'Ware the Moloch
Brother Aeneas Barbounian
Disillusioned and disgusted
Ten years of merciless study left Brother Aeneas with scant enlightenment and less peace. After leaving the monastery, Aeneas saved a pioneer family from bandits—and found himself sold into slavery when he slept in their care.
Bloodied knuckles bought his freedom, and a pile of silent bodies blocked his path from the camp. With both slavers and pioneers dead, Aeneas wrapped his fists in white linen and vowed never to stain it again.
This was a vow he would repeat time and time again.
Brother Barbounian’s empty bowl mysteriously filled when he came to Wyself. The canny monk caught occasional glimpses of the young rake, rapier strapped to his scrawny thigh, who brought he offerings. Neither ever spoke of the connection.
Later, the monk and his silent benefactor happened to be traveling together when a mud drake assault left their caravan stranded in soggy earth. They met a young dwarf whose strength of arms both drove the drake away and helped hoist their transport from the ground. The three shared a fire, a spit, and a tale before parting ways the next day.
Brother Barbounian often ponders his apparent pacifism. He prefers to think of it as a reluctance toward aggression. His experience has taught him that violence is embedded in a primordial slippery slope of attempted devolution, a sort of yang which balances the yin of reason, enlightenment, and respect.
Aggression causes all living beings to present their worst attributes, whereas the finest elements of human, elven, dwarfish, or even draconian nature can only be experienced and appreciated in times of calm and peace.
Therefore, Brother Barbounian abhors violence not because of his religious convictions, which are becoming increasingly thin; nor because of a sense of harmony with an allegedly inherently good universe. Rather, to him, aggression is a more expedient means to the inevitability of meaninglessness and decay. He prefers to think that life has random, secret pockets of pleasure and enjoyment, yet to be experienced. Prolonging the journey offers more chance small rewards like the sudden clarity of a sunbeam piercing a weary, twilit mist.