By Bailey Dixon
Date: February 19, 2021
Ch. 3I

Listening to the Cleric’s speech, I felt my stomach turn with worry and shame.

‘Loathe is the sin of pleasure. Pleasure of the mind, pleasure of the soul, pleasure of the flesh. The scorn of His Holiness is the punishment for those partakers of indulgence. We must make our spirits calm and still as a lake, for only then are the waters of our heart clear enough that we might see God’s reflection within. Emotion is the storm of the spirit. Every pang of anger, elation, sorrow, lust—another crashing wave that breaks the face of God within us, twisting our souls into a murky maelstrom, preventing us from knowing Him. From reflecting his grace upon his mortal plane. To feel is to sin.’

With those painful words my eyes clamped shut, exhaling, thinking about all the sins of lust that I had committed, becoming lost in anxious thought. When I opened my eyes once more, Martyr Superior stood before me, holding a set of ivory scales in her outstretched hands. Curses! I had missed my queue. Her icy stare pierced me like a dagger as I snatched the scales and hurried to the altar, the clatter of my armour making quite a crescendo. Clearing his throat impatiently as I approached, the High Cleric held out his hands to receive the ivory relic. Bending down on one knee, I bowed my head in reverence and apology, raising the scales toward him. I felt the weight of the artifact lift from my grasp and with that I skulked as silently as I could back to my sisters. The rest of the service was spent in humiliation.

Making my way towards the door at the conclusion of the mass, I felt a hand on my shoulder and turned.

‘Arbiter de Karne requests your presence in his quarters’ said Martyr Superior.

I nodded.

‘And when his business with you is complete, we shall discuss the punishment for your distraction in today’s service.’ she continued.

‘Yes, Superior. My deepest apologies.’

Arbiter Viktus de Karne was a fierce dispenser of justice, greatest of Farheim’s law-keepers and a dedicated scourer of sin. While most Arbiters were concerned with the everyday transgressions of the common folk—celebrations, music, non-sanctioned sexual relations and the like—Viktus de Karne chose to make it his personal mission to tackle our realm’s most nefarious plague. Viktus was the eternal thorn in the side of warlocks. As such, we valkyries were his greatest weapon.

The doors to his chambers were two intimidating slabs of jade, carved with images of righteous execution. The sound of my knocking echoed deeply down the corridor.


His voice was stern and confident. Straightening my posture, I pull back the doors hesitantly and stepped over the threshold. Arbiter de Karne sat behind a desk of rich mahogany, surrounded by a crescent bookcase that covered the walls in dusty, arcane tomes from floor to ceiling. The pungent smell of charcoal incense filled the modestly-sized, circular room.

‘Your lordship. Martyr Superior said-’

‘Ah, Naia. I’ve been expecting you.’ said de Karne. ‘Please, sit.’

‘If it pleases your lordship, I shall stand.’

‘As you wish. Now, sister Vayne, I have summoned you here to discuss a matter of utmost urgency.’

My back stiffened.

‘This matter concerns…’ said Viktus, laying his hands flat on the desk. ‘It concerns my son.’

‘Your son?’ I spluttered.
Immediately, I began an apology for speaking out of turn but Arbiter de Karne held his hand up.

‘Your surprise is understandable. Not many know that I have a son. Or even that I once had a wife. Such knowledge is confined to a select few for a particular reason. It brings my name, and the entire Sanctum, much shame.’ he said. ‘Soon after his mother’s death, Wex became withdrawn, retreating into his books, sometimes not emerging from the library for days. Though I was already concerned with the flagrant emotion he was indulging in, I discovered something far more disturbing than his grieving. His studies had turned from the holy texts to scriptures concerning black magic.’

I stifled a gasp. Viktus paused and with an outward breath, laced his fingers together. Lost for words, I waited for the Arbiter to continue.

‘Study turned to practice, a horrifying revelation which I discovered in my son’s sixteenth year. Corrupted, so young. Three years younger than you are now sister Naia.’

The law-keeper sighed slowly. I was still speechless.

‘Alas, age is no shield against justice. Nor familial bonds. So it was that I called for son’s judgement. However, before my decree could be made known to the valkyries or the Sanctum at large, the boy had vanished. That was some fourteen years ago. Truth be told I thought him dead. I couldn’t imagine that one so young would survive the dark spaces that could hide him from the gaze of the Sanctum. It would appear I was wrong.’ said de Karne.

‘He’s here in the city?’ I said.

Viktus shook his head.

‘If only it were so simple. No, Wex is not here in Magnus, nor anywhere in the land of Farheim.’

He pulled something from a drawer and paused a moment before rising slowly from his desk and walking toward me. Standing a good two feet above me, I looked up to meet his eye though as he approached I noticed something glinting in his hand.

‘Naia,” he said, placing a hand on my shoulder. ‘He resides in the Edgerealm.’

I swallowed hard.

‘My lord…’ I began but I was cut off.

‘You are humble, sister Vayne but I have given you this task for a reason. My son is dangerous. Twisted. A deviant. You are strong, vigilant, and pure.’

At that last word, I broke eye contact, casting my gaze aside for a moment.

‘I must send my finest valkyrie. And I must send her alone. This matter is too delicate to warrant an open assault. We would cause a stir, and Wex would flee. And, I must confess, discretion will save us a great deal of scandal. Heavens forbid we give the heathens an excuse to spin lies about corruption among my family’s great and devout dynasty.’ he said.

Inhaling deeply, I snapped my heels together firmly and summoned all my fervour.

‘I will not fail you, my lord. God’s will shall be done.’ I said.

‘Praise.’ said the Arbiter in response.

Then he brought the glistening object up into view. A cord of what looked like glowing silver, its surface shifting like flowing mercury. I was mesmerised. I knew of this material but I had never laid my eyes upon it… Mythril.

De Karne saw the awe in my eyes.

‘The first time one sees this mystical metal is inspiring indeed.’ he said. ‘This mythril rope has a unique purpose. Its bond cannot be broken, except by the will of the wielder. It is as strong as valkyrian steel yet free as water. This chain will extend infinitely but only so far as the wielder would will it. Your will, Naia, controls this artifact. It will respond to your whims, and yours alone.’

Viktus offered me one end of the mercurial cord. Taking it in my hand, I could feel it pulse.

‘And it nullifies the use of magic in those it binds.’ said the Arbiter.

I looked up from the hypnotic rope in amazement. I had heard stories of this property but could not be certain if they were true.

‘Take it, bind the monster and bring him back to me in chains. And I shall see justice done. In the sight of God and the name of all that is holy, I will end the abomination that I wrought.’

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