Apostasy

Apostasy

A Chapter by Eddie Davis
"

Zeatt learns the fate of her Drow flock since her imprisonment by the Emperor and exile in Westmark.

"

34.

Apostasy

 

 

It was a familiar destination for three of them, so they were very surprised to see the condition of the large house when they arrived.   They teleported into the grand entrance hall and it was immediately apparent that the grand old house had been desecrated.  

Vandals had thrown manure and mud throughout the home; all the furnishings had been either removed or destroyed, and several small fires had been set, not too long ago, in various rooms, which caused extensive smoke damage, though the stone construction of the palace-like home kept the structure standing.

 

Zeatt was mortified at what she saw.  She did not weep for the building, but cried instead for the household staff that she had left there to manage the place when she went into exile.   She wondered what had happened to them and if they were still alive.   Sophia and Khord seemed equally as shaken by the condition of the place and went with their mother from room to room, lamenting the destruction that they encountered.

 

On the stone walls in several rooms someone had painted vulgar racial slurs in either red paint or blood.   But more alarming to Zeatt were the few pieces of graffiti spread around amid the slurs.

‘HERETIC!’ one script read.

‘Blasphemer’ was scrawled on another wall.

‘Damned by GOD’ was the message of yet another.

 

“Who would say such horrible things?”  Aurei asked as they stared up at the words.

Zeatt didn’t reply but only wiped her eyes and motioned for all of them to follow her.   She led them up debris covered stairs and past several large bedrooms, all vandalized, until they reached the largest bedroom at the end of the hall.   The large wooden doors had been torn down and chopped to pieces, then set on fire in the hall outside of the room, covering much of the end of the hallway in thick black soot.

 

Zeatt paused for a moment, steadying herself with a few deep breaths before entering what had been her bed chamber.

 

The room had received more than its fair share of abuse.   Aside from the typical graffiti and desecration, someone had tried to smash everything in the room with a large hammer.   There were piles of rubble everywhere and none of the expensive glass windows were intact.  

 

Zeatt looked around in profound sadness for a long moment, then, shaking her head with a sigh, walked over to the wall across from where her bed had once stood.  She knelt at a certain spot and spread her hands wide apart, then pressed at two widely separated spots low in the wall.   There came a small clicking sound and a section of the lower wall swung open.

“I never knew that was there!”  Sophia exclaimed upon seeing her Mother reach into a somewhat large secret compartment.  

“It’s all here!  Thank Yesh!”  She told them as she began pulling out items from inside.  There were mostly books, but also a couple of small chests, and a suit of Drow chainmail.

“Aunt Zeatt, you have to tell us; who would have done this to your house?   Surely the Civil War here would not have led to Bishops of Yesh having their houses desecrated.”

 

“Aurei, I’m afraid that has a lot to do with it.   There were factions in the Church " well, not actually in the church but in the community around the church" that were against the established religion.   These sects were always somewhat resentful of the established hierarchy of the church and slowly developed their own form of religion.”

“How were they different?”

“Well at first they just had different ideas on how to worship Yesh.   But over many years several of them merged together under a charismatic leader named Nunmontu, who had been removed as a Priest of Yesh because of his blasphemous statements that Yesh was not one with the Creator God.”

 

“So why was he allowed to grow this sect?”   Eleazar asked.

 

“He kept his group hidden, but they were vocal and crafty.   He slowly infiltrated seats of power by placing members of his group in various government positions.   We knew they were growing in numbers, but they were careful and cautious.   Not too long before the civil war, they began to grow a bit bolder and several even publicly admitted that they were followers of Nunmontu and rejected Yesh as God.”

“They rejected Yesh?!”  Aurei asked in utter amazement.

“Yes; Nunmontu claimed Yesh was a false prophet of the Creator God and that only his teachings were true.   His followers called for the overthrow of the church and several of his more aggressive followers tried to kill St. Kinnis but were caught and executed.   They were a shadowy group and didn’t really seem like a serious threat to the Church of Yesh because of their small numbers.”

 

“Couldn’t the Necromancer’s Guild be responsible for this?”  Khord asked as he examined some of the pieces of rubble.

