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Silearth

For Fame and Fortune IV:The Plight Of The Seraphim

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Drogan and Samual set quietly for several moments. There were questions left unasked and things left unsaid. Neither had the words, so they simply said nothing.

Samual could not take his eyes off of the face of the slain Seraphim. He had already told Drogan that this was the one who had delivered his note. A quick search of her pack revealed the note, along with a selection of fruit, some gold coins and a rather large collection of runes.

There were nearly one hundred runes in her pack and most of them were useable only by Samual.

This is not mere chance, Drogan had said as he handed the bulk of the runes to the young mage. They were accepted by shaky hands and as Drogan watched they were absorbed, one by one.

The process of absorbing runes to increase spell levels, while not being notable painful, was not pleasant. To consume so many in so brief a period of time was hard on the body. Samual had to sleep for a time after.

And so the two sat in silence until Samual stood and started pacing.

“Drogan, what are we going to do?”

“We?” asked Drogan, taken aback.

“There is something brewing Drogan, a coming storm. I have felt this for some time; I tried to ignore it but I can no longer.

“I travel the lands and seek out riches. More and more I cross paths with the black-robed priests of the sakkara cult. Their numbers are growing as is their nerve. They are no longer hiding in the shadows, but roaming the lands in plain sight.

“Whatever Estirias is involved in has to have something to do with these priests. If that is the case, it is bigger than just the two of you. All of Ancaria will feel the consequences of their schemes.”

Drogan nodded his agreement but said nothing for several moments.

“Do you ever think about the past, Sam?”

“I try not to think at all,” laughed the mage. Then he sighed, falling silent for several moments before speaking again. “Guilt for the sake of guilt is useless. You make mistakes and you feel bad about them and you strive to never make the same mistake again.

“Some years ago you and I and several adventurers decided to plunder the deserts of Khorad Nur in search of fame and fortune. None of us were ready for a dragon.”

“But I’m the only one—“

“The only one who ran? No. You were just the first. And yes, they died. As I recall, we did not think that many of them would live long anyway. What was that name you would call them? Orc bait!”

The two laughed awkwardly for a few moments.

“But you never told Esti or the others. And you had no reservations about working with me again?”

It is like I said, Drogan. You make a mistake, you feel bad and you do not do it again. And I figured that I would be the first to run that time.”

“But it’s hard to run when a Skeleton mage has rooted your legs to the sand.”

Samual started to laugh but his expression grew melancholy “Seriously, Drogan. What are we going to do here?”

Drogan smiled slightly. “How fast can you make it to Braverock?”

“I could make it in three days I suppose. That would be phasing all the way”

The two decided that Samual would make his way to Castle Braverock and seek out signs of the Sakkara Cult. But more importantly he would quietly inquire about the Seraphim who still lay lifeless in Drogans bed.

Drogan would remain in Fairies Crossing and continue to work odd jobs while waiting for word from Estirias. He would also start paying attention to travelers passing through from the north. There was a slight chance that he might scrape together some information.

Samual was eager to be off so Drogan helped him buy supplies for his journey. They did not want to attract any unneeded attention so instead of burying the body, the mage sealed it into a block of ice. The ice, being magical in nature would last for some time; long enough for Drogan to figure out what to do.

So Samual set off toward Castle Braverock. He claimed to be able to phase over great distances and assured Drogan that he would be there quickly. He would avoid any of the priests that roamed the lands.

 

Drogan, left to himself once more, settled into a regular routine. He would work occasionally to earn the money needed to keep the room and eat, as well as a bit extra just in case of emergency.

It was three weeks before he was contacted.

 

Drogan always started his day in the bar, eating a light breakfast. As usual he watched the patrons, looking for new faces. To his dismay, there had been no travelers for some time. He did hear something from one of the regulars about trouble starting up north. People were starting to go missing.

He tired of sitting in the bar and would not work this day so he rose to leave. Two figures in heavy travel cloaks barred his way.

Both figures were slight, he could tell that much. Their hoods hid their features in darkness, but light shone from within.

Seraphim!

“Do not speak,” hissed one of the women. “Walk to your room and we will meet you soon.”

Drogan did as directed, his heart beating heavily in his chest. It was several moments before the two arrived.

As he closed the door behind them, the two women removed their cloaks revealing glowing armor. Their wings were much different that anything Estirias ever wore, being more like a small wheel with the outer rim removed. When uncovered, a blade of pure light slide out from each spoke. Moments after the two arrived there was a knock on the door. One of the Seraphim opened the door to reveal a large man carrying a massive chest. He was directed to place the chest in the center of the room and was dismissed with a few gold coins for his trouble.

“Where is our sister?” She pointed her blazing eyes at him, her young face a mask of duty and anger.

Drogan pulled the blankets from the block of ice, revealing the dead Seraphim. The two women lowered their heads and shed tears for their fallen sister. Both started praying in a strange tongue, their eyes beginning to grow even brighter. Within the ice, the Seraphim’s body began to glow and then it was gone.

“We thank you for preserving her body, gladiator.” Spoke one of the women; she was quite tall and slim. Her face was marred by a single scar that ran from her forehead to her chin. Her blond hair was cut very short, boyish.

He eyed the large chest with a measure of suspicion.

“You came for more than her body, I think. What is going on here? Please, I beg of you.”

“No master Drogan, we are here to beg of you.” Both women sat on the bench and motioned for him to sit as well. “We would like to hear the details of our sister’s visit if it pleases you.”

So Drogan told them everything that happened from the time he returned to the room.

“Braverock,” whispered the leader.

“Listen closely, gladiator. There is a storm approaching and it will darken all of Ancaria if left unchallenged. Ancaria needs a hero to rise up. Through your deeds shall that hero be revealed.

