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.

Chapter30 (v.1) - Chapter Thirty

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: November 05, 2016

Reads: 124

Comments: 1

A A A | A A A

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: November 05, 2016

A A A

A A A

CHAPTER THIRTY

 

The following day word had spread throughout the Keep about Patrick’s unfortunate lineage. While Brent had been caught in a council meeting that morning he had gone about his daily chores only to hear whispered comments and speculation about him from those whom he had known for almost a year. Several of his friends from the stables had approached him about the rumours, which he had confirmed. They’d warned him to avoid moving through the Keep alone and offered to remain with him until their duties called them away. In a group of four folk had backed off, but Patrick still felt ill at ease.

 

By lunchtime the meeting was over and Brent had met him outside the Council Chambers. Together they had walked to the mess hall in silence, Brent’s expression growing darker each time he spied a group of people whispering. “Those that work here might be followers of Heironeous, but they are no paladins,” judged Brent angrily. “This has got to stop.”

 

Upon entering they heard a call. “Chosen?” Glancing over Jason and Sam were gesturing for him to approach. Sighing Brent gripped Patrick’s shoulder. “You go ahead and get some food. I’ll be as quick as I can.” Alone once more Patrick rolled his shoulders uncomfortably and made his way to the tables of food. Loading up two plates he tensed when Damien and another paladin moved to either side of him. “Is it true?” came the terse demand from the senior paladin. Patrick glanced up at the armoured body. “Yes. I didn’t know she came from here though.”

 

Damien grunted and shared a look over his head at his companion. Patrick began to step away when a hand tightened on his elbow and stopped him. “Now listen here,” said Damien in a low voice. “I may not like what you are but if anyone gives you grief over something trivial like your parents you come to me. Got it?” Patrick nodded slowly, his face twisted in confusion. Damien’s companion spoke up from behind him. “You’re not the only one with bad parents. Mine were smugglers.” Damien’s lips curled into a snarl. “A whore and a thief,” he admitted quietly. Patrick’s eyes widened.  Looking over his shoulder he mouthed thank you before turning back to Damien. “I will. That means a lot to me.” Their piece said, the paladins let him go.

 

Patrick was making his way to his usual table when he suddenly felt something hard and heavy hit the back of his head. Dazed he fell to the ground, food going everywhere. He heard Brent shout his name. Touching the back of his head he saw blood on his fingers. Then Brent was at his side, pulling him to his feet and checking his head for damage. He heard him whisper a prayer, divine magic glowing a pale blue in Brent’s hand while healing his wound before he released him.

 

Retrieving the offending wooden plate from the floor Brent planted his feet protectively in front of Patrick and stood like an impenetrable wall against those that wished him harm. “Who threw this?” he demanded scanning the silent room. “You call yourself Heironeans - yet you would turn on another without just cause! I name you false and misguided in your belief.” Spying the culprit he pointed and crooked his finger, his eyes dangerous with violent intent. The man, one of the kitchen staff, walked across the distance and folded his hands over his chest. Patrick blanched upon recognising him. He gave Patrick a knowing look before addressing his lord. “He’s wicked, Chosen. You should have kicked him out months ago.” Brent’s eyes narrowed. “If he were I would never have taken him as my partner.” The cocky attitude of the kitchen hand increased as he held Patrick’s eyes. “Then why did he try to get me to fuck him in the kitchen when he was with you? I don’t think that’s the action of an honourable man.” Brent’s jaw tightened but he kept his composure.

 

“You think to judge someone using Analect Thirty-Six and Thirty-Eight without even knowing their true meaning?” scoffed the Chosen. “Tell me then; explain Analect Twelve if you so wish to judge.” The man refrained from speaking, off balanced from not getting the response he expected. Turning to the others in the hall the Chosen spoke in a deep voice that carried far. “Not one person here can say they have never made a mistake. A good man is one that regrets the action and makes amends, even if his indiscretion remains unknown.” He glanced at Patrick and gave a small nod before turning about to their audience.

 

“You have all heard the rumours. Patrick is the son of a woman who left our faith. She was not disbarred or sent away in disgrace. She made a rational choice as many of you have done in coming here and changing to our faith. I know because I was there.” Having completed their morning duties, several paladins and clerics had begun to file into the mess hall. Brent pointed to them. “You want to see how true believers of the faith act? Here are your examples.”

