A priest and his choice
Picture a monastery! Not the large stone building we have come to expect in our time, but rather a small stone house, perhaps the size of a country church. To the sides of the main house are wooden buildings such as sleeping quarters, outhouses and barns. In the back is a herbal garden, where some of the brothers are working even now, without realizing that something must change soon.
For in one of these buildings armed men have taken shelter for the night. They have spoken to the bishop who is the leader of the monastery and the small community of norwegian farmers who call this place home. Now they have retired for the night, and on the morrow they will either ride back to the clan chief down in Agder with a message of success, or they will... well, we don't really have to guess for long, do we?
So what of the bishop?
Bishop Alamanno da Morrone is not a bad man. Born to lowly peasants in a valley outside Naples he was delivered into the embrace of the Church at an early age when his parents could not afford to feed him. He has spent most of his years working for the Catholic Church and now, after many years, he has been granted a small bishopric in this cold, faraway land. Still, he has now been here for close to twenty years and it has become a sort of home for him. Who would have known the pagan king of the north would defeat his norwegian protectors and now demand an oath of fealty from all his vassals? Furthermore, an oath which included a sacrifice to the unholy demons these barbarians call gods?
Still, there is the small hope that the pagan lord will not interfere with day-to-day practices. Is not their work here mostly about curing the sick, tending the crops, teaching the ignorant? What is a small sacrifice to the gods of the very real men with axes at the doorstep compared with the duty to a faraway organization which has not set foot in Bergen for years?
The answer seems easy. And so a decision is made, and as so often with these things, this seemingly minor choice will make echoes which will ring for generations.