The massive fortress of Domdaniel stood forebodingly on a small island off the coast of Spain. It was a place around which rumors swirled and people spoke dark things about it in whispered tones. It had been blessed by the Catholic Church, by the Pope himself, though that only increased the whispered fears that were spoken about that place. This place was a house of the Inquisition, where the High Inquisitor himself made his abode. The fortress was surrounded by a nigh impenetrable wall and it had a courtyard, filled with stakes where the heretics and unrepentant sinners would burn. In the early misty mornings, some monks would swear they could see spirits tied to those stakes, burning for all eternity. And they reveled in it, the idea that these sinners would burn for all eternity; it was the fate they deserved after all. The fortress housed barracks for the knights, living quarters for the monks a large library for the scribes and a huge tower where those yet to be burned for their sins were held. In one of the cells Deirdre Roth was held. She had been stripped of most of her clothes and what she had was barely decent rags. She was chained to the wall and while there was quite a length of chain from her manacles on her hands and ankles and she could move around, she could never be comfortable. The atmosphere was damp, but not quite cold; it was definitely uncomfortable. As well, she still wore that magic inhibiting collar, so there was no escape for her. The conditions of her cell were made to break her spirit, to make her more compliant so that she would 'admit her sins'. However, she was strong of will and would not bow to them so easily.
The guards had said they'd burned a warlock that morning; a warlock named Rorek. They had spoken in disappointed tones as the young man had not said a word, not even screamed, nor repented at the last moment as he burned. Deirdre knew the boy, or rather had spoken to him as he had been in the cell next to hers. He was an educated young man with an eloquent way of speaking. He was kind and sympathetic and they spoke to each other, expecting nothing more than to be listened to. Then the monks came to take Rorek away, Deirdre caught a glimpse of him; a young man, very thin as the guards had been starving him, with fine white hair and penetrating blue eyes. He looked at her, catching her eye and something in his look was calm, as though asking her not to forget him. The second person they took that morning was Angela, her mother. The chains restricted her, but she peered out the window hoping to see her one last time. Angela had looked up as she was tied to the stake and perhaps she was imagining things but it seemed to Deirdre that Angela saw her and smiled a brave smile, her eyes filled with sorrow. Arthur Light, the paladin who had caught them both, who had sworn an oath to his god that he would release Angela if Deirdre came peacefully and then 'released' her into the custody of the monks, stepped up to the stakes, he spoke, though Deirdre could not hear it. She did not need to see him, to know his lips were twisted into the cruel smile of a religious fanatic about to punish a 'wicked' and 'sinful' soul. Light stepped back and wrenched the torch out of the brother's hand. Had Angela said something to irk the knight? He bent done and laid the flame to the straw and wood. Deirdre turned away and she let herself feel. She had a 'gift', though at times it could seem like a 'curse', she could feel the emotions of others, she knew what they felt or she could, if she didn't shut herself away, for those emotions, like her own, could prove very dangerous, to her and those around her. However, known with her powers sealed, she let herself feel and the pain was crushing. Though they uttered no sound, their souls screamed out in pain and agony, she could feel the intense hatred of the monks and knights; Light's hatred was like a bright light, hot and consuming, burning and destroying. Once she had let them in, she couldn't shut the pain, the sorrow, the suffering out, she huddled in a corner as best she could and put her hands over her ears. It did not shut out the screams, nor the sorrow, nor the pain and the emotions welled up inside her, she could feel the dark power within her, the monster trying to escape, though the seal of the collar was far too strong. She cried for her mother, for Rorek and for all those who had burned at the stake for the sake of Christianity, but she also cried for herself, for she felt there was no hope.
