Roleplaying > Adventurers-Upon-Return

Where the wind blows (Chap III)

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   It was a cold day when Tristan left Ganse to continue his travels. The sky was overcast, and snow covered the ground in a pattern that, like all of Trigu’s creations, was unique. The road was long, and chances were such that a hollow dug from a snow drift would be the Triguian’s home for the night, but the priest didn’t let a bit of worry dampen his bright smile. Trigu would provide, just as He always did. Onward he walked, adjusting his pack when it became uncomfortable.

   Soon after leaving the small town to travel south, Tristan spotted a small wagon heading the same way as he, towards the opulent city of Ssembra. Whether or not it were headed to the city itself was unimportant; it were headed in that direction, which meant he would have a traveling companion after all. “Hello kind sir!” he yelled to the wagon driver. “How’re you this fine day?”
   The wagon slowed almost to a stop, so that the cleric was able to catch up to it and its wizened pilot. “G’day to you priest, need a lift? This path can’t rightly be considered a road, but riding ‘tis still better than walking on it, aye?”
   “Truly it is so, my good man. I thank you kindly for the ride.” Once Tristan was aboard the covered wagon, the driver clucked at his beasts and they began their slow plod once again.
   “So, what’s with the bandages? Did you get robbed or attacked by brigands? I’ve heard of some priests being flogged in the streets of Ssembra, so perhaps you’d be better off going north. Less brigands and pre-jew-dish-al city guards to stick a sword in your side for petty cash up there.”
   “No, no thieves attacked me, though I was injured in a scuffle. Some weird creature went after some of my former party, and I happened to be in the room when a mage decided to throw his talents around: I got caught in the backlash. These bandages are covering my skin as it heals.”
   “Really? That sure sounds int’resting. Did yer god return the favor?”
   “Nay, Trigu wouldn’t do such a thing, and I wouldn’t desire such recompense for the man in question. He’s a rather decent fellow, he just happened to sling around the wrong spell at the wrong time. That’s why followers of Trigu tend to avoid magic use. It has the potential for too many problems.”
   “Ah. Ye be a much kinder lad than I. ‘twere it me, I’d’ve called down a curse from the highest ‘evens on ‘im.” The pair proceeded on, silence falling like a blanket after the old farmer’s last comment, giving Tristan more than enough time to think about the events a few days prior.

   He had just been washed a sea of sparks, blistering his skin and reducing him to a lump on the floor. Pain filled every nerve ending in his body, and back in some small corner of his brain not filled with overwhelming agony, he knew that such injuries would not be conducive to travel. Some liquid was poured down his throat, and as it went down, he began to feel better, but he was still in no way ready for anything but a few days recovery.
   Yet as soon as the mage had poured the healing draught into his mouth, all of the room’s inhabitants had rushed downstairs, leaving the priest all by his lonesome. He was fine with it, as he had told them to go after the doppelganger, but as the rest of the night unfolded, not a one took the time to check on him, to see how he was faring, or even whether he would go with them as they traveled north. As it turned out, he had decided against journeying with them. While as a whole they could use a moral compass of some sort or another, he could feel himself being pulled in another direction, in the opposite direction as the others. Trigu would give them someone to water the seeds he had planted within each of their hearts; he had no need to stay with them when his purpose was clearly elsewhere.

He had said his goodbyes five days earlier, and so as the Triguian priest traveled farther and farther from his former companions, Tristan prayed a final prayer for their safety and eventual salvation.

Several days later, Tristan the Triguian parted ways with the wagon travelling peasant, and proceeded on foot, still south, arriving one night, at an out of the way village, forgotten by the Empire long ago.

Bayle's Root, it was called, a thorp, with fifty or sixty souls in total.

As Tristan entered the village, the expected sights and sounds greeted him. A mangy, three-legged dog ran out from some shanty and barked at the slow walking priest, announcing the stranger's presence.

An old woman eyed him brazenly, staring him up and down, the way a fowl-monger would a wayward chicken.

Tristan proceeded to the center of the village. His erstwhile companion, the wagon driver, had told Tristan that Bayle's Root, was home to the last Triguian chapel, on the long road to the southern coast and Ssembra.

Last chance to pray, Tristan thought, as he neared the humble chapel, which if not for Trigu's undeniable red-painted symbol adorning the door, could easily have been mistaken for an outdoor larder-house, or even simple residential hovel.