 

“Whether or not you like him,” came Damien’s voice from the crowd, “do not be foolish enough to ignore the commands of our god.” Brent smiled in thanks before continuing. “You want to live among us? Fine. Then act as true Heironeans or his fate shall be your own.” Turning full on he faced the kitchen hand. “By dawn tomorrow you will have left my lands, never to return. You have turned against another, not for any perceived wrongdoing, but because of the darkness in your heart. Darken my halls again and the last thing you will feel will be Truthbringer.”

 

While the kitchen hand was being escorted out of the hall, Brent turned to Patrick and eyed him with concern. “I’m fine,” Patrick replied to the unspoken question. As conversation returned to the room Brent and Patrick bent to clean the mess. Several youths dashed out to assist them. A new plate of food in hand, Brent returned to the table where he had been conversing with Jason and Sam. Having only one seat left Patrick went to excuse himself. “I can sit elsewhere,” offered one of the younger paladins with a smile but Brent shook his head and thanked him for his consideration. Taking the last seat he pulled Patrick onto his lap. “It’s easier to keep an eye on you this way,” he quipped lightly, wrapping an arm firmly around his waist. Several of the men shared a look but had the common sense not to say anything. The conversation started and they all relaxed.

Brent was beginning to enjoy the meal when he felt a breath on the back of his neck and a whisper caught on a breeze. Turning his head he caught sight of Cleric Lowell entering the mess hall. He watched as Lowell’s eyes searched the room and blanched at the sight of the two of them. “Watch,” the Voice said again. “See.”

 

Closing his eyes Brent stilled his mind before opening them again. The talk around the Chosen became muted as his eyes took on a pale blue glow. Refocusing his gaze on Lowell he saw him anew. Light skinned and athletic, the dark haired man was much taller than he expected, almost seven foot in height as he strode amongst the people. He felt a hand touch his shoulder but ignored it. “Brent?” The Chosen continued to watch the stranger, his head turning to following his progress. “Is that?” he whispered. He felt the answering warmth. “I understand, my Lord.” Setting aside his bedmate he stood. “Chosen?” questioned one of the nearby paladins with unease. The Chosen turned and looked at them, his glowing eyes causing them to still. “Stay here,” he ordered. Patrick blanched when he saw Brent’s hand move to rest on his sword hilt.

 

“You should not have come.”

The stranger smirked at the paladin. “I have every right. You are our great leader, are you not?” The Chosen frowned.

“What do You want, Hextor? These are Your brother’s lands, not Yours.” Hextor’s smirk broadened. Opening His arms wide He replied, “What can I say? I am bored and between Chosens.” The Chosen swallowed and chose his words carefully.

“Toruviel has fallen then?” 

“You care about a Hextorite? Ha! She would spit on your grave to hear such a sweet tone of concern.” Dropping His hands He answered, “One less true warrior walks this plane of existence. Care to make it two?” The Chosen gritted his teeth and tried to remain calm. “Your brother told me You would come. Again, what do You seek this time?”

 

Hextor studied him in silence then looked over his shoulder. “Him.” Glancing behind the Chosen blanched at the look Hextor directed at his beloved. “Never,” hissed the Chosen. Hextor let loose a loud mocking laugh. “You think you can stop Me, little mortal? You’re not even tall enough to reach My shoulder.” Hextor chuckled darkly. “Oh yes. I’ve heard how you wanted to hear him scream. I might just let you watch.”

 

 

Back at the table Patrick let out a shriek of fright when Brent drew his sword and rammed it into the defenceless cleric. He was not the only one in shock as chairs were pushed back and folk hurried to their feet. A gust of wind broke loose from where they stood knocking everyone to the floor and the sense of evil flooded the room.

 

 

Any sense of restraint had flown from the Chosen’s mind. Truthbringer had appeared in his hand and he had thrust its point swiftly through Hextor’s stomach, burying it to the hilt. Horror filled his mind as he realised what he’d done. Hextor’s mocking laugh reached his ears. “They see Me now, little healer. Can they see you?” Gripping the blade of the sword Hextor pulled it out of His body and healed Himself with a wave of His hand.

 

Gripping his sword in two hands before him the Chosen stood his ground. “God or not, I will fight You.” The deity unslung a thick steel flanged mace from His back. Brent tightened his hold on his blade and fought through his fear. He saw several paladins and clerics band together but he shouted at them to get, to clear the civilians out. Noting his concern Hextor’s smirk turned cruel. Pulling a black fletched arrow from the quiver at His hip He launched it at the closest paladin. The impact sent the hapless man flying backwards, the shaft pinning him to the wall through his chest.

