What a wild week it’s been. Another national lockdown here in the UK, the absolute rollercoaster of the US election, and, as of yesterday afternoon, I now have the next 9 days off work! Despite me constantly being distracted by the Windows 95 load screen that is Nevada’s vote counting progress, I have managed to keep on writing and honing in on Chapter Thirty-Two. I think I will get back to my usual writing schedule soon, especially this week as I am not working, but it’s important to maintain balance when writing, especially if you are busy in other areas of your life.
Chapter Eighteen follows Jerimeh, as he arrives in Cesara for the meeting of the Arkgodsons. It is a less action-packed chapter, as we have come to expect from our frail religious leader, but as always, filled with intrigue. These are enjoyable chapters to write. Focusing on a character’s inner thoughts, concerns and worries. Learning their motivations and giving them the purpose to do the things that they do. It’s something that I enjoy, and I hope you enjoy reading. Thanks again for all of those people giving this their attention, and as always, feedback is welcomed and encouraged whether you loved it or hated it! Chapter Nineteen will be posted on November 21st.
Jerimeh waited eagerly for the dense mass of trees to finally subside so that he could marvel at the beauty of Ilturbia’s many rivers. As sleep was made impossible by the bumpy terrain of Cesara’s Northern Forest, owing to the giant roots that weaved their way through the soil and poked up through the ground, Jerimeh instead gazed out from the curtain of his carriage. Having made this trip many times in his life, he knew where each single moment of joy would catch him, and one of those moments was the first time there was a large enough gap in the trees to spot the many rivers that ran through the city as they met the sea. It was just a glimpse before the density of the forest resumed, but it was enough.
This moment came as quickly as it went, and Jerimeh sat back in his carriage and closed his eyes, allowing his own fatigue to take him. Within the hour he would arrive at the palace of the Chief Commander of Cesara, a political leader who danced with as much turmoil as King Aron. Jerimeh had always been fond of Marius. He was smart and capable, and it was a rare enough thing to find a warrior with a mind for diplomacy. It was King Eldrian who stabilised The Hartlands’ relationship with Cesara, despite the ongoing dispute of where the city of Arubel belonged. Though the city was of great sentiment to the Cesaran people, its strategic importance was far too important for The Hartlands to give up. If The Hartlands did not control the territory, it left them with no natural defence against an invasion from the south, whereas controlling Arubel meant that the Northern Forest cut them off from the rest by Cesara to the south and The Blacklands to the west, and Amenti to the south west.
Jerimeh tried to push the politics from his mind, though it was difficult during wartime. The last time he had seen his fellow Arkgodsons, it had been light-hearted, cordial and about the practical concerns of their faith moving forward, perhaps even interacting with the Amentian Grand Camaphs in the name of reconciliation. Those ideas would now be thrown to the wind. The war to the south and the war to the north meant that the Council of the Arkgodsons would be a solemn affair, filled with awkward silences and little real discussion. Arkgodsons, whether Effei agreed with their practice or not, were as political as they were religious. They were tasked with abandoning their many moral duties in order to ensure that the influence of faith on the earth’s most powerful people was maintained. Jerimeh often feared losing a grip on his King, but he never had such worries with King Eldrian, and he never thought it would be as hard as it was to maintain that same influence over his son. King Aron had the crown thrust upon him as a teenager, and the boy had still not grown into it.
Upon entering the gates to the Grand Palace, Jerimeh noticed that there were guards in light linen shirts and plumed helms surrounding the perimeter and inside. Before Jerimeh could even exit the carriage, his curtains were drawn and every inch of the litter searched. Once the guards were satisfied, Jerimeh was helped from his carriage and stepped into the Cesaran sun. Even in Autumn, the sun soaked the skin, whilst the warm breeze allowed for some brief respite. The sun had always been good for Jerimeh’s aching bones and stiff joints, and he instantly felt years younger just walking towards the palace. He did not think he would survive another winter if Silver City became any more bitterly cold, but he felt as if he would live another hundred years if he stayed in this heat.
Marius Pascis greeted him gently, offering his hand and allowing Jerimeh to control the strength of the grip. He dipped his head so that Jerimeh could kiss his forehead and whisper soothing words. It was these customs that Jerimeh enjoyed. The customs of a monk more than an Arkgodson. Marius had always been unfathomably respectful of both customs and faith, no matter who he interacted with, despite the fact that the Commander had known more pain than most, it was only ever visible if you looked into his calm brown eyes long enough to search for it.
