In my last entry I wrote of the need to understand our differences, and of the importance of understanding that different people of good heart may come to different conclusions and take different courses of action. Today I write to the importance of righteousness—the importance of knowing what is the right path and having the strength of character to follow it. Of all the qualities of a hero—bravery, confidence, wisdom, and compassion—I believe that righteousness is the prime trait, the foundation on which all other virtues must build. Without righteousness, a hero is just another brute with a sword.
But what do I mean by ‘righteousness’? How can it be defined? To put it simply, righteousness is the character of good, the knowledge that your actions are governed by the fundamental truth that good must oppose evil. It may take the form of opposition, as is the case when we choose value of life over death, truth over deception, and valor over cowardice. It may take the form of testimony, when we seek to spread knowledge, vision, and truth to those who labor without it. But most often, for myself at least, righteousness takes the form of direction, as I am shown by Erastil the deeds he knows must be done.
Only the night before last I found myself in a strange crypt at the head of my companions. We forged ahead with the light of Erastil guiding from my bow, and discovered a horde of undead corpses—disturbed from their rest by the curse of foul magic. When faced with this opposition, Erastil made it clear what I must do. Calling upon his power, I channeled his divine energy through my body, and beat back the monsters with a wave of holy energy. The monsters decayed and fell where they were, before a blow need even be struck. When we discovered their master, Erastil’s direction was clear once again, and again I cast forward his power. And in so doing, I knew that what I was doing was both needed and right. There was no doubt, no second guessing, no fear. This was what I was meant to do.
I think my brother knows the lesson of righteousness far better than I ever could, for he has lived it every moment of his life, ever since he dedicated his sword to Iomadae. When he fights, I can feel the power of his god working through him, and I can see the way her strength drives him to and past the impossible. In a recent battle, I saw him charge a werewolf with a valorous battlecry. When his blade struck home, the loathsome beast all but split in two beneath it.
I must admit that there have been times in the last few months when my confidence in my own righteousness has been tested. There were times I doubted my choices and those of my fellows. Such things I believe are natural, for wisdom without introspection is no wisdom at all. But I believe it is important not to let our doubts cloud our understanding of the underlying truths that give our lives purpose. There are things in this world that can not be doubted, things that are right and true and forever eternal. These are the values out which righteousness is born. They are why we strive, why we fight, and why we live.