- Chapter One - The False Religion
Al'Ahsor, a Priest of the Middle, pushed open the sturdy oak door to his and Malaghar's modest house he had been living in for nine years now. The sun was blazing down onto the great City of Majdal and cast long and cool shadows down among the streets. Al'Ahsor had just been preaching the words of Mul'Tee to a group of smiths from this city section's forge. There were four sections of the city, generally for the four classes of the Empire. The Priest hated it when benevolence was enforced among the rich and powerful, so they had to be courteous to the lower classes, and he would much rather had preferred a democracy where everyone was treated equally and had some choice of what to do. Majdal at least took some effort to ensure the well being of the peasants and workers, but they were ultimately stuck in that particular job for life, seldom moving up in court unless a great deed was performed. Thirrmod had a good way of dealing with this, with the annual archery competition, and even Mardithia had showed sense in their ways. Majdal was not the worst, but it was also far from the best.
Al'Ahsor would have gladly preached equality for the people and started a rebel cause, but such was not in a Priests ways and they seeked to spread peace without causing war. They were to speak with the Voice of Mul'Tee, and not meddle in political matters. The Priests of the Middle should never seek refuge in court, as there selfish wants could easily bypass the true ways of Mul'Tee. With their strange ability, it must be used for the right purpose, or else they are corrupted by greed and power.
Malaghar was waiting for him, resting on an old chair the man called a great heirloom from his ancestors. The story went of a great court of Elves from Grandia, whom once commanded a war from seven great chairs in a dusty hall. All the Elves were ages old and no longer chose the path to walk, but counsel and advise the peoples to become higher beings. The war was lost against a legion of dragons that lusted to keep power over the races of the continent, so they set the great hall ablaze as the seven on the chairs rested for their last moments. Long after, when Adrians walked on foreign shores, the hall was looted, and so too the chairs. The ancestor of Malaghar claimed the one in the middle, the fourth chair along, and it had passed through the family for generations. Heavy and destroyed it was, so it was not a beautiful sight to see - but it held an epic legacy between the cracked stone and burnt wood. The room itself was large, stone walls with an Ifferian rich carpet and reinforced glass windows. The house was large itself, often mistaken for a small church. It was, in a way, with it's altar of Mul'Tee and markings of the Prophet. But to Al'Ahsor and Malaghar, it was home.
"I have had a raven," Said the older Priest, "Your final task has come upon you." Malaghar was holding over a hundred years now, and his age was starting to show. He probably only had a few decades left. More than enough to return to the Andaal Mountains and live his final moments in rest and meditation, as to maintain a spirit with the Life-Bringer through to the afterlife.
"Oh? Does it bear ill tidings?" Al'Ahsor replied. Most of his tasks through the last decade had been local, all in his section. The two Priests were restricted into the third class, or merchants and landowners, even though they worked no slaves and had no trade. They were seen through by the money that the academy sent them and the supplies, which were purchased with the gold if they ran out of consumables from Andaluja. Al'Ahsor had worked on many of the servicing merchants around as his higher tasks informed, talking with men who sold to the people from all around the city, who could spread the word in his own tradings. In Al'Ahsor's own time, he preached to the peasants and the workers, young children who showed promise and grizzled old men looking for purpose. The Priest's abilities had grown and he now found it easier to speak with men of little will or good hearts. He was known around the towns and called wise beyond his age. Al'Ahsor was still young, quite young indeed, but he seemed to have a higher skill than Priests his own age. Strange.
"I am afraid so, my friend. It seems the Middle has tougher work for you, but this is a task beyond what they were thinking. It would be best if you went out tomorrow, Al'Ahsor, toward the Emperor's walls. You can make your way inside the castle, use your ability on the guards and tell them you need to speak with a family member inside the barracks. At midday the soldiers will gather in the courtyards, they are setting out to war with the Thians of Mardithia. Watch, and wait, my friend, as in my time here I have seen hints of treachery in the court that concerns our own order. When you find out, return here, and I shall give you your task."
It was quite worrying, as Malaghar spoke, the lines on his face grew longer, and he looked a little scared. Nothing really bothered the old Priest, he was an experienced man of no ill repute, but this was obviously something drastic. Also he spoke of a selfish manner of using the ability out of the true way, but Al'Ahsor could not argue. This was necessary, he saw.
Malaghar continued, "Go out and preach, my dear boy. From now on your abilities will be tested."