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For whom the bell tolls.............
by Kenny Crowe

 

The bell begain it's toll.

<*****************>

The first sound was insistant, subversive, seeming to emanate from his very bones, flowing down the corridors, back to his past and into his future. It lingered about his head, humming it's insistent tune into the recesses of his mind.

<*****************>

The guards didn't seem to be bothered by the sound. Perhaps they had lived through it so often, they didn't feel the need to react in any way, beside a tightening of their grip as they led him down towards the towering doors at the end of the corridor.

<*****************>

The doors slowly opened. Only enough to accomodate him though. The narrow gap seemed to seep with darkness, spreading it's chill into the corridor. But all the same, they were well designed doors, designed to make anyone approaching appear as insignificant as possible.

It was working.

<*****************>

Slowly, he walked into the vast, darkened chamber. It's walls circled about him, and rose majestically into the darkened hights. The mosaic upon the floor seemed to hint at danger. The design seemed to focus on him, to draw attention to him standing there at the center.

<******************>

Silence. Blessed silence after twelve strikes of the demon inspired bell. As the silence deepened the man at the center of the room raised his head and looked about.

A shaft of light speared down from the hights of the chamber, seeming to impale the man where he stood upon the mosaic.

A voice echoed down from the hights "You have been called to judgment. You now stand before the twelve. Prepare yourself for your fate."

The man looked back into the darkness defiantly, a smile fliting across his face.

//he is mad! he must be! why can we not read him?//

{{Silence. He Has Closed Himself To Us. He Has Learnt}}

[[Thats neither here or there, why did you call this judgment?]]

##He has been searching the library. He's uncovered some facts that I think we would rather leave in the dust of the library##

//what?! he can't have gone that far, can he? he's only a student. the wards would have stopped him!//

{{Apparently Not}}

"Why do you hide behind your veils of darkness o great ones?" The last is said with a tinge of sarcasm. "Why do you feel the need to hide from the truth?"

(* Silence him! We must... *)

{{ We Must What? Kill Him? }}

(* No, not that, not yet. We have to learn what he knows *)

A flickering of lights encircles the man. A scream of pain echoes to the darkness hidden in the corners. He twists and turns, but to no avail as the lights play over his body.

// no! still he defies us! How?! //

## We will have to resort to other measures ##

"What?! Is that all you can do?" The man struggles once more to his feet and glares up and out into the darkness.

A hooded figure walks into the light. "No. It is not all we can do. But I must ask you, why do you defy us so? Why do you disobey us?"

"I only seek the truth, a truth that you have hidden from all of us. And I found it! Despite your best efforts, I still found it!"

"the records of the tainted?"

The man spins about to face a smaller figure. It's dark blue robes seeming to hide against the background of shadows.

"The word doesn't mean that. You've mis-translated. They were the Pure Ones."

"That is neither here nor there. You know of whom we speak?"

"Yes." A defiant smile appears once more on the man's face. "The Eerith!"

//he knows too much! we never named them in the records. they were called the familiars, never that!//

{{How Though? Who Tought Him Of These Facts?}}

## The wards still stand, the soul of our old-brother still stands guard, where else can the knowledge be from? ##

"Perhaps your old-brother isn't nearly as strong as you think he is"

Twelve shocked faces turn to the man who answered their silent thought speech.

"You really think you are so superior, don't you? But the truth will always out, and it's now only a matter of time before your sins will return to haunt you.

"You enslaved the Eerith, used them against their will. All the myths and stories that abound portray them as evil spirits, black hearted creatures doing evil deeds. But the truth is far from the fairytale isn't it?"

Silence.

"What, nothing to say. You brought me here for justice, but it seems that you are the ones on the receiving end of that sword, don't you think."

"Cease Your Babble, Impertinent Man!"

The man is struck by a flash of light, but still stands.

**You seek to silence me, but you are right, I am learning! And never again will I be silenced against my will**

"Guards! Kill Him!!"

Arrows fly out of the darkness, impaling the man from all sides. He staggers and falls to one knee. But still the smile plays across his face.

**You never get things right, do you?**

The blood spurts from his wounds, but it doesn't pool about his feet, but slowly rises about him, forming a halo of shining red droplets, reflecting the light in shifting patterns about the floor. The flow speeds up, taking skin, clothing, and blood out of the body, and forming a sphere of twisting flesh above the floor - an image in motion that is reflected in the mosaic below it.

//by the heavens! it's not human!//

** No, We are returning, those whom you thought safely hidden away **

The tall hooded figure qucikly walks forward and thrusts a clenched fist into the swirling maelstrom of blood and light. "Acaba!"

There is a soft splash as the blood covers the floor. The pale remnants of a flame float up towards the ceiling. The hooded figures watch the twisting flame dissapear out of the iris in the roof of the chamber.

"Is it dead?"

"No, Only hurt. It can no longer annoy us with it's prattle though"

"was that what i think it was?!"

"Yes. An Eerith. They No Longer Slumber In Their Prison Of Annaeyana"

"So what must we do?"

"Nothing yet. If they were free they would have come in force. It was only one. The wards still stand. We fought them once, we can do so once more. We are the most powerful sorcerors in this land, they cannot frighten us as they did so many years ago."

The twelve file out of the chamber, each lost in their own thoughts of morality, and mortality.

*****

The noon day sun passes it's zenith over the city of Mirbalpur. The citizens give thanks to the gods that they live in this great city, and that they are safe behind the protection of the Good Sorcerors of Mir.