Another fictional vignette.
Asath d’n Vesheyrnath spoke the word of command to kill the lighting, and left the underground hall in darkness.
As he emerged blinking into the Calbeyn daylight he wondered whether any of those boys or girls, kandar or human, really had what it takes to become a temple knight. It needs a special combination of spiritual and martial qualities to serve the Guardian Ulseth the Just, celestial righter of wrongs in the way he did. But then he suspected that a decade ago Danasin, now the captain of the knights, had wondered the same about him. If Danasin hadn’t seen some potential, Asath would have stayed a cheesemaker in the Guild of Victuallers, just like his father. So better not to judge any of them too harshly.
He’d just spent many hours sparring with the sons and daughters of temple worshippers with wooden practice swords, and regaling them with tales such as the time the temple knights took on the ring of slavers and dragged them all back to the city in the chains meant for the slaves. The humans all liked that one, of course. All of were impressed when he demonstrated his narvork sword, of course, that sharp-edged instrument of justice that can slice an evildoer right down the middle.
He didn’t dwell on the fact being a temple knight means a lot of time spent on guard duty, or acting as bodyguards for the priests, rather than going forth and smiting evil. And he certainly avoided any mention of the messy end of the slavers story, when despite all the senior Guardianspeaker’s famed knowledge of the law, all of them proved too well connected with the merchant’s guild to face justice, and the temple were forced to release them all.
“There you are, Asath”, says a young novice, her robes marking him out as belonging to the most junior rank of the Guardianspeakers, “Alzandol wants to speak with you”.
“What, now?”, Asath says, “Can’t it wait?”
“Asath says it’s urgent”.
Reluctantly Asath makes his way to the senior Guardianspeaker’s chambers. He finds Alzandol in his study, on the highest level with the broad windows looking out across the gorge the holds the city.
“You wanted to see me”, he says.
“Yes”, replies the Guardianspeaker, “Our friends The Progressors need our help. It’s for a very covert mission of significant danger”.
“What does it entail”, asks Asath, “And why do they need our help?”.
“Travel into the Konaic Empire”, says Alzandol. Asath lets out a gasp; Alzandol clearly wasn’t exaggerating when he spoke of significant danger.
“There is a talented human child”, Alzandol continues, “A slave in the household of a high ranking noble in the city of Selnin. If the wizards of Selnin were to discover the child, they will kill him, as they do with any such human they find. The Progressors intend to travel to the city disguised as merchants, find this child, and bring him back to the Academy of the Mind here in Calbeyn. They need a skilled warrior to accompany them and defend against the dangers they may face on the journey, or at the destination. I suggested your name”.
Asath considers the implications of this; he’s bodyguarding a bunch of wizards on an errand into the heart of a brutal empire. This is the sort of thing he might not come back from. But the values of the Konaic Empire stand in total opposition to everything the Guardian Ulseth stands for. It’s precisely the sort of thing Asath became a knight to do. If he’s not willing to go on such a mission, he might as well be making cheese with his father.
“When do we leave?”, he asks.