Disclaimer Any characters that come out of the books written by Elizabeth Haydon do in fact belong to Elizabeth Haydon. Everything else is mine, so don't touch it. ; )
Note In this chapter there are none of the characters you are familiar with but next chapter there will be so bear with me and please- r&r!
'Fear is when ignorance meets idiocy.'
Fate peered down from the heavens and turned her eyes to a singular. Fate does not usually see things in this manner, but prefers to look at things from a broader spectrum. One might call this her Achilles heel another her gift. But this was different. Fate looked down and saw treachery. Treachery, not to some mortal but to herself. With sad eyes she turned away from the world and wove this new strand into the tapestry she had been fated by some higher power to weave. She could change things, but even so she knew her decisions were preordained by her Master. Once she had woven what she had seen she marveled quietly at the intelligence that had been put to use in this betrayal. They had started slowly many years ago. Patience. Outstanding patience.
She looked up from her work to gaze at her brothers and sisters mournfully. Water. Earth. And the others. Not god's. There was only one God. They had been gifted with talents to control something. The stars. Love. Fate. "My siblings." She said, her hands had begun weaving again though she acknowledged this in no way. "Great happenings have been put into place, Mighty wheels have been spun. Treachery is among us casting its shadow upon our pure intentions." Her hands wove faster but her head turned to towards a figure on her right. "Fire, why have you done this?" Her voice had the sound of waves crashing upon a shore. Melancholy and constant.
Fire took a step forward. All eyes were upon him. " Why does anyone do anything?" He asked ominously.
"What will, will be,
You ask me why,
You soon shall see.
How a murderer, a fighter,
A lover, a lady,
Shall come forward to sing,
Fate slumped over her work never missing a strand or pull. " I see."
"Do you really? No matter. You soon shall."
And thus our story begins, though long in the making, an instant for taking.
Rouge Ft., Xyrthanthe (The world nearest Rhapsody's)
A woman stood in the rain at the door of a temple. She raised her hand and knocked. Oddly, the noise was not drowned out by the storms crashing roars. She had not been able to find an inn, thus this would have to do. Either way she wouldn't have been able to afford one. Many people would have reservations about begging warmth and a bed from a Temple of Fire. Many people crossed themselves when crossing such places. Many more told horrifying stories of human sacrifices and self- mutilation.
Thea was not one of those people. She had done research on these very Temples. She had actually been in one before and she knew that fear is when idiocy meets ignorance. She allowed herself neither. 'Well, she supposed. 'Maybe a bit of idiocy.' The door swung open so that a streak of light filtered through the wet night air. A priest wearing the red- robes and golden mask of the fire priests suddenly appeared in the doorframe as the shaft of light widened to reveal an entire flood of light. Thea shaded her eyes as they adjusted to this new lighting.
The priest opened the door to find a woman (more of a girl, really) standing before him the reigns of a horse in her right hand. "What is it you want?" He asked. The priest was an old one and the mask somewhat muffled his voice. Thea was somewhat surprised by the abruptness of his speech. She had expected more ancient imposing words, but very well then. " Dear priest, I have ridden all night and seek hospitality under your temple's care so long as I don't impose my presence upon your humble spirits."
The priest blinked beneath his mask. 'Well, the girl's polite at least.' He thought. "Very well then come inside." She hesitated. " My horse…" The priest waved his hand dismissively. "Let him go, he will be caught and put in the stables." Thea frowned. The Temple was somewhat secluded. The odds of him being stolen by a priest were few but if they couldn't find him… "Are you sure?" "No I'm lying. Now let him go." She could see he was being sarcastic and not wanting him to think her rude and revoke his offer of a place to say, she decided to trust him and let her horse go. " Yes, sir – O I mean Sir Priest. I meant no offense. I'm truly sorry." She had no sentimental feelings towards the horse but if he had run away, she would be stranded in virtually the middle of nowhere. Fire Temples were known to be secluded except in the Great City where temples of every kind could be found and where the High priest lived.
