All disclaimer information is given in the first Chapter. This chapter is shoter than the first but I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did thinking it up.

And so begins the second Chapter in Arik's adventure in Eden...

Black & White

Holy Judgement

The Cruelty of Man

Arik, wrapped in the old preacher's cloak, walked through the crowded streets of the small town, the buildings were mostly derelict and hardly fit to sustain life, what little water there was, was usually held by the Norse guards.

This was no way for men to live.

He approached the prison and was at once confronted by two Norse soldiers. "No Greeks beyond this point." One said.

"Trespassers will receive thirty lashes." The other added.

Arik frowned, his divine aura and obvious anger was enough to make the Norse men quake even though they knew not who he was. He stepped forward but the first pushed him back. Arik raised his hand, grabbed the soldier by the throat and lifted him off the ground,casting off the cloak as he did so. He flung him toward the prison, slamming his body into the stone and killing him instantly.

His other hand clamped around the second guards neck before he could move. "You'd threaten me?"

"No! No my lord! I'm sorry! They are the Prefect's laws not mine!"

"Good." He dropped the now shaking Norse man, "Come with me."

The deity walked up the steps of the prison and stuck the doors with such force that they fell off their hinges, crushing an unfortunate Norse guard. Arik walked to the first cell and looked in. Inside there was a scrawny man in mere rags cowering in a corner.

"Why is this man in prison?" Arik asked the Norse man. "Answer!"

"He-- He stole from the storehouse, he's to be executed."

Arik looked toward the man in the cell, "Why?" He asked.

The man stood up and walked toward the bars, "To feed my family sir, it ain't right that a a man with six children get the same ration as one with two."

"It is right by us, the hardship will make your little Greek whelps in to strong Norse slaves." The Norse man yelled.

Arik whirled around, drawing his sword and bringing it down to split the man's skull, "That's what I think of you Norse." He spat.

"Marvellous!" yelled the man in the cell, "You're the first to kill a Norse in this town for over thirty years. What's your name?"

"Arik Avan." With that he reached out and grasped the bars, ripping them away in the blink of an eye. "Come. We have work to do."

The prisoners were soon all freed, most had been imprisoned without charge and those who hadn't had not been given a fair trial as any Norse citizen would. They came to the temple where more villagers had gathered.

Arik sat upon the altar while Augusto spoke, "This." He began, gesturing toward Arik with his staff, "Is Arik Avan, the Arik Avan, the Lord of Balance, second among the Trinity."

Shouts protest and gasps of surprise echoed throughout the temple and some toward the back got up to leave. Arik quickly stood up atop the altar. "Wait!" He cried, "Regardless of whether or not you believe who I am, you must admit that your people cannot live this way. Whether you believe in Arik Avan or Tiberius or any of us any more, I guess that all of you, every single one of you, believes in Greece."

People throughout the temple rose to their feet and began a steady chant of "Greece, Greece, Greece!" The light streaming down on the altar seemed magnified by the chants. The Temple interior glowed with a warm reassuring light.

The doors burst wide and heavily armed Norse men streamed inside by the dozen, they began to round up the men and women and dragged the few screaming children away. Arik had seen all he could stand of this war like culture. He leaped from the altar, his range enhanced by his godly powers, brought his blade down on a soldiers neck and grasped the head with his shield arm.

He held it high so the other soldiers could see. This seemed not enough, "He's only one man!" They shouted, "He'll not leave alive!"

Arik dropped the head, ducked a sword stroke, took another on his shield and stabbed his aggressor leaving him to bleed, like a pig. By this time the Greek men had mustered the courage to fight back, grabbing torches from the walls, or picking up the dead soldier's weapons.

Within a few minutes the temple was all but clear of Norse soldiers, some had surrendered and others were simply paralysed with fear, they were obviously not used to having anyone fight back. Arik grabbed one by the throat, lifting him clear off the floor and slamming him down on to the altar. "Who sent you here?" He asked.

"The... the prefect, he sent us to quell the uprising." The Norse man answered, Arik could smell the fear coming off him.

"There was no uprising before you came here. These people answered my call, they were leaving, not rebelling."

"It's the same thing here, no Greek may leave these walls without permission, you are born here and you die here, that is the way of things. You're all scheduled for execution."

"It's not my way, it's yours. Where is the Prefect?" Arik took a dagger off his belt and pressed it to the Norse man's throat before he repeated, "Where?"

"He... he lives in the mansion... up on the cliff which overlooks the town. But the road is guarded, you'll never get in."

Arik raised the dagger and brought it down on the man's chest, cutting through the flesh and breaking a rib before puncturing his heart. He then left the soldier there to reflect on how he'd spent his life, whether he would repent or not was up to him.