While some may seem convinced more than others neither commoner nor king knows what if anything awaits in the void, but the king was a pragmatic man and after thinking about some of the more blood-soaked and debauched times in his life decided in one of his more lucid moments to summon Cardinal Henry.
The Cardinal had heard about the king declining health and was expecting the summons sooner or later. Henry brought with him a bible, a golden cross the king could grasp in his hand when he saw the white light beacon, and a ledger.
Henry’s arrival was heralded by the ominous flickering of the candles lighting the King’s chamber. The Cardinal was first greeted by the queen. Ulterech’s second wife was thirty years younger than the king and only five years older than the king’s youngest daughter.
“Thank you for coming Cardinal,” said the teary-eyed queen as she kissed his hand.
“Of course,” replied Henry gallantly. “The sovereign is the first soul of my flock as well as the kingdom’s.”
“Louise,” whispered the king from this bed.
The queen turned her attention back to her dying husband. “Yes? What is it, my sweet husband?”
“Leave the Cardinal and me alone,” he ordered.
The queen took her leave and left her husband alone to unburden his soul.
“I don’t have a lot of time,” explained the king. “I just need to know what I owe.”
“I’ll be able to assess that after your confession,” replied Henry.
“If that’s protocol,” groaned the king.
“Seeing as how I can’t recount all the marital indiscretions I’ve decided to just leave 100 pounds to cover the whole lot of the whore and mistresses,” Ulterecht said.
“That will do just fine Sire,” Henry said in an understanding tone.
The Cardinal listened intently as the dying king confessed his greatest transgressions that covered the entire spectrum from infidelity to theft, and murder. When Ulterech finally finished the Cardinal calmly wrote a figure down on his ledger and showed it to the King.
“That much?” Was the king’s startled reply.
“Your reward in heaven will be far greater than anything you could ever trade for gold and silver the Cardinal assured him.
Ulterecht looked over his spiritual bill. It was a list of monasteries with suggested donation amounts.
“Why do you want me to leave that much to the order of Saint Anthony?” Ulterecht asked.
“Well, your men did hang that monk. It would be frightfully embarrassing if you saw him in heaven with that burden on your soul.” Henry explained.
“If heaven is a place where a king has to concern himself with the feelings of a monk I wonder if it really is all that good a place. But I suppose you’re right,” Ulterecht groaned. “I’ll make the necessary arrangements.”
“You are as charitable as ruler as you are wise a ruler,” Henry said.
“I hope God is as happy with the silver as you are,” the king muttered.
“Be honest with your king. After everything I confessed do you believe my chances of avoiding damnation are fair?” Ulterecht asked with a look of concern.
“God forgives all when one makes the proper repentance,” The Cardinal assured his king. With that Ulterecht went to his eternity hoping either his money bought the Almighty's forgiveness or that there would be no one to answer to.