Holy Order 7877 – Prion Beliere

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Dig below Mount Erif and use what you find there to start a House

 

Prion Sebeth Beliere swung the heavy pickaxe, using his frustration to add power to his swing.

Clink.

A small section of rock broke away, revealing, to his great surprise…

More rock.

Sighing, he set the burdensome thing down.

Only a few months ago, the heaviest tool he had ever held had been a fork.

Now, he was hundreds of paces below the surface, digging in the darkness for only Imran-knew-what…

Perhaps he had done something to offend Prophet Imran, to receive such a difficult task?

Shaking his head, he picked up his tool and, following the tunnel, began his journey back to the surface.

*

An hour later, he found himself looking up at the loathsome mountain.

Mount Erif.

The Flamebearer.

A volcano five great-paces high, rumoured to be long dead. It was surrounded by the most barren land in Vuria, and none ventured close, even when they had nothing to fear.

The locals, he had found, were a superstitious lot. He had hired them shortly after arriving, red Prion robes still pristine, and had hoped to be finished with his Holy Order by the end of the month.

That had been a year ago.

Eventually, the money he had received after claiming his inheritance had run out. He had withheld this information from the workers, of course, but they had started asking questions.

And then, one week ago, disaster had struck.

The lead worker, along with his three sons, had been killed by a sudden cave-in. The remaining workers, unpaid and frustrated, had abandoned the project, claiming that they had angered the mountain…

And now, he had a handful of coins in his pocket, the clothes on his back, and a heavy pickaxe in his hands.

Fortunate, he was not…

*

That night, Sebeth dreamed of fire. He dreamed that he had transformed into a giant fifty great-paces tall, and that he had plunged his pickaxe directly into the volcano, causing it to erupt and spew forth yellow lava.

He had awoken drenched in sweat and terrified for his life.

However, once his terror had subsided, a new idea took hold. For the past year, he had focused on digging around the volcano’s fringes. As one moved closer to the mountain, the terrain became more and more unpredictable. Lethal gas pockets, super-heated steam and giant hollowed tubes which one could break through without warning.

But Sebeth had grown desperate. It was time to mine the mountain.

*

Sebeth swung the pickaxe with all the force he could muster. He hadn’t eaten a full meal in six days, so it wasn’t much.

However, it was enough to dislodge a section of rock from the wall before him. He had found a cave mouth on the flanks of the volcano, leading further into the hopefully dead mountain. The heat and pressure had risen as he had ventured deeper and deeper into the darkness, lit only by a single lantern. He only had enough oil for a single trip, so he needed to make every second count.

He swung again, removing another section of the cave wall. He wasn’t sure what had led him to this particular spot… but it was no different from any other. All around him, above, below and to either side, was rock.

It felt like a tomb.

He hoped that it would not turn into one…

Again and again the pickaxe fell, tearing out large chunks of rock.

But he was getting close to something, he could feel it.

Just a little more…

Just a few more swings…

One.

He saw a crack form in the rock.

Two.

It grew larger, moving vertically.

Three.

The edge of the crack now lay between his feet, but he could not stop.

He was so close.

Beyond this wall, surely, was the answer that Prophet Imran had sent him to find.

Throwing all of his remaining strength into his arms, he swung the pickaxe faster than ever before.

It connected with a satisfying crack, sending shivers down Sebeth’s spine. Strangely, when the tremors reached his feet, they did not stop.

Instead, they grew stronger.

Glancing down, he saw why.

The crack in the wall had become the crack in the floor, which even as he watched became the hole in the cave.

Without time to move or scream, he fell, into the unwelcoming abyss…

*

He wasn’t sure how much time had passed when he eventually awoke. However, judging from the dried blood he could feel on his scalp, it must have been more than a few minutes. Looking around, he saw nothing but darkness.

Was this the Void? Had he fallen to his death?

And if so, then why did death hurt so much?

No.

He wasn’t dead. He couldn’t be.

He had yet to complete his Holy Order. He had yet to find something of value beneath the mountain. He had yet to start his very own legacy…

Glancing skyward, he saw something out of the ordinary…

Light.

Somehow, as he had fallen, he had dropped his lantern. It hung now, by one of Priarch’s miracles, over the edge of the hole he had fallen through. Its light was waning, but it was enough to fill him with hope.

Even in this place full of darkness, he still found light…

*

After testing his legs and finding no breaks, he stood. As he did so, something pulled him earthward. A piece of rock, smaller than a half-pace, had landed in his pack. Surely, it must have come loose when his pickaxe had struck the cave wall above.

His first instinct, naturally, was to throw it away.

But something stopped him.

Prophet Imran would not have sent him down here for no reason…

Perhaps this was what his Prophet had foreseen?

After securing the rock and fastening his pack, he fumbled his way over to the cave wall. Judging from the size of the light above, he reckoned that he was no more than twenty paces down.

It would have been an easy climb for a young man of good strength, however, he was injured, malnourished and weighed down…

Priarch protect him, he thought, as he started to climb…

*

Thirty minutes later, he had only risen five paces. His fingers bled, and gave a constant cry of pain with every passing moment. The wound on his head, thought stopped, had started to ache once more. Every minute, it sent a pulse of pain which shook his frame.

But he would not stop.

Not until he reached the light… or he died.

*

Roughly an hour after he started to climb, and he was almost there.

Only a few paces away, the light called to him.

But that light was fading fast, along with his energy.

He wanted to let go, and allow the Void to claim his body.

But he held on.

Not for Imran.

Not for Priarch.

No… he held on for himself.

For the man he knew he could be.

And, so that he could see the looks of amazement on all those who had doubted him… who had laughed at him.

The farmers he had asked for directions.

The miners he had asked for equipment.

The locals he had asked for help.

They would all be left dumbfounded after he returned from the heart of the mountain with his treasure…

Assuming he could actually find any treasure… of course…

*

He was so close.

The light was a single pace away.

But he was so tired…

And his bloodied fingers had almost lost their grip…

Please… let him just reach the light…

Glancing skywards, he sought it out.

