Genesis Scrolls Round 3: (Savour Holy Hands)

Name/Pseudonym: {Thomas Radio}
Contact Info: {}
Ethereum Wallet Address: {Thomasradio.eth}

Savour Holy Hands

Roland Creev grew up without belongings in El’ Jorel save for the rags he wrapped himself in for modesty. His mother worshipped the nature of Enlightenment and sought to achieve godliness via honesty and humility. Roland did not share his mother’s fidelity towards any higher power and did what he needed to keep them alive. And though she prayed all day for truth and virtue, his mother never asked where Roland got the bread.
Roland Creev was a thief, but a noble one.
Noble is the one who only takes for the weak.

The days move quickly when you are hungry. And as they begin to speed up, the hungrier you get, the more you slow down. It was one of these such days that Roland found himself alone for the first time. His mother’s eyes fluttered as her parched and cracked lips still quivered with devotion, Roland held her head in his lap.
“If only my tears could quench your thirst,” but unhearing, his mother finally laid still.
It was the first time Roland stole not for the living, but to honour the dead. He wrapped his mother in a thin linen sheet and laid her down in a straw-lined ox cart and began to pull it himself towards the outskirts of the city.
Roland walked for two days, to a grove they had visited when he was just a boy before his father disappeared. He drank from the natural springs. It was muddied water but clean. The small pool was enough to feed the vegetation which grew there but no fruits or berries could sustain life. He buried his mother beneath an unblooming lemon tree and began his journey back toward the city. He did not bother to return the ox cart.
It was a week since he left and Roland had not eaten. The sky became kaleidoscopic as the Moon and Stars chased the Sun. And the Sun chasing them. All the time Roland continued to walk.
Daylight was cruel against Roland’s skin, his clothes too tattered to protect from the singeing licks of the Sun’s rays. At night, the wind tore at his thin rags cutting through them to his bone. His stomach rumbled as it began to consume energy from wherever it could. The muscles of his heart thinned from weariness. Inside his mind, a battle was being won by the fight for survival against the honour of one’s parent. His feet continued to take him back to the only place he had known as home.
In the fields around El’ Jorel farmers care for the land and provide for the city. They lived here in houses and small communities and worked endlessly to meet the demands of the growing metropolis. They were rewarded with space seldom found within the city walls, and of course with a handsome monetary boon. They could afford durable clothing that may have been reinforced many times to mend tears from the hard labour.
But still, Roland continued on in his rags.
None paid mind to Roland as he passed through their fields. As a courtesy, farmers who drop sheaves while collecting will pile them in the corner of their fields, so the ill-privileged would not be embarrassed and can still feed their families. Roland ignored these. He reached over a fence for a peach and without hesitation began to gorge himself on fruit. Never stopping his trek home, Roland left a trail of pits, stems, seeds, and rinds. He returned to the city satiated of food but hungered for a freedom he had never awarded himself.
Roland wanted things.

Over the years El’ Jorel continued to prosper and expand until the city walls consumed the rolling fields and the space they cherished was swallowed by stone. And with the growth of the city, Roland came to have quite a wealth of riches and possessions.
It began with clothes. Better clothes meant more access to higher societal gatherings, which in turn led to valuable items, which when sold meant property. And property meant Roland now had a place to store that which he never had.
It was in an old farmer’s house, now in the heart of the city, that Roland schemed.
Roland was draped in furs as he pattered around his personal palace, barefoot to feel the rugs his housekeeper had decorated the floors with. He passed portraits of people he’s never known, hung regally inside his home. One could tell from the ornate framing, oil mediums, and teeny-tiny brushstrokes they are all very expensive.
And yet, an old feeling flickered within him. One of survival and what it means to steal to live.
Roland Creev believed he could no longer go on without the Escher Jewel that was lodged in the hilt of Warship Vaalt’s Warhammer of Perfection. Vaalt was already an infamous pirate turned-hero Admiral during a Dommian War battle on the Mason Coast. His tactic of reinforcing the prow and using the ship itself as a weapon won the respect of the El’ Jorel’s Generals. It was his willingness to board enemy vessels swinging his mighty hammer which earned him the nickname Warship. For his ship was a weapon and he a vessel of victory.
For successfully staying off the coastal attack, the city knighted Cathero Vaalt an Admiral and gave him the gem as a token of gratitude. No longer would the once-pirate need to steal and pillage to live. But that didn’t stop him to steal and pillage for fun. Now with a fancy badge.
Roland was at the ceremony and was enchanted by the stone’s beauty. He followed Vaalt and his crew to the wharf and was amongst many to join the Warship’s fleet that night. After a week of celebrations, Vaalt set sail with two hundred ships. One hundred ninety-nine more than he had won his battle with. And of the scores that went to sea with him, Roland made it onto Vaalt’s boat.
Less than half returned just three months after. The fleet shrank every day, as gungho spirits were battered by rough seas. Some moored and stayed on foreign soil, some fled, some disappeared, and few sank with hulls cracked wide by the Warship’s prow. Roland stayed close to the captain, still under the spell of the jewel.
Roland was there when Warship garnered further nicknames, another one given to slayers on the sea. It was a Kraken that Vaalt singlehandedly slew, and in its blood adopted its name as a moniker. He witnessed and participated in Vaalt’s excursions as a deckhand and pirate. He’d steal but never harm. He remained a noble thief.
And now, he writhed before the hearth as if in physical pain.
Roland needed the Escher Jewel and decided it would be his.

