Peace

Peace

Status: Finished

Genre: Fantasy

Details

Status: Finished

Genre: Fantasy

Summary

Ten years on from the Shadow Wars peace has seen Severine thrive under the continued leadership of King Titus. Alexander Tor’al has vanished into the footnotes of history while Nathan Drison has retired to the quiet life. For Brent T’elc, Chosen of Heironeous, life has also changed. No longer adventuring beyond the next horizon he has finally found peace in one location. Commander of an army and beloved leader in Land of Zealots he continues to walk the difficult path of Chosen. Yet Brent knows all to well how fickle finding peace can be. I have used the D&D religion of Heironeous and have done so only out of deep and abiding respect and love for it. I have written added my own analects and personality, but have tried to keep as honestly to some materials found in the D&D world as I can. This is, for legal purposes, a fanfiction under the Open Games Licence.

Summary

Ten years on from the Shadow Wars peace has seen Severine thrive under the continued leadership of King Titus. Alexander Tor’al has vanished into the footnotes of history while Nathan Drison has retired to the quiet life.

For Brent T’elc, Chosen of Heironeous, life has also changed. No longer adventuring beyond the next horizon he has finally found peace in one location. Commander of an army and beloved leader in Land of Zealots he continues to walk the difficult path of Chosen. Yet Brent knows all to well how fickle finding peace can be.


I have used the D&D religion of Heironeous and have done so only out of deep and abiding respect and love for it. I have written added my own analects and personality, but have tried to keep as honestly to some materials found in the D&D world as I can. This is, for legal purposes, a fanfiction under the Open Games Licence.

Chapter3 (v.1) - Chapter Three

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: October 22, 2016

Reads: 156

Comments: 1

A A A | A A A

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: October 22, 2016

A A A

A A A

CHAPTER THREE

 

Riding over the ridge at midday the adventurers got their first sight of home. Beyond the farmlands, with their flocks of sheep and herds of cattle, was a colourful thriving town. The hum of trade and conversation carried across the plain to where they rode. “From this corner to the edge of the Diamond Lake in the east is my abode,” commentated Brent quietly. A small proud smile crossed his lips as he surveyed his kingdom. “When first I was given this land it was made up of swamps and marshes, rocky hills and poisoned waters. Only zealots and foolish men would live here they told me.”

 

“What happened?” asked Patrick looking around at the short yellow grass. Dominic grinned and replied, “He got help from all over Severine. Can you imagine it? The Chosen, the great hero of the Shadow Wars, approaching kings, dragons and common men for aid. Very few refused.” Brent smiled warmly at the memory.

“Oh aye I remember it well. When King Titus gave this patch of land to me I was at a loss of what to do until I learnt how poor the land truly was. I’ve always liked gardening yet I knew I could not do it alone. I found people who leeched the land of bad water and others that donated seeds. For those that had offered me rewards of gold and jewels I requested their value in ploughs and housing supplies, the service of men skilled at construction.” The party gazed over the landscape with new appreciation. “Five years it took,” mused Brent at loud. “Five years and not a moment of it wasted. This land, these people, are a part of me now and I am proud to have a home.”

 

Patrick lifted himself in the saddle and peered into the distance. “What’re those big grey things in the distance?”

“The one to the right is the temple to Heironeous,” Sam answered drawing his horse alongside Dominic’s. Pointing to Brent he said, “He paid for that one himself- designed and built part of it too. Got some dwarves he did, ‘though none of us can work out how.”

“What about the other one?” pressed Patrick tilting his head to the side.

“Home,” announced Brent, his voice steady and designed to carry. With a shout he flicked the reins and sent Aurik’s hooves flying down the road to Stance Keep.