 

A roar came from Brent’s throat as he launched himself at the god. Steel met steel as Hextor threw back his attacks again and again. Spinning in a circle Brent moved to the back of the hall away from the entrance, trying to keep his opponent’s eyes on him alone. He scored a lucky strike to His leg, cutting through the material and spilling blood. “Not bad,” observed Hextor. “My turn.”

 

The long handle of the flanged mace, coupled with His increased height, meant that Hextor’s reach went far beyond his. Brent ducked and twisted trying to avoid the deadly blades on the head of the mace. He was outmatched but all he had to do was give his people enough time to escape. “With a bit more practise,” came the sardonic voice, “you might actually pass as a paladin.” Ignoring Him Brent caught His shaft and thrust it aside. He lunged but was unable to cover the distance.

 

Hextor whipped His flanged mace around His body, tripping Brent and sending him face first to the floor.  Lifting it high He drove the butt of His weapon into Brent’s lower back. Brent let out a howl of pain as his felt his pelvic crush under the force of the strike. Gripping his sword he hissed a healing prayer over the area before struggling to his feet. “You don’t give up, do you?” mocked Hextor from where He waited resting an elbow on the end of His mace. Brent bared his teeth in a wolfish grin. “’Never die easy’,” he quoted. He felt a hand touch his shoulder and a breeze brush across the back of his neck.

 

Charging he launched himself boldly at the god. Feinting the attack he managed to drive his dagger into His thigh while Hextor contended with his sword. Hextor cursed with pain and snarled thrusting him away, “Don’t listen to My brother or I’ll stop playing nice.” The Voice by his ear whispered again. While Hextor pulled out the dagger Brent threw a chair at His head and moved in for the back of His knee.

 

Fire burned in Hextor’s eyes. Feeling the nip of steel by His thigh once more He backhanded His attacker to the floor. Following him down He thrust Brent’s own dagger deep into his shoulder and twisted it into the floor. Smirking He stood as the paladin gasped in pain, trying fruitlessly to free himself from the floor.  Hefting His mace He looked down at His foe and considered His next action. Brent’s hand, slippery with his own blood, grasped his sword anew and lifted it before him. Hextor rolled his eyes at his continued refusal to surrender. “Never die easy’,” Brent repeated through gritted teeth. “’Strive always for a valorous end.’”

 

“Enough of this,” declared Hextor lifting His hand. “I can hear My brother whispering and I do hate to be interrupted by Him.” Looking down at the defiant man He smirked broadly. “A little entertainment is better than none, I suppose.” Stepping closer He knelt by Brent and whispered in his ear, “I know your weakness, little healer. Until next time.” Standing He snapped His fingers and vanished.

 

Shakily Brent dropped his blade. Whispering his last healing prayer he tried to staunch the bleeding but could not. Placing his fingers around the blade he tried to apply pressure but the slickness made it nigh impossible.

 

Voices and the sound of warriors running in heavy armour reached his ears. Closing his eyes he whispered his thanks before a half dozen people arrived at his side. “I’m still here,” he said through gritted teeth. “Get this thing out of me.” Hands held down his shoulders and legs as Damien struggled with the dagger. “Gonna have to wiggle it, Chosen,” he said in warning. Brent barked. “Then do it.” Someone thrust a wedge of cloth in his mouth then the pain overtook his mind.

 

He came to minutes later to find Damien and Sam covered in his blood. Three other clerics were with them, their faces a mask of concentration while they cast their healing spells. Brent gripped Damien’s hand in thanks and glanced over at the wall. Damien shook his head. “Crushed his lung.”

 

The familiar burn of healing magic flooded his body and Brent breathed easier. Sitting up he saw the fear and apprehension on the faces of his people. “Patrick?” he quizzed lifting a hand to his forehead. “Did he?”

“He’s fine,” replied Sam checking his vitals. “We got everyone out then mustered our warriors.”

“We didn’t think you’d have been beaten so quickly,” added Damien trying to lighten the mood. Brent grunted. “You know I’m not our best warrior and I wasn’t wearing my Armour. Besides, He is a freakin’ god.” Putting out an arm he felt Damien clasp it and pull him to his feet. When he staggered Sam steady him with a hand. “I’ll show you some new moves next time we train,” teased Damien with a ghost of a smile. “Damn straight you will,” agreed Brent. He clutched his hip and shoulder in pain. “But not for a few days,” interjected Sam, hooking an arm around his waist to keep him upright. “Not for a few days,” Brent wheezed in agreement.