Standing amongst the docked ships Roland was reminded of his time at sea. The violence he’d seen, how close he came to relinquishing his virtue out of avarice and greed. For the first time, since her death, Roland remembers his mother.
Roland returned home to drop off that which he didn’t need for the journey. He unclipped his robe and hung it on the branch of the olive tree which grew in his house. He removed his rings and necklaces, unfastened his belt, and stepped out of his leather boots. Roland only just noticed the playful foxes carved into the heels of his shoes. Leaving all weapons and armours at home, he began the several-day walk to a grove he had visited as a boy before his father disappeared and where his mother was buried.
He did not eat as he walked, each step was a memory tracing back all Roland had seen.
All he had done.
He felt the weight of his mother’s spirit heavy on the cotton of his thick shirt stretched over his shoulders, where he once wore thinned threads.
Steal to live.
The sky swam recreating a chase Roland once witnessed, onward he moved, slower now.
Live to steal.
At the height of the day he tore his shirt from his chest to block the baking sun from blinding him further. His feet burned through callouses from days of exposure to the hot ground.
“I didn’t hurt anyone!” Roland yelled with a fit of anger.
But there was no one there to offer absolution.

Almost dried to dust, Roland falls to his knees and smells the sweet scent of lemongrass. Crawling forward he reaches the spring which has flowed into a much larger pool, waters now clear as they are deep. Roland rolled from his belly to his back onto lush moss and welcomed a breeze tickling his goose-pricked skin like a whisper. Sunlight filtered in through a canopy of rich green leaves and a vibrant yellow leather fruit.
He remained there and filled his belly with berries and lush vegetation, drinking deeply from the clearwater pool. Over the years that Roland prospered so too did the grove of his mother. Where she suffered in this world, she achieved sanctity, and now Roland took sanctuary in the Mother Grove’s care, once more a child.
Roland sat in the shade of a lemon tree with no belongings and understood, his mother’s prayers were not enough to save him. The bread he brought home was not what she was praying for. It was for her son not to lose his way, in doing what he needed to. She gave her life’s divinity to protect him, and he had thrown it away.
Roland knew he must steal one last thing. The life of a tyrant whose shadow he had once acted under. Yet he remained curled beneath a lemon tree.
As the Moon and Stars chased the Sun.
And the Sun chasing them.

Warship Vaalt returned to El’ Jorel with another claimed victory over some distant enemy in a war no citizen had heard of and expected celebrations. His fleet had found balance with twelve ships, all reinforced as hammers of the sea, and when the Kraken Warship docks, he demands libations.
Roland had been waiting for the day to come when Vaalt would return to the city drunk on his cruelty and Roland may redeem his worth.
To rejoin the ranks one must only carry a cup of mead and partake in raucous hootenanny. Roland would not drink but appeared intoxicated when necessary. It was easy to blend with a crowd, and easier to find his target. Follow the density of the people. The streets were packed with fans, desperate to see their hero and hear a slice of adventure. Roland jostled and shoved until he was on the outer ring of the inner circle with Vaalt in the middle once again regaling the cityfolk on how he took down the Kraken.
He fingered the hilt of his blade but knew now would not be the time. Warship didn’t notice Roland slip away.

Carnival continued for several days until real life caught up with the citizens and Vaalt’s whole crew passed out in their cups, except for the captain. Vaalt was on the shores of the Mason Coast. He trudged along the beach shouldering two thick chains pulling a rowboat full of ladies of the dock. The women were asleep with bottles of rum and brandy littered the floor of the dory. His hammer was strapped to his back and an amulet hung from his neck but he wore no armour.
His necklace began to hum.
The crossbow bolt connected with his right shoulder stumbling him forward and dropping the chains with a greater force than they appeared heavy. Before he could turn Roland was already on him, throwing himself at the shaft of the bolt pushing it deeper into Vaalt’s deltoid. Warship roared and with the sturdiness of sealegs swung his hammer from his back springing Roland into the sand.
Roland landed in a roll and was on his feet charging with a rekindled anger he had once felt at himself.
The whores slept on.
Roland swung at Warship with his sword and cut into a dive between his legs. Vaalt deflected the attack with the butt of his hammer but lost Roland in the slide and felt a sharp heat rise from his calf as he fell to his knee.
Roland tumbled several feet behind his enemy, slowing his momentum with an outstretched arm, digging his fingers into the sands. He readied himself to charge Vaalt and finish him.
Warship kneeled taking stock of his wounds, his right side almost useless. He gripped his hammer in his left hand and prepared himself for an over-the-shoulder strike. Roland, misreading the signals, believed Vaalt to be off balance and charged. The sunlight passed through the Escher Jewel and a rainbow danced across Roland’s face. The distraction was exactly what Warship was looking for and finding his moment, he swung back connecting with Roland’s left side.
Roland crumpled before he hit the ground.
Warship, knowing he had landed a killing blow, let himself fall to the ground faceup, breathing steady.
Beside him, Roland choked on blood through ragged breath.
“I never -” another clogged cough, “- killed for you.” Roland tried to move his arms, to crawl to Vaalt and slit his throat, his hand twitched but no other limb obeyed the command.
Warship said nothing. He slowly got up, and using his hammer like a crutch, limped back towards the wharf.
Roland’s held closed tight as Vaalt made his way passed. And he remained that way for a long time. Slowly and with unfeeling fingers, his hand opened and let the light shine through the magnificent cut of the Escher Jewel, refracting a kaleidoscope of celestial light into unseeing eyes.
As the Moon and Stars chased the Sun.
And the Sun chased them.
Noble is the one who tends to the weak.
Roland Creev was a thief.