10. Wealsun 996 AF; Free Plains
Healing for Kharamon and Tanquol
Rurik dozes off…into a life past and gone
Rurik followed the ritual with interest first, but the chanting of the priest was quite repetitive. Rurik started to gaze around, his eyes discovering the details of the room. The circular shapes on the floor, that reminded him of a stone circle, caught is attention in particular. The stone looked green, had a quality of crystal, yet at the same time were filled with milkish torrents and golden sparkles. Rurik stared fascinated at the flickering glimmer of the gold. While he stared at the stone shapes, his mind wandered. Images filled his mind, of large menhirs forming a perfect circle.
Suddenly Rurik felt a pull and a caleidoscope of light and darkness filled his mind. Then he saw a the stone circle from above, as if a bird was observing it from above. There was a man in the cirlce. Four groups of three humanoids were wainting outside of the circle, and a larger mass of people were standing behind them. 13 humans were standing outside on the right side, covering the right half the menhir cirlce.
Ruriks view was still blurry, but he forced himself to focus and zoom in to the human in the circle. He was young, maybe in his late twenties, dressed as a warrior king with armor and sword, a simple crown on his head. A glowing presence of the height of a large human swirled behind him. However, Rurik felt a fierce awareness emanting from the light, as if it were pure consciousness and will.
Now the scene started to move, as if a frozen picture came to life. The first trio entered the circle. Three dwarves, dressed in an oldfashioned way, slowly walked toward the human king. Two of them knelt down, while the third stood a bit apart, witnessing the scene.
“Do you, Andros of Clan Kundarak, pleadge allegiance to our cause, and swear a holy oath to accept me as your king”?
“I do, and I subject me and my clan to your command and judgement!”
“Then let our bond be.” The king nodded slowly.
A glowing bond formed between the dwarf and the king, silver light. The golden sparkes in the stones flashed as the king replied, and now strands of golden light reinforced the silvery bond between Andros and the king.
“For your loyalty, I bestow this gift on you.” The king touched the forehead of the dwarf with his index and middle finger. At the same time, a beam of energy emanated from the swirling figure behind the king and struck the dwarf; with no obvious effect however.
“So it is pledged, so be it”, acknowledged the third dwarf.
As he spoke, the bond thickened and embraced the human and the dwarf, binding their souls and fate together. And while the whole scene captured Rurik in awe, none of the spectators reacted to it. It dawned on Rurik that they could not see what his eyes showed him. Did he see the magical power of the Oath Stones? But who was the dwarf? Which arcane power did he wield? And which role did the swirling figure of light play?
“Do you, Balenorn of Clan Galvern, pleadge allegiance to our cause, and swear a holy oath to accept me as your king”?
“I do, and I subject me and my clan to your command and judgement!”
“Then let our bond be.” Again the king nodded slowly and touched the forehead of the dwarf. Again, light emanated from the figure.
And again the silvery band formed, reinforced by the light from the Oath Stones, and acknowledged by the third dwarf.
“So it is pledged, so be it!”
Rurik focused his attention on the third dwarf. He appeared to be a Speaker of the Ancients, a scholar of dwarven heritage and law and often counsel in legal matters. In ancient times, the Speakers were also the priests of dwarvendom, gainig their power from the power of the Ancients – the founding fathers who were born from the stone -, and the paragons who went into the stone again.
Rurik felt a weird familiarity with this dwarf. He didn’t know him, that was sure, but he felt an uncanny connection with the spirit of this dwarf. Sure, the personality was different, as was his life and history, but at the inner core, he was like Rurik. Was he an ancestor of him? That would make sense, but yet… the feeling of deja vu, the uncanny familiarity…
A thought formed in Rurik’s mind, so weird and unrealistic that he immediately rejected it. “No this can’t be”
Rurik’s consciousness jerked back, zoomed out, got some distance. No, it can’t be him, his soul, incarnated in a different body. Him, but not the Rurik of this life with his own history, but the essence of him, living in a distant time. Rurik was shaken, and pushed the thought aside. This was too unbelievable, and if he would further dwell on this, he feared he would get overwhelmed by the implications of this possibility. He gathered his will and refocussed on the scene that was unfolding below him.
