Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Chaos and the Beltane Chapter 2

Jack, the only name he is known by in Beltane went by many names across the Four Corners. Secret names. He sat in the back corner of the tavern watching the door, never once taking his eyes off it. He had been sent by the Priory to find a kid and wasn’t told what he looked like. All he was given was a name…Nicolai.

Still he was sure if he waited around the Tavern long enough he would find someone who was familiar with the name. ‘If you ever want to know something about some one, go to the tavern.’ He always said when he was given such an assignment. He never paid attention to the person who assigned his tasks, only the coin in the purse. He didn’t mind it either. He enjoyed being able to travel from place to place and making those who hired him, pay for what he wanted and needed. A request from the Priory always made him question what was going on, but in the long run he didn’t care as long as the purse was good.

The Tavern began to fill with all sorts of people, Vale and Walkers alike. Jack wasn’t a huge fan of the Vale. He thought it was unnatural the way they were looked and hated they were born with innate magic. It wasn’t right as far as he was concerned. Most of the taverns in the Four Corners didn't serve their kind but Beltane was different. They were a tolerant sort of people. It was something Jack never understood but he stayed in the Beltane for this reason....Vale or no Vale. It was for all in tense and purpose, his home.

Live music danced through the smoke coming from the patrons. A loud wentch with a tray of ale walked to the table next to him. A big burly man with missing teeth and sweat poring off of him grabbed her and pulled her to his lap. Her loud boisterous laugh hurt Jack's ears. He got a kick out of her when she slapped the man. For a minute it looked like he was going to have step in, just so he could continue watching the door. A since of satisfaction rushed through him when she walked away. There wasn't any purse in a bar fight and most of the time it ended up costing you.

A woman walked in wearing a long hooded robe. She walked over to the bar keep and handed him a note. Jack didn’t miss a beat. He watched her sit next to the door. She moved like a woman out of place, like she didn’t belong. He waited to see what would happen next. A young man walked in and sat next to her. She removed her hood and smiled at him.

“A secret rendez vous.” He thought.

Too far away to hear the conversation, Jack was glad he had picked up the ability to read lips. It was something that came in handy on more than one occasion.

“Why involve Nicolai, he’s a good kid. He doesn’t know anything about any of this. I’ve known him my whole life,” the young man said.

“He is the key,” she replied.

“The key to what?” He asked.

“To retrieving the Chaos that is protected by the Vale,” she said.

‘No wonder the Priory wants him so bad. It has to be. For a Walker to be able to retrieve Chaos, well, that’s damn near impossible. Then again, an innate Walker, well that’s rare indeed.’ Jack thought.

He watched the conversation continue.

“You want to be with the fair Aleria, don’t you? There will be more than enough gold to make a good life for the two of you,” the woman said.

The young man had a disconcerted look on his face. He just nodded his head in agreement. “He’s not to be hurt. Is that understood?” The young man replied.

The woman nodded in agreement. She smiled at the young man and held up her cup to toast. She was the first to get up and leave, she handed him a purse, no doubt filled with coin.

‘How many people are after this kid, and does he even know?’ Jack wondered. He finished his pint then waited for the young man to leave.

Jack listened to the bell tole, and knew it was time to head to the Temple of the Goddess. The between time was coming soon. His soul gave a quiver, telling him the spirits would be lose soon. Their time was now and he didn't want to stick around to find out how many would be coming his way. With all the blood on his hands, he was surprised he was haunted by one of them, if not all. Still it didn't matter as long as the purse was good.

He left the tavern and headed to the temple. On the way, he watched people of the Beltane dance and sing, celebrating the time of the between. In some ways, perhaps in just this one. He was sorry he had to hide out. His eye caught a glimpse of a woman dancing with a little girl. Her smile lit up the night. Her hair waved in the breeze and for a moment, he could hear her laughter. It was the most peaceful sound he heard in a long time. She looked over at him, shaking him a little inside. With a tilt of his head, he continued about his way.

The clock was going to strike again. The between time had come. Getting the kid would have to wait. Still, he had a face to picture while he was attacked through the night. Perhaps that single glance and cheer in the lady's laugh would help him. He knew he didn't deserve it, but what else could he do?

The Temple of the Goddess located in the Beltane was by far the simplest, and still it was the most beautiful. Upon entrance, there was a fountain to wash your feet. It was called Bathing in the light. A single hole in the ceiling let the light from the night in and allowed the rays of the sun echo off the statue of the goddess during the day. Candles were lit all around. Each section was set up in different colors depending on the prayer. The marble floors were shined to perfection, often during the time of the between, the spirits of the past could be seen in them.

A special room was designed for those who were in need, those like Jack who needed protection from the spirits. The room had long satin blue curtains that flowed from the ceiling to the floor. They waved in the night’s soft breeze. Hanging fire hovered in the middle of the room. Soft pillows lined the floor in a circle. He was thankful he was alone tonight. Something about the magic in the air sent a shiver throughout his body. He didn’t know why because he knew what to expect. He has been going through this since he was 13. Over twenty years of doing the kind of work he does, that’s enough to send even the sweetest spirit after him. He worried about one thing, maintaining his sanity.

The bell banged out the last strike, now it was the between time. It comes once a season, and strikes on the midnight hour. The gates open to the spirit world letting the wronged come out and face their doer.

