Curse of the Crimson Throne
The Memory of Gregorie Dalka
We have had trying times, Korvosa. Times that will be remembered in infamy and which gave us the names and the faces of some of the great villains ever to be made immortal in lore. We have also had heroes, people who rose to the occasion and resisted and battled the threats before us, and which will also be remembered by our history. And then there are those who would be unsung, who had not the capacity to rise to battle directly, but who fought on whatever front they could find. And we believe they should be remembered as well. That is why today, as the Royal Census continues to force people to part with their blood without an explanation that can't be deconstructed, we want to point out one such unsung heroes. His name was Gregorie Dalka. He was 21 years old when he passed away on Wealday last.
Gregorie Dalka was an acolyte of the Temple of Sarenrae. He was an only child, yet unmarried, and lived with his parents. Other than his parents, Gregorie had an aunt on his mother's side and a female cousin about as old as himself, already married. His father is retired, but for years he served the City as a carpenter. His mother and aunt are very active in the Temple of Sarenrae as volunteers. His cousin had recently been admitted to a seamstress' shop and her husband used to work on the loading docks, before naval commerce dwindled so much he, like many, got laid off. Because of this, they all lived in the same house in Pillar Hill.
When it was confirmed that Korvosa was under a plague event, Gregorie Dalka rolled up his sleeves and set off to work. In fact, we estimate that while many of you won't remember him by name, you would likely know who he is if you were to see him. He went into temple every morning before sunrise, where he exhausted all of his blessings in aiding those who needed him. But once his blessings were spent, brother Dalka would not go home and wait for the next morning. Instead, he continued to help wherever he could. He sat by those who were dying and prayed for their salvation. He held the hands of the poor and the rich as they were ravaged by the disease. He washed sheets and cutlery, helped in the kitchen, distributed food, ran errands, mopped floors and defused arguments in the endless waiting line before the temple doors. He was often in triage, advising those who were not afflicted by blood veil to seek herbalists and admitting those who would better not go elsewhere. He took naps in temple benches in order to be rested enough to stay another hour or two past his limit. Sometimes he would not go home at all. He ate in transit from one task to another. He was tireless in his devotion to help and he battled the blood veil on every front he could find for three terrible weeks. And when the quarantine of Endrin Isle was declared, the only thing that kept him from joining efforts at Aroden's promise was the fact that his own mother had fallen ill, and he was accompanying her recovery at temple.
Remember well this name, Korvosa. Gregorie Dalka was the reason why we urge you to trust your men and women of faith even through their shortcomings. If they failed you, it was not for lack of a will to help or incompetence. It was because they were stretched too thinly and too much was demanded of them. Brother Dalka is not an isolated case, and the Temple of Sarenrae was not the only one to face this situation. Like Dalka, many of our clerics gave all they had to fight the disease. Sometimes, it was just not enough.
But the plague abated, and brother Dalka continued his extra effort well into the month of Erastus. He would fill up his bags to the brim with samples of the cure and walk the City, looking for those who needed it. He believed it was not enough to announce the cure would be made available to all. In fact, much like us here at the Clarion, he believed several members of our community would not come to a cleric or a physician after what happened, and instead he went to them. He had to convince some to hear him out. He gave up on no one, and would only return once his bags were empty.
By now, you are probably all asking yourselves what became of brother Dalka, since we have already told you he passed away. So we'll tell you. Because considering all that we've shared about brother Dalka, his story needs to be told.
The Dalkas were visited on Toilday last by a contingent of Grey Maidens along with a secular physician and a bureaucrat. They knocked on the Dalkas' door in order to gather information – and blood – for the census. Now, brother Dalka had already heard about the census, of course, and he was no doubt aware that there was a blood collection happening alongside it for purposes of determining if the plague had been eradicated. Or so they told us. Preemptively, brother Dalka gathered his family in prayer and examined each of them to determine if any traces of infection remained. Particularly his mother, who had been afflicted by the disease. When he found them all to be healthy, he awaited the arrival of the census on his doorstep. And arrive they did, greeted by brother Dalka and his well visible holy symbol.
Brother Dalka invited these people into his home. He explained to them who he was. He told them what he had been doing lately and of how he was well aware of blood veil symptoms and behavior. Then he told them he had already examined his household, and that there was no need to draw blood. He swore this before the medallion around his neck and told the contingent that he meant only to expedite their work, and spare his family further grief. The immediate response was a sword pommel to brother Dalka's face. He was arrested for resisting the mandatory census. And while one of the Grey Maidens put him in manacles and dragged him out of his home, the rest bullied his family, shoving them into chairs and tugging at their clothes while a bureaucrat and a physician sheepishly waited.
Now, as a law-abiding citizen of Korvosa, brother Dalka would likely not have resisted further insistence in collecting his family's blood. If the bureaucrat and the physician had simply told him this was a mandatory process and that they were following orders, I find it very unlikely that Gregorie Dalka would not have rolled up his own sleeve. But they did not. They took his well-meaning as refusing to cooperate. Brother Dalka was dragged out of his home while his family suffered the abuse of Grey Maidens. His cousin's husband tried to stop them and demanded the presence of the Korvosan Guard, and was arrested as well.
On the following day, Gregorie's father went to Longacre building. He had gathered the family's savings, hoping to learn that by paying a fine he could set them both free. He was informed that indeed, his nephew was in custody and that by paying his fine, he could be set free. But in what concerns Gregorie, there had been complications. Gregorie had resisted arrest. He had attacked the Grey Maidens handling him. He had to be subdued. He had been taken down in self defense. He was not longer at Longacre, but at the Cathedral.
Now go back to the start of this number, and read again what Gregorie's friends, family, patients and acquaintances have reported about him. Does it sound to you, Korvosa, like someone who would attack a member of the Grey Maidens, or anyone at all? Does it sound to you like someone who would so fiercely resist arrest that he had to be murdered in self defense?
We didn't think so either.