The tiny flame fluttered in the lantern, ephemeral and oh so fragile, and yet it was still the most beautiful thing he had ever seen…

He wanted it to last forever…

However, even as the thought crossed his mind, something terrible happened.

The rock beneath the lantern shifted, sending it over the edge of the hole. It fell, seemingly in slow motion.

Sebeth wanted to reach out and catch it.

But to do so would loosen his grip on the rock.

Let the light fall into darkness, or save himself?

It should have been a harder decision, but in that moment, Sebeth knew what his choice would be.

He forsook the light, and chose his life instead.

As he did so, he felt his connection to Priarch fray. No matter how much he prayed, no matter how much he repented, he knew that he would be forever at odds with his God.

But if that meant living for even a moment longer, then he could live with that…

*

A few seconds later, he finally pulled himself over the lip of the hole. He lay there for what seemed like an age, crying tears of relief and breathing hard. Eventually he rose to his feet. Taking care not to fall in, he leaned over and peered into the darkness. The lantern, somehow, had survived the fall.

Even now, the light within began to fade.

As he stood there, he felt the weight in his pack shift. Remembering his burden, he reached into the pack and withdrew the rock within.

No…

Not a rock…

A nugget… of pure gold.

It was larger than his head, and gleamed in the fading light. Glancing down one last time, he whispered a prayer of forgiveness before turning away from the light…

*

A short while later, he stood at the cave’s entrance. It was Priarch’s Hour, and the sun was fully overhead. Bathed in the light of creation itself, the gold in his hand shone all the brighter.

He understood now, what Prophet Imran had wanted him to find.

There was gold beneath Mount Erif, and, judging from the size of his nugget, there was enough to do much more than start a simple House…

With the gold he would soon possess, even the throne was not out of reach…

However, that was a long off dream. For now, he had to convince the miners to return to the mountain and start excavating.

Soon, his time would come. Soon, the mountain would bleed gold.

But for now, he could rest.

“With this gold, I hereby proclaim the creation of House Beliere!” he shouted, raising the nugget in the direction of Pyre.

Turning back towards the mountain, he started thinking of the future. He thought about the day in which his House would stand above the crown… and perhaps, even the Church…

Shaking his head, he allowed a small smile to part his lips.

The most powerful thing in the world, he had discovered, did not sit upon a throne or hide behind the walls of Origin.

Instead, it lay within his hands.

And with it, he would change the world…

“My guidance has ended,” he whispered, “And my rule has begun…”


Read Be Good to find out if Sebeth’s descendants ever achieved his royal ambitions!

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Holy Order 5327 – Prion Sylbol

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Marry into the Voraine Family and conceive a Son

 

Prion Hanna Sylbol was only hours away from failing her Holy Order.

She would be the first, after more than five hundred years of successes. The first to fail.

Not that she hadn’t given it her best effort, of course.

However, it was rather hard to marry the love of your life and bear him a son when you are locked away in a grimy jail cell.

Her captors, a pair of unruly looking men, stood on the other side of the wrought iron bars. They did not look particularly friendly.

“Only a little bit longer, Prion, and then we’ll let you go,” the man on the left said. He was the kind one, if only by comparison.

“I don’t see why we have to let her go,” said his companion, a harsh man who spoke with harsh words.

“That was what the mistress wanted, remember?”

“I know, but I think that it’s foolish. Surely the Church of the Priarch would pay some kind of ransom for her, don’t you think?”

The kind man looked at his friend, seeming to think over his proposal. Eventually he shook his head and said, “No, Lady Fodien specifically told us to release her after the wedding. We are not to touch a hair on her pretty head…”

Chryssa Fodien. The Lady of House Fodien.

And Hanna’s sworn enemy.

*

When she had first read her Holy Order, 11 days ago, she had leapt for joy. Imran had asked her to marry into House Voraine and bear her new husband an heir.

Any other House, and she would have despaired.

But House Voraine was special to her. It was where she had spent most of her childhood, after all.

Her House, House Sylbol, was a minor House which had long been a staunch ally of House Voraine. Her ancestors had fought and bled alongside those of House Voraine.

She had grown up side by side with the scion of House Voraine, Fidelis.

They had played in the fields behind his manor, exploring the forests and rivers of the Voraine Estate.

They had shared a kiss in the shadow of a mighty oak tree…

They had sworn to marry one day, once they were of age…

And then she had been called to the Church, and their time together had come to an end.

However, for ten years, that flame in her chest had not wavered. While others in her class had learned about Imran and his Parabils, she had dreamt of their wedding day.

While the Prions taught lessons on civility, she thought only of matrimony.

While her fellow Pre-Prions had laboured with their chores, she had snuck away to practice her wedding dance.

And so, with a joyful heart, she had set out for the Voraine Estate, mercifully a short distance from Origin.

However, when she had arrived, a stranger had been there to greet her.

Lady Chryssa Fodien.

Fidelis’ fiancée.

From the servants she had learnt the truth. A few months prior to Hanna’s arrival, Chryssa had appeared bearing a letter signed by Lord Fodien, a consul to the King of Vuria. The letter had claimed that Lord Voraine, before his untimely death, had arranged for the marriage of his son, Fidelis, to the only daughter of Lord Fodien, Chryssa.

Obviously, the news had come as a shock to Fidelis, but, ever the good son, he had not protested his late father’s decision. After a short courtship, they had announced their engagement.

Hanna, helpless, could only watch as her true love prepared to wed another.

However, that had all changed this morning. In a show of generosity, she had gone to Chryssa’s room in order to offer to officiate the wedding as the closest Prion.

Instead, she had overheard Chryssa speaking to her guards, telling them that their plan was almost complete.

The truth, as Hanna heard it, was that Lord Fodien had been fired from his position as Consul and stripped of his land and titles after he had been caught trying to steal money from the royal vault. Destitute, he and his venomous offspring had hatched a plot to marry into the affluent House Voraine using a fraudulent letter of matrimonial arrangements.

