shade’s tale

Saint shade is the patron saint of conspiracy and paranoia. Other sources also list him as the Patron Saint of Useless Information.  Although (public) Church documentation is suspiciously silent about him, this is to be expected and only speaks further to his influence in events out of immediate sight. Private records and histories do have references to him, offering numerous clues as to who he really was. Perhaps the best testimony comes from the anonymous Albigensian manifesto, Lies of the Saints. A badly chipped mosaic behind the alter of the (Byzantine) Mary Magdalene Convent on Lesbos purports to be of him, though it is unclear whether the dark circles over the eyes are deterioration damage or attempts to replicate sunglasses. Likewise, the Cicilian Basilica of St. Unctuous alleges to have two stained glass discs wired together (sunglasses?) supposedly belonging to shade, though this is believed to be a chronologically large anachronism. It must be remembered that the same place also claims to have the circumcised foreskin of Baby Jesus, which recent testing showed to be seven inches long and made of latex.

shade is generally accepted to be the Hatchet Man for Pope (St.) Martin I (who died under duress in a Byzantine prison cell) and his successors, the illegally elected (St.) Eugene I and (St.) Vitalian. Although there is no evidence of shade actually employing a hatchet, his preferred weapon seems to have been a poison pen. Numerous epistles have been uncovered, all bearing the same handwriting and caustic wit. They are some of the best examples of sarcasm, dramatic irony, and double entendre to be found in the Dark Ages. Perhaps most important is Vatican Fragment E23, which is incomplete but would seem to be a recipe for barbecue sauce (a tell-tale ingredient was “lemon curry.”)

All evidence suggests shade played both sides of the contemporary Roman/Byzantine schism. There is extensive evidence of shade’s participation in the failed plot by Martin I and the traitorous Greek exarch Olympus to overthrow Emperor Constans II, though shade’s role and motive is obscure. The exact machinations behind the Byzantine kidnapping of the bedridden Martin I have never been discerned in full, though most scholars suspect some form of traitorous aid from Roman faction(s), which all but names shade. It is well-known that Constans II openly announced that as soon as he had dealt with the infidel upstarts attacking his kingdom (a new heathen calling themselves “Moslems”) he would kidnap and probably kill Eugene I so as to put his own Bishop on the Throne of Rome to end the schism. Most mysterious—and convenient—was the sudden death of Eugene I, and as always shade has no alibi for that fateful night of June 2, 657.

The main theological debate at the time was how many wills Jesus had. The subject is complex and confusing, and is worth some research because it involves lots of lateral thinking and raises some interesting questions/dilemmas. Short version of the quandary: did Jesus have 1 (divine) will, or 2 wills (human and divine)? Catholics, who believed the latter, branded the former a heresy (Gk.: choice) called “monothelitism.” shade’s handiwork can best be seen in a compromising joint encyclical between Martin I and Patrarch Peter: Jesus possessed one will as a human, but his dual Divine nature (Individual and Hypostatic [part of the Trinity]) each had one will. This meant that Jesus actually had 3 wills—new theological territory indeed! This could only be shade having a logic/linguistic joke. When Martin I read the compromise to the assembled crowd of clergy at the Church of Mary Major, they were so offended and outraged that they rioted and shouted the Pope down from the pulpit, preventing him from completing Mass until he promised to renounce the new doctrine. shade was surely laughing instead.

All evidence indicates that shade spelled his name deliberately in lower case, a practice I have chosen to emulate. Anyway, and unfortunately, this grammatical practice ultimately led to his untimely demise. It was apparently his opinion that the only name worthy of capitalization was “God”, which raised the ire of his pompous patron, Vitalian. Despite being subjected to the dreaded tortures of The Comfey Chair, The Soft Pillows, and The Refrigerator Rack, he refused to recant. He was even forced to eat his own words, and nearly died from parchment poisoning and ink infection. shade met his end on April 19, 666 when his solitary confinement cell spontaneously combusted. No records remain of how the fire started.

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