24 Chosen One

I am a normal man.

I am the Chosen One.

Ioann Maksymovich Ivanov encapsulates these two - according to the craven ignoramuses who don't even have the self awareness to simmer in their caustic, piercing words rather than embarrass themselves by expressing them - irreconcilable, contradictory identities, yet I am still one man.

How can this be? I hear the philistines ask. Listen to yourself! Have common sense! You can't be an 'ordinary' Chosen One!

I need not placate these secular fools who deny both my own words and those of Christ, but I shall humor their arguments. Truly, how can one be Chosen and 'ordinary' at the same time?

To begin dissecting this apparent paradox, one must discard mortal linguistics - these pacifistic niceties and platitudes of language that aim to avoid confrontation rather than unleash the lion that is truth to tear apart the dissenters - and gaze wholly upon the Word of God. Take note from proper theologians - such as myself - for this step; have critical thinking but not an overwrought imagination.

What is a Chosen One? What is a normal man? The conventional wisdom of Faustian scholars separates these two in a purposefully fallacious distortion, so what is the truth? [1]

The truth is that a truly ordinary man is one who steadfastly follows his Creator - he is a zealot, a man of the cloth, a soldier of Christ. This is the primordial, base form of a human - one purer than Adam himself, who dared to defy the Almighty and condemn all his future progeny to a loathsome existence on this wretched earth. What normal, sane man wouldn't pursue eternal glory in paradise? Is trying to contest the Alpha and the Omega what an ordinary man would do?

The truth is that the Chosen One is the man who shall sanctify this world - this universe - the man who shall consecrate this disgusting, sinful reality, morphing it into a hallowed ground where only the faithful set foot. What normal, sane man wouldn't clutch the opportunity to service his Creator? Is choosing to live like a heinous mongrel in a depraved cosmos what an ordinary man would do?

When the Chosen One has completed his fateful tasks, there shall be no false gods. There shall be no false prophets. There shall be no false believers. There shall be nothing - nothing but the Lord and his faithful flock. The Lord was, is, and shall be.

This is the truth of existence. That is the Lord - the Lord is the truth - the truth is the Lord. An ordinary man recognizes this, internalizes it, devotes every fiber of his being to the Father, and consequently becomes the Chosen One.

I am that man. Ordinary and Chosen.

Thus, how will I achieve my destiny? Why do I achieve my destiny? What is my destiny?

After a lifetime of self-reflection, living as a monk in humbling conditions, I have discerned the elusive mysteries of the latter two.

And after a meager year of single-minded focus on becoming a true soldier of Christ, the curtain of ignorance having been drawn away from my eyes, I have discovered the answer to the most important question.

It is war. War on the enemies of the Lord, war on the heretics and heathens, war on the false gods, and finally, war on the false believers.

However, I must not be vainglorious - such a trait is unbecoming of the Chosen One - and achieve my destiny one step at a time. First on the chopping block are the enemies of the Lord.

And here, I have the perfect opportunity to instigate the involved war.

"Wojchiech," I began, having escaped Leonidas' mandatory interrogation disguised as a report, "I have been told that the discussion hall wishes to have me on the podium later today. They will be discussing - perhaps debating - the current situation with the Devils and what it will mean, and as I was a part of the situation which ripped away the cloth from the eyes of these fools, they would have me there."

"And?" Wojchiech replied, his back turned to me while sorting through files in his storehouse. "They likely won't say much of anything meaningful. Here, I've found it."

He yanked a folder out of the cabinet and placed it on the table.

"I believe this to be the Devil you fought. Lars Oxenstierna af Södermöre, also known as the 'Ignition Magician'. I've fought him once. His tendency to not draw attention is shown by how he's High-Class yet only has one title - one which sounds like something a child would conjure up," he snorted. "Look it over in case you happen to be curious."

"Irrelevant, and I am not curious as of now," I said, pushing the file off to the side and drawing his eyes. "What I was going to say is more important."

"And that is?" he turned to me.

"I shall try my utmost to spark a war between us and the Underworld in every action of my future. Discussions, reports, even mere conversations."

He stared at me - not in surprise or disgust, however.

I stared back, not sure as to what he was confused about.

"There is really no need to do so. Whether or not our Exorcists view the Devils and Vampires' presence and actions as truly abhorrent will not change the outcome - there shall be war. No matter what. You could embellish the tale a bit in the three circumstances you mentioned to make it easier to initiate conflict for those up high, though. Perhaps say that the Devil tried to do something nefarious with your partner? That they had legions upon legions of Ghouls under them, gathered from a feasting spree across dozens of villages? Perhaps that the Devil and Vampire - who, from the short, blonde appearance that you described, seems to be nobility from the House of Karnstein - were… romantic partners in crime and thus even more indicative of an alliance between the Underworld and the Vampires? Things such as these."

"That was the plan. Obviously the ramblings of one man cannot initiate a war - they can only accelerate one."

He nodded.

To be quite honest, I was lying about that. I thought I would be a true initiator of the war, ignorant of the underlying politics that would cause one anyway. I suppose that is what happens when you wake up from a short coma and get right to scheming without gathering enough information.

Truly, it is a sign of my innocence that my mind was untainted by these mortal machinations.

Anyway. This is perfect for me regardless - just because I did not expect that the spineless pseudo politicians in their luxurious bedchambers would dare to rock the boat does not change the facts.

Although, now that I think of it, that was an ill-thought notion. The mortal officials are not the ones who truly command Christendom.

That is the job of the Angels up high.