Elsewhere in the fortress, the Grand Inquisitor dictated messages to one of his messengers. He was a tall man who seemed to give off a fatherly aura, that would make all of his subordinates trust him implicitly he seemed kind and gentle and was beloved by all; even some of the heretics locked in the tower could not bring themselves to hate the Grand Inquisitor. He had white hair, slicked back and a finely chiseled, clean-shaven face that seemed neither old nor young. He had penetrating dark eyes that seemed to see all and no one could hide secrets from him. He wore plain white robes, appropriate for a monk, though many said he deserved far grander things. The young man writing down, the Inquisitor's message was a red haired, thin young man dressed in red traveler's clothes. He had new boots that seemed to have hardly been used, but his clothes were dust ridden and wind worn. He had a fair, youthful face and a thin lanky body, a youth far shy of manhood only beginning his teen years. He was not alone, however, for another young man, the twin of the first stood nearby. The twins were the personal messengers of the Grand Inquisitor and they traveled all over Europe and beyond in his service. The Grand Inquisitor finished his dictation and motioned for the boy to bring the note to him. He looked it over and nodded, then placed it in an envelope and sealed it, handing it back to the boy. He took the letter with a slight bow and turned to his twin. The clasped each other's hand and dashed off, moving faster than the human eye could track. The Grand Inquisitor stood in silence and the door to his study opened. A young lady, a nun entered the room. She was petite with pale skin and unusual violet eyes and she wore a dark purple nun's habit.
"Grand Inquisitor, master Light is here to see you." She spoke in hushed tones.
"Please send him in, sister Jinx." The Grand Inquisitor beckoned in a light baritone voice.
Sir Light, still dressed in his radiant armor walked in once sister Jinx opened the door for him. His arrogant swagger and self-satisfied grin belied his actions in the courtyard.
"You wished to see me brother Blo…" Light Began.
"Please, Sir Light, you must remember I am your superior and you must refer to me by my title." The Grand Inquisitor said with an almost bemused tone.
"My apologies Bro… err… Grand Inquisitor."
"Yes… I need to discuss your behavior this morning. You realize it is not your place to purify sinners, only to apprehend them?"
"Yes Grand Inquisitor." Light responded, duly chastised.
"Am I also to understand that you promised to release the woman, Angela, if Deirdre came willingly?"
"Grand Inquisitor, she was a heretic! Surely you are not suggesting that I should have let her go?" Light lost his composure and raised his voice.
"Of course not, but it may have served us better to try and convert her before we purified her. We must speak to Deirdre now; I shall show you a better way to handle things. We cannot bring our Lord's Words to the masses by fire, sword and blood alone." The Grand Inquisitor said calmly.
The Grand Inquisitor exited the room, heading towards the tower; Light and Jinx following close behind. A young monk handed the Inquisitor a soft robe and the Inquisitor hand the robe to Jinx who took and held it with great care. At the base of the tower, Light took the cell keys from the warden; they would need to open the door. The Grand Inquisitor took the keys to unlock her chains; Light was shocked and seemed about to say something, but a glance from the Inquisitor silenced him. They passed through the tower, walking by cells of prisoners, heretics and some begged pleaded to be released and many were silent, no longer of the strength nor of the strength of will to do or say anything. They climbed the tower steps, Deirdre's cell being near the top. When they reached it, Light unlocked the wooden door, opened the cell and the Inquisitor stepped inside, shortly followed by Jinx and Light.
"Ah, my dear, how are you today?" The Inquisitor asked gently.
Deirdre looked up from her corner, but said nothing.
"Poor lost child… this cell is truly no place for you, but I do what I must; your mother brought you up in confusion, corruption, in sin, it is my place to try and bring you to the righteous path. In the end, you must convert… or I will be forced to purify you." The Inquisitor said gently as he knelt beside Deirdre.
He spoke in a gentle, fatherly manner, but Raven shied away as he reached for her. His aura, the beneficent, sickened her. Not that she was disgusted by him, his presence of reassurance made her want to trust him, trust his words, but his presence made her feel sick, as though she would vomit.
"You do not trust me…" The Inquisitor said, misinterpreting her reaction. "Understandable, but I can offer you consolation. I can give you proof of my words."
He motioned Jinx over, who approached, kneeling beside Deirdre.
"Jinx was a child much like you; lost and raised by heretics, demon worshippers in an eastern Indian temple. She was feared and hated by the people, shunned and hunted. I saved her and taught her the Word of our Lord and she serves us and our Lord most faithfully." The Inquisitor undid her chains as he spoke.
Jinx smiled shyly as the Inquisitor spoke of her and she helped Deirdre put on the robe while Light, who still stood near the door, glared at the two girls.
"I can show you this fortress, how we do our Lord's work and you can then decide what to do." The Inquisitor said, standing and offering his hand to her.
"I will stay here." Deirdre spoke in a soft voice.
She huddled in her corner and turned away, not wishing to look upon the Inquisitor.
