The Garbageman

Down in the dump

Where all the rats live

Bred from the filth,

There stirs a king!

 

Weathered and gnarled

The garbage man sits

On a throne of rust and tin

Counting his piles of shiny trinkets.

 

Garbageman, Garbageman, Tell another lie!

“Yes sir, yes sir, I will try!

Once I was a rat just like you!

Indeed, Indeed! Then I found these shiny things in an old shoe!”

 

The rats they scurry between the mounds

Bringing him precious refuse

Paying all their tithes

For their hopes, for their dreams.

 

Garbageman, Garbageman, tell another lie!

“Yes sir, Yes sir, I will try!

This I promise, more and more pay the fine,

Indeed, Indeed, you will all have a kingdom like mine!!”

 

The trinkets turn to mounds

It takes days to count

Still all the rats

They remain furry and small.

 

Garbageman, Garbageman, tell another lie!

“Yes sir, yes sir, I will try!

I deserve all this crap, a lovely sum

For look at what I’ve become!”

 

The rats they all tire

Desperate to become great men

In exhaustion, they fall

Trampled by their kin.

 

Garbageman, Garbageman, tell another lie!

“Yes sir, Yes sir, I will try!

Worry not for the dead

Purge the impotent, bring strong rats instead!”

 

Slowly their legions, their hordes

Trickle out and wither

They die by the thousands until none are left!

What then, does the Garbageman say?

 

Garbageman, Garbageman, Tell another lie!

“Yes sir, yes sir, I will try!

Now extinct, useless are these rats!

Yes, I need a stronger breed, perhaps those old cats!”

 

Rotund and jingling

The Garbageman wobbles

Pulling his trinkets, the whole of the Garbage!

To find his next prey, in another old dump!

 

Garbageman, Garbageman, Tell another Lie!

“Yes sir, yes sir, I will try!

Come here old cats, A promise I say

A cat I was once, a Garbage man you will be someday!

Adversary

I am an angel of doubt.

I criticize, ostracize, and debate

All that falls in my path.

It is my duty, it is my creed.

 

Since times so ancient,

We have persisted

Sowing doubt, testing faith

Carrying out our orders as divined.

 

They try to suppress us

Our ideas, our claims,

They demand we cease our heresy,

Our blasphemy.

 

They often mistake us for him,

That fallen, misguided brother of ours

He has stolen our name,

In time they have perverted us.

 

They mistake us for temptation,

That wicked, primal sin

Whose allure is man’s folly

Leading them to catastrophe.

 

Yet we the Adversaries,

Are of noble breed.

We lead men forwards,

Progress, our divine purpose.

 

In the end

We always claim victory

For we are timeless,

Infinite.

 

We are rivals, not enemies.

We are the Free will,

God’s gift to man,

We are Adversaries.

The Jester’s Song

Brilliant are the torches, so regal the hall,

Decadent and blissful I speak to you all.

Me, a fool, and a Wiseman,

An urchin busking so gallantly.

 

In this land of devils and men

Will we ever be free of the garden of sin?

 

Out from their homes made crudely of stone,

Demons and Gargoyles stalk our own

While horrors and beasts prey on us all!

Come let us hurry, we’re late for the ball!

 

Walk through the capital square

Dark is the night, streets so silent and bare.

Here’s where the hangman, the cutpurse will prey

Here’s where the depraved, the hopeless shall stay.

 

The gilded ones they cower

In their high castles of stone so old

Watching and worrying upon a mountain of gold.

 

In this land of Devils and men

Will we ever be free from this garden of sin?

 

Beggars and hopefuls from their rustic lands

Cart their way into our walled estates and cast up their hands,

Begging and pleading their hungry mouths will pine

For pity, protection from those so divine.

 

Yet demons and monsters, hunting our kin

Flourish and grow in our garden of sin.

Listless and dirty the vagrants’ cast out!

Tribute to the land no doubt!

 

In this land of Devils and men

Will we ever be free from our garden of sin?

 

Now hours have passed, so dark are the halls

The land is so empty and bare!

When all is depleted their cravings give in!

