He seethed. His trembling hands holding the accursed flesh bound book. An ancient grimoir passed down through the generations. Infernal whispers pleaded with him to unleash the tome’s power.
The power. The very thing which had brought him to this moment. Standing on the verge of breaking his solemn vows to keep the grimoir locked away and out of the hands of any who would use it.
Rage at his powerlessness to do anything against the evils spreading across his country boiled within him.
“We could bring peace. We could help you strike down those who think themselves safe in ivory towers.” Teased a disembodied voice emanating from the book.
“At the cost of my soul.” He replied.
“Yes. But your life would be long, spanning several lifetimes. Anything you desired would be yours.”
“Gain the world, but lose my soul.”
“Gain the world.”
His finger traced the rune etched clasp sealing the grimoir.
“At a terrible cost.”
“A noble sacrifice. For peace. For the power to send evil souls into the hungering mouth of Hell. And perhaps, in exchange for enough souls, you could free your own?”
“And who would relinquish my soul from this infernal pact? God? Not likely. Especially as I would usurp his role as judge.”
“No. Not God. The Infernal Ones, however. Certainly they’d grant you such a boon for sating their hunger.”
“Even if, and God still rejects me, what then? My soul would be cast back into the hands of the Infernal Ones. And why would they spare me? The souls I’d send to them, they’d have sooner or later anyway.”
“But the innocents you’d spare! Perhaps even God could overlook your transgression, if your work were to his glory.”
“You argue the ends justifying the means. If I force feed shit to a starving man in order that he might not starve, am I still doing good?”
“You argue philosophy, and you can do so all you like, but it doesn’t change the number of innocent souls being torn from their bodies every day. You have access to a power that could change all of that, but you don’t act, are you then not as culpable as those committing such heinous crimes?”
“Release the knowledge of this sacred tome. Be imbued with its power! Act to save your people, and let tomorrow’s woes worry about themselves.”
He leaned back against the cold stone wall of the basement deep beneath his home. He slid to the floor cradling the flesh bound grimoir against his chest. The arguments swirled within his mind, and he wondered if any of the guardians of the tome before him faced such a crisis of faith.
He closed his eyes and let the thoughts run, condsidering the offer of the book.