 

“Perhaps, but the graffiti makes me think they were behind it.   I suspect they took advantage of the chaos the Necromancer’s Guild caused by inciting that rebellion.   When all the hierarchy of the Church of Yesh fled, I’m certain they used that to turn the people against us.   In fact, I’ll bet that public sentiment is quite negative against us right now.”

 

“That seems insane, Aunt Zeatt!   Why would everyone suddenly turn against the Church of Yesh?”

Zeatt sighed, “Child, many people are ready to abandon just about anything when trouble strikes or problems arise.”

“Well, what are you going to do?”

“I don’t know; I’ve been gone for a long time, I should check on the Drow living in Aeropolis, and see if any of the other Bishops have returned.”

“From the looks of this house, that might be dangerous, Matron Zeatt.”   Eleazar theorized.

 

“I fear you’re right, Eleazar.   Besides, we came here to find a book to help Khord and we’ve done that, so we should return to the Autumn Maid.”

Khord shook his head, “I’m alright.   I’m curious as well, as to what has happened.   I vote we try to find out.”

 

Zeatt reluctantly agreed, but insisted that Sophia take the contents of the secret compartment back to the Autumn Maid and inform the King about what they had found.   Sophia agreed and teleported away, only to return a few minutes later with Sir Alvis.

“I thought you might need my help.” He explained to Zeatt, who did seem very pleased to have him join them.   They brought him up to date on what they had found and he seemed concerned.

“When I was a prisoner of the Necromancer’s Guild, they spoke often about the followers of Nunmontu.   They were not affiliated with them, but they purposely did not hamper the Nunmotuites in any way.” Alvis told them as they made their way down the cluttered stairs.

“Do you think the people of Aeropolis will believe the Nunmotuites and abandon Yesh?”   Zeatt asked.

“Not all of them, but the Guild tried to frame the Knights of the Blood Cross as the instigators of the Civl War. Now, with the hierarchy of the Church of Yesh in exile or dead, it would give credibility to the Nunmotuites’ claims against Yesh and his followers.”

 

“So we should proceed very cautiously, as they may feel we are partially to blame.”   Aurei suggested to them, and they all agreed.

 

Peeking out of the heavy wooden doors (which had not been torn down, thankfully) they glanced out into the grounds of the estate.   It was empty, but equally as littered with debris and trash and the large iron gate at the end of the lawn swung back and forth on only one of its hinges.  

 

They crossed the lawn in silence, Zeatt deeply saddened by the destruction to a large garden and fountain that had been one of her favorite places to sit and think.

 

The day was bright and clear, but Khord wrapped his cloak around him and shivered slightly as if a cold autumn rain was falling.  

 

Sophia noticed this and looked anxiously to her mother who just shrugged in frustration and helplessness.   Other than this reaction, Khord seemed fit enough, so for now they focused on seeing how things stood in the city.

 

Alvis peered out the broken gate onto the street that had been the address of the estates of the council of St. Kinnis.  

The street was empty and as best as they could tell, the other estates had received their equal share of the wrath from vandals. 

The sight of the other bishops’ homes in such terrible condition only heightened their apprehension that the followers of Nunmontu had purged the leadership of the church of Yesh.

 

They went warily down the long empty street standing bleak and gray in the sun, but nothing was there to delay or stop their progress.   The community had a tall wall encircling it and as they neared the entrance, they could see activity in the street beyond the gateway.

 

A couple of pedestrians stopped dead in their tracks as they passed the gateway, staring in wonderment and alarm as they saw the six walking up the abandoned street toward them.

 

 

“Uh oh.” Aurei mumbled, and her comment proved to be prophetic, for a moment later the pair went running down the street, shouting out an alarm as if they had beheld a group of Dragons marching out of the gated community.

 

“I’m certain this is not going to go well.”  Eleazar commented as they broke into a run toward the entrance, fearful of being trapped inside.

They rushed out of the gateway into the streets of the city, where the two pedestrians had already stirred up pandemonium.  People were backing away from them; some were running away, while others were shouting for the city guards.

