I happen to be a writer, and on occasion I like to post Fiction stories for my readers to check out. Sometimes these stories are just random ideas. Other times they are stories I wrote and the contract fell through so they are just gathering dust. Its up to you to figure out which is which.
This particular Short story is called Truth and Consequences .It involves two of my more abrasive dungeons and dragons characters going on an adventure together. The world and setting of this story comes from Josh Weekley. If you you enjoy the setting of Braeton and the tapestry of the pseudo historical world, he’s written a novel set in the same world called ‘Crown of the Dwarf King’. Check it out on Lulu.com.
This is the sixth part of the story. If you are just tuning in, you can find the earlier posts here.
The interior of the cave went quiet. Only the icy wind sweeping through the brownish stone cave walls offered anything to the ears. The collective motley of unwashed rogues turned their heads in unison to their leader. His last words were not unknown to them. But the collective interests were just as perked, as much as Aelfric and Gerrit.
Father Gerrit watched him with a careful eye. There was scrutiny in his cold stare. It was as if the priest was looking for a reason to doubt the man’s words.
“Bryant.” The large man said finally. He turned towards the collection of men who had bundled near the center of the room. With the distance they now stood away from Gerrit one would have assumed they were slowly inching away from the Inquisitor.
“Aye.” A solitary voice said in the midst of the knot of wary men.
“You know we are talking about you.” The massive leader said. “I think it might be best if you told it. It may hold more water.”
“This again” a tall youth said emerging from the crowd. Bryant was indeed not a child, but his entering manhood was indeed still very recent. He stood several heads over most of the men who had fought Aelfric and Gerrit only moments before. Dark, almost black, over grown hair was combed down over his curving forehead. His eyes were large, beset with an almost equally large nose. He was not a handsome man; in fact he was quite ordinary aside from the tallness. His height grew more apparent as he walked closer to the hulking leader. He stood several heads taller than the older man.
“These men, they held us well.” The large leader said. “And more importantly they quieted their violence. Perhaps our hope lies with them.”
“You trust to easily, father.” Bryant said, his voice rising. “One is an Inquistor, and the other is a fairy person. Not the most trust worthy of people. Their silence could easily be waiting to stab us in the back.”
“We are not that sort,” Aelfric said his voice raising. “Though if you’d all rather resume our fight my sword is at the ready.”
“No, this fight is done.” Father Gerrit said. “But I can see this talking lacks the brevity our wounds require.” He gripped the handle of his mace. Holding it tightly to his chest, he turned to his cool gaze towards the large man who was getting paler by the moment. “I would request everyone join me in a prayer.”
A frozen shock etched over the large bandit’s face. He understood an inquisitor was also a priest, but this seemed very unorthodox. However, these two men had stopped fighting, when the two of them could have slaughtered his entire group. “I will join you father.” He said taking a step towards the warrior-priest.
“what?” The tall youth said. His face tortured with confusion. To his dismay, others began to walk out from the huddle of warriors towards the priest and their massive leader. Each one came to a stop a few feet away from the inquisitor and bowing their heads.
Aelfric lowered his hand from the handle of his sword. Bowing his head he put his fists to his chest, and closed his eyes. He had his own reasons for being unsure around Gerrit, but he had seen the priest’s miracles. It was evident that this man did have a direct connection to the host. And if that connection now could help them find the right course of action, he was okay with it.
Father Gerrit let a kindly smile touch his lips. He found joy in seeing so many of the injured coming towards him to pray. Not that anyone needed to get closer. He only needed to ask for the power of the divine to channel through him and it would wash two thirds of the cave with its touch. “It does me honour to pray with such valiant and resolute souls.” Gerrit said as his gaze lowered, and began his prayer.
Gerrit’s eyes began moving almost as soon as he had shut his eyes. The holy tongue of karmic began to flow through the cavernous room in the inquisitor’s deep voice. Though the words were foreign to the men who had gathered around him, they could feel what his words were requesting upon the patron saint whom he devoted his life.
Tendrils of pure white began to reach out from the bottom of Gerrit’s feet, like a shadow in reverse. The ebbs of white light grew together in a mass of divine energy. It slid across the floor washing the slate gray floor with its pure luminance. Its breadth stretched a full 9 metres around the chanting Priest. Every warm body within the cave felt the comforting warmth washing over their worn and tired bodies.
Gerrit felt the wounds that he had suffered only moments ago, beginning to close. Tired muscles began to grow tighter and sooth behind his bruised flesh. All of those gathered around him, sharing in prayer too would feel the same sensations. Most of which, had only been bruised or cut narrowly would find themselves feeling as though they had just stepped out of a nice bath.
The priest’s entire expenditure was less than half a minute. Though to those who had never felt the channeling of the divine on their person, would have sworn it was so much shorter. Even after Gerrit had concluded with the customary Amen, there was a feeling of contentment all around him.
Opening his eyes Gerrit lowered his mace to his side. Most of the men around him were still praying with their hands tightly clasped to their chests, huge grins plastered idiotically across their dirty faces. He hoped that it would serve to help them understand, that he did seek out their best interests. Just sometimes the interest was to save them from the sins they had yet to commit.
“What was that?” The leader of the group asked. His massive hand reached down to feel the tender flesh, those moments ago was drooling his blood onto the ground.
