Joined: 08 Apr 2006
|Posted: Mon Apr 10, 2006 11:31 pm Post subject: [ overheard by a scarce few in the feisty chicken tavern ]
|"well, actually, it was here that it happened. in annakol. i don't know why, exactly; perhaps it was the change of place, perhaps the... tests of skill." he thought for a moment, then shook his head. "i don't know. you understand -- don't you?"
the young woman smiled, then nodded, her beautiful ivory complexion all but hidden amongst the long dark shadows of the corner where she sat. her companion, a youth of strong and sturdy build with smooth, finely-hewn features, spoke with a peculiar mix of animated self-assurance and self-effacing na´vetÚ which would have been quite charming if not for his occasional boasting.
he continued. "yes, somehow i knew you would. but you know, this place is such a change from my country. there is such a gentle grace here." he chuckled, adding, "why, even the fiends are well-mannered! one strike of my blade, and down they go!"
the young man's companion arched an eyebrow before replying. "perhaps... but you've scarcely ventured farther than the town of annakol and its environs."
"yes; i see your point," the young man replied quickly, his smile loosening a bit, and becoming thoughtful. "well, then, i think it's probably time to test myself."
"wait; you were going to tell me... your secret. were you not?"
karathir looked at her for a long moment, wavering in indecision. true, he found her both warm and charming, and of course especially attractive; even forthcoming, for all her apparent mystery. but try as he might, he couldn't get away from the feeling that her nature was somehow darker than it seemed. no matter, he finally resolved; there would be no harm in telling her this one thing.
"well, you know about my father; i've already told you that much."
"yes; one of the nobles of port city. you told me."
"and you know why i joined the priesthood, and then, later, the order of the knights of osiris."
"well... you led me to believe that it was mostly your father's idea."
karathir chuckled at this. "true enough. but it goes much deeper than that. he cares, you see?" he paused a moment, trying to gauge his companion's impalpable reactions before continuing. "erin, you know, he was always number one, literally and figuratively. as first born, inheritance of the loorm estate falls to him; he gets the wealth, and i get... what? what to do with me? that was the question." karathir pursed his lips before continuing, his gaze almost piercing in its intensity. "i will give him this: father didn't play favorites. certainly, erin is the hier, but in my father's eyes, we are equal -- even if erin always was first in everything! it was for this reason, i think, that father made me join the priesthood, the reason for all those long years of schooling. he wanted me to have a future as sure as that he gave my brother. and as erin grew, and started winning contest after contest, well, i think my father saw in me the potential for more, as well. to be honest, i think he saw a potential in me i never did. he was always so sure! of course, it was at his urging that i went through -- and actually passed -- the trials of entry into the order of the knights of osiris."
the woman smirked at this, at which karathir replied, "no, really, it's quite an esteemed organisation. very few are chosen."
the woman snorted. "is this the great secret you wanted to tell me? that you're such a bright, wonderful boy?" she scoffed. "karathir, you needn't tell me that; i'm not blind. but you see, i know MANY bright, wonderful boys." karathir found himself regarding the tablecloth in front of him at the impact of her words. "so i'm sorry," the woman continued, "but your acceptance into an order of paladins doesn't impress me." karathir pursed his lips and remained silent, prompting the woman to try to return to the original subject of their conversation. "oh, i'm sorry," she said, taking his hand. her voice softened, as she continued, "but that wasn't REALLY what you wanted to tell me, was it? oh do tell me... please?" she smiled at him coquetishly, cajoling. karathir's smile returned, almost in spite of himself.
"you know, i've been thinking a lot about our conversations as of late. and a lot -- well, a lot more than usual, anyway -- about the nature of 'good' and the nature of 'evil' and... well, you know, fundamental questions! i wonder how absolute it all really is, you know? i mean, who are we to judge? we may think we have that right -- but we don't! anyway, i think that all of this reflection is what set the stage for my epiphany."
"well!" the woman replied, seemingly impressed. "an epiphany? now, that's interesting."
karathir pointed out the window toward a small patch of meadow just beyond the well-plowed fields which lay between amber flame castle and annakol. "it was there, on one of those large, flat rocks, that i had that mystical experience. just like that! can you imagine? i was just sitting there, enjoying the cool morning air after having rid that dank pit underneath amber flame of bugbears, mummies, and what have you, and it descended upon me like a flame from heaven! the POWER -- it had nothing whatsoever to do with my prayers -- it was ME! and even if i grant that the grace of osiris and of ra flows through my veins, then it is STILL me! MY veins! MY power! and you know, if i hadn't been thinking so much lately about everything we've been talking about, i don't think i would have come to that revelation!"
lost in a reverie of his own imaginings, karathir harumphed slightly. "and here i've spent my whole life learning how to pray for a power to be bestowed upon me, a power which was already mine to command! i didn't even know! imagine that... me - a sorcerer!"
a hard smile played slowly over the young woman's face, as she seemingly looked deep within him from the shadows, her eyebrows furrowing ever so slightly over almond eyes black as the deepest ocean, revealing nothing. "yes," she whispered, "that you are..." she languored in the satisfaction she felt at hearing him share his revelation with her, as though she, too, had attained a certain goal with his admission -- a very personal goal.
"there is just one thing that troubles me," karathir continued, suddenly pensive. he sat a moment in troubled thought, then looked to his companion. "what ever shall i tell my dear father?"