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A Knife

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Dedicated to the love of my life

Tunnels and hallways dark as obsidian spread out in each direction that Syrinx could see – or more aptly, could not. Behind her lay the only source of light, a torch creating only a puddle of warm light across the cold, hard surface of the hallway’s flooring.

The light illuminated a number of mundane objects – a leather bag hastily opened and discarded, multiple paper food wrappers, a few poultices and two or three books.

Besides the clothing, white robes of the Goddess Kyara, Syrinx had left everything she still owned upon that floor. She could no longer keep those vestiges of her past life – a life which had ended so badly.

Syrinx had been a cleric of the Goddess Kyara. She had grown up following the teachings of the god of light and had lived her young adult life serving her holy word. Despite this, she had always been deemed odd by her fellow clerics. Her devotion had never been in question but her methods were often seen as highly unorthodox.

While Sisters of Kyara often became preachers in cities, or helpers of the impoverished – Syrinx became an adventurer.

She maintained her rites, her faith and her holy duty – but chose to aid those who she felt were protectors of the world through axe, sword, arrow and fist rather than through peace alone.

At the age of 17, she signed up to the Silverford Adventuring Company. She was almost immediately assigned to a burly Paladin named Aurelius Concord. The Paladin was a follower of Kyara, like herself, but chose to rather use his mace as a symbol of cleansing the world of impurity.

Kyara’s words were often interpreted in different ways. Syrinx’s chapter of sisters believed that the way to light and peace was through healing and charity – Aurelius’ chapterhouse of Paladin-Knights believed that the only way to achieve true light was the banishing of the dark.

The dark, as Aurelius stated, lay in the crevices of the world – demons, undead, vampires, wraiths and the unnatural monsters created by evil sorcerers to achieve power. Aurelius became an adventurer to rout out these evils in the world. Like Syrinx, he was also deemed unorthodox.

Due to religion at first and mutual ideals second – Syrinx and Aurelius became inseparable. Through every dungeon crawl, necromantic fortress raid, orc den siege and all manner of jobs – Syrinx and Aurelius stuck together through thick and thin.

When ghouls and skeletons ruled by the Lich Ghlor charged into the village of Grenfall, it was Syrinx and Aurelius who stood to stop the tide. Aurelius with his mighty mace and shield and Syrinx with her hammer and divine spells.

Undead hordes fell to the pair who became known as the Mace and Hammer. They were hailed as holy defenders of the people. Those times were over now.

In the old days, the only threats to the free world were the undead and beastly races. Occasionally, demons invaded the realm but the Magi and Paladin orders soon put a stop to them every time.

Who could have thought that the biggest threat to the free races were ourselves?

Silverford Adventuring, despite being one of the smaller guilds – was still home to Aurelius and Syrinx. With their aid, it had become one of the most reputed establishments in the South.

Adventuring was dying, however. Gone were the days of isolated villages and greedy kings with no desire to defend their own realm. All the ruins were looted. Every temple was now connected and supplied. The roads were now safe of dragon, orc and ghoulish adversary.

The age of men and women with nothing but a pack, a blade and a lot of wanderlust was coming to a close. Aurelius and Syrinx refused to let it die. They were followers of Kyara but that was not what drove them forward.

Both of them were unwilling to let the old ways die. They believed in wanderlust, freedom and independence more than their proclamation of the way of light.

When the Republic was declared and a security force unlike any the world had ever seen was created – adventuring died. There was no need and above that, the newfound Parliament banned the practice for good.

The Temple of Kyara felt the creation of the Republic a huge leap for the defence of the good, right and the light – Syrinx and Aurelius did not.

They travelled East, across the vast icy ocean of Feraar and into the orcish lands of Chiid.

There they continued their old ways and were happy for a time – but progress, wanted or not, can never be stopped. The orcs developed industry and formed a legal system. They were no longer barbarians.

Syrinx and Aurelius had only one more place to go – the ruins of the old high elves in the north.

They travelled for a year until they finally made contact with the remainder of the woodland elves – a people devoted to maintaining the old ways. From here they continued their adventuring.

Dragons, demons and even the undead still guarded the riches of the ancient races. It was not about clearing out the dark anymore – nor was it about riches. For the pair, it was only about the adventure. It was about excitement, novelty and freedom. They no longer followed Kyara truly and Syrinx only kept up the rites in order to maintain her healing powers.

It was in the pits of Dur’galhaar that this loss of faith caught up with her. Aurelius was caught in a fierce melee with an ogre chieftain. The chief had been commanding a horde of orcs and goblins as well as his own ogre brethren in order to attack the cities of the wood elves.

It was a usual job – go in, kill the chief, keep the treasure. Aurelius was a master defender and with the help of Syrinx, almost untouchable. Every time he took a wound from the Chieftain’s spiked club, Syrinx would heal it with a wave of light.

But during the fight, after a brutal hit to Aurelius’ knee, Syrinx’s light did not shine. Her lack of faith in the light had forbid her to use it.

Aurelius was brutally wounded as Syrinx fled in shame. The once proud Paladin was now a mere prisoner of the ogredom.

That brings us back to the beginning of this tale – where a once faithful cleric of light stood in the darkness – tears streaming down her face. Her powers were gone and her hammer lay broken.

All she had left, everything now useful to her, was a knife. It was a curved elvish blade. Just a knife. Grooved to allow a clean thrust. It was just a knife. It was quiet and possessed slits for inserting poisons. It was just a knife.

Syrinx was a hammer maiden but the old ways were now dead. Aurelius was a prisoner now in this barbaric dungeon. Syrinx had only a knife.

It was all she needed.


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