Cardinal Sin

Chapter 1

Seth Luciendiaz, 30, was not a man who had lived up to a reputable name. He was an ex-convict to begin with, a murder-convict, spared the death sentence, and strangely enough, converted into a clergyman. A member of the Church he was, but to him, it was nothing more than a profession. Many-a-time the officials tried to defrock him over his blasphemous acts against the order, questioning the appropriateness of installing a defiled sinner into the House, but the council elders, under the government of a mysterious Pope, decided to retain his service nonetheless for some unknown reasons.

Perhaps it was his invaluable service that saved him both the death row and the sack, but he was too apathetic to even redeem himself. To him, it was a nine-to-five job, and two-thirty was exactly his lunch break. Still in full-fledged black robes, it was a wonder that he had the intent to visit the pub. He was quite a frequent patron of that bar, as frequent as the notorious kingpins, drug pushers, whores and pimps altogether inside one vice den. Not that he could care more about what people would think, he always maintained that he would not let his profession meddle into his personal affairs.

“Bordeaux,” his favourite liquor of all, and the bartender knew as Seth waved at him.

It was one of the most expensive wines and adding that the bar served it at its vintage years. Though it was forbidden for clergymen to indulge in intoxicants, still it was a challenge to resist the burning liquid down his throat, which felt like angels singing in his lungs.

Just when he had guzzled down half-glass, suddenly, an old man happened to interrupt his savour and called out his name.

“Cardinal Sin, eh?”

Seth put down his glass and turned to the old man angrily. The rude geezer stared intently into his eyes and snickered a grin. Seth frowned.

“Few people ever called me by that name, Monsieur. For in that name belies the curse that causes upsetting in human and fear in demons who crossed my path. Who are you to dare speak of my name with such insolence?”

“Art thou not whom I speakth of, young one?” the old man twitched, “art thy name not befitted thou, young one? For thou art bearer of the seven deadly sins, and so sin shalt be thy rightful name!”

Seth eyed the old man with both great curiosity and ire. For once he could believe that the old man was some sort of a priest or prophet, judging by the way he phrased his words. He sensed that the old man was challenging him, but why?

“And what do you understand of my name? Cardinal Sin is the monicker people gave me for the sins that I did not acquiesce. I’ve done no wrong.”

“Unwrong? Pride is thy first sin. For thou possess unreasonable and inordinate self-esteem. Thou would not humble thyself to people higher in hierarchy than thou. Thou art arrogant, conceited, and fail in accommodation of criticism from others.”

“That’s because I take pride in my own accomplishments, and I deem my own achievements far surpass any human could have. For I deem myself a degree above men only lower to God.”

“Avarice is thy second sin. For thou wrongfully acquire of private property for thy own possession. Thou have an insatiable desire for wealth. Hath not God decree, thou shalt not steal?”

“For I opine that the rich will become richer and the poor becomes poorer in the cycle of poverty. Thus I steal from the rich and give to the poor. I’m merely breaking into this vicious cycle, to maintain a balance, as wished by God.”

“Lust is thy third sin. Thou partake in self-indulgence of sexual desire. For thou showed amore to women betrothed to their husbands. For through thy affection they committed adultery towards their sacred nuptial bond vowed upon God.”

“That’s because those women whom I gave my adoration come from broken and forced marriages, while I only act as a consoling partner. God does forbid a broken vow, but more detests an unholy union.”

“Wrath is thy fourth sin. For thou easily show belligerence aroused by a real or supposed wrong. Thy deep hatred for humanity art the root of thy violent and feral ways. Thou art merciless wielding thy powers and relish in exercising carnage.”
“That’s because I survived in the situation of strife, where I kill or be killed. Hath God not also incurred wrath that it would flood and cull all those who go against the laws of God?”

“Gluttony is thy fifth sin. Thou do not feed to sustain life but to satisfy thy Epicurean conduct. Thou do not abstain from mead in the service of God.”
“That’s because I find content in the elixirs and ambrosias that rejuvenate my soul. It’s the food a man eats that gives him the strength and valour to serve his biddings to God.”

“Envy is thy sixth sin. Thou art spiteful and resentful at seeing the success of another. Thou art envious of those who are skilled and better then thou. Thou despise those higher in rank because of sheer jealousy.”

“That’s because envy is the driving force of my success. For it initiates the competition so as to refine myself for betterment in everything I do.”

“And sloth is thy seventh sin. Thou demonstrate apathy and inactivity in the practice of virtue. Procrastination art thy affliction, time art thy wrath.”

“That’s because I exert my performance within my own schedule. For the completion of any tasks under the stipulated time counts towards efficiency. As long as I produce results, no one, not even God will dare to mock me!”

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