The Known Sword

The High Priest

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The high paladin is known as the Warden. A title the high priest has a problem with. He sits behind his desk, thin rimmed glasses trying to escape his nose constantly, head deep in scrolls, books and papers. The history of the paladin order, and how the priest order became an offshoot of it, must provide the answer, of that he was sure. But months of searching had revealed nothing useful. He was starting to think that a peaceful, thoughtful solution was not going to be the answer.

He rubbed his balding head, and his glasses fell from his nose and hit the table. He left them there. He was sick of papers. He was sick of reading. He was sick of thinking. He was sick of what the priesthood had become.

The first priests had been paladins. Fine warriors, willing to fight for what was right. But they had fractured off in order to devote time to the healing arts, an action the paladin order would not allow. Over the decades and generations the priests had forgotten their warrior roots, and were now a bunch of pacifist healers. It was not right. It was not what he wanted.

He removed the key from his neck and opened the locked drawer in his desk. He removed the crumpled note and placed his glasses back on his nose. He read the note, not that he needed to anymore. He had read the note over and over since it had arrived. On the first read he should have thrown the note in the fire. He should do that now. More, he should take the fact the note was written to the council. It should be acted on, but not in agreement. The threat to the paladins should be removed. And yet, he found himself nodding along as he read it.

He put the note back in the drawer and locked it. The note had arrived four days ago. Tonight was the night to meet if he wanted to act on this. He knew he could not attend the meet himself, his presence would draw too much attention. Not only that, he knew paladins would trail him, in order to keep him safe if the Warden was to be believed. He rung the bell that sat on his desk.

A small man walked in.

“Get her for me” the high priest said.

The small man nodded and left. When she got here, if he was going to do this, she would become his partner. It was a bold move; she was well known for throwing former allies to the wolves when there usefulness was done. To bring her in he had to make sure he was always of use, or that he had a plan to remove her first. They were dark thoughts for a priest, but maybe it took one follower of the light to brave the dark for the light to grow ever brighter.

Or maybe all it takes is for one follower of the light to embrace the dark to taint the entire order. He had to roll the dice.

She entered his room. A vision in red; a vision of death. Which way to roll the dice? Send her after the source of the note to remove it, or find out what the scheme is? Role the dice, and roll them now.

“I received a note. Go to the White Owl inn, ask to enter the private room, password is sparrow. Say I am interested in the idea and you will be my messenger in this” he said.

She looked at him and his blood froze. Her eyes held power, power he should not allow to exist. Paladins and priests both hunted those cursed with magic, and how she was cursed. Yet he hid her from those he should not. Roll the dice.

“And what is this meeting about, that you cannot attend” she said.

Roll the dice.

“Ending the paladins reign” he said.

She looked at him and smiled.

“And you wish to join such an endeavour?” she said.

Roll the dice.

“I wish to know what they have to say. Then I will decide what to do” he said.

She smiled wickedly.

“Hedging your bets, as always! I will go and report back. But one day, daddy dear, you will need to roll those damn dice!” she said.

And she was gone. Little did she know, he already had. His decision was made. The paladin order would end. All he needed to know now was whether he would have some help, or if he would be doing it on his own. He smiled. Now was the time for action. He rang the bell.

“Jenkins. Sneak around the purple robes, see if any share my dissatisfaction with the paladin order, then see if there is anyway we can use them” he said.

The small man nodded and left. He opened the drawer and took out the note. He threw the note in the fire. He turned back to his books. It was time once again to train priests how to fight, and he needed a rule that said that he could. More than that, he needed a reason to even suggest it.

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