Cleric Journal: Day Two Hundred and Thirteen

DearFatherMulcahy

 

 

Carry my mark. Magda’s words pulsed in my brain, echoing dream memories of a rising crescendo of accusation and remorse. My mark. Did I have a mark? I carried only the three unique holy symbols (well, several of each) denoting Kithri, Yolanda (Kithri’s boss), and Semaunzilla (may she always see me as her faithful servant).

I looked at Magda, blinking, trying to puzzle through the cacophony in my head. Vivid images of a young zealot, fervent and unremorseful, who stoked the fires of anger and the indignation and fear of the self-righteous. He who called for the forceful, often brutal enforcement of his brand of morality. This martyr, this coward, this power drunk lunatic proclaimed his own mark, a monstrosity of the common religion of the nine and sixty kingdoms. His symbol worn on coats and shields swept across the known world and destroyed the greatest civilization known to man. His mark, with the subtle nuances which some saw as desecration and others saw as liberation would forever burn in my mind’s eye as a warning of pride, a rebuke of hubris, an embrace of rage and a failure of the truest service: peace.

I have grown to worship a pantheon dedicated to the very essence of life. I call upon two who have visited me personally in my struggles, and I have no regrets. But I have never actively coerced, cajoled, enticed or otherwise driven any thinking being to adopt my symbols or my gods. Indeed they are not mine at all. I just look to them for guidance, power and inspiration.

“Your young Reginald there,” Magda pointed out, ” holds an item you would recognize. Your friend Lilith made you to understand that it was something dear to him, something that brought him solace. It is an adornment, nothing more, but to him it seemed that even in facing death, it showed him comfort and peace.”

I nodded, for what else could I do?

“And with his dying action, he protected one who needed protecting. Whether or not he knew she was precious to you or not does not seem to be the point.”

I studied the quiescent youth. As the rigor mortis began to fade, his fist unclenched just a fraction, and I could see not only the braided leather wrapped around his fist, but the opal white bauble he clutched. It could be the shield of Kithri, or the egg of Semaunzilla (may she watch over this lad in his next life). However, I would hazard a guess it was something more than both.

Lilith’s request held sway over me, but there was another hob to examine. I strode to Bÿglar and set about emptying his pockets. He had a few personal belongings which I quickly examined and returned, feeling a bit smarmy about the whole thing. Magda watched me, her hand on her chin, contemplating my actions.

“What?” I asked. “Am I doing it wrong?”

She shrugged. “What are you looking for?”

I rolled my eyes. Wasn’t it obvious enough? “Another of those white symbols,” I said, trying not to let the emotion and frustration creep into my voice.

“And if you find such a symbol?” she asked.

I sat back on my heels and sighed. Would it prove anything? Would it change the events that led me to knock the lad senseless? I slipped my hands into my cloak. “Nothing.” It was true. I needed to know for my own vanity and fear. But a symbol like this is personal. If Bÿglar had a concealed symbol it was his token.

I rotated my head, stretching the muscles in my neck and let out a fateful sigh. Fighting the frogs had been exhausting, if satisfying. And I had much more important things to deal with. I straightened and assessed the clearing. I needed to get their bodies out of our camp before they drew carrion critters.

“Fine,” I said, standing. I walked to where Magda hovered and squinted at her. “Perhaps instead, you would advise me to have Morning Glory’s crew move these dead frogs out of the clearing?”

I thought the answer was fairly obvious, but she surprised me.

“No, to be frank. I think we should remove us from this area. This is obviously near one of the frog’s patrol paths, and with this lot killed, they will send others, and I think it best we not be here when they arrive.”

Her logic was sound, but it rankled me that it was her idea. I’d been in charge so long I was not really thrilled with another, albeit rational, voice in my business.

“Fine,” I said, a second time, noting my growing frustration. “They probably won’t stink too much with the cold. But we can’t move until the others wake up as it is.”

Magda watched me and then nodded once, before flying up to chat with Booty Shake. They spoke very softly, so I couldn’t tell what they were saying, but Booty Shake was nodding like Magda was telling her about free make-up and dresses for everyone.

I stalked over to check on Lilith and Liz. They were both sleeping, which is exactly what I wanted them to be doing. I wanted to catch some sleep myself here soon. But I had things to do.

Should I confine Bÿglar somehow? Tie him to a tree, or just bind his feet and hands? I took the weapons from him and set them beside Liz. She’d want them when she woke. Lilith had no weapons either, which bothered me. She usually wielded dual swords, much like the two Liz carried. What had happened to Lilith’s weapons?

I really wanted to talk to the two of them and figure out what had happened. I was also very curious about the whereabouts of wizard Tim. If he’d abandoned them, I’ll skin him alive. But, despite his narcissistic tendencies and his perpetual privilege, he had a decent enough heart. There had to be a better explanation than he betrayed them all to the frogs and left them to die.

Right?

Right?

Stupid wizards.

Magda flew back down to me and spoke in my ear. Apparently she wasn’t always with Booty Shake. Her squad leader had been one of the ones killed by the madness monster and she’d just gone with Booty Shake because she was less whiney. They discussed the new arrangements and it was agreed that Magda would be my personal adviser and for the loss of her crew member (and the subsequent six to six tie that now caused) I had to agree to arbitrate all disputes that the fairies had with a deadlocked vote. Seems fairies are also democratic. Simple decisions went to the leaders, but when challenged, of if they deemed a subject too delicate, it went to a vote.

I was impressed.

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