Apparently, a short while after the wedding, Fidelis was to die from an “accident”, thus leaving his grieving widow as the sole inheritor of the Voraine Estate.

Hanna had been on her way to tell this to Fidelis when Chryssa’s guards had taken hold of her and smuggled her out of the estate.

And now she stood in a damp cell beneath a house owned by Chryssa’s father, while Fidelis and Chryssa prepared to celebrate the Festival of Flame hand in hand. In the morning, having burnt away their sins –of which Chryssa no doubt had a large amount- they would be married.

Hanna would have failed her Holy Order, her Prophet and most importantly… her Heart.

*

No.

She would not let this come to pass.

Fidelis was her love. Her long awaited mate. Her other half.

They had promised to marry, had they not?

Long before Lady Chryssa even dared to glance in his direction.

All that stood before her was a measly jail cell, two burly men and a forest full of dangerous creatures.

And before the might of a woman in love, that was nothing…

*

“If I am to remain a prisoner, then could I at least have something to eat?” she asked, in a carefully manufactured tone.

Innocent of malicious intent yet understandably annoyed by the current situation.

“Fine, but don’t be expecting no Tama Milk Pudding. Its gruel or nothing,”  the kind man said.

“Anything to fill my stomach,” she replied in the same tone.

The kind man returned a moment later, carrying a tray laden with a bowl of piping hot gruel and half of a bread roll.

His idea of generosity, no doubt.

After opening the cell, he proffered the paltry meal towards her.

Taking the surprisingly heavy tray with both hands, she motioned both men closer.

“It is customary to offer a prayer of thanks to Priarch before receiving a meal, if you boys don’t mind joining me?”

They shared a look of apprehension, but apparently their fear of Priarch was greater than their fear of her.

That was their first mistake.

She motioned for them to bow their heads and close their eyes.

Against their better judgement, they obeyed.

That was their second mistake.

“Oh Priarch, we thank you for this meal of gruel and bread. May it fill our stomachs and lighten our hearts! And for what is still to come, we beg your forgiveness… and ask for your guiding hand to bring down the hammer of righteous justice on those that deserve it!”

The men squired at hearing the condemning words, with the mean man’s eyes flitting open for a second.

He no doubt only had a moment to take in the scene before him.

Hanna, arms raised high, about to bring the tray down.

He had no time to react, let alone scream.

The tray fell hard upon him, knocking him to the floor.

The kind man, eyes still closed, fell a moment later.

“You underestimated both a Prion of the Church and a woman in love, that was your third mistake,” she said, giving each man a few more whacks to ensure that they stayed down.

*

A few minutes later, Hanna left the basement, hope renewed. Her captors, now sleeping peacefully in her former cell, would doubtlessly have a hard time explaining to their employer how they let a single woman overpower them.

But Hanna had no time for imagined punishments.

She had a wedding to stop.

*

Two hours later, Hanna arrived at the Voraine Estate. From the sounds coming from the great hall the Festival of Flame had reached its peak.

Chryssa and Fidelis would be there, if anywhere.

Marching past the stunned guard, she threw open the wide double doors leading to the hall.

Inside, friends and families loyal to House Voraine encircled a dance floor made from a thousand candles.

The Dance of a Thousand Candles.

“I wasn’t ready!” called a shrill voice, “Let me try again!”

In the centre of the dance floor were two people.

Chryssa, wearing a dress of unflattering gold thread.

And Fidelis, looking tired yet dashing in his father’s old ceremonial robes.

Around them were dozens of smoking stumps of wax.

Clearly, their dance had not gone well.

“I’m sorry, my love, but tradition dictates that you only get one attempt…” Fidelis said, trying to cool her temper.

“Mind if I give it a go?” Hanna announced, causing every pair of eyes to turn and regard her with a mixture of surprise and amusement.

Every pair, except Chryssa.

She, instead, went as white as Tama Milk and started stammering something unintelligible.

“Hanna! I was wondering where you had got to?” asked Fidelis, smiling.

“Forgive me, Fiddy, but I was… held up…”

“I see. Well, I’m glad you could make it,” he said, stretching out his hand.

Taking it, she took great pleasure in subtly shooing Chryssa out of the way.

“Shall we?”

Even though she had just spent two hours running through a dark forest after escaping capture, Hanna felt no exhaustion.

All she felt was him, and the warmth which flowed from his touch.

Nodding, she let him take the lead.

They danced as they had in their youth, laughing and smiling and without worry or fret.

She did not care if she snuffed out a single candle, or all of them.

In that moment, all that mattered was that he was near her, and she was near him.

“Fiddy, I have some unsettling information for you,” she said, leaning in close.

“What is it?” he asked, looking confused.

“Chryssa is only marrying you in order to claim your fortune. Her father was exiled from the capital after stealing from the King, and House Fodien plans to return to a position of good standing with your gold… I’m sorry, that I had to hurt you like this…”

Surprisingly, he laughed.

“Oh thank goodness,” he said, “I had prayed  to Priarch for guidance, hoping for a sign that my questioning heart was justified, but I never thought that he would send a Prion!”

“You knew?” she asked.

“I suspected, but I could not confirm my suspicions. In truth, I wondered if my hesitation with marrying Chryssa was based on my lingering feelings for another…”

She looked up into his eyes.

He was giving her a look she hadn’t seen in a very long time.

Not since that night when they had shared their first kiss…

“Fidelis, that promise that we made… I would have you honour it, if that would suit you?” she asked, moving her lips closer to his.

“Nothing would make me happier,” he said, matching her action.

“Don’t believe anything she tells you, my love!” Chryssa screamed, marching towards them.

“You have no right to call me that, as you well know,” Fidelis replied, keeping a level tone.

“Wha? What do you mean, my love? What has this snake whispered into your ear, my pet? What lies has she uttered, in order to drive us apart?”

“She spoke nothing but the truth, Chryssa,” Fidelis said, with a sterner tone.

The look on Chryssa’s face, as she realized that her whole scheme had come undone, was one that Hanna would never forget.

