Chapter 6 The Savior
Do you want to know who you are? Don’t ask. Act! Action will define you. – Thomas Jefferson
“I know, I know!” Benefix was saying excitedly to Jian as they entered the study, “But I really think it could be!”
Jian was pushing his way behind him when they both pulled up short. Backed up to the ornate desk were two young people, looking as if they thought they were prison bound. The Cathedral guard, his straight eyebrows lending no expression to his face and his big root-like feet planted in the ground stood close with a spear in front of them blocking their exit.
“What’s this?” asked Benefix. “There’s no need for this! Christoph, you may be excused.” The guard nodded his head curtly and then left.
“Now then,” said Benefix gently. “Let’s all have a seat.” He gestured to two plush chairs that sat in front of the desk. “No need to be frightened.” From the small opening at the door, a blue-gray kitten sauntered into the room, looking everyone over curiously.
“W-why am I here?” Serah asked in a very small voice.
“Ah yes, young lady. First of all, I wanted to be sure you were all right. That was quite a collision.”
“I’m fine, thank you,” said Serah straightening her hair ribbon and pulling out her swirly purple tunic.
“And I understand you have a delivery for me? From the museum?” Benefix continued.
Serah nodded. “Please, put it here on my desk.” After Serah had done so he said, “You may go, now.”
“What are you going to do with my friend?” Serah asked a little more bravely as she stood to go.
“Oh?” asked Benefix, “Is he your friend?”
Serah started to nod her head emphatically and then suddenly realized that she didn’t even know the boy’s name. “Well, yes,” she began hesitantly. Looking over at Nemo she broke into one of her heart glowing smiles and finished more confidently, “Yes, I am! Definitely. We’re best friends in fact!”
Nemo stared at Serah feeling a sudden rush of happiness. He’d only met her yesterday and she thought of him as a friend? Well, she couldn’t know about his circumstance, after all. But he felt better thinking he had a friend.
Benefix nodded his head as if very pleased to hear it. “Then you can stay,” he said. Serah sat back down as the curious-filled cat jumped happily onto the desk and sat there staring at the two. “Now then, young man, what’s your name?”
Nemo lowered his eyes and didn’t answer. “You have a name don’t you?” asked Benefix gently. He raised an eyebrow at Serah, “Will you tell me his name?” he asked.
“Uh, uh well,” stammered Serah, “My name is Serah, and uh, he doesn’t have to tell you his name, does he?”
Benefix smiled, “No he doesn’t have to tell me his name. Let me tell you my name. I am Prevost Benefix. I live here in the Cathedral. It’s my job, among other things, to take care of and interpret the ancient scrolls and texts. This is Jian Ridder, a very old friend of mine. He helps me out from time to time.” Benefix continued to smile. “I know that you are a little shook up, I didn’t mean to scare you back there. I can see by your clothes that you work as a delivery boy, is that right?
Nemo nodded his head. “Where do you work?” Benefix asked.
Nemo squirmed in his chair. “The Fairview,” he muttered.
“Ah,” said Benefix. “So you work for our Council as a delivery boy. How did you come to be at the Fairview?”
“I was hurt,” Nemo said finally after a long moment. “In an avalanche. Completely buried under the ground for a whole night. I don’t remember who I am.” Nemo felt utterly deflated. What was going to happen to him now? Wickliffe didn’t want him. The Prevost would send him back to Fairview and he would be stuck there forever.
Benefix gave Jian a significant look. “I see. I spoke with the Presbyter from Wickliffe. He knows who you are. You are a foundling, in the Presbyter’s care. You were left on the Chapel steps as an infant and you live in the orphanage there.”
“No!” blurted out Nemo, “It can’t be true!” and the tears that he had struggled to hold inside began to leak out of his eyes.
“I sincerely hope it is true,” replied Benefix firmly, “All of it. We’ve been looking for someone like you. There’s something very important I have to ask you to do.”
“Why are you looking for me? I didn’t mean to break the G.L.O.B.E.! I told you, there was a tremor and it caused an avalanche. That wasn’t supposed to happen!” Then after a moment he regained his composure and said in a more controlled voice, “I didn’t do such a good job the last time I was asked to do something very important. But I do want to make things right. Is it that you want me to do to fix the G.L.O.B.E.? Because my friend Jochim is really good with magitechnology and I bet he could show me how to do that.”
“I’m sure you could, but we don’t need you to fix that,” Benefix said.
“This isn’t going to be easy for him to hear,” Jian interrupted. “Maybe you should start by showing him the scroll,” he suggested. Benefix nodded. “I’ll go get it.” Jian slid open the bookcase panel and descended to the lower room.
