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Storm of Chaos
Meetings, Part 2
Peace. Peace is the worst thing that could happen to a proud order of paladins. And as the old dwarf looked around the yard he saw the unmistakable signs of the softness that only peace can bring. It was a softness that he had almost completely failed to torture out of this batch of squires in five years of training. Then there was ginger nuts.

In the last five years the old dwarf had come to know this old squire as a steady and patient man, even if he was somewhat rock-headed. This one had potential. There would be no ceremonial duty for this paladin. The old dwarf would see to that. This was the last day of squiredom for him. “Oi, Ginger Nuts, c’mere,” the old dwarf barked. The old squire lowered his wooden practice sword and approached his grizzled trainer and mentor leaving a very bruised and relieved looking sparring partner. The old dwarf snorted and blew snot out of one nostril, “Look, you’re done. Get cleaned up and head in to see Prelate Fenris.” The old squire’s face fell and his shoulders slumped as though a heavy load had just been laid upon them. “Get yerself in there. The prelate don’t like to be kept waiting.” The old dwarf turned to walk off a knowing smirk concealed behind his grimy beard.

Face down on the floor before the altar of Pelor was not where the old squire expected to end up after his summons to the office of the Prelate. He had expected to receive what he had always feared, dismissal. After all, he was easily twice as old as most of the other recruits. And he lacked the pedigree and connections it really took to rise in the ranks. So he was surprised when instead of a dismissal, he received permission to hold his vigil and take his vows.

“The Knights of Pelor,” the Prelate said, “are more than simply a ceremonial order. We are the defenders of not only the faithful but order and good. Most of your fellow squires will go on to be made full knights, but they will never defend anything more than a nobleman’s right to look impressive with our knights on ‘guard’ at his parties. You, however, are not meant for such trite duty. Don’t get me wrong, such duty is necessary since those same noblemen pour large amounts of treasure into the coffers of the church.

“You will have a different sort of duty. You will not live in the comfort of the temple nor will you enjoy the attention of fine noble ladies and eat fine noble food.” Looking the old squire up and down in the same way one might inspect a cut of meat. “Not that you’re the type for many noble ladies. You’re most definitely on a different path. So, go hold your vigil. Pray. Fast. Listen. Perhaps Pelor will reveal your path.”

So there he was, prostrate on the floor, arms spread out to either side, cold marble drawing all his warmth straight through the white linen robe. It had been nearly 72 hours of fasting with only minimal sips of water as a relief. Pelor was silent.

* * *

Corpse breath’s nose exploded in a spray of blood as Felicia clumsily but effectively reversed her swing and the flat of her ridiculous sword smashed into his face. Taking a five foot step away from the advancing goons and towards the tavern door, she held the fullblade out in front of her like a shield hoping to discourage any onslaught they might be considering. Corpse breath was holding his nose, doubled forward cursing and spitting out a creamy mixture of mucus, saliva and blood.

Still blinded by their over confidence, girl hitter and hair lip moved into flanking positions on either side of Felicia, laughing and grinning as though they’d just pulled off a feat of tactical martial brilliance. But hair lip misjudged the reach of her blade and as she spun around the very tip caught hair lip right under the knee opening a gash and popping tendons like lute strings. Hair lip hit the floor holding his spasmming leg with both hands and trying unsuccessfully to put weight on the now useless limb.

Girl hitter was not idle during all of this. At the same time walking was being removed as one of hair lip’s options for getting himself from pub A to pub B, Girl hitter raised the broken-off piece of table leg and brought it down on the back of Felicia’s head. Brilliant white blobs of pain exploded over Felicia’s field of vision as she rolled over in time to see girl hitter raise his rusty hatchet for a stroke that would most certainly kill her. Felicia closed her eyes and waited.

* * *

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