It was too precious.

“Curse you!” Chryssa screamed, suddenly leaping towards her.

However, as she did so, her foot caught the hem of her overblown dress, sending her crashing to the floor.

Which, unfortunately for her, was covered in hundreds of candles.

In seconds, she was alight, her precious dress and well-kept hair burning brightly in the evening gloom.

Immediately attendants rushed forward to put out the blaze, but it was too late to save either her attire or her golden locks.

This, unsurprisingly, did not elicit a great deal of sympathy from Hanna.

“My love,” Fidelis said, pulling her close, “Look…”

Turning in the direction that he was pointing in, Hanna saw something impossible.

Every candle still burned bright.

Just like her love.

A moment later, Fidelis captured her lips, eliciting a great cheer from the audience.

Apparently, Chyrssa had not been well liked…

Poor thing…

*

One year later, Hanna lay in her bed. Bustling around her was a legion of servants and midwives. Hovering impatiently at her side was Fidelis, her husband.

Hanna was exhausted, but happy.

After a long and tumultuous labour, her child was in the hands of the head midwife.

“May I present to you, Lord and Lady Voraine… your son,” the kindly woman said, handing the newborn to the eager couple.

Taking her son into her arms, Hanna offered up a silent prayer of thanks to Prophet Imran for allowing this to come to pass.

Truly, she could not be happier.

Leaning forward, she kissed her son’s forehead, and whispered, “My guidance has ended…”


Read Be Good to find out what impact Prion Sylbol’s descendants had on the fate of the Flamelands!

Holy Order 2385 – Prion Caine

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Count to One Hundred and then Kill Yourself

 

Prion Morte Caine read the words with growing disbelief.

Count to One Hundred and then Kill Yourself

He read them again, just to be sure.

No, he had not misunderstood the command. Prophet Imran had just asked him to take his own life.

Why?

For what purpose?

He knew not.

One.

He started counting, despite the fact that he had not fully processed the words before him. He was standing atop the small dais at the centre of Imran’s Providence. The Great Flame, a symbol of the Prophet, lay directly before him. His fellow Prions stood behind him. Half of them had already received their Holy Orders and had left to carry out their tasks.

None of those who had gone before him had struggled as he did now.

Five.

He thought back, to his childhood. Raised in New Kynda, he had been born in the embedded nation of Nome. His father had been a Nomad, a soldier who had fought to expand the nation’s diminutive territory. His mother had been from Vuria, having arrived during a mission of peace. However, after his father had been killed during a border conflict his mother had fled Nome, bringing him to her homeland.

Upon arriving, he had bumped into a Prion, and had been chosen.

Fifteen.

Life at Origin had not been easy, at first. As the son of a foreigner he had been treated with suspicion and disdain, and he had been mocked by his peers on an almost daily basis.

Seeking solitude, he had often found himself in the servant’s quarters.

It was there that he had met Penella, a serving girl one year older than him. She had begged him to tell her stories about Nome and New Kynda, and in exchange she would soothe his wearisome heart.

Thirty.

For ten years they had courted, forbidden by Origin’s laws to advance their relationship. He had hoped that as a Prion, he might finally make her his wife. He had often dreamt of their future together, and of finally taking her to visit Nome.

Now, that future would never come to pass…

Because of Imran. Because of a scrap of parchment.

But… maybe he didn’t have to die…

Maybe he could refuse his Holy Order…

Fifty.

He could simply run away, meet Penella by the gate and be halfway across Vuria by dawn.

But that would mean spending the rest of his life as an outlaw. A traitor.

A failure.

He would be the first Prion to fail his Holy Order.

They would write of his failings. They would speak of his mistakes. How the boy from Nome hadn’t been up to the task. How the unfit Prion had failed the Prophet, and doomed the world to an uncertain future.

Seventy.

He could hear murmuring behind him. He was taking too long. Everyone else had read their Holy Order and departed in under a minute. He knew what they were thinking.

That he was too stupid to understand his order.

That he was too cowardly to complete his task.

NO!

He had trained for a decade for this moment.

Ninety.

Prophet Imran had asked this of him, and him alone. He would not fail.

He was a Prion. In life, and in death.

Penella would understand. His mother would understand… after a time.

Holding the parchment close to his chest, he stepped forward, towards the Great Flame.

Its heat warmed him, giving him strength.

One single step, and then everything would be over.

A single step, and he would be free.

And yet it would be the longest step of his life.

One hundred.

Summoning his courage, he stepped forward, into the flames.

To his surprise, he felt no pain. All he felt was a sense of peace.

He held the images of Penella and his mother in his mind as he felt the darkness come.

With his last breath, he shouted, as loud as he could.

“My guidance has ended!”

And then he was gone…


Read Be Good to find out if Prion Caine’s sacrifice had a deeper meaning!

Holy Order 2071 – Prion Slovek

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Destroy the Council of Faith

Prion Slovek held the spear up to the light, inspecting it for any flaws. It, along with the sword at his side and the dagger on his belt, would soon be used to commit the greatest atrocity in the history of the Flamelands.

But that was what his Prophet had asked of him, and he would not fail.

The Council of Faith was set to begin at Priarch’s Hour. It was now the Rising Hour, so he had only a short time left to prepare. He had poured over the plans to the meeting encampment, memorized the guard patrols and practiced his assault.

Forty men and women were set to gather in the central area, ten representatives from each major religion. Ten Prions, his brothers and sisters, waited nearby. Ten Kindred, followers of the abhorrent Church of the First Son, were located on the other side of the encampment. Ten Unifiers, faithful of the Hexacracy, had arrived just the day before. And finally, ten Lastborns, members of the Lusetan Faith, were already seated at the meeting grounds.

They had chosen a region of otherwise unimportant land for the greatest religious gathering the Flamelands had ever seen. It was equidistant from the religious capitals of the participating religions, favouring neither one nor the other.