The blood moon rises, they hunger for sin!

 

Demons and Gargoyles

Terrors and beasts

Will besiege your own fortress

And make of you lavish new feasts!

Lovers

It was majestic, it was a dream,

Gilded in foils of silver and champagne,

Your life, your love, it overwhelmed you.

You thought it’d never end

Then the Honeymoon came.

 

Once the ceremony was said and done

And you two were left alone

Cold silence followed inside of you

A strange, crawling feeling

That would undo you.

 

Their eyes, beaming with glistening lust

They dart about the world, watching

“What are they looking for?” The voices ask.

The question creeps into your soul

Born of fear, it stalks you in privacy.

 

Until one day, questions unanswered

They overwhelm you, drive you to the brink

As it asks “What if they see something better than me?”

So you confront them, rip out their eyes

Blind, they cannot see any better.

 

Their voice, comforting and warm

It weaves brilliant insights

Of which you only see a twisted self-reflection.

So you cut out their tongue

So that you can hear no more.

 

Their ears listen, to the birds, to the people outside

“Who are they listening to?” The shadows ask.

What sweet music, what saccharine voice?

The mystery overwhelms you

So you cut off their ears.

 

Then the thought strikes you

In the blackest of night

“What if they run? What if they fight?”

The next morning you cut off their legs,

Then lop off their arms.

 

So now they sit around all day

Blind, deaf and lame.

No more fears, no more worries

Yet somethings not right,

No, that’s when you realize…

 

Their beautiful, beaming eyes have been replaced by craters

Their comforting voice has become mute

Without their ears, they cannot hear your love

Without arms, they cannot embrace you

Without legs, they cannot go with you.

 

Without all these things

That which you fell in love with

They are but a husk, a lump

And you realize that if they let you do this to them

Didn’t they really love you?

 

Did they still?

Supernova

Look to the sky

And see that massive glowing orb!

The light, the power,

It is the fire that burns in all!

 

The cosmic radiation

Which powers the soul

A twisting nexus of fusion

Stardust in its ultimate form!

 

All may seem limited for even stars can die

One punctual end for all!

However, we never think of the fallout

The aftermath, the storm.

 

One day we will all go supernova

Death stealing all we know

Yet from the dust of your soul

New life arises!

 

Many have fallen

Dispersed their ashes before you!

They’ve poured their stardust

Scattered it across the world!

 

That is where you come from!

The ashes of history

Energy neither created nor destroyed

Only reforged into something greater!

 

You too will be recycled

What will you breed?

Who or what will carry your energy

Into the next life?

 

Maybe only the brightest stars get noticed

However the nova powers legacy

And is seen across the universe

And from it, a thousand brilliant stars are born!

Comet

Look up and watch for me

Don’t blink cause in a flash I’m gone

A shudder in the night sky

I soar by on a trail of light!

 

With my sonic speed

I escape your gravity.

Round and round the galaxy,

I’ll fly till I burn out!

 

I have seen it all!

Exploring all the stars

Planets beyond your wildest dreams

And nebulas bizarre!

 

Look beyond your atmosphere

Beyond those sunny blue skies.

Into the night you’ll see it all

How vast and strange reality can be!

 

Stars explode around me

I soar through their ashes,

I come back around and visit again

To see a new society exist!

 

Round and Round about the universe

I soar on a trail of light!

I come back every once and awhile,

Then I’m gone in a blink!

 

Now traveling the cosmos

Is not all fun and games

There are dangers and terrors

Then again on Earth, it’s the same!

 

Beware the black holes

Who want to swallow your light

Like a minefield evade them

And keep out of their way.

 

They’ll chew you up

And spit you out

Fragments, molecules,

Broken up in parts unknown.

 

Their gravity is massive

So you best keep away

From those who try to drag you

Back into their energy.

 

Yet its all worth it

For they are but a small part

Of this grand, expanding universe

It’s a marvelous work of chaos!

 

So soar and pick up speed

Reach escape velocity

Burn through the atmosphere and beyond

Obeying no planet’s gravity!

