Narrator – OOG Northward 08

(K’laan’s body strikes the deck with the lifeless sound of a slain akraat dropped to the butcher room floor. With Tyvian laying hands upon Dauengard, all Rogan could think about was red: the blood of his mother as it flowed into the bed woolen, the blood in the sickening grin of the murderer-traitor that he once called friend and the color of pain set ablaze by uncontrollable rage. Rogan jumps to his feet and falls upon K’laan’s lifeless corpse like a firecat on a ghost hawk chick blown to the ground by a violent wind. He thrusts a dagger like a lightning strike up into the jasai’s chin, through the soft pallet and into the brain. His Migdin frame is deceptive, for this warriors strength comes alive as he lifts the corpse and drags it out into the open space…screaming as he moves past the sailors watching agog in shock. Rogan reaches the stairs and with each step upward, he pulls at the jaw and skull, climbing toward the sky. The sound is just as awful as the reality of what is on display. Even Bregg can not find words to comfort his friend, or perhaps change his course of action.

‘Thunk’, ‘thunk’, ‘thunk’. Finally, the body clears the top step and Rogan resumes dragging the killer toward the stern of the ship. The first mate stands at the wheel, but bows his head out of respect as Rogan reaches the rail. He pulls the body up the railing until the head is tilted backward over the side at an obscene angle. He reaches for the deck axe mounted just behind the captains station, raises it high….and in a single, clean stroke, cuts the head of Gaar tu K’laan free from its neck. The splashing sound is thick and deep, and he knows in his heart that only now can he be sure to never again see the fallen priest’s body walk the Visible Wyrld.)

“Aethelgrim! Father and guardian, teacher of warriors and protector of the just…HEAR ME! I shall give you my body, mind, heart and spirit. I will walk the path of priest and call many to your temple! I will confer passage to the souls of your warriors that fall in righteous battle and build again villages that burn in protest of your enemies. But please!! Please, Lord Father! Give me just one thing, I beseech thee. Please spare the life of my mother, who even now gratefully gives her life to the church of your Brother, the Most Holy Bregor! Give me this one…thing…and I will walk blindly in your name and wield the sword of the righteous against the foul Arwic and the wicked followers of his faith. I will consign my life to you. Forever. Please…”

(His knees buckle and he stumbles against the railing, no longer able to stand.)

“Please, Father….please Fath…”

(Shock overcomes Rogan and he falls to the deck. He in unconscious.)

“Rogan.”

(A voice. Somewhere in the blackness. Familiar. Kind. Friend. Bregg.)

“Rogan. Open your eyes.”

(Rogan opens his eyes and sees his friends face staring down at him.)

“Rogan. You have to come below deck. Your mother…she lives!”

(He is unable to move a single muscle. The red has washed away and the blue, cloudless sky is more brilliant than ever before. The same sky that plays host to the sky dance of the Cóng Jhet and houses the glory and the kingdom of Aethelgrim.)