The cast of the Sleeping Dragon is an ensemble one, featuring five misfits bought together by circumstances beyond their understanding, who swiftly realise that only by working together can they work out just what the hell’s going on and, more importantly, just how the hell they can get out of it.
In this post we look at the man who gives the group its spiritual heart.
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Darick is an ordained priest in the Church of the Holy SkyFather. His religious faith, whilst beset by fear and doubts, is both deep and sincere, which is where his problems begin, because in this new modern age, the Church and its leaders don’t feel it appropriate to be seen to “do religion”.
Men said many things of the Great Cathedral of the SkyFather. Some declared that the scale of its architecture taught an individual humility, and that the glory of its finish taught them awe. Some called it a place of spiritual cleansing in which life-damaged souls could shine once more. The Central Tourist Board of Empire City’s municipal council described it as “an indispensable visit” that was “the perfect preliminary to lunch in the Cathedral District’s many and varied high-quality eating establishments.”
Right now, Father Darick would have described it as the last place in the universe he’d ever want to be. The man sitting on the other side of the large and impressive desk – Archbishop Ulfred, priest of the Great Cathedral, leader of the Empire City diocese, ultimate controller of a number of extremely wealthy investment portfolios, and Darick’s boss – leaned back, stroked his chin, and finally spoke. “Darick, Darick, Darick. What are we going to do with you?”
As the story progresses, Darick finds his faith tested by events more real, and more terrible, than ever he could have imagined.
It was a scene beyond any horror Darick could ever have imagined. He would have closed his eyes were it not for the certainty that the scenes would continue to play on the insides of his eyelids. There was nothing good in a place like this. Nothing of worth. Nothing that any decent person could possibly hold dear. He took another look at the plate held by one of the sneering waiters as it glided past him. Gluttonous sins aside, the food did look awfully good, and he was quite hungry.
He reached out to grab a canapé, muttering a silent prayer of forgiveness to the SkyFather as he did so.
But in this modern age, priests do have other skills.
Back in the seminary, when he was training to be a priest, Darick had attended a course in conflict resolution. It was part of a new package of training for what the church described as “the challenges of the modern age”, and which also included public relations, relationship counselling, and a whole bunch of psychological screening tests that had a fancy name but basically amounted to “Dear gods, we can’t afford any more scandals with small boys.” He thought perhaps he should put that conflict resolution training into practice. “Let’s just say that we were to decide to do something,” he said.
“We haven’t agreed that,” said Dani.
“No, but let’s just say for the sake of argument that we did.”
“If we did decide that, what would we do?” He looked at Blade.
The sportsman thought for a moment, then shrugged helplessly. “I don’t know. I just figure we need to do something.”
Darick often feels himself to be superfluous, a prisoner of doubts that tell him that faith is futile in this harsh modern world. But beneath the bumbling exterior, there is steel in this priest. Faith will prove its purpose.
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Just for fun, I created some mocked up RPG-style character sheets for Sleeping Dragon’s five protagonists. Here’s Darick’s:
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The Sleeping Dragon is now available for pre-order on Amazon Kindle at an introductory price of 99p in the UK and 99c in the US (it’s also available in all the various international Amazons at the equivalent price in local currency). If you like what you’ve read here, then please consider pre-ordering it.
The Sleeping Dragon will be published in February next year, in both Kindle and paperback formats.
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