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Sunday, May 20, 2007

3.2.10.1 Marked and Enlightened

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FIREHEART - MASKS OF THE SOUL
CHAPTER 10
THE MARKED MAN

Marked and Enlightened

The situation is very peculiar near the city gates. It’s almost dawn, but all the guards there seem very active: moving to-and-fro in quick paces, and they look as though searching something.
That’s what Robert is observing from afar, up on the trees near the great city gates of Ascension.
This is supposed to be a mere quarrel. But why are the guards searching? There must be something worse going on, but what? I better stay here. Dawn is breaking and Chris must’ve been coming with the others.
Suddenly a presence alerts Robert. He looks around and keeps himself hidden and silent until he is sure about it. And then, he sees two people coming and talking with each other, more like arguing, though. They are two guards of the Basilica – a pikeman and a crossbowman.
‘Whaddaya mean by zat? ‘Ee must’ve been far away by now.’
‘I daresay he’s still around here, waiting for his accomplices! That’s what Cardinal Ladimenus said!’
The crossbowman grunts stubbornly, saying, ‘That bloody ‘eir of ze devil! ‘Ee killed ze Pope, betrayin’ ‘eer trust in ‘im... I say we must hunt ‘im down to every corner of zis world!’
Horrorstruck.
As expected, it naturally comes to Robert no matter how cold-faced he can be. His mistake has landed him into this state. And now he knows one thing: He’s the number one public enemy now. And what’s worse, everyone thinks Robert is Vordac’s heir. Which is likely so, because Robert also fought in full contact against Paliades and the Deathblade in Enia’s Sanctum.
But now, only Robert knows about his own actions since he left the Basilica Vadisium. He could’ve sworn that he didn’t kill the Pope, but his kiliji sword proved the contrary.
‘And hunt him we shall. I bet they will set the price on his head so high, the king’s ransom will be like bread money compared to it,’ says the pikeman.
The crossbowman continues, ‘But I ‘eard ‘ees swordplay is superb, with ze legendary Dragon Saber Grimlock and ze Great Dragon Algaban as ‘ees teacher.’
The pikeman chuckles, saying, ‘Ah, don’t worry, mate. We two can take him down. Algaban wouldn’t be very happy now Robert turns out to be the heir, you know? He is blessed no more.’
‘Right-o. Well, we bezzer move now before someone elze finds ‘im and takes ‘im down before we do.’
Robert chooses to remain silent on his spot until the two guards go out of sight. And when he’s sure they are gone far away, out of sight, he begins to think hard.
Blessed no more... Is that really so? Algaban, I wish you can hear me now. Have you abandoned me too?
A pause. Silence.
Suddenly, Robert hears Algaban’s telepathic voice ringing in his mind, answering him.
Never, Robert. Never. You know and I know you didn’t do it. Because if you did, if you have a glint or a speck of Vordac within you, I’ve already devoured you back in Hvalgarr!
I’m very sorry, O’ Great One, for doubting you.
It’s all human, Robert. I too share humanity within me. I shouldn’t have let the weapons chose their masters in the first place. Much chaos has happened with just four of the Adair’s Arsenal in the open. They kept moving from hand to hand and ended up in wrong hands.
But you can’t help it, right? You can’t stop Grimlock from choosing me. I say you’ve done your best, and we, the Bearers of the Light will do the rest. There’s no such thing as an evil or good weapon, only people. People can bring good or mayhem with weapons, weapons can’t do that if there are no people to move them.
Your words kept my heart at ease, Robert. Thank you.
So did yours, Algaban. But where must I go now? Every bounty hunter in the entire Aurelia has marked me already as we spoke!
Algaban gives an advice.
Practically, nowhere. But the best place you can go to begin your investigation to find the real culprit is the Basilica Vadisium. But if you want to play it safe, you must go first to the place where there are people who trust you the most, and people who are wise enough to help clear your name!
People who trust me the most and people wise enough to help me. Where can I find those sorts? I have no family. My teachers? Algaban, Walthorn... Hulferd! Yes, Hulferd in Rand! And a wise person... Oh, yes! I know him! The wisest one, he who has all the answers... Rael’charon! I must go to Lore!
Quick thinking, Robert. You figured it out yourself. Well, the rest is up to you now. Just be cautious, we don’t want Grimlock to fall in the wrong hands, right?
Thanks for your advice, O’ Great One.
Don’t thank me, Little One. Thank Vadis.
But why? I just got a feeling that he has abandoned me lately.
No, Robert, he has not. In fact, he is helping you by sending me to protect you. He also sent Eidos and Hernan to help you in the Black Forest. He’s been watching you and giving you ways out from tight spots. I’d say you are truly blessed, Little One.
Ah! All this time I was a blind fool, but now my eyes are open. I’ll begin my journey now, and pray that I won’t get caught along the way. Chris, Carol, Andre, Iris... so long. I hope you’re not in trouble. I pray may our paths will meet again – in this life or the next.

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