End of Days XXXI

Paladin in Training

“Indeed this is the Boy I wrote you about.” Death said once again in full character as the Great General Thanix. “He has a power about him that is immense, but untapped. He will be a great weapon against those that oppose us.” Once again I felt her eyes cast their judgment upon me. For a brief second I thought there was a golden glow that took over her normally pale green eyes. I felt the press of a burning warmth over the warding General Thanix placed on me. She was trying to see through the warding.

“He seems to have something about him. I can’t quite tell what it is, but he has the riding stance and posture of a well-trained soldier.” She said without breaking her gaze as she walked closer. “We will have to see about any latent divine ability.” She said bringing a glowing fist up towards her face. The scars on her faces gave a faint shimmer as it approached.

“Well, I must be on my way back to the Garrison, no rest for the wicked and all that.” The General joked.

“If you must.” Nilissa dismissed. “Come with me Finnus, I will show you your quarters and then we will start your testing.”

“I was under the impression that the skills that I demonstrated at Garrison were more than enough to bypass the entry tests to being a Paladin,” I questioned.

“Silence! You speak to Nilissa, The God-touched, Chosen Leader of the Paladin Order, The Eye of Truth.” One of the other Paladin’s interjected.

“Oh you will earn your place among us in do time. I need to see what way the Divine speaks through you, and which way you speak to the Divine.” Nilissa lectured. “Come, this way Finnus.”

I gave a wave to the General as he began to ride away and then dismounted my horse to follow Nilissa. She lead me to a side yard with some training equipment and I saw that other Paladins were sparing and going through various weapon forms. There were several in full armor that were overseeing the activities of the those in light training leathers.

“As you can see our training is very extensive.” Nilissa began. ” These are some of our newer members training their skills with their favored weapons. There is no required weapon that you must master to be a Paladin, and preferably you can achieve your goals without the use of force. We offer a complete training regiment starting with the use of diplomacy and deescalation techniques.” She then took to the rest stance she did at our meeting and called out to those in the training area. “Assemble at attention!” They all fell into an ordered formation in a hurried fashion.

“We all know our place in our ranks and make this formation. When are being addressed, awaiting commands, gathering for duty, and at the end of our day. This is our organization. We are legion. We are strong. Even alone we individually have the strength and knowledge to turn the tides and protect this kingdom. We gain great power from our Oath, whatever it may be. We have sworn to uphold that Oath until our dying breath.” She then raised her warhammer to the sky with a mighty two-handed thrust. “For The Queen!”

“For The Queen!” The other Paladin called out in unison raising their weapons as well. Their chant gave off a powerful aura unlike I had felt before.

“Return to your training.” She commanded. Then they quickly returned to their regiments. “Now let me show you to your bunk in the barracks. You will be sharing room and board with the other Paladin squires. You are the youngest to join our ranks and unfortunately, our training is normally only for adults that have gone through basics already. If you can’t handle the minimum requirements you will be discharged. We offer no exceptions.” She continued to explain rule after rule, regulation after regulation, but eventually, we arrived in the Squires dormitory. This is your bed. Here are your training leathers. We rise before dawn for meditation and prayer. Then we break fast before we hold our group lessons on history and literature. From that healing and spellcraft. We then break into individual study until the evenings where we do group combat drills. At the end of your first week, we will assess your placement levels and hold your first test. When I believe you are ready, you will go before The Queen and her court and swear your Oath.

“In front of The Queen, and her court?” I asked

“I do not believe that I stuttered,” Nilissa said. “All Oaths must be sworn to The Queen, as a Paladin, you serve as a beacon of her purpose and lead her armies. We will go over types of Oaths in the morning. For now, you should rest.”

“Thank you Archpaladin Nilissa, I can not wait to see what I can learn in the morning.” I said. She promptly did an about face and walked out if the room. Once in the doorway she turned to face me.

“Nor can I wait to see what you did to earn the General’s favor.” She said looking back into the room with a smirk. “There is something about you that is more than it seems.” Could she see through the warding? I wondered. That would make things highly problematic.

“I thought you said the testing would begin after you showed me my bunk?” I questioned. Her eyes and scars gave the same shimmering glow that they did earlier.

“Trust me, it already has.” She quipped. She gave a warm, yet unnerving chuckle as she walked from the room. I sighed heavily as I lay down on my new bed and let myself drift off to sleep.

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