The priest shrugged. "Come this way." She stepped into the foyer as he shut the door behind her. Thea was immediately taken aback by the cool atmosphere of the Temple. 'How odd' she thought. 'The Temple of Fire is cool.' Also it was surprisingly well lit. In the lighter area the priest could now see the girl properly. She was young he guessed. Maybe 20 at the oldest. Her hair was an ordinary color of brown and was secured in the back by a clip so that it did not fall in her face. Here eyes well- he thought her eyes are difficult. They seemed yellow and blue and green and gray all at once so that you could not tell what color dominated another. However instead of serving to make her extraordinary they only served to make her frustrating. She was pretty enough maybe a bit plain though. A big nose maybe. Her skin was olive but she didn't have an accent from that area. Her body was well hidden behind a baggy dress that was quite modest. In fact there was nothing extraordinary about her.
Except that there was. What is was he could not place his finger on but it was there all the same. Perhaps it was merely the fact that she was unmistakably odd. The way she moved and spoke was odd. Even her greeting was odd. 'Dear Priest' she had called him. It made him smile. Fire Priests were generally not spoken to and when they were, they were not called dear.
He led her to what she supposed was a great hall of sorts and then turning to her gestured to a hall on her left. "Take any room in that hall. We haven't a care which." He turned to leave and her but she spoke out. "Am I free to leave the room to find an area to pay homage to the Lord of Fire? What I mean to say is am I free to look around. May I pay homage to the Lord of Fire? Is that alright?" She stared at him with a look of concern. It took a moment for the priest to take in all she had said.
"You wish to pay homage to Yilset?" He asked, surprised. Thea nodded. If that is acceptable. The priest nodded approvingly. Not many came to do such. " All doors are open to you. You may place your offering in any of the fires sconces that line the walls." Here he gestured to these very items. "But I do suggest (and this is a suggestion and by no means a request) that you do not stray to far into the depths of the Temple. Some might find what you find there… disturbing." Thea smiled. " Yes, thank you. Sleep well, Sir Priest." The priest nodded. "And you." He turned at soon disappeared down a hallway.
On her own Thea first went to the nearest wall sconce and placed in the fire 5 coins. The Fire Saint (as was his proper title) was not her patron saint but even so he commanded a great deal of respect. Next she made her way to her room. When she opened the doors she was at first surmised to see that the room already had was lit by a wall sconce until she remembered that being the Fire Temple it was considered a sin to put out any flame because it was considered holy ground to Yilset. The room was plain. A bed. A chamber pot. This she put use. She almost left her pack in the room as she went out to look around a bit but her paranoid nature took over and she decided to take it with her. Besides, there are some things not worth risking.
As Thea made her way down a particularly cavernous hall she realized that all the wall and floors were covered in mosaics of painstaking detail. All were made using only colors dominant in a flame. Red, orange, blue… At first they were light and pleasant but as she walked on they became somewhat gruesome as they detailed human sacrifices and rapes. They gave her the chills. Thea did not like this. Fear is when idiocy and ignorance mix. She told herself but even so…
To her left there stood a door. 'Well,' she decided.' I mine as well see what's in one before I loose my nerve completely.' The door closed behind her. The room was octagonal in shape and in each well there was a window that had no glass in it that each overlooked the same cavernous room though from different perspectives. Thea stood horrifies as she saw that in the middle of the room there stood a golden calf. The monument of the Beast. The Dark One. She gave a sort of strangled cry and rushed to open the door and flee the room, the hall, the very temple. But the door had locked behind her.
She turned around to look for another exit but instead at opening there stood a priest, their golden masks glowing in the firelight. Suddenly there was overwhelming noise of no distinguishable source and fear. O heaven fear. It rose in her stomach and through her head. All reason had left her. Slowly each of the priests lifted their masks but where their faces should have been there were only vast expanses of swirling fleshes. Each priest reached into his robe and pulled out a long thin cylindrical tube and placing on end to where their mouths should have been blew into the tube. From the end of the tube there cam noxious gases that smelled of incense. Her head swam and she tried to scream but only succeeded in sucking in more of the gases. She felt nauseous. O lords, the overwhelming noise was deafening. She saw the mosaics swim in front of her vision and suddenly she was falling. Falling into nothingness. She did scream then. And afterwards lost consciousness.