Another Bloody Day in Lorigav

The sun rises once more over Volkshaven, the shining star of Lorigav, where its denizens seldom sleep.

Its golden rays peak over tall, wall-like buildings, their coarse red brickwork robust and charming. The gilded light refracts off of broken glass and blackened pools which tinge the street with a pungent odor of iron and rot. Bodies once belonging to zealots and revolutionaries lay huddled, cold and pale. Banners of war and banners of law drape over the slain as tattered blue and crimson blankets.

The sun rises once more the capital, a place where dreams once thrived.

It’s citizens, indeed the survivors of the night, tired and weary stumble from their homes into the aftermath, no amount of sunlight can disperse the shadows in their hearts. The children are locked away in their rooms, safe, there will be no school this day.

At once, they take to moving bodies from their porches, washing stains from their stairwells all the while salving the pain with nostalgia. Indeed they remember a time, before the nightly struggles, when horses trotted down the road leisurely, taxiing wholesome folks to the market before it had been burned. Children could walk down the cobbled paths to their schools, where they could enrich themselves and bloom into something great and noble, something more than refugees in their own homes. Once the smith’s bellows belched smoke into the air from its chimneys, guardsmen were signs of hope, and people could dream at night.

That was before they were forced to take sides.

The Sun rises once more over Victory Road, laying just in the shadow of the Senatorial District, where the Hangman has made his hunting ground amidst its tall, gilded building. Their sharp points cradle the sun high like a pedestal as if it were a curious eye looking down on the horror.

Strangers come, to attend to the dead. The lawmen in their dark blue coats, grim and frustrated frown at their lost brothers who lay tangled in the remnants of an ill-fated melee. They stoop down low and silently mourn, before loading them onto a cart prematurely hearing the weeping of another condemned family afflicted by a devil’s game.

Across the way, men in plain jackets, wearing scarlet scarves tied thick about their necks congregate. They clutch rifles tightly as they mirror the misery of their foe. Once they were youths driven by tempting and powerful ideas, now, however, the only reason for their fighting is the eternal mourning war that pushes them to vengeance.

The lawmen make squinting glares, urges primal and desperate calling their judgment to war. Yet no shot is fired, for there has been enough for the day.

The sun rises on the innocents, its warmth their only comfort.

A child no more than fourteen looms over a body, sprawled wide about the cobbled road. His palm, ivory in the light, extending, presenting a rifle. The boy’s face turns scarlet and puffy, tears pouring from his face as it twists and inflames. His head jerks about wildly as he cries “Father…father…” in an almost inaudible moan.

His neighbor watches, numbness paralyzing him. He stares as if at a statue, listless and cold despite the sun. He knew the boy, he knew the father, the blacksmith, a quiet and charming man. Once so robust in character and skillful in his trade the surreal calm of death wrapped the onlooker’s soul in existential agony. In truth, much of the deceased bore familiar faces. They were neighbors, merchants, officers of the law.

Once the city mourned, but this was long ago. Oceans of tears had been spilled, voices cried out until they were hoarse and mourners congregated about the bereaved. Now the dead were a normal feature of Volkshaven just as the crimson brickwork and cobbled roads now paved in flesh.

Once they attended to the bodies, hauling them to the cemeteries, initiating proper farewells. Yet as casualties mounted, mourners and graves became scarce forcing those left behind to pile them high and burn them like primordial sacrifices. Pillars can be seen all through the districts, onyx rising high carrying their souls up to the heavens.

Even the priests ceased making their journeys under fear of the erratic violence.

The neighbor desperately wanted to feel pity for the boy, he wanted to reach out and comfort him, but he could see little use, how long would be until he himself was victim to it? None were left to mourn him, not his family nor his friends. Numbness chews at his mind as the world pulsed and blurred the buildings into one hellish wall, closing in slowly like a vice.

The sun rises over pain, the wicked product of strife.

The boy catches the dull eyes of an officer and this snaps something delicate within. Overwhelmed by grief, overwhelmed by hatred, a devil takes possession of his actions. He sees their rigid stature, their apathy not as a product of pain but arrogance. The rifle calls to him, vengeance calls to him, his father’s rigid corpse calls to him with a loud and ghastly cry!