"As you wish." The Inquisitor sighed gently. "I shall return tomorrow, so see if you have changed your mind."
The Inquisitor gently replaced her chains, making sure they were loose, but would still hold her securely and Deirdre tried hard not to flinch whenever he touched her. The Inquisitor motioned for Light and Jinx to follow him. Jinx bowed slightly to Deirdre and left, Light sneered at Deirdre and then slammed the door, locking it with a loud clunk.
Hidden off the roads of England, somewhere between Greenwich and Hampton Court, in a forest somewhere, there was a tower, an obelisk. The directions to such a place were so vague, one needed to know exactly where he or she was going in order to get there. The obelisk towered above the trees, but thick and heavy fog kept it well hidden. It was not as if any people would travel that far off the main road unless they had business at the obelisk anyways and there were two that traveled there that had somewhat urgent business indeed. And a most strange pair those two were; one was a knight with heavy armor, far too large and heavy for a standard gorse, his armor was dark and intimidating and he carried no standard or emblem to identify himself and of all things, he rode upon what was apparently an African Rhinoceros. Appearances aside, this beast, being big enough to carry the knight, was no beast at all; in its gray eyes was the gleam of intelligence. The knight and his mount charged into the forest, unhindered by mist; they moved through the forest with great confidence of their path. And the forest seemed to lead them through it; the obelisk seemed to beckon them. The rhino's gait slowed as they came up to the golden structure and then stopped completely. Knight slid off of the beast's back and took a few steps. Behind him, the audible sounds of grinding bone and flesh shifting were heard. He took a bundle of clothing from off his back and turned; where once there had been a rhino, now crouched Gareth, clad only in some snug ripped shorts.
"Thanks, guv'." He said as he took the clothing bundle from Knight.
Dressing quickly he joined Knight at what should have been the front entrance, however the wall was smooth and there were neither indents nor markings to suggest a door.
"So… uh… how do we get in?" Gareth inquired, glancing at Knight.
As though in response, a doorway, just large enough for Knight to pass through faded into the Obelisk wall. A woman of slender build, dark hair, slightly tanned skin and dark eyes came through the doorway. She wore a gown typical of the style of the time, but she seemed so exotic and completely out of place in that attire.
"Welcome. I am Inza. My husband has been awaiting your arrival, sir Knight, master Logan." She moved to one side, motioning them inside with a swooping gesture.
"Your husband?" Gareth asked stepping inside.
"Oded Fehr… Knight has known him along time." She replied.
The ascended the stairs and entered what appeared to be a laboratory. There tables covered with papers with notes scrawled on them, beakers, glass bowls and cages housing strange and exotic animals. Gareth stopped at each one, examining the creatures as best he could and in turn it seemed the creatures examined him. The walked through a small archway into an adjoined chamber, where there was a large examination table, for a body to lie on as well as many shelves and other small tables upon which sat many artifacts of arcane and mystical origin. Oded Fehr, dressed in his dark blue robes with gold trim, was standing there waiting for them.
"Good evening gentlemen. You are welcome to my humble abode." Fehr said as they approached. "You must be wondering why sir Knight needed to come here, correct, mister Logan?"
"Uh… yeah… You know me?"
"Indeed, I knew your parents as well and I knew his father too." Fehr said.
Knight moved over to the table. Fehr reached up and removed his helm; the man beneath the helmet was dark skinned and the left half of his skull had a metal covering bolted to it, there was an eye-shaped slit where his left eye should have been and a red glow came from within it.
"He is here, because he is not quite a living man anymore and he needs special maintenance to continue to live. That is why he comes to me periodically. You are here, first to help me, for his armor is quite heavy…"
Fehr removed one of the shoulder guards and Gareth went over to help. He nearly gasped at the sight beneath the armor: much of the flesh was burned and destroyed, one could see the nerves, muscle and sinew and those tissues had been hooked, sewn and tied to metal wires, which connected to clockwork devices. Most of Knight's left arm was not flesh but metal and to all appearances attempted to duplicate the workings of a person's arm through clockwork and machinery. As they continued to remove pieces, Gareth was stunned; he had seen many disfiguring diseases in his life, some of the worst plagues, but nothing compared to this as it appeared that Knight had a contagion where metal and clockwork would consume his body, but that was appearance only. Most of Knight's left arm was gone, his left leg as well and his right leg, below the knee was gone too. What was gone had been replaced with heavy, bulky clockwork and the remaining muscles and nerves were hooked up to wires in imitation of how the muscles would function normally. The left side of his chest, in fact most of the left side of his body had metal bolted to the flesh, the left side of his chest had a transparent covering and inside one could see leather bags inflating and pulsating regularly, one rhythmic like a heartbeat the other a slow inflation and deflation, like inhaling and exhaling. Once all the armor was off, Knight laid back on the table.