“Commander, how well you look,” Jerimeh said as he gave Marius the compliment all men expect when they are experiencing hardship.
“And you, your worship, what an honour it is to receive you again.”
It was then that Jerimeh began to notice the croak in his voice, which could have been from lack of sleep, too many dark spirits, or both. Then, the greying in his hair appeared to have accelerated since the last time he saw him, and his once clean-shaven face was awash with coarse silver stubble. Marius took Jerimeh’s arm and walked with him in the palace. It was truly a grand piece of architecture, with marble floors, velvet wall-hangings and purestone statues and busts surrounding the main hall, some even seamlessly appearing to emerge from the walls themselves. Grand pillars were etched in Ancient Antinnan and Cesaran languages, which were, no doubt, copies of poems, songs and stories from long ago.
They sat down on a balcony overlooking the city. Jerimeh did not think it compared to the view from the forest, this was far too pure and manufactured to attain the kind of contentment Jerimeh sought, but it was a truly stunning sight to watch the rivers weave through homes and shops and markets and into the sea. Jerimeh was given a steaming beverage, pitch black and thick like syrup. It was a customary drink in Cesara that’s taste had never been approved by nobles north of the border, but that Jerimeh rather enjoyed. It was slightly bitter, but flavourful, warming, nutty and earthy.
“Sitting here, I can almost remember a time when I was happy,” Marius said as Jerimeh sipped his drink.
“I was sorry to hear about the death of your friend. Emperor Daut was many things, but one could not deny his ferocity when it came to those loyal to him. What news do you have of Leona?”
Marius sighed. “That she is safe and protected…so long as I do not move to retrieve her from Aljan.”
Marius’ tone was bitter and the word Aljan was spoken with so much venom, Jerimeh thought the commander might choke on it. “What will you do?” Jerimeh asked flatly, but Marius eyed him suspiciously. Though Cesara and The Hartlands were not enemies, they were also not allies. Every man, woman and child in The New World knew that could not be until The Hartlands conceded Arubel to Cesara. It was an ancient city, and deeply important to Cesarans. There were no Hartlanders in Arubel, only Cesarans, but it was too significant a strategic stronghold to give up.
“I will do what I will do, your worship.”
It was Arkgodson Franco who arrived next, dressed from head to toe in glittering linen robes hemmed with golden thread and silver linings. Franco had always been an exuberant and flamboyant man, eager to give a performance wherever he went and who engaged with everyone with a broad smile slapped across his face like a scar that would never heal over. Franco was only ten years younger than Jerimeh, but looked as if he were double that. Jerimeh could not tell whether that was because his own appearance was so ragged or if Franco had made a deal with Samuel himself to keep the haggardness of age away from him. Effei had packed Jerimeh some finery to wear for the feast, but that would be plain when compared with Franco’s everyday wear. He dreaded the thought of how Cesara’s Arkgodson would present himself for a formal dinner.
Jerimeh’s nerves were placated upon the arrival of Arkgodson Aetheld. Despite the soaring tensions between The Hartlands and The Blacklands, Jerimeh and Aetheld had always enjoyed such civil company it could even be called friendship. They were appointed by their Kings in the same decade and grew into their positions at a similar pace. Though Aetheld was a few years shy of Jerimeh, as all men seemed to be to him these days, they were akin in many of their beliefs about the faith. Aetheld and Jerimeh did not hide their joy at seeing each other, and embraced fondly, which soon turned to a solemn relief that neither of them had forsaken their friendship in light of the war.
Dinner was a pleasant affair. The meeting of the Arkgodsons was always preceded by a feast with the host and his family. Yet with Leona in Aljan and Teresa Pascis in the crypts below the palace, the old men had just Marius and his young daughter, Elena, for company. Despite this small reception, it was mightily pleasant, and soon turned into a question and answer session as the Arkgodsons explained who they were and what they did to the inquisitive Elena, who was as curious a child as Jerimeh had ever encountered. She made him think of Nadir, who whilst inquisitive, was combative and fiery, fuelled by anger and a sense of betrayal. He had little but sympathy for the boy, and wished he could find more ways to help him, but the politics were too complex. What could he do? How could he help whilst his responsibilities rained over his frail bones like a hundred thousand rocks?
