The last night she would rest in this Pelor-ian temple with all of those priests! Asouna felt ecstatic as she stared at the ceiling of her room, for she could not rest quite yet. The distant prayers and hymns of priests in the temple preforming sacraments, blessings, and studying quietly echoed into the place she has been in since childhood. So many memories and experiences she is going to leave behind while on her journey, but many more were to come! And Sir Carlan wanting to meet her tomorrow before she set off; she had so much to look forward to! Only a few times did her eyes droop down to be closed before she heard whispers outside of her door. She knew instantly one of them was Rainer, but the other sounded unfamiliar.Their tone was subtle at first, but the conversation soon increased into a loud whisper.
Rainer: “But you can’t just go in there and do that! She has atoned for her sins, and is now a Paladin of Pelor. If you go in there..” He was cut off by the other man, whose voice was deep and stern.
Mysterious Man: “Yes, I’d be breaking the Code. Do not worry, Father Reiner. No harm will come to her if she has indeed atoned for her sins.” A heavy hand soon rested on the door.
Asouna: Asouna raised from her bed, wrapping her robe about herself and lighting a small, well burnt candle on her side beside her bed. She then moves to go to the door and opens it. “Grand Cleric, is there a problem?” She asks, motioning for them to enter.
Rainer: His face whitened as you opened the door, before he swallowed something hard. “This Sir would like to have a word with you, Asouna..if you’ll excuse me.” He turned, his robes doing a slight twirl as he departed.
Asouna: “Alright Father, Good night.” She smiles at him.
Mysterious Man: “So, this is Asouna The Paladin?” He would approach her, pushing her out of the doorway as he entered the room if she did not get out of the way that is. After moving into her room, his arm gently touched the door to close it quietly behind him as the head of this man, standing a good six foot two, looked up into her face. A pit of impenetrable darkness surrounded this man’s face as he gave even her an unsettling feeling. “How fares you this night?”
Asouna: “I fare well, and yourself, Sir?” She goes and sits on the bed, knowing that her height tended to intimidate a lot of people, although she had a feeling that that was not this case with this individual. “Would you like a seat? I’m rather afraid you have me at a disadvantage.” She states calmly, arranging her robe to cover her modest undergarments.
Mysterious Man: “I am fine standing, and tonight I fare Exquisitely delightful, but I did come to a dilemma a few days ago when I heard the news of your Paladin-hood being given to you. I simply came to know for myself that you know and will uphold all a Paladin stands for as well as the duties of one.” He pauses for a moment, before purposefully throwing another statement at the end. “Especially one such as yourself.”
Asouna: “‘One such as myself’?” She sighs, repeating his words. “A Half-fiend, you mean.” It was not a question, just a simple statement from one used to being branded by her race. “I would like to know what you have planned for me, Sir. What you would be ‘braking the code’ for?” She continues to sit, understanding and acceptance in her features. “Also, what am I to call you? ‘Sir’ is all well and good, but it is rather impersonal”
Mysterious Man: “I am one of the gray judges that deliver justice when it is needed, when no one else can do it for fear of breaking the code. So, Sir is quite appropriate for a paladin of your level. Nor shall anyone shall be breaking the code tonight. At least, the one who is allowed to do so will not..” He fades off, staring into what seems space, before shaking his head. “The people here accept you as a paladin, but does Pelor accept you, I wonder. Do you think he does?”
Asouna: “I would not deign to know what Pelor thinks of me, especially considering my past.” She glances at the floor, just for a moment, before looking back to where his eyes should be. “But I would rather hope that he accepts my repentance and my joining the Paladins here.” She watches his reaction carefully, hoping to note any reaction.
Mysterious Man: “Hope.. it seems that is so very common these days..” His hands slide behind himself as one grasps another, before he strolls nonchalantly towards the window, seeming to peer outside of it. “Would you care to know if you can truly do anything out there as a Paladin? As YOU? Father Reiner told me of you departure into this cruel, vile, evil world that we live in. Can you really make a difference? Let alone in Pelor’s name and grace?”
Asouna: “I will do all I can, it matters not how much or little I do, if I can aid one person in Pelor’s name, it matters not.” She smiles softly, thinking of Carlan the first time he told her those same sentiment. She did not understand him back then, strange that she felt right saying it now. “Or do you think that every Paladin is made to shake the world in their Gods name?”
Mysterious Man: “We are all here only because the Gods will us to be. They have the power to remove us, but not the time to purge all who are unworthy or a detriment to where we exist. Too many planes, people, creatures, and beings as strong as them, if not stronger. So, few of the people who live in our fare world must deem who is needed and not. Plainly, to answer your question, no.” He turns to face her again, his arms now moving to cross his chest. Another unnerving feeling crawls up her spine as a slight pause ensued. “All you can? You do not sound at all sure of yourself. I’m amazed that you even made it as a Paladin of Pelor, let alone this far in life. But, that leads me to another question … How much would you be willing to do for his grace, Pelor? Or are you simply taking on the mantle that others do here and follow Pelor for it is all that you know?”
Mysterious Man: “Many gods exist.. are you and Pelor the perfect match? Is there an inseparable bond between you two?”
