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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2243632-WP-20-Years
by Vank
Rated: E · Short Story · Fantasy · #2243632
First thing i'm submitting on here, if you have any advice please let me know.
Marching through the mountains the lone cleric walked, his bags light as his lone companion rested. Twenty years have passed and taken their toll, an arm missing, replaced only by the mechanical prosthetic that bears its place, the windy deserts having taken their toll on the piece of machinery. Bearing the mark of the moon the plague doctor tightened his belt, seeing the breach into the clearing.
Sighing he pulled off his hat before loosening his mask, the corrupted tiefling clipping it to his belt as he walked into the town, the feathers that grew to intertwine with his hair rustling in the air, the pupils associated with a bird of prey before a tiefling shrinking, the half fiend refusing to bear glasses but to see the sight of his home head on.
From the edge of the clearing the decaying buildings marked where people used to live, the butcher having been on the south end of town, the various farms along the east where the stream ran. Where he stood he could see remains of the twin peaks of the mountains to the west. When the time was right and the sun was aligned, the orb of light sunk itself right between itself, nestling right between the twin peaks as it sunk below the horizon. Now all that remained of it were two flattened nubs, the tolls of time having worked quickly to flatten and smooth the two peaks.
Stepping through the clearing he slowly made his way to the edge of the forgotten town, nature having started to reclaim the clearing, grass now covering the previously dirt roads, moss and vines covering the houses as he walked through, the buildings in various states of decay, doors falling inward and the eerie silence of an abandoned land. The small church the village of 30 congregated to having collapsed, the small steeple falling inward, the bell hanging to the side.
With no smile the cleric walked, having returned 20 years to the day from when he left, the last of his town having been buried following a vicious plague, the only reason he stood here now being from the blessing of his divine patron Selune. The courtyard that used to house flowers now denoted with decayed and rotted crosses, 29 in total as the war veteran strode through, not saying a word as he approached the end, where the thirtieth grave would be. Stopping in front he set aside his bag carefully, the cleric falling to his knees as he started to dig the last grave, not a sign of emotion showing itself on his face as he did so, no tears shed, no sounds uttered as he slaved to dig the small grave.
Nearly an hour later the priest heard what he dreaded, the weak cooing of his old companion. Standing there he slowly removed the cover from the owl’s cage, opening the steel prison and offering his hand for the bird, not minding the pain of the talons digging in. As he lifted the bird up he stood, gently walking to the cliff side near the village, the cleric cracking a smile for his loyal companion, holding him on his good arm as the bad fetched the bird’s favorite food. Fabian’s cooking held true to be the bird’s favorite meal, the scent of the perfectly cooked salmon filling the old bird’s nose one last time, its sight nearly given out as it turned to grab the meal, not as quick to gulp it down as it used to.
As he sat there the cleric watched the sun start to set, his time with his best friend coming to an end, the curse that binds nearly all to take its toll on his companion. Smiling he shed a single tear, the creature that started this journey with him finally to leave him to finish it on his own. No magic nor medicine could postpone it, all things had to come to an end. The only possibility was a divine act.
Starting to slowly shed tears the priest pet his companion, stroking the birds head slowly as it faced him, tucking itself against its master one last, the bird letting out a weak but emotion filled coo, the sound marking the end of the birds life as the sun set against the horizon and the moon started to rise above him, the deity he previously followed now looking down upon him, his actions having forced him to abandon her, the only magic he still had being what he could draw upon from nature, his magics of life only barely remaining.
Sitting there the priest cried, the first time he had truly grieved since the loss of his daughter, the girl he adopted having been saved from a black market, made from every being there was, fey, fiend, elemental, undead, draconic. One of the eight lords of Thay having brought her into this world before the forces working to keep the deity corellon shattered killed her as a sacrifice.
Not even a god stopped him in his blood rage, the life cleric having forfeited everything he had in order to avenge her. The cultists tried to bring him down but they couldn’t, the various magics and potions turned him into a monstrosity, a being that would take the combined power of multiple god’s to bring under heel. And did that they did. Seven hundred and sixty-four cultists died that day, and it took the combined magics of six different gods to stop his rampage.
His god left him, the cleric only left with the magics he still had dwelling within, and the power he could pull from Faerun. No longer able to help his companions he left, a letter detailing his departure stuck to his door as he vanished into the night. They came close to tracking him down a handful of times. He wanted to return to them, he truly did, but the cost of that day scarred him forever, the priest having forsaken his magic.
That was four years prior, the reputation he used to have as the kind but sheepish healer replaced with that of a monster, having torn people limb from limb for revenge.
Now he was here, back where he was born, the healer of the Lord of Stone, The Healer of Plagues, the Forsaker. The corrupted tiefling went by one name but was called many, the only name he had ever recognized as one he earned being that of Friend. Sitting there amongst the cliff he looked, thinking just how quick it would be to end his story here, to put the final page in his book. Looking from the cliff the tiefling stepped back, deciding to not let his companion’s death be his stopping point but one marking a new chapter.
Stepping back from the cliff he returned to the church, the tiefling shedding rolling tears as he walked to the grave, sobbing as he did so, his greatest friend having died in his arms, along with his only child. Standing before the grave he gently laid his friend to rest, laying beside it a small whistle he bore, no longer needing it.
Backing away from the grave he grieved, burying his friend as he did so, the doctor on his knees beside him, having had a small plaque prepared, the disturbed dirt leaving a clear area at the top for him to nestle the metal piece, marking the day of birth to the date of rest, the bird having served 25 years with him, the only name he gave the bird, the one given to it at birth, Archimedes.
From his bag the cleric pulled out a small item, a silver crescent, having tarnished and rusted from the effects of time the priest bore it one last time, using the last of his magic to perform one last spell, Ceremony. Feeling the last of his power drain away from him he performed the last rites of the bird, bidding it safe travels wherever it may go in the next life.
As he sat there sobbing the cleric stood the various pieces of his travels adorning himself and his bag. From the bag he withdrew a single item. A photo. Six years prior, standing at the dock of Stonekeep the party stood, two humans, a dragon born, and a high elf. With them stood two gryphons, a t-rex, a spiked reptile and one bird, Archimedes. Smiles on their faces the cleric reminisced on good times. The photo was taken not long after the wedding of their oldest member, Lexor. The high elf paladin had just been wed, and they were on their way to Neverwinter to acquire a boat to take them to Candlekeep. They had no idea what they were in for but they couldn’t have known could they.
Crying the priest smiled slightly, tears falling onto the picture as he sat there, setting it down gently as he tucked it back into his pack. He did not sleep for three nights and three days, grieving for the loss of his greatest companion, refusing to leave the side of his friend. On the fourth night a full moon stood.
Underneath the night of the full moon the cleric prayed one last time, offering a short and cordial prayer to the god he once received his power from, only hearing the same resounding silence he had since that day, the silence from being ignored, cast aside, completely and utterly alone. From his position the cleric rose, sitting up right on his legs as he looked at the moon, knowing it was looking back. His gaze returning back to the grave he moved to the cliff, sitting upon the cliffside as he pondered what to do, the last goal he had had been fulfilled, his powers gone, the little strength he had belonging to a power he did not want nor need. His knowledge documented in his pack, the trace of his magic being one glyph of warding on his bag, the sack told to relay its location to the Lord of Stone upon his death. With no goals or regrets he sat there, pondering...
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