“The Sakkara Cult, for dark purposes known only to them, requires the blood of a Seraphim. Everything they do now is to achieve this goal. Recently, our worst fears were realized when one of our sisters was captured and brought to a hidden fortress in Bellevue. Estirias was on orders to find our sister; she could not.

“Fortune shone on us when a random warrior, seeking to make a name for himself stumbled into their lair. Through luck and force of arms he was able to free our sister.

“That crisis over, Estirias joined Soria, whose life you tried to save. Their new mission was to locate the cult strongholds so that the strength of the Seraphim might smite them down!”

Drogan’s blood ran cold and he stood, turning his back to the two women. “They were together when…Soria was mortally wounded—“

“We feel your grief. There were many among our sisterhood who quietly condemned what the two of you shared.” She stood and approached him. “And just as many who openly denounced it.” She put her hands on his shoulders, turning him about, forcing him to face her. “But there were those of us who envied her for what she had.” Tears slowly fell from her fiery eyes, rolling down her cheeks. She leaned forward and kissed him lightly on the forehead.

She gazed into his eyes intently for several moments and then she leaned back slightly.

“The time for deeds is at hand. Will you stand with us, not just for Estirias but for all of Ancaria?

Esti….how can I live if you are gone?

“I will walk into the underworld if I have to! I will either rescue her or avenge her death! After that, I would be your champion.”

“You will not go alone. You will have all the might that my sister and I wield to assist you! And you will have weapons and armor that few warriors would dare to dream of.”

The other Seraphim, a shy woman with long blond hair tied in a braid, rose and opened the chest. Inside there were two large bundles of animal skins. She retrieved one and closed the chest, locking it again. She placed the bundle on the bench and unwrapped it, motioning for Drogan to approach.

Drogan walked forward to see his prize. To look at it took his breath away. It was the most terrible thing that he ever saw. The armor was blood red and the helm had two evil horns on either side. Under normal circumstances, he would not even touch such a foul thing. But circumstances were different now and he would have to do things that went against his very nature—for Estirias and for Ancaria.

He lifted the helmet with trembling hands and held it in front of his face.

The power he felt coming from the thing!

He sank to his knees, still holding the helmet in his hands. A single tear fell from his eye. “For Esti and for Ancaria,” he whispered.

The Seraphim, knowing Drogan’s nature, left him alone for a few moments. Eventually he rose and they helped him into the armor. It fit well, as if made for him alone. They explained the properties of it, how it would increase his strength, agility and speed.

 

The three would travel to Braverock by horse. They figured that the trip would take a week if they pushed the horses. They would not avoid contact with roaming priests. Part of their purpose was to send a message. If they were lucky they would be attacked in the castle and not be forced to search. Once they found the hidden stronghold they would remove it from the face of Ancaria. No survivors!

 

And so it was that the strange party set out north across the Southern region. In the days it took to reach the castle they fought bandits, warriors from Crowsrock and several groups of black-robed priests.

The Seraphim killed without hesitation, delivering divine justice to all who blocked their path. They were especially heartless when facing the black robes.

Drogan told himself that he was doing the right thing. He was thankful for the hoods that the priests wore. Since he could not see their faces, they would not haunt his dreams. He just prayed that he would never get to a point where the killing did not bother him.

They would stop for a few hours each night, mostly to allow the horses to rest and to eat a light meal.

Sometimes, while resting the horses, they would talk. Drogan learned that the leader’s name was Dorcas while the blond woman’s name was Sililva.

Dorcas usually kept her distance, as she had embarrassed herself on that first morning in his room. Sililva, on the other hand was full of questions.

On the fifth night, the blond Seraphim was asking an endless series of questions when Drogan interrupted her.

“Can you…dim your fire?”

She looked confused for a moment and then laughed.

“I guess I could, but why would I want to?”

“It is a sign of ultimate love,” spoke Dorcas as she stepped out of the shadows. “To dim one’s fire, as you call it, one would have to stop the flow of T energy. It is not pleasant. There is only one other time that a sister’s eyes are not full of light.”

“Death,” whispered Drogan.

“If Estirias has done this for you then you can be sure that she loves you deeply. If a Seraphim could love a human this deeply then she would do anything for him. She would risk certain death to save him. She would die so that he might live. She would endure any pain so that she might live to return to his side.”

Drogan turned away slightly to ponder what he had been told. But Sililva was not finished asking questions.

“What do you dream?”

“What?”

“I can not read your mind, but I can feel your emotions. You have bad dreams whenever you sleep.”

“Death. Pain. Mistakes that I have made.”

“There is more,” prodded Dorcas. “Mysteries from your past plague your mind. There is a question that has remained unanswered since your youth. I think this question fills your dreams more than anything”

“I thought you couldn’t read my mind.”

“Once, years ago I attended an event at an arena outside of Silver Creek. There was a young gladiator; a slave. He had been trained by the best and he had surpassed his teachers. He was not well liked by the crowds though, because he would not kill his opponent.”

Drogan’s head snapped around and he met the older Seraphim’s gaze.

“Nothing could make him kill a man,” Dorcas continued. “I admired that young boy. I could have loved him, given the chance. But I am not as bold as Estirias.

“I could not have him, but I would help him. I came back later that same night and subdued the guards. I broke the lock on his cell and woke him, leaving before he saw me.”

“And I woke my cellmate. Together we escaped.” He stared at her with a look of wonder. Here before him was the answer to the biggest question of his life.

“I still admire that boy, and the man he became.”

She returned to the shadows and Sililva was out of questions. They settled down to sleep until sunrise.

In the morning they rose and mounted the horses, heading north.

To Braverock.

To Drogan’s destiny.

 

End.

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