Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Extract from the Shard of Palrinah, the second book in the Remus Rothwyn Chronicles

Weylin strode across the marble-lined bridge in the Monastery of St. Palrinah. The monastery was perched on a seaside cliff face, and the complex expanded onto small islands near the cliff-side. The two small islands were as tall as the mainland cliff-side, small areas of land elevated atop of protruding towers of rock. The monastery towered over the roaring surf below, and wide bridges connected the main building with the islands. Sounds of gulls, bright sunlight, and fresh salt air greeted Weylin as he made his way to the main monastery proper, but he was not the kind of man who could readily appreciate these things. His mind was focused on some very interesting and confidential information that had been divulged to him by his superiors, and his steps were quick and guided.

The recent months had been turbulent, but ultimately were a blessing for the dark-haired, boyish-faced man. He had risen through the ranks of the Paragonites fairly quickly; he was still low-ranking, but reaching the position of Disciple of the First Order this quickly was rare. He wore the robes of the order, which were burnt-orange and brown coloured and inscribed with the tenets of the order. His well-made leather sandals clipped on the stone bridge. He certainly looked the part of a Paragonite monk, and had done a good job of conveying his zealotry for the order. However, if one looked carefully at his hazel eyes, you would see not faith or religious zeal, but ambition.

Weylin reached the entrance to the monastery, and began ascending the stairs. The interior was dim and cool, intense sunlight being channeled through windows, throwing splotches on the ground. Groups of robed monks stood quietly conversing in corners, or sat on the floor praying. As Weylin walked towards Brother Renaldin’s private chambers, he reflected on the time that had passed since he left his home town of High Peaks. At first, it was an initial rush through the forest, surviving as well as he could. Approaching Yondern, he cleaned himself up as much as he could in a forest pond, so he could be presentable upon entering the city, a place he had been to before to practice law.

He talked to some old clients, and there was one who was having legal problems related to land issues. He already had a lawyer, but saw the need for an assistant for his lawyer, to assist in the drudgery of paperwork and clerical matters. Weylin moved to the client’s estate outside the city to complete the task, and remained there for the duration of the job, glad to be out of sight from the authorities. Weylin hardly remembered anything about the case, he had been merely interested in earning enough money to travel further. In the few days he spent in Yondern, he did research about any potential job offers he could find, that would take him out of the city.

The Steelwielders and St. Lusites were strong in the city, but Weylin thought it would be unwise for a Touched to be part of organizations that eschewed his kind, or any connection to magic. He heard of a conflict between the Steelwielders and the Paragonites from Eruthia, and performed more research on the group, discovering that they had a more tolerant attitude towards magick and the Touched. There were a few Paragonites in Yondern, as open war had not been declared yet, and he got to talking with them, persuading them he was a rogue needing salvation, and that he very much admired their tenets. He was advised to go a city in Eruthia named Rhineholm, and ask for admission at the Paragonite compound there.

Crossing the border into Eruthia, he had arrived at Rhineholm. The resourceful man had managed to persuade the priests of St. Palrinah to give him a chance. The work started off as assisting them in diplomatic issues, using his clerical and legal skills, but then soon he became involved in fighting their enemies and defending their interests. He had confided in his superiors about his Touched skills, hoping it would give him an advantage that countered his lack of physical or martial prowess.

They had been welcoming regarding his powers, and Weylin completed more and more tasks successfully, learning about the faith and projecting a dedication to it. He had eventually been shipped to a Monastery dedicated to St. Palrinah, located in a remote area outside the gates of any city, to train and help the cause in a greater capacity.

Weylin’s training and routine assignments had been interrupted this day by his master, who bequeathed upon him some private information that was most intriguing. He would learn more when he arrived at Brother Renaldin’s chambers. Weylin snapped out of his reminiscing as he entered the corridor that contained his master’s quarters. Knocking on the door, he was told to step in.

Inside the room sat Renaldin, two senior Disciples, and a man that Weylin had not seen before. ‘Sit, Brother’, Renaldin bade him in his dulcet tones. The two senior priests gave Weylin a curt nod, while the unidentified man simply stared ahead. ‘As I told you this morning, Weylin, one of our fold found a very unique Touched, one such as yourself… but quite different. He sits right over there’. Renaldin gestured towards the unidentified man.

Weylin observed the man, taking in every detail. He was powerfully built, and was a normal looking man, although he seemed to permanently have a dour expression on his face. His brown-hair was close-shaven. Weylin noticed that he wore robes of pure grey, unlike the robes of the Order. Why would they make him wear grey, unless it was to somehow distinguish or separate him from the rest of the Brothers and Sisters of the order?

‘What is his name?’ Weylin asked.

‘His previous name and identity no longer matter. I… have decided to name him ‘the Prodigy’, for his exceptional abilities in the use of magick’.

‘Oh. And where was he found, and by whom?’ Weylin inquired.

‘He was found wandering in Eruthia, spurned by all, needing a home and purpose. Who found him is none of your concern, but he or she has been well rewarded. The Prodigy has been with us for months now, and Brother Gaius has been handling his training himself’.

Weylin knew of brother Gaius, he had a reputation for being the harshest and most abusive of instructors at the monastery. The reputation was well-earned, as Weylin had discovered during his brief attendance in one of the brother’s classes. As the Prodigy stared forward blankly, a shred of sympathy sparked in Weylin’s mind at the removal of identity and value the monks had subjected him to. Weylin’s own journey had been inspired by the desire to retain his individuality, identity and value- rather than rotting away in prison or hanging from the executioner’s noose.

‘Let us get to the main revelation, the very aspect that made us so interested in the Prodigy. He, you see, has access to all four elements’.

Weylin was taken aback mentally, carefully considering the words.

Renaldin smiled knowingly, not surprised at the reaction. He had received the exact same reaction when he informed the other select high-ranking members, of the situation. ‘That is right, Brother Weylin. Our friend here is the only human in known history to have control over the power of flame, wind, water and earth. And his raw power with each of these sources is quite impressive. He is a most unique Touched’. Renaldin sat back on his wooden chair and clasped his hands on his chest.

‘If this is true, then he will be a great asset indeed’. Weylin immediately regretted the words, he was not sure if he had stepped over the line into subordination by implying he did not believe Renaldin’s statement.

Renaldin simply smiled and suggested a demonstration. 

* * *

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