As they waited in silence, Nemo began to look around. The office he was in was certainly very grand. The walls were a warm yellow with thin purple stripes and the furniture was all white with gilt edging. Finally he looked at the Prevost. He saw before him an older man with longish white hair that looked fluffy and soft. He was wearing a golden embroidered vesper draped around a thick white robe that covered a pair of thin shoulders. Thin gold glasses were perched on his long nose. Benefix was looking at him from over the tops of the glasses and smiling such a warm and excited smile that Nemo couldn’t help smiling back. It was as if for just that second they both knew they were about to head off on a glorious adventure together.
The cat jumped off the desk and strolled over to Nemo, looking at him very intently. Just as Nemo was thinking about reaching down to pet it, Jian returned with both map and yellow scroll. “Here we are,” Benefix said taking the scroll and unrolling it. He cleared his throat, smiled at Nemo again and said, “Remember how I told you it was my job to interpret the ancient scrolls?” They nodded. “Well, here’s a scroll I’ve been studying.”
Serah leaned over to look at the scroll, “Oooh, I love these ancient poems!” She turned to look at Nemo, “Some people think they tell the future, did you know? What does this one say?”
Benefix smiled and said:
“The savior; a foundling, most recently found,
Without “something” buried beneath the cold ground.
Animal friend visits the past with a touch,
Free the sanctuaries and save them he must.”
Nemo, emboldened by the Prevost’s smile looked at the scroll too. “Why, it’s filled with holes,” Nemo said turning to look at Serah, “Just like the tapestries in the Museum!”
“That’s right,” said Benefix. “I think that this scroll is asking us to find someone who can help us. A foundling, who was buried beneath the ground. The ‘something’ could be ‘memory’, what do you think Jian?” Jian nodded his head. “Now, my friend Jian, here has been looking for a foundling…”
“They think it’s you,” Serah interrupted turning to look at Nemo. “Yes, that’s why they’ve brought you here, you’re the savior!”
“We think you might be the savior,” Benefix agreed. Jian pursed his lips at this and raised his eyebrows.
“It’s too much of a coincidence, Jian. Just when we need a foundling buried under an avalanche, one just drops into our laps.”
“Y-you can’t be talking about me!” Nemo stammered.
“Yes, I think the lines in the scroll are talking about you. I think you are the savior,” said Benefix.
“You’ve got to be kidding!” shouted Nemo jumping to his feet, “Sir,” he added afterwards. “I’m not a savior!” Nemo began to pace around the room. “You don’t understand,” he said more calmly. “I don’t know anything. I don’t remember anything. And I just found out today that I’m not anybody and I never will be. I’m a nemo… get it?… a nothing! I can’t be a hero, or a savior, that just wouldn’t be possible.”
Benefix waited until Nemo calmed down. Eventually, feeling a little foolish after his outburst, he sat down again.
“I know it’s hard to accept, but you are a foundling. The Presbyter from your town has verified that. You were in an avalanche and essentially buried underground. The bruises can still be seen on your face. You have lost your memory,” turning to Jian he said, “I think the missing word is memory. Now that’s three things that describe the savior that also describe you. And here you are, right when we need a savior. That can’t be coincidence. Do you get along well with animals?”
“No!” roared Nemo looking down and seeing the cat rubbing around his ankles, “I mean...y-yes. But lots of people get along with animals. That doesn’t set me apart or anything.”
“Do you have funny reactions to objects you touch sometimes?”
Nemo spluttered. “Not any different than anyone else!” he protested.
“But something has happened, hasn’t it?” badger-like, Benefix pounced on Nemo’s words. “Tell me about it!” he commanded.
“I-it’s just that my friend. He has this coin and I hear things sometimes when I hold it. It’s nothing. It’s not important,” Nemo muttered, thinking it was probably better to keep the experience with the jacket a secret for now. “Listen,” he said more reasonably. “If I were the savior in this poem, I’d know what to do. I’d have special powers or something, right? And I don’t. Just because a cat likes me and a coin makes me feel a little sad doesn’t mean I’m a savior. I don’t know about any…what did it say?... sanctuaries. I’m sorry, but I can’t help you.”
“I know what the sanctuaries are,” interposed Serah, “Well, at least I know something about them. The five sanctuaries of Adryeon is a myth that’s part of the project I’m working on..er..kind of... working on, at the Museum.”
“Go on,” invited Benefix leaning back in his chair, “Tell us what you know.” Jian could tell that Benefix was getting to like Serah’s spunk.
“Well, every continent has one, it’s a special place.”
“You mean like a Cathedral?” asked Nemo.