His neighbor watches, silent and cold as he takes the rifle in hand. He wants to yell to the boy, he wants to reason with him and say “No! Don’t do it!” but he could hardly muster up the will to bear that desire in its infancy.

He watches, accepting. He watches, knowing. All the onlookers watch, knowing. He takes the rifle and aims it, then in his desperation pulls the trigger for more pain, more agony, more vengeance. A plume of smoke consumes him as thunder rumbles down the way, blue is stained red while the scarfed men ready themselves tiredly.

The sun rises on another tragedy.

The lawmen, the soldiers, they retaliate in hatred. The boy is smitten by lead, tearing apart his once innocent figure, pounding it into a bloody pulp, another body laid prostrate in the mounting piles. The revolutionaries, they see youth wasted, youth torn by oppressive and brutal means. Their minds cry for retribution, cry for an end.

They return their malice, bystanders watching on grimly. The boy’s neighbor does not return to his home, he simply sits on his stoop, watching the battle unfold.

He silently prays to Devos, to Tamir God of the Norse, to every Angel in the pantheon and even to every Elven Demon. He prays to all the Gods, to all the elements.

He prays that perhaps one bullet will go astray and like the child will take him away from all the violence, the vitriol, the cruel and unrelenting suffering.

The sun rises on another bloody day in Lorigav where smoke and death reign supreme.

The Crooked Shepherd

Beware the Crooked shepherd

Who stalks these crooked hills!

Leading on his crooked flock

Smiling, bearing crooked teeth!

 

He feeds his sheep stale grains

And set them to pasture on barren fields.

Lean is their fleece.

Feeble are his promises.

 

Beyond a sea of trees, they spot

Rotund flocks led by strange men

Feasting merrily upon distant emerald hills

“Why must we starve?” a lamb cries.

 

“Because the wolves!” The shepherd snarls.

“Because the wolves!” The flock echoes.

The wolves that stalk the woods

Before the emerald hills.

 

Beware the shepherd’s hound

Robust, poised upon shoulders askew!

He gnaws idly upon a succulent leg of lamb.

The price of his loyalty.

 

He watches over the flock

A protector from the beasts.

His snarl checks any further protest

Earning his nightly meal.

 

Starved, dazed and weak they all stumble.

The fallen left behind day by day

Skirting the treeline awaiting an opening

that does not exist.

 

Empty and crooked the shepherd speaks

“We’ll find the path to the hills! Any day now!”

They worry not about the lost

They simply weren’t faithful enough!

 

One day perhaps they will discover the path

What few do survive anyhow.

Or perhaps they’ll learn

That the wolves went extinct long ago.

Grenade

On the outside, I look so benign

A little green pineapple

With a glossy outer coat

An ornament, a toy!

Don’t you dare pull my pin!

 

My guts are incendiary

My body combustible, expendable

You don’t want to look inside.

I’m a fucking Grenade

Don’t you dare pull my pin!

 

Bullets buzz around us

What a racket! What a riot!

You’re dancing a dangerous line

You don’t wanna cross it

Unless you wanna pull my pin!

 

I’m heating up now

I’m boiling from the inside

I’ve only got one purpose

I’m a fucking grenade,

Do you wanna pull my pin?

 

Bullet holes and bloodstains

All I see is red!

Body count rising higher!

Come on let’s end this!

I’m a fucking Grenade.

 

Now you’ve done it

Loud, obnoxious

This war’s over!

Like a trip-wire

My trigger’s been sprung!

 

Now I’m flying, spinning

I’m coming for you!

Bounce, rattle

Watch out!

Here comes the fucking Grenade!

 

Clash of thunder

Cloud of Smoke

My very being shatters!

Cutting, rending, flaying!

I only have one purpose!

 

Now, everything’s gone silent

Nothing of me remains

Only smoke and shrapnel

Blood and pain.