The dwarves stepped out of the circle and the next trio entered. Two halflings knelt in front of the king, while a third watched the ceremony. The first halfling, Cora Jorasco, pledged allegiance for House Jorasco, the second, Malva Ghalland, for House Ghalland.
The third trio were three humans, Agnella Sivillian and Balthazar Orien, who pledged their loyalty and that of their houses to the king, receiving and unnamed gift from him – or the swirling figure. The fourth and last trio were three hobgoblins, two proud warrior chieftains, who pledged the allegiance of the Tharask and Vadalak Tribe to the king, also receiving the gift.
Rurik was beginning to feel a strain on himself, as if watching this scene – a scene from the past? – consumed parts of hif lifeforce. He forced himself to zoom out of the scene and observed the bigger picture. From a distance, he dared to focus on the swirling figure. Again, a sensation of raw power overcame him, a fierce will, yet somehow unworldly. However, the fierce power reminded Rurik of something that he has touched from a distance, since he heard the call of Thyr, and has connected to him in prayer so often since. Was this Thyr, or a manifestation of him? The old stories revealed how he guided the king in his war against the evil Witchkings. Did Thyr intervene and granted parts of his power to the king and the Houses, Clans and Tribes that pledged allegiance to the king? Never had Rurik heard of this taking place, yet he was witnessing it.
But Thyr’s presence never felt so archaic and unbound like the presence of the swirling figure. Something was different, but Rurik could not make sense of it. Thyr always felt more like a real being, godly and inconceivable in his power, but not unsympathetic to the peculiarities of human or dwarven life.
Again Rurik weakened. He realized his time was running out, or he would harm himself in the process, finally being consumed by it. But he needed to know more about this event. Rurik forced himself to focus on the 13 figures standing outside of the circle. He felt that each of them were attuned to a divince force. The figure in the middle was a priest of Beory, the All-Mother, the others were followers of cults mostly long forgotten, extinct, or driven into hiding by the Children of Light. Rurik got the impression that they disapproved of the ceremonies. Were they jealous of Thyr, did they fear their loss of influence, or even had a hunch of the things to come: The victory of Arthur Manetheren, the union of the Church of Thyr and the Crown, and the conversion of hundreds of thousands of faithfull?
Again Rurik zoomed out. Now streams of humans pledged their allegiance to the king, however, none of them were granted a gift.
Rurik zoomed out further. The scene became a scene of many, in an endless streams of scenes and events. However, he was drawn to a scene further in the past, the day before the oath ceremony. He mustered all his strengths and started to force his will further back in time, meeting increasing resistence in the process.
The healing ceremony of Kharamon was successful, and now it was Thanquols turn. Stor and Kharamon stood around Rurik. Blood poured out of Ruriks nose. He started to shake, but his eyes were pulled back into his head, only showing the white. Stor and Kharamon were very concerned. It was clear that their companion was in huge distress, but they didn’t dare to wake him – if that was even possible. Stor and Kharamon looked at each other and – as if they were thinking as one – both went behind Rurik. Stor, on the left, put his left arm on Ruriks shoulder and his right arm on Kharamons shoulder; Kharamon put his right arm on Ruriks right shoulder, and his left arm on Stor’s shoulder. They formed a perfect triangle with Rurik at the top. Their touch already seemd to calm and strengthen Rurik. Then, with a deep breath, both Stor and Kharamon joined Rurik in his trance. Both Stor and Kharamon formed a bond with Rurik, joining their trained will and force of personality with Ruriks energy.
Suddenly, Rurik felt the presence of his companions, and a surge of energy washed his tiredness away. He pressed further backwards in time.