“Not exactly, it’s more like a spiritual focus point and not an actual building. According to legend, if it’s in a place where good things happen, the continent flourishes, but if something terrible happens there, then the continent experiences a time of trouble. You would certainly think people would have taken care to find these places and plop chapels on them in a big fat hurry though, wouldn’t you? Just to make sure that good things were always happening, I mean.”
Nemo nodded his head looking curiously at Benefix to see what he thought of Serah’s answer. But Benefix remained silent and Serah continued.
“But no!” She gave a shake of her tinkling bracelets. “A long, long, long, long, long time ago, people think that all the sanctuaries were guarded in some way. But here’s the bad thing; something happened and the location of all the sanctuaries has been lost. Some people even think the sanctuaries aren’t always in the same place. That they shift around. Weird huh? Maybe that’s why there are no buildings there. I mean, you couldn’t just keep moving a chapel around every time the sanctuary moved, could you? But, since we are all churning along just fine, good things must be happening wherever the sanctuaries are now, right?” finished Serah beaming around the room at everyone.
“Well, if they are so important,” started Nemo, then stopped suddenly embarrassed to be giving his opinion to the Prevost uninvited.
“Go on,” said Benefix, “If they are important, what?”
“Well, I mean, wouldn’t someone have written down how to find them? Is that what’s was in the rest of the scroll, the part that is missing?” he finished pointing at the scroll on the desk.
“Well,” replied Benefix, “I believe that this scroll does have clues to the locations, but as you say, there’s such a lot of it missing. I’ve been writing to the Director at our museum in Validian and other museums all over the world trying to find more scrolls and more artifacts.
“But there’s something in the legend about finding the sanctuaries, isn’t there?” interjected Serah. “If… if you think that might be important…” she trailed off.
The Prevost raised his eyebrows and pushed his glasses back up his nose so he could see Serah better.
“Well, I mean, according to the legend of the sanctuaries…” she stopped suddenly unsure of herself,
Benefix smiled and motioned her to continue.
“Well,” said Serah twirling her long black curls around a finger nervously. “See, the legend says that when the sanctuaries are threatened then Aydreon goes into a kind of crisis and a hero will emerge who will be able to tell where the sanctuaries are. Good thing, right? But I don’t remember hearing anything about how to find the hero. That’s the bad bit. But if you have one of the prophecy scrolls here and it says he’s the savior, then it must be so!” she finished. After a moment she exclaimed, “Wait, does that mean you think the sanctuaries are in some kind of trouble? Say!” she jumped up suddenly, “You don’t think the earthquakes and things are happening because there’s something wrong at the sanctuaries do you?”
There was an awkward silence as Jian and Benefix exchanged glances. “She’s very quick,” muttered Benefix.
“Things aren’t churning along nicely, are they? In fact, they way I’ve been hearing it,” Serah said snapping her fingers and remembering, “Things are kind of going wonky all over the place. Why, even Mt. Phaestus has been rumbling like it might erupt again!”
Benefix steepled his hands and tapped his mouth with his index fingers. He stared intently at Serah for a minute. “Hmmm. Well, it’s true that there have been some unexpected natural disasters recently. And I’m particularly interested in Marcadia. In fact, I’m almost positive the sanctuary in Marcadia is where we should go first.”
“We should go first?” repeated Nemo jumping to his feet. “You seriously think I could go to Marcadia and stop a volcano from erupting? asked Nemo. The words came out more belligerent than he intended.
Jian suddenly stood up and leaned over Nemo. “I know this all sounds a little crazy. I didn’t believe it at first either. I’m not sure I believe it now. Just give him a chance to explain.” Jian’s blue eyes shined down on him. He didn’t know why, but somehow he trusted him. “Okay, I’ll listen.” He sat back down.
“Thank you, Jian,” Benefix said. “I don’t mean to alarm you, but I really do believe that Aydreon is in the crisis that Serah mentioned. I do believe that there are five sanctuaries that must be freed from some kind of trouble. Everything we need to know is in this scroll. There are specific instructions here. Or at least there were. We just have to figure it out. Look at this next stanza from the scroll. I think this is describing Marcadia:
The first by a river is carefully traced,
A meander, a band will point out the place.
Frozen by betrayal in time’s icy glaze
The anger within must be consumed by the blaze.”
“What makes you think it’s Marcadia and not one of the other continents?” asked Nemo.
“Well, the Flumen is the longest river in the world,” said Benefix, adjusting his glasses and looking at his map again.
“But we still don’t know where in Marcadia,” pointed out Jian. “As you say, the Flumen is the longest river in the world. That’s a lot of ground to cover.”