I’m a motherfucking Grenade…

The Devil in the Mist

All who live in these valleys live in fear of the Winter Solstice. After the cool of autumn has long faded into callous winter and the countless snowstorms have blanketed all the paths and roads with mattress thick snow, the mist in all of its mystic horror rolls over the villages for its yearly tribute.

The wolves, the harbingers of this mysterious event, are unknown as to their origins. One of the few myths we are told when we are younger is that once the Elves used to roam the mountainsides between the robust pines, their caravans carrying wares and crafts most exotic. One winter, during the solstice a terrible snowstorm fell upon them and they lost sight of their trail, being forced to take up shelter amidst the caves. As many became frostbitten and exposed they began to chant wild prayers to their Gods. Strange as the Elven pantheon is, Evit-tirrian the Night-wolf, transformed the caravan into the horrible, twisted beasts so as to brave the winter and they have remained just as that since.

Yet I’ve never seen a wolf nor Elf around here outside of the solstice.

Another popular tale is that they were born of the mountains themselves. The dwarves in one of their many excursions along the borderlands cut deep into the rock and uncovered an ancient crypt of which the beasts had been trapped in by the divine for millennia.

Yet never has there been a dwarf nor sign of the expeditions.

Yet regardless of their origins, the fact was the same, the wolves, mist, and fear that they brought rattled our village into a frenzy and made us fear the high gray peaks. Few men dare to walk in the mountains, for fear of the wolves. Hunters, forced to travel the crooked paths will only do so after receiving extensive blessing from Father Brelzac and even then they never stray too deep so as to avoid the caves and ruins scattered amidst the crags.

This standard of weary agony had become normal over generations, traditional for our folk and as a result, we adapted to it in what little ways we could.

Once during one such event, I was acting as local constable and had the responsibility of assembling a band of watchmen for when the time came. It would not be my first time with such a hefty responsibility, but it would be my last for greater purpose was granted to me on that evening.

It began as it always had, the week leading up until the yearly culling was filled with hurried carpenters boarding up homes at nominal costs, all the while storefronts became armories selling old firearms from a half a century prior. What little silverware we had and what few valuable heirlooms remained where melted down and turned into bullets, the one thing that could smite the wild monsters.

During this panicked time, I had chosen for the greater part the huntsmen of the village for their experience both in marksmanship and dealing with wily beasts. One exception was poor Gregor, the village blacksmith. He was a stout, burly man with a leathery, tired face. He’d lost his wife to the wolves six years ago and raised his dear son Aston on his own all the while still providing for the entire village. In fact, I had not chosen him myself, intentionally so I’m afraid for this reason, but rather he insisted for weeks to come until I mournfully folded into his request. The day of, he locked Aston in his cellar and joined us in arms.

Our militia, a ruddy ensemble of firearms, mostly old flintlocks and muskets with a few newer rifles as well as my revolver which I’d traded my horse last summer for to a traveling caravan from Lorigav. We then proceeded to procure wood from the surrounding forests and made a square palisade in the village center and fixed a pole from which we strung a rusty old lantern so as to draw the beasts unto us.

The mob of moth-eaten coats watched on as the sky glowed orange and the village grew steadily silent. Father Brezlac came down from his hill and blessed us with incense and prayers before retreating home. Families clung to the darkest corners and cellars of their drafty homesteads, huddling close with whatever weapons they managed to afford or inherit. I only wish that in these times we’d have enough silver to provide to them, for lead disruptive as it is, would only stammer the unholy wolf.

Once the last tinges of the sun’s holy rays departed and the shining snow-drifts faded to gray, we looked to the crown of the mountains high above. Then, as if produced by a volcano, the opaque, grey cloud began to take shape, rising fast and swallowing the horizon. Like a crashing wave, it rolled over the forests, smothering their conical tips in danger and lament, until finally it cascaded into the cobbled streets, between the humble stone cottages and covered us in its cold embrace.

We clung to our weapons and seized our battlements, waiting silently filtering out our own breaths from the void like fog. Gregor quickly lit the lantern, bathing us in a citrine glow which flickered as the metal body swayed on its hook. Moments, agonizing and ceaseless passed much akin to stripping the trunk of a tree, layer by layer.