In response to their cries, a group of six guardsmen were running up the street toward them as the two pedestrians pointed toward them.

“Do we make a run for it?”   Sophia asked.

“We’ve done nothing wrong.”  Zeatt replied as she planted her feet and watched the guards approach.   Aurei and the others drew their weapons and waited, anticipating combat.

 

When the guards saw that they were not running away, they slowed down to a quick walk and looked at each other nervously as they continued to approach.

Their sergeant frowned, but boldly walked up to them.

“You!” He yelled with false bravado, careful to stand just out of range of the Paladins’ swords.  “What are you doing in there?   That is off-limits!”

Zeatt stepped forward slightly, “I am Archbishop Zeatt and I was returning to my home, sergeant.   How dare you take that tone of voice with me?”

The man paled noticeably and unconsciously took a half step backwards.

“You have no place here anymore, Drow!   Your people are long gone and I’d suggest you do the same.”

“Insolent dog!”  Alvis growled, raising his sword threateningly, “You lack proper respect for your better!”

 

The sergeant now backed up quickly, “They are Yeshites! See?  They are dangerous!”  He then turned to Sir Alvis and Zeatt, “You are no longer welcome here " the church is outlawed in Aeropolis.”

“By whom?” Zeatt snapped, “We have just met with your Imperial Senate, and they failed to mention that.”

“By order of the Emperor!” The sergeant replied loudly as if he hoped the statement would encourage both him as well as his men.

“The Emperor is dead.”  Aurei told the man flatly.

“Preposterous!  He leads his army northward to invade the rebels in Northmarch!”

Aurei smiled somewhat ominously, “We know; we’re from Northmarch and we defeated your Emperor in battle.   Your army is defeated and on its way home.   And Fendoris is dead.”

“How would you know?” The guard protested, but there was the hint of uncertainty in his voice.

“I killed him.”  The red gleam in her eyes as she said this drew a chill even amongst her companions and the sergeant backed up, glancing nervously at his men.

“Gentlemen,” Eleazar spoke up, “We have no argument with you or with anyone here.   We came to retrieve Matron Zeatt’s possessions and were shocked to find her home desecrated.   Now you say that the lawful worship of Yesh the Merciful has been outlawed in this great city.   I have no doubt that the faithful are in hiding.”

“We will wait to see what the Imperial Senate decides, but until then we will not be threatened by you or your men.   We have fought armies, and make no mistake; we will kill the lot of you if you dare to move against us.   I would strongly advise you to just turn and walk away, for we are in no mood to banter with you.”

“We will not stay for long in your city, nor will we disturb the peace.   Now turn your men around, Sergeant and quickly walk away.”

For a long moment the sergeant and his men looked at the five Drow and hard faced human, all seeming very battle hardened and more than ready to back up the claims made by their gray skinned companion.  
“I will take you at your word, Elf; but believe me; we will certainly not permit any uprising.”

Eleazar decided to allow the man to leave a bit of his dignity intact, and nodded.  

 

Satisfied, the sergeant turned and ordered his soldiers to turn around.   They readily complied, much to the disbelief of the residents watching the encounter.  

 

They didn’t wait around to see where the public reaction led the guardsmen and instead were led by Zeatt down the street in the opposite direction of the guards.    The people in the street all scampered out of their way, most looking on in fear, or else completely avoiding glancing their direction.  

 

They moved through the streets unopposed but watched from afar by many.

“We’ve got to get out of here as soon as we can.”  Alvis whispered, “Those guards may go fetch wizards to come against us.”

“I have to make sure no Drow remain in their district.”   Zeatt replied.

“How far is that?”  Aurei asked, not knowing the layout of the city.

“It is very near; this next street, in fact.”

She turned them down what looked more like a narrow alleyway than a street which led to a large area where tall houses stood next to each other in a square, enclosing a small plaza area that was covered in shadows from the buildings that loomed several stories high around it.

 

“This is the ghetto of the Drow; all of the dark elves in the city live around this plaza, in one of the buildings around it, or in some of the quarters underneath.”

Aurei looked around in wonderment, “How many live here?”

