Alda'hirakam ghar Ara; Chapter 91

  • He hadn’t been visiting the Temple for a long time. Feeling guilty for not meditating lately, Ciel’nn sighed as he climbed the stairs up. Meditating would give him some peace while the world around him roiled in chaotic way, or so it felt to him. The Temple was the one place where he felt peace and kept his occasional dark thoughts at bay. But the young mer knew those thoughts followed him everywhere. They were part of him now. He knew he had to find a way to cope or they would consume him.

    He also knew that as long as he kept Teldryn beside him, he’d not be lost to the darkness. The darkness that so beckoned him, but he refused to give in. That beckoning darkness wasn’t his own. It was…something bigger than him. Ciel’nn couldn’t name it, but he had a feeling of it. It was dreadful.

    He reached the top of the stairs and glanced at his partner. “Do you want to come inside?” He asked as stopped near the door.

    “I’ll wait outside if that’s okay with you?” Teldryn stepped close to his partner. He caressed Ciel’nn’s cheek gently. “Take as long as you need. I’ll wait right here.” He smiled.

    “I don’t mind. I mean I know you don’t pray.” Ciel’nn flashed a smirk. “Don’t go anywhere, Teldryn.” He touched the mer’s hand before turning away and walked toward the door.

    Slitter was sweeping the ground and the two Priests weren’t present when Ciel’nn walked closer to the center of the Temple. The whole idea of just asking the mer about the reavers made him annoyed. People like Mogrul and Slitter wouldn’t change even if they would try hard. He didn’t believe Slitter would change, for he was rotten to the core. He had seen it. But there the mer was sweeping like he was atoning for his crimes. I need to know the numbers of each Reaver band, Ciel'nn thought.

    The young mer approached the mer. A cough would be enough to get his attention. Rather than say his name out loud.

    A sudden cough made Slitter turn his head. The young mer was standing there with his eyes questioning him. Gods, I hope he doesn’t regret not killing me,  the ex-criminal thought. Though, he would still do it. He straightened his back and turned to Ciel’nn. “Have you come to pray to the Tribunal?” He rasped.

    “Cut the crap, Slitter.” Ciel’nn snapped in a low tone. It wouldn’t do well to raise one’s voice in the Temple where the spirits might be watching, the Tribunal. “I’m here to meditate but first I need to ask something from you.” He shifted in his place, crossing arms over his chest and narrowing his eyes.

    A question? What could that possibly be? Slitter wondered. He was tempted to ask if it was about the Tribunal, but the young mer’s look indicated something else. “What is it?” The ex-criminal asked, feeling his throat dry.

    “How many reavers are there in a band?” Ciel’nn asked. He looked aside from the mer as if something was wrong. The air has shifted. I wonder why. His eyes shifted back to the mer who stared at him. “Well? How many?”

    “I… uh…,” Slitter stammered. “Around ten or more usually. Can I ask why?” The young mer’s expression shifted.  He could almost say what it was.

    “Why? So you can go back to them?” Ciel’nn snapped to cover the creeping fear that crawled across his nerves and spine. I need to meditate soon. What do I do? He looked to Slitter. “They might be planning an assault here. Are you going to join them?”

    Join them, Slitter, so I can finish you off, the low toned whisper said in his mind.

    Ciel’nn closed his eyes and shook his head. “Leave me alone! Get out! I need to…” He stared at the mer. “I need to be alone. Go outside.” It wasn’t a request. No, it was a command.

    Slitter frowned for a moment. “I have no intention to go back to what I once was, but I leave you to your prayers.” He said with a sigh.

    Ciel’nn waited for the mer close to the door and he took a deep breath. He closed his eyes for a moment then opened them again. Walking toward the shrine of Azura, Ciel’nn had a brief thought that coming to the Temple was a mistake, but he knew he needed it. Only if the air hadn’t shifted. Something was in the air and he couldn’t say what it was. His whole being here… felt different.

    He knelt in front of the shrine of Azura and took a deep breath, then closed his eyes. He hoped it would bring some peace for him.

    Whispers. First distant then close by.

    Ciel’nn Sarion. With a longing soft whisper they called him.

    Ciel’nn would have meditated for longer but he thought he’d heard things, but his name was repeated as in a plea that he could not ignore. He jumped abruptly on his legs and turned around.


    There was an eerie apparition at the offering pit. It didn’t seemed to be hostile, yet. Ciel’nn stared at it. He knew ghosts from his past. In the Ancestral Tomb of House Dres where the old shit had sent him and then locked him in. It now felt like ages ago, but the memory lingered on in his mind. The apparition beckoned him to come closer. Ciel’nn didn’t know why the ghosts of the ancestors stirred up upon his presence. It just happened sometimes.