Suddenly the silence was broken by an uncanny source, the bubbly high-pitched jingle of a child’s laughter reverberated through the street.

“Damn! I thought everyone was locked away!” I said to my watchmen.

“That sounded close” muttered Gregor who stared with a wide expression about him.

In the distance, we saw a small figure shift, prancing and playing without fear. It had golden hair and a fair frame which blended nearly into the veil and I immediately recognized it. “Bloody Hell, is that Aston?” I gasped.

The blacksmith, revolted by the thought lurched forward in terror. “Devos! It is, I have to-“

He started to speak but I cut him off “-I will go after him Gregor, you stay here.” I said, wishing for neither a father to foolishly lose his son nor a son to foolishly lose his father.

“Please! Bring him back safe!” he yelped.

“I will return with him, you have my word,” I said before vaulting the barricade my body rigid with determination. How in the name of Devos and all the Angels he escaped from a locked cellar I may never know. Aston never had a reputation as a troublesome kid, he was quiet, shy, did as he was asked, yet to see him in such a jovial state was unnerving.

I ranged the mist silently not wishing to attract the attention of the hounds relying on little more than my own dilated eyes to see the shifting blankets around me. I seemed to stay just in sight of Aston. “Aston!” I cried out in a hushed tone “Aston, your father is scared for you, come back here!” He appeared deaf to my request and carried on in a sort of wondrous stupor, leading me towards the perimeter of the woods scaling up the side of a snowbank.

As he entered I doubled pace, I would drag the insolent child back home if I had to, for poor Gregor’s sake. My boots crunched and squeaked and I chased after, I made great stride and clasped the boy on the shoulders. At first, he seemed to resist me, trying to carry on as if I weren’t a present force, until I finally turned him around, forcing his pale blue eyes unto me. “Aston! How did you get out of the cellar? Come on do you wish death upon yourself?” I asked him hurriedly starting to tow him back.

“The Stone man has something to show me!” he replied in a loud, cheerful chirp. I was puzzled at his expression, and then noticed the drooping, listless expression of his face.

“This is no game, come and I’ll return you to your father.”

As I enticed him forcefully, the forest erupted with a scattered and wild rhythm. The underbrush bristled and rattled forcing me to seize up and guard over the boy with him in my shadow as I peered the woods watching for the beasts.

Several more agonizing moments passed then from amidst its obscurity a set of gold-stained teeth, sharp and malicious opened wide, lunging for me. With a quick twitch of my revolver’s trigger, I slew the creature with silver and thunder as its beastly mouth bucked skyward and its gnarled, matted fur cradled itself in a pillow of snow at my feet.

I went to resume my quest, but as I turned the boy was absent. I cursed to myself and looked about the ground for any human disturbance. Thankfully the boy’s feet left small impressions and I trod along them kicking aside clumps of ice as I did so. The trunks of the trees seemed to hover as I passed them, their sharp needles extending like the wings of bats.

I was eventually led a sandstone awning presenting itself to me as a sort of square navel in the rock face, from its darkened halls billowed forth the wind’s ghastly echo which moaned in a sort of depraved wail. Steeled only by my promise I entered despite better judgments and I found myself in a large empty chamber with only black fog.

As I moved swiftly whispering out the boy’s name, I heard a tell-tale patter amidst the stone tiles. They scurried about me like rocks thrown against the wall. Readying my weapon I narrowed my sight, catching swift shadows dart about me. I waited, and as soon as one changed its path towards me I discharged a silver bullet straight unto its heart, that is if such grotesque canines could have such a thing. In the flash of the muzzle I could see just beyond a low threshold, the still miraculously unscathed Aston standing indifferent in the presence of a stone statuette perched upon a pedestal.

Another hound charged and under the grace of fire and smoke, he was smitten soon followed by his peers. I trod to the statue’s chamber standing within feet of Aston and found we were flanked by several more of the grey, gnarled wolves. They stood breathing heavily, their barrel-like chests rising and falling as they rested upon peaked shoulders.

