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.

Chapter1 (v.1) - Chapter One

Author Chapter Note

I have completed this book (the third in a series) and will add some other chapters if there is an interest. :) Mind you, this book can be easily read as a stand alone.

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: October 12, 2016

Reads: 902

Comments: 1

A A A | A A A

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: October 12, 2016

A A A

A A A

CHAPTER ONE

 

Gold streaks scattered the soft pink of the sunset. From his vantage point, the lonely paladin looked down upon his people and smiled. The last of the shops were closing and people were returning to their families for the final meal of the day. Beneath his strong hands the heavy stones that made up the turrets were losing the last of the day’s heat. Although the light was failing fast he could sense that spring was just around the corner.

 

Rubbing his hands together the paladin straightened. Adjusting his Armour, his bare fingers brushed lovingly over the bright blue and yellow lighting bolt that dominated his breastplate. For a moment his mind wandered into the past to when he first had donned it.

 

“Hurry! You have to put it on now!”

“I can’t,” he stammered, his hands shaking with fright and trepidation. “I’m not good enough. I’ll never be good enough!” Grey eyes met his above the body of their dearest friend. “He knew you were to wear it after him. That is why he trained you so diligently. Take it and make him proud. Don’t let this battle, this war, be in vain. Be the hero you must.”

“He is right little one,” came the Voice. “Take My Armour and don it.”

“But Lord, my name is disgraced,” he confessed with shame. The other two exchanged a look. “Then take his,” his companion offered softly.

“You don’t mean-“ he gasped. His voice spoke clearly above the din of battle.

“Aye. From henceforth you shall be known as Brent T’elc, My Chosen. Now. Do it.”

 

“Hey Chosen!”

Brent looked up momentarily startled at the interruption to his thoughts. Lifting a hand in acknowledgement he started to jog towards his friend. Once more he remarked how when he first had worn the platemail he could not believe how light it was, yet now it felt like a second skin. Without it he felt incomplete.

 

“Jeeze you’re a hard man to find sometimes, Chosen,” complained Jason good-naturedly. “Aye?” retorted Brent lifting an eyebrow. “Well it’s nigh impossible to find a place of peace and quiet for myself since our Keep became properly established.” Jason snorted. “That’s because your deal with Ferroddaar set everyone abuzzing.” Brent rolled his eyes and fell into step with his companion. “I don’t know, make one deal with a golden dragon and suddenly everyone wants to communicate with you.”

 

Slinging an arm around his friend’s shoulders he asked, “So what are you after?”

“There’s an issue concerning the shipment of new swords and axes, Chosen.”

Brent sighed and looked heavenward for a brief moment. “We can’t do anything about that until tomorrow morning, Jason.”

“Yeah, but you have a council meeting then,” explained the paladin. Face-palming Brent groaned. “How is it that I can’t keep track of all this?” he complained quietly to himself. Jason chuckled. “Well it seems you have two choices on that, Chosen.” Knowing Jason’s history of advice giving, Brent grimaced. “Oh?”

“You either need to get a manservant to keep track of all that or a good woman. Me, I’d choose the latter.”

“You?” Brent snorted with amusement. “Find me a manservant of great skill that I can stand and I’ll find you a woman who’ll put up with your antics.”

Jason’s blue eyes lit up and he put out his hand to seal the deal. “You’re on!”

Withdrawing his hands and placing them quickly behind his back Brent chuckled. “Oh no. I don’t take deals that are impossible to fulfil. Now come on, I can hear the bell for dinner.”

 

 

 

Birdsong greeted the sunrise the next morning. Waking Brent stretched and looked around his chambers, his fingers lovingly caressing the plain box by his bed. Padding over to the fire he stoked the embers and crouched to warm his hands. Absentmindedly he stared into the flickering flames. “Soon,” he thought to himself, “soon I’ll need to hit the road again.”

 

Dressed he walked to the empty training yard. Beginning his stretches, he heard muffled laughter and looked up to the windows of the Keep. Many of them were lit, some with curtains drawn whilst others had couples leaning out enjoying the sunrise together over a hot mug. However there was one room that was dark and quiet. His. He grunted self-mockingly. What did you expect? he questioned himself, To see yourself enjoying the view? Shaking his head Brent got back to work. He knew he didn’t have long if he wanted to shower before the council meeting. Picking up a training blade he attacked the dummy at speed.

