Thank you to Rumble fish for editing the chapter
Dusk was usually when most people would be crowding into taverns, but, today, everyone was heading towards the newly built church. I know the church is new, but I feel like there’s a bigger reason for this.
As I head towards the church, amongst the masses of people, I see many nobles and influential people in their carriages or walking with their guards, including the presidents of large companies and the village chief, moving in the direction of the church. There are also commoners like me. I especially notice outsiders from the capital among the crowds.
I was able to arrive early and get a seat inside, because I live rather close to the new church. The new chapel is large, but, even with its enlarged size, it could not hold everyone who was coming to see what was going to happen. There were people looking in from the windows and the doors were left open to allow people who couldn’t find a seat in the chapel to see the events.
The declaration from the Church that our fief’s lord was excommunicated from the Church was hard to swallow and made everyone, including me, anxious about the future. I heard that today the lord would explain why they were excommunicated, so many of us came to listen.
There is another reason why people are here: a rumor about the orphans at the nearby orphanage. Rumor has it that the lord protected the orphans from slave traders and bought the old church from them in order to give the orphans a place to live. I, myself, have met those orphans and their caretaker, Miss Minae, because of my job as a merchant. When I heard that rumor, I went directly to Miss Minae to confirm it. However, whenever I went and called for her, she was never there. I talked with Miss Minae and the children rather often in the past, so when I heard the rumor, I felt both anger at the slave traders and sadness. I do believe it to some degree, as I understand that someone must have helped them, but whether or not our lord did it is iffy. My impression of the lord is that they wouldn’t go so far as to help children at an orphanage.
While thinking about these things, I saw a priest at the altar kneeling and praying to god. At the same time, the sound of the pipe organ echoed and a beautiful melody started playing. I felt my heart beat with its melody.
As the priest began his prayers, we all joined in.
Shortly after, the sermon started.
“God loves all of his children. God wants all his children to be understanding of one another. By helping one another, one can live a life with dignity, and by accepting the love of god, one can show humility and live with pride. God has taught all his children the value of the connection we have with others.” (Priest)
The soft and kind voice of the priest rang throughout the chapel.
“However, God also helps those who are willing to repent for their sins. God cherishes all his children and bestows forgiveness to those who repent and rectify the mistakes they have committed. We as God’s children must see with hearts unclouded and judge that which is evil and that which is just. We must reach out to those who are truthful and right and offer help to those who have wronged. I pray for those who have committed sins to accept the love of God and atone for the error in their ways.” (Priest)
After the priest finished his prayer, the chapel became noisy and tense. Were these words directed at the lord of the fief?
As the priest walked away from the altar, we thought the ceremony would be over. However, a girl took his place.
She was wearing a pure white dress with no decorations or designs. Rather than being called a dress, it was closer to a nun’s habit. But, even while wearing a plain white dress, her figure was so beautiful that any man would immediately fall for her.
“Hello, everyone. I thank you for coming to the opening ceremony of this new chapel.”
Her voice was clear and, as she bowed, she fit the image of the perfect lady… I feel like I’ve seen her somewhere before…
Who is that woman? Murmurs ran throughout the audience. I also heard someone call her “Alice”… the origin of that voice was from a commoner like me.
As if she heard our questions, she answered.
“My name is Iris. Iris Lana Armelia. I am the daughter of the Duke of Armelia and the acting lord of this fief.”
As soon as she named herself, there was an uproar… Well, of course, there would be. This person was excommunicated by the Church, so her presence at the new church was a big surprise.
“Everyone, I am aware of the question you must be asking now: Why am I here in this sacred place of God when I have been excommunicated? Please do not worry. I have received permission from the priest, himself, to stand and speak before you all today. I ask the same of all of you as the Father before did. Please, everyone, listen and decide what is right and wrong with a heart unclouded.”
Her voice, atmosphere, and tone were dignified. She seemed like a being of the chapel itself. When she started speaking, the noise and whispering stopped, except for the whispers of just a few people on the side.
“Our fief is rich and the people follow the teachings of God with all their heart by treating one another with love. But not all people accept these teachings and not all people can receive them due to the circumstances of their environment.”
She clasped her hands together in prayer and raised her voice slightly.
“I met such people; they are the orphaned children. These children were blessed for some time with a servant of God who cared for them – a sister that taught them the teachings of God and the world. But, as with all life, this beloved servant of God left this world and returned to our Holy Father. Since the land was unpaid for and seeing as no one visited the chapel anymore, the Church sold that land. The children were then left to fend for themselves. The people who bought the land were fiends and rejected the teachings of the Holy Father. These children, who were innocent and undeserving of such cruel treatment, were left in the hands of those fiends. I know that many of you here know these children and can agree that they are all pure and wonderful.”
Throughout the chapel, I could hear people saying things like, “I know them,” “those children are wonderful,” among other things. I also feel that way, since I know them well.
“That we did not notice the plight of these children earlier is our sin, but after having discovered their circumstances, I could not turn a blind eye; The teaching of our Holy Father obligates me to protect them.”
While she spoke, she started to gently shed tears. The sight of her right now is as if God had painted her himself.
“I do not want to repeat the mistake of not having noticed their predicament sooner. Thus, in order to keep them safe, I decided to construct this new chapel. These children are the key to our future – they embody my determination to keep the future for everyone here brilliant. The Church declared that my sin was the demolishing of a church, but I did it to help these children and keep the future bright for all of us. Is that wrong? Should I have abandoned the Holy Father’s most important teaching that we help one another? Should I have left the fiends to vandalize the forsaken church? Would that have been the right path to take?”
Her tone of her voice suddenly became full of sorrow and a mixture of other emotions. I felt my heart throb with her words. If what she said was true, then what is a sinner? If she is a sinner, then everyone else in this world would be a sinner, right?
“I am but a humble and pious disciple of God… However, I am also a lord who must protect her people. God is watching and giving us opportunities to better ourselves, but these opportunities mean nothing if we do not reach out and grasp them to obtain happiness. God does not send us happiness but gives us opportunities to pursue it. Everything depends on our actions and will to act. Those who think that evil is unavoidable and take part in evil behavior are wrong. Those who see evil and wrongdoings but do not act are also wrong.
There are many people here who knew those children, who treated them well, but did not notice the trouble they were in – Even I did not notice their dilemma until it was almost too late. I am but a single individual; I only have two eyes, ears, hands, and feet, and there are but few places that these feet can walk to nor things my hands can grasp. However, I have people who support me as a lord and I have the support of you fellow children of God which allows me further my reach and help those in even the most remote of places. I beseech you: help me protect you. Help me protect the weak and help those in even the darkest of places. Help me give those people a richer and healthier life. Please… lend me your strength.”
As she ended her speech, a few claps resounded through the room and grew until the applause became a roar. I could even hear clapping from outside.
I felt that, if I follow this person, we could live a better life. If it is this person, then, no matter who the enemy may be, she will pull us through hard times. I do not have any evidence, but I felt this in my heart. The atmosphere of the chapel became much better, and I felt that hope was in the air.
“… I bestow upon you the blessing of our Holy Father.” (Priest)
The priest blessed the lord of the fief and, as she kneeled down to receive his blessing, the priest placed his hands on her head. She then stood up and turned around to face us with a smile.
I thought from the bottom of my heart that I was glad I came and caught a glimpse of her.