And So It Came To Pass: Some Of The Wraiths Are NOT What They Seem…
“Ut haec ipsa qui non sentiat deorum vim habere is nihil omnino sensurus esse videatur”
[If any man cannot feel the power of God when he looks upon the stars, then I doubt whether he is capable of any feeling at all]
rother Marden, where art thou, thy devious dog?! ‘Tis not since the day afore yester that any of thy fellow brethren saw thee. Thou must hath realised I hath surmised thine unearthly identity and am onto thee. Where art thou hiding, wraith?! Bah! I canst not givel such trying matters upon this instant…
On this, the twelfth day of thys monthe, my investigation here at Rosebyrne Abbey continues apace. For the nonce, I shalt concentrate my attention in the stead to his fellow skyfallen trickster; Brother Ramsey and I have yet to cross paths. My recent setbacks have vexed me considerably, so I shall proceed with yon confrontation post haste.
In praesenti – at that moment – the Guest-Master of Rosebyrne: Brother Nathaniel arrived at my door, accompanied by a monk I had not seen heretofore during my stay thus far.
Ramsey! My expectations leapt. Yea, O Domine, this Abbey’s Master of Hospitality had brought my quarry to me!
Nay, Good Fortune rarely smiles in my favour – if at all.
“Prithee, I hope the hospitality that our humble abode avails thee to thine satisfaction,” the Guest-Master exclaimed heartily. “Brother Brad, to aid thee in thy… delicate business, I hath assigned Brother Godwin here. He is a diligent and conscientious worker. ‘Tis certain the pair of thee hath much in common, and together thou shalt accomplish thine peculiar endeavours in about half the time!”
“Thankee verily, Guest-Master, I am sure…”
And lo – et nunc – I had an ally in my midst… or didst I?
Afore the Guest-Master departed, he wished me: “Pactum serva!”
Yea, ‘keep the faith’ indeed…
On our way briskly along the Cloister Walk, another monk strolled towards us.
Suddenly, unusually, I sensed Brother Godwin become agitated. He grabbed my arm and whispered: “The one name o’ Ramsey thou seeketh, amicus, this way comes!”
Not surprisingly, my heart pounded inside my throat. ‘Tonce, I disliked this shifty-looking Killbuck. He was tall and gangly enough to be a shapeshifter and moved with an awkward gait.
At last, a chance to further my quest to the good!
Would I have to take yet another life before Matins?
“As for the heavens, they belong to Jehovah, but the Earth he has given to the sons of men” – Psalm 115:16.
“Good den, good Brother!” Ramsey chirped upon passing us. How he mocked me with such an unconvincing air of false innocence! “Thou art the travelling sage-monk known as Brad? Very pleased to meet thee-“
“Satis! Enough of thy pretentious pleasantries, wraith…!”
I waved an impatient hand past his face, halting him in mid-sentence.
“Thou art the one wit’ which I should interrogate! Thou arrived at these grounds not a month hence, along with the Brother they call ‘Marden’, ’tis true?”
“Aye, Brother Brad, that it be…” Ramsey replied warily.
“Then thou art in league with Brother Marden. Wherefore art that wraith?!”
“I know not, doth protest!”
“Do not even seek to protect thy fellow deceiver! Thou two arrived together-”
“Nay! We arrived on the same day, but NOT together. I arrived from Wintancaestre; I know not from whence Marden hailed…”
“Tish! ‘Tis unwise to upset me, scum!”
“Brother Brad, thine impudence appals me-“
“Silentium, wraith! Yield, Skyfallen One; thy evasive squiddle appals me!”
“Thou art sick on the brain, outsider. Get thee to the Infirmary; bleed thy radical distemper! Thou art naught but an infernal Breedbate!”
“Satis, wraith! Thou art only prolonging thy fate. Shew thy true self, wraithkind, I grow weary of thine-“
“NAY! No one should avail themselves of such… such lunacy!” Brother Ramsey stormed and began to march off.
“Get thee gone, I beseech thee, obnoxious cur, or I shalt go-”
“Thou shalt stay, by my troth!” I insisted.
“Timendi causa est nescire” [Ignorance is the cause of fear] – Seneca.
“Dei dentium! How dare thee cometh hither and stain our hospitality with thine loathsome manner! I shalt report thee to the Abbot, and have thee vanquished from Rosebyrne forthwith!”
I gleered at Ramsey’s flustered face, willing him to shed those mortal features and reveal his actual, revolting inhuman form.
Godwin hath stood and watched calmly as this unsavoury altercation unfolded, a peculiar grin etched across his face.
“Comply, Brother Ramsey! Thou art the stranger in this house of prayer, being no more than a mere month amongst us. Thou hath no right to thwart Brother Brad’s business-”
“Business?! What prospects hath the mad?!”
Again, Ramsey attempted to flee.
“Satis! Enough, fool!” Godwin barked impatiently.
He locked both his arms around our embattled foe, and forced him into the nearest vacant chapel, away from prying eyes.
“Non arguit, Ramsey,” I uttered quietly. “Desist thy devious act, wraith. Again, reveal thy true self, wraith-“
“Wraith? Why dost thou keep calling me that?!”
“For thou art one!” I fumed. “This prattle gets us nowhere. Hold him here, Godwin. The tool to eke out this wretch’s real self lies within my chamber; I shalt return anon.”
I rushed out to fetch my Vial of Remigius. An icy gale batted me as I ambled hurriedly back to my chamber.
Passing the North Transept ’twas the moment I heard a most bloodcurdling scream. And it-
Nay! Christ’s blood! ‘Twas unmistakably Ramsey!
Had Godwin let his blood boil, his patience be damned and carry out an execution without me?
Anxiety compelled me to rush back to that chapel. Upon my return, a gruesome sight awaited me. Brother Ramsey leaned against the far wall holding his stomach with both hands awash with blood- RED BLOOD!
O Domine, then Ramsey had been human all along?!
“Thine partner drew a knife… and- and attacked me!” he cried breathlessly, his face contorted in agony. “I… fought him off… got knife! Wounded him… he ran… out…”
I managed to catch him as he slipped into unconsciousness. Without delay, I set off to inform the Infirmarer, but as I reached the doorway, I froze…
There, on the stone ground, a trail of droplets led off down the windswept corridor. They glistened ominously in the half-light.
Saints preserve me: THEY WERE GREEN!
LO, GODWIN IS THE SECOND WRAITH!!
Be still, my wretched mind; to think my real foe had walked by my side the whole time!
And now – like Marden – to whence the wraith had fled I knew not…
Aah! Per haec omnia posteris tradere sacra! By all that’s sacred!
What hath I done…?
“Faber est suae quisque fortunae” [Every man is the artisan of his own fortune]
– Appius Claudius Caecus