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Truth and Fire: A Confessors Tale


Scree
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Truth and Fire

 

Confessor Feya stood atop one of the largest plateaus for hundreds of miles, patiently watching the horizon for movement. The height advantage given to her by this plateau had allowed for her to see in every direction for miles. Her troops had monitored enemy movements with impunity from this very spot for weeks. Today she had come for one last visit; for tomorrow the city would be razed to the ground.

 

It had taken a week for her army to construct a series of ladders and riggings allowing for her and her workers to ascend to the top. Having achieved its flat but angled top, the workers had begun the chore of hauling over a hundred logs to the top. A large pit was then dug, allowing the logs to be placed into them standing straight up without fear of falling over. In the end a pillar-throne of lumber jutted out from the top of the plateau.

 

By the time the “throne” had been finished, the sun was already setting in the sky. Standing on this plateau, Feya wondered if the cities builders had once also sat atop this spot before building it. It looked picturesque with the sun framing the city perfectly, outlining its ramparts and bristling defenders against the warm glow of the setting sun. It felt like a sign for her and her brethren, that what they were about to do had been foretold. The city would awaken to the sun coming up behind her troops; a fiery halo illuminating the death that her armies represented to them.

 

Feya turned and walked to the opposite end of the plateau, a journey of only a few moments. When she reached the portion of the plateau that held the supplies from their ascension to the top, she looked down upon her army’s camp below. Neatly ordered tents, arranged in straight rows laid before her. Soldiers prepared for battle, polishing armor and weapons. The subtle sound of nervous laughter echoed in the canyons below.

 

The other Confessors in her camp had already begun the normal ritual that occurred at sunset, preparing the bonfires that would protect their troops through the darkened hours of night. The flame ceremony would wash away the sins of those in her army marching into battle and possible death in the morning. Similar bonfires were being prepared below, as had been at the top of the plateau, though the one at the top was several magnitudes larger.

 

Seeing that preparations for tonight were nearing completion, Feya returned to the middle of the plateau and her throne of wood. As she approached she dismissed the remaining workers and instructed them to return to the surface. They saluted her and gave the formal reply to an order; “Truth and Fire!”. Few would be able to withstand the heat from this fire. She didn’t want her men being burned or injured during this ceremony. She, however, had confessor magic to protect her from something as trivial as flames. 

 

As the sun began to set, Feya began working her magic. Confessor powers varied amongst her brethren, but few could deny the most common form that was most frequently associated with her order; fire. She was considered one of the most adept at its usage. Tonight would see the truth of that.

 

A symbol, as large as the bonfire itself, began to weave itself in the very fabric of the air in front of her. She had purposefully made it this large, an indication to any who would doubt her claim of leadership. Even this far up on the plateau the symbol would likely be visible to the troops below and perhaps even to the city on the horizon.

 

As the form took shape, she began to struggle. At the size Feya had drawn it, it was notoriously difficult to maintain. The brand she was using was one commonly used amongst the confessor orders, but it was never meant for anything beyond the branding of an individual. It was used to inflict horrific pain on the unconfessed. It also had a nasty tendency to set flesh on fire. An unfortunate side effect that.

 

Feya’s fire brand finally materialized into an enormous sign of the confessor order. It loomed over the plateau, centered directly before the throne. It was time.

 

With a thought Feya pushed the brand into the throne of wood. All at once, every log that had been touched by the brand ignited; a deep blue burning that threw off immense penetrating heat. The fire was focused by the efforts of the workers, and it appeared from a great distance to be a pillar of fire shooting into the heavens.

 

Feya approached a point closest to the city and waited. She had the comforting warmth and glow of the growing inferno behind her to keep her company. She wondered how many people had good memories of fires; warmth to heat a home, to cook a meal with your family, to see even when the night was darkest, it helped to ward off the night’s many predators. Her memories of fire included none of those comforting thoughts. Instead hers had violently shoved aside to make room for the darker mysteries of fire; of confessions wrenched loose, of pain and of lies, of torture and most importantly of death. Soon those in the city before her would learn these other truths.

 

Feya was tasked with their reeducation.

 

As if to acknowledge her thoughts, in the distance, other pillars of fire and light shot into the night sky. One… two… five … ten… The armies of the confessors had gathered a mighty force. Truth and Fire would be brought to these people.

 

With her arms raised out before her, Feya whispered a prayer and focused on the city. Minutes passed and nothing happened. Sweat formed on her brow, her concentration was intense. The fires from the other plateaus still shot out into the heavens. Ten pillars of holy fire located in a perfect circle around the unbelievers in the city in front of her. Feya strained her will, and finally the flames responded to her need.

 

A curious thing happened then to the outsiders watching. The fire pillars bent inward towards the city. The flames were seemingly pulled into the city. It looked as if a river of fire were pouring out of an invisible bucket and being dumped on the city. The heat could be felt from her seat high above on the plateau.

 

Feya watched with emotionless eyes. As the screams began, heard miles away, a slight smile curled into existence at the corner of her mouth. The order to march on the city was given and thousands of neat columns formed up and made certain none could escape.

 

Feya whispered to herself as she watched the city immolated before her; “Truth and Fire”. The confessors had come.

Edited by scree
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I had some time and wrote something based on the Confessor Archetype. It was thematically one of my favorite back in Shadowbane and always had the greatest lore potential to me. Something about "zealous priests" got me excited ;0

 

Hope you enjoy it.

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