    We must speak. It whispered as the young mer stepped closer to the offering pit. Offering. It whispered again while it still remained friendly.

    Ciel’nn reached for his belt pouch and took a dry scathecraw and dropped it on the offering pit. “What do you ask from me?” He asked, taking one step backward. The air had shifted again, Ciel’nn noted as he didn’t feel strange anymore, but calm for reasons he didn’t know. Maybe it was the eerie apparition in front of him.

    I approve your offering. The eerie apparition whispered, then it turned to the young mer. Raven Rock is in grave danger, Ciel’nn Sarion. The crimson tide is coming and all must be prepared.

    “You’re talking about the Reavers, right?” Ciel’nn asked. The Crimson tide? That didn’t sound good at all. I feel like a insignificant grass hopper among the herd of kagouti.

    Even the smallest of grasshoppers can change the course of the crimson tide, the apparition whispered in a soothing tone. Listen, Ciel’nn Sarion, you must convince the Redorans to listen to your plan. A plan that lies within you. Then they must follow it, even if it will go against their honor. Without it all will be lost.

    “But…” Ciel’nn bit his lower lip. This sounded like a long list to achieve. They would never listen to him. Again the lives of people depended on him and he was getting tired of it. “Will their army be enough?”

    No, it will not be enough, the apparition replied shifting. But you’re not alone. The hedge mage at the alchemy stall. She needs an amulet of Greater Ash Blessing. There is a special heart stone. It’s in the urn over there. It will help her and the others.

    Ciel’nn tried his best to digest all of the information. Tenaru will be at the Bulwark defense, he thought suddenly as the idea began to gain root in his mind. “I will do this, but I wonder why me? And who are you?” He hoped his question wasn’t offensive. One doesn’t ever know about the ancestors were they your own or your neighbors’.

    The apparition was quiet for a long moment before it spoke. You, Ciel’nn Sarion, are the one marked for protection, tainted by Oblivion and the Ash Dancer. We are curious about you.

    We? He blinked and eight ancestral apparitions had appeared. He watched them with his lips parted, his eyes widening in shock as he took a step back. They seemed to be expectant.

    We are the one who died at the hands of the Reavers, and that one you named as Hogger, a long time ago, whispered one apparition to his left.

    We hope you can slake the ash with their blood, an agitated whisper came from his right.

    Each apparition seemed to have a wish for him, and Ciel’nn swallowed hard. He could understand if a priest would ask him to do something drastic for the Temple, but several ancestor apparitions wanting justice? Well, he knew it’s better to deliver than suffer their wrath.

    After the apparitions had faded away, Ciel’nn spent a while longer in front of the shrines. He had more questions than answers, but he had found some peace.


    He took the special heart stone from the urn. It didn’t look any more special to him. Well, I’m no mage so I can’t sense it. I hope Tenaru knows what to do with it. He turned toward the door and Galdrus Hlervu, the Temple apprentice, stopped him.

    “Wait. I wanted to say I was wrong about you.” Galdrus said with an apoplectic tone.

    “Really?” Ciel’nn raised a brow. Oh, yes, he recalled him saying that he’s after the gold like everyone else that was a stranger to them.

    “It’s good to see young people paying their respects to the Reclamations.” The Temple apprentice nodded.

    “Gold doesn’t interest me, but I lost my roots once so I visit the Temple when I can.” The young mer murmured and then he opened the door and disappeared.

    Outside in the promising daylight, Teldryn was sitting on the bench. He turned his head toward the door when his partner walked out. The older mer stood up and faced Ciel’nn with a smile. “How was the meditating session?”

    “It was interesting to say least, but I feel more calm.” Ciel’nn replied with a soft smile. “Slitter said there are around ten or more reavers in the band.” He bit his lower lip. “Teldryn, I have a bad feeling about all of this, but I think… I have a plan. We just need to convince the Redorans to follow it.”

    The older mer held his partner and had been listening to every word. He did not know what happened in the Temple, but he clearly saw that Ciel’nn was up to something and he would tell him soon enough. “Alright, let’s go speak with the Captain then.”

    They left, and Slitter looked after them. The Reavers planning an assault? Had he heard right? By the Tribunal! As if Mogrul wasn’t enough. The ex-criminal hoped the young mer had an actual plan. If it were the Reavers he knew of… It could become a nasty encounter, if all the bands would work as one. The thought sent shivers down his spine and he hurried back into the Temple.



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