The Order of the Beacons
During the time of these writings, there is a Prophecy. This prophecy speaks of the Gods leaving and in their place a pantheon existing. In this Prophecy I have been given the title of Beacon. Thus the Beaconites. And while I was resistant to the title since it seemed to insist I had no choice but to aid in the Gods departure, I eventually relented, and embraced both the name and the Beaconites themselves; the very first Lightsworn. In truth, these people brought more Light to me, for while I also wandered the world and was accustomed to peril, these people took a real leap of faith, leaving their constant homes and lives to find me and begin the next step of their lives. These Beaconites are the true voices of faith, willing to voluntarily face exile and persecution to worship Light. It is these people that must speak for us. The Beacons will guide all new Lightsworn through their journey through the Darkness, no matter what form it comes in. And I can think of no greater Beacon than Markus and a young Halfing compatriot of his named Kyra. Though sad in many ways, he along with Finn and Jake represent the possibilities of anything through Light. Before I left them all for the first time I spoke with Markus through this bright eyes Halfling woman Kyra who had learned to sign.
I remember walking into the makeshift temple, still drafty in the cold climate as the two sat across from two pews, the only sound the wind and the occasional snap or clap of a finger on a hand, complimenting the cracking fire near the altar. Every language is difficult, but signing was even tougher since inflection can at times be very difficult. It made Kyra’s passion and faith all the more impressive. As they heard my approach they both turned, Kyra standing quickly and lowering her head in reverence.
“The Beacon! Hello sir, how may I assist you?” She seemed both timid and eager to help. Both of which seemed foreign to me. Indeed at this time in my life I didn’t enjoy any titles laid on me except Lightbearer, and that title had been stripped from me.
“Hello…Kyra isn’t it?”
“Yes Beacon!” She raised her head beaming a bit. I walked in until I was near them. Markus still sitting, watching, near emotionless due to his Tranquility. I looked at him with sad eyes once again. Become Tranquil is a horrifying experience. If you do not pass your Reckoning with standards the council of Clerics deem worthy, you are considered not only incapable of being a Cleric or Templar, but it is decided that having seen too much of the Church that your mind is too weak to be allowed to stay as you are. You are essentially spiritually lobotomized. Your connection to magic, be it essence or the divine is ripped away. This process in turn leaves the Tranquil mute, unable to tell secrets of the Church, and their mind locked away, unable to be probed by unsightly things. It makes Tranquil quite formidable in the ways of knowledge and keeping it, but they are not able to speak it, only in writings which can be burned away at a moments notice. There are even tales of Tranquil being used as Church Assassins, due to ability to resist mental manipulation.
I nodded to Markus who returned the nod and turned to Kyra, “Do me a favor and just call me Santos. I’m afraid the Beacon moniker is still something hard to stomach.”
“Oh of course Be- Santos. Mr. Santos?” I shook my head and she corrected herself again, “Santos. Got it. What can I do for you sir?”
I took a seat next to Kyra who then followed suit sitting. Both of us were not across from Markus, the aisle splitting two to one, Kyra and I in separate pews with her closer to the door as the cold air swept in.
“I have to be leaving soon. There is some business with a shield that needs finding, and a man who may or may not be connected with this Prophecy in which I am the Beacon.”
“Oh the shield of Darmordir!” She said excited. I looked at her quickly, nothing was a secret in Majeria, ever. “I mean- I shouldn’t know that. Forget I said it.”
“Uh huh, well I will be leaving soon and I wanted to talk to Markus. More importantly I wanted Markus to talk to me. I could use your help.”
“Of course Bea- Santos! Whenever you’re ready.”
We both looked over at Markus who seemed at least in some fashion pleased. It was hard to believe that this man was once the young boy who had such ferocity in the Labyrinth, would have had the great makings of a Templar. Righteous, powerful, loyal. I still believed he was all those things, but his visual cues no longer spoke them. Before I could even begin his hands began moving and Kyra started translating:
“Stop staring at me like you’ve seen a ghost. I’m not dead yet you son of a bitch.”
It took me off guard and I smirked a little turning to Kyra who recoiled in horror as if she had said the words herself, which she did, but that shouldn’t have been the result.
“Sorry Markus. It’s just been a while.”
“It’s fine. Besides, sometimes I just like to think of crude things to have Kyra say. HEY!”
Kyra was a little mortified but I laughed. He was in fact, there. The mind seemed sound. It was odd that his outsides did not match even the translated emotion from Kyra though.
“Markus, I’ve never seen a Tranquil sign before. Where did you learn this? Isn’t it forbidden by the Church?”
“Well everything is forbidden by the Church isn’t it? Even miracles.” Even Kyra’s voice became rebellious in the tone, “I would sneak out of the Gardens, found a tutor in the slums. Kyra here. The release was amazing. Santos, to think, have knowledge, to have emotion but never to speak, tell, or show it, it’s maddening. Many Tranquil go mad from being filled to the brim with thoughts and feelings and never being able to purge them through emotion or voice.”
It was something I hadn’t even considered. If everything on your insides still worked but you couldn’t express anything of any kind, and one form of expression was forbidden, what could you do but silently scream into a darkness that no one could see through. Unseen, unheard, unfound.
“I am so sorry Markus.”