For centuries, the various religions of the Flamelands had existed in a state of wariness. So long as no religion overstepped its boundaries and tried to convert the members of one of the other religions, then the fragile peace would hold. However, to many, this had not been enough.

And so, the Council of Faith had been proposed. A week -ten days- of meetings, cultural and religious exchanges and, out of sight, secret diplomacy on trade and borders. Not since the appearance of Prophet Imran had the world known such a momentous event.

And Prion Qumare Slovek was going to destroy it all.

He did not know why his Prophet had chosen him for this task, nor did he know why Imran had desired for the destruction of such a rare chance at peace amongst the various nations.

But then again, he did not care.

He was a Prion, an envoy of Priarch himself, and he would carry out the orders of his Prophet without question or hesitation.

Even if that meant killing others… or himself…

<>

Prion Slovek watched as the envoys began to assemble. Even now, moments before they were to officially welcome one another as brothers, they stood apart. Undoing centuries of distrust and conflict would not be easy, apparently.

And he was only going to make it harder.

But those were thoughts that meant little now. He tried to steel his heart against the coming violence. He had spent ten years learning how to preach and spread peace, and now he would break every vow he had ever taken.

No… not ever vow. For he was obeying the word of his Prophet, a vow which superseded all others. No one knew what Prophet Imran had asked the thousands of Prions who had come before Slovek, but to his knowledge not a single one had failed him.

And he would not be the first.

However, as he took in the arriving men and women, he saw someone who did not belong.

Prion Mikal Suturb, the 2072nd Prion and his closest friend.

Why was he here?

They had grown up together, entered the Church together, and trained together…

Gesturing to a nearby servant, he asked, “Excuse me, but I thought that Prion Rella was supposed to be a part of the Council, so why is Prion Mikal here instead?”

The servant sadly shook her head before replying, “Prion Rella has departed this life and has begun her journey to Priarch. Her body was discovered only this morning, thus the last minute change to the delegation…”

“I see…” was all Prion Slovek could say.

His mission had not changed. He would destroy the Council of Faith… no matter who stood in his way…

<>

“Greetings, ladies and gentlemen of the cloth!” one of the Unifiers announced. He had been chosen by lottery to open the meeting.

“May Priarch and his Divine Offspring watch over us with pride today, as we attempt to bring about understanding and peace to our splintered factions!” the Unifier, an old man with a perfectly trimmed beard and a mess of unruly hair everywhere else, addressed the gathered dignitaries.

They were still sitting apart from one another, keeping to their groups. Of course, if the Council was successful then by the week’s end all of this would change.

Not that Prion Slovek was going to give them that chance…

He checked his gear for the hundredth time. He was dressed as one of the guards, so as not to raise any suspicions. In a few minutes, he would begin the massacre. He had prepared well, and knew the meeting area better than his quarters back in Origin.

The great tent under which the Council was gathered had four exits, guarded by two guards each. If this had been a gathering of kings or nobles, then doubtlessly there would have been several armies’ worth of protectors. But this was merely a meeting between a handful of old men and women, and as such the guards were more of a formality than a requirement. Each delegation had been told to elect two men or women to serve as their guards, and each pair would guard one of the entrances.

His own guard partner, a stoic woman who had introduced herself as Mirrah the Merciless, lay dead in their shared tent. She had accepted the poisoned drink without a hint of suspicion, contrary to her earlier boasting of having the best sense of danger in the Flamelands.

He felt a pang of regret for her death, but he pushed it down to the deepest reaches of his conscience. There would be much more killing to come, before this day was done, and he could not be held up in mourning for each and every one he slew.

Refocusing on the Council, he saw that Prion Mikal had stood. His friend had always been a gifted orator, no doubt the reason for his last minute admission to the Council. He was currently telling the foreign dignitaries about the Plasmology, the Church’s account of the creation of the world and Priarch’s battle with his traitorous offspring. It was meant to bridge the gap between the assembled religions by showing that they had a shared history.

From the enraptured faces of the Kindred, Unifiers and Lastborns, it was working.

A few seconds later, however, Prion Mikal stopped talking.

He had seen something in one of the entrances.

Prion Slovek knew what it was, naturally, since he had been the one to start it. A great fire, encircling the tent, created using a set of carefully measured wicks and some very flammable oil which had been intended for the night lanterns.

With the flame wall in place, the Council would be trapped inside the tent and any outside help would be delayed until they could bring something to douse the flames.

The guards, having been reasonably trained, drew nearer to the unarmed dignitaries. However, they did not move as one, no doubt they still suspected the other pairs of being the perpetrators.

Hefting his spear, he charged forward, focused on the nearest guard pair. The first went down without a cry, not so for the second. But he had planned for this. Wrenching the spear clear from the corpse, he turned and threw, managing to impale two more guards.

It would seem that luck was on his side…

The final two guards put up more of a fight, breaking his spear in the process. But Eventually they too fell, one to the sword and the other to the dagger.

Wiping the blood off of both blades, he turned to the assembled men and women. They cowered before him, panic and fear evident on their faces.

“May you find your peace with Priarch, those of you who can, and for all others may you be lost to the Void!” he cried, as he leapt forward, wielding steel and death.

He would not stop, until all before him lay dead…

<>

Prion Slovek was breathing heavily, the heat from the flames turning his lungs to ash. He had not realized how flammable the tent was, and as a result he was now surrounded by a fearsome inferno. From the gaps in the burning tent he could see scores of servants struggling to put out the blaze. He had lost his dagger and the use of his left arm to a stubborn Kindred, but he had almost accomplished his mission.

All but one of the Council was dead or dying.

Only Prion Mikal remained.

He was holding a sword in one trembling hand, taken from one of the fallen guards.

He too was breathing heavily.

He too bore numerous wounds and cuts, inflicted during their fierce exchanges.

But the wounds on his body were nothing compared to the pain on his face.

“Why?!? Why do this, Qumare!” he screamed, once again.

He had not answered him, fearing that if he did, he would fail at the last hurdle.

But between their wounds and the fire drawing closer, it would end one way or another.