Jack sat against the wall with his head down, while the Temple Mistress focused a prayer over him. With her arms raised in the air, she spoke.

Spirits of the night be true

Know that I am watching you

Come and say what needs said

Just remember from this thread

Let no harm come to his soul tonight

So says the Goddess of the light.

Her spirit shined from within, purity on all levels. Jack knew she was a strong Temple Mistress. He could feel the magic around him and the protection from her spell wash over him.

His mind filled with the screams from the first person he killed. Jack was racing his father’s carriage along the road. He wanted to push the horses as hard as he could, with every whip of the reigns, the carriage went fast and his adrenaline pumped. He didn’t see the little girl coming out of the field. Just when she stepped out, tried to stop. He didn’t want to run her over. Had it been the neighbor, it would have been different. The carriage careened against the tree and flung him forward. He landed in a patch of grass. Sore, but not broken, he got up and walked to the girl who caused the accident. He watched the breath fall out of her.

“Water,” she said.

“You broke my father’s carriage. Get it yourself,” he replied.

Jack learned that day words like guilt and remorse didn’t apply to him. Even now, with the between time at hand, he didn’t feel anything for the lives he had taken.

Here she was as always, standing in front of him. “You took my life and couldn’t give me a drink of water?”

He looked at her and smiled. “You taught me who I am,” he said.

His mind wondered back to the woman dancing with the little girl. He wanted to know what it was like to feel that normal. To feel anything would be better then feeling nothing at all. The little girls wronged spirit taunts raged on then faded into the background, making way for his master. Sullivan. That’s the only name he knew about, Sully for short. He taught him how to use a blade. Sully was the first person he met when he ran away from home the day he killed the little girl. It took two years to learn all he could from him. Two years of slashes with the whip to gain the knowledge he wanted. It seemed like a small price to pay. He took out his blade one night and slashed Sully’s throat while he slept. He didn’t want a partner. Too many things can go wrong and often did.

He felt scratches on his back, and a punch in the ribs. His mind faded back again. He knew without a doubt who it was. Renier, a young man he actually thought he loved. Renier stood tall. His eyes were still of the innocent. Perhaps that’s what drew him. The two of them became friends. The sailed on a merchant ship. When they came to port. He was introduced to his fiancĂ©’, Mary. She was and still is the most beautiful woman he had ever met. It was out of jealousy that he killed Renier.

It was a clear night and the moon hung high in the sky. The streets were busy and all the whore houses were packed with patrons who had been out at sea for months. Jack and Renier walked to Mary’s home. She welcomed both of them, but gave him a small glare. Renier just learned her father was going to give him a ship to captain. He was so excited, he begged Jack to celebrate with him. After a few drinks, Jack couldn’t hold the jealousy any longer. He pulled out his blade and stabbed him. “You’re life should be mine,” he said when the breath left his body.

Mary didn’t do what he had hoped. She didn’t turn to him. She turned instead to her own poison. Jack knew the two of them would show tonight. It was the anniversary and they always came on the same night every year.

Jacks body ached from all the punches to the gut. It’s amazing what the body can survive. The protection spell didn’t work on those who had been betrayed. Only those he took for nothing more than coin. The three of them, Sully, Renier and Mary threw blow after blow at him. His face was covered in scratches from Mary. He looked down at his hands to see they were covered in blood. The sound of a whip flew past his ear. Sully’s favorite tool to use. He arched his back in pain. He felt the stinging blows from Sully’s whip and heard the cries of betrayal. “I’ll whip you like the dog you are.” he said.

A piercing high pitched shrill went through his soul. He felt Mary’s pain. It was the first time he ever felt the pain he had caused. Curled up on the floor, he looked up at the Temple Mistress and begged for her help.

She looked down at him. “There is only so much I can do for a soul as dark as yours. You must find a way to redeem yourself for all you have done. I warn you, most black souls never return. You are in pieces inside. All I can do, I have done,” she said.

He rolled over and waited for the sound of the bell again. The whips kept coming as did the pain from Mary and Renier. He longed for it to be over. The several pieces of his soul began to scream out for the pain to stop. The Temple Goddess repeated the one line in the spell she knew would make them stop. “Let no harm come to his soul tonight,” she said. The spell took hold again.

With her hands held over his body, she brushed aside the spirits who attacked him. The pain and the screams subsided, giving him a moment of relief. It was something he knew he didn’t deserve. All the real pain he caused so many countless nameless others crashed into his heart and he cried. The Temple Mistress looked down at him and said, “Perhaps there is hope for you yet assassin.”

He looked up at her warm eyes, thankful, then put his head down on the pillow. His body was sore from the attack, but his heart hurt more. What was it to live a normal life? He didn’t know. He had never known real pain. He had never regretted anything he had done. Not until now. What made this night different from the rest? His hardened broken soul could only think of one answer, he was suppose to do something different. The question now was what?

‘The kid.’ He thought then fell into a deep sleep.


C. D. Bennett said...

Keeps getting better :) You're burning through the text on this one like crazy. You must be inspired! hehe

Browneyegirl145 said...

Thank you...smiles...I have been inspired by a good friend...her name is Rachel. She is a very talented Tarot reader. Her intuition is brilliant and she has a new advice column that is sincere and honest with good advice. You should check her out...smiles...hugs...

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