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Chapter 3-16

Page history last edited by Anonymoose 10 years, 6 months ago

Through stained glass murals, sunlight shone through each pane of painstakingly sculpted glass. Each told a story from long ago; of heroes and saints from centuries gone by, fighting monsters, evil beings and rogue gods and of saints showing moments of great sacrifice, compassion and miracles. Within the hallowed stones a chant from brown robed monks set a peaceful and solemn air. Ancient dust filtered through the air and colored sunbeams peacefully cascaded over the endless rows of pews. They sat empty now, but in the congregation there was a lone figure and an escort. Draped in brown robes, the figure floated down the nave, past the monks chanting in meditation. Following behind a clank of steel from knight hidden away behind thick armor.

 

The monks paid the two no heed and the two paid no attention to the monks. They passed through unhindered past the alter and the sanctuary and through another massive pair of doors. Beyond this door there was hardly any light as there were no windows. Only cold stone unlike the polished and decorated ones in the church behind them. The knight grabbed hold of a torch from the wall and the two disappeared down a spiral staircase of stone.

 

Far beneath the church, the spiral staircase led to the door of another chamber. Beyond it the simple stone was banished yet again, an opulent antechamber of marble led into a huge circle of a room with a dome ceiling high above. The room was still dark, only illuminated by the knight's torch. High above and all around there were elaborate murals painted in fresco depicting scenes you'd expect to find in holy scripture. Among them were intricate lines painted in gold that were woven between them.

 

The robed man stepped forward, out of the touch light and onto an elevated and flat marble circle on the ground. When he stepped upon and then knelt down, a click echoed inside the chamber and the circle sunk down until it matched the level of the floor. A gust of wind appeared from nowhere and blew out the light of the torch, but that light was soon replaced when the gold lines crisscrossing the room started limiting their own light. It was dull, but eventually the whole room was buzzing with energy and divine light.

 

One by one a small orb of light began collecting in the air. They formed a semicircle in front of the kneeling man and those orbs of light soon expanded and transformed into black rectangular slabs of stone, twice the size of any man. They were not real, they were only made of light, but they appeared solid as any object. One by one they appeared until there were nine and on each one a large symbol of radiant gold coloured light. Each one was numbered one through nine. Pulsating around that number were a series of other runes, a divine incantation given form that was woven onto the surface, front and back, of each slab.

 

     “You have arrived at last,” Said the fifth stone.

 

     “We feared we would need to send another,” Said the third.

 

     “Your holiness,” Said the kneeling man. “I bring dire news.”

 

     “We feared you would,” Said the fifth. “The north is a stubborn and unforgiving land.”

 

     “One that must be shown the light of The Almighty before it is too late.” Said the sixth.

 

The voice from each stone sounded distinct, but each one like an old man's nonetheless.

 

     “Your choice of word leads me to believe that you have failed.” Said the first. “Is that true? Inquisitor Zerin?”

 

     The hooded figure raised his head, “Yes. But not in vain. I encountered a new threat that has revealed itself. Only a man, but a man immune to holy water blessed under The Almighty himself!”

 

The slabs went silent. It was an ominous silence.

 

     “Are you questioning the all knowing and all powerful Almighty, Inquisitor Zerin?” Said the second, its voice dripping with venom.

 

     “No, your holiness. He is only a man, but that the Almighty cannot touch him. I tried to stop him, but failed...”

 

     “Only a man, but you could not dispatch him?” Asked the first skeptically.

 

     “He is allied with the Thorn Knight. More than allies, I know they consort with each other most foully, but still the Almighty could not smite him!”

 

     “The Thorn Knight?” Gasped the third in disbelief.

 

     “I had heard she was hiding in the north.” Said the sixth.

 

     “Not only then,” continued Zerin. “He resurrected an evil from an age long gone by. Foul magics born from false gods. In the desert of the North they crossed and with foul magics kept their lives.”

 

     “Continue Zerin.” Commanded the First.

 

     “I was defeated. Alice was slain when she failed to defeat the beast. The man who calls himself Laven took the blow instead. The spear of Saint Alicus, directly to the chest. He did not die.”

 

     “Impossible!” Shouted the eight. “You anger me with your lies, Zerin!”

 

     “Silence!” Shouted the first. “Zerin, continue.”

 

     “I was left for dead buried beneath the earth in those Almighty cursed ruins. My servants managed to dig me out and save my life, but so too Laven was long gone. I have heard he passed through Vilmheim and Domdracveria since then and while my life was held but a thread from heaven.”

 

     “Vilmheim has destablized. Our efforts to make inroads in tatters.” Spoke the third.

 

     “Domdracveria... Prince Deron, the royal scion we thought we could negotiate with has perished.” said the ninth.

 

     “Replaced by his sister, a dragon who had hid in human form. A disgusting affront to the Almighty.” Spat the second.

 

     “Do you not see?” Pleaded Zerin. “That all of this happens when Laven journeys by? Only a man, but a blight. I do not know how or why, but neither can the Almighty harm him!”

 

     “Perhaps the Almighty does not wish to.” Spoke the seventh at last, a woman's voice.

