State of Desolation
Later Day Saints
- Flavor music: > “God’s Gonna Cut You Down” by Johnny Cash
In a time of overall lawlessness, godlessness, and disorder, I guess it would only be a matter of time until those that treasured order and a strong sense of morality would push back against the rising tide of blood and horrors that human nature vomited unto itself.
Sorry, that may have been unnecessarily poetic, but it’s hard not to be when discussing a group of people who are two steps away from seriously being full blown Arthurian knights. They may come off as pretentious, ‘holier-than-thou’ sheep when you first meet them, but if you take a brief time to chat with them you may find they’re ideals a little inspiring.
“The Saints for the Later Days” is the full title given to them by the people they have helped over the years. In a nutshell, the Saints are a small community of men and woman that have taken up a monk lifestyle. And I don’t mean the type of monk that spends all day philosophizing and brewing whine; I mean the type of monk that spends all day philosophizing and beating the crap out of their brothers and sisters. “To overcome violence, you must first understand it,” one of them explained to me. The pursuit of Understanding is the foundation of most of their teachings.
These semi-mysterious do-gooders were all started by one man, the Father Saint. No one knows his name, so that’s just what they call him as it seems fitting. If you ask anyone if they believe in avenging angels, you’ll have a sure bet that this guy gets mentioned.
From what I have witnessed, if one wanted to be a Saint, they are taken to their abbey and the outside world doesn’t see them for a few years. I have heard all sorts of rumors of what they do up there; from ‘they train you in the ancient ways of the ninja’ to ‘they take your brain out and put a machine in.’ No one truly knows what goes on in their abbey, they stay quiet about it. What everyone knows is that when you ‘graduate,’ you return to the world a different person. Improved, sure, but sometimes so different that it’s eerie. I saw them take in a slurring, slack-jawed, shit-for-brains bandit who was a notorious womanizer. A few years later I hear that while he didn’t make the cut to be a full Saint, he now speaks clearly, isn’t ignorant to other people, hell, he’s an outstanding citizen, and he never looks directly at a woman. Like I said, improved, but it creeps me out.
Those that do make the grade and become Saints come out a little more than just well-behaved citizens. They are transformed into this mix of a holy crusader and western movie hero. Sure, they have all their teachings memorized and have no trouble preaching to the poor common folk, but they aren’t any joke whatsoever in a fight. Yeah, they’ll try to avoid conflict as much as they can, but if you start something with a Saint, that Saint will finish it. Quick. I mean these guys are fast. I don’t know what they give ‘em up at the abbey, but every Saint I’ve seen has reflexes like someone cut out frames out of their film reel. When they want to move fast, it’s like they don’t move at all, they’re just already there in the position they want to be. I’ve only seen Saints move like that right before they end the fight, but I wonder how they would fair in a situation where they needed to move like that more than making one decisive maneuver. Hoo, I hope my camera is rolling then.
The Father Saint teaches his followers to not be distracted by “symptom evils”, bad things that stem from a core wrong-doing. If one focuses on the core problem, all the bad behavior that came from it will disappear.
For example, say there’s a bandit leader terrorizing everyone that passes through a road. If you kill him, his death just inspires the other bandits, and you may start a war. If you arrest him, his boys are coming after him. If you sneak in and destroy their supplies, then they might go hit a town to make up for what they lost. The Father Saint would rather find out why the bandit leader is so nasty. Maybe it’s because he lost a lot after the Fall and feels entitled, or maybe his daddy never loved him. Whatever it is, the Father Saint would address it and try to have the bandit leader come to terms with his issues.
Sure, this course of action could fail, in which case a Saint would be prepared to remove the bandits. But if it’s a success, then the bandit leader stops being so nasty to other people. He may turn around and share it with his boys. The bandits disband. Some may still choose the bandit life, but some may give it up and try to figure themselves out. Maybe those few will return to what’s left of society and actually help out their fellow man instead of stealing from them.
That’s basically the Father Saint’s ideal outcome. Although he knows it’s not going to work every time, it urges his followers to try and leave violence as a last resort. This is reflected in their catchphrase “Walk Softy,” which is short for ‘walk softly, and carry a big stick.’ The Saints will always try diplomacy, but are ready and willing to end stories.