 

 

Reining in their horses at the edge of town they trotted to the stables. Whilst many paladins had astral mounts they had an active stable for messengers, new recruits, clerics and those that were unfortunate enough to loose their faithful mounts in combat. Patrick’s green eyes widened as one by one the paladins’ farewelled their horses and they returned to the astral plane. All except Sam and the Chosen. Bending his head he listened carefully to the running commentary that Sam was providing, knowing that he would have to learn quickly if he was to fit in to his new surroundings.

 

Having finished brushing down his horse Brent walked over to the two of them. “Sam’ll show you your quarters then, if he can make the time, he will take you on a tour of the Keep.” Patrick tried to hide the disappointment from his face. “But shouldn’t I learn where you walk if I am to be your servant?” he pointed out. Brent and Sam shared a look. “Determined isn’t he? You may just loose your bet to Jason after all, Chosen,” teased the cleric but Brent ignored him.

“I have a report to write on the githyanki,” he explained curtly.

“Bah! I’ll do it Brent. Go have some fun,” encouraged Sam with a smile. Loathing the thought of another report the paladin was sorely tempted. Sensing his chance Patrick stepped behind Brent and began pushing him out the stable door. “Thanks Sam!” he called back. “Come on, Chosen. Time to show me the grand tour!”

 

 

Through every nook and cranny to each hidden corner of the Keep Patrick’s master led him. From the storerooms in the basement to observing the sunset on a quiet rooftop where they walked Patrick could barely get a word in edge-wise. That didn’t stop him from brushing his fingers over the paladin’s arm or holding his hand for more time than necessary when climbing the rampart’s steep ladder. It was clear to him how much his new employer treasured his home. Staring out over the landscape to the north he leant against the wall and admired the paladin. The wind caught in the Chosen’s black hair and he watched as he brushed it out of his eyes with long slender fingers. Leaning on the wall between the turrets Brent smiled and pointed to a large single story building beside the church. “So that’s the school you set up, eh?” commented Patrick squeezing in beside him. He grinned at the paladin, his eyebrows rising as the side of their hips and legs brushed one another’s.

 

Trying to control the heat that rose to his cheeks Brent nodded and disentangled himself from the young man. “You need to stop doing that, Patrick,” he admonished quietly. “Doing what?” grinned Patrick angling his backside towards his companion. “That’s what you brought me up here for, isn’t it? A deserted place with no one to bother us?”  He shook his backside playfully and laughed. “Don’t you like my arse?” he flirted looking back over his shoulder and spanking it once with his hand.

 

Brent’s blue eyes turned icy. “What I like or dislike is none of your business,” he retorted harshly. “Ooo,” back-peddled Patrick pulling a face, “you’re not celibate are you? You’re certainly not into girls - I’ve seen you check out my junk too many times for it to be coincidence.” Brent’s hands rounded into fists as his whole body tensed.

“I said drop it!” he demanded harshly. Loosing his light-hearted attitude Patrick’s brow creased with concern. “I apologise. I didn’t mean to upset you, but what’s wrong? You weren’t this upset with my flirting back in Neusbay.”

“It’s-” Brent covered his mouth with his hand then thought better of it. Meeting his eyes he admitted softly, “Irregardless of my reputation, I’m not into casual affairs.” Shaking himself he cleared his throat loudly. “I’d better introduce you to Cleric Aamin. He’ll get you settled into some quarters for the night.

 

 

 

Unwilling to attend dinner that night Brent locked himself inside his chambers and luxuriated in a private bath. Laying back in the lavender scented hot water he once more thanked Roselyn for her frivolous gift. After all, he already had one of the few private working bathrooms in the Keep.

 

“Go on,” she had demanded in her motherly tone. “I had it especially ordered. The least you can do is try it out.” Shaking his head but unable to hide the grin from his features he’d agreed to try it -just once.

 

He chuckled. She didn’t need to know this had become a weekly treat, a guilty pleasure for him. However he did make a mental note to gather some flowers for her from the garden next time he went to visit her.

