The Cleric Chronicles 4

Traveling with this group for countless days has taught me a lot about them. Probably more than I wanted to know. For instance, Billy, Xiara’s friend and second hand man, likes to cook but that doesn’t always mean he should. Caiman’s also gathered this fact so setting up a fire and cooking has become quite a power struggle. Or even though Butter is 13, she always finishes her night off with a sip of her family’s wine. I think it’s because she misses living there even though she doesn’t talk about it.

And what I’ve learned about Brink is that for one of the smartest people I’ve ever known, he’s got a really stupid habit of befriending the strongest people around. Which is how we ended up with Bane traveling with us for a few days. Though Bane did warn the group of the demon illusion in the town Ari’s mother was in, he immediately started speaking my father’s name . If I’d have been around, I would have demanded he leave immediately. Anyone who drops names like that without a care in the world, isn’t to be trusted. Especially since Father loves names.

But I wasn’t.

Luckily, Butter and Shea decided they didn’t trust him anymore than I would have and scared him away from the group. Now separated from him, we were on our way to this mysterious tower I heard about at the local temple. Rumor had it that a powerful mage used to live there so I knew we had to at least visit. As it turned out, Butter’s fox friend, Rylo, was also dying to get there.

I didn’t understand why until Butter explained that Rylo was actually a human druid trapped in his fox form. It was about that time that I began to wonder about Rylo. It seemed rather suspicious to me how a talking fox had attached himself to a young girl. It was also about that time that I realized the Teo traveling with us wasn’t acting like his normal self. To be honest, I’d realized it a long time ago, in the way he constantly complained and hated ale, but I’d been afraid to question it up until this point.

I didn’t have much time to wonder about it though because as soon as we got to town, we realized that the bounty hunters had accepted a new target: Xiara. I knew that even though Xi had made a mistake accepting gold from Amos, she really was a good person but the group was having trouble trusting me after Ari’s disappearance. I understood why they wouldn’t take my word for her but I must admit that it hurt. They didn’t know me well enough to know that I would rather burn myself than another, that I accepted Pelor’s light so that I could heal those in need and so they contemplated turning Xiara in unless she began to spill her secrets.

And spill she did.

I was shocked as she recounted the story of her past to the total strangers in front of me. It had taken me months for her to trust me enough to share that side of herself but I guess that’s what happens when you are faced with being turned over to your worst enemy if you don’t talk. We learned of her old commander Saeldur, of his fascination with feeding people demon’s blood and how she barely escaped him with her life.

What shocked me was when Wes argued with her about drinking demon’s blood and mentioned that he knew Saeldur’s name too.

In fact, Wes’ declaration that he’d drank demon’s blood to gain his abilities shocked all of us, including Shea.

This concept of forcing blood down people’s throats already felt barbaric to me but when I found out it could have been my blood, I was more than a little terrified. What would these enemies do to me if they found out that the blood running through my veins is from one of the most powerful Demon Lords in hell? Would I be bled dry?

Just more of a reason to keep wishing Lainie to keep my human illusion up.

After THAT revelation, I was pretty sure we’d learned all we could for one day.

I don’t know why I keep making these assumptions. Every time I think this, the universe instantly proves me wrong. Not that I should be complaining. There was a time I never thought I would get out of hell either.

It turns out, the tower had so many more secrets to share with us. We just had to make it there in one piece.

Pelor’s Blessings,

Lena