Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Sister Rebecca's Confession

Found on a yellowed piece of parchment in an old bottle...

Dear Father Confessor,

I pen these words to you with little hope you will ever read them. I fear I have sinned most grievously against our most Holy Creeds.  When you gave me your benediction to leave the cloister in the company of such gallant and jovial adventurers as Ironwolf and Dougal, I fear you did not see into their hearts as I now have.

Our first weeks in the wilderness were full of merriment and song.  Even the taunts of the crude soldiers at the Keep were of no worry.  A swing or two of the blessed "thurible," in which you had made sure I was so adept, silenced several a stray cat call, let me tell you!

But as we approached those horrible caves, truly a home of chaos as they are named, the true natures of my companions seemed to rise to the fore.  The talk of gold and gems -- and how they would be spent in the looser quarters of the Town -- became more prevalent.  Less so the cause of our quest:  the stopping of the raids by those horrible creatures on the innocent farmers of the valley.

Our first sight of one of those creatures, a shriveled one called kobold  by Silverleaf, sent them into a frenzy.  I am ashamed to admit to being whipped up by some of that aggressive talk, because I was with them, arm to arm, when we attacked.  We hacked, we pounded, we stomped.  As we chased some of them into the mouth of the cave, Dougal went off into a side cavern where I heard what sounded like the wailing of babes.

When Dougal emerged, smoke billowed behind him.

I kept telling myself that these foul creatures were the Spawn of the Adversary, impossibly corrupted and wholly exempt from mercy.  When Dougal died, I earnestly gave him the Rites and commended his soul to the High One because of his brave actions.

Later, much later, at the campfire, as Frederick and Ironwolf argued over the disposition of some bauble, the talk turned back to the Keep.  Over and over again, they talked of the weaknesses in the soldiers' defense, the sheen of the new weapons they carried, and the unfairly gathered tax money stored in their coffers.  I held my tongue and offered Hands and Balms to their wounds.

My sleep that night was fitful.  After my turn at the watch, I settled into a deeper slumber.  My dreams began in the caves -- as they have every night since -- but on that night there were no beasts.  Only one fiery form, tall and thin, with the brightest flames covering the face.  From time to time I thought I could see a piece of armor or clothing that resembled that of one or other of my companions.  It walked towards me and drew a bright sword.

I swung at this demonic visage with my mace, but it passed through as if my opponent was made of the wind.  Panicked, I dropped the mace and, as you know is my habit in times of trouble, clutched at the Holy Symbol of the High One around my neck.  The cross came off its chain and was tightly gripped by my right hand.  I was astounded to see that the cross became a hilt, and a long blade of light, even brighter than my opponent's, grew out out of it.  I did not even need to swing or thrust, since its shining light made the fiery person (man? woman? I still know not) recoil and speed away in terror.

I awoke, knowing exactly what I needed to do.  I still do not know whether it was a dream or a true encounter with one from the realms of the inner world.  May it have been a test of the High One... or possibly a temptation from the Adversary?  No matter.  I am strengthened.  I am resolved.  I am... experienced.

I now must stop my careful scratching, as this, my last piece of parchment, is full, and my hastily gathered quill (apologies, good goose!) is wearing thin.  Be not alarmed by these scarlet words, since I had no other ink than mine own.  The bloodletting has not weakened me, since I am uplifted by the High One and by the hope that my path away from those mercenaries has been well hidden.  I took no treasure but this bottle in which you find this confession of a sinner, now hopefully redeemed by fire.  I pray to arrive back at the cloister by the next full moon.


Sister Rebecca

(Inspired by this, and by some recent thoughts on ways to make the CLERIC class more interesting... specifics to come eventually.  Suffice to say, Rebecca didn't need formal training to level up, did she?)  :-)


  1. Awkward attempts?!

    Cyg, this is luminous! I would read more and more and more! :D

    Sorry for the bout of delirium but I am just so pleased by what you have written. I daresay that I LOVE IT.

    1. Thanks so much, Suze. I still worry it's too stilted and cliched, even for its medieval/fantasy flavor. But your opinion means a lot.

      I'm honestly not sure where this came from. I didn't wake up yesterday thinking "I'm going to write some short fiction today," but it happened. :-)

  2. Some wording could be worked on, but on the whole good stuff.

    1. High praise from Tones, here. :)

    2. Thanks, Tony. It grew out of purely game-ish (gamey?) thinking about what sets clerics apart from the other classes in RPGs. (And listening to a radio show about "spiritual warfare.") Clerics don't have the strong genre-identification like the warriors, the wizards, or even the sneaky thieves, so I think they need some extra narrative oomph to make them sing...

      And, as a teacher, I thought a "worked example" could be more instructive than dry exposition. :-)