Patrick paced the stone floor, wondering how many days it had been since he had entered the storage room. His face was dripping with sweat, and the black robes clung to his flesh. The few candles in the room provided a fair amount of light; just enough to make out the other gaunt, horrified faces that dwelt there with him.
Madness and chaos. Patrick thought. Even after so much time to dwell on the matter, he couldn’t fathom how such a series of events came to pass. It was everything short of divine intervention.
It all began with the realization that Cordelia and her host had entered the walls of Gotharc secretly. That information was enough to cause Thomas to panic, but the news of massive amounts of defectors is what truly drove him raving mad. However, it was not until some of his own guards had turned that he decided to flee the city with those poor souls that remained loyal to him. True to his character, Thomas made sure to cut a path through the city, raining destruction and death on the poor innocents who got in his way.
With the king fled, the rest of Gotharc’s city guard was left leaderless and aimless. With no consequences, many of the soldiers pillaged and killed as they saw fit, driving many hopeless peasants indoors. Fires licked at homes, blood covered the cobbled streets, and the sound of screams and clashing steel became the norm.
It was at this time that Patrick himself fled the keep and taken refuge in Gotharc Cathedral. Ushering in as many peasants and townsfolk as he could find, he brought them into the subterranean storerooms of the ancient place of worship. It was his hope, and the hope of all others in the massive church, that the holy site would be amiss from the list of targets.
Patrick’s eye caught on the three idols in the chamber. Dimly lit by the candles, he could make out each of the features of the three Great Beings, creators of the universe and controllers of time. Why must we suffer? Please, end our misery!
As if his prayer had been answered, there was a scuffle of boots audible in the hallway beyond the locked door. The knob began to jiggle, and all of the peasants’ faces turned from apathetic misery to abrupt terror. The harsh sound of swords being drawn was heard, amongst deep muffled voices.
One of the fellow red priests in the room picked up a broom and wielded it menacingly, Patrick noted. A child to his left pulled a small handle from some old forgotten tool and held it defensively before him. Others in the room froze in place. Patrick stood, motionless, his eyes intent on the door before them.
With a jerk and a click, the lock on the door had been unhinged. The door swung open and armed men bearing the Lion on their tunics burst in. Their swords drawn and shields held forward, they stabilized the peasants in the room with menacing stances. Patrick felt the cold tip of a sword press against his throat, and threw his hands up submissively. Others in the room whimpered and cried out as the armored men made their way to holding them still.
Behind the soldiers strode in a red priest, although the cap on his head marked him for a High Priest. Taken aback, Patrick adjusted his eyes to the new light of additional torches. Is that…?
“High Priest Patrick, I presume?” said the newcomer, adjusting the ice sapphire staff in his hand. “I am High Priest Archibald of the Wyvern Order. Do not fear, I bear good news.”
“Yes… yes, I am Patrick. I regret to having met you in such dire circumstances, Archibald. I fear I do not look my best.” Patrick let out a dry laugh, overtaken with relief.
“It is of little consequence. Now, if you will come along, there are many things to discuss.” Archibald spun on his heels and made a motion to leave the chamber.
“What is the latest of news from the city above?” Patrick demanded, making no motion to go with Archibald. Others in the room turned away from their respective captors to peer at Archibald.
“The king is fled, although I am sure you were already aware of that. After some days of fighting and stamping out resistance, the true heir of the Lion Empire gained hold of the city. Cordelia sits the Gold Throne, although her crown was robbed of her by that coward Thomas.”
Patrick’s heart nearly skipped a beat. After months of anxiety regarding the will’s safe passage, and more recently days of fighting and tension, his goal had been achieved. Thomas was successfully ousted, and Cordelia held the throne, uncrowned as she may be.
With a newfound skip in his step, Patrick took one last glimpse at the idols on the wall and trotted behind Archibald on the way out of the storeroom.
The seventeeth (?) chapter of my latest story A Lion In The Wyvern's Nest
. Brickshelf here.
Apologies for being late (I think it's been 3 weeks since the last chapter?), life got a hold of my building time. Almost at the end of this one, and I've got many more on the way. C&C welcome as always.