End of Days XXXII

Mullenkedheim The Guide

Thump

I felt the warmth of the warding glow waking me from my slumber. The pulse of energy hit me like a punch in the gut.

Thump thump

The energy of the warding was reaching the end of its duration. I looked around the room and could see a few other paladins were also sleeping in the room. I scurried over to my bag and pulled the supplies for the ritual of the ward. I went over the directions and noticed that Death also added information about the nature of the ward. If I cast a spell or used an ability the ward would show that I could do that, but then I could not lessen the ward. So if I were to use anything too flashy or grandiose I would give away my true level of power. All I had to do was repeat the incantation and the power would replenish to the ward. I fumbled through the room towards the gathering camber that the dormitories were linked by and found and area down the hall that let me be alone.

Thump thump thump

“Praesidium de deprehendatur, exsurdo sphaerum,” I said as I read the text from the scroll. The warding gave a faint golden glow and I felt the divine power flow through my body. I thought back to the glow of Nilissa’s eyes and scars and wondered if my ward would continue to hold or if she could already see through it. I pondered this thought as I went back to my bunk. As I laid back under my blankets I realized that I could not let this question hold my mind hostage. I needed to focus on my task at hand. I am here to study the Paladins and The fortifications of the capital.

Shortly after I fell back asleep, I felt a hand on my shoulder. With in a second, my hand was on their wrist and I was prepared to fight.

“Calm yourself brother Finnus. I mean you no harm. I am here to lead you to our sanctum for meditation.” A Paladin said. “Welcome to our ranks. I am Paladin Mullenkedheim and I have been assigned as your guide for your assessment week.”

“I do apologize, I am not used to being in such guarded company. ” I said releasing his wrist. “It is a pleasure to meet you.” As I got out of the bedding and donning my training leathers to match Mullenkedheim.

“This way.” He said leading me back out into the hallway. “I’m not sure if you pray or to whom you pray but most of us worship Tyr, Torm, Ilmater, Helm, or Eldath. That or some combination of them. Nilissa is a special case though, she worships some old red dragon. She says he chose her years ago and blessed her with a mark of power.” He motioned to his face as he said the last part.

“So she knows the truth” I muttered under my breath, thinking about the God-Dragons that truly ruled divine over the people of the world.

“What’s that? Did you say something about the truth?” He asked. “Yes, they do call her The Eye of Truth. The markings that she has let her see through all but the strongest illusions and incantations. It seems to be more than that though, she is a highly skilled warrior that has been known to rarely miss her mark when attacking and can parry almost any blow. She is truly inspiring.”

She was definitely going to be a problem. A powerful adversary, that was blessed by a God-Dragon just as myself and the others. She was an instrument of Akor. An instrument of war.

“So how many of us are there? Paladins that is.” I asked.

“Here at Absolvere? Well There is Archpaladin Nilissa, The Nine, there are two that serve as part of The Queen’s honor guard, with you there will be nine squires and then about one hundred or so of us that serve out in The Queen’s army. ” Mullenkedheim explained.

“Are we a part of the military?” I asked.

“Yes, but no. The Paladin order is much more than that. We have extra training and extra skills compared to the soldiers of the army, while they have some members that are equal in skill. We work with the army to serve the realm and they treat our members as if they have achieved the rank of Captains, which may confuse some.”

So that means that Orzov was just a regular Paladin. Hearing that made my throat tighten. I have grown much stronger and wiser since that battle on the whalebone bridge, but I was now in the company of the highest-ranking Paladins in all of Sovereign. I truly had found myself in a rather comprising situation. Mullenkedheim led me further into the castle until we reached what appeared to be a chapel of sorts.

“Welcome to the Paladin’s sanctum. It is quiet now but once the others join us you will see the power that we hold manifest like we did when Nilissa called us to formation last night.” Mullenkedheim began to explain. “Now I haven’t asked yet, but who to do you worship? Or is your Oath one of service instead of piety?”

“Service I think. I wasn’t raised following the deities that you mentioned, or any for that matter. I left my village when my father died. He said that he and my mother had visions of me as a valiant knight and wanted me to give my services to the land when they passed.” I said feigning remorse for parents I didn’t remember. Parents that died long ago. “Is there a test for what my Oath should be?” Even though I swore an Oath long ago on the roofs of Skrayhorn.

“That is the purpose of your first meditation here in our sanctum.” He said. “We are here first because there are steps to take to make sure that another Paladin’s Oath doesn’t hold sway over your mind.” The sanctum was covered in beautiful decorations and several busts of a masked woman. Gold and silver tools covered in jewels and gems placed throughout the room and an elegantly crafted crimson rug went from the door to a lowered sitting area with silk pillows. In the very center, there was a pedestal with a marble bowl filled with water. “Please take a seat Finnus,” Mullenkedheim instructed. “Allow me to guide you though your first meditation.”

“Where do we begin?” I asked as I sat down on one of the many pillows.

“Close your eyes and breath in deeply through your nose.” He said as we both took our inhale. “Exhale slowly through your mouth, and now allow yourself to cycle through this, one breath after another.” Breath after breath I felt more calm and peaceful, meditation was nothing new to me and I felt the state of my mind, body, and spirit intertwining. “You feel yourself floating freely. Lifting off the ground and out of your body. You feel your spirit growing larger and larger until you burst out of the room and into the sky. Floating higher and growing larger as you increase speed away from the us and the here.” With a flash of light, the experience I was being described was becoming true. “You look down upon the lands of Sovereign and you see its flaws and imperfections. You see how to fix these problems. What do you see Finnus?”

“I see a series of gates made of fire, water, lightning, and earth. I see them consuming this world and warping the people.” I envisioned aloud.

“What else do you see?” Mullenkedheim asked.

“I see the Maelstrom, only it is made of the void and pain. I see the bright light of truth offering protection from it.” I spoke.

“Enough. I know your Oath child.” Archpaladin Nilissa commanded. Pulling me back to my body. They must have entered the room while I had my consciousness projected by the guided experience. “You are something special for sure, the General was right to bring you here. You will be taking the Oath of the Watcher. It seems that you hold the fate of our realm in your hands. I see this to be true. You are truly blessed to have this burden.”

The shock of the experience left my head spinning. The sanctum now full of all twenty Paladins all staring and speaking in hushed tones. “Blessed with this burden” I echoed. Nilissa’s scars gave the burning glow and it shimmered across her scars as a knowing smirk crossed her face.

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