Asouna: She shakes her head. “Sir, it would seem to me that you have already made up your mind, why not speak plainly? I am a follower of Pelor, I will maintain my faith and my loyalty to Pelor ‘til he deems my time has come and I will continue both after my demise. I am sure of my skills and of my failings and I know that there are those that think themselves more and less pious than I am. I am Pelor’s. Body. Heart. And soul.” She could feel the anger rinsing to this suit of armor, but schooled herself to keep her voice and actions under control. Trying to at least maintain a facade of calm.
Mysterious Man: “It seems that there is a sort of fracture in your ‘faith’. Why get upset at something that you, yourself, said that you have your body, heart, and soul into?”
Asouna: “You impugn me, Sir. I have not fractures in my faith; I am only sick of people, like you, that seem to think that because I am born of a fiend, I am unable to give myself to a God of good, I cannot share the same faith as Mortals due to a deamon’s seed.” She look calms, mentally reciting scripture to herself. After pausing a couple of seconds, she continues. “I am a Paladin, and neither you, nor anyone else will convince me that I have made the wrong choice in giving myself to Pelor. Neither you, nor anyone else will stop me from aiding people in the name of Pelor, nor will you stop me from being what I am.” She stands and looks resolutely at the Grey judge. “Do what you must, say what you must, but please finish soon, I have a long day tomorrow.”
Mysterious Man: He remains quiet during her talking, before speaking after a few more moments of silence. “I stated earlier that I am only here to ensure myself that you are indeed to be a Paladin of Pelor. And I was seeking to leave a bit sooner, but you continue to be on the defensive. So, we shall let Pelor decide from now on, not others…” He takes a step towards her, the only thing separating them is the bed. He spoke in a calm voice as she soon began to see his palm glow. He unfolded his arms all the while, and pointed the glowing hand towards her heart. “By the power of Pelor, let his grace see the truth, judge this sinner for what it is worth to see if her words speak truth!”
Asouna: She watches his hand rise with curiosity and tries to relax herself as he speaks, willing the judgment on herself, to be vindicated of damned, either way is better knowing than having people doubt her.
A bright flash of a symbol was visible to her in his palm, before she felt a searing pain over her heart. Her body felt heavy, her strength degraded, and her vision began to blur. She was out of breath. She was falling into nothingness, blackness encompassing her. “Let this be a lesson….”the man’s voice was barely heard before a loud thump ensued. She then felt weightless, touching nothing, and feeling nothing. Then a light washed over her, almost burning her eyes.
It was morning, the sun’s light in her eyes and a rooster cooing in the distance. She had overslept! The sun was already up, and today was a busy day…
Asouna: Asouna twists and falls onto the floor beside her bed, looking around, she tries to piece together what happened last night, she tries to decide whether she had been dreaming, and after getting washed and dressed, she finally decides to ask Carlan or Rainar about the Grey Judges.
Asouna: Finally, she heads out into the courtyard and tries to find either her mentor or her teacher.
Priests still shoot her a glare of curiosity as they seem to constantly move through the hallways like bees bouncing from place to place. In the main hall, many were in holy sacrament, and familiar faces were dotted throughout the room, but none she wished to speak to. As she walked down one of the many aisles, people looked up from their prayer, before putting a disgusted look on their face, shaking their head and going back to praying about ‘purging all demons from this house’. She finally got to the courtyard and felt relieved. And coincidently, she felt even more relieved as both her Teacher and Mentor were in a conversation near the center fountain. IT seemed casual enough, and neither of them noticed Asouna as she was approaching them through the people going in and out of the temple.
Asouna: “Pelor bless you both.” She smiles at them as she draws close to them, bowing respectfully to them as she comes to a stop, standing a short distance away to allow them a chance to invite her to their presence. “I trust today finds you well?”
Sir Carlan: “Then I shall do as you wish, Father.” Sir Carlan soon turned to look at Asouna, before standing at attention, his right hand going over his chest as he looked serious. “Pelor Bless you as well,” And then his seriousness turned into a restrained smile “Paladin Asouna.”
Rainer: He nodded at Sir Carlan’s comment, before also looking to Asouna. “Pelor Bless you as well, my child. Yes, today finds us all well! We were simply having a well needed discussion over something. What can we do for you, Asouna, my child?”
Asouna: She returns the smiles with a slightly troubled one, thinking of how to approach the subject of what she thinks she dreamed the previous night. She starts to answer Rainer but cannot find the words to explain and so closes her mouth with a sharp click.
Rainer: Rainer looks to Sir Carlan before nodding to him, then approaching Asouna. “If you wish to speak to me, I’ll be in the temple as always. But, as of now, I have some work to attend to. Pelor be with you both!” He would give her a smile, knowing by her look that she was distressed, before walking back up the stairs into the temple.
Sir Carlan :“Asouna.. what is wrong?” He would immediately drop his stance and smile and his face transformed into a worried expression. “Come, let’s take a walk and we can talk about it all the while.” He would extend his hand to her, his metal armor shining in the morning sun making him look, indeed, like a paladin.