 

As the sun continued to rise more paladins, warriors and martial clerics joined him in the training grounds. The sound of wood solidly hitting wood and arrows zipping through the air echoed around the contained courtyard. Before long Brent heard his title being called by a familiar voice. Grinning he turned to see Dominic leaning against the nearest training dummy waving. “You up for your lesson in hand to hand?” he called. Brent laughed and slid his wooden sword back into its sheath on the training rack.  “Yeah I’m up for it. Think I can throw you to the ground first this time,” he challenged cracking his fingers in his hands.

 

Dominic fell into step beside him. “How about we sweeten the deal then,” he offered, “since you think you can best your teacher?” Lifting an eyebrow Brent asked,

“What did you have in mind?”

“Let me come with you. Spring is nearly here and I want a chance to prove my skills where it really counts.” Pausing Brent turned and faced his friend. Touching his upper arm gently Brent searched his blue eyes. “You know how I select those that come with me. It is not glory we seek but the chance to serve honourably.” Sensing his commander’s earnestness Dominic’s expression grew serious. “I know that, Chosen,” he admitted quietly. “I had not meant to lessen your adventures, I simply wanted to be considered for the position.” Letting out a slow breath Brent touched his forehead gently in benediction. Stepping back he fell into a defensive stance. “Now Courageous,” he challenged grinning ear to ear, “show me what you’ve got.”

 

Sweat dripped from his forehead and his heart thundered in chest. Dominic had been training him in hand-to-hand combat over the winter yet he had never been pushed so hard before. Mind you, he also had never managed to get Dominic unbalanced either. When a well-placed front kick threw him onto his backside Brent reached out to grasp any weapon he could. “Hextor’s balls!” hissed Dominic, wiping the dirt granules from his eyes. Scrambling to his feet Brent gave a panting laugh as the paladin grinned toothily back from his soil-marked face. “You know this means war,” warned Dominic. Brent opened his mouth to speak when they were interrupted.

 

“SCREW YOU!” screamed a voice in fury. “HOW DARE YOU BLOODY TOUCH HER!” Blinking the two of them dropped what they were doing and ran towards the voices. Rounding a corner they spied two young men, blades drawn and a very tearful teenage girl hiding on the arm of one. When Dominic went to intervene Brent touched his arm, bidding him be still.

 

“She’s my betrothed!” hissed the taller of the two. “Look what you’ve done to her!” he added pulling the weeping girl tight to his side for his opponent to see. Her eyes, blotched and puffy, were red from the tears that she had shed. “Let her go, Dru!” shouted the other man. Shorter than the first, his clothes were old and well worn and he held his sword sloppily. “You can’t make her love you!”

“By hell I can!” retorted Dru, his blade tapping his opponent’s in warning. Suddenly the girl squeaked and both men looked around for the new threat. “Friends of yours?” questioned Dru. “I can take ‘em. You’ll not part me from my girl.”

 

“Is that how you treat your women, Dru Oakmen? With shouts and violence before their very eyes?” came the collected voice from around the shadow. Stepping clear Brent watched their reaction to his station. Dru’s lip curled distastefully. “I’m no paladin, Chosen,” he countered. “What care have I for your Tenets?”

“You will have respect for them, Oakmen,” the Chosen replied coolly, “or you shall loose your blacksmithing trade within my lands.” Walking closer Brent fixed his eyes on the girl and held out his hand. “Come here,” he commanded softly. Fearfully she glanced between the two men she loved and shook her head. “Come here,” he repeated softly, “or I cannot help them.”

 

Passing the girl to Dominic, Brent moved to stand beside the youth. “What’s your name, son?”

“James, my lord,” he murmured, his eyes swiftly darting between the paladin and the blacksmith. “James. Why is this man threatening you, James?” Brent asked calmly.

“’Cause he slept with my woman!” interjected Dru. “He broke in through her window and put a child in her belly!” Keeping his movements slow and controlled Brent looked across the blades to the irate blacksmith and back to the terrified youth. “Is this true?”

“I . .  I mean we . . . we were going to run away together,” he stammered.

“By hell you were!” shouted Dru lunging forward.

 

Clink. Fast as lightening, the bracer on the Chosen’s gauntlet slammed onto the approaching weapon, driving it onto the stone floor.  The shriek of the blade tip as it skittered echoed across the small room. Before the blacksmith could recover Damien’s blade tip was at the back of his neck.

 

Slowly rising he dropped his blade and raised his hands into the air. “You’ve got to do something, Chosen,” Dru snapped. “He bloody raped my Lucy and tried to get away with it.” Kicking away the offending blade Brent’s eyes never wavered from Dru’s as he questioned the girl. “Do you love this man, Lucy?” She whimpered in reply. “Speak up girl. If you think you are old enough to spread your legs then you’re old enough to articulate what you want.”

