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Icarus's blog: "Augurs, Martyrs, and Agnostics"

created on 03/10/2011  |  http://fubar.com/augurs-martyrs-and-agnostics/b340021  |  8 followers

Her presence nipped at his ankles down the trail until dusk crept toward the mercenary.

He knew the fast approaching darkness was a regional phenomenon. A trick of some curse, or some baleful deity spun and rephrased to a blessing. At the heart of this tiny theocracy lay the temple of the living god, Dyroneus. A man said to be of unimaginable beauty, like the first dawn after an endless hell of midnights.

They called him "The Light". But to the old merc, he was just some unaging sorceror that through cantrips and parlor tricks could light the small ruinous city and bring life to their crops, sight to the scuffling mole-ish people that had been stumbling into each other in the ancient haze that hung over the area like some pestilent everdark.

He had seen much more wonderous works in his travels, and men who received no worship or sacrifice or thanks or gold for these deeds.

Dyroneus was one of the more needy gods known to the mercenary.

"Love me, that is all that I've ever asked".

Yes, love him.

Love him with your first born, your prettiest daughters, your glittering treasures, and your fattest calves.

Love him with your coin, your wine, and the blisters on your hands.

Love him as he fries your fields for imagined infidelity, and terrified doubt interpreted as heresy.

Love him with all your heart, your soul, your work, your day, your night.

Love him with all of your fear.

 

The mercenary wondered if his presence would be known upon passing through the border. There was no need for a wall, gate, or checkpoint as there was hardly anyone foolish enough to venture into the unnaturally dim forest. Fewer still were foolish enough to venture under the black sky of the city.

If Dyroneus was truly the cruel master of this place, as rumors were often more fantastical than truth, one would expect a few more singed corpses or blackened bones along the path as you drew closer to the temple.

What frightened the mercenary most, was that since the last time he had visited, there were none.

He had almost been reassured by the presence of scattered bone, and pleading peasants as he marched in file. The usual littany of "take my child, take my wife, take my daughter, take me!"

The firebolts and punctuated screams, the scramble and flee. It was a welcome change to the forced smiles of the occupied and desperate. You could trust panic, it only did one thing- but smiles led to wine, wine led to bedfellows, wine and sympathizers often led to slit throats or cut pursestrings. Or both. He learned early in his career to never take a warbride and to never drink among the revolving liberated.

Perhaps there had been one too many sanctimonious massacres in his absence.

Maybe Dyroneus had killed them all.

Or worse, they had simply stopped protesting.

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