The Way and the Void
Most organized bodies, such as governments, religions, businesses, clubs, and even families, have lists of Dos and Don’ts. It doesn’t matter what they’re called - rules, laws, commandments - they are lists of behavior that society believes people need to follow in order for everyone to coexist in peace and harmony. They are lists that deal with actions.
Rhychard Bartlett, Warrior of the Way, is thrown out of one belief system and dragged, kicking and screaming, into another, one that has left him a little confused as to what is truly right and wrong. There is no list, no Ten Commandments, because the Way and the Void is all about motives, not actions. It is not so much what you do as to why you do it that now matters.
In Reaping the Harvest, I explore this concept through two characters, flipping them from how society would traditionally view them. The first is Buttercup, a prostitute on the streets of Harbor City that crosses Rhychard’s path. While Rhychard doesn’t judge Buttercup, even to the point of telling her that he didn’t care for the term whore, he still didn’t understand how she could sell her body the way she did. “Why would gargoyles be following a girl who works the streets? Wasn’t she already a child of the Void?”
It was Kree who had to straighten out his bent, human logic. “That’s not how it works, Warrior. Motives, not actions. Her business is to bring pleasure to her clients and she does that with her body. How is that different than people who bring pleasure by their music and art? Just because your human society believes something wrong doesn’t mean that the Way does. On the contrary, quite often those who would protest what she does and wish to bring harm to her in order to force her to cease her endeavors are of the Void. Do you really think that those who would blow up abortion clinics are of the Way? Your world sometimes has a skewed view of the righteous path.”
An extreme example, perhaps, but it serves the purpose. Following actions from a list can make a person mechanical. There is no thinking involved really and it doesn’t paint a whole picture. Take murder, for example. Most everyone would agree that murder is evil. However, there is a difference between killing for selfish gain, like robbing a store clerk, and having to kill to protect your country, your family, or yourself. What makes it different is the motive behind the act and that is the philosophy behind the Way and the Void. The Way is the path of righteousness and the Void, the way of evil.
The other extreme example is in the character of Pastor Adrian Michaels. His desire was to grow his church. However, he wasn’t doing it for the Kingdom of God or to see people ministered to as the church should be doing. He did it because he wanted the prestige that came with having a bigger church as well as the financial gain that would come with more members. Neither of those reasons had anything to do with spirituality. Neither of them had the motive of the Way.
And that is what the faery world is trying to teach Rhychard. You don’t need to memorize lengthy lists of Thou Shalts and Thou Shalt Nots. All you have to do is mind your heart. If your heart is pure, then your motives will be of the Way. Otherwise, you’re on the path of the Void and could very well find yourself at the end of the Guardian Sword with Rhychard glaring down at you.
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