Note: This is Part Two of the story. Part One can be found here.
Garek slowly walked towards the ship he had purchased passage on, framed on each side by guards--one from the Temple of Pelor, one from the Temple of Saint Cuthbert.
The trial had not gone well.
He had presented his case well, and honestly, but it seemed the Council had, by and large, made up their minds before the trial had begun. The questions he had asked were simple, with no real look at his character or his justifications for each choice he had made.
Did you kill an Imperial Ambassador? 'Yes, I killed a slaver, an evil man, who also had the great fortune of being an ambassador.'
Were you paid to kill him? 'No.'
Did you accept money for his death? 'I accepted a gift from the father of one of the girls who died in slavery due to his crimes.'
So his death directly profited you? 'That was not the reason I killed him.'
And yet, his death still directly profited you?
The questions continued, each as thinly-veiled as the last, trapping him with the truth. The sentencing was quick, at the end of the trial, with the Council members convening for less than two minutes. Permanent exile. An attempt at appeal in ten years, but it would have to be done out-of-country, and with all twenty-one heads present--making it impossible.
"You're gonna need to wait a bit," the shipmate at the walkway leading from the dock said, eying his armor and the guards appreciatively. It almost appeared the guards were there to protect Garek--their armor was ornate, though not quite so much as his, and all three had a weapon in reach. Still, the paladin had no illusions--had he drawn his weapon for virtually any reason, they would draw, as well, and he would be thier first and only target."Captain doesn't allow any passengers on board until all cargo is stowed and secure."
Garek nodded, and walked to the end of the dock, staring out at the ocean. "To Weatheroot," he said softly. Leaving the country wasn't new to him--he'd done it dozens of times in his career. But the thought of leaving the land that he was born, raised, and trained in forever...as much as he didn't want to admit it, that did shake him, just a little bit.
But there were more important things to be done, anyways, weren't they? He still had a goal. Still had an endgame. Still had something that he had to do.
Hurried footsteps on the wood of the dock sounded behind him. The exiled paladin paid them no mind, assuming them to be another shipmate, until he heard his name called out.
He turned to see Cadeus approaching him quickly, and then embracing him. "I'm sorry, child. I'm so sorry."
Garek returned the embrace. "It's of no matter," he finally said as Cadeus stepped back. "There is work to be completed elsewhere. Good work."
"It breaks my heart," Cadeus finally said, softly. "Seeing you leave. I love you as if you were my own, boy."
Garek nodded. "If you hadn't been there, after they died...I don't know how I would have turned out."
"All right, paladin, come on board!" the shipmate at the walkway yelled to him. "All the cargo is secure, we're casting off!"
"On my way!" Garek closed his eyes briefly, then called upon the Light. He opened them to see slight auras surrounding Cadeus, the sailors, the two guards, but none of them signified evil. He reached into one of the pouches on his belt and withdrew a sealed parcel. "Don't open this until you can no longer see the ship on the horizon, Cadeus." He said, before he leaned close to his surrogate father and whispered, "and burn it before you let anyone else think of reading it."
With cleverly-hidden heavy footsteps, Garek, exiled paladin of the Order of the Silver Wing, walked down the dock and up the walkway to the The Losgud, the decently-sized cargo ship leading to Weatheroot, one of the largest cities in the Vigilant Empire. He nodded at Cadeus, who had a hand raised in well-bidding, and went to find the captain, knowing his entire life had changed.
Continue to Part Three.