The Betrayal Chapter 37 snippet

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The ancient cathedral hung over Thad’s head like a giant stone guillotine. Craning his neck back to look up at it, he felt a sense of foreboding as he started to step forwards. Dealing with the Church had always been a problematic affair, he mused, and this was going to be no more different then usual. Sighing in resignation, it always seemed that when Reyes wanted to deal with the Church, he always got the joy of having to do the legwork!

The sun ducked behind the tall bell tower as he climbed the stone steps. Pulling the collar of his coat tighter to him, he stepped up to the wooden door before him. With a sigh, he reached out and touched the buzzer, alerting to officials within that he was there. Let’s just get this over with, he thought as he shivered against the cold chill that ran up his spine.

With a creak that sounded out of place in the bustling modern city of DC, the door opened up for him. An aged man with a Roman’s collar on looked at him from inside the door. Thad gave him a courteous bow as the man stepped aside to let him enter.

As the door shut behind him, Thad let his eyes adjust to the dimness beyond. Everything about the cathedral was archaic compared to the modern buildings beyond. Stone corridors extended off to his left and right, the lighting from the ceiling barely enough to break to gloom. Fighting another shiver, he fell in beside the aged priest as they began to walk, their steps echoing in the halls.

“What brings you back to see us?” the Priest asked.

“I have need to meet with the Bishop, Father,” Brindle said, keeping his most polite tone of voice in action.

“The information you seek,” the Priest said. “May not bring you the peace you seek.”

“Does everyone in the Church speak in riddles?” he asked, feeling a flush of irritation start to build. Every time he had to deal with them, they liked to give him quizzical comments that did nothing but make his head hurt!

“Its not a riddle to share wisdom, Mr. Brindle,” The Priest said as they stopped outside a door.

“Wisdom is what I seek,” he said. “Not a conundrum presented every time I come by.”

“The function of wisdom is to discriminate between good and evil,” the Priest said as he bowed before the wooden door. “The Bishop is expecting you.”

Stepping around the priest, Thad reached out and touched the door. With another archaic creak, it slid open to reveal a library, the like has hadn’t seen since seeing history holovids in school. He looked to his left and right at the bookcases-books!-that lined the room. At the far end, a fireplace crackled with a warm fire and two leather-sitting chairs were before it.
I wonder how they managed to get their hands on so many ancient books, he wondered as he stepped into the library, the door shutting behind him.

“Good evening, Thad,” Bishop Clarence Danes said from the left chair. “Come, take a seat.”

“Thank you, sir,” he said as he sat down stiffly in the chair, his discomfort showing as he crossed his legs to await the Bishop’s words.

“I take it you don’t like being in the Church, Thad,” Danes said with a slight laugh.

“No offense,” Thad said. “But I can think of many places I’d rather be.”

“None taken,” Danes said as he crossed his legs.

Thad looked over the Bishop before him, and resisted the urge to raise an eyebrow. While the priest before had been in a simple all black outfit with his Roman collar, the Bishop was completely different. Clad in red from head to toe, with a large crucifix hanging around his neck, Thad would’ve thought he was more demon then minister if he didn’t know better.

And there were a lot of things Danes is, he reminded himself, but he is definitely a Minster.

“You seem troubled, Thad,” Danes said, his voice changing from gregarious to one of business. “What brings you here?”

“I’m curious about the ancient writings dealing with the warrior empress,” he said.

“There are many of those,” Danes said.

“No question is so difficult to answer as that to which the answer is obvious,”
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