 

Rinsing his hair he thought he heard a knock at his door. Ignoring it he dunked his head under the water and continued to lather his body with soap until someone knocked again. Groaning he grabbed a nearby towel and wrapped it around his waist. Growling with annoyance he opened the door and came face to face with a very flustered cleric. “Aamin,” he greeted curtly water pooling at his feet. “I hope this is important.” The middle-aged man wrung his hands together and stuttered,

“Well Chosen, it seems that, ah-”

“-You’ve got a bunk mate!” chirped a cheery voice. Looking beyond the anxious cleric Brent’s face fell when he caught sight of the happy young man. “Yes sir! You’ve got me all to yourself day and night!”

 

As Brent was bundled aside Patrick made his way into his chambers carrying his bag and several bed linens. Brent looked to Aamin and growled, “No other room eh?” The cleric glanced nervously about searching for a way out. “Um, no Sir. Not really. The girl you sent, the pregnant one, well she, uh, and he is to be your servant,” he stuttered. Brent softly thudded the wooden door with his head. “She took the last room, didn’t she?” Sighing he looked around at the man who was now wandering around his sanctuary remarking on the various small items he owned. “Typical. Do a good deed and what does it get you?” he muttered darkly. “Thank you, Cleric Aamin,” he dismissed banging the door in his face. He could hear the cleric’s quick escape down the corridor and wondered briefly if he could do the same.

 

That thought was quickly dispelled when Patrick’s eyes alighted on a plain wooden box situated by his bed. “Don’t touch that!” Brent barked, launching himself across the room and snatching the small chest from Patrick’s hands. Clutching it protectively to his chest he hissed in anger. “Keep your hands off my possessions!” Panting he looked down and carefully checked over the item for any damage. Finding none he gently replaced it. “You have no idea how precious that is,” he accused, his voice hoarse with emotion. “Look I’m sorry,” apologised Patrick. “I only wanted to see it.” Meeting his eyes darkly Brent snarled, “Didn’t you say you grew up with a wizard? Surely he taught you not to touch things that don’t belong to you.” Sheepishly Patrick raised his shoulders and confessed, “That’s one of the reasons I left home.”

“Got kicked out more likely,” muttered Brent. Sighing he sat on the edge of his bed, ignoring the wetness of his towel, and rested his forehead in his hands. “What am I to do with you?”

 

Sensing a repeat of the past Patrick quickly knelt in front of him. Keeping his hands to himself he caught his eyes and held them. “Brent, it’s been a long day. You’ve made it clear you don’t want a casual fling with me and that my presence makes you uncomfortable. I know you detest the thought of sharing your room. Let me start afresh with you tomorrow. Give me one day. Let me prove to you that I can be the perfect manservant.”

“You do know that zone of truth is permanently operating in my chambers?” confirmed Brent. Patrick smiled and nodded, “Yeah I was warned.” The paladin sighed. “One day. One only mind.” Standing he stretched and went to retrieve the bedclothes Patrick had brought. “As for tonight the floor is all I can offer you for a bed,” he said handing him a pillow. Patrick glanced at the large bed then back to the rug in front of the fire. “I’ve had worse,” he muttered assembling the sheets. He glanced over his shoulder at the sound of laughter. “So have I lad,” chuckled the paladin towelling off and slipping between the covers, “so have I.”

 

 

 

Daybreak. Brent’s eyes opened and he stared up at the ceiling above him listening to the birds. The songs of whipbirds and rosellas lifted to the sky. Turning over in bed he reached out and felt his fingers graced the plain wooden box.

 

“Morning Chosen,” came a happy voice. Starling Brent sat up and found Patrick stretching by the fire. “Sleep well?” he asked, his eyes travelling over the smooth skin of his chest. “I’ve had worse, but not by much,” Patrick admitted honestly. Climbing out of his covers Patrick knelt by the fire and added some timber. “Would you like some breakfast?”