"You are here… because he asked that you come." Fehr said as he reached gently into the eye-shaped slit and removed a small, glowing red crystal.
As the crystal was removed, Knight's body went cold and a slight pallor set in.
"How…" Gareth stammered, barely able to focus because of what he was seeing.
"His father was a shaman of Africa, a brilliant man in terms of sorcery. However, his village was under the watchful eyes of the Inquisition, who were just waiting for the right moment to have the entire village and it's populace put to the torch…" Fehr said as he inspected each individual piece of armor and mechanism that he had removed from Knight. "Silas, Vic… Knight's father wanted a way to protect his village. It was… a misguided plan, the kind of defense he planed would have branded the village as heretics and it would have brought the wrath of the Church and it's Paladins down upon them. I told him as much, but he attempted his plan regardless. He summoned… a creature, a thing that was made of slime and he gave it a simple instruction: defend the village from enemies. The creature, however, did not, or could not discern friend from foe and began to destroy, to devour everything in sight. Silas had done the Church's work for them. He was only barely able to save Knight from the creature and even then, much of Knight's body had already been devoured."
Finished his inspection, Fehr placed the gem he held on a small pedestal.
"The body was… too badly damaged to save, but he saved the soul in this gem. He used his arts to preserve the body, keeping the rest from decaying. He brought what remained of Knight to me and together we sought a way to bring the body back to life. Using what technology I had, we examined the body and other corpses to determine how the limbs functioned, how we could duplicate that and eventually we constructed replacement parts." Fehr drew a pentagram around the gem with chalk as he spoke. "Of course, without a 'spark', the muscles would not move and there was no way we could produce and artificial lightning that could be controlled to imitate the human 'spark'. That is why we used his soul to reproduce that 'spark'. That is also why Knight needs to return to me sometimes, to replenish that 'spark'."
"How do you replenish that 'spark'?" Gareth asked approaching cautiously.
"That is the second reason why you are here. Knight needs a bit of your life energy to keep going, otherwise, his own spirit will…"
"You don't have to say anymore." Gareth smiled. "He's my friend."
Fehr took a golden helmet from his shelves and placed it on his head. He took Gareth's arm and began to chant. Lines of red energy began to extend from the pentagram and into Gareth's arm. It seemed to suck power out of him, though he neither flinched nor cried out and then the lines receeded. Gareth nearly collapsed and Inza caught him.
"You will be weak for while. Get some rest and then you are free to do as you will. As for sir Knight, he will be waiting for you at this time tomorrow." Fehr said.
"What… about Knight?" Gareth asked as Inza helped him stumble away.
"Fear not, for he is in the hands of Fate." Inza said with a gentle smile.
And finally the fifth chapter is complete. We once again return to see Deirdre's fate and see Light again. And we meet the Grand Inquisitor, his right hand girl, Jinx. And his twin messenger (gee I wonder who they were). By the way, Domdaniel is not an actual place, but it is a place in mythology. Quote from Reader's encyclopedia: "a fabled abode of evil spirits, gnomes, and enchanters, 'under the roots of the ocean' off Tunis, or elsewhere. It first appears in Chaves and Cazotte's Continuation of the Arabian Nights (1788-1793), was introduced by Southey into his Thalaba, and used by Carlyle as synonymous with a den of iniquity".
And we see that Oded Fehr is Dr Fate ('in the hands of Fate' is a pun if you didn't get it by the way), yeah I know I wanted to keep this story to the Titans and their allies, but I just couldn't find an appropriate replacement for Dr Dee who was Queen Elizabeth's physician at the time. Rumor was that that Mr Dee was a madician, a dabbler in magics as well as the Queen's Master of Medicines; it was also rumored that the Queen would often go to him for matters on the arcane.