Level 01 ~ Feanthar

Nights were always quiet. There would be chanting in the morning that echoed through the four tiered marble structure of the Stellan Temple. All afternoon the martial drills and exercises in the three outlying buildings, which guarded access to the Temple, would reverberate through the still mountain valley. Finally in the evening the choirs would offer their devotions in song. Each time of day was beautiful to hear in its own way, but the stillness of the night was special.

In the highest courtyard of the Main Temple in the nighttime silence Feanthar felt closest to heaven. The towering structure felt higher than even the mountains to the east and west, and the ocean to the north could be seen though not heard, all under the soothing glow of the stars so rarely obscured by clouds. He thrilled a little at the sound of his soft leather boots creeping over the bare stone, the soft padding thunderous to his ears amid the nighttime silence. But he knew that no one else could hear him, because he wouldn’t be able to be here night after night if they could.

The Illuminated Courtyard was, after all, only for the Grand High Priest and his six Archpriests. A place too sacred for simple aspirants like Feanthar. For tens of seasons now he’d been sneaking up here at night to be close to It. Feanthar probably couldn’t sneak into the Illuminated Courtyard at any other time of day, and he didn’t want to because he wasn’t sure he could hear It without the hushed night. His light blue aspirant’s robes trimmed with silver-colored thread brushed together much too loudly to hear It. No, he never heard it until he sat down at the foot of the Miracle Worker. Once he was perfectly still, barely even breathing, then the silence of the night hit him all over again.

Minutes would pass, some nights as much as an hour, but finally he would be able to hear It. Heaven’s Staff thrummed with a palpable divine aura, deep and sonorous but infinitely quiet, held in the steady hands of the Miracle Worker. And once he could hear the Staff, the pointed blue crystal crowning the staff would join the chorus with even quieter voices chanting, exercising, singing and all the devotions practiced by all the orders raised up with heavenly perfection unlike anything in the whole world. Shimmering in the starlight the crystal and staff would sing to him, and Feanthar would know he was loved by heaven.

The Illuminated Courtyard was, of course, the one place in the Stellan Temple that Feanthar was absolutely forbidden to be, but if the wiry youth couldn’t even keep his short brown hair controlled who could really expect him to follow so trivial a rule? He needed a headband matching his robes to even keep his hair out of his eyes no matter how often it was cut, and he’d needed a special miracle just to enter the Illuminated Courtyard. The whole Temple was of course warded, it was meant to be a sanctuary after all. But the wards on the Illuminated Courtyard could only be bypassed by the invocation of a special miracle known only to the Grand High Priest and his six Archpriests. And Feanthar who’d spied on them one evening after being sent to his cell without dinner for accidentally breaking a statue of a saint when practicing his miracle working in the hallway instead of the Crystal Courtyard.

Feanthar didn’t mean to be a bother, but for some reason the only time he could really be still was sitting at the feet of The Miracle Worker and listening to Heaven’s Staff.

NIAR SAGA NEXT

5 Responses

  1. Chelsea says:

    It’s so beautiful, David! I love the imagery you create with words. Can’t wait to read more 🙂

  2. Sarah says:

    Really good David! I can’t wait to read more!

  3. J.T. says:

    He breaks a statue and the only punishment is a night without dinner? They are pretty nice.

    • davidludwig says:

      Yep. The temple is predominantly Good aligned, with the Law/Chaos axis varying enough between Orders that it isn’t strictly enforced on any universal level.

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