Sunday, March 2, 2008

Chapter 8: Father Achilleos (Mark I)

Caden and Rilyn went to the temple as soon as they finished eating. They left Starlight and most of their gear back at the Blue Fox. They walked along the river. They banks of the river were replaced by stone levees. About every eight fathoms there were stone stairs and a stone landing for boats to tie up to. Many fish merchants docked at the landings and sold the fish straight from the boat.

Rilyn plugged her nose. "Uhg," she grunted. "I hate the smell of fish."
"So, do I," Caden said. "And the taste is even worse."
"Well, at least Cassy gave us good food before I lost my appetite from this smell."
"Yeah, I guess she heard some rumor about us."
"You mean a rumor about you," Rilyn said. She poked Caden in the ribs. "I wasn't even mentioned."
"It's not a big deal." He shrugged. "Everyone is going to forget about it and move on to a new story tomorrow anyway."
"This coming from a kid who sat on the roof of a Tavern to listen to traveler's tales."
"How did you..."
"The mayor told me." She slapped Caden on the back. "He said it was important information to know."
Caden blushed. "Well, from now on, I'm going to be writing my own stories."
They walked around a corner and saw numerous people stand on the Temple mall. Father Achilleos and two other priests were speaking with them.
Rilyn looked at Caden. "Another witch?"
Caden shook his head and ran up the steps and onto the mall.
The people in the crowd were shouting to the three priests. "... protect my son!" "My brother disappeared on his way to Scania, can he find him?" Everyone was calling out a request for protection, aid, and a few seeking revenge.
Caden pushed his way to the front of the crowd. "Father!" he called. "Father!" He got pushed back and fell down. He moved between the crowds legs till he got right next to Father Achilleos. "Father!"
Father Achilleos looked at Caden and grabbed him by the arm. "Good, to see you my boy," he said. "Now let's go." Father Achilleos lead Caden through the shouting mob.
"Shouldn't we go inside the temple?" Caden pointed behind them.
"Uh..." Father Achilleos looked back at the crowd. "Where are you staying?"
"The Blue Fox."
"That will be much better I think." Father Achilleos lead Caden away from the shouting mob and past Rilyn. She followed them.
Father Achilleos didn't say anything until they were sitting in the Blue Fox's common room. He asked Caden to tell him what happened with Father Coteson. Cassy served them all cinnamon milk tea. While Caden talked, Father Achilleos scratched his short scraggly beard. Their mugs stopped steaming before Caden stopped talking.
When Caden finished his story, Father Achilleos said, "That is very distressing. Brother Coteson was protecting a very religious site. There might be greater dangers then the dragon queen."
"Then you didn't see what she did to my home," Caden said. "And what was going on at the temple?"
"People have been making requests," said Father Achilleos. "That are beyond the church." He took a drink of cold tea. "As for the dangers I mentioned, I spoke with the council of Brothers, and the Dragon Queen has been seen attacking other Temples."
"Where has she been seen? We need to get that information to the Knights!"
Father Achilleos held up his hands. "That will be dealt with in due course," he said. "However, the barrier that protects the temples seems to be fading. The next temple that the Dragon Queen may not survive the assault."
"Barrier?" asked Caden. "Do you mean the magic that saved our temple?"
"Yes. There was something very important in Erdon that made that protection possible."
"The Queen's Heart."
"No." Father Achilleos shook his head. "There is something far more valuable in Erdon."
Rilyn looked at Caden. He shrugged.
"Brother Michael was supposed to go, but he seemed busy today. I think I shall make the trip to Erdon in his place." Father Achilleos looked at Caden. "If you'll talke me."