He deserved to know, him most of all.

“I only do what my Prophet commands!” Prion Slovek screamed, tears running down his ashen face.

As the words reached Prion Mikal, however, his friend’s expression changed.

Amazingly, a smile broke out on his haggard face. With a simple movement, he threw away his sword and began walking forwards with his arms outstretched.

“Forgive me, my friend, but I have been most foolish. I read the words, but I did not understand them, until now. Prophet Imran has commanded me as well, and I too intend to do his bidding. Please, strike me down, and let us both bring an end to this,” he said, with a peaceful expression.

Prion Slovek struggled to bring up his sword. He thought that it would be easier, without Prion Mikal fighting back.

As it turns out, killing a man who wanted to be killed was harder than killing one who didn’t…

However, he had come too far to fail now. With tears clouding his vision, he brought his sword to bear, pointing it towards his friend’s heart.

Prion Mikal stepped closer, until the blade was pressing against the fabric of his robes. He reached out with both hands, clasping them around Prion Slovek’s.

“My guidance has ended,” he said, and then he pulled hard, driving the blade into his own chest.

He struggled for a moment.

And then he fell.

It was done. The Council of Faith had been destroyed, just as Prophet Imran had commanded.

He had carried out the will of his Prophet, but why then, did he feel so wretched?

He was aware of men breaching the flames, bearing buckets of sand and wielding swords. He saw them coming towards him, swords raised, but he did not care.

Throwing down his own weapon, he sunk to his knees. Placing a hand on his friend’s chest, he wept.

As they reached him, he let out a wail that shook the burning tent.

“MY GUIDANCE HAS ENDED!” he screamed, as they took him.


Read Be Good to find out if the various religions ever reconciled after this tragedy!

Holy Order 1 – Prion Lorral

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Spread the Word of Priarch to Every Nation


Prion Lorral sat in his dimly lit cell, contemplating the future.

In a few hours, he would be executed.

Perhaps this too, Prophet Imran had foreseen.

And if he had, then the old man surely had the most wicked sense of humour.

Ten years ago, he had become the first Prion in existence. He had been the first to read Prophet Imran’s Holy Order, one year after the man had departed the world to be with Priarch. He had been personally taught by Prophet Imran, and had received the most direct instruction of all the Pre-Prions.

And yet, after following Prophet Imran’s words to the letter, he now found himself on the verge of meeting Priarch.

Where, exactly, had things gone wrong?

He had left Origin full of hope and eager energy. He had preached the word of Priarch to every man, woman and child who would listen. He had traveled the length and breadth of Vuria, and then, he had reached the border. Crossing into Dogain, he had been welcomed as a brother and friend.

For several years, he had preached to the locals, as they showed him the hundred and one festivals of Dogain. He had even met with the Kais, the Dogain equivalent to Vuria’s King, and personally taught him about the wonders of Priarch.

Although they had made no firm commitments to take on the worship of Priarch, they had allowed him to build a shrine in Firenz, the capital.

When at last he had felt the tug of destiny on his robes, he had left the nation with a grand procession which had lasted for weeks. After stopping in Origin to report his success and teach a few classes for the new Pre-Prions, he had headed Dawnward, towards the mysterious nation of Bartha.

Upon arrival, he had been searched, stripped of his possessions and made to swear that he meant no harm to the Eternal Emperor. After doing so, he had been left in the street, possessing only the robe on his back.

However, despite the difference in welcome, he had not given up and returned home. Starting in the outlying villages, he had preached the word of Priarch. Many laughed, and many more jeered, but a few… a precious few, listened.

One by one, his followers had grown from a small rabble to a mighty crowd. No longer did they jeer when he rode into the towns and villages. Now, they cheered.

He had believed, at the time, that he was doing Imran’s will. He would personally convert an entire country to the Church of the Priarch, and by doing so, save their souls from an eternity in the Void.

However, everything had fallen apart after that. Men and women, tired of the Eternal Emperor’s cruelty and high taxes, had ingrained themselves amongst his faithful and had used his followers to commit atrocities. Overnight, his peaceful group became murderous rebels, intent on tearing the Eternal Emperor from his silver throne. They didn’t care about Priarch or the Parabils… All they cared about was that by claiming his name they could transform their petty rebellion into a holy crusade.

How many had died in the ensuing battles? How many had fallen, screaming for Priarch to come down and save them? How many had cursed his name for bringing the Eternal Flame to their nation?

Too many.

<>

And now he sat in a cell, waiting to die.

In the end, his followers had been too undisciplined, divisive and unruly to properly carry out a rebellion. They had lost battle after battle against the Eternal Emperor’s well trained soldiers. Finally, they had been cornered and, with the sole exception of their leader, they had been massacred.

Why had they not killed him? Simple, they needed to send a message.

A moment later, a group of guards appeared. The looks on their faces did not convey even a hint of mercy. In their hands they held tongs, pliers and knives. It was clear what their purpose was.

They took him to a room far below the surface, where his screams would not reach the outside world. They tortured him, in every vile manner they knew of, until his body gave out.

<>

When he regained consciousness, he was kneeling before the Eternal Emperor himself. Whenever his followers had spoken of him, they had mentioned his wisdom, his tactical genius and his merciless nature.

But they had never mentioned his age.

Staring at the man before him, he could see why.

The Eternal Emperor, the Scourge of the Flamelands and the Mournstar, sat before him.

He could not have been older than ten.

So it was true then, the rumours he had heard. The Eternal Emperor was not one man, but a title passed down through the ages. Whenever one died, he was immediately replaced by a younger man who had been raised to believe that he was the continuation of the dead man, instead of a separate entity.

“My soldiers have informed me of your actions, rebel,” the boy snarled.

Prion Lorral said nothing. He was barely conscious, and had enough energy for only a few words before he died.

And he knew exactly what they would be.

“Your followers are scattered, your attempt to kill me has failed, and you yourself will soon be dead!” the boy screamed, yet Prion Lorral did not recoil.

“Say something, you fool!”

Silence followed.

