Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Down in the Darkness Deep--Part 16

“So… that was all the Lady could send?” asked Barrant. “A single thread of spider web?”

“Yes,” said Eliazar, as he prepped the fire. “That is all.”

“Well… isn’t it’s snapping sort of inevitable?” suggested Barrant. “It was just a thread.”

Eleazar stood up and sighed. “Consider it a magical thread. A magical, symbolic thread.”

“Well, that’s not fair, is it?” declared the Goblin. “After all, the bandit doesn’t know that, now does he? All he knows is he’s been given one chance out of Hell, and it’s a single thread that could snap at any moment.”

“But it would have held if he’d had compassion for his fellow sufferers,” explained Eleazar.

The Goblin spread his hands. “He still didn’t know that.” Barrant bit his lip. “Honestly, the Lady seems cruel in that story. Dangling hope to a man only to snatch it away in an instant. Not the Mother Night I worship, at least.”

“It’s a parable,” muttered Eleazar. “It’s meant to tell us how to live our lives…”

“By what? Telling us to trust in magical, symbolic spider webs?” Barrant shook his head. “No. I’m sorry, but I just don’t see the point in the story.”

Eleazar considered it for a moment, and then sighed. “Never mind. It is… simply a matter of taste.”

“Oy,” came the loud voice of Abgar, as he trudged into the room. “Congratulations. The pair of you have done excellent work and thus qualify for a visit to the House of Pleasure.”

Barrant focused his eyes on his forge. “Not interested,” he said.

A rather smug grin came over Abgar’s face. “Somehow thought that would be the case.” He turned to Eleazar. “What about you?”

“Same as him,” said Eleazar, working the bellows.

“Ahh.” Abgar chuckled to himself, then nodded. “Right. Well, leave you two gentlemen to your work.” The legate walked off, his chuckle turning into a guffaw.

Barrant glanced at Eleazar. “Something tells me that’s the last offer we’re going to get to go to... that place.”

“Not something I’m sorry about,” said Eleazar. “Did you see the faces on those women?” He shook his head. “If I ever get back to the abbey, I’ll be able to paint damned souls from memory.”

“And here I’d always heard you monks were the randiest fellows under all the pious posing,” said Barrant.

“True for some, I suppose, but not all,” noted Eleazar. “Just as the snide gibes about Goblins are only true for some, for example…”

“Yes,” said Barrant, lifting a pair of tongs. “And I’m one of the ones it’s true about.”

Eleazar blinked. “Oh. Well. Understand, I hold nothing wrong with the pra…”

“Relax,” said Barrant, as he placed a bar of iron on the forge. “You’re not my type.”


  1. Have we heard the full version of this parable anywhere before in the narrative? Because I kind of want to hear it now.

  2. Believe it or not, I originally planned on mentioning my source for this tale--'The Spider's Web' a story by Japanese writer, Ryūnosuke Akutagawa, who also happens to be the source of the two major stories behind the classic film "Rashomon". It's a widely available story, which I recommend any and all look up.

    I'd feel guilty about using it in this manner, but as Ryūnosuke largely ripped it off from Dostoevsky I am unrepentant.