 

“Fewer than 100, but they are all devout followers of Yesh.”   Zeatt replied, the troubled look on her face showing a mixture of guilt for having not stayed with them and fear over what happened to them.

“They’re gone.”  Khord told them glumly, not sharing how he knew this, but with such certainly in his voice that no one questioned him.

“Where would they have gone?”   Aurei asked, surprised to find herself feeling deeply saddened at the thought of the displaced people.

“I don’t know.”  Zeatt replied, “They would have spread out, but most of them were not warriors or magic-users.   They were craftsmen and workers.”

“Still, they were Drow and they would know how to hide.”   Khord replied.

“Yes, you are right.” Zeatt leaned against the gray stone wall of one of the buildings and suddenly began crying unabashedly.

To all of their surprise, it was Sir Alvis who came to her first and wrapped his arms around her in comfort.   She clung onto him and sobbed as he gently stroked her hair and reassured her.

Sophia, Khord, Eleazar and Aurei all exchanged surprised glances, but did not say a word and only stood by reverently until she got her emotions under control.   She kissed Alvis on the cheek, “Thank you my dear friend.”

Turning to the others, she smiled sadly, “I’m sorry; I have many regrets.   I thought I was doing the right thing by allowing myself to be taken captive by Fendoris, but by doing this, I fear I sacrificed my flock.”

“You don’t know this, Aunt Zeatt.”  Aurei reassured, “They are Drow and from what I’ve been told, the Underdark breeds them to be rather paranoid and cautious.   If anyone could escape, it is refugees from such a place.”

Eleazar and Khord nodded in agreement.

“Mother, I will help you find them by scrying.”   Sophia reassured her.

Zeatt sighed and wiped her eyes, “Okay; I just pray that they are safe and have not abandoned Yesh.”

“Yesh won’t abandon them.” Aurei replied and her words encouraged the Priestess.   She hugged her daughter and her niece briefly, before speaking to Sophia.

“Let’s go back to Southgate; I’m sure the others are worried about us.”

“Are you sure?”  Sophia asked gently, “If you need to stay…”

“No, I’ve seen all I need to see.   Chant the spell, child, and let us join the others.”

Sophia nodded and they all gathered in a circle around her.   A few moments later and they vanished from the empty ghetto plaza.

 



© 2014 Eddie Davis


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Reviews

Dang, this chapter makes me sad. You do a good job of making sure the scenes don't get too heavy, but still. It's very disheartening, especially knowing that this situation wasn't exactly a figment of your imagination.

Posted 10 Years Ago


Eddie Davis

10 Years Ago

Thanks, yes, there is certainly parallels in our world to this situation.
"...but in wondering what happened..." This part seemed a bit off. I'm not entirely sure what you would do to fix it, but it made it seem as though you were talking about two separate things.
"There came a small click sound..." The "click sound" part sounds a bit odd to me. Maybe saying "clicking sound" would sound better...or just leaving it at "click" and taking "sound" out. ?
"I’m curious as well to what has happened." I think, maybe, you are missing a second "as" after "well," and a comma should be added. ?
"Not all of them, but since the Guild tried to make..." This is a rather long sentence.


Posted 10 Years Ago


Eddie Davis

10 Years Ago

Thank you, Elina, they were all very good suggestions and I changed all of them. I've been in 'pro.. read more
Elina

10 Years Ago

Awesome, I look forward to reading it!
Eddie Davis

10 Years Ago

I'll be honored to have you read it, thank you.

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2 Reviews
Added on January 30, 2014
Last Updated on April 19, 2014
Tags: Drow, Elf, Religion, Apostasy, Good versus Evil, Cleric, Priest, Fantasy, Adventure

The Chronicles of Aurei Book 3: Bane of the Necromancers


Author

Eddie Davis
Eddie Davis

Springfield, MO



About
I'm a fantasy and science-fiction writer that enjoys sharing my tales with everyone. Three trilogies are offered here, all taking place in the same fantasy world of Synomenia. Other books and stor.. more..

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A Chapter by Eddie Davis


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A Chapter by Eddie Davis