“Very well! Let us see if the flames will loosen his tongue!”

They picked him up and carried him over to a mound of broken planks. Throwing him down, he felt hundreds of wooden shards pierce his back.

And yet he did not cry out.

If this was truly Prophet Imran’s plan, then he would see it through until the end.

He had played his part. He had spread the word of Priarch to the world. Whether the people listened, however, was beyond his control. Perhaps he had struggled for naught, as the Eternal Emperor claimed… but as he lay there, moments from death, he thought back to all those he had helped.

He had no regrets.

“Light the fire, and send this man to his imaginary god!” the boy called.

A moment later, the fire was lit, and Prion Lorral felt the flames begin to lap at his skin.

He expected pain, and yet it did not come.

Perhaps he could no longer feel agony, or… perhaps Priarch was with him, even now.

Turning his head to the Eternal Emperor, he looked at him with pity. For he would never know Priarch’s light.

“I am destined for the light,” he said, voice cracking, “but you, I am afraid, are destined for the Void… May Priarch have mercy on your soul, and all those who follow you…”

At that moment, a great wind blew through the throne room, causing the soldiers and the Eternal Emperor to shriek and panic. The wind infused the fire with strength and it grew in size until it towered over them. It hurled itself against them, claiming dozens of men with tongues of flame. From within the inferno, clear as day and devoid of pain, the survivors heard a voice.

“My guidance has ended.”

And then, all was silent…

Holidays and Healing

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Hey guys, girls and everyone else, I just want to give a quick update on what I’ve been up to these past few weeks.

So from the beginning of July until the 16th I was on holiday in the UK which was a truly amazing experience. I was fortunate enough to have breakfast in the Elephant House, the cafe where JK Rowling wrote parts of Harry Potter! It was quite the inspiring moment, sitting in the same place where a bestselling novel was written. Who knows, perhaps one day people will say the same thing about one of my local eateries?

After returning to South Africa I spent a bit of time readjusting (it’s winter this side, although we had 29°C the other day so I suppose it doesn’t count) and recovering.

Unfortunately, just as I was about to get back into writing, I was struck down by the flu. So at the moment I’m lying in bed next to a pile of medicine.

However, make no mistake, as soon as I am well I will get back to writing The Beggar Knight, Son of Man and The Godhand, so look forward to them!

P.S Don’t forget that there will be a Holy Order released every month on the 10th. Next time we will learn more about Prion Almeran Lorral and his tragic end!

Holy Order 0 – Prophet Imran

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Build the Church of the Priarch


Rion Imran, third son of Marra and Saed, was in trouble.

He hadn’t caught a single fish in three days.

He had spent the past few days fishing in the Southward section of Lake Elcaro. Normally, the lake would be teeming with Whitefins and Dusty Rakes; however, he had seen not a single fish since the start of his search.

At this rate, he would be forced to beg his neighbours for enough food to feed his family.

It was not a thought he wanted to entertain.

Aside from begging or hoping for a sudden influx of fish, there was one other option.

The Northward side of the Lake.

He had grown up hearing about how dangerous the Northward side was. The narrowing of the canyon and the turbulent waters beyond often produced flash floods which could occur without warning.

Many a fisherman, hoping to make their fortune, had lost their lives to the sudden wave of water which they could not hope to avoid.

But Rion was hungry, and his parents were counting on him.

Bringing in his nets, he picked up his paddle and started to row.

<>

It took him three hours to row to the Northward side, but it was worth it.

As soon as he had cast his net into the water, he had felt that familiar tug. Reeling it in, he had found two Whitefins and a Dusty Rake. Perhaps the fish on this side of the lake, having never known the danger of fishermen, had abandoned all sense of caution.

So he threw his net again.

And again.

And each time, it came back full.

However, at the same time, he noticed a cloud gathering above the canyon. When he had arrived, it had been white and airy.

Now it looked like a storm contained.

But he still had space in his boat. One more haul, and then he would go home a hero. His family would not know the pangs of hunger for a very long time.

Just one more…

He took hold of the net, keeping an eye on the heavens above. The storm rumbled, letting him know of its presence. This would not take long.

He threw the netting as far as his arms would allow. A heartbeat later, the braided rope sunk beneath the surface.

Lightning suddenly lit the sky, illuminating the canyon outlet. Was the water level rising?

No. He still had time.

He counted to twenty, and then he started to pull in his haul. From the weight of it, it would be the largest one yet. Once he returned to the village, he would be a legend amongst fishermen.

Only a few more seconds, and he would return with a month’s worth of fish.

And then… everything fell apart.

He pulled, but the line did not respond. It had gotten stuck.

“No!” he cried, but only the storm heard his words.

And then, it replied.

A lance of lightning struck the water before him, blinding him. When his eyes finally blinked away the darkness, he saw that the lighting had only been the storm’s introduction.

But now, it roared.

It had sent forth a great torrent of water which came rushing into the lake faster than he could believe. There was no time to panic. There was no time to pray… not that there were any gods worth praying to around here.

The water rose into a wave which towered over him, and in that moment, he knew that his greed had been his undoing. He would die beneath the waves, and his body would never be found.

A moment later, the wave hit, and he disappeared from the world…

<>

Rion floated in the void. Before him, and around him, was infinite darkness.

So this was death? It was bleaker than he had imagined.

Nothing to do but float around in the void for the rest of eternity?

Surely there must be more to this?

And then the words came.

“Come forward, my child,” said a voice that belonged to no man.

There, in the distance, was something other than darkness.

A point of light. A tiny, flickering flame. It did not illuminate the darkness. Instead, it accentuated it, giving it contrast and definition.

Rion came forward. Anything was better than an infinity of being bored and alone.

“What are you?” he asked, as he reached the tiny flame. It hung in the void, unsupported and unattached.

“I am the Eternal Flame,” It said, in a voice that flickered and changed with every word, “I am the Rising and the Setting. I am the Beginning and the End. I am what I am… and I am what you will make me. I am a spark of truth. A shard of faith. A cornerstone of belief. I am… Priarch. And I am your God.”

