The Un-Made Crown

Conflicted Spirit, Part Cinq

Do I Cut the Strings or Dance to the Tune Being Played?

All fears of the Reverend Mother’s safety were quickly answered. Thank you, Goddess, for your faithfulness in protecting your servants. I did not know what she might say about our killing of the imposters. She knew it had been a possibility though had made doing so unnecessary. I am humbled to think that I should be more quick to think things through before acting irrationally. Of course she knew the men were imposters! She had not risen to the position of Reverend Mother without reason.

We were not questioned or chided for our actions. Instead, with the grace befitting the Reverend Mother I so admired, our wounds were treated and we were properly fed. It felt so good to be home…yet odd too. I was not to return until my year was through but my current duties as William’s escort made it necessary. I saw many familiar faces, but had little time to interact with them. None should interfere with one walking this path to sway their decisions. Still, I am honored that I had the chance to come home, even for a brief time.

Once we all had our bellies filled, we were called before the Reverend Mother. Immediately, I knew things were not quite what they seemed. Though the Reverend Mother sat regally upon the throne of her station, she did not have her typical guards present. In fact, the Great Hall was completely absent of them, a complete deviance from protocol.

She began telling us that she had heard much of our adventure from the Listeners. I could feel my cheeks flush at that knowledge. Of course she would have heard of what we had been up to. I quickly apologized for my actions at the gate, but she said there was no need. “We did what we had to do.” She proceeded to tell us the imposter was not given the scroll he had wished to obtain. It was a scroll meant for Emile instead. She went on to explain just how prophesy worked to my companions, for which I was thankful for. I still think that Arnexus is not a believer. I don’t understand why he is so skeptical.

She then handed me an ornate scroll and told us that it was meant for us. THIS had to be the scroll the blue dragon had spoken of. It was breathtaking to behold. I could not help but feel a chill down my spine as I looked upon it. She told us that it could not be opened until the time was right. A part of me does not want to even open it after what the dragon had told us. If we do not open it, will it stop the prophesy he had told us? As much as I hope such is true, I feel that is a childish way to handle matters. No, we need to be prepared. It is what she next tells us that sets my blood to run cold. The need for secrecy soon presented itself as the Reverend Mother conveyed a dark secret of the Bastion.

The Listeners receive the prophesy from a captured evil being from which Yeenoghu had wanted to conceive a demigod son. The Bastion itself was build to house and contain this evil to keep such from happening. It was from this being that the prophesies were spoken and recorded by the Listeners. All that I had once believed….everything I thought I knew about the Order of Ninkali….all of it was wrong. How could the Reverend Mother condone taking prophesy from an evil being that was not safe to be loosed upon the world? Who was to say that these things that were spoken were not to force some evil will on creation? When these questions were raised to the Mother, she simply side stepped them by saying how could we say Ninkali was not using this being? My faith is great, but to swallow a pill such as this? It requires more than just a glass of water.

Before I could let my mind dwell too much on what had been shared with us, the Reverend Mother dropped another laden platter before us to consume. Rohveka’s mother was enslaved to the Demon Witch Queen, queen of the Abyss, Valeria the Bloody. Though she had once been a good woman, her powers led her down a dark path. She now is the sustenance the servants of Valeria, the succubi, feed upon. When Rohveka was born, her mother’s soul turned dark and Valeria feasted upon it. I do not know Rohveka well, but can imagine that hearing such not a simple matter by any means. Though it is a woman she never knew, it is her mother. No one should be forced to live out a life of such horrors.

The Reverend Mother tried to speak to Connor, but the man is too much of a fool to listen for his own good. He is so stubborn! Why would he reject counsel when it is offered? She practically told him that she could possibly explain why his sword burned with a flame around certain persons, or creatures. Still, he would not ask. He must be daft or scared. There can be no other excuse for willful ignorance. Still, he finally did come around to ask about his father after Rohveka had spoken to him. What we heard next none could have been prepared to hear. He is the illegitimate son of the deceased king of Helian. He does not want to believe it. In fact, he acted as if he did not care. As far as he was concerned, the king was not his father. He knew his father.

Rohveka had asked for privacy in speaking to the Reverend Mother, which both Connor and I granted. It was just outside the chamber doors that I finally had a few words with Connor. Though he acted a fool about his past and his bloodline, he is not a complete fool. Still, having him chide me for my actions, putting myself in harm’s way when I should stay at a safe distance to help aid him and the others, did not sit well. He spoke of war and battles that I had to admit I had never seen. I had never seen real combat until joining Williams’s escorts to the Bastion. Humbled by his words, I admitted he was right and agreed to stay back. Still, it does not change the fact that though he cares he is an imbecile.

Once Rohveka rejoined us, we were approached by an acolyte with a note saying Sara, the hag, was waiting for us at the gate. None of us thought it wise to go face her alone. So, we decided to gather our party first. Rohveka told us that Arnexus was inside the library and that she would tell him while the rest of us looked for Genna, who had wondered off. It took a little time, but eventually we had a good idea where she had gone. Unfortunately, it was somewhere I was a forbidden to enter. With no other choice and out of concern for her safety, I distracted the guard while Connor slipped past and went to find her. Luckily it did not take him too long.

With out party gathered, we went to meet Sara. She knew that we were aware of what she truly was. She “warned” us that Yeenoghu wanted revenge for our defeating his shaman. He is sending his champion after us. Why was he sending the champion against us when it was she who had killed his shaman? When asked that very question, she assured us that if we did not help her that she would not only kill the boys but make sure that when we faced her that it was in front of the village. They would not see us striking down a hag but killing a poor defenseless mother. We have no other choice but to aid her…by right do I when she bears a symbol of Ninkali? I still do not know if she is a servant of the Goddess, but how can I say she is not. Even the Reverend Mother could not say for certain if a hag could not or would not serve the Goddess. Before we depart we speak to William about our trouble and ask that he seek the aid of the Bastion to return to the Queen and also to take the papers we had found aboard the slaver’s ship. He agreed to do so and wished us well. As we prepared to leave, i saw Rohveka approach the hag and offer her a feather. Apparently both had made a deal in order to secure the counter potion to the transforming magic placed upon the poor townspeople. The Reverend Mother had assured us that she would do all she could for them.

So, we made our way toward Helian and prepared for the ambush. We were able to find an overhang where much of the party waited while I stayed with Arn in the road, ready to meet the attackers. The battle was fierce, but we were able to quickly beat down the undead champion and then thrash the gnolls who attended him. Yet, it was not with my aid that such was possible. In fact, I helped very little. It was Sara, no…the hag, that had protected Arn and the rest of my companions. She called forth such spells that only a priestess should have known. Her skill far exceeded my own as well. Were it not for her aid, we might not have been able to defeat our attackers. Were it not for the prophesy of the dragon, I would question my place even among these heroes…

We agreed to let her go. I was reluctant to see her go. i had so many questions…yet she never answered those poised to her. Even if she was a servant of Ninkali, she had killed just as a predator does to survive. Perhaps Ninkali has a good reason to have such a being serve her… It is not my place to say. Even if she is a priestess, she is a foul being. She could not resist the urge to poke Connor and threaten his mother. It took all of us to keep him from going after her and killing her on the spot. If we cross her again, my companions might not allow her a second chance to escape. At least we were finally able to lay to rest what remained of Sara Carver.

Helian lies before us and many decisions now weigh heavily on our mind. Once we meet up with William to see what he has uncovered and receive our pay, who knows where our path might lead…

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