Action or Discourse
Father Mazeon shuffled his aching feet thru the cobblestone hallways of the Grand Abby. His feet felt about as comfortable as his moral after his report to the Father Abbot. Father Mazeon knew that he would likely encounter some skepticism and resistance from the more traditional man but the course of action that the Vermillion Council found itself on now made him feel near helpless. His account of what had transpired in the Evermist Valley and his encounter with the chimera, Koin, had been met with a critically defensive ear. Father Mazeon knew that it was a hard thing to accept on faith alone, a twisted monster that had been summoned by the red rains. He did not fault the Father Abbot for his doubts about the validity of the story. At least the Father Abbot had not been outright dismissive of Father Mazeon’s tale and there was a clear element of wisdom in the decision that the older man had rendered upon hearing of the monstrous creature that had been let lose in the neighboring region.
The veteran Councilman continued to limp down the oversized corridors of the Grand Abby. He would be near euphoric to rest his weary bones and sleep for the night. While he heard the plea of sleep ever so distinctly he knew that he had just a few more things to attend to before he could reward himself with some well-deserved slumber. As he rounded the bend before the kitchen he caught the scent of a fresh hot meal wafting towards him. The fragrance of spice and stewed vegetables instantly triggered his belly to rumble with hunger. At least for the moment the pain in his feet was forgotten.
Father Mazeon slipped thru the scullery door and acknowledged the Grand Abby’s unofficial cook, Brother Haltac. “Whatever you prepared smells astounding,” Father Mazeon said to the portly Councilman who was elbow deep in soapy water and dirty dishes.
“Thank you kindly, brother. It was just some stock and vegetables that I boiled up quickly. I didn’t want that little one that you brought with you to go hungry. By the look of her she hasn’t had a proper meal in some time,” said brother Haltac with a warm and pleasant voice as he cleared a large platter of some chicken bones and dumped them into a refuse bin.
“You do our council high honor with your sense of compassion, brother,” Father Mazon said with a deferential nod to the man entrenched in food stained crockery.
“I don’t know about all that I just prepared some food for your disciple and a little girl. You are the one who brings high honor to the council. I hear the murmurs that you are responsible for saving the little one’s life against some kind of abomination,” retorted brother Haltac.
“I did play a role in her rescue but I cannot take all the credit. Pratt actually proved himself indispensable,” Said the ranking Vermillion Councilman.
“By the Founder, Pratt, indispensable,” chuckled Brother Haltac. “He can barely peel a carrot and now he is off fighting monsters and rescuing helpless children. What a turn of events,” Remarked the cook.
“Indeed. I don’t think it will be long before he is ready to wear the red robes. He continues to impress me more and more every day. In the end he just might be the best of us all,” said Father Mazeon with a sense of paternal pride for his student.
The Father’s last statement caused Brother Haltac to erupting in uncontrollable laughter. “The best of us all. Now I know that you need to have something to eat. Clearly you have gone delirious with hunger,” said the cook with a snort.
“Still unconvinced, I see. He’s got talent I tell you,” said Father Mazeon in defense of his acolyte.
“I’ve come around like several of the others and will concede that perhaps he has some use for the council…but…the best of us all…” trailed Brother Haltac as he wiped his sweaty brow with a soapy hand. “They are sat at the table where you left them and there is a pot on the stove top. Help yourself. You need to put something warm in your belly. In his beloved name,” said the cook with a friendly smile.
“In his beloved name,” responded Father Mazeon in kind.
The veteran Vermillion Councilman walked into the kitchen to find Pratt voraciously consuming a steaming bowl of vegetables and savory broth. At the far end of the long kitchen table Father Mazeon could see Tinaca sitting there silent and demure. She had not even picked up her spoon to taste the meal in front of her. At least she lifted her head and met Father Mazeon’s eyes when he entered the room so she was showing some signs of improvement after the trauma she had been put thru. Slowly she was starting to come out of her shell. Father Mazeon went to the bubbling pot on the stove and inhaled the delectable scent of thyme and rosemary. He ladled himself a heaping bowl of the stew, smiled at Tinaca and then sat down beside Pratt.
“Are we to return to Evermist?” Pratt asked once Father Mazeon was seated. Broth dripped profusely form the boys chin and dribbled all over the table as he spoke with his mouth full.
“No we are not,” responded Father Mazeon before taking a bite of flavor soaked carrots and celery.
Pratt was stunned by the unexpected response and sat there with his mouth hanging open for a few confused moments before he spoke. “But the situation is dire. Is it not?”
“Oh it is dire indeed and that is why we shall not be returning to Evermist. At least not presently anyway,” Said Father Mazeon with a deep sigh as he let the steam of his supper warm his stubbly chin.
“I do not understand. Did the Father Abbot not believe you?” muttered Pratt as he poked at a chunk of potato with his spoon.
“He was cautious and skeptical but he made no indication that he disbelieved my account of what we saw. He wants more information and trusted council of other wise brothers before he commits to decisive action. The Father Abbot had decided to call a conclave,” Said Father Mazeon as he stirred the broth in his bowl.
“A conclave?” queried Pratt.
“He is going to summon every Abbot and several Fathers of the council to meet here and discuss the best course of action. It will be the largest gathering of ranking Vermillion Council brothers in my lifetime,” said Father Mazeon.
“Every Abbot…but it would take a fortnight to even send a summons to some of the distant Abbeys. What are we to do about Koin in the meantime?” stammered Pratt.
“Word has been sent to the nearest Rayward garrison. The Knight Commander there is sympathetic to the Vermillion Council. We have asked that he send any and all spare men to bolster the guard of Evermist. Hopefully the presence of quality fighting men in the valley will be enough to dissuade the beast form running rampant,” lamented Father Mazeon.
“Hopefully,” echoed Pratt. The boy thought for several moments over the last few bites of his supper. “So are we to just wait here until the conclave?” he asked.
“Oh no of course not,” responded Father Mazeon with a roguish grin.
“Were you not requested to attend?” wondered Pratt.
“Oh my presence at the conclave is very necessary,” responded the Councilman. He was grossly fatigued but still had enough fight left to torture his faithful apprentice with vagueness.
“I’m lost again,” Pratt said with confusion and defeat.
“As you said it will take some time just to send the summons,” started Father Mazeon. The Councilman looked down the length of the table at Tinaca. He then leaned in and lowered his voice so that only Pratt would hear. “She cannot stay here. We need to get her someplace far away and safe. I know somewhere it is easy for people to vanish. I may still have a friend or two that I can call upon for some help with a task like that,” said the Councilman softly as he subtlety gestured at the silent girl with the tip of his nose.
“Where is this place?” Asked Pratt with an equally quiet voice.
“As you know none of us come into this world clad in the crimson robes. We all come from somewhere else before we join the council. We are actually going to visit a place I once called home. We should be back well before the start of the conclave,” said Father Mazeon.
Pratt squirmed for a moment before his curiosity burst forth. “Where was home for you, father?” asked the boy.
“We are going to Blackcloud,” said Father Mazeon.