"THE LONG ROAD ENDS" Hacking sounded from the Reverend’s bedchambers in the Palatial Estate of Milais, Aelfric cloistered to those secluded confines, the ailing octogenarian away from the eyes of others as per his choosing. His boney hand, that of his right side, gripped at his pained chest as heaving coughs escaped from betwixt his lips and unto his left hand, it’s palm occupied by a handkerchief. To that cloth he stared, it’s surface stained not only with the mucus which so oft came to pass but too, blood entrapped in it’s clear confines. As if words were written by each sputtering cough, that blood spelled death and to this, Aelfric was overcome by a solemn joy. Weeks had passed since that first mark of blood speckled those handkerchiefs and this heralded a long awaited rest. The Reverend, a man characterized by piety, had always been at peace with death and in such contrast, so disturbed in life, scars he could not bear seeing having made themselves at home about his decrepit frame. It was not to say that he did not love life, for so many joys were derived from it--family, friends, and his work, all which he loved so dearly--yet rather, it was to say that he was nevertheless calm in the face of death, knowing full well that those pains and injuries he endured in latter years were but the final stretch of a long road to eternal union with the Divine, the Holy Spirit. This he knew full well and as night’s battle with day concluded, it’s cover draping over the skies and revealing the stars, the elderly man leaned forward, body trembling in such a “strenuous” process, and to his aide he mustered, “Gottfried… Gottfried!” Aelfric’s old friend Gottfried had been napping quietly on the bench beside the bed’s frame, not disturbed by the same thoughts which troubled the Reverend so and instead lulled to sleep by the quiet call of crickets which sang their song outside Milais’s walls. Yet, not so soundly it seemed, for upon the third call of his name did Gottfried awake, “Mm? Oh… Reverend- Are you alright?” The Reverend dipped his head before he said, “Yes… Yes, I am fine. I merely wished to ask if you could help me out of here? I wish to find some… solace in the Chapel.” “Saint Manfried’s? Well, Your Holiness, that is in the city. You are not allowed there.” he replied. Aelfric chuckled then, laughter which soon devolved into further, pained coughing, “Hah- Mmph. Not allowed, heh. I believe they will excuse it on this occasion.” With Gottfried’s help, the octogenarian was lifted to his feet, his right digits wrapped firmly around the hilt of his cane, and a hat placed atop his head. With a note written by his own, shaky hand for his family, “I am off to the Chapel for prayer. Word will be sent in the morning. Much love, Your Uncle.” Aelfric, alongside Gottfried, departed from Milais for the city under the cover of night. The gentle tapping of his cane ceased as Aelfric’s sunken eyes surveyed the ornate nave which encompassed the second floor of Saints Manfried’s, his lips drawing into a smile before they were once more parted as a bout of coughing ensued. With Gottfried’s help did he take a few more steps, proceeding to genuflect before the altar, thereafter finding a place on the front pew. “So serene is His sanctum, Gottfried. Thank you.” the Reverend dipped his head to his aide before his gaze once more wandered the chamber, “You may depart for the night then, my friend.” Gottfried’s brows raised, “Depart?” he replied in near amusement. “While you’re in this state?” “Do I look that bad?” the Reverend smirked, coughing out another laugh, “Well, suit yourself, Gottfried. I pray your wife is not too angry come the morning.” Gottfried too chuckled, “I am sure she’ll be fine. But I do need some rest. I will be here if you require anything of me, mm?” “Thank you, Gottfried.” Aelfric said, “Good night.” “Good night, Your Holiness.” *** It was as the sun rose, illuminating that nave in which he slept that Gottfried awoke. As his eyes opened, they were met with the still sight of the Reverend, still sitting beside him, “Your Holiness-I’m surprised to see you didn’t go wandering off, heh.” No reply came. “Reverend?” Gottfried inquired, rising to his feet to inspect the Reverend’s features and upon his review, Gottfried sighed. Whilst a small smile was laid bare upon Aelfric’s visage, the Reverend’s was otherwise completely still, his eyes closed and no breath pulling in nor out from nose or mouth. His hands clasped together, they were cold and rigid, as if chiseled of stone--inseparable--it seemed he had passed praying, or at least that was Gottfried’s guess. Shakily, he spoke, “Your Holiness…” and after paying his respects through mournful prayer and solemn silence did Gottfried’s arms extend to lift Aelfric. With struggle, he carried the body to the deceased’s chambers in the Chapel of Saint Manfried, laying him gently on the bed and pulling the covers over his decrepit frame. With that done, Gottfried sent word to the clergy and Aelfric’s family--yet the Reverend knew not, for he was no longer bound by his corporal, decrepit form--after trekking a long road and now meeting its end, he was finally at peace. *A notice would be nailed to Cathedral doors throughout the Holy City and Anglia.* OF THE HOLY SANCELLA IM NAMEN DES IMPERII GEIST The High Reverend Emeritus, c. 308AC. O’ Most Faithful Souls, Salutation and Imperial Benediction. It is with great sorrow that we regret to announce the death of the High Reverend Emeritus Manfried II, His Divine, Reverend Aelfric Harhold. At the age of eighty-four, His Divine was found to have passed peacefully in the confines of his chambers this morning at the Chapel of St. Manfried. Unexpected by his family and staff, they join together in mourning the late Reverend who is, after over sixty years of service as an ordained clergyman, certainly deserving of eternal peace. Writings of Manfried II or Aelfric Harhold: 1.Reverential Address On the United Faithful’s Duties 2.Reverential Address On Redemption 3.Reverential Address On Fidelity to the Spirit 4.Reverential Address Heron Saints of Unionism 5.Reverential Address Broken Whispers 6.Reverential Address A Falling Symbol and the Flame of Faith 7.Reverential Address The Cycle of Growth 8.Reverential Address The Glory of Herons 9.Reverential Address Oh Hymns We Cry 10.Reverential Address Sermon of the Twenty-Fifth of May, 308 AC 11.Reverential Address The Spark That Enlightened the Many 12.Reverential Address A Thesis On Transcendence 13.Epistle to House Playero 14.Reverential Address A Thesis On the Power of the Reverency 15.Conclave Bull of August I 16.Reverential Address An Admonishment and a Call 17.Homily On the War 18.The Second Conclave Bull 19.Decree of the Holy Sancella 20.Reverential Address On the Lukewarm and the Necessity for Devotion 21.Reverential Address That Blessed Act of Charity Bulls of the Synod have been omitted per the High Reverend Emeritus's request. REST IN PEACE The High Reverend Emeritus, Aelfric Harhold CCXXV - CCCIX Aelfric Harhold 225 AC - 309 AC His Divine, Reverend Aelfric Harhold 252 AC - 309 AC Spoiler: Thank you It was in October 2017 that I started playing Aelfric and since then, I've known him as the only character I've been able to dedicate years of my time to. From the Synod, to the Harholds, to mineman roleplay in general, it's been an absolute joy playing him and most of all, getting to interact with everyone I've come to know. Thank you everyone for the great few years.