Saints in Chains

AZ 1427 - Spring
Castle Zephyr, Hesperia, Zephyr

Gamaliel, the Bishop of Kairos, was kneeling in prayer. The filthy rag of a tunic he wore was stained from the bleeding ulcers on his knees. He ignored the pain, though. Such was his devotion.
How many were the martyrs who rotted away in the prisons of ungodly tyrants? They would have their reward in the hereafter and so would he. The Apostate King may have thought he was punishing Gamaliel, but instead he was crowning the imprisoned Bishop with great honor. Truly evil could be twisted into a mighty tool for the good.
Sedition, that accursed apostate called it. Can the godly bow their heads to the godless? Can the shepherd allow his sheep to be led to their doom by the wolf?
Gamaliel had grown gaunt and haggard during the two and a half years of his captivity. He would go on hunger strikes at every opportunity, until court physicians would come in to force feed him. The apostate wanted him alive, but Gamaliel had no intention of making it easy for him.
His prayers were interrupted by the sound of a lock clicking. He opened his eyes to watch the door to his cell slowly creak open. What was it this time?
The jailer stepped in, followed by the familiar but unwelcome sight of Ieremias, the Bishop of Hesperia. A so-called 'reformer', Ieremias was close to the Apostate King and would deny the inexorable truths of the Church for the sake of harmony with the corrupt world. He was a disgrace and he would one day reap the bitter harvest of damnation from the seeds he had sown.
Something was different about him, though. It was not the vestments of a bishop he wore, but that of the Archbishop.
"It cannot be..." Gamaliel muttered under his breath.
"Archbishop Mikaelos has fallen asleep," Ieremias said. "I have been elected to succeed him."
"I have reconciled the Church with the King," the new Archbishop continued. "We will be restored as the religion of the state and you and your followers will be released from prison and restored to your former rank. In exchange, you must never again incite the faithful to rise up against the throne."
"You would ask me to shun God's ways and bow down to the godless?" Gamaliel asked.
"We are called to submit to our earthly masters as their rule is by God's ordination," Ieremias replied. "If our rulers are not godly men, it is because we are ungodly. If they are cruel, it is because we are cruel. If they are foolish, it is because we are foolish.
"You also must not preach against the Jebusites. The dispensation to cleanse the land of the heathen has passed. Now we must win them over through our words. We must preach our Evangel of Light with charity, gentle and meek as a lamb, not roaring as the ravening lion. Can you be a lamb for the sake of the Church, Gamaliel?"
Gamaliel was not a lamb, He was a shepherd. However, he recalled the Lucifer's words about being clever as serpents. He could tell this false brother what he wanted to hear and would be returned to his bishopric. His flock needed him and he could bide his time until the Church's enemies were exposed and vulnerable.
Lifting up his head, Gamaliel looked up to Archbishop Ieremias and replied, "I can, Your Holiness."