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Turin's return

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In the center of Caiyun lay an expanse of stone paving, elevated a cubit or so above ground level. That foundation was all that remained of the first temple of Sanguis Astroism. Weeds and moss grew about the old ruins threatening to swallow up the sacred site and disguise its last vestiges beneath a tangle of vegetation. Two figures stood at the edge of this sacred ground, where years ago the entrance looked out upon the main plaza of the Caiyun township. On the left stood a man in simple grey robes adorned only with an amulet that bore a silver chevron. A divot in the forehead distinguished the creased and haggard face of this man. On his right stood a woman clad in pure white. Her dark hair framed a face beautiful, yet with lips drawn tight and eyes distant, as though not seeing what lay before her or else not caring. The swell about her belly revealed her to be heavy with child and very near to the day of birth.

From the granite platform what was once the entrance to the first temple, the most holy of all sacred sites, Turin looked down on the gathered crowd. He spotted no familiar faces. Near the front stood a man in the robes of a priest of Sanguis Astroism, and not far off a priestess wearing the accouterments of the ecclesiastics. The others varied from commoners to lower gentry. He hoped many were messengers and servants who would carry his words to the congregation.

"Faithful," Turin announced, his words slow and deliberate to capture the gravity of that address, "Since the Prophet left us the church has been in a state of slow decline. The elders, most of them, have worked in sincerity to maintain our faith, I was once one of them, but their work is in vain without a prophet. Many years ago I departed on a pilgrimage to holy Darfix. I lingered there in seclusion seeking the answer to the tumults and calamities that have plagued our faith. With great joy I announce that I have found it. The answer to our woes lies in the secret of the Silver Temple. Many have sought out the Silver Temple of Darfix. Yet none have found it. The ancient monks of the city have guarded this secret since time immemorial. The Silver Temple is not as we imagine it. The temple is no glistening edifice of earthly masonry. See here, the sign of temple.

He held out his amulet a simple chevron of pure silver for all to see.

"Now look upon it from the celestial perspective," Turin went on.

With that he inverted the chevron.

"Behold the sign of the chalice, the symbol of the womb from whence we all arise," He explained, "the Silver Temple is the womb from which the Second Prophet will be born."

Turin lowered the amulet and gestured to the woman beside him.

"Beside me stands Lady Illyria, who serves as sacred vessel. She is with child and yet has never known the ways of men. Under my watch, with the aid of the monks of the Silver Temple she bathed in the waters of Boreal's Harbor and through the light of the Blood Stars themselves conceived by parthenogenesis. Long have I had the power to sense the human aura and know how near a person is to balance with the Stars. Her child will be born to spiritual perfection. Her child will know the ways of the stars as only Holy Mathurin did before. Rejoice all followers of the Bloodstars. These dark times are at an end. With the birth of the next prophet we will have a new golden age."

"Greetings brother. I expected there would be resistance to my announcement, such is the despair wrought by Allison, Jonsu and their kind, such is the depth of their evil, that all future prophecy will bring not joy but fear and uncertainty.

The church is as a ship who's navigator died in transit. Wicked men and women aboard did try to seize the rudder not so as to guide the ship but to steal it for themselves. The rest of the crew noble but ignorant thrust these mutineers back from the helm and did steer it into port, but it dared not continue the journey, ignorant as they were of the lore of navigators.

And lo when a fellow traveler returns from the port city crying,

"I have found a navigator! Rejoice for our journey can continue!"

The crew are wary, for they have known no other navigator, only licentious traitors who would turn their craft into a pirate ship or else run it aground in their folly. But the ship cannot remain forever in port. For barnacles will consume its hull and its timbers will rot from wood worms and the crew will know a true navigator by his knowledge of the stars.

I could go on about the signs that prove this moment, of the divine light over Darfix, of the visions and prophecies, I could read every affidavit from the monks of Darfix confirming the conception through parthenogenesis, but if you are Light of the Maddening these words of reason, should mean little to you. The truth is what you know in your heart. You will feel this truth when you look upon Illyria's child and see the wisdom of the ancients in the eyes of a mere babe and you will know the raw burning passion of the Maddening as you never did before."

A tent waited pitched upon the sacred foundations of the First Temple. On all sides temple guards stood at attention. Some were sent by the Ecclesiastics of Helyg Derwyddon, others were volunteers there of their own volition. Per Turin's instructions all of the guards were either women or eunuchs. Their helms and mail made them seem almost as steel statues.  Nothing stirred them to move, not even the occasional cry of pain from within the tent.

Turin had tried to meditate, but he could not. For all his years of discipline he could not contain his impatience for the birth of the second prophet. Unable to sit still he paced back and forth across the paving stones just in front of the tent.

At last the cry of a babe rang out through the night. Turin stopped dead in his tracks and stared at the tent flap in anticipation. A few moments passed, but it felt like a lifetime. At last a midwife, clad in white, her wrists soaked in blood emerged from the tent and rolled back its flaps. There lay Illyria, propped up on a birthing couch draped in blankets.  Sweat soaked her hair and brow in spite of the cool night air, and her lips were bent in the gentlest smile. In her arms lay the child, swaddled in cloth and fast asleep.

Turin approached tentatively, then knelt down and put his ear near Illyria's lips, so she could whisper to him the infant's name.

Turin meditated in the tower of his manor bathed in the light of the Maddening star which shone full even as darkness veiled the others. The Maddening had always been the star he felt most often attuned to though for some reason fate never permitted him to serve as its light. Suddenly his eyes snapped open, and he spoke aloud.

"I had a vision of the prophet. He lead me to a chamber deep beneath the Earth. It had a mighty gate, but the way was shut. We circled along the dome checkered with transparent stone until at last he showed me a side door to a great realm. Within dwelt dragons and serpents. I leaped above a wyrm with jaws that could swallow a sailing vessel whole. A flying drake swooped from above, yet I made it clear to the other side..."

"And then you awoke,"

The reply came from the deep clear and seldom heard voice of Illyria. At her breast suckled the sacred babe Severina prophetess of Sanguis Astroism, as yet unrecognized.

"The Maddening calls you to enter a place of great danger," she stated.

"Indeed and I know that place well," Turin replied.

My Fellow Lurians,

I am writing to announce that I am running for the seat of Emperor. Though I have not long been a Lurian I have come to understand your ways and values and promise to abide by them. Honor, meritocracy, open discourse, religious freedom and tolerance, these I can swear by the Blood Stars to uphold, and to one with a faith such as mine any pact made in the name of the stars is sacrosanct. 

In a different life I was ruler of Iashalur. I forged the realm from the ruins of old Niselur amidst wild beasts and revenants. I know what it is to govern a realm at constant war with rogues seeking ever to reclaim its lost lands. 

Finally I will add that I have become your countryman at the Emperor's personal request, such is the faith and esteem he has for me. In truth I do hope he is found alive and well before the voting takes place, but we cannot run an empire on hope alone.

Turin Erickson
Knight of Askileon Purlieus
Priest of Sanguis Astroism


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