March 30, 2013 1 Comment
[[ Yay new characters! This is the first thing written on my new laptop too! ]]
Confessor Morthorn hadn’t been expecting anyone in the chapel that afternoon. In truth, it was generous to call it a chapel at all, as it was hardly bigger than a broom closet. In the years past, it had actually been a gardening-shed, tucked into the brush behind the inn, now overgrown with twining thorns. But they had indulged his request to make it into a personal project, and he had replaced the broken windows and the shattered tiles. He’d carefully painted the trim a bright golden color to match the inn, and planted flower boxes around the doorways. Inside, he had salvaged a handful of chairs — they weren’t a matching set, but they were comfortable and respectable enough once he had mended the cushions and replaced the broken pieces.
All that the little chapel wanted for now was an audience, and the confessor did his best to make them welcome. He lit white candles and kept a pitcher of wine at the table near the doorway, should anyone arrive thirsty. He found that it often tempted visitors to linger longer, and wine was famous for loosening the tongue. It wasn’t very good wine, however — he could not afford the best anymore, but it was suitable. And here in the Ghostlands, one was happy with what was available. Most days, not a single soul walked through the doorway, which he kept open as long as he was awake — which was most of the time. He had never been a particularly sound sleeper, and he found sleep difficult these days. The confessor did have a handful of regular visitors, though he didn’t see them often. People still clung to their old houses in the darkened hills, but the estates were far apart and the roads were dangerous. It wasn’t always possible to make the trip into the town. Morthorn understood, and he would travel to call on them at home when he could.
Other times, people would cross his threshold quite by accident, and would stand there blinking in surprise once they realized what they had found. “I didn’t know there was a chapel here,” they would nearly always say. A few would call again, but most would not. Though the Light was needed more desperately here than anywhere else he could think of, it seemed that people had forgotten it. Or maybe they felt abandoned, the confessor could certainly relate to that. So when the mage and his apprentice found himself at the chapel that afternoon, he didn’t give it much thought. He greeted them and offered them a drink, as he always did. He hesitated at the girl — she looked too young for wine, too young to be out on her own at all. The young man didn’t appear to be her brother, and by their demeanor they did not appear to be married. It wasn’t until they were introduced that the confessor understood the girl to be his apprentice. They were making mages younger and younger these days! That, or he was finally getting older. He felt very old some days, but not this one. The young man lived in the ruined estate up on the hill, and Morthorn felt the familiar pang of loss that he often did these days. Yes, he knew the place, he answered politely, it was quite a lovely house, wasn’t it? The young mage — Hethurin was his name — seemed eager to speak with him. He had actually been searching for a priest, and how fortunate that he had stumbled across the chapel’s doorstep. Morthorn suspected that someone in the town might have mentioned it to him — there weren’t any other priests working in the countryside that he was aware of.
Morthorn agreed to call at the house on Sunday afternoon, so that the magister might feel more comfortable speaking at home. It would be more private as well, where no one might overhear their conversation. Hethurin said there were others staying at the house — besides his apprentice, there was Tik, the butler. That was another name he know, and he wondered if Tik remembered his as well. That had been a great many years ago, but he remembered Tik’s unusual nickname — no one knew his proper name — and that he was a skilled gardener. According to the young mage, he was quite the cook as well. The idea of a warm, proper meal appealed to him greatly, and he was happy to accept the invitation. Most nights he had old bread and dried meat — if he remembered to eat at all. Sometimes the mages passing through would conjure him something, but that was rare. Tranquillien had few visitors these days.
It felt good to have work again, to have some goal to reach for, some good he felt he could do. The confessor took out his prayer book and began to read.