“Let me get this straight,” said Serah. “The sanctuaries are in trouble and are causing natural disasters. That’s the first fact. You need a savior to go and fix whatever is happening and you think it’s him,” she pointed at Nemo. Benefix nodded his head. “That’s the second fact. Finally, you think this is a description of the Flumen, so Marcadia is the first sanctuary you need to visit?”
“Correct,” said Benefix.
“But we don’t know where the sanctuary is, or what is wrong with it, or how to fix it,” finished Jian.
“But the facts are all there!” exclaimed Serah. “You can’t argue with facts,” she said as an aside to Nemo. Nemo could tell that Serah was utterly convinced. Easy for her! No one was asking her to stop a volcano.
“And there’s more to the poem,” Benefix was saying. “I’m sure there are more clues here if we can just interpret them. Here at the end, there’s this line:
‘…pestries, five objects, five anchors there are,’
I think that first word is meant to be ‘tapestry.’ And I think it means the Marcadian tapestry that’s in the National Museum.”
“Ooh,” said Serah excitedly, “I know that tapestry! One of my jobs has been to draw the tapestries so we can have a copy in our records.” Turning to Nemo she said, “I’m an artist, there, did you know?” she beamed at him. “Hey, wait a minute. You had kind of a funny reaction when you were looking at the tapestry, didn’t you?”
Nemo didn’t respond right away, but after a minute or two almost as if the answer were being reluctantly drawn from him, he replied, “Yes, kind of.”
“Tell me about it,” said Benefix staring directly into Nemo’s eyes.
“Well,” began Nemo, “I was looking at it and then it seemed to me that I could…kind of see something…moving in it.” Benefix continued to look at him. “And then, it seemed kind of like I was actually there and I could feel the breeze and smell the grass and feel the earth rumbling beneath my feet. Sort of like a memory, but not really, if you see what I mean.”
“Hmm,” said Benefix. “And was there anything else?”
After a moment Nemo said reluctantly, “Yes, it was kind of like I could see into the tapestry, like beyond whatever the weaver had created. Out of sight like. I could see a cottage, it seemed to be just where it would sit if you could see more on the tapestry.”
Benefix had his hand on his chin. He looked over to Jian who threw his hands up in the air and walked away. ”You still doubt that you are the savior?” he said to Nemo.
“Yes! Yes, I do! There’s nothing special about me. I don’t know how to free any place. I don’t even know where this place is. I tell you, I’m not good for anything!” Nemo finished in frustration.
“It’s another fact, you know,” Serah said nodding at him and smiling. “You did see all that. That makes four!”
“Well,” said Benefix after a moment. “Besides being five tapestries, the prophecy also mentions five objects. Now, like I said, I’ve been writing to people I know, trying to track down these five objects, artifacts that have special significance to certain areas. But in this Marcadian stanza it mentions a band. I told that to the Director as well. He thinks he has found something interesting and he sent it to me. It’s in this package,” he tapped the brown-wrapped parcel that Serah had given him. Benefix looked over his glasses smiling at Serah.
While he was doing this, the blue-gray cat rubbed up against Nico’s pants as if to say, “Hey, I’m still here!” In fact, as Nico looked at the cat, it seemed that those words popped into his mind. He reached down and this time ran his hand down the cat’s soft, furry back.
“I know what’s in that,” Serah was saying. “It’s a ring, but there’s something the Director doesn’t know about it.” She turned in her chair to Nemo, “You remember what he’s like. You met him the day of the disaster in the Tapestry room.” Nemo nodded his head. “Well, I tried to tell him but you know, the bad thing is that sometimes he just doesn’t listen.”
By this time, Benefix had unwrapped the package and opened the box. He was holding a simple gold band up to the light.
“Look on the inside, Prevost, sir,” said Serah, “You’ll see that there’s some writing in there. Well, the Director asked me to draw it out before we sent it to you so we would have a record of it.” Turning to Nemo she said in an aside, “It’s that artist thing, you know.”
Benefix was squinting to see the inside of the ring, then handed it over to Jian whose hand was already outstretched to receive it.
“It was when I copied those symbols that I recognized them. The symbols on that ring are also along the bottom of the tapestry with Mount Phaestus on it!” finished Serah triumphantly.
“Yes, I think that is why the Director sent the ring on to me,” said Benefix.
“Do you have the drawings with you?” asked Nemo excitedly drawn into the story and wanting to compare the symbols for himself.
“No, no not with me, they’re at the Museum. But it is another fact. The fifth, actually. The symbols are the same.”
“That’s quite all right,” said Benefix, “I have a book here with a representation of the tapestries.” As he said this he took down a very large book from the shelves behind him, put it on the desk and opened it to a bookmarked page.
