Trials of a Half-Fiend

Prelude: A Curse (Part 1)
Asouna Meets A Gray Judge

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.

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Prelude: A Curse (Part 2)
A Friendship To Remember

Sir Carlan: “Please, Asouna, I insist that we talk. Will you please walk with me to the garden?” His hand was still extended to her as it beckoned for her to grab it.

Asouna: She nods slightly and took his hand. “Alright.” She stands and starts walking towards the garden, not letting his hand go as she walks.

Sir Carlan: He countenance would be happy, his smile that warmed your chaotic heart when you were younger showing kindness to all who pass by, and an almost passive glare at those who would look to Asouna in a negative way. Soon, roses beset them on all sides, all of them bleeding their colors out as he then let go of her hand and he looked off at a rose bush. “You seem at a loss of words at something.. is this something that you can talk to me about, or is it for Father Patrick’s ears alone? Or even someone else?”

Asouna: “No, it’s not that.” She sighs and looks at him, a slight smile gracing her lips. “I just do not know how to describe what I think I saw. Maybe…maybe… Sir Carlan, have you ever heard of Grey Judges?”

Sir Carlan: “Gray Judges? Not that I’m aware of… why would you ask?” He rotates his position, pivoting on a foot, to look at her.

Asouna: “Well, alright… It’s just that I had a …very strange dream last night.” She leaned on one of the arches thinking about what happened. “I was lying in bed, thinking about today when… exposition” She looked up at him. “What do you think?”

Sir Carlan: He would look in deep thought, his hand moving under his chin as he took a thinking pose. He would remain quiet for some time, in thought. “Does it bother you at all?” He posed to her as he remained in thought.

Asouna: “I don’t know. I just don’t know why I would dream something like this, especially now.” She shakes her head before turning towards him. “I thought I had put my past behind me, repented for my misdeeds and I have given myself over to Pelor. I just don’t know why I would raise these issues after so long.” She sighs before moving to the flowers, running her finger along one of the petals. “I’ve become a Paladin now, I thought I am at piece with my blood and my history, but it still plagues me it seems.” She allows her hand to drop to her side, eyes downcast.

Sir Carlan: “Being a Paladin does not free you from who you are and what you have done and experienced. All you can really do is make the present better than the past.” He would look up at her, his gaze now full of care and trust. “But if you did have this dream, then it seems you may have some things that you need closure to.”

Sir Carlan: “Unless it was a vision of some sort…a message that has a meaning…”

Asouna: “So it would seem. I think my leaving, experiencing the world, might be the best thing for me. I can make amends for my past.” She can’t help the smile breaking free on her face as she closes her eyes, trying to remember his face right then for when times get hard on the road. “That was something I was trying not to think about, because if that’s the case, I… no, I will not think that I might…” She opens her eyes and looks hard at him. “I am a Paladin of Pelor, no matter my past, my mistakes, my future will be better, I will do all I can in his name, no one else’s.”

Sir Carlan: He would smile and approach her, putting a gauntlet on her shoulder. “I’m glad you are going to be leaving us. I am sure that your answers will be found outside of these constricting walls. And you’ll do so helping all you can.”

Asouna: “Thank you, Sir Carlan.” She nods gripping his hand with hers, squeezing it with affection. " You always put me at ease. I’m going to miss you." She says softly, a hint of sadness in her voice. “And Sam, I’ll have to say god bye to him before I go as well. Fancy coming with me?” She grins, showing her sharp, needle like teeth.

Sir Carlan: “I wouldn’t miss out seeing the old rascal one last time.” A genuine grin would appear on his face, reminding Asouna of when Sir Carlan was younger. “But I wouldn’t go see him in that… you ARE now a Paladin of Pelor, you had better start dressing like one.” He would laugh for a moment, before dropping his hand off of her, and would push her a bit towards the temple. “Go on, I’ll wait at the gate for you.”

Asouna: She grins, and runs off, giving him a slight wave as she goes. “I’ll just be a moment.” She calls back before disappearing around the corner and into the temple. She continues running until she gets to her rooms and barely closes the door behind her before stripping herself of her priest vestiges and donning her chainmail and sash. She then strapped her great-sword to her back before pulling her holy symbol from under her clothes, so that it could be seen. Glancing down at her armor, she grins widely, the warmth of earned pride blooming in her chest as she opens her door and leaves for the gate. She holds her head high despite any captured comments about her blood.

Asouna’s presence and pride beamed strongest in the Temple as she exited the main doors of the building. At the gate, waiting as he said he would, stood Sir Carlan. He waved to her as she approached, his face making her want to beam with pride more from his impressed look.

Sir Carlan: “Ready to leave, Paladin Asouna?”

Asouna: “I am, Sir Carlan.” She stops and laughs slightly. “I can’t wait to see his face, when we both turn up on his doorstep. When was the last time you went to see him?” She asks, as she motions towards the gate.

Sir Carlan: “Not too long ago, actually…” He would begin to exit the temple grounds, beckoning her to follow.

Asouna: She followed behind him, turning towards the back streets she usually took when heading to Sam’s house.

To her left, Asouna spotted a man hugging the temple walls, and by the time she noticed, the man bolted in front of Asouna and almost slammed into her. The man was covered in grimy clothing and a shawl over his head and his upper body like a blanket. His hands bore a chipped, bitten and poor looking mug as he held it out to her. He would sorta flinch the cup at her, shoving it to her, begging for something.

