“I seek the salvation of many good souls, Eminence,” the ritual of introduction was almost at its end.
“Bendito Seas, my son,” Fernando bestowed his ceremonial blessing.
“Your Eminence, I am a man eager to learn more from what your great wisdom can teach. I beg your patience with me, for I am your humble and devoted servant.”
Leon was carefully attempting to unwrap the Bishop’s fragile trust, baiting Fernando in order to verify an interesting fact that he’d gleaned from the recording of their previous session.
Fernando’s voice twanged with threat in response, the irrational personality constantly seeking any opportunity to seize control, “You would serve me before Good?” he accused.
“No, Sire! I serve only God, but in so doing I serve yourself as is His Emissary.”
Fernando had followed but not taken the bait so carefully set for him. Instead he’d crossed himself with ritualized formality and, eyes to the ceiling, muttered Latin payers.
Still, Leon was pleased that the conversation had shifted quickly onto the subject of God, since it was in the definition of the word ‘God’ that he sought to uncover something that appeared to be of significance.
He decided to risk asking the direct question, cautiously conjuring all the humility that he could;
“I notice, Eminence, that you speak of Good, whilst when I mention the word God, you do not correct me? How can this be?”
Fernando smiled for the first time since Leon had become acquainted with the man, “They are one and the same, my son.”
It was a beautiful smile; it spoke volumes of love and peace, yet it was an entirely different expression from the smile that Roger would offer from the mask of that same-shared flesh.
“Thank you for your patience, Sire. I ask in good faith why your earthly brothers in the church speak not of the Good, as you do. Rather, they term the word God as I do?” Leon studied Fernando, carefully tailoring every word according to the minute eddies in the man’s mood.
The priest showed no change in outward emotion, yet sadness began clouding his eyes as he answered;
“Because, my son, these men of the cloth are but human, and like yourself, they speak only what they are taught. The books given unto them contain words depicting high ideals, but with the passing of time rigid words betoken many and varied realities. Inevitably men will not understand a word to betoken the same as its scribe had intended. Therefore, the ancient writings, which have become incomprehensible to the populace, will require interpretation. But men of power find benefit in dividing, not in uniting. Good is such a word, it transcends interpretation... God is not.”
Leon remained silent, allowing the truth of Fernando’s wisdom to soak in. He maintained his silence in respect to the solemn prayer that Fernando offered up in Latin to Good, that all men may unite in their beliefs.
When the Bishop had finished his prayer, he continued with his explanation;
“In your time the mere mention of the Almighty has become a tool of seduction, dividing the Nations of the Earth. Should it not be enough that the name Good defines that essence that all can invest their faith into?”
Leon was fascinated by the un-cluttered logic of this otherwise suspicious man. He was puzzled how such clear thinking could emanate from one so dogmatic in his suspicion.
“But Sire, was this not also true during your time on this Earth?”
“It has always been true. Que Dios nos bendiga… The Beast has always sought the souls of men,” Fernando’s eyes sank to half-mast.
“Forgive me Sire for I require your great knowledge in order that I might fight all that is evil. If all men do truly believe in good, then how can the Beast profit from only the name upon their lips?”
Leon had found that he needed to keep Fernando talking, giving the man time to brood always degenerated into ferocity.
“When the name a man gives to his Creator dictates his character, then another name for that same Creator, when it comes to another man’s lips, will cause a taking of arms, one man against his brother.”
Fernando was speaking carefully, laboring over his words.
“When leaders have fallen into the camp of the Evil One. When all the populations of the Earth are roused to murder for names only... in that time, men’s hearts will be devoid of reason... they will not possibly be in a position to support Good any longer. All will be lost.”
The rational Fernando covered his eyes with his hand in a manner of much introspection. When the hand was removed a transformed Fernando had taken its hold;
“The times in which you live are like none that have gone before!” he began to thunder.
“Evil has many tongues within every home. Evil grips your leaders and the Anti-Christ will unite men under a false banner,” He gasped for breath.
Leon wanted him to continue speaking, the images so vivid and instinctively true.
The priest found his breath.
“Those who follow this earthly decoy will drive the shackle-pins of their own bondage deep into the Earth. And this Earth shall become the final abode of their bondage.”
To this point, the monologue had been excited yet neutral but now the Father was becoming incensed; he fixed his rabid eyes suddenly smouldering with all the fires of Hell onto Leon and his voice was deep and threatening;
“Men like yourself assist darkness more than you can know! Beware, for evil puts on its finest face and wears the turban of Good! The true testimony of Good has been anointed with the balm of lies.”
Fernando’s body began to convulse with rage and Leon knew that he would soon have to bring the ranting to a halt.
“Those that joust on your fine steed will soon bring un-surpassed Evil to bear on good. With their souls in bondage they will turn their actions against their own salvation!”
The commotion had grown too great and grudgingly Leon was forced to return Fernando back into the deep recesses of Roger’s mind.