 

     “What do you mean?” asked the first.

 

     “Perhaps this Laven you speak of is a punishment from the Almighty? There has been a ceasefire with the Demon Lord too long. We have grown complacent since the incursion of demon realms came nearly to a stop decades ago. The monstrosities that follow this man and the calamity he brings upon our efforts are but a sign.”

 

     “Yes, your holiness!” Zerin shouted excitedly. “If you would grant me your blessings and support, I will leave for the north again and intercept him. This time I will be prepared to put an end to him!”

 

     “Zerin... Remove your hood.” Bid the first.

 

     “Y-your holiness?” Zerin stuttered. Shaken.

 

     “Remove. Your. Hood.”

 

Zerin hesitated, but with one arm removed the hood, slowly. There was an eye-patch over his left eye. Running diagonally from his forehead to his chin, there was a scar.

 

     “As I suspected.” Said the first. “Not only are you still injured, you are blinded with rage and desire for revenge. Do you think we are just a tool to be abused for your own ends?”

 

     “N-no! Your holiness, I would never-”

 

     “Your arm as well. It is broken still. Do not try to deceive us. If what you tell us is true, then we must deal with it at once.”

 

     “My servants and I are more than-”

 

     “Zerin. We have no time or desire to debate!” Yelled the first, causing Zerin to cower. “Do you realize just how close the Empire and all the realms of the faithful are to collapse at any given time? Do you comprehend the number of threats to our order, the world's order and humanity’s continued existence there are? Every day souls are lost to the abyss. Tempted by lust. Corrupted with pleasure, promises of wealth, false happiness, false love and false fulfilment. Do you understand how close villages, towns, cities and even entire kingdoms are to turning into demon realms within a fortnight if we are ever not forever vigilant? This is not the threat our ancestors faced. Few and far between are the hordes of ferocious beasts spoiling for war. Eager to slaughter mankind and feast upon his flesh. It is an insidious threat from the inside we face now.”

 

     “Yes, your holiness. I understand,” Zerin responded meekly.

 

     “Not long ago, on the eastern islands, a pretender shogun thought to storm our missionary port of Yagasaki. Together with his army and his Demon Fox mistress, he thought to have the other lords bow to him and end their civil war. We have dealt with both. Permanently. And we hear this good news from the one who did it.”

 

From the shadows in the far side of the room, a small lithe figured materialized. It was draped mysteriously underneath long and thick brown robes. Zerin's good eye shot open in surprise, even the knight behind him was taken aback. Neither had felt that person's presence. There wasn't any exit but the entrance, had that figure been there from the beginning? Maybe it had somehow snuck in after?

 

     “The Green Reaper,” the first said deliberately.

 

     “The Green... Reaper...” Repeated Zerin with his mouth now agape.

 

     “We will deal with our blight and cleanse away our sins. Most assuredly.”

 

     “Your holiness, please. I beg of you. For all my years of service. For all the heretics I have brought to light and justice. Allow me deal with-”

 

Zerin didn't manage to get another word in. Standing behind him and to his left, the figure had materialized almost as if out of thin air. His knight noticed too late, and wrapped a hand around its sword, but there was no chance. With the sound of ripping fabric and a ringing sound like a sword cutting through the air, a green blade emerged from the figures right sleeve. It wasn't made of steel, it was chitinous, like an insect and in a flash, father than the eye could follow, the edge was up against Zerin's throat. The blade a little longer than a meter was attached to the figure's arm at the top of the wrist. A wrist attached to delicate and slender human fingers, clothed in dark green gloves. Rather, it was part of a skintight body suit connected to the rest of the body. At the base of the blade, at the wrist, was something like half a vambrace made of the same chitinous material.

 

     The figure spoke with a femininely soft, hollow and empty voice, “Your injury is not perseverance. It is weakness.”

 

     “That is quite enough.” Commanded the third.

 

     “As you wish, your holiness.” The girl with the arm blade dryly said.

 

With a snap and a steely ring the blade folded back on the hinge at the wrist, resting on the girl's slender forearm. The torn sleeve of her robe flapping before settling down and hiding her away again. Zerin fell from his kneeling stance and onto all fours where he started coughing violently.

 

     “Rest now, Zerin. This, 'Laven', will be dealt with. We will send for you again when your arm is healed and your health has returned.” Commanded the first.

 

One by one the slabs turned from black to white and then disintegrated into a million points of light which floated toward the floor where they disappeared. Zerin was still coughing. When he reached up with his good hand, it came back lightly covered in blood and he snarled.

 

     “Sir Zerin?” The knight said, a womanly voice echoing behind the steel.

 

She sounded worried as she knelt down at his side to help him back up. He pushed her arm aside and stood up on his own, throwing a glance where the Green Reaper had been before, only to see she had vanished. He quickly looked over the entire room, but even though it was better lit than before the meeting, she was nowhere to be found. Even the door leading outside had not been disturbed. He stomped on the floor, grit his teeth and cursed under his breath.

 

     “Revenge will be mine. I wont hand it over to anyone else.” He traced his hand over his scar and held the palm of his hand over the eye-patch. “Just you wait... Laven.”

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