“Ah no,” replied Brent gingerly climbing from bed and retrieving his clothes. At his tone Patrick stared at him with confusion. “Sorry,” muttered Brent. “I haven’t woken up with anyone in my chambers since they were built. Do you mind?” he asked gesturing for Patrick to turn away while he dressed. He braced for a flirtatious remark but none came. Slowly he relaxed.

 

Tightening the last buckle on the Armour Brent walked to the door and paused. “I train in the mornings,” he explained then left. Patrick watched him go, fighting the urge to chuckle at his awkwardness. Pulling on his shirt and trousers he rubbed his hands together and looked around the tidy room. “Okay Patrick you’ve got one day to fix this. Let’s see if you can do it.”

 

 

Pausing in his training for a drink Brent looked up and saw a light in his room. The figure that stood by the window lifted his hand to wave. Brent chuckled and shook his head. “What is it?” asked Cadmur slinging his mace over his shoulder. Brent pointed, “I have a new servant, Patrick. He’s watching from the window up there.”

“Oh?” chuckled Cadmur. “Then let’s put on a good show for him.” Drawing Truthbringer from its sheath Brent gave him a wolfish grin. “Best of three?” he challenge and leapt into the fray.

 

 

Returning from the bathing room Brent paused before his door and steeled his nerve to enter. Instead of the chaos he was expecting, of precious items touched and his bed desecrated, he found Patrick quietly reading, the woodpile restocked, his bath drained and moved to the side. His nose twitched at the heavenly aroma. “Sausages?” he guessed incredulously. Patrick marked his page and looked up with a smile. “Yes, my lord. I asked the cook and he said they were your favourite so I cooked them in the fireplace. I didn’t think you’d mind if the smell permeated the room for awhile.” Brent grinned and closed the door behind him. “This is . . . unexpected Patrick. Thank you. Please. Join me.”

 

Pulling his work chair over to the small table Brent smiled shyly at Patrick who sat and silently ate his meal. Enjoying the quietness Brent finished his plate and walked over to a cupboard. Drawing forth a small container he crushed some leaves into a pot and set it to boil. “There will be tea soon,” he commented.

“Shall I?” asked Patrick and went to stand when Brent shook his head.

“My cupboards are private. I wouldn’t want you poisoning us by mistake, Patrick.”

 

Taking his first sip of chamomile tea Brent sighed with contentment and closed his eyes for a moment. Then a loud banging began at the door. “Brent? I know you’re in there. Brent!” came an angry voice. Letting out a slow breath Brent met Patrick’s eyes across the table. “And it begins,” he announced sadly. Rising he answered the door.

 

“Brent –honey- you’ve GOT to do something about those men!” steamed a young woman pushing her way into his room. Red cheeked and flustered, the fiery woman plonked herself down at the end of his bed and folded her arms over her chest. “I am not leaving until I know you’re going to help me. They’re trying to kick me out of my home!” Closing the door Brent went to her side and sat on the edge of the bed. “There now, Roselyn,” he murmured in a calm voice, brushing back the tendril of rippling red hair that had fallen across her face. “Take a deep breath and tell me what happened. Exactly.”

 

Roselyn leaned her cheek into his gentle hand and sighed. “Oh Brent! It was terrible,” she complained turning her head and kissing the palm of his hand tenderly. “Brazdon and his two brothers came by and said . . .  Oh. Hello.” Brent heard the change in her voice and followed her gaze to his companion. “Roselyn this is Patrick, my new manservant. Patrick this is Roselyn, the owner of the best bakery you’ll find in the Lands of Zealots.”

 

Patrick grinned and waved. “Boy you must have an impressive stick,” he joked with a wink. “Huh?” Roselyn looked back confused.

“A pretty thing like you – all fire and passion. You must beat the men off nightly to not have a ring on your finger by now,” Patrick praised grinning ear to ear.

“Patrick!” warned Brent with a glare.