“And where are you from, your worship?” Elena enquired.
“Oh, I am sorry, but I am not allowed to say.”
“Well, it is complicated. Sort of a secret that only I am to know.”
Looking at her bemused, almost offended young face, Marius stepped in. “Elena, you see, some Arkgodsons were given to the church as children, sometimes even babies, so young that they do not remember where they were born. Some men, like Arkgodson Jerimeh, become members when they are adults, but are sworn never to reveal their birthplace.”
“Why can’t we know where they were born?”
“Well, because unfortunately, some people are bad and will try to influence Godsons and Arkgodsons to do bad things by threatening them to do bad things to their home.”
Elena either seemed to understand or had lost interest in the question altogether, because she went back to eating her food. Marius looked towards Jerimeh in apology, but he just smiled. Both Franco and Aetheld were child oblates, given usually by poor families who were paid handsomely for their sacrifice, or by rich ones who had too many children, and sought to gain political influence. It was a strange rule, Jerimeh always felt that the risk of corruption to help one’s family was far greater than the risk of a man of the church being manipulated into corruption by coercion. Though it was true that King Eldrian only fully trusted Jerimeh once he was the only one left in his family. As good a man as he was, he was shrewd and meticulously calculated.
After dinner, the Arkgodsons met in a pristine hall with two servants per Arkgodson as they were brought wine, and whatever else they required to allow for a civil discussion. Despite their desires being catered for, it seemed that none of the men were eager to drink themselves into submission, and soon the veil of pleasantries was ripped away to reveal the horrific sight of solemn council. Franco immediately took to the occasion, a man who thrived on tension and was desperate to appear as an impartial mediator whilst he slithered in his own agenda. It was a part that Aetheld and Jerimeh had known all too well and had seen three different Cesaran Arkgodsons in their lifetimes try to do the same thing. They knew each other too well. Well enough to know that the wars of their Kings were not their wars.
“Your worships, despite the fact that we are all facing unprecedented times ahead, I urge that we keep all discussion in plain view of how we plan to ensure that our leaders, Marius, Aron, and Aedvard, remain committed to the Gods, and ensure that they remember their responsibilities to our faith. There are rules of warfare that if broken bring the wrath of The Gods of Life and Death. Aetheld, perhaps you can begin with your ideas on how you can assist the faith in this way.”
It appeared both Jerimeh and Aetheld were waiting for a word of actual substance to fall from Franco’s mouth, but whilst none came, luckily, he had handed the floor to Aetheld. “This is not an unusual situation for Arkgodson Jerimeh and I, in fact this is a road we have travelled many times before. What I am thankful for, is that we are old enough to believe that this will be our last time, though we have believed this before. Whilst I can do little to guide the soul of King Aedvard, other than through prayer, whilst he is imprisoned at Harthelm, and with Prince Charles a soldier, I am left in Duncath to guide Prince Riechard in his journey towards Kingship, and in that I am continuing the boy’s lessons, of which he has become greatly eager to pursue. He is just fifteen, and yet he is keen to rule, and is already showing promising signs of leadership. I believe that here-in lies the future of the faith within The Blacklands.”
The words Aetheld spoke were the antithesis of how he had spoken of Prince Charles as the same age. Charles had never shown Aetheld any interest in ruling, he was a boy of unmeasurable intelligence and kindness, quiet and, perhaps to some, effeminate, in his youth for his abstention of fighting. Though he had always done his duty, his involvement in his role as Prince was always dispassionate and flat. The thought of Prince Charles as King of The Blacklands was a dream of King Aron’s, Jerimeh knew, as it would finally mean that he could be the dominant King. If it were not for the wrath of Lord Steel, and King Aron’s own political concerns within his own Kingdom, perhaps he would have hanged King Aedvard already.
