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  1.     Over the centuries both mortal and immortal beings have struggled over truths. Evil and good. Black and white. Night and day. Opposites, easy to point out. Or is it really that simple?
  2.  
  3.     'What is evil?' So asked a professor of Geffen. So started an obsession.
  4.  
  5. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 
  6.  
  7.     "Evil is going against the law."
  8.  
  9.     "It's murder, rape, blasphemy against the gods."
  10.  
  11.     "Evil is whatever isn't good."
  12.  
  13.     He questioned others, but didn't find what he was searching for. If evil is going against the law, what if the laws were changed? Would evil change? What if the murderers, rapists, and blasphemers believed they weren't doing evil? Where does good end and evil begin? If anything, these caused more questions. So he began researching the subject of evil, though he didn't even know where to begin.
  14.  
  15. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~   
  16.  
  17.     He sought out other professors and wise councilors of Geffen to discuss the subject at length. One sage's answers intrigued him the most.
  18.  
  19.     "Evil is beyond the reach of no man." He simply stated. The sage had agreed to meet with him in his private study. The two now sat opposite one another in a room almost filled with books of every subject.
  20.    
  21.     Silence was the professor's response. He mulled it over, finally asking, "But can a man remove himself beyond the reach of evil?"
  22.  
  23.     The sage gazed over his glasses at the younger professor. He pushed back his chair from the his desk, rose slowly to his feet, and walked to a bookcase filled with the works of ancient scholars. He ran a finger over bound copies of the scrolls.
  24.    
  25.     "Indeed," The sage said. "Can a man step beyond evil's reach? I think not. Not in this lifetime."
  26.  
  27.     "Then all men are condemned to a life of evil," the professor responded.
  28.  
  29.     The sage turned to face him. The professor watched, unmoving. His eyes held steady, stared with a magnetic fury that had always encompassed him. Those eyes had always worried the sage. The professor was relatively young, but held in him a brilliance and intensity that the sage could not understand. He wondered if he should end the discussion, but dismissed the thought.
  30.    
  31.     "A lifetime struggle with evil, not a life of evil," The sage clarified.
  32.  
  33.     "And does a man simply choose evil, or does he create it?" The professor asked, already many thoughts beyond his initial question. "Is evil a force that swims in human blood, struggling to find its way into the heart, or is it an external possibility wanting to be formed?"
  34.  
  35.     "I would say man chooses evil rather than creates it. Human nature holds not the darkness of the demons, nor does it contain the purity of the angels. It is something of both. We are all evil.."
  36.  
  37.     "As we are all good," the professor finished.
  38.  
  39.     "Indeed," The sage nodded, hoping he had satisfied the professor's questions.
  40.  
  41.     "However..all men are capable of gossip, don't you think?" The professor asked slowly.
  42.  
  43.     "Undoubtedly." The sage replied, slightly confused.
  44.  
  45.     "Even the high priests are capable of gossip."
  46.  
  47.     "Of course."
  48.  
  49.     "Do you think the high priests do gossip? Sometimes?"
  50.  
  51.     The sage's answer waited three seconds. "We are all human." He turned to gaze out of a window. "You have a brilliant mind, Professor Galahad. I've seen alot of people come and go, and few of them have your same tenacity. But believe me, the deepest questions can drive a man mad. The problem of evil is one of those questions. You'd be wise to court it slowly."
  52.  
  53.     Professor Galahad looked into the graying sage's eyes, and for a moment neither of them spoke. He then rose from his seat and took a step towards the door. "Just one last thought. In absolute terms, gossip isn't so different from murder, right?"
  54.    
  55.     "Ultimately, no."
  56.  
  57.     "Then the high priests are ultimately capable of murder... aren't they?"
  58.  
  59.     The sage lifted his right eyebrow. "That's a bit of a stretch."
  60.  
  61.     Professor Galahad smiled. "Not really. Neither is more evil, in absolute terms."
  62.  
  63.     "You've made your point. I'll be sure to warn the priests against any sudden urges to kill their fellow man."
  64.  
  65.     The professor chuckled and left.
  66.  
  67. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
  68.  
  69.     The sage had hoped that was the end of it. In the many months that followed, Professor Galahad almost disappeared. His comings and going were reserved for quick runs to the market, buying all manner of strange and foreign items. Rumors of dealings with several notorious black market merchants were whispered, but never shown true.
  70.  