“No it’s okay, Brent,” placated Roselyn, patting his shoulder. “It’s nice to hear a compliment for a change.”

“Well believe me lady, you’ve been hanging out with the wrong crowd if you haven’t heard them all by now,” grinned Patrick standing. “I’ll go take these down the kitchen,” he said gathering the plates and cooking utensils together.

 

When the door shut Roselyn turned to Brent. “He’s different.” Brent grunted and lay back on the bed, “You’re telling me.”

“Oh? I hear a story that you’re not telling me,” she observed poking the side of his ribs through the platemail. “And you’re not hearing it right now either,” he replied pulling her down beside him on the mattress. “Spill Roselyn. What’s Brazdon done this time?”

“He said he ‘acquired’ the lease to my home and wanted me out by the end of the week.” She wrung her hands and admitted, “I looked over the contract and he can legally do it if he doesn’t want to extend my lease.”

“But I own the lands and most of the houses. I thought yours was under my control?” queried Brent. Roselyn shook her head. “My shop is but my home isn’t.”

“Then why not move into your shop? They were built for the family to live above them originally.” She looked to him with pleading eyes. “Oh fine,” he relented. “I’ll see what I can do.”

 

When Patrick returned he found Brent still lying on his bed. Closing the door he chuckled, “Any other man and I’d think you just got lucky. Your lady’s skipping her way down the hall, face all lit up like it’s Newmass already.” Brent groaned and sat up. “It’s because of these sort of things I can’t wait for spring and the chance to travel.” Straightening his attire he withdrew a small coin sack from behind the mantle place and left the room.

 

Walking down the street he could hear Patrick’s footsteps close behind. Pulling up at the edge of the marketplace he warned him, “Say nothing in here, Patrick. If you must come, watch and listen only.” At Patrick’s nod he gripped his shoulder in thanks and entered the building.

 

Inside several men were engaged in the noisy trade of livestock whilst others argued over the price of shipping from Primus. Scanning the room Brent’s eyes alighted on the men in question. Sitting beneath a sign marked by a house he strolled over. “Brox,” he greeted his fellow council member. “It’s good to find you here.”

“Chosen,” Brox smiled and extended his hand in welcome. “We don’t see you in our little Trader’s Guild much. What can I do for you?”

“It seems one of my people is being forcibly evicted from her residence. I am here to rectify the situation if possible. A certain Roselyn Murth,” replied Brent, the smile on his face belying the coolness of his tone. Confused Brox looked back at the four men with him behind the counter. The tallest opened a large book and quickly found the entry. “It’s all here and above board sir,” he confirmed showing the book to the men. “She’s been told to vacate by the end of the week. Ample time sir.”

 

“Roselyn does not want to leave,” replied Brent coolly. “She has done nothing worthy of such a rapid eviction notice.”

“But she must,” countered the black haired man. “It’s in her contract and we own it.”

“You misunderstand me gentlemen. The law, unlike the rewritten contract, states that the tenant be given a month to vacate unless there are mitigating factors.” Brent placed his hands on the counter, “Are any of you in dire need of funds or a house to live in? Has she damaged the property or been arrested?” Two of them men looked at one another. “Money has been tight,” admitted the taller one. Brox frowned and folded his arms. “Cooking the books?” he questioned in a quiet drawl.

 

“Then you have a choice. Sell me the house or extend her lease,” offered Brent. Brox glanced at the paladin. “You sure you want to head down that path?” Brent nodded slowly and placed both hands on the table. Leaning forward slightly he explained quietly, “I know the market value of the house. State a fair offer and I’ll match it. But,” he fixed his eyes on the shorter man, “try and take advantage of my generous offer and I’ll refuse. Kick out your tenant and you won’t like the taxes next year.” Tension filled the air at the threat. “But Chosen, you can’t change the law,” voiced Brox uncomfortably. Blue eyes focused on him and Brent’s smile gentled slightly. “You and Clefe taught me well, Brox. I own this land outright. I am not breaking any laws by advising you of next year’s potential financial situation,” his gaze hardened when he turned back to the other men, “if my people are mistreated for capital gain.” Straightening he looked them over once more. “Gentlemen,” he acknowledged and left the building.