 

“I . . . I love Dru,” she stammered. Sharing a look with Dru he sheathed his blade.

“Did you sleep with this man?” he questioned pointedly. At her nod he frowned with displeasure. “Ah, yes. Sir,” she answered nervously. “I . . I ah wanted to get Dru’s attention.”

“Well you’ve got it now!” the blacksmith barked. James edged closer to Lucy and took her hand. “Come on Luc. Let’s leave here. Together,” he pleaded quietly. When she shook her head he touched her still flat stomach. “But what about our baby?”

“That was never, that was never meant to happen,” she whimpered looking forlornly at her betrothed. 

 

Brent shared a long pained look with Dominic. “Well lad it seems the lady doesn’t want you after all,” Dominic observed to James. “Yet it wasn’t rape either,” he added pointedly to the quietly seething blacksmith. Closing his eyes Brent let out a slow breath. After assembling the known facts in his mind he looked again on the three. He noted James’ anxious glances to the exit, of Lucy clenching her hands in the fine stitch work of her otherwise plain and very worn petticoat. Lastly he took in once more the sight of the blacksmith and noticed something unusual. On the collar of his undershirt was a small embroidered anvil and heart.

 

“Are you a resident, James?” Brent inquired. “Do you intend to stay?”

“Just until the bandits are cleared from the road, Sir,” he replied promptly. “I planned to head back to the Barclay coastline. There’s lots of construction work going on in the harbours.”

“Leave a way for us to contact you with my record keepers before you go. As you helped create this child you also bare responsibility to see it is well-taken care of in its young life.”

James bobbed his head in acknowledgement as Dru cursed. “So who shall pay for the brat then?”

“Paladin Dominic,” Brent continued, his eyes narrowing on the blacksmith, “see to it that James also leaves a sizeable donation to help support his offspring.”

“Yes my lord,” Dominic acknowledged with a brief nod. He sheathed his blade and led James away.

 

Once they had left Brent gestured for the two of them to follow. Threading his way down the corridors and back out into the sunshine, they walked along the garden paths. Brent walked alongside Dru, the girl trailing behind them. “Do you still love her?” the paladin asked softly.

“Huh? Well how can I?” grumbled the blacksmith tensing his shoulders and staring resolutely at the path ahead. They continued in silence past the rhododendrons until Dru spoke again. “I waited for her, gave her the time she said she needed. . . All for her to go and give that boy her most precious gift.” His face hardened and, although he muttered under his breath, was unable to hide the anguish from his voice. “It should have been mine.”

 

“A friend once told me that no one can change the events of the past, all we can change is how we feel about it,” counselled Brent gently.

“Yeah? Well I can’t really feel good about it right now.”

Brent shook his head. “Not right now but how will you feel in a year’s time? Will you want her staring up into your eyes with love or not?”

 

Stopping in his tracks Dru turned and looked back at the forlorn girl. “I still love you Lucy, but I don’t think I can trust you.”

“I am so, so sorry Dru. I never meant for you to get hurt,” she whispered. Pale faced she reached out to touch his arm. Shaking his head he gently disentangled her hand and spoke, “No Lucy. Saying sorry this time is not enough. If I don’t trust you I can’t marry you and I don’t. At least not now.” Turning he nodded to the Chosen and walked away.

 

When Lucy cried out and made to follow Brent caught her shoulder. “Leave him,” he ordered softly. “Your life is no longer about what you want Lucy. You have another to worry about now.” Sniffling she wiped her nose on her sleeve and shook her head despairingly. “I’ll be out of work as soon as the roads clear and I can’t afford to leave,” she confided. “I can’t pay for myself let alone a baby.”

 

Keeping his tone as bland and dispassionate as he could Brent asked, “Do you want to have and keep it?” Lucy stared hard at the paladin and frowned.

“I’m not going to a herbalist, Sir. I want this baby. He’s mine.” Brent acknowledged her decision with a slight nod. “Then you shall need further employment.” Reaching down he lifted the edge of her petticoat and pondered it a moment, running his fingers over the delicate stitching.

 

“What?! I shall not Sir!” cussed Lucy yanking her skirt back to her body and folding her arms. “I might have made a mistake with James but I’m not some common street walker!”

“What?” blinked Brent confused, then he flushed as the penny dropped. “No Lucy, you misunderstand me. I was referring to your embroidery, not your body.” Lucy’s eyes narrowed at the paladin as he talked. “You did those flowers yourself, did you not? Cleric Aamin has a passion for design – from gardens to tapestries. Have you considered offering your services as a seamstress to him?”

“I’m not of the faith,” Lucy replied guardedly.