“Divinium caneli, is what I have been taught to call it.” Gerrit explained. His head lifted up to fully look at the towering man in front of him. “It is touch of host, so that we do not forget that he cares for us.”
“You, prayed… and healed us…” A baffled voice said. Unsure what to make of what just had transpired. Magic was wildly known and used in the country of Braeton, however little was known of it by those outside of influence. However little was known about the existence of holy miracles, especially in the most remote of villages, which were lucky to have a local priest.
“Yes,” Garret said nodding his head to the men who were just now opening their eyes. “There were too many injuries, from out ill-advised altercation. As my friend said earlier, we seek the truth, so that the Host’s justice may be done.”
Bryant folded his arms to his chest, his thin lips drawing downwards into a frown. “I don’t know if us just telling you what happened with suffice.”
“He did just perform a miracle a few moments ago.” The large leader said. His deep voice sounded like a deep growl deep in his thick neck.
“That is why I am even convinced” The Grandson said. “It’s been a longtime but maybe it is time to finally see this through.” His gaze shifted from the man he had called father to the adventurers who had once again gone quiet to let the drama play out. This time, however they looked like they were finally going to get what they wanted.
“As my grandmother may have told you, it started with Michael’s departure from the village.” He took a breath. “He stood up to her, and her abuses to the village, when she abruptly took it over.”
“Took it over?” Aelfric asked, “What about the mayor, and the dutchy who over sees the village? Wouldn’t they have something to say about it?”
“The mayor served the old woman, as loyally as a puppet.” Michael spoke, “As to Duke Cunningham, he had no problem with the village as long as his barley was harvested and he got his gold coins. She has seen to it that the village has in fact continued to deliver what is required of it. It is all part of the plan.”
“I was just a child when things changed,” Bryant said. “My grandmother had slowly been taking control of the Barlaeworth, little by little. My mother, and father,” He turned to look at the large man who was watching on now, growing silent. “Michael and Teresa, her daughter; saw what was happening much more clearly than many of the other villagers. But they did what they could.”
The recently adult man, ran his fingers through his over grown dark mane. “They gathered those they could to confront her. But it was too late. Her control over the town was too great. Our own number was dwarfed by those who would support my grandmother.” Tears began to gleam down Bryant’s hollowed cheeks. “She killed my mother, her own daughter without a second thought. This single act decimated any further opposition, with such a violent mortal blow. Those that survived knew that things wouldn’t be the same any longer. Not while she lived.”
“So why did you not strike back, and slay the old woman?” Aelfric asked. His bravado seemed to have changed abruptly. The snide child now showed a tinge of remorse in his voice.
“If you’re truly are men of the Host and of Justice, then you will aide us in this very thing.” Bryant explained.
“We are not assassins.” Gerrit spoke up now. “By meditating on our own altercation, I do think this much is clear. But the alleged slaying of your mother, that goes against the divine rights we were given by the merciful Host– should it be substantiated. I would ask you more on this.”
“We do not expect you to slay people, based on our words.” Bryant said. His voice deepened as his gaze fixated on the inquisitor. “It is true by the light of day, the old woman hides her corruption quite well, but there is no question, that once her mien is exposed you will see it is your duty to slay the beast my grandmother has become.”
“Then it is how you say.” The priest nodded, “we will gladly lay witness to this grand exposure. “
“Then I forfeit my charge to you, Priest Inquisitor and your partner.”
“Bryant, you don’t mean… you can’t …” Michael said stammering in a pleading voice that belied his warrior’s countenance. “The reason for all of this has always been to keep you safe. If you fall now, this was all in vain.”
“This might be our best chance, you know this.” Bryant said. “We can’t stay afraid; the Host has delivered to us their champions so we can excommunicate this threat. Just a few moments ago you…”
“A few moments ago you didn’t believe a thing these men were saying…” Michael spat.
“Come now.” Father Gerrit said. His voice easily blanketed, in the room seemingly with little effort. “This is not time for fighting.”
“You don’t know what all this is father.” Michael said snapping his head across his shoulder to stare daggers at the priest. “You can’t possibly know what is at stake, this is family.”
Gerrit took a step back gripping the yellowed bandages that coiled up his arms. The candlelit cave suddenly felt pitch black to the young priest. There were few things that had any effect on the man’s ego, but this was one of them. Like most Inquisitors, the priest was an orphan, and lacked a family. But that wasn’t always the case, and the very thought of family brought about painful memories.
“Wouldn’t it be much easier if we did understand what was going on?” Aelfric asked.
“We already told you…” Michael shouted, “You will not believe us.”
“Then why don’t we see for ourselves?” Gerrit said. “Would it not be easier for everyone?”
“Huh?” Michael said, like he was vocalizing a deep mental workout. “That is what we are discussing.”
“You misunderstand.” The inquisitor said, “I need to know what is going on before I can ask for guidance on this matter. It would be better for all parties involved if the truth is exposed as you say.”
“Oh!” Aelfric said, a smile gracing his face. “Like a scouting mission!”
“I like to think of it as research.” Gerrit said.
“I agree, that would be for the best.” Michael said.
“Okay.” Bryant said sounding let down. “Then who do you propose goes with them?”