A change of heart?

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A change of heart?

Postby ilanian » Mon Apr 02, 2007 12:58 pm

The first rays of dawn struck the temple as a low, resounding note rang through the halls, calling the faithful to morning services. Hastily slipping on a loose robe, the only clothing permitted to him inside the temple walls, he hurried along, joining with the men sent here to study as they made their way to the chapel.

The service was nothing beyond any of the other 39 he had attended during his stay, and yet...something was different. At the high point of the ceremony, he was overcome with emotion and could stand no longer. Falling to his knees, he closed his eyes as he clasped his hands together, struggling to make sense of what had happened to him. Lost in the past, he recounted his recent days here in the temple before being taken back to the ordeal he had suffered.

For the first time in years, he was no longer a captive of those thoughts, no longer a prisoner suffering torture after torture. Instead, he seemed to be watching it all from a position nearby. When the ten days of unspeakable agony had gone by, seemingly in the blink of an eye, he drew closer to the image of himself nailed to the wooden wheel, lying on a bed of salt, broken, beaten and covered in gore. Reaching out with a gauntleted hand he heard words faintly spoken in a strong voice, Be strong, my child.

As the image faded, he found himself locked in memories of the years he had spent at The House Invincible, learning discipline, and the doctrine of Helm. He felt again the presence of his god beside him, supporting and guiding him through the trials and tribulations that a young man must face as he grows.

At long last, the memories faded, leaving him back in the present. Looking up, he found himself alone in the chapel, still kneeling. Lowering his head, he muttered, "Lord Helm, can you ever forgive me for believing that you had abandoned me? C-can you find it in yourself to accept this wayward son back into your graces?"

As he knelt there, praying to the god he had abandoned, he thought he heard that same, strong voice, whispering in his ear, There is nothing to forgive. In your heart, you never left my side.

Closing his eyes, tears streaming down his face, Orlan began to pray to the god he had once again found.

--------

Shortly after the ceremony ended, a contingent of Rods approaced The House Invincible, their orders to collect Orlan and bring him back before the Magistrate, so that it could be determined if his time in the temple had properly chastised him for his actions.

When they approached the gates, a senior priest stopped them, bearing a scroll sealed by the Vigilant Master. "Give this to the Magistrate. His presence has been requested." The Rods, not wanting to argue with the priest, returned to the Watchhouse and delivered the message. The Magistrate, after reading the scroll, hurriedly grabbed his cloak without a word and practically ran to the temple.

The Vigilant Master led him to the door of the chapel, showing the Magistrate Orlan's praying form. The Magistrate simply nodded, handed the Vigilant Master Orlan's release papers and walked out of the temple, a smile upon his face.

--------

An hour later, Orlan returned to his small room, to find the papers left by the Magistrate sitting on top of his clothes, his weapons neatly stacked nearby. After reading the papers and getting dressed, he found a short note, resting on top of a small wooden box. Opening the note, his eyes widening as he read.

Vigilant Master wrote:Your time here is finished. While you are welcome to return at any time, it is thought that your time best be spent doing that which The Watcher asks of all of us. Protect those in need, especially those you care about. I offer you my council whenever it is needed, and a small token to remind you of the path that you have been chosen to follow.


Carefully refolding the note, Orlan slowly opened the box. Inside was a silver war gauntlet with a staring eye in the palm, attached to a silver chain. Sitting on the bed, Orlan stared at the symbol of Helm for a long while, finally taking it out of the box and placing it around his neck. A slight smile on his face, he collected his other belongings as he prepared to leave the temple.

Reaching for his gloves, he hesitated, looking down at his bare hands, and the quarter-inch holes through his palms. Standing up straight and taking a deep breath, he turned and walked out of the room, leaving the gloves on the bed.
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