Bartholemew slipped quietly back to his room as everyone onboard the boat returned from the galley. He slumped to his knees next to his bed and lit his head rest in the palm of his hand.
“Forgive me, Lord, for I have sinned. I have compromised your commands once more, and it has come back to take me down yet again. Have mercy on your servant. You have said ‘A gift from the Lord is pure, and the Lord adds no trouble to it.’ I had assumed that being aboard this ship was a gift. But through all of the trouble that has been added to me today, I fear that I have made the wrong decision. I fear that I have stepped out of your plan and into my own, thus I am no longer under your protection and guidance. Forgive me, Lord.”
His heartfelt prayer, although mumbled at first began to grow louder as his pleas intensified. “I have done a terrible thing. I compromised your commands because I thought I could control the Wrathstone. I stole it from your holy guardian because I thought I could do a better job at protecting it, as I know you’ve commanded me to do. I broke your law so that I could follow your command…” a small chuckle escaped through the emotions lodged in his chest. “… how hypocritical is that? You would never command me to do such a twisted thing, yet I did it. And what has this action gained me? Nothing but trouble. Since that action, our team has been divided and scattered. We haven’t had focus of vision or unity. Instead, we’ve each gone our own separate way. I’ve been attacked by my young friend. We’ve been accused of theft. I’ve insulted the ranger, and caused William to attempt to kill Brandon. Had it not been for your divine intervention in bringing about the stolen chalice, he might have succeeded, too. All because I compromised and let my plan for how to obey override what I know to be true.”
He grabbed the prayer book he received from the priests in Tempton, holding it close to his chest. “It is also written, ‘If I confess my sins to other followers, I will be forgiven of all unrighteousness.’ I know what I must do, but to do so will probably mean the end of me. It may even put other people’s lives at risk. And despite their flaws, they have done so much to help me. I don’t want to hurt them, too.” Slowly standing, he walked to his pack that lay on the floor and slipped the prayer book inside. Seeing a few scraps of paper in his pouch, he retrieved them and lay them on the floor. Lowering himself on his knees, he knelt over them and began to weep over what he was about to do. Not because he feared for his own life… what he had brought on himself was just. It was expected. But he wept for the torment that he had brought upon all of them for his actions.
He pulled a charcoal stick from it’s protective housing, the one he used for writing in his prayer journals. As a tear fell to the paper below, he began to write:
“Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned. I have taken the wrathstone and hidden it far away, where the orcs will not find it. I believe that the Orcs will attack this ship, based on a dream that the Lord has given me. I could not let this artifact fall into their hands. I know I have done wrong and I must confess my sins to you to be clean and free from the curse that I have brought upon myself and my team. I, alone, have done this thing. Please have mercy upon my companions, and do not hold them responsible for my actions. Do what you must to us, but please take into account my intentions. I have not done this in rebellion of your authority, but in obedience to the Lord, as backward as that may seem. While my actions have been wrong, my intentions were honorable. I submit myself to your hand, and your authority, even unto death. — Signed, Bartholemew.”
Bartholemew looked down at his work, and he knew. This would be the end of something. The end of his journey. The end of his friendship. The end of blessings, where he would live with this curse the rest of his life. Or even the end of his life. But whatever it was, he knew what he had to do, and placed his life and his future in the Lord’s hands, praying that the Lord would have mercy upon him and soften the preist’s heart by morning.
As he crawled into bed, he tucked the letter safely into his pouch, where he would deliver it at first light.