 

“Well that was uncomfortable,” observed Patrick dryly picking up his pace and falling into step beside Brent. “Not my finest hour I’ll admit,” the paladin replied with a grimace. “Listen. I was going to wait, to see if this worked out, but I need to get back on the road. There’s something drawing me south and I have to find out what it is.”

“When are you planning to leave, Chosen?” Patrick asked rounding a corner.

 

Unexpectedly Brent’s hand grabbed his shoulder and threw him bodily against the side of a stone house. The wind knocked out of him, Patrick gasped as Brent pressed his chest tightly against his. His green eyes widened as the run away horse came barrelling past on the narrow road, its haunches brushing Brent on its way. Several men ran helter-skelter after the equine.

 

Stepping back Brent caught Patrick’s head in his hands and scanned his face hurriedly. “You all good?” he asked in concern. Patrick nodded, his eyes still on the hoof-marked road where they had been standing. The shattered remains of an apple caught his eye. “That could have been us,” he murmured.

“Hey look at me,” ordered Brent. Patrick dragged his eyes back to the paladin’s. “You’re safe, Patrick. A little shaken but all good,” he comforted brushing the back of his hand down his cheek. A cart moved alongside them and Brent jumped. Recalling himself he hastily dropping his arms to his sides. “Tomorrow,” the Chosen murmured, his gaze travelling south. “Tomorrow.”

 

 

That night at supper Brent sat among his fellows, a quiet man surrounded by chatter and happy barter. He felt a nudge at his shoulder. “More wine, my lord?” Patrick murmured. Brent shook his head and waved him away. Taking his hip flask in hand he took a swig and re-attached it. His friends grinned and called out again, “Are you sure you won’t join us, Patrick?” Brent turned and looked at his manservant waiting for his reply. At his silent request Brent nodded and indicated the chair opposite him.

 

“You’re much quieter tonight, Patrick,” commented Jason between mouthfuls. “You lose something?” The young man gazed across at his silent master and shook his head. “I learnt to flirt and tease for tips while I worked at the inn. It seems those skills are less desirable if I want to keep my current employment.”

“Oh?” joked Jason. “I don’t think he has a problem with your flirting as long as it’s with him.” Brent looked up and glowered darkly. Grabbing another piece of chicken he said nought. “Don’t worry, Patrick,” replied Sam handing him a mug and plate. “The Chosen is normally quiet at meals.”

 

When the others returned to their conversations Patrick felt someone brush his foot. Glancing across the table he noticed Brent’s gaze. He smiled at being caught and returned to his meal. “You coming to temple services tomorrow, Patrick?” asked Sam clearing his plate. “It would be a good chance for you to learn more about our faith.”

“I’m not sure,” the young man replied looking pointedly across the table.

“Go Patrick,” Brent said without preamble. “Watch and listen well.” Something caught his attention in the corner of the room and he stood. Excusing himself from the table he walked away. “Yep,” muttered Jason leaning back in his chair. “It’s another bard again. They always capture his attention.”

 

Lifting her head from the harp the woman smiled in welcome. “Chosen,” she said clasping his hands warmly. “What story would you hear tonight?”

“One of wonder and laughter, dear Maggie,” he answered reaching into his pocket and handing her a small gift. Opening it she smiled and pulled on the new elbow supports. “You remembered,” she praised getting into position around her harp. Taking a seat on a nearby bench the Chosen smiled as several children clambered onto him. “What’s the story, Aunty Maggie?” a little girl asked from her place on Brent’s knee. “Little Tomi and the Tucker Box,” replied the bard tightening the last string and strumming the harp softly. “Now how did it start? Oh yes.”

 


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