“Not your fault. I was an angry kid…I’m an angrier adult, for different reasons. But here, I feel at peace. You have done amazing things Santos. You don’t realize it, but you have reshaped the whole world.”
“Now I just to make sure there is still a world left to find that peace too.”
“Piece of cake. So what was it you wanted to talk about?”
“I just wanted to know what you have been up to. How you found the rest of these people. Found a place to pick up a sword too?”
“Well as a Tranquil I don’t get up to much. I bury the dead. I read. I aid in service. All the boring tasks anyone with a voice would object to. And I haven’t picked up a sword since my Reckoning. I’m sure I’m damn rusty now. Much better with a quill than a sword, but I’m sure it’s just a matter of time. Out here in the wastes, we’ll need to protect ourselves I’m sure. As for the Beaconites,” It being a new word I watched him pull his hand down to the other, as if descending from the heavens to the hand below, “I heard Finn and Jake talking about it. Took them a while but they figured out I knew you and wanted to come with. Convinced Kyra too. When returning I let other Tranquil know. It was hard. A system of code had to be used since the Church checks all writing we do and burns anything they deemed, ‘ungodly’ to them.”
“That’s amazing. Gods Markus, it’s good to see you. I wish we had never parted. I could have used you through all of this.”
“No. I would have been dead a long time ago if I was now as I was then. Too foolhardy. So you’re really leaving all of us here?”
I shifted a little uncomfortably, the sound from Kyra sounded abandoned, but the look and body language from Markus seemed accusatory.
“I have to. This shield might be the key to helping the whole world put itself back together and prepare for what comes in the void of the Gods.”
“We followed you out into wastelands. Into nothing to find guidance from you. The one who stood up to Ruger, who brought back the dead. And now your guidance is to tell us to wait? Wait how long? I can tell you, most of us have waited too long already.”
“Markus I can’t stay. I didn’t know you were all coming. I have to do this.” At this Markus rose. Again, his body fluid, but emotionless, still I could sense an increase agitation in the hand movements.
“These people need a voice. They need a leader. They need someone to guide them to the Light. I mean for shit’s sake, many of them have never even been in a Church!” Kyra flinched a little at having to translate a curse at me but continued, trying to capture Markus’ frustration in her own voice. I said nothing. Beneath this calm exterior of a man there was a tempest, and I didn’t know how to calm it. Markus sat back down.
“Sorry. You didn’t ask for this I know. But we’re asking you for it.”
“I can’t do it all Markus. I’m just a man.”
“No you’re not. You’re the Beacon. And whether you embrace that or not it gives you the power to achieve greatness simply because you are who you are. I will beat this into you if you can’t figure it out yourself,” Kyra sounded unsure of the words as they left her mouth from Markus’ hands, “You are the leader of Light. The reviving spirit of our time. You are the closest thing this world has seen to a true Saint in our lifetime. You are the greatness we have needed. You are greater than the Church. You are more powerful than the Darkness. You are the bastion of hope and Light the world needs.”
I didn’t believe it then. I don’t believe it now. I was nothing more than what I was. However, I did believe that people believed I had this power to be larger than myself. I knew then and there that it would take people like Markus. At the door to the makeshift Temple, Darius stood, signaling that the party was preparing to depart. I looked back at Markus.
“You’re right. I must lead. We need people to come to the Light. Understand it. Believe in it. Persevere in the most dire situations and never lose their resolving spirit. Someone who knows the Church. Someone who knows the Light.”
“Yes. Thank you.” He said, accepting what he thought was my resolve to stay. Instead I stood, which if he could look shocked probably would have.
“And that is why I will have you lead the sermons here. Teach people the way. Raise them as Lightsworn. Give them the indomitable spirit that you have to push on through the had times. That faith wins out.”
Both Kyra and Markus rose, “Me? Damnit Santos I can’t talk you ass hole. I can’t be a preacher you- I’m not saying that Markus.” Kyra seemed to be reading ahead of the speaking at this point, he looked at her and back at me.
“Speaking is not what makes a preacher. Faith, passion, guidance are. Kyra will speak your words. Words do not make a faith, they are only the vessel. You are a vessel for the Light. Kyra will be the vessel of your words.”
“Santos I can’t!” I wasn’t sure if this was from Markus or Kyra now.
“You can. You both inspire me. Inspire others. You say I am powerful. I am made powerful by those with faith around me. Invite more to the Light.”
I hugged Markus, “I have missed you.” and began to walk away, having thrown my oldest friend and a girl I barely knew to the hounds of faith. But at the time, they were the best qualified for many reasons.
“You really think I can do this?” Kyra called after again, probably speaking for both.
I turned, “I can’t think of anyone else more qualified to ensure we never make the same mistakes as the Church.”
They both looked at each other before I added, “And Markus, I’ll put that quill to the test. We’re going to need an updated Book of Light. New tenants.” These I sent after I left, in my Letter to the Beaconites.
The Beacons of the Lightsworn are those who run sermons. They counsel, listen to problems, advise of spirituality, and organize activity in the surrounding area. They are not infallible, but they are a voice for those who need to hear it. They are the guiding Light that will bring people to the Lightsworn and through their own actions, encourage those to practice what they preach. No word holds weight until it stands on the shoulder of action. The Beacons inspire and flourish in the community. They are the pillars of light that guide people to the Lightsworn and help them find peace. May we all find a Beacon to guide us through our personal Darkness.