 

There was a commotion at the door. “Brent? BRENT!” Brent looked to his friends. “I don’t think I can handle a crash tackle right now,” he admitted softly. Damien nodded. “Allow me.” Signalling the paladins to let Patrick through they watched as he ran helter skelter across the mess hall. Damien grabbed him before he reached Brent and yanked him to stop. “Brent?” stammered Patrick looking at the blood on their shirts. His fingers itched to hold him but he could see he was in too much pain.

 

“Let’s get him to his room,” said Sam. Patrick nodded and fell into step beside them. “Get my weapons, will you?” said Brent. The leg under which his pelvic had snapped felt rubbery and weak. Picking up the blades Patrick paled at the blood that coated them. Holding them awkwardly in front of him he watched the last few droplets fall to the floor.

 

The four of them made their way slowly up the stairs to Brent’s chambers. Once inside Damien took his leave. “Go get him some food, Patrick,” ordered Sam settling Brent in a chair. Patrick looked uncertainly at his lover. Brent nodded. “Bring some red meat.”

 

Alone Sam helped him strip and wash away the blood that covered his skin. Wringing out the cloth the cleric asked, “How did you know?”  Brent watched the methodical movements of the healer. “He told me.”

“What did He say to you?” Brent met his eyes.

“That is none of your concern.” Seeing the hurt in his friend’s eyes he sighed. “When our god speaks to you, do you tell all or keep it private as was intended?”  Sam said nothing while he continued to wash away the blood. Finished he emptied the red-stained water and brought Brent a towel.

Drying his face Brent muttered, “He was bored, Sam. That’s why He came. Nothing more.” Handing him a new pair of clothes the cleric adverted his eyes while he dressed.  The door opened and Patrick quickly ducked inside. “He said something about your healers,” pressed Sam. “Are my brothers and sisters in danger?” Patrick froze and stared at Brent who continued to look nonplussed. “They are not. He was addressing me in the manner of His former Chosen.” Rolling back his shoulders Brent lifted his chin and took on the role of commander in the room. “Now leave us. Once I have eaten I will return downstairs to help with the repairs.” Sam opened his mouth to protest. “No,” stopped Brent. “After what they witnessed I should be down there now but it’ll do no good to anyone if I keel over from weakness.”

 

Alone with Brent, Patrick carefully approached him. “Can I hug you now?” he asked cautiously. Brent grinned and lifted his undamaged arm. “Just be gentle, okay?” They shared a brief hug before Brent pulled away and sat. “I’ll be fine,” he reminded Patrick who hovered over him like an anxious mother. Quickly he ate his meal before asking for his weapons. Patrick brought them to him along with the items he had seen Brent use to clean them before. Frowning in concentration Brent skilfully cleaned Truthbringer before picking up his dagger. “You know,” he mused as he scrubbed away the dry blood, “I don’t think I’ve ever had to clean my own blood off a weapon before. It’s an unsettling experience to say the least.” Eyeing the point of the blade Brent sighed. “I’ll have to get a new one made. The bastard blunted it beyond repair.”

 

Patrick had sat quietly throughout the process. Brent glanced up at him. “You’re never quiet.” Walking over to his armour stand he pulled on Heironeous’ Mercy. Snapping the last buckles into place he straighten as the weight of the platemail vanished. Leaving aside his gauntlets he crossed back to Patrick and knelt on one knee before him. Searching his eyes he said, “He threatened to hurt you. I wasn’t going to let that happen.” Patrick swallowed nervously and gripped his hand.

“You could have died. Again.”

“I am a paladin of high rank. What did you expect, Patrick?”

“It’s not,” Patrick began then bit his lower lip. “In a battle I could understand it, but we were just eating lunch, in our home. Are you safe nowhere?” Brent said nothing. He continued to hold his gaze for several more moments before getting to his feet. Strapping on his sword belt he re-sheathed Truthbringer. “I must go. Will you come?” Patrick took his pro-offered hand and stood. With a single nod he clasped his hand tightly and walked beside him into the chaos below.


© Copyright 2017 Justin Fyld. All rights reserved.

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