The Cleric Chronicles 3

I realize that my last entry might have been a little confusing but you have to understand, so much has happened since Lainie and I set out to rescue our family that things get mixed up in my head sometimes.

Remember when I said that we wanted to save Lady and Lord Tul and Teo? That was true. But I’d also mentioned that Teo was with us when we started this journey. That’s true too, sort of. Lainie and I knew that our family had been dragged into hell by my father, we knew they were being tortured every minute of every day and we knew that time is longer in hell, meaning their torture felt like it was never-ending.

We just didn’t know that Teo was there too until we found out that the one with us was a fake. But as always, I’m getting ahead of myself.

There are so many more secrets revealed before I realized that my Teo, err, our Teo was stuck in hell right next to Lady and Lord Tul, starting with the mysterious man in black heading toward our party.

He looked lean, rugged, every available inch of his body covered in weapons like he could never have enough. Basically, if Xi needed Pelor’s light, this man was on death’s door begging for it. My hand tightened around my holy symbol as he approached our group, a white mask covering his face. We were tired but ready to attack if he was.

Until he pulled off his mask and Shea broke away from the group running for him. Turns out Mr I-Wanna-Be-A-Demon-Lord-Too was actually one of her oldest friend’s Wes and he was here to help us. We were definitely not in the position to turn down help, especially once we saw him in action, so we agreed to have him aid us in our journey to find Ari’s mother.

Now that our party felt complete, we practically ran for the town I knew Ari’s mother was resided at. Although, it turns out that I was completely wrong. The town we wound up in was one occupied entirely by demons. I didn’t catch that something was off until Ari let us meet with her mom at the temple she stayed at. Normally, when I walk into temples, even if they aren’t Pelor’s, I can feel the God’s presence in the warmth in the air, the refracting light slanting through stained glass. But all I felt in the temple Ari’s mother called home was coldness so deep, it felt like I was back in Father’s domain. When Ari’s mother finally spoke to us and I heard three distinct voices behind her one, I knew something was very wrong.

Lainie told me to run and I listened to her, especially after hearing they wanted the half of the stone I kept with me. I’m ashamed to talk about this next part because I knew what would happen and yet, I did nothing to stop it. If I pray every day for the rest of my life, until my knees bleed from the indents of the stone underneath them, I’m still not sure I’ll be good enough for Pelor.

But this is the truth.

I ran into the woods surrounding the town and thought I was safe until Caiman showed up. I knew what he was after even as he spoke to me, I knew that if I let him have that stone, that he and Ari would disappear and realizing this was a town full of demons, I also knew where they would end up. I tried to warn Caiman, I tried to tell him that if they followed through with the plan Ari’s fake mother wanted for them, they would end up in hell. But he wouldn’t listen. He wanted that stone more than anything and I was either going to let him have it or he would fight me for it. I saw the determination in his eyes and so, I gave in.

The rest of the group doesn’t know how responsible I am for what happened to Ari. They don’t know that I knew something bad might happen to her, they don’t know that I was too scared to fight Caiman alone in the woods, they don’t know that I gave into that fear.

All they know is she got the other half of their stone.

And they know this because it was that night that Ari and Caiman disappeared into a portal without so much as a goodbye.

The town showed its true colors after that, dissolving into shadow quickly now that its task was complete.

The only thing it gave us in return for sacrificing two of our party members is yet another mysterious stranger, claiming to want to save us before we all died in that death trap.

Except, unlike our last stranger, this one knew my father’s name. And this one would soon turn out to be the bane of our very existence.

I should go. I feel a prayer calling up from my soul. I need Pelor’s light more than ever right now.

In Pelor’s name,