a priest, an accused, a monster

For the record, I have organized a world for the places and people I referenced in “A Flute, A Giant, A Hypnosis” so it wasn’t all off-the-cuff. I actually went back to my notes for a few things.

Let’s hang around in Gremyr for a little while longer; shall we?

Raleal leaned against the wall on the tips of his toes to give his shoulders some kind of respite. Reapers of Arnamak took him prisoner a day and a half ago. They’d suspended him by shackles welded into the wall just high enough so that his toes could touch, which was more maddening than being suspended higher up.

They trick you into praying to touch the floor for a moment. Like it’s even possible. When he did manage to get on his toes the rush of feeling into his arms nearly had him pass out.

“Confess, my son,” the priest said from the other end of the prison. “Confess. And you will know peace.”

Raleal opened his eyes to see a small, round, tonsured man in a homespun robe secured at the waist with a coil of hemp rope.

“Is that fifty feet of rope?” Releal asked the priest. “Don’t tell me you have a ten foot pole with you, too?”

“My son, you are delirious,” the priest said, producing a waterskin for the Raleal to drink from. He had enough sense to hesitate, expecting to have the bag pulled away at the last second or maybe the priest would drink it all himself while Raleal watch. “No. Please. Drink.”

And he held up for Raleal to drink. He steeled himself to the notion that he would kill this priest if the slightest opportunity presented itself.

“For whom do you speak, priest?” Raleal demanded. “Who’s voice? The Blessings of Zyvtar? The Wisdom of Arin.”

“Meies,” the priest whispered. “I am one with Meies.”

“The Chances of Meies,” Raleal said. Suddenly, a cramp gripped him. He drank too much, too fast. The shackles did not help.

“Damn these chains,” Meies cursed then proceeded to unlock Raleal and lower him down. As comfortable as Meies looked in the robes, he had enough muscle to handle the six-foot Raleal with ease.

“I thought you were here to give me my last rites.”

“Meies brings you choices,” the priest said. “Meies lets you take a chance.”

“Let’s hear it,” Raleal said, wincing as he moved away from the priest to rest his back against the jail-cell wall. This sycophant owns my soul. I was sent here to die and he is honorbound to the Gods of Gremyr. But Meies gives you a chance. And Meies plays dice with Jarron, The Silent One.

“There is a beast in the hills to the north. A Scekakian Giant.”

“I know the story of Azrush’s Lament,” Raleal said, insulted that a native of Daran did not know the story of Kan’s Regiment.

“I want you to bring it to me alive,” the priest said.

Raleal laughed then asked “And my other option?”

“You can hang by your arms and I can send in my pigs to root around the floor. Let’s see how long you last once I don’t bring them dinner.”

“You’d let me go on my own?” Raleal asked. “You wouldn’t come with me?”

“I have freed my chains from your shackles. You may do as you wish.”

Raleal went to lunge for the priest only to be frozen in place. The shackles began to heat up and sear his flesh. He roared with pain and fell to his knees.

“If your wish is to do anything immoral, then your bonds will remind you. I don’t need to be with you. Your shackles will make you mine.” The priest joined Raleal on the ground and looked into his eyes. “So, once you swear to bring me back The Monster of Azrush’s Lament, the shackles will not let you stop, even if you die trying.”

“I swear,” Raleal said. “I swear I will bring you The Monster Of Azrush’s Lament or die trying.”

The Priest laughed and clapped him hard on the shoulder. Raleal winced and made a second oath under his breath. I swear that I will stand over your bleeding corpse or die in the attempt.

He felt equally pleased and curious that his new shackles had no problem accepting a vow that involved murder.

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