The Fall of Faith

The same night that the journey on Kal’s ship stops Dorak is woken by a light hovering over his bed. The light fills him with emotion he cannot explain. The feeling is reminiscent of what happened at Jacob’s dinner, though it is not as strong. He has been questioning everything and struggling with purpose in life. Now this light fills him with direction, fulfillment, and urgency. As his eyes water, the light moves and he instinctively follows, though out of his own volition. The light leads off the ship and into the surrounding area. The priest doesn’t know where he is, but right now he doesn’t care either.

It is night. The stars and the moon light up the surroundings, but the light, like a lantern pointed at his face tends to wash the detail out. As Dorak walks the surrounding get darker and darker until there is nothing but the light in front of him. It is moving fast and one has to make haste to follow it.

Suddenly the light dims and the world seems strange. Everything is covered with shade. The stars are no longer visible and the moon seems much darker. Dorak’s heart is filled with grief as he realizes he has entered the realm of shadow, something thought as but an metaphor in religious teachings. It seems very real now though. Everything is different somehow. Plants are twisted versions of their earthly counterparts, water is black and thick. Whispers send the back crawling, but the light is still there, so the priest follows as fast as he can.

Dorak hastily walks for what seems like two hours when the light stops and he sees a ruined landscape. The shadowy realm is receding behind and before he realizes it he finds himself in a shadow of a crumbled building with a dying dwarf in ornate full plate armor in front of him. As he looks around the land is far different from what he is used to. Sandy streets, clay covered remnants of a town, and oppressive heat strike one right away.

The man looks at Dorak and says “You came”, with struggled for voice. As the priest gazes upon the fallen dwarf he realizes that in the center of the armor is a symbol he thought he would never see anywhere else, the very same ancient symbol of Thorain which has sat on his chest for many years now.

Comments

So Vasili’s dead. The intermediate annoyance has been dealt with. What a waste of time. My Dwarfen Duty required me to come along and bring this human dirt to justice, but it cost me valuable time. Thorain Calls me. Almost every night now I have dreams… Dreams that require much knowledge and interpretation – knowledge I do not yet poses. Vasili has managed to delay me in God-ordained quest. For that his name and that of his family will forever reside in my Book of Grudges. Curse be upon them.

Now the decision comes as to the direction. The Priest from Thorain’s Temple gave me a heading, a moral compass, and a package I dare not yet open. I know my path now leads to the West – towards the Bridge, towards the Tower. I do not know what the others will do. I know Captain Diego’s heart leads him back to Arkangyl. I have no idea what our odd Arabian desires. All I know is that my path is lit with a holy fire, and time has come for the pettiness of the likes of Vasili to distract me no longer. And I know Raethe will be going with me. For one reason or another Beordun ordained it. And as such that’s what will be.

We discuss our immediate future and I sense my companions are less than thrilled with the prospect of traveling West. Captain Diego is most vocal in his objections, and I suspect he will leave. Raethe, though directed by Gods, will ultimately follow our Captain – they are War Brothers after all. So we decide to split up. I will travel with Khalid towards Odessa, whereas Captain and Raethe will go to Arkangyl and hopefully in a short time we will meet once again. If not, then such is fate.

The Gods have their own plans, however. Whether through divine intervention of grand machinations of very powerful allies, Captain Diego receives a great boon – an ensorcelled artifact that allows a ship – any ship, to fly! I do not know how he does it, or what the limitations are, but with such an item we can all achieve our goals. So I agree once again to shortly delay my journey to the West, as it is obvious that Captain Diego’s method will be much, much faster. We therefore head to Arkangyl, where Captain Diego takes care of business and lets his clan know the score has been settled and the Book appeased, and we head to Odessa in search of Captain’s Ship – the Mercy. It is not there, and a few inquires of the shady kind lead the Captain to its whereabouts. Apparently he’s being chased – again – but the Golden Sails. I do not know what his quarrel with them is but it is of little consequence now. We find the ship, board it, and with a little effort we are airborne once again, flying fast and true towards France. We fly overland, and we fly at night – out of the reach of chasing ships and watchful eyes of those too curious.

On a third day of our journey we stop over in the Alps – we are nearing out destination. One or two more days. I feel the Calling stronger now. I feel I’m getting nearer my journey. I feel my dreams’ intensifying. I have no clear explanation for their meaning, but I have faith that when the time is right the answer will present itself.

That night I go to sleep like any other. I’m confident tomorrow will bring a new beginning. But it would seem that Thorain has a more immediate need of me elsewhere. I am awoken in the darkness of night by a divine light egging me on to follow. I dare not refuse, and grabbing only my axe and a knapsack I follow with haste. I leads me to the top of the deck and then the world fades away and the ship is no more. I am in the land of shadow – in a place where the living have no business. But I know it is my God that leads me, and I have no fear in my heart.

The journey is short, or it would seem, and when the darkness gives way to light, and the shadows recede I find myself standing over another dwarf! I am hit immediately by the reality of the situation. All of my senses are at once overwhelmed with the force of an overbearing sun and stifling heat crimping my motion. At the same time my heart fills with grief as the dwarf that called me is another Priest of Thorain, and his wounds are mortal. He is older than I – much older – and observably wiser. He has only a few short moments left, and in that time all he asks is that I finish his mission, and he hands me his axe Vamut. I try to use my skill but it is too late – Thorain has called this priest into His Presence, and I dare not stand in the way. It falls upon my shoulders now to deal with whatever madness causes the noise outside. I grab Vamut, an Axe of obvious power, and I make way for the source of the noise. There will be time to reflect on the situation later!

The Calling
JungleJuice

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