Ashton’s schism

16 Eleasias 1373

We hadn’t been long with the butchered remains of our horses when I saw Ashton staring at the wall, clearly lost in thought. I hadn’t thought him all that attached to the horses, or indeed to livestock of any sort, so I asked him what was troubling him.

There followed a long attempt to explain to me the nature of Lathander, his relationship with Amaunator, and the complex theologies of twin natures, Risen Sun Blasphemies, rebirth, and who was who and how and when. It was, I must say, all a bit of how-many-sun-gods-can-dance-on-the-head-of-a-pin to me (or, as my mother likes to say, “more badgers than I care to untangle”), but clearly it deeply concerned my clerical friend and companion.

I’m not sure I could offer him any insight. I’ve always found the Gods and their meddling and demands for worship a little unsettling, although perhaps that’s coming from a society where the Gods are simply gods, respected for their role in safeguarding we Hin but not slavishly followed by right of birth or power or planar origins. I do know this, however. Ashton is a profoundly good man. He has not an ounce of greed for power or wealth, and indeed shuns and even regrets the fame that his prior exploits have brought him. He’s what we used to call “a regular reggie,” a halfling turn-of-phrase that resonates even more now that I know my own Uncle Reggie was a Harper agent that never sought recognition or reward for the good that he undoubtedly did. (Indeed, I’m quite sure that Uncle Reggie would like Ashton Arn, and would invite him down the brew-hall for a pint or six. Whether Ashton could fully tolerate six halfling ales, or Uncle Reggie’s renowned friendships with a variety of female evening social service providers, is another issue. Lucille’s propensity to dress as a nun might well have caused particular problems. But that’s another tale.)

So Ashton’s good heart is good enough for me. If Lathander is Amaunator, or Amaunator is Lathander, or they’re both second cousins of wee Bradbury Bondledooks who sold sheep down Red Rose Lane, I don’t much care. If Ashton thinks that fighting the evil we all face is best served by recovering the regalia of Amaunator, then that’s what we do. If the Church falls upon itself in bitter conflict over this “schism,” it just all shows they have narrower souls than does our Ash.

And so we take this step, and see what becomes of it.

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