A boy joins a monastery at a very young age in Branded Faith by Nick Wisseman. He questions the faith held by others at the monastery but is assured that if he studies and has faith, he will possess a power that might save the world. The boy’s power first manifested itself as he survived a fall from a tree that should have killed him. Brother Monks noticed a glow that emanated from a brand or mark on the boy, one that seemed to appear when there was a threat or danger to him.
As the boy grows, there comes a self-awareness that the power might not be only for good. The now-grown Monk comes to fear his powers and eventually, against the advice of Brother Gable, the new Monk decides to withdraw from all contact with the world so that his power might not inadvertently damage or kill others.
But there is a conflict in the land between the Jonderins and the Jenowades. The Monk was raised by Jonderins. In his travels with the aim of being a recluse, he has run into problems which caused The Monk to have to defend himself. He defended himself vigorously. Although we do not know the Monk’s name, opponents have called him the Jonderin Demon.
As we meet the Monk (whose name we do not know), he is having more than a few drinks while trying to remain inconspicuous. An abundance of alcohol allows the Monk to retain control over his powers.
A lovely woman and daughter stop by to thank the Monk for a kindness in saving the girl’s life. The inquisitive small girl gives him a small, smoothly-worn stone. Then the games begin.
The fun in this story is the different registers of language used. There is an ending that may surprise readers but be careful to read to the end of the story. A surprise ending should be unexpected. There is such an ending that reflects on the entire story. I will read more of Nick Wisseman’s work. I gave this short story a four-star Amazon rating.