“W-what do you mean?” Benedict stammered.
“Take my innocence – I offer it freely!”
He heard a sound that might have been a laugh…
Or might have been an expression of pity;
He couldn’t be sure. My poor foolish priest,
It said at last. A man who seeks revenge
Has lost his innocence. The innocent
Seek justice, not revenge… so you must choose.
“NO!” Benedict cried. “I only sought justice!”
He who seeks justice summons not the Hound;
He seeks the judge. The judge summons the Hound.
See how you fear to look upon Me now!
Like Adam, you seek a cover of figs…
And it is not enough. Your debt is due
But you lack the currency. Make your choice!
As the burden of his guilt came crashing down
Benedict began to shake from the weight.
His mind was near breaking when a loud thud
Made him jump. He jerked around and saw
The body of Cardinal Jarvik sprawled
On the chapel floor. Benedict hurried
Over to his body and rolled it over;
His eyes were wide with terror and his mouth
Moved constantly… but said nothing.
Drool trickled from his lips. Benedict shook
Him, spoke to him, yelled at him, and then
Slapped him. “Cardinal! What happened to you?”
At last Jarvik managed to speak. “E-vil,”
He said slowly, without emotion.
His eyes stared at nothing as he spoke –
Clipped words, no more. “Li-li-an. Ta-ken.
Send the wolf. He will know where.”
Suddenly his eyes widened. With great effort
He raised up on one elbow and grabbed
The front of the Father’s robe with one hand.
He pulled him close and gasped, “E-VIL!” And then
With one last breath the Cardinal released
Him and dropped to the floor, his eyes still wide.
As Benedict stared in shock at the body,
The voice spoke again. The debt is due. Choose.
He couldn’t speak. He just sat there and sobbed
Until another voice filled the abbey –
A weary voice, familiar yet steady.
“I will pay his debt. Just tell me where she is.”
Benedict looked up and saw Dietrich
Standing at the door of the sanctuary.
He shook his head and mouthed the word “no”
But Dietrich gave a single nod of his head
And the voice said, The debt is paid. Save her…
Save your town… save my poor foolish priest.
You are the Hound of Heaven and I send you.