Franco turned to Jerimeh and both men sat to give him the floor, though kindly neither man expected him to stand. He wondered what to say of King Aron. He could not admit that he was out of favour with the King, nor so entangled with the politics of the realm that he was still investigating Prince Edward’s murder despite the fact he should have been fighting to reign in his King. Yet these days, Jerimeh felt more loyalty to the memory of Queen Lorne than he did to King Eldrian’s son, a son that he had helped to raise, but would scarcely speak to him. “King Aron is a stubborn and spirited young man. Eager to…”
The words failed him. What was this boy eager to do? He thought. Why am I defending his mistakes when he has done nothing to further his obligation to the faith? “I am sorry, your worships, but I shall not lie to you about my King. I am afraid I am failing. I am failing to keep this wild boy in check, to make him think with reason. He is a man influenced only by emotion, and not by the rules of Kingship. I love him dearly, as if he were my own son, but he has forsaken me, and I fear that I have as much effect on his behaviour as the breath of an insect upon a mountain. It pains me to tell you this, but it is the truth. I fear that I have lost my King.”
Whilst Franco was clearly readying some considered retort that would allow him to control the flow of the meeting, it was Aetheld who intercepted and brought Jerimeh a cup of wine. “You should drink. If only to soothe your aches,” his friend said, and sat beside him in a show of solidarity. “In the many years we have been sitting here, we have discussed more troubles and failures than successes. Do you think I ever controlled my King and brought him to heel? King Aedvard is as wild as the day I met him. He does what he thinks he should do, and gives me a morsel of what I want as if batting away an irritating fly. Perhaps that may change with Riechard, but he is fifteen, and still as wild as his grandfather was at the same age. It is our duty to guide them when they ask for guidance, not to thrust it upon them when they are acting against our interests. Take a step back from your King, do what he has asked of you, and when he needs your guiding hand, he will reach for it.”
Jerimeh felt a prang of shame in receiving these words. He felt his own ego pinched that his peer spoke to him as if he was still learning his craft. He was old and frail enough to not allow the initial pain linger, however, and he shook it aside and took Aetheld’s hand and sipped at the wine. “Your worships, I must be honest with you both, I do not believe I shall see another summer. I do not say this lightly, nor do I mean it in jest. I can feel Natos walking slowly towards me, I see his face in my dreams. And whilst I will accept the embrace of my Angel of Death with open arms, I have begun planning for this eventuality. In the event that I do not make another meeting, I wish you to know that I plan to recommend to King Aron that Godson Effei assume the position of Arkgodson of The Hartlands upon my death. He has been active, steady and loyal to our cause since he has come into my service, and I do not know of another man worthy of the office. He is also currently in the favour of the King.”
The men were solemn upon hearing of Jerimeh speak so candidly about his health, but Jerimeh knew his body, and he had been feeling it slip away from him for some time. Whilst Franco and Aetheld were clearly eager to provide comforting words, they too knew this was no reach for reassurance. It was sincere. Despite this, there were clearly some reservations, ones that Jerimeh had expected. Effei, if appointed, would be the youngest Arkgodson in the history of their lands and that by a decade. There was no precedent for such a young man to take such a high office.
“Are you sure on him, your worship?” Aetheld asked.
“Effei has wisdom beyond his years, and one of the sharpest intellectual minds I have ever encountered. We do not agree on all things, but his star is rising every day. I believe he is the right man to take the post. He knows our King, he knows our lands, and its people, particularly those within the city. He is trusted by all because his beliefs and morality are unshakeable, and all influenced by our faith.”
“There are many men who are older, more experienced, and have experience guiding warring commanders. Godson Elfrid of Hunter’s Valley, Godson Huel of Dawnmount. Godsons who have guided men of wilder and more erratic character than Aron and Aedvard. Were these men seriously considered, your worship?” Franco asked indignantly.
Jerimeh had long been aware of the merits of other Godsons. Every Earl in the Kingdom wanted a Godson they knew to rise to the highest religious office in the Kingdom. There had been many corrupt Arkgodsons who only sought to further the fortunes of the Earls that they had grown sentimental towards. This was not the duty of the faith. Jerimeh was desperate to ensure that the next man who took the position was infallible, and the only man Jerimeh knew who had stood up to his own actions was Effei. He took a long pause before responding, sat back in his chair and closed his eyes, exhaling deeply.
“No, Franco. They were not.”
Jerimeh could not find a single position he could sleep in that did not cause him some discomfort. In fact, it was only his constant movements that exhausted him enough that he was able to drift off at all. Jerimeh’s dreams had been volatile for months, and every time he awoke, he remembered almost every detail like a painting that he had spent an entire lifetime studying. Jerimeh immediately found himself where he had a hundred times before. It was the same place night after night. He stood at the centre of a forest and he walked slowly through the dense trees. After some time, the leaves began to fall upon his shoulders and layered the ground. The further he walked the more leaves fell until they turned to ash beneath his feet and the trees themselves disintegrated into ash and the whole forest was an open field on all sides, the ground only black dust.
