A swirling mist circled around his legs, as he ambled through the darkness. "Help me," a hoarse whisper sounded, from somewhere a head of the young priest.
"Hello," he called searching the veiled blackness, his steps were careful he wasn't sure where he was or how he had arrived, only that a soft plea for help continued to cry for aid.
"Dear Helm," the young priest of the great guard pushed aside a hanging chain, the room was a shadowed torture chamber, his stomach churned as the smell assaulted his nostrils
"Ah," a pitiful voice rang out, "have you come to take me home?"
The priest inclined his head to the left and stared at what he could conclude to be a prisoner manacled to the wall, arms secured above his head.
The watcher was unable to make out more that a silhouette of the person suspended by shackles barely touching the stone floor.
"May I help, Helm," the priest asked softly, trying to move forward to at least let the man out of the manacles, but a was held back by a unseen force.
"Then take my confession," the gravely voice offered, amidst a ringing of chains followed by a low moan.
"I have failed my companions," the prisoner slowly spoke, "failed my lord."
The voice paused in between hoarse breaths, "lost my faith."
"Then my lord," the priest spoke strongly, "have faith once again and remain strong."
"Loyalty duty honor." The prisoner repeated over his voice carried a strange determination.
The young squire awoke with a sharp intake of breath, throwing back the covers; he swung his legs over the side of the bed.
"What are you showing me my lord?"
He scrubbed his face with his hand raking the other through his close-cropped hair.
"Where are you leading me to my lord helm?"
He rose slowly putting on a heavy a dark blue acolyte's robe to protect him from the chill hanging in the late night air.
It was the same in so many nights.
He padded over to the small washstand, gripping the pitcher tightly he poured water into the small cup, raising it quickly and draining the liquid in one long draught.
The dreams were becoming more intense, more real affecting the watcher into his waking hours. The captive taking on more human features each time the priest closed his eyes.
He knew that this was a test, a foreshadowing of the future to come. But what was his lord trying to tell him.
What was the message? It eluded him yet again. Was this a test of his faith? Helm knew that his priest agonized over his induction for knighthood, would he be found wanting.
The same dream, a prisoner begging for release, pleading for his confession.
What did it all mean?
The stress was starting to wear on the young priest, the High watcher the acolyte's mentor was beginning to notice the change in the squire.
The watcher was becoming increasingly withdrawn, angry, lashing out with bursts at most of his peers. The change was extremely troubling, for the high watcher was aware of the priest's troubles with his father.
The young watcher was faltering, treading back, to when he first arrived, a sullen, withdrawn youth, though not much had changed. "I must pray for an answer."
The first night so many weeks ago, the watcher had been awakened from his sleep, by the tortured blood-curdling scream.
So disturbed by that vision was the watcher, that he traveled to the prison in athkatla, the very next day, to make sure there was no one being held, that was tortured or tormented as the poor knight in his dream.
The prisoner had to be a knight. His language, demeanor, his very bearing reflected that of a paladin, but from where and from what order?
Why was he a prisoner? Was he being punished for a crime, was he cast out of his order?
The watcher not being a scholarly sort, combed the library, searching the records of the order of the most radiant heart, for some idea as to the identity of the object of his dreams.
All knights presently in the order were accounted for, and those that weren't, who were still alive on station in other parts of Faerun.
Was it all in his head? The acolyte began to question his sanity, brutal torture to the scale the young squire had never seen, screams that followed him to his waking consciousness still caused him to tremble during his prayers.
"I am not afraid." He whispered in his arrogant manner.
He was not a coward, having faced death in battle before, but to dream about only this one knight, a solitary figure to plague his dreams almost nightly.
The priest shuddered involuntarily. "Helm," he prayed, "please show me what you would have me do."
He was in robes not his usual armor as was cutom with helm's faithful, "must be another dream," he murmured searching his surroundings. His hand grasped his pendant, Helm's symbol, tightly willing away any evil that threatened.
The young priest of helm felt a gentle tug, leading him forward through the darkness. He cast a quick prayer, in toning the chant of divining almost with out a hesitation.
The priest believed it helped to know where one stood, seeking the alignment of the entiy guiding him.
"Helm what would you have me do?"
A slight glance around, shocked the warrior priest this was not the prison in Athkatla. The watchers stomach churned with unease as he continued ever forward from the insistant pull of his soul.
The other prisoners were well beyond help from him, the priest could only pray for their immortal souls, that they could find peace.
He was assaulted by atrocities and horror on a scale with which the priest had never seen, as he walked down the prison halls.
He would stop occasionally to pray for what poor wretch's body mutilated, discarded on the side. As he neared the end of the long corridor he gazed at a filthy tattered body held up by its arms suspended just above the stone floor.
The creatures head lolled to the side as pitiful moans emanated from it
The priest felt his heart lurch as he readied a healing spell from memory. "Helm, have mercy!"