Stepping inside, Tristan saw only a single old man, kneeling on the sawdust floor, his hands clenched tightly in prayer.

Upon hearing the door creak open, the wizened fellow looked up at Tristan, and his eyes bulged briefly.

"Good Ser! A true priest! We have not seen a Triguian priest in five years! Have you forgotten us? Has Trigu forsaken us?"

The man seemed quite animated, perhaps a bit disturbed even, clutching at Tristan's red robe, and kissing its hem.

"Will you give me HIS blessing? will you?" he stared into Tristan's eyes.

The mans actions disturbed Tristan slightly, definitely making him more than a bit uncomfortable. He kneeled down and gently lifted the man to his feet. "Stand my brother, worship me not. I am merely a fellow servant of our Master. Worship the Master, and He will give you His Blessing. I can do nothing but through Him." The beginning of the old man's phrase then hit him. "Wait a moment, you said that you've had no Triguian priest for five years? What then of the normal priesthood? A wandering priest such as myself isn't tasked with upholding the small villages. Each town and village of Trigu should have its own resident priest. Where is yours?

"For that matter, where are the other worshippers? Normally there would be at least two or three others here, some leaving, some going. Why are you here in such a lonely vigil?" The Triguian priest looked around the interior of the church as he spoke, examining what might be his last place of worship before the long road and task ahead of him.

(OOC: Checking the interior of the church for state of disrepair, etc.)

Bayle's Root

The chapel was indeed in disrepair. The wood was damp and warped, with layers of sawdust the only thing keeping the moist earth from expunging its many smells through the floor. The shrine itself was vandalized with markings and scratches. A few obscene symbols were etched into the wood of the altar.

The old man suddenly interrupted Tristan’s examination.

“The Triguian priests left father, aye, five years ago now. ‘Needed elsewhere’ most urgently, they claimed! They left a junior abbot, aye, but he died of a virulent fever not six months hence. Been unattended ever since, father, aye, and the thorp folk, well, aye, you can guess, father, they be don’t takin’ to gods that be forsaken’.”

The old man, paused, swallowing spittle, and went on, “But not Ole’ Svenit, no father, I stayed true, I did! Have you come to Bayle’s Root to be out priest, aye?”

“Miluzel’s Mice! If it isn’t Tristan the Younger!” spoke a sharp female voice, as the moldy doors of the humble chapel opened again, sending rays of sun into its dank depths. She had used Tristan’s proper appellation, the young priest thought surprised, his father was Tristan the Older.

Tristan turned in time to see his second cousin Tyssel, enter the ramshackle building. She looked the same as Tristan had remembered her, all smiles and ginger flowing locks, cascading chaotically over her porcelain features. She was dressed in a plain burlap robe, and carried a staff carved from laurel. Tyssel had been a wanderer, as long as Tristan had known her, and what brought the woman to these distant parts of the Empire, Tristan could only guess.

“Just passing through, dear cousin, on my way south to the annual Ssembran Symposium. And you, what brings you to this backwoods? Came to spread the faith, eh?”

She grinned, which as usual, going even back to their childhood, irritated Tristan to no end. The two distant cousins, who were reared together as brother and sister, never got along.

...Tristan.... The priest shook his head, shoving both the subvocalized voice and bad memories summoned by the entrance of his cousin into the back of his head. The past was dead, no more to bother him.

"As always cousin, the Faith is my primary concern here. I had forgotten about the Symposium, though, thank you for reminding me. Parchance we'll see each other while in Ssembra." The tone of the priests voice left little doubt as to whether he truly wished the possibility to occur. More favorable was an encounter with a pack of wolverines. At least those could be cooked and eaten without fear of repercussions. Unfortunately, the shared destination made a reuniting of the siblings almost inevitable. Trigu willing... With a mental shrug of acceptance, he turned back to the faithful old man.

"Alas old one, I was merely passing through this little village for a night or two, no more. However...Worship Day is tomorrow, yes? I'll stay for a few days, healing and teaching to whomever may come. We'll work on this building as well. Do you have anything left in the tithe coffers which can be used to fix this structure? Trigu cares not for appearances, but with the way those walls and that ceiling look, this place is a hazard to all but the Great Master Himself."


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