Tuesday, May 03, 2011

The Quest, Part One

Cadeus paced back and forth, his long white robe making a gentle swoosh on the ornate marble floor.  "Do you realize what you've done, Garek?"

Garek stretched in his seat, enjoying the release of his back popping before he picked out a long, slender piece of wood from a dozen duplicates sitting in a jar on his table.  "I believe I killed a criminal," he said, working the pointed end of the wood into the intricate etchings on the front of his armor.  This was the first chance he'd had in days to take it off, and finally clean the blood and grime from the more inaccessible areas.

Cadeus snorted.  "Hardly.  You assassinated an ambassador.  An Imperial ambassador at that!"

Garek rolled his eyes and began to work the wood into another etching.  "Assassinated?  Hardly.  I strode in, in the middle of the day, announced his crimes, read his aura to be certain of his wickedness, and struck him down."  He gestured at a scroll on the opposite end of the table.  "There is proof that he was using his diplomatic vessel to smuggle slaves, if you are convinced of his goodness.  I took it from his corpse."

"Yes, no doubt you did.  It doesn't matter how convinced you were of his evil, Garek.  You accepted money to end his life!  That makes you no more then an assassin!"

"Oh, please," Garek scoffed, running a clean cloth over the part of his breastplate that he was finished with.  "He was going to die, anyways.  The money was hardly incentive.  It was just an added bonus."

Cadeus sat on the couch, and held his head in his hands.  "You are going to be tried," he said, finally.

"And?  I've been tried a dozen times, and each time my killings have been found just.  If you recall, last time I was promoted."

"Yes," Cadeus said softly.  "You were.  Which makes this doubly difficult."

"Hmm?  How so?"

"You're a High Paladin, now, Garek.  That means your actions don't just represent the Temple of the Silver Wing and the lands that we have dominion over, they represent Template as a whole.  This isn't going to be a simple trial where you explain to Master Priest Alteris that you were justified.  This will be a Council trial.  The heads of all twenty-one temples will be present."

This was new.  Garek had been called to testify for his killings before--virtually every paladin and crusader in the Order had, at least once--but a Council trial was a different thing entirely.  While all twenty-one temples that ruled Template were supposedly aligned to the powers of Goodness and Light, each had their own specific belief sets that governed how they did so.  The Order of the Silver Wing, for example, worshiped no particular deity, but instead the idea of justice, righteousness, and lawfulness as a whole.

Still, he shrugged.  "Makes no difference.  I did what needed to be done."

"You could be cast out, Garek.  Exiled.  Cut off from the Temple, and any of it's resources."

"Well, then.  I suppose I should be glad that I had the foresight to commission and pay for my own armor, weapon, and shield."

"Damnit, Garek, you'd be homeless!"

Garek finally put down the piece of wood, and met Cadeus' eyes.  "This Temple, and this Order, is a means, old friend," he said, before pulling a long dagger from his boot.  He pressed the blade to the inside of his left forearm and ran it near to his elbow before casually flicking it, scattering the blood from the blade.  He showed the gaping wound to Cadeus before pressing a hand to it and murmuring a quiet prayer.  The skin began to knit itself together, miraculously fast, and once more he met Cadeus' eyes.  "The Light clearly doesn't think I've wronged," he said, "else my powers would be stripped.  If the Council of Template decides to exile me, then I'll make my way somewhere else, and continue my quest there.  I've got more important things to worry about then twenty-one fools who would rather play politics than do what needs to be done."

Cadeus frowned, confused.  "What are you talking about?  What quest?"

Garek smiled, a thin, wry smile that was as cold as a glacier on a moonlit night.  "I'm afraid, old friend, that that's none of your damned business."


  1. This reminds me of the rules for Eberron Clerics. Not Paladins, mind you. Eberron Pals still have to retain alignment, etc. Anywho, blah blah blah, might be a decent read if you continued.

    Also, remember the dwarf, Kore, from Goblins?

    That is all.

  2. Aqvilifer pointed me here. Glad he did too. Now to read the rest of this story. Now to bookmark in hopes of more to read! ^.^



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