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 Order Of Illumination - The Moment

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Cartheron

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Number of posts : 38
Registration date : 2008-07-14

PostSubject: Order Of Illumination - The Moment   Tue Jun 30, 2009 11:44 am

The ranks of the Order were still reeling from the news of the Elders' disappearance. Rumours and theories ran riot through the cloisters of the Abbey as each Templar created their own version of events. Some claimed that the Order itself was cursed with ill-luck, damned to fail. The Scion had treated these cowards with the contempt they deserved, publicly shattering the blade of the first Templar to voice such heresies and excommunicating her from the Order. Arill had not been seen or heard from since. Others whispered of a fell conspiracy against the Order - dire agents of the Darkness allied against the Holy Templars. The recent disappearances of high-ranking members of the Order lent this theory some weight. Balamir, Cartheron, the Lord Militant himself and now Elder Vaknor, each had been taken from the embrace of the Light. Neophites whispered that the Order was being torn apart piece by piece. The Scion, along with others such as the Imagifier Kaylaruana, was doing his best to hold the Order together and provide some direction and purpose, but still a sense of dread permeated the Abbey.

Tattersail sat in the Abbeys dining hall, a pewter mug of black tea untouched and cooling on the table before her. She sat alone against the far wall, wrapped in a simple robe, with Mercy's Edge laid in front of her, blade bared. Her pale grey eyes seemed to be fixed on the weapon, but her gaze was unfocused. One slender hand massaged her temple through her hair, trying to lessen the nagging pain of the migraine that had plagued her since the Incident. Whatever power had possessed her during the attack by the crazed gnome and her associates, it had left her as suddenly as it had arrived. Other than her newly acquired tattooes, no trace or presence lingered on her and she was left feeling somehow hollow, almost diminished in some way. Her dreams still took her to the rotting deserted streets, but she now trod their twisting decayed paths alone for what seemed like hours before waking as tired as she had been at nightfall. None of the Orders' many healers could do anything for her and with Vaknors' recent disappearance there was no-one she could to for answers.

Questions still plagued her mind, constantly churning and twisting through her thoughts. Answers to the riddle of the chains still eluded her and the Orders' records made no mention of any Templar from the line of Severus. Tattersail sighed, rubbing her hand across her face in a vain attempt to rouse herself from this ennui.

The hall itself was almost empty, the hushed conversations of the few neophites and monks present quickly swallowed up by the high arched ceiling and dressed stone walls. To the left, a group of neophites sat discussing their latest lesson. Tattersail could make out Anselma's confident, compsed face amongst them, animated as she argued some point of doctrine. Before the Incident, Tattersail would have sat amongst them and enjoyed the company of her peers. The Incident had changed all of that. Now she was almost shunned by her Brothers and Sisters, marked out by her inexplicable tattooes and whatever presence had touched her. Even the older members of the Order treated her with some caution, as though they had seen something in her that made them uncomfortable. She had been told that the Scion was considering her condition and had discussed it with the Knight-Marshalls. However, without Vaknors' guiding hand and vast depth of knowledge, answers were not easily forthcoming. Once again Tattersail fell into a reverie, endless questions turning over and over in her mind.

The fist caught her completely unaware, throwing her from her chair to the floor and splitting her lip as it hammered into her face. Tattersail groped for the table, pulling herself to her knees in time to catch another blow to her face that snapped her head back, blood arcing from her mouth and nose. Gasping and spitting blood, she looked up at the huge Templar towering over her. His dark skin was seamed with scars, eyes glinting with fury from his sword-kissed face. His massive shoulders trembled with barely controlled rage and the need to do violence. Immense hands unfurled from fists and hauled her upright against the wall. One hand encircled her throat, choking the breath from her, while he spat venomous curses at her. Tattersail tried to gather her wits as she gasped for air. Another blow hammered into her face, an open-handed slap that rattled her brain in her skull. Through the fog of pain, she caught a glimpse of a tattoo, a stylised 'I' on the side of his neck. Knowledge flared in her mind and she suddenly knew who her attacker was. Azeem, the Samaritan Knight. Once a pillar of the Order, he had darkened of late, returning from an absence twisted and stained with rage.

