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Man on Fire (Mordecai Story)

Posted: Thu Nov 03, 2016 6:49 pm
by Derickkeyman
(A story about Mordecai during his Test of Faith. No your character may not know about this.)

Man on Fire

The hardest part had been finding the grove in the darkness. He’d had to venture to that grove twice now, and it was a place that was chosen to be hard to find and not easily accessible. From any reasonable distance away, the forest surrounding Brynmere Glade gave no indication of a grove being nearby, and if one knew where they were going or were accidentally stumbling upon it, it soon became an area of broken ground, large boulders, and thorny vines.

Once he’d relocated the place, it hadn’t been hard to find what he was looking for. He’d used a blackened rock to mark the spot where he’d kneeled for three days. It was this spot where he buried what he had come looking for. Kaeli was sick. It seemed that her protection from Kaal was over, that he had once again failed. It was always failure for Mordecai. As he lifted the boulder, he couldn’t help but think back to his childhood.

His mother had been a Priestess of Abador. For all intents and purposes, he had been born into the faith. When Mordecai was five and Aedan seven, their father had left and the two boys were on their own with their mother. Immediately, she had started grooming them for the Order. To have brought two more pawns into the Lord’s service would bring her honor and prestige. That was what the woman had wanted. She cared nothing for her children, and Mordecai knew that. Unfortunately, he’d found that out too late.

One night, his elder brother Aedan had finished fighting with their mother. He was leaving, an eight year old striking out on his own into the cold night. He offered to take Mordecai with him, to be together on the run forever. Mordecai, in his mind’s eye, clearly saw his brother’s pale hand, illuminated by a lantern to make his pale, Xosian skin glow like fire. Mordecai remembered the smell of his mother’s bosom when he’d run into her, turning away from Aedan. He remembered the scoff his brother had given. He also remembered the door slamming and the knife his mother brought out once he was gone.

The rock moved without much trouble, but Mordecai’s head was already hurting. He swallowed and then kneeled down to start digging. It didn’t take long, but by the time he’s dug a hole to where the top of the chest was visible, he was barely holding back tears. Kaeli was in danger, Kaeli. His wife was in danger and he was powerless to help. Hadn’t that been what he was taught his whole life? Sacrifice everything for power. Sacrifice yourself for power, if need be. And he had sacrificed everything: his body, his mind, his eternal soul. He had actually done it twice now, and for what? For a sick wife, a bastard child, and a little bitch called Niv.

The chest was just as heavy as he remembered it. It hadn’t been hard to move the damn thing to begin with, and now it was just falling back into an old pattern. He lifted it up and opened it, scanning the series of haphazard vials that contained various samples of diseases, parasites, and pests. It was his incomplete work for the Order. He was going to present a complete bestiary of scourges to unleash upon the world, in order to gain his rank as a full fledged Plaguebearer. He was going to have all the glory… all the power… everything he ever wanted.

Now, that all meant nothing. All the power he wanted, all the glory he was dreaming off was so much dispersed electrical energy in his synapses. This chest was the anchor tethering him back to his old ways. This poisonous mentality of just doing this to have the power to help Kaeli, or having the power to fight chaos or, possibly the most laughable, the power to create change was all tethered, mentally for Mordecai, to this chest of diseases and monsters. Sure, he’d pointed that drive in the right direction, but that obviously wasn’t enough. He knew that no matter how well he channeled that impulse, that energy, it would never be good enough for Kaal.

Tonight was the time and the place to change. Tonight was how he was going to change. From his belt he removed a small flask of lighter fluid and doused the chest in it. Then, it was only a matter of hitting flint against steel to set the thing ablaze. It burst into a bright yellow fire. It blazed into the night, illuminating the pale face of Mordecai, not unlike his brother’s skin had been illuminated all those years ago. He watched it burn without blinking the entire time. That was part of the process, burning those impulses, those ways of thinking, out of his mind. Now, he wanted to replace them with the holy fire of Kaal. He wanted to not be a Plaguebearer, one who bore the weight of their sins like an embroidered cloak, but a Flamebringer, one who brought the light to the dark places and turned the shadows away simply to do that, fight the darkness. Here, right now, he was purging his heart of darkness. The thin layer of shadow and deceit that covered his very essence was being singed. He felt it in his core, and when that blaze had turned to embers which turned to ashes, only then did he get on his knees, put his hands in his face, and beg Kaal for forgiveness.

Soon, dawn rose over the forest and a tired, cleansed, and ready Mordecai went to go find his wife. She needed him, Abador or not, Kaal or not. He wasn’t forsaking Kaal, no. But, no longer was Mordecai resigned to be the sword wielded against a foe, letting himself believe in whoever was wielding him. Now, he was ready to be the champion wielding the sword, fending off the shadows because that was what he believed in. That was how he was going to spend the rest of his days. In the name of Kaal and the Holy Flame, he was going to be a champion of light or die trying.