Crouching down into the dust, Jerimeh pushed his hands into the ash, which, when he touched it, felt like flesh. When he lifted the ash in his palms, it was instantly blown away by a cold wind. Suddenly, his hands were covered in blood and streaked with black lines from the ash. Jerimeh continued walking, and it was during this walk that he realised that he could feel no pain, that his aches and discomforts had vanished, as if he were sixty years younger. Upon feeling this joy, and realising he was not within his frail body, he ran, and ran, and continued to run, kicking up the black dust.
It was then he found the source of the blood.
He put his hand over his heart, and the blood trickled through his fingers. Panicking, he ripped open his robe, but the skin was taut and untouched, his skin as pure as it was as a twenty-year-old. Yet despite the lack of a wound, it continued to bleed.
When he looked up, he saw a figure in the distance, and waited. He could not tell if the figure was moving closer to him of further away, but Jerimeh stood still, knowing that he would be found. Before long, the figure came so close that Jerimeh could see the details upon his face. It was a slim man with long golden-brown hair and piercing green eyes that had an otherworldly shine, as if his eyes were the emeralds of the statue in the God’s Hall of Harthelm. Jerimeh felt sadness as he thought of Harthelm, but could not recall why. Those eyes gazed into his very soul and the man held his hand out for Jerimeh to take.
“They are not clean,” Jerimeh protested, showing the man his crimson hands, smudged with ash.
“They never are,” the man smiled.
They walked with each other through the ash, which after a time, began to melt like snow beneath their feet and when the ash had finally disappeared, Jerimeh found himself in the centre of a desert, his hand being gently held by the man that he knew as Natos. The Angel of Death stopped and looked at him.
“Why have we stopped?” Jerimeh asked.
“You should stop looking for me. It is not me you want,” Natos replied. Jerimeh did not want to argue with an angel, but he was certain that he was ready to go with Natos to wherever he may take him. The Angel turned to face the sunrise of the new day, and Jerimeh watched it with him. Before long, another figure emerged from the horizon. Though her face and entire body was covered in a black cloak and veil, Jerimeh knew it was a woman, and wondered if it could perhaps be Jivana, The Angel of Life. “It is her you must find.” The cloaked woman took Jerimeh’s hand. He felt her soft hands encase his, and felt at ease, as though his whole body was being bathed in steaming hot water from just a touch.
Suddenly, the rising sun began to whirr and an unearthly noise like the roar of an army a million strong surrounded Jerimeh and his guides. The sun looked about to burst and was spitting flames in every direction, surrounding them until a ring of fire trapped them. Then, the soft touch of the cloaked woman was hard and cold, and he realised that the woman’s flesh had melted and he was being held by her skeletal fingers that squeezed him so tight, he felt his entire body freeze. Jerimeh looked around, but Natos had been consumed by the fire. Jerimeh begged the woman not to, but with her free hand she ripped off the veil. The noise that escaped Jerimeh’s mouth was more animal than man, it was the tortured scream of a slaughtered pig. The woman’s face was half missing with patches of hair clinging to what remained of the skin upon her head, one of her eyes had melted and was running down her cheek like a cracked egg, and she had no lips to cover her exposed teeth that gnashed and snarled like a rabid wolf. Jerimeh cowered, but he could not escape her grip. She pulled him close to her face, and caught contact with her remaining eye. Once she caught his eye, he could not look away. He tried. He tried, but she would not let him go.
“Find me. Find me.”
Jerimeh could not speak, he could not supress his terror for long enough to tell her he would try. He tried. He tried.
“Find me!” The woman roared and as she did, a great snake darted from her open mouth and wrapped around Jerimeh’s throat, constricting tighter and tighter as the ring of fire closed in upon them.
Jerimeh awoke in a cold sweat, tears soaking his face and shaking more violently than he had ever known. Despite the aches in his bones, he jumped up from his bed and almost ran to the basin, and splashed himself with some water from the pail. Sat upon his bed, Jerimeh breathed deeply in and out until his heartbeat had returned to a manageable pace. I was ready to go, he thought. Why didn’t he take me? The dream was always the same. The Angel of Death would walk him half the way, but the ghostly woman always stopped them, always stood between this life and the next. Jerimeh was ready to die in every dream that he had and after every day of living a life in which he found fewer and fewer scraps of joy.
