Loyalties. I really had none. I worked for a god I cared nothing about, under a man who I feared. I always resented that fact. But my life was allowed to be content. I would receive a task, sometimes detailed and elaborate, sometimes menial. But I was always rewarded. The brew for one, I always craved. With its sweet taste and utter euphoria that was experienced for days after. If I ever learned what it was, I knew many old acquaintances who would pay a fortune for it. Jewels, clothing, the finest delicacies. Nothing was spared depending on what as asked of me. I only wished the requests would come sooner.
Often, we would travel to retrieve various artifacts, or components. We rarely cared what they were for. We would kill…yes even me. It was not my specialty, but there was always the rare opportunity. I preferred the con’ing. Lying was always easier than straight up brute force. If it did come up to a fight, I tried to do as little damage as possible. Hell, if they never even saw my face I was happy. I was there to patch up things as always. Keep the others alive. That was my duty above all others. I always did love to watch.
Soon enough, a day came I had been expecting for some time. A day they asked me to go back to the city I had left in what seemed so long ago.
I had gotten a calling that day. The orb I often held close glowed dimly. It was enough to know my presence was requested. I found myself entering the dull-lit room. I could hear the water trickle from a decorative fountain set into one wall.
“Good, you did not dawdle in your return.”
The stern voice made me want to throw my bloodied hammer into his face.
“I never dawdle, my Lord.”
I bowed customarily before the dark figure. He must have recently returned from some journey. Mud lined the hem of his cloaked form, dampness creeping upward. His elderly head exposed to only the flickering that the candles provided.
“You have been loyal to our…cause. Near flawless with your anxiousness to complete that which the Lord Cyric has commanded of us.”
I remember a sudden feeling of dread that I rarely ever experienced and chanced a glance at his expression. The High Priest’s blue eyes dark in the shadowy room. His heavy robes cloaking whatever body language might give a hint of where his words were heading. I had heard his request for a variety of tasks many times now. Why should I think this would be any different? I kept my face loose, my lips turned downward just slightly.
“I am pleased to hear such praises from you, my Lord. I only hope to continue on such a path.”
I heard the familiar ‘ting’ as his ring brushed the metallic vial in his cloaked hand. It was all a pattern now. He knew I longed for the tasks as much as I craved the rewards. My mouth watered as I could practically taste the sweet substance that I had not obtained in what seemed far too long. His records would show otherwise.
“You will be taking a journey, back to the walled cage that is Waterdeep.”
Sarkyrr turned from me. I already knew he had put the vial away.
“Who will I be accompanying?”
As a cleric, the roads were not always safe to travel so far when on one’s own. As a female…I had my own personal reasoning for the matter.
“You will be traveling with your Priestess.”
“My Lady has arrived in town?” I tried not to let my enthusiasm show.
“Not as of yet. She will be here before the morning. You will leave at sunrise.”
A part of me leapt at the thought of seeing the woman I had grown to respect so much over the years. My ears caught the sound of glass against glass, perking my curiosity. My lips remained silent. He remained quiet at well, circling back towards me with two vials in hand.
“I trust that you will accomplish this task with no questions, with no hesitation.”
I bowed my head, my body lurching forward in submission. I noted the frayed hem on my robes and reminded myself to get it repaired.
“My life is yours. You hold my will, my soul. Ask and it shall be done, my Lord.”
I could practically feel his smirk. Taste the dank, stale air he breathed. The words spilled from his lips.
“What…?” No praise to Cyric? No vow for loyalty to him alone?”
“By serving you, I serve the Highest upon High. By praising you, I offer praise to the most Holy. By obeying you, I do His will. My life belongs to Him through you, Most Gracious.”
I had dropped to my knees and spoken without hesitation. I replied with words of repeated memorization. He knew my loyalties were with the substance he kept, if any; a collar around the neck of a stranger.
I felt his thin fingers touch my robed shoulder. I tried to resist, but felt my body habitually shy away at the contact. I felt my eyes flash with angry fear. His hand removed. He did not try again.
“Stand, Rensi, and I will tell you what the Lord requests of you.”
I got to my feet, reaching just below the elder. I held out my hand as he moved to give me the glassed substances. They did not look familiar to me.
“Each day on your journey, the Priestess Me…”
“No names…” I responded quickly. Rarely, he would forget that I didn’t want to hear her name spoken in front of me. I didn’t want to learn it. He never asked my reasoning. Neither did I.
“Of course…” he replied far too smoothly. “How careless of me. As I was about to say, each day on your journey, your Priestess will request you to fill her water decanter and offer your blessings upon it.”
I could feel my heart dropping. I forced my features to hold from any emotions.
“Four days before you reach the city, you will begin to follow a river. You will fill the decanter with the river water during those three days of travel. Day two, you will put the dark colored vial into the liquid. The last day along the river, you will use the light. Do not worry, there will be no taste. She will never suspect a thing. You will continue to the city alone at the residence you will have discussed with her. There, you will wait any further requests we will have of you.”
He paused, examining me for any signs of hesitance I imagine.
“Are there any questions in the matter?”
I briefly thought about questioning why me. I wasn’t anyone’s assassin, or was that what I had brought myself down to? I had never questioned it before. Yet of all the people for him to ask this of me…he knew how I felt about it. I almost wanted to tell him to shove it. But he held that sort of power over me. I knew it was there, and yet I rarely ever cared. I felt myself bow as was the ritual, a smile forcing its way to my lips.
“You asked, and it shall be done.”
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