“Fishermen have no need of Gods,” he replied, eventually, feeling foolish, “All we want is fish, and all we need is fish. Where does religion come in?”

The voice from the fire said nothing.

Instead, it chuckled.

“To the fish below, you are a God, no? You appear without warning, take without explanation and kill without remorse. Such are the qualities of the greatest Gods. But I do not wish for you to be a God. I want you to be something…more…”

“What’s more than a God?”

“A Prophet.”

“I thought that Prophets served the Gods?”

Again, silence was his reply. Eventually, however, the fire flickered and said, “I do not ask your subservience. I ask only of your cooperation. I will give you power, and you will tell mankind of my name. In this, we shall both fulfil our purpose.”

Rion thought about this for a while. If he refused, and if he could somehow escape the void, he would be returning to a life of hardship and hard work. Compared to that… being a Prophet didn’t sound so bad…

“No one will listen to a fisherman,” he said, after a time.

“They will listen,” replied Priarch, “For the gift I will give you is one of foresight. Everything that can be, and that will be, will be revealed to you. Use the future to better the present. Spread the flame of faith, and you will see the faithful grow in turn.”

“And if I don’t like what the future holds? Will this power allow me to change it?”

Priarch said nothing. Instead, the flame pulsed and changed. As it did so, Rion felt something within him change. A spark, a light, which had not been there before.

“I will not tell you what is right and what is wrong. I will not force you to obey the threads of destiny. All I will say is that sometimes, the things that you create can turn against you.”

“You speak from experience?” Rion asked.

In response, Priarch grew larger, until he was a massive sphere of flame which stretched out into every direction.

“I once sought to create something from nothing. I poured the entirety of my being into it, and it came alive. While I rested from my great expense, I entrusted my children with its care. However, when I returned from my slumber, I found that they had stolen it from me.”

“So what did you do?”

“In my anger, I struck out at them. But they were prepared, and they overwhelmed me. All that you see before you is all that remains of my flame. But I do not hate them. All shall be mended in the future, once I have regained my strength. But that day shall not arrive for a very long time. We must instead focus on the present.”

Rion nodded. What else could he do?

“What would you have me do?” he said, after a time.

“Talk to those around you, for a start. Your parents, your brothers, your neighbours. Tell them of me, of my light, of my truth. Make them believe.”

“And if they don’t?”

“Then use the power that I have given you. Show them where the rain will fall. Show them where the fish will spawn. Show them where the bandits will strike. Once you have their trust, their hearts will not be far behind.”

“As you wish, Priarch,” Rion said. Something inside him had changed, and it wasn’t just the light. It was a sense of purpose… a sense of destiny. He would go forth, and spread the word of Priarch.

“Good. Now, leave this place of darkness and death! Go forth, and build a Church which will endure for all time!” Priarch said, sending forth a wave of energy which struck him in the chest. As it hit him, he did something which he had not done since entering the Void.

He took a breath.

And then he took another.

Slowly, with one breath at a time, he returned to the land of the living.

A moment later, another wave him, and he disappeared from the Void.

<>

He woke up on a bank that he had never seen before. Nearby, looking as if it had never even heard of a storm, was his boat. Inside, to his delight, was his catch.

But that was a small delight. For the man who had weathered the storm was not the man who now stood beside the water. That other man would have been overjoyed to see both his vessel and his fish untouched.

But that other man had been a simple fisherman.

The man who, even now, could feel Priarch’s warmth, was a Prophet.

Closing his eyes, he thought back, to his childhood.

And then, he thought forward, to the future.

Both images had the same clarity.

The time he had decided to row out onto the lake in order to prove his worth, compared to the time he had returned to his village with a boat filled with fish and a heart filled with flames.

He saw his parent’s scepticism. But eventually they would believe.

He also saw the rock, thrown by the village drunkard, which would leave a scar upon his face.

No. He would not allow that future to come to pass.

He would make a new one, one that suited him better.

And so it was, that Rion the fisherman entered the storm, and Prophet Imran emerged from it.

The world would never be the same again…


Read Be Good to find out these events changed the world a thousand years later…

Be Good Post-Release Content

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What, you’ve finished reading Be Good already? And you loved it?

And you say that you want more?!?

Worry not, my friends, for I shall provide!

Starting on the 10th of July, I will be posting monthly Holy Orders for the next ten months. These will further elaborate on events that were briefly touched on during Be Good, allowing you to gain greater understanding and appreciation for Prophet Imran’s 1000 year plan.

Click here for the Holy Orders page!

Furthermore, do you want to be able to tell your Prions from your Pyres? Want to discover a bunch of additional information? Or are you just really bored?

Then why not check out the Be Good Book Terms?

Hopefully that should keep you occupied until the 10th, just remember to check back here for the first Holy Order!

Be Good has been published!

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After many months of hard work, Be Good, my first standalone novel, has finally been released!

The book is available via Amazon and Smashwords (and all of its affiliated distributors, including Apple and Kobo)!

[If you don’t find it on the Smashwords affiliates, check back in a day or two. Sometimes there is a delay with the publishing/distribution]

The book tells the story of Attacus Lore, a Prion of the Church of the Priarch who is told to Kill the King, who unfortunately turns out to be his brother! Will he succeed, or will he defy a thousand years of religious teachings? Read Be Good to find out!

The book will be available for FREE on Smashwords and it’s affiliates, but will cost $0.99 on Amazon. This is due to Amazon having a minimum cost setting. Therefore, if you just want to read the story, go to Smashwords. If instead you wish to support me as an author, head over to Amazon.

If you enjoy the book, please leave me a favorable review at your online retailer of choice. Every star counts, and I’ll really appreciate any positive feedback!

If you didn’t enjoy the book, please email me at newedenchronicles@yahoo.com with any feedback or advice on how I can improve and deliver greater content to you in the future.

Thank you for all of your support so far, and I can’t wait to share my next work with you!

And remember, you must Kill the King!