After his tears dried, Jerimeh gazed out of the oriel to find that it was still deep into the night. The stars were thickly packed in the sky and assisted the moon in highlighting the twinkling water of the great rivers as the Great Galla’s strip of glistening stars seemed to hold all of the world together under its light. Though it had not been written in any scripture he had ever known, Jerimeh liked to believed that The God of Life gave earth the Great Galla as a barrier to keep out the evil beings that sought to harness the power of the Gods for themselves. Those souls like Samuel who called themselves Mages and channelled the energy of deities and wielded it as if it was their own. There was no greater blasphemy. No greater evil than those who nibbled on the scraps of immortality to assert dominance over mankind.
As his thoughts turned dark, Jerimeh decided to walk out onto the balcony. He felt trapped in the room that had contributed towards the trauma within his mind, and all he desired was open air. When Jerimeh stepped onto the terrace, he was embarrassed to interrupt Marius, who was already sat down with a cup of wine, overlooking his city pensively. Not wanting to disturb the Commander, Jerimeh turned around and began walking back to his room.
“You should stay…” Marius called, and Jerimeh turned around. “If it please, your worship.” The courtesy was exaggerated, but Jerimeh knew Marius was incapable of anything more than gentle teasing. Jerimeh sat opposite the commander and joined him in the silence, watching over Ilturbia and thinking of their woes. “I have received a letter from Aljan,” Marius said, pulling the parchment from the inside pocket of his robe and pushing it towards Jerimeh.
The Arkgodson read it silently, and pushed the parchment back towards Marius without saying another word. What else could be said? He thought. Marius Pascis – a widower whose dearest friend had been murdered by the same man who had both impregnated and kidnapped his first-born daughter. A man who, if he pleased, had the military power to conquer Cesara – the only Emperor in history who would be able to do so, and after peace loomed so closely. Jerimeh felt only sympathy, but would never think to give such a proud man a spec of pity. It would dishonour the very resolve that Cesara held as tightly to themselves as their very skin. Whilst Marius was a ferocious warrior and a competent leader, Jerimeh realised that sometimes such men did not think with as much cunning as they should. King Aron did not, and yet King Aedvard had enough experience to plan ten actions ahead. Jerimeh knew what Marius needed to do, but he did not wish to insult him by advising him.
“What will you do?”
“It is not what I will do, Jerimeh. It is what I have already done. Do you think I have remained still whilst my daughter is held hostage by that madman? Do you think I have not already planned that boy’s demise a thousand times? Cesara may be small, but we do not forget slights, and we hold grudges, Jerimeh, long, long grudges. Nebu dishonoured his father. He dishonoured me, and he has dishonoured my daughter. The vengeance of Cesara will rain down upon him, and even The Gods will not be able to save him…but before any of this can come to pass, I need to bring Leona home.”
Marius’ eyes twinkled in the starlight, and Jerimeh had no doubts that Marius fully-intended to carryout his vengeance and show the boy Emperor no mercy. This is the same man who helped repel an attempted invasion from Antinna and dragged a wounded giant of a man half a mile through hot sand whilst fighting a crowd of aggressors. Jerimeh, though he could not possibly understand how the Commander hoped to retrieve his daughter from the jaws of the largest Empire in the New World, thought better than to doubt him.
“And you, Arkgodson, what will you do?”
“What do you mean, Commander?”
“I know of your troubles, and I know of your fears. I know that you believe that you are not long for this world. So, what will you do, your worship? With the time you have left on this earth, what will you do to convince Natos and Jivana that you have lived a life fulfilled?”
Jerimeh looked out across the balcony, over the city and gazed towards the horizon that separated the ocean from the sky. He closed his eyes for a moment, and all he could see was the burned woman from his dream, her patchy hair, her skeletal fingers and haunting refrain. Find me. Find me. Who was he to find? Who did Natos want him to retrieve? In that second, his eyes shot open again. As if a wave of cold water had washed over him and stripped him naked, all was laid bare before him. Jerimeh felt exposed and energised. He turned back to face Marius.
“I will do, Marius Pascis, what I will do.”