  71.     When at last he did return to the public light, he wasn't alone. He carried a newborn child, a girl. He claimed her as his own, but refused to reveal the mother's identity. The mysterious birth of the baby gave rise to all sorts of speculations, to all of which the professor merely laughed. He began raising the girl, and named her Faye.
  72.  
  73.     Years past, and for a time nothing happened. Until one night. A fire broke out in the professor's home without warning. The flames burned the entire building to the ground, but spared the two inhabitants. Professor Galahad gave no reason to its cause, nor was it found. He and Faye were offered temporary residency in Geffen tower. They accepted, and made it their home.
  74.  
  75.     The many scholars who gathered at the tower quickly fell in love with the tiny Faye. She was forever smiling while toddling around, and never fell into a bad mood. If asked, no one who knew her during that time could even remember the girl crying. Of course, the thought of it being strange never crossed most's minds. The more astute observer, however, would have been able to notice the oddity of it. If tripping over her feet caused her pain, she would never flinch. If an accident gave her a cut, she showed no tears. And if scolded, which was rare, she would merely stare strangely and run off, a smile already on her face.
  76.  
  77.     All appeared well until the incidents started occurring. They started minor, with papers being shredded, or a book missing. Then they grew serious. People would come into rooms to find everything had been destroyed. Various stretches of grass and carpets suddenly became scorched. The need to find the cause became incessant.
  78.  
  79. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
  80.  
  81.     "Have you heard the latest?"
  82.  
  83.     "Naw, I've been on duty. What happened?"
  84.  
  85.     "Seems a load of animals were found outside the tower perimeter."
  86.  
  87.     "That doesn't sound bad. What was the problem? Did they attack?"
  88.  
  89.     "They were dead."
  90.  
  91.     The mercenary whistled low and rubbed at his arm. "By the gods!" He exclaimed, "Was it a bigger animal?" He turned to the other.
  92.  
  93.     "No, there was no bite or claw marks on 'em." The other replied. The two had been hired to patrol the tower on account of the recent events. It was late at night, their footsteps being the only sounds in the stone hallways alongside the spluttering torches. Silhouettes of their shadows wavered in the brief expanse of light alloted by the flames. They remained silent, each with his own thoughts. It was almost possible to miss the third form in the dark hall. Almost, til the first stepped on an arm that wasn't where it should be.
  94.  
  95.     "Damn!" He swore and stumbled a few steps.
  96.  
  97.     "What is it?"
  98.  
  99.     "Grab a torch. I tripped over something here."
  100.    
  101.     The second complied and retrieved one of the torches nearest them. When he returned, he kneeled and held it over the shadowed mass.
  102.  
  103.     "It's one of the students," he concluded.
  104.  
  105.     "What is he, drunk?"
  106.  
  107.     He nudged the student's body. "Maybe he just feel asl-" His sentence paused. Slower this time, his hand felt the student's robes. They were heavy with a sticky wetness. He brought the torch closer, and noticed something amiss.
  108.  
  109.     "Eron help us! Look!"
  110.  
  111.     "What is it?"
  112.  
  113.     "His chest...it's..." The sight before him finished any other words. The magic student's robes half covered his chest, which was ripped open. The contents inside had been crushed. His robes and lower body lay drenched with blood. The eyes were open; bloodshot. Surprise mixed with horror masked his face even through death.
  114.  
  115.     The mercenaries stared at the corpse. Their eyes followed the dark stain of blood as it pooled around his body and onto the floor. Noticing more stains down the hall, they got to their feet and followed the macabre trail. It lead them to the rooms where Professor Galahad and Faye slept.
  116.  
  117.     Upon bursting into the chambers, they witnessed the professor awake and reading one of the stolen books by candlelight, with Faye sleeping quietly. Immediately they attempted to apprehend the professor. He grabbed a bottle of powder and threw it down in front of them before they could subdue him. The powder rose with the resulting crash, and covered the two mercenaries. They immediately cried out and collapsed. Professor Galahad escaped the tower and into the forests surrounding Geffen, carrying a groggy Faye in his arms.
  118.  
  119. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
  120.  
  121.     After the Professor and his daughter vanished, things returned to normal in Geffen. Soon people began forgetting about the two.  
  122.  
  123. Many years later, a small hut was found outside of the damned walls of Glast Heim. The hut contained a girl who sat in shock over the remains of a man, unidentifiable as his body was literally torn to pieces. The girl was taken in to a convent, where she was treated for shock and memory loss. Eventually she was trained in the healing arts, which she was only slightly skilled in. Her memories apparently never returned, and she retained an innocent personality resembling a child's. Her name: Faye Galahad.
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