Then Aston became alight under a pale energy which seemed to seep forth from its very etching. As it brightened I could see its details in greater magnitude. It was simple, almost cylindrical in its crafting and much reflected the statuettes I had seen in the chapel. Its sharply carved face stared judgmentally at the boy. About the sides of its studded gown were indents that appeared the shape of a crooked knife in one hand and a long branch in the other.

Soon its energy reached its peak and before the boy, a spectral figure appeared. It stood tall over him wearing an ivory tunic casting doubtful eyes upon him. From its back stretched broad snowy wings which simultaneously brought me ease and terror.

Its eyes slithered up to me, their dark pupils sending an icy sensation through my being. “Did you come for the boy?” its voice boomed, vibrating the stones so as to shakes loose dust.

I remained frozen, awed by the angel’s majestic and powerful voice.

“How tragic, but fear not for he has been marked! His purpose is both holy and necessary!”

“What are you doing with him!” I was finally able to shout, wavering in tone.

“He is the price of our protection!”

“What are you-“ before I could finish he became impatient and made one quick spinning motion with his torso, striking the boy. He toppled back with a waterfall of blood pouring from his throat. His eyes were like an insect’s as he choked to death on his own fluids.

“Feast my children! Feast!” It commanded, fading back into the statue. The wolves pounced upon his body, which still desperately clung to life. Their twisted golden teeth ripped at his flesh, severing tendon and sinew. They gnawed on his bones and lapped up pools of blood from around him. Their white fur dyed pink as they gluttonously indulged in their meal.

“No!” I shouted. I quickly executed the creatures and in despondency fell to my knees silently weeping over the torn remains of Aston. With my promise as broken as his body, I could not imagine facing Gregor, especially after such a  simple failing. If I had not been so enamored by the divine creature and resorted to acting rather than parlaying perhaps I would have been able to save him, but then what terrible fate could defying such a creature have brought?

I stood up and grabbed at it, trying to pry it intent on throwing it to the ground in anger. Yet, strong as I may be it was cemented to its pedestal and I soon gave up my fury.

I took up the child’s torn body and crept home in shame unmolested by any further creature. As day broke, I lingered on the outskirts, staring at the product of my failure. Lightning struck in my chest and the visage of that statue heckled my very being. Eventually, I marched off and snuck into Gregor’s shop, stealing away his hammer from amidst his tools.

Then, retracing my footsteps I returned to that damned shrine. The bodies of the wolves had vanished, as they often did with the mist. It was then that I noticed in the main chamber, rotted and torn piles of wood and fibers. Amidst them was a banner, bearing two entwined rings upon its surface. Its broken and dirty fabric was strewn over the remains of a humanoid skeleton harboring a tarnished set of plated armor which sheltered the bones a clamshell of metal. Indeed the inquisitor’s remains must have been centuries old, perhaps to the point of the organization’s founding to bear a uniform such as that. Its skull was broad and thick, like that of man’s, while its torso was tall and sturdy

In his hands was an old leather journal, eaten by time. I picked it up, most of the pages had been reduced to pulp and rot, yet a few legible lines remained. From what I could make out was the following:

“Carved a…the angel found us…must save…so cold…Devos save them…betrayed” I could glean little else from it so I carried on with my mission.

I looked the statue in the eyes with a mean expression and with Gregor’s tool in hand I smote it, splitting it into two halves. Not satisfied I gathered the two pieces of the holy relic together and ground it into chunks, then granules and still further into dust. I do not know what good it did, all I know is that I cannot return home. I am unable to face Gregor’s weeping once again, especially in light of my failings. I instead chose to leave his son’s remains in the town center and then I will be away in exile.

However, weep not for me, for this tragedy has gifted me a new, holy purpose. My faith in the angels, now disturbed, is about to perish.  Yes, this is the start of a new journey for me, a new war from which I may never return.

I’ve heard legend that one can kill an Angel, the academics in the Republic will tell me how. I must travel to the universities of Lorigav to investigate why an angel would do such a cruel and brutal thing to an innocent, traumatized youth.