Sir Carlan: “Well, seems you are already blessed with a needing soul as soon as you exit the Temple of Pelor!” He would smile at her widely.

Asouna: She fishes in her belt pouch for a few coins, she smiles softly at beggar. “Here you are, spend it well, sir.” She drops a few coins in his mug. She pats him on the shoulder gently, and then looks towards Carlan. “You, Sir, are terrible.” She laughs.

Samuel: “Oy, you’re the cruel on’ callin’ him cruel! ‘Ur da one callin’ him cruel! I don’t ko’ of cruel Paladins, do you, Carlen?” He would take off the shawl, smiling a toothy grin of what teeth he had left.

Sir Carlan: “No, Samuel. I don’t know of any. Only kind Paladins that know what they are doing.” He would give Asouna another grin.

Asouna: “Sam.” She exclaims and throws her arms around his neck. “You both are terrible!” She laughs. “Sorry I ’aven’t …” She pauses and takes a breath. “Haven’t been around to see you lately.” She stands back and looks at him. “You’re looking well.”

Samuel: “Aye! N’ this ‘ere bit of coin ’ill help with da’ rent! Or, sometin’ ta relate ta’ that… ‘ou should do it mo’ ofn’! I’m startin’ ta like ya bein’ a Paladin…” He would laugh, looking to Carlan, then Asouna, returning the hug.

Asouna: “How much are you behind?” She asks, wondering if she could help her oldest friend before she left. “Come on, we should find somewhere where we can catch up properly.” She says, resting her head in the cruck of his neck. “By Pelor, Sam, you need a wash.” She disentangles herself from him.

Samuel: “Ye’! Pelor ought’a get me a good wash… free too.” His smile was still there, like it always was when you two were together. “An’ I’m fine, Carlen got me ‘ooked up, ya se’, so you don’t got ta’ worry ’bout me while ’our gone.” He nods assuringly.

Sir Carlan: “Any place in particular you want to go Asouna?”

Asouna: “I was thinking of the tavern, maybe have a drink or two while we talk.” She looks at them both, already missing them. “And what do you mean, ‘Carlan hooked you up.’ What have I missed?” She shakes her head.

Samuel: “E’n a Paladin drinks? I t’ought women were suppos’ta take dem’ vows er’ sometin, like no ale’ anymore!” He would jab at her a bit as they all began to go towards the inn, which was hardly far from the temple.

Asouna: “I’m think I must have missed the day we vowed we would never drink again.” She jokes back. “Maybe I was out with you that day, you must be a bad influence. What do you think, Sir Carlan?”

Sir Carlan: “I think that you’re on duty and shouldn’t be doing drinking at all.” He would stop and look at her seriously. “Then again, Pelor is all about spreading good and peace, and a bit of peace-giving and good between friends can never go wrong for a few drinks!” He would lightly slap her back, laughing a bit to himself. Their ageing of her two friends together, it would seem, really made them enjoy every bit and moment with her.

Asouna: “Well, to make up for it, I’ll buy the first round.” She smirks, a warmhearted twinkle in her amber-colored eyes and a skip in her step as she heads to the Golden Bird. “Unless you wish to take that responsibility on yourself, Paladin Carlan. ‘Set the example’ so to speak.” She jibes at him.

Samuel:OOH! A P-P fight! I ‘ould start selln’ tickets…”

Sir Carlan: Sir Carlan would laugh a bit harder. “Ah, you caught me there Paladin Asouna. I’ll get the first round to avoid this… fight that Samuel will profit off of.”

Asouna: “It seems we have yet to break him of all his vices.” She agreed, heading to the building. “Come on then, unless you both rather stay outside.” She practically skips down the street.

Sir Carlan: “We’re coming, quit trying to rush our time together!”

Samuel: "Yeh’! I t’ought this was gonin’ ta last a while!

Asouna: “Alright, I’ll slow down.” She walks back to them, she continues smiling as she walks beside them. “It’s strange, when I first met you both, I would never have thought I would have become a Paladin. I should thank you.” She says quietly, not daring to look at either of them and almost dreading the possible riding they, or more Sam, were about to give her.

Samuel: “I ani’t complanin’ bout’ that!” He sounds like he’s accepted her choice in life. “An’ hey, I get ta botha’ ya fer free stuff all da time, an you can’t do nothin’ ’bout it!”
Sir Carlan: “It has been a bumpy ride so far with us, but we are both truly happy for your decision Asouna.. its just hard for us to express it.” He would smile again, closing his eyes for a moment to add to the happiness and proud-ness in his face.

Asouna: “That’s not the way you should view us Paladins.” She turns and starts walking backwards, looking at the both of them, before grinning again, showing the tops of her teeth. “I doubt I could have done so well without my favorite men.” She pokes her tongue out at them, before glancing behind her to make sure she was not walking into anyone.

Samuel: “Jus’ try an’ not walk inta da’ inn..” Samuel said as they approached the wooden front door they were all familiar with.

Sir Carlan: “Lady’s and newly anointed Paladins first?” He would ask politely, holding his hand forward as he was offering her to go in.

Asouna: She nods and ducks into the tavern, looking around. She had only been in this tavern once, and it had ended poorly. She breathes in and sighs as she notes the people inside before heading up to the bar. “Barkeep?” She tentatively calls out, wondering if it was the same barkeep or even if she was be allowed to stay.

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