“You know my rulings and law. You do not need to share our faith, only respect it. The work you’d do for Aamin would be religious by nature but if it puts food in your stomach and a roof over your baby it is worth consideration.” With a final look he left.

 

 

The Council Chamber was a large airy room on the third story of Stance Keep overlooking the farmlands to the southern border of the Chosen’s lands. Floor to ceiling tapestries that depicted great heroes and leaders, including the current king of Primus, softened the stone walls. Refreshments graced a nearby table and a large map of Severine and the land of Zealots, upon which Stance Keep stood, were accurately illustrated on a nearby strategy table as well as on opposing walls. A slight smile appeared on Brent’s lips each time he saw it, recalling how far they’d come since the time during the Shadow War where they had knelt in the mud and used broken twigs for landmarks. Five council members had already gathered and they nodded to him when he entered.

 

“Chosen,” smiled a silver clad paladin who clasped his forearm in greeting. Pulling her close he hugged his friend warmly. “Aesthyr, to what do I owe this?” he asked solicitously smiling broadly. “Spring is in the air and I’ve a hankering for an adventure,” she replied rubbing her hands together. “Know anyone interested?” He chuckled and gripped her shoulder. “You know I want you,” he confirmed.

 

“Chosen?” called Brayd and pointed to the large rectangular table that dominated the room. Together they took their assigned seats, three council members to each side with Brayd and Brent taking the end positions. Clearing his throat the old clerk brought the meeting to order.

 

While the others discussed matters of trade, stocks and expenditures, Brent listened and said nought. Once more he thanked Nathan’s foresight in helping him set up a council to decide such matters for the running of his land, leaving him free to act as the Chosen of Heironeous. “Wait a minute,” Culin interrupted. “What about that last shipment of blades and shields? Most of them were faulty. This is the second time.”

“Second?” questioned Brent straightening in his chair. “I thought this was the first.”

“Nah, the blacksmith’s guild spent a week re-fastening the joints last time,” replied Brox. “Cost us more than what the bloody things were worth.”

“Is there a chance we can re-scout the territory? See if there are any iron deposits we can utilise ourselves?” Clefe posed. Brayd looked to Brent and he nodded.

“Aye we can do that,” responded the old man at the head of the table. “We’d need some decent scouting equipment and surveyors who know what to look for though.”

“What about a mage?” offered Brox. “I’ve got contacts through the trader’s association. I’m sure I could find a wizard who’d be willing to help us – for a price.”

“Find out what you can, Brox,” ordered Brent, “both with wizardry and more mundane means. We cannot afford faulty equipment arriving. Cleric Taq, can you see to it that Courageous Jasmine writes a letter informing our suppliers of their loss of business.”

 

“There’s only two more items to go,” stated Brayd glancing down his list. “The clearing of the roads and a report that came in yesterday about planar activity north-east of us in Halerin lands.” Taq rubbed his hands together vigorously.

“At last! A chance to remind Outsiders to keep away from our plane of existence!” he exclaimed. Looking at the Chosen he asked, “When do we leave, Sir?”

“Patience Cleric Taq. We need to know the details first,” counselled Brent. Changing the topic he said, “The roads to be cleared; is it our usual situation of wolves and bandits?”

“Aye Chosen,” answered Culin. “My guards have been out scouting to our outlying farmsteads and have brought back reports.”

“But planar-“ began Taq. Raising a hand Brent continued to look at the leader of the civilian guards. “What do you need to clear them?”  Culin rubbed his chin and answered, “Two battalions would do nicely Sir.”

“We have many paladins and clerics that would relish the chance to test their skills after a long winter,” mused Brent. “I’ll assign you three paladin divisions and one cleric division. That way you should be able to clear all major roads and sweep the forest border to the south east.” Culin grinned and nodded.

“Thank you Sir. That’ll make the job go faster.”

“Now as for the planar activity,” continued Brent glancing at the young cleric. “I’ll need to see the report.”

 

Scanning the document Brent mumbled out loud, “Tall reptilian creatures . . . ..  grey black scales . . . . hissed a warning  . . . . bright blue flash and swirling mists .  . . . Hmmm,” he reflected putting down the paper, “could be a number of Outsiders.”

“Who made the report Sir?” asked Aesthyr.

“Oh? A man called,” Brent scanned the document again, “Patrick Owins. From Neusbay, Halerin.”

“Then it seems Neusbay is our destination, Sir,” echoed Aesthyr. Brent smiled. A chance to stretch his feet and ride once more. “Indeed. We leave tomorrow.”

 

 


© Copyright 2017 Justin Fyld. All rights reserved.

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