“So the symbols by any chance tell you where in Marcadia the sanctuary is?” Jian asked, not bothering to huddle around the book with the others.
“Or what’s wrong with it?” chimed in Nemo. “Or how to fix it? Or anything useful? No! It just says here’s a problem, find a complete nobody and make it better. Why would a scroll mention someone so useless as a foundling with no memory? What’s the sense in that? Count all the facts you want, Serah, it still doesn’t tell me what to do.”
“Well, we can try…” began Serah.
“And how would an ancient scroll even know that I can find these sanctuaries? I can’t even deliver our village’s G.L.O.B.E. without messing it up and I knew where I was going then! I don’t have any special knowledge or power. I’ve got nothing. ”
“That’s not true,” said Serah patting Nemo’s arm. “You’ve got us, right?” she asked beaming up at Benefix and Jian. “And that’s something!”
“Hang on there,” Benefix protested. “I can’t send you out to look for sanctuaries, Serah, who knows what danger you might encounter. Besides the scroll doesn’t even mention you.”
“Well, of course I’m meant to go with him,” laughed Serah. “That’s what brought me here, and besides I know something that will help you.”
“What do you know?” asked Jian suddenly looming over Serah in the chair. His dark beard and moustache bristling, his thick legs firmly planted in the yellow carpet of Benefix’s office.
“Well, as a matter of fact, I can read the symbols and they do tell us something. The tell what town the ring comes from!” Serah said triumphantly, standing up and looking in Jian’s face. “We can all go together. If something bad is happening in Marcadia, I want to help. That’s my homeland you know!”
“Benefix,” Jian pleaded with him. “She’s just a child. Him, okay, grant that he’s the savior in the poem,” he said pointing to Nemo. “He’ll have to come to show us where the sanctuaries are. But this is going to be dangerous, we can’t risk having her along too!”
“A child?!” spluttered Serah, “Why, I’ll have you know…”
At the same time Nemo was on his feet saying, “I can’t show you anything…”
“Calm down, calm down,” said Benefix. “Everyone just have a seat.” He looked at Jian. “Serah, tell us what you know.”
“I won’t tell you unless you let me go along! Besides, I can’t let you take that ring all over the world without me to watch over it, the Director would kill me.”
“Ok,” said Benefix, “Suppose I send you along, where do I send you? Where is the ring from?”
Serah sat down. “It’s from Chiniak, a town right along the Flumen and at the foot of Mt. Phaestus. I’ve watched the sunset just from that very spot in the tapestry. That’s why it’s one of my favorites.”
“Ok then,” said Jian. “It’s settled. We’ll go to Chiniak and see what can be done.”
“Now, wait just a minute!” exclaimed Nemo, jumping to his feet and causing the cat to leap back. “This is getting out of hand! You think that all the disasters happening right now are caused by something bad happening where the sanctuaries are. Well, okay, maybe you’re right, but isn’t that something each country should have to deal with on their own? What makes you think we can make things better?” Nemo was breathing heavily.
“I have to get out of here,” he said heading to the door, “This is craziness, you,… you’re all crazy! Jan Seirzant must be getting very angry with me, I have to go h-ho…” Nemo trailed off looking around a little wildly. His eyes caught the glance of the cat. “It’s you,” Nemo heard the words in his head. “You know it is.”
“Home?” suggested Benefix, not unkindly. “The Fairview isn’t really your home is it? I promise you, my boy, I wouldn’t ask this of you if I wasn’t sure it was necessary. Our planet faces a great challenge and I believe you have been sent to help us out. I believe you are the only one who can show us where to go. I don’t know how yet and I don’t know why, I just know it’s you. I’ve known it since I first laid eyes on you today. You are the savior in the scroll and I will do everything I can to help you.”
“And you?” asked Nemo to Jian, “Do you believe this too?”
“I believe in Benefix,” said Jian simply.
Nemo looked at Serah who was smiling at him. She would believe anything, he thought.
“Five facts,” she said, “You can’t argue with five facts!”
He looked down at the cat who was still sitting as his feet. “But, I don’t even have a name, how will I ever accomplish anything without a name?” Something in him wanted to believe what the Prevost was telling him. He wanted his life to have a purpose, something he could do to help people.
“Very well, if that’s all that’s stopping you, I will give you name,” announced Benefix. “How about … Nicodemus? It means, ‘Victor over the people’. We can call you Nico for short” Benefix was smiling at him again. He put his hand on Nemo’s shoulder, “I just know that we are going to be victorious!”
Nemo smiled back and swallowed hard, “Ok,” he said in a small voice, “I don’t know what I can do to help, but I’ll go.”
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