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The Parable of the Pamphlet

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XXII. And Brutha looked down at the sword and the fire which had spread Om to many people and many lands, and he said, this is not for us.

XXIII. And he prayed and he said, Om, there must be a way to spread belief without fear. How can we do this?

XXIV. And Om said, with words.

Brutha leaned on his cane and watched the scribes work. It was very restful, except for all the swearing when they misspelled something.

"I know it's not traditional," said Jorah, third subdeacon to the Cenobiarch.

"Tradition isn't everything," said Brutha. Half of the traditions from his youth were forgotten, and good riddance. They'd said that torture would never go out of style, but Brutha had done his best to prove them wrong. "I'm just not quite sure I understand what it's for."

"To spread the word of Om," said Jorah. "I mean- How do you convince someone of Om's truth?"

"I don't." Brutha blinked, slowly, watching a particular scribe copy one page over and over. "I just talk for a while, and sometimes they become convinced by themselves."

"Right," said Jorah. "The fifth miracle."

Brutha shrugged. It didn't feel like a miracle to him, but he had come to accept that the church sometimes needed to mark ordinary events as miracles, because something special couldn't be ordinary.

"But not all of us are possessed of the power of persuasion," said Jorah. "So we've written your words down to give to people, and let them become convinced by reading. It's called a pamphlet."

He took one from the scribe that Brutha had been watching, ignoring the scribe's squawk of protest. Brutha held it very carefully between finger and thumb, examining it.

"What do you think?" asked Jorah, anxiously.

Brutha nodded. "Very persuasive. I can't actually read it, I'm afraid, but I do like the drawing of the cat."

Jorah almost snatched the paper away before he flushed, remembering who he was speaking to. Brutha took pity on him and handed the paper back.

"Don't be harsh on him," said Brutha. "Scribing looks like a boring job. And it's a very good cat."

"Oh, Om," read Jorah, voice rising with outrage, "are Mondays not an abomination? Brother Moril, what is this?"

Brutha smiled as Jorah scolded poor Brother Moril the scribe. Pamphlets. Brutha couldn't see it catching on.

Still, stranger things happened every day.