"No, no, no, no," the creature murmured chanting the denial trying to will away the priest.
"No more please," the gravely voice begged fearing a reprisal of pain. The captive's body twisted in the manacles trying escape from the watcher.
"I can bear no more, I beg of thee," The pitiful being whined.
"I will not harm thee," the watcher spoke soothingly to the poor creature, not attempting to move forward.
Black ichor moved up along the prisoners body with a life of it's own, filled with tiny angry voices sounded from the foulness.
The Watcher pulled his hand away quickly, "helm! What matter of evil is this?"
The angry voice was cold emanating malevolenace, as it whispered, "priest." over and over again.
A consciousness surfaced briefly, seeking to rein in the darkness.
Yet this tortured being before the watcher, was in need of healing.
The prisoners head came up slowly, it's face was featureless yet the watcher could sense a awareness, a sane being, Surrounded by madness and evil.
"Why have you come?" the knight questioned the darkness his voice wavered slightly, "am I to be tortured again?"
The latter was said with a sneer, green eyes blinked feverently in the watchers direction, unable to see the priest.
The god of fury's voice was spoken with a reverence that the watcher was taken aback, could this knight truly be repentant?
"Have you come to release me," a reverent prayer, breathed barely above a sigh.
The watcher shook his head replied, "I am a priest."
An almost hysterical chuckle sounded from the knight, chains ringing loudly.
"Do I need a priest?"
The being dropped his head again his voice low, "do not mock me jailer."
The watcher could feel the vile darkness, straining, stretching to reach him.
"It feeds upon weakness, you know".
The angry whispers faded in the inky blackness surrounding the prisoner.
Anger radiated towards the priest, "be gone evil one," the knight cried out.
"I shall not entertain, thy bidding!"
Levels of insanity the priest had never witnessed before warred over the frail being. Yet prevailing over the insanity before him was the consciousness of a knight, but who?
"Priest," the knight whispered, "free me from this torment," He began to weep.
The watcher knew that he spoke to the small piece of sanity the knight clung to.
"Have mercy," a final soft sigh, "kill me."
"I will heal you," The watcher spoke softly, beginning the prayer granted to him by the great Guard.
"Nay save your strength," the being slowly glowed faintly in the darkness, "for this is only a dream."
The priest could feel the saddness as clearly as any physical touch clutching his heart.
"But you are suffering," the priest answered with a flare of anger. How could this creature not want his help.
Again the hysterical chuckle of a thin thread of sanity quickly answered the watchers unspoken thoughts, "This is my own mind," a deep ragged breath, "reality is much worse.. but here I am somewhat protected.. from out there."
The creature indicated with his chin the priest looked in the direction given, a furious swirling darkness radiating malevolence.
The watcher could feel the hate as it pushed him back a step.
"No!" the prisoner ordered in a sharp commanding voice, "No you will not."
The watcher had no doubt that the pitiful creature that clung to sanity so desperatly was a knight. 'Helm, what has brought me here?'
"That is my darkness," The knight turned a featureless face to him again, "that..that vile taint wants me to destroy, murder, revel in the blood of my foes."
He sighed, "Strike down at.. anyone or anything."
The knight's head dropped down on to his chest, a agonizing exhale of breath, "forgive me."
The priest stared at the prisoner concerned the creature had finally passed on, his heartbeat, thundering in his ears, drawing out time slowly like the blade of a knife. Two shining green embers stared up at him from the captives face.
"Please forgive me?" a soft feminine voice pled with the watcher, "for this is only a dream, an escape for me from my jailer."
Shining green eyes stared at the priest intently no other feature of her face was discernable in the murky dungeon, "I do not know how you came to be here."
Anomen whispered the incantation to cast an alignment spell silently, yes it; "no", she was the same person, the same consciousness that was the prisoner.
"But, how?" The priest questioned with awe.
The prisoner shook it's head, sensing his unease and adding her own softly, "I..i do not know."
Questions assaulted the watchers thoughts as he gripped his holy symbol tighter. The one burning first and fore most in his mind, the question that had to have a answer. "Please my lady, are you?"
The watcher could almost visualize her smile as she answered his question, "nay my lord, I am not fallen."
"where are you," his voice took on an almost anxious note, "I will rescue you from."
"nay my lord," her voice was soft accepting her fate, "I could not ask that of you,"
"if I even knew where, here was."
"I promise you I will find you, my lady," he thought clenching his fists at his side, thinking of his sister trapped in her own prison with his father as warden, yet she was unwilling to leave.
Never should a lady, suffer such degradation as being held, even in a hell hold of a prison.
"I must find you," he reached out to her held just out of his reach, "I must save you my lady!" he fininshed with as much conviction as he felt.
"you already have," she replied a slight lift to her voice.
"nay," he stopped as she shook her head.
"you have given me a reason…" her voice soft echoed around him trailing off to the silence in his room as he opened his eyes a fine sheen of sweat covered his body, "helm what have you shone me?"
