Come in."

   The man who entered was right on time. Swarthy and scarred from his days as a pirate upon the sea before discovering the power and glory of Theus, Inquisitor Figueroa bowed deeply to his superior and lightly brushed his lips across the amethyst ring. "Your Eminence. Thank you for taking time to meet with me."

   Verdugo motioned him to rise and asked, "Your message stated that you had made progress upon our divine purpose?"

   "Yes, your Eminence. I have discovered a man upon La Bucca who will serve the will of Theus, although his soul is corrupt and lost to the glory of Theus." Verdugo sat down upon a tall backed wooden chair and nodded for him to continue. "As you requested, I contacted him via an intermediary who can pass the word to anyone you deem worthy of the information. Our agent is familiar with all of the defenses and is willing to sabotage them upon your command."

   "Why has this man undertaken the work of Theus if he is so lacking in faith?"

   The Inquisitor shrugged in disgust. "He embraces the filthy lucre which I gave him as if it were a whore and agreed to do anything to gain more."

   Verdugo nodded again. "Excellent. Theus has observed our feeble actions and seen fit to fit them into his greater plan. The Corsair infidels are currently gathering south of Vodacce and sent their disgusting spawn into our lands, looking to spy out any information on La Bucca they can gather. One can be found in San Felipe at a tavern known as the Bloated Weasel, a more fitting spot for an infidel I could not imagine. Have your intermediary approach him quietly and offer him the information you have gathered. With the aid of the Brotherhood traitor, the infidels should be able to crush the nest of unholy corruption with ease. That should prove to the world that those who stand against the Church in favour of 'freedom', will pay the price. Once that is accomplished, the Castillian Armada should be able to easily destroy whatever survives the battle and return the island to its former penal colony status."

   The Inquisitor swallowed and delicately stated, "The other matter I was to inquire into...Allende has definitely returned to the island. He was imprisoned in Vodacce, but appears to have escaped without anyone realizing his true identity. However, his crew is remaining close to him, perhaps fearing another kidnapping. In truth, no one I dealt with believed that an assassination attempt could succeed."

   "I see. Unfortunate. But when La Bucca is sacked by the Corsairs, Allende will be dealt with. I assume that you took measures to ensure those you dealt with would not spread word of your inquiries?

   "Yes, your Eminence."

   "It is imperative that nothing connect the holy Vatacine Church and either the traitor or your intermediary. You understand?"

   "Yes, your Eminence. They are in desperate need of confession, but I doubt either can even remember all of their sins. They will be silenced after their role in this is completed."

   "Excellent. I had my doubts about your faith when I first met you, but I have always respected your grasp of the correct way to proceed. When you have completed that mission, I have another for you."

   "I and my men are at your disposal."

   "Your boat is fully staffed?"

   "Aye, I mean, yes, your Eminence. A fine crew of those who understand that Theus demands actions as well as words."

   "And you have seen to their spiritual well being?"

   "Yes, your Eminence. They understand the holy nature of our commission."

   "Good. You are to sail West to the Mission of San Pedro in the Midnight Archipelago. Ostensively to finally bring the word of Theus to the incurable savages there. The Mission has strived to convert them for over two years without any success. That is unacceptable. You are to bring the light of Theus to them, even if it must be the light of burning stakes." Inquisitor Figueroa nodded but waited as Verdugo continued with his true mission. "And that is an important matter. But more pressing, Madame Orduno is sailing West in search of her heretical husband. Her current standing as the Heroine of San Felipe will not allow us to move openly, but she must not be allowed to tempt the people of Castille into thinking that anything of value lies to the west. Salvation lies here with the Vatacine Church. And we cannot have anyone think that heretics can be saved from their fate. "She will not return, your Eminence."

   "Very good. When that matter is dealt with, return to Castille and present yourself to me at Vatacine City."

   "Yes, your Eminence." The swarthy man bowed again to the Cardinal and backed out the door. Verdugo turned back to the window and his contemplation of the shipwrights. He had already dismissed the meeting from his mind. Figueroa was an excellent agent and could be trusted to enact the His will without fail.