Order of the Red Band

Yorastor, Internal Dialogue IX

The Flames of Hope

Yorastor kneeled in the soft sand of this tidal island, water soaking his clothes and salt crusting on his skin. The irony of the expression “watching your hopes die” was not lost on him in these moments. Beneath his blood stained hands, Nualia’s demonic blood leaked away. Yet these wounds were nothing compared to the one she just suffered at Kohra’s hand.

Sometimes hope died slowly – with a tight clinging to every glimmer and twinkle that might promise its bloom. The wasting of his foster parents into old age was such an occasion. Despite every treatment, despite all efforts slowly time took its toil and they passed. Somedays their bodies and minds surged with renewed vigor; allowing hope to flame back to life. In general the trend was clear and unstoppable. But there were glimmers.

Sometimes, like now, it died quickly. This was almost worse. It was as if by a stroke of lightening. When hope died slowly you could see the end. Even though it was irrational to hope you could not stop it. When it died quickly you had no time to prepare. The jarring sensation was similar to walking into the door jam accidentally. You felt foolish for doing it and stunned it happened at the same time. Did he really think he’d convert her back to the aasimar girl of his memories? One look at the demonic arm and terrible scarring should how unlikely that was to succeed. Did he really think she’d give up her secrets, tell him her plans? Even with his new spells it was unlikely. She’d just be silent or, even more frightening, perhaps she’d resist and feed them misinformation. Nualia talking seemed as irrational as Nualia converting. Did he really think she’d survive the encounter? It did seem unlikely. Yet of all the hopes, that one seemed strongest. With her survival the others seemed possible, however faint. With her survival came the possibility of understanding what happened that night in the Cathedral. Yorastor’s gut told him it was part of the beginning of all this. If he could find that root he could unravel this entire problem.

Yet that hoped died, glittering from the wondrous sword held in Kohra’s hand, crafted by the hands of Sandpoint’s finest blacksmith. In the end it seemed to Yorastor the towns persecution of the girl final climaxed. At least she was safe from further persecution. As the hope faded, he felt another part of him break, another hope.

Looking up to Kohra’s face he knew he’d never go back to being just a shopkeeper. He’d never return to his small world of before. He hoped to much to be something more and when hopes warred the strongest prevailed.

At the moment though, he really hoped Kohra had a good reason and explanation. He was burning out on hope fast.


Zandu abacus

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