Tattersail could only make out snatches of what he was bellowing - she was a thief, a whore, undeserving. Each insult was punctuated by another thunderous fist. She could feel her right eye swelling shut and tasted blood in her mouth. A blow to her side felt like a hit from a ram and left bones broken and grating inside her. She could hear cries and shouts from the neophites in the hall - several had run to find the Knight-Marshalls and Anselma herself was trying in vain to pull Azeem away. Someone was crying out, pleading and it took Tattersail a few moments to realise it was her voice she could hear. Anselma was now trying to prise Azeems hand from her throat but had merely succeeded in tearing his undershirt. Azeem seemed to shrug effortlessly and Anselma was thrown aside, crashing through a table and ending up in a crumpled heap. Azeem tore his ripped shirt off, exposing the glowing runes tattoeed across his barrel-like chest and arms.

She slumped against the wall, blood streaming down her face and coughing weakly as air forced its way down her ravaged throat. Her simple cotton shift had been ripped and torn by Azeems' onslaught and she pulled the ragged strips around her slender torso. Even through the pain, she could feel the chains twisting and snaking across her body and somehow she knew that they were pulsing with light in time with the runes etched on Azeems' midnight skin. He had turned away from her, breathing heavily, and had taken up Mercy's Edge. Clutching the blade close, he turned and stared at her, cold fury boiling in his eyes. Tattersasil weakly stared back, sobbing against the pain coursing through her. She saw murder in his eyes and in one calm, clear moment she knew he meant to kill her. She also knew that at this moment, she didnt care.

A cracked hysterical laugh bubbled from her split and bloody lips. Azeem stood over her, blade poised to hack down into her soft yielding flesh. He had finally noticed her chains and the sight seemed to hold him at bay, as though they triggered some memory for him. Tattersail sucked in a deep breath laced with the copper-salt tang of her blood and pushed herself upright.

'Do it. Come on, do it you frakker. Kill me already, for Lights' sake'

She shuddered and twisted her head to the side, spitting blood to the floor. Azeem had not moved a muscle, only narrowed his eyes as he stared at her. She faced him once more, bloody drool hanging from her lips, and found the strength to scream at him.

'Kill me! Do it! I've got nothing left, nothing but hate! Frakking kill me and get it over with you bastard!'
'What...what do you mean?'

He sounded like slabs of granite rubbing over each other, his voice thick with anger. But also something else, something almost like recognition. Tattersail felt another ragged laugh escape her.

'I mean, what have I got left? No family, no life, no future. Endless pain. All these questions and no frakking answers. I'm sick of all these chains and not knowing whats happening and I'm so frakking tired of it all. All that I have left to pull me on is hate. So kill me, please. Please end this.'

She steeled herself and waited for Mercy's Edge to kiss her flesh one last time. A long moment passed, shadows lengthening through the dining hall as the light dimmed. Distant sounds of alarm could be heard, though for now they were alone in the growing darkness. Though blurring vision, Tattersail saw Azeem lower the blade. All at once the rage and violence seemed to drain out of him and for a brief moment he seemed in great pain. He nodded slightly, as if reaching a decision and when he spoke again his voice was low and soft.

'I....I knew a man once who had only hate. He was...my brother, my closest friend. We walked the shadows together for a long time and spilled our blood together more times than I care to remember. He was cursed with a soul wrapped in chains, chains that nothing could break. These same chains took him from me.'

Tattersails' eyes widened at the mention of chains. She was still in considerable pain, but pushed it aside through sheer force of will. Something deep inside her whispered that this was important, that this moment was a tipping point in her life. Azeem gestured to Mercy's Edge.

'I forged that blade for him long ago. It was known then as Hate's Edge.'

A thrill ran through Tattersail, almost electric in its intensity. Azeem lowered his eyes and held her gaze. His dark eyes were like deep wells, glinting with some undefined emotion.

'I do not know or understand why, but I see something of him in you. Somehow I feel as though he is here with you.'

This was it. The moment. She barely dared to breath as Azeem continued, his deep voice gaining strength.

'His name was Cartheron Desant Severus. If you wish, I will teach you of him and the work we did.'

Azeem reached down to her. And, as the shadows filled the room and engulfed them both, Tattersail took his hand.
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