The Eight Crimes of The Iconodules


Leonard Kallen was an idiot. Objectively an idiot. He could have had case studies pulled down by Researchers, checking up on their listing of definitions and degrees of idiocy. There in beautiful, illuminated manuscript they would find Kallen’s glowering face, next to a list of his exploits. Exploits which had been…what?

What had he done before this?

Not joining the Inspectors. That had followed naturally from the incident at the stockyard, which had followed from his youth, which had followed from his upbringing. Which…he had insufficient memory of. Born in Periad, definitely. A native. There were other children at one point. He had taught one of them how to climb a drainage pipe. Now Kallen mostly taught dogs how to climb things. For a moment, it seemed stupid.

For a moment.

Then that blaze of certainty was back, the same thing that he was beginning to conflate with idiocy. It glowed with absolute, definite demands. Defend the Inspectors, chase when they run, bring them down. The certainty had a source: the incident at the stockyard. Idolatry. The word came unbidden to his suddenly aware mind. And where that memory burned, so burned the power that he used to work miracles, the spark that the hounds looked to, the purpose that made his step sure and straight. Nobody called him “Leonard” anymore, did they? It was always just “Kallen.”


Everyone called him Kallen now. Kallen had done a lot of things. Stupid things. Some of them still made sense. That was the idiotic thing. If he had been paying attention, that erosion of his previous identity would’ve been obvious. Stupidly so. If he had time to sort it out…

“Leonard Kallen?” The voice that called his name seemed calm but insistent. Leonard stood up instantly. As did the dogs. They were looking at him, though, not the newcomer.

Well, sort of a newcomer.

When he was out of Kelasho, Velius’ hair seemed somewhat less ridiculous. It was only when you had beautiful golden light streaming in high glass windows, carefully metered stone columns, wooden inlay (what a waste!) around doors and around the rim of the ceiling…suddenly a bit of blue hair looked less ridiculous. The young man carried a staff with a hooked head, but did not walk with it. It just hung at his side.

A weapon, the Inspector in him noted.

The other Inspector at the room smiled disarmingly at the younger man, nodded to Kallen, and recused herself to somewhere else in the ostentatious hellhole. Her hair was very bright golden, too, Kallen noted.

Maybe it was a Brise thing.



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