"I like the idea though," he continued, pushing the file back to me in case I still wanted it. "On principle, our two sides have had skirmishes every century or two - phony 'wars' in which neither put forth their full might. They are meant to placate the members of our factions, show that we are still technically at war, and demonstrate our respective virtues in another form of 'war on principle' - we are meant to be opposed to each other and always have, after all. Fortunately for us, this one's signs are showing to be indicative of an eruption akin to the Great War rather than a puff of smoke - you already know all about those signs. See if you can stir the pot a bit. It will give them less time to prepare, meanwhile our alchemical department has been working without break for the last half year."

"Very well," I replied, snatching up the folder on the table. "Let us pray that we will be involved in a true effort to eradicate the vile forces of evil."

Wojchiech made the sign of the cross and then shooed me off, saying to visit Vasco.

Which I then did. Begrudgingly.

That fool is hard to stand.

"So… why did you not just run at him and hit him with Holy Energy?" he asked after I finished personally recounting the tale of my encounter.

Oh, why didn't I think of that?

"Because he was bombarding me with attacks, and later on it was too muddy to make any meaningful progress even when I tried to."

"It's just some mud, though," he scratched his head. "Did we not train in that swamp together? You never practiced avoiding projectiles with either me or Wojchiech? It seems like you made suboptimal decisions." He accentuated his point with a shrug.

This brute is incapable of understanding that I have a limited amount of Holy Energy and strength. I would've gotten immediately bulldozed had I done as he is suggesting.

"Ah well," he reclined back on the hammock he had set up in the grove behind the mansion, shuffling around a bit to get in a good position, "doesn't matter too much now. I completed my Rite of Nazarite while you were gone, by the way."

Ah, yes. This vile cretin lazed around for a whole year under the guise of doing his Rite of Nazarite - which required him to not go near dead bodies, which meant that he couldn't go out on Exorcist missions and stayed on guard duty.

The Rite of Nazarite isn't supposed to last that long, no matter what the false prophets tell you about how 'it's really up to you in the end'. This man forsook his heavenly duty and instead partook in sloth - wasting the gift of naturally endowed Holy Energy the Lord had deigned to bestow upon his unworthy countenance.

Imagine how many creatures of the night he could have slain in that time period. Utterly worthless. If only there was someone else to teach me how to harness Holy Energy.

"Stop being so quiet," he snorted, hands behind his head and elbows flared out. "How did our training help you out there, those blunders I mentioned aside?"

"It was fine," I begrudgingly replied. "It came in handy for various enhancements and ended up saving my life, I suspect."

"If you suspect it, it's probably true."

Well, I suspect that you are a remorseless, ignorant heretic with no understanding of the proceedings going on around you. The only situational awareness this mutt has is in combat.

"I used up all of my Holy Energy, however," I began. "Could you supply me with some more?"


"What do you mean, no?"

I knew you were useless.

"It's nothing personal, of course - sorry if I came off a little too blunt there," he jumped out of the hammock, "but I'll be starting my assignments tomorrow, and it takes too long to regenerate all my Holy Energy. Sorry. You'll have to figure out some other way."

I stared at him, barely able to hold my tongue.

Actually, what is the point of holding my tongue if he's incapable of having any worth beyond training me to do things I can figure out myself?

He put his hand on my shoulder, which I promptly pushed off - an action he ignored to put his greasy paw back on with a smile.

"You understand, right?"

"I understand that I am being marooned on an island full of feral dogs with nothing but an empty gun."

His smile grew more strained at that.

"I know you'll figure it out," he said, patting my shoulder, before running off into the woods.

For someone who apparently can't afford wasting Holy Energy, he sure is using plenty running away from his responsibilities.

What am I supposed to do now, then? That metaphor was on point. Without Holy Energy, I have nothing but an empty gun.

"Genesis, chapter two, verse thirteen," I muttered. "'I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.'"

How did I not expect it? Both Vasco and Valper begin with a 'V'. It was obvious that the former was just as much of a sinner as the latter.

A curse upon his dead mother and father. Their demise was in the Lord's plan, and I see why now. They raised their boy to dishonor his agreements and betray those close to him.

I calmed myself.

He is Judas, and I am Christ. One will end up in Cocytus, being eternally devoured by Lucifer, while the other will join his Father in eternal paradise. [2]

I am the savior, and he is the obstacle in my way – a living hindrance - who seeks to halt the completion of my destiny.

Well then. If he wishes to try and stop me, I must initiate the indirect first step of my destiny - and then, as he so shrewdly added, 'figure out' a way to get a lasting, plentiful, independent source of Holy Energy that I can easily and reliably access.

Baby steps, as with the full picture of my goals. The easy, indirect step is first.

And, judging from how Leonidas is approaching me, it is about to happen.


[1] 'The conventional wisdom of Faustian scholars separates these two in a purposefully fallacious distortion' - he's calling the scholars 'Faustian' because Faust made a deal with the Devil and gave up his soul in exchange for knowledge, and he's suggesting that secular scholars do the same, whether literally or metaphorically.

[2] This is a reference to Dante's Inferno, where Cocytus is the deepest circle of Hell. Cocytus is a frigid, freezing place where the worst sinners, betrayers, are punished, and at the center of it, Lucifer is bound. His three heads are chewing on three of the world's worst (according to Dante) betrayers: Judas Iscariot (obviously the one who betrayed Jesus), Brutus, and Cassius (the two main betrayers of Julius Caesar).


I intended to end the chapter with a sneak peak of the discussion, but whatever.

Have fun with this early chapter - early by around four days, to be specific. It's a throwback to the days where my synopsis wasn't a blatant lie and I actually did release two chaps a week. Bask in the nostalgia.

By the way, has anybody noticed how the tone/vibe of my chapters seems to change every week, or am I just schizophrenic?


Next chapter