"What am I to do," he sat up slowly hands craddling his face, "where is she? Was this all just a dream?"
" Was she even real?"
"What am I to do?" he repeated softly unable to go back to sleep. The nightmare was still too vivid to let it go.
She was too real.
His thoughts turned to the female knight, the squire had met several in his chapter alone. Female knights were not uncommon.
The watcher let his thoughts travel to the captive again, he could only let his imgination draw her features, for all he could remember was the burning embers of green, glowing dimly in the darkness.
The squire padded silently down the corridor, towards the prayer room. As he entered he lit two candles before kneeling before the altar of the all Seeing Eye.
"Helm, I shall go where thou leads me." He intoned softly praying, "what are these visions, what is this pitiful creature that I have dreamt of in so many nights my lord?"
The old watcher hobbled quietly after the young priest, curious to know what was troubling his ward.
Certainly anomen understood that while he was a squire, liaisons were forbidden, one of the basic tenets of the order of the radiant heart.
Osig didn't think that anomen after fighting so hard to be admitted to the order would jeopardize his position.
This was one habit the old watcher was going to break. Osig peered in to the prayer room the squire knelt on the stone floor, before the altar deep in prayer.
The head watcher leaned against the wall, happy that his fears were for naught. Maybe it was time for a test of faith. If his ward was questioning his decision.
The watcher knelt on the floor hands clasped tightly beginning his nightly ritual of prayer to the Great Guard.
Gentle warmth spread through his being as he felt the presence enter his cell.
A soft wispy voice whispered from all around him. "Only offer what you feel you can."
His room was still shrouded in semidarkness, the single candle burning sputtered yet offered no real light, the owner of the voice could not be made out.
"My Lord?" He questioned searching the vieled blackness.
"Be easy young watcher," the avatar sighed again, "and know that a path has opened up to you."
"this path will be laid with dangers," the avatar's voice dropped, "and great tragedy, it is your choice alone."
"My choice?" He opened his eyes, feeling safe in the comforting embrace.
"Helm guide me!" The watcher knew, felt it in the very marrow of his bones, that his prayers were being answered.
"You have to help mend it's spirit, strengthen it's faith control the amount of despair in yourself and the prisoner." The disembodied voice spoke.
The watcher could see the image of a battered creature in the mirror. As the glass took on a life of it's own, magically bringing the dream to life in the waking world. The prisoner leaned curled against the bars of the cell, body trembling from the latest round of abuse.
"Never give up," he whispered knowing the prayer of his faith, his eyes never leaving the scene unfolding from the looking glass as he rose.
"You… you returned," the gravely voice coughed, hoarse from over use, green embers staring intently at the priest.
"Aye," he realized as he padded closer to the mirror he was trully awake seeing those green eyes staring back at him, 'it wasn't a dream', "by helm's grace."
"By helm?" The knight seemed to question but only for a moment it's body suddenly racked by a deep wet cough,then a whimper.
"Helm grant him peace," the priest looked up into the knights featureless face seeing only green eyes burning back at him, "we must remain hale."
The watcher drew in a deep breath, "know that you are not forsaken in this trial."
the soft chuckle answered him. "You speak true I have not forgotten," it's eyes closed slowly, anomen could only guess as the green stones disappeared briefly.
" thank you," the knight whispered breathlessly. It's form Falling away from the watcher, swirling into the gray mists then to nothing but his reflection staring back at him.
Anomen rested heavily on his arms leaning on the frame of the mirror, which reflected his shadowed features, an urgent need ignited in his chest to journey out of the order's reagent house. To face this new route, his god opened up to him, to find the female knight and bring her back to the light.
"I must speak to the high watcher about my dreams."
Day had not dawned for it wasn't yet light out as the warrior priest made his way toward the temple of helm to confer with the high priest.
He felt the need to be away this day! Let helm guide his steps, his way to where his destiny lead him.
"Squire are you all right?" he cleared his throat interrupting the younger priest.
Anomen turned his face reddening in embarrassment. "I didn't mean to wake you head watcher."
The young priest bowed deeply, "high watcher I feel I must journey out from the order."
The high watcher nodded as the priest spoke relating his dream and last vision, listening intently, as the watcher boiled over with relief that his mentor understood.
"Helm has shown me a vision," he paused shaking his head, "and I feel that his hand guides my steps towards a most uncertain future."
"And your test?" The high watcher asked waiting for the priest to decry the possibility of his petition to the order of the most radiant heart.
"I will return when the time is nigh," the priest nodded a wry grin on his face smoothing away the frown lines that were ever present.
"I will become a knight," he finished with fierce determination that belaid any doubts the high watcher had of the lads intentions.
"Then young squire please go with helm and my blessing." The old man squeezed his shoulder in reassurance.
No replies to this topic
0 user(s) are reading this topic
0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users