Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Gods Themselves

"I want all of you to understand," Arbiddance spoke softly to his three comrades, "I have no illusions about his intentions.  But there's more to this than you know, and I'm going to ask you both to trust me on this.  In time, I'm betting it will become apparent as to why he should come along."

"What about her?" Qova asked.  She glanced toward the door. "Is she really a werewolf, or is just a cult thing?"

"Oh, she is," Hern answered. "You don't get those tattoos for free.  She was introduced to the werewolf plague probably at a very young age.  It's no big deal to her."

"What you had better watch is her dagger," the Prince offered. "The one on her right hip?  It's a sapirik... a drinker."

"A drinker?" Qova looked at him quizzically.

The Prince smiled. "Let's just say she has a drinking problem.  In any case, if she goes into a battle frenzy, don't turn your back on her.  Ever."

"Back to the issue at hand," Hern leaned back into his chair. "Exactly what function is a Oienduni priest going to serve during our little explorations?  I'm not sure if I want to seek healing from him."

"I'm sure you won't get it," Arbiddance rubbed his beard. "It's this simple: he's along as an observer.  When he's observed what he's here to observe, he'll leave, and that should be the end of it."

"Observe what? I want to know, and know now.  Do you know?"

Arbiddance sighed and looked up.  Should I tell them now and perhaps this whole thing falls apart?

"Okay, look.  First off, the Baron's sanctioned this.  Hell, he's fanatical about it.  If we don't play along, then he'll most likely boot us off the property and this whole thing's for nothing.  That's one.  Two: there are larger factors at play here.  I'm not sure I can explain."

"Try," the Prince replied, and there was no grin on his face.

Arbiddance looked at him, looked down, and slowly added, "right, here it is..."

When the Alpine Throne extended its power into the Raven March, it was met with fierce resistance from what was left of the Anayari Kingdom.  The March itself got its current name from the feasts enjoyed by the ravens after each bloody battle that took place.  Slowly the forces from the North marched through each village and town until they were exhausted, and the territorial lines were formed were they are today.

Behind the forces of the King came the priests of Oiendun... a small cult, little known except in the cesspits of the largest cities.  The priests were searching for something... everyone could see that, but no one knew exactly what. They went from town to town, village to village, with special dispensation from the King himself to kill who they chose and take what they wanted.

The soldiers of Anayar made one last rally and met with the King's army south of Talus. The priests and wizards of Anayar used some sort of ancient magic... and the records are fuzzy as to exactly what... and set the Northerners to flight, but the Oiendun priests intervened and used counter-magic of their own... and that turned the tide.  After that battle, the war was basically over.

Now, surviving priests and wizards on both sides pretty much agree on one thing: the magic used in both camps were tied to one another.  Each side possessed pieces of twin relics, and there are several sets of these relics.  They're carefully locked up and protected, except for a couple of sets. The consensus is that these relics are alive but occasionally take the form of gauntlets.  Seperated from its mate, one gauntlet is weak; combined, the wearer has terrible powers.

The Oienduni priests have ancient claim to these gauntlets.  As horrible as it sounds, the gods themselves have granted this... however, the Baron has one gauntlet from the sixth and final set... the most powerful set, and he says its mate is somewhere in here in this section of Doomwatch.

"The Snake of Oiendun is one of the most powerful enforcers of his cult.  He says he's merely here to see if the mate is here and if it's safe.  I don't believe that, and neither does the Baron, I think," Arbiddance muttered. "But if it's here, we need to know.  If it's here, then we need the Snake to lead us to it, and then we'll kill him."

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