Lareaux was as beautiful as always. The city's countless cathedrals and temples to the Saint gleaming in the sunlight, the countless statues of saints and angels standing ever vigilant over the seat of St. Cuthbert on Asul. There was the sound of choirs in the air, and overhead the ever present patrol of gryphon riders (and other aerial cavalry) kept watch.
Helena had given the group the day off, so to speak, requesting that they - and the new recruits - meet her first thing the next morning for their new temporary assignment.
In big city. What do?
Vivien was normally cheered by the beautiful sites of the glorious faith, but their last mission, and the lecture from Helena, had wounded his spirits. Praying had not helped.
He headed into the nearest temple, and asked, polite as always, if he could see a priest.
Vivien was directed to the office of Father Wilhelm. It wasn't unheard of for a priest of the Saint to meet with people in their office, but it was fairly uncommon in the larger cities like Lareaux.
Father Wilhelm's was cozy and had several large bookcases mostly full of various theological texts, but some on more scholarly subjects like alchemy, arcana, and medicine. Wilhelm himself was handsome man apparently early into his middle age, with shoulder-length graying blonde hair (tied back in a somewhat loose ponytail) and a neat chin curtain beard.
He got up from behind his desk the moment Vivien entered. "Ah, Mr. Bellerose!" His voice was powerful but extremely friendly - very unlike the fire and brimstone powerful Vivien was more used to.
Approaching Vivien he gave the younger priest a firm handshake, smiling all the while. "Father Jan Wilhelm, at your service on behalf of His service." He offered Jan a seat before sitting back behind his desk. "But please, just call me Wilhelm, or Jan, or something. At my age I find it a bit upsetting and awkward when people your age call me 'father'," he laughed. "So what can I do for you today, Vivien - you don't mind me calling you Vivien, right?"
Rosaline used her free time to take a bath... and then began to just mope around the temples.
Ramirez looked around for the nearest 'gentlemen's club', and more specifically one specialising in 'ropework'. It was one of the perks of the job.
"Oh. I, uh, yes Fath-I mean, Wilhelm." Vivien bowed and took the offered seat, suddenly embarrassed for his neediness. "I'm sorry for taking up your time. It's just..."
With some effort, he drew his eyes from his lap. "Recently I began working under someone of great distinction, and I find rather difficult. Of course, I respect greatly her! Her services in the name of the Saint are far beyond what I could ever hoe to accomplish in a lifetime. But there is an coldness to her interpretation of his Law. On the one hand, I wish to learn from one as great a her. Surely she knows better than I do. But I find it hard to agree with her sometimes; her interpretation of his law is harsh.
But perhaps this is just false pride. She has been very critical of me, and all of us. I felt like a failure to the St. Cuthbert, even though I tried my hardest. Perhaps I should try to emulate her. I do not know. What might be the best way for me serve the Law?"
"Please, please, Vivien, it's no trouble at all! This is my job! What sort of priest would I be if it was a trouble to tend to my flock? Heck, what sort of person would I be?" Jan laughed, interrupting Vivien momentarily before hearing out the rest of the younger priest's words.
He paused for a moment after, apparently in thought. "Vivien," he started, "what is the purpose of the law? Why bother serving the Saint? Why is it that you have chosen to become a priest rather than a farmer, or a blacksmith, or even a barkeep? If we can figure that out, Vivien, I think I can help you."
"Because the Law brings peace, balance, and happiness to the world, and to the individual," Vivien said, without hesitation, sitting up straighter. This was a subject he had meditated on a long time, like any good priest. These were the words he spoke to unbelievers when he sought to convince or educate. "If everyone obeyed the Law, this would be a paradise. The Saint knows what is best for us. I became a cleric because I wanted to enforce his Law and create a more perfect world."
"Exactly, Vivien, exactly!" Wilhelm said with a clap. "Surely, then, the Law would not require of us anything that we are unable to give it? It is my belief, Vivien, that we each are called to service, and that we each know how best to serve the Law in our own way."
"When I was a young man my parents wanted very much for me to become a Wizard. This was, they felt, my calling. I spent no few years both at home and abroad studying, believing that this was how best I could serve the Law. In time I came to hear His call and I realised that being a Wizard was, in fact, not what I wanted for me, nor was it what He wanted for me - it was what my parents wanted for me. I, Vivien, was destined for greater things. And now I am here today so that I can help you. That's just how the Law works."
"I was mistaken about what was desired of me because I had let the desires of others lead me astray. I had failed to see clearly the path He had prepared for me because I was distracted by the path my parents and own youthful failings had lain. Now, I don't believe that my parents were trying to lead me astray, and I'm sure you don't believe that your superior is trying to lead you astray, no? I think, though, you get what I'm trying to get at. Do not try and walk the path of others, instead try and find out what path it is that you, Vivien, have been called to walk."
Wilhelm smiled. "Did that help?" "And about this female commander of yours. Harsh? Harsh how? Sometimes, Vivien, a bit of harshness is needed. However we must always remember that harshness alone will rarely accomplish anything worthwhile."
"Yes, Sir. Thank you very much." There wasn't much to add to that. Wilhelm was making perfect sense. "Maybe I am being unnecessarily sensitive. Grand Crusader Amalric is a respected personage for a reason. I will try not to let my insecurity clog my ears next time. I can listen to her, as you say, and still keep to my own path for the Law."